QI’RA: Chapter Eight

A Fierce Confrontation

Nienye absorbed the massive warrior’s blow as he barely managed to parry his destructive attack. As the warrior pressed Nienye back with the might of his strength, Nienye released his grip on the spear, dropping down into a crouch, grabbed the spear as it fell into his hands, and rolled out of the way of the warrior’s massive feet that stomped where he had just been kneeling.

As he took this quick moment to catch his breath he looked to his left. There, Ventra Dune lay awkwardly, her armor torn across her bodice and her face covered with blue blood from where the warrior had punched her in the face, breaking her nose. He didn’t know if she was dead but, judging by how still she was laying, she probably was.

Sprawled around the room were the three guards who were most certainly dead. He and Ventra had taken care of them easily. Now it was just him and this gargantuan brute who didn’t seem to want to die.

The warrior’s faceless mask was lifeless but his chest was heaving and lately, with every wild swing, he released a grunt filled with effort. Nienye knew if he could last just a little longer he would be able to defeat this gigantic opponent, but only if he could survive. And, as the warrior came charging at him faster than Nienye could’ve ever imagined a big man like him could move, Nienye realized that his survival was coming to a close if he didn’t act soon.

He waited until the last second before rolling out of the brute’s path, quickly rising to a crouch and striking him in the knee. A lance of electricity coursed through the spear, shocking the warrior. Most people would have been incapacitated but the shock only seemed to make the warrior angrier as he spun around, bellowing ferociously as he swung his pike at Nienye’s throat.

Earlier Nienye would’ve evaded the attack. This time he blocked it, gritting his teeth as he struggled to keep their spears pressed together. Even though the warrior was still powerful he could feel his strength waning. Nienye took this sign of weakness and did the exact same maneuver as he did earlier, releasing his grip on the spear, lowering into a crouch, but this time as his hands reclaimed their grip on the shaft, he thrust the spear up right into the warrior’s neck between the armor of his chest piece and helmet.

The warrior’s body slackened, his long pike clattering to the ground, and as Nienye wrenched his weapon free, the warrior collapsed. He was dead.

Nienye didn’t waste another second before dashing over to Ventra Dune’s body to feel her pulse. To his great relief, he could feel her heartbeat pulsing. Slowly, but it was beating.

He pulled a small handheld communicator from his pocket and spoke into it.

“Qi’ra, I’ve got the jewels but we’re going to need a speedy evac. Dune is on the verge of dying.”

“I’m on my way,” Qi’ra replied.

As he ended the transmission he hurried over to the pedestal, took each glittering blue jewel and transferred them into a small satchel made of silk so as not to tarnish the expensive gemstones.

Then he rushed back to Ventra Dune’s side and picked her up with a tiny groan (she was heavier than she looked.)

As he scampered out of the room and through the fortress he couldn’t stop worrying that more guards would appear and that he would have to fight his way out of this place. To his great relief (and surprise) there were no surprise attacks. And then he realized, as he passed all of the bodies littered throughout the fortress, that he and Dune had annihilated whatever resistance there was. And somehow, he was still alive. It was an almost laughable thought.

He burst out of the fortress, Ventra Dune’s weight in his arms growing heavier and heavier with every step. He smiled as he beheld a small black transport a little larger than an escape pod parked outside waiting for him.

He immediately recognized the pilot, a female green-skinned Duros by the name of Solaar whose red eyes widened when she beheld Ventra Dune in his grasp.

Heeding her gaze of concern he said, “We need to get out of here, now!”

She nodded, hurrying into the tiny transport’s cockpit as he scrambled into the ship’s two seats. As the ship smoothly lifted from the ground and zoomed toward the stratosphere he sat back and took a deep breath.

He looked down at Ventra Dune’s bloodied face, studied her shallow breathing, and he stroked her cheek. He was lucky to be sitting here. She wasn’t so lucky. Like so many others he had known, even his parents, she could die and become another person snuffed out like a candle before his very eyes.

“You’re going to make it,” he whispered. “You’re going to make it.”

And in his heart, he knew she heard him.

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