I woke up suddenly lying on a cot in my viewing room. My two guards stood on either side of it, watching me intently. My breathing was still heavy, and I was making a wheezing sound with every inhale. I reached to touch the necklace that was the cause of all of this, but it was gone. I look over, and one of my guards has the silver chain in his hand. The corners of my lips twitch up slightly.
“Thank you,” I whispered as I rested my head back on the cot. I felt my neck, and there was a noticeable burn all around it. It was painful and unbearable, but I was alive, and that alone is worth dealing with pain.
“Gaia, the next battle will start soon.” One of the guards said as they both left. They didn’t utter another word as they left me to my own devices. I couldn’t believe they took the necklace off, makes me wonder if they cared or someone higher up demanded it. Nah, they don’t care, they only want the best entertainment for the people of this society.
I sat up in the cot, still feeling very weak. I wouldn’t be able to quickly heal unless I can feel the earth and the closest one in through the window, which has no crack in it anymore. They must have fixed it. With the outside world unavailable, I needed to break the warding in this room. It will give two advantages. I’ll be able to speak with him and heal myself substantially, but it needs to be discrete.
I must find a symbol that’s hidden from the naked eye and make sure it is in a discrete location so that the magistrate won’t know what I did. I crawled off the cot to the corner near the window. There was a table with a plant on it that covered a warding symbol. I moved the table slightly and touched the wall with my fingertips. I felt so weak that I have to be very precise about where to brake it. I felt the wall until I found an empty spot.
In all the walls of the magistrate, I can feel where there are empty spots. Those spots are devoid of all life of the earth, and I cannot feel my affinity. That is where the warding symbol is. After finding that empty spot, I pushed hard and willed the stone to crack slightly. I knew it wanted to. It wanted to feel me, so I made it come forward. I heard the soft crack in the wall and instantly felt better. I didn’t want to push my luck, so I stopped and crawled back to the cot, making sure to cover the crack with the table. I lean back against the comfy chair that sat behind me and waited for Daimon and Sylo to fight for their lives.
She saw Daimon enter from the left side as always, not wearing any battle gear, looking calm as ever. Sylo came from the other side, pure muscle, ready and waiting.
I still felt weak, and my body was sore from the pain it experienced, so when Daimon entered my mind forcibly, it didn’t feel good.
“Gaia, are you alive?” he asked quickly. I wasn’t sure if he was worried about me or if this was going to be the last battle for him. Maybe he wanted to be sure I wasn’t dead.
“Yes, barely.” I retorted, too tired to explain. I could barely keep my eyes open, but I noticed Daimon’s gaze was on my window. He kept it discrete but I saw it. He took in a breath before his voice drifted into my head once again.
“Good, and I see you broke some of the seals in your room. Must have taken a toll, but have you made your decision?”
I was still not trusting him, but I am in no condition to object. “I’ll marry you, but Kakios and Testis is mine. That is my only condition.”
I saw Daimon make a sinister smile, signifying that he was happy will my acceptance. He didn’t speak to me again as the Elders made their announcement. Elder Kakios rose from his throne-like chair and proceeded with his speech.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I have a few announcements to make. Firstly, our elemental competitor, Gaia, was merely exhausted after such a difficult fight for her. She is resting now and is very much alive, so there will be a Final battle tomorrow against her and our next winner. Secondly, I wanted to welcome you to the next battle of the night.” Elder Kakios said as the crowds cheered on. They were excited that they were having a showdown tomorrow.
“In front of you is Sylo, a fearless opponent that has conquered every battle he has participated in and now will face Daimon, the walking nightmare. We shall see if Sylo can block Daimon’s ability to cause fear. It is going to be a fight we will not want to miss. Now the battle will begin in 3…. 2.… Start!” Elder Kakios ended by sitting down.
Daimon ran at Sylo without hesitation, knowing that his darkness would not affect him. I look on with anticipation, wondering what would happen next. Daimon showed that he relied on his ability to defeat his opponents, but with Sylo, he was running towards him.
I waited with bated breath as the two behemoths collided. Sylo tackled Daimon to the ground, trying to land punches on the man’s face. Somehow Daimon was able to avoid all of them while throwing a few blows himself. He wrapped his legs around Sylo’s waist, pushing him away to create distance. It was a good move while the opponent is on top.
