Hey there. Heh heh, yeah I've been bad into not updating all this time. Been busy with 3D modeling and stuff. Its hard stuff I have to learn. I finally caught a break and wrote this chapter in no time. I hope you guys like it. Anyway, here's another chapter.
Torn Apart yet Stuck to You
Chapter Nine: The Coliseum
Morning came too quickly. Cassandra was the first to awake from her slumber. As the young Greek girl stretched, she looked over to see Lara sitting up and staring at the sky as if waiting for something. By the looks of it, Cassandra could tell that her companion did not sleep at all. Crawling over, Cassandra sat right besides Lara. "Hey," she said softly. "You okay?"
"Yeah…" Lara replied softly.
"You don't sound like it," Cassandra said. "You want to talk about it?"
Lara didn't reply. She didn't even move from her spot or even look at Cassandra.
"Come on," Cassandra said. "You can trust me. After all, we're good friends. If you don't want to talk about it, then that's fine. I won't force you to do anything you don't want to do. But if there is any trouble at all…you can always come to me."
"Really?" Lara slowly turned her head and made eye contact with her blond companion. "Do you promise?"
"Of course! I promise that no matter what I'll help you just as long as you stay Lara. Now…no more frowning. It doesn't suit you. The Lara I know doesn't frown or anything. So…how about a smile, huh?"
Lara couldn't help but giggle at Cassandra. She felt rather happy to know that at least she could always confine with Cassandra. Cassandra smiled sweetly as she accomplished her small little mission. She then noticed that Lara's bandage was rather dirtied by dry blood. She was crying all this time, Cassandra thought. "Hey," she said, "let's go wash that face. We don't want you to get any sort of disease or anything."
"Okay," Lara replied. Cassandra led Lara over to the small little stream. Slowly, she took off Lara's dirty bandages. Even though she did this as carefully as she could, just the slightest touches stung the younger girl's face. Once the bandages were off, Cassandra took a small piece of cloth and dipped it into the water. She twisted the cloth to get rid of any excess water then began to clean Lara's face. Even the slight touches made Lara uncomfortable. However she had to bite her lip and bare it.
Once she had finished cleaning, Cassandra bandaged up Lara with a clean wrap. Lara looked over at the water and let out a sigh. She placed a hand upon the bandage and frowned. "I guess," she said, "I'll…have to get used to this. At least things can't get worse than this…right?"
"I'm sure things are bound to get better," Cassandra replied.
Cassandra smiled as she hugged the younger girl. "Don't worry…we'll all be here for you."
"Yeah…I know as long as you and the others are here, I'll be okay. I just…don't want Siegfried to leave me behind again. I know he's worried about me….but I don't want to be left behind."
"Heh…I think leaving you behind isn't something he's looking for anymore. Now let's head back to our group."
"Yeah," Lara nodded.
Back at the camping ground, Siegfried and Ivy had awakened. Siegfried looked on at the distance. The sun was barely rising. He remembered when he used to look at the sunrise and enjoy it. Now, he couldn't bare to see it. I don't deserve to look at something beautiful, he thought. Just then, a shiny red apple appeared before him. Ivy had her hand extended in front of him and smiled. "You need to eat something," Ivy said.
"I appreciate it…but I don't need it," Siegfried replied.
"Nonsense! Everyone needs a little something once a while. You'll need your strength for our journey ahead of us."
"Alright…thank you, Ivy," Siegfried replied as he took the apple from her hand. Ivy smiled as she grabbed another apple and began to munch on it. Around that time, Lara and Cassandra made their way back to the camp. Siegfried looked at both girls with a seldom look. "Make sure to eat something," he said softly. "We have a long ways to go before we reach our destination."
"Understood," Cassandra replied with a slight smile on her face.
"Y-yeah…" Lara responded with a not so cheery attitude in her voice.
