Chapter 20

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Vhalk let him in close, taking a flesh wound in the side just for a shot at Bheirz. He made the best of the opportunity by attempting a roundhouse kick. The movement, made with the injured left leg, was still amazingly fluid and graceful. The kick was powerful and crisp, catching Bheirz square in the jaw, an audible crack sounding at impact.

Bheirz staggered back, dropped the sword and brought his hands up to his face. Before a second passed, Vhalk struck again, this time with a ninety-degree kick to the groin that sent Bheirz to the ground. The crowd went wild and many called for Bheirz's life. But Vhalk just left the arena, helmet still on his head, the limp becoming more pronounced with every step.

Rhenycyn was so impressed with Vhalk's performance that he seriously considered beginning the process to add him to the Knights of the Flaming Sword. He mentioned it to Vhyqyrd who was sitting next to him. The captain of the Guard wrote down the suggestion in his ever-present notebook. "It is truly a shame that this Vhalk will not be able to compete in the championship," the Prince said. Then Rhenycyn turned to his sister who was seated on the other side of him and added, "Speaking of which, is it safe to ask who is your champion?"

The Princess sidestepped the question. "I never believed it would come to this. Even seeing them out there all day and knowing they would both win, I was hoping…" Ellycyn fidgeted in her seat for a moment and wrung her hands. "Every time one strikes the other it will be as if they had struck me."

"As it will be with me," Rhenycyn appended.

No, my brother, Ellycyn thought, not quite. You are not the cause.

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