I Believe

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Who we are

Griffin, Ezekiel and Judas show up just as the sun is starting to set. They find that the humans have already set up their campsite. They have managed to clean themselves up. Some of them actually look presentable when they are clean. Doug is one of the exceptions thanks to his pony tail and beard. Griffin, Ezekiel, and Zathora see half of the humans busy cooking. The other half is busy cleaning the weapons.

“What are ya‘ll doing here?” Doug sarcastically shouts.

“I was coming to see how you were doing out here. Now I see that you guys appear to be doing pretty good. You guys got everything up pretty fast.” Griffins say getting everyone’s attention.

“We’ve got a lot of experience with this sort of thing.” Doug replies. “So how are Charles and John?”

“Which one is Charles?” Griffin asks.

“The big black guy” Frank shouts.

“Yeah he is very lucky to be alive. Zathora got him to the hospital just in time. The doctors managed to save his life.” Griffin answers.

“Is he gonna be ok?”

“He will be alright, but the doctors are going to keep him under careful watch for a while.”

“That is good to know. What about John?” Doug replies.

“His condition was nowhere near as serious as Charles’. The worst injury was the bite on his arm. The doctors have stitched up his arm. He will be released in a couple of days.”

“We’re all glad to hear that they are going to be ok.” Roger responds.

“So what happens now?” Mark asks.

“Has Doug told you about welcome party?” Ezekiel asks.

“Yes

While Griffin and Ezekiel explain things to the others Judas suddenly walks right up to Doug, who is cleaning his rifle. Griffin and Ezekiel do not notice. Doug remains seated and emotionless until Judas stops directly in front of him. He looks up and sees Judas smiling down at him. Doug just smiles back.

“What do you want?”

“I hear that you want to challenge me. Is that true?” Judas says.

“Yes”

“Are you sure you want to do that?”

“Yes” Doug answers.

“Based on what Griffin told me you sound like you would be a worthy opponent. I am curious, what martal arts have you studied besides Jeet Kune Do and T’ai Chi?”

“Aikido, Tang Soo Do, Hapkido, and Brazilian Jujitsu”

“You know all of those martal arts?”

“Yes, I thought that it would be a good idea to study the fighting style of the region I was stationed in. But I’m not a master at those martal arts.”

“Impressive, you are going to be a worthy opponent.” Judas says.

Griffin motions to Judas that it is time to go. Judas makes his way back towards Griffin and Ezekiel.

“So I guess we’ll see you in church tomorrow.” Roger says.

“Yes but it will not be much of a service. Lucas is our main piano player. The service it will be lacking something without him.” Griffin replies.

Roger notices Doug looking at him like he is suggesting something. Roger shakes his head saying no. Griffin notices the look.

“Doug do you know something?” Griffin asks.

“Yes, my dad here is an amazing piano player. What do you say dad?”

It takes Doug and Griffin a minute to convince Roger to play at the church.

“I have one question.” Roger says then turns to Griffin. “What songs are you guys playing?”

Griffin reaches into his pocket and pulls out a sheet of paper that has the name of the songs. Roger takes it and quickly reads over it.

“I know all three of these. Can I add another song that I play solo?”

“Sure, no problem”

Griffin, Ezekiel, and Judas turn to leave. Griffin suddenly stops and turns around.

“Hey Doug, have you been to the doctor yet?”

“No sir, I haven’t had the time yet.”

Griffin turns and faces the others.

“How many of you have been to the hospital?”

Everyone except Doug, Mark, and Jack raise their hands. Griffin knows that Mark and Jack were not in fight so he excludes them.

“Ok Doug, after church tomorrow I want you to go to the hospital and get our wounds looked at.” Griffin orders.

“Yes sir”

“Ok, see you tomorrow morning.”

Griffin, Judas, and Ezekiel walking away, leaving the humans on their own. They disappear into the forest.

“Man those guys are good.”

The next morning Doug, Roger, Shawn, John, Jack, Mark, and Corporal arrive at the Rottweiler’s church just as the service is starting. Frank, Jake, and Nick are still asleep. Doug knew that Nick would not go. He had a feeling that Frank and Jake probably wouldn’t either. Charles is not there because he is still in the hospital. Doug, Roger, Shawn, John, Jack, Mark, and Corporal walk in and sit down on the back pew so they don’t draw any attention. It doesn’t work out very well. They are the only humans there. The church is so packed that there is not enough room for them to sit. Mark, Corporal, and Jack have to stand. They let Doug sit because of the gunshot wound to his leg from yesterday. The wound isn’t bad but it is still makes it painful for Doug to walk long distances. Roger walks up to the front where Griffin is waiting for him.

