Kegan caught up to Sariah as she was half way back to the Purple Feather. “Do you know how hard that was to explain away?” he gasped. “I had to pay double to make things nice with the owner.”
Sariah kept walking, but she did slow up some to help Kegan keep up. “Why didn’t you just kick up the charm?” Sariah asked.
“Too many people, which would cause too many questions,” Kegan answered. “But you knew that. That’s why you left so quickly.”
Sariah let out a hint of a smile. “I don’t live here. I don’t mind leaving questions,” she said.
“Very funny,” Kegan continued. “Oh, and I can still move in with Wyndia, thank you very much.”
“See, you didn’t need to pump her full of magic,” Sariah said. “I approve of the two of you now.”
“You approve?” Kegan asked. Kegan looked around at the nearly empty street. He adjusted the tone of his voice to being much more serious. “Really? There are times I am jealous of your marks.”
That brought Sariah up short. She stopped and stooped down to look Kegan straight in the eye. “Why would that be?” she asked.
Kegan didn’t blink. His voice got even harder. “They meet you once, then they are off to meet eternity. Me, I have to put up with you for what seems to be the same amount of time, but with no chance of paradise.”
Sariah reached for her sword and eased it a bit out of its sheath. “That can be arranged,” she said. “Want to test your luck? I figure you’re being outfitted for an eternity of short jokes from giant women.”
Kegan pulled out a thin cherry switch. “Is that the best you can come up with?” Kegan asked. “Turn around and I’ll hit that behind so hard they won’t know what hit them.”
Sariah smiled. “They?”
Kegan shrugged. “Doesn’t matter. Now!”
Kegan spun around and blowing lines of force shot from the switch hitting three people that had been following Kegan from the Water Buffalo. It wasn’t enough to knock them down, but it slowed them and caused one to fumble the blackjack he had been carrying.
Sariah spun, pulling her sword free and surprising the fourth attacker who was about to stab Sariah with his dagger. The weapon clanged to the ground as Sariah finished the job, making the dagger an orphan. The fifth and sixth attacker flung their daggers at Sariah and pulled their own swords. Sariah parried the daggers and ran at the two before they could bring their swords to bear. The two were trained well. They separated and forced Sariah to back away to keep them both in front of her.
Kegan was retreating as well. The three attackers he had slowed down were also spreading out, not allowing him a chance to do more than hurl mini missiles of fire to keep them from just rushing in at once.
Soon Sariah and Kegan were next to each other, their back to a wall, and all five of their remaining attackers confidently, but slowly closing in. Sariah said, “Okay, you can go home now boys by just telling us who sent you.”
That earned a low chuckle from the attackers. “I would listen to the lad,” Kegan said. The attackers glanced at each other and came another step closer. Kegan cast a quick glance at Sariah. “I don’t think they are in the mood to talk,”
“That’s fine,” Sariah replied. “They can send a massage to their boss with their bodies.”
Sariah then took a step forward and took out the two who had been attacking her with three quick strokes. As the other two tried to react, Kegan force blasted the knees of another two, crippling them and sending them to the ground. The last remaining attacker tried to turn to run, but Sariah sliced both of his Achilles with one stroke, sending him face down on the cobblestone. Sariah stepped on one of the destroyed knees causing a cry of pain. “Who sent you?” she asked.
An arrow flew out of the darkness and took the attacker Sariah was standing on in the throat. Sariah ducked into as much shadow as she could find, while Kegan called up a force wall around himself. Two more arrows found homes in the throats of the remaining attackers.
Sariah pointed in the direction of where the arrows had come from. “There!”
Kegan shook his head. “So? What do you want me to do about it?”
“You’re the mage. Cast a spell,” Sariah said.
“I did,” he said. “It’s called force wall and I am safe behind it.”
Sariah picked up a stone and chucked it at Kegan. It bounced off. “Hey,” Kegan yelled, “Why did you do that?”
Sariah stood up and walked out into the open. She said, “Wanted to see if you were lying or not.”
“Get back here. I can put it around you as well,” Kegan said.
Sariah shook her head. “No need.” She kicked the arrow through the throat of the attacker she had lamed. “Whoever did this is gone. They could have killed us before we could have reacted. They didn’t want us to know who or why they were testing us.”
Kegan kept the force wall up, but he moved away from the wall behind him. He pointed to the dead men. “I think they failed. We didn’t even breathe hard.”
“Agreed,” Sariah said. There was the sound of police whistles in the background. “We better get out of here. I don’t want to have to answer questions.”
Kegan finally dropped his wall. “Yeah, but questions is all we’ve got right now.”