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  Tucker was sitting by himself and thinking about how he had just won his previous fight. He didn’t think he had ever felt this happy before. The only other time he had felt truly happy was when Jessica kissed him passionately for the first time. He didn’t think he would ever be that happy again and he really hoped that one day he would be able to kiss her like that again. For now it seemed like a million miles away but he felt that it was more likely to happen now than it did a few days earlier.

  He was so lost in his own world that Tucker didn’t notice Sir Ty walking towards him. It was hard to miss the young knight in his highly decorative armour that was worth more than some castles. Not only was it nice to look at but it was incredibly strong. Enough for him to withstand almost any attack.

  “So you’re him are you?” asked Sir Ty as he reached Tucker. It didn’t seem like he was here to harm him. This would not happen until their match.

  “W-What?” replied Tucker with some confusion. He snapped back to reality and saw Sir Ty standing there. He wasn’t sure whether to remain seated or stand up in respect for this high born knight.

  “You’re Tucker Martel aren’t you?”

  “Yeah I am.” He was surprised that Sir Ty knew his name. He was somewhat honoured by this. It was rare that someone knew his name without him having to tell them. The fact that he was a high born only added to Tucker’s surprise.

  “Then you’re the one that I’m going to beat in the next round. I just want to run a few things with you. For the first couple of minutes I’ll take it easy for you and hell I might even let you get in a few good shots. You know a little something to get the crowd involved.” Tucker could see where this was going but he decided to listen him out first before truly reacting. “But then after that I’ll turn on the heat and you’ll fall. Just take a little dive but make it look good.”

  “Are you telling me to throw the match?” Tucker was disgusted by this thought and would have said some very choice words if not for Sir Ty’s birth rank.

  “If you want to get out of this unscathed.” He drew out his sword a little so that Tucker could see it. “These things might be blunted but I’m more than capable of inflicting serious damage.” There was a hint of anger in his voice as he could see that Tucker was going to be a problem. “I can still cripple you. You won’t ever be able to walk again and you will be left to slowly die.”

  “I can’t believe you’re saying this to me.” He was on the verge of striking Sir Ty for even suggesting such a thing but he knew that it would cause too much trouble and most likely would lead him to be disqualified.

  “It is not all bad for you. If you take a dive I will make sure that you’re paid well. That is of course if you put on a good show, make it look too obvious and you won’t get anything. So what do you say? Are you smart enough to take the dive or are you going to be stupid and throw your life away?”

  Tucker couldn’t help but think about the options. The money from winning the tournament would be comfortable for the rest of the quest but more than he needed. If he took the dive he would get enough money for him and Jessica to be able to eat at inns and even sleep there comfortably. The only thing that it would truly cost him would be his honour, he would see the disappointment in Jessica’s face if he were to fall and that was something that he never wanted to see. Even if he would get money out of it he still wouldn’t feel right and he knew that Sir Thomas wouldn’t approve.

  “I’m sorry I can’t do that,” answered Tucker. He thought that it would be best for him to stand his ground. “If I took a dive then I can’t really call myself a man now can I?” There was a cheeky smile on his face as he decided to continue on. “And it’ll be like cheating you out of an honest victory.

  Sir Ty’s face instantly changed. He became much angrier and for a moment Tucker thought that the young knight was going to strike him. Sir Ty couldn’t believe that Tucker was turning down his offer, it was one of the few times that this had happened and every time he made sure the one refusing would regret it.

  “You dare turn down my offer,” said Sir Ty with a lot of anger in his voice. “Much finer knights than you have known better than to incur my wrath! You my lowborn friend will live to regret this.” With that he walked away from Tucker and already he was thinking of the best way of harming Tucker in the match. He didn’t think such a lowborn fighter like him would pose any kind of threat.

  Tucker had no idea what Sir Ty had done to those who defied him in the past. What Sir Ty had said was not merely an empty threat but something he was willing to go through if he thought that he had to. He had not lost a one on one combat situation since he was training and he saw himself as the greatest knight in Angleland. He knew that one day he would inherit Indigon and under his lordship it would become the most well respected seat in the land.

  In the stands Jessica was still sitting there and watched the next opening round matches. She was impressed by some of the skills that she saw but she thought that Tucker would be able to give them a good run for their money. She had seen that a few people had noticed her when she had stood up. A couple of them had gotten her autograph earlier that morning but she didn’t concentrate on them. She was more concerned about Tucker, she had been overjoyed to see him win but this was only the first. He had three more to go and she knew that each of them would be more difficult than the last.