Even though it was quite rare, but Siegfried was worried about Lara now. Usually bad things never put a dent on her cheery outlook and her bubbly personality. However all throughout the morning and the rest of the day, Lara remained quiet and pensive. It seemed like the girl was off in her own little world while her body continued to walk aimlessly around. There wasn't much he could do at the moment, except try to watch out for her.
Eventually, the group reached the city of Rome. It took them approximately a week to reach the city. Lara's eye widen as she saw the city before her. Never did she ever see such an elusive city like this before. Shops and karts were open to sell produce, accessories, clothing, and other materials. The sounds of music, cheers, and giggling filled the air along with the smell of cakes, pies, meat, and beer. Lara walked in front of the group to catch an eye full of what the city had to offer. "Oh wow!" she let out. "This place is so beautiful!" Lara skipped over to the nearest cart and touched the lovely clothing. "If only I had the money…"
Never was Lara so self-conscious about her looks until she saw women around her age dressed in the finest of clothing. Younger women were walking down the market place dressed in silk clothing and smelled like lavender and other sweet flowers. Lara touched the area where her right might used to be and cringe slightly. I guess no amount of clothing would make me look pretty, she thought. I guess some people were born beautiful and with big racks while others are unfortunate and can't even have a rack that goes behind her nose. Ugh! My life sucks!
"Rome…its such a beautiful city," Ivy said. "This place is known as a merchant's paradise as well as fighter's paradise."
"What makes you say that?" Siegfried asked as he cocked one of his eyebrows at Ivy.
"Simple…the arena is the best place for fighters from all around the world to compete for money. We could get some valuable information here. People from around the world might know a thing or two about who we're looking for. We should head over to the arena and sign up as soon as possible."
"Sounds like a good idea," Siegfried replied. "Lara, Cassandra…let's go!"
And so the group made their way over to the arena's entrance. Warriors of all sorts were gathered around for the upcoming tournament. Siegfried approached the sign-up table. Sitting on the chair was a rather large man with rippling muscles. His dark red facial hair could only be compared to his fuzzy chest. He looked over at Siegfried and gawked at his sword. "Something you want?" the man asked.
"I'm here to sign up for the tournament," Siegfried replied.
"You? You want to fight? Hehe…do you know what you're getting yourself into, pretty boy? We are the toughest and strongest warriors alive! You best be ready for anything!" The scruffy man got up from his seat and pulled out a huge axe from underneath the table. He raised the axe above his head and slammed it down towards Siegfried. Siegfried dodged out of the way of the upcoming assault. The red haired man continued his assault, however Siegfried was much more nimble and dodged every blow the register had to offer.
The register gathered all his energy and swung the axe horizontally. With enough force, the blade could slice someone's limbs off with ease. Siegfried managed to dodge ax just in time. The blade barely missed his face by mere inches and sunk into a wooden pillar. The register tried to pry it off, however Siegfried placed the Requiem underneath the man's chin. "Move…and it will be the end of you," Siegfried said. "Now…will you kindly register me and my friends so we can compete in the tournament?"
"Bwa ha ha!" the register gaffed. "Alright, you win, boy! I see you're full of spirit. Fine! You are now going to be registered! Come along to the table and I'll sign you up!"
"Very well then," Siegfried sheath his weapon and walking alongside the register.
The register opened a large book and wrote in black ink. "What's your name and the name of your friends?" he asked.
"I'm Siegfried Schtauffen, this is Ivy Valentine, and Cassandra Alexander," Siegfried said as he pointed at his friends.
"H-hey! What about me?" Lara asked. "Aren't you going to register me too?"
"No Lara, I'm not going to do that for several reasons. One: you're in a weak condition. You're still injured from the last fight. Two: You are physically weak and you don't know much about fighting. Three: we need someone to watch over our belongings."
"That's not fair! I can so fight too, you know! Why do you always treat me like a weak child?"
"Because you keep acting like one. I'm doing this for your own good…not to anger you."
"Lara please," Cassandra said, "stay here and watch over our belongings. You can cheer for us from the crowd and once we're done, we'll buy new clothing and weapons."
