She slowly strode across the sand floor of the arena, keeping her eyes forward and not on the crowd. Her feet sank into the soft sand with every step. Hannibal had already made it to the middle. She looked him over several times. She would have to assess him before she could really start fighting. Hannibal laughed when she reached him. "Ha! Such puny little girl," he said with a rolling accent. "I'll squash you like bug." "We'll just see about that, Tubby." "Huh? You dare call the great Hannibal Tomoe "Tubby?" He raised his arm and swung the club at her, but she easy dodged it. He was almost too easy to read. "Come on flubber gut, let's see what you're made of!" she taunted. "Flubber gut! Why you little-" he swung again and missed as Psylocke darted behind him, taking a whack at his knee with the staff. He yelped in pain and dropped the club to grasp his knee in pain, then started hopping up and down on his good leg. Psylocke almost snickered. He wasn't fast, but he swung hard. One good blow would send her flying. She raised the staff and slid it in her hands to hold it at one end. She swung it at his head, but at the last tenth of a second, he blocked the staff, the force sending it flying out of her hands. With his other hand, her reached forward and caught her by the throat, his large hand reaching nearly all the way around it. She could hear the crowd cheer as he lifted her off her feet. She felt his iron grip slowly squeezing tighter until she felts her windpipe giving. She started counting. One two She swung at him with her legs, but didn't have the momentum to reach him. Three she would only be able to last ten second before passing out. Then she would be at his mercy, of which she knew he had none. Four She grabbed his wrist with both her hands and tried to pull herself upward Five she tried to swing her feet up again to kick in his arm, but again, she couldn't get the momentum. Six *This isn't how I'm supposed to die,* she thought. *This can't be it!* Seven Hannibal gave her one last heave upward, then slammed her down onto the sand. Psylocke tried to break the fall, but the impact was stunning. She gulped in as much air as she could and lied there on the sand for a moment. She was furious and frightened all at once. Angry with Hannibal. Angry at herself for letting him grab her. Angry as herself for feeling fear. She sat up slowly. *I'm Psylocke Lammashta Kagura champion warrior for the Empire!* Her fists closed around the sand as Hannibal leaned in to pick her up by her shirt top. *I'm gonna kick this guy's ass!* "Now what do you think of me, puppy girl?" he growled. "You're tough," she replied, a malicious grin starting to cross her face. She saw his expression lighten. She lifted her clenched fist to her chin. "But you're still fat." She opened her hand and blew the sand into Hannibal's eyes. He roared and covered his eyes, stumbling back. Psylocke jumped to her feet. "And I'm going to kill you." She spun to the right and planted a back kick in his gut, then sidestepped and executed a jump roundhouse to his shoulder. Hannibal stumbled back a little further, rubbing his eyes furiously. Psylocke scanned the ground and snatched up the staff again. As her fingers wrapped around the center of the staff, she felt a strange energy pass through them, working its way up her arms and into her chest, coursing throughout her body, and finally into her head. It was the red glow of anger and passion searing through her veins. A white light flashed in her eyes, and when it faded, she found herself holding the staff horizontally at shoulder height. The staff was broken in half. One piece was on the ground, and the other was what pinned Hannibal to the arena wall by his throat. She released the staff, and it remained in the wall. The crowd around her was whooping with cheers and jumping up and down in their seats. "Wow! Let's see that last move again!" the announcer bellowed. Psylocke looked up to the jumbo-tron to see herself battering Hannibal over and over with the staff, driving him back into the wall. She swung at his head again, cracking both the staff and his skull. She broke the splintered staff in two, then drove the sharp end of one half into his throat. She gaped at her own speed and strength, knowing that she never would have had the strength to drive the staff into the wall like that. Even worse, she couldn't remember doing it! Too shocked to smile, she graciously bowed to her audience and walked back toward the gate, leaving Hannibal and the broken staff behind. The guard stared at her with an admiring smile when she reached him. "That was amazing!" She blushed. "Thanks uh sorry about the staff." "Oh, that's okay! Happens all the time."
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