Sacred Brother

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Prologue 2: Fight the despair

It has been 2 months since the day I left everything behind me so that I could change my life.

I’m a murderer. That cannot be changed. So I ran far away without ever looking back. As of now, I am currently residing within the country of China where I wander in search of what fate has in store for me.

Unknowingly, my meager pocket change vanished inside of my dull chambers with booze to help sink my sorrow.

After a year had passed, I was arrested for stealing food in a market, as I no longer had the money to buy it. Much less, even the money to pay for a shelter to live in.

**Truly pitiful. Even so far from my country I continue to be worthless.**

As it was my first arrest, I barely escaped with a warning.

A warning that I didn't follow.

I was lost and desperate so I resorted the only thing I've done my entire life… Fight.

However, I couldn’t just fight in the streets, as I would just end up in prison for good this time. So I began to look for a place that could fulfill my needs.

After several days of searching inside a cybercafé of a disreputable district. I finally found a forum, which talked about a certain place for individuals who wished to fight for money. A fight club of some kind. I noted the address and immediately began looking for it.

It took me almost around three hours of wandering to find the right place and what I found was a shabby looking building that was two storeys high with a single wooden door. Above it was a sign written in Chinese that I obviously couldn’t read.

I compared the strange symbols on the sign carefully with those that I wrote earlier

**This must be it.**

I knocked on the door several times until a bulky looking man appeared before me. I suddenly froze in place as I faced him. He was very intimidating and my body lightly quivered as I noticed his bulky arms which almost looked as large as my thighs, or maybe even larger. As I quietly waited for him to speak, I stood there motionless and nervous before this hulk of a man.

And then he spoke a few words that I couldn’t understand due to the language barrier. After noticing the confused look on my face, he then began to speak to me in English.

“-What do you want?” He asked with a harsh voice.

I felt a cold sweat roll down my back before remembering why I even came.

I knew that if I followed this path, there will be no possible return, no salvation.

**Fair enough, I don’t deserve it.**

I soon responded to the man with my renewed conviction. And this time I didn’t waver.

“-To fight.”

In response to my statement, a clear smile had suddenly shown on his face. It was disturbing.

“-We don’t get many strangers here. It’s going to be interesting. Follow me.”

Without uttering another word and visibly without suspicion, he turned heels and motioned me to come inside. As I followed behind him, I found that the interior was too dark as I couldn’t clearly discern my surroundings.

I didn't care. I followed him with resolve.

**There is only one thing I’m interested in**

I continued to quietly follow the man with resolve as he guided me through the building

We passed a series of doors before emerging in the back alley where we continued to walk until we arrived at another building and repeated the process.

**I see, that’s why he didn’t seem careful and agreed to let me enter without asking anything. The building was just a disguise, a meeting point, nothing more.**

Fifteen minutes had passed since I followed him until we finally stopped in front of another building.

This one did not look any different from the dozen other houses we walked past, but I knew that it was the right place when the bulky man knocked on the door a couple of times with irregular pauses in-between them.

**Surely some sort of code.**

The door immediately flew open and a man let us inside. After a body-check, I went through a series of stairs and was finally allowed in what looked like an office.

The room was quite dark with a single light on the ceiling. In front of me was a large desk with numerous papers on it. The glimmering light illuminated the desk and the man behind it who had his long fingers crossed under his chin.

The man looked old and was clearly of Asian descent. His face was so full of wrinkles and scars that I had difficulties discerning his traits. I could only imagine what kind of life he must’ve had led to have that many scars. Furthermore, I was sure his long white hair hid some scars too.

The man briefly looked upon me, then quickly looked at my bulky guide who swiftly approached in front of the desk. After a respectful salute, he began talking to him in a language which was not English. Their exchange was brief and the bulky man quickly went to another corner of the room.

The man behind the desk finally turned his gaze upon me. I found myself being stared at by two eyes as blue as the summer skies.

No, his gaze was too cold.

His eyes looked more like ice that seemed to freeze me in place. It was the strongest gaze I had ever felt, but I didn’t allow myself to falter as I kept my gaze upon him and nothing else since I knew he must be evaluating me. I didn’t back down. Until a slight shiver ran down my spine in response to his sudden voice.

