AS 125 – Kagura & Blades vs Wren & Vega
RP deadline will be the Monday the 12th of February at 23:59EST. Extensions available upon request.
Reinstate The Fox!
"I believe there is beauty in darkness… I have to." -Priya
The New York sky is the pristine shade of blue often saved for dreams and visions. The few clouds gently floating by glow shades of white while bright beams of yellow sunlight playfully pierce through. Apollo seems to be at the apex of his journey across the heavens as his chariot drags the sun to its highest point of the day. The winds are whirling in ways they only do at high altitudes, indifferent to the world far below.
Long black and auburn hair sparkle in the sunshine as it joins the wind in its whirling waltz. Delicate hands tightly grip the wooden railing lining this rooftop balcony. The rays of light seem to caress this woman’s warm golden-brown skin. Her head is tilted up as if she were staring straight into the sun. Her eyes remain hidden behind Lennon-esque black circle-lensed sunglasses nestled on her nose. Her long bohemian sweater, while loosely wrapped around her, still manages to whip in the wind. Her serene face suddenly shifts to curious as her nostrils flare inquisitively. A sly smile crawls across her face accompanied by a subtle shake of her head.
She makes sure to speak loudly enough so that her voice, English accent and all, can be heard over the sounds of the winter breeze. A couple of dozen feet behind her stands Vega smoking a Camel Menthol No. 9 cigarette. A black fedora nests over his long, unkempt black hair. His body is warmly hugged by a long flowing gray sweater that looks frayed towards the bottom. His black torn and fitted jeans are tucked into his faded gray leather boots. He exhales nicotine infused, watching it overpower the condensation his breath causes when it meets the cold February air. His eyes are also hidden by sunglasses, but we can see his eyebrows furrow slightly above them as he looks towards the woman with a smile on his face.
Vega takes his time walking across the roof top towards Priya. Her back remains towards him as her head continues to be tilted up towards the sky.
Heard me coming?
She shakes her head.
No… the smoke. It’s a dead giveaway.
Vega judgmentally looks down towards the cigarette that announced his presence to Priya but smiles again before taking another inhale. Smoke spills upwards out of his mouth while he responds.
Good thing I don’t make a living being stealthy…
Will nods as he approaches the wooden railing to stand next to Priya.
Without breaking her concentration on the sun, she reaches over and places her hand on Will’s forearm. She moves down his arm until she reaches his hand and grabs Vega’s cigarette between her index and middle fingers. She brings it to her lips and jubilantly take a pull herself. She inhales profoundly, then holds the cigarette out in front of Will. Realizing she’s returning his Camel, he gladly takes it back while Priya exhales the smoke into the winter air. She suddenly feels a sense of relaxation nature could not provide her.
Do you ever miss it?
She doesn’t break her concentration with the sun. The brightness is too strong for Vega, even with his sunglasses. He, instead, looks down over the railing at the busy downtown Manhattan streets.
The stealth life.... y’know, the robbing and the killing.
The government sanctioned high security infiltrations and international assassinations?
You say tomato…
Vega grins after Priya’s English pronunciation of “tomato.” For a moment he thinks about pronouncing it the way an American would, but he decides his time would be better spent enjoying the final pull of his cigarette. His eyes endure on the active environment below as he releases his smoky breath into the cool air.
I used to think they looked so insignificant.
Vega leans on his forearms against the railing and focuses down the street more intently than before.
All of them… down there.
Priya’s silence invites a further explanation form Will.
People… I always looked down at them in some way or another. It’s a lot easier when you don’t care.
The only way you could be certain of that is if you ever cared for someone in the first place.
And I have. Sure, I’ve cared for people in the past. See, the thing about me is… I’ve always been the kind of guy that runs away from his past.
The past is-
-and don’t give me any “boats against the current” Gatsby bull about my past being important to my future. Trust me, kiddo… I get it.
Priya’s flashes a sunlit smile as she accepts Vega’s stifling, for now.
Truth is… yeah, I do.
Priya tilts her head ever so slightly towards Will, her face still pointed upwards towards the sky.
I miss the mayhem…
Vega’s reminiscing causes him to don a despondent mask while he keeps watch of the world below.
I swear Will, only you would be so bloody morbid on such a beautiful day.
Will breaks his concentration from the city and looks over towards Priya, his head tilted down as he curiously peaks over his shades and through the strays of his hair that haplessly flap in the wind.
What exactly would you know about how beautiful this day is?
Priya’s head finally turns away from the sun and turns towards Vega’s general direction.
Look up, Will. See how beautiful the sky is today?
Vega can’t help but wear a confused look on his face as he glances towards the sky for a brief moment before diverting his attention back to Priya.
Uh, yeah… I see the sky, Priya... but you don’t.
She laughs as if Vega just hit the punchline of a joke, still not facing his direction.
Oh, love… have I ever told you about the worst day of my life?
No, I’m usually the one with the war stories.
Priya nods in agreement while mentally visualizing the worst moment she has stored in her memory bank.
I believe I’ve had a wonderful life. My mother and father had me less than a year after moving from Mumbai to Manchester. I was the first born, my little sister wasn’t born until I was 12.… For the longest time I was just a little girl awe struck with the world. Everywhere I looked I saw something beautiful; the colours, the shapes, it was all mesmerizing to me. I was always kind of awkward… rather clumsy, y’know? Always tripping or bumping into things... I could never hit the ball when I played footie or cricket or even bloody tennis. Mum would tell me it was normal for a child, and I would learn how to be better. Learn…
I was home schooled for the first 16 years of my life; did I ever mention that?
Vega shakes his head, but Priya doesn’t notice. It doesn’t matter, she continues trudging through her tale.
I wanted to race cars and ride horses. I wanted to feel free. I wanted to feel speed. I remember my first driving lesson, I was 16. My dad took me driving in a church parking lot while it was empty. I nearly crashed three times. I would have, if it weren’t for him. The day I turned 17, I went with my parents to accompany my little 5-year-old sister to the doctor. She was always in and out of doctor’s offices… my parents would always tell me she had issues with her vision. So, on this day I took the eye exam first, before my sister, as I innocently had many times before to show her there was no reason to be afraid. So, after my fake eye exam, the doctor looked at my file and realized it just happened to be my birthday… so he turned to me and said “Happy Birthday! What are you gonna do to celebrate!?”
And I replied “I’m gonna learn how to drive!”
She hesitates for a moment…
Then... there was a silence. One of those awful silences… when you know something is terribly, terribly wrong...
Priya’s lips purse, her hands visibly clench tighter before she gathers herself to continue on with Vega’s undivided attention.
…and the doctor turned to my mother and said… “You haven’t told her yet.”
That was the day I learned I was legally blind. I always thought it was normal for the world to get unrecognizably blurry passed 2 feet. I thought it was normal for the world to only be clear when it was directly in front of your face. And I was fine with that. I thought what I was seeing was beautiful. All the colours… all the shapes… simply beautiful. Then they told me that one day I wouldn’t even be able to see that. That one day all I would see was darkness.
