Maddy awoke to find herself in a stone cell in brown leather clothes that appeared dirty and worn out. They had probably been worn a hundred times before her.
Chains grasped at her wrists and ankles. Betrayal hurt. A lot. She felt as if a knife had stabbed into her back. The wounds were still fresh and blood was pouring in the form of tears.
Her fists clenched in anger. She had been too trusting. Just days of being pampered in a castle has made her soft and had already begun to erode her defenses.
She should have expected such things to happen to her. Trusting people always failed. Each and every time.
She had to do better. Be better. But it was too late. She knew exactly where she was, the only place a girl like her would be after being captured the Arena. She was going to have to fight for her life.
She looked around her cell to see skeletons and empty chains. So some humans died before the arena. The sight before her was in no way motivational or positive. All it did was remind her why she needed to win whatever fight she was forced to compete in.
She knew if she wanted to win she would have to be ruthless. She would have to kill. She had never killed in her life. She doubted that it would be too hard when it was her life or theirs and when the need for self preservation came to the fore.
She would do what it took to survive. She was not and would never be the damsel in distress. She was sure of it. She was her own woman.
She felt her fists clench as the cell opened. She was already going to fight. How horrible but it meant it would be over sooner than later.
"They paid a'lot for this lil' one to go up soon as possible. Remember to put her up against some of the experienced fighters," a plump man shouted orders at a man in armour who was walking into her cell.
Maddy stared forward blankly.
That was just peachy. They were actually aiming to kill her. To kill her and make it look like an accident.
The little voice in her heart was sure that the king would save her. He would never let her get hurt.
The hope of the imaginary voice was sickening to her.
She knew better. She knew the voice was wrong. She had hoped and prayed to be saved as a child on the streets. A child who woke up abandoned one morning, without anyone.
There was only one person in life that you could depend on— yourself.
That was her motto. The motto of the streets. Of the world.
Her eyes were narrowed as she was led through an arch.
Light shone through, blinding her before she stood before a mass of people. A crowd in an arena.
It was huge and magnificent. Beautiful even. Stone arches with ivy vines, high seats in layers going up and up and up. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before.
Her eyes lowered and she looked around. Three men and a woman. All human. All armed. Whilst she had nothing.
How was it fair— oh wait it was not.
First timers never got weapons or so she had heard.
The crowd loved the blood of the humans. The newbie was practically a sacrificial lamb.
She was going to die.
"Sorry to kill ya sweetheart. You look so pretty but a pretty face is not worth my life. Hope you understand," the woman said.
Maddy glared at her.
"We all do," she said.
Maddy was going to try and survive no matter what. Each of them would do that. Their own lives above the rest.
Pity was for losers.
The losers always died.
Then the signal to start was given by a sword hitting a metal sheet.
The echo went on and on.
Maddy immediately ducked to avoid an arrow.
They were all going at her. All four of them. They wanted the weakest dead and out of the way so they could kill each other.
The crowd booed with her every agile dodge.
Yet they cheered when an arrow got stuck in her leg.
She yanked the arrow out and held it in her hand like a dagger. She liked daggers. They were easy weapons and multifunctional. The hilt was good for hitting people on the head, the blade for stabbing and if you wanted a game of darts a dagger could be thrown into a wall.
"Oh just die wouldn't you, brat," one of the men shouted angrily at Maddy.
"Aww you're not being very nice to the new girl," she said with as much fake cuteness as she could before getting a cut on his cheek with the arrow.
"You're crazy, demented—"
"You're not the first to call me that," she laughed.
She dodged a sword aimed for her head.
"You know none of you are very welcoming— YIKES!!" she pouted before a star shaped thing came whirling at her.
"Don't hate the player hate the game, sweetheart. Death might be better suited to you. Oh I'd love to see you lying on the ground, your face twisted in pain—" the woman laughed.
Her hands were throwing more and more star shaped things.
Another man, a rather silent one was the one thrashing a sword about constantly.
The third man just stood to the side sharpening his daggers. Obviously he was saving his energy and not bothering with her.
"And you called me demented and crazy," Maddy rolled her eyes at the man who had called her those things.
"Got to be like that around here. Got to develop a taste for blood and craziness. Otherwise you'll be better killing yourself. You will kill yourself for the guilt and horror. Maybe you'll see," the once silent attacker said.
That said, maybe she preferred him quiet.
She was being backed up into a corner by them.
The crowd was cheering for her demise. They wanted her killed brutally.
Their thumbs were down. An encouragement for her to be done away with.
In that moment she saw red.
She ran at the man with the arrows and stabbed his arm with her arrow, breaking the arrow as she did.
She yanked it out and thrust it in his skin before pulling it out and holding it above him.
She stared in horror.
The poor man was bleeding his face was contorted in pain.
She couldn't kill him.
She couldn't kill.
It was wrong.
Just because they wanted to take her life—
The girl sat on him.
Her hand with the arrow.
Her hand shaking.
Tears were pouring from her eyes. They were dry tears.
It was wrong.
He was not down yet.
Her moments of hesitation gave him time to punch the girl across her face.
His fists flying together. Hitting her face and eyes, throwing her back.
She hit the ground.
"Told you you couldn't do it princess," the crazy man laughed, his sword waving about.
Maddy crawled back.
Her sight was blurring.
Something was wrong.
She looked down. She could see her knees, her grazed, lightly bleeding knees, just fine. Her hands as well.
They were blurred a bit. She could see them but their edges were hazed.
Her feet were even blurred.
She didn't know what was going on.
The gradual loss of sight was terrifying her.
Every sense counted in survival.
Unless you were born without a certain sense and had adapted, you were a goner.
She saw an arrow coming.
She dodged too late.
Her timing was completely out.
The arrow head pierced her flesh. Her leg. Then another.
She ripped the arrows out.
One broke, leaving the head in her thigh.
The pain was agonizing.
"Sorry sweetheart making your death quick would upset the audience. The three of us are a trio. Why? Because the audience gets the most satisfaction when we are together. If we disappoint then who is going to make them happy."
"Oh why pretty eyes she has. Let's leave them for last. Let her watch her own torture before we gorge them out."
In her blurred sight she could see the pity on the other man's face. It was blurred but she could see it. Kinda.
She smiled back at him.
Maybe she had hallucinated his pity smile—
A scream ripped from her throat as a sword slowly cut through her flesh.
"Pretty. Pretty. Pretty," the insane man called out.
Tears were dripping off her face.
She who had gone in strong, confident and brave, was broken and in despair.
She never wanted to be saved. She had never needed it.
Yet his name came to her mind.
She should have cherished him more.
She should have tried to spend time with him instead of always avoiding him or disappearing to learn with his cousin.
She remembered his sad puppy face.
If only she could have done better.
But she had been scared.
He had barged into her life with no warning and had dragged her off into a pretty place.
He had dolled her up and had made her begin to slowly break down her walls.
She smiled as she thought of him. Of Xavier.