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View Full Version : Dozer (Urako) vs Serif (Crank): Spar



Urako
11-04-2016, 10:41 PM
A friendly spar between me and Crank which means no poll. As always, feedback is appreciated.



Dozer (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?91455-Derrick-Ozer-(Dozer)&highlight=Dozer) VS Serif (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?92943-The-Haunted-Blade-Bearer)
(Kinetic Staff | Bolas, Hunting Knife, Gravity Altering Talisman)




Prologue: Hearts are Wild (http://forums.stickpage.com/showthread.php?92943-Serif-Winters-The-Hero-of-New-Salem&p=1465403&viewfull=1#post1465403)


It’s said a watched pot never boils, but Derrick was getting the feeling a watched clock never ticks, either. Sighing as he glanced at his phone again, he placed it on the small table before him before fiddling with the straw in his pop can. Maybe the meeting falling through would be better than worse, it wasn’t like Serif was his first pick anyway. Had she not fallen off the map after The ‘Hero’ of New Salem nearly drowned her, he would’ve gone for Strikebound. There was speculation that she was dealing with a similar situation as him, but he hadn’t heard a word of her since she quit, despite looking... which just left him with her opponent. Unlocking his phone, he checked the tabs he had open on the gladiator. If Serif didn’t keep fighting people with more-than-durable-skin, he’d likely have a body count. Setting the device back down, Derrick brought his hands to his head. Yeah, it was a bad idea… but if Decks had information on the people close to him, he’d need help from someone farther away.

Glancing outside, the afternoon light was beginning to dim. Winter was coming, and it’s chills were already eroding the days away. Crossing his arms, he leaned back in his chair, but when he heard the door ding, he opted out of closing his eyes to take a quick glance. They opened wider upon the sight of the man. Granted, it was who he was hoping to see, but… not exactly in what he was… expecting. He looked like he was wearing a recently killed white dire wolf, still bloody and draped over his, even bloodier, vest and shirt. If he wasn’t getting used to how those stains looked, he would’ve assumed it was just the natural color of his leather.

Between his blatant staring and the fact the coffee shop was lacking many patrons, it was clear to Serif that he was the man who requested the meeting, and after buying a drink of his own, he sat down across from him.

“I uh,” Scratching the back of his neck behind his hood, Dozer tried forcing a chuckle, “Suppose you missed the part where I asked for the meeting to be inconspicuous?”

Taking a sip of his coffee, Serif nodded.

Shrugging, the late teen hesitantly mimicked the movement. “Did you hear why I wanted to talk to you, at least?”

“You wanted to speak to me about Dex,” Winters confirmed, “But I would like to know why.”

“He…” Dozer paused for a moment, trying to gage how much of his personal life he could spill out, “Well, I heard you were looking for someone too. Olivia, I think her name was?”

“Is her name the only thing you know of her?”

A pregnant pause fell on them.

“...Yeah, sorry.”

Serif inhaled deeply before slowly taking another sip of his drink. Setting his paper cup back on the table, he let the silence settle before looking Derrick in his brown eyes. “You said ‘too’.”

“Right, I did,” Dozer forced a half smile only to lose it just as fast, “Rachel, my sister.”

“You have my condolences, I have a sister myself. Is she older or younger?”

“Younger. I…” Dozer cleared his throat, “I was there when it happened… She tried- did save me… And now I have to save her. It’s… it’s why I’m here.”

“Then I wish you well in your quest,” After taking another quick drink, he inquired, “But why have you sought me out? Do you suspect our enemies to be one in the same, or is it simply for the common ground?”

“It could be either,” His words came out like a somber confession, back to playing with his straw, “To be honest, I don’t know what Decks would want with a child, but then again, I have no idea what he’s after anyway…” The silence lingered for a few moments before he looked up to face Serif, perplexion plastered on his inked face. “...What?”

“Dex?”

Leaning back into his chair, Dozer nodded hesitantly.

“...Dex was killed this morning.”

“Decks?”

“The serial killer who used a device to trap his victims into a realm of his control for his amusement?”

“I…” He shook his head in disbelief, “Are… how do you know?”

“I watched him die.”

“How?” Suddenly upright, urgency sped Dozer’s word’s, “How did he die? Who killed him?”

“Two of his creations, as well as myself. I threw my knife into his chest, and a young woman ripped it out and stabbed him to death with it.”

“Was she-”

“I apologize, her name was Ida.”

A heavy breath quivered out of Derrick’s body. “...And my sister?”

“I was of the impression his captives would return to this world.”

“Under the impression? But where? How?”

“I didn’t ask.”

Without warning, Dozer’s palm slammed on the table. “You didn’t ask!” Serif took another sip of his drink; the other patrons were beginning to stare. Some began packing, others reached for their phones. “But you knew there were others?”

“My plan wasn’t initially to kill him, Dozer. The situation became complicated and fell out of my control.”

“And his cards?”

“His what?”

“His cards!” Voice booming, Derrick was growing frantic, “Decks’ cards! Did he have his cards on him!”

“I didn’t look. I didn’t know I should’ve looked. What was special about them?”

“His name is Decks!” Jolting to his feet, the younger ran his hands through his hair, beginning to pace wildly. “And that’s where he held my sister! You said you saw him die? Then how could you not know about his cards!”

Gradually, Serif rose to his feet. “He was trapping people in an entire world when I crossed his path…” Carefully, he strode to Dozer, “When, exactly, did he take your sister?”

“A world? He doesn’t create worlds! I’d been training to set her free for over two years now! And y-”

“Two years? Over two years?” Dumbfounded, Serif stared at the young man as he neared his boiling point, “You don’t think he could advance his technology in that long?” Derrick was near popping a blood vessel, but looking for a kidnappee himself, with a sister of his own, Serif couldn’t pull his view out of the situation. “A serial killer took your little sister and for two years you do nothing but train? While he could do anything under the stars to her?”

