Whispers of Fire Ch10 bit – Melee

The whole canal crashed over her in a wave, dark and drowning. Zainab bit her lip, desperately aching to breathe, stabbing her Fogblade down into the cobblestones to try and hold against that sucking pull….

Air. Fish-dank and tainted with smoke, but air.

Hassan and a bunch of others were choking behind her, coughing up water. The monkey-warrior-

Zainab blinked, wondering if there was still water in her eyes. No; that was Alibaba dancing on a tilted table, waving flames gaily at the princess as a veiled giant monkey screeched in the middle of the canal. “Missed me!”

Rubbing flash-blinded eyes, Kougyoku visibly steamed. “Stay still, you lousy merchant!”

“That’s no way to make a profit-” Alibaba cut himself off, paling.

The princess’ eyes gleamed, eager for the kill as she drew another water-serpent out of night and fog. “Oh, I’m not falling for that!”

Even with waterlogged ears, Zainab caught the patter of a dozen boots, the rattle of weapons; saw the gleam of oncoming torchlight as white-turbaned city guards ran for the scene of destruction.

And right into the middle of a mob of apes, drugged fog scoured off their fur by canal waters.

“Stop in the name of King – auugh!

Damn it! Zainab hauled herself to her feet and started hacking at sharp-clawed apes. Guards or not, they were still Balbadd. She’d be damned if she let Kou monsters tear them apart!

If she had a choice. Every bit of flesh she slashed seemed to flow back together. The monsters were laughing at her as they pounced, bearing her down in a flood of dank fur, fangs and claws wet with the blood of guards and thieves alike….

“Amol Berka!”

A wall of flames smashed into the screeching horde, tearing them off Zainab in a rush of searing heat. She choked on it, praying Jahan’s scaly under-tunics were as good as Alibaba said they were. Though better burned than being torn apart-

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14 thoughts on “Whispers of Fire Ch10 bit – Melee

  1. Ho boy… Somebody is going to get an education in very nasty, inventive vocabulary. Right before — or right after; depends on how Alibaba feels — Cassim demonstrates castration and/or proper butchery techniques.

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  2. Oh my her so called Guards attacked Balbadd guardsmen under their King’s order to take care of the disturbance, while the Fog Troupe readily defended their fellow citizens. This will be messy for Kou.

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  3. This is getting messier by the second.

    And again, I second the eye-rolling right yeah for the staying still order. Kyougoko, I realize that you are frustrated but people very seldom hold still and just let someone either beat them senseless or kill them. Those that do either have no survival instincts, have managed to completely subdue them and therefore could be anything from extremely pacifistic to suicidal, or they are being mind-controlled and therefore unable to move or fight back.

    Also Alibaba is perfectly cognitive of the fact that getting beaten senseless by you will basically amount to killing him. Because either Kou or Balbadd is likely to kill him. Especially if someone figures out exactly who he is – likely because someone will probably want to see this merchant who has been causing so much trouble and that someone just might recognize him.

    Also, Kou, pro tip for strategy – it kinda of gives away your less than honorable intentions toward your “allies” when you allow creatures that you brought and claim to have under your command kill citizens of that country, in particularly guards just trying to do their job.

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    1. You missed the possibility that they think they’re simply so powerful that nothing you do can harm them. But that can still be argued to be suicidal even if it is true, simply because there’s always someone stronger.

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      1. You missed the possibility that they think they’re simply so powerful that nothing you do can harm them.

        I was primarily thinking that kinda of behavior isn’t exactly subtle. Now that could be because they figure they are past the point where that is necessary. And since it is supposed to be a trap for Sinbad where they will probably kill him anyway, it doesn’t matter if he or his Generals witness said behavior. They aren’t going to be alive to spread that story around to other nations.

        And I agree that they probably do think they are so powerful that no one or nothing can really harm them. Hubris and other types of arrogance does seem to be common fatal flaws in this setting.

        But that can still be argued to be suicidal even if it is true, simply because there’s always someone stronger.

        *nods*

        Let’s all remember there is a reason fatal flaws are called fatal.

        Through someone doesn’t have to be stronger than them to harm them. Strength doesn’t guarantee a win.

        First being strong doesn’t stop someone from surprising you. Especially if you have a habit of dismissing anyone ‘weaker’ than you as unimportant.

        Being strong doesn’t stop you from being outmaneuvered.

        Kou Empire probably can win a straight up, head on fight with most people. But people like Alibaba aren’t going to fight them head-on in a straight up fight. They know they can’t win that type of fight. They might be able to win or at least weaken by using stuff like guerrilla tactics.

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    2. Heh! So very, very true on the strategy – but it’s pretty much what they did in canon, so… yeah. It seems pretty obvious they intended to just slap a coat of paint on a military takeover from the start.

      And heh. Kougyoku’s been trained to fight, but she says in canon that she wanted to prove herself as a warrior, which implies she probably hasn’t been on many battlefields outside a Dungeon. So dirty tricks fighting and “no way am I being taken alive” likely are new to her.

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  4. >>people like Alibaba aren’t going to fight them head-on in a straight up fight. They know they can’t win that type of fight.

    And that is one the Kou’s biggest mistakes right there. They are trying to back the whole world into a corner. And there is a reason that ‘nothing to lose’ is a freaking cliche. After awhile, if they keep pressing down, yes most people will resign themselves to their lot. *But some won’t!* Some will be the dock rats of the world, mean and nasty as anything. Some will be berserkers, and some will be so consumed by hate or grim purpose or duty that they’ll attack anyway. Either way the Al-Thaman aren’t likely to care because they win.

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