“How very ‘Highlander’,” Keegan muttered as he surveyed the vacant warehouse that Cerdic had chosen for their battle. When Manny started to open the only door that wasn’t chained and padlocked, Keegan put a hand on his to stop him. “He’s got someone else in there with him. Human, from his thoughts.”
“Can you tell if he’s hidden or out in the open?”
After a long pause, Keegan nodded. “From the tenor of his thoughts, he’s on the catwalk above the ground floor. He’s wondering if he can actually shoot one of us or if he’ll chicken out at the last minute.”
Manny smiled tightly. “My bet’s on Mr. Shadrick then. I’m dead cert he’s the one who sent that man after me. Too scared to do his own dirty work. Once we’re inside let me know exactly where he is and I’ll deal with him first while you keep Cerdic occupied.”
“Reverse that, because if I give you any indication that we know he’s there that will only put them both on the alert that we’ve got an edge on them.”
“Cerdic doesn’t know what you can do?”
“Ninety to ten he doesn’t. It’s a very well guarded secret, trust me.” After taking a deep breath, Keegan said, “Ready?”
“Ready,” Manny replied, opening the warehouse door.
The interior, dimly lit by sunlight coming through dirty windows at the catwalk level, was cavernous. The two Caomhnóir saw Cerdic standing casually in the center of the huge space, leaning on a great sword, a shorter sword in his other hand.
“Would it be trite to say, ‘welcome to your deaths’?” Cerdic asked, a taut grin on his face.
“Extremely,” Manny replied as he strode forward, his favorite weapons, a hand-and-a-half and a flanged mace appearing in his hands. “I’ll be the first to admit,” he added as he circled, keeping the Scriostóir’s attention on him, “that I never expected to see you again.”
“I might say the same. I thought, relative child that you are, that you would have fled the city, back to the continent, hoping there would be no reprisals for trying to destroy me.”
“I may be only a few centuries old, but I still killed you once. I can do it again.”
Cerdic laughed, even as he turned slightly, looking for Keegan. “Has your companion left the battlefield already? I heard he no longer has to follow orders if he does not want to.”
Although this came as a shock to Manny, he covered it by smiling broadly. “We have honor, a word I’m quite sure you don’t know the meaning of. He’s probably in the shadows, waiting for the best opening. That way I won’t have to clean blood off my sword, which I so hate doing. It’s—bloody work.”
“Always with the smart mouth,” Cerdic growled, shouting “Now!” as he lunged forward, the great sword swinging in a wide arc towards Manny’s sword arm.
“Were you talking to Mr. Shadrick?” Keegan called down from the catwalk, seconds before he toppled the man’s lifeless body over the railing. “Guess you’re on your own now, Scriostóir.” He followed the body down, landing gracefully a few yards from where Cerdic and Manny stood.