Swoosh Shwa! Fuu!
Time after time my attacks wiz by my target. Growing faster and stronger. The distance between us has become apparent, and I can see it growing less distant by the moment… but not fast enough.
“Hahaha! I’ve not felt so alive in forever! Since you woke up this morning you really perked up! I can’t wait to see how you’ll fare tomorrow!” The old cockroach sneers as he evades every attack
“Too bad for you, after I win our little bet I’m going to take a day off. Rest before the big event.” I sneer in return
“You’re still on about that? You have minutes! The sun will hit its zenith in minutes, and when the bell chimes and the ceremony starts you will be disqualified.” He says with disbelief as he points towards the sky
He still hides his fatigue flawlessly, but I’ve begun to notice small changes. He is having more and more trouble keeping up. He claims to know the suns position, but he hasn’t taken his eyes off me in hours. When I begin to chant he quickly closes the distance to prevent me from using magic. He even counters on occasion when I get too close. I’m just on the brink of landing a blow… but he’s right. Sure I can probably land one by the end of the day, but it would take a miracle to land one before noon sets in. The bells will ring any moment, I have to do something!
“OIIII! LASS!” Suddenly someone yells
Even the wind and the birds had gone silent in my concentration. I lose my bearings for a moment as the sudden scream enters the world that had formed around our duel. I wasn’t the only one caught off guard by the sudden noise though. Shishou turns his head to look at the source
“An opening! Tei-Meta-Eir Dash!” I yell quickly as I activate my new magic
In a flash, the world moves beneath me. The distance between me and Shishou has disappeared in mere moments. With as much desperate speed as I can manage I throw my drawn back fist towards him.
“! No you don’t!” He yells out upon noticing my assault
He disappears. I would think he teleported away if not for the gust of wind that followed his rapid movement. Wind so powerful in fact that I get pulled into it, falling to the ground.
“You nearly gave me a heart attack. I’ve never seen that one before, just how long have you been holding on to that move?” He asks with a cocky grin as he walks up to me lying on the ground
“For a while now. Whats with that stupidly fast speed? Have you been going easy on me this whole time?” I ask looking up at him
To be honest I only received that magic this morning. It felt like it would only be useful for this kind of situation so I had been saving it.
“Of course I can’t keep up that kind of speed all the time. I might be amazing, but that would just be ridiculous. It’s a skill, one I was born with. I can’t use it more than a few times a day.” He brags as he gets back into stance
“What are you doing? Get these things off of me, I have a ceremony to get to.” I say as I stand up and hold my arm out towards him
He stares at me in confusion for a moment. As the realization dons on him he begins to pat himself looking for something.
“AH! Cheeky little!” He yells out when he finds the hole in his sleeve from my desperate attack
“You’re not going to say something immature like ‘My clothes don’t count!’ or something right? A loss is a loss now pay up.” I say shaking the bracelet on my wrist at him with a smile
“Um… Did I interrupt something?” I hear from our side in an apologetic tone
When I turn to see the source a smile breaks out on my face. Tea is standing there apologetically.
“Gah! Of course, you did! Look at her, her head is starting to grow already! By sundown, her ego will be so big that there won’t be any more room in this city for the people! You’ve doomed us all!” Shishou angrily rants in half seriousness
“Don’t listen to him, your timing couldn’t have been better. Want to come with me to the tournament inauguration ceremony?” I say happily as I trot over to him relishing in my victory
“Really?! That would be great! The tickets to the bracket drawing are super expensive, and usually, I only hear about the matchups the next day!… but, won’t we be getting there a little early?” He tilts his head and asks
“Hm? I thought I was cutting it rather close actually.” I answer in equal parts confusion
“Lass… you do know that it isn’t until tonight right? We still have nearly half the day to go.” Tea explains
I feel something in my head snap as I realize what has happened.
“Shishou!” I yell out in anger turning to meet the smug smile I’m sure I’ll find on the old man’s face
I’m met only with the shattered park we used as our battlefield. Not a trace of the snake-tongued demon that tormented me only minutes ago.
“Tch! He ran… Wait! Take off these before you go at least!” I yell out with renewed anger as I search again for him
“You should really calm down lass. Anger really doesn’t suit you.” Tea says as he motions for me to calm myself
I turn to glare at him for interrupting my search, and when I do he seems to stiffen and fall silent.
sigh “Why are you here by the way?” I ask defeated by his overly stiff expression
These things still hurt you know? Am I going to have to do the whole ceremony with these things on?
“Oh, I just thought I would let you know, it’s going to be a while on that sword repair. It was damaged a bit worse than I thought, and since I’m having to replace so much of it I’ve decided to make a few upgrades as well.” He explains
“Upgrades? I can kind of understand repairs, but I would feel bad if you upgraded it for free as well… I don’t really have anything to pay you with at the moment though.” I say worriedly
I eventually want to pay back everybody’s kindness, but I’m starting to wonder if I’m ever going to be able to.
“Oh! I forgot to tell you, Juire is covering the bill. It was the weirdest thing, he got in touch with me almost as soon as I got the sword from you. When I told him I was making some repairs for you he offered to let me use his forge and materials! See? I told you they are true weapon lovers!” Tea says with a stern expression
Sorry to tell you Tea, but I’m pretty sure Juire is doing it for himself. Though I’m somewhat amazed that Juire is letting Tea do the repairs and upgrades. Surely he has any number of master blacksmiths under his thumb that he would trust more. Is Tea really that amazing… or is this just Juire’s way of making sure I know that Tea is still under his thumb even if the contract is void.