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Vance allowed himself a quick glance over his shoulder, and the Ky'Thain was nowhere to be seen. 'I think we've lost him,' he said, slowing the pace a little. The other Rangers followed suit, and all three of them sucked air into their lungs.

A sudden commotion from down the street indicated they had not lost the Ky'Thain after all. Cries of alarm rang out as the Drazi spotted the spindly creature rushing after its prey. 'Get back to the ship,' said Vance, brandishing his denn'bok. 'I have an idea.'

'But we cannot allow ourselves to be split up,' said Jerklenn.

'Trust me,' Vance replied with a wink. 'Get to the ship and don't wait for me. I'll head this one off, and hopefully

* * *

It will lead the others away from you. It's the only way.' His last words drowned out Jerklenn's attempts at protest. Vance nodded to Merreck who, with a nod back, grabbed Jerklenn's arm and pulled her along. Reluctantly she and Merreck began their flight once more.

Vance turned to face the charging Ky'Thain. As it saw him simply standing in the middle of the street, it slowed, eyeing him suspiciously. Vance stared back, hoping that Merreck and Jerklenn could put as much distance between them and the Ky'Thain as possible.

Skittishly, the Ky'Thain glanced around, wondering if this was some king of trap. It stepped forward, but Vance did not move, trying to stare down the creature as best he could. Gradually it advanced, flicking the spikes from its wrist carapace.

Vance spun his denn'bok in a tight flurry: one of the katas used by the Anla'shok to teach basic proficiency with the weapon. The simple move was designed to look impressive to the untrained eye. The Ky'Thain stopped in its tracks, seemingly mesmerised by the weapon's blinding speed.

It had now been
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