SECILY: 1.e4 Go ahead, take it. ...e5
You proffer the dueling rapier, your second-best, to the ruffian. You took down his two mates easily enough, and now he’s the last one standing. Unarmed and afraid.
This is part of the ritual for you. He’s not dying alone.
SECILY: 2.f4 It’s not a trick. You know that. I’m sure all your ilk has heard of me. ...exf4
SECILY: 3.Nf3 There we go, you even know how to hold it. ...Be7
SECILY: 4.Bc4 Sometimes I get asked why I do this. ...Bh4+
He stands, eyes narrowed, and you touch the tips of your blades. Proper stance and all. You wish more smugglers had the touch of class this soul did.
You almost feel bad for what’s about to happen.
Then you remember the document detailing the deaths caused by this counterfeit medicine lab, start to finish, like it was photocopied straight into your head.
SECILY: 5.g3 There’s three reasons. Here’s the first: it’s only fair. Face to face, blade to blade, an honest chance. You deserve that. Everyone deserves that. If you die, you die with nobility. With courage. ...fxg3
SECILY: 6.O-O If you don’t, you walk out of here the first man in twelve sweeps to win a duel with me. And that’s something to fight for. ...gxh2+
SECILY: 7.Kh1 Allez! ...Be7
You start the bout with/You follow up with...
>A feint to the right.
[You start the bout/You follow up] with a feint to the right but he doesn’t take the bait, holding steady — but too passive. A shame.
A bit more aggression and he’d be a real challenge. You straighten yourself up to continue the duel.
[You start the bout/You follow up], aiming to shock him with the noise of your stomp on approach. He flinches at it, but not enough to be a real opening.
Good composure, kid.
>A simple thrust.
[You start the bout/you follow up/you end the bout] with a simple thrust. This one knows what he’s doing, you can see it in his stance.
He might’ve been just like you, learning the épée in some bright office, all while dreaming of holding a real regulator’s blade. Just like Proserpina, gleaming in your hand.
If so, he strayed. You didn’t.
Your superior technique prevails and you catch his blade in a prise-de-fer, all the leverage yours.
You press your advantage and slide effortlessly closer with the tip until you pierce his chest right beside his bloodpusher, sliding your sharp point deeper to draw a torrent of rosy brown blood.
Your other sword falls out of his hand with an indelicate clatter as he chokes out in pain. You catch him as he leans over, dying, and begin speaking in his ear, calm as always.
SECILY: 8.Bxf7+ The second reason I’m doing this is the one I need you to hear. It’s the important one. If there’s anything, anything out there for your soul after this, if you meet any kind of maker or can see any shred of any of the dead, I need you to carry a message for me. ...Kxf7
SECILY: 9.Ne5+ Tell them this is for Ahlina Robiad. I will send them as many as they need to avenge her. ...Ke6
He’s nodding, even as blood starts to trickle from the corner of his mouth. Good lad.
SECILY: 10.Qg4+ And if you see her, tell her I’m sorry. ...Kxe5
SECILY: 11.Qf5+ I can’t join her just yet. ...Kd6
You wait for him to slump over, dead, and slide him off your blade, taking a picture with your visor to document another successful compliance initiative to your superiors.
You pull a kerchief out of your coat pocket and wipe Proserpina clean. You speak aloud to no one as you sheathe it and walk out of the room.
SECILY: 12.Qd5++ The third reason is that I enjoy it. And I always have. ...1-0