Chapter XLIX – The Bloody Train (Day 5)

Rem reached for Anthony’s hand and helped him to get up.

“Good job,” said Anthony giving Rem a kiss on his cheek and a hug.

Rem rubbed his back.

“Come, we deserve something great,” said Anthony pulling his hand. “You are a sharpshooter and I’m a great cook. We’ll be a good tandem.”

Rem caught a young wild boar using his knife throwing skills. Anthony immediately roasted it and then they had a feast. While eating, he found out that Anthony was such a cool person and they really got along. He felt sad that when four of them remained, they will still have to go up with each other. The two spent the rest of the hours walking with Rem leading the way. However, he didn’t reveal that he was leading him to Marybeth.

When it got darker they both just looked for a nice ground and took turns in taking rests and guarding. Rem was still in his full guard and he knew Anthony was also doing the same.

*****

“Rem, wake up now,” said Anthony shaking Rem’s left shoulder. “The sun’s already up.”

Rem stood, did some stretching and prepared himself.

“Would mind looking for our meal? I’ll look for some herbs,” said Anthony.

Rem agreed.

While walking around, Rem saw another marking left by Marybeth on a tree. He inspected it and became delighted seeing that the sap around the carvings was still soft meaning she might have left it only a few hours.

“Rem… Where are you?” said Anthony from a few meters.

Rem immediately left the carvings and looked around.

“I’m here, I can’t find something that we can eat,” said Rem. “I’ll be back as soon as I caught one.”

A few more minutes, Rem spotted a wild rabbit. He then sneaked through from the bushes, aimed, shot and they have something to eat. He returned and saw Anthony already boiling the water using a rock with a huge sink. He jumped for joy after seeing him carrying the rabbit.

“This is delicious. Great job!”

In front of Rem, Anthony skinned the rabbit, chopped and immediately put it in the improvised casserole. He just watched Anthony.

“Don’t watch me, Rem. You should be guarding this place,” said Anthony while smiling at him.

“Oh, sorry,” Rem said. He immediately left Anthony and walked a few distance to guard the place. A few more minutes, he was called because the breakfast was ready.

“I’m so starving now,” said Anthony while sitting on a rock and carrying half of a coconut shell. “Don’t be shy Rem. Stew is my specialty.”

Rem picked the half of the coconut shell and got some. However, from the smell of the stew alone, he knew there was something. He inspected the bowl using his knife to look for something and despite he failed he knew he had to trust his instinct.

Rem stood and walked near Anthony who was already eating his meal.

“Let’s exchange bowl. Mine’s still hot,” said Rem.

“Thanks, Rem. But, I hate too hot stews. It burns my tongue,” said Anthony.

“Alright, take some soup. I got too many,” Rem said acting he will pour some soup from his bowl to Anthony’s.

“What?” Anthony said retracting his hands away, avoiding the soup. “If you are thinking that I’m trying to poison you, think again. If I wanted to kill you, I might have done it in the middle of the night. When you are snoring.”

Rem fell silent.

“Sorry, don’t want to offend you,” Rem said walking away.

“Just eat. We are just wasting our time.”

Rem reclined on a huge rock. He again inspected the soup, smelled it, and tried to recall the familiar smell. He remembered it.

“Hemlock, right?” said Rem looking at the improvised pot. Anthony was surprised. “Conium Maculatum, It’s one of the earliest poisons used to kill people. It was used as early as 300 BC and became popular because it was used to kill Socrates. I almost fall for that. Too bad, I smelled it,” Rem added giving Anthony a sharp stare.

Anthony chuckled, put his bowl down, and shook some dust on his suit.

“Impressive, Rem. Impressive! That’s why you are perceived as one of the greatest fighters, here. You are marked,” said Anthony.

“Why just kill me now? Not yesterday when you had time earlier?” asked Rem.

“I don’t actually have the intention. But, earlier, after stumbling to a hemlock, I thought I should be eliminating the threats. With your help, Matilda was out and I assume you also killed Brandon because I found two daggers near his body, right?”