“-My subordinate told me you wanted to fight, boy. This is not a playground you know. I must say that I’m quite curious about you. What the hell made you come all the way here?”
“-I just want to fight, sir”. I answered briefly.
“-And so, for a stupid reason like that, you followed a total stranger to an unknown place in a country you obviously don’t belong to.”

His voice felt overpowering. So overpowering that I failed to come up with the words to respond immediately. I could only look at him with resolve still firm in my eyes.

He let out a small chuckle.

“-You have strong eyes boy, but I’m afraid that if your answer doesn’t please me. You will not live long enough to have your longing desire to fight. So I’m asking you again, why did you come here?”

I didn’t back down before his threat, even if I knew that my life was in the hands of this man. I fixed my posture and, with a resolute tone, answered with my true feelings.

“-I came here to fight because I needed the money. I do not seek strength, fame or pleasure. I simply want to fight because this is the only thing I have left. I know what this place is and I also know that, if you wish, you could make me disappear from the world without even anyone noticing. That’s exactly why I chose this place. Even if I die here no one will find me here or know what I became.”

The man kept his gaze upon me. The room was silent for short period of time. It became harder for me to breathe until he spoke once again.

“-So you’re here to escape. You can’t face your past so you chose to destroy your future. What did you do for desiring such a fate?” He coldly asked.
“-I killed my brother.” I replied without hesitation.

A eerie silence followed by my statement. My voice was resolute and emotionless.

I just stated a fact.

“-You will not find any redemption here but I suppose you already know that.”
“-Yes.” I immediately replied.
“-Good, but do not misunderstand me, boy. I don’t care in the slightest of your circumstances. I just wanted to make sure that you weren’t a cop or some stupid tourist. I will allow you to participate in my tournaments. Here you will fight, people will watch and make bets on your fights. You will of course gain a percentage of the profits. However, that is only in the case that you win. If you lose, you get nothing. Losers get nothing here… Do you understand?”

I could only nod in response.

“Good. The match will continue until one of the fighters is KO. As soon as the fight begins there is no backing out, we do not allow sudden forfeits here. Also, there are no weapons allowed. You may fight with your fists and other body parts only. After all, this is not a death match, but…"

A creepy smile illuminated his old face before he continued his sentence.

"- ... accidents still do happen.”

I shivered slightly, but I continued to stay unwavering.

"-What is your name boy?” He asked.
“-My name is Thomas Tendale, sir.” I answered very briefly.
“-Good, Thomas Tendale... You can leave now. My subordinates will explain to you the other details”

I began to relax my body as the tensions in the room slowly eased. I simply nodded before beginning to leave the mysterious establishment.

As soon as I arrived at the crappy hotel room that I lived in, I laid down over my bed for several hours. It seemed to me that I just spent a couple of minutes like that. Time felt somewhat slow with my current state of mind as I kept replaying the scene of my encounter with the mysterious old man. I smiled wryly thinking of what I had done.

**I will fight in that arena in three days.**

That bulky man explained to me that I would be contacted by their organisation in three days time, where I will fight my first match.

“-I’ll just wait till then.”

I took a glance towards the small amount of money I had left. At the time I was left with no money at all, I resorted to selling all my belongings after being arrested, including the watch I received on my 16th birthday. It was worth around three thousand Chinese Yuan, which was equivalent to five hundred dollars. By selling it, I gained just what I needed to for temporary food and shelter. Soon this will run out.

**Well it doesn’t matter anymore. All I have to do is win the fight in three days. Hopefully I’ll get enough money from this one fight to continue this lifestyle until the next match. Such a crappy life is perfect for me.**

I simply smiled at the thought.

Three days had passed in the blink of an eye with me doing nothing but reminiscing about my unfortunate past. My family, my friends and Trisha. Every time my mind wandered, I surprised myself wishing to see them again.

**It’s too late. I’m already in too deep. Yes, it’s my punishment for my selfishness and stupidity. I must atone for my crimes. If I can survive this and return to my country… Then maybe… Maybe I can finally face myself in the mirror without wanting to break it. I will fight until I can forgive myself.**

My thoughts were interrupted by the banging sound of my room door. I took a glance at the clock and quickly understood. The time has come. Thus I walked towards the door and slowly opened it.