And they were right. Now… everything is black.
Now all I see is darkness.
Vega’s head sinks low, the hair that escapes from under his fedora gently blows as he absorbs what Priya is saying.
How didn’t you know for 17 years?
My parents never wanted me to believe I was at a disadvantage from anybody else. I used to wear these thick glasses, and I would see other kids with glasses and assume that meant their vision was just like mine. I thought it was common… I thought we all saw the same things. I grew envious of the rest of the world, and of the world they saw. The truth is, I still envy everybody that can see colour.
Everybody but you, William.
She faces directly towards the sun as she was earlier. Vega raises his head from it’s sunken position to glance towards Priya’s direction.
Sometimes I believe the world you see is darker than mine. I spend my days looking up, while you look down. I look forwards, while you look backwards. I have seen beauty, I have felt it, and I recognize it still.
Both Will and Priya share a couple of muted moments, Priya reverting back to enjoying the feeling of the sun on her face, and Vega deep in thought as he looks downward.
Do you know one of the most common universal images human beings think of when the word “beautiful” enters their mind? It’s the idea of being on top of a high place in nature overlooking the world around you… a cliff overlooking the ocean, a mountain top surveying the terrain.
A rooftop towering above society…
The modern-day mountain top, I suppose. Either way, the reason that this image in nature resonates with beauty to us as a species is more science than art. Having the high ground, being able to keep watch of the world around you… that is security. And security is one of the basic needs of life. You told me all you see now is darkness. Where’s the beauty in that?
I believe there is beauty in darkness… I have to. It’s all I can see anymore.
Vega reaches into his sweater pocket, pulling out his pack of Camel Menthol No. 9s once again. He slips one out and shields it from the wind, igniting it with his lighter while taking a deep inhale.
My memories are bathed in darkness.
Smoke slowly escapes Vega’s lips as he continues.
I didn’t live among the shadows, I became a shadow. Legally I don’t even exist. Trust me, kiddo...
He shakes his head with disappointment.
There’s nothing beautiful about me.
Vega finds solace in his cigarette. Priya genuinely enjoys the second-hand smoke with a look of serenity.
There is this Buddhist belief that says when you meet someone who is bringing forth darkness and negativity what you are meeting is the echo of what their soul has experienced in the past. I moved into this building 4 years ago. In those 4 years I’ve known you to be a man living with guilt and regret. You smoke, drink, sniff and swallow your sorrows away every day in that penthouse… because you realize you are not the shadow, Will. Not anymore.
And what if I need to be?
What do you mean?
What if I need to walk with shadows once again?
Why would you need to do that?
There was one time in my life where I felt like my darkness was a weapon I could control, but to do it, I had to be in a world of mayhem and chaos. It was in the darkness of this mayhem that I truly shined. And now, I’m back… but I’m not the same person anymore Something has changed in the last 4 years.
Vega motions down to the street below.
I keep trying to think of these people as insignificant…
…but you can’t.
He shakes his head.
Last week I stood face to face with a woman… a woman who I had never met before, but who’s presence felt very familiar. I have been around people like that before. I used to be a person like that. When I felt her hands grab me, I could feel it…
Those hands have taken a life before.
With the Camel between his left index and middle finger, Vega holds his hands out, staring at his palms.
Just like mine.
Maybe that’s why I survived. Barely, survived. That feeling I felt, that darkness inside of her… it’s new. It’s fresh. Not like mine….
Maybe you can help her.
Help her? No, no… maybe she can help me. See this world I’ve returned to, it isn’t like this one. You skip around this world literally blind to everything around you and still find beauty in whatever you come across. You live in a world that believes that the meek shall inherit the earth. I don’t. Not anymore.
"Blessed are the meek…"
"...for they shall inherit the earth." It’s from the Bible. The Gospel of Matthew.
The Beatitudes. I’m familiar.
Right. You know most people’s understanding of that quote it flawed. The biblical term of meek didn’t mean someone who was passive or submissive. It was someone who would keep his sword in his sheath. They are a special kind of warrior who not only has the power to generate mayhem, but the ability to create peace. Just because you have returned to a world of darkness doesn’t mean you cannot be the light within it.
Well, this woman is certainly not meek. Her hands, her sword… they’ve spilt blood recently.
This woman with the blood stained hands… does she have a name?
They all have names. The killer, the biker, the priestess…and then there’s me. 4 years ago, I would have laughed at the notion of three people like them being in my presence. 4 years ago I would not have hesitated to pull the trigger on any of them. I’d feel nothing but recoil. But now? I guess it’s good I’ve got the sword swinger fighting with me instead of against me this time.
You will know when it’s time to swing your sword again. The instinct inside you never dies, and it is always better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war.
Priya reaches her hand out with two fingers stretched. Vega places his half-smoked cigarette between them as he turns his back towards the scenery. Instead, he leans backwards against the railing looking over in Priya's direction as she holds the Camel in the air waiting to indulge...
Some people don’t realize beauty until they know the story behind it. It's like I told you, William… I believe there is beauty in darkness.
She brings the cigarette to her lips and inhales deeply. Priya holds the smoke in for a few moments before releasing it, letting it fade into the wind. She faces Vega's general direction as a smile comes across her face.
And I see beauty in you.
A similar smile slowly creeps across Vega's face as the scene comes to an end.
Tyrone: Welcome back to the Tyrone Blades is Fucking Bored Tour on our way to Lethal Lottery!
The scene opens to Tyrone Blades and Mr. Jones walking around the Ginza District in Tokyo. Mr. Jones chomps away on a few sticks of Pocky, an irritated look on his face while Tyrone simply has his hands resting on the back of his head. Tyrone sighs as he adjusts his hat quick, clearly being irritated himself by the sea of humanity all around them. Mr. Jones seems to be fairing no better, sticking out in the crowd. He seems to even solicit stares from those unfamiliar of his distinct look.
Tyrone: Seriously Jones, it's like living in a tuna can around here.
Mr. Jones: Not to mention they won't let me fucking smoke while walking on the streets. I'm fiending for some nicotine Blades, can we please hit up one of the bars?
Tyrone: You're not going to have any luck finding a bar that'll let you smoke around here Jones. We should have gone to Shinjuku if you wanted to do that.
Mr. Jones: The fuck you know about Tokyo? You never wrestled over here.
Tyrone: You ever heard of the Internet Jones? I looked up what there was to do around here, so I figured we'd hit up the high class joints up first.
Jones looks around at the various bars and restaurants, the locals all seemingly dressed to the nines while Tyrone grits his teeth as another person bumps into him.
Mr. Jones: Ayo Tyrone, I don't mean to ruin you grand idea and all homie, but we lookin' real dressed down for some of these places.
