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datatime: 2022-11-30 06:25:13 Author:wiIhwoEP

I nicked him and the blood flowed.

"Well, when it comes to things, Corwin. Poorly, on other counts, however."

"Pity," said I, "and how shall we put things aright?"

Eric loosened his blade in its scabbard.

"Pity," said I, "and how shall we put things aright?"

"I guess so," he said, with a sigh. "It's true, that uneasy-lies-the-head bit. I don't know why we are driven to strive so for this ridiculous position. But you must recall that I've defeated you twice, mercifully granting you your life on a Shadow world the last occasion."

He parried this and kicked a small stool between us. I set it aside, hopefully in the direction of his face, with my right toe, but it missed and he had at me again.

I parried his attack, and he mine. Then I lunged, was parried, was attacked, and parried again myself.

I nicked him and the blood flowed.

And his eyes were wide with amaze and his voice heavy with that which men call sarcasm, and I can't think of a better word, as he replied:

I tried a headcut, which he parried; and I parried his riposte to my heart and cut at his wrist.

"The fact that I was able to occupy the throne," he replied. "Try and take it."

I tried a headcut, which he parried; and I parried his riposte to my heart and cut at his wrist.

"What an enormous chutzpah you possess," I told him. "What makes you better than the rest of us, and more fit to rule?"

And he lunged then and beat me back, and I felt suddenly that for all my work he was still my master. He was perhaps one of the greatest swordsmen I had ever faced. I suddenly had the feeling that I couldn't take him, and I parried like mad and retreated in the same fashion as he beat me back, step by step. We'd both had centuries under the greatest masters of the blade in business. The greatest alive, I knew, was brother Benedict, and he wasn't around to help, one way or the other. So I snatched things off the desk with my left hand and threw them at Eric. But he dodged everything and came on strong, and I circled to his left and all like that, but I couldn't draw the point of his blade from my left eye. And I was afraid. The man was magnificent. If I didn't hate him so, I would have applauded his performance.

"You want the throne," he said.

I tried a very fancy attack I'd learned in France, which involved a beat, a feint in quarte, a feint in sixte, and a lunge veering off into an attack on his wrist.

I nicked him and the blood flowed.

He parried this and kicked a small stool between us. I set it aside, hopefully in the direction of his face, with my right toe, but it missed and he had at me again.

Eric loosened his blade in its scabbard.

"I guess so," he said, with a sigh. "It's true, that uneasy-lies-the-head bit. I don't know why we are driven to strive so for this ridiculous position. But you must recall that I've defeated you twice, mercifully granting you your life on a Shadow world the last occasion."

"Pity," said I, "and how shall we put things aright?"

I kept backing away, and the fear and the knowledge came upon me: I knew I still couldn't take him. He was a better man than I was, when it came to the blade. I cursed this, but I couldn't get around it. I tried three more elaborate attacks and was defeated on each occasion. He parried me and made me retreat before his own attacks.

I kept backing away, and the fear and the knowledge came upon me: I knew I still couldn't take him. He was a better man than I was, when it came to the blade. I cursed this, but I couldn't get around it. I tried three more elaborate attacks and was defeated on each occasion. He parried me and made me retreat before his own attacks.

"Don't we all?" I told him.

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