  By the end of the opening round the crowd were allowed to leave so that they could get some refreshments. This was where many of the locals would make their money, many of them opened their own little stores just outside of the field of play. Most of them sold food and drinks while others sold various other wares that they would think the spectators and travellers would need. These included blankets to keep them warm and other items of use. Jessica was no different from the others as she went looked around the stores. Most of the spectators were at the various food stands while she looked more at the other stores. She was surprised with some of the things that were on sale. There was even a store that was selling small animals for various uses.

  One store in particular caught Jessica’s eye. This store had various bottles that were not intended to be drunk for refreshment. The bottles came in all different shapes and sizes and the liquids that they held various coloured liquids. One particularly shaped bottle reminded her of the one that her parents had showed her some years earlier. It was the bottle that contained the potion that had saved her life as a new born babe and had led to her ongoing gigantism. Her parents had kept the bottle and placed it on a shelf inside their home, it was a constant reminder to them of how the contents of the bottle had saved their daughter. It was the greatest gift that they had ever been given.

  Jessica already knew that the contents of the bottle were not the same as the potion that had saved her. It just happened to be the same shaped bottle and it had drawn her eye. She looked at the bottle for a few moments and she didn’t notice the man running the store. He was an old man with a long grey beard and a thin build. He wore old clothing that looked like he had worn every day for the last decade. At that point Jessica was leaning down and he couldn’t tell her height. Instead he looked at her for a few moments and then cleared his throat. This caused her to turn and look at him. She stood to her full height and he was surprised by her height but he didn’t show it.

  “Can I help you?” asked the store keeper. Other people were walking past his kiosks but none looked at them. They were going to various other kiosks for food that people were visiting and they were mainly ignoring this store.

  “Oh I’m sorry,” replied Jessica. She had been caught by surprise there was the hint of fear in her voice. “I was just looking around.”

  “Maybe there is something I could interest you in.” Quickly he picked up a bottle a small glass bottle which contained a blue liquid. “Having difficulties with fertility? Well take a good sip of this and you’ll be pregnant in no time. Well of course you need a man to help you with that and I must warn you that there is a strong chance of having quintuplets.” She could see that this man was quite eccentric.

  “No I should be fine for that.” Although in the future she did want a large family right now it was not what she wanted.

  “If it is your partner’s problem then I have just the thing.” He quickly put the bottle back and took out another one from a shelf. This one had a more clear appearance than the previous one. “This little baby will make any man’s cock rock solid and ready for business. Believe me from personal experience it works.”

  “What, no.” She folded her arms and she was a little annoyed. She couldn’t help but see the old man’s actions as being humorous.

  “Then is there anything in particular that you’re looking for.” He placed the bottle back to where he had found it. He took a few steps towards Jessica and looked up at her. “Over my years I have helped many different people with their problems with my potions. There must be something that you want.”

  “Well there is one thing.” She gave a little sigh and began to think for a few moments. “I would like to be shorter.” This was her inner most dream, for all her life she had been the giant in a world which was simply too small for her. Although she was much smaller than she once was she still felt that eight feet was too tall. She wanted to be able to blend into a crowd and not have people staring at her wherever she went.

  “I see and I admit that you’re a very tall girl but many people would kill to have your height.”

  “My height is a curse.” There was pain in her voice but it wasn’t physical pain that she felt but instead mental. “All my life my size has made me an outcast, even in my home village. I just want to be normal like everyone else, to be able to walk through doors without having to duck or go into a building without worrying about the ceiling.”

  “So you wish to be a more average height but there is one question that I must ask you one thing. Do you truly want to be smaller?” He was looking into Jessica’s eyes and she felt a little something odd.

  “Yes I do more than anything in the world.” There was sternness in her voice to show that she meant what she said.

  “Now I don’t believe that to be true.” As he looked into her eyes it was as if he was looking into her very soul. “There are things in life that you would prefer to have. If you lost your height I know that you’ll be happy at first but eventually you will hate it.”

  “How can you know that? You know nothing about me.” There was much anger in her voice as she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. She knew that what the man was saying was probably true but she was in some denial.

  “I know enough about how the mind works. We convince ourselves that there is something that we want and if we got it the rest of our lives would be nothing but happiness. That however is not true because when we get what we want we either have an empty feeling or try to achieve something else. You may consider your height to be a curse but I assure you that more than once you have depended on it to get yourself out of a tough situation.” His words were ringing true with every syllable that passed through his lips. “If you threw your height away because you thought it was what you wanted there is no doubt that you will regret it.”

  For a few moments Jessica was completely speechless. She knew that the old man was right, although she felt that her height was a curse but her gigantism had come in handy many times. She was sure that Tucker would have most likely been killed if she hadn’t of been there to help. Not everyone had treated her like a freak due to her height, some had even admired it.