I was met by the indifferent gaze of a mysterious stranger. He wore casual clothing, which I paid little detail to. What I was paying attention to was his huge physique. The man was obviously of Asian ethnicity.

“-Are you Thomas Tendale?” He asked.

The tone of his voice felt indifferent and serious.

“-Yes.” I immediately replied.
“-Good. Then come with me.”

He began walking in the direction of the elevator. I grabbed a handful of cash from my room and quickly followed after him. After we arrived at the front of the crappy hotel. We soon entered a black sedan and drove towards to the outskirts of the city. The ride took around an hour until we arrived at another urban location. I had no idea where I was. The man motioned for me to go inside the building, so I immediately left the car before he started driving away.My heartbeat began to increase, as I got closer to the door of the mysterious building . As I entered the building, the door behind me suddenly closed shut.

A tall, middle-aged man, dressed in a fancy suit, approached me.

He looked at me, curiously before speaking.

“-Follow me.”

His voice sounded quite rough but I didn't pay it any mind and followed him into an empty room. Afterwards, we arrived at the center of a ring located in the backyard of the mysterious building They were dozens of people on bleachers with their faces hidden in shadows. I was sure they were looking at me, a complete stranger, with great curiosity. The eerie gazes of the audience hidden in the shadow were as if they were sizing me up.

“-Kid. The match will begin in a few minutes. As for the time before your fight, use it as you wish.”

I nodded to show that I understood.

As time flowed by, my thoughts of the past quickly began to rush through my mind like an emotional roller coaster.

“-Kid, it’s time!” He shouted. My thoughts were suddenly interrupted and I turned around in response and immediately saw the figure of my opponent.

I took a curious look at him. The man was short, probably no more than 1.60 cm tall. He was also not of Asian ethnicity. He had shoulder length black hair tied in a ponytail. He was shirtless and his upper body was reveling his well-defined abdominal muscles. His appearance made me involuntarily relax. Despite that I knew that people should not judge others based on their physique, but I still couldn’t help but breathe a sigh of relief seeing that I will not have to fight some Chinese herculean man, like the man that brought me here.

We were both preparing for our oncoming fight in a wide bare space on the concrete floor. A short while later, a man came in between my opponent and I.

**He must be the referee.**

He took quick glances at my opponent and I. Then he began motioning for us to come forward.

“-Are you ready?” He shouted.

He raised one hand above his head.

I was mentally preparing myself for the moment he signaled his hand down. I was entirely focused on the short man in front of me.

My opponent clicked his tong in annoyance, probably because he noticed that I relaxed when I saw that he would be my opponent.

**Great I angered him. Well that doesn’t matter. I’ll end this quickly with a kick to his abdomen as soon as I get the signal. Sorry little one but I didn’t come here to play.**

I sniggered at the thought.

With a shout, the man signaled his hand down.

Immediately after his hand was below head height, I sprinted towards the midget at full speed.

My opponent didn’t have the time to react as I threw a powerful kick towards his stomach.

Or so I thought.

With a grin on his face, he sidestepped quickly to my right. My kick slightly grazed his body whilst I received a powerful punch to my jaw. The shock made me stumble backwards a little. Soon after, without having the time to retaliate, I received another punch, but this time to my abdomen. I almost hurled from the impact. The blow hurt so much that I almost fell to my ass.

“-Bastard!!!” I shouted angrily.

Whilst running towards him, I tried to once again land a powerful blow towards his stomach. However, as he did previously, it was easily avoided and with a simple kick to my legs. I fell to the ground flat on my face. Afterwards, he sat on my stomach and began throwing numerous punches to my face.

**Shit I lost.**

I tapped the ground three times indicating my defeat with one hand whilst trying to protect my face from the avalanche of punches with the other. To my surprise, the referee didn’t stop the match but continued watching with a clear smirk on his face.

