He asked me to yield. Why couldn’t I have done the same?
I killed him without a thought. I had let anger take full control and nearly lost because of it.
And I killed.
A few minutes later Pailadyn found me before I had the chance to puke more than once or twice.
“Juewuhl it’s ok.”
I tried to say “go away” but it didn’t come out that clearly.
“Juewuhl,” she said, sitting down next to me, “It’s part of the tournament.”
“But… it’s not… part of me!”
She took my hand.
Why was she taking my hand?
Why was she touching me?!
Why wasn’t I doing anything about it?
“Sometimes… you have to make sacrifices. Actually scratch that. You always have to make sacrifices.”
“So what if I killed you and called it a sacrifice?”
Pailadyn smiled, “Well first you’d have to be able to beat me.”
I lifted my head off the floor to give her a mock glare. “I suppose we’ll see. I’m facing your opponent tomorrow. I have no intention of losing.”
“Neither did I.” said Pailadyn sodtly.
“Could you… give me any tips?”
“she can change styles in flash. You have anticipate and be able to deal with she pulls from herself. And you have to be thinking two steps ahead or you will be four steps behind. You just hav eto use your head like you usually do. You can find some weakness I hope.”
I let my head fall back to the floor. It was true, I could find a weakness. If I could control myself and not try and kill everyo-
“How do you eve-“
“Just call it intuition. If you keep thinking about this stuff, trust me you will not win tomorrow. You will have a hard enough time beating Slyce with a clear mind. Add a distraction and you will end up like Pownde. Don’t waste his gift ok?”
I nodded, but made no move to get off the floor. I was too exhausted to move. Apparently Pailadyn had no plans either, because she stayed with me the entire time, not speaking, not moving. When I woke up the next morning, still on the floor, I saw her still in place as well.
I tried to get up without waking her, but as soon as I had stood, she was blinking and coming to her feet herself.
“Trying to leave without me? That’s kinda mean considering I spent the night on the floor here.” I didn’t take her too seriously, mainly because she was smiling but her tone suggested anything but anger.
“Sorry” I muttered with a smile of my own.
We made our way to the Arena, checking the schedule as we did, and I found that my match was the first one scheduled for today. If I won this match… I would be in the Championship. But as my name was called along with Slyce’s, I began to doubt myself.
Could I do it without killing her?
Could I do it at all?
Would she kill me?
What if I did kill her?
Didn’t I want to kill her?
What if she was too fas-
I snapped back into the here and now and realized that Slyce was already in her position in the ring, and that many in the crowd were either looking at me or looking for me. Pailadyn nudged me out of my seat at which point I took control back and began to make my down to the floor.
I was able to get my head in gear and began to put it to work analyzing what I knew of Slyce and figuring out how to use it against her. Unfortunately the list was rather small and unhelpful.
She was fast. Counter by injuring, or being faster. The first was possible, the second was very unlikely.
She was versatile. Counter by eliminating the ability to change styles, which means I have to do what exactly?
She was strong. She whipped around a huge axe like it was nothing. To counter I’d have to sap her strength. Lots of bleeding cuts would do that very quickly.
Final strategy: go for small injuries and not big ones. Big ones could be too risky and might prompt a survival instinct response. If I took small opportunities to make small cuts, then all I’d have to do was not get hit.
And not… die.
Should be simple.
The signal was given and the hardest battle of the tournament began.