The Lion Prophecy

By Alexander Grant

Fantasy, Action & adventure

Paperback, eBook

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581
3 mins

 

The Shark took the blade his second offered him and entered the circle. The blade was indeed unusual. It was a heavy piece of metal, a little shorter than Leandros' sword, with a serrated edge.
'How do you like my sawbones, boy?' asked the Shark menacingly.
Instead of replying, Leandros turned his eyes towards Lord Tamaris.
'Go ahead. Begin,' Tamaris ordered, fidgeting impatiently on his seat.
The two opponents started circling each other slowly. It would be rare to find two more different fighters opposing each other. The Shark relied on his brute strength and his experience of fighting mostly against poorly trained sailors. Leandros, on the other hand, had learned to fight in completely different circumstances. As a young soldier, he had honed his abilities in numerous barrack brawls and on the training grounds. Later, he had fought against all kinds of enemies on the battlefield and recently he had trained under the supervision of a Shenzu master.
When the two men clashed, the shouts from the crowd covered the clang of the blades. Leandros was surprised to discover that the Shark didn’t aim to strike him but instead attacked his sword. He attempted to hook Leandros’ sword with his blade's teeth, trying to draw his opponent near him and smother him with his left fist. It took all of Leandros’ agility to disengage himself from the trap, having received only a numbing punch that grazed his shoulder. Retreating hastily, he recalled the seer's words, 'When you face the shark's teeth, move to the left.'
Only now did their meaning become clear. The Shark was trying to use his blade as a hook and pull Leandros towards him. If the General were to emerge victorious, he would need to avoid being drawn into this trap.
Leandros started circling his opponent, moving leftwards and forcing the Shark to extend his blade to the right, making him unable to pull Leandros near him. Realising that Leandros would not play into his hands, the pirate changed tack. He attacked Leandros with a series of overhand strikes, trying to batter the General's sword down through sheer strength. If the Shark hoped that Leandros' sword would be shattered by his crude blade, he was to be sorely disappointed. The Shenzu blade might seem fragile but it was made of the finest steel.
Already drops of sweat were appearing on the Shark's naked scalp. The pirate was strong but lacked the stamina acquired through endless drilling that Leandros possessed.
From the corner of his eye, Leandros noticed Dolfo exchanging bets with Tamaris' warriors. 'A little extra gold would certainly be welcome,' he thought, smiling inwardly. By now he was confident he could defeat the Shark. Nevertheless, it would not be enough simply to finish his opponent swiftly. He wanted to do it in a way that would convince Tamaris he was the meanest pirate money could hire. He needed to humiliate the Shark. At the same time, he had to be careful, since many things could go wrong, even in a fight that seemed easy. So, he resisted the impulse to finish his opponent swiftly and remained cautious.
Opportunity presented itself when the Shark overstepped after a wild overhand blow. Leandros pivoted on his heels, going behind the pirate. With a swift move he slashed at his opponent’s back, opening up a long wound. The wound was not particularly deep, but the Shark stumbled forward, bleeding profusely.
The onlookers who had betted in favour of Leandros started applauding, while the rest shouted in disappointment. As for the Shark, he retreated in rage, narrowing his eyes. For the first time he was facing an opponent that seemed able to do more than merely hold his ground.
Leandros was following the Shark's eye movements carefully. The moment he noticed the pirate lowering his eyes to the ground, he knew what the Shark's next move would be. The pirate advanced slowly, keeping his blade at his side. When he approached Leandros, he kicked the sand wildly, sending it towards the General's face. Only Leandros was no longer there. He had pivoted again, slashing at the pirate’s left shoulder.
When the dust settled, everyone saw that the Shark's left hand was hanging limp, bleeding profusely from a deep shoulder wound. The fist, which was meant to batter Leandros, was now useless.
Rage, mixed with fear, was now dawning on the Shark's face. His opponent was making sport of him while his own prodigious strength was rapidly dwindling.
Leandros retreated a few steps and turned towards Dolfo.
'Tell the cook we will have shark for dinner tonight,' he shouted, making the pirate growl with unsuppressed rage. Now he had to double his focus, since, even badly wounded, the Shark was not to be treated lightly.
The pirate changed his attack pattern. He knew he had to keep Leandros at bay and try to finish the duel quickly or his strength would leave him. He attacked with horizontal slashes, hoping to make Leandros lose his balance. He had no idea that Leandros had several tricks up his sleeve.
Leandros started retreating with small steps, waiting for the right moment to strike. As soon as a slash passed harmlessly before him, he closed the distance between himself and the pirate and, fearing no response from the Shark's left arm, punched the pirate hard in the face with his left hand. With his opponent completely off balance, he slashed at his exposed thigh.
The pirate was finished and he knew it. He was hobbling on his good foot and breathing heavily. Fear and terror had replaced his arrogance.
Now it was Leandros’ turn to use the Shark's tricks against him. He approached the pirate, who was standing with his sword extended before him, and raised his sword high above his head. The moment the Shark raised his blade horizontally to counter the attack, Leandros kicked sand in his face. He knew the sand would not blind his enemy, who was looking up, but the pirate instinctively went to protect his eyes with his good hand.
When the Shark brought his hand up before his eyes, Leandros approached him swiftly, kicking hard at the knee of the pirate's good leg. The sound of the joint breaking was heard all over the duel grounds.
The Shark collapsed on the ground. Leandros went behind him, while the pirate, using his right hand, tried to get to his knees. Feebly, he raised his sword horizontally over his head as if to counter Leandros' attack from behind.
Lifting his blade with both hands, Leandros brought it down with all the force he could muster. The jarred edge of the pirate's sword entered his scalp, embedding itself deeply within the shark tattoo's jaws. To thunderous applause from the onlookers, the Shark fell down dead on the sand.



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