**I’m not even standing anymore so why doesn’t he stop the match?**

I soon recalled the words of the old man: “… As soon as the fight begins there is no backing out, we do not allow sudden forfeits here…”

**If I can’t give up then I will just fake that I lost consciousness.**

After getting my thoughts together, I immediately closed my eyes and my arms fell down in correlation. I received even more punches straight after. After a few seconds had passed, the storm finally ended.

I was laying motionless and began to mentally relax myself, but I soon felt my hair being pulled upwards.

**What the hell is he doing? Is he showing my face to the spectators? Shit. I really got my ass kicked, but next time I will definitely kick your fucking ass.**

I thought to myself as I was mentally enraged. The midget began touching my face, then suddenly I felt his fingers circling around my left eye.

**This bastard is trying to hurt me again. Time to stop the act.**

I opened my eyes only to see the huge smile on his face.I tried to resist by throwing him off me, but he blocked my arms with his legs.

I could only shout in pain and horror after he finally succeeded in gouging my left eyeball.

The pain was completely unbearable. I had never felt physical pain like this ever in my past life. My mind almost went blank from the pain. I soon felt myself drifting away from consciousness while hearing wicked laughter’s coming from the surrounding audience.

The midget smiled sadistically as I laid pathetically on the ground, covered in blood.

He looked down upon me and spoke with a voice filled with disgust.

“-Trash.”

It was almost as if I was living in one of my greatest nightmares as I looked at my executioner smashing my eye on the ground with his feet.

It was the last thing I saw before finally drifting unconscious.

——————————————————————————————

I found myself in a hospital bed after finally returning from my unconscious state. My entire body was in pain from the fight while my mind was extremely hazy, until it all be came clear again. After I recollected that awful memory, my hand began to near towards my left eye. I only felt bandages telling me that it wasn’t a nightmare.

I didn't even have the strength to scream in horror but the shock from that fight still echoed within my mind.

I gritted my teeth. My emotions were beginning to grow out of control. I wanted to stand on my two feet, so I tried to get out of bed, but as soon as I tried to stand I instantly fell down to the floor. The pain from impact resounded throughout my whole body.

As I looked at myself, I could only feel like crying.

I stayed without moving until a couple of nurses entered my room. Their eyes widened at the state that I was currently.

They quickly rushed to me and helped me returning to bed.

I thanked them with a lifeless voice and a fake smile which quickly disappeared after the closed the door behind them leaving me alone with my pain and my disappointing self.

——————————————————————————————

Several days had passed since that fight and my body was still in a pitiful condition. For the entire duration, I continued to lay on my hospital bed while trying to chase the traumatic memories of the fight from my mind. In an attempt to do that, I also wondered how I would be able to pay for the enormous hospital bill. My future looked grim before the fight, but now it was hopeless.

**I received the beating of my life from a Chinese midget who took my eye as a trophy. Fucking psychopath.**

I was full of rage and shame. The beating I took was completely one-sided.

**No, I brought this upon myself. The old man warned me about this. This was not a place for tourists and more than everything, I deserved it. The pain in my eye is probably far from the suffering he had to endure in the accident and the crushing sensation I feel in my entire body is probably not close from what he endured all those years of torment**

While I continued wander in my thoughts, I heard a knock on the door.

I immediately turned my head on my left from that abrupt interruption. I felt unease oozing out from the door. However, that uneasiness felt somewhat familiar.

**My luck can’t be that bad.**

Before I could say a word, the door slowly opened to reveal a lone old man walking into my hospital room. I couldn’t help but gasp when I saw that it was the old yakuza. Without uttering a single word, he walked towards me with his cane in his left hand and seated himself on the chair next to my bed.

Before I could speak the old man smiled at me.

“-Did you like your first fight?” He asked.

It took me a few seconds before I recollected my thoughts to answer.

“-I’m not sure we could call that a fight.”
“-I agree. It was more of an execution from my standpoint. Well, if you hadn’t seen it coming then you’re quite stupid.”

I couldn’t respond anything to that. A hint of disappointment quickly flashed across my face.

“-By the way, I have already paid your hospital fee.” He said.

My lone eye widened at his sudden words.

“-Why?” I asked in incomprehension.
“-Hmmm…”

The old man let one finger run across a profound scar located on his left cheek while muttering. However, I simply ignored it, as most of my attention was focused on his early statement and eerie smile forming on his face.

