The Dog and the Wolf

"What's that around your neck?" the sniper asked.

"This?" the General seemed caught off-guard. He touched it briefly. "It is the Knight's Cross. A military order of the highest honor."

Rikt smiled.

"It must chafe a bit," he commented. "But one soon gets used to it."

"Well—yes."

The floor between the General and the sniper was marble, checkered black-and-white. Like a chessboard. It clicked slightly as Rikt stood up.

"Is that all?" he said. "Then good-bye to you."

The General frowned.

Rikt made a mocking bow and pivoted on his heel. The soldiers at the door tried to flank him—but he muttered two words, and they let him walk alone.