“Me oh my, Captain Torn that’s quite a generous offer!” Trisxel said smugly as he snugly sat in front of the Police Captain’s desk.
“Quit trying to butter my biscuit! Damn I hate when you do that! Just have your informant message me the evidence as soon as they find it.” Police Captain Torn yelled as he lit up a Vishtian Cigarette in his office. Puffing it as the blue fire at the end of it burned brightly.
“Um excuse me sir. Isn’t illegal to smoke in a Police Station?”
“Yeah. It’s also illegal to break and enter and steal files containing personal information but the ONE’S VANITY fight likely won’t have been the first time that you did that. Isn’t that right?” Captain Torn said as he opened one eye revealing it to be dark brown, the eye of a Domin.
“He heh.” Trisxel nervously said. “Well I guess I can let it slide. Since you’re going to be so kind as to have some of your officers and yourself on standby during the fight.”
“Only IF one of your fighters makes it to the tournament. I swear if this is another slap job on your part that I get involved in then I’m going to be pissed. We have to buy these tickets in advance, so you better not be blowing zellos steam up my ass. This tournament would be hard to interrupt otherwise.”
“It’s not I swear!” Trisxel promised.
The reason for Captain Torn’s concern is the location of the ONE’S VANITY tournament. You see unlike the pre-qualifying matches the tournament doesn’t take place on Vishta’s planet surface. It’s actually on a space station. A round cylindrical ship shaped almost like a spin top that houses several floors most of those seating and balconies with the outer layer containing offices as well as the fighting quarters. Sections off limits to regular viewers.
The ship is one that orbits Vishta: The Capitol Planet of the Universe. Because of the location it makes it hard for the Universal Government (UG) to keep tabs on it. That’s one reason why formal police investigations wouldn’t really work to begin with. The police would be seen from orbit and any evidence of any sort of wrongdoing would be hidden or discarded. This is another major proponent of needing to get a man on the inside. A man like Noah, and his “manager” Faytana.
Back in Ito Noah and Faytana walked along the city streets, enjoying the night air. She felt it best that if she were going to share details about herself and about the Nierdesh that they stay out of earshot of any of the other fighters. Not that they weren’t aware of the Nierdesh already but really she didn’t want them in on any details involving her personal life either.
“So, we far enough away?” Noah asked.
“Almost. Let’s head into that park and I’ll tell you most there is to know.”
As the two entered an empty Zorfaks park together they sat down on a bench. The park was quiet and secluded. Filled with a thicket of trees with the only other organisms inhabiting it being that of chirping insects, and the occasional vitas nest. The atmosphere was beautiful with Vishta’s moon peaking through the trees and covering anything that wasn’t shrouded in the shade of said trees and Ito’s tall buildings.
“Let me start with the Nierdesh heritage…” Faytana said as she went on to fill Noah on the purpose of the Nierdesh and why the public hate them so much.
The Nierdesh, a race of warriors and assassins. They had an overwhelming presence in war and in espionage. Used as assassins by the UG more often than not to dispose of everything from Marauders to risky political opposition. At least that was the original intent until the public became aware of their presence not only on Vishta, but on other Vishtian colonies and planets partnered with the Vishtian government.
The Nierdesh were a proud race. They didn’t see themselves as brutes but artists of the kill. Their ears allow for sharp hearing like the Blizvainians and their eyes especially when “illuminated” allowed for even sharper eyesight among other things. This “illumination” being what caused Faytana’s eyes to turn red. Increasing her speed, strength, hearing, and even her hunger for battle.
It is the literal version of blacking out and “seeing” red after all. The Nierdesh are organisms born for war. Killing each other for centuries before being discovered and enlisted by the Vishtian Universal Government to aid in the battle against Marauders. But as was already said it was more than the Marauders that they ended being used to dispatch of.
“What are you saying? That the Nierdesh even killed innocent people?!”
“That is exactly right.” Faytana said with a look of shame.
Government officials on the verge of making change that certain other officials did not like. Leaders of other planets unwilling to play ball with the UG, the Nierdesh took care of it all. And once the public found out about this the Nierdesh were slandered. Their entire culture the good and the bad dragged through the mud. It’s why so many people hated them. Both of the “lesser” and “greater” species variety. “Lesser” species especially so.
“You see the Nierdesh were relied on heavily for assassinations. Even on underdeveloped planets.” Faytana forced herself to mutter, certain Noah might make the connection.
“Wait underdeveloped? The hand gestures and handshakes, the other knowledge of Earth you’ve expressed. Have… Faytana have you been to Earth?” Noah asked hoping it wasn’t true.
“Yes I have.”
The Nierdesh have indeed been to Earth. More than once in fact. During the dawn of man. During the Cold War, and once more when a Japanese engineer named Yuji Hasekura was about to revolutionize space travel for their civilization. Making intergalactic travel a possibility. Something the Vishtian/Universal Governments did not want, considering how new of a species humans were still wildly considered to be. Whether was because of jealousy or the human’s potential physical threat is still unknown.
