The manine ducked beneath a flailing arm, and jumped, kicking away from the beast’s torso. Rolling backward, he resumed his feet just short of a broad tree. With arms slightly raised as if to grapple, the manine waited. On all fours the larger beast, faced the manine, and tensed.
Brad’s hand came to rest on the timing cap of an explosive grenade.
“Don’t,” warned Teyata.
“But I’ve got to help him.”
“Rorbin’s the hunter,” she said, resuming her watching of the scene unfold.
Rorbin rolled aside as the beast charged. Timber and bark splintered where its lumbering bulk struck. Impassively, Rorbin stared as the creature rounded, moving more cautiously to meet him.
“It’ll soon end,” said Teyata. “The beast is getting wary; next, comes fear. Rorbin will get bored, then the creature dies.”
At first, it disturbed Brad that Teyata could describe Rorbin’s method of hunting in detail. His memories of Ben put the manine’s actions in perspective. Ben often toyed with a rat and played with it long after it died.
The beast offered feints. Rorbin cut off each one with a lightning slash. Brad noted the trembling of the great animal’s lips and smelt the musk of its fear. Blood trickled from at least two dozen wounds. Rorbin slinked closer with twitching tail, moving from side to side for an opening, making the beast wince.
“It’s over,” said Teyata.
Rorbin slashed upward in a broad arc.
Missed? Brad asked incredulously.
The creature pulled back, as Rorbin dived between its legs. On his back he slid, and turned, slashing twice at the back of its knees. A piercing scream erupted, as the beast dropped. Blood trailed from the open wounds as it made the pitiful attempt to flee from Rorbin by dragging itself along the ground by its arms. Rorbin ran two steps then casually skipped up its back, then clamped his jaws on the rear of the creature’s neck. While still in its death throes, Rorbin turned and walked off its back with the swagger of victory, blood clearly visible around his mouth and claws.