I lashed out with my pen first, trying to drive it into the
shadow's throat. But the shadow was quicker than I expected,
and it blocked the blow and caught my wrist in
Usually, when I was fighting someone, I could see what the
other person was going to do before he actually did it. How
hard he was going to punch me, how many times, even the
angle he was going to swing at me from. It was more of my
Spartan magic at work. I'd always thought that being in a
fight was like starring in my own personal action movie,
only I had the advantage since I was always a couple of
steps ahead of the other person.
But here in the dark, I couldn't see as well as normal,
which limited that particular ability. Still, I'd been in a
lot of fights, so I could guess what the guy was going to do
next. Sure enough, he bent my wrist back, trying to make me
drop the pen, so I obliged him and let go of my makeshift
weapon. He loosened his grip for a second, giving me enough
time to surge forward and ram my elbow into his stomach. His
breath escaped in a loud oof! of air, and I whirled
around and stepped back out of his long reach.
The guy recovered quickly and came at me again. I heard the
faint zip of a weapon slicing through the air, and I raised
Babs up into a defensive position.
Our two weapons crashed together, drowning out everything
else, and that was when the fight truly began.
Back and forth, we battled through the tunnel. With every
strike and counterstrike, I cataloged everything I learned
about the guy. He was tall and fast, but he didn't have a
Roman's superspeed. Instead, he was exceptionally strong,
telling me that he was a Viking. Given the dark, murky
gloom, I couldn't tell exactly what kind of weapon he was
using, but it seemed big and heavy. Probably an ax. Vikings
usually preferred to use those instead of swords.
Despite the fact that the guy was trying to hack me to
pieces, I grinned as we whirled around and around and our
blades crashed together time and time again. That was
another, slightly freaky thing about being a Spartan.
Fighting for my life seemed natural, like it was
something I was supposed to do, like it was such a
big part of who and what I was that I could never
be anything other than a warrior.
That worried me more than I cared to admit. Spartan or not,
I didn't want to spend my whole life fighting Reapers. Even
warriors needed a break, and even the best warrior could die
on the battlefield. One lucky strike, one moment of
hesitation or distraction, was all it took to send you to
your grave. But I pushed my worries aside, because I needed
to focus if I wanted to win this fight.
This guy was good, a worthy opponent for my Spartan
fighting skills, and it was taking all my training to keep
him from slicing me to ribbons. I hadn't battled someone as
skilled as him in a long time, and it was going to make
beating him that much more satisfying.