“Are you ready Roger?” Griffin whispers.

“As ready as I’m gonna be.”

“Good, just do not mess up.”

“I won’t” Roger whispers back.

The worship service starts out with “Blessed Assurance” then moves onto “Washed by the Blood of the Lamb” and finally “How Great Thou Art.” Roger manages to keep up with the band for having never practiced with them. Fortunately, Roger has spent decades playing these songs and others like them. The band also keeps the same pace throughout all three songs so they don’t mess up. Doug, Shawn, John, Jack, mark, and Corporal, who are sitting in the back, are having difficulty hearing the band. What they can hear sounds amazing. Doug, Shawn, and Charles can all tell by looking at the crowd up front that Roger and the band are doing a good job. When the band finishes playing they step down from the stage, leaving Roger by himself at the piano. Roger takes a deep breath and prepares for his solo song. He chose a song that demonstrates his piano skills, “Goodbye World Goodbye.” The song is very fast paced, addictive, and catchy. It immediately gets the Rottweilers attention. Roger soars along the keyboard with such grace that when he finishes he receives a standing ovation. Griffin has to silence the church after three minutes. After Roger takes his seat the pastor comes forward and the sermon begins. The pastor preaches on the twenty – third Psalms; otherwise known as the “The Good Shepherd.”

Psalms 23

(Verse 1) The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack.

(Verse 2) He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads beside calm waters.

(Versus 3) He renews my life; He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

(Verse 4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your Staff – they comfort me.

(Versus 5) You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup over flows.

(Versus 6) Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will return to the house of the Lord as long as I live.

After the service Doug heads to the hospital. Ezekiel has to show him where it is. Doug is the only human, besides Mark and Jake, who has not been yet. The gunshot wound on his left leg makes it difficult for Doug to keep up with Ezekiel.

“Hey Doug how long has your father been playing the piano?” Ezekiel asks.

“I don’t know. I’d say more than forty years.”

“That is pretty impressive. I have never heard anyone play the piano like that.”

Doug and Ezekiel do not say another word the entire walk to the hospital. Ezekiel leaves Doug in the hands of the nurse. The nurse leads Doug to a room and tells him to wait for the doctor. Doug hobbles and sits down on the bed. The room has two beds and a curtain in the middle separating them. Doug knows that there is someone in the other bed. The curtains prevent him from seeing who is in the other bed but he does hear someone moving around.

“So what happened to you?” The person on the other side of the curtain asks.

Doug immediately recognizes the voice.

“You were there when it happen, Katrina.”

Katrina pulls the curtain back. When she sees that Doug is her roommate she almost starts laughing.

“So Doug, how have you been?”

“I’ve been worse. I’ve been better to.” Doug replies.

“I can see that by looking at your arm. I am curious . . . how did you loss it?”

“About two years ago, my Ranger platoon was sent on a mission to take out a terrorist hideout in Yemen. We got ambushed as soon as we got there. I saw one of my teammates take a bullet. I ran to help him but ended up getting shot in the shoulder. The bullet took out everything in my shoulder. But I continued to pull my teammate, even though he was dead, to cover. The medic patched me up as best he could and I continued on. After we cleared the house, I found out that my Lieutenant was a traitor.”

“How did you find out about him?” Katrina asks.

“I saw him pointing a gun at Nick. I managed to save Nick’s life then turnaround and kill the traitor. I passed out from blood loss not long after that. The doctors decided that since I could no longer use the arm to cut it off. I was unconscious when they cut it off so I had no say in the matter. Now my whole arm and shoulder is robotic as you can see. It sucks because I was right handed.”

“You have some very bad luck.”

“Probably, I’ve been injured in combat a few times.” Doug replies. “So how’s your leg?”

“The doctors said that your stitching really saved my leg. They did not have to do much to my leg when I got here thanks to you. I will be able to leave tomorrow morning.” Katrina answers.

“Glad to hear it.”

The doctor enters the room, walks over to Doug, and inspects all his wounds. Besides the gunshot wound to his leg and the wolf scratch on the back of his neck, Doug has multiple minor injuries. The doctor inspects each and every one of them to see how severe they are and if they are infected. Fortunately for Doug none of his are infected.

“So, which one of your men is challenging Judas?” The doctor asks out of nowhere.

“What is he talking about Doug?” Katrina asks.

“You’re father somehow talked me into challenging Judas.”

