I quickly slid into my armor and brought out my flails which I did not bother to use, as I knew it would not even go through the guard’s premium armor. Since the guard was already in his armor and was practically waiting for me to dress up he stood there the entire time leaning on his weapon like an old man on a walking stick.
As I rounded up and now stood face to face with my opponent, my father came up and announced he was going to be the referee and strictly warned us that this was nothing but a practice session.
But I was even more sure of something and that was the fact that the guard, even if he was as tough as he looked by the exterior, could not hurt be badly or kill me and this was simply due to the fact that if he indeed did beat me up, then there would be no Zelia. It was not like I was dodging the Zelia by dying but rather inevitably postponing it, so that I had more time to practice hopefully during recovery.
This I knew the guard knew and since he could do neither of the before mentioned to me, I knew I could speak all the foul language I wanted about him, thus revealing his true identity and finally remove that bloody mask of him for once and to show to the world who he truly was.
And so my father now initiated the fight by holding his arms out, palms faced towards each other, forming a barrier between me and my opponent, and next, he lifted both of his hands up, Karate style, thus starting the battle. Instantly I heard the cheers of my sister and mother who were seated by the bushes and I knew this was going to play to my advantage.
And I also knew the name-calling too was going to help me out. So I instantly started calling out insults, something I had never done in front of my parents no matter what the situation. But since my insults were only something that a bulky buffon such as the guard would relate to, it made no sense to my parents.
“Why are you such a coward, huh? Why are you always under that mask? Why!? Is it because you are too ashamed to show yourself in public or your mother was so ashamed that she gave birth to such an ugly son?!” and almost instantly as I spoke the gaurd rushed and although he was bigger and bulkier than me by a big margin, it did not intimidate me one bit as I knew for now I was getting through to him, through his mind.
He now raised his weapon and swung it at me and I instantly dodged now knowing he was actually as strong as he looked and may actually be much more.
I now recovered as I threw new insult towards knowing right from the start his mother, was a weak point for him. he threw blow after blow and I missed him by a hair’s thickness everytime and as I did this I knew he had indeed some kind of training.
I had not landed a shot till now and was only waiting for this guy to tire out which honestly was tough.
He seemed to have immense stamina and now the tables seemed to turn around, sure the insults worked at first, for the first initial minutes, but now he was growing deaf and did not heed to my foul language. It might have been due to the fact that he knew I did not know him well at a personal level to insult him which might have been why he stopped reacting.
It seemed my game was up and so was the psychological warfare or so I thought. I knew now I had to start fighting or else an unlucky dodge might knock the daylight’s out of me.
So the next mighty blow I blocked him by the long metal bar of my flail. I got to admit he was strong and almost certainly stronger than me. His one blow that I decided to block instead of dodge made my feet dig into the dirt and almost knocked the wind out of me.
A tiny amount of fear seeped into my mind but I drove it away, knowing that if I could at least defend myself against this giant I maybe could face anyone who entered into the arena.
The guard now backed away and spoke in his gruff voice as we now circled around each other waiting for the right time to attack.
“You are weak, voule!!” he spoke his voice now clear and loud. I knew he was doing the same thing I was doing just a few minutes earlier but I also realized what he spoke now as out of experience and was true.
I found out, through the next few minutes that the only way to beat him was not by brute force but by manipulation and tricking him something I was bad at, unlike my sister who was as nasty with her tongue as she was her weapon of choice, a thin slick blade. She had taught me a few tricks, but I was never completely successful in pulling it off on my opponent unless that opponent was the Gurzal gang.
I never got to experience this on the battlefield too because there I preferred to swing with might rather than confuse my enemy.
Now seeing the only option to defeat my opponent was by somehow outsmarting him, I now suddenly felt like I wanted to bail out and wanted to accept defeat but we were only but a few minutes into the fight. The guard now seemed to smell my fear but did a good job of hiding it and instead of using it on cunning tactics of his own.
They were poorly thought out of course but it seemed to get to me. Of course, though I was fit enough to handle his vague insults and powerful swings but it was something much tinier that seemed to grow the irritation inside me until I could bear it no more.
And this was the word. ‘Voule’. The last time I heard it was from Hrosskel and even he seemed to use the sparingly in our encounters, but this guy here used it mercilessly and attached it to any sentence no matter what it meant.
At first, it was manageable I knew he was trying to get to my head but unknowingly to me, it made my strikes more filled with hatred, something my father warned to me before the start of this fight.
And every time the guard said that it fuelled me even more with anger and this too the guard seemed to realize as the frequency of the word increased so drastically that at one point he was only calling me ‘Voule’ and nothing else while I barely was able to see his smug smile behind the mask.
Anger totally overcome me and now I was breathing heavily and sweating knowing soon I was going to burst out. I now looked at him right where his eyes were supposed to be and dared under my breath for him to speak that word again.