“Don’t you dare say another word.”

“How can you call yourself her brother?”

The sound of a thud echoed through the small cafe, wood crashing on the floor in a horrific bang soon after, as the table failed to catch Serif’s body. Dozer’s phone practically exploded from the hard fall, and coffee spilled like blood under the cracked furniture, slowly spreading to Serif, blinking on the ground as his cheek pulsed with pain.

“Get up,” Dozer looked unhinged, breathing heavily as his shadow cast over Serif, “You’re a gladiator? Then this is a challenge.”

Checking under his eye for a gash, Serif’s gaze hardened as he looked up at the man. “I decline.”

Reaching into his pocket, the hooded teen withdrew a small black staff the size of his palm, quickly extending to be the length of his body, pointing it down at Serif’s face. “You ask me how I call myself a brother when I dedicate two years to getting strong enough to save my sister, but then you don’t lift a finger to make sure others are alright when the chance is right in front of you? How can you call yourself a ’hero’? The challenge was a formality. Get up.”

“If I don’t?”

Dozer’s eye twitched and his teeth grit. Part of him wanted to ram his staff into Serif’s eye and leave him unconscious on the floor, but underneath all his fury, the ember of his honor still burned. He couldn’t hit a man while he was down, much less down and unarmed, but he couldn’t let that stand either. Violently ripping himself away, he stomped off a few paces before whirling around.

“You know what? I don’t care if you want to fight or not! You want to talk about me training? Fine. But at least I’m ready and know what I’m getting into.” Holding his ground, his eyes burned holes into Serif’s skull as the inked man sat up. “You chase everyone who tries to get close to you away. I talked to Krystal about you. She wanted t- she was going to help you, but when she saw how quick you went for the kill against Feather, and how quick you just blew off her word, you made her think you were dangerous and not the kind of person who should be around a child. I asked the RHG what they thought about you, and they told me that after fighting Krystal you cut a man’s hand off like some psychotic vigilante? They think you’re a horrible investment and told me outright that if Nightshade or Kyra were still active, they’d use either to carve your name out of their system. You have no one, you need someone, and I have people, but I need someone Decks doesn’t know about.”

“Again, Dex is dead.” Slowly, The Hero of New Salem rose to his feet.

“I don’t know why, but you’re lying. If Rachel was gone, I’d know, and if she was back, she’d call me.”

“Two years passed.”

“I needed to get ready for what I was getting into! Who saves Olivia when you die at the end of your suicidal rush? You think you’re invulnerable just because you have a mission? Grab your weapon, I’ll show you just how dangerous this world can be!”

Frowning, Serif slowly reached into his vest, only to realize neither of his weapons were a good match against a staff. It could easily tangle a bola, and it’s range was too long to get close with his blade, which lacked the weight to block a swing. Unsure, he picked his coffee cup off the ground, lid somehow have remaining attached. Swishing it around momentarily, he took one final swig of it’s contents, but as he lowered the cup, his teeth latched on the rim, subtly removing it. In a swift jerk, steaming contents flew forward at his foe, who even startled was able to raise an arm to shield his face, still yelping as a small portion sneaked by, searing his jaw and just above his eye.

Staggering back as he frantically tried wiping it away, the sound of charging footsteps stole his attention, and as he snapped his gaze to Serif, he caught the glint of a knife as it was thrust forward. In a panic, his staff glew green as he swung it wildly, blind luck saving him as its center struck his assailant, causing the man to stumble to the side. With a sharp twist while Dozer retreated the opposite direction, his weapon’s light shifted blue, and in a burst, a ball of kinetic power rushed from the end of his weapon, ramming into Serif’s palm and knocking his knife through the store, metal clanging on the ground as it bounced.

Shaking his wrist, Winters and Ozer matched a glare before the later’s weapon began emitting a light once more. With barely a second thought, the hunter grabbed the nearest chair and launched it forward, but it’s slow speed made it easy to evade for the younger man, red slipping into the blue and creating a deep, luminous purple. Grunting, Serif began pacing towards a small round table as the red began dominating the color, Derrick’s entire weapon beginning to shake as he struggled to stabilize it. Without warning, it fired like a cannon, and quick as he could, The Hero of New Salem flipped the furniture, ducking behind his makeshift shield. He expected an impact, but what he got was closer to an explosion. Wood splintered upon contact with the red orb, pulverising the table and sending it’s shards forward like shrapnel, impaling into the hunter, barely slowed by all his layers. Howling as his back oozed crimson, the Gemini lost his balance, falling to his hands and knees before pushing off the hardwood floors and scooping a handful of the larger pieces of oak.

Whirling around with a fury, he barely aimed the first shard, easily knocked aside like a baseball as Dozer charged his next shot, but his next chuck was a strike for the man with the staff, fist size piece of wood ramming into his stomach and expelling all the air from his body. It wasn’t enough for him to break his concentration, but when the follow up smashed into his cheek, his purple blast discharged into the ground between them while he fell on his back. Blinking a few times, Dozer slowly sat up, but a horrific smash startled him, his eyes quickly landing on Serif, breathing heavily as he held the broken frame of a chair, fractured legs on the ground. Looking over them, the hunter grabbed the longest of the four, both about two feet in length before turning back to the late teen. The fracture wasn’t clean, but they were jagged enough to draw blood with a hard enough hit.

“Tell me something Dozer,” His eyes were cold as he approached, Derrick quickly scampering upright as the distance closed, “You were hunting a murderer. Why did you select a staff for your quest?”

“Because I’m no killer.”

“And you expected him to hold back because you don’t carry an edge or gun?”