Tyrone: Jones do you know who the fuck I am?
Mr. Jones: Tyrone Blades, greatest wrestler ever?
Tyrone smirks as he reaches into his coat and lights a cigarette up, causing those around him to glare in his direction as he laughs loudly.
Tyrone: Nah motherfucker, just call me Blades-sama tonight.
Tyrone takes a bee line towards one of the bars, a pair of Yakuza standing in front in full suits and their hands folded in front of them. Tyrone approaches and the two Yakuza immediately place their hands out, yelling at him in Japanese. Tyrone lifts his hands up as they pat him down for weapons. Tyrone nods to the two who return the motion. Jones quirks an eyebrow as he walks up behind Tyrone, but the Yakuza forcefully shove Jones backwards.
Mr. Jones: Yo what the fuck man?
Tyrone: I wouldn't fuck with them Jones.
Tyrone turns back towards the Yakuza and Jones and calls out to the Yakuza in rudimentary Japanese.
Tyrone: <He's with me. My protection. Let him pass.>
The Yakuza snicker at Tyrone's Japanese but they step back, allowing Jones to catch up to Tyrone, a look of bewilderment in his one good eye.
Mr. Jones: Since when the fuck do you speak Japanese?
Tyrone: Jones man, I know enough to not get my fucking neck sliced open. Look here man, while I was suspended from WZCW I made a trip out here to secure some business deals. Legal and....not so legal. I need to check in on an investment here. Now listen to me real fucking clear Jones.
Tyrone suddenly slams Jones into the wall as they enter the bar. Tyrone's face has a deadly serious look on it as he narrows his eyes at his friend.
Tyrone: You. Keep. Your. Mouth. Shut. You understand me? Not a fucking peep. You accept a drink from the bar. You sit there like a good boy, enjoy your whiskey, smoke a cigar and shut the fuck up. Respect is a serious thing here and I ain't about to rumble with the Yakuza on their turf because you had to crack a joke. Got it?
Mr. Jones: Alright alright, damn man you ain't fucking kidding about this are you?
Tyrone: Serious as a fucking heart attack Jones. Now let's go.
The two Hollow Ones turn and push through the door, entering a large bar area with smoke twisting throughout the air. An amber ambiance surrounds the area, many Japanese men wearing suits while waitresses wear traditional robes. Tyrone scans the crowd, finding the table he's looking for as he points towards the bar.
Tyrone: Over there Jones. And keep your god damn eye on me the whole time. Do not wander. Do not look at any women. Just keep an eye on that corner over there.
Tyrone takes his hat off and tosses it to Jones, who takes it and makes his way over to the bar area with nothing more than a nod towards his fellow Hollow One. Tyrone quickly ties his hair back as he walks towards the back of the bar. He walks up to two Yakuza standing in front of a red rope, a nod is shared between Tyrone and the two before they pat him down one more time before loosening the rope and letting him pass. Tyrone walks up to a small table, an older Japanese man sitting there with two guards next to him. Tyrone bows deeply as the Japanese man motions for him to sit down. The waitress comes over and pours Tyrone a glass of sake. He places his elbows on the table, folding his hands together.
Tyrone: <Matsuda. A pleasure to see you again.>
Matsuda studies Tyrone carefully before a smile forms on his face and laughter escapes him as he looks up to his two guards. He reaches into his coat, withdrawing a gold cigar box. He takes two out and hands one to Tyrone, and the two each cut the end before they light them up and take a deep inhale from them, the smoke entrails swirling around them as Tyrone takes a sip of sake.
Matsuda: <Ah my boy, it is good to see you have been working on the native language here. Though if it eases your mind we can speak in English.>
Tyrone: Thank you Matsuda. I don't wish to insult you accidentally.
Matsuda: There is no need for being proper Blades-sama, after all our partnership has proven to be very lucrative for the both of us the past two years. Your image on our Pachinko machines has pulled in so much new clientele to our store fronts. Now tell me, what brings you to Tokyo? Business, or a bit of pleasure?
Tyrone: Business actually. I still have the day job as you know.
Matsuda: Oh yes of course, I heard your company was in Tokyo this week. Perhaps I should attend, what night will you be competing?
Tyrone: As it stands I'm fighting on Ascension this week. I'll be teaming with the Japanese woman Kagura against Vega, and another woman who made her name in Japan, Wren.
Matsuda: Ah yes, Kagura. The shrine maiden. She has brought great pride to her countrymen with her victory in King For A Day. And Wren was rather popular while she was here as well. I do say my boy you may be the third most popular fighter in that contest here in Japan. I wonder how your ego would take that.
Tyrone smirks as he leans back a bit in his chair, puffing away on his cigar as Matsuda laughs loudly, slamming his hand on the table. Tyrone looks over at the bar, noticing Jones simply watching the table with his arms crossed. Tyrone nods towards him briefly before returning his gaze to Matsuda.
Tyrone: I would be perfectly fine with that. Unlike those two, I'm going home with a pile of cash from my cut of your machines. You, of course, have the money right Matsuda?
Matsuda's smile disappears for a moment as he snaps his fingers and one of the guards lifts up a leather briefcase, setting it on the table in front of Tyrone who's smile widens as he opens the briefcase, completely filled with 10,000 yen notes bundled up. Tyrone whistles a bit, taking out a stack of yen before he shuts the case and latches it closed.
Matsuda: Blades-sama, you know we could have just deposited the money directly to your account as our usual agreement.
Tyrone flips his thumb through the money before sliding it into his pocket, lifting and resting his leg on his other knee as he looks towards Matsuda.
Tyrone: Consider me a bit old school Matsuda, there's nothing better than physical money in your hand sometimes. I figured I would be in the area, and so I saved you the trouble of handling the bank fees.
Matsuda smirks and laughs as he lifts his glass of sake up, taking a long drink before motioning the waitress over.
Matsuda: Well then Blades-sama, now that our business is complete, what say we loosen up a bit. Drinks are on me, and your security is more than welcome to join us. He hasn't moved an inch since he sat at the bar.
Tyrone looks over his shoulder at Jones, who looks to be painfully forcing himself to not gaze anywhere other than the table, almost as if his one good eye hasn't blinked in minutes. Tyrone lifts his glass of sake up and motions Jones to join them. Jones quickly gets up and starts making his way over as Tyrone turns back to Matsuda.
Tyrone: That's good by me Matsuda. I could do without trying to walk through that crowd outside again.
Matsuda: Japan is such a great country Blades-sama, yet it's only negative is there is just simply not enough of it. Drinks are on me tonight. Oh and Tyrone, would you care for extra security from my team while you are in Tokyo? Carrying that much money around could lead to some, less than ideal people targeting you.
Tyrone: I'll have to respectfully pass Matsuda, this money isn't going to be with me by the end of tonight.
Matsudua: Oh is that so? Then please indulge the curious mind, what are you going to spend it on?
