Dedicated to Gav for his invaluable help with the fight scene.
Trees, densely packed in natures order, blocked every speck of the early morning sunlight from penetrating the forest floor. Travelling for Ben was more difficult in comparison to his four footed companions because he stayed in human form to conserve his strength for the upcoming fight. He managed to gather twenty of his neighbouring allies to escort him and provide added muscle should Vince decide to play dirty.
Stopping at the brow of the hill that overlooked the clearing, Ben questioned himself again. Vince was known for his dirty tricks and rule breaking, and Ben fully expected some sort of foul play, it was just the extent of foul play that concerned him.
The arena itself consisted of a large circle of sand surrounded by a low wall with a six-foot chain-link fence on top. The only break in the circle was the matching door that sat in open invitation for the duellers. Once the door closed, the fight would begin. Two would enter, but only one would leave, it would be a fight to the death.
As he watched, mountains lions began to appear from the tree line, taking up position around the outside of one-half of the arena. Vince strode proudly through the door and turned to watch Ben descend the hill until he was out of sight. It was during this final descent that a strip of luminescent orbs appeared before him, they slowly grew in size and shape until the spirit of Eliza and the other shaman stood in his path. They shimmered a moment in the dappled morning light that broke through the thinner canopy of trees.
Eliza stepped forward followed by the others, they surrounded him, making a circle as they joined hands. Soft murmurs sounded and static sparks filled the air. It lasted only a few seconds then the spirits vanished as if they'd never been there. "To protect you from serious harm, check his boots," Eliza whispered on the wind.
Vince's men turned their heads away from their alpha, refusing to meet his eye as he walked around the circle, trailing his fingers along the chain-link. He stopped directly opposite the door and warmed up his muscles while he waited for his challenger.
"Regis, get a move on!" Vince shouted, his patience wearing thin.
Ben stepped from the cover of trees, "I'm here," he stated, "Let's go over the rules shall we?"
"What's wrong old man? Your memory failing?" Vince chuckled.
"Just want to be clear on the ground rules so we don't have any underhand tricks."
Vince snorted and narrowed his eyes, "You making accusations?"
"Nope," Ben smiled, "Rule one; challenger gets to pick the form... Human."
"I've no problem with that." Vice rolled his shoulders so his chest muscles were emphasised beneath the T-shirt.
"If either of us shift any time during the fight, Ralph as a neutral party, will shoot us before the change is finished," he nodded at Ralph who, as the only attendee apart from the fighters who wasn't in animal form, tipped his hat. "No weapons may be used inside the arena but those gifted to us at birth."
Vince shrugged, "Fine we know the rules, can you get a move on, I've a meeting this evening."
"As you wish... Strip."
"Remove your shirt and boots, rule four," Ben instructed, "I'll let you keep the breeches to preserve your modesty, but Ralph will pat you down."
Ralph stepped into the arena with the gun pointed at Vince, waiting for him to comply. He turned his head slightly to see Ben already removing his shirt. "Strip Vince, there will be no cheating on my watch."
Vince narrowed his eyes and sneered at the man wielding the gun. He removed his shirt quickly and tossed it at Ralph's feet, then slid the heavy boots off throwing each one as he did.
"Turn and face the fence with your legs spread." Vince complied with Ralph's order, allowing the man to approach.
As Ralph touched the waistband of Vince's loose fitting trouser, Vince whispered to him, "How much will it take?"
He continued to run his hands down Vince's legs, coming to a stop as he felt something hard tapped to his ankle. Pulling the cloth up to reveal a silver knife with a seven-inch blade, Ralph snorted, "I'm not for sale, and I don't abide cheats. I should shoot you right where you stand for this but Ben wants this fight, and a fair fight he's going to get."
|Megan Fox||as Adie|