Taking the Rapier back from Robin, Cho placed it on a bench. Turning he motioned for Robin to go to a more secluded area. The dogs, ever present, gave Robin a warning growl. Saying goodbye to Jean, Robin was led towards a smaller ring off to the side. There were others training there. With one look from Cho they quickly left. Cho pushed Robin into the ring. It was circled by a small lip. Cho stepped over the rim. The dogs sat just outside the ring. They knew their job well. They were to guard any man that their master trained.
"Remember the pain," Cho began. "Remember how you were able to accept the pain. What you did to block it out." Cho brought his finger up, telling Robin to focus on it.
"When you fight you are to go to that place. When you are there you will become the Greatest Warrior."
"You said that before," Robin said.
"Yes, and that is what I am training to be…a Greatest Warrior. You are half way there already. You have the fighting skills, and you are able to block out the pain of the highest level. Only the Greatest Warriors can do this. They find a place within them. In my country, it is called your Chi. Your people call it your soul. When you fight, you must go there. Once there you will find that nothing else matters, all that matters is the battle. You will be able to concentrate every muscle, every ounce of energy into the fight. You will know it when you are there. For everything will be different, your movements, your thinking…everything! Now lets us begin. Remember to focus!"
Making a stance, Cho threw Robin a threatening look. Hitting himself on the chest, he growled him. "Now come at me!"
"What do you mean?" Robin asked. He really wasn’t sure what Cho wanted.
"I want you to attack me. Come at me. Concentrate on the fight. Focus on the Chi!"
Robin glanced back at the dogs. They casually stared at Robin. They didn’t seem like they were going to attack him. Gazing back at Cho his face was a mask of suspicion.
"You want me to attack you? And the dogs won’t go after me?"
Cho vigorously nodded his head. "The dogs are there to keep thoughts of escape from your mind. Now come after me! Come King Richard. This is your chance to get back at me. For all the pain I put you through."
Robin knew that he had to do it. Cho was ordering him to attack him. If he didn’t follow his orders, he knew he would be punished. After what Cho had put him through, Robin couldn’t imagine what the punishment for disobeying was.
He never heard of a Chi, but he did know what a soul was. He had given it to Marion, from the first day he saw her. She was there for him, when he was sure he was going to die. He would never forget what he pledged that day. He was going to live for her. He had to play Cho’s game for now. Until he was able to find a way out of the monastery, and a way back to Marion and his friends. Sighing heavily, Robin cautiously began to circle Cho. Trying to gauge the mans quickness, trying to fathom his prowess and fighting skill. Cho also circled Robin. He was constantly preaching to him.
"That’s right King Richard, circle me. Don’t press into the attack. You must let the other go first, but concentrate. Focus on nothing but the fight." Cho quickly squatted to the ground and threw his leg out to trip up Robin. Robin reacted quickly and jumped up out of the way. Coming down he was able to graze the leg as Cho pulled it back. Cho laughed in surprise at the quick counter attack.
"Good, good. That was very smart King Richard. You must use your brains as well as your strength if you are to win in the arena. Ox lacks that skill. That is why The Master likes you so much." Cho circled Robin again. Trying to find an opening that he could take advantage of, Robin’s eyes narrowed as he concentrated on watching Cho’s every movement. The Mongolian was a tricky one. He knew that he wouldn’t hesitate using any ways and means to take Robin down.
Robin watched for any small motion, something that would give Cho’s next move away. Cho quickly pulled out a small dagger and threw it at Robin. Robin brought his gauntlet up and blocked the dagger. This counter movement gave Cho time to come into Robin. He grabbed his other arm and pulled it to the center of Robin’s back. Robin tried to twist his arm out of Cho’s grip, but the elder man was to strong. He began to press his fingers in the center of Robin’s back. Robin was ready for it this time. He concentrated on sending the pain away. He used what he had done to block the pain when Marion was there. Recalling what he learned, he was able to keep it away. Robin then reached up and kicked back with his heel. Trying to catch Cho in the leg with the spurs embedded on the heels of his boots. Cho jumped up in time to avoid being caught by the sharp spikes.