After a few second of this ritual, he smiled once more at me.

“-You are weak. Nothing, but a little boy who pummeled all the other children who were smaller than him and because of that you thought you could fight with adults and even look down on them, simply based on their look. If that is the case, boy…”

The word boy felt emphasized as it left a deep impact upon me.

“-...let me tell you this. The world is much bigger than what you think. You got lucky after only losing an eye against him.”

For the first time since he entered the room, I suddenly broke eye contact to look at my hands with shame. Everything he said was true. There was nothing to deny.

“-But still… I can’t help but be intrigued by you.”

I looked at him once again.

“-Why?” I asked.
“-I don’t know. I just feel it when I look in your eyes, or… Should I say, your eye. Hehehehe…”

That was not funny.

“-Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that… I have the feeling that you can be much more than just the little bully you were back then.”

I tilted my head to the side after his statement.

**What is he saying?**

“-You’re wrong… What makes you think that you know more about me than I do about myself.” I asked with a hint of coldness in my voice.

“-Well if that is what you think then there is nothing that I can do. I don’t know what you did that you’re so desperately trying to destroy yourself, but I don’t care. However, I have an offer for you.

I was listening very carefully to his words.

“-I will personally teach you how to fight if you agree to continue fighting at least once every two weeks in a match similar to the one you had fought . If you succeed to survive for three years in that ring then I will give you the thing that you desire the most in this world. How does that sound?”

I could only stare at him in suspicion at his mysterious proposition.

“-Then what is in it for you? I asked.
“-As for me. I will get fifty percent of your winnings as payment for the training you receive."

I immediately began to rethink my limited options.

**There is no way that I will survive another of those fights. I only have one eye. My next opponent will probably be very pleased by ripping the last one I have. As much as I hate myself, the idea of becoming blind is not very appealing.**

“-Are you running away?”
“-What?” I responded stupidly to the sudden question.

There was no more smile on his face this time.

“-Are you running away from your sins? Are you going home to mom crying while apologizing? Is this the extent of the determination to make up for your crimes?” He said in cold voice.

I could only open and close my mouth without uttering a single word, like a fish out of water.

“-You can refuse and become a beggar or sell your body for all I care. Now make your choice!”

The last phrase was told with so much force that it made my entire body tremble in response.

His blues eyes were looking at me as if he could see straight into my soul. It had made me want to hide under protection of my blanket. I desperately looked away from his fierce gaze until my single eye glanced at the broken mirror hanging on the wall at the right side of my bed. It had been so long since the last time I looked at myself.

I could only see a shadow of my former self as the face in front of me became almost that of a stranger

More than a year without a proper meal had made my round face look scrawny. Under my eye non-covert by bandage was a large dark ring. I looked surprisingly terrible. My face was extremely pale, except from the bruises I gained from that fight. So much so that I wondered if I wasn't going to die soon.

**It’s the first time I remarked it, but I kinda resemble him.**

It was almost if I could see my brother looking at me in this crappy mirror. Everybody said we were totally different but today I understood that wasn't the case. I never felt closer to him than this moment.

Once again, it hit me. I felt guilt as strong as the day of his funeral.

**I really made Jordan suffer a living hell. I pummeled him every single day. Then I let him die in my stead. I cannot run away from this sin.**

I clenched my fist as strong as I could before turning my head to face again those 2 eyes like sapphires that seemed to shine in this dark room.

“I… I accept your offer.”

When those words finally left my mouth, his gaze became gentler and a wide smile illuminated his old face making as if he looked ten years younger.

“-Excellent. It took you long enough to make up your mind. Well I guess it’s good as long as you understand. One of my men will take you to my mansion at the end of the week. Make sure you sleep well before that, because you will have little chances to sleep later on.”

He gripped his cane and stood up before leaving the room while lightly chuckling as he made his way out.

**I forgot to ask about what he meant by ‘the thing I desire the most’. Oh well… If I’m alive in three years then I’ll give it some thought but for now, it doesn’t matter.**

Soon after, I fell down from my seating position onto the soft clutches of the bed. Once I was sure he left, I let out a huge sigh. I looked at the mirror one more time before slowly drifting to sleep.

