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Quest of the Golden Ape
written by "Garrett, Randall, 1927-1987"
... Tarth, had been toying with his adversary. He could have killed Bontarc a dozen times over, but he waited, driving the Nadian ruler back, playing with him, making him do incredible gymnastics in order to survive, three times returning his whip-sword to him when it had been torn from the Nadian's hands. All Nadia—and all the rulers of Tarth—watched spellbound. It seemed to them that the Nadian ruler had gone into the contest willingly. They made no move, and under the ethics that governed their world, would make no move, to stop the uneven contest. Retoc's blurring sword-point whipped and flashed, drawing blood from a dozen superficial wounds. The smile never left Retoc's face. Desperately, knowing his life was forfeit whenever Retoc chose, Bontarc parried the whip-lashing blade. Bram Forest emerged into the dazzling sunlight of the arena floor. Squinting, he saw the figures across the sand. The men before him were Bontarc of Nadia and Retoc, slayer of his mother, destroyer of Ofridia. Retoc saw him first, and cried out exultantly. His wrist blurred, his whip-sword flashed, the point singing, and Bontarc's sword flew from his fingers. "You!" Retoc cried. The sword-point had slashed an artery on Bontarc's wrist. The blood spurted out and Bontarc stood there, dazed, holding the wound shut with his left hand. "Are you all right, sire?" Bram Forest asked. "I can manage until a doctor binds—" Bram Forest picked up the Nadian ruler's whip-sword and faced his enemy, sword to sword, at last. Retoc looked at him, and laughed. "I almost killed you once," he said. His hand barely seemed to move, but the point of his blade, whipping, flashing, was everywhere. Bram Forest parried desperately. "I'll finish the job now," Retoc vowed. Then Bram Forest did an unexpected thing. He used the whip-sword not as a sword: he couldn't hope to match Retoc's skill as a swordsman. He used it as a whip is used, hi...

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