There was a loud clang that sounded out as the weapons clashed together. Cole had no desire to combat with Ruby, and it felt beyond bizarre to target his childhood friend with his steady sabre. The motivation driving the young man to continue his actions was coming from his frustration toward his companion's obstinacy, and he swung his blade at her once more.
Ruby swiftly avoided Cole's attack, then she gained a solid fighting stance with her feet. Her irritation was mixing with other emotions, which fueled her ambition to continue the spar. She was not fond of sweeping her cutlass at her childhood playmate, but in the depths of her heart she aspired to prove herself to Cole. With trained precision she whirled her blade horizontally, but her strike was blocked by the young man's weapon; a flash of sparks leapt from their swords as they met, and the sound of steel grinding upon steel screeched aloud.
As they continued to display equal skill while battling one another, Malachai watched on in amazement. He was impressed at the amount of aptitude and dexterity each friend possessed, and he had begun to think that the match would end in a draw. Every time their blades met, the woodsman would shout out instructions and recite techniques.
The sparring had taken its toll on Ruby and Cole; they were both panting and covered in perspiration as they dodged, ducked, and parried their opponent's sword. "Had enough yet?" The young man was relentlessly provoking his companion's anger.
"I'm just getting started." Ruby's irritation increased, and she swept her blade downward, but her friend evaded her cutlass once again. The battle waged on and on, and its intensity increased with each clang of the swords.
"When are you going to learn to just give up?" Cole leapt back from his friend's attack, and he brought his weapon around for another strike.
Ruby deflected his advance, and she briefly stood still for a moment as she struggled to regain her senses. The exertion of her body, coupled with her previous wound, was causing a lightheadedness and her face was flushed with exhaustion. "I'm not like you Cole, I don't give up easily."
Her words brought a pang of animosity to Cole, though she spoke with a fragment of honesty. He briefly halted his movement, and while he was catching his breath he said "No, I s`pose you're right. You're more like your mother - persistent." His tone was bitter, and he held his sword aloft in anticipation for another swing.
Ruby was beyond insulted by her companion's comment, and her teeth cringed together as her enmity grew to resentment, then she rebuffed her opponent's sabre with her cutlass. The young woman's sapphire eyes were burning with a fury that had never surfaced within them before, and her expression emanated the immense irritation that gnawed at her mind. She swung her sword wildly and rapidly, and though she missed her target, her blade cleaved through a thin and decorative plant which fell to the stone floor.
"Easy now! He is the king, mind you." Malachai shouted out as he attempted to repress Ruby's emotions, but she had already succumbed to her unstoppable rage.
Motion after motion, slice after slice; the young woman's sword cut through the air with deadly force, and Cole began to stumble backward as he strove to defend himself from each infuriated strike. Finally, after he nearly dodged the oncoming flurry of attacks, he perceived an opening for one more sweep of his sabre. The weapon sliced diagonally, but Ruby effortlessly parried Cole's maneuver. When their blades locked together, his companion pivoted herself with flawless proficiency, then she raised up a foot and kicked her friend with remarkable strength. The copper colored boot planted into Cole's abdomen, and he struggled to maintain his grounding. With astonishing quickness, Ruby whirled her weapon at her opponent for the last time, then the king's sabre was dislodged from his grasp.
The sword fell to the stone floor and loudly rang out, but Ruby had not finished her attack. While Cole was startled from being disarmed by his friend, the young woman tripped up his feet with another solid kick, and he tumbled to the ground. When the king glanced upward, he noticed his companion's face was stern and tears had begun to well up in her eyes. The point of her cutlass was dangerously close to the tip of his nose as she stood over him, and Ruby spoke in a tone with such seriousness that Cole was distended with fear, "I am nothing like my mother."
A deafening silence filled the air, and for a moment the two companions were fixated on one another while their emotions continued to wage the battle, though the combat had all together ceased. After a while Malachai stepped forward, and he clapped his hands together saying "Most impressive, my lady. Continue to fight like that, and perhaps this kingdom still holds a chance for survival."
Before Ruby had time to relish in her tarnished victory, or Cole wallow in his utter defeat; an outburst broke the tension of the moment. Princess Aira came rushing toward the court yard, and she shouted out in a panic. Her message was indecipherable at first, but as she approached the group her voice echoed louder and louder. When she had finished crossing the court yard, everyone noticed the look of terror in her eyes as she frantically cried aloud "Monster - there is a monster besieging the kingdom! To arms, to arms!"