“As you may have guessed I was there to assassinate Yuji Hasekura…”
“I remember him, I was in high school at the time. They said he died due to the leaking of an unknown chemical, likely due to his work.” Noah informed her, shocked that it may have actually been her.
“Well now you know the chemical was only unknown to Earth. It’s funny and sad how child’s play assassinating someone from an underdeveloped species can be…” Faytana said not proud of what she’d done.
“I can’t believe this.” Noah whispered with disappointment in his voice.
“Japan was such a lovely country with lovely people in it. Unlike the rest of Earth their culture was visually similar to my own. I oddly never felt homesick the short time I was there.” She then looked at him then saw his shaking fist, his death glare he was giving the ground. He couldn’t look at her, and she couldn’t look at him like that.
“Maybe now you understand why I didn’t want to tell you anything about me at first…” She said as he ignored her. “Do you… hate me?” She asked.
“Hate you?” Noah’s hands shook even more. “No I guess I don’t hate you. Sounds like much of the way things worked was the Vishtian Governments doing.” Noah said as he calmed down, his hand growing still.
“Thank you for saying that.”
“Just tell me.”
“Tell you what?”
“Tell me you at least greased a lot of those Marauder bastards that destroyed my home as well.” Noah asked this of her, but she answered hesitantly.
“Yes I killed a lot of them.” She said not necessarily proud but not ashamed either.
“Good…” Noah said as he looked up into the stars. “The Nierdesh were just doing their job by the sound of it. I can’t hold that sort of grudge forever. Especially when I can tell from the sound of your voice that you didn’t seem to want to do it. But the Marauders… they’re something else entirely. They’re destroyers. The kind of which deserved to be destroyed themselves for the things they did!” Noah proclaimed.
“Please don’t say such things. The last thing I want is for you to get wrapped up in that conflict Noah. There’s more to life for people like you and I than just fighting.” Faytana declared. “We have more to offer than that!”
“Like what? Hope for the future. Our culture.” Noah said and asked sarcastically.
“I know you don’t mean it but yes!” Faytana said as she grabbed his hand. “Ever since the Nierdesh were ousted, and our home world of Klaxas destroyed by Marauders I dreamed of one day opening up my own clothing shop. One filled with popular pieces of Nierdesh clothing and traditional robes. I dare say that some Vishtians might even look rather dashing in them.” She said as her eyes lit up at the thought, catching Noah off guard. This killing machine normally void of personal expression 50% of the time glowing over a few articles of clothing.
“Really?” Noah asked, somewhat shocked.
“Yes. I want to give back to the society that I took so much from. Even if it was ultimately their own wish for me to take those things, those people. I feel that’s what I need to do. And above all else what I want to do!” Faytana said hoping her longing for change and redemption would infect Noah in the process.
“I envy you for that Faytana I really do. But let me tell you where I’m at… It was a little over 5 years ago.” Noah said as he prepared to tell her about his last day on Earth.
(EARTH’S LAST DAY)
“Did you see those giant tubes in the news that popped up out of nowhere?! They’re sucking up all the water out in the Pacific, and Atlantic oceans! The government has even issued a state of emergency.” Noah’s older brother Tristan pointed out.
“Oh come on Bro, you know that’s all fake right? It’s just a prank by some YouTuber or something…” Noah said as he took a bite out of a slice of Pizza on the back deck of his house.
“No man, I know a fake when I see one… And they even have satellite images coming in of something that looks like a spaceship.” His brother Tristan had pointed out.
“Ha! Yeah right!”
“Boys! Dessert is ready!” Their mother hollered from within the house.
“Oh hell yeah! Apple pie here I come!” His brother said as he entered the house.
“Hey, grab me a piece!”
Noah sat on the back of the deck taking in the evening air and ignoring social media as his cell phone blew up with message after message. He sipped his iced tea and continued to eat his pizza. The air was especially brisk that evening as the leaves began falling off the trees that fall in the stead of winter. Noah’s cedar deck had a particularly rich smell that when paired with the air was rather delightful.
As he sat there he noticed something strange out in the pasture below the hill his deck resided over. A strange glowing orb rested in the grass down below. What is that? He thought. He stood from the comfort of his patio chair and made his way down to the pasture. His Mother and Brother still in the house. As he got closer to the orb it was as if the ball was emanating a signal.
It was making strange sounds and it was as if a colorful cloud was swirling around inside of it. Is this… does it have something to do with the supposed spaceship? Noah wondered as he prepared to touch the orb. The orb that appeared to be transmitting something. And then… he did. Suddenly the grass around him and it started swirling and blowing. Some of it being ripped from the ground and flying into the sky as if sucked into a twister or a vortex.
Soon a shaft of blue light beamed down from the sky. Noah could hardly believe what he was seeing. It was just like all those alien abductions that he’d seen in the movies. He began trying to run but he couldn’t. He was just running in place. And soon he found his entire body lifted from the ground. He was floating and rotating, being slowly lifted up.
