Chapter 88:

Tournament Rounds

A Terrible Evil Villain And Their Destiny

“So, that Khan is he’s about your age isn’t he?” Bryson said slowly to Viola as they along with Lila Frost stood in the elevator waiting.

“Bry, drop it.” Viola said in a dangerously low voice.

Bryson knowing when to stop, did not move the conversation any further. Instead electing to just smile mischievously. Which in itself earned a dirty look from his sister.

“I’ll get you.” Viola threatened as the elevator door opened.

Bryson quickly made a hasty exit out. Immediately exiting the elevator, Bryson entered the view box. This is something. He thought as he marvelled at the spacious interior. It was a large room with several lavish couches sitting in the middle. Viewscreens were placed across every wall and the massive glass wall allowed perfect viewing of the stadium below.

Already awaiting them were his parents, Sable, Nico standing on guard and a few other servants standing attentive.

“How do you find the booth?” Duchess Coldwater asked sipping on a glass of wine.

“It’s impressive.” Bryson said looking around.

“Oh, pick yourself your own seat. Your brother’s about to fight.” She said motioning for him.

“Already?” Bryson said surprised.

“Yes, well we need to make an impression now don’t we?” Duchess Coldwater said cheerfully.

“Huh.” Bryson said as he sat himself on a seat near the glass, “Lemon ice tea.” He said turning to an awaiting servant.

“So who’s Gilles fighting?” Viola asked as she grabbed herself a glass of wine from her servant.

“Viola.” Duchess Coldwater said looking at her.

“What?” Viola said innocently as she took a sip.

“Only one glass.” She said sternly.

“Yes mother.” Viola said as she took a sip of the wine, rolling her eyes.

“Bryson, Sable. Do not be like your sister.” Duchess Coldwater said to them.

“Yes mother.” They replied in unison.

“Your brother is fighting one of the students from the academy. A Darts McAvoy. Swordsman, first year. Won Mazval’s best swordsman for fifteen-year-olds. For scimitars.” Duke Coldwater rumbled.

“Is that really the title?” Bryson asked. That sounds dumb.

“No. But it is to specify his exact qualifications.”

“Is that to make him sound impressive?” Lila asked quietly to Bryson as she had taken the lemon ice tea from the other servant and brought it over to him.

“No, the specifications are to show how limited his skills are. Supposedly at least.” Bryson said taking a sip from his drink.

“Okay, but still, isn’t fighting a guy from the academy still a big deal?”

“It is.”

“And what about the match-fixing?”

“I don’t know why.” Bryson said watching as one of the massive viewscreens showed the fight matchup of Gilles and Darts.

“I think it was fixed.” Viola said silently approaching them. Upon seeing Bryson raise an eyebrow in question she answered, “It’s time for our brother to prove himself.”

“Right he’s heading off to become an adventurer next year.” Bryson recalled.

“Quiet the test. So same rules as always apply? Knockout or ring out?” Lila murmured.


“Ladies and gentlemen! The first match is about to start!” A voice from the speakers called out.

Bryson peered down to the arena and saw both Gilles and The Academy student, Darts Mcavoy, had entered the arena. Already the crowd began to murmur as they watched the two walk towards the middle.

“Before we begin we would to give thanks to Duke and Duchess Coldwater for sponsoring this event.” The announcer said, as he did a recorder focused onto the view box that the Coldwaters were in, zooming in on Duke and Duchess Coldwater. Bryson’s mother flashed a golden smile and wave while his father simply nodded.

“Now to introduce the fighters. From the red corner, we have from The Academy! The fifteen-year-old Darts Mcavoy!” An announcer screamed into the microphone. Several polite cheers arose as he waved to the crowd.

“From the blue corner! The third child of our very own magnanimous Duke Coldwater! The swordsman prodigy! Fourteen-year-old Lord Gilles Coldwater!”

Upon his announcement, the crowd erupted with cheers. Almost over the top really. Bryson looked up at a viewscreen and noticed Gilles massive smile now plastered on his face from all the cheers.

On the other hand, his opponent paced back and forth looking rather annoyed. Well, he’s getting in his head. Bryson thought. That’s already an advantage.

A referee walked between the two and said something, a moment later both of them nodded and were ordered to head to their respective ends, drawing their weapons.

The referee then retreated back to a safe distance before yelling, “Fight!”

With that, the two opponents charged one another. Gilles, the bigger of the two fighters attempted to bully his opponent. Attacking with several massive devastating power strikes. Immediately causing Darts to go on the back foot.

Darts was forced to constantly parry the attacks, barely having any time to come up with a counter. Anytime he did manage to return a strike was for naught, however. As Gilles easily blocked all his attempts.

As Gilles moved forwards, he began to shove and bash with his shield, nearly causing the other boy to fall. Desperately Darts tried to keep himself upright knowing that the moment he fell the fight would be over.

As they neared the edge of the arena Gilles gave a confident smirk, looking to push Darts out of the ring Gilles planted his weight down on the balls of his feet. Taking a brief pause with his attack he allowed Darts to take a step back unopposed.

Darts surprised by the sudden pause stood back frozen with a look of confusion. It took Darts the briefest of moments to realize what Gilles was doing. A brief moment too long however, as Gilles launched himself forward, shield raised looking to smash him out of the ring.

At the very last moment, Darts was able to move himself slightly aside avoiding the full impact of the barge. Instead only clipping his shoulder, which was still enough to send him falling to the ground. Fortunately within the ring still.

