I should have known there’d be priests.
I’d gone a mile from the shrine when the priests attacked.
There were four of them, and they fought a damned sight better than the gods they served.
The men came out of a small building on the edge of the road, and when they did, they attacked. No warning. No bluster. Nothing at all.
And that was fine by me.
They meant business, and it looked as though they knew it too.
I drew the Colts, but the men were quick. Their movements flowed in a fighting style I’d never seen before. I managed to get off a pair of shots but did nothing more than wound one of them, which left me to the mercy of the others.
Their strikes were coordinated, fast, and hurt like hell.
The first blows broke my left ribs, the next round knocked my right eye from its socket and crushed the bone around it. My nose was smashed across my face, and blood exploded down my mouth.
But the man in front of me stumbled, tripping on his own entrails as they spilled out of the gaping hole where his lower back had been. The other wounded man tried to help while the remaining two continued their assault.
One of the men reached out and latched onto my throat with an iron grip, so I slammed a Colt up into his underarm and pulled the trigger twice. He stared at me, his arm falling from his body and dropping from my throat.
The last man ignored the fate of his comrades and nearly killed me.
He placed a kick on the side of my head that sent me spinning to the ground. As my loose eye bounced against my cheek and pain electrocuted my body, he came in for the kill.
The man leaped into the air, pulling his legs up and then extending them straight down for a blow that would have collapsed my chest.
But I had the Colts.
I fired off a shot that caught him square in the neck and took his head off his shoulders. Still, I had to roll away as the body came down, legs still prepared to kill.
Grunting at the pain, I got to my feet and saw the other three priests trying to rise.
I put a bullet in each of their heads.
In the deafening silence, I reloaded my Colts, and sat down on the ground beside the headless corpse.
It would be a long time to heal.