The After Effects

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The First Battle

Sparkly orange eyes danced with indignation as I watched my opponent enter the arena. The male was clearly supernatural, his eyes the first clear sign. Another sign, was his unnatural grace as his large gait carried him into the sandy battlegrounds. After studying supernaturals with the guys a couple of times this week, in the castle library, I had ensured I focused on the qualities of each supernatural.

The unusual size, unnatural grace, and dull glow of the males skin pointed to him being Fae. This meant that not only did he have a physical advantage over me, he also was gifted with some sort of power that could ultimately be my downfall.

I studied his strange orange eyes as the male was announced to the crowd, along with his faint orange skin. Since Fae typically were colored close to their powers, I surmised that this fae was gifted with fire.

The male held a single-handed sword in one of his large hands. I studied his sword-holding-arm, noting its slight physical difference to his left arm, which hung loosely at his side. Dominant right hand. I mentally noted as I reached over my back and pulled out one of my old favorite swords. The familiar weight helped pull me into my slaying still. Just like old times, I grinned darkly as memories of past fights flashed through my head.

"-ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the show," The announcer told the crowd, making it seem as if a fight for life and death was just a show.

I looked up to the announcer, who stood next to the King's box. My father, Locke, Soren, Rorek, Magnus, and Merida all sat in the huge box overlooking the arena, along with a two or three popular generals. Locke gave me a slight nod like always, the movement saying good luck. Returning it with a nod of my own, I turned back to the fight at hand.

Introduced, announced, and cheered for, the fae male turned to me, clearly ready to get this fight over with. Taking one last chance to study the male, I noted everything I thought was important. From his fancy fighting leathers and his expensive and detailed sword, to the way he held himself and which foot he stepped with first. Every detail was important and could come in handy when in a bind, something I had quickly learned when I first started fighting in this arena.

The male stepped forward, his dominant right leg carrying him to where I stood in the middle of the arena. Although he had been introduced, I hadn't paid attention to his name so instead I called him "boy". Something I knew would anger any boastful and cocky male.

"Are you sure you're ready for this, boy?" I asked the male, even though he looked to be older than me. I always enjoyed taunting my opponents, ensuring I came off as cocky even though I felt quite the opposite.

"Figures," The male snorted, coming to a stop ten feet from me.

I tilted my head in question, though I refused to move my eyes from his body. If even one of his arm muscles twitched, I would be on guard.

"The great Acer is trying to rile me," The male said, keeping his eyes firmly on my face. First mistake. I mentally chided the male.

"I'm insulted that you would think so low of me," I faked a gasp and watched as his left hand clenched into a fist. Not frustration, I noted. He was so ready to fight, his body was practically vibrating with pent up energy.

The male's attention suddenly shifted to my relaxed hands, at least that's what he thought. His lips twitched ever so slightly before he met my eyes again.

"I-" He spoke but I saw the tightening of the skin on his collarbone as he raised his sword and struck. Although he used some of his supernatural speed, I somehow managed to meet his sword with mine.

Shock seemed to flicker across the males face that I predicted his strike. His jaw ground in frustration as our strength pushed back and forth. Despite maintaining a strength workout, I knew that once he dipped into his Fae abilities, my strength wouldn't stand a chance against his. So I quickly moved my sword up, pulling his away from mine. Being so close to him, I could see the flames dance in his eyes.

I started moving on my feet, falling more into my slaying still as the male swung his sword back around. He aimed for my exposed side, thinking he would get the jump on me, and I reacted with a swing of my own. By leaving my side exposed, on purpose mind you, I allowed for him to expose his left side. So trusting that my feet would carry my body from harm in time, I cut my sword across his side. A satisfying grunt coming from the fae as blood quickly colored his white shirt.

After a couple more minutes of swings, jabs, and slices, the male was growing angrier and angrier. His dominant hand-throwing sloppy swings that were honestly too easy to fend off. The fire in his eyes grew and I watched as his skin started to glow, all the way down to his left hand, until it erupted into flames.

Well sh- My thoughts stuttered as flames engored his sword, allowing him to yield a fire-spitting sword.

The male grinned at my not-so-subtle stumble.

Ugh, get it together. I chided and allowed myself to be fully consumed by my slaying still. My slaying still was dangerous, and allowing it to take over always meant death. My head became numbed and my actions precise as I nimbly avoided the flaming sword and his firey hand. I felt my chilling mask slide into place as the male suddenly reeled back at whatever he had seen in my eyes.

He didn't pause for long before he went right back to trying to disable me.

The slaying still controlled every aspect of me, from my breath to where my feet landed in the sand. I was giving full control to the deep, dark side of me that had kept me alive for seven years, ever since I first fought for my life in this very arena.

It wasn't long before I disarmed the male of his flaming sword and had him on his back, a simple maneuver had me kicking the back of his knees and causing him to collapse to the floor. The flame on his hand dissipated as he rolled over and prepared to fight me hand to hand. Although when he rolled over, the tip of my blade was firmly pressed into his throat.

None slaying-still-me would have taken the time to consider sparing the male, after all I barely knew him. But my indifferent mask was the last thing that male saw as I pushed my sword through his throat.

The roar of the crowd blocked out the sounds that had escaped him, his blood coating my sword and my arms before I had the chance to back away.

Turning from the dead fae male, I faced my father who sat in his kingly box. Shock was evident on his face as he hadn't expected me to win this fight so easily. I pointed my sword at him and felt a sneer creep across my face, almost as if to say your next. Our little moment was interrupted as the announcer declared the victor. I tossed my sword on the sand in front of me and stalked back to the entrance I had come through.

The huge door was open and I easily crossed through before numbly walking into the nearby showers.

Another battle down, another life mercilessly taken. I slumped against the shower wall, still clothed in my fighting leathers.

I really hope this is all worth it.

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