"Not to mention…chocolate," Ivy said.
"Ch-chocolate?" Lara let out. "They sell chocolate here?"
"Yes they do…but only if you're a good girl and if we win, we'll buy a whole brick of chocolate for you."
"Alright!" Lara chirped as she jumped up and down. "I'll be good and cheer for you guys extra hard! Good luck!"
Siegfried sighed as he rolled his eyes. Some battles he could win, but others he can not, especially if it has something to do with Lara. Instead, he just walked away from the register and headed towards the waiting room. Inside, competitors of all sorts had gathered around. Ivy rolled her eyes as she and Cassandra became eye candy to most of the men that were hovering about. Before Siegfried could say anything, a loud yell caught the attention of not only him but every other competitor.
"Yeow!" shouted a young red haired man. "You're a crazy bastard, you know that?!" The young man looked at his well toned chest as he checked to see if the register's ax cut him. All that the ax managed to do was cut part of his green vest.
"Oh ho!" the register chuckled. "You are a fast one, but you'll need more than speed to handle me!" The register raised his ax over his head and slammed it down at the young man. The red haired man rolled out of the way.
"You're crazy! And why attack me? Couldn't you attack Talim?" The young man pointed at his female companion. She was a rather petite looking girl with two cute black braids. Her soft brown eyes only showed sweetness in them. Her white, green, and red suit mad her look like a young girl. She glared at her male companion.
"Yun-Seong!" Talim scowled. "You're the one who wanted to join this tournament. If you can't defeat this man and hide behind me, than you shouldn't compete at all."
"Eesh! Talim!" Yun-Seong complained. "A little help would be nice!"
"Heh! You two dare to defy me?" the register said. "Then you shall die!"
"Yun-Seong!" Talim let out as she jumped on the register. She landed on his back and began to attack him. At that time, Yun-Seong quickly got up from the ground and started to assist Talim. He attacked the register from the front. In one movement, the register shook off Talim and Yun-Seong. He stopped to look at the fallen warriors before he laughed whole heartedly.
"You two are alright!" he chuckled. "Alright…both of you can join the tournament!"
"We can?! Yahoo!" Yun-Seong cheered as he got up from the ground.
"I think…I'm getting a headache…" Talim replied. "I still don't like this idea, Yun-Seong. I mean, fighting for money? People shouldn't fight for any other reason then to defend."
"Well, think about it this way. When you get in the arena and someone is fighting you, just fight back to defend yourself and win! Think of the money as a bonus for living! Besides, we need the money to continue our journey."
"You mean your journey," Talim corrected him. "I'm here to make sure you don't do anything foolish."
"Yeesh, Talim! Don't you have any faith in me?"
"I don't doubt your fighting ability, I just doubt your intentions."
Yun-Seong and Talim continued arguing as they entered the competitor's lounge. Siegfried couldn't believe what type of competitors he was getting. If the opponents were just like Yun-Seong, he might as well sign up Lara as well.
Outside of the competitor's lounge and the register's area. Lara sat on the edge of the walkway. Her feet were now in the water of the river which held the arena. She sighed as she was now completely bored and felt somewhat lonely. "This is no fun," she whined. "I really wanted to fight in the tournament, but Siegfried won't let me! I can do it! I'm sure I can, I'm not completely useless!"
"Aww, don't say that about yourself!" a light, female voice spoke.
Lara turned her torso slightly so she could see the figure behind her. A young woman with curly chestnut colored hair and light green eyes smiled at Lara. Her bizarre green pants were held together by her leather boots. Her pink tube top didn't cover much of her upper torso as her blue jacket did. What captivated Lara about the young woman was the fact that a black mask covered her pale face.
"Hi!" the girl said. "My name is Risa! What's your name?"
"I'm Lara," Lara replied. "What are you doing?"
"Oh, me? I'm just walking around. I'm getting ready to fight in the tournament."
