Finding Gratitude, Part 14

“Right, that was wonderfully pathetic. Somebody remember to wake up Ragged Knuckle and slap the bill to his forehead, or something. What a waste. Anyways…Bluelight!”

Regni scanned the crowd. “I know I saw Bluelight in here somewhere. Bluelight, you up for a little action? I see you, passed out by the…BLUELIGHT!”

One of the tables shuddered, and crashed to the ground. A dwarf woman raised her head, and squinted. “Regni?”

“Bluelight, time to sober up. You’ve got a fight.”

“Shove off.” Bluelight sank back into the ground.

“I’ll credit your drinks for the evening.”

“Three.”

“Evening.”

“Five.”

“Want me to ask the bartender the size of your current tab?”

Bluelight was sober enough to know that threat was legitimate. Before Sela could turn the dwarf had skidded onto the sand. Dressed in classic electric blue leathers, the dwarf winked a bleary eye at Sela.

“Nice going on Knuckle. Bastard owes me at least five rounds.”

Regni stepped away, and looked at the crowd. They had taken in everything, which was unusual. Typically, they only perked up when blood was spilling. Or one of the fighters forgot the rules and started in on a rowdy audience. But tonight, they were awake, alive.

It was Sela. The way she knocked out Ragged Knuckle was textbook, a classic set of moves that was so fresh in a rumble arena. What was she going to do against someone who just might be able to string a sentence together?

Bluelight didn’t give her a chance. The dwarf was running off a buzz of adrenaline and the possibility of free drinks for the evening. Regni couldn’t even give an introduction before she launched herself at the duelist. Sela spun out of the way, and lashed out. Bluelight shrugged off the blow, and squared up.

“Come on, ye noodle,” The dwarf muttered. “My door hits harder than you.”

Sela traded blows with the dwarf for a time. She remained silent, trying to understand the style. Bluelight may have been drunk, but she was trained. The dwarf could take a blow as needed, and weave to set up a better left hook. Sela backed away, and bumped the ring. Damn.

So much for half-speed.

Sela sighed, and kicked it up. Bluelight stared, and groaned. Where one duelist was, suddenly there seemed like four. In front, catching that last swing. Kick on the left, which set up the trip that sent her tumbling back, and then three jabs on the left, ending with a haymaker on the right.

“No fair,” Bluelight coughed from the ground. “You’re not supposed to show us up until you buy me at least three rounds. House rules.”

“Bull,” Regni muttered. He straightened to the cheering crowd, and bowed. “Let’s give another hand for this newcomer here! Lady Violet!”

Sela took another bow. She was exhilarated, breathing heavy. Bluelight was a terror, even sauced. Sela was not sure she wanted to face the dwarf outside the ring without the girls by her side.

For herself, Bluelight laughed and cheered with the rest of them. She waved to the victor as she stumbled back to her resting place. A tankard was waiting for her, courtesy of Regni and deducted from his profit margin, much to his chagrin.

Sela looked around, and nodded. A good crowd, and a good place to be. She could have fun here.

“Got enough in you for one more?”

Sela turned. An ogre vaulted over the bar with ease. He was dressed in velvet, and looked Sela over with appreciation.

“I, I…” Regni stammered. “I didn’t know you were in town, Bill.”

“Just got back,” Bill said. He looked at Sela. “How about one more go?”

He pulled two wooden swords out from behind his back.

“But how about this time, you don’t hold back?”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder