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Minotaur by Phillip W. Simpson!!
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Scene: Asterion training with his brother, Androgeus
Androgeus moved in instantly for the kill. He knew my abilities by now, only too aware that I was much slower than him. He did, however, sometimes forget about my strength, which seemed to grow daily. Not only that, but he appeared a little confused by the club. He was used to facing me shield to shield, sword to sword. Normally, he’d use his usual tactics, blocking my shield and using his superior speed to strike like a snake.
This time he had no shield to block.
He thrust his shield forward. I knew what it was. A decoy. He thought I would attempt to block his shield thrust with my club, and then he would strike with his sword while I was distracted. This, I realized, would once again end in defeat. Instinct kicked in then. I did what came naturally. Holding the club in both hands, I swung mightily at his shield. A bestial roar emerged from my throat. I wasn’t angry—it just seemed like the right thing to do.
Nobody in the gymnasium that day expected to see what happened next.
By rights, the shield should’ve stopped my blow, at the very least deflect it. Instead, the club smashed into the shield with enough force to shatter it, blasting Androgeus off his feet. He lay before me stunned, looking up at me with what might have been fear. I felt confused. I wasn’t even sure what had happened. I had just channeled all my strength—strength I’d never properly used—into that one blow. I knew I was strong; I just didn’t know how strong.
I felt elated, invincible, powerful, but also I regretted that I’d possibly humiliated and angered Androgeus. Quickly, I dropped the club and extended a hand to my brother. He took it gratefully with a wry grin, and I let out a long breath of relief. He grasped my bicep with his other hand. It didn’t even cover a third of it.
“My, we are getting strong, aren’t we?” he said, clapping me on the back.
Phillip W. Simpson is the author of many novels, chapter books and other stories for children. His publishers include Macmillan, Penguin, Pearson, Cengage, Raintree and Oxford University Press.He received both his undergraduate degree in Ancient History and Archaeology and his Masters (Hons) degree in Archaeology from the University of Auckland.Before embarking on his writing career, he joined the army as an officer cadet, owned a comic shop and worked in recruitment in both the UK and Australia.His first young adult novel, Rapture (Rapture Trilogy #1), was shortlisted for the Sir Julius Vogel Awards for best Youth novel in 2012.He is represented by Vicki Marsdon at Wordlink literary agency.When not writing, he works as a school teacher.Phillip lives and writes in Auckland, New Zealand with his wife Rose, their son, Jack and their two border terriers, Whiskey and Raffles. He loves fishing, reading, movies, football (soccer) and single malt Whiskeys.
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