My new life had begun when I signed the competition’s inscription paper.
Back then, I used to be pretty confident and very sure of myself. But with time comes change.
Actually, I had to both work out a lot and learn how to outdo any situation, such as fencing blindfolded, climbing with one hand, and I could go on and on.
My coach insisted on improving my capacities, and learning how to outsmart every single competitor. He never cared about my tiredness and the harshness of the training, what he wanted was to bring up the best I could be.
I wish he was here, with me, on this ship heading to the planet Levellus, so I could thank him again for everything that he had done for me.
I sighed heavily and looked outside the window, admiring space, crowned by its shiny diadem of stars.
A few minutes later, the engine had landed on the ground, and we had reached our destination.
Since the competitors were forbidden to meet before the tournament, everyone had to stay in their compartment, until they were called on to go out.
When my turn came, the hostesses led me to the exit door in a rush, and the first thing that surprised me was the gravity, which was much weaker than what I was used to. The air was full of nitrogen, which is my planet’s life source, so wandering on Levellus floor was pleasant. Every single corner was colorful : the sky was light orange, the floor was rocky and yellow like sand, the plants were purple and the tall forest pines added green and blue touches to the scenery. Far off, the moutains were offering a miscellaneous colour palette made of tangerine, azure, crimson and strips of grey. From the latter were flowing a few rivers, filled with clear irridescent water and housed by long thin red flying fishes. An abrupt grip on my shoulder took me back to reality. It was in fact my bodyguard, telling me that we had to hurry if we wanted to arrive on time to the waiting room. He didn’t let me answer, and drove me quickly inside of the building. The atmosphere there was cold and spooky, and the lights were barely lighting anything. It smelt like a disused and dusty hospital. A few minutes later, we stopped in front of a metallic gate.
« Go in, and wait for your name. « were the last words said by the well-built man.
When I passed the threshold, the door closed behind me with a loud thud, breaking the silence. I sat on the floor for a while, wondering when my time would come, and how I would manage to handle every single experience on my own. When they finally called me, I felt my heartbeat getting faster, my blood pressure increasing, and my body shaking vigorously. Anxiety started taking over, and many questions popped up in my mind. It was a strange feeling that I had never ever felt before, and it started to frighten me seriously.
Getting a grip on myself, I glanced a last time at the cold metallic waiting room, and sighed loudly before getting up.
My feet began leading me instinctively to the dark corridor, my heavy armour clanking on the floor.
As I got closer to the end of the tunnel, I could feel the cold breeze hitting my body, and the sound of the spectators getting louder and louder.
From where I was, I could see everyone looking at me, including the judges, seated on the highest and shiniest benches of the arena.
I was one step away of winning the competition, but also one step away of losing it too.
I took a deep breath before getting out of the oppressive hallway, confidence decorating my face.
It was now my time to shine.
The first trial of the competition was a race. We were sixteen competitors, the greatest at sports of all the universe, and I was the only female. I moved forward in order to be alined with the others, at the starting point of the marathon. I had managed to relieve my stress by inhaling some fresh air and cracking my knuckles. We were all eagerly awaiting for the whistle blast, which could happen at any moment. Unfortunately, when the muffled sound reached my ears, everyone was already running forward, and I was still standing in the middle of the arena. But I couldn’t give up, I didn’t suffer all this time to lose from the outset. I started dashing and I ran as fast as possible, progressively overtaking the other runners one by one.
I finally passed the finish line as second, due to the first’s incredible running skills. The second trial was a climbing test, and the winner would be the first one to arrive at the top of a gigantic greasy wall. It was finally my turn to show off my amazing ascending competences. When we started, we were all very tied up, but after a few minutes, lots of candidates started slipping and falling on an inflatable mattress. I stopped looking down, and concentrated on overtaking the competitor above me.
As he was about to reach the stop, his foot slipped, but managed to hold onto a rock, a few meters below me. At the end, I had won the trial and I felt proud of myself, but I knew that the competition wasn’t finished yet. That last trial was a fighting test. We were all invited to enter a dark room, alone, and wait for the test match to begin. I started examinating the area, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do. After a few minutes of observation, I noticed a concealed door, matching the room’s colour. When I approached it, a sudden smoke spread, and a beast appeared.