Tyrone: Oh it's not me that's going to be spending it. That'll be my girl's job.
Matsuda: The young miss Otaku you speak of? She seems to have taken to our culture, rather well I would say. She's very lucky to have you Blades-sama
Tyrone: No Matsuda, I'd say it's the other way around.
The two men raise their glasses in toast to one another as the scene fades away. It returns a few moments later outside of Animate in the Ikebukuro district. A high pitched squeal can be heard as the camera soon finds Batt and Tyrone walking into the shop. Batti can't believe her eyes at everything she seeing as Tyrone chuckles.
Batti: I've always wanted to come here Tyrone! Thank you for bringing me!
Tyrone: Of course girl, I knew you'd wanna check a place like this out.
Batti: I know we're going out for dinner....so I'll just pick out a few things and we can go. I don't want to spend too much anyway.
Tyrone: Now what fun would that be? Besides Batti, dinner can wait.
Tyrone sets the briefcase down on the store counter from earlier, unlatching it and opening it revealing the money inside. Batti's eyes go wide as she sees the amount of cash.
Tyrone: Get whatever you feel like getting girl, I got it covered.
Batti: Where the hell did you get that type of money?
Tyrone looks over his shoulder and suddenly notices a Pachinko machine emblazoned with his likeness for sale. He slips behind Batti, covering it up with his body so she doesn't see it.
Tyrone: Uh....let's just say merchandise sales were really good for my new shirt this month.
Batti: But you didn't have a new shirt come out this month...and you don't take a cut of your merch eith...
Tyrone: Less talking more shopping!
Batti has a confused look on her face but quickly shakes it away as she sees the large wall of DVD's. She quickly hugs Tyrone and gives him a quick kiss before she starts browsing through everything. Tyrone wipes his brow as he turns towards the Pachinko machine, his eyebrows quirking at some of his old persona's markings on it along with rather awkwardly drawn anime versions of himself. He walks back to the counter and closes the briefcase.
Tyrone: Batti I'm going outside to smoke, I'll be back in a minute.
Batti: Uh huh, yep ok Blades-sama!
Batti being thoroughly distracted gives him a quick answer, causing him to chuckle as he walks outside. He withdraws a cigarette and lights it up, finding a bench to sit on as he has the briefcase next to him. Soon a black limo pulls up outside the store, garnering Tyrone's attention as he turns his eyes towards it, absentmindedly taking a drag from his cigarette. The driver exits and opens the back door, and soon the rider is revealed to be Kagura. She steps out of the limo, clutching her Queen for a Day briefcase. Tyrone quirks an eyebrow at the odds of this happening, and then he sees the sign out front that he missed earlier announcing Kagura's appearance there that day.
Tyrone: Well shit. I hope Batti gets her shopping done quickl....shit.
As Tyrone curses himself out, it draws the attention of Kagura, who lifts an eyebrow towards Tyrone. Tyrone notices it and stands up, ashing his cigarette and grabbing his own briefcase as he walks over to her, bowing his head towards her and speaks in his rather basic Japanese.
Tyrone: <Kagura. A nice surprise. I did not know you would be here.>
Kagura: <You....you speak Japanese?>
Tyrone: <I can. Just a little. Enough to do business.>
Kagura: <I see. I wouldn't expect to see you in a place like this. I thought you would find the nearest bar and drink yourself into a stupor.>
Tyrone: <I took Batti here. To shop.>
Kagura: <Batti is inside? Well this isn't good. She and I aren't on the best of terms.>
Tyrone: <I would not worry. She is busy. Shopping.>
Kagura can't contain her laughter at Tyrone's brutal Japanese. She brings her Queen For A Day briefcase in front of her, clutching it in both her hands.
Kagura: <I can understand English if you wish to speak that. I just...cannot speak English very well however so if you'll try to keep up with my language.>
Tyrone: Oh thank a deity or two. I've learned enough to survive and understand the gist of it, but trying to hold a conversation is brutal on me. Hey before I forget, hell of a fucking effort last week. Your submission game is on point.
Kagura: <Thank you, but I fear it was not enough against you. Though I appreciate the lessons you taught me Blades-sama. You showed me what how far I need to go if I want to be the best.>
Tyrone smirks at the notion before pulling his briefcase up and leaning it back over his shoulder. Kagura takes notice as she tilts her head a bit, a confused look on her face.
Kagura: <I know we are tag team partners on Ascension this week, but I don't think we need matching briefcases.>
Tyrone: Oh this? Nah this is just the money for Batti's shopping spree in there.
He spins the briefcase around to his front side, unlatching and opening it to show Kagura the money inside. Her eyes go wide similar to Batti's earlier as she sees it.
Kagura: <Where did you get this type of money Tyrone?>
Tyrone: Oh just a great month for merchandise sales. The check was nice.
Kagura: <But you don't get a cut of your shirt sales.>
Tyrone closes the briefcase, an irritated look forming on his face as he sighs loudly.
Tyrone: How does everyone know that?
Kagura: <You complain about it every week.>
Tyrone: .....Alright you have a point. So Vega and Wren. I know Wren made her name in Japan, so she's gonna be a favorite of the crowd. Vega's returned so he's got some buzz going on. You're a native of the country, and they all know me, and we ain't got nothing on the line other than pride, so I say we go out there and blow them out of the water and get you that nice homecoming victory.
Kagura: <An excellent idea. Let's speak later Tyrone about strategy. I have a signing to get to.>
Tyrone: Definitely. I'll walk in behind ya, might be able to sneak around and not get mobbed myself.
Kagura: <Are you suggesting I be your cover?>
Tyrone: That's what tag team partners are for.
Tyrone grins as Kagura can't help but sigh before laughing herself. The two start making their way towards the door but Tyrone stops and leans against the wall next to the door. Kagura stops at the doorway, turning her head towards Tyrone as she laughs again.
Kagura: <By the way Tyrone, nice Pachinko machine.>
Tyrone's eyes go wide as he quickly spins around, seeing a large poster of the take home version of his Pachinko machine, with even worse drawings than before. He reaches out to tear it down before realizing it's behind the glass window and not outside.
Tyrone: Oh son of a bitch. At least Jones ain't here t...
Mr. Jones: Well would you look at that!
Mr. Jones suddenly walks up in front of Tyrone, a cigar in his hand with a wide shit eating grin on his face as he takes in the whole poster. Kagura watches on amused as Tyrone drops to a seated position, his head lowered.
Tyrone: I swear to fucking GOD Jones....
Suddenly the snapping sound of a camera can be heard as Jones holds his phone up, unable to hold in his laughter the whole time.
Tyrone: Jones I'm going to take that camera and shove it so far into the empty socket you have it'll give a whole new definition to the word iPhone.
Mr. Jones: Yeah yeah yeah, shame this shit's going up on Instagram already son. And uploaded.
