Well, some time has passed since I ate that mouse. Miles tried teaching me how to fly, but it seems that I’m just not strong enough to get off the ground yet. I’ll have to keep working on it, but it’s taking a while.
I met Miles again at the food hall. “Hey Miles.”
He was wearing lighter armor than yesterday… “Hey Tithe.”
Why was he wearing that now? “New armor?”
He chuckled a bit. “The competition is today. I wore that heavy crap so I can move around this stuff far easier.”
Oh right… “So how does taking part work?”
We walked in and sat down before he answered. “You don’t need to do anything. Everyone’s opted in by default. You have to go tell them you don’t to take part to get out.”
That doesn’t seem like a good way of handling it. “So, when is it, and where is it?”
He answered my question. “Right after breakfast. Everyone’s going to be heading there at the same time.”
Oh… “How does this work again?”
He smiled. “There’s a large platform in the center of a lake, you just try to knock the other person into the water. Everyone will have a wooden sword and shield. There’s another larger circle platform just outside of the center one, that’s where everyone will sit and watch. One of the few instances the gods really interact with us, probably because they like seeing their children duke it out.”
Only gods? “Are gods the only ones that watch?”
He scratched his neck. “Well, no. Sometimes a dragon, or a Valkyrie will come take a look. Drakes have a tendency to avoid people at all costs.”
Huh… “Are there any other types?”
Now he’s scratching the back of his head. “Well, I’m not really sure about the Immortals, but Odin or Thor might be there. There’s also a tiny chance Loki will be there, but he’ll likely be tossed into a cage so he doesn’t screw anything up until it’s over… I just hope Jupiter doesn’t show up.”
Jupiter? “Who’s that?”
Miles sighed. “Forget I said it. It probably won’t be important anyways.” Ok?
After we ate I noticed people all started walking into the woods. “Is everyone heading there now?” Miles nodded and we followed them.
We walked for, maybe ten minutes or so. Everything opened up into clearing. There was a large lake, just as he said two platforms. A smaller circle in the center, and larger hollow circle surrounding it. I was under the impression it would be floating, but it’s actually stone. I guess people won’t have to worry about balancing the platforms then. Looks like there was six bridges that lead to the outer circle. Two more, maybe removable ones to the center. What miles didn’t tell me about this is that the platforms aren’t level with the water, they’re actually quite a bit higher up than the water. The center one has two ladders that lead back up to the top as well. Probably to get out of the water.
Miles grabbed my hand and pulled me over to a sign. “Let’s see who were up against… You shouldn’t be going against someone to tough, you’re still new her-” He stopped mid-sentence?
Why’d he stopped? “What’s wrong?”
He pointed to the sing that had a bunch of names on it… “You’re going up against Nemilos… Tithe drop out, drop out now!”
What’s wrong? “Why?”
He seemed anxious now. “You’re going up against a daughter of Mars!”
Mars? “Who’s that?”
He groaned anxiously. “The short answer is Ares most intense rival. The long answer I don’t have time to explain. Mars and Ares train a particular child to fight, since they’d destroy everything if they actually fought. DO NOT FIGHT HER!”
It can’t be that bad? “Oh, come-on Miles, it’s that serious. We’re just trying to knock each other off a platform. If she’s that tough then I’ll just get knocked off, right?”
Miles was still anxious. “Dammit, I guess. Please be careful at least. If it gets to tough just jump off the platform. Dammit! I was hoping the Romans wouldn’t be here!”
He kept freaking out so I just made my way to the platform. I sat down and watched everyone slowly make their way there as well. As everyone gathered in I saw Zeus on a separate platform from everyone else? I didn’t see that before. Someone sat to my right, it was a girl.
She was, muscular… It made me uncomfortable. “So, you’re the dragon girl?”
Huh? “I guess? Who are you?”
She smiled. “You’ll find out in a little bit, but you don’t look like much. I’ll try not to hurt you, since father wants me to be merciful as well as powerful.” Then she got up and walked away... Weird.
A few more minutes passed and Miles walked over and sat down. “Alright, everything seems organized now. We should be starting soon.”
Good timing, I heard Zeus say something. “Alright, let’s have the younger members go first.” The youngest people I saw were maybe ten years old.
I’ll say it’s actually quite fun to watch. It seems that children of Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, and Ares tend to win. There are couple of other children I heard them call out as child of Jupiter, And other children of Mars. Miles was up before me. I’m younger but I guess they decided to change things up.
