| Nathalia |
“You’re dead meat,” she said.
I understood why she thought of me so disparagingly; she was someone who’s part of a reputable guild, and while my name must have circulated around the academy for things that I had done, I still remained a nobody.
My eyes focused on Calla, her mana was building up, and she procured two metallic silver rods from the leather handles that hang from her waist. The giant round lights hovering above us were slightly blinding and interrupting my focus. I didn’t bring any weapons so I braced myself for her attack.
She started running; I sent a massive punch on the ground, breaking the arena in two.
With a supercilious grin dwelling in my face, Calla stared at me with a blend of surprise and irritation. “This is why I asked for this duel. How could a five beat Jade? Now I know. You’re not a five,” she snarled.
I laughed as I examined what I had done; the stage now had a huge space in the middle, still remaining afloat, and Calla needed to jump over if she wanted to reach me. I planned on finishing this match as fast as I could so that I could fulfill my promise to Theo and come back to my twin.
Just like what I did with Jade, I summoned numerous vines on Calla’s side of the arena and sent it flying towards her direction as she bounced around to evade it. She changed the shape of her rods, making it thinner and longer then she catapulted herself to my side but before she could graze me, she was trapped by another batch of slithering vines, pulling both of her feet back to the ground, and tying both her wrists at her sides.
She hissed and jerked, trying to break free from the creepers that were binding her. Her effort was unsuccessful so she stilled and glared at me. “I see that your reputation supersedes you, Levina. You’re not strong, you’re a coward. Just because you’re able to manipulate an element, doesn’t mean you’re great. You might just have been a lucky five.” Looking me dead in the eye, the side of her upper lip tilted upward, a malicious sneer forming. “Go on, attack me.”
So I did. I launched myself at her, my fist connecting with her face, her head recoiling back from the impact, her body still being held by my vines.
The crowd clamored and screamed Calla’s name.
Calla laughed, a sinister sound coming from the depth of her throat, deep and unladylike. She spat the blood that formed on my punch and moved her jaw as if it was nothing. She grinned, her teeth stained with blood. Her rods that were hanging limply at her sides left her hands and combined into one, transforming into an almost life-size scissor. Instead of cutting herself free, she pointed the tip of the scissors at me, her face twisting into a concentrated frown. It began gyrating rapidly towards me so I hopped back and formed a solid wall of rock in front of me.
Rock beats scissors, right?
To my dismay, the scissors continued to spin, penetrating my shield instead of damaging hers. I abandoned my rock shield and rolled over to my side. Calla came flying to me giving me no time to react as she pinned me to the ground, her muscular thighs squeezing my waist.
A punch. And another.
I felt dizzy and my vision blurred, small shimmering lights crowding my sight. I crossed my arms in front of my face to block further blows. I flexed my legs, grabbed one of her arms to lose her base, and moved my hip to the side in an effort to roll over her. Succeeding, I aimed for a revenge punch but she managed to push me with her legs, separating the two of us.
She was swift enough to fall back and prepare for another attack. She cocked her head to the side and smirked. “Not bad, Hague. But someone like you can’t hold a candle to me who has trained since I was five.” Her weapon morphed back into its original form. Combining it together, the other rod transformed into a chain with small razors attaching to it as it elongated, forming a formidable looking whip.
Both of my cheeks felt numb and was starting to swell, and a trickle of blood was falling on the side of my lips. I wiped it with the back of my hand, breathing heavily. I decided to charge first but her whip came slashing through the wind hitting and cutting my abdomen.
I gasped and crumpled down on the ground, putting pressure on my injured side, blood oozing out to my hand and to the floor.
I whipped my head to the audience and saw Theo being held back by his friends. I gritted my teeth, I needed to finish this before my mate cause a scene. He was already receiving curious glances from the audience, including the royalties and the Oracle.
Calla took a few steps toward me. “Your boy toy is growling over there, sweetheart. Want to give up?”
I stood up and trudge forward slowly, my breath catching at each step. ”You give up.” I focused on the ground she was standing on. I still had a lot of mana to spare. With the ground turning into quicksand, a flash of panic crossed Calla’s face before she jumped safely to solid ground but as quick as she was, I changed my focus to the ground she landed on. She lost her balance and fell.
