Thousands of eyes looked down upon them from the arena above, but Lei was not nervous. Let them watch. Let them witness her defeat; for she was a warrior who would not enter the next life quietly.
The combatants circled around each other warily. Lei had the poise of a ballet dancer, but Ranier’s bulk more than made up for her speed and agility.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” he said.
“You should not have issued the challenge, then,” Lei spat. “I would rather die than be enslaved to you.” The set of her face, her dark brown eyes ominous with hate, informed him that she meant every word.
Lei’s rapier sword swished through the air, but Ranier caught it neatly on his golden shield. The whip thin point of metal landed in the embossed sun, which glowed in an almost surreal fashion, from the intensity of the lighting above. Her impressive effort had not even managed to mark the metal. A trickle of sweat ran down Ranier’s face. The armour he wore was cumbersome, but necessary, given the nature of Lei’s weapon.
“Why do you think being enslaved to me would be a fate worse than death?” Ranier was the prince of Altire and he had many females begging for the position of concubine. If they had actually been asked to fulfil the role, most would have formed a puddle at his feet. His broadsword arced through the air and Lei neatly sidestepped its aim. It dragged Ranier’s arm painfully downward and he winced. He would not make the same mistake.
“How could it not be? You would have me chained to your bedroom, dressed in those ridiculous, diaphanous gowns that your sex-slaves favour and would expect me to do… do…” Lei’s voice trailed off. She had never been with a man. She had heard tales of what went on in the bedroom, but most of them sounded too fantastical to be believed. Gathering her courage and intending to succeed where her voice had failed, she brought the sword up high and with an elegant slash through the air, managed to nick Ranier’s neck in between the bars of metal that surrounded it. He winced as an arc of blood squirted upon the stadium floor and Lei couldn’t help a smile of satisfaction. “You will not have me.”
“I. Will. Have. You.” Ranier’s voice had hardened and so had the stance of his body. “It would be much better for you, if you came willingly. I know what you fear, but truly, it is one of the most beautiful things that can be experienced between man and woman.” His sword struck again and this time it found its mark, cleaving up the inside of Lei’s leg and shredding her leather skirt in two. She gasped and stood immobile in shock. Ranier dragged his gaze slowly up the long expanse of her smooth thigh and pressed the tip of his sword in-between her legs, watching as her eyes widened in panic. He gave her a narrowed look. “My fingers would be of much better use in that particular spot, sweetling.” Lowering his sword gently, he shoved her away from him. “Submit.”
“Never.” Lei had only just managed to recover her composure. Now she found herself in a rage that would not be contained. His sword hilt, placed there, had sent shivers running up and down her spine. She ignored the tatters of her skirt, and the large amount of thigh now on public display and roared, “You will have to kill me first!” Flipping the sword end in her hand, she caught the tip and swung the pommeled handle at his helmeted head. The metal clanged with the vicious attack, but she hadn’t actually harmed a hair on his head. He laughed and her fury grew.
“Fine. If you want to play with fire, I can assure you that you will get burned; for I will conquer every last little part of you, stubborn wench that you are. I have never chained a single slave to my bedroom, but I do believe that you may be the first and you have no idea how much I am going to enjoy training you to serve every last single one of my rather urgent needs.” His tone of voice left the audience with no doubt as to what he was referring to. He watched in quiet admiration as his hellcat gathered up her strength for the finale.
Happy Halloween !
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