Skin hard as diamond pushed against Dagger’s throat. The callouses on his neck kept the diamond texture from making brown flesh bleed green. Delicate time spent training made sure all the vulnerable parts of his body were forged into something tougher. Still, the unpleasant sensation did nothing about his breathing. He tried to slow it, steady it, but the pace of the moment didn’t allow the necessary calm to come.
His feet lifted off the ground as his back pressed against the moldy wall. The ferments of the organisms surviving off the city’s filth filled his nostrils. A pungent odor only contributed to his difficulty breathing. His hands pushed against the forearm of his attacker, but it did no good. Normally, a push from Dagger knocked the average Maghandi through a couple of steel walls. But he dealth with one of his own. An Imbued.
The grimace on the attacker’s face let Dagger know this fight would only end in death. His eyes had the look of someone willing to accept death, but not defeat. Dagger knew those kind of stares. He had come to this planet, this city to get away from them. But this man with his brawn and enhanced sinew wanted a dance.
Dagger didn’t necessarily have an issue with the request, but he tried to keep his corpse count down. It didn’t do much good hiding if you were leaving a trail of bodies, but this guy’s skin started to cut into the calloused tissue of his neck. He had to do something before he blacked out and his throat split wide open.
Deeping dig for a reserve of stamina, Dagger drove one of his dangling legs upward and connected with the chin of the burly, brown-skinned man. The hit knocked the Imbued backwards and left Dagger on the ground struggling for breath. The attacker took a few steps backwards in an attempt to steady himself and then shook his bald head, beads of sweat flying away from it. Dagger frowned at the messy display, wondering how much sweat saturated his person and stood to his feet. Significantly leaner than the man who ambushed him, anyone would wonder why Dagger’s neck wasn’t crushed. But only for a moment. The Imbued were a well-known phenomena.
Rubbing his throat, Dagger dropped his knees into a wide stance. He put his fists up. “Who sent you? A man can’t even have a decent drink without some wannabe sneaking up on him.”
“Gomo sent me. Says you owe him coins. A lot of them.” Crystal spikes started to grow out of his forearms. Dagger realized the man could have killed him if he wanted to. A surge of anger and humiliation traveled through him. He didn’t take lightly to being attacked and he damn sure didn’t take kindly to being treated as a lightweight.
The spikes shined and looked like they could cut through things easy. Dagger knew he wouldn’t survive having those against his throat again. He had come across Imbued with similar abilities before and keeping a safe distance from them meant the difference between life and death. Though he imagined his attacker had seen his fair share of Imbued too. There existed a commonality between them yet to be spoken. Dagger dared not speak it because he just didn’t know how much of an audience they had. So he focused on how he would attack.
“If I owe him so much, how could he afford to pay you?” Dagger asked, a mischievous smile covering his smooth, honey colored face. A tight, black body suit covered the rest of his body. He knew what it marked him as to the right people and in this city he needed that rep to keep people from thinking him easy prey. At least until he truly slide into hiding, but now he regretted the choice. The suit had made it all too easy for Gomo to sick one of his pets on him. How many others were waiting if he beat this guy? Part of him begged to look around and see if anyone else waited to have a shot at him, but he needed to focus on the here and now. He needed to keep his eyes locked front and center. The burly, sweaty bastard let a crooked grin cross his features.
Apparently, the burly man didn’t feel the need to answer Dagger’s question. He simply charged, his feet pounding tiny craters in the ground with every step. He didn’t remember seeing such an effect when the man first attacked so Dagger could only assume some kind of density control was at play. What level Imbued had been sent after him? Dagger knew Maghandi Imbued could come in some powerful varieties. He provided living proof of it.
Density control meant the big man who could already hit hard stood a good chance of putting a hole right through his chest, leavings entrails dripping off his knuckles. Dagger bent his eyes and positioned himself for the attacker’s incoming bulldoze. When the Imbued was only seconds away, Dagger leaped into the air, put his hand flat on the man’s head and twirled over to the other side. He landed with grace born from his Imbutae.
His attacker, unable to stop his momentum, bulldozed right through the alley wall like some out of control piece of machinery. Dagger’s cocky smile faded when he saw the dozens of angry men and women staring right at him through the gaping hole in the brick and mortar.