Zack remembers and considers the day he got Slice and Dice to be the best day of his life.
It was a cold Thursday night, in the snow season. He had been promoted recently to lieutenant, so he had been busy in the last few days, but not today. Today he had finished all his business early and was getting ready for a meeting with Raphael Snipe, the new Guild Master and his adoptive father. He dressed up in the best raiment he had, a ceremonial black suit, over a white linen shirt. He wore this over his leather armor, for although it was just a meeting, he would never allow himself to be caught unawares. He strapped both his swords to his belt, donned his black cape, adorned in the neck with the symbol of Lieutenant of the Shadow Stalkers, a golden serpent, and exited his personal quarters.
He nodded to the two guards standing on each side of Raphael's office. They snapped to attention, one of them opening the door into the office, the other entering before Zack to announce the young Lieutenant.
Raphael was hunched over some maps in a large table in the center of the room, studying the trade routes for a new assault. He lifted his gaze from the maps to welcome Zack with a warm smile. "I hadn't the chance to congratulate my adoptive son on his promotion!"
he said, moving away from the table, approaching Zack with arms open wide. Zack approached him as well and gave Raphael a strong hug. "Haha! Very well done, indeed."
Raphael said with a warm smile "Come, let’s walk."
Raphael led Zack out of the room, down the stairs to the lowest ground on the guild quarters, and even lower to the dungeons. They entered one of the dungeon rooms, the Guild Master's personal weapon storage and training quarters. Without ceremony, Raphael walked up to a pair of gunblades hanging on the farthest wall. He took them from their resting place. "These are Slice and Dice,"
Raphael told him "my first pair of gunblades. They've become quite outdated since I've acquired Cut and Edge,"
he said, referring to the two larger magical gunblades strapped to his back, a gift from a merchant lord upon Raphael's rise to power, as payment for protection from the guild "but I want you to have them."
he said, throwing the blades to Zack. He caught them with deftness, twirling them around, testing them. They were short, but really confortable and easy to manipulate.
"Thank you, Master Raphael."
Zack told him, putting one hand against his heart, with the gunblade pointing up, and the other tight by his side, bowing down. "Ha! Don't think it will be that easy boy,"
Raphael said, drawing forth Cut and Edge. "You’ll have to earn them. If you manage to survive my onslaught, you're worthy of wielding Slice and Dice."
He willed both weapons to flare up, Cut with a red hot flame and Edge with a cold blue flame, and charged away at the un-expecting Zack. Zack awkwardly parried the strike of Cut with both blades, and then he got slammed in the face with the flat of Edge, the blow knocking him to the ground. "I could've killed you right there boy. Next time, I will."
Raphael said, twirling his blades. He brought Cut up, pointing at a still unbalanced Zack. He pressed Cut's trigger, but Zack was already there, swatting the blade up high, the shot going far away from the danger zone. As he deflected the blade, he twirled, bringing Dice into a low slash at Raphael's legs. The experienced fighter deftly jumped over the slash, doing a backward somersault, landing perfectly on his feet.
But though Raphael was more experienced, he was getting old, and Zack was younger and faster than Raphael. He was on Raphael in a moment, Slice and Dice working in a blur, striking high and low and the burning blades of the Guild Master. Noticing that he was indeed losing momentum to the younger fighter, Raphael willed a burst of flames from his two blades, sending the two staggering back more than a couple feet.
"You've grown powerful, Zack."
Raphael said, while catching his breath. With a growl, he charged forward, striking high at the young swordsman. Zack deftly parried and Raphael quickly twirled and launched another attack, a low double stab. Zack, like a drow ranger on another reality completely unknown to him, had solved the riddle of how to defend of this particular movement. He parried low with both of his blades, coming to a stalemate, or so Raphael thought. Zack quickly brought his right foot up, slamming it hard on Raphael's face, sending the man flying to fall on his back, leaving a trail of blood sprouting from his nose. Before Raphael could regain his composure, Zack was already on him, both blades set at Raphael's neck, leaving the man with no room for escape. Raphael smiled, then chuckled, and finally laughed out loud. Zack laughed as well, stowed his blades, and offered a hand to the Guild Master. Raphael grabbed his hand, but instead of pulling himself up, he pulled Zack down, slamming his face on the ground and pointing Cut and the back of his head.
"You've won, Zack, but never, never again, drop your guard.
"Raphael said, suddenly serious. He retracted his blade, willing the fires of both blades to wane out, and kicked Zack in the side. "I could've killed you again boy. You've become proficient, but you've got a lot to learn. Get to work."
Raphael turned and left, leaving a hurting Zack squirming on the ground. Zack knew he had earned something valuable that day, and it was not the gunblades.