In Full Bloom

pimlicoroses.jpgThe young fighter knelt before the sacred rosebush in the sanctuary. “Tomorrow, I rip it out of the ground, Adi.”

“Don’t be so sure, Maximus.” The old fighter creaked into a more comfortable position on his bench.

“These are your people. They will boo and cry out when I slice your flesh.” Maximus drew out the ‘boo’, as if he already heard that throng. “But make no mistake: tomorrow, I root my own flower.”

“Maybe defile it with the blood of a virgin or two,” Adi suggested.

“Or two. I like that. You’re a cocksure old mosquito, squeaking in my ear.”

“In seven decades, I have been defeated only once, and she was a merciful creature.”

“You let her win so you could double your kingdom.”

“Were she still living, Batari would cut you down for such remarks.… Read the rest