He went onto the platform, and he was up against a reasonably tall guy with black hair. They said he’s a child of Pluto? Not sure who that is. They pushed each other back and forth multiple times. Miles had a big advantage here, he was using his wings to push himself forward. There was a rule about no flying but it didn’t say we couldn’t use them as a way to move quickly. Miles managed to knock the guys sword from his grasp and then, punt him with his shield off the platform. He got launched like four feet into the air and then flew off the edge. That probably hurt. It ended with a loud splash. He climbed up the ladder, looking defeated. They both went back to the seats.
Miles sat next to me. “You’re next, please be careful.”
I guess it is my turn now. “I’ll try.” He didn’t like that answer.
I was handed a wooden sword and shield before walking across the bridge. I felt more comfortable having the shield on my left arm. That girl that sat next to me earlier was on the other side… So that’s Nemilos
We got to the center, I smiled. “Let’s have fun.”
She frowned. “Right, I looked into who you are. You were raised by forest nymphs, right? I guess you would see this as a game then. Just, take this seriously.”
She didn’t seem happy about this, but ok. “Sure.”
She got into a weird half crouch. She rushed at me, and I just barely brought the shield up to block it. I fell backs and had rolled away before she could kick me. I managed to get back up just before she slammed into me. I was knocked back a good few feet, scraped my elbow to.
She let me get back up. “You aren’t play!”
She frowned. “I don’t play. Fight back or I’ll start hurting you.”
Jeez. “I’ve never held a sword in my life. I’m not entirely sure what to do here.”
She stomped. “Just run at me and swing!”
Alright then. I tried rushing and swung. My sword hit her shield and jabbed me in the gut, then kneed me in the face. She kicked me on the ground trying to force me to the edge. I was almost at the edge and I managed hit her behind the knee with my sword. She bent down, not for long, but enough time for me to get back up. I got behind her and she spun around hitting my face with the edge of her shield! I slammed the ground and couldn’t see straight. I felt her reach down and start dragging me to the edge by my horn. That hurts! Like that really fucking hurts!
Dammit! “OW FUCK THAT HURTS!”
She chuckled. “Good to see you have a mouth.” I kicked and swung my arms but I couldn’t reach her.
She dragged me to the edge and tried to throw me off. I managed to grab the side and she started stepping on my fingers. Dammit ow ow ow!
She was angry. “God will you just fall off already!”
She reached down and grabbed my hand trying to force me to let… Wait I still have my sword, she grabbed me hand I swung it as her knee again forcing her down. She shouted in anger and I pulled as hard as I could with the hand she grabbed. She flew over and was hanging off the edge as well now! She was trying to climb up me to try and get back on top but I kept kicking her. I wasn’t wearing shoes, never do but it she was still feeling it! I kicked and kicked and she finally let go and fell! I scrambled back up! I won! I won! Oh my god I won!
The fight didn’t last long but that felt like a huge accomplishment to me! I don’t know why though! I could hear her climbing up the ladder! I heard Zeus announce my name as the winner. The guy I now know as Ares, his chest was convulsing. I think he was trying not to laugh. I took the shield off my arm and started walking to the bridge.
I was maybe a quarter of the way across when she shouted. “You think that was fucking funny!?” What now?
She walked to me angrily. “I’m sorry… I thought this was just a friendly competition.”
She was still approaching me. She had her shield off her arm. I went to turn back around when she grabbed my shoulder and spun me back around. “LET’S SEE HOW YOU LIKE THIS!”
I couldn’t react. She was too fast for me to see it, but I felt it. Her shield, she swung it and hit my head. I heard the crack of the wood, and then felt myself falling. I hit the water and everything was blurry. I couldn’t see anything and it felt like everything was a haze… I didn’t even feel the need to breath, I just wanted to sleep. The water was turning red… Was that my blood? I don’t know, but my eyes were getting heavy… I saw blue push through the red right before it all went black.
I woke up in a bed… I tried looking around but it hurt, everything was too bright.
I heard a voice, but he was too loud. “Hey don’t move!”
Too loud! “Ow ow, why are you being so loud?”
He changed how loud he talked. “Sorry. Tithe, how do you feel?”
My head hurts. “In pain.”
They put something over my eyes. “This might help, you should sleep. She hit you pretty hard.” I, didn’t have the energy to argue.