“Everyone! Gather around!” Tiberius said as everyone is at the first challenge of the day. “What you see here is our state of the art death-defying crash course! We just need two people, and only two, to give a trial run for this course.”
Ari stepped up to the challenge. “I’ll take that up.”
“Oh, Mr. Minor.” Tiberius said, “The brave fighter that you are and quite the opponent to whoever gets you. Any other takers?” The rest stood silent to be Ari’s opponent…….except for one. It looked like Black Freighter was going to do it but he got interrupted by someone.
“I’ll DO IT!!” And it was Éclair that accepted the challenge. “I think I can prove my worth here.”
“Great!!” Tiberius said, “Staley, do the honors for them.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, the first match of the Academy: Ari vs. Éclair!” Staley announced loudly to everyone. “5 Minutes!”
“Well, well, well…” Éclair said in English, “Mr. Ari Minor. I heard a lot about you once looking info about you.”
“Oh really?” Ari said, “And what info that be?”
“That you were a former fighter in the States that was training for a next fight but you and your boozing manager of a friend got caught throwing in some matches to earn some more cash.” Éclair said. “You’re basically a failure before you had a chance to succeed.”
“OK, first off, how the fuck you know that information?” Ari said, “Are you a fucking stalker or something?”
“My boyfriend Oz got all the details on everyone in here.” Éclair said, “During the first night. We got every good and bad detail that’s listed from you being a cheat, that girl Daria apparently has a 3.7 GPA but still stuck in her little shitty town in New York, and I read something about that girl Hana but it—“
“It doesn’t matter right now.” Ari said, “Just prepare to see me win this round.”
“That’ll be the day.” Éclair said.
The two were getting ready at the starting line, waiting for the signal to go. The bell rings and they were off.
It was Ari that got in first ahead of Éclair as both went through the brick wall climb with throwing knives. One of them almost got Ari but he managed to dodge them, especially one headed for his ‘area’. He ducked and rolled fast down the other side as the knives are now flaming.
“What the fuck?!” Ari shouted, “Fire KNIVES!?”
“I guess so.” Éclair snidely said as she passes him. She is now in the lead.
She got through the knives and now she’s at the area where she needs to avoid trap doors and falling in a pit. “A pit? The hell?” she almost fallen if it weren’t for her cat-like reflexes on doors like this. She got up running and jumping over the traps and eventually got into the next phase and…….it’s arrows.
Not 5 seconds in there, and one got her in the hand.
She screamed mercilessly as an arrow just shot her hand straight in her. “OW!!! Fuck!! My hand!! Oh no!” She quickly pulled the arrow off of her and continues to run the race but she sees Ari already gotten out of the trap stage. “HA!!” he scoffed as he passes her but completely stopped as he saw the arrows coming at him.
“The hell? ARROWS?” Ari said, “And let me guess? One of them is green…..”
“HA-HA!! Very fucking funny!” Éclair said, “I hope you find this funny!” She punches him then went on ahead to the next to the final stage. “OK, this next one shouldn’t be this ba—“ She passes a sign that says in bold letters NOW ENTERING IN TEMPERATURES ABOVE 100 DEGREES.
“Oh, come on! MORE FIRE!?” She screamed. The stage was surrounded by shooting fireballs and hot coals. The worst is yet to come for her as her shoes is starting to melt to her feet and the heat was becoming unbearable for her as she starting to feel like the heat getting to her. She starts to slow down and trying not to get burned or die of dehydration.
“Oh, shit.” She is on the brink of just giving up. “No…….I’m not gonna die in this fucking heat.” She kept limping closer to the end of it and as she does, it seems like the line is very close. “What the—HOLY SHIT!! I’m gonna make it!! I’m gonna win!! I’m gonna—AAAHHHH!!!!” Turns out it was another trap door and it led her into a pit of sticky and sharp needles.
Ari was just getting out of the heat and he was getting tired as well and as soon as he was about to cross, he saw the pit of needles that incapacitated Éclair and possibly could put her out of the running. “Oh, shit. That must’ve hurt.” He has no other choice than to jump over the pit and get to the finish line. He leaped over the hole and as he was about to lose his grip, he instantly got up and went to cross into the final stage. There was a huge guy with a chain-swinging brick and he was swinging it towards Ari.
“What the fuck? Who’s he?” he shouted.
“YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!” the swinging guy shouted, “Unless you want to die!!” He kept swinging it at Ari in every turn but Ari dodges the hits and blows. He grabs the brick and used it to beat the other guy down along with stringing the chain with the guy’s testicles.
“WAIT, WAIT, WAIT!!” The guy said, “You’re not supposed to kill me!! OW!! OK, you passed! Just don’t beat me anymore.”
“Thank you!” As Ari got to the final run and finished the race.
“Mr. Ari Minor!!” Tiberius said, “You won our little challenge! You have done well for you first try.”
“Wow, thanks, Tiberius.” Ari said, “That was some hell to go through but….what’s going to happen with that girl?” Admeta filled that in with, “Éclair is suffering a few injuries with some spine damage but she might recover for a bit.”
Oz rushed to see how badly injured Éclair was. “Oz……I…..I really fucked things up, didn’t I?”
“Baby, baby…” Oz fearfully said, “You shouldn’t strain to talk. I know you did your best…but damn, I didn’t want this to happen.”
“I think I might be able to heal so I can come up strong.” Éclair said while still in pain.
“You didn’t see that guy doing anything suspicious?” Oz said. “No…..” Éclair said, “But fuck him anyway.”
Then we cut Kellogg congratulating Ari for finishing and surviving the race. “AAHHH!!! Kid, you did it!!” Kellogg shouted to the skies. “You got through on one stage and you kicked ass!!!”
“Yeah…” Ari said as he was panting and sounding tired from the race. “…But I know this is just the start of things. I don’t know how I will last in here. That chick Éclair almost got my ass for a minute there and I guess if it wasn’t for that pit, she would’ve won.”
“You kidding?” Kellogg said. “That girl wouldn’t stand a chance against the likes of you. Keep up the good work, kid. Now excuse me while I’ll celebrate with a drink or four.”
“Well, well, well.” Cobalt said talking to Freighter, “One day into this and we got one person injured from this shit. We got about 6 more of these challenges and we found jack shit about them. I put up the bugs like you said and nothing.”
“Well, to be fair, I don’t think they’re just going to be say outright on the spot.” Freighter said, “They might be smart on that. We’ll just need to keep a closer eye on that.”
“Fine. I suppose so.” Cobalt said as he and Black Freighter split for the next round but little do they know, Tiberius seems suspicious of their actions. “Admeta?”
“Yes?” she said. “Do me a favor and keep close watch on those two.” He said, “I might have some plans for them.”
TO BE CONTINUED in Chapter 4.