Bat in Paradise
Bruce wasn't surprised to see the Amazons prepare for what would be intended to be a surprise attack. Almost as quickly as the word was out that an invasion would come as a thief in the night each Amazon prepared. He smirked as he watched them place hand woven dummies into their own beds, each made to resemble individual women. He helped with this of course adding small touches to a dummy that took his place, and one that took the place of Aresia. He took a moment to walk outside where he was greeted with seeing Artemis sitting crossed legged and playing what looked to be a form of jacks with the young girl.
The gentle laughter from the tiny three year old echoed through room and he could see a small smile cross the lips of the Amazon. Seeing that she had won the game Aresia quickly wrapped her arms around Artemis and hugged her tightly. The Amazon seemed confused for a moment, but then she quickly hugged the small child back and placed a gentle kiss upon her head.
"Wanna play again?" Aresia asked Artemis.
"I would love to play the game again little one." Artemis said as they once again set up the ancient game.
Bruce smiled and turned as he walked away from the situation. He could feel someone watching him and turned to see Diana nearing him. She had changed from her chiton into full armor which looked thick and sturdy enough to deflect most sword and arrow attacks.
"You need not worry about the girl. Artemis would not harm her for any reason. In truth I believe that Artemis would claim the child as her own if the opportunity ever presented itself." Diana stated as she walked past him and looked out toward the thick vegetation that grew on the island.
"That's good to know." Bruce replied.
"You are a curious creature Bruce Wayne." She stated.
"How am I a curious creature?" he asked.
"You obvious seem able to elude and escape our sight, you've taken in a child that is not yours," She said and she noticed the slight twitch of his mouth, "It was one of the first things I noticed about the two of you. While I know precious little about coupling, I do know that a child should look similar to her parent. She does not have any of your attributes. Her eyes are green, not an ocean blue, her hair is fair, your hair is dark, and there are other smaller details." Diana stated.
"Does everyone know?" He asked.
"It does not seem to be that way. Perhaps they haven't paid enough attention to you, or the child yet." Diana responded.
Bruce leaned against the edge of the window and watched the sun which was now beginning to sit.
"It won't be long now." He stated.
Diana nodded and turned toward her sisters. They began to snuff out the lights of the Palace and of the huts they resided in. Bruce knew that the League of Assassins, the Legion of Shadows wouldn't take prisoners. He watched as the night fell and he could hear the single thud of something hitting the bank.
"Here they come." He said.
Diana let the dim light adjust in her eyes and she studied the small movements in the vegetation. Those movements alone didn't seem important, but then she noticed that they all seemed to be happening at almost the same time, across a distance too wide to merely be coincidence.
Diana watched the movement through the groves of trees that had been cultivated for various reasons across the island. The waiting for their attackers was the worst part to her. Per his suggestion they decided to ambush the league of assassins in the palace by using the same idea that had been used against the Trojans. Diana's mind drifted toward the day they had spent, the training, and surprisingly the laughter that had echoed across the island and through the palace.
(Training area – twelve hours earlier)
"Are you ready, 'Princess'?" Bruce asked as he took a basic stance.
"Naturally I am ready." She said.
He watched as she stretched. Her own movements seemed to be as graceful and possibly as deadly as a lioness. Bruce watched as she studied him for a moment before she went in with a direct attack. The attack was meant to disarm, to disorientate, and to prepare for a killing strike. However the moment her hand came near him he caught her by the wrist, flipped his upper body in almost a boneless fashion, and caused her to sail over him and land smartly on her ass.
Diana blinked in surprise as this happened. Even against Artemis she had done better than this. Before he could even attempt to claim victory she was up, her eyes studying him, attempting to decipher any hidden tales or clues that would give away what he planned to do, but even without his mask on his face was practically unreadable. She struck out again and once again his arm caught hers and in an almost boneless fashion he had her on her chest with his knee in her back.
It was no longer a desire to learn as it was determination to win this sparring match with him. He was a mere man, a mortal who had came to their island. He was strong for a mortal true, but still he shouldn't know more than she did about fighting, about hand to hand combat. After all she had trained with her mother, with Phillipus, and with Artemis for so long that she knew the movements by heart.
She attacked again and grinned as she managed to get two strikes in on him; however, moments later she stood up and spat out bits of sand.
"How do you remove your bones?" She asked simply.
He looked at her and a small smirk formed on his lips.
"I'm not removing my bones. It's simply learning how to move with them to the point that all movement is fluid. At the moment I'm not using my energy I'm using yours. You attack with excessive force, I channel that force and redirect it. I can show you how to do that if you wish." He said.
She nodded and prepared to fight with him but instead he took a meditation seat. She looked couriously at him and followed suit.
"In order to become fluid you have to relax. That means relaxing the whole body so it can react instantly without resistance—no, without thought. Do you see now? It means becoming like clear water." He stated.
