Choi gets some answers, and an idea about the enemy that he's up against.
The cries of wounded soldiers on the battlefield. . .The roars of soldiers still standing, outraged for their fallen brothers. . .The constant clanging of metal on metal, followed by a scream as someone loses a limb, or their life. . .The eyes of your opponent when he realizes that he is about to die. .
Sean woke with a start. He cursed silently. This is what I get for drinking too much after a battle. It's also what I get for being in so many.
On the other bed in the room, the bed across from him, his new friend Choi stirred.
Choi lifted his head off of the pillow with a loud groan.
"Sounds like you're experiencing a hangover. Probably a pretty bad one, considering how drunk you were last night. Luckily enough for me, I don't get hangovers," Sean said.
Choi looked very irritated by all of the noise Sean was so lightheartedly making. Very, very slowly, Choi sat up on the bed.
"Sean," Choi said slowly.
"Choi," Sean said normally.
"I have some questions for you," Choi said.
"Ask away, friend," Sean replied, leaning back.
"Now that I'm sober, I realize what you did last night. You stopped a Giant from crushing me. But I thought you were just a normal, pure human. How did you do it?" Choi asked.
"First of all, be careful how you use the word 'pure' when you're in the presence of, well, anybody around here. In fact, don't use it at all. The reason that I'm so strong and tall for my age is because my grandfather was sired by a Giant. And I've probably got some Giant in my blood from before that. The Woodsfolk have a long history of mating with the Giants," Sean said.
"So is that why that Giant, Gratus, was willing to listen to you last night?"
"That, and the respect for a General and a successful soldier. I am much respected around here for both the number of battles I've fought in and the skill in which I've fought them."
"Okay. And also, why didn't I see any Griffins or Wolfmen yesterday?" Choi asked.
"Well, the Griffins are . . . starting to become scarcer. Because they are so useful as couriers because of their wings, they are sent on dangerous missions into hostile territory. Right now, most of the Griffins are away on missions. And those that aren't don't much like drunkenness or celebrating, because it usually ends up with some drunken fool trying to ride one of them.
"And as for the Wolfmen . . ." Sean grinned mischievously, "Did you see those beautiful young ladies that I was dancing with last night? Well. . ."
It took Choi a moment to grasp what Sean was saying.
"Anyway," Sean said, "I don't think I was really able to grasp the extent of your fighting ability yesterday. Let's get dressed and go down to the sparring circles."
There were two sections for sparring, both near to the middle of the treetop village. One was a section for unarmed sparring. The other was, naturally, for armed sparring. Also quite naturally, killing or seriously injuring an opponent was strictly forbidden. The sparring circle was 20 meters in diameter, big enough for Giants to be comfortable without giving a human unlimited room to maneuver.
Sean and Choi decided to go to the unarmed section for a warm-up.
"I'll go first, you know, show you how it's done," Sean said jokingly.
"Uh-uh," Choi responded.
The way of the sparring circle, and this went for armed and unarmed, was that any fighter could step into the circle between fights and challenge another. Challenges could be accepted or denied, but for the most part were accepted.
After the fight that had been occurring when he and Choi had arrived, Sean quickly stepped forward.
"I, Sean, challenge . . . Brutus!" Sean declared.
A large, bearded Giant well into manhood stepped forward.
"I accept your challenge," Brutus replied without hesitation.
The combatants stepped forward, showing with their eyes a grim determination, and a desire to win.
They bowed, slowly and respectfully.
When they rose, Choi expected a sudden, quick, awesome flurry of motion, ending with one combatant left standing.
Instead, it seemed as if they were sizing each other up. Slowly, Sean and Brutus began to pace sideways, around the edges of the circle. Their eyes, however, never left one another's faces.
And then, completely simultaneously, both of them lunged forward. Brutus dived towards Sean, but Sean wasn't there anymore. He had leaped to a height no normal human could have, over Brutus, flipping once and planting his feet into the back of Brutus's neck. He flipped into the air once more, and as he landed, dropped into a crouch and swept Brutus's legs hard enough that the Giant toppled forward.
And then Sean was up and moving again, jumping quickly onto Brutus's back. He put the Giant into a full nelson, and started applying pressure.
Brutus struggled for a moment, and then tapped the ground thrice in surrender.
The crowd cheered, and the combatants quickly rose and warmly shook hands. They then returned to their respective groups.
Choi stared at Sean in disbelief. The actual fighting took less time than all of the pacing that they did. And I'm endeavoring to kill a man who wrestles Giants . . . O powers above.
Choi, of course, let none of these thoughts show on his face. Instead, he grinned at Sean and clapped him on the shoulder.
Sean grinned even harder and said "Now you."
Reviews, ratings you know what I'm asking for. C'mon, guys, I'd really appreciate a good idea about how my writing is. Chapter 3 should be out soon.