Chapter 11 (Chase)
Bill, the Knights and his mates made their way toward the transport at the end of the street. The closer they got the more tense Bill saw that his mates and the Knights were getting. Casually Twitty leaned against Bill purring, “We are being followed. I can smell it is the same one that attacked you in the palace.” Bill put his paw on her back pulling her close.
“I was afraid that they might try again as soon as possible. From all I have seen it is the Ocicat clan’s way. It is a good strategy if you are the one attacking; none are usually expecting it, as most aren’t. Then again they don’t have the supreme protection that I do.” Bill told her.
Glenna also leaned against Bill purring. “They are following far closer than I am comfortable with. I say that we end this now.” Glenna hissed.
“No, if we miss then we’ll have to put up with them stalking for weeks on end. Let her make a move then we will have her.” Bill said as he nuzzled against Both Glenna and Twitty.
The Ocicat clan assassin felt sick seeing the king elect and the females being so friendly in public. Her ire rising, she quickly calmed herself no sense alerting them to her presence early. Better to follow them then spring on the bastard at the least expected moment.
All eight of them made the transport without incident, though Bill had expected an attack at any moment. Stroking his whiskers he thought this one is far more calculating than any he’d been against before. Looking at his mates he knew better than to say anything. His mates were also far more calculating than most, this information though might upset them at him to no end.
Leaning over Bill whispered to Roth, “I need to start training today. I am far too vulnerable as I am. It has been far too long since I was in battle. I need to refresh and train higher.”
Roth’s eyes went wide but no other outward sign showed as he whispered back. “Yes Sire I agree, at least you’d last longer if you were better trained.”
“Here I thought I was at a high level already.” Smiling at Roth he continued, “I stand corrected my friend. Who do you suggest?”
“Sire, you need all of us to train you. We all use different techniques. I feel you would benefit from all four of us.” A startled Roth said. “I thought you knew that we all used different forms.”
“No,” Bill said sadly, “I have been gone far too long to remember everything. As it is I think a bit of the mind shield is still there though not for long.”
“We need to start as soon as possible; with the assassin still out there it would be prudent.” Roth told Bill with all seriousness.
Bill nodded as they all boarded the transport. Back at the palace Bill decided he’d start with Roth, something like know your enemy. Roth shook his head as Bill drew his sword. “Now I want you to kill me, if you can!” Roth growled out as Bill advanced then twisted going in low, at the last second he came up to find ... Roth was nowhere to be seen! A sudden slap on his rear end let him know Roth was behind him. “Not bad you might have even had a chance had you been more focused. Now again!”
Almost a toton later Bill was frustrated, nothing he’d done had even got close! Damn it was he that slow? When Roth held up his paw, then held both paws out in question Bill sat deep in thought. “It appears that I am a lot slower than I thought.” Bill told him.
Roth smacked him with the flat of the sword causing Bill to growl. “You are making the same mistakes all first years make. You aren’t slow, your eyes are. You need to start depending on ALL your senses, remember what the eyes see can almost always be a lie. Listen for the slightest movement of muscle and bone, the heart beat, the breathing. Smell the confidence or sweat of your opponent. Taste the changes in the air when they move. Do this and you will see you aren’t slow as I said your eyes are.”
Bill could only stare at Roth, what he said made sense in a way, though to isolate the senses was beyond him right now. Roth nodded seeing the confusion on Bill’s face as he took a scarf and tied it around Bill’s eyes. “So what? I’m supposed to wave a sword at you ‘til you drop?” Bill said sarcastically.
“No!” Roth said as he pushed a finger into Bill’s forehead. “Think about what I said, smell, touch, taste, and hear. Use your other senses. I want you to find me.”
Bill thought a moment then tried to stretch out his other senses. Suddenly an odd odor assailed his nostrils as he slowly advance upon it. A sudden changing of the air around him caused Bill to bring his sword up catching Roth’s as it was heading for his throat. “Ah! Better! Now when you can do that without the scarf you might have a chance to learn further.”
Bill was nodding when he felt another change in the air, his whiskers twitching Bill whirled. The sudden clanging of his sword on another vibrated through his arm. “Excellent Sire!” Came the voice of Thomas. Whirling back from movement behind him Bill’s sword met Roth’s clanging loudly.
