Merciless Saints: Chapter 6

WINTER

Shit… here goes nothing.

Knowing Damien is stronger than me, I’ll just have to make sure he doesn’t get a punch in, or I’ll probably end up like MJ.

I walk to the middle of the class and watch as Damien unhurriedly moves closer.

Rolling my shoulders, I lift my hands and then keep still, my body tense as I watch him shake his head lightly.

The fact that he’s clearly unhappy because he has to fight me makes annoyance trickle through my chest.

“Let’s get this over with, Vetrov,” I hiss, and it has his eyes locking on mine.

He takes a deep breath then bringing his arms up, he doesn’t make fists while assuming a Muay Thai stance.

I assume the same stance, just to show him I have experience in all the fighting styles.

After a couple of seconds of us only staring at each other, Grandmaster Yeoh snaps, “Begin!”

It has me darting forward and bringing my right leg up for a kick to Damien’s side, he jumps back before I even manage to get close.

He’s faster than me. Shit, I was hoping to have speed on my side.

We circle each other for a moment, and then Damien’s right leg comes up, only to connect with my thigh. It has me shooting him a scowl because he’s clearly holding back.

Hugo lets out a heavy sigh, then mutters, “You can fuck with her in your own time, Vetrov. Let’s get this over with.”

Before I can take another breath, Damien moves toward me. I manage to deliver a punch to his chest as his right arm wraps around my neck, and then he moves in behind me.

Shit. The damn chokehold from hell.

He yanks me to his solid chest, his bicep cutting off my air supply. Bringing my elbow back against his ribs doesn’t make him move at all, and I repeat the action as dots explode in my vision.

Damien’s left arm wraps around my waist, and then I feel his breath on my ear as he whispers, “You don’t belong here.”

His arm tightens around my neck, and it has me grabbing hold of his forearm and bicep.

When I try to suck in a strangled breath, my body bucking against his, Damien tightens his hold on me. My vision goes black from the lack of air, and the last thing I’m aware of is Damien’s body taking my full weight as I lose consciousness.

 


 

I don’t know for how long I’m unconscious, but when I come to, I find myself lying on a mat and not just on the side of the room like MJ. I shake my head to rid myself of the last of the dizziness, and when I sit up, I hear Hugo chuckle, “Aww, have a soft spot for the Blood Princess?”

Did Damien move me to the mat? Why would he do that?

Knowing Damien took it easy on me makes a wave of embarrassment crash over me. Just as my sight focuses on Damien, he mutters, “Can we get back to training?”

“Lamas versus Vetrov,” Grandmaster Yeoh grinds out, probably upset with MJ and me and our poor performances.

“I might as well take the day off,” Paulie mumbles.

“An hour on the reflex bag,” Grandmaster Yeoh instructs Paulie while Hugo and Damien face each other in the middle of the room.

Damien’s standing with his back to me, and my eyes narrow on him. Anger begins to simmer in my chest because he embarrassed me in front of the whole class. Instead of sparring, he choked me to get me out of the way.

I hear groaning coming from MJ as she begins to come to, and the instant Hugo glances at her, Damien darts forward. Spinning his body, he plants the heel of his foot against Hugo’s jaw.

While Hugo’s still shaking his head, Damien moves in on him, delivering punches. After the sixth, Damien ends with an uppercut to Hugo’s chin. This time Hugo’s dazed as he staggers backward, and Damien finishes him off with a knee to his chin, knocking him out cold.

For a moment, I forget about being embarrassed and angry as I gape at Damien.

God, no one stands a chance against him.

Damien’s muscles ripple as he steps away from an unconscious Hugo while grumbling, “Are we done sparring?”

Grandmaster Yeoh lets out a huff then waves an arm at the equipment.

As Damien walks toward the Wing Chun wooden dummy, he glances in my direction. Instantly the scowl on his face darkens, and then he turns his face away from me as if I’m nothing but an annoyance.

I climb to my feet, and with every step I take in Damien’s direction, my anger grows.

When I reach him, I snap, “I didn’t take you for a coward.”

Damien shoots me a glare, and where any sane person would back away and run for cover, I have to force myself to stand my ground.

“I’m here to train. Taking it easy on me won’t do me any favors,” I continue as I cross my arms over my chest. Damien’s jaw locks, and it makes a muscle jump in his cheek. Slowly, he turns his face to me, his eyes cold and merciless. We stare at each other, my anger and embarrassment clashing against his annoyance until I grind the words out, “Next time, treat me as an equal.”

He lets out a humorless chuckle. “That’s something you’ll never be, Princess.”

The egotistical sexist.

Just as I take a threatening step closer to Damien, Grandmaster Yeoh calls out, “Hemsley. Fang.”

