Richard came out from the aisle into the spotlight and the crowd began to cheer. Renee grabbed my knee (which turned my attention away from what was going on in front of us), and looked at me with those gorgeous blue eyes, in which I could see complete concern. She quietly asked me, ‘What’s going on?’ I told her that I wished I knew. Neither Michael nor I had not seen Rich since we got here; he must have met someone that arranged this, or possibly had gotten himself into some type of trouble. Knowing Richard, I bet it was option number two.
The Emperor started to speak once again, and all of us turned our attention back toward him. He said that Richard was caught stealing from a storage unit and had been sentenced to a gauntlet of survival. As he continued to speak, I lost focus of what he was saying as I felt Renee remove her hand from my knee and grab my hand. I’m not sure what all of this means--if it even means anything at all--but for some reason, I think I will find out soon enough.
Two men came out and cautiously walked over to the Unlucky who was chained in the center of the arena. The men held it down, while a third man ran up holding a bloodstained vest from which protruded rusty metal spikes, and strapped it over the creature's chest. The vest was a set of old shoulder pads that football player would wear underneath their jersey. Attached to it were six metal spikes that looked to measure some six inches long, and covered the entire vest. The longest spike, though, came from the front and it ran straight up, covering the monsters face. The two men let go of the monster prematurely and it lunged at the third man, commencing to rip away his flesh. The six of us sat there in horror, but to the rest of the people in the arena, the louder the man screamed the more they cheered.
Richard just stood there gripping his sword, waiting patiently as the demon finished his meal. The two men slowly made their way back to it. The men jumped on it and quickly completed preparing the beast. Rich turned and looked up to us, and I could see that he was terrified. I gave him a ‘thumbs up’ to reassure him; he gave a small smile and halfheartedly returned my gesture with one of his own.
Finally, the shackles were removed and the Unlucky was ready for battle. The creature’s bloodlust was evident when it realized that it was free, and lunged out straight toward Richard. The hissing and growling filled the coliseum as it struck, but Rich quickly moved to his right and swung his sword, causing a hollow cling as it struck one of the spikes on the creature’s vest.
After another strong blow, the main spike that protected the beast's face became noticeably loose. Rich repeatedly stuck at the creature's harness until that piece of metal completely gave way and fell to the ground. But that move may have backfired on Richard. Now, having no restraint blocking its mouth, it had made the Unlucky more of a danger. Sensing this, the devil dove in to make its attack, this time striking Richard’s leg. As it slashed through where the skin was unprotected, blood splattered back on the monster’s face. My brother let out a bellow of pain, but surprisingly was able to keep his footing. The predator made another charge, slashing at Rich, but he was waiting for him this time and severed the hand as it came close to him. Black, tarry blood gushed out from the stump, and now it was the creature who was crying out in agony.
With that blow, the crowd erupted with cheers. This time my brother was first to move, as he struck at the beast's chest, but the blow was deflected by its armor. Richard continued to hack away at the creature, keeping it grounded. Each time the Unlucky would try to get up, he would knock it back down. This stopped the creature from trying to make any advance toward my brother.
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