Dong Xin was pretending to take a nap on the side of the road, or in this case a fairly busy market street. He was off in a small indent created by the odd shape of a building. Though nobody would care about a vagrant lying on the road, that also meant they wouldn’t care if they accidentally stepped on him if he was in a bad spot. Pretending to nap was hard, because there were a lot of people around, both making it harder to nap and harder to convincingly look like he was napping. However, he had years of practice as a vagrant. Such circumstances wouldn’t stop him. The trick was to actually just half-nap. His body almost fell asleep, but he was still somewhat aware of what was happening around himself. That was good, because sometimes people liked to snatch what little he had, mostly just to show that they could. That was annoying, because he would have to get a new bindle and staff. Of course, that could only happen if he was completely asleep, which hadn’t happened in many, many years.
Both were easy to replace. He could use any cloth to make the bindle. As for his staff, it was generally just a properly lengthed piece of wood. Most of its effectiveness didn’t come from the staff itself, but from his application of ki. That would not have been the case if he had a staff like William’s… was it called Chris? Of course, there was only one staff like that, but there were others that were also quite good. Most of them just weren’t meant for melee fighting. Though, Dong Xin had started to pay a bit more attention to the semi-random pieces of wood he picked up, since it also affected how he could use magic. This was more dependent on the actual type of wood than the perceived quality of it, however. Thus, cheap “staves” worked just about as well as normal ones, though obviously not as good as magical ones with proper gems. He’d gotten to use one of those at the Cyril household, and it was rather nice, but a bit too fancy to hit people with. He’d seen what had happened to the Archmage’s staff.
As Dong Xin continued his half nap, the situation he was waiting for finally arrived. Not a specific situation, but one of many possibilities. Otherwise, he would have just shown up when it was about to happen, instead of waiting around in this area for a few days. It all started with something simple. A broken vase. Then there was some shouting from inside of the shop across the street. Soon, a man was thrown out onto the street. Although his face was bloody, Dong Xin saw him smile slightly as a bit of blood dripped from the corner of his mouth onto the ground. Nobody else would see it, because they would have to be lying on the dirty street.
Then, an imposing figure appeared. He let a feeling of intimidation flow out from him. He wasn’t particularly good at it, so it would only affect people weaker than him. However, that included everyone on the street. The figure was about to enter the shop when Dong Xin stood up. He walked toward him, stepping on the figure on the street on the way. “You’re not welcome here.”
The figure turned around, and Dong Xin recognized one of the faces of a Song Clan elder. Not that he’d met this particular figure, but it was important to research your opponents as much as you could. The elder smiled. “Oh, so the Yu clan can only afford to hire vagrants to defend their stores? How quaint.”
Dong Xin responded by swinging his staff at the other’s face. Not because he was angered at being called a vagrant, but because there wasn’t much point in talking. It was best to attack while he was still somewhat underestimated. His staff travelled along a perfect and practiced arc, the end point of which would be his opponent’s head. However, the perfect trajectory was suddenly ruined as his staff was stopped by an upheld hand. Dong Xin sighed internally, as the power flowed out of his opponent. This wasn’t going to be easy.
Dong Xin kicked out to push himself away as his opponent drew his sword, creating a flash as it swept through the air. It was fast, but Dong Xin didn’t have to follow its trajectory with just his eyes. He could somewhat predict his enemy’s movements, and react accordingly. Unfortunately, it appeared the other could do the same. The two of them circled around, the street around them quickly emptying of pedestrians who had no interest in getting caught up in a fight. The sword flashed with light, while the staff just made a whistling noise through the air. The sword was thrust, and was parried. Dong Xin countered with a sweep, but had to retreat when the sword came for his throat. Since it was becoming obvious that the two of them weren’t easily able to defeat the other, they were mostly feeling each other out, looking for openings.
The Song clan elder was still smiling somewhat. That bothered Dong Xin. He felt himself being pressured into a certain position. It was hard not to follow the flow of battle and end up there. However, Dong Xin also had a plan. Hopefully, his was better. “What’s wrong, old man? Can’t keep up?” Dong Xin wasn’t the type to waste breath on taunting his opponent in battle, and he really had very little right to call the elder an old man. Dong Xin wasn’t young himself, though he was perhaps a dozen or so years younger. However, he kept talking, even though that wasn’t an efficient use of his breath. Then, his ankle was grabbed onto by the man who was still lying on the street. The elder’s sword came sweeping toward Dong Xin, who would be unable to move as he wanted to. Just at that moment, the man on the street’s chest exploded from the point where Dong Xin had stepped on him earlier. His grip completely failed, and Dong Xin avoided the attack. His opponent was now overextended… but Dong Xin wasn’t done. “Flash.” This was the moment that Dong Xin stopped talking, and he couldn’t help but grin slightly as he manifested exactly what he had just said, a flash. However, it was all focused toward the elder. Dong Xin took the opportunity to attack, sweeping his staff through the air as he advanced. The elder retreated, but not fast enough, and his chest was struck directly, with a wicked cracking sound. However, the Song clan elder didn’t fall. Instead, stronger, more violent energy flowed out of him than before. Dong Xin cursed.