Excerpt From Episode 3:
The opportunity had to present itself quickly enough but not too quickly. There would be a trap and he would be the bait. Then, he would wait. Wait for the hunt to bite. A wise prey lures the hunter into becoming the hunted. It would have to need some thinking over. With a wolfish smile, he sat down by his bedpost and began to plot…To read episode 3, CLICK HERE
The young man called Ophir observed the giant sundial and saw that he had half an hour before facing the Pete lad in the final. He peered out of the sole window of the bivouac that lodged him and absorbed some of the sunshine. It had rained earlier and the energy of the sun felt quite refreshing. He then moved quickly away from it. He couldn’t get accustomed to any form of comfort till his work was done.
He considered his reflection on the “little-too-polished”sword lying idly on the desk in front of him. So far, he had done a good job. After his compatriot Outlander had botched the first mission, his ruler was somewhat reluctant to approve another. Two consecutively foiled attempts on the life of the Emperor wouldn’t go unnoticed. Sooner or later, they would find out that it was the Outlanders who had sent them both. That would spell disaster. He recalled the last instructions he received from his commander before embarking on the mission, “Should you fail, there’s a very slim chance of it, you must erase every trace of culpability from the outlands. Your cloak conceals a poison, you cannot be arrested or interrogated. “
Well, he hadn’t. Not yet, neither did he intend to. He considered the Pete lad and felt a pinch of pity for him. Outlanders took no prisoners. Up until the finals, every contestant to have faced him had not disappointed. That was expected, only the best of the best competed for a place in the Emperor’s inner circle. The rest of the survivors were drafted into the army which was still an achievement of some sorts to be reckoned with. But no one who had faced him yet had survived. Not even the Pete lad would. Pete. A nice kid name. He certainly wasn’t one of the ones Ophir would have banked on from the beginning and that was hardly surprising. The kid just didn’t look the part. He certainly didn’t look the fight too. But somehow, he kept winning. By a combination of what looked like a lot of luck, a little skill and a little element of nothing, the kid somehow managed to win his matches.
He was also good on the defense, Ophir mused as he continued his mental exercise. He would have to watch that defense. In the end, he decided on the best strategy to work with. A well-executed, non-stop, all-out attacking barrage could break through any defense with time. With a continuous onslaught, the defense would crack then, he would get his chance to strike.and that would be the end of it. His mind strayed to the element of luck too. Noise had begun to fill up the arena. Soon, he would be called up to compete. It probably wouldn’t hurt to have the gods on his side now. As he knelt down in a solemn supplication to Ares, the God of War, he thought of his fallen compatriot and mustered a smile that did not reach the corners of his eyes. In the very worst, at least the bastards wouldn’t not take him alive. Ophir was still praying when his name boomed across the arena. He arose slowly, picked up the scabbard of jade that covered his razor-sharp sword and stepped out into the sunshine.
“Pete Rosenberg!” Ekdikisi walked gingerly into the arena. She had spent the last few hours updating her journal and planning her strategy. So far, all had gone according to plan. She had succeeded in portraying the image of the scared little underdog that kept getting lucky. That was good. The least dangerous she looked, the better she was for it. As she squared off with Ophir, she bowed as a sign of respect and smiled a little. He bowed back but did not smile or frown. He did not show any sign that he had noticed her. In fact, but for the fact that he drew his sword, he might as well have looked like she wasn’t there. Tough guy, she thought and then smiled some more.
She drew and squared off with him. It wasn’t long before he began to attack. That was expected. She was already used to the sequence and was solely defending. The time to attack was yet to come. Then, she sensed it. The slowly-building panic that came from pent up frustration. But it wasn’t yet the time. They were moving, dancing in a rigid circle of sorts while he kept defending in the shade provided by the surrounding onlookers. Slowly she danced him out of the shade into the bare sunlight. He moved in a hurry to strike her, banking on the decreased visibility the shade now offered her. That was when she struck. She parted the helm of her garb at angle and raised her sword in a basic defensive stroke. It seemed to happen in a flash, Ophir saw what clearly looked like the outline of the sides of the female breasts and was stunned beyond reason. His grip softened as his brain tried to register what his eyes had just seen. Ekdikisi drew a sharp breath and turned his own sword against him, reflecting the overwhelmingly bright sunlight into his naked eyes. Ophir blinked furiously. It was the end for him.
Before his eyes absorbed the shock of the light and reopened, he was on his back with a edge of a rapier pointing at his chest. The arena erupted. He had lost. He had failed. At least, he was prepared for this eventuality. How was he to know he was going toe to toe with a master artist? That finish was a classy work of art. How was he to know Pete Rosenberg had breasts? Tiny breasts, but breasts all the same. The gods be damned! Freaking Ares! How stupid could he have been to have prayed to that nut job anyway!? She was smiling at him again. Damnit! At least, he was prepared for this one. The bastards wouldn’t recruit him. It was too dangerous for the Outlanders. He knew what he had to do. They would remember his sacrifice. A bird flew over as he reached for the poison. A blood-curling high pitched cry, a rustle of wings, the swift movement of a treacherous dagger and blood. Lots of blood.
Read episode 5: CLICK HERE
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