Tyrone snaps his head up, his eyes showing red as he grits his teeth before yelling out, scaring half the people walking around the district.
Tyrone: God DAMN IT!
Jones turns towards the camera, and holds up his phone with the picture of Tyrone and his Pachinko machine.
Mr. Jones: With Love,
The Hollow Ones.
The scene fades away for several moments before returning inside a hotel room late that night. Batti and Tyrone are sitting on the king sized bed together, Batti under his arm and her head resting on his chest, somber looks both on their faces after her run in with her ex earlier that day. Batti sighs as she tries to put on a strong face, but Tyrone knew she was hurting. He squeezes her shoulder reassuringly, her eyes looking up towards his.
Tyrone: I'm sorry I wasn't there for you Batti. I should have been there to keep that scumbag away from you.
Batti shakes her head as she smiles, though winces at the pain around her eye. Tyrone's eyes flash concern but she lifts a hand up to his cheek, reassuring him everything was alright.
Batti: No Tyrone. You don't have to be sorry about it. You and I both know our careers don't let us be with one another at all times. And honestly we would probably end up wanting to kill one another. We both work best when we have time to ourselves.
Tyrone: Either way, next I see his punk ass I'm gonna break him in two for what he's done. You should have told me Batti, I'd have taken out the trash for you.
Batti pushes herself up and away from Tyrone, shaking her head once more as she balls her hands up into fists in her lap. She lowers her head before speaking.
Batti: I need to handle this myself Tyrone. I know it's your natural reaction to want to protect me, but some things I need to take into my own hands. This is one of them. Ramparte was a big part of my life, and now he's become the biggest distraction in it. If I'm not the one to end it, he'll just keep coming back again and again.
Tyrone: Unless I put him six feet under.
Batti: What was that?
Tyrone: Nothing, nothing. I get it though. Some things gotta be done individually. Someone else handling your business, it just doesn't bring closure. If Constantine beating Cooper for the title ended Vis Imperium, it would have meant nothing to me. This is the same in your situation.
Batti flashes a weary smile as she wraps her arms around him and the two embrace. She leans up and kisses him, and he returns the favor.
Batti: Thank you. I knew you would understand.
Tyrone: I'll do my best to stay out of it. But if I run into him....
Batti: Don't destroy him. That's my job.
Tyrone: No promises on that girl.
Tyrone smirks which causes Batti to giggle in return as she rests her head on his chest.
Batti: Just leave enough for me to bury myself.
Tyrone: That I can promise. Now you have a big match in a couple days. So let's get you rested up and we can train in the morning.
Batti: Agreed, though a workout tonight wouldn't be bad either.
She leans her head up and winks at him and he smiles widely as the two pull the blanket over their heads. For the purpose of this forum now being a safe space we fast forward time a few hours later to protect the innocent eyes of those that cannot handle adult content. Tyrone slowly sits up from the bed, once again never sleeping. He looks over his shoulder at Batti, ensuring she's asleep. He stands and grabs his cigarettes, sliding on pants and his jacket before walking out onto the patio in the cold. He lights up and pulls his phone out, dialing a number.
Matsuda: Blades-sama. What can I do for you?
Tyrone: <Matsuda. Is protection still good offer?>
Matsuda: <Indeed it is. Though I am surprised to hear you requesting it my boy. You seem to like to handle things on your own.>
Tyrone inhales deeply before exhaling, the smoke hanging in the air.
Tyrone: <Not for me. For Batti. She needs it. At least while in Tokyo.>
Matsuda: <Of course, of course. I will send my two best men to trail her.>
Tyrone: I'm sending a picture of the bastard to look out for. If I'm not with her, I want your men to put him back into the god damn wheelchair he crawled out of.
Matsuda: Understood Blades-sama.
Tyrone: <Take cost out of my cut. Not Pachinko. The other deal.>
Matsuda: <With pleasure. Goodnight, Blades-Sama.>
Tyrone hangs his phone up as he takes another drag off his cigarette, staring at the street below as he notices an oddly familiar figure. It seems to be staring up at him as Tyrone glares back it. The figure points up at him as Tyrone forms a sickening grin on his face as he forms his free hand into the shape of a gun, pointing it at the figure.
The figure doesn't seem to move, this odd show down causing the tension to rise in the air. Soon the figure removed his hood, revealing himself to be Ramparte. A sinister smile is on his face as he stares up at Tyrone for a moment before taking off.
The scene fades out.
Losing was difficult. Especially after talking trash, and hyping yourself up as being some world beater. Eating humble pie was never easy. This is how Kagura felt after losing on Meltdown 147. Tyrone Blades was a world beater. A man that had accomplished pretty much everything there was to do in the pro wrestling world. A competitor who continued to wrestle just because he enjoyed. Who was she compared to this man? Nothing. A nobody. At least, that’s what she had thought. The moment the referee’s hand came crashing down, signaling the end of the bout, she wanted to run away. She wanted to grab the case and leave the ring as fast as she could. Humiliated. Crushed. And Defeated. All that talk. All that effort. Gone.
Who could possibly take her seriously now?
And then, something unexpected happened. Tyrone Blades approached her, and extended his hand. She looked at it, with a forlorn expression on her face. Surely, he didn’t respect failure. A woman that had promised to beat him no matter the consequences to her own body. She had steeled herself; preparing to enter Hell’s backyard. A playground that Blades had constructed through grit, determination, and blood. Lots of blood. She had convinced herself that the only way forward, was through him. So why?
Why was he presenting his hand to her? And why was he smiling. It looked genuine too. Did he really respect her? She couldn’t beat Batti. Then she lost to Blades. By right she had no business even sharing a right with him. Hesitantly, she reached out and returned the gesture. Her body tensed up, as she squeezed his hand, as if waiting for an attack. She was expecting him to retaliate. To nail her with the Click-Clack and then throw her out of the ring like garbage. Nothing happened. She stood there in disbelief, mouth open wide, as the referee handed her the briefcase. She rolled out of the ring, robotically making her way up the ramp. She looked down at her hand in shock. Clenching her fist, she let it fall to her side weakly.
Kagura stood on the balcony of her hotel, overlooking one of Honolulu’s most extraordinary beaches. The sun had already set. The water reflected the light of the moon, cradling the dancing lights off the horizon in a soft white hue. She stood and watched as the waves rose and crashed in a rhythmic pattern. She was nursing a beer in her hand, as the bottle hung lazily over the railing. The tepid air whipped her long black hair around ever so slightly. She was so spaced out that she barely noticed as the door behind her opened and closed. A man walked out onto the balcony to join her. It was Derrick. She heard an audible crack as he opened a beer of his own. She absentmindedly glanced down as the bottle cap fell to the pavement, its surface glinting off the light from a street lamp below.
“You looked amazing out there Kagura,” he said as he took a sip of his beer. “You should be proud of yourself.”
She stared forward, as silence overtook them. Derrick took a sip of his beer. He could feel the gloom in the air. She wasn’t happy.