“My father is very good at that. But you are a definitely a dead man. Judas is going to tear you apart.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. You got any advice for me?” Doug asks.

“Well, Judas is one of our best warriors. He has never lost a fight. My advice is to try to stay off the ground if you can. Our clan’s specializes in wrestling and Judas is very proficient at it. Try to keep your distance.”

The doctor pulls back Doug’s hair to get a better look the scratch on his neck. Katrina notices that part of Doug’s left ear is missing. The doctor pretends not to notice. Katrina, on the other hand gasps when she sees Doug’s ear.

“What is it?”

“Hey Doug what happened to you ear? It looks like someone tore it off.”

“I was in a situation where a guy had a gun pointed at me. I kicked the gun out of his hand. But he fired before I knocked the gun out of his hand. The bullet hit my ear and what you see now is the result.” Doug explains.

“Now that is what I call bad luck. Did you get the purple heart for that?”

“No, it is just an ear.”

“How many times have you been shot?” Katrina replies.

“I’ve been shot three times, including my leg. I’ve gotten the purple heart twice.”

The doctor asks Doug to take off his shirt. He cannot reach the scratch on Doug’s neck with Doug’s shirt on. Doug turns so the doctor can fix his others wounds. The first thing Katrina sees is a full size King Cobra tattoo on his back. It creeps her out a little bit. She also notices how fit he is. Doug looks like a professional body builder.

“Hey Doug why do you have a tattoo of a snake on your back?”

“It’s a long story. But to sum it up I was part of a Ranger Recon program called the Lone Wolves. Cobra was my code name.”

“I think I have heard about that program. Is it the one where they would send in single Ranger snipers into heavy combat areas to provide recon and take out high value targets?” Katrina asks.

“Yes that’s the one. How do you know about?”

“We Dogs know everything about every nation.”

“Your father told me that you guys have been up here for two thousand years. I can imagine after being up here for that long you guys would know a few of America’s dirty secrets.” Doug replies.

“We know all of them.”

“How did you lose your lung?” The doctor suddenly asks. The doctor has not been playing attention to Doug and Katrina’s conversation. His focus has been entirely on Doug’s injuries.

“Doug said that he lost his lung in combat. I’ve been wondering how he lost it myself.” Katrina replies.

“My best guess is that you lost it in an explosion.” The doctor suggests.

“It was an RPG.” Doug sighs and prepares for the story. Katrina and the Doctor can tell that the story is going to be difficult for him to tell. “I was in the Infantry at the time. My platoon was sent on a mission to secure a road. We hit an IED and got ambushed before we could recover. My team jumped out and took cover in a small ditch. We managed to hold them back, until an RPG hits the ditch that my team was using for cover. Two of my team members were killed. I was far enough away to survive but close enough for the explosion to cause my left lung to collapse.” Katrina notices a small tear rolling down his cheek. He hides it from the doctor but not Katrina. She pretends not to notice. “Charles, my platoon’s medic at the time, saved my life. However the doctors were not able to get my lung started again. So they did a lung transplant.” Doug explains.

“Sorry about bringing that up. If I had known that it was that emotional I wouldn’t have asked.” Katrina says trying to comforting him.

“It’s alright I’ve come to peace with it.”

No one says a word for what seems like forever. After Doug’s story no one wants to talk. They let the doctor do his job. The wound is minor so it only requires three stitches. The doctor also declares Doug to be in better shape than most Dogs his age.

“You are free to go.” The doctor says then walks out leaving Doug and Katrina alone.

“So I guess I’ll see you sometime soon.” Doug says a little nervously as he jumps off the bed.

“I will be around.”

Katrina can tell by the way that Doug talks that he is nervous around her. She pretends not to notice.

“Hey Doug, can I ask you a personal question?”

Doug stops, turns around, and walks back to Katrina’s bed.

“Depends on what is it.”

“Just out of curiosity, do you have a girlfriend?”

Katrina’s question stuns Doug. He never expected her to ask a question like that.

“Ok, you ask me that question the day after you told not to get any ideas about me carrying you here.”

“I’m just curious.”

“Alright, I do not have a girlfriend.” Doug answers.

“That is all I wanted to know.”

“I thought so. If you don’t have any more questions, I have to leave.”

“No, I have no more questions. I guess that I will see you later.” Katrina replies.

“I’ll be around.”

Doug walks out of the room leaving Katrina alone. She lies down in the bed thinking.

So God that is the chosen one . . . this should be interesting.