“No, but I don’t have to hold back with this.” With a vicious swing, his metal weapon met the legs Serif was armed with and the sound of the thud echoed through the cafe as people finally decided now would be a good time to go. Despite having the superior weapon, however, Dozer lacked the physical strength of the hunter, who shoved him a few paces back. The black metallic rod began glowing once more, but as he arced it at Serif, he was able to bat it away with his left stick before smashing the right into his knee, which buckled with the blow, before bringing the second down on the back of Dozer’s skull. He didn’t feel himself fall, but Derrick felt the impact of the ground, his brain throbbing as pain radiated from his body. There was a faint darkness on the edges of his vision, but from what he could see, Serif was crouched before him.

“If I were Dex, you’d be dead.”

Dozer’s teeth grit. He still had a hand on his staff, pulsing with power, it’s purple glow casting the two in an ominous light. Shaking, he pushed himself upright to his knees, fire in his eyes meeting the ice in Serif’s.

“I suggest you buy a gun.”

“I don’t need a gun.”

“Do you think fights are meant to be fair?” Cool expression unchanged, Serif looked down at Derrick, “They aren’t meant to be for sport, play, or entertainment. They’re for survival, so if you intend to meet a man who plans to end your life, you don’t want a duel with your staff. You want an ambush, where you have him outnumbered, with weapons that would not unnecessarily prolong the encounter.”

“You think killing is that easy?”

“You’d risk your life to keep a murderer alive?”

The light dancing in their eyes changed from purple to red. Neither seemed to care. “And what if I need them alive to save who they’ve captured?”

“There’s a time where ending the body count is more important than saving the lost.”

“Then you’re lost yourself.” With speed that took the hunter off guard, Derrick swiped his weapon up with all his might, the red energy coursing through his weapon shattering the wood Serif held like glass, splinters impaling the chainmail laced in his gloves as a grunt left his body. Quickly scrambling up, Dozer jabbed his staff into Winters’ waist, and at the moment of impact, let the weapon discharge. Serif felt like a horse pounded its hooves into his stomach, the sheer slam regurgitating the coffee he drank as he was hurled a half dozen feet into the air, his spine smashing against a table before rolling backwards over it and breaking yet another chair. Coughing out bile as he squirmed on the ground, agony quaked Serif’s body, but wiggling his toes at least proved to him his spine wasn’t broken, although a hairline fracture wouldn’t surprise him in the least. A gasp shot out of him as he tried sitting up, disrupting the damage he’d endured, but gripping the table’s edge, he managed to pull himself upright once more, breathing heavily.

“And what if someone thought the same of Olivia’s loss?”

Serif’s eye twitched at the question, struggling to come up with a plan as standing proved just as difficult. “That’s why I need to find her alone.”

“If you can’t trust people to help you, you’re going to fail,” Seeing Serif essentially unable to move, Dozer simply began charging his next shot, “You think I trust the RHG when they defend people like Decks? I don’t, but I know more gladiators are more like me than him,” If anything but anguish coated Serif, confusion would’ve been visible, “Those are the ones that I trust, and they’re the ones who trust me. You can’t do this alone. Individuals are good people, even if what surrounds them isn’t. You have to know that.”

“What surrounds them could be plague. I can’t risk their disease rotting me.”

“What surrounds them could be the cure. If you can’t beat me when I’m down, how do you think you’ll stop an enemy you don’t even know?” Dozer’s weapon was glowing red, both his hands held it aimed on Serif, fighting to keep it stable, “It takes a stick to cancel all of the weapons you have on you. You talk about guns, where’s yours?”

Sliding his thumb into his collar, Serif pulled out his necklace, gripping the teardrop shaped opal, its colors opposite the tattoo covering his flesh. “In pieces.”

Without another word, the red ball discharged, rushing at Serif at breakneck speeds, but shutting his eyes, the cracks between his fingers began to glow, and with a snap of focus, he made a table top eight feet behind him his anchor point. Like he was standing on a wall, his body was ripped down moments before the wood exploded like a grenade, shards of oak shotgunning behind him as his eyes jolted open. Jerking his arm, his necklace snapped off, chain dangling behind him as he shifted his attention to a different piece of furniture, redirecting his ‘free-fall’ like he had a short ranged grappling hook before locking it on Dozer’s weapon.

Overwhelmed with confusion as Serif flew at him like a wild superman, Ozer prepared his next shot in a startled panic, but it was already too late. He had only just begun to swipe his weapon as Winters struck it back down with an open palm before a violent twist propelled his elbow forward. To the Gemini, it felt like he just wailed a bolder, but the other man, it felt like his face met a truck head on. Consciousness nearly blasted out of his body as the force pounded against his skull, and Dozer’s back rammed against a nearby table, rolling on top of it. It tipped over in a bang as his weight shifted to its edge while Serif, focus lost, collided with another. His shoulder ate most of the impact for him, and he wanted to scream as he felt it shift out of place, but as he pounded against the floor, a grunt shoved the breath he would’ve needed for it out of his body.

Moaning instead as he squirmed, Serif slowly propped himself up on a wall, worn out eyes slowly scanning the cafe before falling on Derrick, who tried using his staff to do the same, but after failing, settled on the wall as well, leaning on it a few feet from Serif. Both in too much pain to say much, their half opened, anguished eyes merely acknowledged the other’s presence.

“Call it a draw?”

With a grunt, Winters nodded. After a few heavy breaths to stabilize himself however, he spoke. “Dex… Dex was a competitor to the RHG.”

“Yeah, a gladiator.”

“No… as in, in competition with them. He hosted his own show, Wrath of God.”

A silence fell upon both of them as Dozer gazed at him, although camera clicks from the audience they neglected created ambience. “No… He…” Derrick shook his head as he tried making sense of the news, “...What did Decks look like?”

“He sparkled.”

