K is for Kudzu Knights

K is for Kudzu Knights

BUT THESE ARE SECRETS THAT NO MERE MORTAL SHOULD KNOW.

Kyle stood thoughtfully along the edge the Market’s roof while watching the paved lots below him, “That makes sense, but would you tell me anyway?”

IT IS IN THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY. IT WOULD BE ENTERTAINING.

He hung a foot out into the open air as though he was about to walk up a flight of invisible stairs, “Entertaining to who?”

MYSELF.

“Figures.”

A wisp of smoke in the air caught Kyle’s eye. It rose from outside the barrier wall that surrounded the Market and its lots. As he watched, the smoke turned from a wisp of gray into angry orange and white smoke mixed with occasional black streaks. The barrier wall itself was on fire.

THERE IS A FIRE.

“I hadn’t noticed it.”

IT IS FORMING IN LOT SECTOR BW-38B. TILES O-26, 27, 51-53 AND 76.

“I can see it from here.”

O-54 HAS LOST INTEGRITY. YOU CAN NOT. IT IS ON THE OUTSIDE PERMITER.

“Yes…” Kyle stopped before continuing the argument, “You’re right, I can’t. I’ll go take a look then. Don’t wait for me.” He stepped off the edge of the Market into a free fall. The cement walkway cracked under his work boots as he landed. He took a moment to brush himself off and then began a slow walk across the parking lot, taking care to avoid potholes with smashed vehicles at the bottoms of them.

About halfway across the lot, Kyle stopped gave the wall looming up before him a suspicious stare down. “I am pretty sure you should not be doing that,” he said towards the wall. The barrier wall appeared to writhe. He pulled up a wrecked bumper, bent it into a crude chair and sat down to wait this one out.

He didn’t have to wait long before a few black wisps of smoke appeared for him. The black smoke grew into a billowing cloud by the time whatever was on the wall burst into flames, a white smoke added into the mix. The fire burned out semi-radially along the inside of the barrier to form a crude flaming archway.

A dark shape stepped through the arch and out into the parking lot. Kyle couldn’t identify the suit of burnt-green armor that stood in front of him. A large burlap satchel hung over the suit’s left shoulder. In the suit’s right hand held a massive serrated sword that could have been part of a saw blade from a wood mill somewhere. Behind this suit, several more stepped through the burning hole in barrier wall. More with satchels and swords of their own, others with flamethrowers strapped to their backs.

Kyle stood up to wave a greeting and announced in an overly friendly voice, “Hello, welcome to MacSweeny’s Maniacal Material Market.”

The first suit removed his helmet, “I am Lord Ventari, and we are the Kudzu Knights. Surrender this land peacefully, and we shall burn down this atrocity to return this property to its former glory.” The man pulled a handful of black seeds out of the satchel to scatter around the pavement in front of him. Behind Lord Ventari, the rest of the knights with bags did the same.

Kyle frowned as he watched the seeds sprout to take root into the pavement. “I’m sorry,” he addressed Lord Ventari, “I cannot make that call, you will need to schedule a meeting with management and discuss terms of your surrender with them. You are welcome to come back tomorrow and file in the morning. Otherwise, I must consider you trespassers if you are not here to do some shopping.”

Lord Ventari laughed, “Dear boy, this land was stolen from the proper owners, it you who are trespassing. We do not negotiate and we will right this blight.”

“And who owns this property?”

“All belongs to Crystal,” the knight replied.

Kyle pinched his forehead; he could play along, “If Crystal wanted this land she can come claim it herself, it’s not like MacSweeny’s is all that hard to find.” He pointed up into the air where the Market’s logo danced among the clouds. “Besides, do you realize how big this place is? Your burning Kudzu isn’t going to do much damage.” Even as he had said that Kyle had to back up against the Kudzu that had been spreading furiously over the ground where the knights had thrown the seeds.

“We’ve been infiltrating and planning for years; we are quite prepared.” Lord Ventari replaced his helmet as the other Knights torched the growing kudzu into an inferno around them.

Kyle backed up further against the heat into a pole, “Fine; a warning was issued, and negotiations have failed. I will now remove you from the property by force.”

“I welcome you to try!” Lord Ventari hurtled from the inferno, sword raised for an attack.

“Fine.” Kyle reached for the pole behind him and ripped it from the ground. The top of the pole held a stop sign while the bottom retained some of the concrete. He gave it a few experimental swings before settling into a defensive stance. “Let’s dance, you threadbare yarf ball.”

“You will regret siding with them this day, Weaver!” Lord Ventari called to his men who dropped their satchels and attacked with their commander as a single unit.

Kyle blocked the first three swords that came at him. He twisted to the stop sign to block their vision while sweeping another two swords away. Jumping back, he held onto the concrete and whirl-winded around a few times, forcing the knights to clear away. They returned to press him back across the lot as he defended each blow. Kyle feigned a forward thrust only to reverse and smash one of the approaching knights behind him with the concrete end. The knight went flying through the air. He took down another knight to his right after going to the left.

Several knights got in close under his defense to gash up his arms and legs with their saw blade swords. Kyle ignored the pain. They were too fast to block them all, especially with the stop sign as a handicap. He still had the larger range and only required to connect with a knight once to take him out. A glancing blow would work just as fine here too. He didn’t need to be precise like they did. With another backward sweeping arc, he took down two more knights who expected a thrust.

A flamethrower knight charged out of the burning kudzu, barrel spitting a gout of flames at Kyle who leaped out of the way to land inside one of the craters. He emerged with a bumper in each hand.

One bumper scored a direct hit on the fuel-laden knight, unable to move fast enough out of the way. The man stumbled back into the flames, causing a ruptured fuel line caught fire. He dropped his weapon and ran as it exploded, damaging the other fire wielding knights. They dropped their armaments and ran back out through the barrier wall as each fuel pod exploded.

With the bumper as a shield, Kyle charged several more knights who broke rank to flee.

“I commend you, an employee of the destroyers, you fight well,” Lord Ventari slowly clapped as Kyle caught his breath.

“Do you wish to continue?” Kyle planted the bumper into the ground to reach for the stop sign again.

“No, I will yield this day, I will tend to my wounded,” Lord Ventari slide his toothed sword into its scabbard, “May I have your name?”

“I am Kyle Millstone, Employee for MacSweeny’s,” he sat down on the ground.

“Next time we meet, Kyle, you will regret it,” Lord Ventari saluted his adversary and walked off to gather the wounded.

“I’ll be waiting,” Kyle sat and let them retreat through the hole they had made in the barrier wall.

It was then he noticed that they had all left their seed bags behind which had blossomed into growing burning shrubs. “Those yarfs!”

Massive dazzling jets of diamond blue fire erupted across the parking lot reaching high into the sky. The heat and intensity forced Kyle back towards the main building of the Market. The bags of seed, growing kudzu, the parking lot and sections BW-38B and 38C of the wall vaporized.

NASTY SEEDS. ONCE THEY GET IN YOUR CRACKS, THEY ARE IMPOSSIBLE TO GET OUT.

“Couldn’t you have done that first?”

TUNNEL BORERS WHERE REQUIRED. THIS WEAKNESS HAS BEEN NOTED.

Kyle sat down, back against the side of the building, “I’m going to take my break now.”

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