Almost fluidly, they rolled end over end twice, each trying to slash at the other. Brad sensed that they didn’t truly try to harm each other. Rorbin must still love her in his own way and Teyata had a good heart. Although she didn’t love him, surely she didn’t want him dead.
Teyata managed to slip out from under Rorbin, and roll on top.
“Rorbin, listen to me.”
He ceased his struggles to listen.
“If you kill Brad; even if you drag me back with you; I’ll only eat a poisonous plant.”
Rorbin’s eyes took on a mournful quality as he digested the threat, then immediately hardened.
“Then I’ve got nothing to lose.”
He slapped a hand on her ribs. Teyata strained in vain to keep him in place. Rorbin’s superior strength sent her to one side, before he rolled to his feet. Teyata grabbed hold of him again from the rear. He twisted, with raised hand, then arched his back, screaming. A dagger jutted from his flank. Plucking it free, Rorbin faced Brad with bared fangs.
Brad discarded the thought of drawing his hatchets, knowing they were too slow against a manine.
“No!” screeched Teyata, grabbing hold again and biting his leg.
Rorbin hissed his pain, and wheeled with all five claws of one hand extended. They sank into her torso, instantly evaporating the murderous glint in his eyes. Both gaped at each other as Teyata clutched her abdomen, and awkwardly sank to the ground. Rorbin snapped his head aside, tears filling his angry eyes.
Brad paled, backing away as Rorbin sped his way. He made it as far as a tree, when Rorbin cut him off. Brad swung a hatchet for the manine’s head. It wedged in the tree trunk as Rorbin ducked and retaliated with a deeper slash in Brad’s side. His scream rent the air, cut short as Rorbin clamped a hand on Brad’s shoulder with extracted claws. They sank into his flesh as Rorbin exerted pressure. All the while, his orange pupils fixed on Brad’s, relishing his discomfort. Brad found himself, unable to move. To even twitch a toe, sent waves of agony throughout his being.
“And now it ends,” Rorbin said impassively.
He slowly raised his free hand, tensing it in such a way as to make the claws extract gradually. Brad felt the swishing of Rorbin’s tail against his shin. Stomping down on the appendage, he extracted his boot claws, skewering the tail. Rorbin screamed, throwing his head back as Brad jabbed the claws of his left hand into the manine’s side.
Rorbin ceased to scream long enough to regard Brad with utter disbelief. Slowly, his eyes rolled back as he fell away from the extracted claws onto his back. Brad stepped over Rorbin’s body; his only concern for Teyata’s fate. He smelt then saw traces of blood on the ground mixed with drag marks. In a daze, he followed the trail and found her seated, leaning back against a tree. He dropped to his knees, taking her feebly offered hand.