Standoff Ends

The door exploded outward, cracking into wooden shrapnel that scattered across the concrete floor of the parking garage. Lee leaped through the jagged hole his fist had created. A moment later the remains of the door blew free from the frame and Tsun stepped over the threshold, his robes billowing in the waves of energy that flowed from somewhere sacred inside him. He glowed from within, his dusky skin suffused by an ombre light, his eyes filled white with arcane power.

Lee raised his fists, then opened them, palms up. He adjusted his stance to distribute his weight into an even balance and retreated to match Tsun’s advance, shuffling backward while taking care not to let his legs cross. Tsun grinned, and his teeth gleamed with supernatural fire.

“Give it up, son of Ling,” Tsun called in a voice that came from within Lee’s mind. It bounced around the hollow cavern of his skull like a shout inside a cave, and Lee redoubled his efforts to focus his breath. “You cannot win. You are too weak, too inexperienced. All flash,” Tsun stomped one leg forward, assuming a fighting pose, “and no substance.” Lee saw cracks radiating away from where the other man’s foot had impacted the concrete. He looked for a break in Tsun’s guard and, seeing none, waited with trembling patience.

The two men stood like that for a long time. The sensation of power radiating from Tsun did not diminish at all, in fact it seemed to Lee like the man was gathering more. The gloom visible outside the garage was brightening as the sun began to rise, empurpling the black night to herald the coming dawn.

And still they waited, and the longer the delay the more Lee’s confidence grew. Why does he not attack? he thought. If he feels himself the superior, he should crush me and be done with it. Yet here he stands, calm and collected but unmoving. Lee took an experimental step to the side, a soft shuffle that he effected by pivoting both toes to the right and then realigning his heels. A movement of barely an inch that Tsun followed only with his strange glowing eyes. There. The merest sliver of an opening in the other man’s flank had appeared. Lee wondered if he could close the distance in time enough to take advantage of it. The was only one way to find out.

Lee lunged with the speed of a viper strike, turning his lead palm vertical, his arm thrust forward like a spear. Did Tsun’s eyes widen? Was that a look of surprise, or amusement? The gap between the two fighters closed, and Lee focused all his fighting essense into his outstretched fingertips, seeking for that narrow gap in Tsun’s guard. It seemed to widen as he drew nearer, and Lee abandoned any pretense of his own defense, pushing everything he had into his piercing blow.

Tsun smiled. The sun had risen.

2015.02.10 – 2023.09.07

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