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Betsy/Mary looked around the room. Her husband in this age, William, was talking quietly with some representatives of the Covenanters. This group of people had been suppressed in a bloody way during the past few decades under the catholic government of her father. They had suffered severly, especially in the southwest of Scotland. To make things worse, her husband had signed an edict in january because the clan of the MacDonalds had signed their submission 4 days late.
It had been an error, Wiliam had always been a careless reader, and he had signed an order without carefull reading "Have not signed the submissiion asrquired by january 1", overlooking a statement that the submission had been signed by January 5. The political enemies of the MacDonalds had revenged themselves in a disgusting way.

Her husband spoke softly, but his soft voice carried weight. She admired him: without any formal management training, as she had received on her own planet at school, he instinctively knew to touch the heart of these people. While he spoke, and while the Covenanters replied, she started to love these people and started to understand why James had grown so fanatic about his Scots.

She heard William say:
"To me, true victory is not when I win a battle. To me, true victory is when my opponents are no longer opponents. Only real peace is true victory."
The men opposite him still looked at him with suspicion, having suffered for decades at the hand of royalty, but seemed willing to listen and argue.

It also had became apparent to her that James had already returned to her planet, and that it was time for her to leave too. She would miss the Dutch. She would miss the Scots too. Still, it was inevitable. It was one of the great tragedies of live that there were so many farewells. She nearly became jealous of the hope these people had for an eternal future where "death was no more".

For the moment, her own future would not be eternal. She decided to get back to her own planet that night.
 

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So the trip into history is over and now they return to their home planet. I have a feeling that the story is soon coming to an end, shall be interesting to see how it will end…
 
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Yes, the trips to history may well be over. Though there is one little twist i may or may not work into the story.

Apologies for not posting an issue last weekend - for these two weeks i have been working 60+ hrs a week excluding travelling time.
 
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In the days following his return James first activity was to pay close attention to Cheryl. Somehow he couldnt put the thought aside that she was up to some mischief. He visited her several times, and everytime she was engulfed till over her ears in organzing the party. Finally he felt satisfied that she didnt seem to have time for any mischief.

Most of his friends had signed up for the fencing tournament, but after one morning in the local sportschool he decided that it didnt make much sense to have a tournament if they practised all day against each other. He walked to Betsy house, and while doing so felt that he had really missed her. She had been an excellent comrade, a loyal ally, good company and, well, he couldnt really describe his other feelings for her.

When he arrived at her home, her mother told her she was practicing in the sportsroom at the back of the house. He knew the way, and was not surprised to see her practising some martial arts jump.
Her face didnt show any emotion when he entered it, which disappointed him as he had somehow assumed that she was a bit in love with him.
He greeted her cordially, but received only a normal polite reply. He chatted something and then brought up the subject of fencing.
"So thats what you need me for, uh?"
She threw him a sword, he catched it and was surprised by the fierceness of her assault. He was pressed in the defence, and could barely fend of the first blows.
"He, whats wrong with you?" he asked, after she had disarmed him within minutes.
She sniffed
"Wrong with me? Ever wondered if something could be wrong with yourself?"
"Huh? What do you mean?"
She picked up his sword, threw it at him, and attacked him again.
"Think about that yourself."
 

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Oh no worries about not posting for a week, we all know that that sometimes real life just takes too much time, happens to everyone now and then

I think she has feeling for him after all and that she is just mad at him for thinking too much about the other girl instead of spending time with Betsy…
Shall be interesting to see if Cheryl. Is still planning evil plans, I sure hope not, but one can never be sure…
 
