Sabit sprung from a shadowy clump of ferns behind the three bandits. With swift strikes, the shaft of her spear found the weakest points of their young bodies. Knees buckled, bellies doubled over, skulls rang. Within moments, all three bandits lay sprawled on the packed earth of the road that was their livelihood. Sabit stood over them, spear poised for another strike, should any of the boys attempt to regain their feet. This time, the spear’s sharp iron point would lead her assault.
“We will pass without trouble and you will count yourselves fortunate to live,” Sabit barked as the three tried to make sense of their predicament. The tallest groaned and reached for his fallen bow. Sabit stepped on his hand, eliciting a yelp.
Sabit directed Verdandi to gather the boys’ fallen weapons as she continued her lecture. “I have neither want nor need of your makeshift bows. I will leave them on the shore of the next river crossing. You will have lost nothing but face. It is a better bargain than you will get if my spear catches you following us.”
Verdandi continued up the road, chuckling to herself. Sabit followed, keeping her spear raised until the site of the ambush had faded in the distance behind them.
“You didn’t kill the bandits,” Verdandi asked.
“They were hungry boys seeking their supper,” Sabit replied. “There is as much virtue in killing them as in hunting buzzards. Besides, they might relay the tale of their defeat and warn other bandits from our path.”
The two walked together without speaking. Verdandi was uncertain of how Sabit had managed to squeeze hope out of such trouble—and whether it was as good thing.
Wayfarings of Sabit: Bandit Queen is copyright (c) 2017 by Michael S. Miller. All rights reserved. New chapters are posted on Monday and Thursday. You can support this and other stories on Patreon, https://patreon.com/michaelsmiller, or at http://ipressgames.com/fiction/.