Jay pushed himself up off the ground, his breathing heavy. He ran the back of his hand across his jaw, wiping away the trail of red blood. It was only a slight shade darker than the red markings on his armored gauntlet.
“Damn,” he muttered glancing at the fracture running through the armor plate. “I was sure this would last me a little longer.”
Standing straight, he released the clasps holding it in place and let it fall to the ground with a clatter. Trading hands, he released the clasps on his other gauntlet. It fell next to the first.
“Not that I really needed those anyway.” Working the clasps on his arm plates and shoulders, he let rest of his torso armor covering his dark, crimson long-coat fall to the ground. Unbuckling his boots, he stepped from them.
Van watched him closely, his sword held at the ready, his eyes hard. “Shedding that armor is going to be your defeat, you know this.”
Jayko rolled his shoulders and took up his fighting stance again fists held at the ready. “The only thing that armor was doing for me was holding me back.”
Van’s eyes narrowed and he lunged, striking fast, with his sword, trying to end it with one last jab. Straight though the heart.
Jay vanished in the space of an instant. Van felt a hand on his back and heard Jay’s voice, the confidence evident. “Missed me.”
He felt Jay’s weight disappear and whirled, bringing his sword around in a wide arc. Jay was well beyond the reach of the blade though, having danced back a good distance. He shifted his weight lightly from foot to foot, his hands held at the ready.
Van transitioned smoothly from his sweep into a lunge, bringing his sword straight for Jay.
Jay lunged at the same instant.
The same tactic. This time he won’t surprise me with it.
Changing mid-lunge he tried to redirect his blade, swinging the instant Jay came within reach.
Suddenly he felt his blade being pushed. Van’s eyes went wide as Jay ducked nimbly under the swing pushing the blade up and away with the flat of his hand. In the next instant Van saw him raise his other hand palm forward, as if aiming with it. He drew his arm back, twisting and swinging with his other fist. The jab came too quickly for Van to follow and stuck him mid chest.
The wind rushed from his lungs and he skidded backward, trying to keep his balance.
He lost his sight for a moment, but regained it quickly, tracking Jay as he danced back. Suddenly stepping to the side, Jay vanished again. Van tried to react, sensing where he would strike, but coming up short. The blow to his back sent him tumbling forward. He caught himself mid fall though, stepping into it and using the momentum to swing his sword up and around.
The blade grazed Jay as he retreated from his next attack.
I underestimated him. The armor made him stronger before, but it impeded his true speed.
Van stepped forward, following through with another swing, trying to catch Jay off guard. Jay danced and ducked out of the way. His face was serious, but Van could tell that even though he was on the defensive again he was confident. Too confident.
Suddenly Jay ducked low under Van’s swing, lunging backward out of the blade’s range. Van saw the flash of sliver as the pistol came up.
Damnit! Van gripped his blade, tilting it as the single shot struck it, deflecting the shot away from him.
It had all been a ruse to get his weapon back. Van had lost track of the position he’d been keeping between Jay and his weapon. That had been his objective all along.
The glow of the power cell under the barrel of the pistol shown a bright blue-white.
Jay smirked at Van. “Sadly I’m only here to buy time. I know enough about my own strengths that I can’t defeat a true immortal such as yourself.”
The shadow crossed over the two of them briefly, vanishing within seconds with a gust of wind on it’s tail.
Van’s gaze moved for only a second, but he caught sight of the man drop from the airship.
He landed in a crouch in between them. The black metal of the revolver he held glistening in the sunlight.