Everybody should get the chance to play.
|"You're quitting?" said Kalob, captain for Triton City, as he rushed to keep up with Luc's determined stride.
"But, we're ahead." Kalob pleaded, coming up on the swordsman's left side. "We're way ahead," circling to larger man's right. "One more match and you will have beaten every man the Mithrans brought."
Luc crossed the blazing sand of the arena heading toward the only exit. The noise of the crowd rose as their champion approached the stands. As he neared the gate, the armed guard quickly stepped aside.
In desperation, Kalob grabbed Luc's sword arm and in a flash the swordsman's off-hand produced a knife, its razor edge pressed the thin veil of skin above the captain's carotid artery.
"You can't let them win." Kalob whimpered.
"Who wins?" Luc replied, returning his knife to the folds of his tunic. "Every year they come, every year the arena fills with screaming merchants, and every year I kill every man they bring. And for what? Duty? Honor? No, not even for pride. All that matters is the wager. The money!"
Luc's eyes rose to the stands where brightly dressed patrons continued to scream and rain ribbons down upon him. Out of reflex, he waved.
Kalob saw a glimmer of hope. "Think of tonight's banquet. Think of the spoils."
"Actually, you can still have your banquet." Luc's gaze cut like steel. "Mithra only has one champion remaining. Triton City has nine fighters who must stand in the arena after me. Nine men who have reaped the glory of my sword for seven years. Fat, lazy, merchant's sons. Today they'll learn how heavy their jewel encrusted swords really are." Luc turned toward the gate and disappeared into the tunnel.
"You're quitting?" Kalob said feebly.
"Yup," echoed from under the stands.