The knife pierced through the majority of Apollo's bokken.
Apollo spun around and tried to swing his bokken, but half of it directly broke off just like that.
To make things worse, nobody was there. He wanted to turn around, but a knife had already pierced his chest at that point.
Apollo tried to force his head around, but his vision darkened before he could see anything.
Apollo's eyes slowly opened.
...A seed of hopelessness filled him.
It was like his assassin was a ghost, invisible, but ready to stick a knife in his chest at any moment.
Apollo set his first goal.
Find out who or what his assassin was.
Apollo walked over to the foot of his bed, making sure to keep his head facing forward. He bent over to pick up the bokken.
As he rose, his head snapped around and his bokken blocked the incoming knife.
At the corner of his vision, he was able to catch a corner of a robe.
Apollo's eyes narrowed and randomly swung his bokken towards where he thought the assassin would be.
But all he hit was air and a knife stabbed into his back.
Apollo grit his teeth.
As he collapsed, he forced some words out of his mouth.
Apollo opened his eyes.
He clenched his fists.
Apollo slowly walked over to his bokken and picked it up.
This time, he did not attempt to block the strike directly but instead tried to use his bokken to divert it.
As his bokken swung behind him to block, he felt something brush by the tip. Then a knife pierced his chest.
Apollo fell to his knees, but the inner corners of his eyebrows were trying to dig into his eyes.
The fire inside him was still burning strong.
Apollo opened his eyes and used his hand to rub against his chin.
"Was it too slow that time?"
Apollo was deep in his thoughts, but still walked over to his bokken.
He picked up his bokken and immediately brought it behind his back.
The knife hit the bokken and pierced into it diagonally. Apollo's wrist nearly snapped as he did not know how to wield a sword.
Apollo groaned with pain and by the time he came to, a knife was already in his chest.
Apollo stumbled and fell to one knee.
He felt a little bit of sanity was being chipped from him each time he died.
His heart was tired, but his legs forced him to stand.
Once again he went over to pick up the bokken.
This time, he made sure to have a proper grip. Once the knife diagonally pierced the bokken, his wrist hurt, but not enough to hamper him.
His body swung around in an effort to catch a glimpse of the ethereal assassin, but still only caught the corner of a robe.
His vision darkened.
Apollo narrowed his eyes.
This time Apollo twisted his sword, trying to catch the knife in his bokken. The assassin took half a second to twist out their knife.
This let Apollo get a glimpse of his assassin's figure.
However, the amount of time he laid his eyes on the assassin was too short and his eyes could not process the visual in time.
He tried to bring his bokken to his back before it was pierced but was a step too late.
Apollo fell to a knee and used his bokken to prop himself up.
Apollo sucked in a deep breath.
He blocked the assassin's attack and twisted his bokken. Right after spinning around, his bokken shot out to protect him again.
The knife thunked into the bokken and pulled away before Apollo twisted again.
Apollo whipped back but did not even catch a glimpse of his assassin this time.
Instinctively, he pushed his bokken to cover his back, but then the assassin was at his front, no longer hiding. The assassin was thrusting a dagger straight to his chest.
Apollo's eyes widened as he saw his killer.
It was a mature woman in a tight black dress. She had short black hair and dark brown eyes.
Her skin was almost eerily smooth and she had bright red lipstick on her lips.
Her face was expressionless and she did not appear to be in any sort of panic.
On her hands were black translucent fingerless gloves. One of her hands had a dagger and was thrusting it straight into Apollo's chest. The other hand was free, though a dagger was left on her belt.
As his vision darkened, his eyes tried to force themselves open to imprint the image of the assassin for a little bit longer.
Apollo blinked a few times.
"Hey, are you there?"
There was no response.
Apollo was not discouraged.
"A lady shouldn't play with daggers you know, it's danger-"
His assassin appeared in front of him, her eyes were furrowed, but her dagger was firmly planted in Apollo's chest.
Apollo fell onto his back.
"Damn... not much of a talker are you?"
Apollo woke with unsteady feet.
He quickly caught the side of his door and regained his bearings.
A bitter smile was on his face.
"I guess we can only do this the hard way."
Apollo walked over to the bokken and picked it up once again.
Apollo died time and time again. He was experimenting with whatever sword technique he could think of.
Sometimes he would let himself be led by his instincts, randomly moving the sword in seemingly foolish ways.
Sometimes he died after blocking two hits, sometimes three.
There were also times he could only block one or none altogether.
Each time he woke up standing at the entrance to his bedroom, his legs would shake more.
His mind could imagine the pain even as he simply stood there.
He ended up falling right at the bedroom entrance. Every time he did not get up fast enough, he would die by a dagger entering his chest.
However, no matter how many times he fell, he forced himself to stand up.
Stand up, Apollo!