Another stroke of good fortune for him was that Gilles did not expect the sidestep. And now Gilles found himself about to eliminate himself. In the first match of this tournament. In front of his father. Quickly he slammed his foot down mere fingertips away from the line and pivoted, his entire body twisting in place as his foot was rooted to the floor.

“Grr.” Gilles grunted as his entire body save for his right foot spun a near one eighty-degree angle. With the sudden halt in moment Gilles felt himself nearly fall over. Planting his left foot down he steadied himself.

As he moved to straighten himself his eyes widened as pain shot from his right foot. He had hurt it. As he tried to covertly shift his weight around, he felt the biting pain as his ankle moved.

Looking over to Darts he saw that his opponent had just collected himself and was ready to continue. Gilles gritted his teeth and cursed inwardly.

“Uh oh.” Nico whispered.

“What?” Sable asked.

Nico looked over to Duke and Duchess Coldwater, the two of them had a serious look on their face and were glued to the fight. Nico turned back to Sable.

“Gilles broke his ankle.” Nico said quietly.

“What? Are you certain?” Sable said in disbelief.

“It was brief, but I saw the angle, it bent. He isn’t like you, my Lady. He isn’t nearly as nimble.” Nico said.

“What are the chances that a one-legged Gilles can win this?” Lila whispered to Bryson.

“Well… Mcavoy is tired. So he might be slower and make a mistake.” Bryson said trying to sound optimistic.

“More tired than that lumbering oaf?” Viola whispered sharply back.

“At least he landed some blows, Mcavoy should be hurt.” Bryson said desperately.

“Gilles can’t move!” She whispered yelled.

“Would him losing be that bad?”

“Let’s just say I prefer having two younger brothers instead of one.” Viola said.

“I concur, Lord Gilles is in a spot of trouble.” Phillip said suddenly appearing behind the five having their quiet discussions. Everyone instantly jumped. The Coldwater parents however, paid no one any heed as they simply watched the fight continue.

“Don’t do that.” Bryson said through gritted teeth.

“Lord Gilles needs to come up with something quickly if he has any hope to win.” Phillip said ignoring Bryson.

“As you told me before that requires intelligence. Something that Gilles lacks.” Bryson said looking back at the fight.

It was not pretty. It was now Gilles turn to retreat backwards as Darts now made his forward press. It hurt every time Gilles had to move in order to intercept a strike. The walking, the shifting of his weight, and the blows absorbed, all sent pain through his leg. Darts was well aware of this.

Fortunately though, Darts was indeed tired and hurt in his own right. That shoulder check he received left his shoulder sore and he was hesitant to put as much weight behind each blow as he usually would.

This pain from moving his shoulder made him scared to attempt any potentially harmful moves. Instead, he allotted to use more basic strikes, in a more basic rhythm. It made him predictable.

So predictable that even Bryson noticed it, he had Phillip to thank for that. Though, he would never admit it. Still, Bryson wasn’t sure if Gilles would notice it.

Despite Gilles easily being a far better melee fighter than Bryson and easily one if not the strongest swordsman in Wrabuth for his age. It was abundantly clear that his abilities were rather average. The spells he was able to cast were extremely basic. Things that Sable, who also lacked the natural affinity to become a mage, could already master. His technique lacked proper form and he took to new techniques rather slowly. Not to mention he could always be slow on the uptake.

So why was he considered so good? It all came down to the way he fights and his strategy. Which could all be chalked up to three simple words. Gilles real strong.

He’s the strongest swordsman simply because he is the strongest swordsman. The amount of power he had in him was practically cheating. It eclipsed most people. So if he could find that one opening and get one strike in, bad leg or not. He would generate enough power to finish the fight.

Just need to hit him when he does the overhead strike. The guy telegraphs it. Bryson thought. Find it. Bryson stared intently over at a viewscreen that had zoomed in on the fight.

It seemed that Gilles noticed had noticed the pattern. There was a look of recognition on his face as he hardened his resolve. He was now waiting for the moment.

Now he just needed to be fast enough. Bryson thought, and he wasn’t sure if Gilles would be. But he had to be because Gilles could not keep up this defence any longer, he needed to get this counter or he would lose.

Darts raised his scimitar up for another overhead swing and Gilles swung for it. He’s too slow. Bryson realized. Darts was going to connect on Gilles's head first. His shield raised was too low, it wouldn’t block the blow. In fact, it was angle slightly weird even.

Then right before the scimitar came crashing down, it felt as though time froze for Darts and Darts alone. There was a slight pause in his attack, a pause that slowed his attack just enough for Gilles blow to land first.

What a blow it was. The impact sent the boy hurtling out of the ring and slamming straight into a barricade, leaving a noticeable crater in it. That’s excessive. Bryson thought.

A gasp of silent shock went through the crowd before erupting in cheers. The crowd apparently didn’t think so. The referee went to check on Darts as Gilles bathed in the cheers.

“We have a winner! Lord Gilles Coldwater!” The announcer screamed out.

“Why did he freeze?” Sable asked while Duke Coldwater simply nodded in approval.

“His arm.” Phillip noted watching the replay on the viewscreen.

“Come again?”

“He made him overuse his arm, the last strike caused enough pain to give.” Phillip said, pausing the screen at the moment Darts froze. A look of panic could be seen on his face, “Look you can see him react to the sudden pain.”

“That is quite the stroke of luck.” Viola said.

“Yeah.” Bryson said staring at the screen, “Almost like magic.”