The next day we didn’t go to the normal training ground- which was just a flat spot in the forest outside Khyrmin’s cabin. It was only a few minutes of walking and then our destination became clear. A dungeon. Khyrmin’s dungeon. She had mentioned it once when I asked where all of the weapons came from, but hadn’t brought it up since. I thought I’d noticed a few new weapons on the racks, so perhaps she had visited a few more times.
Since we were going inside, I had one important question to ask, “What kind of monsters are in the dungeon?”
“You’ve seen them. Tomorrow you will fight them.” Khyrmin looked over at Kantrilla, “Wait here.” She pointed to the top of the steps leading into the dungeon.
I scratched my head. I hadn’t seen any monsters around… except the bearskin rug. Was I going to fight giant bears? Would they even fit in a dungeon? Well, the second question was easy to answer. Of course they would fit in the dungeon, because a dungeon was sized for its intended inhabitants. I was somewhat confused when the hallway at the bottom of the stairs seemed normal size, as best I could tell with its inky blackness eating all of the light that came in.
Khyrmin handed me one of the two rapiers she was carrying. “This is yours now. Hold onto it.”
I nodded, “Oh, shouldn’t I be wearing armor if we’re going to fight monsters?”
“No.” Khyrmin said. “Get ready.” She took a stance facing me, and I prepared myself. The only light was coming from the top of the stairs, but it was sufficient to see. The hallway should be pretty much flat as well, so I didn’t have to worry about footing. I just wasn’t sure why we were going to be sparring in the dungeon… except to get me used to it again?
The spar went about as I expected. Within five seconds my rapier was knocked out of my hand. Ah, I messed up. I was so distracted by the change in situation that I didn’t even attach myself to the rapier. I couldn’t even use Return Weapon that way. I began my walk of shame to go pick up the rapier.
I have to admit that sparring against Khyrmin had significantly improved my reaction time. Thus, when my rapier tried to stab me I managed to dodge, even though I wasn’t expecting it. I backed away as the rapier floated up to just about the height that it would normally be wielded at… and took a stance. I glanced over at Khyrmin briefly, keeping the rapier in the corner of my eye. Khyrmin shook her head and tossed me her rapier. I caught it just in time to barely parry an attack from my own rapier, earning myself a scrape along my ribs.
After the initial confusion from being attacked by my own rapier, it wasn’t too hard to deal with its attacks. They were fairly straightforward and easy to parry. There was some Strength behind them, but it wasn’t anything to worry about. I couldn’t say exactly what it was… because I only knew how to analyze the Strength of things with… well… things. Like muscles, or any sort of physical form. Actually, that was a bit of problem for fighting as well. Was I just supposed to keep parrying forever?
The airborne rapier was straightforward enough that it was easy to parry sufficiently well to leave myself time for a riposte. I stabbed forward into the chest of its wielder… or where the chest would have been if there had actually been a wielder. Unfortunately my guess didn’t pay off, because there was nothing but air. I had to quickly turn my body to deal with my own rapier spinning back to hit me.
I should have been able to handle the situation. Khyrmin may not have been clear with what she wanted me to learn, but I could tell she had a plan. So, I should have known how to deal with the situation. Return Weapon? It was a bit late for that. I had already lost my weapon. I couldn’t exactly use threads of mana to pull it back to me when such threads didn’t even exist in the first place. Then the answer would have to be… Disarm.
Obviously I couldn’t use any version of Disarm that involved something more than the weapon itself- there was no wrist to grab or slash as far as I could tell, but I could still send the weapon spinning away with the right movements… probably.
The only thing to do was try… so I did it. Then I winced as my rapier hit the wall. That probably wasn’t good for it… but it stopped moving. More importantly, I saw the telltale mist of experience… so I had defeated the monster? Probably. Maybe. I cautiously approached my rapier on the floor in case it was a trick. I used Khyrmin’s rapier to turn the blade away from myself and hold it down as I got a solid grip on the handle. I moved it around a bit and it seemed to be under my control just fine.
“Thank you,” I said to Khyrmin as I handed her back her rapier. She nodded… then tossed the rapier end over end up the stairs and out of the dungeon.
“Eep!” Kantrilla jumped back as the sword stuck point first into the dirt and leaves next to her.
I looked at Khyrmin quizzically. She dropped into a stance and gestured, “Attack.”
Well, she knew what she was doing. I tried to maneuver to a good range and position before attacking. I wasn’t terribly surprised when she managed to avoid my attack and move forward to grab the hilt right out of my hand. I had expected something like that, but still couldn’t avoid it. I had even prepared to use Return Weapon, but her movements snapped my connection.
Then she pointed my own rapier back at me. “Get ready.”