Takes place a few paragraphs further on than the last 'peek'. Merle's opponent has looked him over, and judged him wanting. He smiles a condescending little smile at Merle.
One way or another, this would be my last fight for the day.
I smiled back, showing my teeth, and the crowd roared again. I was the favourite here. The crowd didn't care that this man was twice as broad as I was, didn't care that he had a sure decade of experience on me. They loved the fact that they'd seen me dance the blades upon these sands three times that day alone. I was the campion, and I'd held my post for longer than any champion before me.
They probably believed me invincible.
So did my master. He sent me out to fight, over and over again, even though the Arena regulations cited one fight a day per fighter. He sent me out to fight, and to win him money.
I was young for a fighter, but luck had been with me, and I had won. Over and over again.
I was champion of the sword, the youngest the Black Sands had ever seen. The crowds loved the champion. All of Corsette loved the champion.
They didn't love me. He wasn't real, this champion, wasn't me. I lived, I fought, I survived. Maybe today I wouldn't. Either way was fine with me. The crowd roared louder, and I lifted my sword again to engage the enemy.