Falcon blocked Dionisio’s lunge, and converted the motion into a parry. He jumped back. She lunged. Her footing slipped in the dry sand. She’d wanted to practice closer to the high tide line where the ground didn’t shift so much. Of course, that’s why Dio wanted her to work here. Too far away to lunge, he closed and cut from above. She sidestepped the blow. His momentum carried him forward. She thumped his back with the practice blade. Air exploded out of his lungs,. He staggered forward.
“Time,” Dio wheezed. Strands of his ginger-colored hair had escaped his braid and clung to his cheeks. He brushed them away.
“Sorry.” She winced. She hadn’t meant to swing that hard.
Dio rubbed the weal on his back as he straightened. “Don’t be. Keep this up and I might make you a member of the guard yet.”
She laughed. “I like my current assignment better. You work too hard.”
“I’ll bet you do.”
Slow clapping came from further up the beach. They turned to see Prince Rompf picking his way toward them. A lone member of the guard shadowed him. Dio waved at the man, and he dropped further back.
"Who's that?" Falcon asked.
"Rompf," Dio replied.
"Common courtesy," Falcon said, wiping her brow, "demands, Dio, that you turn your head to the side when hacking up phlegm."
Opening: Nancy D. Greene.....Continuation: Evil Editor