East (Chapter Six, page 1 of 10)

Previous Page
Next Page

Batu's arm was extended to keep me behind him. His uncle stood a safe distance away, a crescent of warriors flanking him while Batu's cousin, Khulutei, stood grimly farther behind the group.

Batu was tense like he had been at the castle before he started his mass murder spree. His weapons were sheathed, still, which was good. He was a badass in every way, but even I didn't want to see him take on an entire army.

"Do you accept my challenge, Uncle?" Batu asked in a hard voice very unlike the one he used with me.

It struck me how dangerous he was. How I managed to forget, or maybe block, what happened at the castle and mouth off to him left me wishing Carter had implanted a cultural sensitivity chip in my brain along with the others. I could've been dead a million times over at Batu's hands. He was serious about his duty.

"No one has defeated my champion, Batu," his uncle said. "You are my sister's son. I do not wish you dead."

"But you wish me dishonored?" Batu returned with no sign he was considering turning me over.

I didn't fully comprehend what they were talking about but didn't ask. It was one of the times he mentioned where wisdom prevailed over candidness.

"Very well," Chaghan said with some resignation. "Are you prepared to face him?"

"I am."

Chaghan studied his nephew for a long moment before his gaze slid to me. I held my breath, praying he decided to let us go after seeing the dedication of his kin.

"Tomeid, fetch our champion. We will meet at my tent," he said. "I trust you will come without an escort, nephew."

"I will," Batu agreed.

My heart sank.

Chaghan and his entourage left. Khulutei remained behind.

"What just happened?" I ventured.

Batu faced me. "This is good."

"When you say that, you mean the opposite."

A flicker of amusement softened his features. "He has given me the chance to defeat his champion rather than condemn me to death. When I slay his warrior, we will leave, with his blessing."

I listened. "And if you don't win?"

"It will not come to that."

"You said the same about him being open to reason about not killing me."

"You are funny, ugly one." He clasped my neck with one rough hand briefly. "I have a plan if it comes to that. You will ride east. There is a crossing point upriver and a village two days beyond. Travel light, do not stop, and remember to take four horses so you do not tire one out too much."

Previous Page
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 3.3/5 (315 votes cast)

Review This Book or Post a Comment