AS 121 - Wren versus Triple X
RP Deadline Monday 2nd October 23:59 (Central).
Extensions available upon request.
A small bar, the outskirts of Moscow.
The walls of the club were rotting with damp, so much so that the smell of booze and cigarettes wasn’t the overpowering odour. Then again, to call this rotting, dark, unpleasant place a club was a bit much; it more resembled a shed with a couple of taps to pour beer from. And some stools.
And a large cage in the middle surrounded by blood thirsty spectators.
The two men were locked in a brutal fight; one was pinned in a corner, slumped whilst trying to keep his guard up, while the other rained down upon him. Fists, forearms an elbows kept crashing into the arms and face of the defending fighter to a tremendous reaction from the crowd, while all the time he was trying to lash out with his feet. Eventually, he got lucky, and pushed away with his legs, grasping at the cage wall to hoist himself up. Blood was oozing from his mouth, while a sick, sadistic smile overcame his face.
The aggressor, now more calm and collected, waited for a moment. The right moment. His opponent licked the blood from his lips, and charged forward to him…
…only to be met with a superkick to the jaw.
Down he went, heavy and bloody, to the wooden floor with a horrible thud. The fans in attendance roared, most in celebration while many were, shall we say, displeased.
Another man in the cage, the closest thing they had to a referee, raised the other man’s hand and handed him a huge wad of money. His winnings. The pseudo-referee grabbed an old-fashioned microphone, and in Russian bellowed;
‘Вот ваш победитель…’
Here is your winner…
The fighter grimaced in pain, no smile on his face. He grabbed a beer from one of the spectators as he exited the cage, whilst being looked over by a medic.
His opponent, lying prone on the canvas, began to stir. He rolled over and spat out blood that had formed in his mouth. He rolled his tongue around;
One…two…only two teeth. Could have been worse.
He pushed himself up into a kneeling position, and looked up to the roof of the hut. A single raindrop landed on his blood-soaked cheek, as he took in one huge deep breath. As he released it, a man, average height with a little extra weight, bald and an unshaven face, approached him. He offered his hand out, and helped the defeated fighter to his feet.
‘Come, we must have you checked out.’ The man said, in heavily accented English.
The fighter began to walk with him out of the cage, sweeping his purple hair back out of his eyes.
‘This is no place for a man like Triple X.’
‘288,000 Rubles, for your trouble.’
He took the wad of notes and placed it on the table in the centre of the room. Triple X didn’t turn around; instead he continued to bandage his hand by the sink. The cage walls had caused a nasty gash on the back of his left hand. He didn’t care. Being hurt was part of the reason he was in Russia.
‘For a man who collected around five thousand dollars US, for a losing effort, you seem…unimpressed.’
X fished around in his mouth for a moment, and one loud grunt later, a tooth came back out with his hand.
‘Well it looks like your earnings will come in handy sooner than you thought.’
He dropped the money on the side of the sink.
‘Come now. We drink.’
‘You drink, Andrey.’
‘Ahhh don’t worry. For you, the finest Russian branded Cola! For me, the same. With Vodka.’
Xander turned to give him a look as if to say “seriously?”
‘I know. Typical Russian.’
Andrey poured him a glass and then saw to his own drink, and the two men sat down. X picked up his glass and downed the drink immediately.
‘Maybe good you don’t drink, I think.’
‘Yeah, tell me about it.’ X dropped the glass back onto the table.
‘I…I still don’t get it. You, here. Why?’
‘That is a good answer from someone running from their decisions.’
‘Well they’re my decision to worry about.’
‘And I sense they weigh greatly on you.’
‘Really? And what do you know?’ X stood up and walked back over to the sink, leaning on the bowl. ‘I appreciate everything you’ve done for me since I came here. This place, the deal you have with Vlad, but…you don’t get to analyse me.’
‘No analysis. Just statement.’
X sighed, and looked back up into the mirror.
‘Men often do what they do in response to the pain the feel in their heart, or the pain in their body. Or, sometimes…men do what they do to make others feel that pain. Which are you, Xander?’
