Chapter 3

A loud, anguished bark was heard a short distance away from The Assassino.

He knew that another dog had probably met with its demise. These days, meat was scarce, and killing a canine for food was not uncommon.

Not that hewould have ever done that. Many years back, at another age and time, he had a retriever as a pet. He recalled, with a mix of bitterness and fondness, that he had adored the dog. But, then came the war, and together with almost everyone else, he had lost everything.

He continued walking. The land was unfamiliar, but his keen sense of terrain and direction guided him forward. An almost relentless march towards destiny. Towards Rome.

And that was when he saw the scene.

Three burly men were rounding two dogs into a corner.

Hemust walk on. The last thing he needed was to attract unwanted attention. And he had already done so when he helped the old lady two days back in another village.

And then there was another agonizing yelp.

Renturned his head.

One of the dogs, a white one, had been hit on its head, and now lay writhing on the ground.

“Stop,” Ren said.

Distracted, two of the three men turned to face Ren.

“Look, you bugger,” said one of them, pointing at Ren. “We saw the dogs first. If you want another, go look for it yourself.”

“You heard what I just said,” replied Ren. “I do not repeat my words.”

“So, someone is looking for a fight,” laughed one of the men. He pulled out a sword, and walked aggressively towards Ren.

Ren did not look up.

Judging from the manner at which the man held his weapon, Ren knew he was a disgrace to his sword.

The man charged towards Ren, with a forward thrust of his sword.

Rendid not flinch.

He pulled out his sword.

And before anybody could blink their eye, Renhad sliced off his opponent’s arm.

It was a clear gash that amputated the man’s hand just before his biceps, exposing the bones amid a splatter of blood.

The rapidness of the move stunned the three men into inactivity. And then, as quickly as everything had started, the three of them dispersed, leaving even the corpse of the dead dog behind.

Renlooked in the direction of the dogs.

One of them, a dirt-brown mongrel, stood its ground. It was snarling, baring its fangs. Perhaps, Ren thought, it was guarding his friend, not fully aware that his companion was already dead.
For a moment, Ren felt a stab of sorrow to his heart.

Emotions.

A weakness that no accomplished killer must have.

He had to move on.

*


Read Chapter 4