TITLE: The Con of War
GENRE: YA Science Fantasy
Domino is prisoner aboard Anturo's airship. The explosion is from his sister Yula, who was trying to protect their city from Anturo's army. Meka = mecha.
The second explosion was much bigger than the first. When the shockwave struck the airship, the gondola pitched backward, sending table and papers flying. The crew either grabbed hold of what they could or else fell to the floor.
When the gondola leveled out, every man rushed to the windows to see what had happened. They shared a suffocating silence of disbelief. Where once there'd been an army, there was now a wedge of scorched earth a kilo long on either side. Outlines of fallen horses and men dotted the outer edge. A few still moved farther from the blast, but inside the wedge there was nothing. Not bodies, not ash.
At the source of the explosion were a small round crater and the husks of two mekas. Even from here, Domino could see the meka that had fired the blast was different from the ones Anturo had brought with him.
He watched a long time, hoping the machine would move, or someone would emerge from it, but it was as dead as the army it had destroyed.
"You knew . . ." Anturo's words sounded a long way off.
Ko was supposed to help Yula. She was supposed to be okay.
From the same distance as Anturo's words came the metal scrape of a sword pulled from its sheath. Domino turned, but everything was blurred by tears. He recognized the sword over Anturo's head too late.
"You knew!" The sword swiped through the air. Domino shut his eyes, feeling a wind brush his cheek, hearing the sword strike his bones.