Shortcut to Paradise...

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Chapter 11:

Its early afternoon, the sun is high in the sky, sleeping against a tree is a boy with a large Adams apple and sandy blonde hair. His swords lay snugly on his shoulder, his head is bent, and he quietly snores away. The boy sleeps in a clearing next to him a single horse stands hitched to a tree, a twig on the other side of the clearing snaps.

Awake Luca stands up drawing his short sword. “Relax it’s only me.” Ezra comes into the clearing, Ezra is five inches shorter than Luca his green dyed and spiky hair blows in the wind. Ezra has two rabbits on a string, he walks towards Luca. “Would you mind getting the fire going while I get these ready.”

Luca nods his head and places his short sword into his scabbard. As Luca prepares the fire, Ezra guts the rabbits. Making a small incision with a knife just above the animal’s privates, Ezra slides the knife up the to the rabbit’s rib cage. Ezra is careful not to puncture the stomach, he flips the rabbit upside down and the small innards of the rabbit flop onto the ground.

Next he takes the knife and cuts the skin at the back feet. With the skin loosened with his knife he pulls and like a glove the rabbit’s skin is pulled off. Putting the rabbit carcass onto a spit above the fire, Ezra repeats the process on the second rabbit. Ezra goes over to the saddle and finds a small bottle of seasoning.

“When we get to the next village or town we will need to steal more spice.” Says Ezra as he uses the last of the spice. Luca looks at him disgusted.

“We are not stealing we will purchase it, we have money.” Ezra pulled the coin purse.

“Well there are two coins left, the BBQ, and those few nights we stays at that inn wiped us out.”

Luca looked at the map while dinner cooked. The two boys were on their way to Kyoto, it would take them two weeks at their current pace, they made sure to avoid the roads. Luca needed a horse, for that he would need money. Looking along the map he recognizes a village name. He knew a lord there, the guy was a prick, Luca went there with his uncle several times, he even knew where they kept coin.

“If we are going to steal, we should go to Neese it’s about a half days walk from here.” Ezra stepped back from the fire and contributes to the conversation.

“I have been there, what are you thinking? I know of a opium den there. I have hit them before but with another guy we could really do some damage.” Luca shook his head no.

“No I know a lord’s manor we could rob and where they keep their coin.” Ezra scoffed at that notion.

“I have seen that place, I wouldn’t call it impenetrable, but there are guards and servants it would be really bloody. Not to mention we would be pursued all they way to Kyoto. We hit the opium den we may have to drop a few bodies but the gangs jurisdiction ends at the borders.”

Luca didn’t like the casual way Ezra talked about taking life. With that in mind, Luca had to admit that Ezra had a point.

“How many people will we have to kill?” Asks Luca hesitantly.

“Well we grab a guard making rounds, get him to lead us to the cash room figure we run across 3 four people. I figure will may have to kill 5 people max, well...” Ezra pauses as he thinks, after several moments he continues speaking but this time he speaks as one would jest about an upcoming sports match. “Better round up to ten, we don’t want to limit ourselves.”

That night. Ezra pulls the saddle bags off the horse and he ties the horse to a tree. “What the fuck are you doing?” Asks Luca. “Look they have a few horses saddled, we grab money and a few new horses.”

Luca waits in a bush by a nearby entrance. Ezra pulls his dagger, it has a pearl handle and a thick blade. He called it bowie knife. Ezra has cloth wrapped around his hands. He tip toes behind the guard, the man struggles as Ezra covers his mouth, in the same motion as snuffing out the sound, Ezra pulls the man down on his 9 inch knife. Pulling the knife out of the back he stabs it into the chest of the guard. Ezra puts away his dagger and pulls his short sword.

Luca follows suit, Ezra has already dashed into the building, Luca hears commotion and runs in after him he finds three dead bodies littering the hallway, Ezra is at the far end, a man slashes a dagger at him, Ezra dodges and counters the man’s attack, his sword is driven into the man’s hip, then it is ripped up, cutting his abdomen open.

As Luca moves down the hall he sees a flash of steal out of the corner of his eye, he steps back as the man over extends. He attacked from another hallway, Luca made the mistake of assuming all the other hallways were empty. The attacker attempts to turn, only to feel the point of Luca’s short sword entering his neck, kicking out the mans leg in his second motion, the attacker convulses on the ground while Luca rounds the corner.

