I slept on the floor last night, hoping the earth would heal me, but it barely made a dent. I still felt weak, but not like I was yesterday. Today was the last day for the games, and the last day the magistrate will be standing. I take in a deep breath as I willed myself off the floor to get dressed in my battle attire.
I reached into my mind to see if Daimon wanted to go over the game plan with me but no answer. I didn’t think much about it as I continued to get ready by braiding my hair. Once finished, my door opens slowly to my guards, who looked upset. I was not sure as to why they usually looked angry or indifferent to me, but this morning was different.
One of them swallows hard before saying something I would have never expected. “We didn’t know the necklace was warded. We want the games to be fair.”
To be fair. Those words rang in my head, and I was shocked. That was the closest to an apology I would ever receive from those two, and I was happy to hear it. Even though they never said the words, that fact that they wanted me to win fairly and not die because of a fixed fight, was a comfort.
“It’s okay, I figured you didn’t,” I said to let them know I wasn’t mad at them. That was until my guards said the next sentence.
“Of course, we can’t take the necklace off. The elders wouldn’t allow it, and we don’t have a choice. Come, we must go to the Games.”
I hung my head as I walked out into the hallway. I prepared for the crushing weight of the warding that would lower my energy as I neared the arena. As I walked in between my two guards, I heard the familiar clicking sound of heels on the cement floor. I physically cringed, knowing that preppy, annoying lady was only here to tell me that she was glad to see me finally die. Facing Daimon, who seems undefeatable, I can only imagine what this terrible woman could say.
We made it to my arena door. The big metal door, shining against the fluorescent lights that radiated from the ceiling. When we stopped, I turned to face the preppy woman, whose name I still didn’t know, just wanting to get the interaction over with so I can plan my next move.
She didn’t have a smile on her face or pep in her step. She looked beaten. Which was weird for me see. The only time I met her was when I was about to die in the arena, and each time she seemed excited for me to end up dead. Always having a sick smile on her face as she walked away, but this time was different.
“Hello, Gaia. The elders wanted me to make sure you were wearing the necklace and that it still had its… good luck charm.” She slowly said as she looked at my necklace. The burn marks on my neck nearly healed, and the warding was not as high as yesterday. I could barely stand in front of the door, but now I could stand tall, waiting for the doors to open.
“It seems that you were messing with it last night. I will have to add more charm.” She said, reaching out to touch it.
She didn’t look beaten anymore, she looked angry. I took steps back away from her, only to run into my guards. They each grabbed one of my arms and held me still as the woman neared.
I was confused at this point. I thought the guards were sympathetic towards me, now but they held me still with disgusted looks on their faces. The preppy woman finally touched the necklace for several seconds, and I felt the warding getting stronger than before.
My breathing hitched as she finally let go of the necklace. My fear was getting the better of me as I struggled against the two large men that held me fast. She squeezed hard for a petite woman as she said, “No more games, Gaia. Mess with my charms again, and I will kill you myself. You will die in that arena, one way or another.”
With that, she walked away as the clacking of her heels echoed off the walls. If the guards weren’t holding up, I would have collapsed. The weight of the warding placed on the necklace was double from yesterday. I was having a hard time breathing like someone was sitting on my chest. I wouldn’t be able to break the warding in the arena now, not with this infernal thing.
Before I knew it, the doors opened, and the guards released their grip on me. I was swaying, barely able to stand. My two guards gave me a gentle push forward, and I fell to the ground. “Get me to the arena; I can’t breathe,” I whispered. They quickly picked me up and dragged my useless legs out to the arena.
Once at the mouth of the hall, they sat me on my feet, and I felt a slight release as my feet touch the dirt of the arena, but I couldn’t concentrate on that. I needed to get help, and Daimon was the only ally I could trust.
As I neared the starting line, Daimon emerged from the shadows, looking scary as always. I was taking deep breaths to keep myself from passing out in front of everyone. Hopefully, Daimon can get the necklace off so that we can destroy the magistrate like I wanted to for so many years and avenge all the lives lost during these games, especially Alec. I know he is still with me, telling me what to do in a pinch, and his voice echoes in my mind in every battle.