The rest of the day Doug, Roger, Shawn, Mark, Frank, Jack, Jake, John, Corporal, and Nick relax. They spend the day cleaning their weapons, napping, and cooking. They all spend at least some point in the day napping. The noise from the training facility makes it difficult to take a nap. About every thirty minutes they will hear gunfire coming from there. Occasionally they will receive a visit from the Rottweilers. Most of them are looking for Roger or Doug. They were all impressed by Roger’s piano skills. There are several who come up to Doug and ask him to tell the story on how he defeated the Bear. Shawn, Mark, Frank, Jack, Jake, John, Corporal, and Nick just sit back and listen. Just as the sun is setting Doug, Shawn, and Corporal sit down and radio Colonel Patrenski on their progress. It takes a little bit for Colonel Patrenski to respond. What they do get is mostly static. Corporal has to make some adjustments. Finally they get a clear voice on the radio.

“It’s been three days since your last contact. What’ve you guys been doing up there?” Colonel Patrenski immediately responds.

“He likes to get straight to the point doesn’t he?” Shawn sarcastically says.

Doug and Shawn quietly laugh so Colonel Patrenski doesn’t hear them. Corporal doesn’t show any sign of humor whatsoever. Everyone is starting to think that Corporal is completely humorless. If he has any humor he has done a good job at hiding it.

“We’ve been a little busy up here sir.” Doug answers.

“What happened?”

Doug explains everything from the wolf attack to the worship service. He doesn’t leave out a single detail.

“You weren’t kidding, a lot has happened to you guys. So what are your plans now?”

“I plan on facing Judas in two days. I am probably going to get my butt kicked.”

“Probably, my advice don’t get to close to him. Let him wear himself out.” Colonel Patrenski replies.

“That’s my plan.”

“Then good luck to you. What are your plans after you get your butt kicked?”

Doug can hear both Shawn and Corporal both smirking beside him.

“That’s very funny Colonel.” Doug replies. “I plan on just hanging around here for a little bit.”

“How long do you plan on staying?”

“A few weeks, a month, I don’t know. I’ll be here as long God tells me to.”

“Stay as long as you think you have to. Just don’t forget to check in with me before you think of doing anything stupid, alright?” Colonel Patrenski replies.

“I promise”

Doug and his men spend the entire next day resting. Roger, Shawn, Mark, and Corporal help Doug get ready for his challenge with Judas. Frank, Jack, Jake, John, and Nick only get up to use the restroom and eat. Not long after breakfast it starts pouring down rain. They quickly find out what an effect Jeremiah’s altitude has when it comes to weather. Because Jeremiah is practically in the clouds the whole area is covered with mists. The rain drops are also much bigger. It rains so hard that by afternoon one of their tents collapses. Jack, Jake, Mark, and Nick are in the tent asleep when it collapses. The cold water instantly wakes them up. It takes all ten of them an hour to get the tent set back up. The mud and rain makes it almost impossible. Everyone of them is soaked in mud and water that they look like mud people by the time they finish putting the tent up. But the tent collapses again an hour later. Doug invites Jack, Jake, Mark, and Nick to stay in the other tent with them, at least till it stops raining. Unfortunately, it continues to rain into the night.

Doug and his men receive three visitors after lunch. They all look like Infantry men by the way they’re dressed. One of them is much bigger than the others. He looks to be the little same size as Charles. The other two Rottweilers are much shorter than him. The rain is falling so hard that they cannot make out the rank insigma on their sleeves.

“Hey Doug, bet you ten dollars that the tallest one is the leader.” Frank whispers.

“You’re on, I choose the smallest one.”

The three Rottweilers stop outside the tent.

“Permission to come in?” The littlest Rottweiler asks.

Doug and Shawn notice a Sergeant Enigma on the shortest Rottweiler’s sleeve, making him the highest ranking of the three. The biggest Rottweiler is actually the lowest rank of the three. They don’t see a rank insigma on his sleeve so Doug and Shawn both think that he is still in training.

“Yeah come on in.” Shawn replies.

The three Rottweilers immediately jump out of the rain and inside the tent. Frank sneakily hands Doug ten dollars.

“Thanks, I haven’t seen it rain this bad in years.” The smallest Rottweiler says.

“Don’t worry about it. What are you guys doing out here?” Doug asks.

“Our squad was running a training mission this morning.”

“And the mission was cancelled when it started raining?” Jack interrupts.

“No, our training missions do not get cancelled for any reason. We ended the mission and headed home. But this place was closer so we decided to see if you would let us stay here for a little bit. By the way I am Connor, this next to me is Nathaniel, and this big guy is Salvador.”

