Combat is near.
There was nothing obvious that would make him think that but he knew.
He wasn’t ready. The sword was gone. It was made with a weak plastic, completely unfit for a sword. The blade broke when he tried to chop down one of the trees outside the house. Mother was not pleased. That was the neighbor’s tree, she said, he should know better than to do something like that. He found it more troubling that his sword crumbled over the thick wood of the neighbor’s tree. A weak weapon means death in combat.
The shield was secured. He had built it himself. He drew flames on the front of it, that way he could bring his own fire to battle. But he still needed a new weapon.
The house was quiet. He moved quickly, looking.
There was an outsider in the kitchen. A man. He was talking to mother.
“It keeps flooding whenever we wash the dishes.”
“Let’s take a look then.”
The man was sitting in the floor looking at the insides of the kitchen sink. Mother stood over him. She looked up and saw him.
“Be good, Benja” said mother.
He didn’t answer. Being good is no advantage in combat. Being good will most likely get you killed.
There was a large toolbox in the kitchen’s floor. It had wires and nails and pliers. And pipes. The pipes were clean and long, almost the same size his old sword was. But the pipes were much more solid. No cheap plastic, they were copper and iron. Mother and the man weren’t paying attention to him. In fact, the man hadn’t even realized that he was there.
He moved slowly towards the toolbox. Mother and the man were still talking to each other. Good, distraction is always useful. He picked up one of the pipes and moved back to the door. He could have just grabbed the pipe and left running, but that would have been a childish mistake. And he was no child, of course.
Once he was out of the kitchen he looked at his new weapon. The pipe, a piece of unarmed drainage, fit his hand well. He moved the pipe through the air and the small sound it made was pleasant.
Shield in one hand, weapon in the other, he walked out into the backyard.
He saw no danger but he knew it was there. It was quiet. He could hear mother and the man still talking but he couldn’t understand the words. No matter what they were saying now, soon they would be talking of him and his courage. Combat is near and he was certainly ready for it.
The creature was hiding. A coward beast, so many times they had faced each other and it always ran away. Part of him didn’t want to catch it. If he did, there would be no more adventure, no more combat. What could he do if there was no more combat?
“Benjamín, get in here. Now!” said mother.
The man probably realized his pipe was missing. Slow man. Anyway, he was making a better use of it than the man ever would. The pipe was now serving the noble calling of battle, as was he.
One of the bushes moved. He walked over to it and held his shield high.
Nothing. No more noise, no more movement. That’s fine, he could wait.
“Benjamín, I’m not kidding. Get in here!”
Slowly, the creature moved out of the bush, its head covered with branches. It saw him and sighed.
“Must we do this again?” it asked.
Silly creature. There’s no time for questions when combat is near.