Now that the conflict was sustainable for us on both fronts, I sought out Halkkor. He’d chosen to fight facing me, perhaps anticipating a personal confrontation. Instead of fighting my way over to him, this time I teleported directly to his vicinity. Jaelin, dutifully, was not far behind.
When he saw me, he pushed the demon he was fighting to the side, scattering a half dozen Pit Guards like bowling pins. I leveled my sword at him. “Last chance to surrender,” I shouted.
“To surrender to an inferior enemy would be a greater defeat than to suffer death at his hands,” he replied defiantly. Not that his refusal to throw in the towel surprised me in any way.
“That’s okay,” I said with a shrug. My voice wavered but I held my sword steady. “I’d rather kill you anyway.”
The hulking, dead-eyed monster in front of me barked out a hearty laugh as he casually beheaded a Pit Guard. “I’m confident you’ll discover that to be simple to proclaim but far more difficult to accomplish,” he taunted.
“Why can’t you just say ‘easier said than done’ like a normal person?” I muttered, charging him with my sword.
He batted my weapon away easily and sliced at me with the blade protruding from his right arm. I tried to dodge but I only succeeded in catching his elbow in the face. My nose flattened with a revolting crunch and I staggered backward, tasting warm blood on my lips. Before I could even regain my balance, Halkkor pounced on me like some kind of freakish hybrid of a professional linebacker and a jungle cat. The back of my skull cracked against the ground and my sword slipped from my grasp.
“You mounted a much fiercer resistance than I expected,” he said solemnly, tightening one massive hand around my throat. “I will do you the courtesy of admitting that I underestimated you so that you may die with some form of solace.”
He prepared to bring the blade of his free hand down into my chest.