The Brüdel dragging the dead Arena worker on his chained sword runs for Ime, who split to the left as Daniil and Kylii split to the right. Numerous small spears pierce the Brüdel’s skin including his ears, nose, and eyebrows. Chains hang from the piercings in his ears, mimicking his weapon of choice. Chains keeps his distance and throws his weapon forward. The body of the Arena worker flies towards Ime, who uses his wind magic to throw the body away from him. Ime’s opponent uses both hands to pull the chain taut it tearing the body in two and redirecting the sword towards Ime.
Ime barely dodges in time and throws a boulder at Chains, who easily moves out of the way of the boulder and reels his weapon back in. He throws his weapon again to see it embedded in another of Ime’s boulders. Ime throws the boulder to the side, as a second blade shoots from behind the first blade. He tries to dodge. But the blade slices his leg splattering blood down his skin.
The crowd watching Ime gasps and cheers.
Chains pulls his first weapon free from the boulder and spins the two chains. The spinning blades produce an ear-piercing whine. Chains smiles, showing rotting teeth and festering gums, then looses one weapon followed immediately by the other.
Ime can only dodge as the blades rush past him. Chains gives him no time to use his magic. Cursing, he tries to grab one of the spears hung on the wall of the Arena. Chains aims one of his blades at the spear to block him. Ime manages to shove the blade away with air magic and grabs the spear. He faces Chains and holds the spear in front of him. As the second blade flies past, he maneuvers the spear against the chain. He succeeds in snagging the chain.
The chain goes taut and the Brüdel tries to pull free. But Ime has a tight grip on the spear and the chain is too tangled to loosen on its own. Using the time he’s gained, Ime sends a shock through the ground towards Chains. A crack opens beneath him and he falls into the hole. Ime feels the chain pull against him, as he closes the hole.
The second blade stabs into his arm from behind, interupting his magic. He yells and turns. The second blade had been thrown with the first with such precise timing that he hadn’t seen it. When he caught the first weapon he was too distracted to see the second blade land behind him.
Chains pulls himself from the hole, pulling on both chains to help him. Ime yells in pain as the second blade in his arm slices deeper from the Brüdel’s weight. The blade tears from Ime’s arm and returns to Chains as he climbs out of the hole. Ime drops the spear and clutches his wounded arm.
Chains pulls his first weapon back and untangles it from the spear, then throws both at Ime. They are aimed to strike him from either side.
Ime tries to pull up a shield of earth, but distracted by the pain in his arm, he raises the earth only to his knees. The blades draw closer. He prepares himself for the impact.
Bern and Cal appear to Ime’s right and Mava and Rava to his left. They block the blades with their weapons and the roar from the crowd fills the air.
“The great champion of the Arena becomes a weakling after only two scratches? Hardly the legend everyone makes you out to be,” Bern says.
Ime rips a piece of cloth from his clothes and wraps it around his hand. “Pain can be very distracting. That’s why I try not to get hit.”
“Try harder,” Mava says.
Ime laughs and gathers air between his hands. He throws a gust of wind towards Chains and stretches his arms wide. The gust turns into a wall of wind, but Chains manages to leap over the wall. As Chains lands, Ime raises a sudden patch of the ground hitting him in the side with such force it knocks him across the Arena. His weapons are thrown back with him.
“Get the wounded to Meah. We have to keep as many alive as possible. Fight only if you have to.”
Mava and Rava nod and run towards those lying on the ground.
Ime turns to Bern and Cal. “Keep them safe. They’ll need help if any of the Brüdel spot them carrying the wounded.”
They nod and run after the sisters, but Cal stops and turns to Ime. “We’re going to win, right?”
Ime looks across the Arena. The slaves are managing to hold their own against the Brüdel to the surprise of the audience and Klaeon. He returns his attention to Cal. “What’s your full name, Cal?”
“Calston Relm Lito. I can use a little water magic, but not enough to fight with it.”
“Thank you for helping us in the tunnel.”
Cal’s expression lightens and he smiles. “It was the truth. I’m sorry for my father. He’s never been very good at standing up for himself.”
Cal fights tears back. “He was one of the ones who stayed on the Brüdel’s side.”
Ime slowly nods his head. “I’m sorry.”
He raises his weapon. But before running after Bern, Mava, and Rava, he says (mostly to himself), “Now, no one controls me.”
A cry shoots across the Arena and Ime quickly moves out of the way of the two blades on chains. They are thrown wildly with no focus and strike another of the Brüdel in the back. He roars and tries to pull the blades from his back, then turns and runs at Ime. He raises a giant, bloody club above him, but the blades dig into his chest.
Chains pulls repeatedly on the weapons, enlarging the wounds, until the larger man falls down dead. Ime steps out of the way of the dying man and turns to Chains.
“This Rare Kind is mine!” Chains shrieks, blood rolling down the side of his head.
“Oh. I didn’t know you could speak.”
“I’ll kill you! I’ll slice your limbs off one by one and use your head as a pissing bowl!”
Ime smiles and raises a hand to Chains. “You won’t touch me with your blades again.”