——————————————————————————————

Like he promised, a man in a black suit came walking into my hospital room three days later to pick me up.

I still felt tired as hell and the pain of my eye hadn’t died down a bit since the visit of this old geezer. However, if I want to survive the next fight that will take place in 2 weeks I have to start training as soon as possible.

After a little more than a hour of driving on the highway, we arrived at a large mansion with a sturdy metal gate. I could see that at least a dozen guards in a black suit situated near the entrance.

The car stopped to let them check the interior.

**Who the hell is this geezer? He is dangerous, that’s for sure. I don’t think he is just a some regular yakuza. Wait a minute we’re in China, aren’t yakuza from Japan. Is he a part of the triad? Probably. Considering the guns I could see on the belts of the guards.**

After a second body check, I finally entered the large mansion.

How should I describe it? Well let’s just say that it was weird. I was expecting the entire mansion to be filled with decorations more luxurious than the one next to it.

I was totally wrong.

First the garden was… Well, there was no garden. Not a single flower or much less a blade of grass. All I could see after entering through the large gate was a single stone road leading towards the door of the main building. After looking to both sides of the path, only an incredibly large barren space with nothing, but stones and sand could be seen. It was as if I was in the middle of a desert.

The door of the main building was normal without any ornaments to be seen. I was a little disappointed, as I did not see a large doorknocker in the shape of a majestic lion head.

**For this crazy geezer, I suppose that a hyena would have been more correct.**

One of the guards accompanying me to the door opened it without a ceremony and told me to enter.

The interior was just like the garden. Empty. There were only a couple of empty shelves along the walls of the dull room. There was scarcely any light illuminating the room either. The only sources of light were a couple of lamps along bolted to the walls. Not a even single window. The room gave of a creepy atmosphere to the mansion just like one from a horror movie.

**Is he a vampire? Shit, there’s no mirror either.**

I shuddered at the thought.

After I continued to follow the guard to my final destination, we walked past a couple of vast rooms and glanced inside some open door rooms. I found that there were more men inside the mansion than furniture. I soon arrived before a large door, which looked very different from the others. The door was massive and it was made of a metallic material without any handles to be seen. Whilst I was wondered if it was an electric door, the guard walked closer to it and with a clear voice…

“Sir, I brought the ‘Cyclops boy'.”

I frowned hearing his sentence.

**Cyclops!?!… Bastard. Fuck you. Well I can’t deny the part about my lonely eye but just thinking about it kinda hurt.**

While cursing the guard in my mind, the door slowly opened without a sound.

Just like the first time I met him, there was only a large desk with the old man in front of it. He had his fingers crossed under his chin. Yes, exactly the same except for the large smile I saw on his creepy scarface.

“Leave us.” He said in his ancient voice.

His commanding tone didn’t allow any space for discussion. The guard quickly bowed and left without even a glance in my direction. The door closed behind him as he left.

Now it was just the old hyena and I in a small office. The room was also similar to the others, dull and windowless. Seeing him smile like that, I felt like a new prostitute meeting her first customer. I felt my body becoming tense just thinking about that.

“-Relax boy, if I wanted to hurt you I would have already done it.”
“-Yes… sir.” I replied without relaxing one bit.
“-How are you feeling?”

Surprised by his sudden interest for my welfare, I responded with a voice louder than necessary.

“-Perfectly well… sir.”

**Crap. I hope I didn’t anger him.**

His smile only grew larger.

**Maybe he really does cares about me...**

I took closer look at his face. He smiled sadistically.

**Nope… Not a chance.**

“-Excellent. You will soon begin you’re training once we finish here.”
“Yes, sir. So…” I paused.

I looked at him questioningly. Making sure to choose my words carefully.

“-What kind of martial arts will I be learning? Judo? Karate? A mix of several styles?” I asked.

I was damn serious, but the old geezer just laughed uncontrollably. I was right about calling him a hyena, his laugh was irritatingly similar. I could only feel my head increasingly become hotter.

