The street was quiet. The only noise he could hear was the rustle of the sparse leaves on the trees. Looking around he could spot nothing amiss; the abandoned skyscrapers on either side of the road stood tall, the alleys between them would have been unnoticeable two years ago, now each entrance to the street was a potential threat. He stopped for a moment, closing his eyes and lifting his head, and inhaled deeply. There was a faint smell of salt in the air. Aquas, and they were close, and probably waiting for him. They had proven to be capable creatures and normal people were forced to travel in groups of 15, if they wanted to survive. The Panther was anything but normal. He began to walk forward, inching his hands towards his katanas, with a sudden movement he drew them from their scabbards. The gentle wind ceased. Everything was quiet. Too quiet.
As he unsheathed his blades, a dozen faceless humanoids rushed out of the alleys, six on either side of him. The Panther rolled to his left, rising to meet the rush of the first two in line. He rolled his blades, parrying the reaching arms of the humanoids and giving himself an opening. Stabbing the creature to his left in the armpit, he used his blade to direct it into the path of the other, causing the second creature to gouge it with its claws. The Panther was already facing the next two. This time he dismembered the hands of the creatures as they tried to claw him. He had to lunge to the side in order to avoid the surviving creature trying to jump on his back. Instead, it collided with both handless creatures he had just been battling. He knew that he had to kill the next two quickly, before he was surrounded. Spinning as he moved towards his first target, he moved his blades to slash at their chests, causing their arms to fall as they tried to parry them away. The Panther pulled them back at the last second, continuing into a second spin. The creatures had no defense as he beheaded them, The Panthers’ blades now coated in the blue-white blood of the aquas. Moving to turn and face the creatures he had left behind, The Panther noticed another six creatures waiting in the same alley he was ambushed from. He was concerned.
“They’re getting smarter.” He thought as he prepared to cut into the creatures he had left behind. As soon as he began to move back towards the middle of the street, the six waiting creatures moved forward. Reversing his momentum, he backflipped over four of them, turning as he finished the flip, he came down hard, blade first, onto the other two, driving the katanas hilt-deep into their chests, using his weight and momentum to shove the creatures to the ground. Knowing the others were close behind, he reversed his blades and pushed back, impaling the next two that approached. Now he had all his attackers in front of him, he knew he could cut through them with ease. The Panther began to fight in earnest. After cutting down the next four that approached, he realised that six more had joined from the other alley.
“They really did plan this out.” He thought, continuing to slay the creatures as they continued to claw at him.
He made short work of the remaining creatures, and immediately began to return from the direction he came in. The closest settlements had to be warned about this encounter.
Fleeing the scene of the ambush, The Panther began to consider the consequences of a coordinated attack. Granted he was only one man, but how long before they began to attack patrols and scouting parties? Maybe even strongholds?
Lost in thought, The Panther turned down another street, moving towards a warehouse that a large group of survivors had turned into a stronghold. He saw a patrol up ahead.
“Hold!” called the leader; without any command, crossbows were leveled, ready to kill The Panther with the pull of a trigger.
“At least the patrols are more disciplined now,” The Panther thought.
Knowing they wouldn’t be able to see complex hand signals from a distance, The Panther raised both arms in a cross above his head.
“It’s The Panther!” one of the other scouts whispered.
The crossbowmen lowered their weapons as The Panther jogged over to the group.
“Well met. I’m John, leader of this scouting group,” the original speaker said.
The Panther looked at John for a few seconds before reaching for the notepad and pencil kept in his belt pouch.
“What’s he doing John?” A soldier with brown hair and eyes said.
“Obviously he’s writing Peter, I’ve heard rumours that The Panther’s a mute. I guess they’re true,” John replied.
By the time he had finished his sentence, The Panther had finished writing in his notepad. I need to get to the Tesco warehouse. I have vital information for their leadership.
“We can get you in, we were nearly finished with our patrol route anyway,” John said.
“Let’s move.”They began to slowly jog back the way the patrol group had come. Turning the street, they moved off the road, turning down a path that led into a forest. However, as they passed the tree line, The Panther began to smell salt. Tapping John on the shoulder, The Panther again took the notepad out of his pouch and started writing. Take the long route and get this note to your leaders, there are Aquas close, I can keep them away. Flipping the page, he began a new note to the leaders of the Tesco stronghold. Aqua’s are getting smarter, reduced patrols but increasing the size of each group, I have no idea how they are learning but I will try and find out. The Panther. Handing the note to John, The Panther turned and unsheathed his scimitars