The Duel

“Have at, you sniveling cockerel of a dog!” A short, extremely rotund man, Ludovic Milfois, pulled back the lace-encumbered sleeves of his shirt and moved forward in what he thought was a menacing manner. In truth, he just looked like an overfed duck waddling forward in ill-fitting clothes.

The other man, who went simply by Jace, stood a short distance away, holding a rapier lazily in one hand. Raising his head, he surveyed Milfois with narrowed green eyes that brimmed over with amusement. Unbelievably, the duck was still waddling towards him. Jace’s second began moving forward, a question on his face. Jace stilled him with a hand.

“Let me take him. The duck’s mine.”

“Are you deaf!” Milfois screamed, his face turning a vivid shade of puce that reminded Jace of his sister’s favorite jam. “I said, have at, you sniveling cockerel of a dog! Are you a man or no? Fight, damn you!”

Jace struck a casual pose and said in a conversational manner, “Technically speaking, a cockerel can’t be a dog too, you know…”

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