Drifting – 19

“Lady,” Thunder Wu said. “You won’t prove anything by dying in front of all these people. Why not give up, huh? We’ve got you outnumbered.”

“You do,” she said. “But you’d need five more to make it fair.”

It wasn’t a boast. It was a statement.

“There’s a reward for your head,” Lightning Mao said. “It doesn’t need to be attached.”

“Come and collect it then,” she said.

Thunder Wu and Lightning Mao charged Sword Witch. She charged right back at them. I never saw when her sword left its scabbard but three blades flashed and spun.

I remember that I was struck by an incongruity at that moment. In stillness Sword Witch resembled a tiger: explosive strength waiting to strike. In action she resembled a crane: soaring and serene, untouchable as the clouds.

Wherever Thunder Wu swung his great cleaver, Sword Witch was not there.

Wherever Lighting Mao struck with his curved saber, Sword Witch deflected it.

The more she perplexed them, the angrier they became. Their aggression turned to fury. And their fury turned to clumsiness. She was toying with them. You could see it in her face. It wasn’t a smile. Not exactly. But it was the closest she’d come to one since we met. She was taunting them and it seemed to me more cruel than it would have been to cut them down straight away.

Tornado Hong couldn’t bear the insult any longer and leaped into the fray!

How could Sword Witch fend off three foes at once? How could any technique defend against three different weapons?

Well, I couldn’t tell you. Because that’s when I was overcome by the weight of a deep and suffocating darkness.

Later I learned it was a sack.

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