“Nice to meet you guys” Roger replies. “I am Roger Wilson as you guys probably know if you were at the service yesterday.”

“We were all there. I have got to say that I have never heard anyone play like that before.” Nathaniel compliments.

“That’s why I play.” Roger says. “These three guys over here are my nephews Frank, Jack, and Jake Johnson.”

“I think I have heard of you Frank. You are the owner of Military Arms right?” Nathaniel asks.

“Yes I am”

“I must say Frank, I have seen and used one of your weapons in combat before, and they are very impressive. I have seen very few weapons that work as well as yours.”

“Really, which one of my weapons have you used?” Frank asks.

“The sixty caliber fireball machine gun”

Three years ago Frank made a break through when he developed a new kind of bullet technology. He figured out how to use the barrel to heat the bullet. The barrel is thicker than a normal machine gun. Inside the barrel are small but powerful heaters that heat the bullet to two thousand degrees, hot enough to melt through the steel. The round gets so hot that it looks like they are on fire, which is how the weapon got its name. To make the round even more devastating, Frank fitted the technology to be fired using a .60 caliber bullet; mainly because .60 bullets are big enough to put the heaters in. The round is mostly designed for tanks and Humvees.

“Really, that is one of my favorites to.” Frank replies.

“I have a few suggests for weapons, if you are willing to take my advice.”

“Oh yeah, I’m always willing to take advice.”

Frank and Salvador sit down and exchange advice. Everyone else sits down and enjoys lunch. Connor explains that none of them have eaten since breakfast, and that was six hours ago.

“Say Connor, you look a lot like Judas, do you know him?” Shawn says.

“I ought to, he is my father.”

“Then do you have any advice for me?” Doug asks.

“You are asking me how to beat my father.”

“No, I am just asking for advice so I don’t get my butt kicked.”

“Oh ok, do not let him get you on the ground. He will tear you apart if that happens.” Connor answers.

“That’s what Griffin and Katrina told me. Do ya’ll know Katrina?” Doug asks.

“Everyone knows her. Salvador here is her cousin.”

Salvador walks up to Doug and shakes his left hand. Doug feels the strength in Salvador’s grip almost crush his hand.

“That’s quite a grip you got there. You work out.”

“No, it comes natural.”

“I bet it does.” Doug replies.

“So Doug, just out of curiosity, what are you planning on demonstrating tomorrow?”

“What are you talking about?”

“The morning before the challenge, we usually offer the less experienced challengers a chance to demonstrate their skills. You can perform a maximum of five demonstrations. No one has told you that yet?” Salvador surprisingly asks.

“No, that would’ve been good to know yesterday. I got my work cut out for me.”

“Yeah, you are going to need it. Try to make your demonstrations entertaining.”

“I’ll do my best.” Doug replies.

Connor, Salvador, and Nathaniel hang out in the tent until the rain stops. It doesn’t stop raining until well into the night. When it does stop Connor, Salvador, and Nathaniel help them set the tent back up. Just before they leave Connor turns around and faces Doug.

“Hey Doug, when you were in the Rangers did you go by Cobra?”

“Yes” Doug answers, a little suspiciously. “How did you know?”

“I thought I recognized your name.” Connor turns to Nathaniel. “You owe me a date with your sister.”

“My sister likes you anyway Connor.”

Roger looks at Doug and Shawn and sees both of them laughing.

Early the next morning over three hundred people are standing in the village center. All of them are interested to see what Doug is going to demonstrate. Griffin steps forward and addresses the audience.

“As many of you know there is a challenge this evening between Judas, one of our best warriors, and Doug, a war hero based on what I have heard. As is our tradition we allow them to demonstrate their skills. Since Judas has demonstrated his skills to us multiple times in the past, he will not be doing anything. Instead Doug will be doing some demonstrations. How many demonstrations will you be doing Doug?”

“Five”

“Then you better get started. If you need any help just ask.”

“My men are helping me, thanks though.”

Doug, Roger, Shawn, and Mark step forward to the center of the crowd. The entire crowd steps back allowing Doug room for his demonstrations. Roger and Shawn are both carrying bricks.

“Ok Doug, just state who you are, what your skills are, and what you are going to do.” Griffin whispers to Doug.

“No problem”

Doug waits until Griffin is out of the way and the crowd quiets down.

“For ya’ll who don’t know, I am Staff Sergeant Doug Wilson of the U.S Army Rangers. I spent four years in the Infantry and six years in the Rangers. I am a third degree black belt in both Jeet Kune Do and T’ai Chi. I have also studied multiple martial arts and fighting styles from all over the world.”