  “I-I don’t know what to say,” said Jessica. She was completely speechless, too much of what he said rung home and she had nothing left to say.

   “There is nothing that you need to say. I can already sense that your extra height is not natural but yet without it you will cease to be.” He paused for a moment as he held onto Jessica’s large hand. She felt that his hands were surprisingly cold, almost icy cold. “The gods have a plan for everyone one of us. You might not entirely enjoy your height right now but I assure you that one day you will see that what you have is no curse but rather a wonderful gift.” He smiled up at Jessica and she was surprised to see that he still had all of his teeth and that they were perfectly white and straight. “Now I suggest you get going, your friend will be fighting soon and I don’t think you’ll wanna miss it.”

  Jessica gave the old man a nod and thanked him for his advice before making her way back to the field of play. She was greatly surprised with how much the old man seemed to know her. It had been the first time that they had ever met and she was pretty sure that the stories floating around about her didn’t go through the details that he had just said to her. She wanted to go back and find out exactly what how he had known but she was afraid that if she did she would miss Tucker’s match. She knew that he would be looking out for him and if she wasn’t there it would dishearten him.

  Carefully Jessica made her way back to her seat and she saw that almost everyone had gotten back to their seats. She had to sit down quickly before the matches started up again just so that she wasn’t in the way of people who were trying to watch. She just had to sit down on her seat and make sure that her knees weren’t digging into the back of the person in front of her.

  No sooner had Jessica sat down she heard the announcement from the officials that the quarter finals were about to start. The first match was between Sir Gareth Oxland and Sir Ryan Season and she watched as both men entered the field of play. Jessica had watched them both in the opening round and she admitted that they were great fighters. She also knew that the winner of this match would face off against Tucker if he was able to win his next match against Sir Ty.

  There was a loud roar from the crowd as the match began and the two knights locked swords in what looked to be a great match. Both knights had similar styles of combat and each blow was being parried by their opponent. It only added to the excitement from the crowd as they didn’t know who was going to make it to the semi-finals. Both of them seemed to be worthy competitors but only one of them could progress.

  The match lasted several minutes as neither knight could land a significant blow onto the other. This all changed when Sir Gareth found an opening which Sir Ryan was too slow to defend. This resulted in Sir Gareth landing a decisive blow which led to the match being stopped and Sir Gareth declared the winner.

  The crowd roared as the match came to an end and they saw that Sir Gareth was more than a deserving winner. Everyone was cheering except for Jessica who knew that Tucker’s match was up next. She knew that he was more capable than he was before they left Morgan but there was no doubt that these competitors were some of the best swordsman in Angleland. Only time could tell whether he was worthy or not.

  Tucker was standing just out of view from the crowd and he was thinking about Sir Ty’s words. He didn’t know exactly how someone could cripple another with one of these blunt swords. He just told himself that he was more than capable of looking after himself and that Sir Ty would be the one who would lose the game.

  Eventually Tucker heard his name called and he stepped out onto the field of play. This time there was some cheering for him from the crowd and he couldn’t help but feel a little happier about this. It showed that the crowd were beginning to like him and he could see Jessica within the crowd. Just knowing that she was there was a confidence booster for him. He truly felt like he would walk away the victor from this match.

  Almost immediately Sir Ty was called out and Tucker watched as the young knight stepped into the field of play. There was confidence in his swagger and if he was nervous at al he wasn’t showing it at all. The cheer for him was much bigger than what Tucker had received but just because he was more popular didn’t mean anything when it came to fighting. Only a man’s skill could speak for them.

  There was a confident smile on Sir Ty’s face as he took a few steps towards Tucker. He held his sword with one hand and it dragged on the ground as he walked towards him. Tucker’s heart began to beat faster as Sir Ty stepped closer and closer towards him. The cheer of the crowd around them was very loud and Sir Ty knew that he would get away with saying anything at this point.

  “You should have taken my offer,” said Sir Ty. His voice had a subtle aggressiveness which made Tucker feel very uneasy. “Now I’m going to humiliate you in front of everyone. They’ll write songs about this slaughter.”

  “I slaughtered your mom with my cock last night,” replied Tucker. He had some anger that seemed to be boiling up and at this point in time he wanted to get under Sir Ty’s skin before the match started.

   “Why you little shit!” The subtlety was gone from his voice and he went to strike Tucker but one of the officials got in between them before Sir Ty even got close. The match hadn’t started yet so a strike like that was illegal.

