6.5 Under Iron

by Matt P.

A fight has an ebb and flow like a tide, and gaining the momentum is important. Walter knew that as he stepped forward to meet the charging man, but also knew how fast he was; knew that in a heartbeat the man would be standing beside him and attacking, and that he had to react. Which s why he almost missed his first block when the man was…slower than before. He was still unnaturally fast but he was no longer blindingly so. And as Walter brought his knife back an inch to turn aside the blade he saw that Ninja Grandpa looked angry, downright pissed off at the fact that Walter was apparently doing better.

And all that did was bring a smile to Walter’s face. While the other man’s blade didn’t shatter, which meant he had come prepared for the fact that someone might know something, it was turned aside. Walter kept the momentum of that turn and brought his other knife around in a slash that aimed to end the fight decisiely with an opened throat. Whatever had happened to his speed the other man was still too quick for it and pulled away, but it left a gash down the man’s shimmering clothes that parted to reveal the skin beneath.

And parted the skin beneath in a slender line that didn’t just begin to bleed but smoke and pucker like a burn as Ninja Grandpa pulled back and cried out in pained shock, and shocked pain. And in that moment Walter saw something in his features. That shock was not just the surprise of sudden pain, it was surprise at the very concept of being hurt. As if the man had never expected to experience it, or maybe just that he never expected someone like Walter to do it. Regardless, it looked like nothing more than the first time Siobhan had burned herself and learned what fire was.

Walter stepped back and stared a little bit. “How old are you?” He asked, somewhat stunned. Apparently it was the wrong question because the look of shock changed to a look of fury as intense as a sun and long-burning as the core of the earth. Ninja Grandpa lunged forward again now with the speed of rage, the knives licking out with the speed of a methed up snake. It was all Walter could do to throw his knives in the way as much as possible, and only through sheer skill and training did he stop most of the slashes from hitting him.

But it was only most, and once again Walter felt the stinging agony as razor sharp blades sliced through clothing and flesh alike. He spun away and the two of them ended up facing one another, each gasping from the unexpected wounds. Even with whatever had evened the odds a little bit he was still slower, and more worn out, and older; watching someone as quick as Ninja Grandpa almost made him feel all those old fights.

But he was older, he thought. And whatever it was that this demon-ninja-vampire-monster-thing had, he didn’t have Walter’s experience. Ninja Grandpa’s eyes were wide with rage, but there was also fear in them now. Walter didn’t suppose that his eyes looked any different, although he had the benefit of not seeing them and could assume that they looked all cool and badass and tricksy. Well then, he thought, time to act all cool and badass and tricksy.

“Hey…do you know what a master key is?” Walter asked, apropos of nothing. Ninja Grandpa blinked almost owlishly, as if he was trying to place the comment in to any possible context of what had gone on during his day.

“What?” He asked, forgetting to curse or call him a mortal or be supremely weird. Walter took advantage of that brief confusion to grab his slinged M4 carbine and bring it to bear. He reached forward to the device attached to the barrel, squeezed the trigger on the KAC Masterkey door breaching shotgun, and shot Ninja Grandpa right in the crotch.