“-Why are you laughing?” I asked with irritation.
“-You think you can learn a martial art in just a couple of weeks. If you want I can teach you, but when the next fight will start, I doubt a couple of breathing exercises will save you. I will not be teaching you any martial arts.”
“Then why did you invite me here?” I asked. I grew angrier each second despite that I knew he was correct.

“I will not be teaching you how to fight. What I’ll be teaching is… How to survive.”
“Isn’t it the same?” I shrugged my shoulders.

He smiled once again.

“Maybe some time ago when it was created. Nevertheless, with time, each martial art eventually became more focused on how to differentiate their style from others than how to be the more effective. You could say that the majority of martial arts which are taught now are just the shadow of their true purpose: the practice of death upon your opponents.”

I pondered about what he had said for a while.

**I don’t know if it's the truth or not but, he is right. I don’t have the time to learn martial arts to defend myself.**

“-Then, is this what you will teach me: how to kill my opponent?” I asked.

The old man fell silent for a while.

“Yes and no. As I said previously, I don’t organize death matches. However, when you fight aim to kill your opponent. Even if you don’t succeed, you can probably deal enough damage to knock him out. I will teach you how to move, how to read your opponent’s movements and show you where you must strike. My training will be difficult and if you don’t give it your best, the next fight will end up just as bad as the last one.”

“…”

**I don’t have a choice anymore. As far as I can remember, I fought. I am just a violent bastard who doesn’t know anything else except but to fight.**

Or so I thought.

However, after having my ass kicked with such ease the other day I understood that even fighting was a mystery to me

**I will learn and survive the match. If I win in three weeks, I will learn something else. Anything will do. This way, if I survive three years, I might be able to return home being more than just a simple brute. Yes… I will survive, learn and return home. I will stop fighting after those three years.
Then… Then, I will become something more than just the bully that I despised in the memory of Jordan. I swear it.**

“-Are you ready boy?” His voice still retained it’s ancient tone.

My thoughts were clear to me now.

“-Yes… Let us begin.”

——————————————————————————————

**It's hell.

I’m tired. The muscles within my body stung with unbelievable pain. Even the muscles I had never knew existed hurt like hell.

Fucking geezer.**

I was in high spirits before we started but after all the constant running and bodybuilding… I was no longer sure that it was a good idea.

It had been a week and half since my hellish training began and I haven’t learned a single thing.

**I’m exhausted. Is he not just trying to make the victory easier for my next opponent?**

“If you have time to daydream then give me another fifty pushups!”

**I swear I will kill him one day.**

The day had already turned dark in his large garden, or rather his desert, when he finally told me that my painstaking training was over for today. I can’t think straight anymore.

I snapped.

“-Fucking geezer, why the hell am I still doing this shit. I thought you were going to teach me how to survive. I haven’t learned a single thing.”

I gasped for breath. With each breath, I realized what I had just done.

Forget the match next week; he will kill me right now.

“-You’re not satisfied?”

Hearing that I was prepared for the worst. As I was not so sure to how I would respond.

“-Eh… Well… No?” I said with bewilderment and nervousness clearly shown from the tone of my voice.
“-I told you that it would be difficult. You knew it and you accepted.”

A long silence followed his sentence.

**Is he waiting for me to answer? I don’t want to answer. He is right but I can’t say it.**

“-However, I understand your frustration. Don’t worry, we will stop with the strengthening. I will begin to teach you, but it was a necessary step. Do you teach a baby how to run? No, he must first learn how to stand. It’s the same for you. Now go rest, we will start at 4 am tomorrow.”
“-Yes, sir.”

Glad that I escaped a near death sentence. I bowed and quickly left. Afterwards, I returned to the room given to me.

The following day, I resumed my training.

As promised, there was no longer any running.

Instead, I stood in front of my hyena master trying to anticipate where he would strike with his bloody cane.

We had already started two hours ago and my body was covered in bruises.

The old geezer seemed to be having quite a bit of fun.

I was beginning to regret not having the pushups.

“-Ouch”
“Miss. What a shame. Try again.”
“This is not fun… Ouch.”
“Try again.”

**God I hate that smile.**

——————————————————————————————

The day of the match had finally arrived.

I had rested the entire day yesterday to preserve my strength.

