Chapter 11: Four down

He burst out of the door, before the three Undead could react, two were already down. The third turned just in time to block the blow aimed at its head.

Unlike most of the other Undead, this one wielded a curving, two-handed saber. Sparks burst from its length as it met with an axe and the flanged head of a mace. The Undead gritted its teeth, but its grip held. It pushed back with its blade, steel screeching as its edge flicked upward.

Chris stumbled at the shove; the Undead pushed the attack, its saber flicked through the air above its head as it turned its hands, reversing the momentum of the blade and bringing it down in a cut from above and to the side.

Chris blocked, sent staggering by the force of the blow. He continued backward even after he regained his balance, putting some distance between him and the fighter.

The Undead charged again, then ducked, bringing the blade arcing around toward Chris’ less protected legs.

Chris jumped, bending his knees and stomping down on the blade as he did so. The Undead stumbled forward, unwilling to release its sword. A mace slammed into its temple and the sword fell from its nerveless fingers. It pitched over onto the street.

Chris jammed his weapons back into his belt and hefted the saber. It was heavy, exactly what made it so hard to fend off its blows. He waved it around, he was going to go full Braveheart with this bad boy.

He stalked through the town, running into two more Undead, just as he turned the corner.

“Hello, boys.” He grinned and brought the two patrolling guards down with a single slash that bisected one and buried halfway through the other—biting through its breastplate. They didn’t have time to react as their severed spearheads hit the ground, and their bodies followed moments later. They needed to check if an enemy was Undead or not before they attacked. Chris didn’t. Everything in this decaying town was an Undead. His enemies needed verification; he needed more targets.

He tested out the weight of the saber in one hand as he eyed the bisected spearman’s shield. The shield was larger than most in this town. He wanted it, but it really depended on whether he’d be able to swing around the sword singlehanded.

He pried the shield from the Undead’s hands with a grin. He’d give it a swing.

Then a bone knight rounded the corner at the far end of the street. It stopped as it saw him standing over two vanquished guards.

Chris gave it a friendly wave, then sprinted back around the corner, running toward the wall and the ladder.

The bone knight thundered after him but was thankfully too slow to catch him in time.

He flew up the ladder, taking it three rungs at a time, finally coming face to face with one of the archers on the wall.

The archers had even less armor than the guards did, one lazy slash was all it took. On to the next.

He charged the next archer as it nocked its bow and released. Chris caught the arrow on his shield then cut his enemy down before it could loose another arrow. The Undead tumbled from the wall.

The bone knight was behind him now, preparing to scale the ladder, and seemingly unwilling to throw its spear. Was that its last weapon? Chris laughed. He could live with that.

Ahead of him, two Undead spearmen stood side by side, weapons braced and at the ready.

Chris charged them both. As he neared, he cut at their spears. Then he jumped. The severed spearheads hit the ground as he bowled into them, picked himself up, and kept on running.

He ignored the two Undead behind him. Their weapons had been broken and they’d impede the bone knight which had reached the top of the ladder.

He cut down two more archers, catching their arrows on his shield. Archers fired at him from after where the wall turned a sharp left, but he didn’t pay the occasional arrow pinging of his armor all too much attention. He was running most of the time anyway. Most of the arrows flew wide of him.

Only allowed on

Another three archers, and one spearman, went down under the unstoppable power of his saber, before the bone knight began to gain on him.

“See you later, suckers,” he said, then threw the sword and saber over the wall, vaulting down after them.

He landed in a crouch, his knees aching as he rolled forward. However, with his constitution, he was able to absorb the impact without serious injury.

He picked up his saber and shield as the ground shook beside him. The bone knight had leapt off the wall. It hadn’t landed so well, though. It overbalanced, keeling forward.

He kicked its arm wide, wincing as his own big toe broke from the impact. He struck the shoulder joint of its spear arm with his saber. The blade bit deep into the bone and then stuck fast when he tried to pull it free.

The bone knight jerked its spear arm, sending Chris flying through the air. It didn’t come without cost to the knight. Its shoulder groaned horribly and the saber embedded in its arm twisted and warped.

Chris picked himself to his feet and sprinted away from the wall, his knees twinging painfully. He pulled the mace from his belt and held his shield out behind him. Arrows disappeared into the long grass around him as he put distance between himself and the wall.

Finally, the arrows consistently fell short and he breathed a sigh of relief.

A bone shield slammed into his back, then bounced into the grass beside him.

“I am… really… starting… to hate… this guy,” he spat.

Chris twisted painfully in the grass and stared at the bone knight that had thrown its shield at him in the world’s biggest dick move. Who did it think it was? Captain America?

The knight reached down with its working offhand and grabbed its spear, then it charged toward him. Its joints groaned as it lumbered forward and the doors around its ribcage now seemed to be burned and blackened. It was consuming itself for fuel now.

Chris rose achingly to his feet. He wanted to run. There was no point in fighting the thing if it would run out of juice in the next few minutes. He tried to run, but something ached within his chest and his left ankle felt as if he’d sprained it. He turned back and prepared to meet the bone knight’s charge.

Just before its spear hit him in the gut, he danced to one side, his left ankle almost giving out beneath him. He slammed his mace into the knight’s back as it passed. A large chunk of its armor broke away, exposing the bone furnace at its center.

Blue flames roared within the blackened central cavity and, exposed to air, began to lick their way across the knight’s surface.

Soon blue fire covered its form. Chris took a step back. Not long now.

The knight threw its spear in a blur of movement. Chris leaned to one side, holding up his shield to block. The shield broke upon contact, and Chris’ arm blazed with agony, but the bone spear deflected away into the long grass.

The blow sent him somersaulting backward five feet where he lay groaning on belly, splayed out with mouth full of grass.

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He heard the bone knight approach. He needed to stand. He pushed himself up, just in time to dive away as the bone knight reached for him with a blackened fist covered in blue flames.

He rolled as the knight stomped down at his head with one massive foot, then rolled again as it pitched forward, reaching for him, intending on crushing him under its bulk. He kept on rolling like he was playing Dark Souls and just managed to avoid being brained by its outstretched fist.

Flame scorched Chris’ face, horribly hot, as he stood one last time. He brought the mace down on the knight’s elbow. The joint shattered, weakened as it was by the consuming fire. He limped forward and then knocked the bone knight’s head clean off as it struggled to look at him. For good measure he slammed the mace into the knight’s back, breaking more holes into the bone furnace as the blue fire raged across the body, turning it to brittle bone charcoal.

He looked back at the Undead town, wondering when they would send out a squad of guards to deal with him, now that he’d defeated their last remaining bone-knight-slash-artisan. He stuffed the mace back into his belt, but was surprised to see that he’d lost his axe in the tussle. Where it had gone, he did not know.

He doubted he’d have time to look for it… however… nearby were the bone knight’s spear and shield. Chuckling under his breath, he picked up the weapons and limped back into the forest.

If he wasn’t careful, stealing weapons was going to become a habit.

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