Life's a Game

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Part 3

Once I heard start, I ran at Aura, and she took off as well. She was fast, letting the air carry her.

Never underestimate your opponent, that’s what Alec taught me. When she was close enough, I could feel the air start to become restricted. She was already trying to take my air away, and that will not happen. I wanted to end her quickly, but Alec warned me against that notion. I can’t defeat her too quickly, then my other opponents will be threatened, and my battles will be infinitely harder. I need them to underestimate me.

I remembered my training and stopped to stomp on the ground to feel the vibration of the earth around me. I could barely feel Auras soft little footsteps. I lifted my hands quickly to bring a tent of rock around her. It was slightly crooked to make her stop, but it doesn’t cut off my line of sight on her. Luckily, it scared her enough to make her stop running. Instantly, the air came back to me, much to my relief. She wasn’t expecting me to do that and got distracted. Perfect. It will sadly be her downfall.

Without letting up, I slammed my fist on the ground, and a line was created in the earth, widening as it neared the girl, splitting the arena into two. A move that I only have done once might save my life today. The split ran right to my opponent, making her fall down to the open earth. My fist still connected to the ground, I looked up to Aura and she was hanging onto the ledge. I see her trying to wave her hand to bring air in to lift her out of the death pit I created. Before I could slam the rock tent on top of her, she quickly escaped and started pulling the air to her again. This time faster.

My breath hitched as the sudden lack of oxygen hit me. All my training for this almost went away when I saw her run full sprint towards me. The air she gathered propelled her faster.

Thinking fast, I stomped up a boulder, and roundhouse kicked in her direction. I continued chunking boulders, hoping to slow her down. She naturally dodged it but her concentration on controlling the air around me lessened. Slowly air was filling my lungs again but only briefly. It was enough to calm my anxiety about not being able to breathe as I continued to toss rocks at her.

Once I have Aura distracted, I let her come closer to me. Her trainer must have concentrated on hand to hand combat as Alec did with me. Or else she wouldn’t be so keen on getting near me—another miscalculation on the part of the blonde.

When she was mere meters away, I slammed my forearms together, and a wall of solid rock erupted up from the ground. It went up 10 feet in the air, blocking Aura from getting to me. I couldn’t see her anymore, but I knew she probably stopped, shocked at the size of the wall that had come between us. I took a deep breath, and I punched the rock hard, making it fall forward. My hopes that it would crush her instantly.

Unfortunately, Aura wasn’t as distracted as I hoped. The rock stopped at a sharp angle, hovering over the girl. She stopped it from crushing her. Without missing a beat, I jumped on top of the ramp and ran up the smooth rock face, jumping off the ledge, landing on the hard ground only to see Aura using all her might to keep from being crushed.

For a matter of seconds, our eyes met. I could see the fear of the inevitable end. I felt sorry for the blonde. I didn’t want to do this, I didn’t want to end a life, but the magistrate would never allow both of us to leave the arena. Besides, if I let my guard down now, Aura would kill me, probably without a second thought.

I clenched my fists and mouthed a sorry to Aura hoping it made things better. Using both my fists, I slammed them into the ground, and the earth gladly opened up to her, and in a flash, the hovering rock fell. It sent a cloud of dust in the air. The fight with the elemental was hard on my powers. Aura required me to continually use large rocks to distract and stop her movements from coming closer to me.

Through the earth, I could feel her moving, trying to escape the dark depth of the cavern I created. I made it deeper than the last one since I was merely feet away from her. She was clawing her way back to the top using her air ability, but she was having difficulty moving the large slab of rock on top of her. With anguish, I lifted a huge boulder that was close by, over my head, and hovered it over the thick slab.

Using all my might, I smacked the massive boulder into the rock covering the girl. Without thinking, I lifted the stone again and pounded it in, again and again. Until there was nothing left but rubble and my boulder slowly, fell apart from the impacts.

I was breathing hard at this point. My arms slacked to my side and slightly bent over, feeling exhausted.

Dust came up, covering the scene with beige dirt. I had a hard time seeing a few feet in front of me

‘Confirm the kill.’ Alec’s voice resonated in me. There were a few phrases he would always say to me that was pounded into my head so that when I was in the arena, I would remember them.

I sighed intensely, not wanting to see the mess underneath the rubble. Slowly I lifted the rocks one by one and cleared the way to see the small girl at the bottom of the gorge. She was dead; I could tell because she was unrecognizable—just a pile of flesh, bone, and blood.

There was a red crimson everywhere, coloring the rock faces. I couldn’t help but feel guilty and horrible. A sick feeling settled in my gut as I tried not to vomit from the site. Aura didn’t deserve this. No one does. The saddest part, it was so easy to win. Unfortunately, not all of us are strong enough to defeat the others. Maybe if she were paired with someone else, she would have had a chance, but that would only delay the inevitable. We are not all created equal. Now all my opponents have an idea of what I can do. They know I will make sure they are dead before turning my back to them. They know I will be challenging to kill, and I didn’t even use all my abilities or moves. They have witnessed a tiny part of my affinity, which is what I wanted.

I know the other opponents are watching the show, and for the next game, I will be one of those that watch. My stomach turned at the thought. The sooner the games were over with, the better.

“Gaia, we need to confirm that you won. Please bring her to the surface.” A voice said as it drifted into my ears. It was Elder Kakio. Resentment and rage started to build inside me. It’s incredible how he can phrase this as something not so wrong.

If the stands weren’t warded, I would have chucked I rock at him. So, instead, I complied.

I planted my feet firmly to the ground and rose the poor girl from the death hole.

The ground rumbled and shook. I was losing control due to my emotions. I was so angry and resentful that I wanted to kill everyone. The desire to murder has never been so strong.

But I raised her to the point that she was laying flat on a platform made of smooth sandstone. I didn’t realize before, but the crowd was screaming and chanting the entire time. Somehow, I never heard them until now. Strange that it happened to drift into my ears now. Maybe it was soundproof until the end.

They were gasping at the sight of her. The sounds of gagging and awes echoed on the arena walls. There was nothing left of the blonde girl. Of course, it shouldn’t have been surprising; this is not the worst they have seen.

With that, I turned and walked out of the area to the door I entered from. In a few hours, there will be another fight to the death for two unfortunate souls. I was lucky not to have much of a scratch on me this time, but my next opponent will not be so easily taken down. The pairings are random, but everyone is paired at least once before the showdowns.

There were 16 of us, and after the first week, only 8 of us will live. I know the magistrate wants me to be dead and soon. It wouldn’t surprise me if they paired me up for every single fight until someone finished the job next week.

I pushed that thought away. It doesn’t matter. I will win, and no one will stand in the way.

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