Cheers erupted from below, sounding like a whisper 150 feet above the large crowd, on the dirt ground.
I glanced at the white drones watching my every movement, took off my cold, heavy, iron helmet, which covered my eyes and head, and placed it on the platform I stood on.
Dark red blood ribboned along my arms, legs,hands, and the hovering platform. A body of a boy, 15 years of age, lay still, banged up, green eyes open filled with pain and fright.
My hatchet lay buried deep within his chest.
I could not feel any remorse, I wouldn't allow it.
This was Arnost.
I needed to win the money for my family and feeling sorry would only make me weak.
A jolt rocked me by surprise.
The rostrum was descending, the next clash was soon to commence.
Here in 2121, the Arnost meant battle to death.
It was a game where every year families had a chance to participate, entering one son over the age of 13.
All competitors fought, one on one, to the death until one remained.
Last one standing won one million dollars.
You were allowed to choose won weapon for the entire game, and a helmet if you won at least seven duels. I have won 26 matches, the highest number this year so far.
Our city, Argo, is led by a gruesome ruler.
He created the Arnost of Argo just to find strong, young men to be in his army. All of the winners every year get the money and a one way ticket to his tear jerker army.
It's a sick game really, millions of families basically kill their sons entering them in. It proves they care about money, not their sons, or love, and that brings great sadness on me.
The stage hit the ground with a boom, rattling my bones.
I gradually walked over to the scrawny body and pulled my axe out with a loud suction noise, while straining not to look at the boy I had just killed.
Suddenly I noticed something, it was silent.
Not a cheer could be heard, only the humming of the drones and electricity. Looking around the vibrant colorful crowd, everybody's face was white, and some people's mouths agape and eyes bulged.
Scrunching my eyebrows I moved forward to get off to tend my wounds, as I normally would. Emotionlessly, the front row moved forward blocking my way, barricading me in.
As I turned around in confusion the bright mass of people parted like the red sea. The cleaning crew marched along to collect the body, as usual, but that was not what caught my eye.
A young, petite, girl with long, fiery hair sleekly tied back, slowly gained ground behind them. When she reached the front I spotted a silver dagger clutched in her right fist.
The fragile girl wobbled onto the platform.
Now I could see why everyone was in shock. I, the strongest of everyone, was against her, the first girl competing in the Arnost. The rostrum jolted to life, kicking the girl on her butt.
The battle had begun.
Once fully levitated in the air the bell rung twice vibrating throughout my body.
The speaker came on above our heads "Zero kills, Furroeia," it roughly announced "against 26 kills Gladiator. Players, weapons ready!"
I shook out of my shock, loosened my muscles, before sinking into my fighting stance. I weighed the heavy axe in my hands, feeling the the cold metal against my warm blood crusted hand.
As blood trickled down my axe, Furroeia stood there, stiff as a board, shaking with fright.
"Good luck" she quietly said.
Too bad those would be the last words she spoke. "I don't need it, if anything you do." "START!" boomed the scruffy voice of the speaker. With that the girl ran at me.
This is going to be way too easy, I thought.
At last minute I dodged out of her way, laughing. She crashed into the invisible bars, that silently activated when we lifted into the sky.
Winded Furroeia took in multiple deep breaths, the cold dry air stinging her nose.
Next she slowly got up and swung her arm around her blade cutting through the crisp air with a woosh, catching me by surprise. My laughter died.
Instinctively I ducked.
I could tell that it was a wrong move. The blade nicked the exposed, tender, flesh of my neck. The pain was excruciating. Now, the cut, leaking a sticky, crimson red substance, stung.
It tingled from the opening, down my neck, and to my toes.
I stood there still, mouth hanging open, eyes wide, trembling. Finally I cleared my senses, lowered myself, weapon ready and aimed. Furroeia had made the first move, now it was my turn.
I waited for her to come at me again, and she did, barrelling toward me, letting out an ear piercing war cry. I gently slid to the left side, moving out of her way.
Furroeia stabbed me in the left leg, above my knee cap.
While I stumbled, she turned. My rage and determination numbed the pain. My brain screamed, kill her! Kill her! So before she made her move I made mine.
The hatchet came crashing down on her abdomen.
Her thunderous scream broke through the calm air. I had to act fast. I drove my hand striking her shoulder. She stumbled backward, tripped on her feet, and descended towards the ground.
While Furroeia clutched her wound, distracted, I slid the blade along her right leg splitting it like a knife on butter. Letting out an agonizing scream, she cowered away.
Furroeia crawled to the edge and placed her back against the bars. Slowly I raised my axe, drumming my fingers about the metal handle, going for the death blow.
"Please. Please, don't hurt me."
In that moment I made the worst mistake I could have ever made, I hesitated. The weapon felt heavy, she's just a girl, I thought. She took her chance and knocked me off my feet.
My metal hatchet flew from my grasp, leaving me defenceless.
Furroeia climbed ontop of me, straddling my buff torso. Anger burned beneath her forest green eyes like a forest fire.I was pinned underneath the light girl yet I couldn't wiggle an inch.
A force pushed down on my body, the pressure of the air suffocating, keeping me in place. My heart raced, my palms moist, I sweat uncontrollably. What is happening? I thought. Why can't I move?
Am I going to die? I asked myself.
I have never been this afraid before as I layed on the bloody area, helpless and apprehensive. Now I knew how everyone else felt as I ended their life. We will never see our families again.
Confidently and proudly, Furroeia raised her dagger.
"Never underestimate a girl," Furroeia stated.
A tear danced its way out of my socket.
The next part happened blindingly rapid.
The sharp knife descended embedding itself deep in the middle of my toned chest. I let out a gasp as I felt it poke at my heart. My mouth held a coppery, metallic, taste.
My thorax ached as memories flashed before my eyes.
Then it was over, all of the pain was gone.
I felt lighter, as if I was being lifted. The taste of blood heightened, everything got extremely bright. Then it went black and there was nothing.