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  • Writer's pictureG R Matthews

The Trouble With Bandits - a WIP

“You know the problem with bandits, Liu?” Gang twirled the great hammer above his head and brought it down upon the leather armoured skull of his current opponent.

“There are always more of them?” Liu dropped under the wild slash of a Dao and hooked an axe blade behind the bandit’s knee, dragging him forward, off balance. A kick to the downed man’s head sent him into oblivion.

“No, that’s not it.” Gang swept his hammer left to right, crushing another bandit’s ribs.

Liu stepped forward, one axe rising high to deflect the sword blow aimed at his head, the other axe burying itself in the attacker’s unprotected neck. “Their lack of skill?”

“Keep guessing.” Gang reversed his swing forcing the three who faced him to stumble backwards in panic. The large man jumped into the gap formed and swung again.

“Gang,” Liu began, twisting around the stab of a tasselled spear and chopping at the hands that held it. “I’m not one for these games.”

“I have to have something to entertain me in these fights, Liu.” Gang’s hammer clattered into an upraised sabre, snapping the blade and the arm that held it.

“Battle is not entertainment, Gang.” Liu’s axes rose and fell, chopping down another life. “We came here to help the village. Not to enjoy ourselves.”

“Why can’t we do both?” Gang drove another bandit to his knees with a blow from the studded hammer and grabbed the last in meaty hands, lifting the man from his feet with ease.

“Keep that one alive, Gang. We need information.” Liu cautioned as he wrenched his axe blade from the collar bone of the last attacker. It came free with a crack, a wet, sucking squelch and the smaller man looked at the blood with a disappointed expression. “Bring him with us.”

“If you don’t like blood, don’t use axes,” Gang growled as he dragged the bandit by the hair towards Liu. The bandit’s legs scrabbled and kicked at the ground. “Stop your moaning or I’ll forget my friend said to keep you alive.”

“So what is the trouble with bandits?” Liu said, taking a rag from inside his plain robes and wiping the last of the blood from the blades of his axes.

“They steal things, Liu. I thought you knew that. You should have got that one easily.” Gang guffawed as he finished and shook the bandit in his grasp.


Currently working on this little short story all about Gang and Liu. You can find some Jing Ke stories around the internet, in anthologies etc, but I thought these two deserved some time in the limelight.

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