QI’RA: Chapter Forty

Survival

Qi’ra and T-38 burst into the front room of the suite to discover a man cloaked in black waiting for them, a small gang of eight black robots with red eyes wielding daggers in their hands at his back.

There wasn’t a chance to assess what was about to happen. Instead, Qi’ra and T-38 attacked immediately.

Blaster fire filled the air as T-38 began shooting at the intruders but the robots were agile, dodging her attack with disturbing ease. Qi’ra lunged forward, going straight for the cloaked man when one of his robots stood in her way, blocking her attack. It pushed her back with a powerful shove and she fell onto the sofa. She yelped, rolling to the side as the robot swung down at the place she had just been laying. She whirled and was forced to throw her hand up as another robot swung at her head.

T-38 couldn’t continue shooting because in these close quarters she could accidentally hit Qi’ra. So, she flicked the blasters into batons and took on the four robots in close-combat. They swung at her with their daggers but she simply ducked and whirled out of the way, throwing vases and art and anything she could find at her attackers to distract them. It was a perfect tactic because, with her electric batons in hand, she was able to dispatch two of the robots at ease. The droids were smart though, for the longer she fought them they began to match her moves, making them more difficult to kill.

She backed into the bedroom, desperately trying to stay alive as the robots struck battered her defenses ruthlessly.

She blocked the attack and as her grip tightened her finger pressed an indention in the hilt. Immediately the red stone on the pommel of the sword glowed and to the sides of the blade appeared red lasers that hummed like a lightsaber. Her eyes widened.

As the cloaked man came at her with his very own knife along with three of his robots she ran forward onto the sofa, used the wall to propel her, turned in mid-air and swung down at his attack. He blocked the blow, barely, but she was expecting that, whirling instead to decapitate one of the robots only to discover that it was still functioning. She didn’t have time to breathe as the other two robots attacked her rear.

She ducked and rolled out of the way and was suddenly struck by a wave of nausea. Things turned fuzzy for a moment and the world started to tilt.

No. You must survive.

The man came at her with his dagger, his white eyebrows furrowing with concentration as he tried to kill her.

She stood and backed away toward the balcony as the man and his robots neared. He grinned.

“Ah, not so tough with a little poison in your veins, huh?” he said.

This comment made her blood boil. They surrounded her in a circle on the balcony and she took a deep breath.

You will survive, she said.

Her grip tightened on the sword’s hilt and as they charged at once she braced herself for the attack. Left swing, duck, block, right swing, whirl, downward strike, another whirl, stab, lunge, and then she rolled back into the suite. There were only two opponents left. These she knew she could defeat with ease.

T-38 had defeated one of the two droids but the other one was relentless, driving at her defenses with nonstop aggression. She fell onto the bed as the droid was about to deliver a powerful strike when suddenly its head turned and it hurried out of the room. T-38, gasping for breath rose and chased after it.

Meanwhile, Qi’ra had defeated her final robotic opponent as it lunged at her and she simply stepped to the side, striking downward and slicing the robot in half. Now the man was the only person she had left to fight. The man bared his teeth at her and then his eyes flitted to something behind her.

She whirled, her eyes widening as a robot charged at her full speed with its dagger raised to kill. She managed to block the attack just in time and with a grunt, she threw dislodged their locked blades and rammed her blade through its midsection, destroying the droid. Her gaze turned to T-38 who was just exiting the bedroom.

T-38’s eyes looked to the man behind Qi’ra, her eyes widening as she beheld the blaster in his hand pointing directly at the back of Qi’ra’s head.

She screamed, “No!” before leaping in front of Qi’ra just as he pulled the trigger.

Qi’ra whirled as T-38 fell to the floor, a smoking crater in her forehead. Qi’ra couldn’t believe her eyes as she beheld T-38 lying dead on the ground at her feet. The man shot again at her and she instinctively raised her sword to deflect the blaster bolt. With an enraged cry, she threw her sword at him, an action the man didn’t inspect.

He couldn’t even get out of the way as the sword impaled him straight through the heart. He fell back, dead.

Qi’ra fell to her knees by T-38’s side, tears streaming down her face and her shoulders trembling with sorrow as she touched T-38’s face with quivering fingers, expecting her to gasp and wake and yet Qi’ra knew, deep in her heart, that this would not happen. T-38’s frozen stare confirmed this truth. She was dead and there was nothing Qi’ra could do about it.

She let out an agonized sob, falling across her body and weeping profusely. And then, suddenly, all she could see was Nienye in her mind. His tender gaze, his smile, the drink he gave her, the kiss she gave him, the evening spent with him transformed in her mind and turned into something twisted and ugly within her.

She looked toward the balcony, to the dark night sky with the stars that twinkled, and with her body quivering with rage she screamed to the ceiling with all of her might, “Traitor!”

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