As soon as we walked into the arena, our eyes trained on a lone shadowy figure sitting in a meditative position in the middle of the arena. I couldn't put my finger on it, but somehow the figure knew the moment we arrived. I looked around the arena. It was large and spacious. the walls came up around the arena. They looked to be about ten feet high. There were lamps hanging over the top of the wall. The area was clearly illuminated. the floor was made of the same gray concrete brick material that the rest of the castle was made of. I looked up at the dark sky, and I could see the full moon shinning bright and menacing. It was the only light in the sky at the time. Then the lone figure spoke.
"Ah, at last, Athena, what have you brought me? Hopefully this specimen will survive the first week, unlike the other one, who cried his eyes out and begged for mercy. That boy was a sissy. I don't even know how he made it through the novice training that he received. I hope it doesn't take me four more long years before I can bring out some of my more advanced techniques," he said, balling his fist up. "I don't know why you insist on bringing me these humans. They're all too mushy and soft." "If I had doubts, I wouldn't have brought him to you. I'm sure he will be a better sparring partner than your other students," she said. " I hope that you are correct, because I would love to teach my techniques to someone other than the deceased. Come here, boy, let me take a gander at you." I walked over to the mysterious man, and it was like deja vu. It felt like I had met him before, someplace other than here. Maybe I saw him in town, but I was pretty sure that he looked familiar. He was Asian with low-cropped black hair. He was short, probably six or seven inches shorter than me. He looked like he was ripped. He wore black breeches that looked loose, and he also had on a black shirt tat was sleeveless. And his shoes looked more like socks than footwear. "Mmm hm, very good, strong and strapping, yes, he looks just like..." His eyes got big and he took a step back away from me"It couldn't be, she told me she kill..." He shut up abruptly. Then he looked over at Athena. "A wod with you , friend." He turned and walked farther into the shadows of the arena. He waited for Athena to join him. Athena walked over to him, stood, and waited for him to speak.
"Where did that boy come from?" he asked.
"Why Zen, I don't know what you mean by that."
"Don't play dumb with me, Athena!" he said, raising his voice.
"Zen! Lower your voice, we have company," she whispered forcefully.
"I apologize, but you know exactly what I'm talking about. That boy looks just like his father. Do you think I'm stupid? I know you couldn't have thought that I wasn't going to recognize my most accomplished pupil's son, Athena," he said. Then he looked over at the blank dull gray wall. "You told me that you killed off Cloud's bloodline. You said that you killed the bo-" "I know what I said Zen, do not attempt to lecture me," she said, stopping his statement on his lips. "I... I couldn't do it, I couldn't kill an innocent child. Plus he doesn't know anything about his people, and all he knows of hi parents is what I've told him. So in a way i have killed off Cloud's bloodline." "Humph, so tell me, friend, what do you plan on doing with him? Do you plan on making him your boy toy, then bleed him dry once you're finised with him, or do you plan on giving him the gift?" he raised his left eyebrow.
"I... I don't know yet, I haven't gotten that far along the road yet. But bleeding him out isn't part of my plan, the gift though." she shrugged. "Who knows, anything's possible."
"Well tell me this, have he started to exude any signs of his father's amazing abilities?"
"Not that I know of."
"What of his mother's extraordinary psychic gifts, have they surfaced?"
Athena thought back to the kiss they shared and what he had told her, but she shrugged it off. "If he has, then he's been masking them quite well. Now if there is nothing else, I'll leave you with your student."
Athena nodded, walked back over to me, and kissed me on the cheek. "good luck, my child," she said. Then she walked out the arena, leaving me alone with the mysterious man.
He walked to the center of the arena and spoke, "My name is Zen. I'm your teacher. You may call me that or master, whichever one suits you. Right now, though, I'm your worst nightmare, I'm going to push you to your limits, and then I'm going to push you some more. So shall we get started?"
I nodded my head. "Yes, sir, I mean, teacher, I mean master... I, I am ready," I said hesitantly.
"Nervous, huh, that will get you killed. So guard up your loins, because I'm coming at you," he said.
Before I could establish a fighting position, I felt immense pain. Then I was sliding across the arena on my back. As I tried to rise up, Zen was coming at me from above, like an eagle swooping down to capture its prey. His knee was descending toward me, menacing and threatening. All of a sudden something amazing happened to me. One minute Zen's knee was coming at me super-fast, and in the next moment it was like everything slowed down. I easily rolled out of the way of Zen's attack.
Zen's knee crash-landed with the concrete floor where I should have been. He was startled, but only for a split second. He easily maintained his composure by somersaulting backward and preparing to ward off my attack. When he saw that no attack was imminent, he steeled himself and spoke, "Good, very good, I don't know how you dodged my Eagle Claw Attack, but you did and I'm impressed," he said folding his arms across his chest. "So tell me did your master give you something to drink or was that little move your own creation?" he asked.
I was so amazed at how I had moved that it never crosed my mind that I could have made that move on my own.
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