Maya exhausted from the life and death battle she was forced to fight, slowly followed the arena guards that were escorting her back to her temporary underground holding cell, where she would stay until her next battle.
Clang! The metal door was shut behind her. The dark empty cell reminded her of all the trouble she had endured for the past several months now.
She was trying her hardest to stay alive and alert so that if there was even a small chance for her to escape she would be ready.
She really needed to find a way to escape so that she could find and save her sister from whatever horror she was living, that is if she was even alive.
‘No I can’t think like that. She has to be alive.’
Over the past few months, she had been forced to participate in arena battles not that different from the tournament fights.
Different rules each time, some with no weapons, others with special tools or weapons given out randomly. The terrain in the arena was sometimes altered to make a harder or more interesting fight for the audience.
Sometimes her opponents were not even human but deadly desert monsters that had been starved into madness.
‘I will keep fighting! There will be a chance someday. I just need to be ready for it.’
Akira and Mileena were whispering back and forth as they walked down the tunnel to the arenas fighting ring.
“Now that we know where to find the gladiators we’ll need to start enacting our plan. Right now we should lose this battle, but we need to make it so that they don’t suspect anything wrong is going on,” said Akira.
“Do you also have a plan for that?” asked Mileena.
“Don’t worry leave it to me. I have everything under control,” said Akira as they exited the tunnel.
The now familiar roaring of the large crowd was nothing more than white noise as they focused on the task ahead of them.
“Once again the odd duo Lewd wolf and Majestic Cat are ready to fight and show off their power. Can they win again and move to the next round?” asked the announcer.
“Their opponent this round is… the Mute monks! They may be silent but they are deadly. Just like what happens to me after eating too much spicy food!”
The two mute monks standing across from Akira were not wearing any armor and were both using a long quarterstaff as their weapons.
“Finally an opponent that won’t talk smack,” said Akira.
The two mute monks hearing this held up their middle fingers to show Akira what they thought of him.
“Fight!” shouted the old judge.
Not wasting any time the mute monks jumped forward and began to speedily zigzag forward.
Akira used his skill [Shield Slam] to charge forward intending to miss them and put his plan in motion so that he and Mileena would lose.
There was just one problem…he slammed right into the two monk warriors and knocked them back so far that they almost landed outside the ring.
‘Damn it! When I want you to work you keep missing, but I hit the target when I want to miss.’
“OH! What a big hit by Lewd wolf. Almost knocked the Mute Monks right out of the ring! Such brute force! Amazing,” shouted the announcer.
“What are you doing? I thought you said we needed to lose this match,” said Mileena as she caught up to him.
“*Cough* Don’t worry everything is going to plan *Cough*,” said Akira not looking at Mileena for fear she might see that he was lying.
The mute monks quickly got back onto their feet and charged forward in their zigzag formation, swing their quarterstaff at Akira trying to hit him.
Akira again activated his skill [Shield Slam] this time missing his target partly because they hurriedly dodged out of his way. He continued to activate the skill until he was was positioned right across from Mileena and…
Accidentally slammed right into her…. well that’s what it looked like to the crowd.
“Ooof,” was all Mileena could say as she was grabbed by Akira as he hurtled past and carried her out of the ring disqualifying the both of them.
“Oh, what a shame! The promising duo was defeated not by an enemy but by their own power,” shouted the announcer disappointed.
The crowd was a mixture of cheers from the fans of the Mute Monks who had just won another match and booing coming from those who had wanted them. Most of the booing was aimed at Akira and Mileena for messing up so spectacularly.
Mileena gave Akira the stink eye as she stood up and stomped over to the exit tunnel where she waited for Akira.
“What was that?” she asked Akira in the tunnel with an unhappy voice seeping through her mask.
“Like is said it was all part of the plan. I made sure that neither of us got hurt and it looked like an accident. If I had told you about it you would have refused to go along with it and would have tried to dodge,” said Akira.
Mileena tried to elbow his stomach but the attack didn’t do anything to him due to his chainmail and hauberk.
“Whatever, let’s go. We have to start on the next part of the plan,” said Mileena in a huff.
One of the familiar arena guards walked up to them as they neared the waiting room.
“Khepri wants to meet with you and give you your rewards for reaching the top 50. Follow me and I will take you to him,” said the guard.
They were lead down an underground passage they had not been through to get to Khepri’s office that was underground also.
Akira walked slowly and stealthily inspected every door and path to see if there were any gladiators hiding around this area.
When they reached the door to Khepri’s office the guard left them without a second word.
Akira lightly knocked on the office door informing Khepri that they had arrived.
Akira pushed the wooden door open to reveal a small room with a large desk surrounded by many shelves filled with books and papers.
“Ah, so it’s you two. I thought you would last longer,” said Khepri.
“Yeah well, sometimes accidents happen,” said Akira rubbing his head.
“Well since you made it past the top 50, you both get a reward but it’s not much,” said Khepri reaching into a wooden box on the ground.
