What’s funny is that when you dislocate a a joint it hurts like heck, but you don’t want to pop it back in, because you know that’ll hurt even more. I tried not to yell too hard when they popped my knee back in. I was curious as to why they waited until I woke up, but whenever I asked, no one would answer.
Pailadyn visited me a few times during the day, and came to wake me up the next morning. I held onto her arm as I gingerly sat up and rose from bed. I tested my knee by placing varying amounts of weight on it, I tried jogging in place, and even practiced a few kicks. It had healed well, but it was still sort of weak. I could stand, walk, kick lightly, and run if I was careful. If I stressed it too much by falling on it, jumping, or taking a blow on it, it would buckle. I’d have to be careful to keep safe, but not be too obvious about it or my opponents would take advantage of it.
“So any idea who the other two participants are?” I asked Pailadyn as we slowly walked towards the Arena.
“Yes actually. In fact I can give you the results of all the fights that occurred in last two rounds.” She began to tick the fights off on her fingers as she listed them off.
“In round three, Faze beat Byrd but let him yield. Byrd wasn’t able to land a hit because Faze just kept disappearing and reappearing all around the Arena. Faze went on to face Thughe who ended up winning. It was really long match because Faze kept teleporting out of Thughe’s reach, but he wasn’t able to injure Thughe with any of his punches or kicks. Eventually Faze got tired enough that Thughe was able to catch him and uh… end the match.”
“Hiil fought Whyrle two days ago and ended up winning because he can regenerate superfast and he appears to be pretty strong. He also beat Bume, who fought and killed Spiedy. When I say this guy can heal Juewul, I mean he can really heal. Bume blew one of Hiil’s arms off in an explosion, and the guy grew it back like it was hardly an issue.”
“So I’m facing Thughe and Hiill in the final match. What time does the fight begin?”
“You have about fifteen minutes.”
“Excellent. Looks like I might actually make it to the Arena in time.”
Pailadyn smiled, then her smile turned into a half-frown.
“One other thing you should know, this match will be on a raised platform. Sort of like-“
“-our match?” said the two of us at the same time.
Pailadyn smiled once again and nodded, and then once again she grew serious.
“Juewuhl. Yesterday’s match was too close. You can’t hold yourself back like that.”
I started to protest, but she cut me off.
“I know what you want Juewuhl. I know that you don’t want to kill, but listen to me. You have no choice. What do you want more? To die innocent or to go back to your home?”
There wasn’t much I could say to that, because the answer was obvious. I wanted to g home more, and if I was honest with myself, I believed I’d do just about anything to return.
When Pailadyn and I arrived at the Arena, the announcer was in middle of what amounted to a pre-game show. He was giving out our names, stats, and other notable information. There wasn’t much notable information for me, because I hadn’t been here long, and he didn’t know anything of my past. Of course, the fact that I was from Earth was included in the list, and once again it got the crowd talking and looking around for me.
Then at last, the announcer concluded and called on us to take our place in the ring.
I started out into the Arena, when I was hit with an urge and I stopped. That’s when Pailadyn caught my hand and pulled me back.
She kissed me. When she pulled back she looked nervous and a little embarrassed.
“I… um… good luck out there Juewuhl. Please don’t die ok?”
For whatever reason, this felt completely different from the first time she had kissed me. It was still awkward, but not awkward in a way that I realized I had been about to do the same thing…
“R-right… thanks Pailadyn. I won’t.” Then I turned and did the awkward shuffle of uncomfortableness as I entered.
I finally caught a glimpse of my opponents as we all climbed over the barrier to the Arena and took our spots. One had slightly larger muscles and a shroud that looked a hoodie. I assumed that was Thughe. The other man, Hiil, wasn’t frail, but he was definitely wiry. I had no doubt that despite his slender frame, he was capable of dealing some heavy hits. I shared a nod with Hiil and gave a polite nod to Thughe, who only snorted in return.
We all gave indications that we were ready , and the black circle that I knew as the Ring, began to rise.
When the platform had reached the correct height, the announcer spoke back up.
“Citizens of Cyst! Only one of these three fighters will walk away from this final battle alive and victorious. There can only be one winner, and this match will not end until only one remains. Count down with me, and let the final round begin!”
The crowd counted down with loud shouts of excitement.
And then it began.