He found two torches on either side of the symbol and lit them. The mouth that was a moment ago dingy and grey was transformed into a haunting orange. Kash stepped past his partner to examine more closely the symbol on the wall for any sign of the scrolls. Nothing. He studied, too, the adjoining walls, floor and ceiling, but saw no indication there were any scrolls to be found, or where they could possibly be located.
Turning back to the symbol, he noticed the eye of the Yang was slightly depressed. Stepping closer, with Leslie nearly in his hip pocket, he investigated the indentation further.
Sticking two fingers inside the cavity, he sensed its willingness to want to move. He encouraged the pattern to the left and watched as the Yang separated from the Yin; creating a broken line between the two.
At the same time, Leslie drew his attention to certain trigrams: Heaven and Earth, Water and Fire moved away from the wall and stopped. Looking inside each extended trigram they found neatly rolled and banded scrolls.
Carefully removing the precious parchment, they didn’t notice the threatening intrusion of Gerald Bryant. Not until he drew a saber that matched the one Kash had linked through his belt. Obviously the most deadly of assailants that were following Kash and Leslie met his untimely demise through Gerald.
Simultaneously they snapped their heads around to see him standing in front of them in his khaki garb and bushman’s hat. Pleased with the surprise his arrival had stirred, a maniacal smile spread across his face. He rhythmically tapped the floor with the end of the saber as he approached them.
Kash stretched a shielding arm in front of Leslie, silently coaxing her to move behind him and take the scrolls he was holding. She did, and he pushed her deeper into the adjoining wall for safe keeping. He took a step toward Gerald, but was stopped short by the saber swishing back and forth in front of him.
They said nothing, knowing what the other expected. While keeping an eye on Gerald, Kash gradually drew his saber, much to the delight of Gerald and chagrin to Leslie.
Quietly she slinked along the side wall and tried to improve her vantage. Methodically, each man stalked the other, neither willing to take the offensive and dreading to take the defensive. Recognizing that, Gerald took the initiative and whipped his saber masterfully; moving closer to Kash with each swipe, begging him to partake in a duel to the death.
Suddenly, he lunged toward Kash, striking and slicing open, again, the already tender wound on his shoulder. Kash remained steady, not giving an inch to his new found enemy.
“A new game, Mr. Bennett,” Gerald promised. “This time it isn’t chess.”
As quickly as Gerald had struck, Kash repaid the compliment, cutting into Gerald’s fair, English skin.
Gerald didn’t look to his wounded shoulder, only acknowledging with a touched cackle.
“Chess of a different nature,” Kash enlightened.
“Have it your way, old man.”
Preliminaries aside, they started dueling, each proficient and agile in the art of fencing. Lunging, staving off calculated jabs that met in the middle of the saber and ended up at the handle, bringing enemy face to face, eye to eye. Survival for one, insanity for the other.
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