‘…I highly doubt you have lived in Russia for three years since.’
‘What makes you say that?’
‘You forget. Huge wrestling fan. I’d have known. Speaking of which…’
Andrey reached down to his bag and pulled out a tablet. He flipped out the stand and clicked on an app. It took Xander a moment before realising what it was.
‘Tenth Anniversary. Big moment! You should be there too.’
‘What, for the fans to boo me for showing them who they really are? For the company to put me in some random match just to use me, and deny me of my rightful place at the top?? I wouldn’t give them the damn satisfaction. Wait…don’t they have Russian commentary? Why are you watching in English?’
‘Russian translation team are horrible. Until they have Russian announce table at Pay Per Views, I will watch in English.’
X couldn’t help but chuckle. All of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. Andrey muted the tablet and ran up to answer it. Before opening, he turned and looked back at X.
He nodded, and the door opened. A man in a fine, black suit, black shirt with a red tie, and his dark brown hair tied back into a ponytail walked in, flanked by two huge men. Their guns were in their holsters, but they were all too visible for X’s liking.
‘Good to see you, Vlad.’
Vlad looked at Andrey, before turning his attention to X. ‘You have fight in three days. Some of my business associates will be meeting me for huge event. Card will be big. Our star fighter will appear, main event, and you will lose to him. Six thousand US for loss.’ HE squared up to Triple X, their noses becoming uncomfortably close. ‘Understood?’
Vlad glared at him for a moment longer, before turning and walking back to the door.
‘Andrey, you are needed at the club. Urgent business matter.’
He glanced over to the table, where Big Will and Steamboat Ricky had just begun a test of strength. ‘You fight for real now. Wrestling not real sport.’
He smiled, with a wicked point either side of his mouth, before being escorted out by his guards, the last one slamming the door behind him.
‘I hate that guy.’ Andrey muttered.
'Always about business. Typical fucking Russian.'
He looked up, and X’s gaze was transfixed on the tablet. A small glimmer in his eye was present, unlike anything Andrey had ever witnessed before.
‘Why fight in cage?’
X snapped out of his trance-like fixation with the screen.
‘You are no cage fighter. You can fight and you can win, sure, but why take money to lose when you can be best of best in that world.’
X remained silent, his eyes falling back on the tablet.
‘You could lie down each time, also, but you don’t. You hurt them every single time as much as you can, before letting them get in one final blow. That Piotr you last fought, he had a fractured cheekbone, and a cracked rib or two. Is that not excessive?’
‘It’s what I need to do.’
‘You wouldn’t understand.’
‘You are not wrong, my friend. I do not.’
Andrey paused for a moment, before continuing;
‘Don’t tell me you don’t miss it.’
‘I…if I did I wouldn’t be here.’
‘I think it’s because you miss it, that is precisely why you are here.’
X pondered on this for a moment. ‘I can’t. I couldn’t. I couldn’t work for them again, and even if I wanted to, who says they’d want me?’
‘How could they not?? Triple X! The best in the world wants to come back, you really think they’ll say no. And besides-‘ he walks over to X and puts his arm around him. ‘-why not make them work for you?’
‘And how do I do that?’
Andrey patted him on the shoulder, before picking his bag up and opening the door. ‘By winning the World Title. Then you are the boss.’
‘Hey, you’re tablet-‘
‘Nope. Keep it for now. Watch the show. Who knows, it may help you decide what you want to be.’
He closed the door behind him, leaving X standing there. He grabbed the tablet and sat on his bed. His hand hovered over the buttons, and fell to one in particular…
A Few Days Later
The bar was heaving full of people. Many, unscrupulous people all wearing suits, many packing heat, all with wads of money. The lights were down low, but a single spotlight in the cage illuminated Vlad, in his finest white suit, holding a microphone.
‘Our main event this evening, my friends. First, he has the heart of a lion, our resident pitbull, he is…THE AMERICAN!!!’