"Water…" Diana asked as she quirked her eye brow.
Bruce smiled for a moment and thought back to when he was trained in Jeet Kune Do. His instructor had to teach him how powerful water could be. It was a lesson that he understood quite well after seeing how easily she was able to turn his own attacks against him. He decided to explain it as his old master had explained it to him.
"Right. Water can take any form. It drifts without effort one moment, then pounds down in a torrent the very next, so do you understand?" He asked.
"Not really…" She said as she looked at him.
"Stand." He said simply
She did and looked at him with a questioning glance.
"Now, punch at me." He stated.
She smirked and didn't give him any warning. Instantly her arm struck out and she attempted to hit him only to find that he once again caught her wrist. She tried to pull back and when she did went forward toward her before she could blink his arm was snaked around her neck in a near choke hold. She lunged forward violently and he quickly released.
"Now, you do the same." He said as he attacked her.
Her first impulse was to block which to her credit she blocked three of his six strikes. Soon though she grabbed his arm and in a similar fashion as he had done she flipped him over. Before he could get up she straddled his back and held her elbow at the same amount of pressure on the back of his neck as he had held his on the back of hers. She smirked until she felt him move. She tried to counter it, but again almost as if he was boneless he escaped her. She watched as he slammed his shoulder against a single marble column that stood near them and she could hear the sickening pop of the shoulder resetting.
"How can you do that? How can you escape being held so easily?" She asked.
"Training 'Princess'" he answered.
"Teach me. I want to learn everything." She said.
Over the course of the next few hours she learned how to escape from various holds, ties, and traps. Bruce marveled how easily she picked up what he taught. She had to be corrected at times, something might have to be reinforced, but it was as if her mind was a sponge and everything he said, all of the new information as merely soaked into itself. By the time that he knew he had to explain why an ambush would be needed Diana seemed more ready than before. He knew that her current skill level lacked what could be done, but he had no doubt in his mind that given time she would could eventually match him, and more than likely given the fact that she herself was immortal one day she would surpass him.
"You've done well." He said as they walked toward the palace.
She smiled, and it wasn't the reserved smile she seemed to have when addressed, the slight polite smile she put up, but it was a real smile of accomplishment, of happiness.
Her smile dropped as they began to walk the stone path toward the palace. Walking down the stone path, she felt stinging glares thrown at them by her fellow sisters. She waved off their disapproval with a single thought that all this would not matter tomorrow.
They entered the palace doors earning more scolding glares, from nearby guards. The Queen showed no less irritation on her face. Her cold stare directed at Bruce could match his own Bat-glare. Remaining unfazed he moved toward the front of the foyer in front of Hippolyta.
"Attending rather less childish matters" The queen began with a scolding harsh tone directed at Diana, "This threat is eminent, I have consulted with the gods and pleaded for their protection, by sun down I expect you stand your ground, we will not have these intruders set foot on our Island, am I understood?"
Bruce analyzed her words and fought back a frown, "These intruders are instructed in the same art as I am, none of your soldiers could stand up to one of them, I suggest otherwise"
His words earned a glare from Diana who stood next to him, swallowing down her pride she redirected her gaze back to her mother, who's furiosity seemed outmatched by the rest of the guards in the room, "Mother, he is right, I believe our sister are not ready for this kind of combat."
"A few hours and he has already tainted you with his disdain?" The queen's words were lined with venom.
Diana didn't hide her hurt expression, she looked back chidedly at Bruce for his lack of respect while verbalizing his thoughts, "Mother please reconsider, he has been victorious against this foe once before"
Bruce stood their noiselessly, his eyes bored into the Queen's gaze, "And what do you suggest, 'Wayne?"
"We have the element of surprise; we use that against them, think…Troy"
"A Trojan horse would not do us any goo-"
Bruce looked at the Queen and made no attempt to drop his gaze or shuffle his feet. She narrowed her gaze and studied his face for a moment.
"Explain how we would benefit from a Trojan horse? We are not invading an empire." Hippolyta said
"No, we're protecting one. In open combat, with the element of surprise they will attack and kill without ever being seen. How I attacked earlier is nearly the same as they will do. The difference is I did not kill. They will without question. They will follow the command of their master and they will kill each and every Amazon until the ground is red from the very amount of blood they will shed." He stated
Having their attention he continued, "But gather them into a place, let them come to you where they cannot escape easily then you have the upper hand. You force them to fight different, you force them to face you rather than sneak in like a thief in the night."
He knew that appealing to the fact that even though they would have to hide to begin they would be facing their enemies face to face would be enough to hopefully convince the queen.
"Very well… We have created the dummies as you suggested and now I see why. We shall draw them into this trap Wayne." Hippolyta said.
He could tell by her expression that she was not pleased with the idea of it, but she wanted to do what would she could to protect her subjects, and her daughter.