Tabitha stared at him, her gaze steady despite the fact that she shook. “How do you know my name? Who are you?”
Lezvie pulled his knives out of the slaver’s back, cleaning them on the man’s shirt. “My name is Lezvie. Angela sent me.”
“Angela? She’s still alive?” She watched him, eyeing the knives.
“Very much so. She’s waiting outside of town while I get you out.”
“Have you and her…?” Tabitha made a suggestive gesture, watching his expression.
“No.” He shook his head. “Our companionship is purely one of company and convenience. Strength in numbers and all that.”
“Yet you’ll brave the Crimson Talon at her request.” Tabitha arched an eyebrow at him.
Lezvie had to admire her spunk. Not two minutes ago she’d been at the mercy of a brutal slaver, yet she could make pointed remarks and cunning observations. “I can see why Angela likes you. Come on, someone will probably check on this lout eventually.”
She flushed. “Could you give me a minute?”
“Right.” Lezvie slipped out the window and sat on the ledge, looking out at the wasteland as Tabitha put her clothes back on. She tapped him on the shoulder and he turned back towards her. “Ready?
“Ready. How are we going to do this?”
He hopped off the windowsill and grabbed onto the bricks of the wall. “Wrap your arms around my neck and hold on.”
She obeyed, climbing onto his back and holding onto him as he climbed down. On the ground, he chuckled faintly. “It might be easiest if you just stayed there and let me carry you out. Even with the extra weight, I can move more quietly than the two of us individually.”
“All right…” She tightened her grip on him, settling into position as he began sneaking from house to house. Just on the outskirts of the town, a sudden cry from the slaver’s camp made him whirl. They had been seen.
With a mild oath, Lezvie set Tabitha down. “Run to the cliff and climb. I left marks on the path I took. Angela’s at the top. I’ll slow them down.”
“But you’ll die!”
“Only if you stay here, distracting me. Go!”
She scrambled towards the cliff, climbing up it. Lezvie turned towards the slavers who charged him, drawing his longsword. “All right, you buggers. Let’s dance.”
He charged them, meeting them amongst the fires and the dead, his sword reflecting the angry orange lights. Set against the brutish swings of the slavers, he was a ghost. Surrounded, outnumbered twenty to one, he remained untouchable. They fell under his sword, gaping wounds appearing on them.
One of them, draped in the garb of a chieftain, charged him with a pair of katanas. He was no mere thug. His opening feint nearly fooled Lezvie; the follow-up strike nearly cost him the fight.
Lezvie, however, had other advantages than his skill. The slaver chieftain swung, a powerful overhand swing, and Lezvie blocked it. His sword, made of alien alloy, shattered the chieftain’s blades, leaving the slaver exposed. Lezvie spilled his guts over the hard ground.
However, skilled as was, he was not invincible; the slavers had firearms. A bullet grazed his arm, then his leg. He backed out of the fight, moving towards the cliff. As soon as he was free, he turned and ran, zig-zagging, trying to avoid the bullets. He didn’t entirely succeed.
A lucky shot hit him in the back, punching clean through him. He bit back a cry of pain and scaled the cliff, becoming invisible against the brush and rock. The slavers kept up their fire for a few more seconds, but soon gave up.
Lezvie dragged himself over the top of the cliff, weak from blood loss and pain. Angela and Tabitha awaited him, and they pulled him up onto a bedroll they had prepared. He managed a weak grin. “Mission accomplished. Crimson Talon wasn’t so bad after all.”