“You’re right. I should be proud. But I’m not. I wanted to win. More than anything else, to keep up my appearance as the Queen-For-A-Day. The other champions are supposed to fear me. But I suppose that they just see me as one huge joke.”
Kagura cocked an eyebrow as her boyfriend began laughing next to her.
“If you believe all that, then maybe you are a joke. Be serious, Kagura. Tyrone Blades respects you. He wouldn’t have offered his hand if he didn’t. You’ve been super anxious lately, and it’s not like you at all. Are you really THAT worried about cashing in? Because I believe that’s all you’ve been thinking about. Am I wrong?”
She could hear the echoes of his bottle clanking off the railing. She gazed forward in silence, seemingly giving him an obvious answer. She sighed.
“Maybe. I don’t know. Probably. Alright, yes! Yes. The thought of failing my cash-in has been eating at me for a while now. What I have is an amazing opportunity in front of me that not many people get. So many people have been trying to predict when I am going to be cashing in that it’s gotten annoying. Even worse are the people that have been trying to convince when to cash in. And the worst part about that is that I am beginning to TRUST them. ‘Cash in at the Lethal Lottery. No! You should wait until Kingdom Come. Everyone wants to main event the biggest show of the year.’ For the past six months I have watched the landscape of WZCW change. Champions have come and gone. New contenders have emerged. It’s a completely different world. And in that whole time, until tonight, I had only lost once. Just once. To Batti. And I was convinced that she would be my rival. But now, I am not sure. She has a number one contenders match against Eve Taylor of all people. And for the first time since the Anniversary Show, I’m scared. I’m scared of losing my spot. I once said that I didn’t care about being the first women’s world champion in WZCW, and that wasn’t a lie. But that was because I was winning. I was ahead. And the thought of either Eve or Batti reaching that goal before me turns my stomach. I want that honor. I have been here the longest. I have worked harder. I’ve had to fight for a whole lot less. I’m afraid that if I wait too long, I’ll be passed up by my peers, and I don’t want to be left behind.”
Derrick turned to look his girlfriend in the eyes. Her onyx orbs betraying her true emotions. She had been with her for years now. And in that time, he had seen different sides to her personality. But one thing about her had always remained the same. Since the day he had met her. He shrugged.
“You don’t like to lose. I get that. You’ve always been a competitor, Kagura. That’s what I like about you. Most people don’t always see it when they first meet you, because you have kind eyes. And because of that, you naturally fade into the background. Nobody in WZCW really sees you as a threat, because you don’t tend to draw attention to yourself. But doesn’t that give you the advantage in this game you’re playing? You’re an enigma. It’s impossible for people that don’t know you that well to be able to tell where your priorities lie, and what you’re really thinking. And because of the language and cultural barriers, that prevents anyone from really getting close. I think Batti Otaku is the one person that’s figured you out. You two have traded fists many times now. Maybe Tyrone Blades reached that same conclusion. I mean, isn’t that what you wanted? I think you proved to him that you ARE the future of WZCW. I saw no deception in his eyes when he shook your hand. You earned his respect.”
Kagura took a moment to ponder Derrick’s words. Then she took another sip of her beer. The liquid scalding the back of her throat, as she stared out towards the sea. Try as she might to disagree, the man had a point. Perhaps she had been going about this Queen-For-A-Day business all wrong. On one hand, she didn’t want to be ignored. But on the other, she really appreciated the element of surprise the briefcase had afforded her. Wasn’t that the entire point? It was laughable how hard she had been trying to draw attention to herself these past few months. Announce publicly her desire to target the world champion. Swear to the kami that Batti was going to become her rival to the point where she created a self-fulling prophecy and lost. Declare Tyrone Blades an obstacle. Swear to defeat him no matter the cost, and make an example out of him. Swear to everyone that could be bothered to listen that she was the one destined to stand at the top of the mountain. And now she was swearing again not to be left behind. Another self-fulling prophecy. Having listened to everyone else around her about what she should and should not do with her title contract had caused her to become paranoid. She was beginning to realize that now. She turned and looked at Derrick, meeting his gaze.
For the first time in weeks, since Unscripted, everything just seemed so clear. The one thing that she appreciated about Derrick was that he could always read her feelings even when she kept to herself, and did not tell him anything. She really loved him for being able to do that.
“Maybe I was self-sabotaging myself. The hardest thing about being Queen-For-A-Day is the waiting game. Picking my battles has not been easy. One thing that I’m afraid of is waiting too long to make my move. I don’t want to force myself into a corner by playing this safe. That would set me up for failure. I don’t think I could live with that kind of regret. Besides, waiting on others first really hasn’t been my style to begin with.”
Derrick finished the rest of his beer, and absentmindedly began to twirl the empty bottle in his hand.
“No, it has not. You’re compulsive. And you also have a bad habit of beating yourself up whenever things don’t go your way.”
Kagura rolled her eyes, “Thanks, babe. You really know how to comfort a woman when she’s down.”
“I’m being serious,” he deadpanned.
“That’s just the way that are. And I love you, and I wouldn’t ask you to change any of that. For me, or for the sake of anything else. Listen to your heart, Kagura. Don’t let anyone or anything influence you. This is YOUR choice. You hold the cards now.”
She smiled, and then she laughed. She leaned over and gave Derrick a kiss. For several seconds they remained locked in each other’s embrace. Kagura detached her lips from his and rested her head on his chest.
“Thank you. Really. I mean it. You’re always there to redirect me to the right path, whenever I start to lose my way.”
He leaned down and kissed the top of her head.
“That’s because I love you. And I never want you to feel like you’re alone.”
Kagura took what was left in her bottle and poured it over the railing.
The couple sat in silence, staring out into the world in front of them. These were precious moments. Times where they really could just enjoy one another’s company in peace.
“Are you worried? We’re leaving soon,” Derrick asked.
Kagura shook her head, “No. I’ve been homesick for a while now.”
It was the first time since Kingdom VI that WZCW had done a show in Japan. The last time Kagura had visited, it was under the veil of secrecy. No one in the wrestling media had known. And at that time, she had been under quite a bit of stress. This time things were different. She was in a good place in her career. She felt confident. Accomplished. And distinguished. Three years ago, she was still a rookie. There was no press. She had to call her own cab, and pay for her own hotel. She wasn’t given any special treatment. As soon as she stepped into the lobby of the airport, her eyes went as wide as dinner plates. There were dozens of press figures from the sports media waiting on her. They immediately swarmed her. She had been so shocked that he had nearly dropped her briefcase.