Doug pauses to allow Roger, Shawn, and Mark to get ready for his first demonstration.

“My first two demonstrations will be on my speed and strength. I am going to kick those brick my father and Uncle are holding.”

Roger and Shawn are standing two feet away with a six inch thick brick. Doug knows that at this distance he doesn’t have a lot of space to muster the energy that he needs to break the brick. He knows that if he doesn’t perform this correctly then there is a possibility that he could break his leg. A sprang ankle will be the least severe injury Doug receives if he doesn’t do this right. As fast and as powerfully as he can, Doug kicks the brick, breaking both of them. The kick is so fast that several members of the crowd miss it. The only thing they see is the brick break in half. It becomes so quiet that you could hear a pin drop. Doug looks around at the audience. Several of them are so stunned that their mouths have dropped open. Doug waits almost a minute to begin his next demonstration.

“My next demonstration is about speed.”

Doug’s brother Mark walks up and stands ten feet away from him. He takes a defensive stance.

“Now what I’m going to do is attack Mark from this distance. I am going to try to get a punch past his defenses. I’m not going to hit him. My brother Mark is a UFC fighter. He is ranked in the top five. He has some of the fastest hands in the league.”

Doug looks at the audience and can tell that most of the Rottweilers believe that he will fail. He has to rush ten feet to Mark and somehow get past his defenses. But Doug knows a secret. Without any indication of his attack, Doug rushes toward Mark who attempts to block the attack. In the blink of an eye, Doug is standing less than a foot away from Mark with his fist only an inch from Mark’s face.

“Now does anyone know how I did that?”

Doug explains that the secret is tricking the human eye. Normally when a person walks they step up with every step. Mark’s cue for Doug’s attack would have been Doug stepping up when he started. Instead Doug maneuvered his legs so that he would be moving in a straight line. So be the time Mark realized that was being attacked Doug was standing right next to him.

“My third demonstration is a technique called the six inch punch a.k.a. the bullet hand. How many of you have heard of it?”

Doug sees only ten hands go up. That’s less than he expected. Doug calls John forward for the demonstration. He choose John for this demonstration because he is the biggest in the group, except for Charles. Normally Doug will perform this technique with Charles for this but he is still in the hospital.

“The six inch punch is mostly for show. There are not many situations that call for it.”

Roger, Shawn, and Mark stand five feet behind John to catch him. John stands a foot away from Doug. Doug places his fist a fingers length away from John’s chest. He then points his pointer and middle finger towards the center of John’s chest.

“Ya’ll might want to come closer so you can see this. Just don’t stand behind John.”

The crowd draws in close, some as close as three feet.

“You ready John?”

“Ready when you are.”

Doug doesn’t draw back. Using energy and inertia Doug delivers a powerful punch to John’s chest. The blow is so powerful that it knocks John six feet back into Roger, Shawn, and Mark’s arms. John’s weight combined with the blow almost knocks them down. Doug explains that the mechanics of the one inch punch is similar to the first demonstration where he kicked the brick in half. He focused his energy on a small area. This allowed him to use his energy to push John backwards. Doug explains that it took him seven years to master that technique.

“My next demonstration is on my prosthetic arm.”

Doug takes off his jacket showing the crowd his robotic arm. The entire crowd gasps when they see Doug’s robotic arm. Doug has done a good job at hiding it from them.

“For those of you who don’t know I lost my arm in combat two years ago and got this to replace it. I had my cousin Jake make modifications to it. I’m going to demonstrate one of the modifications.”

Frank, Jack, and Jake walk through the audience carrying a fifteen foot rope with loops tied on both ends. Frank tosses one end of the rope over an overhanging tree branch. Frank, Jack, and Jake all grab a hold of one end. Doug grabs a hold of the other.

“Now what I’m going to do is pull all six of them off the ground with just my robotic arm. With all six of them together they weigh close to five hundred pounds.” Doug turns to Frank, Jack, and Jake. “Are ya’ll ready.”

“We’re ready” Frank, Jack, and Jake answer in unison.

Doug makes a quick adjustment to his robotic arm. When he is finished he yanks down on the rope as hard as he can. Slowly he lifts Frank, Jack, and Jake off the ground. Doug continues to yank until they are six feet off the ground. The only thing keeping them up is his robotic arm. He holds them up for two minutes then slowly sets them down. The crowd applauds Doug when he sets them down. Doug has yet to receive applause like this from the Rottweilers.

