“Really!?” Sarah managed to blurt out as she rolled back in order to duck underneath Tobias’s swipe. The battle-axe Tobias wielded cute the air a foot above Sarah's head, creating a howling whoosh of air. How could she not tell what they were doing?
“Really.” Tobias’s deep voice responded without missing a beat. Sarah couldn't help but notice a genuine smile on his face.
Noone was enjoying himself as well.
When Tobias had proposed a surprise assault to Noone, initially he was a little apprehensive. How could Sarah expect to adequately fight back against both of them? Noone was unsure if she could even give himself any trouble in a one on one fight.
Tobias seemed to be aware of Noone’s thinking, and only took a few minutes to explain to Noone how they could push Sarah to her limit while still keeping things controlled.
Tobias had been sparring with Noone for a few days now, and he had a reasonable idea of Noone’s strength's and weaknesses.
Noone’s skills were unpolished to say the least. Like a man who learned martial arts only by watching other’s, Tobias was able to see the vague movements which Noone had learned from watching him training his battle axe.
Any deficiency in polish, Noone was able to make up for with overwhelming physical strength and his odd senses. Sneak attacks had no effect on Noone within a certain radius, thus the only way to overpower Noone was to outperform him in strength – or skill.
Tobias and Noone were very close in terms of strength, to the point where Tobias couldn't help but feel it was unfair. But no matter how much Noone learned from watching him, Tobias had 50 years of seniority to him in combat experience. Especially axe-combat.
“Did I ever tell you how I was revered as a battle prodigy in my youth?” Tobias managed to say as he swung his large axe cleanly through the air, embedding it into the earth where Sarah had just been moments before.
Sarah said nothing but glared at the older man.
Sarah watched both of them carefully as they cycled through their attacks. When Tobias attacked, Noone would step back and to the side, giving Tobias enough room to advance on her. Tobias would then do the same thing, making space for Noone.
It was like this that they were able to keep up a relentless onslaught on Sarah, who did her best to either dodge, or abosorb the impact of each blow. Luckily neither Noone or Tobias were swinging with their full power, or even with her physical growth, she didn’t know if she would be able to continue blocking.
Sweat began to form as they circled the clearing. Noone grew increasingly surprised by Sarah’s endurance.
In the real world, combat took a few minutes at most. But these few mintues felt like they went on for eternity.
However, during training, you were able to prolong these interactions over the course of dozens of minutes and even up to an hour.
It was like this that people would train their bodies to the peak.
The edge of Tobias’s axe sharply impacted the handle of Sarah’s pole-mace. Tobias couldn’t help but notice how she held her hands carefully in such a way that even if he were to slide the blade of the axe along the pole, he would be unable to cut into her fingers. Tobias had no doubt she learned such a trick from Rae.
He removed the pressure, and began to step back. Sarah's eyes narrowed when she saw Tobias take a step back to make room for Noone to attack. Noone and Tobias were shoulder to shoulder – trading places at a well rehearsed rate.
Instead of letting Tobias retreat though, Sarah quickly stepped forward into their space.
Noone’s eyes widened. Because of the limited space, he couldn’t swing his axe without risking seriously hurting her or Tobias who was only half a foot to his side.
Tobias smiled as he watched her close the already small gap.
Sarah lunged forward with the mace end of her weapon breaking through what little space was left. The speed her weapon lanced through the air, combined with her forward momentum, immediately arrived at Tobias’s chest. He was quick to intercept the end of her weapon with the broadside of his axe. His smile turned into a grin as he realized that Sarah hadn’t held back in her attack in even the slightest.
Despite Tobias having stopped her weapon, the smile on Sarah’s face didn’t disappear. Instead it widened slightly. When Tobias saw this, he had a bad feeling.
Noone did not stop his advance when Sarah attacked Tobias. Noone wasn’t planning to attack Sarah with his axe’s at this distance, mainly because he didn’t see any way she would be able to dodge or block in time if he did, thus he settled for a kick.
One of his legs was already shooting through the air, aiming for Sarah’s ribs which she had left unguarded.