Triple X walked out, fists taped and elbow pads on. His jeans were his regular fighting attire and as such, were blood strained beyond belief. He pulled against the cage walls, psyching himself up for what was to come.
‘His opponent…you know him already, he is undefeated. He is the King of the Cage. He is simply known as……THE BULL!!!!’
X turned around and, what can only be described as a Caucasian Incredible Hulk walked into the cage. Muscles everywhere, fight shorts, taped ankles
and wrists, and a mean look on his face.
Vlad walked past X and nodded at him. X smirked, knowing what was about to come.
A bell rang, and the Bull paced back and forth, almost as if to try and intimidate X, who simply stood still. He waited, and waited, before finally the Bull charged like his namesake. He got close, but X rolled out of the way. He ran to the other side of the cage, letting his back hit the cage. He took one look up and, and the Bull began to run back, X took his chance, he ran as hard as he could for a few steps, before leaping off of his feet, leading forward with one boot. The boot caught the Bull square in the jaw, and he stopped dead, before crumpling into a heap on the floor of the cage. X stood there for a moment, waiting to see if he would stir, but the man in charge checked on him. No response.
X looked out of the cage. Vlad was going almost as red as his tie, shouting to the referee in Russian, saying what X could only assume to be ‘Check him!’
over and over again.
The room fell silent, and X took this as his chance. He bolted for the door but the goons working for Vlad slammed the door shut. X jumped as high as he could, grabbing the top of the cage, pulling himself up to the top. He looked down, and could see the business associates of Vlad pulling guns out and taking the safety off of them. X leaped off of the cage without a second thought, landing on the armed men below, when there was a bang. X looked up as he pulled up from the floor; a gun had fired during the mass cross body and hit someone on the other side in the arm. The thugs accompanying this man all pulled guns out, and aimed it in the direction of the man who accidentally fired, whose comrades all set aim on their counterparts also. X ran, as fast as he could towards the door as the bullets began to fly.
The bouncer at the door reached down for a gun, but before he could, X’s foot had connected; the first X-Rated superkick in years. The guard dropped, and X ran out onto the cold, dark street, no shirt, bloody stained jeans and no idea where to go. Before he could try and work out where to go, an old, beaten up car appeared out of nowhere.
‘Get in, crazy bastard!!!’ Andrey yelled.
X didn’t need to be told twice, jumping in.
‘You out of your mind???? Do you realize what you just
‘I think I just handed my resignation.’
‘Both our resignations from life, yes.’
‘You were the one who told me to choose.’
‘Yes, choose. But not choose suicide.’
‘Maybe I’m choosing life instead…’
Andrey looked at X, who rather confusingly had a smile on his face. He
turned back to the road, understanding the potential of what they were about to do.
‘Then where are we heading to, Triple X?’
‘The airport. Its time.’
A Few Weeks Later
Xander was sitting in the hotel room, eyes closed, relaxing. He had yet to let anyone know he was back stateside, but the time was coming when it would become difficult to remain hidden. The contract was signed, physical passed; Triple X was returning to WZCW. But not for a few weeks. He had just missed the deadline for this weeks shows, and indeed Meltdown had already happened. He was in Keystone City for Ascension, even without being booked, just to try and get back into the swing of traveling for shows.
The door opened, and Andrey walked in, rocking a grey suit and newly acquired tan.
‘Xander, the confirmation is through, and you will be performing at the next shows. Opponent to be revealed but your return will be on Ascension.’
X nodded, but continued hitting there, eyes closed.
‘…I thought you’d be mad at that.’
‘I haven’t wrestled in over three years. I may pass all the tests they can throw at me but they want to see me prove I can still go. I hive no issue with that.’
‘You have issue with… something, yes?’
‘I want to be there now. I don’t want to wait.’
‘Patience is a keen ally of the successful, my friend. ‘
‘Yeah…’ X opened his eyes and leaped from his seat. ‘I’ve never been one for waiting around to be honest.’
X grabbed a hoodie and opened the door, leaving Andrey rather puzzled.
