For what it’s worth I’m misunderstood. People don’t like me. But they fear me, and that’s what counts in this life. It’s what keeps a girl like me alive. I’m Zukei, by the way. You might of heard of me, I’m a killer, you see. That killer. The one who’s wanted in seven countries. If you’re my bounty you won’t see me, just feel the cold steel puncturing your skin, and watch your lifeblood ebb in pools below.
I’m not cruel, though the world I come from is cruel– especially to women. It’s part of the reason why I took up the knife, the odds being stacked so against me. No, I’m not cruel, but I am efficient. At thirty five years, I’ve a tally topping three score and twelve — each corpse awarding me a full purse, comprising sometimes silver, sometimes gold.
I take pride in my career. There is always need for those such as I. Good, Evil? I’m indifferent to both. I’m the agent, you see. The executive — that female assassin behind you in an alley. You upset someone. They paid me — it’s a contract. I’m a professional, so don’t plead for mercy.
My father…? I’ll not talk about that here. And Shallan? I do love her, yes. But she is with another now, and that’s fine by me. I’ll always be there for her should he let her down, and he most probably will. They usually do.
Voices outside getting louder! Heavy boots scraping gravel. They’re on to me — time to move! I slide free of my stool in the tavern, duck beneath the lantern, and whilst freeing my Kariya, (the slender sword from Shen) from its scabbard, I glide feather-light through the gap in the crusty tavern door.
They are waiting for me in the street. Six men armed with spear and sword, saving that heavy-set one with the crossbow. I take him first, the tossed knife piercing his left eye. He falls… The big one next to him yells, rushes at me, and slams his heavy blade toward my neck.
That sword cuts thick air. Big lad blinks, I’m behind him now, the kariya lancing deep into his back and jutting out from his chest. The third footpad rages and hurls his spear — my forearm knocks it aside. I smile, enjoying the moment — that whirling, spinning coin betwixt life and death. He blinks, hesitates, I leap forward and kick him in the jaw, whilst skewering number four with the kariya, as that one leaps me from behind.
A second spearman lunges… This ones nervous, he leans out too far. I dance to his left, wrench the shaft from his grasp, reverse it and bury the tip deep in his gut. Meanwhile broken jaw rolls across the shit and blood staining the cobbles. He grabs my ankles, as the last one races toward me, his sword held high… To be continued…
Zukei joins the crew in the third book in the series and plays a prominent part from then on. Click here to find out more about Zukei and the other cast starring at Legends of Ansu. To check out the first book in the series Click here and to get that book FREE subscribe to the mailing list and enter the J.W.Webb V.I.P Lounge!