(This is a scene from a future book that I haven’t even outlined yet. Testing out characters and the overall atmosphere.)
Ryusuke slowly backs away from Rakesh, who has healed every slash that the samurai has inflicted on him. He can hear his friends yelling his name from their ship, but he knows that he must stay to give them time to escape. Holding his katana forward, he prepares to meet the muscular man’s charge. His heart sinks when Rakesh picks up the anchor and starts swinging it like a flail.
“Know that you die with honor,” Rakesh says, slowly advancing on the samurai. “I regret having to kill you, but I have no choice. Go to your god in peace.”
Rakesh rushes forward, showing no fear of being impaled on Ryusuke’s katana. The samurai closes his eyes and listens to the gentle sound of the ocean. He is slipping into a peaceful state when a loud crack and a deep grunt snaps him back to reality. His eyes open to see Sin flipping off Rakesh’s face, the big man tripping over the fallen mast and crashing into the hold.
“What part of run do you not understand?” Sin asks with a cocky grin. The brown-haired thief spins his crossbow in his hand and watches for Rakesh to return. “You realize he already defeated you back in Trillton, right?”
“He bested you in Castle Portice,” Ryusuke points out, letting out a deep breath. He takes a step in front of his friend, his sword prepared to block. “I assume you have a plan to defeat him and that’s why you returned.”
“I’m working on it,” Sin admits before Rakesh bursts through the deck. Sin tackles Ryusuke out of the path of the anchor, firing a glowing bolt from his crossbow. The bolt is casually backhanded out to sea by Rakesh. “I really hate this guy.”
Rakesh swings the anchor at Sin, who gracefully sidesteps the attack and fires another bolt. The towering warrior lets the magical attack hit his chest where it evaporates. It is enough of a distraction for Ryusuke to slice through the anchor chain with his katana. With a mighty swing, he knocks Rakesh back with a powerful blast of wind. Sin hooks a barrel with a glowing cord from his crossbow and swings it into the back of Rakesh’s knees. The mighty warrior falls down, but it swiftly back on his feet.
“What about your waka . . . waki . . . your medium-sized blade?” Sin asks, diving away from an incoming crate. Rakesh is nearly on him when the thief handsprings over the warrior’s shoulder and leaps across the deck. “That worked with the orcs.”
“The cursed blade would get us killed in such a situation. It is too risky,” Ryusuke argues, slashing Rakesh across the stomach. The wound heals quickly, but gives the samurai enough time to back away. “He must have a weak point. Your magic and my blades do nothing, so maybe a combination. Nobody is truly unstoppable.”
“Do you find it strange that we’re talking about you like you’re not here, Rakesh?” Sin asks with a smirk. He clambers up what is left of the mast and sends a useless volley of bolts at the powerful warrior.
“I find it amusing and am curious to discover your plan,” Rakesh admits while approaching the mast. He leaps away when Ryusuke charges in and slashes him up the arm. “I have spent a lifetime without pain or fear. I would like to know how such things feel and you two seem determined to teach me.”
“It is unfortunate that we are enemies, Rakesh,” Ryusuke calmly states. “I would have enjoyed being your ally and friend. It is sad that we will never get the chance.”
“I don’t know,” Sin declares from his perch. “We’re all still young and we don’t hate each other. I can see us being friends once this mess is over.”
Rakesh laughs as he catches Ryusuke’s blade in his hand and flips the samurai over his shoulder. “You are an interesting person, Sin. Confident and cocky and smart. I do think we could have been friends, but my contract is to kill you. How would that change?”
Sin shrugs and casually claims, “I’ll just kill your employer.”
“Sometimes you are frightening, my friend,” Ryusuke whispers.
The samurai charges at Rakesh and hits him with another blast of wind from his katana. He continues beating back the muscular warrior with his wind strikes while Sin quietly watches from above. It looks like a feeble attempt at survival until Ryusuke knocks his enemy to the edge of the ship. The brief flash of anxiety and a single bead of sweat on Rakesh’s brow would go unnoticed by most, but Sin sees it clear as day.
“He’s scared of falling overboard,” Sin whispers. He watches Rakesh grab the railing and brace himself against Ryusuke’s wind strikes. “I don’t think he can swim.”
Without a sound, Sin drops from the mast and races along the edge of the ship. Neither of the other warriors notice him creeping up the nearest mast. Inching along the rigging, Sin gets himself above Rakesh and waits for the perfect moment. He sees it when Ryusuke’s wind attack makes the large warrior lean backwards over the railing. Sin leaps down and lands on Rakesh’s chest, aiming his crossbow and unleashing a blinding bolt of light.
“I can still blind you,” Sin whispers, firing again and again into Rakesh’s eyes. “Hit him as hard as you can, Ryusuke! He can’t swim!”
“Honorable ancestors, give me your strength!” Ryusuke shouts while lifting his katana over his head.
Ryusuke swings and unleashes a blast that knocks Rakesh and Sin over the railing, the pair hurtling toward the other boat. Sin leaps off Rakesh’s face, sending the large man tumbling into the ocean where he sinks like a stone golem. With a desperate stretch, Sin reaches for the deck of the other ship. He can tell that he is too far away and is about to fire a grappling line to the mast when a pair of delicate hands catches his wrist. Sin barely has enough time to notice Ionia holding him and Orpheo, in weretiger form, gripping her ankles before he slams face first into the side of the ship.
“By the gods, are you okay?” Ionia asks as they pull Sin up and she examines his broken nose. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think you would get hurt and forgot you could save yourself.”
“It’s nothing. Glad to be saved once in a while,” Sin assures her with a cocky smile. “Let’s put some distance between us and Rakesh.”
“Hey!” Ryusuke shouts from the other ship. “I’m an armored warrior on a sinking ship! You didn’t forget me, did you!?”
“Of course not,” he replies, aiming his crossbow at the samurai. He fires a grappling bolt that breaks into a net and snares the warrior. “Big, armored baby.”