Dog, for he had no other name, led me along the road and kept to the center. I did the same, Colts loose in their holsters, sword ready in its scabbard.
It was a good thing too.
Unlike those who lived along the wharf, the residents farther in weren’t afraid.
I was just meat to them.
Ahead of us, men and women and children spilled out of doorways and from alleys. The dog dropped back behind me as I drew the Colts. I thumbed back the hammers, brought the revolvers up, and called out a single warning.
The crowd broke into a sprint, and I started killing.
They packed themselves so tight against one another that the slugs from the Colts tore through multiple bodies. Piercing shrieks echoed in my head, and in moments, the Colts were dry.
There was no time to reload, so the Colts were holstered, and the blades came out.
As the sword finished its long, rasping breath from the scabbard, the enemy was upon me, and I showed them the lessons my father had taught me.
The sword screamed through the air, cleaving through limbs and taking heads off necks. My knife slipped into bellies and groins, punched into thighs and underarms.
I left the dead and the dying behind be, and the old dog tore out the throats of those who moved too much.
I was halfway through the crowd when the first of them broke. A man in front of me who had, only moments before, been filled with rage blinked and staggered back. He looked around, panicked, and shoved his way past his neighbors.
And like a crack in the damn, his fear spread.
People stopped, saw others near them die and die badly, and then fled.
I didn’t stop.
Those who hesitated died. I stomped on the heads of those who fell at my feet and slashed at the backs of those who ran.
Soon, I stood in the middle of the road, boots ankle-deep in blood. Dog sat upon the chest of a corpse, his muzzle wet and matted with blood. My own clothes were soaked through, and there were far too many cuts and tears in the garments.
I needed fresh apparel, a good cup of coffee, and something to eat.
I’d worked up an appetite, and Gao’s killing could wait a little longer.