Walking back to the van all the women except Almina, and Amber were in a panic. Under normal circumstances a human rarely could beat a beastman in strength let alone four a once. Thinking that I was being suicidal the six of them started complaining about my lack of judgement. Amber turned around to them shaking her head with a smug smile.
“Do you have such little faith in our love?”, she questioned, “Almina, and I believe he will win hands down.”
“I would go as far to say he will finish them without breaking a sweat.”, Almina said.
“Both of you have seen his strength in action!”, Susan said, “The rest of us only have the rumors to go on! We are justifiably worry about him.”
“You six have to trust me a bit when I say I can handle them. Believe in your man like I believe in you.”, I said with a smile.
Nodding they resigned themselves to believing I could handle the four of them. The next day the camp was a buzz with excitement as four of the Regulos Empires princes were about to square off against the Rogue Hero. Placing bets on the outcome many bet against me thinking I wasn’t going to match the beastmen. Those who knew how strong I really was bet on me without batting an eye. As the event came time to happen the five of us entered the makeshift ring. Tossing off my shirt I went into this only wearing shoes, and pants.
“Your brother Darvain will be the judge. Any issues with this?”, I asked the four of them.
“None.”, the second brother said.
Nodding with confirmation Darvain read the rules, and rewards.
“In accordance with beastmen law this fight has only three rules. First, no weapons are allowed. Only body parts are allowed to be used in the fight. If you are caught cheating you will automatically forfeit the fight. Secondly, the agreed upon rewards must be honored by both parties. Failure to honor your word will be punished with execution by beheading. Lastly, no killing shall be permitted in the ring. Once the fighting is over no grudges are permitted to be held.”, Darvain said, “My brothers offer their recognition of James as a suitable companion for Dola, and James offers the right to lead the army. Do both parties see this as fair, and correct?”
Both of us nodded confirming the bets. Quickly getting off the podium he rang the bell sounding the beginning of the fight.
“We will go easy…Where did he go!?”, the third brother said in a panic.
The split second the bell rang I was already on them. Without any time to block the second brother took my fist to his solar plex. Gasping for air he flew out of the ring, and into a nearby tree unconscious. Seeing this happen in under a few seconds the crowd was in shock.
“Well so much for holding back…”, George said casually, “Someone call the medics. They will need a lot of painkillers.”
The six women were in shock as they looked at Amber, and Almina for an explanation.
“James is strong enough to tangle with an Ancient Dragon without much issue. Now if there are two he will struggle, but he has fought them one on one without issue before.”, Amber said.
“Apparently you weren’t listening when Darvain said James beat the Beast King, and the former Beast King in a fight, did you?”, Almina said.
Turning their attention back to the fight they found the three remaining brothers on the defensive. Currently unable to do anything, but block they were steadily losing ground. Taunting them I asked if they were done warming up yet.
“You’re just warming up!?”, they said in a panic.
Realizing that I was a real threat they got serious. Using his strength the fourth brother grabbed me trying to restraint my arms. Thinking they had me the other two brothers rushed in. Throwing my weight forward I threw the fourth brother off-balance. Seizing the chance I threw both of us into the two incoming brothers. Knocking them over I broke out of the hold, and using the momentum threw the fourth brother out of the ring. Crashing into blacksmiths shop he hit the anvil causing a soft ring to echo out of the building.
“Shit!”, the third brother said backstepping.
“You really need to pay attention in the battlefield.”, I said from behind him, “If I were really trying to kill you you’d be dead right now with a sword in your chest.”
Dropping to the ground I knocked his legs out from under him. As he fell I wrapped my legs around his neck, and slammed him into the ground. Momentarily stunned I started blasting him with a great number of blows to the chest. Unable to do anything, but take it he eventually blacked out. Turning to the fifth brother he was already backing away.
“Listen kid, abandoning your comrades in a fight is a cowardly thing to do no matter your race. Other than when I was temporarily restrained you stayed at the back. If this was a real fight, and I was killing your brothers what would you have done? Run, and hide?”, I asked, “Man up! This is your family, and those are your comrades out there. No one is going to blame you if your afraid of fighting. No one wants to die, but abandoning your men will only cast shame on your family.”