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They fenced and gradually James succeeded to hold out longer against Betsy's attacks.
"Well, I, uh" James started between two bouts, "I'd like to say I'm sorry."
"Sorry about what?" she asked. The tone in her voice was still brisk.
"After my return I should have come directly to you" he admitted.
She sniffed.
"You shouldnt never have ran after Cheryl in the first place, but those last visits were completely superfluous."
"I wanted to be sure that she wasnt up to any tricks again" James explained.
Her eyes lighted up:
"So it wasnt because you want her?"
James shook his head:
"Nope. I've been cured of that. Besides, I think she has another friend."
"I know. That tech Jack is hanging around her and she likes him."
James had noted the spark of light in Betsies eyes after his confession and nodded. "He's a good guy. A lot older than she is, and of totally different standing, but in a way they do match."
Betsy instructed him on a slightly better posture for his feet and James asked:
"Do you already have a partner for the dancing contest?"
The suddenness of het attack surprised him.
"I'm not going"
"He", he protested. "Again i ask: what is wrong with you? Why are you so mad?"
"I'm not gonna dance" she grunted. "I tried to sign up for the fencing contest, but got refused because I'm a girl."
James thought for a moment.
"Cheryls revenge?"
She shrugged her shoulders.
"Dunno."
"Do you wonna take my place?" he offered. "You know that smith downtown? He's forging the swords and armour for everyone, and I ordered a complete set of scottish plate armour. No one will recognize you."
She shook her head.
"No, you go and have fun. I have decided to train you so well, that you must win."

To Betsies chagrin, a day before the tournament James switched practising to the great two handed scottish broadsword. Though a great sword in the 16th century in battle, the sword was way to wieldy for a contest, and Betsies skill made micemeat of him. Still, at the end of the day he felt satisfied with hs progress.

One evening, just a few days before the tournament, James left the smith with his armour on a car, when in the corner of his eye he noticed something. He grinned and decided to go his way. He felt happy. Betsy's anger had shown she was jealous, which could only mean she was in love with him. And that made him feel happy. But he was less sure about his own feelings for her: did he also love her? He sure liked her a lot, but was that the same?
 

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James should know that she is really the girl for him. That has been clear for a long time and I think he is the only one that doesn’t see that yet. Still I guess he might learn now…
 
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Yes, he should :D . But just like in real life, the boy is the last one to realize his own feelings.
 

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Yes, I guess that is how it always is, but I hope that James will understand it soon…
 
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"Jack, are we sure that all the kids got back?"
"Yep, I just personally checked all the bathtubes. All are empty."
"So I can switch off our installations?"
"Please switch them off"
Daneel interrupted:
"Before you switch them off, what will happen to the other universe?"
"It will drift away further from our universe"
"But it will remain in existence? No harm to the people there?"
"Certainly the universe will remain in existence. I dont foresee any harm to them due to switching off these machines, we will just loose contact. But we can not afford to keep up this tie."
"Then please switch them off"

The man pushed a single switch. The faint but always present hum and buzz in the background disappeared - silence descended.

On a far away world, in what had now become a new universe, on a world called earth, in a kingdom called Scotland, a king bowed over maps.
"Those spanish dons have declared war again! It seems they will never learn! Let our cavalry run amok in middle and southe america! Then, at the first peace offer of at least 1 province, i will accept!"
"And the French, sire?"
"Our main armies will drive south. Let our battle army seek their main army, and have smaller armies siege Paris and their border provinces!"
 

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I think it was a good idea to turn off the connection. They will need the power for other things and this way the Scottish hordes can continue their rampage of the world by their own. From what I read I think the Scottish king is very able to fight by himself…
 
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Stan Lee Chung, one of his class mates, approached the shield of Scotland and rang a good blow on it as a sign that he challenegd James. Every participant for the fencing tournament had a pole with their shield at the top, in a neat circle around the sand of the arena. Outside the circle of poles were the spectators: families, friends, and officers and crews of the assembled spacefleets.
James smiled, this match would be the first one in the semi-finals. He took his great two handed Scottish sword and followed Stan to the centre. Betsy wished him luck and blew him a kiss.

Through the visor in his helmet James looked at his opponent. Instead of wounds, a touch on certain "weak spots" of the armour, detected by a small current, was considered a sign of victory.
Alternatively, forcing someone to leave a large circle painted with white paint in the sand was also considered a victory.

Jmes advanced with the great sword raised high, and as soon as Stan came within reach, James swung his sword towards him. Stan jumped away and james continued with a low arch. The heavy sword hit Stan against a leg, and down Stan went. But he nimbly rolled away and was up again before the heavy sword could hit him.

