I heard about this story from Norrie later. While I was casually beating myself up with the demon lawyer's ridiculously hard
skull-cloak-pin-thing, she was up in the stands having quite a time of it herself. Her pale hands clutched at the wooden railing. Her petite body went rigid and her eyes hard.
Startled, Avery glanced at her uneasily. He'd known Norrie long enough to recognize when she and Sitka were talking in their shared mind-space. But rarely did she show actual distress from it.
"I thought you said everything would be okay?" He reminded her gently. She looked up at him with tight, dark blue eyes.
"Yeah," she agreed, then turned back to the arena, "but Sitka is...still not convinced..." Meanwhile my boyfriend had had quite enough of this entire ridiculous situation. Sometimes I wonder if their emotions influence each other. It seems logical enough. Poor Norrie had to listen to him demand to switch bodies and save me from my idiotic self. Well, not exactly in those words I guess. But his nerves must have got to Norrie, because she had to close her hands over her ears and take a few minutes to breath.
Avery gave her a consoling pat on the shoulder. He knew quite well the pain of watching your friends and loved ones walk willingly into danger while you can do nothing to stop them.
Meanwhile back in the pit, the demon lawyer squared off. He was well trained and strong, but I was fast and determined. I have a sneaking suspicion that if he really, really tried, he could have easily killed me.
Instead, he played a mostly defensive roll, countering most of my attacks and avoiding the rest. He'd only attack once in a while, almost as if to spur me on. But that was ridiculous. There can't be any mercy in an Otherworlde tournament,
right? Right. The fight-brain was just making things up.
Still I have to admit it was good practice. I'd sparred against Sitka plenty before the tournament, but it was different going against someone that I knew could and would hurt me if I slipped up. By the end of five minutes, both of us were
fairly gasping for breath. The sand that had been so nice and soft and warm before was slowly turning into a scalding, shifting nightmare. I wouldn't go to the beach for a long time after this...
"It's going to take," the demon lawyer gasped, "...more than that, human." He narrowed his black, black eyes at me. "Don't hold back!"
I could have cried. Hold back? Hold back!?! I was busting my butt and he thought I could do more?! While it was weirdly complimentary that my opponent thought so highly of me, it was very much NOT in my favor. If he thought I wasn't using my full strength, did that mean he wasn't either? The thought sickened me. I wouldn't be able to keep this up forever.
"I already said, I'm not!" I snarled, fear making my voice sharp and curt.
His unimpressed expression showed plainly how much he believed that. Once again a look of impatience crossed his handsome face. After this was over I'd figure out just WHAT he was so antsy to get to. Maybe he had to take his pills or something.
His expression gradually changed into determination. I gulped. Something was coming.
Faster than he'd moved yet, my opponent charged, swinging his scythe. This time he brought the thing up and over his head, as if preparing a downward chop. I was so scared, I thought I heard a 'zzt' noise. He came closer, faster, scythe sliding through the air as if it were a laser.
zzt! zzt! zzt!
The scythe suddenly disappeared in the chaotic blur that had once been my vision. It was replaced with pain. Terrible, excruciating pain.
I imagine this is what it would feel like if someone slowly pulled out every vein in your body, filled them with liquid fire, and then tried to tie you up them. My world turned into a whirlwind of agony, ripping at what had once been flesh and bone. I wanted to cry, to scream, to sob, to do something. But the pain blotted everything out. I couldn't move, couldn't make a sound.
All I could do was endure.
Endure, I told myself in the middle of the maelstrom. Endure. Whatever was happening, I would not let it kill me! But good lord, did it hurt.
Then suddenly, for a brief moment, everything fell away. I felt super vast and open. An undefined cloud stretching across the universe. My consciousness soared over the heights of human and non-human experience. I was everywhere at once. I was nothing.
But just as quickly, substance returned. Everything I had been squished down into a tiny physical vessel. I would have been amazed, if the terrible pain didn't return with it. This pain didn't last nearly as long, thank goodness. I blinked out of my daze and watched stupidly as the scythe in my hands descended earth-ward.
With an almost detached sort of blandness, I noted that this was not my original body...It felt all wrong, heavy and tall and not me. Not my body...
Realization slammed into me with all the subtly of a runaway train. The horrified redhead watching the scythe in my hand fly towards her looked horribly familiar. So much for a "normal" arena!
Abort, abort, how do I stop this thing!? It felt as if the weapon had taken a life of its own and I was simply on for
the ride. The strange new body, which I could only assume had been the demon lawyer's, was most assuredly not human. I couldn't get the limbs to move, couldn't even change direction. It was like he had an entire skeleton over his skin!
Before I knew it the blade bit into the soft sand in front of me. Red with blood. Oops.
As if in slow motion my old body pitched backwards, blood spurting from a wound straight over the chest. A deep wound, from what little I could tell. Ice filled what were probably veins in my new body. A deep wound like that would be
more than enough...
I watched with growing horror and the girl's black eyes clouded over with red. Then they flew open and she screamed like she'd seen the devil himself. I flinched away, realizing that while our souls had switched, it looked like the curse had stayed in my body.
The demon lawyer screeched again then fell silent, wobbled on my legs and landed in the sand with a soft "paff."
I looked on, completely befuddled as to what to do in the situation. I was in my opponent's body, he was in mine, and the curse that I'd come here with the whole purpose to destroy...