“Ayers! Don’t you dare!” Caden suddenly roars. My eyes fly open and my eyes lock with his. “You are the crowned prince! The true heir! Don’t you even think of giving up!” The people who had been standing around him and Sara have backed away and now Caden stands alone.
“Your Kingdom is waiting for you, your highness. All you need to do is take it.” Caden’s voice is quieter, but still blazes with passion. Fire fills me. My pain seems to fade until it’s hardly noticeable.
Without thinking I throw my head backwards, smashing it against Sarsur’s face. I hear the crunch of cartilage and revel in Sarsur’s pained gasp.
I throw my left elbow back at the same time as lifting and flinging out my right arm. My elbow collides hard with Sarsur’s gut while my other arm knocks Sarsur’s sword away from my neck.
Without turning to see how badly I hurt him, I roll away from Sarsur toward my fallen sword. My hand closes around the grip and I plant my feet in a crouch and turn to face my opponent.
That move was executed flawlessly. Ayers has shifted into his fighter frame of mind that I’ve seen only a handful of times. It’s glorious to behold. He shifts into a completely different state of mind, one where he’s a perfect fighter. He analyzes and reacts quickly and efficiently, moving fluidly and ignoring all outside influence.
That move was quick, done in one fluid motion, and now he’s crouched and ready, breathing deeply and evenly, staring straight at Sarsur as if nothing else in the world exists.
Sarsur is standing where Ayers left him, a hand over his bloody nose and an arm around his middle where Ayers’ elbow made contact.
And then Ayers lunges forward, sword at the ready. Sarsur isn’t prepared. He barely manages to lift his sword in time to block Ayers’ attack. Sarsur stumbles backwards as Ayers pushes forward, swords locked together.
Sarsur quickly recovers and uses brute strength to push Ayers away. Ayers tumbles back but before Sarsur can even recover from the shove Ayers is on him again, driving him back, keeping him on the defense.
“Father!” Jonin yells, panicked. And it’s that distraction that is Sarsur’s downfall. He starts to turn his head to look at his son but halfway through the motion he realizes his mistake and turns back.