It was supposed to be a good rest, but each time I thought about the match, my left eye had begun to sting in pain.

**I should probably stop calling it my eye, I probably should call it my hole. Yes, that’s better. My real eye was crush on the floor of the factory after all.

My hole hurts.

In fact, it’s not better; it makes me sound like a pervert.**

I spent the entire night thinking about such things. As a result I was exhausted.

After a long time in the car, we arrived at a place different from the previous place that I fought two weeks ago. Probably to not be caught by the authorities.

**I need to stop thinking about irrelevant things. This is not a game. I must focus or I will be crushed again. Worse, if I don’t win this fight the geezer will probably tell me that I’m useless and kick me out. As much as I hate him, without any money I’m sure that I will die in the street or end up in prison. I came to this country in desperation but now it’s different, I have a goal. I can’t lose or I will never be able to return and apologize to mom.**

My adversary had finally arrived.

**Shit. He is huge.**

I suppose my wish was granted. I prayed every night to not face the midget eye crusher again.

Now I had to face a giant. I was quite tall with my 185cm height, but he was at least 20 cm taller than I was. My opponent was black and had enormous muscles. His big lips twitched to form a smile as he saw me.

**He thinks I’m a midget. I understand why the eye crusher was pissed last time. I’m so gonna kick his ass.**

While burning with anger and motivation to crush him, the same referee as last time came close to us.

**He seemed to remember me. Why does everybody smile when they see me?**

The match begun the moment he put his arm down.

I heard a cheer from the audience but I couldn’t care any less.

**Focus Thomas. Focus.**

Unlike last time, I didn’t suddenly rush to my opponent.

**I will not make the same mistake twice. I can’t match him in strength. I know that much just by looking at him. If he catches me, it’s over.**

Suddenly the giant rushed in attempt to try and tackle me. I evaded by simply rolling to my right.

**Shit, he’s also fast. He almost caught me.**

Without letting me any time to adjust my position, he rushed me once again.

**He’s drawing his right arm back. He’s preparing to punch me... No. His foot. It’s a left kick.**

I evaded by a hair’s breadth. If I hadn’t seen through his feints he probably would’ve smashed me by now.

**Thanks geezer. I owe you one, I will never ever doubt you or your fucking stick *cough* I mean your mighty cane.

Anyway, now I’m sure that I won’t last long at this rate. I got lucky but that won’t last. I need to end this quickly.

It’s time for the counterattack.**

He tried to rush me again.

This time it was a left punch. His movements were wide and easy to read. I evaded with a side-step to my right and I felt the air produced from his punch on my face. I didn’t pay any mind to it and without giving him the chance to turn I put all my strength into my right leg.

*Crackkkkkkk*

His voice filled with pain rapidly covered the sounds of his knee shattering under the pressure of my kick.

**He may be stronger than me but that doesn’t mean he’s invincible.**

His joints were as frail as mine and by aiming for the side of his knee joint, I crippled him.

**The geezer was right. No matter how strong you get the weakness of the human body will never change.**

It was my win.

He attempted to stand up several times, but he fell just as many times. He finally succeeded by putting all his weight onto his right leg.

This time I rushed him and whilst evading a weak punch, I crushed his right knee.

His screams were loud and full of agony.

Unable to stand anymore, he fell to the ground whilst crying.

Just like me, a month ago.

I glanced at the referee who was still smiling.

“-He is not KO yet. Finish him.”

**Just like I thought.**

Without a word I slowly walked towards him. He noticed my intentions as I slowly came closer. He began to scream for help from the referee and the audience, but he just got laugher in response. He then began crawling on the floor away from me but with his two knees shattered he couldn't move quickly. After finally being close enough to the man, he began screaming for mercy. I made a sharp kick towards his temple.

This time he was definitely out.

**No need for cruelty. I have enough blood on my hands.**

I took a look at the audience.

I saw the blue eyes of the old man staring at me with what looked like an accomplished smile on his face.

Looking at his smile, I understood. He was clearly expecting something from me.

**I don’t have a choice. I won only because of his extensive training. I must continue to win those matches to return home in three years.

This is only the beginning.**


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