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Loken plunged his blade into the Keeper’s gut and wrenched upwards until it found a new home in the man’s heart. Twisting savagely, he watched as the light died from dull eyes, then yanked the knife free and spun in a crouch. Unfortunately, the only assailants left standing were too preoccupied to meet the business end of his dagger. He relaxed his muscles and cleaned his blade on the jacket of his last kill. A nearby boulder—wide, flat and free of blood—made for a convenient perch on which to watch the remaining Keepers fight a losing battle.
As always, the woman’s fluid grace and technique was a marvel to watch. Her flowing, black hair followed the arc of her body through twists and flips like a live extension...as did the three-foot sword she used to dismember her opponents. There were only two left now and Loken grinned in amusement as their every attempt to turn and flee was disabled by the offensive attacks of the ruthless assassin.
Finally realising that escape was futile, the two came up with the brilliant idea to rush the female together with blunt knives in hand—their guns having been stripped away at the onset of the fight. The ensuing outcome of that tragic mistake was as predictable to him as the pathetic pleas of mercy that had spewed from the men’s mouths just moments ago. The woman feigned surprise by taking a step back and turning around to show them her vulnerable back, lining them up beautifully.
In one smooth move she made a full-body rotation, bringing the sword up so that exactly one inch of the tip kissed the tender skin below their jaws. Only when the thud of their bodies hitting the ground sounded did she turn back to wipe her blade on the shirt of one of the men before sheathing it in the scabbard strapped to her back.
With no surrounding cities or mountains to hinder the vast-reaching glow of the full moon, her flashing smile and exultant eyes were easily seen in the darkness of the night as she faced him. Loken raised one eyebrow and pointed to a previously fallen Keeper who was trying in vain to crawl away undetected some distance from them. The woman glanced in that direction and after drawing a throwing knife from her belt, effortlessly pegged the man in the back of the neck.
“That was your kill,” she said angrily.
Loken shrugged. “Apparently the stab wound in his shoulder wasn’t enough for him.”
“You’re getting sloppy.”
“Nope. Just keeping you on your toes.”
Kiress snorted and looked at the nine lifeless bodies littering the otherwise peaceful stretch of desert landscape. “Like this misguided bunch of freaks could give me a decent challenge. Did you hear the shit that sorry excuse for a Keeper was puking up? Knowing I have a genetic commonality with these losers makes me want to peel my own skin off.” She shivered dramatically to emphasise her revulsion.
The Keeper in question, also the leader of the ragtag band of recruiters for the son of Death, had gone through the same old tired spiel they’d heard from countless other followers. “Serve Mikel and the God of Death will grant you everlasting favour and power at his side!” As though empty promises could sway the minds of two people who had just run them off the road, taunted them from their vehicles then pulled out deadly weapons in an obvious bid to end their lives.
You had to admire that kind of stupidity. It took talent.
“Loki, we’ve been at this for a year,” she growled. “When the hell are we going to get a hold of this Mikel?”
Loken stood and sheathed his own blade. “As soon as you quit lopping off the heads of the leaders long enough for me to get some new information.”
The innocent batting of lashes and parting of heart-shaped lips in shock was adorable and completely false. Kiress matched him in nearly every aspect. From the striking features to the volatile attitude and predilection for combat—their only difference being his ruggedness and penchant for wrath compared to her angelic countenance and penchant for passion.