The greatsword came down on Arslan’s shield, and the blow was deflected but not before shattering the lower half. Chunks were splintered off as he stumbled past the girl. She laughed, seemingly enjoying herself in her position. Arslan edged himself to the dirt circle. He slashed at the dirt, leaving an imprint of his attack.
“Is there really no way I can talk you out of this?” Arslan asked.
The drake-girl stopped her laughter. She pinned her greatsword into the ground and placed her head overtop the pommel and smiled. “No.” She pulled the sword from the earth and charged Arslan.
He dodged underneath her strike by rolling. The one lesson to take away from the fight he saw with Mandilyn was that she was predictable; she moved slowly and very telegraphed. He might not have enough strength to pierce her thick skin and hide, but he could run away effectively.
He got back up to his feet and slashed at the ground again. “You’re pretty obvious, you know!.” Arslan shouted as she turned around. Her fun was quickly turning into a deep annoyance, causing her to let out a deep growl. “Stop running, coward!”
He pointed his sword directly at her and smiled back mockingly, “No.”
“I don’t get it,” Mandilyn said, “why am I not allowed to help Arslan fight back?
Edward laughed, “Remember what I said?”
“Were you really paying attention to anything I said?” Exasperated Edward as he placed his hands on his hips.
“You said a lot!” Mandilyn shouted feeling personally attacked. “You can’t just expect me to recall everything!”
“Well, it’s because of the way he doesn’t fight.”
“You said Arslan tells you about using your head a lot, right?”
Mandilyn nodded. “Yeah, he does.”
Edward chuckled, “I want you to analyze this fight as close as possible.”
Next to them was the sound of a large gulp. The two turned their attention to Leila; at some point, she had gotten up and acquired a large platter of assorted meats. She strained as she swallowed just a little too much at one time. She turned to them and held out a slice of sheep thigh and asked, “Want some?”
Mandilyn extended her hands keeping her weapon balanced on her chest. “No thanks, I can’t really eat meat.”
Edward took a slice and stuffed his face. The juice that still lingered from the slice dripped from the corners of his mouth. His expression told everyone he was undoubtedly delighted. “Thanks, hun.”
Mandilyn felt her stomach churn from seeing the two happily eating flesh. She turned back to see how Arslan was doing.
At some point, he had abandoned his shield as it was nowhere to be seen on his person. He now gripped his sword with both hands. He was drenched in sweat and judging by the way his back was hunched over he was getting tired.
The drake-girl roared out of anger and shouted, “Coward!” She stabbed the greatsword into the ground, and her chest began puffing up as she readied her fire breath.
Arslan rolled to the side as she let out a torrent of her hot breath. The end of his robes caught on fire, however, it didn’t matter. Still on the ground, Arslan crawled over to the edge of the circle and carved a rune in the dirt. However, the drake-girl’s tail wrapped around his foot and pulled him forward, directly in front of her.
The two smiled at each other except the girl’s was filled with an unsatiated lust for blood. “Got you,” she teased. She raised her greatsword high to strike down at the alchemist.
“Last chance to back down now,” he offered.
She continued her actions to split his head down the middle, once the blade reached the apex of her head, he slammed his hand in the dirt, the entire outskirts of the circle lit up blue. Electricity sparked from each of the points he slashed with his sword and converged into the single conductor, the great sword. She spazzed for several seconds as the current ran through her body to reach back into the ground, then she fell unconscious to the dirt.
“What,” Mandilyn said, perplexed.
Leila clapped her hands and cheered, “Been a while since I saw one of these!”
Edward crossed his arms. “What I said earlier was, ‘A warrior fights with their body, a tactician fights with their mind, but an adventurer? They fight with both.’”
“I still don’t get it,” Mandilyn admitted.
Leila put an arm on the rabbit-girl’s shoulder and explained, “From the very beginning, Arslan was at an advantage.”
“By being in a disadvantage,” Leila continued, “he couldn’t possibly defeat his opponent in brute strength, just look at his arms.”
“...This is the power of an adventurer?” Mandilyn thought aloud.
Arslan came over to the trio and was immediately greeted and congratulated by Leila and Edward. A small smile broke its way out on her face.
The moment didn’t last long as several air-ships jetted across the sky. Arslan looked up and ended the cheering by speaking seriously. “It’s almost time to leave,”
Leila frowned and punched Arslan in the arm. “I thought you’d at least have a couple more days before they started sending out search parties. You must’ve really pissed someone off.”
Arslan shrugged, “It’s actually just bad timing.”
“When do you plan on heading out?”
Arslan looked over to the girl still unconscious on the ground. “After I pay for a set of clothes for her.” the tattered blanket that was still wrapped around her was riddled with holes and covered in filth.
Leila put her hands on her hip and spoke rather smugly, “It’s a good thing you’ve got someone that deals in clothing and armor around, dont’cha?” She then nudged him playfully with her elbow. “But it’d be a bit hard to get her some clothes when she ain’t awake.” She looked at Edward who sighed in defeat.
“I’ll get the bucket,” he said lethargically.
Leila wrapped a measure around the drake-girl’s chest pulling it tight. She grunted, “This concept is stupid.”
Leila pinched the two ends of the tape and retorted, “Yeah well, you lost your fight and Arslan wanted you to have some clothes.” The drake-girl snorted in response. Leila whistled, “ninety-one centimeters, not bad.” She removed the tape and moved to her rack of tops.
The drake-girl dropped her arms to her sides and grumbled, “He got lucky.”
“Please,” Leila said not looking at the girl, “the fight was over the moment you challenged him.” She pulled down a top, it was frilly, and the sleeves were long, she held the article of clothing up to the drake and shook her head. She returned it to the rack and pulled out another; it was a blue and grey top that had straps that connected around the back. Something sparkled in her eyes, and she had to put it on the female.
Leila stepped back and admired the look. The drake’s shaggy and undone black hair complimented the look almost wholly. She looked somehow very wild, but beautiful, like a girl from the Dry Valley region.
“Perfect!” Leila shouted.
The girl moved her body, getting a feel for it, her scales weren’t bothered too much by the top, and most of her body remained uncovered. “This isn’t too bad,” she admitted.
“Now for the bottom.” Leila smiled. The selection was much faster this time around as she was looking for something that would cover most of her lizard-like appearance and not hinder her tail's movements. The only option she had at hand was a somewhat flowy dress, which she modified to be shorter.
Arslan opened the door to the room with the two girls. “Everything’s set, we’ll leave when you two are ready.” he paused afterward and looked at the drake. “Nice, I like it. Suits you pretty well.” he continued to close the door. The drake girl felt a wave of unsure emotions with no real way of knowing how to express them considering this was her first compliment.