“What!? No! Somebody help me! Mom! Tristan! Anybody!” He yelled as he continued to float to the sky. His eyes then widened once he saw the sight above him.
“What… is that?” He muttered.
It was a small space vessel. Dank and musty looking. It was small. Likely meant to transport him back to the “mother” ship. And as Noah continued being pulled into it he screamed and cried for help. Reaching out his hand towards his house. Seeing his mother and brother conversing with each other through the window. His words unable to reach them.
“Please…” Noah ushered out that phrase as he began to cry.
That was the last word that Noah would utter, while on the Planet Earth.
As Noah was rushed into a space craft that was dingy and dusty. Not to mention filthy from all the living creatures that were hauled in it. A Domin handler threw Noah into his plasma cells as the hot to the touch lasers kept him in place. He noticed all the other creatures that surrounded him. All animals from Earth. He looked out the tiny window to the ship he was in and his eyes opened wide. First he noted the shuttles likely transporting other animals onto the ship he currently resided. But after that… the Marauder ships.
He heard a language entirely foreign to him being spoken by the Domins around him. But he mostly ignored it. Noting the desperation before the spaceship he was on began moving further away from the planet. But the despite the distance he could still see those Marauder ships. The had cloak on their bellies emulating the Earth sky and were sharp, and black with a pointed bow. They had red streaks and large cannons and thrusters. The energy emanating from which were a hot red.
Noah then looked with curiosity as the ships began reeling in the tubes below them which had been sucking up the planet’s water. And once they were gone the ships seemed to back off. Noah let out a short sigh of relief. Until… They turned around. The two ships then began operating these large railguns attached to their bow. They slowly started moving into position until they were both locked squarely on the planet’s core.
“What are they doing?” Noah whispered to himself.
The railguns then started lighting up a bright neon red just like the thrusters of the ship. The base of the railgun where the energy was being supplied lit up first, and then that energy started to slowly build like pressure building in a pipeline. Like a pipe about to burst until the energy was unleashed in a brilliant flashing beam the. The girth of the lasers, four in total were quite impressive. Noah would eventually be ashamed to admit that it was the most beautiful light he’d ever seen.
“No please! Don’t” Noah yelled in desperation from his confinement.
The lasers then began to penetrate the Earth’s crust. The Earth and water they’d made direct contact with eviscerated immediately. The lasers then burrowed deep like a worm into an apple. As they made it to the Earth’s plasma infested core the hold planet started to burst apart like the separating of the continent of Pangea. The hot plasma could soon be seen seeping from these large cracks. The whole planet appeared to shattering like glass. But after the planet struggled to keep itself together, it exploded. Bursting into a countless frenzy of shards and rocks, drifting through space.
“Mom! Tristan!” Noah yelled with a blood curdled scream, startling the animals around him. “Mom…” He cried again, as he curled up into a ball on the floor of that dingy space vessel. Crying until he ran out of tears.
“That must have been hard…”
“I wasn’t there when my home world of Klaxas was destroyed. I can’t even imagine.” Faytana said as she nervously clasped her hands together.
“Well hopefully now you can see why I hate those damned Marauders so much. So please, PLEASE don’t ask me to stop hating them.” Noah asked.
“Okay… I won’t.” Faytana said as she entwined her fingers.
Maybe it was because she’d gone through that hatred herself, and she had felt that hatred. She didn’t want Noah to go through the same things she did. Because he was her friend. She knew that now. Especially since she showed herself to him and he didn’t reject her. Because of this, she cared for him.
A couple days later Noah stood in line as Jax and Faytana stood with him. Faytana was in the process of signing him up for the pre-qualifiers as they stood surrounded by all sorts of species. Gwetzels, Vishtians, Torvaks, Domins, and even Glums. The Glums were the most confusing for Noah. They’re going to let those little blobs fight? He fought. What am I, a level 1 adventurer slaying slimes?
The three walked up to the table as a Vishtian secretary handed relucted to hand out the ballots. “Is this a joke? Are you stupid or something? I’m sorry but you should know the Nierdesh are barred from this tournament. I’m sorry but you can’t sign up.” She said. Noah was angry by both the accusation and the fact Faytana wasn’t allowed to compete.
“Actually I’m the one participating!” Noah pronounced as he pushed through Jax and Faytana. “This and this Nierdesh is my manager.” He said giving the secretary the stink eye.
“Really?” The secretary laughed. “Are you the human? You’re so tiny. The doors over there. We don’t want to have another death on our hands. NEXT!” She yelled.
Noah slammed his hand down on the table, startling her as she went from rude and cocky, to spooked and shivering. “I think I’ll be alright.” Noah said as he plucked a ballot off the table, handing it to Faytana.
“Thank you…” she said as she began filling it out. As she did though Noah had one last thing to say to the female Vishtian.
“And for the record. I went toe to toe with that Nierdesh there.” Noah said as Faytana threw the ballot in the ballot box. “So maybe the pansies here should stop making cowardice excuses.”
