I step out into the ring, the noises of the crowd cheering echoing in my ears. This was my first ever match. If I won, I would have the highest honor to ever be received. But if I lost, I would lose all honor imaginable, and the only way to regain that honor was to commit the Z. But I would rather focus on my other main issue, I wasn’t even supposed to be in the ring. I was a woman, so if I was found out it would automatically be the Z.
I take a deep breath and watch my opponent’s movements as a tiger watches her prey. He was still too far away to see his face, so I still didn’t know who he was.
When he reaches me he glares at me and gives a snarl. I recognized him immediately. Sihanou Tashimoto, we were neighbors and childhood friends. I couldn’t fight him! But it was too late.
The Ringmaster calls out our sacred phrase, “Challengers, make your choice!”
We were to either choose someone from the crowd to fight, or win the highest honor by fighting each other. My original plan was to fight my opponent, but that wasn’t going to happen. So, I began scanning the crowd. Before I could say anything, though, Sihanou spoke up.
“I challenge my opponent,” he says loudly. The crowd goes wild and I feel a drop of sweat stream down my neck. He turns towards me and I see his face. He looks a bit scared, but also very confident. His green eyes shine in the sunlight, causing my cheeks to burn red.
If I were to forfeit, I would lose all honor. But if I were to fight and win, I would feel even worse knowing that he would suffer. I make up my mind and step forward to tell the crowd of onlookers.
“I accept!” I yell. The cheers become louder.
“Challengers, choose your weapons!” we’re told.
I slowly make my way over to the weapon board. Sihanou grabs an ax and whispers in my ear, “You’re going down.” He walks away, dragging the heavy ax with him. I chose a small knife for defense.
I only realize how bad this could end up as I step in the middle circle, ready to fight my closest friend. Either I go down, or he does, I tell myself. Eventually, I’m ready and we begin our battle.
He swings at me, I dodge. I swing at him, he blocks. We go on for a while until he pins me onto the edge of the circle, where I cry, “I forfeit!”
The crowd boo’s and yells that I’m unworthy of honor, but I don’t hear any of it, because I’m too busy gazing into Sihanou’s eyes to care. I smile at him, but he stares at me without knowing why I would do such a thing. I still had a fighting chance, so why would I give up? I pull my hair down and rub some dirt off my face to reveal myself to him.
He gasps and says, “Yua? But, how?!” I give him a weak smile. He glances at his ax and drops it beside him. He leans down over me and asks, “Why would you-?”
I pull him into a kiss before he can finish. “I love you, Sihanou,” I tell him as the Ringmaster runs over to us.
“You-” he begins before seeing me. “-are a woman,” he finishes, staring at me in awe. He continues, “And you have lost all honor. I hope you can understand that a woman is not eligible to fight.” He turns and walks away, muttering to himself.
But Sihanou wasn’t paying attention because he just stared into my eyes. Eventually, he whispers to me, “You will always bring me honor.” Then we come together for a tender kiss.
I never committed Z afterward, learning that I need only bring honor to those who care for me.
Author Notes: I wrote this forever ago-
anyway, i hope you enjoyed