The Democracy of Dragons (Day 4402)
Getting everyone together for the actual coup d’etat took a week and a half. Chevethna had to personally go and bite Vuuthon’s tail and drag him back to Esbaril. (Esbaril, chosen at random out of a list of sixty islands first thing in the morning. Chosen at random, because Chevethna didn’t want me to set up a twistor cannon array in advance like last time. Ythac and Boruu searched with their best finding-spells to prevent such tricks, anyways.)
Ythac made a good account of himself against Arthane. He lost, of course, but only ten touches to twelve. I didn’t see too much of that fight; I was mostly busy restraining Llredh.
Then I got to fight Chevethna. We fought frequently as children, and she usually won. Then she got big, and I didn’t much, and we went off for separate mating flights where she got lots of practice and I didn’t much.
She started out with a flurry of claws and fangs, getting five solid hits on me in a hurry. I only got one: a twistor breath that shredded her left forewing. I don’t think she knew I had picked up twistor breath. She yelped from that, and lost some altitude. Not that she was in much danger of falling into the sea; we were quite high up.
So I put on the Melismatic Tempest, and flew up higher, and started sleeting breaths down upon her. She fixed her wing enough to fly, but not very fast. I climbed more, and threw flames at her (which she dodged), and ice (which stung her flank), and lightning (which she parried), and twistor beams (which she dodged), and …
And I had plenty of space to retreat. There was nothing but open sky at my back, up to Floret far far far above me. I had plenty of time to retreat. Spells aren’t generally much use in duels, anything aggressive will simply shatter on your opponent’s vô, and anything defensive will too when you close with each other, but the Melismatic Tempest was on me not her, and I was out of vô-reach. So she couldn’t do anything about it.
And she could breathe at me. But all she breathes is fire, which isn’t very fast. Back in Port-of-Zom, my friends had trouble breathing fire on airplanes, and airplanes are sky-turtles compared to the Melismatic Tempest.
Which made for perhaps the longest duel I’ve ever been in. And the least impressive one. I spent most of it trying to stay out of her way. I must have breathed two or three gross of times to get eleven touches, since she grew very canny about dodging towards the end.
And at the end, I did feel obliged to close with her for the last touch. Anything else would have been too cowardly for someone who somehow thought she had a chance of being a queen. Of course, Chevethna is a much better fighter than I am, so getting my one touch cost me another five.
And then we flew down to Esbaril and all our peers. Chevethna seemed just a touch miffed. “You really didn’t need to do that, Jyothky. You’re just making it inconvenient for everyone else.”
“You still get a world to rule either way. I just get a bit more honor for winning one fight. Besides, you don’t want to look like you snatched Hove from a totally incompetent lizard, do you? An even contest is good for you too.”
“You did not look precisely competent in that fight, Jyothky. Simply victorious.”