He threw a set of metallic arm-guards to each of them.
Big arena arm guards (rare):
Defense: 5 Durability: 50/50
Charm + 3
“No matter wherever you are in the country of Caidia, if you are wearing these you will be treated with respect so long as you don’t commit any crimes,” said Khepri.
“Thank you,” said Akira and Mileena at the same time. They both equipped the new arm guards immediately.
“I expect that you will not cause any trouble in the city or….”
“We will be punished,” they finished his sentence for him.
“Good, you can leave now,” said Khepri dismissing them.
Back in the hallway, there were no guards patrolling as they were all watching the entrances and the waiting rooms allowing Akira and Mileena to walk around without a problem.
“Let’s go this way since we’ve already seen everything back that way,” said Akira pointing at where they had come from.
They quickly walked down the hallway trying to open any doors that they came upon. All of them were locked.
Just when they had given up hope of finding anything they came upon a tunnel that branch off and led away from the arena.
They silently walked down the tunnel and found multiple cells built into the walls on each side.
Only one of the cells had a person inside and they had their back to the cell door.
Akira and Mileena crowded around the door to see who it was, but it was hard to see 100% since both the hallway and the cell had no source of light.
Tail? Check! Ears? Check!
“Maya!” said Mileena in an excited whisper.
The person laying on the bed inside the cell shot up and looked towards the door.
She slowly stood up and hesitantly asked, “Mileena? Is that you?”
“Yes,” said Mileena her voice getting emotional after finally finding her sister.
Maya rushed over to the door and grabbed onto Mileena’s hand that had been shoved past two iron bars of the cell door.
“It is you! But how did you get here? That mask, were you sent here to fight as well?” a torrent of questions spilled out of Maya’s mouth.
“Are you Okay? I can’t explain everything now but just know that we have a plan to get you out. Now that we know where you are being held it makes everything a lot easier,” said Mileena.
“I’m fine, but I’ve been worried about you this whole time because I know how you are. Who is ‘we’? And who is he?” said Maya noticing Akira for the first time.
“He is one of the people that saved me and is also one of the people that will be helping you escape from here.”
“I’m ready to leave right now!”
“We can’t go now everything is not ready and there are too many guards at the exits of the arena and the city gates.”
“Whatever it is that you have planned you better do it within the next few days otherwise I will be sent back to the high-security gladiator hall. There is almost no escaping there alive,” said Maya.
While the two sisters chatted Akira checked the cell doors lock and made mental notes.
“We need to go before anyone catches us since we’re not supposed to be,” said Akira.
“Wait for us and don’t give up,” Mileena squeezing Maya’s hand before leaving with Akira.
As they walked back into the main tunnel they heard voices coming from the direction of Khepri’s office.
“Ah, so frustrating. Even tho this was also a business trip, everyone that was supposed to come with me and watch the tournament just had to have last minute emergencies spring up. Jezebel is searching for something, and father forced Rodger to stay behind and continue learning how to take care of the kingdom. The only person who was able to make it was my father-in-law and that was only because Rodger asked him to escort me. So bored….”
“Hide,” hissed Akira recognizing the voice he had not heard in many years.
Before they could find a hiding spot a gaggle of girls all looking to be in their 20’s rounded the corner.
Akira and Mileena were caught awkwardly standing in the middle of the hallway.
“Ah! Look!” shouted one of the girls.
“Kyaa!” squealed another.
The group ran over to the two like a tidal wave and surrounded them.
“It really is them!”
The leader of the group of girls stepped forward and looked the two up and down.
“Well isn’t this a welcome surprise? We are your fans. We were cheering for you to win. It’s a shame that you had an accident and knocked yourself out of the tournament. I hope you will be participating in the next one,” said Ruth, Princess of Beorin.
“…” Akira did not say anything for fear of Ruth recognizing his voice which would be bad. He did not need her telling Brutus or Jezebel where he was. He lightly elbowed Mileena in the side.
“Ahem…he…he is to shy to talk to other girls,” stuttered Mileena quickly making an excuse.
Ruth laughed at her answer.
“Kyaa! So cute!” said a few of the other girls.
Akira didn’t know how to react to being called cute.
“With such a name as Lewd wolf, I thought he was going to be some type of playboy,” said Ruth.
Akira shook his head in denial. He was definitely not a playboy. Although he had kissed a queen who was already married he still had not gone out on a date with anyone yet.
“Can I get a hug?” asked Ruth.
“I want one!” “Me too!”
Akira was bombarded by the over perfumed and heavily makeup wearing girls.
“Sor…sorry we have to go to Khepri’s office he is expecting us,” lied Mileena as she was getting slightly agitated from the girls’ actions.
“Ah… can’t be helped,” said Ruth in a knowing voice, since she new Khepri’s personality.
“We will always cheer for you Sir Lewd wolf!” shouted one of the girls as Akira and Mileena disappeared around the corner.