In Verse Proportion; Chapter 59, Slade 187

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Stories from the Verse
In Verse Proportion
Chapter 59:  Slade 187
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Brown 214

The next morning as Slade came outside to practice, a contingent of armed and armored birds was waiting.

“Time for a rematch?” he said in English, and then realized that they would have no idea what he was saying.  He found someone for a language link, and repeated the question in Parakeet.

The birds looked at each other, and then one stepped forward, a different one, he thought, from yesterday.  It spoke.

“If I would be permitted to test my sword against you, I would be most honored.”

Slade nodded.  “Be glad for the practice.  Same rules?”

He touched his sword to the ground as the bird donned its protective head gear.  It scurried to face him, and touched its sword to the ground opposite him.  Two other birds stepped forward to referee, both combatants raised their swords to the upright position, and the go was sounded.

This bird came in more slowly.  It seemed not so fleet afoot as yesterday’s opponent.  However, once its blade was moving, it was blindingly swift.  Slade had trouble keeping up with it, and was tempted to draw his dagger--but he wasn’t sure whether that would be against the rules.  Instead, he took a long step back, and left his opponent sweeping air.  Then he moved in quickly for the first touch, and the point was called.

His opponent was as fast with the blade as Slade, or at least nearly so, but this time Slade had the advantage in the footwork.  He circled the bird, then abruptly reversed, stepping behind it and landing a second touch.  He stepped back to give the bird a moment to recover, but maintained his guard--which was good, because when it came back it came back swinging, and there was quite a flurry of blades.  Slade barely dodged a jab, and was for an instant off balance, but he recovered and pushed the attacker back with his longer leg.  It recovered, and charged toward him, and he went for a jab, blocked once, and again, but the third time he caught the shoulder, and the third point was called.

Again finding a link, he said, “Well fought.  Indeed, both of you did well.  Your blade work is truly impressive; yesterday’s opponent was much better on his feet.  If we put the two of you together, that would be a very challenging opponent indeed.”

He then excused himself, and went back to his room to wash a bit.  This time Shella was getting up and joined him at breakfast, and the rest of the day was quiet.  They stopped by the foundation of their new home, and observed the placement of the various pipes.  Slade wondered whether he should have told them to plan for electricity.

Next chapter:  Chapter 60:  Kondor 192
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with twenty other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #440:  Changing Worlds.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Versers Versus Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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