“Oh uh of course!” The Vishtian said as she handed them their stage passes. “Your bench will be right down that hall next to the entrance to the stadium. When you’re up your number will be called through the speaker.”
Noah looked down at his fighter’s pass. It had the number 13 written down on it. That meant there was six matches before his, and only two rings for competitors to fight in so Noah had plenty of time to stretch and relax beforehand. He took this time to sit in and scope out the competition. He looked around and saw the usual suspects as before. Including Maltraxians, Blizvainians, and even a few Wrapthians. Even a few Groffits, and Stym. No Nierdesh of course though.
The Groffit species were definitely peculiar. They had wide chests; two long arms placed on their backs. Their feet have two large toes, and their skin is green and spotted. The Stym were even more odd. Tree-like creatures that are humanoid in shape. They have bark for skin and seep out sap from their pores and other areas. Their anatomy and limbs are essentially entwined branches and vines. Their eyes are often brown or green.
This was the first time Noah had seen these species live in person. He knew very little about them. But he wasn’t worried about fighting them. After all there are still many spots available in ONE’S VANITY. And only three straight victories are required to be entered into the tournament. But anything was possible.
The hallway he was in was full of bench space too. And considering the average size of the creatures competing they were made to accommodate them. This meant Noah and Faytana must look pretty silly on the benches that were easily 4 feet deep. Although even sillier looking were the few Glums that had entered as well. Noah kept looking around trying to size up his opponents as they were doing as well.
Although they didn’t pay any mind to Noah. The one advantage to being the underdog I suppose. But there was one competitor that caught Noah’s attention more than the others. Is that a Dragon? He pondered as he saw her. A woman sitting farther down the hallway was sitting with her Maltraxian manager. She was scaly and had sharp finger and toenails. Her face and head was humanlike in shape but that was where the similarities end.
It was like she was a human-velociraptor hybrid. A hexagonal imprinted pattern that made up her dark green skin. Her eyes were a dark yellow and her pupils sharp, tall, and slender. Also deep black, pointing from one eyelid to the other. She was a terrifying sight for Noah. Just like the first Domin he’d seen she was like something out of his nightmares. And she felt so familiar, like a dragon. Down to here scaly tail and pointed six short horns in a 2x3 pattern on her head.
“Fay…” Noah setting his hand on her shoulder to gain her attention. “Who is that?” He said pointing at the nightmare in the distance.
“That? Oh…” Faytana said realizing who it was. “That’s Viperion. The last living Wyvern. I forgot she was a pro fighter.” She said.
“A Wyvern? That’s an English term?!” Noah proclaimed.
“Wyvern is? That can’t be right. Wyvern’s have been around for hundreds of thousands of years by some estimates. And they’ve been traveling through space for almost as long the Vishtians.” Faytana noted.
“Through space?” Noah repeated as he thought back to all the movies, books, and video games he’d seen wyverns and dragons depicted in. “That can’t be right…” Noah mentioned.
“Well maybe they’ve been to Earth before. They’re roughly from that direction.”
“No kidding.” Noah said in absolute disbelief. Could these Wyverns be the same ones as the ones depicted in popular culture back home?
As Noah pondered the endless possibilities of this he couldn’t help but continue to look at her. Comparing her to the fictional representations of her in his mind. She was beefy and muscular and like most creatures on Vishta she was leagues taller than he was. He was afraid but also fascinated. His fascination however would turn to straight fear in just a few moments.
Sitting perfectly still, not moving a single muscle or even turning her neck her pupils and eyes slid to the corner of her sockets making direct eye contact with Noah. Eyes wide as a second transparent layer of eyelid remoisturized her eyes without completely closing them. Her nostril then briefly flared. She’s looking right at me! Noah felt. She looks like she wants to kill me! Noah averted his gaze as quickly as he could, Faytana putting her hand on his to comfort him in that moment.
“Why’s she looking at you like that?” Faytana whispered.
“I… think… so!” Noah said as he buried his face into his hands. Looking down at his feet through his fingers.
Faytana had never seen Noah like this. He was absolutely terrified, and she didn’t like it. Faytana had taken notice of the fact that Viperion had yet to look away. Keeping her steely gaze as what seemed to be more than just an intimidation tactic. Faytana then rubbed his back to try and calm him down. “Hey… get it together you’ll have a fight here soon.” She said. She then looked up at Viperion with a similar steely gaze.
Mind your own business! Her mind roared as Faytana’s eyes swiftly erupted from their pale white normality to the rage fueled and fear inducing neon red that the Nierdesh are known for. The psychological shockwave from them sent shivers down most nearby species spines as they looked around to discover the source. But if Viperion was truly afraid she didn’t make it known. She still however reluctantly looked away as she then let out a snarl with a trail of steam escaping her nostril.
“Don’t worry Noah, she’s not looking this way anymore.”
Viperion’s Maltraxian manager had taken notice of her interest in Noah. The Maltraxian then sized him up himself then scoffed. Not understanding what was so special about him to warrant the attention of a pro like Viperion.
“What are you looking at that mere boy for?”
