In the center of the room stood the traveler we had seen before. On either side of him lay one of Allura’s burly menservants. Giacomini was on his knees, head down, coughing up blood.
“Let us pass,” Allura said sternly.
The stranger laughed. “And just where would you go? Your servants can’t help you, Allura. Are you going to walk to safety?”
“I’m serious,” she said.
The man put his foot to the head of one of the fallen servants and pushed until there was an audible “crunch” from the neck bones.
The traveler stared at Allura. “Hurt her, and you won’t go so easily.”
I felt Allura tense, then to my surprise she pushed me forward, away from her!
“Oh … I was always so terrible at these macho pissing contests!” she said in her richest, most feminine voice, now full of displeasure and frustration.
I saw Allura place her stiletto just under her sternum and thrust it up into her heart. She thrust well; the blade went in up to the hilt. As the light left her eyes, she said to me, “I do envy you. Do better than I have.” And she collapsed to the floor.