The first of the two giant scorpions lunged in, but Jack whacked the claw out of the way. The tail twitched menacingly above him, a drop of translucent venom flicking from its barbed tip. The giant arthropod attempted to seize him again, this time with both claws, but Jack wedged his stick sideways into the left claw propping it open and making it useless. The scorpion immediately backed up two paces and shook its claw but could not clear the stick.
The Spartan closed in on the distracted arthropod, bringing the heavy stick down on its back. The creature spun violently in place and the Spartan darted around it to rain down more blows, but they bounced ineffectively from the creature’s exoskeleton.
Jack turned to grab another stick and saw that Trotsky wasn’t faring any better. The other scorpion had seized him around one of his colossal thighs and the giant could not wrench himself free. Blood trickled past the claw to dot the arena floor, while the giant lurched backwards and to the side to avoid the lashing, venomous tail and the second, snapping pincer. He was as large as the scorpion and had enough strength in his one free leg to drag the monster with him as he moved, but when he made a single misstep, the second pincer seized his one free leg, and now it held him in line with the deadly tail.
Jack drove in to help the giant, but his way was cut off by the first scorpion as it backed away from the Spartan and slashed forward with its tail. The Spartan, caught by surprise, and the barbed tail slammed into the breastplate. The venom had been blocked, but the sheer strength of the blow sent the Spartan sprawling.
Then the scorpion turned to face Jack, held up its one blocked claw and shook it as if it were making a threatening gesture. Whether the gesture was intended to be intimidating or was simply a reflex, it hardly mattered as Jack watched the stick he had wedged in to incapacitate the pincer. The iron-hard wood bent, then split. With a noise like a thunder-crack, it broke in half and landed in two jagged-ended pieces on the ground.
The scorpion stepped over the pieces as it closed in on Jack. The crowd roared in approval.