Chapter 57: Rock and Fire, part II
With everything taking place around him, the one thing Patrick noticed above all others was the look of stoic determination on the mage-boy’s face. He should’ve been afraid, and yet Patrick didn’t think he was, at least he didn’t show it. Kellar had a sly grin covering his youthful, striking features. The boy, no older than twelve, stood before the horrifying man ready to strike.
For a while, neither of them moved--the two remained locked in a staring contest. Kellar was crouched with his fiery blade held over his head, and the Champion stood with his arms drawn back and his sword at his left side. A breeze rolled in off the mountains and picked up dead leaves and dirt. Despite the massive gathering of people, Patrick could hear the sound the wind made as it ruffled the grass.
True to his word, the Champion let Kellar make the first move. Patrick was shocked when it finally happened. After several minutes of waiting, without a peep from either the Kingdom or the Black-armored soldiers, Kellar abruptly leapt forward and twisted his body, whirling his burning blade at the Champion’s head. The taller man ducked and kicked off his feet, jumping backwards. Kellar pressed the advantage and chased the man, releasing a flurry of attacks. He sliced horizontally and vertically, he thrust, stabbed, and spun, but the Champion continued to backpedal and nimbly evade each blow.
Kellar hopped backward when the Champion seemed to have enough of being on the defensive. Unlike Kellar’s array of combinations, the man with the catlike eyes chose to repeatedly swing his blade downward like a hammer, as if to bash away Kellar’s weapon. But the boy was also fast, and he leapt to the side and evaded with the same ease.
“He’s good,” Rumpus whispered. “Look at his form.” The mayor’s voice surprised Patrick. He’d forgotten the quirky man was still there.
Saerith spoke from Patrick’s left. “I see it.”
“See what?” Patrick asked. “All I see is a little boy playing with someone much older and far more dangerous.”
Saerith held out his finger and moved it in a circular motion. “Look at his center--look at his grip on the blade. He’s feeling out his enemy. They’ll clash any second.”
Saerith’s prediction proved true. Apparently, the two had enough of dancing around, and for the first time, Kellar’s burning blade connected with the Champion’s. The moment the two weapons touched, there was a ripping, hissing sound. Then, Patrick watched in terror as a fist-sized chunk of flaming rock materialized from the blades and flew towards the black-armored soldiers that had refused Kellar’s warning to back up. It struck a man dead-center in the chest, crashing through his armor and sending him sprawling backward. Patrick wasn’t certain, but he didn’t think the man survived.
Again, their blades connected, and again what was essentially a small meteorite shot forward and crashed into the ground near the foot of a Kingdom soldier. The startled man eyed the burning grass and then wisely decided to back up a few more paces.
“Magic,” Saerith said. “I use it, and even I fear it.”
The Elven Prince watched the two fighters with wide eyes. Did they fascinate him? Patrick flinched as Kellar darted forward with a combination of three fast attacks, first at the Champion’s head and then at his abdomen and legs. The Champion, just as fast as Kellar, was able to maneuver to parry each attempt, sending another three chunks of flaming rock in seemingly random directions.