Dozer scoffed as the sudden image flashed in mind, shaking his head while Serif rolled his shoulder. Taking a deep breath as relief washed over his body, he gave the other gladiator a quick glance before looking back forward. “Good...” Taking a moment, he shut his eyes, dragging his fallen staff back to him and setting it on his lap, “I guess my offer still stands then.”

“You didn’t make an offer.”

“I was going to before you…” His voice trailed off, not exactly wanting to quote him. Clearing his throat, he restarted. “Both of us need help.”

Cracking an eye open, he caught a hesitant look from Serif. Following an extended silence however, the hunter nodded. “Medically, at least.”

“That too,” The light chuckle Derrick forced caused him instant pain. Regretting it on the spot, he clutched his eye as he craned his neck to the back of the store, their handful of spectators having gathered behind the counter, one particular barista frozen in terror in the middle of whatever latte she’d been making. “Think she’d give us ice if we asked nicely?”

“No.”


Serif calmly stood in the shadows of a large underground area and hid behind a pillar with anticipation. Ahead of him was a large open area lit only by a small but powerful light in the center and behind him were more columns, spires, and other pieces of rock that cast dark shadows in the cave to where the back was barely visible. His right hand went into his coat with the tips of fingers on one his many bolas. His opponent would be here soon. And when the boy arrived, he would make short work entangling him. He was in position and as the time of the match drew nearer, he thoughts shifted towards how he got there.

He had been contacted a day prior by a pawn shop worker who could get him the access to the gladiator database he rightfully deserved if he accomplished a single task. He had been reluctant to agree at first, but the individual proved he had access if only by showing him a list of possible targets.

The task itself was simple. He needed to collect a rare item from an opponent presumably so that the gentleman could sell it. The businessman had shown him a long list of potential victims and the one they both wound up agreeing to was an 18 year old named Dozer. A match with the guy was arranged and now in just fifteen minutes the fight would begin. Admitted he was concerned about whether his contact would uphold his end of the deal. After all, he was shady enough to want to steal a weapon or artifact from another gladiator. Serif would not even have considered the offer if he had another lead to Olivia. The hunter frowned at the thought.

But I don’t have another lead.

Serif resented the fact. So far every time he tried to find a lead he would hit a roadblock set by the system. Additionally the people were either apathetic or hostile. With few exceptions such as Annabelle, nobody had bothered to help him find the lost eight year old. In fact, multiple gladiators have even initiated fights with the intent to kill him. He shook his head at the memories as though he could make them go away.

He wasn’t hesitant to commit the act because of morals. The bola wielder had been willing to do much worse to further his goal. Besides his adversary was a gladiator who very well deserved to get whatever was going to happen to him. And even if the man didn’t, a weapon was much less important than Olivia Topaz. The real reason Serif did not want to accept the deal was the danger it entailed.

Sure the boy didn’t look intimidating, but he was a gladiator that survived entrance and four other battles or so he had been told. This left the hunter with only most certainty of victory and a small concerning possibility of defeat. But the real concern was that when he probably did win the pawn shop trader would refuse his end of the bargain. And if he did that, he would be prepared to kill Serif. The way he saw things, Annabelle finding out about the fight was the least of his worries. Ultimately the hunter decided on attempting to leave his target alive so that he might have some leverage despite the risk that increased in of itself. He took a few deep breaths and scoured the area with his eyes waiting for someone to come so that he could strike. For a while he contemplated just asking the boy, but if his opponent said no, he would have given up the advantage of the shadows for nothing. Ultimately the safest option was to wait and entangle his target.

In moments, he got what he wanted. Footsteps could be heard through one of the entrance paths and a red light accompanying the sound drew his attention like a magnet. Serif pulled his weapon out and hung on to every second with anticipation to strike from the shadows. If everything went well, the fight would be over in a matter of moments. He took a few deep breaths. His adversary had come early and probably did not even know he was there. He drew his bola out of his coat and held it in his hand. It was nothing more than two stones connected by rope, but it would likely get the job done. He relaxed himself and readied to throw the weapon. Now all he had to do was wait.

It’s time to see what you’re capable of.



Derrick Ozer looked around the dark narrow path with nothing but a red light from one end of his staff to pierce the shadows. He was deep in an underground cavern system well below the inner city. The air felt cold and damp, but he had a dark green jacket to keep himself warm even in the cold temperatures of the cave. He was also wearing grey pants and black boots underneath. The hat he wore was dark blue. He himself had pale skin, straight jet black hair, and dark brown eyes.

Dozer mentally prepared himself as he headed down a straight smooth path past jagged walls on either side of him. He took a deep breath and relaxed. The first fight he had been in, he had been scared for his life. But now, he felt like he could handle whoever the system threw at him. Almost as though he had gotten used to the constant threat of death. But his complacency scared him as well. In fact it troubled him worse.

It doesn’t matter anyways. One more fight and you’re at the right group level. Then you can save everyone and do whatever you want.

He continued onwards as he approached a light emanating from a room ahead of the tunnel which seeped into the passage itself. The rays of light almost touching the location he was in. With a few more steps, he arrived at the sight of what would be likely be the next battle. He approached a large circular room and roughly half the room was a wide open space in the middle. On the outside of the clearing however, there seemed to be a maze of stalagmites and columns that seemed to follow three rough horseshoe rings with an opening at the entrance he was walking through. Derrick couldn’t see much of the third row, but he counted 23 closest to the center space.

He looked up, the roof of the cavern above him was at least 15 feet high. It was rough compared to a perfectly smooth floor, but very were few stalactites. But the most notable part of the room was a bright hanging light that hung like a chandelier but was in actuality, a glass box like a standard lantern. It’s light penetrated most of the room with an almost harmful amount of brightness leaving only shadows behind the pillars and obstacles. Inside the lantern appeared to be a bulb with red wires travelled up the grey chain from which the luminescent hung up into the roof of the cave. It appeared to be vulnerable though if it was, its fragility would’ve been intentional. Dozer could only guess how the thing was connected to the required electrical outlets.

