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     The two generals posed on opposite sides of the cleared room. Yun was much shorter than his opponent, though Aiya could see by the fit of his robes that he wasn’t exactly lacking in strength. Yun’s amused face only served to work up general Juso’s rage further. Juso held out his blade with a meaty hand over his right shoulder, the curved tip pointing downwards. Yun had his blade at his hips, his double-hand grip seeming more relaxed. It was a scene out of a painting, suspended warriors posed against the other, awaiting the perfect striking moment.

     None of the bystanders dared to make a sound. During an honorable duel, only the clash of weapons and the men that held them spoke. Lord Sen and Arusuke stood far behind their respective fighters. They both watched closely, Sen’s apprehension visible. Aiya stood off to the side with the rest of the nobles and armored Jodai. 

     Juso's face twisted into disgust. “Your head will roll.” He charged.

     Juso brought his sword down. Yun easily parried, only moving his arms in the process. The clash of blades rang through the air, startling Aiya despite herself. Yun grunted as he took the blow, almost thrown off balance. With his free hand, Juso formed a fist like a boulder and launched it at his opponent’s face. 

     Yun backstepped, evading the wide swing as Juso’s knuckles narrowly missed his nose. Juso kept to the offensive, giving chase. Yun met Juso’s blade again, throwing him off and scurrying around to Juso’s weak side.           Juso kept pace, hacking at Yun while shuffling forward with each strike. He tried cutting Yun with a strike to his shoulder, exposed torso turned sideways to prevent an easy counter-attack by the River general, but Yun dodged it from below and retreated. He knew to use his height to his advantage.

Juso looked and fought like a maddened gorilla, relentless with his vicious attacks. Aiya imagined him snarling to reveal a pair of hidden fangs. Yun by contrast, was like a smaller but more agile monkey, intellectual and skilled beyond his years.

     Juso eased back a bit, Yun having made it clear his tactics would not work.

     Yun went for the other man’s torso, opting for a close range attack. Juso feigned an attack, then released a hand from his hilt and grabbed Yun, lunging at him. He inched to the side, avoiding Yun’s blade and catching the smaller man by the throat.

     Time seemed to stop almost imperceptibly. 

     Juso raised his sword fiercely as Yun’s own weapon nearly flew from his fingers. Yun gripped it, then plunged it into Juso’s side. Aiya blinked and saw ribbons of blood soaking the white of his robes.

    Juso grunted in pain, cursing Yun, and stumbled backwards. The Forgery general heaved, eyes wide with pain.      He moved to retaliate, but Yun withdrew his blade and made him double over. Juso gave a pitiful groan of pain and took two shaky steps back, toppling over onto his side. His eyes squeezed shut as he gritted his teeth, bright blood staining them red.

     The Forgery Jodai protested, hands fidgeting over their hilts, fighting the urge to draw their own weapons.

     Both Lord Arusuke and Sen observed, betraying nothing. That was that. The Forgery general had been unable to bear the offense taken by his lord and gotten himself killed. Now Juso said nothing but laid gasping for air, unable to climb to his feet.

     Yun breathed in and out. Then he charged. Sen turned, astonished.  

     “Wha—” was all Juso managed to get out before Yun was on him, sword poised above his neck, his other arm dedicated to pinning the dying man to the ground. 

     “Stop!” were the cries of Forgery. They did nothing. Juso let out a loud, gargled croak, Yun’s blade already working viciously. He kept at it until he pulled the head from the thoroughly dead body. He stood in triumph, holding Juso high like a trophy, blood dripping at his feet.

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