With his back against the wall Ezra dodges right and punches a man in the jaw with a hard-left hook. His hard punch sends the man into the wall, raising his blade in front he counters an attempted stab, parrying the enemies strike upwards, Ezra stabs his opponent in his chest. Another man over overextends his attack, Ezra snatches his sword hand mid strike and kicks the back leg of the man out, in the same motion he moves his sword in a slash, the downwards strike halfs the man’s arm, the blade sliced right through the forearm.

Another fighter comes at him and Ezra steps back, his opponent stops mid stride, Ezra sees why? Behind the man he sees wavy dirty blonde hair. Sticking out of the man’s chest, Luca’s sword covered in blood is ripped out of the man and he falls to the ground.

Several doors down they come to a room with a hard wooden door, Ezra opens the door to find four men inside, all of them unarmed, Ezra charges the men, who cower in fear. Raising their hands above their head, several of them cry out for mercy. Their pleas fall on deaf ears, as Ezra quickly kills them, each with one well placed stab causing instant death. Luca finds himself sickened. Ezra smiles as he opens a chest full of gold coins.

He loads up the saddle bags, as he finishes two men enter the room. Luca catches one of them in the throat with and under hand swipe. The second gang member pulled two knives and managed to swipe Luca in the cheek, Using the close distance Luca brings his sword down onto the man’s collarbone, piercing his heart.

On their way out they encounter no resistance the stables are a different story, a boy no older than ten blocks their path with a wooden club.

“Stop right there.” Ezra looks at the kid and down at his sword. Luca hears him mutter under his breath.

“Damn.” Before Luca can react. Ezra dashes forward, the boy barley raises the club, before the distance is closed. In one fluid motion Ezra’s back swing clips him on the nape of the neck, the boy tumbles forward, the sword didn’t make it always through his neck. His legs twitch Ezra jumps on a horse. Luca looks at the dead kid shocked.

Ezra came towards him with another horse’s reigns in his hands. Luca jumps up on his mount and the two men begin to trot out of the compound. More men came out of the compound several shots are fired in their direction. The rounds miss their marks, but they begin to hear pursuers behind them and the barking of dogs.

Ezra knew this land, and have an escape plan having outrun this gang twice before, only he didn’t have this high of a body count the last times. The cantered down a hard-packed clay road, the ground was dry from lack of rain. Ezra, pulled his reigns hard right and pushed the horses down the embankment, they navigated through the thick forest, refusing to let up Ezra kicks his mount spurring it forward. Several minutes of hard riding puts distance between them and the dogs.

Seeing a creek up a head, Ezra crosses through it and rides a long it hoping to throw off the tracks, they keeps traveling until sunrise by the time they stop their horses are exhausted. Using a nearby steam they water their horses and allow them a few hours to rest. One of the horse’s saddle had a bow and quiver of arrows.

“What the fuck was that back there?” Shouts Luca, he storms over to Ezra getting in his face. Ezra puts a creepy smile on.

“I don’t know what your talking about?” Luca shoves him but Ezra being a rock hardly moves.

“You killed five unarmed people!!” Ezra looks at him and shakes his head.

“I killed four unarmed men, the boy had a club in his hand.” Luca swings on him and Ezra avoids it and shouts back.

“They saw our faces, they are after two thieves not the Prince and a guy who robbed them three times! You better get used to blood letting we will be doing a lot more of it before we reach Kyoto.” Luca sighed and spit on the ground.

“We are supposed to be the good guys...” trying to make him feel better Ezra attempted to console him.

“If it makes you feel better, those guys we killed were selling a nasty batch of opium we kinda saved lives by killing them.” Luca shook his head.

“That doesn’t make it right. And I am not going to support this anymore you hear me, I command you to show some restraint.” Luca doesn’t see it coming, Ezra’s fist connects with his jaw sending him into a tree head first.

“Are you mad?” Said Luca as he tries to stand but the force of the punch makes him dizzy. “I am you—”

“Your what!” says Ezra angrily. “Your nothing out here! Not my commander, not my prince. You are just another asshole. Another no-good hood and thief, Yeah I killed them so what, you need to stop thinking about what is right and wrong and start fighting with your balls...”

Ezra stormed off, leaving Luca to contemplate what he said, the sting of the punch really helped to remind Luca of Ezra’s point of view.

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