‘Where are you going, Xander?’
‘Just… stretching my legs. I have some aggression I need to take out.’
‘The ink is barely dry on the contract, Xander-‘
‘Don’t worry. I know exacty what I’m doing.’
The Next Day
He contemplated his return opponent, Wren. He went onto the internet to find a few of her matches. One in particular stood out, and he began to watch. In truth, he didn’t know much about her, only what he’d watched in the last couple of weeks, and a little from his own time in Japan. While he’d never worked for the same company she had, she’d created enough of a buzz even back then to make a name for herself. A silent warrior, with unparalleled agility, and a dangerous Skytwister Press, this was enough for him to take notice of her. Let alone the fact that Titus Avison, the longest reigning Eurasian Champion, had fallen to her back at Meltdown 139. She had beaten the best, no doubt.
Steven Holmes, Blade, S.H.I.T., Saboteur, Steven Kurtesy, Rush, Alex Bowen, Ricky Runn, and even the World Champion, Justin Cooper. That’s my list.
I may be willing to take notice of her, X thought, but all it will mean is I’m better prepared for her.
The match against Titus has been on for a few minutes, and X leans forward, taking in every inch of Wren’s movement.
A knock at the door broke X from his trance. He opened it, revealing Andrey with a huge smile on his face.
‘So, how is apartment?’
‘Yeah, it’s…its nice.’
‘You don’t like?’
X sighed. ‘It’s great, but how nice my place is doesn’t register at the moment. There’s too much going on. When I have my title, and WZCW and the fans fall in disarray, I’ll have time to sit back and relax.’
‘Your point is fair, Xander.’
‘Andrey…I do want to say thank you. I know what happened in Russia put you in a bad spot.’
‘No, Xander, do not worry! I have never had as much fun as I have since coming to this country. Well, as much fun legally anyway. And besides, I should be thanking you. More opportunities for me here in US. And being your agent also helps, too.’
‘Well, you helped me out. Only fair I do the same.’
‘You are a good man, Xander Knight.’
X smiled. ‘Oh, I doubt that very much.’
X’s phone began to ring. The caller came up as one name, one he knew too well, and since his on-camera return on Ascension he had been waiting for;
INCOMING CALL: TALIA
‘Andrey, I’ve gotta take this, I won’t be long.’
‘No problem, my friend.’
X walked down the hall with the phone in his hand, thinking before answering. So much was going through his head now his return was so close. Ring rust didn’t register. He knew what he could do and it wasn’t as if he’d remained inactive in the last three years. That reaction though, when he ran through to attack Vee ADZ and Mussel…he hadn’t expected the initial cheer. But they were soon put in their place.
The fans. Oh how he’d missed them. That’s a lie actually, he really hadn’t. But he had missed beating the best of WZCW and making them have to sit through it. Making them have to feel all of the emotions they’d made him feel.
It wasn’t just them though. He didn’t care about any one. The fans, the other wrestlers. The company. It could all burn, as far as he was concerned. WZCW was a means to an end, for him to continue doing one thing. Hurt people.
…well, maybe more than one thing. His WZCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Andrey watched X walk down the hall, and began to close the door to the room Xander had been in. He glimpsed in just before doing so, however, and the sight scared, confused and worried him down to his core. The room was all white, except for on the far wall was one word. The liquid it was written in had run, and streaked the wall in a blood-coloured crimson.
W R E N
Hey, I'm just sayin'.
Cold. Dark. If these were feelings, it was exactly how I felt. I couldn’t help but feel the storm brewing in the distance. The voices wouldn’t keep quite either.
“Why?” asked one of them.
“Why weren’t you there?”
The constant screams in the background drowned the voices as the storm approached. I was rooted, unable to move, unable to look away from the approaching storm.
Back in Japan. Back to my home. I wanted to run away from these nightmares, but they didn’t want to leave me. The constant barrage of disconcerting images flashing by. I didn’t know what to do. I just wanted to bury all these thoughts, these nightmares. I thought escaping the US and spending time here in a more familiar territory would help me. Horigoshi had invited me to stay with her for the week before I went for my next match. Clearly it didn’t work though.
