Tally hunkered down behind a stack of crates, hugging a slug pistol close to his body. He’d offered Skagg, the head of the local sanitation union, a chunk of the funds given to him by the weasels to intercept the bi—the tigress—and send her toward his position. A bunch of Skagg’s bruisers backed Tally. A few more hung out in the fire escapes or leaned over balcony railings. Tally cackled then clamped a hoof hand over his mouth at the glare from Cutter, Skagg’s second, nominally in charge of jumping the tigress when she came running this way.
But Tally knew who was really in charge. He could picture leading the trash bruisers down the alley, guns blazing, catching the tigress and turning her into so much chopped and smoking meat. The thought made Tally warm all over.
“You gon’ sit there pissin’ n’ gigglin’ you’sef like some schoolgirl?” Cutter pulled a cigar from between his lips, hawked and spat. “Or you gon’ git up heah and fight when the’s fightin’ ta be done?”
Tally curled his lips, waved the foul-smelling cigar smoke away. “You talk funny,” he sneered. “Anyone ever tell you that? And could you point that thing someplace else? Tally don’t like the smell of it.”
Cutter threw back his head and laughed, sweeping ragged white-tinged blonde locks from his eyes. “You a funny ‘un, colt. Maybe stupid. Maybe bravuh ‘un you look.” He spat again. “My guess, you jes’ stupid.”
Tally narrowed his eyes on the long-handled, short-bladed sword hanging from the older quin’s belt and clamped down on the surge of anger that swept through him. After the tigress, Cutter needed to die as well, but not yet. Tally knew the others might not follow him immediately if he gutted the older quin with his own namesake, but they’d see reason soon enough.
He turned back to gaze over the crates. No sound came to him from the surrounding streets. Too quiet. Just the rumbling of his belly reminding him he hadn’t eaten today. Right about then he caught the scent of broiling fish from a market side cook shack a street or two over. His stomach did a flip and he gritted his teeth.
Maybe dealing with Cutter could wait until after he’d eaten.