Chapter Twenty-Two: Checkmate

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Chapter Twenty-Two: Checkmate

Vlad motioned towards the dismembered creatures he had just cut apart. He held his hand out and turned his hand into a fist and pulled it towards him. He then noticed that nothing was happening. He sighed and faced the hooded teen rushing towards him. Vlad spun his fist towards the teen's face. The teen ducked under the swing and quickly jabbed Vlad in the chest. Vlad ignored the hits and punched the teen in the face, sending him staggering back a foot. 

Judging by the look on the teens face, Vlad guessed that it was the force behind the punch that caused him to stagger, rather than the pain of the hit. Vlad guessed that whatever power the teen had allowed him to tank more damage than a regular teen. Normally, whoever he punched in the face went flying backwards. The hit clearly didn't draw blood, as Vlad could see. 

The teen immediately recovered from the hit and pulled back his fist for a punch. Vlad moved to block the hit, but the teen was faster, striking Vlad's neck with his other hand. Vlad moved to attack the teen while he was on the offensive, but the teen brought his fist to Vlad's face, sending him staggering back a foot. As he recovered, Vlad smiled.

This guy's tough, he thought. I'll need to focus.

"It's been awhile since I've had a good duel." Gideon said as he approached Riku, his rapier drawn and ready. "I rather miss the..."
"Just shut up." Riku cut in. "I've had enough monologues for one day. Let's skip to any part where you aren't talking."

Gideon smiled.

"Straight to business. I like it."

He charged forward, blade aimed towards Riku's chest. Riku counted the strike, knocking the blade aside wand striking with Diabolik. Gideon was faster and spun around the blade, striking with his own quickly at the cost of accuracy and stabbed Riku in leg. He jumped back, out of Riku's range and prepared to strike again. Riku ignored the pain of the strike and the trickle of blood going down his leg and prepared to defend against another strike.

Vlad fought off the urge to harden his blood to give him an unfair advantage. Vlad was beginning to lose count of the times in their exchange that they have punched each other at the same time and did little more than knock each other back. He could feel the blood dripping off his face, just as easily as he could see blood dripping from Ken's face. 

The match is even now, Vlad thought, but when one of us gets the upper hand, this fight is over. Vlad then pushed himself forward and met Ken's fist with his own, then quickly nailed Ken's chin with his other fist, causing him to stagger. Before Vlad could follow it up, Ken recovered and counter attacked, punching Vlad in the chest and knocking him back. Based on his opponent's body language and his how he himself was holding up, he could tell that neither had made progress on the other. He signed as he recovered. Maybe I'll have to bite the bullet and cheat.

Gideon pointed his blade at Riku's chest and smiled. Riku moved to block an incoming strike, but Gideon did not move closer. As Riku was about to move to strike, he heard a click. The center of Gideon's rapier flashed. On reflex (and years of movie knowledge) he slashed in front of him in the path that the rapier was pointing. Riku's blade hit something in air. Riku heard something fly by his head while he felt something pierce his leg... again. Gideon sighed.

"You're pretty good."

Riku heard another click and run towards Gideon, dodging the incoming bullet and slashing with Algolic. Gideon dodged the strike and thrusted forward with his blade. Riku caught the strike with Diabolik and knocked the blade aside and thrusted with the blade. Gideon took a step back, avoiding the stab. Riku then realized his mistake of overreaching with his strike, giving Gideon enough space to parry the blade and lunge again. Riku moved to avoid the strike, but Gideon's blade caught him in his right shoulder. Gideon quickly drove the blade in as Riku heard another click. 

He felt his lower chest be shot, knocking the wind out of him. Riku forced himself to stay standing, despite the stream of blood pouring from his body. He knew the wound wouldn't be fatal, but another good hits would cause him to bleed out. For a moment, the two were still, Riku trying to gather the strength to move while Gideon was admiring his work, if annoyed and making a mental note to train accurately stabbing someone in the chest as opposed to missing everything vital. The only noise in the room was the noise of Vlad and Ken taking turns punching each other in the face. 

Just as Gideon thought his bullet may have actually been fatal, Riku brought his head back, then sent it into Gideon's nose. The hit send Gideon stumbling back, leaving his sword in Riku's shoulder. Riku dropped his swords and wrapped his hands around the rapier in his shoulder. He tugged, with all of his might, pulling his from his shoulder with a fresh sting and an even faster flowing stream of blood. He took a step towards Gideon as he wrapped his hand around the sword's grip and felt a trigger. In a split second, he thought of the possibilities: he could let Gideon live, but he knew that the repercussions of that would most likely end with him being, in his words, screwed. He aimed the blade at Gideon, who had a now steady stream of blood flowing from his nose but otherwise looked ready to counter-attack, and pulled the trigger. 

The click that came sounded distinctly different from the clicks he had heard before. To Riku, however, the click sounded like a gathering of his personal heroes reading off, one by one, a complete list of his personal failures. Gideon had recovered threw his right hand into his suit and pulled. Riku gritted his teeth and charged, shoving the blade through Gideon's hand, pinning it inside Gideon's suit. Gideon stopped, unable to move his hand, drops of blood beginning to drip from his mouth.

"A three bullet clip." Riku breathed. "Really?"

Gideon smiled. "All it could hold." Riku then saw Gideon's other hand dart behind his back. Guessing that Gideon was pulling a gun, Riku focused whatever power he could manage into the blade and pulled it upwards, cutting through Gideon like butter. Riku stepped back and kicked Gideon in the chest as hard as he could manage, which wasn't very hard due to his loss of blood. The kick was enough to send Gideon onto his back. Based on his lack of movement, Riku knew that he had cut Gideon's heart in half. Riku dropped the rapier, almost falling to his knees from his exertion. He looked to Vlad and Ken's duel, which had not changed in the slightest.

"Your brother is dead." Riku called, mustering the rest of his strength into his voice. "This is where you surrender."

Ken looked down, sighed loud enough that Riku him sigh from several yards away.

"Good plan." he said. He then cleared his throat in slight distress and spoke again. "I mean, er, my king had fallen. I must... nevermind, just cuff me or whatever." he said, getting on his knees. Vlad looked to Riku, a smile on his face.

"C'mon, I had him." Vlad then noticed that Riku was barely able to stand. He looked to Ken.

"Stay." he commanded as he ran over to Riku. He put his hands on Riku and focused his fully ready powers on his to help clot the blood in his wounds, stopping the bleeding. Riku breathed out and stood.

"I'm good. Thanks." he said, a smile forming on his face. Vlad let out a hearty laugh.

"Leo," he called out. "Mission accomplished. Can you bring us some handcuffs? We have a prisoner.""Sure thing, if I can find any." Leo's voice said from Riku and Vlad's earpieces. "Don't expect any. We may need to build a leash."

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