Chapter 24:

Performance Tryout - Part 2


“So…” Colette started while moving her eyes between Anna and Karim. “Are we actually doing it? She can hold it?”

“Maybe? I have to see her fighting and it’s just we both ‘ere.”

“But still…”

“Aren’t you both underestimating me too much?! I’m still a proper law enforcer here and a very high-ranked one too.”

Karim’s sudden entrance into the discussion made both inquisitors stare at her in silence for a moment. Their gazes switching between the petite cop and each other for a while.

“What you think, Anna?”

“Not sure… She’s holy and all, but the swordsmanship was lackin’ ealier.”

“Of course it was! I wouldn’t’ seriously attack my partner.” Karim proclaimed while forming her black khopesh. “I may not be a specialist but I can hold my own.”

Karim was in a different stance and had sharper footwork as she moved around right now, but it wasn’t changing Anna’s perspective too much. For someone like the redhead though, it seemed like a minor difference.

“That’s what she says, Col. Try to not make much noise, 'kay?” Anna’s expression didn’t change much as she started to walk away from the other two girls. “Coin to the ground?”

Her last phrase was slightly confusing to Karim, but she soon noticed what it meant when Anna took a coin from her purse. She then acknowledged the coin toss as the sign to their duel and got in position.

“You can open some space between us if you want.” The toned brawler said as her bracelets became the bulky gauntlets she called weapons. "Giving a disadvantage to you wouldn't help the point."

“This much is enough.” She answered with only the two or three meters of distance between them both. "You may call me mage, but I'm better at close range."

“If you say so…”

As their exchange was over, and not bothering to warn either of them, Anna threw the small copper coin between the two duelists. And the moment it hit the floor, the few meters of distance between the two girls vanished with a loud impact and some quiet mumblings.

To the surprise of the two inquisitors though, Colette’s punch was flawlessly blocked. It forced Karim a good distance backward and she had to use both her hands, but still, the attack that could pulverize rock was blocked.

Of course, blocking that punch wasn't something the petite girl could do by herself, but she was a holy mage. Her mumblings were nothing less than quiet prayers and their effects were what allowed her to take that attack head-on. There was more to it though, but the person watching the duel was still unsure of what.

“A little more then...” Colette smiled unbothered by the situation and changed her footwork.

She then disengaged her right hand and went for a heavy swing with her left one, packing as much, if not more, power than in the charge before it. And once again, the attack was parried and the petite girl was sent back without receiving damage.

Still unrelenting, Col repeated the process a few more times. Each time, her strike would pack more and go closer to all-out, but Karim's defenses were still up in the end.

“Can’t believe I would find two of you in my lifetime..." The brawler commented with her gaze slightly turned to their audience of one person. "Such a bothersome technique is no fun at all.”

Col was unable to read magic that well, but she understood what was happening. Her opponent was dispersing the impacts with her blade and letting herself be pushed by it to further lower the impact. Even if she knew that though, it was still a way too complex technique to repeat this many times.

There was another person who could manage this kind of movement perfectly even against Col’s full power, but this one person wasn’t normal. And this one person seemed to be having fun by watching the match.

It wasn’t as if her attacks weren’t working at all, she knew some damage was happening for sure, but the petite cop didn’t seem to mind it. In fact, all she was doing was focusing on her mumbling and parry, which would be enough for someone well-versed in holy magic to make some theories.

The problem was that Colette was only well-versed in fighting and cooking. Making theories wasn't her area at all. She wouldn’t let such technicalities be relevant though.

If forward attacks wouldn’t work, then all she had to do was attack in ways that parrying wouldn’t work well. Needed be, she could even use her limited spiritual energy, even if both she and Anna were against showing off that much in this situation.

Either way, Col now had a game plan and knew she couldn’t hold back that much against this little girl, so all left was going forwards.

“Try to not get hurt, ok? We’re going to have some fun now…”

Colette charged again, and again, she hit the sword and sent Karim backward. This time though, before the petite girl could recover her footing, she went for a follow-up right away.

Instead of a frontal attack, the brawler inquisitor pivoted right as she closed into her foe, spinning into a kick that sent Karim in another direction and then using the momentum to follow suit again.

She got closer to the khopesh user even faster this time and the third follow-up, an upper punch this time, sent the petite girl a small distance away from the ground.

And Col kept going after this. She jumped towards her target and performed a guillotine kick next, forcing Karim back to the ground with a bang, and only then the combo was done. Still, the damage to the swordswoman seemed minor.

The barrage of attacks was making her get out of breath, but other than some small bruises, Karim was still fine. Her mumbling was still there and the khopesh was still held, but the girl’s hands were shaking lightly and her posture was losing cohesion.

More than that, during the whole exchange, she had never managed to even try a counterattack. The saint candidate was sure that a few more strikes would be enough to overwhelm the small witch now.

Going this close to having to use her trumps was very shameful though.

“A last spur, girly. Don’t die now…” The toned inquisitor warned as she went for what she expected to be her last charge, ready to start another combo with her strongest punch yet.

But before she could connect it, an intense killing intent came from her flank and force Colette to break her movement and turn towards it. The moment she did so though, a pillar of light appeared between her and her previous foe.

It was then followed by a clap of deafening thunder and all that was left in its wake was a charred mark in the concrete.

“Was that…?” Col asked with her eyes going back to the person that warned her.

“Pretty much so, yeah. Our lil’ brat has a weird definition of ‘nothin’ too advanced’, ya see?” Anna answered while still smiling maniacally at Karim. “It’s much more interestin’ like this though…”

And the petite girl who had summoned divine punishment only smirked back full of confidence.