There were three. Anubis and I faced each other, and Shesmu, more like a jackal than Anubis himself, waited for one of us to fall.
Then Anubis attacked. He swung his blade faster and stronger than I could have ever matched in my previous lifetimes. But with the strength of a hundred immortals, and the strength of a hundred mortals who might be killed by this evil, I swung my blades in response.
My crossed blades intercepted his, turning it around. At the last moment, he saw what I was doing, and tried to grope for the scythe-like sword on his belt with his left hand, but to no avail. I continued pushing his sword away with my wakasashi, and pulled my katana away from the blade. The moment I freed my longer blade, I stepped in and slashed across his stomach.
He moaned in pain. Any weaker immortal would have screamed. My blade bit deeply into his gut, and as I pulled it out blood splashed against my skin. He dropped his sword, and I turned, and shoved my wakasashi into his back. He fell to the stone, dead to the world.
I knew I could take his head. I knew I could take him out of this world and remove the stain he had put on it.
But there was one more thing to do first. I dropped the katana and wakasashi, and walked over to my scimitar. Shesmu had to die as well.
Shesmu stood in shock. At first he was waiting for me to take Anubis' head. He thought I simply wanted to use my favorate blade. But when I simply slashed at him once more to make sure he was dead, then turned to face Shesmu, he finally understood.
He had to fight me now. He wasn't facing a hundred year old immortal anymore.
I am older than Christ himself. All of my life I have fought and run. Run and fought.
He was going to die.
I was tired from my battle. He was almost completely healed by the power of the quickening. And the power of one more immortal was coursing through his veins.
But none of this mattered.
I swung first, and he was almost too shocked to block my wild swing.
He intercepted my blade with his staff and swung back. I simply dodged his clumsy return, and gave three more swings of my own. Holding the scimitar with one hand, I sent more blows towards him than he knew what to do with. Suddenly, I saw an opening and I lashed out with my foot. He fell back, and as he stumbled, I heard something clatter under his feet.
Pierre's cutlass was kicked towards me, and I scooped it up with my left hand. Sending blow after blow into the demon before me, he was forced back. Step by step, he was now up against a wall.
Finally, I pulled back a step and set my scimitar, point facing towards him, above my right shoulder. He had seen me kill Anubis with this same move.
I don't know if I just wanted to frighten him, or if I thought I could kill him like that. But Pierre's cutlas met it, pointing straight up, acting as a much larger version of the cross that had swept aside Anubis' blade.
Shesmu did the only thing he could. He swung the axe-head of the was at my left side, the one that seemed to be open. But he simply wasn't as fast as I am.
My weapons turned his aside, and I pulled back on my scimitar, ready to follow through with a disemboweling cut.
The scimitar is much longer than the katana. In the extra time it took for me to free my blade, Shesmu simply spun his in the direction it was already headed, away from me.
And pointing the spear-tipped end at my stomach.
Before I could swing my scimitar into his torso, I felt the two prongs inside of me. I looked down numbly. Shesmu pushed once, and I felt blood running down my back.
This was the end. I heard him growl something in ancient egyptian, but I didn't understand it. He rearranged his grip on the was, and he was ready spin it.
I thought of the mummy we had found. So long ago, this same monster had taken a was and broken that man's back.
As Shesmu was going to do to me before he took my head.
"Il peut y avoir seulement d'un", I said weakly. In french, "There can be only one."
He understood, and laughed. With a twist, his staff suddenly turned.
I felt nothing anymore. Now I know how Pierre felt before he died. There was nothing. Nothing for an immortal. There is no afterlife for one who is meant to live forever.
I could not move my legs. The only thing holding me up was the very weapon that was about to kill me. But my arms were still functional.
And while Shesmu's weapon was inside me, he could not use it to block.
It took every ounce of my strength to swing my scimitar and Pierre's cutlass at the monster's neck.
But it cut through.
His head fell to the ground, and lightning flared around me.
I dimly remember the quickening feeding energy back into me, as quickly as my blood drained out of me and onto the warm stone. When Shesmu fell, he fell away from me, pulling the was mostly out of me.
Mostly. As the quickening tore through me, healing me, and bringing back sensation... pain, in my lower body, the weapon was still inside of me. I remember plucking it out of me. I had never felt such power, such strength...
And when it was done, I collapsed on the stone.
When I awoke, I was still bleeding slowly. My wounds had made an attempt to heal, but I knew the moment I stood I would begin the bleeding all over again. So I crawled. With my scimitar in one hand, I crawled over to the still-warm corpse of Anubis.
"You tried to take my life more than once. Now there can be only one."
I chopped at the body, feeling my sword bite into the stone underneath. I lay on the ground and watched as it rose into the air. Lighting flared around it. Thunder crashed in the distance.
For the first time in years, the clouds gathered above and released their cold fire into the desert. The land all around us was flooded.
The quickening felt like it took hours.
I awoke to find the stone under my back still wet and clammy. The noonday sun beat down on my skin, but I am dark enough that my exposed arms were not too badly burned.
And a few hours out of the sunlight would cure that.
Other than that, I was fine.
Not a scratch on me. I sat up, quickly, and shook off the dizzy spell that accompanied it.
Suddenly remembering, I walked as fast as I could to where Forrest was tied up. He was badly sunburned, and he needed water, but other than that he was fine. I untied him, and helped rub the circulation back into his hands and feet.
"I take it we won.", he finally said when he was able to speak.
"I won." I corrected. "Pierre gave his life for this battle. But the enemy is dead. Yes, I think we won."
I left him alone for a moment and started to collect all of the weapons. Pierre's cutlass was the only weapon that wasn't mine that I took.
I left Anubis' two swords and the was. They were nothing I wanted to remember.
When I left with my last handful of weapons, Forrest hobbled along with me to the truck. In almost absolute silence, we drove back to camp.
"River must be worried sick about us.", Forrest finally said.
I nodded. "Probably."
There just wasn't much we could say right then.
Only one thought ran through my mind right then. I had come home. I had faced my fears. I had defeated death itself.
I took the powers of two gods.
And I have finally come back home.
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