Part 7 – Love and War
“I dunno if this is the best idea, mate,” Draygon advised his friend, “I still don’t trust that bitch, ‘specially not on a job like this.”
“Could you please not call her that,” the tall Vortixx with the bull-horned helmet replied snappily. “I trust her. She’s my…” he didn’t know what to call her. Girlfriend? Soulmate? Lover? It all sounded childish to him, so he settled for “…partner.”
“It wasn’t so long ago she was tryin’ ta kill ya,” Draygon reminded him, “I don’t care if you’ve forgiven her, I don’t care if ya think you’re in love with her. Mark my words mate, a woman like that is only interested in power. You’re a means to an end for her, nothin’ more, but maybe somethin’ less.”
“You talking karz about me again, Draygon?” Lash sauntered into the room, draping herself over her “partner’s” shoulders. “Just because you’ve never been able to keep a steady relationship doesn’t mean you should get jealous of ours.” She leant in and whispered in the taller Vortixx’s ear, “You ready to go?”
“Yes,” he replied, picking his plasma weapon off the table and holstering it, pausing momentarily to wonder where Lash had been.
Draygon watched the pair leave, a sick feeling growing in the pit of his stomach.
* * *
Getting on board Onic’s ship proved quite easy. It turned out that while the helmeted Vortixx had been talking with Draygon, Lash had gone off to bribe one of the dock workers to let them straight onto the vessel. Once on board, they blended in easily with Onic’s motley crew of mixed species sailors, and made their way to stern of the ship, where they could wait until the battle began before making their move.
“Draygon’s worrying over nothing, right?” he asked her, leaning back agaisnt the railing as the ship cast off. The Wayward Wind was fleeing the harbour, now was time for Admiral Onic to make his move. “You’re not just in this for power?”
“Of course not, sweetie,” her hand brushed his cheek, “don’t listen to that senile old fool.” She lifted up the visor of his helmet and gave him a quick kiss. “I’m the only friend you need. The only one who really loves you.”
“No.” he lowered the visor and gave her a slight shove. “He’s my oldest friend. Please don’t insult him like that. I’d like it if the two of you could get along.”
“I can’t make any promises,” Lash replied coldly.
Before the other Vortixx could formulate a response, a shudder ran through the ship as it was bombarded by heavy disk fire. The battle had begun.
“Time to make our move,” he started to step forward, when a second volley hit the deck. Lash stumbled forwards, and he caught her, bracing himself agaisnt the railing. He stiffened, coughing blood. Lash smiled sweetly at him, twisting the handle of the knife she’d just embedded in his lower chest.
“Sorry sweetie,” she purred, “you should have listened to your oldest friend. The idiot was right about me. It’s like Ryza said this afternoon. I’m the second best merc in this cesspool of a city. But once you’re gone, I’ll finally be number one.”
“You…” he couldn’t find the words. He’d loved her. He’d thought she loved him back. He felt a stab of agony as his heart broke deep inside his chest, or perhaps what he felt was just one of his internal organs rupturing as Lash dug her knife deeper into his insides.
“I’ve struck a deal with the admiral, you see,” Lash continued to taunt him, even as dark spots began to dance before his eyes, “he promised to double your bounty if I betrayed Kelz and killed you instead. That’s nearly ten times what the pirates offered us to kill the admiral, and with you out of the picture, I won’t have to split it with anyone.”
“What about… Draygon?” he managed to croak.
“Oh, don’t worry about your friend. You’ll be seeing him again soon enough. Once I’m done with you, he’s next. Any other questions?” the ship was rocked by another series of impacts, peppering the pair of them with flaky shards of shattered wood. “Or shall we get this over with?”
She gave the knife one final twist, and stepped back, unfurling her whips. She raised them high and cracked them down onto the wooden railings on either side of his body, the razorblades lining the edges shearing through the flimsy railings.
Eyes still glazed over with tears, Minnorak fell backwards into the water, and vanished into the roiling waves.