After two months the next release is back again! Considering I would have written this about two years ago it’s long past time since I got this book out!
I have been busy lately so I’m sorry. Let’s recap the story so far: Kil and Rob brewed potions to make the contestants fall into a long enough sleep to miss their matches and grant them an automatic win. As well as this Rick made a violent extreme act towards Maron which has made their relationship quite difficult.
The feeling of walking was something that I had felt my entire life, but not it was strange to be able to feel it again. I could walk more or less fine, with only a small amount of strain on my legs. The few days since I cast the spell with Maron, had not been easy. We had argued a lot. And though it seemed to have healed, it was going to take a long time before it felt the same way again.
A large amount of this was my fault, and it was difficult to not feel guilt in every waking moment. I had to push all of this out of my mind though if I was to win the next fight.
Everyone would be there watching me and I couldn’t stand the thought of losing, because it would help us as a group. When both Kil and I were matched up against Maron, she would have an easier fight, whereas the other opponents would have two more matches to worry about.
I couldn’t help but feel like we had let some clue to our motives slip, however we had to act normal, and fight like we should, or that would only make suspicion even worse.
A large crowd had gathered now as I waited for the match to start, it would be the most people who had ever seen me fight. I was looking forward to it. The person standing in front of me was a huge, strong man, but I would use his size and weight against him.
The official said “Begin” and the match was on the way, and I felt that rush of exhilaration that you always feel when a fight begins. I chanted “Sore wa hontōni kūrudesu, ē, anata wa sentōkidesu, anata ga katsu.” And I could process everything better, the world around me was yet again in slow motion. This was the mental state needed to win fights. It could defeat years of skilled, technical training.
Instead of doing anything we literally just stood there facing each other in a stalemate. I was waiting to see what he would do, and he was clearly doing the same. Confidence was key here, and I realised I was uncommitted to patiently waiting, I needed to strike. There was no use contemplating when I had such an advantage mentally.
The crowd didn’t like this style of fighting and started booing to encourage us to fight, I wasn’t able to hear correctly but the words couldn’t have been pleasant.
It felt like in this case whoever gave in first would lose, it made me hesitate, for only a fraction of a second in real time. Then I saw a change on his face which said he was going to switch and attack. His usual focus changed ever so slightly and I was able to use this to my advantage. As he moved in for a punch instead of dodging it I grabbed his punch to the left and whacked it to the side so he missed me. He looked shocked that I was able to do it and I wanted to capitalise on this moment of uncertainty as much as possible. I did the exact same blow he had done to me and this time it hit him.
Though it didn’t register consciously at the time. I made the decision to force him into a surrender, by copying his every move but doing it correctly.
So I did nothing again while we looked at each other. I saw that he was going to throw a fake punch and not actually hit me. It confused me at first, but I realised he was going to follow it up afterwards, the signs were already there in his other fist, it was clear to see. For the first fake punch I didn’t move then for the next one I pushed it down to the side again. I did the exact same thing to him only this time it hurt him. I couldn’t punch hard, but I could punch better.
He realised what I was doing at that point and stood there thinking about what to do next. I wasn’t about to let him just rest though, I needed his movements to be predictable and erratic. I slammed my fist up into his chin and looked at him. He realised he needed to fight better and to keep it up to win. It looked like he still had some fools ambition that he actually could still win the competition. If he couldn’t even beat me then how could he possibly beat Maron?
Sure technically I was cheating but nobody would find out until it was too late, anyway there was technically no proof.
Instead of going for a punch he ran to grab me. I thought it would have been funny if I had grabbed him as well, but I doubted that I could due to his size.
Instead what I did was dive into his feet and knock him down on the floor. I have no idea how I did it I just knew with perfect confidence that as I dived it would send him falling. Once he was down on the floor I backed off because I wanted to drag this out as long as I could, proving my skill.
He slowly got up and I shoved him back on the ground again and watched him struggle to get up. Every time he would try to get up I would have the speed and strength to push him back down again. He was a complete and utter pushover and the whole crowd knew it. They were laughing at him with me, it was a fun experience. In whatever way he fought back, it was easily dodged and taken advantage of by me. For the first time in what felt like ages the majority of people were on my side! Despite my defects and off-putting eye I could still be accepted. It made me happy. Something that I had forgotten about was my eye but now I vowed that I wouldn’t care about it anymore. I was a champion and people would love me no matter what happened or what I looked like as long as I kept on doing stuff as cool as this.
The man was determined to not surrender, and I let him stand to face me. I kept him in place for another 30 seconds, the recovery time would do little to help him. But I read a strange emotion from him: Happiness. I didn’t understand it, surely he should be writhing in anger but he was actually enjoying the fight. Every time I let him back up he would stare at me with that same smile as if it was all going according to plan. He stopped trying to dodge or avoid everything that I was doing and every time he fell to the ground took great pleasure to make the time he spent getting up as long as possible. Both me and the crowd were confused.
The fight in total had been around 20 minutes up until this point and it was surprising for something to go on for so long. I was fine with no injuries at all, but he was certainly out of breath and struggling. This fight was going on for too long and it was time to end it. Even the next competitor who was after us was ready to fight, watching the events with interest.
Because I could perceive things faster than others the fight felt so much longer so maybe it was all in my head. I slowly walked towards him and he began retreating. He always made sure we were the same distance apart no matter what happened. Maybe he thought he was the one tiring me out? Every time I charged forward he would charge back. He looked at the audience often and didn’t feel embarrassed by his pitiful display at all. He may as well have been simply running away at this point.
Then his tone shifted and he moved to attack me. It obviously didn’t work but he had a good way of shaking off the blows. When I punched his chin from bellow his head would move upwards to sort of cushion the blow. This was also true for his chest, he could easily move is backwards so that the damage would be reduced. On the surface it looked like he had taken really heavy blows but he was doing things to reduce the impact of them subtly. I was the only one who noticed. Each collision felt different and softer like I wasn’t able to get my full body behind a punch. I knew to maintain a level head though and contemplated about ending it instead of baiting a surrender soon.
Then before I knew it he looked into the crowd and said “I surrender” it was met with booing but what could you do? When he stared off into the audience he looked at someone who looked as if he was his friend smiling. Why would a friend smile like that after surrender? The man shook my hand, praised me for my strength and started trying to talk to me about how I learned to be as good as I was. Unfortunately for him I didn’t want to talk and tried to leave quickly, but he held onto my hand and I was unsure of what to do. I had taken the spell off me the minute he surrendered but it still made me wonder if I should put it back on. I whispered the spell, pulled it away, and then cast the spell to remove it almost instantly.
When I got back to my friends Rob said “Why didn’t you cast the spell?”
“Didn’t you watch the fight?” I asked.
“There was no way that was the spell there, it makes you continually more and more violent, you were extremely passive throughout the whole thing!”
We both stopped for a moment confused.
“I guess I’ve got some research to do then.” Rob said because he clearly believed me. Perhaps the spell had worked in different ways, or I had said it differently to achieve different effects? Or the trauma from the last time using the spell had created objections in my mind to being more violent?
“You did great Rick! Well done!” Maron said to me as we hugged each other warmly. She was always so lovely.
“You do realise that guy was just playing you?” Kil said, and I looked to him with confusion.
“No, I don’t think so” I said.
“He could have easily performed much better than you, you were so slow for the spells influence and there were a few times where his better reflexes betrayed him into performing better than he wanted too. For some reason, I have no idea why, he wanted you to win. “
I couldn’t believe this and I didn’t want too. Maron also came to see me with bad news.
“They’ve changed who I’m fighting yet again, they’ve put me against Kil.”
I looked around, I wanted to shout but there were too many people nearby. This had to be corrupt. They even said in the last article about Maron that she was friends with Kil, how could they change it after knowing that?
“Well Kil will have to back down I guess.” I said to him.
“Yeah we had already planned that, Marons going to win tomorrow, it might be a good thing, as it’s a fight we won’t have to worry about” Kil said reluctantly, there was once a time where he wanted to win no matter the consequences or friends lost. I was just glad that discovering this conspiracy put his mind in the correct place.
When we returned back to our tent we got a vague idea of why they may have been making us take so long. Our tent was completely destroyed. A lot of our resources and materials, including bags and food were gone and the remains had been knocked to one side. Either someone didn’t like us or the officials were on to us. I would have guessed it was the latter considering what Kil and Rob had done.
It didn’t look good at all. Fortunately we still had money but it wasn’t safe for us to be in the tournament grounds anymore. We collectively decided that we should leave and only show up to hear announcements, fight, or get the next tournament book. Kil and Maron knew that they had a match tomorrow but only Maron would attend letting her win the game.
So we left the ground with deflated spirits and moved out to look for a place to stay. The problem wasn’t necessarily the price but the fact that most of them were full. Everywhere we went had a full capacity due to the increased interest in the city because of the tournament. It was getting to a point where we were too far away from everything for our new home to even be a good idea. We decided to return back to where we started to see if we could rent a house from someone. This would be more expensive and probably drain us until we had just a few gold left but it was necessary.
After a full day of searching it was getting dark but at nightfall we had found a house to rent with the price listed in front of the house for everyone. It was actually for sale and not to rent for a simple gold coin, of which we had plenty.
The poor person we had brought it for was unemployed and was trying to survive in poverty. The person had sold all of their possessions and wanted to leave to find their family again, not before getting rid of their last piece of property. He was an ideal seller.
We bought the house from him for three gold pieces instead of one and made ourselves comfortable. The single room house inside the dark alleyway was on the second floor and had another person staying bellow it. This gave us a good view over a lot of the city and it was interesting to see. We were about a mile or so from the tournament ground and it was visible enough that we were confident we wouldn’t get lost on the way, despite the sprawling location of houses most of which could only pass for slums.
Our house was old and mouldy with nothing left inside. Still, it would do its job fine. The main problem for me was that there were no sections for privacy. It was something Maron and I couldn’t mention but we were all thinking it.
Kil and Rob left to buy supplies such as bedding, food, drinks and e.c.t while me and her were alone. It was a strange change of location. They told us not to go to sleep before they came back with matts to sleep on, but we woke up with our backs aching on the hard-wooden floor anyway, so I guess we broke that rule.
Today was the day when Maron would be one step closer to becoming queen. The day promised to be simple, we would be able to focus on other things while she took an easy victory.
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought?
This story only has five chapters left before it’s finished, so I’m going to try and release them as quickly as possible!