"You joined the tournament too? Man…I must be the only one who wasn't allowed to sign up."
"Heh," Risa giggled. "I wouldn't say that. My kids weren't allowed to sign up either."
"Your kids? You're a mother?"
"Oh! No, no, no! I'm not a mother…I just take care of kids. Orphans that live in this city and have nowhere else to go. I need the money in order to feed them and such. That's why I compete in the tournaments which are held every week."
"Wow! Every week?!" Lara's blue eyes widen. "How many have you won?"
"Well…I haven't won the championship…but I do get consolation money. It may not be much, but its enough to get through. To get consolation money, however, you need to be at a certain rank in the tournament. No less than fourth place."
"So…who's been winning?"
"No one yet…" Risa replied.
"No one yet?" Lara asked as she cocked one eye. "But why hasn't anyone won yet?"
"You see…the champion is too tough for anyone to beat. That's why."
"Oh…well, I'm sure the champion will lose to Siegfried! Siegfried has yet to lose at anything!"
"Well…I hope you're right. So…um, I was wondering…can I a favor of you?" Risa asked.
"You see…I don't trust some of the people here. Mostly men and loose women come to these events. So I can't trust anyone to watch over the kids and they really wanted to see the fights here. I was wondering…think you can watch over them for me? I know I don't know you that much, but you actually look like someone I can trust you."
"Well…I suppose I can," Lara replied. "Alright…I'll help out."
"Great! Come on, kids!" Risa motioned with her hand. At that moment, ten little children approached Lara. There were some very young children who look like they barely learned how to walk. The eldest out of the group was only three years younger than Lara. Lara looked baffled at how many of them were with Risa. "Alright!" Risa spoke to the children. "I'm going off to wait in the fighter's lounge. You all be good to Lara, okay?"
"Okay! We promise!" the children replied. Risa smiled at them before she walked off to her destination. Lara looked at the kids as the kids looked at Lara. For a long time, that's all the group did. Each of them would blink at a different times while Lara kept a constant blinking pattern. The more Lara looked at the children, the more freaked out she would get. "Will you all stop staring at me?" Lara let out.
"We're bored!" whined a tiny pink haired girl. "I want to play!"
"What do you want me to do about it?" Lara replied. She looked at the water then at her clothing. Finally an idea formed. "You guys want to do something fun with me?"
"Yeah!" the children replied.
"Good! I have an excellent idea we can pull off! Now first we gotta…"
Elsewhere, Siegfried and the others were waiting patiently for the tournament to begin. Every competitor was given a number in which they were to keep in order from them to know when they will be fighting. Walking past Siegfried was a young and rather vibrant auburn haired woman who's attire was something a little risqué. Her maid uniform showed much of her well formed figure, which rivaled even Ivy's. Her blue colored eyes landed on Siegfried as she passed by. She winked at him. Siegfried blushed as he looked away from the woman. The red haired vixen merely giggled as she continued to walk down towards the arena.
Following the red haired woman was a young Asian woman. Her long black hair was tied together into two buns. Her light red, Chinese dress flowed nicely along with her body. Her bifocals were rather thick, but certain attractive. She smiled sweetly at Siegfried as she walked passed him. Siegfried's eyes wondered over at the young woman as she walked passed him.
Following the Asian woman was bubbly blond woman wearing a maid uniform which was similar to the red head's uniform, but was less revealing. Her soft teal eyes looked over at Siegfried. She giggled lightly as she gave off a slight blush on her face. She waved at him before she walked off following her comrades. Siegfried was baffled at why all three women insisted on getting his attention. Yun-Seong saw the entire thing and walked over to Siegfried.
"Wow, you're really popular with the ladies," he chided. "So…who are they? Your girlfriends?"
"I don't know who they are…" Siegfried replied.
"Oh…so they're women you laid with. Impressive! They're quite the catches."
"No! I have not laid with them! I don't know these women! I didn't know them until recently right now."