This however loosened the grip that he had on Robin. Robin was able to squirm out of Cho’s grip. He twirled around and backhanded him. Cho spun with the blow, making it less effective. As Cho came around he brought his hand out and caught Robin across the stomach. Robin pulled his stomach in, Cho just managed to graze it. Steadying himself, Robin executed a back flip. Cho quickly followed him, waiting for Robin to open-up. As Robin landed he fell to the ground and rolled towards Cho, knocking him down. He then flew up, spinning quickly to face Cho. He saw he was just standing up, he did not try to pursue Robin. He remained where he was. Robin could see him trying to catch his breath. As he panted, someone was shouting at them.
"So, ee ees a fighter too?" Jean was walking towards the small ring. Alan was leading him there. Alan brought Jean to the outside of the ring.
"Alan ‘as described for me the fight. Ee ees good, no?"
Cho let out a quick breath. "Yes, he is very good."
"Well Cho I ‘ope ee ees. Because the Master ‘as big plans for em."
Jean reached out towards Robin. Robin ran up to take his hand. He then whispered to him. "You be careful Mon Ami. There ees much danger being as good as you are." He smiled up at Robin. Bringing his hand up he patted him on the face. "I weel talk to you later, Yes?"
"I would like that," Robin softly answered him back. He felt a connection with this man. It was the first friend he made since he was dragged into this horrible place.
"Your lesson is not over," Cho gasped; he still was unable to catch his breath.
"I think that you may need a lesson too. Eh Cho?" Jean laughed. "Perhaps Alan would like to ‘elp you?" Jean pushed Alan towards the ring.
"Well if you don’t mind Cho. The Master said to tell you to that I’m to help you in your training. After all, you are the best." He smiled innocently at Cho.
"If the Master said so then so be it," Cho humbly said. He actually bowed to Alan. Alan gave Robin a wicked smile.
"It ‘elps being the brother to the Master," Jean explained.
"Very well Alan. If you wish to learn then you must do as I do."
"Okay Cho what do I have to do first?"
"First come in the ring."
Alan quickly entered the ring, Cho then pointed to Robin.
"See if you can take him."
Alan swallowed hard. Crossing his arms, Robin gave Alan a wink. Jean laughed as he started to leave.
"I think I feel sorry for you Al-an."
"Thanks!" Alan humbly said.
As Jean left, Robin kept an eye on the swordmaster as he spared with Alan. It was then that he made a promise, that if he did find a way out of here; he would bring the swordmaster with him.
As Alan and Robin fought in the smaller arena Two sets of eyes were watching them intensely.
Curtis hit Ox on the chest. "He’s good Ox!" he numbly said.
"But not as good as me, right Curtis?" Ox asked. He kept an eye on Robin as he spared with Alan.
"No Ox, he’s better, and unless we do something about it. We won’t win that contest."
"Don't worry Curtis. I can take him!" Ox insisted.
"Maybe so Ox. But I think we have to make sure you have an advantage."
"What are we going to do?" Ox asked. Ox knew he wouldn’t be where he was if it wasn’t for Curtis.
Curtis’s eyes scanned around the arena. The other trainers were concerned about the new man also. They all wore long faces. Their men were being knocked down in the ranks by this King Richard. A plan slowly began to form in Curtis’ mind.
"Don’t worry Ox!" Curtis gently patted Ox on the chest.
"I’ve got a plan." He tapped his head with his forefinger. " First thing I need to do is talk to the other trainers. See if they feel the same way as we do. "
They headed towards one of the other trainers. "Yep, we’ll fix him up good. Then you’ll be back to being number one." Curtis threw his fist into the air. Ox threw his up also.
"I’ll be number one!" Ox chorused.
"That’s right Ox, and we’ll be rich and famous! Just put your trust in old Curtis. I’ve never steered you wrong yet."
As Cho and Alan spared with Robin, Curtis spent the day talking to the other trainers. From his conversations with them, he found out that they were also afraid of the new man. Most of them agreed with Curtis. This new man was a threat to their own fighters. Curtis rubbed his hands in glee as he stared at Robin and Alan. He thought to himself, even if it didn’t work. Maybe he could get rid of Cho? Then the Greatest Warrior would be his. He always made sure that he had every possible move covered. He knew one way or the other, he was going to have the best fighter.
End of Part Nine
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