After trainer left, I found myself having my first quiet moment since the fight. I was glad that it hadn’t happened until now, because it wasn’t enjoyable in the slightest. Ever read Ellie Wiesel’s Night? Do you know why he hated night?
Because that’s he began to think., and now I finally identified with him.
My time in the arena was coming back to me… I had killed a person. I hadn’t meant to… well I suppose I did subconsciously… it was out of desperation.
But it was still man-slaughter. By definition, I had slaughtered a man.
I was shaking.
Was I a murderer?
You are a killer.
But he knew it was a possibility. He might have killed you.
But you’ll never know.
He was too dangerous to be kept alive.
If my mind could have shouted this is when it would have started to.
He never actually hurt you! All he did was give you some bruises! Your broken arm is your own freaking fault!
He could have forced me yield at any time. He didn’t.
You wouldn’t have yielded anyways! You would have kept fighting because you’re a-
“What!?” I unintentionally shouted.
It was Pailadyn.
“Oh… sorry. I… I’m not doing the best.”
“I know” she said.
“Because I’ve been standing here for fifteen minutes now.”
“You did what you had to. He knew the risks when he decided to participate.”
“How did you kn-“
“That wasn’t my first fight Juewuhl. I’ve been there.”
“Oh. Well… thanks I guess.”
She tipped her head in acknowledgement. “By the way, your next opponent is Flaemuh.”
I blinked in surprise. “Um… ok. Thanks you… again.”
“No problem. There are three more matches until Pownde’s. You’ll need to get permission to leave before then if you want to see it. That being said, there is a match I have to see and it’s almost time so I have to leave.”
“Right… um… thanks. I’ll see you around then?”
“Yep.” She made as if to leave, then looked back over her shoulder. “Juewuhl?”
I looked up at her.
“Don’t beat yourself up ok? That’s your opponent’s job.”
And then she was gone.
I stared out the door long after she had left. Confused as to what the heck had just happened. It was until much later that I realized I hadn’t thought about killing Klohne since talking to Pailadyn. It wasn’t until much much later that I wondered if she had meant to do that.
I took Pailadyn’s advice and asked one of the workers if I could leave to watch Pownde’s fight. I was told that as long as I wasn’t the one fighting then I could go. My arm only needed one more treatment before it would be ready to go for the next battle, and I would get that when I returned after Pownde’s battle.
I made it there in the nick of time. Pownde and Boldurh were already in their positions in the ring and the countdown was beginning. By the time I found a seat, they were already at each other.
The skill difference between Boldurch and Pownde was much like the skill difference between Slyce and Pailadyn. What was different here however was that while Slyce and Pailadyn had much the same power, Boldurh and Pownde had completely different powers.
And Pownde seemed to be winning.
I could have been off the mark, but it seemed like there was a psychological aspect at play here. Think about it, you have a metal hammer and a rock. If the two collide, which is going to come out on top? The hammer.
The thing that was weird, was that there weren’t metal hammers here. That was strictly an Earth thing.
Yet Pownde was still winning. His actions were confident and strong, whereas Boldurh’s were somewhat hesitant and he winced every time Pownde struck at him. However due to the difference in skill, it kept things pretty much equal.
The fighting went on, neither side gaining a large advantage. Pownde managed to “stab” Boldurh with his hammer, but it didn’t seem to affect him all that much. Minutes went by as both sides continued to swing and dodge.
This was the longest battle I had seen in the tournament so far, and it was probably one of the longer battles that either of the two had participated in, because they were both starting to slow down. However, years of fighting had conditioned Boldurh and as the fight progressed Boldurh began to turn the tables.
He clipped Pownde with a rock and charged as my friend stumbled back. In an act that saved his life, Pownde lost his footing and fell to the floor, as Boldurh swept past with a rock in his hand. Pownde’s hammer morphed back into his Shroud and the two smaller hammers sprung out. Pownde lashed out with one and hit Bouldurh on the calf. He swung the other one a second later and connected with the rock in Boldruh’s hands.
The hammer held, the rock cracked. Pownde rose from the ground and set his hammers whirling, knicking and hitting wherever he could. Boldurh was using the rock in hands a shield and each time a hammer struck the rock, chips went flying.
Boldurh quickly learned his lesson and retreated from the storm of hammers. Pownde’s display had cost him. His hands were on his knees and he was breathing heavily. Boldurh saw an opportunity to end the fight and launched the rock In his hands. Pownde too saw a chance and he brought his hands together, Shroud shifting into his customary large warhammer. He brought his hammer back as far as his body would allow, then he swung, baseball style.
Several things happened. The rock’s momentum was reversed and it was now on its way back towards Boldurh. The final hit of the hammer also finally cracked the nearly indestructible bolder and instead of one rock hurtling towards him, Boldurh found himself looking at many small, sharp shards of the rock.
His screams nearly rocked the Arena as he was pierced by the fragments.
Pownde limped over to his fallen opponent and touched the hammer his head.
“Yield” he croaked.
Boldurh coughed but did not admit defeat.
Pownde raised his hammer and said it once more.
And it wasn’t a good smile.
He yanked one of the shards from his body and sat up, thrusting the fragment into Pownde’s stomach. Pownde had started to swing, but he wasn’t quite fast enough, and when his hammer did hit Bouldurh it only succeeded in knocking him back to the floor.
Then he too collapsed.