The Nonpareil of Resh (Act 1)
Dia quickly and easily convinced the event organizers to slide in the surprise event. They had been worried that things were growing stale when the tournament had just begun and any suggestion from the top Beauideal was welcome. As they rapidly rearranged the schedule, Fiona and Harlan were positioned in a bland, grey hallway that led to the arena.
They sat on the ground with their backs pressed against the wall. On the outside, a concert-match was already underway, and a combination of singing and explosions echoed to the duo. Across the boring hallway was another Beauideal who was initially scheduled to go on in the next match.
Harlan expected the star would have been upset with them taking her spot, but instead, she sat on the ground with an expression of relief. The girl was a Hobusian-Bentalousian hybrid with short stature. She had ears on top of her head, and the crown seemed to grow around like a hard shell. The Zenotote scientist, despite being a fan of Beauideals, did not recognize the one in front of her. She could only figure the hybrid girl was a new star that was still getting the hang of things.
Fiona sat with her arms crossed and head hanging low. It may have seemed like she was worried Dia or Harlan would talk about her scar, but she wasn’t too concerned about that. As far as the blue princess could figure, Harlan wasn’t one to blab, and Dia could be told to be quiet after they beat her in the coming fight.
What weighed on Fiona’s mind more was the old memories that had been dredged up. She typically went through life keeping the spot out of sight and out of mind.
Harlan looked to her companion and frowned. She wasn’t good with comfort or sympathy, though she felt both for Fiona. The tip of the scientist's green tail flicked while she tried to think of something to say to the princess. No words came to her lips, and she remained silent.
Cheers could be heard outside the hall as the music came to a halt with a precisely timed crash. The fight was over, and the battle with Dia was next.
An announcer's voice echoed as the beauideals exited the stage. The crowd could be heard murmuring as odd news was given.
“Next up, we have a special event! The beauideal Dia Mond will challenge two unknowns in the singfighting world!”
Fiona and Harlan made their way out to the arena. As they exited the hallway, a combination of sunlight and arena lights overwhelmed their eyes. Harlan was the first to adjust, and she took in the sight of the giant arena.
It easily bested any arena on earth in scale, with a wide oval section for the fighting to occur, making Dia, on the other side, appear like an ant. The stadium seating stretched high in the sky as if it wanted to reach up and block out the sun. The green Zenotote had some idea of how big it was, but knowing the dimensions and seeing it in person was entirely different.
The duo stood on a pad marked ‘stand here.’ They had been instructed not to move off it until the music started. As the announcer continued to shout words to the crowd, the floor in the arena began to move. Sections rose in some places and dropped in others. Trees seemed to shoot out from the ground, and water filled the holes. Holograms of grass and rocks began to morph the flat landscape into a lush hilly terrain.
Harlan examined their fighting arena closely. The special arena could make any landscape, to an extent, and was supposed to be chosen randomly. However, she could only see clear advantages for Dia littered across the whole place. Some trees stood out, but other than that, no cover remained for the duo who would be confined to the ground. She shook her head.
“It won’t be a fair fight; they don’t want the star to lose,” she said to Fiona.
“I guess we’ll have to disappoint them,” Fiona replied in a neutral tone. She was determined to beat Dia and have her stay quiet. Harlan found Fiona’s odd demeanor uncomfortable but didn’t know how to say anything to cheer her up. She wished for the skills of Odell or Gwyn, who always seemed to be able to handle the blue princess in stride.
Dia smiled and waved to her fans, who shouted out with joy at the sight of the star. Harlan also attempted to wave, but it was awkward and mostly ignored by the fans. Fiona followed along with a better but equally ignored wave.
After the announcer finished setting up the match, there was a loud crash that resembled one from a cymbal. Music began to consume all other sounds in the arena. Dia held a hand over her heart and sang:
“♪Sweet opponents, how must this fight go? We have so much to talk about but so little time. So our fists and rhyme must be what we use in these moments.♪” She took the sky—spinning and dancing in the air like she was carried by a gentle breeze—as she sang.
Neither of the duo had been given lyrics to sing; the people running the show hoped to make them look like fools. Nevertheless, Harlan knew enough of what was going on to reply.
“♪Our battle will not be easily forgotten; today is the day the mighty star will fall, and her attitude will be brought in.♪”
“Are we supposed to sing… and rhyme…” Fiona asked; her voice was amplified to mix in the loud music, and her face grew flushed as the crowd and Dia laughed.
“♪Rhyme is up to you, but we will sing loud is what we must do,♪” Harlan sang. Fiona was surprised at how nice her voice sounded.
The blue princess shook her head and slapped her cheeks. She looked to their opponent, who fluttered around in the air.
“I’m not much of a singer, but fighting I can do,♪” she replied. After her earlier confusion, the crowd was surprised to hear how nice, awkward as it was, Fiona’s voice sounded.
Dia smiled as she looked down at her two opponents.