Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
“[dropcap]M[/dropcap]y source told me,” Fischer said, “Laika is an impulsive guy.” His words reminded me of yesterday when we were consulting for a strategy about today’s duel when my father, Fischer and I were involved.
“Despite the fact that he excels in combat, he’s not mentally stable. Besides, he has a weak spot!”
“What is it?” Father asked Fischer.
“Sure it’s… the minister’s daughter, Lisa!” grinned the prince, “She’s been acting as reckless as she can be after the disengagement with you, Cohen, going crazy slutting around the city among different men. Laika wrangled for dozens of times and every time they ended up in discord. Laika has lost all hope, and he can’t do anything about this daughter of the Prime Minister.
“Aha, that bitch. I bet Laika never saw that coming.” I laughed, “This is a good one; we should take advantage of it.”
“Watch your language.” my father sipped his wine, and said, “Son, do what you think that is right, many courtiers are on our side. Tennessee told me your martial skill is above average of boys of your age. His Majesty has explicitly said he’d give you the Dark Forest. However, no doubt the Minister will intervene, and Laika is one of his cards.
The arrival to the royal garden brought the reality back to me
There was already an open space vacated in the western garden, with audiences crowded around and two empty cathedrals at the center for the king and the queen.
“Hey, Laika.” I toyed my Machete, my right hand on the hilt and left on the sheath end, said, “I heard you’ve been quite occupied recently.”
Laika remained silent.
“Lady Lisa got a lot prettier, I reckon. Men are after her.” I let out a laugh and continued, “Win her heart, win both fame and wealth.”
“Baron Kheda!” Hearing what I said, the Minister can’t sit still no more, “Please stop that nonsense!”
“Mr. Minister,” My father stood up, “Is there a problem. I see no problem for kids to talk before a tryout.”
“Cohen Kheda is bothering him!” A guy beside the Minister jumped on his feet.
“His Majesty has given them enough time to prepare!” A bearded magister at a neighboring seat said, “Since the boys are here, they are ready. How are they capable of serving the king if he can’t stand a few words?”
“Thank you, Jucken,” Father said, then turned to the Minister, “And if Laika needs more time…”
“No arguments there!” I agreed, “If Baron Laika is not ready we can always postpone today’s tryout.”
“You!” Laika’s face reddened, but he maintained himself. However, this honored graduate student of the Royal Academy was clearly not trained in dispute and judging by his clenched teeth I knew he’s a rookie.
He was indeed one greenhand; however, the minister and the rest were not. They had practiced on how to argue, and it was not their habit to be imposed on. Instantly both sides started quarreling, wild eyes raged, cursing words came back and forth, the western garden instantly became a country farm market, while Laika and I were left standing.
When the awful discord was about to burst into a group fight, a eunuch horned and there came the king and the queen.
All but none seized fire and knelt. The king, who was apparently used to such a situation, walked right through his court members and was 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 threw an unnoticeable thumb-up to me.
“Are the two of you ready?” The chief eunuch asked.
“Sure,” I said.
“Positive!” Laika let out a sound.
“Before you begin, I have to inform you.” The king said, towards everyone besides us, “Watch your language.”
Then, the king fetched a piece of a silver handkerchief. He stared at Laika and me, then let the cloth go.
“AHHHHHHHH.” Laika’s lips twitched, bi-handler sword drawn, sheath fell.
“COME ON!” The silk has fallen.
“Ahhhhhh!” Laika roared and dashed forward, in a blink of an eye, his weapon was already above my head.
“The initial attack shall be used as a trial for the opponent’s strength.” Tennessee once said.
I held my Machete high as a counter back while I stood still.
Short distance saw an imminent strike.
After the swords clashed with each other and made a loud noise, my sword’s middle part and that of Laika’s bottom part had impacted. I gained a small advantage.
“The rule makes it clear that the first strike is a tryout, the two must separate immediately.” Tennessee once explained the rules for a nobility duel, “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 that of 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 on my list.
For anyone who made a big double-handed sword as his weapon, it was crucial 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. Laika’s huge sword kept on slashing in the air over and over again onto my Machete. This was when my uniquely designed sword began to show its advantage. Like was forged in vibranium(translator’s note: not a typo), the machete vibrated every time on each impact to discharge most of the counterforce.
“Eleven! Twelve!” I counted as I retreated.
As the sound of cheering grew louder, Laika has been attacking in series 23 times.
“I think he’s wasted now.” My waist was numb even with the help of the weapon.
He made a crosscut and approached again. I dodged and noticed his sword halted for a short moment in mid-air.
“Chance!” I kick my right leg, and with that opposing force, I thrust straight with my blade leveled, before Laika could position himself to defend.
Laika was unable to shield himself, but still, he stopped my sword with 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 touched each other, I altered the direction in the air and went for his leg.
“DANG!” He blocked my strike. However, his breath quickened.
(Why gasp this early? I’m not over yet!)
The blade swirled a half in the air and flew to Laika’s right.
It was apparent that Laika was on the edge of exhaustion. Every of my attack has made him react with wide-range movement using his big heavy sword, causing the strength to run off rapidly. However, I was not planning to give this fight a quick ending. Haste makes waste that I knew.
“BANG!” He shielded my strike one more time, 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 defend Laika made one of his rare smiles and thought that I was tired enough to make any subsequent attacks. He was ready to get offensive again.
I slightly backed my sword and again thrust the weapon towards Laika, 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 struck seven times, and Laika shielded all of them with his sword in pain without a move. I knew the man’s muscles on both arms were already strained.
“Final attack!” I gazed at Laika viciously.
A swing and I sneaked behind Laika’s sword and slashed in his left.
As the blade stopped in the mid-air, the boy of pride froze.