CHAPTER 9 - Of a Thrilling Duel

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"Lady Una looks almost like a man," Rosa said with an astonished expression.

"It's just because she is taller than most women," I responded and took a huge bite of my creamy fruitcake pastry that was wrapped up in a small handkerchief. One would find all kinds of cakes and confectionaries in Aquaskee, as I had concluded. They sold cold and spongy cakes, colorful creamy waffles, warm sweetened tarts, all decorated with sliced fruits or crystalized sugar. I knew I had put on weight already.

The Defensor of the House of Virgo, Lady Una, was sturdy-built with prominent jawline and doe-shaped eyes, looking quite young despite the intense warrior-training she had clearly undergone. She commanded an Earth Dragon, and as the rumor had it, Earth Dragons were the largest dragons of all. If she won this match, the dragon would get a ticket to the Round Two, and I was kind of fascinated by the chance of getting to know more aspects of the Autumn Realm. To be precise, I had mixed feelings about the duel that was about to come. As it was against Prince Nova.

Serena said munching loudly which I detested wholly, "Also you are tall, Eleni, and you look like a fine woman. But she... she looks like she could drive a sword through Prince Nova's brand-new dragon next week, and live to tell the tale."

"Serena," I slapped her hand, "don't speak in such an unholy manner about a dragon."

"What? Eleni, are you sure you will be able to sit through the Duel of Creatures if you are that faint-hearted?" Serena said and slapped me back. Rosa simply giggled at us.

I grunted at her and continued with my fruitcake.

The two combatants were standing in the center of the ring. Lady Una was in her military attire, a dazzling deep green armor, that looked almost black. Her shoulder-length dark black hair, let loose. Eyes focused on her opponent; she looked every bit terrifying. The prince wore his House color as well, under the shining grey armor. The white coat made him standout as he looked every bit like an emperor of Wind. His hair flew with the wintery breeze and his eyes glowed under the pinkish haze of the approaching sunset. I had to pull my gaze away from him, to look at the herald who was announcing the start.

The first gong went and they both moved ten steps back. With the second gong, they got into their stances and as the third gong went, Lady Una raised her hands and pirouetted, right in the middle of the ring. The mud flew from the soil below her feet and a brown blur formed around her and to everyone's surprise she had turned herself into hard rock. Her skin was spiked with stones allover, of various sizes and shapes and she looked like one huge boulder. I was in awe rather; the whole crowd was. Undoubtedly, she had come prepared.

Prince Nova looked shocked for a moment but he gained his stature and released a powerful tornado that looked like it could swallow the mount Nixus whole. It was black and heighted as tall as the uppermost row of the amphitheatre. The female Defensor stood to her ground and was only slightly fazed as the force of it hit her. The tornado vanished as it passed through her. I could swear I saw her smirk.

She then stretched her hands in front of her, palms faced upward; and out came a huge shower of pointed stones, along with fine sand and wet mud, from the ground around Prince Nova. A circle had formed around him and the projectile of soil rose up from it in full force. It fell down, converged on him, looking like the most powerful sprinkler ever.

There was a sliver of cut on his right arm and shoulder and maybe even on his forehead, but he managed to create a dome of air around him just in time. Blood oozing from his wounds, he looked vulnerable all of a sudden. Lady Una's face was convulsed in utter focus, but it was getting hard as the prince was retaliating with all his might. And suddenly-

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