Soon Daimon tripped Sylo to the right, making him land on the ground. Having the upper hand, Daimon started wailing on his competitor. It was a fantastic sight. I didn’t expect Daimon to be able to last this long in the arena with someone that had Chakra Impediment. One punch after another, Sylo blocked it the best he could, waiting for an opening.
I could see Daimon was getting tired as he continued to punch. Sylo used this moment to land one good punch on his opponent, sending him in the air. I nearly gasped when I saw him land on his feet and hold his jaw. A sly smile crept across his lips, and he charged Sylo, tackling him to the ground again. This time Sylo was unprepared. Daimon straddled the man’s chest and proceeded to beat on his face.
The look of pleasure on Daimons face was disturbing at best and gave me a sick feeling in my stomach. After several minutes Sylo’s body became limp, but that didn’t stop Daimon. He kept punching, even when his opponent didn’t block anymore. I thought he would keep going until he couldn’t recognize the man anymore.
“He is dead; you can stop,” I said in my head, hoping he could hear. Once I said it out loud, Daimon stopped the onslaught. He glanced my way for a moment before replying, “I know, but it was so much fun.”
He stood above Slyo’s body, his fists covered in blood and flesh. He didn’t wait for the Elders to announce that he was the winner, Daimon turned to exit the arena the way he came in.
He turned slightly to look at me like he did every battle. “See you tomorrow, Gaia.” He simply said as he disappeared in the hall. I smiled slightly and chuckled to myself, “Yeah, see you tomorrow.”
When the games finished, my door opened, and my guards came walking in, with the necklace still in hand. I was confused and fearful. I didn’t want that horrible necklace back on me, especially if I wouldn’t be able to take it off.
“Come with us, but we need to put this back on before the elders see you.” One of them said, looking slightly sad. They were never good at hiding their emotions from their face. I only shook my head, too tired to speak. The one holding the necklace bent down and grabbed my arm, “there is no choice here.”
He gave the necklace to the other one that was standing as he held me still, but it didn’t take much. My guard clasped the necklace, securing it around my neck. Instantly I felt the weight and the pain. Tears weld up in my eyes as they picked me up and dragged me to my room, but I refused to let them fall until I was alone.
They gently placed me in my bed and then left me alone with this cursed necklace. I was still fragile and knew crawling to the floor would be difficult. I laid in the bed as pain pulsed every once in a while through me, hoping that I die soon so that I couldn’t endure this any longer.
“Do you want to know how to take the edge off?” Daimon’s voice drifted in my mind. I was so weak I couldn’t respond even though I wanted too.
After a long silence, he spoke again, “Gaia? Hmm, it must be worse than I thought. Go to the bathroom; there should be some salts under the sink. Pour it on the necklace, and it should dull the warding and magic on it. Hurry!” He finished waiting for me to giving some indication that I was alive or that I was moving.
“Come on, Gaia, I need you. You are stronger than this.”
Eventually, I crawled out of bed towards the bathroom in search of salts. Barely able to breathe, I searched until I found what I needed. I ripped the package open and poured it on the necklace. The stinging pain from my burns was awful, but I could feel the earth again. The familiarity and comfort made the pain worth it and manageable.
“It is done. Thank you, Daimon, you didn’t have to help me.” I said in my mind as I crawled to the middle of the floor.
“Wouldn’t be much of a fight against the government if you can’t break the warding with me,” Daimon said, sounding more normal than he ever has, or I was getting used to his grave, coarse voice. I didn’t care now, I wanted to bury myself in the earth and let it heal me but I couldn’t. Using my ability in here would tip the magistrate off and kill me on the spot. The games would not matter anymore.
After some silence, Daimon spoke again, “Can I ask you something?”
I was having a hard time breathing, but I gave him the go-ahead. I had nothing else to do but wallow in my self-pity.
“Do you know why we were born?” He asked, sounding sad and nervous. It was an odd question to ask because all my life, I was meant to entertain the public with my death.
“No,” I replied, “I have asked myself that many times. I hope it was for a reason and not just to die.” I waited for him to say more, but he didn’t say anything.
“Daimon? Do you know?” I quickly asked, hoping he would give me an answer.
Of course, that would be too easy. “Heal up; tomorrow is going to be difficult.” He said as his voice faded away.