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Heroic Abduction (Alien Abduction #5)
Eve Langlais


“Every mercenary should have a distinctive title – usually with the word Greatest.” – A Mercenary’s Guide to Prosperity

“Heroes require no recognition.” – The Unofficial Guide to Heroism

“Kill it. Kill it. Kill it,” his cousins and friends chanted, their eyes gleaming with bloodlust, but Dyre held off. He’d already shown himself the more skilled combatant, the tip of his blade at his opponent’s throat only requiring the slightest bit of pressure to end the poor unfortunate’s life. The creature his trainers paired him against in the ring was grievously wounded. Its black, pupil-less eyes, pled for mercy.

I’ve already won. What purpose would striking a killing blow serve?

“Victory is mine. No need for death today,” he grandly announced, pulling back the point of his sword. Those watching groaned with disappointment. The alien’s lips peeled back in a grimace of thanks, which showed quite a few razor-sharp teeth.

Doing the merciful thing felt so good. Dyre swelled with pride. The mercenary way wasn’t the only route for a warrior, and applying a final thrust to one already defeated wasn’t the only answer.

He’d proven his prowess and beaten his foe. And now, he would celebrate the day’s hard work with food and drink—while ignoring the taunts of those who called him weak because he chose to show clemency. Personally, he thought it took greater strength to not give in to the adrenaline and bloodlust, as well as the peer pressure.

Hmm, I see I still need to work on my modesty. The path of good was a constant battle, especially since it went against his natural-born inclinations.

With a final salute to the jeering crowd and the one he spared, Dyre pivoted on a heel and strode toward the doorway leading to the cleansing units. A furtive whisper and a single uttered, “Dibs on his locker” were the only warning something was amiss.

Dyre whirled, blade in hand, slashing before he’d completed his turn, ripping across the guts of the creature he’d spared. For a moment, chagrin beset him. I can’t believe I killed it when it probably just wanted to hug me in thanks.

Or not.

The knife it held in a clawed hand spoke more of an attempt to slit his throat than a congratulatory embrace. So much for his act of mercy.

“Why is being a hero so frukxing hard?” he muttered.

A question he would often ask in the galactic revolutions that followed. An utterance that would earn him more than one beating from his parents who couldn’t understand why he refused to be like all the other boys, stealing and murdering. His lonely quest to lead the life of a good and noble hero generated scorn from everyone around him and banishment from his father, which in the end, suited him just fine.

Many tales of heroes—from books smuggled in from other planets where such a rare thing existed—spoke of the lonely, wandering warrior offering his services for the benefit of all. Battling forces of evil. Saving the downtrodden. Rescuing fair maidens.

Now if only the damned downtrodden and maidens would stop forcing him to kill them when he did them a favor.

Chapter One

“If it hurts, don’t do it.” – A Mercenary’s Guide to Prosperity

“A proper hero should suffer without complaint.” – The Unofficial Guide to Heroism

Clambering the steep and rocky hillside took a little effort and caused Dyre to sweat something fierce under the three hot suns. But he didn’t allow petty things such as his own comfort to stand in his way of doing the right thing. A hero should always suffer when on a proper quest, or so his informal rules, which he’d created, stated.

Reaching the top, he stood on the plateau that stretched along the mountainous ridge as far as the eyes could see. Only this section of the promontory remained clear, the rest of the lofty spine covered in thick foliage, which hid untold dangers for the unwary. Or, as he liked to call it, fun-filled exercise.

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