All she did was blink. She had done it so fast it was as if her eyes had never closed. In that instant Djinn struck and when she opened her eyes his blade was a sand pig’s hair breadth away. But, if Jean was anything she was quick. She back-flipped just in time to keep her face from being sliced off.
“I didn’t expect you to dodge that.” Djinn said.
“I didn’t dodge it.” Jean said pointing to a cut on her chin. A trickle of blood streamed down her neck.
“Oh, it could have been much worse.” Djinn said. He blasted off the ground as if launched. Jean managed to whip out her Nunchaku and block his attack. Djinn unleashed several successive strikes. She blocked each one.
“You have speed. But, you lack power.” Djinn said. He brought his sabre down heavily. When Jean blocked it her knees buckled under the weight of the attack and her feet sank into the ground. He kicked her in the gut and she fell backwards. She flipped over and was on her feet again in the blink of an eye but as we’ve learned Djinn was faster than that. He was already advancing and this strike sent Jean flying off into a crashed knight’s ship. She smashed through the burning wood and fell onto fire. Part of her clothes caught on fire. Nothing a little stopping, dropping and rolling couldn’t extinguish. The smoke was thick in here and breathing was a chore. Through the smoke Djinn appeared.
“Grovelling won’t save you n…” Jean spun around and kicked his feet out from under him before he could finish gloating. He fell to the floor and was engulfed in flames. Jean leapt out of the ship and breathed the clean air gratefully.
There was a ringing sound and the flames fizzled and vanished just like before. The ship split down the middle and Djinn walked out unharmed. He laughed.
“Is this all?”
8 years ago,
“Is this all?” Jean’s father said. Jean’s eyes were still shut tight. The Nunchaku had hit her right between the eyes and she was trying not to cry.
“N…n…” Jean said.
“If you can’t even handle one of them you’ll never be able to wield two.” He said.
“I can!” Jean said defiantly. “But, it keeps hitting me!”
“Jean, you’re hitting yourself.” He said.
“No, I’m not!” Jean said indignantly.
“If you’re thinking of the Nunchaku as an ‘it’ and not as a part of yourself you’ll never master it.” Her father said.
“Huh?” Jean said. Her father started coughing convulsively.
“Jean, I’m not going to be around forever. The writer has decided I’m one of those tragic-deaths-that-motivate-the-protagonist sort of characters. You have to learn how to protect yourself.”
“I can protect myself. I want to protect you!”
“Sorry, dad. I couldn’t protect you. But, I have new things I want to protect! And, I’ll do whatever it takes to protect them. Even if I’m not ready for it!” Jean clapped both hands around her Nunchaku.
“There is more, Djinn.” There was a flash of violet and Jean’s Nunchaku split into two! She spun them around at lightning spee… donk.
“Ow! Right between the eyes!” Jean fell to her knees with her face in her hands.
“Piteous.” Djinn said.
“Just kidding.” Jean strode towards him. Her Nunchaku were spinning so fast that they were a violet blur.
“Now this is getting interesting.” Djinn grinned. They lunged at each other. Jean sidestepped him and hit him in the back of the head and then the gut. But, she didn’t stop there. She spun the Nunchaku round and round and executed a multi-hit combo! 20! 30! 49 hits! And the 50th one was a haymaker which, upon impact, smashed him mightily to the ground. She smiled broadly and then collapsed. Although her combo had landed 50 hits 12 of them had been on herself.
“I really need to work on that.” She groaned. “Oh, man! I think I knocked a tooth out.”
Djinn sat up.
“What!? That was my ultimate techinique!” Jean moaned.
“You were faster than me.” Djinn said getting to his feet. “But, you still lack power. You have no intention of doing harm. You misunderstood what a weapon is: that with which you defeat your enemies.”
“No. They can also be used to protect you friends.” Jean said.
“You have earned my respect, Jean the Youthful.” Djinn said. “But, this battle is not over.”
Jean got to her feet. Her whole body was throbbing.
“We can end it without bloodshed.” Jean said.
“Still you persist. Come, I will show you the ultimate weapon.”
They stood facing each other, their weapons, to protect and to defeat, at the ready. Djinn struck. Jean defended. Djinn’s blade severed the chain connecting the Nunchaku and slashed Jean’s body viciously. Redness dyed her clothes.
“Uh uh guh!” Jean gasped.
“No, do not speak. You can rest easy knowing that you fought valiantly.” He raised his sabre for the final strike. “Defeat is agony. But, Death is relief.”
“Gah!” Djinn cried. A knife had struck him and was embedded in his left arm.
“Defeeh eh agoneeee!” Zev mocked. “Victory monologues are hilarious!” She took a deep breath and yelled: “Beardfaaaaaaace!”
Beardface appeared a moment later. He arrived in an explosion of rubble as he had run through several buildings to get there. He didn’t so much as look at either of them. He snatched Jean up in his arms and dashed off again. Djinn beheld his arm with a look of mixed horror and fury. Blood seeped from the wound and spread over his wraps.
“You… you have stained the Wraps of Royalty!” He whispered venomously.
“Royal…?!” Zev said, hopping down from a destroyed building.
“You have sullied the King of Jul.” Djinn spat.
“By my royal blood I will end you!”
“Eeee!” Zev squealed excitedly. Djinn rushed her. But, Zev dodged him easily.
“When did you become King, Djinn?” Zev asked.
“Silence, you Nosish outcast!” Djinn yelled and attacked her again. Zev dodged him effortlessly once more.
“Stand still, damn you! Why are you all so fast?!”
“You thought Jean was fast? I taught her to be fast. Oh, Djinn, nothing would please me more than dismantling your Kingdom.” Zev said. “But, I’ve got serious business here. You tried to kill Jean.”
“She stood between me and…”
“You know the oath, Djinn. You tried to kill a fellow Master. And for that you will lose your title.”
“Wh… No! I refuse!” Djinn charged her and raised his sabre high above his head. Zev didn’t dodge this one. As the blade touched her it shattered into a million pieces, or probably about 20 or 30.
“You lose your title and everything that goes with it.” Zev said.
Djinn’s chest started glowing.
“What foul trickery is this?” Djinn said.
“I don’t really know. I’ve never seen it before.” Zev said.
A rose petal came out of Djinn’s glowing chest. It floated dreamily and glowed softly. Djinn made to grab it but it faded away before he could.
“Boom bam.” Zev whispered.
Djinn stood awestruck.
“Well, my business is done. Farewell, Djinn.” Zev said and turned to leave.
“No! I don’t accept this! Not after everything I’ve been through!” Djinn shouted. He stooped and scavenged a sword off a dead knight.
“If my petal… my title is gone then I’ll take yours!” Djinn, who somehow wasn’t tired from diving, charging, dashing or running towards people did so once again. At his first footfall, Zev flipped around and unleashed a barrage of throwing knives upon him. Each deadly blade hit its mark. Arms, shoulders, chest and thighs. He crumpled. Zev approached and got on her haunches.
“That was for trying to kill my bestie.” she said. “K, bye.” As she got up her 9 knives dislodged themselves from Djinn’s body and flew back towards her. She caught and holstered each one without looking. Djinn collapsed, utterly defeated and bleeding out quite profusely.
“This… isn’t… over!” He said with difficulty.
“Oh, no. I’ll definitely be back. ‘Dismantle all Kingdoms.’ Remember?”
Jean was awakened by an injured knight. He was reaching towards her and whispering something.
“Give her back. Give her back.”
“I don’t have her.” Jean whispered and then it became too difficult for her to keep her eyes open any longer.