"Oh…so they're admiring you," Yun-Seong said in a dull tone. "Oh! Excellent! You already have three fan girls and you haven't fought yet."
"Why does it feel like you're not listening to me?" Siegfried asked, of course, not expecting an answer.
The three women entered the arena. As soon as they walked on the platform, the men started to cheer and whistle at them. The red haired woman stepped forwards and waved at the crowd. "Welcome," she said in a rather seductive tone. "Are all of you ready for the tournament?" As she finished the question, the crowd cheered a response. "Good! As you all know I, Valeria, have organized this tournament this week. For those that have returned, I thank you for coming back. For those new to the tournament, let us explain the rules to you all."
"I, Hualin, shall explain the rules!" The young Asian girl said. "The tournament is held here in the heart of the coliseum. Those that don't know you are competing for money, glory, and fans. We do have a few rules. You can not kill anyone in this tournament. Only hurt a competitor to a point where they can't fight. Next, no more than one person per fight. We don't approve of double teaming. Another rule is don't step into a fight that isn't yours. You cannot interfere, if not you are disqualified. Any weapons are allowed. Last rule: just have fun!"
"Hehe…I, Lynette, shall just say a few words," the blond girl spoke. "Go on and fight and may the best fighter win!" Upon finishing her sentence, the crowd cheered loudly. "Alright, I shall call out who is up for the first match. And its competitors 20 and 5. Competitors 20 and 5, may you step up to the arena?"
Siegfried looked at his number. "So…I guess I'm up then," he said softly. He was number twenty. He slowly walked over to the arena and walked on the small wooden walkway. His opponent was a rather large and overly muscular man. The hair on his head had diminished from head and it appeared that it reappeared on his chest. In his hand was a rather large mace. He looked at Siegfried and gaffed.
"Oh…you're a puny one!" the man said as he pointed at Siegfried. "This will be easy!"
Siegfried didn't bother to grace the man with an answer. He just merely looked away and tried to ignore him. At the sidelines, Lara giggled. She had sent Mr. Squeakers off from her clothing and commanded him to do his newest trick. The tiny chipmunk scurried through the floor, climbed on the nearest man's leg, and began to gnaw at his wallet. Once there was a hole, Mr. Squeakers stuffed some gold into its mouth and scurried back to Lara. Lara, opened her shirt and allowed her pet to come in. "Good boy," she said. "Hehe…that makes about five hundred gold now."
The pink haired girl, whose name was Momo, walked over to a couple. She looked at them with puppy dog eyes. She shifted her legs slightly as she tried to look at adorable as she could. "Please Mister and Misses," Momo said softly. "I'm just a poor, hungrygirl and all. I…I don't know where my mommy is because she left me here and I haven't seen her in years. So far I've been only eating what I can find. Won't you help me, please?"
The woman looked at Momo and couldn't help but squeal as she saw the adorable little girl. "Oh, you poor thing!" she let out. "You've got to give her some gold, Daniel!"
"But…I…" Daniel said as he tried to think up of an excuse why not to give Momo money. At the end, the couple gave Momo fifty gold. Momo smiled softly at them then walked towards Lara.
"Here's the money, Lara," Momo said as she handed her the gold.
"You did an excellent job!" Lara giggled. "You know, you're quite good at this. Thanks to you I have almost two thousand gold. That's with the money combined with everyone else's and my work. But you've been bringing a good amount of income. If I had a chance, I'd make you my apprentice!"
Out in the crowd, the other little children were scamming off money from the spectators. All of them were using different tactics in order to earn some gold. They all brought back every piece of it to Lara, who was training Mr. Squeakers to steal money from wallets and coin purses. However once the announcement of the tournament began, Lara turned her attention to the arena. She smiled widely as she saw Siegfried approaching the ring. "Whoot! Go Siegfried!" Lara shouted.
Meep! I hope this was an okay chapter. So sorry for not updating and I apologize for those who have been waiting for the next chapter.