“Wait!” My voice caused them to pause for second. “Can I have one last request?”
“Depends,” Lord Tut’s voice was tight, and as I looked to his face, his upper lip was curled in a snarl.
“Can I be killed by the two who brought me in, under the light of the moon, outside the city? One last moment of peace, before I go?” I didn’t have to add any extra layers of pathetic tones to my voice to sound sincere. There was a chance though, an idea to survive. As far as I was concerned, it had to be taken.
“Ha! No wish to extend your sorry existence? I’m glad you’ve seen the stupidity of your continued breath. This request I will grant.” Lord Tut’s eyes were alight with fire and excitement. My rope was handed back to Mr. Banana. “Bring back his head once the job is completed. You will receive the credits I have promised you then.”
“Very well.” Kleinit nodded and turned without a second glance. I followed him, Mr. Banana at my side. Head down, I made no sound until we were well out of the palace. Even then, the only sound that escaped me was a massive sigh, as I let tension slide out of my body. I wasn’t out of the woods yet, but I was in a better position.
“So, what are we thinking? Two bullets in the back of the neck so it’s quicker, then cut it off for the return? I sharpened my knife yesterday, so it’ll slide through tendons like butter!” Mr. Banana clambered over me excitedly once we were outside the city limits, measuring my neck with his tiny wrists.
“Probably easiest.” Kleinit led us both to a hill, isolated from others. “Here?”
“Yeah, this is good,” I responded. “But before you kill me, can we talk?”
“Gladly. Not a fan of this business.” Kleinit’s eyes didn’t make contact with any part of my body. “From what we saw before we knocked you out, you’re a good kid. You deserve more time.”
“I mean, if we just kill him now, quick, then we don’t have to worry about it!” Mr. Banana piped up from my shoulder, measuring angles on my neck with his knife. Kleinit just shook his head in response, shoulders slumped.
“Or, hear me out, you don’t kill me.”
My words hung in the night air for a moment, seemingly glittering in the moonlight. Every last hope of mine weighed them down, but still they floated. Kleinit sent them crashing down after a few seconds passed.
“No. We need the money. Nothing personal Anern.”
“Hear me out. I’m the last ‘pure human’ right?” I made air quotations around the phrase to emphasise that I felt it was bullshit. “If we killed him, then I could become king. I’d pay twice what they were paying you.”
“No, I want the easy money!” Mr Banana pushed his blade against my neck. Blood pulsed against it, and I involuntarily flinched. The tension that had left my body before, assaulted me once more. “Lets finish this now!”
“C’mon Mr. Banana.” Kleinit’s eyes were heavy with emotion. “He didn’t ask for this. This was forced on him, just like us. Are we above that all now?”
“You fucker. Bringing up the lab just to sway my hand? That’s behind us. This is now, and we will get our money, and get out. You’re going soft old man.” At this point, I wasn’t sure which was sharper, the knife against my jugular, or Mr. Banana’s words.
“It’s not being soft. It’s morality. The kind those who put the needles into your brain lacked. The kind those that brought me to life and declared I was only good for parts lacked. We’re better than them.”
Kleinit slowly walked up to Mr. Banana as he talked, his hands splayed palms up. He gently took the knife from the monkey on my neck with one hand. The other was placed on my far shoulder, giving a small squeeze. I smiled without turning my head, still not sure I was getting out of this alive. Mr. Banana climbed down from me, his back arched, body tense. Once on the ground he let out a grunt, heavy with frustration.
“Why isn’t it ever easy Kleinit? Just get the kid he asked, now we’re planning a coup under the moon. I hate being better morally than others.”
“I’m pretty happy with it right now.” I interjected quietly, receiving another squeeze to the shoulder from Kleinit in response. “But what is the plan? We have a knife and a gun on Mr. Banana. You didn’t even bring a gun Kleinit.”
“I brought all that I need.” Kleinit twisted his metal wrist, causing the hand to retract into his forearm. In it’s place, a small circular contraption extended, locking into place with a loud click. “It’s called the HandyCannon. Packs quite a punch.”
“Damn.” I let out a whistle in admiration.
“He always likes showing that fancy toy off.” Mr Banana was cleaning the parts of his gun, now disassembled on a small sheet on the ground. “I hope you brought a back up battery, you know the cannon mode drains the battery like a thirsty whore.” He started counting ammunition clips under his breath.
“Yup.” Kleinit pulled out the glowing container, showing it briefly to Mr. Banana before tucking it back into his jacket pocket.
“Here,” Mr. Banana shoved his grenade into my hand, “you can throw right?”
“Yeah?” I furrowed my brows, looking the grenade over like I was versed in things like this. “Just pull the pin and throw.”
“Well at least the second last human isn’t a waste of space. The other one certainly is.” Finished counting his clips, Mr. Banana did another look over his gun to make sure the entire piece was perfectly put back together, nodding his satisfaction at the job he had done. “Before we do this Anern, there’s one more question we need to ask.” He paused, waiting for me to respond, his face serious.
“Do you have a Pharoah Fetish?” His lips cracked into a smile, and he lost himself in a fit of laughter. I turned to Kleinit, raising one eyebrow. Kleinit shrugged his shoulders while shaking his head.
“I still don’t get his humour. He’s something else.”
With that, we started our way back to the city. Night had fully fallen, swallowing the city whole. No lights shone from any house through the city, and guards stuck to their lighted outposts. Those were easy to avoid, so we picked our way towards the castle with relative ease. Nearly three hours after we had left the strangely designed castle, we had made it back. Stopping short in the shadows of the massive staircase entrance, Kleinit turned to us.
“Now here’s how this is going down. Me and Mr. Banana are going to go in with this towel all bunched up like it’s a head. Anern, you’re going to stay here. Don’t move, we’ll come back when this is done. We’re trained professionals.”
“That’s what you say, old man. I say we’re just enjoying chaos and death at other’s expense.” Mr. Banana turned to me, a wicked glint in his eye. “Time to go commit some near omnicide!”
He climbed up onto Kleinit’s shoulders and they walked away from me, up the staircase. I watched them until they disappeared inside the mouth of the lion man. Near silence has never been so excruciating as it was then. In an effort to hear every possible sound, I forced myself to be as still as possible. Within minutes I was holding my breath without even realizing it. Releasing my breath as silently as possible, I felt nausea settle into my stomach. There was no way it was this easy. As if the night heard my wish, an explosion rattled my body.
The nose of the man lion erupted from it’s face, landing on the steps below. Stone flew in chunks from the impact, throwing most guards outside the main entrance off their feet. A few unlucky men, coming back from some excursion were caught under the nose, their bones crunching into dust with nearly no resistance. From where the nose used to be stood two familiar forms.
“Anern!” Mr. Banana called out as fired round after round into the room behind him. “We could use you up here!”