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You often measure your own life by how close you've come to death...

Part I: The encounter

Damnit...this one's a bit crafty, isn't he?

I went through the forest, following the target at breakneck speed. It was now down to who would crack first. I had trained day after day for the majority of my life, training at the level of a professional soldier. We continued on, the target apparently not showing any sign of cracking. I was tempted to use one of my throwing knives, but at the range the target was from me, I'd most likely miss and then he'd be the one getting the drop on me.

He's a stubborn one...I'll give him that much...

He then moved off to the left, a fast moving shadow now turning directly at me. This I was not anticipating. I rushed forward and brought up my arms. A few seconds later, I feel a ram crash into me and send me to the Earth, the impact nearly winding me.

The target finally revealed his face, that of a hard bitter man, and one that was wanting me to die. He gave me a look and shouted at me, "Show me your face, or I'll kill those that you care about." I get up off of the ground, brushing the snow off of my jacket.

Fine then...that's the game he wants to play...

I throw back the hood of my jacket, revealing my snow white hair. He now wore an expression of surprise and outrage, his ragged voice howling "A CHILD?!?! They sent a CHILD to kill me?!?!" I nod curtly. He then came at me, a knife in hand. I then drew Thanatos, blocking his ham fisted attacks with ease. I then sheathed my blade, hitting him with a flurry of blows, his body shaking like a target dummy. I then stood back, waiting for him to drop like a stone, but amazingly, he was still on his feet.

This was clearly going to be a hard fight.

Continued in Part 2... 

Part II: Duel in the Snow

My face hid it, but I was in shock. This guy should've been down on his knees, screaming in pain. Instead, he was on his feet, ready to attack me one again. I came at him once again, trying to bring him down with a different pattern of hits, the results being the same.

Why isn't he going down...

He noticed my look of confusion, and thumped his hands on where I struck, hearing a pounding like a child's drum. I narrowed my eyes, my mind coming to recognition of what that sound meant.

Body armor...he's wearing body armor... So THAT'S why my strikes didn't work...

I then came in with my sword, the man bringing up his to block in time. The blades rang out, the clanging echoing off of the nearby trees. I kept moving, my speed being countered by his sheer size advantage that he had on me. A couple of minutes later, I let out a curse as my blade was sent out of my hands and impaled the ground. I brought up my arm guards as he came in for another blow, my arms giving under the sheer force of the strike. I pushed his blade off my arms and he came at me in an instant, my head barely moving in time. I felt the blade bite, crimson now coloring the snow. I looked around, half of my vision colored a deep red. 

I brought my hand to my face, and it came out bloody when I took it off. Now I was mad: cold, clear, icy mad. I ran to get to my blade, only to be cut off, a ripping sound coming from where my back was. I landed like an axed tree, standing up even though my nerves were screaming in agony. The man grinned at me, clearly intending to finish me off.

You've had your shot...now it's MY turn...

Continued in Part 3...

Part III: Blood on the Snow

I got up on my feet, reaching into my holsters an pulling out my pistols. The man laughed at me, "Haven't you learned yet, child, as long as I have this armor on, you can't land a blow on my body!" I gave him a wicked smile, opening fire with the pistols. The man's eyes widened at the sheer volume of fire that was coming from the pistols, his body shuddering as the armor took hit after hit after hit. I then reached into my pouch, feeling for a frag grenade.

Got it...!

I then pulled out a grenade and primed it, throwing it at him as I kept up the attack with one of my pistols. His eyes wided as the grenade went off nea him with an exlposion that shook snow off the tree branches and sent him flying back and hitting a tree. I watched and waited, my body still in imminse pain. He then got up slowly, as if he had one too many drinks before the fight. He was disoriented, and that was just the opening I needed. I ran, grabbing my blade from the snow and coming at him with what speed I could muster.

He brought up his blade as I came in, and I felt my blade bite a few seconds later; a scream followed soon afterward. I looked at him and he smiled. I then felt the surge of pain a moment later, my hand coming to my chest. I pulled it off, my hand covered in blood. The man had managed to land a couple more strikes on my chest, and my nerves were on fire. I backed off, the man looking at me with disdain, remarking "Now, my dear child...time to finish this."

I gave him a smile, "I couldn't agree more." He then came at me full speed, and I lowered my body. He sent his blade downward, and I dodged at the last second, my hand popping open the hidden blade in my right arm as I jumped onto him and rammed it into his unarmored left side. I gave him a wicked smile, sending a jet of Black Nexus through the wound and into his body.

His eyes registered who I was a few seconds before he let  loose a howling scream as the insides of his body were incinerated; his body was shaking as the energy consumed him, jets of black fire coming out of his eyes before I took out my blade and let his lifeless body fall to the snow.

I grabbed my sword and sheathed it, my body shaking with pain as I headed to the nearest village. I managed to make it a few steps past the village gate before I fell to the ground in shock.

I did it...I won...

Continued in Part 4...

Part  IV: The Price of Victory

Is this what it's like to be dead...?

I blinked slowly, and I heard a shuffling of feet and what sounded like a collective sigh of relief. I was still slightly out of it, but I could make out a few voices: "...he's finally awake...", "Thank goodness...he should be dead...". I got up, muttering "I'm in pain...but I'm not deaf." One of the people came over and said, "Boy, you're lucky to even be alive, let alone talking. Be grateful." I nod, sitting up despite the pang of pain that was there. One of them beckoned me to sit down, but I had no intention of doing so.

I got up and looked around for my gear. As I got up, I went to a cracked mirror and noticed the bandages that crossed my body and over my eye. A few minutes later I was dressed in my gear, the rips having been repaired. I gave a nod of thanks and headed off towards where my camp was. I went slower than I usually did, grateful to even be alive.

I may have won...but it nearly cost me...

I sighed and continued on my walk back to camp. The sound of a raven brought my attention, but it left as fast as it came. I smiled wistfully as I trekked on, the sounds of the woods around me a far cry from yesterday. I got to my camp a few hours later, and flopped onto the makeshift bed, falling into a dreamless sleep. I smiled, thankful that my victory didn't cost me my life.

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