Chapter 41:

The Undaunted Part II

Adventures of Zeleon

Almost half a day passed for Leon, he occasionally used Silva to cover more distance in less time. Otherwise, it likely would've taken him well into early next morning.

The terrain turned from grasslands to lowland mountains to the desert plains where the Komodrons reside. He felt them around him and raised his arms up to show he wasn't a threat. Once the scout in the area caught sight of him, he went back underground to the others. More came up above ground shortly after, making Leon stop in his tracks.

As soon as they were close enough they realized who they found and excitedly brought him down before he even had a chance to speak. It was like he'd become the local hero. Soon, the commotion around him grew bigger after being brought underground.

"Guardian! Guardian! Guardian!!!" They chanted for him so loud it got Varius' attention as he moved his way through the crowd. When he saw Leon his face lit up.

"Leon!" He patted his shoulders before he led him through the crowd. "What brings you out to our domain?"

"I need to have an audience with you and the Grand Elder. It's not for fun unfortunately."

Varius took him into a larger building that was the living place of the Elder. They entered a room, where he sat quietly.

"Ahh Leon, welcome back to the land below. To what do I owe the pleasure of this reunion?" He said in his typical older rasp.

"I need a hundred soldiers." Leon opened with before explaining the situation thoroughly.

Upon hearing his side of it, both of them looked at each other and shook their heads.

"Leon, has it occurred to you that of course we'll let you have the soldiers you need? However, you need to accomplish one last task before we can make that a reality."

Varius stepped right to Leon looking down at him. "You'll have to defeat me this time Leon. You have no other option. My soldiers won't listen without their Commander, and while I see you as a friend you are not my superior in combat. If you defeat me this evening, you'll prove me otherwise."

"I had a feeling, I know your ways too well. But I'm ready, tonight in front of everyone! They'll witness their Commander fall to the Guardian version of me!" Leon spoke with confidence, despite his doubts on the inside.

"That's what I want to hear from a friend of mine, give me your best! I want to see the Leon that was dominant in the Tournament!"

Several hours later, Leon was a few moments away from facing off against Varius for their second bout.

"I'm really in a corner here, I have to win. There's no other options on the table, and I can't let down Maeva and Courtney. I've gotten this far. I have no other way but to run through every wall that presents itself!"

He charged out into the arena, the crowd was cheering but he didn't even pay attention to them. He looked up at Varius in the eye, and boldly pulled Silva off of himself and tossed it aside. Varius looked at him with a smirk as he did.

"Are you sure about that decision, Leon?"

"I want to beat you fair, I don't need a magical weapon to take you on! I just need to make this a chess match as opposed to a brawl!"

"So be it. Show me why you're Zeleon's strongest human!"

The Elder started the match and Leon made the first move. He charged Varius attempting to flank him, what awaited was that bone breaking tail of his swinging at him.

He made a swift cut dodging the swing, giving him a free shot, but the armor on his back was too thick for a sword shot. He instead leaped onto his back, and wrapped his free arm around Varius' throat.

The grip wasn't the best, but he couldn't get swung at by the axe or his tail. Varius was obviously caught off guard by this approach and attempted to shake Leon off. He got swung around but he held his grip that tightened a bit, bothering Varius' breathing enough for him to get serious really early on.

He got rid of his axe before he dropped to all fours, catching the audience's attention because of how quickly he did it. He rolled onto his back in an attempt to crush Leon under his weight.

But the Guardian jumped off and barrel rolled back, ending back on his feet quickly.

"So soon Varius? I wouldn't have expected you to panic like this."

"Panic? You're sorely mistaken. A shot at beating you as Guardian is more worthwhile than as a trainee."

Leon smirked moving back near a wall, holding his blade casually just waiting for him to come after him.

Varius obliged, thinking Leon was getting too cocky. He came after him trying to pin him to the wall, but with a running start, Leon jumped and kicked himself off the wall, getting above Varius before coming back down and stomping his head right into the ground below.

Varius was dazed from the innovative strike, but the problem that brought itself before Leon was how could he hurt him when his underside was on the ground.

Leon took a few steps back before making a running start and kicking him directly in the head. Varius seemed to have completely ignored it as he got back to his feet again.

His axe was in the middle of the arena, but the sheer size difference was all he needed. He ran at Leon hard and grabbed him, before tossing him through the air.

Leon lost his blade, and crashed into the ground hard. After a few moments he got himself up to his feet, he looked to his right to see Varius' axe. He took it in his hand immediately and threw it at Varius, he sidestepped it as it got embedded in the wall behind him.

Leon charged him during the distraction, then landed a jumping uppercut flush before kicking him in the gut. Again, he was stunned but didn't go down.

"Ok I land hard hits cleanly and he just doesn't budge? How the hell am I supposed to take him down?"

Varius spun around and sideswiped Leon with his tail, knocking him down to the ground but he got right back up. He charged again, timing a jump over another tail swing before snatching his blade once again.

The Komodron Commander moved closer to his weapon but Leon was faster, he cut his hand before he touched the axe, then jumped and used the broad side of the blade to hit Varius across the jaw, this was the first time he really staggered the whole match.

Leon kept the pressure up, using the side to gut check him, which made him cough and fall to one knee. Now, being down at his level, he swung at his face, again and again until it seemed like he'd been knocked out.

But, Varius refused to go down. Despite his noticeably bloodied and battered face, he gripped Leon by the throat and pushed him back into the wall with force. He pulled his axe out of the wall, before dropping Leon.

With a snarl he spoke as he made his way back to the center.

"There's a tenacity in you that's further awakened. You're moving with more purpose and power, exploiting openings with more precision. I'm impressed! You are a Guardian, but I refuse to lose to an unpowered."

"I'm not done with you yet. I can't lose! We need you, and your forces!" Leon pounded his sword in the ground before walking forward. "I will be the blemish in that perfect record of yours!"

The two stared each other down before making their moves. The clash of their weapons reverberated through the entire arena, Leon was cautious to not get in a deadlock that would put him at a major disadvantage. He kept his weapon and his arms moving, even though defending Varius' swings made his body fatigue faster, he had to.

An opening presented itself as Varius attempted an overhead swing to expose Leon by forcing him to block it. Instead, he sidestepped and forced a miss. With about 270 degrees of torque, he swung back around with his blade and hit him with the blunt end in the gut again. And again he fell to a knee coughing. Leon jumped and slammed his blade into the back of his head, making him fall to the ground after being knocked out cold.

Leon fell back onto his rear out of sheer exhaustion. His legs felt a bit wobbly from the impacts he held firm with. He breathed a huge sigh of relief, as the crowd chanted Guardian at the top of their lungs, The Undaunted was defeated for the first time.

Several moments passed and Varius woke back up in time to hear the chants. He focused his eyes to see Leon up on his feet waving to everyone. He slowly got up, and surprised Leon when he raised his arm from behind him.

"I had an inkling. You showed promise to defeat me last time, but experience was something you didn't have. While it may not have been much more, top flight battles mold you. And Leon, you've molded yourself into a fine Guardian, deserving of your title."

"Thanks, but you gave me a hell of a run again. When you got up from that initial onslaught, I honestly thought I had no chance in stopping you."

"Hah! I have a hard head Leon, you need to take a lot of swings to knock me out."

"Jeesus, I knew you were hard headed, but yours is as thick as titanium. Both figuratively and metaphorically."

Varius laughed as he accompanied Leon out of the arena. The two joke and laugh after his first loss, showing the kind of noble character he is.