“We should have blinded you sooner Sire!” Roth said. “You might actually be a decent swordsman by now!” With a lunge Bill almost caught Roth unaware. “Very good Sire!” Both of his swordsmen knights kept it up another quarter toton ‘til all three covered in a fine sheen of sweat.
Roth looked over to Thomas as he said, “I am beginning to agree Roth. His skill has more than tripled. Keep this up Sire and you might actually be able to spar with us!” Thomas’s comment seriously pissed Bill off.
Bill had started to advance upon Thomas when something nudged the back of his mind. A saying he remembered his father talking about. Never go in angry unless you can use the anger to your advantage. An angry fighter is usually a dead fighter. Nodding Bill did his best to turn his anger inward as he started to advance again.
Striking with an almost lightning fast attack, Bill actually caught Thomas unaware. Thomas’s face held shock a moment as his sword was damn near tore from his grip! With a growl he pressed back astonished when Bill held his ground. Somewhere at the edge of his senses he felt another as Roth was there blocking several killing blows.
Stopping short Thomas realized that he’d been lost in battle lust a moment. “I think that we all have had enough for now,” Roth advised them. “Thomas have you recovered?”
“Yes,” Thomas said as Bill took off the scarf. “I apologize Sire. It appears that I was lost in battle lust. It has been a long time since I felt the strength you just showed. It took me back for a moment. I know something was different, I haven’t seen that kind of control in some time. What helped you not be lost to the anger?”
“Something father told me many quants ago. Never go in angry unless you can use the anger to your advantage. An angry fighter is usually a dead fighter.” Bill told both his Knights.
Roth’s eyes went wide then he nodded, “it was a saying that Sir Tonaco used to say all the time. Here I thought you had no formal training! I will try to re-educate you Sire. His training I am afraid I cannot equal though.”
“The fact that these are starting to return to me is very encouraging.” Walking to Twitty Bill had a suspicion he needed to confirm. “Twitty, the mind shield that was administered on me. Who was in charge of it?”
Twitty was deep in thought a moment then her eyes went wide. “Mate, it was Glenna’s father! He was in charge of it at that time. I remember my father being upset because the duty had been taken from him!” Bowing Twitty had tears in her eyes. “I apologize mate. We need to have you examined to ensure that the shield is in fact gone. Knowing mine and her father’s though, it is a fair bet that a part of it is still intact.”
Bill was nodding his assent as Twitty pulled her com calling for Henna. Glenna bowed before Bill, “I apologize that our family has so many traitors in it mate.”
“You don’t have to apologize for him mate. You did not make him as he is. I am grateful that you are nothing like him, with as strong a sense of duty.” Bill told her as he took her face rubbing behind her ears. Purring she nodded as Bill traced the Bengal stripes on her head, enjoying the contact.
Henna answered a moment later saying that she was on her way. Bill went with the others into the palace. Sitting Bill was impatient to find out whether or not he was clear. It was perhaps an hour later that Henna shook her head.
“You have broken well over eighty percent of the mind shield. The last section appears to be further installed than I have ever seen a shield be.” Sighing Henna could see that this was going to take a bit to remove. “I can remove possibly three percent today. Most seems to be as you guessed your instinctive traits. Plus it appears that a part of your memory is affected. Can you recall much of your early memories?”
Shocked a moment Bill looked at her then slowly nodded. Much of the memories of his father and brother were missing. “It also appears that a part of my reasoning is affected.”
Henna was nodding, “I was afraid that was affected also. What I remove today should greatly help with that. Though I am afraid that, with that section missing, you might have more doubts than you have ever had.”
Bill nodded as Henna started a machine that emitted a strange light on his forehead. Even as they watched Bill started to shake then sweat started to form and fall from his head. Henna watched as the levels that were open started to climb, looking at his vitals she didn’t want to risk much. At eighty three percent she’d started to reach for the power switch when Bill caught her hand.
“No!” He was whispering. “I can take more, I need more please!” Though not pleased she could see that he was still within tolerable levels. At eighty four the sweat was starting to fall more freely. At eighty five she again reached for the power switch as his vital readings were starting to climb dangerously high. Again he stopped her shaking his head with a pleading look.
“I have to shut it off sire, much more will fry your brain!” Looking she saw that he was at eighty five and a half percent!
“Give me that last half percent Doctor, please!” Bill was whispering though Henna could barely hear him, his eyes starting to close. The second it hit eighty-six, Henna was shutting everything down as fast as possible.