Derrick held out his hand and shouted, helping his girlfriend navigate the through the chaos, as journalists and analysts shoved microphones in her face. Camera’s flashed. Kagura was not expecting this kind of treatment. As Derrick disappeared to grab their bags, a man approached her introducing himself as a senior press agent for Tokyo Sports. She had agreed to do an autograph session with them a few weeks back, but they wanted to do an impromptu interview too. It hadn’t been on her schedule. And she was honestly a bit upset, hoping to have some private time with Derrick before they left for Ise, Mie to see her grandfather. They promised her first-class travel, and to pay for her hotel. Kagura smiled, as her eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. Gleefully she shook the man’s hand.
As she left the airport, she was nearly swamped by a mob of people. Dozens of her fans had come, hoping to get a glimpse of her before she left. Kagura was gob-smacked. She had a following of fans in the States, but she had never been mobbed before. Ever. This was a first. She smiled as so many people approached her wishing her well and cheering her on. She managed to sign about three autographs before she as suddenly pushed forward by a press agent. A man appeared on her left and began asking her questions about the trip, and her plans for the evening. A woman appeared to her right and began asking questions about her plans for Lethal Lottery. Kagura took a deep breath. This was too much.
The senior director led them to the parking lot. Kagura raised an eyebrow as a long, black limo pulled in front of her. Derrick whistled; obviously impressed. She shook her head. The driver got out, and loaded their bags. As they drove, Derrick told the driver to drop him off at the Tokyo Literary Museum. Kagura pouted.
“I’m meeting a client. Might as well try to line up some more work while I’m here,” he explained.
“I’ll call a cab and meet up with you later for dinner. Alright, babe?”
She sighed. It couldn’t be helped. She shot the senior agent a pleading glare, and he gestured to the driver. The limo stopped and let Derrick off. He and Kagura shared a kiss before he left. Kagura leaned back in her seat, as the driver continued onwards towards their destination. The autograph session would be taking place at Animate in the Ikebukuro district, the largest anime store in the country. Her appearance had been advertised for weeks.
The driver pulled up to the huge multi-story building, and got out to get the door for her. The first thing she noticed was a mass of fans in the front of the building, crowding around a man seated on a bench. Which seemed strange. He looked annoyed, but conversed with several of them nonetheless. Kagura watched him scratch a few pieces of paper with a pen a teenaged boy had given him. She got out and titled her head as the man spoke. She recognized that voice.
It couldn’t be…
But it was! The man was her tag team partner for her next match. And the man that had just defeated her. The indomitable Tyrone Blades. Kami help her…
The WZCW hall of famer stood, and flicked his cigarette to the ground and approached her. He looked just as surprised to see her. The two conversed for a bit. Kagura really wasn’t in the mood to see Batti, but Blades assured her that the girl held no grudge towards her. He even complimented her submission game, causing her to blush. Maybe Derrick had been right. Maybe Tyrone Blades really did respect her. That was enough to put her mind at ease. They had even compared briefcases. Kagura’s eyes had nearly bugged out of her sockets seeing all the money that he had. She brushed it off though; it wasn’t any of her business. The man was full of surprises. He even spoke a bit of Japanese. The partners promised to meet up later to discuss “strategy.” As she left, she cracked a joke about his Pachinko machine, causing the man quite a bit of embarrassment. She laughed. She had never seen this side of Blades before. Her preconceived notions about his façade melted away right there.
Kagura really enjoyed signing autographs and conversing with her countrymen. She had missed being in Japan more than she realized. America was a nice place. Really; it was. It lived up to its reputation as being one of the nicest places to live. The people there, for the most part, really were tolerant and accepting of others. Particularly, American wrestling fans. Her sizeable fanbase there was a testament to this. But even as she assimilated into the western culture, there were certain concepts that she struggled to wrap her head around. Individually. Formalities. And Respect. Japanese customs were so different, that it was difficult for her to feel 100% comfortable. Her mind flashed back to that conversation that she had with Derrick. The concept of trust was something that she had been a struggling with. Not that she didn’t trust people. Quite the opposite. In Japan, trust was mutual. It was shameful to try and manipulate people for individual gain. But in America, that happened all the time. Derrick had warned her about politics. And politics wasn’t something that she was good at. The Japanese on the other hand, frowned upon politics. Politicians almost always had a low approval rate, and they immediately resigned whenever they fucked something up. Pro wrestling in the West was a dog eat dog world, and Kagura wondered everyday if she was going to survive to see another. Unconsciously, her hand went to rest on top of her briefcase. The contract that rested inside that steel prison was the only sort of security blanket that she had.
Once the signing came to an end, Kagura phoned Derrick to meet up with her for dinner. Batti and Tyrone had since disappeared, but Kagura had a feeling that their paths would probably cross again before the match. Their opponents for that evening were going to be Wren and a man named Vega. Wren was a girl that Kagura knew very well. They had fought numerous times, with Kagura usually coming out on top. She wondered how Wren was doing as a fellow countryman. Had the media rolled out the red carpet for her? Was she doing autograph sessions and interviews? Were her fans lining up in droves to see her? Wren had been an accomplished wrestler before coming to WZCW. Kagura was given a tryout thanks to the people that she knew. Sasuke’s personal friendship with Jack Cohen, who was an influential figure on the talent relationship division, had likely played a huge role. If Kagura had made more of name for herself on the Japanese circuit, a match between her and Wren would have likely been a dream occurrence for some. And it might still be. No doubt the crowd was going to be split. Tyrone Blades appeared to have quite the following here too.
The odd man out, was Vega. Kagura admittedly knew very little about him. Only that he was a former Mayhem champion. Though, she had overheard some things. She had overheard Ace Stevens reminiscing backstage to a sound technician about their glory days when they were feuding. And then she thought she had heard Matt Tastic joke to one of the catering guys about how Vega had beat up an alien and stuffed him into a flying saucer. And she was pretty sure she had heard Titus complain to Chuck Myles that Vega had killed a man, and that WZCW shouldn’t allow a murderer back into the fed. She wasn’t sure how credible any of these claims were. The other wrestlers often loved to exaggerate. She’d have to see how good he was when they faced each other.
The evening after her interview, Kagura and Derrick boarded a train from Tokyo to Nagoya. And from there, they caught a train to her home in Ise. Her grandfather was already waiting. Kagura stepped out the cab, as Derrick grabbed their bags. She walked up to top of the steps and hugged the old man as hard as she could. Derrick shook the old man’s hand as the three of them settled down. Stories over dinner followed. Tales were exchanged; mostly at Kagura’s expense. Exhausted; she retired early. The next morning, she decided to visit Ise-Jingu. Derrick declined to go with her this time, claiming that he had something important to attend to. He had been surprisingly secretive. She hadn’t been to the shrine in years. It was where the goddess Amaterasu was enshrined. Kagura herself had worked briefly at the Geku outer shrine; dedicated to goddess Toyouke-Omikami. That’s where most of the tourists gathered, since entrance into the sanctuary of the inner shrine was forbidden.
