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The Aeolian Master - Book One - Revival


Over the years Ben had heard some great psychological ploys, but this ranked among the best. Doog was
obviously trying to get an edge by making Ben overconfident, by making him think Doog was not nearly as
skilled as Ben. Oftentimes swordsmen would talk to their opponents during a match, trying to psych them out,
but this was the first time he had experienced it before the match was about to start.
Ben replied in a calm manner. "I accept your apology and your compliment, but I'm sure it wouldn't be luck.
I've been told your sword play is very good." He paused, and then said, "Nevertheless, I'll do my best to live up
to your expectations."
Doog bowed his head and walked back to his side of the platform. He picked up his sword and waited for
the match to begin.
The buzzer sounded.
Ben walked to the center of the platform and crossed his sword with Doog’s above their heads. He was
ready.
The buzzer stopped and Ben jumped back. But instead of following the normal swording attacks he decided
to resort to a trick. It wasn't an unusual or rarely seen trick, but it was used by only those adept with either
hand. If it didn't work, the swordsman would merely continue swording with the other hand.
Against another Grand-Master Swordsman the trick would have been useless, but Doog was nervous and
was quickly reacting to Ben's moves—too quickly. Ben feinted twice, moved his body to the left, and started
his right hand, with the sword in it, to the right. This maneuver would leave Ben exposed for a fraction of a
second. His right hand continued to the right, but the sword was no longer in it. It was suspended in mid air.
Doog continued to follow Ben's right hand with his own sword, and by the time he realized what was
happening, it was too late.
Ben plucked his sword out of the air with his left hand and thrust the balled point against Doog's chest.
The kill buzzer sounded and the match was over.
It was the shortest match in Tarmorian recorded history lasting only fourteen seconds, and it tied the all time
Galactic record. Previously the shortest match in Tarmorian swording had been twenty-three seconds—a record
which was set when a Galactic Grand Master sworded in the third round against a novice who had made it that
far because the swordsmen in his two scheduled bouts had unexpectedly withdrawn.
Today’s new record would probably never be broken.
Most of the crowd was not happy since they had not bet on the first fifteen-second window. On the other
hand, even though they had lost money, they loved to see new records being set. And now they could say they
were there when it happened.
A great roaring of the crowd and stomping of their feet shook the arena as they showed their appreciation for
the match.
Since Ben was on vacation—almost, and since there was nothing that necessitated his early departure from
bed heaven, he decided to sleep in. It was late when he rose—and he greatly appreciated the rest. He slung his
body suit over his shoulder and stepped into the bathroom—still stretching and yawning.
After finishing his morning quotidian, and still drying his hair, he walked into the main living area.
Lyil was sitting on the form-fitting couch reading a book. She looked up as Ben entered. In a light humored
manner she said, "Late as usual, I see."
“Yeah," said Ben. He had heard too many times how 'the early bird gets the worm.' (Not exactly in those
words, since that was an ancient Earth saying.) And then he thought of a couple of other ancient Earth sayings
and replied, "But I'm just as healthy, wealthy, and wise as the early guys."
Obviously ignoring Ben’s strange, off-world quote, Lyil said, "I have some news." She paused, waiting for
Ben to reply with the customary "What?" But it didn't come.
"Aren't you curious?" she asked.
Ben was busy pushing buttons and deciding which breakfast he wanted. "Yeah, . . . absolutely," he said in a
distant voice."
She waited until he finished fiddling with the buttons. "Mandril called on the viewer this morning. She said
the search was successful. They found a large complex beneath the city of Newusa."
 
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