Close combat

In the box, Nero stood calm, eyes closed, listening to noises that most combatants didn't even know could be heard over the sound of the crowd baying for their blood. A thrilled shiver tickled down his spine as the giveaway click of a booted foot meeting the floor off to his right alerted him to where he should look. He was familiar with tricks designed to make him waste his shot, but he was almost certain this was not one.

Opening his eyes, he looked into the mirror before him that gave him a clear view of the corridor on his right. There was the scrawny man that thought himself worthy of this match. Nero grinned and moved swiftly to the left, drawing the man in around the box. He made as much noise as an owl's wings gliding in the night and the crowd roared angrily as he shied away from the fight.

The mirrors that panelled the walls were all set at slight angles, and the effect one or two degrees had on the opponent's perception of depth was distorted in a way that Nero had learnt to use to his advantage. Though he had moved away from his rival, the man saw the reflection and saw it moving closer to him. He hesitated, holding his ground. Nero's grin widened.

He punched the air, knowing that it would look as though his reflection was attempting to punch around the corner of the corridors.

A deafening bang rebounded off the mirrors and the clatter of mirror shards falling to the floor filled the air. The audience paused as they realised what had happened and half of them went crazy, shouting their support for Nero. He didn't stop to humour them, simply throwing himself around the corner at the man with a savage laugh. The other half of the audience gasped, their support with Nero's opponent. Half of them didn't even know his name; they were simply bored of Nero always winning.

Nero extended his arm, pistol ready in his hand, his opponent frozen with terror. Or so he thought. The man grabbed Nero's wrist, flashing from where he had stood in shock, to leaving mere inches between them. He pushed Nero's arm up so that the pistol was aimed into the air, punching him in the stomach with his free hand.

Not expecting this, Nero had no time to defend himself and doubled over, stumbling back half a step. He recovered quickly, however and began to struggle against the man to regain the use of his arm. The man locked his elbow so his arm stayed straight, keeping the gun pointed in the air, despite Nero's efforts to over throw him, and lifted his knee sharply into Nero's groin.

The shock of the pain made Nero's hand contract as he fell away from the man; his finger tightened suddenly around the trigger of the pistol and his shot was wasted in the air. Swearing heavily, he staggered back, cursing himself for making such an amateur mistake. It was just him and his hands, now, his gun as a makeshift club. His opponent grinned, advancing on Nero as he tried to recover from the nauseating pain.

Pain blossomed in the man's chest and Nero darted away. The chase around the mirrored box was on.



The End

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