“Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and demons to the annual Tournament for the True Hero!” The announcer sat in a large box hovering above. I sat in the front row, closest to the fighting. A small wall separated me from where the blood would be. The blood of many warriors. The True Hero is not a victor.
“Our first match we have the orc son Kralsha and the warrior mage Drivela!” The announcer poured energy into something that put blood on the hands of every participating. Two figures emerged from closed gates on either side of the arena. It was a large arena, about the size of a football field on all sides.
The orc started first, and charged at the mage only to hit air. The mage teleported to the other side and summoned a bow of magic. He shot true into the orc sons heart. The orc collapsed into a pool of his own blood. The crowd cheered for the slaughter.
“The winner, Drivela!” Drivela walked around the arena a bit before returning to the portcullis he came from. The rest of the matches went on the same. One winner. One death. My name wasn’t called.
The second round went by as expected. More deaths. More pain. More people that wouldn’t go home. The worst part was that they enjoyed the slaughter. The competitors were happy to kill everyone.
The third round was the semifinals. Not many competitors were left, but they were still as bloodthirsty as when they started. One match of the semifinals killed all participants. Someone would have to step in to fight the other finalist. Someone else had to be the target.
It was the finals and only one competitor was on the field. It was a man. Large, strong, with no weapons but his fists. He pointed at me. I was who was next to die. It didn’t matter. I came prepared.
I hopped down to the arena and stood facing him. The crowd roared for more death. For more bloodshed. The man slowly walked towards me. I loosened my fists. He grabbed me by the throat with a startling lunge. I won’t fight back. I wouldn’t hurt him. He chucked me across the arena. I felt something crack as I slammed into the ground. Picking myself up, I wiped blood from my mouth. He was already charging towards me again. Punch after punch I was hit again and again. Blow after blow. It never ended, I never died. With a final blow to my head I startled awake.
All a dream. Not reality. I clumsily got myself up and ready. I grabbed my bag and started the walk to school. I knew what would happen this day. He wasn’t happy when I refused, when I stood up. I pushed open the doors to my school. Late, again. Walking to my class, I heard footsteps behind me. They sped up before-.
“Where is my money punk?”
I felt his hand close around my throat as he slammed me against the wall.
“You don’t get any money.” That was my standing up. My refusal. I didn’t think it would work.
“Well, then if I can’t get money, I should get pleasure from seeing your blood cover the floor.” He slammed me against the wall again and again. I didn’t want to fight, to hurt him. He only wanted bloodshed. He let go of my throat as I dropped to the ground. He kicked me again and again, hitting my ribs blow after blow. I tried to cover them with my arms, but he kicked those too. I was now coughing up some blood as my vision got blurry. He kneeled to the ground and reared his arm. I knew what was coming. Why did I have to be there? Why did I have to be the next target? What did he think he was going to get from beating me? Maybe, just maybe, people would recognize me for what I accomplished, not how I ended. He slammed his fist into my head, and I blacked out.
Maybe I would be a True Hero.
Author Notes: Is a hero the one that can defeat his enemies? Or one who will stand for what he believes in?