CHAPTER 17 - Lycanthropy (2)
Alex pretended to be asleep as multiple scenarios ran through his mind. The steps could belong to any number of likely candidates. A drunkard who got lost after getting kicked out of the tavern. The King’s guards coming to detain him by force. Someone after his life. The possibilities were nearly endless.
After a few moments of the steps drawing nearer, they stopped. He slowly and silently tightened his grip on ALICE as he ‘slept.’
‘What’s the plan?’
‘Wait and see. Be ready to run if we need to. It’s only one person, though.’
As they talked through the silent telepathy, a new sound hit the man’s ears. Someone was rummaging through his bag—likely the owner of the steps. Alex lifted one eyelid to see a large figure hunched awkwardly over his gear.
His eyes rapidly adjusted to the night sky’s minimal lighting, thanks to yet another surgery during the MAGES program.
As his night vision took full effect, he was mildly startled to see two extremely muscular arms emerging from the heavy cloak that covered the entity. Alex sprung to a crouching position and aimed ALICE towards the would-be thief.
“I really suggest you stop that.”
The figure froze, and Alex saw a glint in the eyes that was slightly familiar. Before he could process the information, though, the entity turned and ran with a speed fitting its large size.
That is to say…
It took little time for Alex to catch up to the figure and tackle it to the ground. A masculine grunt emerged as they collided, and Alex suddenly found himself struggling against the man’s strength.
Fortunately enough, skill overcame brute strength almost every time.
As the man tried to throw a punch from his back beneath Alex, the soldier ducked to the side. One leg slid under the man’s back and lifted, using the ground as a fulcrum to flip the large body over. He then dropped his knees on the man’s elbows, pinning them, and pressed ALICE’s barrel to the back of his neck.
“One more move that I don’t explicitly allow, and your head goes bye-bye.”
The man, who had been struggling valiantly until that moment, went limp. But a gruff voice, as if growling, spoke out.
“Just do it, then. Rather lose my life than spend it in the dungeons.”
“Hold your horses, Brosephus. Nobody said anything about dungeons and the like. Now, first things first, I’m going to remove your hood, and you’re going to tell me just what you were doing with my gear.”
As Alex reached for the man’s hood, the man flew into a fit of rage. He began struggling to free himself once more and threw Alex from his body with enough force to slam him against the nearby wall.
Stars danced in front of the soldier’s eyes, and he watched with momentary confusion as the world spun around him. He could see the man getting up and running, and he frowned. He passed his hand over the small window showing the chambered bullet, and an etching so minute that it was barely visible at all appeared on the tip of the round.
Alex pulled the rifle to his cheek and took aim.
A wall of solid stone rose in front of the man, blocking his escape. Stunned, but not deterred, the man tried to search for a way over the wall that reached the rooftops all around. Seeing no way around, he tried to go through, but his fists bounced pitifully off of the thick edifice.
He turned around and crouched forward slightly, letting out a loud roar. His fingers curled, and Alex caught a glimpse of the man’s eyes once more. The glint as the moonlight passed over them confirmed his suspicions, and he pointed ALICE dead center.
“Now, you need to calm down. We’ve made a lot of noise, and I’m sure the guards will be here soon. Don’t you think it’ll be better if we work together to not get taken to jail or whatever?”
This caused the man to relax visibly. He spoke once more, heavy tones of distrust in his voice.
"What did you have in mind?"
“Well, first, we stop fighting. I mean, that should be obvious. I’m pretty sure you bruised one of my ribs just now, if not a few. And I really, REALLY don’t want to hurt someone as strong as you. I mean, I could use your help, after all.”
The man’s night vision capable eyes glimmered as he relaxed further and cocked his head to the side.
“I… am listening.”
Alex smiled and lowered ALICE. He walked forward to just out of punching range of the other man.
“Coolio. Now, to start, can you take off your hood?”