While the audience applauds Frank, Jack, and Jake, John, and Nick get ready for Doug’s final demonstration. Doug’s final demonstration is a fight. Frank, Jack, and Jake will attack Doug all at once. John will stand back with a rubber knife and attack Doug when his back is turned. After Doug defeats John, Nick will walk up behind Doug with a plastic pistol. It doesn’t fire but the pistol does have moving parts, and it makes a loud enough sound to indicate that the used has pulled the trigger. To protect themselves Frank, Jack, Jake, John, and Nick put on protective padding all over their bodies. They all know from experience how brutal Doug can be.

When Doug explains his finally demonstration the audience immediately jumps back. The only people who are close to Doug are Frank, Jack, and Jake. John and Nick are standing fifteen feet back. With the padding all five of them look like giant, red punching bags. They all have face guards just in case. Doug doesn’t have any padding or protective gear on. He can tell that there are a few members of the crowd that think that he is not up to the task. Doug is the smallest one of the humans.

“So Doug, what are the rules for this demonstration?” Griffin shouts.

“There is just one rule, survive.”

Doug takes a defensive stance. Frank, Jack, and Jake surround him but don’t go anywhere near him for what seems like forever.

“Are ya’ll gonna attack me or not?”

Jack slowly makes his way into Doug’s blind spot then charges at him. However, Doug hears him running up and delivers a powerful back kick to Jack’s stomach. Even though Jack is wearing padding the blow still knocks the wind out of him. Jack falls to his knees clutching his stomach. Jake, who was in Doug’s blind spot when he kicks Jack, suddenly charges towards Doug. Doug hears him coming to. He quickly spin kicks Jake in the face. The blow knocks Jake to the ground. Frank charges at Doug and throws at punch at him. Doug deflects Frank’s punch, grabs his arm, and uses the momentum to throw Frank on top of Jack who is also charging at Doug. Both Frank and Jack tumble to the ground. Jake immediately gets up, charges at, and throws a punch at him. Doug blocks Jake’s punch then lunges at him. In less than two seconds, Doug delivers five blows to Jake’s face and chest. Jake felt every blow through the padding. The impacts almost knock him out. Jake collapse to the ground, he’s had enough. Frank and Jack jump up and charge Doug at the same time. Doug jumps and delivers a jump kick to both Frank and Jack knocking them down. Before Frank can get up Doug kicks him in the side, sending him flying back several feet. Frank roles out of the ring clutching his side.

“I think you broke one of my ribs.”

“Sorry about that Frank.”

At that moment Jack wraps his arm around Doug’s neck, getting him in a choke hold. Doug immediately lowers his chin close to his neck. It prevents Jack from getting his arm completely against Doug’s neck. Doug reaches back behind him and grabs Jack by the back of the head. Using an Aikido technique, Doug flips Jake over his shoulder and onto the ground. Doug then twists Jack’s arm painfully back. At that moment John comes running up with his knife raised. Doug quickly jumps up and rushes at John. John strikes with the knife but Doug blocks and delivers a powerful knee to John’s stomach. Before John can recover Doug elbows John in the face. The blow is so powerful that it dents the face guard and knocks John on his back. If John hadn’t been wearing the protective mask, the blow would have killed him. Jack uses the opportunity to attack Doug while his back is turned. Doug sees Jack attack in his peripheral vision. He turns, blocks Jack’s attack, and uses the momentum to twist Jack around. Doug suddenly grabs Jack’s face and pulls back. Jack tries to get away but Doug grabs Jack’s armpit, a very sensitive area, and squeezes. Doug pulls Jack backward until his chest is perpendicular to the ground. He finishes Jack off by deliver a downward elbow strike to Jack’s throat, a kill shot. Doug stops the blow less than an inch from Jack’s throat. He hears several members of the audience gasp. He knows that many of them believe that he actually went through with the technique and killed Jack. Doug lets go of Jack and stands up with his arms raised.

“He is alright, I didn’t actually hit him.”

John then charges at Doug from the side with a rubber knife. Doug reacts so quickly that all the Dogs see is a blur. He grabs John’s knife arm and flips him on his back. John lands on the back with his back with a thud. Suddenly Nick walks up behind Doug with the plastic pistol. Doug keeps his hands up and waits until Nick is three feet behind him. Out of nowhere, Doug spins around and kicks the pistol out of Nick’s hand. The pistol flies out of Nick’s hand and lands ten feet away. Nick rushes at Doug and grabs his shoulders. Doug raises both his arms up into Nick’s arms knocking them off. He grabs Nick’s shoulders, delivers a powerful front thrust kick to Nick’s abdomen, and at the same time pulls down on Nick’s shoulders. The kick pushes Nick’s feet back while the shove on his shoulders pulls his upper body down. The combination knocks Nick backward and on his face. Nick’s hits the ground, head first, with a loud thud. Before Nick can get up, Doug maneuvers behind and gets him in a head lock. Doug continues to squeeze until Nick taps the ground indicating that he surrenders. Doug immediately lets go. The whole crowd cheers Doug even more than his last demonstration. Griffin walks forward hushing the crowd.