This place has to be at least partially artificial.

He walked into the center and looked back patiently for his opponent to show up. There were three entrances to choose from. Presumably in the event of a cave in. But he was able to keep an eye on all three of them. Dozer stood in the center of the cave and with his cold black metallic staff in his right hand. After a few seconds, he gripped the staff and activated its ability to charge kinetic energy. Immediately, the end that did not already have a glowing red charge began to produce kinetic energy as well.

I’ve arrived just in time and if my opponent if going to be late, he or she is going to face the consequences.

He watched as the small string of light on the uncharged hollow tip of his staff quickly changed from green to blue quickly changed. But before it could continue to develop a stronger charge, Derrick was interrupted by a sound. He could almost have sworn he heard limestone hit the ground to his right. He took a quick glance in time to see a two connected stones spinning through the air towards him.

The attack caught the staff wielder off guard, but he hit the ground just in time to avoid it. The change in the damp air brushed against his face and broke the silence of the cave. Ultimately, the bola hit the ground and came to rest near a column to Dozer’s left. He immediately got up, turned his body, and pointed one end of his staff towards what seemed to be the point of origin. His pulse picked up once again as he combed the area with his eyes. But despite his best attempts, he could not find anyone. He realized the mistake he made from the start of the fight and frowned at his own stupidity.

Well it seems your opponent was not late. And you just let your guard down.

He decided to try and speak with the assailant. Most opponents were at least kind enough to introduce themselves before they tried to kill him. It wasn’t likely but it was worth a try.

“Alright you’ve had your fun. I know you're here so show yourself!”

As Derrick cautiously approached the inner ring of assorted cover, he got his answer from noise breaking silence. This time, it was more audible and it came from a thin pillar towards the far right of his peripheral vision. He released his fully charged burst of red kinetic energy at it. The bolt travelled through the air at a high velocity. Upon impact, it cracked the structure causing the column to break and no small percentage of it to splinter outwards. All the stones fell to the ground and broke the silence with their noise. Almost enough for Dozer not to see the man hiding behind the obstacle. But he did see limbs of the man sticking out from behind the broken rock.

It looks like I have you now.

He looked down at the other end of his staff. By then, it had turned from blue to purple all the way to red and it illuminated the shadows behind the obstructions in a bright glow. He fired the other shot only for his adversary to dash into the open and make a break for one of the stalagmites in the outer ring. It was dark, but plenty of light from the source in the cave seeped into the area where he stood and the glowing red shot he had fired only helped. For the first time, the staff master could see his attacker.

The man had a completely bald head and bright blue eyes, but the most recognizable feature about him was that his face was covered by a tattoo of what appeared to be a nebulae. It went all the way down his neck and Dozer was certain his torso, but his apparel cut off Derrick’s line of sight. The hunter wore a dark brown sleeveless leather vest, fur pants, and what appeared to be white thumbless gloves.

At once, the registered gladiator attempted to shoot Serif with a few weak green charges. They formed almost immediately after another was fired, but they all missed their target and made almost no impact on the cave walls behind the guy. The other gladiator was getting away but he was not about to let that happen. Dozer started recharging his staff in response for both light and attack power. Then, he ran towards the thick cover and the wall where the hunter had retreated. All the while, he pulse was increasing at the thought of what the man would do if he got away. He hoped his assailant had not escaped.

But when he approached the site, he couldn’t find a trace of his opponent. He searched the area around as calmly as possible. It may be true that he couldn’t find his opponent but he seemed to be winning. And hopefully, his adversary lacked any other ranged attacks. Fighting his paranoia was a losing battle however. With each passing moment, his anticipation for another attack increased and he could only hope that his opponent did not have some nasty trick waiting for him.

But of course he probably does have something to kill me with. If he didn’t he wouldn’t be here.

But Derrick could handle the pressure. He mentally reminded himself that fact as he continued to scour the area until at last, he looked up and found Serif standing on top of a ledge on one of the columns just a few feet away from him. His opponent seemed to be headed somewhere. He fired another red charge at the hunter, but the target jumped off the end towards platform towards center and out of his line of sight. Then his charge missed and inevitably hit the root of the cave in another burst of light. The impact echoed throughout the room. Rocks and several small stalactites fell as a result. And again, the sound of rocks falling permeated the region of the cave as they tapped the floor. He doubted it was dangerous though or that his adversary would be caught there when they hit anyways. Once again, he tried to approach the point where his opponent was last seen. And once again, he could not find anything.

The staff wielder found himself in an area between two supports in the middle circle and a small rocky spire in front of him. Thanks to him, the ground was now covered in pebbles and other obstacles but he didn’t care. He was determined to find the Bola wielder and put a stop to the match with him as the victor. That was what he needed if he were going to rise in the rankings. So he stopped and listened in the silence for Serif until he picked up on a noise near the support to his left. Through impulse, Dozer flipped his staff over in the other direction and fired off his other red charge at what appeared to be a humanoid figure. But the target didn’t move and when the charge shattered the illusion. It turned out to be nothing more than a bunch rocks either constructed to trick him or a costly coincidence.

Derrick nearly swore under his breath. His opponent was toying with him or trying to use his own reaction against him. And he honestly did not know which was worse. He gave an aggravated frown and turned around to head to the center of the room so he could try again. Hopefully with more luck. But when he turned around, he saw his opponent poised to strike him. Serif immediately lunged at him with the hunting knife. While Dozer had turned around fast enough to notice his attacker, he was not fast enough to stop him.

