(… continuing from chapter 3.)
Broken Blade: chapter 4
“I’m still not taking off my clothes,” Blade said. It was odd, to be allowed a decision of her own.
“We could make a selling point out of that,” the big man commented, after a moment’s pause. She couldn’t tell if he was amused, impressed, or just not wanting to waste time.
Then he turned and shoulder-charged her, grabbing her shift, and throwing her forward with the inertia of his movement—sending her sprawling across the arena floor, her rear skidding painfully on the smooth sand.
Sword, of course, just stayed on his feet, looking down at her. She squinted back, surprised how bright the sky was.
“Lesson one,” he said, offering her a hand up, and an appraising look that might have concealed a grin. “Out here, everything’s an attack. Never drop your guard, always look to exploit the enemy’s weakness. But you took the fall very well.”
“Thanks,” she said, with what was meant to be a shrug, but came out inexplicably as a smile.
Sword laughed, and the sound surprised her. “You’re different. That could work in your favour.” His eyes flickered, appraising her. “It also means there might be a mismatch between our fighting styles.”
“Are you saying you might have some difficulty training me, Sword?” She grinned, partially because she’d just experimented with calling him by his name.
“I like challenges. Now, square off, and we’ll go through a few hand-to-hand drills. Then I’ll work out where you fit in the weapons scheme.” He paused, shifting into a fighting stance, to anticipate any surprise attack. “Where did you learn your unarmed combat?”
She met him with a steady gaze, eyes dark, impassive. “Not in the Corps of Janissaries, if that’s what you’re asking.”
“SHACOM girl scout camp, then,” he grinned, feinting with his left hand. It wasn’t any sort of question.
Is he left-handed? she wondered, stepping back but keeping her left foot firm, elbow raised.
“You’d have admitted pretty much anything else,” he noted, stepping right—not the direction she expected. “So is it true that you’re completely beaten now?”
For a moment, Blade just looked at him.
Her answer was a low, spin-kick attack, designed to make him spring to dodge, followed by a push-up jump attack from her crouched left foot.
(… and a link for chapter 5 will go here when it’s online!)