“He’s not just a boy. He’s a human.” Viperion said with a raspy snarl.
“A human, a glum, or a turd it makes no difference. You’ll beat him if you ever even fight him.” The Maltraxian said assuredly.
“Beat him? If I enter the ring with him. I will kill him.” She said with a calmness that was anything but. This caught her managers attention.
“Now you listen here wretch. If you kill anyone then you will be disqualified, and we won’t get paid. So that’s not going to happen got it!?” The Maltraxian said as he pulled remote from his pocket and redirected his gaze to the choker around her neck.
“You know something. I hate humans the most. Enough to want to kill them. But don’t get it twisted. Maltraxians are a close second.” She said adjusting her steely gaze to her Maltraxian manager. Making him fight not to soil himself.
“Whatever! You probably won’t even fight him so just try not to kill anyone else!” He angrily yet nervously demanded.
“Number 13 and 14 please enter ring 2. I repeat, number 13 and 14 please enter the second ring. Thank you.” A woman yelled in the speaker. A speaker of impeccable audio.
“Alright Noah let’s go. Get it together!” Faytana said, ushering him as Noah slapped his face to shake off his nerves.
“Right!” He said. Standing firm and exiting the hallway out onto the stadium floor with Faytana at his side. “Let’s do this.”
As Noah walked the stadium floor up to ring 2 he saw the fight that was taking place in the adjourning ring. The crowd was cheering as a muscular Vishtian fighter was smashing and thrashing a Gwetzel. The Gwetzel despite great natural ability appeared to be an amateur overall. As loads of “greater” species stood and cheered eating Vishta’s version of stadium food as this Vishtian just pounded this Gwetzel mercilessly.
“Put him in a body bag!”
“Watch his jab!” Members of the crowd chanted as they fought.
As Noah entered the ring he continued to watch the fight from the corner as his opponent hadn’t showed up yet. Faytana stood on the floor by him. On standby for him between rounds. The Gwetzel and the Vishtian appeared to be in their fourth round. But that wouldn’t be the case for long. The Vishtian clearly had the upper hand. And the crowd was loving it.
The price for tickets were pretty steep even at the pre-qualifiers. You didn’t see a lot of “lesser” species at these types of events. And that disparity made its way into the crowd reactions and who was and wasn’t cheered for. And this crowd, clearly wanted the Vishtian fighter to win. And luckily for them that was exactly what had happened. As the Gwetzel fell onto the mat the crowd roared so loud that if sound could be heard from space Noah was sure it would. And this made Noah’s blood boil a little bit.
“Man it doesn’t feel like they were cheering for that Vishtian. Know what I mean Fay?”
“I get it. They were definitely cheering for the Gwetzel to lose. Sickening.” Faytana said. “Hey, your opponent’s entering the ring.” Faytana then pointed out.
Noah redirected his attention from the first ring over to the corner of his. He squinted because he didn’t seem to see anybody entering the ring. And as the adversaries exited the parallel ring he could hear the audience laughing which confused him. Slowly and slimily slugging its way up the steps and into the ring was a Glum. Essentially a slime like what you’d see in a popular JRPG developed by Square.
Noah was embarrassed. Him fighting a Glum in his first round was the equivalent of a high school boy going up against a girl wrestler back on Earth in the early 2000s. The Glum was a bright green like the fake mucus you’d buy in the dollar store.
“You can’t be serious… There really are no weight classes separating the fighters.” Noah whispered.
“Don’t underestimate him too much… The Glum are very resilient.”
“Are you serious! Can that thing really beat me?!” Noah yelled as he looked back at her.
“Well no. Not likely. The match will just take forever.” Faytana as Noah’s worry deflated like a popped balloon.
“Oh, gotcha.” Noah said.
As Noah entered the center of the ring. The Glum did the same, although slightly slower and practically slinking its way to the center. Noah could feel the embarrassment rushing in his veins as the crowd laughed and ironically cheered for the Glum. The referee then walked to the center between them. Almost looking like parody as the Pentagost referee looked taller and bigger than the two of them put together.
“5 Rounds! Standard rule set!.” The referee said. “In this corner, weighing 171 pounds we have the last living human alive! Noah Graham!” The referee said with enthusiasm as the crowd booed.
Boo freaking hoo all you want you know I’m going to win… Noah jested in his head.
“And in the other corner! Weighing 21 pounds! A Glum Heavyweight… Gllliiippp Glllooorrp!” The referee yelled as the crowd cheered.
Glip Glorp? You can’t be serious!? Noah thought as he looked back at Faytana as she gave an awkward smile and thumbs up. Yeah thanks… he thought.
*ding* the bell rang as Noah posted up and Glip Glorp tensed up in reaction to it. Since Glip only stood one singular foot tall Noah felt it best to go in for a kick. Noah jumped leg and foot in swings as the Glum named Glip began vibrating aggressively. Noah wasn’t worried though as his foot flied. Not worried at least until the Glum named Glip then jumped forward at a speed Noah wasn’t aware a Glum was capable of achieving.
