Round 1. Battle 3.
The arena fell silent as the two Leonardos made their way out into the fighting area. Both turtles looked at the crowd warily and Leo03 drew his swords from his the sheathe on his shell and stood back, ready to defend.
"Don't you usually just have the one blade?" Leo03 asked as he watched Leo97 fumble for his weapons.
"I got two today. Ninjalicious," Leo97 grinned and fell into a fighting stance. "Don't go easy on me, green bro."
"Wouldn't dream of it," Leo03 smiled at the turtle before him. Although he was slightly clumsier than his counterparts, the awkward turtle was very brave and likeable. Leo03 could see the determination behind the light-hearted swagger and launched a primary assault on his doppelganger to feel out his level of skill.
Leo97 blocked the sharp strikes with his blades easily and fell back to create a little more distance between them. Leo03 moved forward, nudging the other around the fighting area as he cautiously built up his speed. It was a process of discovery for Leo03, finding out just how much the other turtle could give during the battle. Leo97 was starting to tire already and he was constantly chatting during the contest. Words like 'badaboom' and 'total turtlefication' escaped his beak when he would have been better to stay silent and conserve his energy.
Leo03 fought, without any quips, simply allowing his opponent to have the floor with his wacky dialogue. He smiled a little as Leo97 teetered off-balance for a second, then righted himself after a moment.
Leo97 looked at his counterpart who had merely stopped and watched as the other regained balance, "Whoah. Tell me I'm not gettin' creamed here?"
"You're doing great." Leo03 encouraged, moving forward to connect blades once again. "You need to lift your leg a little higher when you kick, but apart from that, you are a good warrior."
"You're being nice to me, my style's jive compared to yours," Leo97 groaned as he tried to kick higher and failed. "I'm used to fightin' slowmos. Not my homey-bros."
"Right," Leo03 struck out with his swords, coming perilously close to the older turtle's shoulder and then pulling back his weapon at the last moment. "I think you just need to focus. Let go of all the wisecracks and concentrate on this moment."
"Right on, dimensional dude. Time for some mega shellage!" Leo97 lashed out with his weapons carelessly. Leo03 caught the swords with his own and tugged them neatly out of his opponent's hands. "Whoah, where d'ya learn that move?"
"Ready for a little hand-to-hand?" Leo03 asked, sheathing his weapons and closing his hands into tight fists.
"Always ready for some party time." Leo97 crowed, clumsily closing his hands into fists and launching forward with a sloppy punch.
Leo03 caught the fist within his own hand and Leo97's eyes widened in surprise. "Remember, focus."
"I'm trying, dude. You're just too good. Fast as lightning, bro." Leo97 struggled to release his fist. He tried hitting out with his other hand, but Leo03 dodged the move with ease.
Leo03 could see the desperation on the other's face and released his adversary. "This really isn't a fair fight. Gyoji?"
The Daimyo's spiritual assistant appeared beside the two combatants. "What is wrong, Leonardos? Why are you not fighting?"
"I don't want to fight this turtle anymore." Leo03 stated. "He's nowhere near my level of skill. This is totally unfair."
"Combatant. You must finish the fight," Gyoji explained in a clear voice. "Regardless of skill levels, this turtle is a version of yourself."
"I don't like this," Leo03 shook his head. "I'll finish the fight, but only because I have to."
Gyoji bowed before the two turtles and disappeared as suddenly as he had arrived.
"Dude, just fight me. I can handle my own," Leo97 stood back and looked downcast. "Just come at me with everything."
Leo03 sighed and rolled his eyes with disappointment. "As you wish."
The fight lasted no longer than twenty seconds. As Leo03 swept his counterpart off his feet and latched his arm around the older turtle's neck, Leo97 struggled in vain to release himself from his adversary. Leo03 carefully cut off his opponent's air supply, watching as the older turtle gagged and gasped, trying desperately to breathe.
"It's okay. Let go," Leo03 was almost cradling his counterpart in his arms. "Just go to sleep."
Black spots danced in front of Leo97's eyes as darkness swallowed him whole. He flopped, trembling, into Leo03's arms. The younger turtle lifted his opponent carefully and gently, returning him to the holding area.
The room was quiet and still as the other fighters watched as Leo03 deposited his unconscious counterpart on a snug couch. Leo03 sat beside the sleeping turtle and shook his head.
"Leonardo!" Splinter97 hobbled over to his unconscious student.
"He'll be okay," Leo03 felt a headache descend. "He's just unconscious."
"My son, you acted with honour and dignity," Splinter03 lay a hand on his son's shoulder. "You would not fight because he could not return your level of skill. You were right to render the turtle unconscious to save him from further battles and possible injury."
"I know. What the shell do I say to this guy when he wakes up?" Leo03 turned to his sensei. "I feel awful."
"Tell him he fought honourably and there no shame in losing," Splinter03 advised. "He faced you with courage, even when he understood he was outmatched."
"Yes, father." Leo03 stayed sitting next to his opponent and waited for the other to awaken. His dimensional brothers approached to support their leader silently, moving within range of their older brother.
"Why is the protection thingy only working sometimes?" Mike03 asked, sitting beside his older brother.
"The protective barrier only works for a maiming blow, Mikey," Don03 patiently explained. "The first battle between Raphaels' didn't need that protective barrier. It was just a knock out, not a major injury."
"So, it only blasts you out if you're gonna be killed? Great!" Mike03 added, sarcastically.
"Or hurt," Don03 smiled at his worrisome brother. "Don't worry about it, Mikey. The barrier is working right. I checked it out with the Daimyo earlier, just to be sure."
"He's coming round," Leo03 patted Leo97 on the shoulder. The turtle was moaning a little. "Easy, bro. You did great."
"My head," Leo97 groaned, a thudding pain intensifying behind his closed eyes. "Dude, that was awesome for a fifteen year old."
Leo03 shook his head with a slight smile. "Who said I was fifteen?"
"Er, actually Leo, you say that all the time. We all do," Mike03 grinned at his dimensional brother. "It's the family line. We're always fifteen."
"How old are you then, turtley-bros?" Leo97 cracked open an eye and stared at the well-built turtles critically.
"We don't actually know for sure," Don03 confessed. "We have been aging at a different rate because of our mutation. We stopped counting at fifteen, because our bodies became very muscular. Suddenly, all the teenage awkwardness was gone."
"You must have an idea, dudes?" Leo97 prompted.
"We don't know," Mike03 winked. "Its better that our enemies think we're younger than we are - plus we never have to grow up."
Leo97 rolled onto his side into a more comfortable position. "I think I'll lie here for a while longer. My shell aches."
"Sure thing, bro. Just stay here and get comfy." Leo03 rose to his feet and faced his dimensional brothers.
"Who's next?" Raph03 asked, his eyes scanning the holding area." I mean, who's fight is next?"
"Two Mikeys, I think." Don03 guessed, his brow narrowing as he remembered the schedule of combatants.
Raph03's eyes landed on a very stressed out version of Michelangelo. He approached the trembling Mike12 with a smile. "You next, kid?"
"I'm scared. I don't like this. "Mike12 was listening to the cacophony from the crowd as his name was chanted by the masses.
"You'll be fine," Raph03 promised, leading the youngster to the fighting area. "Have fun."
"Cowabunga!" Mike87 shouted and dashed onto the stage, twirling his nunchuks in delight.
"Cow-a-what-a?" Mike12 followed his counterpart with a gulp of fear. "Whatever."