Chapter 1

Copyright© 2019 by LT Vulcan

As he looked across at his opponent, the first thought that went through Andy Judge’s mind was how heavy his padding and helmet was. He’d been in Dallas at a Martial Arts Tournament for a week now, and his body ached. It was the semifinals of the last stage of the tournament. He and three other participants had been weeded out of sixty-one other people. The competition consisted of eight stages of brackets where each winner of the bracket advanced to the final stage and competed to be the best of the best. This specific martial art style taught how to use multiple weapons, and the tournament is when they fight using a wooden weapon of their choice. Every weapon could be used. Weapons weren’t the only thing allowed; you could also use any other martial art schools to fight.

He studied his opponent whose name was Eric and the pair of daggers he carried. Andy had seen his opponent’s previous match, and he had used a spear which had him worried at the time. Andy wasn’t very tall, so the spears would’ve added a degree of difficulty to the fight, but now Andy’s longsword had the reach advantage, and now his size mattered very little.

Andy’s thoughts were interrupted when the referee came up. “I will now go over the rules again. When I say to, you will start the match and fight. When you are hit by your opponent, I will stop the set and award a set amount of points to the winner of the set. I will then have you guys get back into your starting positions. The legs and arms are one point, the lower torso is two points, the upper torso is three, and the head is worth four. A strike to the center of the chest is worth five points. This match is a race to twenty points. Do you guys understand?”

“Yes, sir!” They both replied.

“Okay. Combatants ready your weapons.” Andy drew his long sword and brought it up, so the point was facing his opponent. He placed one foot forward so that he could use his back leg like a spring if he wanted to. Eric, on the other hand, had drawn his daggers and kept his hands at his side. “Combatants are you ready?” The referee asked as both nodded, and he shouted, “Fight!”

Almost immediately, Eric’s left hand came up in a blink of an eye. Andy had barely enough time to realize that he threw his dagger. Andy stepped out of the way, and the blade went flying straight at where his chest was standing not even a second before.

Andy charged straight at Eric and swung his sword at him.

Eric blocked it with his dagger and used his leg to trip up Andy.

As soon as Andy hit the ground, Eric was on top of him, kicking Andy’s sword away.

Eric then plunged his dagger down at the center of Andy’s chest and hit him.

The referee yelled, “Stop the set! Five points to Eric. Get back into your starting positions.”

Andy walked back to where he began and turned back to face Eric, who was already in a completely different stance from before. This time he had his hands up, and both daggers were pointing to the ground. Andy readied as he did previously.

“Combatants are you ready?” The referee asked as both nodded, and he shouted, “Fight!”

Eric charged straight at Andy, swinging his left arm at him.

Andy blocked it with the side of his sword.

Eric spun immediately, and his right arm flew behind Andy and plunged the dagger towards the center of his back.

Andy swung his arm back and grabbed Eric’s arm and pushed him away.

As Eric stumbled backward, Andy performed an uppercut and hit Eric’s ribs.

The referee shouted, “Stop the set! Three points to Andy! Return to your starting positions.”

Andy returned to his position and decided that the last set was too close, and he was going to change his attack. He turned to face Eric with his hands on the blade of his sword.

Eric, on the other hand, got ready as he did before.

“Combatants are you ready?” The referee asked again as both nodded, and he shouted, “Fight!”

As quickly as he could, Andy let go of his sword with his left hand, took a step forward and threw his sword at Eric like a spear.

Eric easily dodged it, and the wooden sword landed on the ground with an unexpectedly loud clink. Instinctively Eric looked to where the sound originated from.

As soon as Eric turned his head, Andy blasted forward as fast as he could. By the time Eric had turned back around, Andy was already in front of him.

Andy abruptly stopped and quickly spun around to create momentum and kick one of Eric’s daggers away with his foot.

As Andy’s foot came back, he immediately used it as a spring to launch himself at the dagger.

He jumped back at Eric and slammed his newly acquired dagger into Eric’s knife and hit it away.

He then brought it straight up and stopped the point of the dagger at Eric’s throat.

The referee shouted, “Stop the set! Four points to Andy! Return to your starting positions.”

Andy walked over to where his sword had landed and sighed as he discovered the reason why his sword made such a loud sound.

It had snapped in half.

He picked it up and walked over to the referee and said, “My sword broke when I threw it. Would it be alright if I went and got another one?”

The referee looked at him and replied, “I’m sorry. The rules state that you must fight with the tools you brought with you to the stage. You’ll have to make do with what you have.”

Andy looked over to the stands where the rest of his martial arts school sat and found his girlfriend Jackie Mason, who nodded at him, reinsuring him that he could win. Andy looked back at the referee, and bitterly said: “I understand I’ll give it my best.”

Andy turned back to Eric and raised his fists into a fighting stance.

“Combatants are you ready?” The referee asked again as both nodded, and he shouted “Fight!” and Andy launched himself forward.

Andy was sitting in the plane watching the clouds below him, Jackie’s warm hand cradling his. He had lost against Eric without landing another point against him. Eric, on the other hand, had gone to win the tournament.

He sat there, contemplating on multiple things. Was it better or worse that he lost to the champ and what could he have done differently to win?

Not throwing his sword was the only thing that came to mind as his vision slowly faded to black, and he drifted off to sleep.

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