Listening to me he looked around. For all the bragging he had done in camp last night he felt incredibly guilty. Some of his buddies weren’t even looking at him now because he backed out of helping his family.
“Show me some of the pride your father has in you!”, I shouted, “He bragged to me that no men alive were braver than those in his family! Show me the bravery your grandfather had as he faced certain death head on!! Show us what the son of the Beast King is made of!!”
Spurred on he charged me, and swung at me as hard as he could. Landing a solid blow to my head he smiled with excitement. It was short-lived though as I vanished from in front of him. Looking up all he saw was my shin colliding with the side of his head. Thrown across the ground like a rag doll his comrades caught him as he bounced out of the ring. Smiling with pride they carried to the medics who were waiting nearby. Picking up his brothers I brought them to the medics as well.
“The winner is, James!”, Darvain said as cheers broke out in the crowd.
The men who bet on me looked over to the book keeper with big smiles. Gulping he paid out the winnings to them. Running out to see me the eight women tackled me where smiles on their faces. Congratulating me I received my victory kiss from each of them. Hearing someone running my way I received her with open arms.
“Mister James won!”, Dola said leaping into my arms.
Nuzzling my chest happily the eight women looked at her very dissatisfied. Walking over to her brothers they looked down towards the ground apologizing for their rudeness. They thanked me for the experience of fighting me before rising to their feet. Putting Dola down so she could get something to drink I leaned forward to speak to them.
“I highly doubt when your sister comes to marrying age she will want me. Right now she is just cute to say no to right now. Sorry if you were upset about that part last night.”, I said.
All four of the fell back onto the ground in utter defeat. They had fought for their little sister’s marriage, and I broke the news that I was saying it to keep her happy. Seeing his brothers in such disbelief Darvain broke into a hardy laugh. Saying that their father die laughing right now from their expressions they looked away helplessly.
The next two days went by smoothly. After watching me give the princes a thrashing no one questioned my leadership, and fighting skills. Simply threatening with a beat down was enough to make them get over their arguments. On the fourth day we heard the sounds of the remaining beastmen come to join the fight. As we waited for them to arrive Darvain started staring off into the distance. After a few moments his shoulders dropped in resignation.
“Who told father about the Behemoth’s!!”, he snapped.
Slowly raising his hand the fifth brother smiled shyly. As the brothers started shouting at him I looked through the binoculars towards the incoming dust. Riding on horses two grinning, battle maniac’s were hurrying here. Realizing it her father Dola jumped onto my shoulders waving at her father.
“Papa! Uncle Jarvis! Over here!”, she shouted.
When they arrived she blew them kisses which both men gladly accepted. After giving her a kiss on the cheek she beckoned the men to her level. Squatting on the ground she broke her big news.
“Mister James said I could marry him if Papa said it was okay.”, she said jumping around.
Looking at me her father King Darius smiled.
“Not even a week goes by, and she already asked again.”, he laughed, “I have no problem dear. You have to wait till your sixteen though. You know our customs.”
Looking at me she asked if I could wait that long. Patting her head with a smile I told her I could.
“If you want to be my wife when your of age I will happily marry you.”, I said.
With sparkling eyes she made a promise that she would definetly marry me, and have lots of babies. Hearing her say it her Uncle Jarvis, King Darius, and I all stopped smiling thinking about it. Picturing her having kids in the future both of them looked at me with serious expressions.
“You better make, and keep her happy…”, they said glaring at me.
“I already know that…”, I said with a smile.
Nine years was a long time so I hoped she would find another man. A sixteen year marrying a thirty-four year old man sounded a bit bad. I would honor the promise though should she still want to marry me. Changing topics I asked if Darius, and Jarvis came solely because they wanted fight. Both men weren’t going to hide that fact, and nodded with devilish smiles. Asking him how the family was he was happy to say the rest of his daughters, and wife were doing fine. The same was said of Jarvis’ family as he bragged he had recently become a grandfather. Congratulating him I let them discuss things with each other. Leaving with the girls we went to the blacksmith’s shop to discuss equipment for the upcoming journey.