Using Toby's grip around her wrist as support, Kat sprang up wrapping her legs tightly around his waist. She slammed him across the face with her elbows. Toby stumbled back. Kat sprang up, her feet landing on his hips. She leaned back as far as she could go. Toby released her arms and she fell to the floor. Kat broke her fall with her hands but she was still winded.
Toby caught her foot. Hoisting herself up on her arms Kat swung over and kicked Toby in the face with her free foot. Toby sprang away from her. Kat scrambled to her feet.
"You happy?" Toby demanded, spitting out blood.
"Far from it." Kat hissed. "Now leave me the hell alone!"
"The hell I will your reckless!"
"What does it matter to you?! you don't know me!"
" if you go through with this it'll mean more than simply your death."
Kat took a step back and to the side. Toby watched her closely not yet following her in this dance.
"Then stop me." She sprang sideways. She rolled, landing next to her swords she pulled them from their sheath. Toby rushed behind her. He was quick. She tried to spin around but he caught her around the arms. He dragged her to her feet. Kat struggled against his hold. Squashing her against his chest with one arm he slide the other down her right arm. His hand closed around hers and he began to twist it painfully. Kat cried out in pain as her grip around the blade slipped.
“For once think of someone other than yourself.” He said his voice annoyingly even. He showed no sign of exerting any energy to maintain his hold.
With the last bit of control she had left she tossed the sword to her free hand. She brought it up and slammed Toby on the side of the head with the hilt. He staggered back, the freshly healed cut opened on the left side of his face. Blood rolled down his check.
Kat pointed her sword at him.
"I’m not doing this for myself! I’m doing this for my father!" She cried her arms shaking with a rage she couldn't control.
Toby gave her pitying look that suggested she was in denial. Toby took a slow step towards her, his hands raised up in surrender. Kat took a step back, tightening her gripping around the hilt. Toby continued to approach.
"Leave me alone!" She spat.
Toby's chest came into contact with the tip of the sword. He positioned himself so that the point of the sword was over his heart.
"Go ahead." He urged. "Prove it! you said you weren't afraid to kill for what you want! so go ahead let me be first. Allow me to prove your similarity to the lord Stratagus." He spread his arms.
"That's not what I meant and you know it." Kat snapped, taking a step back. Toby advanced until the blade was at his heart again.
"You go on this way you put a sword in me, Skipper, Emmlia and Gword. You’ll kill all the people who care about you. Is that what you want? It's what you'll get!"
"Shut up!" Kat screamed, the blade shaking in her hand.
"No, that was for you to do." Toby said, reaching forward. His hand closed around her hold on the sword. Before she could react he spun her around wrapping her arms her and locking them against her chest. He pinned her to his side. Kat struggled, wriggling and kicking haphazardly. Toby twisted the blade free of Kat's hand.
He began to lower them to the ground, forcing Kat's legs under her in an uncomfortable seating position. Kat bit back a cry of pain, trying to mask her defeat with silence.
"You've shut up and we're sitting. Are you listening?" Toby asked, his voice a little winded.
Kat shook her head defiantly, unable to hold back an fresh onslaught of tears. They were not for her loss but for what she was about to lose. As easily as she had lost to Toby she was losing her father to whatever cruel tyrant called themselves fate.
"What's the use." She muttered, through her tears her body falling limp in Toby's arms. Toby released her slowly, when she didn't strike him he released her completely and rose to his feet.
"I see why they call you Kat." He chuckled softly, massaging his shoulder. "You got some claws."
Kat looked away from him curling into a miserable ball.
"Oh please, you give up that easy?!" Toby demanded.
Kat turned her back to him, holding her aching body close to herself.
"You call that a fight? that was a tantrum. I didn't even through a punch and your already crying?!"
Kat glowered at him over her shoulder.
"That's cute Kat. I can see it now the stare that kills everyone Kat Parker murdered her opponent with one look." The mockery was obvious. Each word stung at her pride. They bothered her more than her wounds more than the defeat. But she remained on the floor. She wouldn't give him the satisfaction to knock her down again. He wouldn't have the power to anger her…despite the fact he had already upset her.
"So that's your plan? Curl into a ball until I leave?" He demanded.
For now. Kat concluded silently. It was what she had always done. Her family hid and they were good at it. They hid and they ran...only he gave up. Her eyes close against a backdrop of tear. Despite her attempts not to her mind traveled back to the memory of that night when the dragons attacked.