The Dragon Caged

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chapter 7

Paul met me at the gym the night of my first fight, he looked pale and a little sickly as he got closer I could see he had a few day’s worth stuble and the dark ring’s around his eyes defiantly showed he hadn’t been sleeping. “Hey Paul, I would usually ask if your okay but just looking at you tell’s me your not. Is there something I need to be made aware of”

“just keep your voice down and follow me” he snarled at me, I could smell the alcohol on his breath. This is definitely a bad sign but I had to go, following him out of his gym and to his car a sat in silence as he got in the car and started driving.

“Is it okay for me to talk now or are you going to give me the silent treatment until you serve me up to get my ass kicked?”

He visibly winced at my snide remark. “Look we couldn’t talk in their with out possibly being over heard, and if you must know, I’m not okay, nothing is going right. Some of my fighters have gone missing, that’s why you got bumped up the roster, Alex isn’t happy about the turn of event’s and I’ve been getting stone walled by my usual contacts. The only bright side is your going to be fighting a relative unknown he’s had a few fights. He’s good but he’s human so he shouldn’t be able inflict any real damage on you.”

“What do you mean you’ve had fighter’s go missing?”

“It’s a pain in my ass but it’s also not unheard of fighter’s just up and leave all the time. These where just some of my best fighter’s so ive taken a fairly big hit to my business “

“Okay, is there anything I can do to help? Maybe I can ask around about your fighters see if anyone know’s why they just up and left”

I knew I wouldn’t get any information the fighters that I had met so far had all been cagey and unwilling to open up. I gusse it made sense you don’t want to get to friendly with the people your about to fight.

“No it’s okay and not your problem, don’t bring anymore attention to your self than necessary”

The rest of the drive was taken in relative silence and it wasn’t long before we cam to an abandoned industrial area. Car’s had already started to arrive and some of the most elegantly dressed individuals i had ever seen where greeting each other with hugs of embarrass or a kissed cheek and shook hand, the contrast was startling beauties that could take your breath away slumming it in a place like this.

“Come on jess we don’t have much time before your fight starts, and you still need to get ready”

After this Paul slamed his door and opened the boot lifting out a gym bag, I must contain my cloths and equipment for the evening, shaking myself from the fog of my own thought’s I hoped out of his car and headed for a side door following closely behind Paul and keeping my head down.

Down in the Bowles of and abandoned wear house I was lead to a changing area Paul was gentleman enough to give me a few moments of privacy while I changed in to the cloths he brought for me to wear, luckily for me it was just a basic Black legions and a skin tight sports bra with a Phoenix insignia printed on both to identify me for the bets. It must be Pauls team logo or something. Once I was dressed their was a tentative knock on the door.

“Yeah who is it”

“It’s just me. Are you decent” came Pauls voice from behind the door. I allowed myself a quick smile I never would have thought that the guy would ever take my modesty in to account, I gusse alate must have really gotten to him.

“Yeah come in”

He came in with some basic hand wraps a cum shield and foot grip’s. He threw the foot grips to me “put these on and I will wrap your hands when your done” I did as he asked but noticed he had an even stronger feel of anxiety about him.

“Are you going to tell me what’s made your anxiety spike so high or is it a surprise?” I asked only half joking I gave him a smile to show I was only joking. He started to wrap my hand’s with a caring and tenderness I wouldn’t have thought him capable.

“The match has had some last minute updates” he breathed out in hardly a whisper.

“okay” I said my mouth suddenly went dry and I couldn’t swallow the lump that had arose in my thoat “what are the changes and how are they going to affect the fight?” You could hear the fear in my voice.

“No weapons, enhancers ar still allowed but no additional weapons” okay so that wasn’t a problem I had no intention of using a weapon.

“You can’t surrender, it’s knock out or death.” This caught me by surprise, In the mission briefing I knew that there had been fatalities, but when I read the file it was made to sound like it was a rarity.

He still had a look that communicated that he had more bad new’s for me “out with it Paul you have something else to tell me”

“Your opponent has been dosed with the drug” well that would explain whey he looked like someone had just pissed in his cornflakes.

Taking a steadying breath. “Okay is there anything else I need to know?”

Paul just shook his head and focused on the hand wrap’s he was applying. “You know I can call of the fight. You don’t have to go out there”

“I know, but if we don’t stop the supply of the drug who else is going to step in, I made up my mind that I will see this through. And besides i’ve been through worse”

Shortly after my hand’s where wrapped I heard the faint murmur of the commentator and spectaters Paul left me in the changing room alone with the instruction of when the announce you just walk down the concourse and into the cage. Waiting like a caged animal, anxiety and memories of jeremiah began claw at my inside’s and I was overcome with a nervous energy. Then out of no where came a booming voice that reverberated against the walls.

“LADY’S AND GENTLEMEN WELCOME TO TONIGHT’S FUN FILLED EXTRAVGANSA. WE HAVE A RELATIVE UNKOWN WHO HAS BEEN MAKEING QUITE THE WAVE IN HIS LAST FEW MATCHES LETS HEAR IT FOR MAL………..”

The roar from the grower was deafening. They began chanting his name over and over, well it seem’s he’s the house favourite. But i’t couldn’t be mal from the gym could it .