Sarah did not flinch at all when she noticed the kick out of the corner of her eye. She knew that Noone wouldn’t wait while she reset her weapon, so she counted on him to attack with his feet at this distance.
During their spar so far she had noticed that Noone had a tendency to dodge her attacks, while Tobias would usually block anything he could head on.
This was why she had attacked Tobias instead of Noone.
When Tobias blocked her strike, all of Sarah’s forward momentum disappeared. Without the heavy end of her weapon moving forward, it was much easier for her to change the striking direction - sideways.
This was her plan all along.
Sarah lowered her stance, and dug her feet into the soft forest soil. She gripped the pole in-between her arm and her body, twisting at the hips with all her might. The mace end of her weapon shifted to the side at an incredible speed, whistling through the air towards Noone.
“Noone. Careful.” Sarah had just enough time to say this as she made her strike. She didn’t want to seriously hurt him. Her voice was surprisingly even for the intensity of the fight, peppered with exhausted gasps.
Noone was on one foot, while his other was whipping through the air towards Sarah’s ribs. When he noticed her sudden twisting, he immediately saw the end of her weapon flying towards him. At the arc it was moving, it would hit Noone clean in the chest at the same time his foot hit her.
“Even if I block, it will throw me off balance making it so my kick will barely have any strength left. And there’s no way for me to dodge that wouldn’t leave me open for a second attack.” He managed to glance at Tobias, realizing that he wouldn’t be able to intercept her before she could make a second attack.
“Catch it.” A small voice in the back of his mind suddenly planted an incredibly worrying thought into his consciousness.
Again like a nagging worry the idea persisted. Noone wasn’t sure where the idea came from, but his body began moving as fast as it could. There was no time for any debate. He either needed to settle for exchanging blows, or scrambling into a dodge... or... catching it?
Suddenly Noones leg had returned back to the ground.
When Sarah saw this she smiled. “Gonna dodge huh?” She thought, speeding up to her limit, wanting to force him into a situation where he couldn’t recover in time for her next attack.
However what happened next completely shook her.
Instead of dodging backwards, Noone planted his feet… and he actually let go of his axes.
They barely had enough time to leave his hands before the end of her weapon was an inch from his flesh.
Sarah pulled back as hard as she could but it was too late! Her weapon’s weight plus her momentum made it impossible for her to stop.
The sound of flesh hitting metal.
Sarah felt it before she saw what happened. Her weapon had stopped moving. Dead. No impact squish – no slicing feeling… or the feeling of bones being cracking under the impact… it had just stopped like it was encased in cement.
When her eyes caught up, her jaw dropped. Not just her, but even Tobias’s eyes had gone as wide as saucers. In truth he had already been preparing a quick healing buff just in case, but now he felt like the stars themselves had descended. He was at a loss.
Both of Noone’s hands were wrapped around the pole just below the bladed mace end. His muscles bulged and his grip was like iron. Sweat could be soon condensing in beads the size of lakes on his forehead.
Noone’s heavy breathing was the only sound. He was just as shocked as anyone else. He was unable to tear his eyes away from where his hands were holding onto the weapon.
If he had been a quarter of a second slower… or missed the pole section… or lost his balance…. If any of a hundred things had gone wrong, he wouldn’t have come out of this exchange unscathed. Most likely her weapon would have crushed at least one of his forearms. An experience Noone really did not want to go through.
Finally he let go.
Her weapon sagged to the ground still barely in Sarah’s shocked grip.
No one moved.
No one said a word.
The three of them all shared a look.
Finally tobias sheathed his weapon. With a laugh he couldn’t help but sit back on the earthy ground.
“Good show! Noone! Sarah! Well done.” Something about Tobias’s voice and smile made Noone and Sarah both relax from the adrenaline fueled moment they just experienced.
They sat down as well, letting out their own bemused chuckles.
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Hi everyone! I am Emperor Lukis Aurelius of the great Roman Authors Empire!
I am a long time writer but this is my first time writing long-form narrative and as such I am more than a little anxious to do well! Just like every author, I have my strengths and my weaknesses, and it is through my readers that I hope to improve on both!