I was struck with indecisiveness. Should I wait for a mistake or opening? Or should I try and keep her on her toes by attacking first? Caution was the better part of valor I supposed, so I simply circled and waited for Slyce to attack.
Two minutes went by with no attack from either side. The audience was getting restless and we could hear grumbling from the stands. I wasn’t sure if this was part of a ploy or not, to see if I would succumb to peer pressure or do what I had to and not let anyone dictate my actions.
Whatever the case was, I continued circling and put my greatest weapon to work. Slyce had been brought to the rest center after her battle, and while they had done the best they could, she still carried her arm in a way that suggested it still hurt.
I finally decided to make the first move and launched a tentative attack on Slyce’s injured arm. Instead of raising it to block, she threw her other arm in front to parry my strike before it reached her left arm. My suspicions were correct. I would have to use that to my advantage. Although even as I was thinking that, I could see the gears turning in Slyce’s head too. She knew that I was aware of her weakness and she was thinking of how to nullify my advantage.
I couldn’t give her that chance.
I shot the blade on my left hand at Slyce’s left arm. As she moved her right arm to counter it, I leapt forward to swing at her unprotected right side. Slyce was expecting something like though and her movements were so fast and precise that she managed to block the spinning blade and turn aside my strike.
I jumped back and we were once again circling each other. The mutterings in the crowd continued, but they were now murmurs of appreciation and anticipation. We had clashed for no more than two seconds and we already had their attention.
While I was trying to plan my next move, Slyce took me by surprise with and cross clash aimed at my throat. I managed to bring up a blade and deflect her right armed attack, but then something happened that I hadn’t quite expected.
My saw shattered.
I looked blankly as the broken black shape melted back into my Shroud and almost let myself be killed as Slyce took advantage of my surprise and shock.
I twisted and threw a counterstrike with my left hand, more to keep Slyce busy than to actually exploit an opening. When we were facing each other again I formed another saw on my right arm. I was starting to get riled up, but I took a few deep breaths and forced myself to calm down. I wasn’t going to lose control like I had yesterday.
Slyce and I traded a few more thrusts and counter thrusts, but nothing really serious happened. Then on one particular swing with her left arm, Slyce grimaced and doubled over in pain. I saw my chance, and leapt at it.
I didn’t realize the trap until it was too late.
Slyce rolled forward under my lunge and spun, guiding her axe towards my back. I fell to the ground and managed to avoid the blow. I rolled to the left, anticipating the follow up strike and managed to parry a third strike.
Slyce’s arm had never been injured. At least, not in this fight. But for all I knew, she could have only pretended to be injured yesterday in an attempt to throw me off.
If she had, it had worked.
I was barely managing to hold her off while I lay on the ground. I was trapped. I couldn’t attempt to get up, because she would kill me, but if I didn’tget up, eventually I wouldn’t be able to block anymore.
It wasn’t looking good for me.
As my arms began to fail, I did the only thing I could do at the moment. I kicked out at Slyce’s leg. Engrossed as she was in her near victory, Slyce hadn’t anticipated such a move, and it actually caught her off guard.
As Slyce stumbled, my mind was having an internal battle.
Part of it was urging me to roll forward and strike Slyce while I could and then finish her. The other was telling me to just get up and wait. I automatically flinched away from the first option and picked myself up. It wasn’t going to be like that.
As I stood and watched Slyce regain her footing, I received a few boos from the crowd. I looked up to where Pailadyn was sitting, and saw her mouth a few words.
You have to do it.
I shook my head at her, then turned back to Slyce. She was eyeing me suspiciously, wondering why I hadn’t taken the opportunity to injure or kill her. She began circling once more and her eyes never left me for an instant. If one good thing came out of the last minute, it was that I had gotten her to play her trump card. Or… one of her trump cards. I wasn’t going to assume she had only one. In fact it seemed foolish to think otherwise.
I launched another attack on Slyce by swing both arms from the outside in. When she held her arms out to block my strikes, I continued forward and kneed her in the stomach. As she doubled over, my hands began to slice towards her neck. The battle was ove-
NO! I thought, and pulled up short.
I held both blades to her neck and said,
Her answer was quite clear. Instead of no, she dropped her head and charged forward, butting into my right leg and dislocating my knee.
I screamed as I hit the floor once more and with a morbid certainty I knew that I was going to die.
Unless I gave in.
Through tear blurred eyes, I saw Slyce swing down at me. I rolled away, but received a cut on my arm for my slowness. I tried to deflect another swing, but my saw broke and the axe bit part way into my hand. I was seeing red, both literally and figuratively. My anger and pain were raging within me, and it was all I could to subdue them. I didn’t want to kill. But if I didn’t let my anger fuel my will and actions then I was seconds away from dying. SLyce was raising her axes for the final time, and my mind knew it was time for a decision. The axes fell…
And I chose to live.
I rolled out of the way as my anger spilled out and infused my body with a fury fueled energy. I stood and jumped back from Slyce’s swing, then answered with one of my own. It connected with one of her blades, but at least it didn’t shatter. I leapt at Slyce once again, and only through a combination of thought, anticipation, and anger was I able to survive the the flurry of blows that we exchanged. I parried a low swing, ducked under a high swing and took a swipe at Slyce’s belly. She blocked it, but her block was slower and less effective.
Slyce tried to cross slash at my throat again, but I lengthened the spikes on one of my saws and managed to intercept both of them with one blade. My free weapon came around and struck Slyce on the hip. The crack and ensuing yell of pain reminded me of my own leg injury, and as soon as I focused on it the pain came flooding back.
I leveled both of my hands at Slyce and began to fire my spinning blades at her. Then I made two more of varying shapes and sizes and fired those as well. While Slyce went to block, I began to steadily move forward. When I was within striking distance I faked like I was going to fire, then half dove, half fell at Slyce and opened a cut in her stomach.
I knew what was coming next.
Slyce fell to her knees and I brought my whirling blade up to meet her throat.
I closed my eyes as I ended the match.
I didn’t manage to open them before I passed out on the floor.