Chapter 18:

ch. 18: Indestructible

Neo Discadia: Rise of the Sewer Rats

“It doesn’t matter how strong you think you are, eventually there will always be someone stronger. So you have to play it smarter. all three of you are pretty tough, But together, you’re greater than the sum of your parts, the most important thing is teamwork. Teamwork makes the dream work. Use each other to compensate for your failings. That's the only way you’ll survive in this world. no one can go at it alone for long. That's what makes us the apex predator. When push comes to shove, all you have is each other.” A voice echoed in the minds of the sewer rats as they rose from the ground. They looked at each other and, Without saying a word, they all understood one another. And then... they charged. Not one at a time, but as a team.

The mountain wound up his arms and swung down at the three of the like a hammer, but as his fists approached, Neo and Johnny dove out of the way, while Erika flipped backward to gain some distance. Now, all three stood firm surrounding him, waiting to see his next move. The mountain looked around evaluating which prey they would take down first. it looked at Erika, Johnny, and Neo. Then it charged. It closed the distance in a matter of moments. He was on Neo before he knew it. he narrowly dodged as the mountain punched a crater where he was standing. What he didn't expect is that the mountain would use the crater as a pivot to pull off a roundhouse kick. It slammed into his right side before he could do anything about it. He went flying back but the mountain wasn't done, it was on hot pursuit. He locked his hands together and swung his arms down to crush Neo with an overhead smash. But Neo, having no other option, put his arms up to block. And then… as it connected… a cloud of smoke shrouded the battlefield preventing the crowd from seeing what happened. The crowd took Neo's demise as a Forgone conclusion. the only thing left now was to confirm it first-hand. But as the smoke cleared… there was not one person standing, but two. His arms crossed, palms open and fingers flexed, shaking, holding back the mountains attack with his telekinesis. With his teeth clenched, his legs squatted, and the floor beneath his feet cracked from the impact, he looked up at the mountain and gave him a smirk. but what he saw in the mountains eyes surprised and confused him. He didn't see frustration, he didn't see shock, nor anger nor glee, not excitement nor sorrow, what he saw… was nothing. The only emotion he saw in his eyes was his own being reflected back at him. and suddenly the way he fought started to make sense. But before he had time to think, there Johnny was, flying overhead, hands firmly locked onto his bow staff smashing it over the mountains head. As the shock went through the mountains body, Erika swept the mountains feet from under them, and that's when Neo pulled the mountains arms down and in one swift motion, stomped his foot down and extended his whole body like a spring, landing a decisive uppercut. Subconsciously Using his telekinesis to give it more umph.

as the mountain went flying through the air, a wave of despair washed across the faces of the crowd folk that bet against the sewer rats, and the faces of the two to three cats that held out hope on their champions, finally catching a glimpse of victory, filled with elation. For the first time since the mountain walked into the field, someone landed a solid blow. For the first time since the battle royal began, the mountain was not only held back, they showed the crowd they were not indomitable. If it bleeds, it can be killed and for the first time since this whole game began, the mountain wasn't the one drawing blood.

The mountain slammed on the arena floor shaking the ground around them. The sewer rats stood tall having overcome their greatest challenge… or so they thought… as they didn't even get to celebrate before the mountain got back up ready for round two, boasting a sinister grin.

Neo couldn't believe his eyes, any normal human would've been knocked out cold by that uppercut. But as I’m sure you've already guessed by now, they weren’t any kind of normal human.

“it seems you've done excellent work professor” Marcus said overlooking the fight from his office monitor.

“Once we stopped putting a focus on simulated consciousness, we used machine learning technology to analyze previous arena fighters fighting style and had the android replicate them in a kind of homogenized all-purpose all-in-one fighting style. We can have a whole platoon of fighters like him ready by the end of the year.” The professor said

“It's the next generation of sports entertainment. They don't eat, sleep, drink or even have to take a piss, and best of all their free.” said scientist accompanying him

“the money isn’t what concerns me, the only reason I had these robots made was so that human blood didn't have to be spilled to keep the city’s economy going. These games... they've been a stain in this city for too long. But without them, we’d be thrown back into chaos with nothing to fill the void left behind.” Marcus looked at the monitor and saw how the mountain had overwhelmed every fighter on that arena and even manage to take the Sewer Rats down a peg. “at least this way, I won’t feel so guilty at night.” He said

the researchers looked at each other baffled. Marcus, The kingpin of Neo Discadia, feeling guilty? Following their better judgment, they chose not to press the matter. But they confirmed some of the rumors swirling around the offices, Marcus had grown softy in his old age. Losing his edge after losing his wife.

“*Ahem* it's a pity the sewer rats had to come in when they did, the in-betweens for the old guard and the new, they came just in time to get squashed, with Kevlar skin, steel limbs and a titanium alloy chassis, he’s virtually indestructible. Not to mention his onboard AI learns and he fights. There’s no way those kids can beat him” the other scientist said

“that I wouldn't be too sure of.” Marcus said just as the mountain slammed onto the ground from Neo's uppercut.