I was about to sigh in relief when the edge of her whip came flying back to the arena and was able to act as an anchor, allowing her to jump back to the stage.
The audience hollered in excitement. It was pretty obvious who was the crowd favorite and their derision towards me was also palpable.
I huffed in disappointment. But thankfully, my bleeding had slowed down thanks to my Lupus gene. By now, the half of the arena was totally obliterated. Calla and I were already breathing laboriously from using too much mana.
“What do you say we do this the old-fashioned way, huh?” I said, curling both of my hands into fists and advancing one foot ahead of the other, straightening my spine and squatting on both legs.
Calla smirked and threw her weapon to the side. “Don’t regret this later, sweetheart,” she exhaled loudly and mimicked my stance. I opened one hand and urged her to come over.
We stormed towards each other, exchanging blows for blows and kicks for kicks. It was taking a lot from me but I was too stubborn, I could die right here and I still wouldn’t raise the white flag.
She was on fire, her eyes unyielding and showing a maddening amount of determination. I couldn’t help but grow a grudging respect for her. I may have more mana supply than her, but her stamina and endurance was definitely better. She was speaking the truth. She did train harder than me. And it was showing in the way she fights.
Both of us staggered backward, huffing and puffing, our faces were swollen red and gashed. It was just a moment though as we went again; she landed a perfect roundhouse kick on me which made my breath hitch and I wince in pain. I jumped at her and grappled her neck, ramming my elbow repeatedly into her back. We fell to the ground, rolling over each other, with her ending on top. Her fist made contact with my injured side, making me scream and writhe.
I wanted to stop, I thought I could no longer handle the pain. But no, I won’t give up. I grabbed her hair; I knew it was barbaric but there was no rule against it so I yanked it as hard as I could until her head was leaning into an awkward angle.
“Let go you bitch!” she screeched.
I took advantage of that and pushed her off of me. If I had my wolf out, my attacks would be much stronger.
I tried to stand up but my leg muscles were all weak and spent. I fell on both of my knees, my hands planted firmly on the ground. Calla was lying flat on her back, probably already depleted.
“I win,” I rasped.
She shook her head, her eyes fixed on the ceiling. “I could still kill you if I wanted.”
I scoffed. “I could still go. You, you’re done.”
With trembling legs, she pushed herself and stood up to her full height, it was obvious it took a lot of effort for her to do so. “I’m not done," she said through clenched teeth. “Stand up or admit defeat,” she ordered.
I tried to stand up but my legs were already shaking so bad it won’t give me the strength that I need to fight further. I guessed this was the result of me being too arrogant and lazy to train, my muscles were not prepared for such a vigorous fight. I sighed, the only thing that was at stake here was my enormous ego and pride. So I nodded. “Alright. You win,” I smiled bitterly.
The arena, what’s left of it, came back down to the ground. The moment the host announced Calla as the winner, Theo stormed the stage and gathered me in his arms, his face a mask of stone cold rage.
“Hi there, handsome.” I smiled weakly at him.
He did not respond so I just buried my face in his chest, inhaling him to comfort my burning muscles and wounded pride. He made a sound and pulled me closer. I closed my eyes and let the pain lull me to sleep and enjoyed the warm halo of solace his scent brought me.
Darkness. My eyes fluttered heavily, taking a lot of effort to open them. They must have given me something as I was still feeling lethargic and intoxicated. I recognized the familiar colors of the infirmary. Moving my head to the side, I found Theo sleeping, rather uncomfortably, on a sofa beside my bed. Still feeling exhausted, I allowed sleep to return.
Someone was touching my arm. I groaned and opened my eyes but my vision was blurry.
A man. He was familiar. I knew him.
“Who are you?” I managed to croak, though it was barely a whisper. My thoughts were a mess. I felt a prick, like a needle puncture.
Blood. Someone was getting my blood.
“Wha-What are you doing?” I mumbled, my body was weak and I couldn’t move. Was this a dream? But it felt real.
“Sshh. Go back to sleep now.”
“Sleep.” He was telling me.
Where was Theo? He was here, wasn’t he?
“Sleep now child. It’s not your time yet. We’ll see after your result come out.”
I struggled to remain conscious. What did he mean?
Why was he getting my blood?
I couldn’t process anything anymore. I closed my eyes once again and the world went black.