Sitting on the cypress wooden steps of the Naiku inner shrine, away from most of the people, Kagura stared out into the beautiful scenery in front of her. Even though it was winter in Japan, Ise-Jinju was still surrounded by vast trees of green. She could hear the birds. She could feel the wind whishing, as it tugged at her hair. She was in perfect synch with the energy here. Kagura smiled. She felt so nostalgic. Being in her little hometown. Visiting the places that she used to work. Her old school. The district that her father used to take her to shop for candy. The festival grounds. The harbor.
“It wasn’t easy having to leave this place.” She mused to herself.
“In the end it was my own curiosity and my competitive nature that drove me away. But this place never changes. And I know that there’s always going to be a home for me here. Not many people have that luxury. And for that reason, I am blessed.”
The air was a bit chilly, causing Kagura to tug at her coat.
“After leaving here, and living in America, and seeing a completely different world outside of this one, I can’t help but reexamine my life. And what it means to be blessed. My family didn’t have much money, and I went to public school. But many people expected me to become a shrine maiden like my mother, or a priest like my father. I had my future already planned. I got good grades in school, because I never liked losing. I was great at sports, even though I was shy, and not very outgoing. I became a wrestler because I needed the money. I couldn’t afford to go to a good college. Derrick’s right. My competitive nature made me who I am today. And now that I’m a veteran, I’ve encountered many wrestlers that have the same drive, the same hunger, and the same ambition that I do. I wake up in the morning, and I’m competing. I train; I’m competing. I travel; I’m competing. I sign an autograph; I’m competing. I give an interview; I’m competing. That’s all wrestling is; a never-ending competition. A fight to the top of the mountain, and a struggle to keep yourself there. Both in the ring, and out.”
Kagura leaned back on the step and gazed down at her briefcase at her feet. The polished metal surface shone in the radiant morning sunlight.
“I’ve given the contract inside of that case a lot of thought these past few months. At first, I had no idea when I wanted to cash in or even what championship I wanted to chase. The Elite Openweight and Mayhem title scenes have constantly changed, and Titus seems to have the Eurasian title locked down tight. I thought about challenging him. Righting the wrong from Apocalypse. But, I realized that I’m over that. My competitive spirit just wouldn’t allow it. What I wanted, was to go all the way to the top. Many have called me foolish that I didn’t cash in on Justin Cooper sooner. At Meltdown 144, I beat him. I choked him out in the center of the ring. Do I regret not taking my change then? No. Because I knew that in my heart, it wasn’t my place to beat him. That’s the part of Western culture that I do not understand. I have the feeling that most people in my situation would have cashed in much sooner. And every time I tried, my pride anyways stopped me. I want to win the title, but at the same time, I must be sure I can bear the weight of the consequences. So, I waited. And watched. Finally, one man emerged. One man that showed me he was destined to defeat Justin Cooper. And that man was Constantine.”
Kagura thoughts trailed off, as she felt the cold wind whip through the stained wooden deck. The trees slowly swayed back and forth in the breeze. Her eyes began to wander as she continued to take in the scenery.
“The way I looked at it, I did Constantine a favor. I let him have his moment of glory. He’s already made it public that he doesn’t intend to stick around past Kingdom Come, so this is likely to be his final world title run. As the days pass, I feel envious. I feel jealous. I want his spot. I want it because I know that I’m going to be around much longer than that. Constantine has made his dreams public too; he wants to headline Kingdom Come. Don’t we all? Realistically, I could too. Many people have pegged me cashing in at Kingdom Come. Justin Cooper himself predicted this. And while the idea of headlining the biggest show of the year is tempting, that places me at a massive disadvantage. I’d be fighting Constantine, and the Lethal Lottery winner as well. The odds would not be in my favor. I’d lose the element of surprise. That sounds like a fool’s gamble to me.”
Kagura stood and grabbed the case. She walked forward, and stopped. Taking a deep breath as she slowly turned around. The golden ornaments embedded in the rafters of the shrine shone like the sun. Slowly, she began to exhale. Her nose twitched in the cold.
“I wonder if Constantine remembers what happened at Lethal Lottery last year. Because I haven’t forgotten.”
She nodded, content with herself. What she had realized was that it was okay to be selfish. Because that was the true nature of being Queen-For-A-Day. And she could live with that. Because otherwise she had to forfeit the contract. And that would be something that she’d live to regret.
“Now is the time to cash in. I’m sure of it! I’m going to do this in front of my countrymen. In my homeland. I don’t have anything against Constantine. Really. He’s a good man. But it’s not his time anymore. I’m ready. May Amaterasu’s blessing be upon me again.”
Kagura marched forward and placed the briefcase on the ground. She opened it, and left it empty on the steps of the shrine.
“Where will you run, little girl?”
They were not going away. Yet another hole I was stuck, yet again running out of places to run. But I was not going to give up easily, and I wasn’t going to do it now. My grip on that small pocket knife I had tightened as I heard the goons breaking down the door and entering the small room I was holed up in.
“Here you are. Don’t be afraid! We’re just going to take you to where you belong.”
I shrunk further in as they approached me.
“I promise you, if you stay still, nothing will happen to you. We just want to take you back to the place you ran away from.”
His hands drew closer to me, his hands now cupping my face. He turned around to his partner.
“Look at this face. Can you imagine she killed our boss’s wife? I can’t even ima…”
Before he could finish, in one swift action, I put the knife deep in his neck. His partner looked on bewildered, and before he could react, I stabbed him in the thigh. Wincing in pain and with blood gushing out of his wounds, he fell down to his knees. His eyes begged for mercy, but there wasn’t any here. In next motion, he was bleeding through his eyes as my knife dug deeper into his socket. There was my out. As they bled to their deaths, I fled the scene, hoping to be never found. An orphanage that game me nothing but shame and pain, I vowed to leave behind. I vowed to survive, at any cost necessary.
So I ran, and ran.
“You pretend to be a warrior.”
“I don’t pretend, Ellie. I don’t.”
I can’t keep her voice out of my head.
“Why are you even here?”
“Because you are here.”
“That doesn’t even make any sense.”
“It will, if you ask yourself properly.”
“Go away! I have to prepare for a match. The very opponent I faced last time is the one tagging with me. And I don’t know whether I can trust him or not.”
There was no answer.
“Thank god she’s gone.”
For fuck’s sake!
“Why don’t you leave me alone?”
“How can I? You’re the epitome of betrayal. I put my trust in you.”
“Don’t give me that. In a way, I’m more of a warrior than you’ll ever be. While you found a way out through wrestling, I fought it out on the streets. I survived when I had no chance. I’m a better Wren than you’ll ever be. I AM A WARRIOR!”
There was no answer. I realized I was all alone in the room.
Vega, an old warrior. Can I trust him? I’ve survived so long because I trust no one. And I fight people who I can’t trust. Will they trust each other?
But I’m a warrior. A warrior with concealed weapon who no one recognizes. In a war that no one sees coming. A warrior in a garden of chaos.
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|