Duel part 2
Characters in this chapter
- Fischer: Prince of the Swabia Empire, Cohen’s friend.
- Visual Kheda: Cohen’s father. Duke of the Swabia Empire
- Luhrmann: The Prime Minister of Swabia, a Holy Temple assigned official to Swabia.
- Climos & Nashor Summers: King and Queen of the Swabia Empire
- Laika: Cousin of the Prime Minister’s second daughter. He got into a fight with Cohen in the capital Grand Altar, which awakened Cohen’s true self.
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Tennessee: Expert warrior, one of Cohen’s professors, Cohen’s parents’ good friend.
“My intel shows,” Fischer said, “Laika is a man of impulse.”
His words reminded me of yesterday when we were negotiation a strategy for today’s duel, father, Fischer and I.
“Despite the fact he triumphs in combat, he’s not high in mentality. Besides, he has a weak spot!”
“What is it?” Father asked Fischer.
“Sure it’s… the minister’s daughter, Lisa!” He grinned at me, “She’s been like a wild cat in after the disengagement, going crazy slutting around the city among stranger men. Laika wrangled for no less than ten times and every time they ended up in discord. Laika was hopeless, and he can’t do anything about this daughter of the Prime Minister.
“Aha, he never thought he’d see this coming.” I laughed, “This is a good one; we should take advantage of it.”
“My son isn’t much of a fool after all.” Father sipped his wine, and grinned, “Just do what you think is right, many courtiers support us. Tennessee told me that your martial skill is not a concern among anyone of your age, and His Majesty has explicitly said he’d give that land to you. However, no doubt the Minister will intervene, and Laika is a card he drew.
There was already an open space vacated in the western garden, with audiences crowded around and two empty cathedrals for the Summers couple.
“Hey, Laika.” I put the Machete behind the waist, and my right hand hold the hilt and left on the sheath end, said, “I heard you’ve been quite occupied recently.”
Laika said no words.
“Her Lady Lisa got a lot prettier, I reckon. Men are after her.” I let out a laugh and continued, “To get her and reap both fame and wealth.”
“Baron Kheda!” Hearing what I said, the minister can’t sit still no more, “Please stop that nonsense!”
“Mr. Prime Minister,” My father stood up, “Is there a problem, kids talking before a tryout? There’s no need interfering them, right?”
“Cohen Kheda is bothering him!” A guy beside the minister jumped on his feet.
“His Majesty have given them enough time!” A bearded Magister at a neighboring table said, “Since the boys are here means they are ready, right? How are they capable of serving the king if he can’t stand a few words?”
“I agree!” Father said, “If Laika needs another moment to prepare himself…”
“No arguments there!” I agreed with father, “If Baron Laika thinks he’s not ready.”
“You!” Laika said as if he was scolded and tried to control himself. However, this honored graduate student of the Royal Academy was clearly not trained on fall out and judging by his clenched teeth I knew he’s a rookie.
He was indeed one green hand; however, the minister and the rest were not. They had practice on how to argue, and it was not their habit to be imposed on. Instantly both sides started quarreling by the book, wild eyes raged, cursing words came back and forth, the western garden became a food market… not much of my business here.
While the awful arguing was about to burst into a group fight, a eunuch horned and here came the emperor couple.
All but none seized fire and knelt, and His Majesty, who was apparently used to such situation, walked right through the officials and be seated on his throne. Queen Nashor gave me a half smile and took her place by the King as well. Fischer stood behind them, poker-faced, and swung his right thumb secretly towards me.
“Are the two of you ready?” The chief eunuch asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Positive!” Laika slipped a sound.
“Before you begin, I have to inform you.” The king said, towards everyone besides us, “Mind your words.”
His Majesty had a piece of silver handkerchief in his hand. He stared at Laika and me, then let go.
“Hey.” Laika’s lips twitched, drew his bi-handler, sheath dropped.
“Come on!” The silk has fallen.
“Ahhhhhh!” He roared and dashed forward, weapon above my head.
“The initial attack shall be used as a trial for the opponent’s strength.” Tennessee once said.
I held up my Machete as a counter back while I stood still.
Short distance saw imminent strike.
After the swords crashed each other and made a loud noise, my sword’s middle part and that of Laika’s bottom part had impact… small advantage.
“The rule makes it clear that the first strike is a tryout, the two must separate them immediately.” Tennessee once explained the rules for nobility tryout, “And this is where the actual match begins.”
“I will break your bone!” Our weapons interlaced and we were face to face. My opponent’s eyes were as large as a cow.
“I trust you.” I whispered, “Though I heard Ms. Lisa’s first night took place elsewhere.”
“That’s none of your problems!” Laika was distracted, “Loser!”
“Now you’ll earn this title!” I grinned like a devil, “That bitch’s been fucked over a million times…”
We slipped apart as everybody cheered.
Before today, I have researched my tactic carefully. Laika’s combat skill and weaponry were all among my list.
For anyone who made a big bi-handler his weapon, what’s crucial was to seize the initiative and maintain active attack. A steady pace of defending and breathing will save on great physical strength.
Skilled in combat as he was, Laika was only a sixteen. If I could wear him out, then I would be basically winning!
Laika started his furious movements.
The incoming attack was fearsome with the bi-handler slashed in the air over and over again onto my Machete. Then my uniquely designed sword began to show its advantage. It tremored to discharge most impact the moment I block Laika’s weapon.
“Eleven! Twelve!” I counted as I retreated.
The sound of cheering grew louder, Laika has been attacking in series for twenty-three times.
“I think he’s done.” My waist was numb even with the swirls on the weapon.
He made a crosscut and approached again. I dodged and noticed his sword halted in mid air.
“Chance!” I kick the right leg, and with that opposing force, I thrust straight with the Machete leveled, before Laika could position himself to defend.
Laika was unable to shield himself, but still, he stopped my sword with part of the hilt, barely.
I retracted mine, stamped right and chopped again towards his right shoulder.
He fell back drastically while shielded by holding up the weapon.
Before our swords crashed on each other, I have altered the direction in the air and went for his leg.
“DANG!” He blocked it. However, the breath of him became hash.
Why gasp this early? I’m not over yet!
The blade swirled a half in the air and flew to the right…
It was seeable that Laika was intense. Every my attack have made him react with wide-range movement using his big heavy bi-handler, causing the strength to flow rapidly. However, I was not planning to give this fight a quick ending. Haste makes waste that I knew.
“BANG!” He blocked me again, only this time, I slowed purposely to let him do that.
“When one’s confidence fades, failure signs its contract!”
I have forgotten who said that, but it was a thing. So from now on, I was going to break his confidence.
After a successful defendant, Laika made one of his rare smiles and thought that I was tired enough to make subsequent attacks. He was ready to be offensive again.
I slightly backed my sword and again slapped towards Laika’s, whose sword was greatly slowed due to the waste of physical strength.
Impact, Laika lost his balance and looked terrified.
One more chop, same position, same speed, same timing…
I cut seven times, and Laika held them in pain without a move. I knew the man’s muscle on both arms were already strained and numbed.
“Final attack!” I gazed at Laika viciously.
A swing and I sneaked behind Laika’s sword and slashed in his left.
The blade stopped in the mid air, he stopped.