Had the hunter aimed to kill him, he would have succeeded. The staff wielder tried to avoid collision by stepping to the right, but an upward cut dug into the top of his arm and blood arced behind him and splattered on the floor. Dozer almost immediately clinched his teeth as pain shot through his nerves. Serif attempted to follow through with a downward strike to his shoulder. This time, Derrick jumped back to avoid being cut and only the front of his jacket was torn by the edge of the knife. The recipient of the attack was too busy to think about what almost happened, but he knew he was trouble.

I’m losing badly. I need to go on the offensive.

The staff master barely sidestepped another swipe to injure his right arm and countered with a blow from his staff to his adversary’s torso. With a dull metallic thud, it knocked the hunter back. The hunter tried to react, but the Dozer immediately charged and fired a dim green charge of kinetic energy in the his Serif’s face. With his opponent dazed, he charged the other end of his staff and landed an underhanded strike to the guy’s chest. As soon as it collided, the bola user fell back into the spire.

Once again, the Derrick charged an end of his staff watching it turn from nothing to green to blue. He tried to jab Serif with the end of it, but his adversary grabbed the ornament around his neck and immediately lifted into the air. As as result, the charge connected to the rock from the spire and the sound or minor structural damage echoed throughout the cave. But the hunter landed safely on the spire above looking down at him much to the staff user’s frustration. At once, Dozer activated his staff and looked up to him posed to strike if he tried anything, but involuntarily favoring his bloodied left arm.

“Who are you?”

“Serif Winters.” The man looked down and replied with an offer although it seemed more like a thinly veiled ultimatum “I need your staff. So if you hand it over, you won’t have to fight me.”

The man on the cave floor scowled at this. The man seemed polite enough, but there was no way to tell his involvement with the Kinetic Staff. Besides that, there were only a handful of people who both had use for his staff and knew about its existence. And the first three people who came to mind were bad news. But it didn’t matter who wanted it, Derrick already knew it would be used for some dark purpose.

“Who are you working for?!”

The question only got no response from the bola wielder. And after a few seconds, Dozer returned the hunter’s gaze with his own glare. He lifted his staff, now fully charged, and fired upon his adversary once again. The man dodged the red bolt and the projectile hit the roof near the cavern’s center. More small rocks and fell behind and the Bola user disappeared once again.

He reactivated the uncharged ends of his staff and quickly pulled his arm into view. As his focus quickly shifted from the current fight to arm, it’s pain only grew in intensity to the point where he considered checking it to be a mistake. He recoiled clutching his arm in pain. The cut was deep and bleeding. The coat caught most of it with a crimson stain, but it was torn and continued to bleed through. Fortunately, the bleeding itself did not seem to pose any immediate danger. He checked his fingers and successfully moved them. Then evaluated the situation.

Okay. It’s a very deep cut and it hurts tremendously, but my arm’s still functional. Now i’ve got to win this match so I don’t suffer anything worse.

After a quick glimpse, he was ready with two blue ends on his staff. Then approached from the left cautiously yet not expecting to find anything. All the while, he involuntarily favored his injured arm. As soon as he got a third of the way around, he found his opponent waiting for him. The man threw a bola a close range and Dozer had no way to dodge or block the projectile. Immediately, he felt the impact as the robe digged into his ribcage and pushed him back into one of the columns next to the open space in the center. The two weights wrapped around both him and the support before finally stopping. The weights themselves did not slam into his chest, but the impact ached all the same.

The staff wielder noticed that both his arms were caught in the rope as well as his staff. He struggled against it desperately, but the cord was securely wrapped around the column. And as Serif quickly approached the pillar, Derrick only increased his struggles. Again, with no result. But he kept struggling and trying to think of something. Anything that would get him out of his predicament. He couldn’t allow this man to take his life or his staff. In an instant, hundreds of thoughts filled his mind on the consequences of failure as well as many possible ideas. But he ultimately could not think of anything useful. And so the hunter was allowed to approach unimpeded until at last, he spoke. This time his tone was much less formal but just as threatening as the first time.

“I’m taking your staff. Do I need to kill you or not?”

The man held the hunting knife in his left hand and a stone in his right within full view of the now purple light his staff was beginning to produce. The knife was still dripping with his blood. Dozer contemplated the two options laid out for him. If he let the man get away with his weapon now, he would live but he would never be able to continue fighting though he would never to accomplish his mission. He had one alternative that he knew would work at a great price. He looked down at most of the coils then turned back towards Serif and eyeing him, fired both charges of his kinetic staff.

The charges immediately collided with the column illuminated the cavern as the center portion of the pillar broke up and the rope untangled with it. The debris went away from the impact and towards both gladiators echoing as the shards and stone embedded themselves in other portions of the cave. Neither participant was hit by the pulse directly, but both participants of the fight were thrown away from the origin of the blast. Serif fell back, and Dozer was pushed onto the ground from the side.

The staff wielder hit the ground with a thud. He looked up only to noticed his vision blurred. The man tried to get up, but pain surged through his side. He collapsed again and grimaced before another frantic attempt to recover but he felt something pop in his arm. Derrick then fell back down onto the ground unsure of what was broken and what was not. But he struggled again and finally managed to stand up with effort and his vision was starting to return to normal. It didn’t take long. Soon he was back on his feet and ready to fight.

He let out a sigh of relief then stumbled over to the source of the blast with a dull pain each step of the way. But for the most part he was uninhibited so he doubted anything was broken. With his vision returning, he could see the hunter across the room retrieving the first bola thrown though he probably wouldn’t be there for long. Dozer was unsure why Serif didn’t finish him off while he was down though.

He probably thought you recovered just as quickly as he did and decided it would be better to ambush you again.

But what mattered was that he didn’t end the fight, not why he chose not to. So he cleared his mind of the question and focused on stopping his opponent. Then, he activated his staff and staggered across the room past the hole in the ground as quickly as his injuries allowed. Although Serif noticed him, the staff wielder was able to reach him before he could attempt to leave. He closed in with fury. It was payback time.

