He was walking slow and cautiously. Leaving at every step his foot to get deeply sunk, with a sticky and wet sound, inside the mud that carpeted the path. Even acting so careful, more than once he found himself staggering and even putting one knee on the ground to avoid a painful fall. The worn cotton hood covering his head got completely soak long time ago, and he was feeling the water slipping from his hair through his forehead, dripping heavily from his nose, lips and chin. His clothes were a collage of indecipherable stains, and stank of sweat and blood. Nevertheless, he was smiling. It was an ugly and bitter smile, full of resentment. But it was a smile. And this was much more than he expected to get for himself so soon.
After all, he had achieved its objective. He was totally convinced that at the time nobody could follow him. The path he chose was impassable, and the local myths and legends were not doing any good on the morale of a guild as particularly superstitious as the militia used to be. If something more was needed to restrain the bellicose impulses of his pursuers, he took the trouble of decorate the beginning of the path with the corpses of the only company that had managed to catch him. He had not been kind, and was sure that the fauna of the region, attracted by the charming buffet, had not helped to ease the Dantesque picture.
He would prefer not to have it done, but he doesn’t regret it. They were three, and any of them was over twenty years. They had reached him spurred by the enthusiasm and determination typical of their youth. Qualities that, in these cases, it's known that always come with a generous dose of pride. The one that looked as the eldest, who proudly sported a scraggly beard, had put himself in the middle of the road, coming out sit on his saddle from behind some high bushes that flanked the route. Before he had time to make any decision, he heard behind him the steps of the other two guys. They were on foot, and both kept their arms folded across their chests in a pose of insulting superiority. One was small and scrawny. His skin was very pale, his hair very blond, and his eyes very cold. The other one was the complete antithesis. Tall, strong and tan, it held a mocking grin that allowed seeing his crooked and yellow teeth. Instinctively, they began to exchange mischievous glances, like foxes in a henhouse feeling the taste of their loot. They were trying to ensure that their human fence hadn't fissures through it's prey might slip away. From their inexperience, they didn't realize that this was not even a possibility he was thinking to assess. Finally, the horseman gave him a few words.
– You... Fremont, criminal scum. Bear in mind that at the first suspicious gesture you do, we will scatter your guts on the floor. Keep still and avoid us to get our hands dirty. – He said while he came down from his mount without taking his eyes off him. When he put his feet on the ground he drew the blade from his belt. The other two followed suit immediately –. There are other people more interested on stain theirs... I just want the prize.
– The prize? – Fremont frowned. Suddenly he realized that the swords were the only weapons they carried, and burst out laughing cynically –. Ahhh...! I see. Dad doesn't let you to play, uh? You want me to show Dad that you are old enough, right? Well, I'm sorry, but I think that you still need somebody to clean the shit in your ass... I hope you are able to catch the analogy...
– Shut up, asshole! – said the pale guy with his face suddenly redden with rage. His violent gestures deeply reminded the gestures of a spoilt child. His eyes burned with hatred.
– Xove, the zap-straps... tie his hands – said the eldest to the tanned guy. He still remained reasonably calm, but it was clear that the attitude shown by Fremont was starting to get him nervous, and he had a deep desire to get even with him because the comment.
– No zap-straps and shit! I will gutter this fucking clown right now! – proclaimed the pale starting to run with the blade in his hand.
Thereafter everything happened very fast. A round kick in full stomach to the running guy made him bend and open the mouth in a moan, a fact that Fremont took in advantage to draw a dagger from his boot and put it through his mouth into the throat, arising impetuous by the nape of the boy. Then he stole to the corpse his (now useless for him) sword, throwing it against the tanned guy, who kept paralyzed and had suddenly turned pale. The blow threw him back with violence. Half a heartbeat later was lying on the ground, with his face turned into an unrecognizable bloody pulp where the blade remained embedded bias.
Finding himself alone, the scraggly beard guy dropped his two-handed sword, turned around, and began to run trying to catch up his horse. It was in vain. The sound of a dry explosion, and a second later he was crawling on the waterlogged ground, howling in pain while Fremont was approaching him holding a smoking revolver model Hastings Cobra .44.
– Do you know what it takes to get a forty-four cartridge like the one you have in your gut? Let's say that... right now is the most valuable thing you got. But don't worry, I will settle your debt taking your Arabian mare and your iron. And don't worry about the pain either... I estimate that in about two hours you won't feel any.
Hear some stifled sobs make him come back from his reverie. When he raised his head he found surprisingly with a shadowy form lying in the middle of the path. The deep darkness of the night didn't allow discerning details, but was undoubtedly a woman voice.