Phoenix
yagi crawling over the edge of the roof, and another already on the roof, making its way toward me.
    No sign of Ram.
    If the yagi come through the door, they could infiltrate the building, and then there would only be one thin wooden door—probably hollow core, even, judging by the low-budget construction of this place—separating Nia from the yagi.
    Maybe I shouldn’t have left Nia sleeping.
    There’s no time to wake her up now. I burst through the door, swing my sword in a practiced butterfly maneuver, and decapitate the first yagi. At the same time, I kick the door firmly shut behind me and draw another sword with my left hand.
    The yagi that was climbing over the roof edge a moment ago now bounds toward me. I leap forward to meet him, greeting him with my blade neatly inserted in the seam between his head and body.
    The head drops, rolling on the lightly-sloped rooftop. I bound over it just as two more yagi scramble over the roof edge toward me.
    “What are you doing up here?” Ram’s voice calls from somewhere behind me.
    I glance back and spot him decapitating yagi up and down the other side of the roof.
    “Saving your butt.” I decapitate the two newest arrivals and dart to the front of the building, where six more yagi have breached the rooftop. “What are you doing?”
    “Protecting you and Nia.”
    “Doing a grand job of it,” I sever six heads neatly in a row, only to have two more yagi pop up behind them.
    And a swarm of them climb over the rooftop where I stood moments before.
    “Somebody has to.” Ram’s facing a small wall of yagi. He slices along the front row, severing countless heads, before pushing the bodies back, forcing the living yagi backwards off the wall.
    I see it all in a glance as I’m spinning to face the newcomers. The air is growing thick with their stench, and for every one we kill, two or more rise to take their place.
    Okay, maybe the first ones were scouts, but the rest of the horde has started moving in.
    “You know you can’t possibly kill them all. They’ll just keep coming. Eudora will just keep making them.” I kill three, then spin, executing a neat side-kick, knocking the bodies back to topple the newcomers.
    “Yes. Well. We’ve got to do something,” Ram counters, swords swinging, slicing off yagi heads. “Can’t just sleep while they surround us.”
    “Do something indeed,” I grunt from the effort of forcing my sword through a badly-aimed slice, while keeping those behind me at bay with another side kick. “What we’re doing doesn’t seem to be working. There are too many of them.”
    “I’d retreat,” Ram groans as he tries to push back a wall of yagi using the bodies of their slain comrades, “but they’d only follow us. We don’t dare lead them to Nia.”
    I spin, throw a few more sidekicks, and sever three more heads, but instead of gaining ground, I’m forced back, closer to my brother.
    “We’ve got to keep them from getting inside.” It occurs to me, even as I speak the words, that with the yagi swarming the building so thickly, our primary objective should be to defend the door.
    Ram turns that direction at the same time, and we both see the same thing.
    The yagi are pouring in behind us. They’re headed for the door.
    “No!” I shout, raising both swords, ignoring the yagi pouring onto the roof on all sides, caring only about stopping those headed for the door to the stairs.
    Ram leaps beside me, and we hack our way through the wall of oncoming dragon hunters, kicking the first decapitated bodies out of the way, trying to breach the throng that’s swelling toward the door.
    If they reach the door, it will be only a matter of minutes, maybe only seconds, before they take the stairs, sniff out our room, and burst in to attack Nia in her sleep.
    I cannot allow that to happen.
    “Keep your back to mine,” I order my brother. “We’ll have to force our way through them from the middle.”
    “There’s no time!” Ram insists,

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