They circled each other, and this time James awaited for Stans attack. Stan moved quickly, but james reacted in time. He fenced the blow of, but Stan followed up with more blows. James was on the defence now, and his heavy sword was less suited to this task.

Despite his disadvantage James tried to raise his sword for a counterblow, but Stan profited from this move by hitting James armpit. A flash lighted up. James congratulated Stan with his place in the finals and returned to his shield.

Daneel approached him
"I can see that you are enjoying the contest, arent you, despite your loss?"
James smiled:
"Yep, you bet i do!.A place in the semi finals is a good result. But everyone in my class enjoys this party. We have lived towards this evening. I'm afraid i'll fall into an abyss tomorrow, but I dont want to think of that now."
Daneel asked on:"And why a black mood tomorrow?"
James shrugged his shoulders:
"We have ruled countries, answerable to no one but ourselves. And the rest of our lives? Are we gonna write reports? Manage some department? I have spoken with most of my classmates and everyone feels the same."
Daneel looked thoughtful. "I think I understand, someway. And what about starting as a private entrepreneur?"
"Some of our parents have got the money for that. But still it isnt the same as ruling a country. And you are still bound by lots of paperwork and all the hassle the planet creates."

Earlier on the evening the dancing contest had been won by Isabella, and the contest between the music bands of space ships had also been concluded.

Mirdas, a fellow classmate, now came forward and rang his sword against Dicks shield of Sweden,
Betsy and James watched this closely matched battle, and commented on the tricks and skills of the two adversaries. Mirdas was one of the few officers of the spacefleets which had signed up for the tournament. Dick finally managed to tick Mirdas armpit, thus also making his way into the semi finals. Somehow James was not surprised to find Betsy had disappeared.

They watched Dick and Stan fight the finals. Again a closely fought match, but in the end Dick managed to win.
Trumpets sounded as he walked towards the Stage Of Honours, where the prizes had been awarded that evening. The vice ceo of the planet awarded him a golden cup as a prize, Many words from the vice ceo followed.

Dick returned triumphantly to his shield and friends, as a new knight entered the arena. It's body and head completely armoured, the knight walked to the shields of Sweden, China and Spain, three of the four participants in the semi finals. Without a moment of hesitation, it touched the shields with the tip of its sword. Its armour was scale armour, and looked heavy but flexible. The knight had no shield, but carried two swords, a long one and a shorter one.

Dick adressed the knight:
"We admire your boldness in challenging three of the four best swordsmen present here. May we know in which sequence you wish to fight us?"
In reply, the knight in its greyish black armour drew four circles in the sand, and stepped in one of them, pointing Dick to one of the others, and Stan and Marcello to the other circles.
Dick hesitated:
"Unknown knight, do you want to fight all three of us at the same time?"
The knight nodded.
The crowd, which had been applauding during the finals, had started murmuring when the unknown knight had entered, but now fell silent.
 

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Sounds like a very cool contest, I guess James really couldn’t win because then he would have been defeated by Betsy. Because I am guessing she is the unmanned knight? A bold move indeed challenging all three of them at once, but it sure shall be interesting to see if she can win. I wish her all the best :)


Edit: Post 3700 :D
 
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Cheryl came to James, whispering:
"Who is that knight? Why didnt he sign up for the contest? Is his armour safe enough? Your armours all have modern protectitive clothing, I hope he has too. I dont want any accidents. "
James shook his head:
"I dont think you have to be afraid. We all ordered our armour in the same shop, the name of the shop was no secret, and it was easy enough to find out."
Jack Blutenberg joined them and overheard the last part of their conversation:
"But do you know who he is?"
James looked at him:
"How should I know? The two of you did all the registrations, you know all the officers of the spacefleet, so i'd better ask you: who is it? Anyway, you can ask the knight after the contest. Unless the knight decides to remain anonynous. And if you ask me, this knight wants to remain anonymous."
"That sounds soooooo ridiculous to me" Cheryl commented. "You dont participate in a contest to throw away all the honours."