I spare Damien one last glare before I walk over to the mat Grandmaster Yeoh is waiting on. “Fight,” he mutters, seemingly just as annoyed as Damien.

I take in my position with the full intention of trying to regain some of my lost pride.

 


 

DAMIEN

 

I should continue with my training, but I find myself turning to watch the fight. I’m not the only one. Hugo and Paulie actually step closer to the girls.

Anger still tightens Winter’s features as she focuses on MJ. Winter might be beautiful, but I couldn’t give two shits about offending her sensitive pride. I knew the fight between us was a no-win situation. If I hadn’t taken it easy on her, she wouldn’t be standing right now. I opted for the lesser evil because there’s no honor in beating up someone just because I can. That’s not what I’m in training for.

Besides, out in the real world, close combat is only in extreme circumstances. Like when you run out of ammo which won’t happen if you’re prepared at all times.

MJ throws the first punch, landing a blow to Winter’s jaw. I’m surprised when there’s no flash of pain on Winter’s face, but instead, she goes in for the kill. She moves fast, not giving MJ a second to recover, going from throwing punches to delivering the double-knee flying kick she took Paulie out with.

MJ stumbles to the side, mumbling, “I yield.”

I shake my head, wondering what MJ is even doing here.

Just then, Hugo steps forward. “How about a dance, sweetheart?”

“Fine,” Grandmaster Yeoh says, not looking as irritated as he did earlier.

I cross my arms over my chest and move a little closer as Hugo starts to circle Winter. When he moves in on her, I hold my breath. The punch he delivers to the side of her head knocks her back, but she doesn’t stumble like MJ did. I expect Winter to throw a couple of punches, but instead, she targets Hugo’s legs, the inside of her foot connecting with the side of his knee. Winter instantly delivers another kick.

I notice the slight limp as Hugo lunges at her, his fist almost connecting with her jaw but missing.

She’s using her speed against HugoGood girl.

Winter darts forward, swiping Hugo’s feet from under him. He grabs her leg, yanking her to the floor, but before he can get a good hold of her, her legs wrap around his neck.

The corner of my mouth lifts as I watch Winter strangle Hugo with her thighs. It takes a couple of seconds before Grandmaster Yeoh calls out, “Release him. The fight’s over.”

Winter listens, but as she gets up, Hugo yanks her back down. Before she can catch her bearings, he begins to deliver one blow after the other.

I take a step forward but catch myself.

Winter knees Hugo in the back, and it sends him sprawling over her. As he tries to get the upper hand back, she wildly bucks her body up, and it makes him fall to the side.

I let out the breath I was holding when Winter begins to lay into Hugo, a growl rippling from her.

God, she’s fierce. I underestimated her.

“The fight is over!” Grandmaster Yeoh shouts, having lost his temper with the two.

This time Winter keeps her eyes locked on Hugo as she climbs to her feet.

Hugo begins to chuckle as he spits blood onto the mat. “Not bad, Princess. Not bad at all.”

Breathless from the sparring session, Winter’s gaze snaps to mine, the anger back in her green eyes. The blood on her bottom lip and eyebrow make her look wild. It stirs something in my chest I’ve never felt before.

I nod to show her I watched, then I mutter, “Still not good enough.”

“I’m ready to fight you right now,” she hisses at me.

“That’s enough. Both of you, go run off your anger,” Grandmaster Yeoh orders. “If you fight outside of this studio, I won’t train you any further.”

Letting out a sigh, I strip the wrap from my hands and remove the sparring gear. I leave the studio before Winter and head toward the front doors. As soon as I step outside, I begin to jog.

Seconds later, I hear Winter’s footsteps behind me. She catches up to me, but I choose to ignore her, focusing on my breaths.

When we start our sixth lap around the castle, I pick up speed. Winter increases her pace to match mine, and it makes the corner of my mouth lift.

The woman probably takes everything in life as a dare.

We keep alternating at taking the lead, and when we start our tenth lap, I give it my everything, hoping to leave her behind.

As we turn the corner of the castle and the front steps come into sight, Winter darts past me. I let out a chuckle as the distance between us grows.

Fuck, the girl is fast. At least she has that going for her. Her speed might just save her life one day.

She comes to a stop by the stairs and then rests her hands on her knees, her eyes focusing on me as she gasps for air.

I slow down to a stop in front of Winter, and it has her straightening up. Tilting my head, I lift my hand to her bottom lip, and it has her freezing. Locking eyes with her, I brush the pad of my thumb over the dried blood.

“You might have speed, but you don’t have the endurance. Nice try, though.” As I begin to jog away from her, I call out, “You better get some ice on your bruises.”

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