In Version; Chapter 135, Slade 247

Your contribution via
PayPal Me
keeps this site and its author alive.
Thank you.

Stories from the Verse
In Version
Chapter 135:  Slade 247
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Kondor 253

As Slade entered the pitch, he looked across at a strange creature, obviously one of the lesser races or whatever they called them.  It was kind of like a snake with four limbs, standing erect on the rear two with the upper two serving as short arms.  It reminded him of the mascot of a certain insurance company, but that it was dark blood red rather than green, and its body obviously had the flexibility of a snake.  He joked to himself that that made it spineless, but that cowards didn’t make it this far in these games.  He had long ago stopped reading the names and races and rankings of his opponents, the first and second because he wouldn’t remember anyway and the last because it wasn’t important to how he fought them.  He almost broke this rule, when he realized that the referee robot was approaching him.  He waited for it to speak.

“Your opponent has requested that it be ruled you are not permitted to shapechange during the fight.”

“I am not what?”

“He has heard that humans have the ability to change their size and shape, and he wishes for that to be forbidden.”

Slade could have told them that this was not something he could do--but remembering his conversation about it with 1942, he decided that was the wrong tack.  He could simply agree--but would that set a precedent against Derek?

“I see,” he answered, thinking quickly.  “And will he be forbidden from bending his body to dodge my attacks?”

“How is that relevant?”

“I believe he has an ability I cannot duplicate; he believes I have an ability he cannot duplicate.  He believes my ability gives me an unfair advantage; I believe his ability gives him an unfair advantage.  How is that different?  If changing shape is something I choose to do in this fight, it should be permitted.”

The robot appeared to process this, then said loudly, “The Human will be permitted to change shape.”

He thought the snake thing looked worried for a moment.  Fine.

The go was called, and his adversary drew a long staff from behind its back, immediately becoming more flexible, shortening itself by coiling while stepping slowly closer to him.  Slade drew his sword and his dagger, and watched.  The spring-like coil suggested it was going to strike like a snake, the disadvantage of short arms countered by the speed at which it would bring that stick into striking range and then withdraw.  He would be ready for it.  It closed to a point Slade decided was its striking range.

Suddenly the tail whipped around, headed for his legs.  Not anticipating this, he leapt awkwardly to avoid it, and then saw the strike coming toward his head.  Well played, he thought, as he barely avoided the tail and parried the stick in a manner that sent him falling sideways.  Dropping his dagger, he caught himself in a roll and had his sword readied in time to stab the attacker, who was trying to strike him while he was down.  Point for me, he thought, knowing that points were meaningless here.  While the snake retracted, he scrambled to his feet and spotted his dagger.  No, grabbing it would expose him.

Since he had been training with the antiquities professor in the use of the cape, he had a cloth tucked in his swordbelt.  He had not used it in combat, but now was as good a time as any.  He tugged it loose and swept it to be sure it was open.  The snake eyed him curiously, and started to step to its left, circling away from the cape.  Slade obliged it, turning to keep his face toward it, watching for its next move.  They circled like this for perhaps a full minute, until Slade wondered whether it was waiting for him.  Don’t let down your guard, he thought; that’s what it wants.

At that moment, the snake-thing coiled and sprang again, and swept with its tail.  This time, though, he was ready.  He jumped over the tail and spread the cape in the face of his attacker, just as quickly reaching over the incoming stick and driving the point of his sword into the body just below the jaw (wondering where the neck ended on a creature like this).  He managed to land on his feet and leapt back out of the way, but it wasn’t necessary.  The creature tottered and collapsed in a heap.  The referee wasted little time checking before calling the medics.

Slade thought it was an interesting challenge, and wondered what still lay ahead.

Next chapter:  Chapter 136:  Beam 195
Table of Contents

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

Re Verse All

In Verse Proportion

Con Verse Lea
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

See what's special right now at Valdron