“None of your business…”

“Now you busted me, let’s fight.”

Rem reached for his daggers; one each hand. As much as possible, he wanted to stay away from Anthony knowing his superb fighting skills. However, their distance was quite small. Anthony ran towards him, prompting him to throw a dagger. Indeed, he was a fighter to watch out for as he was able to flip his body several times just to avoid them.

Rem had to think fast… Anthony was already coming and he knew throwing dagger won’t help him that much. He decided to just fight him with his bolo and daggers at the same time.

The Grothlins members were again presented with an online betting system. It showed that majority are for Anthony who had $70 trillion compared to the $8 billion of Rem.

Rem, upon inching closer to Anthony, brandished his bolo. However, it looked like he was being played on. Anthony was smiling while dodging the deadly weapon.

After a few minutes of making fun of Rem, Anthony gave him a powerful blow on his stomach that pushed him down a few feet away. Rem crunched while holding on his stomach. He was then surprised that his opponent appeared in front of him and give him a powerful kick on the side. His opponent continued to laugh.

Rem stood despite in pain. Anthony again ran and with his speed and experience, he landed multiple punches and kicks. At one point, Rem caught his hand and bit him on his wrist that made him growl in pain.

“What the heck was that? Biting? Stupid,” said Anthony while holding on his wound. He again laughed and ran to Rem. “Maybe, that’s desperation,” he added.

Rem again took several hard blows coming from Anthony. When he was already badly beaten with swollen left eyebrow as well as scars all over his face, Anthony positioned himself behind him and gave him a rear naked choke. Taller, the Pachree fighter slightly bent backward to carry the younger fighter.

“You are the most handsome opponent I’ve ever faced,” said Anthony near Rem’s ear. He then kissed Rem’s left side neck and licked his cheek up to the ear and side forehead. “To be honest, I wanted to sleep with you but what has to be done, needs to be done,” he added. He mildly bit Rem’s ear.

Rem’s face turned dark, which is an indication that he’s about to pass out. Anthony laughed probably because he was already tasting victory. However, Rem used his remaining strength to reach for his pocket and then revealed a vial. He toppled the cork and immediately pressed the mouth part of the vial on Anthony’s only wound caused by his bite.

Anthony immediately felt the pain He shouted and released Rem. Rem crawled away while coughing. He took his rope out and his fingers immediately work to make a knot.

“What did you do to me?” said Anthony said while holding on his arm.

“It’s venom coming from a rattlesnake,” said Rem trying to get up. He was still coughing.

“My bite? It’s no desperation. It’s my only way to give you a wound because you are too powerful,” said Rem, attempting to get up. “In your system is a neurotoxin, crawling its way to your nervous system. Just what like you wanted to do to me, it’s a slow and painful way to die, my friend,” said Rem, still crutching on the soily ground.

“No, I won’t die here just like that,” said Anthony. “We’ll die together. I’ll kill you first.”

Limping because the painful venom was already crawling in his system, Anthony ran towards Rem. He tried to punch the Arkiman member, but the latter caught his arm with his rope and in a matter of seconds, he was completely tied.

Rem purposely had a few more meters of rope from the knots, which he tied around the handle his dagger that he throw above a tree trunk. He then walked to the other side, picked the dagger and pulled sending Anthony upside down with zero chance of getting away.

“You will die here,” said Anthony. He was already crying. “You won’t win, you are badly injured. You won’t stand others.”

Rem tied the rope on the exposed root of a tree and walked away.

He knew anytime Anthony will die so he didn’t use his remaining strength to finish the task. A few meters away, he fell on the dried leaves and about to lose consciousness. He heard the alarm.

Rem felt weak and dizzy; he doesn’t have any more power to continue walking away to a much safer place. Everything went slow – the howl of the winds, chirping of birds and the sunshine that passed through the leaves made him want to sleep. He closed his eyes and it felt better than keeping his eyes opened. He again breathed deeply. He had no choice but to let the fortune take over.