The hunter grabbed his knife, but there was nothing he could do. The attacker was too far for his knife and too close for him to effectively throw his bola. Dozer repeatedly started charging green kinetic bursts and assailing his opponent. Each time he felt it in his right arm. Nevertheless, he continued and brought his staff down of the target’s chest. It hit releasing a green burst of energy which was immediately followed by more attacks. Derrick hit him next in the left arm, then the right leg, and finally the head. All with green charges. He tried to jab Serif again, but the target successfully ducked to the right and grabbed one end of the bola that had been retrieved.

Immediately, the hunter went on the offensive using the heavier end as flail. Derrick stepped back as the attack breeze past him. He had already taken too many injuries and he couldn’t afford to receive another. He immediately responded by charging one end of his staff and attacking with a horizontal sweep to the right with the dormant end. However, the target jumped over it using the necklace he had used earlier. He would land almost instantly, but until then, he was vulnerable.

Now’s my chance!

With one quick vengeful smile, the staff wielder attempted to end the fight. Just as the charged turned from green to blue, he flipped his staff over and released a blue ball of energy at his opponent. However, smile quickly faded as the attacker saw the fruitlessness of his actions. The target changed course and easily slipped past the resulting reactionary attack to stop him. Then the hunter grabbed Dozer and used his necklace. The staff user was not affected by the change in gravity but the force of his adversary pushed him into the same structure from which the bola was retrieved.

The man hit the wall face first and involuntarily dropped his staff. He felt the impact over the entire front of his body and the impact dazed him long enough for Serif to get him in a chokehold though the hunter’s right arm was still holding the knife just in case. Derrick felt the pressure against throat as he slowly started to fall into unconsciousness. His first instinct was to struggle. He lifted his feet to try and kick off the wall and his hands in a frantic attempt to pry his opponent. Both were to no avail. Dozer’s vision started to fade and his lungs started to burn for oxygen until he saw his chance.

He grabbed the arm in front of him and twisted it forcing the grappler to let go and drop the knife. Then he pushed the hunter back with a kick against the wall. Dozer instinctively dropped down sucking in air. Before picking up both his staff and the knife. Then, the staff wielder spun around and threw the knife in one quick action though he had no practice in the art. And the knife just missed its target landing and skidding on the floor behind him.

At that moment, Derrick had three realizations and three different emotions simultaneously. He was relieved he hadn’t lost, he needed to learn how to use other weapons, and he desperately needed to remove the Talisman if he wanted to have any chance of winning. He sprung to his feet, activated one end of his staff, and charged his opponent. However, he pushed himself too quickly. A few feet away, his injured leg gave out. He tripped only to get his right arm caught by the hunter. Serif then quickly tried to twist the staff out of his hands. Derrick spun and fell onto the stone floor with a hard thud and a small grunt of pain as his adversary continued to apply pressure to his arm.

If the bola wielder had a few more seconds he would break the arm, but the Derrick was not about to let that happen. The charge on his staff turned from blue to purple and he released it into the ceiling of the cave. Rocks fell from the roof of the cave and as meager as they were, it was enough for Serif to instinctively let go of his arm and step back to avoid them. The staff user had just enough time to jump out of the way himself and get back on his feet. Across from the rubble, his opponent picked up the fallen knife and ran at him.

Dozer’s first response was to fire a volley of green bursts at the man. However, his opponent used the Talisman around his neck. With that, he took off into the air and all the rapid bursts of projectiles missed much to the staff user’s annoyance. The trick was getting old fast. Then Serif cancelled his power ready to land safely. In response, the Derrick charged a fired a blue burst of kinetic energy where he would land.

The shot connected with the right side of the bola user’s ribcage. It was only enough to cause minor damage, but it knocked him backwards. He wanted to follow up the attack, but his adversary grabbed his talisman again. And before he could make another strike, his opponent jumped backwards to a range where his kinetic charges could be dodged. For a moment, their eyes locked. Both parties determined not to let the other gain an upper hand in the battle. Derrick readied another attack expecting his attacker to attempt another strike. But Serif simply started to leave.

He turned around and kicked off the ground towards the safety of the columns. Why the man started to retreat was anyone’s guess, but Derrick assumed he was considered too much of a threat in the open at his current range. Regardless, the tattooed man though he needed to follow and he was right. Dozer had little choice to follow lest he get attacked again. Simply declaring victory wasn’t enough. If the guy was working for anyone that came to his mind, he needed to find out and stop him. He chased after the flying gladiator and fired off a few green kinetic shots.

Serif continued to dart away towards cover leaving the staff wielder to head into another trap. Derrick knew he couldn’t afford another ambush, so he continued to chase after the target as best as he could. He lifted his staff charging one end and spraying a burst of five shots into the hunter’s area. Most of them missed, but the second to last one hit the target causing him to fall 3 feet. Seeing it as yet another chance to strike, Dozer flipped over his staff and fired a blue shot.

Here’s hoping this hits.

The charge struck true. The impact wasn’t powerful by any means, but it was enough to stop the guy’s concentration and send him to the ground just in the outer ring of the open arena. Serif fell like a stone onto the rocky ground now full of small rocks and other debris and saw the staff user approaching him. His opponent would reach the him before he could once again get airborne. He started to panic himself knowing that he was starting to actually lose.

What can I do?!

The hunter looked around for anything that might be useful to defeating the man. He had to win the match. He had already failed to get failed from citizens, he had his gladiatorial access to the RHG database blocked, and he had been robbed of a chance to get around the restriction. But now he had an actual chance of getting his first lead in months and he could not let it slip through his fingers because of some boy.

