-Captain Espada's Island, inside Captain Espada's House, two hours later-
It had been a little over one hours since the battle with pirates and the fairly even duel with Captain Hector Espada, captain of the pirate vessel Ocean's Requiem. In need of medical treatment from an assortment of minor wounds plus a not-so-minor gunshot would to the left shoulder, Leona had agreed to go back to Henry Espada's hut to receive medical treatment for her wounds. A little over two hours after the medical treatment Leona lay on a bed with a blanket over her upper body: she had had to remove her outfit top in order for Henry to remove the bullet from her left shoulder, but the embarrassment from that was a lot preferable to suffering permanent nerve damage or losing the arm entirely. Leona needed both arms if she was to remain a Wizard Saint and Silver Wolf's Guild Master.
Leona sat up slightly and looked at the chair to her left, which had her fixed and somewhat bloody outfit top hanging on the back of the chair. In the far left corner opposite the door was Henry, who was seated at a small wooden table with a pewter stein full of a drink that was definitely not water. It smelled like a really strong beer.
"You'll be fine now, Wizard Saint. Your left shoulder's gonna hurt for awhile, but you won't suffer any nerve damage. I used a healing tonic I saved from my days in the navy to fix your wounds." Henry said to her. Leona looked at her left shoulder, which was badly bruised from the gunshot and was hurting badly. Even though she was going to keep her left arm and suffer no permanent damage, it hurt badly enough that she was not going to be doing any power lifting or heavy fighting any time soon.
"You should be proud of yourself, Wizard Saint. You managed to fight my brother to a standstill, something that few other people could do. Hell, even when people called me the The Crimson Terror I had a hard time keeping up with Hector because he was that good. He has a natural killer instinct." Henry praised Leona for the accomplishment of just surviving the duel with Hector Espada. Considering the array of spells he had, good swordsmanship, and the pistol that had been built into the crossguard of the shorter sword, Leona was lucky to duel Hector Espada to a draw. That pistol was an unpleasant ace in the hole that almost took Leona out of the fight after she had turned the tables with her Silver Tempest spell.
"Your brother's a good fighter." Leona readily agreed with Henry. While he did not have a lot of finesse, Hector was smart enough not to stand still and trade blows with her. He kept moving and always looked for opportunities to attack. He also used his height and reach advantage to force Leona on the back foot and kept her from getting too close for him to effectively fight back.
"Now you might be asking why he wants to kill me so badly. I know what you're thinking. He's a pirate and I was a pirate hunter. That's part of it, but there's more to the story than you think." Henry said to her, changing the topic from the duel with Hector to why Hector wanted to kill his brother. Leona listened with interest and waited for the man to continue his story. He took a long drink of beer and set the stein down before continuing to talk.
"As you can tell, Hector likes dueling a lot. He travels the seas looking for good opponents to fight... piracy's just a means to an end. He's mad at me for not joining his crew and joining the navy to hunt pirates, but he's also mad because he wants to duel me one last time and I keep refusing him." Henry explained.
"Why would he want to duel you when you've left the navy and told him to his face that you won't fight?" Leona asked him. She tried to sit up, but her left shoulder started hurting. The pain forced the Wizard Saint to lie back down while Henry watched her in case she got into trouble.
"He's convinced that I'm able to beat him. The truth is I retired from the navy almost five years ago and my skills have declined. I'm still able to defend myself, but I wouldn't last long against my brother. He's been a pirate for over thirty years now and he's not going to stop any time soon." Henry explained, then paused to raise the stein for another drink.
"So if you won't fight him, then what was his request?" Leona asked him. Henry set down the stein and looked at her. His facial expression indicated that he did not like what he was about to say.
"Since I refuse to duel him, he asked me to get someone else to duel him. You did so well against him that he wants you as his opponent." Henry told her in all seriousness. At first glance Leona did not see what was so bad about that until she thought it over a little more. Then she started to realize why Henry had reacted so strongly to the request.
Leona had pushed him hard and after a lengthy battle had fought him to a draw, so there was a good chance that Leona could kill him.
She then realized that Henry had reached the same conclusion, only a lot sooner than she had. It was little wonder that Henry had reacted the way he did. Despite their differences Henry still cared for Hector and was upset that his older brother had asked for what amounted to death by Wizard Saint. Leona herself was not sure what to make of the request. The younger Espada picked up on that and spoke to her.
"So you understand what I'm getting at. I don't blame you for not wanting to make a decision right away. Fighting someone to the death's a hard thing to do, even if my older brother's a pirate who's killed many people over the course of his career. It's really hard to have someone else fight my brother to the death." Henry continued. Leona was not liking where that was going, but she did not have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Hector Espada was a pirate captain who had killed countless people and would kill many more unless he was stopped. As a Wizard Saint, it was Leona's responsibility to stop people like that no matter the cost to herself. She could not back down from this challenge, but no one said that she had to like what she was going to do.
"It's a tough choice to make." Henry succinctly summed up Leona's conundrum. On one hand, pirate captains were among the threats that Wizard Saints were supposed to stop and killing him would add luster to a career built on stopping threats to Earthland. On the other hand, it was hard to get in the right frame of mind for the task when the man's brother was sitting across from her. Even if the enemy was a pirate captain who arguably deserved to die, he was still someone's brother and nothing could change that fact.
Leona remained silent while she thought the situation over.
[Post Word Count: 1,247]
[Total Word Count: 1,247/2,500]