Soon Elder Kakio’s voice travels to my ears as he announces the final battle.
“Welcome one and all, to the last round of the Games. We now have our final two contenders left. I know it is going to be a good day for everyone. For this battle, our lovely Gaia, who barely made it out of the last fight, is back, ready for the fight of her life. Her opponent is Daimon, the living nightmare, who has been brutal in his battles. We watched him destroy every opponent in his path. Now, these two will fight until one is left. Players! The battle will begin in 3..2…. START!”
Elder Kakio’s voice drowned away as I stood at the starting line, watching Daimon walk towards me. I took one step and fell to my knees. Breathing was easier the closer I was to the earth, but I wasn’t able to get to the middle of the arena like I wanted to.
Daimon notices this and runs to me, to see what is the matter. Completely disregarding the onlookers who thought he would kill me instantly since I am acting weak. You would think he wouldn’t fall for something like that after watching what I did to Galene in the last round. Of course, I am weak, and I can’t fight. Luckily, I made that deal with him, or I would see Alec again on the other side.
Soon a shadow covered the sun that was high in the sky. I turned my head slightly to see Daimon standing over me with clenched fists. Now that he was up close, I could see how handsome he looked. It was distracting as he tried to talk to me.
“What is wrong with you? Stand up,” Daimon said.
He seems upset and impatient. His knuckles were turning white as I stared up at him from the ground. His face kept switching from confusion to anger. I was unsure what was going on in that head of his.
“I’m sorry, it’s the… Ahhh!” I screamed as the necklace started to burn my neck again. I tried to pull at it, but it wouldn’t rip off. It was a futile attempt, but the thing was slowly killing me. Daimon kneeled on the ground and analyzed me carefully before reaching for the necklace. When he got close to it, he took his hand away as it burned him as well.
“Why on earth are you still wearing that cursed object? That necklace is not only warded but laced with a fates curse.” Daimon whispered, making sure only I could hear.
I was about to object his statement when he put his hand up to my mouth to stop me.
“Don’t speak against it, unless you want to die a horrible death. The warding on this necklace, coupled with a fates curse is weighing you down, its a miracle you were standing in the first place, let alone alive.” Daimon stood to his full height; he put his hand to his chin like he was thinking on his next move.
The living nightmare side glanced at the elders and then back at me. His eyes asking the question that, if spoken allowed, would get him killed. Saying, “Did the elders do this?”
I only nod my head slightly and glance at the elders as well before going back to his. “Just snap my neck and get it over with. I can’t fight, and I am too weak right now to defend myself. Come on, Daimon, it’s an easy win.” I whispered back. I know he can destroy this place all by himself if he wanted. I never did understand why he wanted me to help him.
There was more that I wanted to say, but there were too many prying ears. Daimon only shook his head, dismissing what I said. He eventually turned to Elder Kakios, leaving me on the ground. He bowed to show respect before speaking before the crowd.
“Elders, I am sorry to inform you, but this fight is fixed,” Daimon said clearly, making sure everyone was able to hear him.
The gasps spread across the colosseum, and some were booing Daimon for not killing me for an easy victory.
Daimon continued his statement, “Someone gave my opponent a cursed object, making her unable to fight. I cannot remove it and make this an honorable victory. I was looking forward to this final match, knowing that it would be a spectacular one, and I know it is what the crowd would love to see.”
I listened to him, and his reasoning swayed even me. I was still having difficulty breathing as I laid on the hard ground, but I knew that it would all be okay soon. The elders were talking amongst themselves as their leader slowly stood up and walked out to the balcony so that everyone could hear him.
“Is that so?” Elder Kakios spoke slowly, being careful about the words he used. “We shall investigate this, but there will be a battle. Gaia and Daimon will fight in two days. Giving our elemental plenty of time to heal. I hope everyone is here to see this legendary battle.”
With that, my guards came into the arena, picked me up, and carried me away.