The Glum climbed up his leg then his back until it had attached itself to Noah’s face. A trail of wet slime going up Noah’s leg soaking his leg hair as the feeling of it made Noah’s spine tingle and making him glad he hadn’t eaten much or else he’d vomit right into the slimy creature on his face. The crowd erupted into laughter.
“Gross…” Faytana said as she watched.
Noah’s voice was being muffled as he attempted to pull off the Glum. Glip was secured tightly making it hard for Noah to breath. Attempting a win by K.O. by forcing Noah to pass out due to lack of Oxygen. An affective strategy for a creature of his stature and biology. Noah jumped around humorously trying to get Glip off of him the entire round.
Punching his face through Glip, seemingly doing more damage to himself. Glip just bouncing back to his original shape after every hit. A fearsome gelatinous fighter! Noah would even smack his face on the floor. At the very least getting points for knock down via technicality. But still nothing seemed to work. Noah’s best bet not to lose being to pry just enough of Glip Glorp away from him to catch a breath.
“Get… off of… Me!” Noah yelled in struggled intervals.
*ding!* “That’s Round 1! Back to your corners!” The referee demanded as the two backed off. Noah getting to his corner first, watching Glip Glorp slink back to his.
“Ah gross!” Noah shouted back in his corner. “Any advice for this one Fay?”
“Well… his signature attack is that face hugging.” Fay said as Noah’s spine tingled again from the thought of a different “face hugger.” One that looks slightly off for copyright reasons.
“So you need a reliable way of keeping him from doing that. Maybe spike him when he lunges like one of those human volleyball thingies. And then kick him as hard as you can?” Faytana then told him.
“Simple, but it may just work!” Noah said as he pumped himself up.
“Fighters! Back to the center!” The referee said as the two made their way center.
*ding* The bell rang as the two posted up again. Man, more than one round against this thing? How embarrassing! Noah felt. Noah then took a short step to psyche the Glum out, making it think he was going to go for a kick. The creature then vibrated and burst forth after Noah’s face yet again as Noah did as Faytana recommended. Spiking the Glum named Glip as he splattered like paint on the ground.
Oh no! Did I kill it! Noah nervously thought as he then saw the Glums splattered slime start to pull itself back together like some sort of Mr. Manhattan. Not quite, time for the kickoff! Noah aggressively thought as he ran at the Glum, kicking it like a soccer ball the same way Captain Tsubasa Oozora would. The Glum spiraling through the air until he hit the corner post of the ring. Slowly sliding down until it lay still on the ground. The referee goes to inspect.
“By K.O. the winner is humanities own, Noah Graham!” The ref yelled as the crowd booed him out of the ring.
“Oh come on! You guys didn’t that little blob was going to win did you?”
“Don’t let it get to you Noah. The Glum are a very endearing species. Plus they’re considered a “greater” species to boot.” Faytana said to him.
“Still though…” Noah said.
“Hey at least it was an easy win. You only have to win two more and you qualify for the tournament so just take the victory!” Faytana was trying to reason with him and cheer him.
“Yeah… too bad it will likely be the last one of those I fight.” Noah said, reasoned with but far from cheered up.
As Noah was exiting the ring and the new fighters were entering he saw one of the incoming fighters. It was a Domin. His dark brown and muddy eyes making contact with Noah’s. And he was big too. Easily a super heavyweight fighter. He was dirtier, slimier, and grimier looking than the slimy slug that Noah had just beaten. Almost as if he hadn’t showered in who knows how long. If here were as small as a Glum he’d almost pair nicely with the sticky floors up in the stands, stuck to the bottom of an audience members shoe.
“Nice job small fry! Beating a smaller fry! Too bad I won’t be able to get my hands on you!” The giant Domin fighter said.
“…” Noah fell silent. But he wasn’t scared. Instead choosing to ignore the Domin at first.
“You see your number 13, and I’m number 17. So if you managed to win your next fight after I win mine then we’d be facing off. Oh well…” The Domin said as he walked passed Noah. Heading into the ring.
“Bortesh Gividant!” Noah then yelled at him saying Screw yourself! in Domin.
“Woah ho! Now you’re speaking my language!” The Domin laughed as he turned at Noah to puff his chest out before entering the ring.
“He’s a Domin. Are you going to be okay?” Faytana asked.
“Yeah don’t worry about me. I’m more worried about the Gwetzel that just won in the first ring after me. Besides I don’t fear the Domin… I hate them.” Noah proclaimed.
Set of rounds went in a flurry as soon it was Noah’s next turn. He exited the fighting hall and entered the ring almost as swiftly as his match had been announced. And there in the ring before ever still and despite Noah’s punctual timing was his opponent. A Gwetzel named Fig. Although another amateur fighter like Noah he was still well-known around many fighting circuits in towns much smaller than Ito. He’d been fighting at the amateur level for years to make a guaranteed buck, or VEN.