“AND NEXT, CAGE FIRST TIMER WE HAVE JESS, LET’S SEE IF THIS LITTLE FIRE CRACKER CAN CAUSE AN UPSET TONIGHT”

There was a few half hearted clappes but my reception was definitely not enthusiastic. I walked down to the cage looking around as I went it was definitely kitted out better than I expected if I didn’t know better I would say we where in a swanky theatre, there where box seats all around the permitter so the occupants could get an unclose and personal experience people congregated in the booths talking and drinking as thought what they where watching was nothing more than trivial form of entertainment. These people had zero humanity. All I could sense was the putrid stench of death and pain

The smell of stale sweat and old blood that had never been cleaned made me feel like being sick, entering the cage I felt like a deer trapped in the glare of oncoming vehicle headlight’s my mind screaming for me to run and escape not to care about anything else but my own safety. But my body kept moving like I was on auto pilot. Looking around the cage I locked eye’s withy opponent and my heart shattered, the nice guy I met just a few week’s ago with the friendly smile was gone before me stood a man that I could only describe as a savage, he was hunched over, his arms restrained by what looked like retractable cuffs attached to the floor, he had a crazed look in his eye’s like that of a wild animal cornered and frightened, his muscles strained against his bonds his screams of rage bringing tears to my eye’s, i had to focus and I could’t let emotions cloud my judgement. I took my stance losing up so I could move and attack with ease then the commentator screamed.

“AND BEGIN”

Mal’s restrains released and withdrew in th the ground. He charged towards me faster than I could imagine, he scored a glancing blow to my left shoulder as I tried to pivot out of the way. The hit compromised my balance and I went down hard on the mat. Before I could regain my composure he hit me with a kick to the rib’s that sent me flying against the mat and in to the side of the cage I lay there trying to catch my breath but had to roll out of the way before he steamrolled into me, “mal come on don’t you recognise me, snap out of it” but my pleas got ignored. I had to fight back and I think I would need to go all out just to survive.

After ten minutes of trading hit after hit mal showed no signs of slowing down, I on the other hand was showing the wear and tear I already had bruises blooming all over my body from where he hit like a truck going 100 mph, I’m sure I already had a few broken ribs and maybe a punctured lung as I kept coughing up blood, the worst part was he hard managed to dislocate my left arm so hadn’t been able to land any significant hit’s on him. I needed to loss this match soon with out making it look to obvious and with the injuries I had already sustained that should be easy. I went on the attack. Making sure my moments appeared slow and uncoordinated as I landed a hit to his rib’s finally hearing the satisfying crack of at least one rib breaking. It was only then that I realised my error mal went berserk. And before I knew what was happening everything went black.

*Abigail*

Passing the room like an idiot waiting to hear how the fight went was ridicules but I couldn’t help it. I should have gone with her, what if something happened what if she was hurt, I can’t stand the thought of her out there injured with know one to protect her. I should have called the plan off. I should have contacted Alex and told him it was a bad idea. I swear if anyone hurt’s her im going to hunt them down and they will beg for death before im done. As these thoughts and worse kept running through my mind I heard a quiet knock on the door “Abigail it’s me” came Nix’s small voice

“Door’s open nix come in”

She came in and she looked pale her eye’s wide, “I have Paul on the phone it’s about jess.”

I used to nix’s side and grabbed the phone before she could visit or protest

“Paul what’s happened where is jess”

“It’s bad I have her and im on my way to you, she needs a healer like now so clear some space and make sure everything is clear for when I get there.” The line went dead.

“Nix did you hear all that?”

“Yes im on it im a healer I will get lunette and we will get everything prepared in the kitchen can you get her from the car and once Paul get’s here I need to know exactly what happened to her and any magic’s used or spelled weapons that may have caused any injuries .

Just nodded to the small woman as she sprinted off to get everything ready for her patient. I head straight to the door after a few minuted that felt like eternity Pauls car scratched to a halt before it had even come to a full stop I wrenched odden the car door and pull out un unconscious jess, if I couldn’t smell her sent I would say it wasn’t her, she was completely unrecognisable. I forced this out of my mind and ran to the kitchen laying jess as gently as I could on the table before I turned away to confront Paul I saw the horrified look’s on both lunette’s and nix’s faces “do what you can to help her………..Please”

Left the room with an anger burning so hot that it could dwaf the warmth of the sun. I made my way back to the front door and their he was the focal point for my anger. The front door closed as he entered and before he could utter a single work my hand was wrapped around his throat, my nails began to elongate and sharpen slowly cutting in to his flesh as he whimpered. “what did you allow to happen to her?” I screamed

He began to turn red and started to kick out in desperation to breath I took calming breath. This wasn’t helping jess I released him and he fell to the floor in a heap. He had no strength left in his body to stand.

“I asked you a question and I expect you to answer what happened to her”

He then went in to detail of what happened in the fight and about the last minute rule changes I let out a grone when he said she wouldn’t back out. Of course she wouldn’t she was such a pig head child. But that was part of her charm. He told me about her final attack and what happened afterwords, it looked like she put everything she had in to that last punch and I herd guy’s ribs break that would usually be enough to take done almost anyone but this guy just went crazy he was pounding her in to the ground for a good few minuets before the security unit was able to subdue him they shot him up with enough tranquillisers to kill a heard of elephants. Once he was down everyone assumed jess was dead but she started moving it was like she was still trying to get up to fight, I got her out of there as soon as I could and brought her straight here, I monitored her breathing as best I could and im sure she hasn’t stoped and although it was fain’t the had a heart beat when I got her to the car I think she had started to heal to. “

I don’t know when it started but as soon as he finished telling me what happened he handed me a tissue I looked at him to ask why but before I could ask he just said “to wipe the tear’s away” I had been crying and hadn’t even realised it.

“Stay here I think we need to talk more once I know jess is okay”

I left him slumped on the hallway floor. And headed for the kitchen.

“How is she?”

Nix was the first to answer “she’s stable but it’s going to take a while for her to fully recover. What the hell happened to her?”

I really didn’t want to answer that question but I feared I had no choice fate was forcing my hand, they had saved jess maybe it was time to trust them.

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