“I do not know about the rest of you but that was pretty impressive. Doug, you possess a lot of skill for someone your age.”

“Thank you, that means a lot coming from you.”

“You’re welcome.” Griffin replies then turns to Judas. “Looks like you have got your work cut out for you.”

“He is good, I will give him that. But this challenge is more than just hand to hand combat.” Judas shouts over the audience for everyone to hear.

“Judas has a point there Doug.” Griffin says.

“We’ll see” Doug replies.

People start gathering at the village center around sundown to watch the challenge between Judas and Doug. Within twenty minutes over a hundred people have gathered together. There is a lot of commotion and smack talk going around about how badly Judas is going to beat Doug. The only people who aren’t there is Doug and his men. They are still at their tents waiting for Ezekiel to come and get them. Not one of them says a word. They do not want to disturb Doug. To most of them Doug seems to be in a trance. But to Roger, Shawn, and Mark, the martial artists in the group, they know that Doug is preparing himself mentally for the challenge. All three of them know from experience that physicality does not win fights; being mentally prepared does. Doug cannot win the fight if his will is not strong enough. Eventually John walks outside the tent and sees Doug sitting by the fire thinking. He looks really nervous.

“Are you nervous about facing Judas?” Nick asks sarcastically.

“No, I’m planning everything out. I’ve seen him fight hand to hand. He hasn’t really seen me fight yet. So I have the advantage there.” Doug answers.

“That’s not much of an advantage. Judas has much more experience than you.”

“I know, but it’s better than nothing.”

Ezekiel shows up right at that moment. He motions for Doug, Roger, Shawn, Mark, John, Frank, Jack, Jake, Nick, and Corporal to follow with him. They all follow Ezekiel to the challenge. When they get there, the guys are surprised to see how many Rottweilers there are waiting for them. There are easily five hundred of them. But Doug is not focusing on the crowd. He is focus is entirely on facing Judas. Ezekiel halts them near the outside of the crowd.

“Only four of you, including Doug, can come with me to the center. The rest of you will have to stay here.” Ezekiel says.

Doug turns around to face his men. He quickly determines which three he wants with him. Doug wants three men who are very supportive and know how to treat injuries.

“I want Roger, Shawn, and Mark to come with me.”

Doug, Roger, Shawn, and Mark follows Ezekiel through the crowd. Frank, Jack, Jake, John, Nick, and Corporal stay back at the edge of the crowd. The crowd is so thick that Ezekiel, Doug, Roger, Shawn, and Mark has difficulty getting to the middle. It takes them almost five minutes to make it to the center. When they make it to the center Doug sees Judas and Griffin waiting for him. Judas is standing there with a large, double - edged sword. He has an unclenching stare that would scare just about anyone. But Doug doesn’t give Judas the satisfaction of showing his fear. Ezekiel places Doug a few feet away from Judas.

“You both know the rules. You will fight until I say stop. Besides that, I do not care what you guys do. Just do not kill each other.” Griffin explains and then addresses the crowd. “Today we have an interesting challenge for your enjoyment. We have Judas, one of our best warriors.”

The crowd starts cheering for Judas. The noise gets so loud that Doug can barely even hear. Griffin raises his arms to silence the crowd.

“And for the first time ever we have a human challenger, Doug Wilson.”

Doug receives nowhere near as many cheers as Judas. He even receives a couple of boos. Doug ignores the cheers and the boos coming from the audience. His attention is entirely on Judas.

“As many of you saw earlier today both of these men are powerful warriors. They are both strong and fast. The winner of this challenge is going to be the one who can outmaneuver and outthink the other.”

When Griffin finishes speaking he backs away, as does the crowd. Judas gets into a fighting stance with his sword pointing directly at Doug. Doug pulls out his bowie knife and hatchet. He has the hatchet in his right hand and the bowie knife in his left. He gets into a Jeet Kune Do fighting stance and prepares for the round.

“Judas are you ready?” Griffin shouts.

“I’m ready.”

“Doug, are you ready?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be.”

“Okay, FIGHT!”

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