After a few hits, she and Reem swapped places. She parried one of Daudi’s blows, moving Reem with her back in order for the both of them to knock the two assailants into each other. Reem pushed back into Azzah’s arm with force, force Azzah used to knock the butt end of her spear into Daudi’s stomach. He hit the ground on his back. Lulu knew when to back off from Reem’s lunge, placing the end of her spear down into the dirt. “Got us again! Daudi?”
He wheezed out a breath, but pushed himself upright. “Got us again,” he agreed. Azzah held out her hand and helped him to his feet. “One day we’ll get you.”
Azzah snorted. “I doubt that. You both have a long way to go.”
Reem laughed. “But better. Nice attempt. I think you were close to striking Azzah once, if I hadn’t been there.”
Lulu smirked, shaking her head as her dark hair rattled against her face. Much like Azzah and Reem, Lulu and Daudi shared many characteristics as spear-siblings. The most obvious was their hair, dreaded with beads. Daudi’s beads were smaller, he must have decided to follow Lulu’s lead. Azzah found it typical. “We must continue to work on our cooperation, Daudi. That is our fatal flaw, I believe. We have yet to figure out how to work together in a way that could possibly make a dent on them.”
It didn’t mean Azzah didn’t have any interest in what happened outside Hirka and the Emperor’s lands. The Lel’ul was the kind of person who could make her interested in something she didn’t quite understand. Always pleasant, he ran Hirka with the promise of how he would run the entire land when the Emperor passed. Everyone knew, and waited, for something better than they had even now.
“Do you think he’ll come here first, or stay in Hirka for administration?”
Reem shrugged again. “It’s hard to tell.” She moved her hand to her spear once more.
It wasn’t quite time, not yet, but Azzah knew why Reem put her hand on her spear. Ambushing wouldn’t work if they always knew what time it began. Azzah shifted her stance, keeping the wall at her side and Reem at her back. The sound came from the the brush leading down to Hirka. Azzah decided to practice the lunge Reem had made her perfect only minutes before. In one smooth motion, she brought her spear forward. It blocked Lulu’s spear before it reached her side. She jumped to the side, giving herself room to swing at Lulu’s legs.
It was always Lulu. Daudi always went for Reem and Lulu always came for her. Azzah wasn’t sure why the other two warriors had decided that, but she didn’t mind. To her, Lulu felt like the more practiced of the two. Azzah enjoyed clashing against her more than she did against Daudi.
Forgetting the difficulty of moving forward
is impossible. But far be it that I consider
giving up part of my repertoire, when the rest of the world
has enough ire to hold against me. I refuse
to be one more person to give myself a hard time.
In one moment, the atmosphere changed.
He reacted without a second thought. The insult had run his anger past the point of thought. Rational thought dissipated as the muscles in hands made them clench. A moment later he straightened his fingers, pressing his palms down on the table. The part of his mind which wanted to attack was, perhaps, all of his mind. Which was why pressing probably wasn’t the right word for what he did. From the sound he made, slammed made much more sense.
Before he could stand up, before he could swing, she attacked. Instead, his hands rose in front of him to catch her by the shoulders. Her teeth grazed his neck, unable to make a proper mark there.
She was feisty, her fingers at his chest, long nails reddening the skin under his shirt.
He raised up and hand and clocked her in the forehead. She reeled back and fell to the ground. He took a breath.
“Someone might think I wronged you.”
She mumbled something that might have been screw you. He kicked her in the stomach. Yep, someone was going to throw a fit about this. As if she didn’t insult him first, as if she didn’t attack him first.
Damned double standards.