Chapter 10:

Duel

Re Mari : I'll find you even if death did us apart!


“Rules are simple, Vance needs to land one hit to win, and Arthur will win if he renders Vance weaponless or knocks him out of the ring.” Mother drew a big line around the backyard. It was muddy because of the light rain.

“Are you ready Vance?” Arthur was confident.

“I was waiting for you to go first,” I swung the wooden sword in an arc motion to check the balance. It was similar to the one I used every day for my practice.

“Here I come,” Arthur rushed at me while pointing the sword at me. I knew I had to parry it, but it was too fast. I barely swiped it away.

What is this power. Arthur was a beast. My hand started tingling just from blocking his one slash.

“You weren’t hoping for me to hold back right?” Arthur taunted me.

I know he is just trying to push my limits, but it’s so annoying.

It was my chance to attack, I rushed to his left. The sword was behind me while my body was on the front.

Arthur looked a bit puzzled because I was full of openings. I swung my sword and he blocked it, but it was faint. I turned around and slashed from his right. He was blocking my attacks without breaking a sweat. I kept going to his left and then again right.

Arthur was smiling as my attacks were persistent but weak.

The problem was a smaller body and the difference in experience. I knew how to brawl with someone because of my past life, but I never learned sword fighting.

If it was a real battle I would have been dead for attacking this carelessly. But it’s a mock battle. Getting hit once or twice wasn’t a problem.

I spoke too soon.

Arthur was having so much fun. He started swinging his sword. I was narrowly escaping each swing.

No way! The attacks were getting faster and sharper as the time went by.

It was getting harder and harder for me to avoid his swings.

Arthur was a big build person. Unlike Martha who is kind and gentle by her nature, Arthur’s kindness comes from his strength. It was because he was strong, he was kind. Wonder how he even got hit on the battlefield.

I was by no means average. I practiced for years and spent every second I got in getting stronger, but the gap was ridiculously wide.

The more I got pushed back the stronger his swings got. I was getting cornered as the arena line was getting closer behind me. Once I step out, it is over for me.

It would be fine if I lost here, I am still a child. No one would blame me for giving up. Why am I even struggling?

The sweat was rolling down from my forehead to my chin, dripping like raindrops.

The continuous clacking sound of the wooden swords clashing and a faint aroma from the moist ground. My mind finally calmed down. I remembered my police days.

How can I forget my decades of experience in life-threatening situations?

I got it! That one time I fought with an ex Sumo in a public bathhouse. That time I managed to beat a person five times heavier than me just because I used my head.

There are many ways to overcome the gap of strength. If you are being pushed without an opening, the best way to get out is to deliberately get back.

It creates enough distance between your opponent and you. The tricky part is the timing. I tried to remember the fights I had with Yakuza when I was younger.

I waved my sword in the air as if I was ready to strike. But instead, I jumped back a step and ducked. It gave me a false swing from Arthur and I saw the sword swinging right above my head. Almost touching my hair. I rushed right at Arthur. He couldn’t swing his sword at that close distance.

I finally managed to break his chain of attacks. I thrusted my sword at him.

Arthur grabbed my sword with his armpit. It was stuck, “That was close, and to think you almost had me.” I tried pulling the sword, but I forgot the difference in pure strength. Tricks and techniques only work to some extent.

Oh boy, I am screwed.

A loud bang and I was on the ground. Arthur hit me with the wooden back of his sword. My head felt like it would split apart.

Pain, so much pain. I don’t want to cry.

“Well, that concludes the match.” Arthur started walking away.

“Brother Vance!” Anne and Mary screamed.

Not yet, it is not over yet.

Arthur was showing his back to me, a perfect opportunity. This all depends on this one strike. I know I can never beat Arthur. My life is not a fairy-tale. But I never had to beat him. I just needed to land a hit.

I jumped and swung my sword, I knew for a fact he wouldn’t have enough time to swing his sword and block my attack.

I was so wrong. He turned in an instant and punched me in the stomach. I flew like a bag of rice and stumbled on the ground. I felt that, the pain. It was as if I got hit by the reality. Old Man Ivan was never this serious.

“It was a nice try. But it is over now.” Arthur was standing there unfazed.

“Is it?” I pointed at his chest. There was a clear footprint on his shirt from my muddy leather boot. I knew it was a sword fight so his focus would be blocking my sword. I wasn't expecting him to hit me this hard though.

When I jumped to attack I never intended to strike with my sword. In a split second when Arthur punched me in the stomach, I managed to land a kick.

“When did you?” Arthur was in shock.

“Don’t tell me you never planned on hitting me with the sword.” Arthur started laughing loudly. Mother was shocked too, but she looked satisfied. Martha ran inside to get some bandages.

“Brother!” Both Anne and Mary ran to me. I was tired as hell.

I was lying on the ground. Mary lifted my head and put it on her lap, "Anne, please never forget me." I pretended to be dead. Anne started crying. Mary knew I was joking, but she kept me on her lap.

“Daddy is so mean!” Anne started hitting Arthur. Serves you right for hitting me this hard.

"Bring back brother! I hate you, Daddy. I'll never talk to you again" Anne was still crying and punching Arthur's leg. I took a peek at Arthur's face, it appeared a daughter's emotional attack was far stronger than any attack on the battlefield. His face was unforgettable.