There was a shockwave of heat and air that made tongues of flames spring out of nowhere and lick the air in front of them, and when they were gone, the first member of the gang was startled by the tip of the silver and blue sword that pointed at his face, barely grazing his nose.

“Gladiators – is a virtual reality game,” said Zack. “Furthermore, it's also Internet-based and for people to work with. It's not used for harming people or destruction. Anyone who sullies the real intention of the game will face my sword.”

“O-okay, we'll go!” said the first member. “We'll go, got it? We're not going to attack that brat over there!”

Zack paused for a moment, a look in his eyes that was incomprehensible. Then he stepped back.

And then the last member attacked him, swinging his spear.

Zack deflected it, swung it away, blocked another incoming sword that flew towards him.

A third attack was coming towards him, from the first member, and Weston appeared out of nowhere, making a low swoop and striking the attacker in the stomach.

Apparently, ninja techniques work, because it knocked him out.

“Jeez, and I really thought you were going to back down.”

“No problem, I was considering running off, if Elian had been tougher,” said Zack. “Well – like I said, I'm only beating up people who sully the original power of Gladiators. I don't care about Elian's situation.”

Weston sensed a little untruth in it, and grinned. “All right, I'll help you out here. Two each for one!”

Zack attacked two of the last four.

Elian stared at the battle went on, as more Gladiators who were passing by stopped to watch the fight.

Everyone seemed familiar with Gladiator battles in the domes themselves, and especially when it was manned by Weston. But the newcomer with black hair was definitely another talented Gladiators, able to defend against two at a time.

Zack managed to disarm one of them in a few slashes of his sword, and was turning to his second opponent when he caught sight of a movement to his left.

“Zack!” shouted Weston, panicked.

He whirled in surprise, and saw one of Weston's opponents coming at him with a spear.

He barely sidestepped before the spearhead slashed at his arm.

Now, the brawling came to a halt as blood trickled and stained Zack's sleeve.

“What? Wh-what happened?” gasped the attacker.

“Zack? Zack, why are you bleeding?” Weston stared at the wound.

Zack looked at his arm, and felt the stinging, sharp pain. The wound was, no doubt, deep.

“Zack, how did you get hurt? A Gladiators weapon isn't supposed to be able to hurt you!” Weston said, then remembered that moment in their fight when Zack seemed to have been injured in their fight on his leg. He ran over and raised a little of Zack's jeans on where the lightning had struck him in their battle, and stared, seeing a burnt gash against his calf.

Zack pulled his leg away, stamped the ground.

“Sheesh, I visit Redwall and start Gladiating, and at the end of the day, I've got a doctor's appointment,” Zack grunted, then he whirled to the attacker who's cut him and swung Galadhar – directly at the attacker's neck.

The sword's blade passed through like an illusion.

But the effect caused the gang member to panic, clutch hold of his neck, dropping his weapon.

“M-my neck – I-” He collapsed, fainting.

After a moment, the rest of the gang started to run away, dropping their weapons.

Zack clutched his arm in an attempt to stop the bleeding as Mikey ran over to him. “Zack!” He snapped a kick at Zack's weapon hand, making him drop Galadhar in surprise at the pain.

“Why? Why is Zack bleeding?” asked Weston, running over.

“I'm not a normal Gladiator like you,” said Zack, laughing. It was one without any amusement.

“What?” Weston stared at him.

“Unlike Gladiators, I can get hurt, at the cost of not getting too damaged in the head from the game,” said Zack.

“Meaning, he's vulnerable to being attacked by another Gladiator's sword,” said Mikey sharply. “Normal Gladiators don't get hurt by Gladiator weapons. Only a certain few, and only once you reach Rank level do you get to fight at your own risk, and with your life on the line.”

“Huh? Where'd that part come from?” Weston stared at Mikey.

“Zack is not a normal Gladiator,” said Mikey, and waved his hand, causing Galadhar to fly into his hand and revert it to a key. He held it up, and Weston saw that the key was not the same as normal Gladiator keys. Instead of the patterns of a key at the end, it was replaced with a triangle shape as the end.

“Delta,” said Mikey. “The Greek letter delta. Simply put, Zack is one of the Core Gladiators.”

Zack stared at Mikey. “Huh, how did you know?”

Mikey frowned. “Um – how do I put it . . . long story?”

Weston smacked the ground, getting their attention.

“Wait, the Core Gladiators?” Weston demanded. “One of those legends? Zack is?”

The End

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