Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. I wanted to reread through Book Three before I posted it, and I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had a chance until recently. This draft of chapter 11 in Dragon’s Fall is now ready for review. Read it and let me know what you think. Any feedback you have is greatly appreciated. I need to know if the chapter is solid or if it needs something more. You may also point out any grammar or other errors.
The arena resounded with cheers, sending an energizing vibration through Emperor Kenji Mizuki’s body. He clasped his hands behind his back to keep the contagious spirit from spoiling his stately mien.
The crowd of warriors in the stands showed no such restraint. Some stood and pumped their fists while shouting. Others sat on the edge of their seats and called out words of encouragement as the two teams below fought a mock battle.
Terkeshi tossed two flash bombs while his team opened fire. Mizuki almost smiled at the smart move. Not a single shot landed, but that wasn’t the point. Terkeshi directed two of his man to flank the left and another two to the right. While the cover fire spewed forth, the four flankers dodged, ducked, and rolled to the next cover.
You’ve got him, boy. Keep it up.
Mizuki’s chest lightened as General Samuru’s team defended themselves with wild desperation. Would his son finally defeat the seasoned warrior? Maybe he had it in him after all.
Senshi Yujio on Samuru’s team exposed his cybernetic arm from behind the blockade and fired. His aim appeared off, but somehow the shots found their marks. The vests of Terkeshi’s two right flankers flashed red, indicating they’d been struck.
The spectators erupted with a mixture of cheers and jeers. Mizuki’s jaw hardened. The idiot boy had made a good move, but he hadn’t accounted for the opposition’s cybernetics.
Those metal arms not only had the ability to fire phaser energy, but their targeting systems were also better than even the best Toradon rifles. Somehow, the energy could change course midstream. Something about how it was drawn to its target like metal to a magnet. The science of it made his head hurt.
Use your own enhanced senshi, boy.
But Terkeshi didn’t. His attempt to surround his opponent came to naught and he had to pull back. The airiness Mizuki had experienced earlier thickened like smog.
Damn it, boy. Why aren’t you using your assets?
Nezumi grunted with a disdainful tone. “This doesn’t look good, Sire.”
Mizuki pressed his lips together. Normally, such blatant attitudes about his progeny triggered defensiveness, but the man was right. The boy was an embarrassment.
“Is it possible Corporal Jeruko has been too soft on him?” Nezumi continued.
Mizuki didn’t reply. A year ago, he’d been impressed with the training his friend had provided to his two youngest sons. Jori’s potential alone had promised an unsurpassed Dragon Warrior.
What had happened? Jeruko’s sentiment had ruined them, that’s what. Despite the man’s ability to maintain an even temperament even through the most trying times, he’d retained a tendency for leniency and compassion that exposed his weakness.
Mizuki had thought he’d cured him of that sentiment long ago. Apparently, the man had kept it hidden from him and passed it on to Jori and Terkeshi.
Nezumi wasn’t deterred by Mizuki’s silence on the subject. “I’d be happy to take over his training, Sire.”
As Terkeshi struggled to regain control of the battle, Mizuki considered Nezumi’s offer. The old general had trained Dokuri, after all. Mizuki’s elder son had died in battle about a year or so ago—a battle he’d still won despite his demise. Terkeshi couldn’t even win a mock battle.
The boy signaled to his squad. The men replied by hurling several hovering dorbs and other auto-fire weapons at the enemy. Terkeshi followed by pitching a Lazarus shield. With this duo shield, one could absorb enemy fire while the other regenerated in a repeating cycle.
It was a desperate move to regain the field, but General Samuru’s men destroyed the auto-fire weapons before Terkeshi had a chance to advance. The boy fought on with determination, but it wasn’t enough. Samuru’s cyborgs somehow took out the Lazarus shield and Samuru himself ended the battle with a shot that made Terkeshi’s sim-gear flash. The boy’s face turned just as red as his vest.
Mizuki maintained his composure, though his insides toiled. Terkeshi was a great disappointment. His defeat had been quicker than the other two teams combined. He was not Jori, that was certain. Jori would have found a way to defeat Samuru, even he’d lost all his team members.
The cheers of Samuru’s success echoed in the arena, creating a spiritous noise that should have been for a Mizukian heir.
Samuru marched to Mizuki and bowed at the shallow angle appropriate for his rank.
Mizuki dipped his head. “Well done.”
Samuru went into a stiff at-ease stance. “Thank you, Your Eminence.”
“Terkeshi,” Mizuki called.
Terkeshi bowed and stood at attention. “Yes, Sir?”
Mizuki let his displeasure show. “I expected better.”
Terkeshi darkened. His jaw twitched as though he wanted to say something, but he wisely held his tongue.
“As per the bet,” Mizuki said, “you will take over Samuru’s duties for the next five days.”
“And when you are off duty, you will use ALL your free time in training with General Nezumi.”
Terkeshi’s eyes darted to the older man. His lips twisted. “Yes, Sir,” he replied through his teeth.
Mizuki addressed the spectators. “The astounding display of these cybernetics has given me hope. A new day dawns on the Toradon Nohibito. No more will we sulk in the darkness of space. A reckoning is coming and soon all will bow to our will.”
The grand dojo reverberated with the roar of warriors. Pride swelled in Mizuki’s chest.
A beep in his comm interrupted his moment. The distinct sound indicated its importance but not urgency. He waited for the cheers to die down, then dismissed the men. The warriors filed out in quick order. Mizuki considered dismissing Terkeshi as well, but the boy was still his son.
He tapped the comm taped behind his ear. “Go ahead,” he said.
“Your Eminence,” the man said. “We’ve received word that one of the cargo ships you’ve flagged has taken port at the Kortsu station.”
Mizuki tightened his fists and glowered at Terkeshi. “You have one more chance, boy.”
Terkeshi paled. Mizuki lifted his chin. Good, he should be afraid. I won’t have a failure as a son.