  “Knock it out you pair or else you’ll both be disqualified!” stated the official in a voice that commanded authority.

  Both Tucker and Sir Ty grunted a little as they were forced to step away from each other. Sir Ty was a lot more angered with Tucker simply because he was of a low birth and had spoken to him in that manner. If it were up to him he would have had Tucker’s tongue ripped out and his penis chopped off for such an insult. He was more determined than ever to defeat Tucker and cause him serious harm.

  Tucker stared back at Sir Ty and he thought about the best way he could start his attack. He was looking for any spot he thought that he could get an advantage but from what he could see Sir Ty’s stance didn’t allow for this to happen. He could tell quickly that this was going to be far from an easy fight.

  Lord Tyrone was taking particular interest in the fight. He wanted to see if Tucker could overcome his strong but arrogant son. He wasn’t going to lie when he said that his son was not the nicest person in Angleland. He thought that it would be nice to see someone take his son down a peg and Tucker was such a person. Only time could tell who would come out on top.

  The match was started with a call from an official and quickly Sir Ty ran towards Tucker in an attempt to beat him quickly. Tucker guessed that Sir Ty would do something like this so he had already decided to stand his ground and try and block any attack that came his way. It didn’t take Sir Ty long to strike Tucker’s shield and Tucker could feel the power behind the blow and it took him somewhat by surprise.

  Nonetheless Tucker stood his ground but this was something that Sir Ty was expecting. He would have felt embarrassed if Tucker had gone down so easy. He wanted to make him suffer first before he won the match. He had defeated so many opponents before him and he was sure that Tucker would just be another statistic.

  Sir Ty began to try and strike Tucker but each strike was blocked by the shield. Tucker noticed something that he thought was a little odd. For the reputation that Sir Ty had he thought that his attacks were surprisingly weak. He didn’t know whether this was because he was more capable than he realised or that Sir Ty was holding back.

  The crowd was cheering loudly with each strike Sir Ty made, Jessica was relieved to see that each time Tucker was able to block the strike. She seemed to be one of the few people who believed that Tucker could win the match. The majority of them believed that Sir Ty would win hands down. All she could do was sit and wait to find out who would win between the pair.

  Tucker allowed himself to be on the defensive for a few more seconds until he saw what he considered to be a decent opening. He went to strike Sir Ty in the leg which caused the more experienced knight to go and try and guard his legs. This was a fake strike however as Tucker quickly changed to than which actually went for Sir Ty’s head. Sir Ty was just able to lift up his shield in time and block the attack but once again this took him by surprise. This showed that Tucker wasn’t going to be as easy as he thought but he was still worth a small amount of his time.

  With the strike being blocked Tucker wasn’t disheartened as he unleashed another attack which Sir Ty had some difficulties blocking. The strikes seemed to be coming from all different directions but rather than focusing on power Tucker focused on speed. Sir Ty was struggling to keep up with the strikes and he was finding that he was having to step further and further back.

  Sir Ty began to realise that if he didn’t do something soon he would lose the match and to a common born fighter. He didn’t know what would be worse actually being defeated or being defeated by someone of such low birth that to him he was no more than a peasant who thought he could play knight. Sir Ty decided that it was time to shatter Tucker’s dream into a million pieces.

  Unfortunately Tucker couldn’t keep up this attack forever and fatigue began to set up. He had to stop the attack just so that he could catch his breath. This was exactly what Sir Ty needed to start his own attack. Rather than going to strike Tucker straight away he wanted to try and outflank him before striking. He wanted to attack Tucker in the back of the leg in an attempt to cripple him. He was more than willing to make sure that Tucker never walked again, just to spite him.

  Although Tucker was somewhat tired he was still able to keep up with Sir Ty’s movements. He could tell that Sir Ty was trying to get behind him and strike. Tucker made sure that his shield was between himself and Sir Ty at all times. This made the young knight’s attempts to strike him very difficult.

  Sir Ty wasn’t the only one who was impressed with Tucker’s skills. The judges watching were surprised to see how such an unknown fighter could actually hold his own with someone like Sir Ty. Both were scoring points here and there and right now the judges thought that it was a well-deserved draw on both sides. The fight was far from over and each opponent had time to try and gain a decisive advantage.

  Tucker had caught enough of his breath to try and launch his own attack at Sir Ty. It came quickly and Tucker was able to strike Sir Ty in the arm which caused him a small amount of pain. If anything rather than Sir Ty feeling the pain he felt the embarrassment instead. He was now more than determined to cripple Tucker. Such a strike like that couldn’t go unpunished, if he had his way Tucker would have been hung long before now and all would watch what happened to those who embarrassed him.


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