As Noah entered the ring he got a better look at the Gwetzel. He was slender and about roughly six inches taller than Noah. Making him around roughly the Galactic average for a Gwetzel. His muscles appeared small, but he was packed. Noah could tell from a glance that he was definitely stronger than he’d appear to some of the larger creatures of Vishta. Noah began to meet him in the center of the ring at the referee’s orders.
“Careful Noah, I’ve heard of this guy. He’s dangerous…” She said.
“Apparently when he had first started fighting in amateur circuits he accidently killed another competitor in the ring and was disqualified…” She said.
“Was it a “lesser” or a “greater” species?”
“It was a “lesser.” As far as I know there was no malicious intent.”
“Damn, sort of my first real fight too.” Noah said to himself as he looked at the Gwetzel.
“Hey you there.” Fig said to Noah. “You’re a strange creature… be careful against me.” Fig said with a lifeless expression. Almost appearing angry but it was empty.
Noah nervously gulped. “Well Mom, Bro… I might be seeing you guys sooner rather than later.” He said as he pumped his fists together.
“5 rounds! Standard rule set!” The referee said. *ding* the bell rang out to the ring as the referee yelled. “Fight!”
Noah and Fig threw their fists up and immediately started going at it. A jab here and then a jab there. Noah getting in a few and then Fig giving a few back at a high speed that blurred through the thick damp air of the stadium. They’d hit Noah’s shoulder or then his chest and he’d feel the sting in each one. You couldn’t see the damage on the area impacted but instead on Noah’s face as it grimaced with each jab.
Noah then got in there and started jabbing back. Most of them being blocked by Fig as his forearm swiftly slid through the air almost as quickly as his jabs. Noah was starting to get frustrated as he was having trouble landing hits anywhere that mattered. Fig maintaining his deadpan attitude the entire time. Noah then fell to shock as Fig’s hand burst passed Noah’s own and hit hand square in the face. Another jab.
Noah staggered back a bit. “Ah!” He screamed. That definitely hurt… but I can’t help but feel as if he’s just sizing me up! He thought.
Noah then jumped back in a decided to mix it up a bit. He began throwing a jab, another jab and then a side punch followed by a kick. Fig dodging and anticipating each punch but wasn’t expecting the kick. As he threw both his arms up to block it as the kick made contact. We’re throwing kicks now huh.
Fig thought as he pushed at Noah’s still suspended leg, throwing him off balance. Fig then bent his right leg and spring boarded as his left knee dug deep into Noah’s gut. Noah’s eyes went blank as his mouth uncontrollably opened. Saliva flying out onto the ring as it did.
Noah staggered back again for the second time that round. Fig then bent both his legs, preparing to leap. Noah could do nothing but stare as Fig’s angled legs that you’d need a protractor to describe the degree at which they were bent. He was desperate. Throwing up his arms for a block as Fig jumped to the air for an aerial assault. And just as Fig was about to bring the metaphorical hammer down *ding* the bell rang, and Fig landed gracefully next Noah. Noah breathing heavily and still staring at the ceiling in shock. The crowd cheered.
“Back to your corners!”
With a bit of a melancholic strut Fig walked about over to his corner. Noah who was already near his as he just sort of stumbled backwards into the chair Faytana had set there for him. He then avoided the water and opted to take deep breaths instead.
“This guy’s insane!” Noah said still breathing heavily.
“Yeah he’s fast. But that doesn’t mean you’re at a disadvantage.” Faytana said.
“Well he’s not just fast… he is strong too.” Noah said, cupping his bruised gut.
“Yeah but he’s not as strong as you. And you’re not as fast as he is. But you’re still fast. Remember that kick you made? He wasn’t expecting it. You mixed it up a bit and matched with your speed you caught him off guard. You just have to pull that sort of maneuver off again!”
“Yeah but it didn’t do anything!” Noah exclaimed.
“Not true. Remember those jabs to your chest and shoulder?”
“Those don’t appear to have done much to you in appearance but yet you winced upon impact. A wince that I saw on Fig’s face after your kick. A kick that he blocked…” Faytana noted.
“Fighters! Center stance!” The referee yelled.
“Go get him!” Faytana cheered.
*ding* the round started as the two went at it again. This time Noah a little more reluctantly and playing it a bit more defensively. Fig would step in and then Noah would step out. Fig would step in again and Noah would sidestep. But this evasion wouldn’t prevail for long. Eventually Noah would get jabbed. And when he did that same wince on his face. Then he’d get jabbed again. And then, Fig took a page from Noah’s book.
He began throwing a jab, another jab and then a side punch followed by a kick. And just like history repeating itself but with the coin flipped. Noah dodged punch after punch after punch until… the kick. It throwing him off his guard as it hit him right in his thigh. Noah reactionarily grabbed his thigh with one hand as Fig attacked him from that side. Punching him right in the face. Noah’s nose bent slightly.
“Son of a…” Noah said as he fell to his ass.