Allison was awake by now. She insisted on tagging along. She said she wanted to see the place she had left behind 13 years ago. She said she worried about me and wanted to be with me in case I needed her. It was odd behavior from her but ever since she came back, she had been very supportive of me, a side I never saw from her before she left. Maybe these 13 years changed her for good? I hadn’t found any reason to doubt her.
“Still couldn’t sleep?” I didn’t answer. There was nothing to answer. It was a constant struggle.
“I remember you screaming yourself awake all those years ago. I didn’t know you still had these nightmares.” I didn’t. For the most part. Ever since I started wrestling, these nightmares had gone away, only to resurface lately.
Horigoshi was awake as well. Well, she did wake up early, so it wasn’t a surprise. She was eavesdropping on us.
“You need some help, I guess.” Horigoshi was right. I did need some help. May be a lot of help.
“Get ready then. I must take you with me.”
“So where are we going?” Allison looked ready to go up the hill.
“It’s the monastery at the top of the hill. It’s famous for its monks. By the way, I didn’t know you’d come too.”
“Oh I’m coming. I’m definitely coming all the way up.”
“It’s a long climb and would test everything you’ve got in your body. She is trained for it. Are you?”
“See, I may not have been trained like her, but I’m tough. Don’t go on my looks. I’m a survivor, and I can take anything.”
“Alright, your wish.”
The hill had a pathway built around it to climb. However, it wasn’t wide or secure enough to drive vehicles on it. The only way up was on foot. The hike wasn’t any easy. Allison was already exhausted.
“How much… more… do we… have to go?” Allison was clearly out of breath.
“We are only halfway through.”
“How are… you… not tired?”
Horigoshi didn’t answer. She just smiled and we continued our hike. After a couple of hours, we finally arrived at the gate of the monastery. I was astonished by the magnificence of the place. It was beautiful!
“This is one of the oldest monasteries around here. When I was a child, my father used to bring me here. I have spent a lot of my time harnessing my life force, my chi here.”
With all the beauty of the place, I couldn’t help but notice the calmness around. It soothed you from within.
“We are here to meet with my first ever teacher. He taught me a lot of things. May be he will help you too.”
The central temple of the monastery was where the monk sat. Before we entered, I noticed that Allison was nowhere to be seen. As I turned to Horigoshi to inform, I saw Allison, all drenched in sweat, huffing and puffing her way to the gate. She crashed to the ground as soon as she reached the gate.
“I… am… never coming back… here… ever… again. I can… beat up… guys twice my size… but I ain’t doing this shit… again.”
“I had told you. Anyway, we must not waste any more time. You come with me.”
She sat there with an elegance I hadn’t seen ever before.
“Ellie, I had been waiting for you.”
I was a little taken aback. “How does she even know my name?”
“Don’t worry, Ellie. Come close to me.”
Her eyes had been close this whole time. I sat in front of her, facing her. She put her hand on my forehead as if she was trying to read something.
“What is happening?”
She caressed my forehead, then put her other hand out and wrapped her hands around my head. It was rather unsettling.
“I sense… great turmoil within you. Let’s take you on a journey.”
A felt something in my head. I… I…
“Quiet. Let her do what she needs to do.”
“Why are you so restless?”
“I don’t know. I’m not a nun.”
“Whoa, what happened?”
“I sensed great pain. She has endured a lot.”
“But what about the nightmares?”
“The demons are still there. Present. Buried deep, festered wounds that don’t heal that easily. The past haunts her. It grips her.”
“Okay? But how do we fix this.”
“She needs to face her demons. She needs to go back to the place where the incident happened all those years ago.”
A came back to it in a little while.
“I could see what you’ve been through. You have to face up to everything that you’re hiding from my child. Until then, these wounds won’t heal.”
I wanted the pain to go. May be this was the only way I could do it.
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