Dingo wasn’t sure what kind of distraction Gecko had tried to create, but slinking through the long grass he couldn’t hear anything out of the ordinary.
He paused upon reaching an indent in the shrubland. It was man-made, the grass clearly flattened by boots. The coarse grass gave the roughly circular space a bumpy appearance.
Dingo eyed it with suspicion, it would be an easy place to trip or lose one’s footing.
He knelt down on one knee as he took in everything around him. On the other side of the clearing Dingo could see the small, stagnant pond. Not far to the left of it his young partner, Gecko was bound.
Dingo swore softly. The Unician, his dark, yellow-tinted skin still distinct thanks to his Canine night-vision, was no longer conscious.
Taking his focus from the young man he studied the Sarpien lounging on the grass in the very centre. Dingo noted he looked bored.
Ever so slowly, Dingo took the radio from his belt and turned the volume on the side to the lowest it would go without muting it. ‘You seeing this?’
‘Yep. The Sarpien bashed Gecko in the head when he started talking.’
‘Great. Now what do we do?’
Owl remained silent a couple of seconds. ‘You think you can take that Sarpien by yourself?’
‘Why? Do you have something better to do?’
‘Nice. Without Gecko we’re a tiny bit outnumbered. With a bit of luck they’re not expecting me though. If you can deal with him, I’ll ambush the others.’
‘Are they close?’
‘Ish. Don’t worry, I’ve got an idea to keep them out of your way.’
Dingo gave a silent sigh and put the radio back on his belt. Well, might as well get this over with.
He stood and marched through the remaining grass into the clearing. Blue Chameleon raised his head as he approached.
The heavy-set warrior didn’t seem too bothered by the extra company. Dingo noted he was expecting trouble, if he was already in his thick blue plates. Chameleon’s bug-eyed helmet was an ugly affair, and stopped Dingo from seeing the man’s face.
Dingo noted with distaste the man’s bared left arm, revealing a winding blue snake – the mark of those loyal to the sclithe known as Sharglin. A female, he’d heard. Dingo had no idea what kind of difference that made, and didn’t really want to ever find out.
‘You took your time,’ Chameleon drawled. ‘I was starting to think Tigermoth had actually managed to scare you off.’
‘Sorry to disappoint.’
‘Oh, I’m not disappointed,’ Chameleon stretched and got to his feet. ‘I’m glad you had the guts to come find me.’
‘It’s not you I’m after, Chameleon. Give me my partner back and I’ll let you walk away from this.’
A deep chuckle escaped the Sarpien’s helmet. ‘Where’d be the fun in that, Dingo? I get bored a lot here in South Sector, not that much goes on. About the only fun to be had is aggravating the fellow blue warrior in the area…that’s you, in case you were wondering.’
As Dingo watched Chameleon pull the longsword from its sheathe on his back, his hand travelled down to the sword at his waist. This wasn’t going to go well, Chameleon was hard to match one-on-one.
He drew his shortblade anyway. As he circled at a slow pace the small clearing with the Sarpien, Dingo reminded himself Chameleon used a hand-and-a-half, not just an average longsword.
‘No buildings for you to get upset about this time, Dingo,’ Chameleon mentioned.
Dingo barked a short laugh. ‘No, just your boring conversation.’
There came a nearby shriek of surprise followed by flurried wing beats. Dingo took the moment, rushing forwards in the Canine Slash, sword lunging in a diagonal stab.
Chameleon leapt backwards out of range of the thrust before advancing again, swinging his longsword through the air, chest-level.
Dingo allowed himself to fall backwards and initiated the Talon-Kick, avoiding Chameleon’s attack and taking out the Sarpien’s feet.
Rising back up, he didn’t bother to launch right into another move since Chameleon had rolled backwards to the other side of the clearing.
The Reptile warrior’s breath whistled through the slits in his helm. ‘Avian again, Dingo? You catch me off-guard with that every time.’
‘I’m glad you liked it.’
‘A Canine your size has got no business pulling stunts like that.’
Dingo grinned, Chameleon actually sounded offended. ‘I’ll practice Avian more often, Chameleon – just for you.’
Chameleon growled and launched forwards. Dingo met him, parrying his blade and spun into the Alpha Sweep, knocking the long blade from the Sarpien’s grasp with the spinning kick.
Another growl bubbled in Chameleon’s throat and a bright aura sphere began to glow in his hand.
Dingo made a strangled sound, realising he was too close to evade. Knowing there was only one course of action at this point, he created an aura sphere of his own and threw it, letting it collide with Chameleon’s before the Sarpien could hurl it in his direction.
The two azure balls of energy impacted into each other and ignited. Dingo gasped as the force blew him off his feet and into the long grass.
He groaned, rolling over onto his front with some difficulty. Stumbling unsteadily to his feet, Dingo made his way back into the clearing, wondering how exactly he’d managed to keep hold of his sword.
Looking about, he noticed Gecko was still more or less in the same place. Hearing an angry growl, he bit back his laugh when he saw Chameleon dragging himself from the pond.
When the Sarpien stood back on the grass, his blue armour covered with slimy algae, he rushed to his sword. The area lit up as it blazed blue in his hands.
Dingo planted his feet, allowing his shorter blade to sizzle with the same powerful aura energy. This wasn’t over yet.