The four contestants closed in. Stan was the first to assault the unknown knight, but was driven back by lightning fast slashes. Only Marcellos timely assistance saved him from being driven out of the ring. Dick noticed that the grey-black knight seemed to handle his two opponents with apparant ease, and decided to take some pressure away from the two. Stan fell back, and suddenly Dick found himself hard pressed by the knights relentless blows. He slowly started to perceive that the unknown knight was only testing his skill, and not exerting its full capabilities. Sweat appeared on his brow as he realized this.
 
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Lord E said:
Sounds like a very cool contest, I guess James really couldn’t win because then he would have been defeated by Betsy.
Edit: Post 3700 :D

No, not really. James didnt win because the scottish great two handed sword is an excellent sword in battle, but too wieldy for duels in comparison with more modern swords.
 

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Sounds like this knight is very good at with she/he is doing. I still think it is James’s little girlfriend though;)

Ah I see your point about the Scottish broadsword nice point, should have thought about that.
 
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Betsy watched her three opponents. Dick fell back and urged his fellow combattants to assail her together.
They now approached her as a solid front. She darted to one side, attacking Marcello and driving him back, while holding off Dick. By now she felt she had fathomed the skills of her opponents, but her opponents increased pressure on her, attacking her always with at least two persons at a time, trying to wear her out. With two swords, she was hard pressed against three opponents when they attacked her all together.

She enjoyed every moment of this match, fighting with her own muscles and reflexes, against capable opponents! This was life! She new her good mood was caused by the adrenaline pumping through her veins, when it dropped off tiredness would overcome her. But she would enjoy every second while the fight lasted!

While she switched her main attention to Dick, she jumped high and kicked Stan against his shoulder, making him stagger backwards. Stan rolled over his back without taking damage, and called out :
"Away, attack him from three sides!"
The three boys fell back, and Betsy charged into the middle, seemingly giving them an opportunity to assail her from three sides.
They swallowed the bait. While Dick tried to keep her off, Marcello approached carelessly from behind. She rolled aside, and when she came up her long sword pierced his defence and the pad around his knees flashed up - he was out of the match.

She had trouble fencing of some of Stans vicious attacks, and was slowly driven back by the two boys.
She slashed at Stans helmet, but Dick counterattacked and she had to defend herself. The two boys did well, Stan had a lot of talent, and she enjoyed his daring moves. The two of them learned quick and managed to coordinate their moves. She was slowly pressed back. She

Dick used his shield well, and it blocked every move of her. Stan kept attacking, dashing left and right, and seemed to take a lot of risk while doing so. But he still managed to fence off the few counterattacks she was able to make.

Her chance came when Dick fell back for a moment. She fenced Stans sword blow aside, and hit his pulse with her other sword. Stan was out. Dick was by no means brilliant, but he was a solid fighter, obviously well trained, and it took her time to pierce his solid defence.
When she finally touched his armpit with the tip of her sword, the crowd exploded. She smiled. Cheryl walked into the ring, no doubt to congratulate her. Then Cheryl stopped, and looked at something behind Betsy.

Betsy turned around and looked at a knight. She stared at an exact copy of her own armour.
 

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So it was Betsy all along just like I thought, but now yet a new knight arrives this is getting more and more interesting. I have feeling it might be James and that he has understood his feelings for her at last and that it will all become clear during their duel.
Looking forward to it.
 
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I'm tempted to give a hint, but I think it is more fun if you discover the answer yourself. :rolleyes:
 
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On a world called earth, in a different universe, a king looked at his servants
"The Spanish have learned from their previous defeats, sire" they reported. "Where in previous wars our cavalry could overrun all of midlde america without major resistance, they now run into many fortified provinces. Unless we siege them, the Spanish will recruit new troops after our cavalry has passed them."
"The Spanish have raised a large army in Spain, sire. They are marching up north in to southern France. Our 4 armies of 20,000 men each 3 armies of a 100 thousand man or more: a French army, aSpanish army and an equal sized Austrian army."
The king discussed the situation with his generals and then decided:
"Raise extra troops in the americas. Let our cavalry proceed south, while the new troops siege the fortifications. That they are unskilled does not matter, they have no opposition to face. Then, as soon as Spain offers one of these colonies, we'll accept it. That eliminates one foe, leaving France and Austria."