4.2 Bastet

The Ashura. They are our kind but corrupted. They have given in to their urges and use dark magic to attain whatever they are seeking. Strength. Speed. Agility. Even beauty. They have been advocating their lifestyle and have gained a large following. But being an Ashura has its flaws. You will always have the urge that transformed you coming through and determining each and every one of your actions. If you fail to control yourself, you will eventually just become a feral monster. I have seen those failed Ashura. Those that aspired to become stronger but transform into animals, only acting upon instincts. All you can do is put them out of their misery. To avoid this, the Ashura use unique artifacts to channel their urges, easing the burden they carry. Necklaces. Rings, Bracelets. Some even keep toys close to them. I believe it’s too much of a hassle, so I have always driven Ashura away. Even my beloved Ptah does not want to do business with them.

However, the Ashura believe they are better. And in their crusade against us, they have targeted the weakest roaming this world: humans. They make great slaves. Our kind has actually created them a long time ago for them to be our workers. They do the dirty work for us, like dealing with meat. Only a few of our kind believe they have the right to a better life and have established villages such as these for them to live freely. This village is unusual, though. Here live a special breed of humans. Retainers. Ash blond hair, blue eyes, tanned skin. Not only are they physically and mentally superior to their brethren. When it comes to magic, they are like a sponge. If they dwell long enough with us, they begin to exhibit magical powers. Some are even almost as capable as our kin. The Ashura prefer this breed over other human races. Which leads us to why they are coming here. But they will not get what they came for. Not today. I draw my blade. It is a beautiful blade, carefully crafted by my beloved. He has blessed it with his magic, so whenever I unsheathe it, it glows faintly.

I see them. They travel by horse at a leisurely speed. Some sense our presence. They draw their weapons. I count four warriors. This might be tough to deal with alone. I hope they decide otherwise. I wait. One of the riders approaches me. I recognize her face. High cheekbones. Feline eyes. Obviously crimson. Long cornrows with white pearls woven in. A very prominent collarbone. Very slim. I guess this day is going to go really bad.

“Well, this is a surprise.” That deep, raspy female voice. I narrow my eyes.

“Bastet.” So unlikeable.

Bastet glances back at her companions, shrugging and sighing at the same time. “Sekhmet.”

“No.” Whatever she wants, I decline.

“I haven’t even said anything!” She scoffs.

“We are not interested.”

“You never have been a woman of many words.” Bastet gets off her horse, pointing her glaive at me. It is not as beautiful as mine. She had it made by one of her human slaves. The quality of the steel gives it away. Such a waste of material. The slave must have been forced to hurry and worked sloppily. I am displeased.

“Leave now.” I lightly tap my glowing blade against her cheap weapon. The clanging noise alarms Ptah. I can sense his unrest. But he is not a fighter. I need to protect him, as well.

Bastet withdraws her weapon for the moment. “Why don’t you join us. We all know how skilled you are. And you are a great teacher as well. Every human you have taught makes for a great soldier.”

“I take no interest in being led by desires.”

She sighs again. “I will not elaborate on the perks of being like us.” Shifting her gaze to the people behind me, she continues, “well, at least you could be so kind as to provide us with some young Retainers.”

“You know my answer.”

With a final sigh, she attacks me. To my disadvantage, her companions join in on the fight. Four against one, hardly fair. To my honor, they are taking me seriously, showing me the power of being an Ashura. Laughable. Four strong Ashura against me. But I underestimate them. They begin flanking me. Using tactics instead of attacking straight on. I dislike this. I begin to struggle. Take hits. From the corner of my eye, I see Ptah wanting to intervene. He should not. He is no fighter. But I was distracted too long. Bastet pins me to the floor with her glaive. Through my shoulder. It hurts. I spit blood. One of her companions wields a spear. He thrusts it through my other shoulder. It hurts even more. Their faces slowly blur into a mess. I can hear him shouting now. I try to get up. Must protect. But another person steps on my leg. I hear a noise. Is it my bones? It hurts. Voices begin to fade away. I call his name. Then it becomes dark.

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