Fig then dipped low then darted toward Noah like a bullet train. Noah grounded, took quick notice of Fig’s aggressive move. Fig then leapt into the air which took Noah by surprise. Again!? He thought as he found himself looking up again. But now he was ready for it. He regained his senses and did a back roll, narrowly missing a massive blow. Noah then darted forward himself.
As Noah got in there he threw his knee up to hit Fig in his gut. As fig went to block this Noah started throwing full blown punches, not jabs but punches as his knee was still raised. Hitting Fig with a left, right, left, right over and over. As Fig’s expression changed from a cold stoicism to wide eyed surprise as Noah bloodied his knuckles repeatedly smashing his hands into Fig’s tough, thick skull. Fig regained his composure as he swiped Noah’s left handed punch out of the way then jabbed his already bent nose. Bending it further.
Faytana looked on desperation and she wasn’t the only one. Jax watching from the crowd. Grod and a few other non-participants looking into a comms device, cheering Noah on. Toki from the sidelines. And even Greshit, having come across the fight from her VISOR from home. Some of these onlookers Faytana was either aware of or suspected. Noah was then hit again with a strong right as he fell to the ground, the sweat flying off of his body as he hit canvas. The referee beginning a count as Noah struggled to get up.
“Come on Noah get up!” Greshit yelled into her VISOR. Conflicted about Noah fighting in the first place.
“Come on kid! You’ve got a job to do!” Jax yelled, his voice drowned out by the crowd.
“Come on Noah, you can do it! Don’t lose to that expressionless robot win!”
“Come on human. You beat me so you can beat him…” Toki whispered.
“…” Noah lay rattled and barely able to move.
“Get up Noah, get up…” Faytana said, slightly choked.
“Get Noah! Don’t you know everybody’s counting on you!” Faytana screamed at the top of her lungs in an attempt to spur Noah into action.
And in that moment Noah’s mind raced. Almost in a fashion similar to his life flashing before his eyes. He then seen everybody in an instant. His old boss, Toki, Jax, Trisxel, Greshit, Grod, His brother, The censored outline of his mother looking into the distant horizon and then… Faytana. His mind then lingered on an image of her for what felt like a century. Noah then opened his eyes wide and pushed himself off the ground, in a fashion not unlike a push up. The crowd went wild and so didn’t all of Noah’s acquaintances and friends.
“Thought you’d won?” Noah said as he wiped his lip.
“I have. The victory has been merely delayed.” Fig said as he posted up.
Fig then darted it in again like he was all too familiar with doing. Noah was anticipating it this time. Becoming all too familiar with Fig’s in your face style. Fig came with the jabs and Noah started matching him blow for blow. Until Noah wasn’t. Throwing in a small kick here and another there to throw Fig off. “THIS TRICK AGAIN!” Fig yelled slightly frustrated as Noah smiled. With barely 10 seconds left in the round Noah threw out what looked to be a kick.
Fig anticipated as much and threw up his arms in a block. As Noah’s foot flew through the air however his knee did something Fig hadn’t expected. It bent. Noah’s “kick” had then turned into a large step as Noah shifted his body, Gritted his teeth, and clenched his fist. He tipped the scale from calm to erupting volcano mad. As he then struck upward with a violent uppercut that ascended to the sky like the exploding lava from that volcano! *BAM*
Noah’s uppercut had mad contact with Fig’s chin. Traveling through and behind his blocking arms and sliding up his chest. Fig’s chin trembling as the blow was being followed through. Looking as if it were streaking through the air. Fig was hit so hard that his body was lifted off the ground from the force as he fell and hit the canvas so hard it sent some of the bigger and tougher species looking on in shock and awe. Unable to believe that this tiny human was capable of delivering such power.
“Er… uh… Noah Graham is the victor!” The Pentagost referee cheered as he threw Noah’s hand into the air.
“I did it! I won! I can’t believe I won!” He yelled as not only his friends like Greshit and colleagues like Trisxel cheered from the VISOR’s they were watching through, but the crowd couldn’t help but get behind this underdog either.
“I knew you could do it!” Faytana yelled as she ran onto the canvas and hugged Noah.
“It was only because I had you in my corner Fay!” Noah exclaimed.
Noah picking her up and spinning her around as neither of them could contain their excitement in that moment. Noah having won his second pre-qualifying match against a very tough opponent. A Gwetzel of incredible speed. Fig, a fighter that would ultimately go on to be grateful of his loss that night. Considering why he was a fighter in the first place. Not by his choice essentially.
Noah and Faytana reentered the fighter’s hall with her arm wrapped around his as she escorted him back there. Noah was suddenly feeling much more confident about his chances. One more fight and it might as well be mission complete! Noah thought. Both Noah and Faytana being too excited to see how romantic they appeared as the other species looked on in disgust at this apparent unholy union between Human and Nierdesh. But one fighter in particular did more than look.“Oh how cute, the two little outcasts have a thing for each other.” The Domin said as Noah looked on at him in equal disgust to the crowds. “Too bad your little Nierdesh friend won’t be in the ring to protect you once I get my hands on you!” The Domin fighter boasted. Standing several feet taller than Noah, towering over him.
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