“what the hell man…why wont he stay down?” Johnny said

but before anyone had the chance to respond the mountain was on them again. swinging wildly and indiscriminately. Erika jumped to avoid him, Neo rolled out of the way, but Johnny got caught off guard. As he attempted to leap away, The mountain grabbed him by the leg. Johnny tried breaking himself free by kicking and punching, but it was no use, the mountains grip was beyond measure. it looked Johnny in the eye and smiled just Before turning around and swinging him overhead, slamming him onto the ground like a sledgehammer. Then it turned around and did it again and again. Johnny tried his best to keep it together, but it was a losing battle at this rate. He was holding out but was on the verge of blacking out. that's when Neo pounced on the mountain, slithering his arms around its neck to try to choke it out. A futile attempt but at the very least he was snatching its attention away from Johnny. The mountain, distracted, did indeed let go of Johnny. But did something Neo wasn't expecting

It leaped backwards into the air with Neo on his back. As Neo saw the ground approaching, he realized his plan had backfired. he braced for impact as the weight of the world fell on top of him.

He gasped for air having the wind knocked out of him, but he had no time to rest. His opponent pinned him down and started unloading on him. unleashing a flurry of megaton punches Neo could just barely hold back with his telekinesis.

“hey asshole!” a voice echoed just before Erika slammed into him with a flying back kick. Knocking him off Neo, he scurried out from under him to Erika’s side.

“Thanks for bailing me out” Neo said

“don't thank me yet, we still got work to do” she said

“yeah...” he agreed

they both got into complimentary battle stances and charged at the mountain. Unleashing a furious beast onto their opponent. For every kick, Neo complimented with a punch, every hit led seamlessly into the other, when the opponent found an opening it was one that they intentionally set, a trap where one would grab and letting the other exploit their weakness.

“I don't believe it people! The mountain is on the back foot, he’s being pushed back by the sewer rats!” the announcer’s voice echoed but the match was far from over. the mountain drew some distance and charged both arms extended, clotheslining Neo and Erika knoking them off their balance only to then turn around and send Erika flying with a roundhouse kick slamming her into the wall of the arena. He grabbed her by the face and started running along the perimeter of the arena grinding her face against the concrete. Then tossed her back at Neo who was just getting up, to knock him back down

“owwww, are you okay?” he said to Erika who was still lying on top of him

“nnng yeah, just peachy” she said rubbing her face half covered in blood “this guy just won’t quit” wiping it off proved useless as a fresh new current gushed to take its place.

neo looked at Erika, her shallow breathing, and johnny who could just barely get up, and felt his own wounds pulsing in pain, he realized they wouldn't last much longer. not at this rate in any case.

“he’s unstoppable,” Johnny said still lying on the ground “how are we supposed to beat him?”

“We have to!" neo blurted out, his mouth moving before he had a chance to think. "this match isn’t over until one of us is out for the count. We have someone waiting for us, we can’t give up now!” he said helping Johnny and Erika up “c’mon guys, it's now or never!”

Johnny and Erika both looked at each other “right!”  they said in unison

“I don't believe it people! after all that punishment, the sewer rats still manage to get back up. At this rate, it looks like we’ll be here all day. looks like we’re gonna have to speed up the process a little...” the announcer's voice rang as the arena began to rise just like it did in the motorcycle derby. High above the crowd, the arena rose, revealing the monitors hiding just underneath so that the crowd can still keep a close eye on all the action. “from now on, first to die or get flung off the edge of the ring will be disqualified. whoever's left standing, WINS! Now let’s get this show on the road, a climactic finish to the most exciting battle royal yet!”

"this is bad" neo said "with how easily he's been able to throw us, if he grabs us even once, we're done, we have to be extra careful now."

"ugh I'm too tired to be careful" johnny said 

"Fine, I hope you're not afraid of heights" erika said

"Thankfully I'm afraid of falling" johnny said

"in this case, that's even worse" Erika said

"what about you? feeling queasy yet being up so high?" johnny said

"out of sight out of mind, all I'm worried about right now is putting this guy in the ground." Erika said pointing at the mountain

"cmon guys, it's about time we finished this. We've got someone rooting for us through the airwaves, let's show her what we're made of." neo said

"right!" they both said in unison 

All three of them got in their battle stances, it looked like the battle was finally drawing to a close. 

"one more thing" neo said

"what?" Johnny and Erika both asked

"I haven't figured it out yet, but he's not human. So stow whatever hangups you have, hold nothing back"

"hmph, this guy pissed me off so bad, that changes nothing." Erika said

"I've had just about enough of this guys ugly mug, I'm too tired to hold anything back" johnny said

neo looked at them and smiled, then directed his gaze at the mountain, "glad were all on the same page"