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Captain of the Guard: A Win is a Win

September 15, 2019

It was tempting to wipe at his eyes. He opened one eye barely, and saw his foe hurtling toward him with intention of thrusting him out of the ring. Cedric braced himself and as the man was about to hit him, he jabbed as hard as he could into the other man’s groin. Cedric felt no compunction about it. Others may rationalize it because the opponent played dirty first. He did not do that. In a fight, there is no playing dirty, there’s simply survival. Anyone that plays “by the rules” invariably loses.

He would not have been successful at any other time. The man was too good a combatant to let Cedric get a chance at so vulnerable an area, until he believed that Cedric was vanquished.

There was an audible intake of breath from the Traveler as his body collided with the Captain. He felt the impact through his whole body even as Cedric rolled as best he could to get out of the way.

Cedric rolled over to see the Traveler on his knees, clutching at himself. He looked like he was going to throw up, and that was a distinct possibility. The blow had been as hard as Cedric could muster. The Captain kicked him with all his might in the ribs – So hard that his foot hurt. He kicked him again and again, until his foot was numb, slowly pushing the man toward the line until he crossed it.

His men cheered. The Travelers muttered and glared at him. He didn’t care.

The soldiers started to approach him, he waved them away. “Get your horses and things, we leave tonight.”

Whisper was suddenly there. Where he had come from Cedric didn’t know, but he was glad his sergeant was there. Vul looked triumphant, Alstone looked smug. Cedric still wanted to kill both of them.

He turned to the camp boss that was still on the ground. “The hound. We had a deal. Release him to me.”

The camp boss merely nodded, but there was a hard look to his face. “Get the hound for him.”

One of his companions left for the big tent. Cedric watched the Traveler warily and put his clothes and armor on quickly, the familiar weight of his cape felt reassuring as he fastened the clasp. He did not like this situation at all, too many bad things could happen, most of them resulting in his untimely demise.

Vul and Al were standing beside Cedric.

“You have done a great thing, My Captain. Vul enthused while slapping the Captain’s back repeatedly, “My opinion of your worth has increased.”

“Wonderful.”

Alstone tried to look grave, but came off as constipated, “Things have worked out as I foresaw.”

“As I have foreseen sounds more dignified.” Cedric pointed out.

“Truly?” Alstone seemed nonplussed for a moment, “I’ll remember that.”

“I would, it instills more confidence in you – something I’m a little short of.”

The crowd gave way suddenly. It did not part, as if the crowd was two curtains, as it rippled away as any herd animal will do when faced by an obvious predator. The three-headed hound was led by a single silver cord to Cedric.

The thin silver line was placed in Cedris’s hand. “The beast is yours.”

Emile looked jubilant, “You truly are a hero! I knew it.”

Marious nodded proudly in the Captain’s direction, “We are in your debt.”

Pookie growled, “He has not freed us yet, you dolts, for all you know we’ve traded masters, and he could be even less kind,” he licked his lips and glanced at the Travelers which stepped back perceptively, “then the last fools to call themselves our master.”

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