Barrett wished he had asked for two months. One month was an optimal projection, and he should have known better.
In the heat of the moment, he’d thought that it wouldn’t matter. He thought could defeat… Simon? that was the guy’s name- he thought he could defeat him with just his legs. But of course, that was based on a small evaluation of his abilities, and an extremely biased sample. He would certainly be more dangerous when he was prepared.
Unfortunately, it was a little late to back out now, so Barrett would just have to win. It wasn’t just his life on the line, but Master Hykel’s. Though, the fact that Master Hykel had brought it up at all suggested he thought Barrett could win.
“Was this a good idea?”
Master Hykel laughed, “Too late to think about that now! Go out there and kill that guy. That will justify a good reward from the sect, too!”
Barrett sighed. Speaking of the Immortal Berserker Sect… he hadn’t actually met many members yet. He’d been too busy trying to recover, and most of the opportunities to meet people were sparring. A number of people came by to see Master Hykel. When they heard about his life being on the line on a duel that Barrett would be the participant in, they looked over Barrett as if judging him. They didn’t say anything negative- in fact most of them said ‘good luck’, but it was still very awkward.
That awkwardness had continued as a large group of members came with them to the arena. After all, the lives of one of their important members- and Barrett- were on the line. It made sense for them to come watch.
Barrett looked down at his armor. “Well… I’d better get out there.” It was his responsibility anyway- even if he wasn’t entirely at fault for the whole situation.
Barrett hadn’t looked at the arena when he approached. Not really, anyway. He’d been too engrossed in his thoughts. Thus, he only really saw how big the structure was from the inside. There was a large fighting arena in the center- an area nearly a hundred meters on a side. Somewhat back from that were the stands. They looked almost empty, like no one was in attendance… until Barrett’s eyes processed an individual person. With that being one person… there could easily have been thousands of people watching. This was just one of the arenas, too, and there were forty of them. Barrett’s eyes finally found Simon. He was a tiny speck in the distance. Barrett supposed he was the same to Simon.
As he entered the arena, a voice boomed out, “Participants, to your positions!”
Barrett had already been informed where his position was- though the arena had marking as well. There were two spots in the center- about twenty meters apart. That was already a huge space, but the arena around it seemed to continue on forever. Barrett thought they could have had just as many duels at once as the tournament he’d been in- all in this one arena, with room to spare.
Barrett reached his spot. He saw Simon preparing to say something, but the voice came again, “Ready! Begin!”
Barrett ran forward. He would have already had his weapon out… if he’d even brought one. Simon threw something- needles or small knives, Barrett couldn’t tell. They probably couldn’t penetrate his armor, but Barrett dodged them just in case. It didn’t take much movement.
Though Simon threw weapons as Barrett approached, that didn’t mean he wasn’t comfortable in melee combat. He held his position as Barrett continued to move forward, drawing his knives once Barrett was close.
Barrett lashed out with a kick, and Simon dodged, slashing at the back of his leg. Barrett twisted his leg slightly, and the dagger bounced harmlessly off of his greaves.
Simon grinned, “Arms not healed? How unfortunate for you.”
Barrett said nothing, but once more wished he’d powderized Simon’s wrists instead of breaking them cleanly. He continued with another kick, adjusting his arms to keep his balance.
Simon continued to dodge, seemingly with ease- though Barrett knew any of his kicks would flatten his ribcage if it was a solid hit, and break something even if he just barely connected.
Then Barrett had another premonition. He leaned, tilting his neck out of the way. Even so, he felt a small line of blood. The attack had been so fast he hadn’t even seen Simon move for the last part.
“Even encased in armor like that, you have weak points.” Simon grinned, completely confident, “You’re just not fast enough.”
Barrett said nothing, lashing out with another kick… and this time, his boot scraped past Simon’s face, drawing a line of blood. It wasn’t a serious injury… but it was a moral victory. “You’re pretty slow yourself.”
Barrett said that, but he felt himself slowing down as well. His vision was blurring… not much, but just enough to notice. Poison? That wasn’t unexpected- and as this was a fight to the death, it was even allowed in the rules. He just hadn’t expected a tiny scratch to affect him so much.
Barrett proceeded cautiously- but continued his attacks. His legs had more reach than a dagger, even if he did have to be careful for the weak points in his armor, sometimes retreating quickly as Simon stepped in.
Then there was another premonition. This time, it was the other side of his neck. Even with the feelings warning him, he was a half step too late to avoid the rapid attack completely- getting another scratch on the right side of his neck.
Simon grinned, “Far, far too slow.”
Barrett sighed. He wished he knew a way to remove poison, but unfortunately he hadn’t advanced far enough to do that. His strong body would help significantly, but the effects were only getting worse with two wounds. He felt a bit slower, and his vision blurred more… but he also thought something felt weird. Then he saw it.
Simon’s daggers didn’t have any blood on them. Furthermore, he’d kept close track of his movements. Coupled with the feelings he’d had, Barrett realized what was going on. He just didn’t know what he could do about it.