«You are a smart one, but are you as strong as you pretend to be ?»
«You won’t be disappointed.»
I read it myself, getting into my fighting stances before beginning to swing punches. The beast threw his elbow at me, aiming for my cheek, but I grabbed his arm and shoved him back before aiming at his kidney with my foot, knowing that this part of the body was very fragile. The beast dodged my thump and seized the moment to knock me on the ground. I quickly came back to my senses and got up, facing my now smirking opponent. Adrenalin started rushing through my veins as I showered him with blows, before aiming for his chin, and ending him with an uppercut. After his fall, the light came back and the beast’s body disappeared.
« It was just an illusion. » I thought, before heading to the other room, only to find out that I had won the competition, with two first places and one second place in all the three trials. The judges congratulated me, and told me to go shower and change my clothes, in order to look my best at the prize giving by the night time.
I did as they pleased, and went to cool off in a hot tub, before brushing my hair and dressing myself with a red lace apparel. When done, I headed to the bar, with the sound of my high heels claking on the marbel floor, as my only music.
«Congratulations » whispered a familiar voice behind my back.
Silencio’s footsteps became louder as he started making his way closer to me. I slowly turned around to face him, crossing my arms around my chest, as a sign of defence. He had changed his clothes, and was now wearing costume pants, and a perfectly ironed white shirt, which emphasised his muscles.
«Missed me much, second ? » I teased, frowning my eyebrows playfully.
He smirked, sending a shiver down my spine.
« It was just luck, darling. » The blonde whispered, pouring himself an apple juice from the bar.
A small laugh escaped my lips before I joined him, leaning my elbows on the counter.
«Are you too shy to offer me a drink ? » I told him, playing at his little game.
We both grinned at each other before he stood up from his chair, and leaned in.
«I might pour you a little something, but just because I like your dress. I’m not being nice or anything. »
I pushed him away softly and ordered a smoothie.
«A smoothie here please. I like it. » He said, winking at me, before going behind the bar.
I smiled once more, lowering my head, so my hair could hide my face. I wasn’t able to see what he was doing, but I deduced from the sound of the ingredients mixing that he was almost done. When he finished, he poured the drink in a shiny glass and handed it to me, before getting back to his place, next to me.
«Not that I am fond of romance, but you look nice today. » Silencio declared.
«Therefore I have value ? » I asked, a hand on my chin.
« You are very annoying, you know that ? »He beamed, before taking a sip of his own beverage.
« Cheers. »I declared, clicking our glasses.
A silence set itself between us, while we were peacefully staring at each other up and down. His hands started making their way to my waist, and sparkles started forming in my stomach. He leaned in a little bit in, and I did the same, until we both stopped. He brushed my hair and murmured :
«I am sorry to interrupt, but I want to make sure that my breath is still fresh. Yet, I hope that you enjoyed your smoothie. »
He pulled away and got out of the room in the blink of an eye. I sat down on my chair, and drank my smoothie down in one go, and rinsed my cup. What had happened tormented me a lot, and I couldn’t stop thinking about his gold curls falling on his face, partially hiding his green eyes. A loud thud brought me back to reality. The judges of the competition followed by the members of the Universal Agency of Anti-doping barged into the room.
« Good evening, Elektra. We are sorry to intrude you, but a certain candidate claimed that he had seen you take EPO right before starting the race, and we wanted to make sure that he was not lying. »
«Right, do it, but I can assure you that I did not take any stimulant, especially not EPO. »
I suddenly felt two hands gripping me firmly, preventing me from moving. A medical sergeant quickly made his way out of the crowd while getting his pistol out of his pocket. Then, he slowly sank it into my skin, removing a sample of my blood and waiting for the results to show up.
«Sir, it’s positive. » declared the doctor.
« It’s impossible. I didn’t take anything ! »I muttered.
The judges put a few words in for the UAA agents before clearing their throats and proclaiming :
«Take her. We have a new winner. »
The guards led me to the exit, despite my attempts to slip from their hold. In front of the lift’s door, was standing an outline in the dark. The last sunbeam of the day lighted up Silencio, waving at me and mouthing :
«See ya, disqualified. »
Rhita & Othmane