An Understated Dominance
by Marina Vittori
Dustin decided that Dahlia must have had nothing better to do. He tossed his head, washed up, and opened the door to the medical center as usual.
As the door grated and groaned, a blood–soaked figure suddenly collapsed on the floor of the room. The injured man was dressed in white, which was drenched in blood. He carried a broken sword on his back and appeared to have fainted for some time.
Dustin approached the man to check him out, only to realize that it was Maximus Kane!
“I did not recall hurting him yesterday. Or did I?” Dustin rubbed his chin in confusion. Although Maximus, ranked sixth on The Hundred Immortals, was not exactly the cream of the crop, he was still one of the best in tiny Swinton. How did he get himself beaten up this badly?
“Consider yourself lucky.” Dustin mumbled and lifted Maximus into the medical center. After all, he couldn’t turn a blind eye to a dying man at the entrance of the medical center.
Maximus suffered from multiple external injuries, but those were simple wounds that could be treated with some bandages. However, he suffered huge damage to his nerves, including the energy in his core. Whoever did this to him wanted to cripple him for good. Thankfully, years of extensive martial arts practice resulted in a solid foundation that protected Maximus from being completely crippled by the attack. With Dustin’s medical
skills, he was confident to heal Maximus within a few weeks.
First, Dustin gave Maximus an injection, followed by feeding the patient some medicine. About half an hour later, Maximus finally regained consciousness as he slowly opened his eyes.
“Hey, you’re awake. How do you feel?” Dustin casually asked him.
“Did you save me?” Maximus was a little taken aback. Last night, he sustained severe injuries and found a medical center on the street in between consciousness. Before he had a chance to knock on the door, he blacked out at the entrance.
“Who else? Do you see anyone around?” Dustin was a tad speechless at the thoughtless question.
“Thank you.” Maximus struggled to get up and bow.
Dustin forced him back onto the bed and chided him, “That’s enough. Stop moving around when you’re badly injured.”
“He’s on the brink of death, yet he is hung up on manners. What’s wrong with this dude?” Dustin wondered.
“You’re not bad at martial arts. So, how did you end up getting beaten up?” Dustin asked. Maximus clenched
his teeth as he struggled to open up. “It’s fine. Don’t tell me if you don’t feel like it. I’m not that curious either.”
Dustin waved at him dismissively and proceeded to leave.
“Wait …” Maximus took a deep breath and finally confessed, “What you said yesterday was right. I had three fatal flaws in my Illusory Sword Technique.”
“Oh, really? Did you meet a worthy opponent that fast?” Dustin was quite surprised to learn that his prediction came true after he dropped a casual mention of the flawed moves during the battle.
“It wasn’t just any stranger It was my mentor, Luther Williams! Maximus gritted his teeth, his face clouded by a grim expression.
“Your mentor?” Dustin was astounded. “Why did he hurt you for no good reason?”
“That’s because … I caught him having an affair with my female mentee!” Maximus said, filled with resentment. “I went home after the defeat, thinking to question Luther Williams about the flaws in the technique he taught me, but instead, I caught him going at it with my young female mentee in the bedroom!”
Maximus continued, “So, I kicked the door open out of anger and confronted him loudly. He was probably humiliated and provoked, and he fought me with his sword, slashing me twice. I had no choice but to fight him with my sword. Silly me. I thought that, given my expertise in swordsmanship, I could at least fend off his attacks even if I couldn’t win.”
Then, he hissed, “I realized how naive I was when we started fighting. It wasn’t practice or strength that I lacked he took advantage of my flawed moves! The third, ninth, and twenty–sixth moves. Whenever I put these moves into action, Luther was able to spot my flaws and destroy me. It was at that moment I found out that Luther, the mentor I was so proud of, had set me up from the very beginning! I am nothing but a tool to him; he has never treated me from the heart. When I am upset at him, he’ll exploit my flawed moves to kill me off and save himself from trouble!”
Maximus‘ eyes reddened and brimmed with tears. He had always regarded his mentor as a father figure. Who would have thought that the kind and generous old man was nothing but a hypocrite?
“Well what can I say, except that you have a scoundrel of a mentor?” Dustin shook his head sympathetically. Maximus‘ situation was commonplace in the martial arts world. History was full of cases where disciples and. mentors of the same guild tore each other apart. The human heart is the most deceitful of all things.
“I’m fine with being taken advantage of. He could have sent me on a dangerous mission, and I would have taken on the task without complaining. But why? Why did he have to sully my female mentee? She’s my fiancée!” Maximus bellowed and smashed a hole in the wall out of rage.
Dustin gaped at the confession. He opened his mouth a few times but was unable to speak.
An Understated Dominance by Marina Vittori
Author: Marina Vittori
Artist: Dahlia Nicholson and Dustin Rhys
Released: July, 9, 2023
Native Language: English