With a surge a determination, Serif looked around. His attention was immediately drawn the lantern in the center of the cave. And in one last act before the man could reach him, he picked up a longer jagged piece of stone and threw it at the light source.

Dozer rushed towards his opponent ready to ring his staff down on the guy’s head. Pain shot through his leg, but he was starting to recover and he needed to reach his adversary. After all, he had achieved his first major hit and he needed to capitalize on it with force. But when he was just 5 feet away from making a connection, the stone hit the cave and the light ceased with a high-pitched shatter. The cave went completely dark before the glass had time to hit the floor. He lowered his staff continued a few more feet with the intent to jab his opponent only for it to miss its mark. He quickly looked with a tinge of disappointment to see if he could find any hint of his adversary, but he was in total darkness. He was about to use his staff as a makeshift light again when he heard a noise to his left.

Derrick turned around just in time to meet the noise, but felt a force against his leg. On impact, his leg buckled and he was on the ground though only with a relatively minor amount of pain. He started to get up, but he felt a force keeping him down planted on his chest. It was the force of a boot and all the weight of the 23 year old hunter pinning him down. The weight was quickly followed by a hand securely pressed against his neck to choke him again. However, Dozer chose to use this as an opportunity. Instead of trying to push Serif’s hand away, he took a risk. He dropped his staff and reached out for the guy’s face only for his left hand only to find his adversary was already trying to restrain him. Within seconds, he was pinned to the ground under the weight of the hunter’s other leg. By now the effects of Serif’s choke hold were taking effect and his chest was starting to hurt. For a moment, his mind started to panic and wanted to go against his plan. But he stuck to his objective.

Dozer stayed on the ground a few more moments when he reached with his other hand for where his neck had to be. His opponent’s face was out of range, but he quickly managed grabbed his trinket with his unarmed hand and ripped it from Serif’s head. Then he reached over to the dropped staff and used it to fire a green burst into the man’s face. For a brief moment, he could see the hunter’s face grimace as he recoiled. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to shift his weight and enough for the staff wielder to push him off.

Derrick gasped and sprang to his feet as his adversary fell to the ground holding the hunter’s trinket triumphantly in his hand. That was one advantage he was all too eager to remove from his opponent. The first thing he did was activate to ends of his staff. One would be the makeshift light for him to find his attacker and the other would be to attack the guy. Almost immediately, a small area of the cavern illuminated with a pale green glow which he knew would soon turn blue. A few seconds later, he saw his opponent run towards him with both his knife and another stone shard in his hand.

Unable to block, Dozer stepped backwards into the open field as the knife nearly missed his left shoulder and torso with a passing gust. Serif followed through with the rock shard only for the staff user to grab his arm and twist. By then, both charges had changed to blue and increased the area of their illumination. His adversary released his hold on the broken stone and it fell to the ground with a thud. The hunter began another swing with his knife, but Dozer retracted his staff and landed a punch of his face. The victim stumbled back as his opponent let go and for a few seconds, the cave went dark again.

Serif began immediately stepping back to stabbing range. Derrick counted on that and extended his staff once again into where he knew his adversary’s torso would be. He felt elated when the staff hit something during extension until finally, it reached it’s full extension and discharged just as the burst of energy turned purple. The end of the staff nearest to Dozer lit a large portion of the room in a dark purple glow. With a smile, he immediately set the empty end to charge and headed for his enemy.

The impact knocked the hunter into the air backwards before crashing into the spire he had once hidden behind. He nearly fell to the floor, but successfully managed to land on his feet. Then he clutched his chest with one hand. He wasn’t sure if anything was broken or not, but he knew he needed to get away or else the fight would end with his sound defeat. He reached for his last normal bola and threw it as Derrick. It wasn’t ideal, but he needed the distraction. Serif then retreated into the pillars.

The staff wielder himself saw the bola coming. As soon as the projectile left his opponent’s hand, he darted to the right and the projectile went by harmlessly. But he had also allowed the hunter to slip into the darkness uninhibited. He looked at the device as it came to a complete stop. And the same time, the one charge on one end of his staff changed from purple to red and the other end changed from green to blue. The bolas had gotten annoying very early into the fight and he was ready to deprive his opponent of them. So, he fired the red charge at the bola. His vision radius dropped as blue became the dominant color of the makeshift light. And with a violent explosion, the bola broke apart. It would take a while to recharge his staff completely, but he didn’t care.

Worth it.

Dozer turned back to the maze as dread creeped across him and his smile slowly started to fade with caution. The first time he chased Serif, he was tricked, injured, and nearly defeated twice. But he forced himself to stay calm. He shook his head just as one end of staff started to turn purple again. He could do this.

Dozer, he retrieved that bola for a reason. He’s almost out of them. Besides that, you have his main method of travel.

With that, Derrick looked at his injured hand holding Serif’s Talisman and noticed his hand was still bleeding, but it was starting to decrease to some degree. Unfortunately for his opponent, his arm hadn’t stopped bleeding enough to not get blood on the magical item. He smirked at this and placed the object into one of his coats many pockets. Then started charging the dormant end of his staff and headed for the maze. But before he entered, he decide one last ultimatum. It was always worth a shot to figure out the answers.

“Alright Serif. You can keep hiding all you want, but I will level every hiding spot in this cave if you do not come out and surrender right now.”

Predictably, there was no response. He continued through in search of his opponent passing the spire and heading into the middle ring. With each step, he tensed listening carefully for the sound of his opponent or some other clue. As he approached the outer ring in a spot between two thin pillars and one thick column, he both got what he wanted and what he didn’t want.

He looked up and saw fire at the top of the big column and around it was one last bola near a damaged segment of the roof. A metal chain wrapped around the obstacle with ignited rockets firmly in place on either end. Both were being used to attempt to dislodge the rock. Within seconds, the support broke off the roof and fell towards him as the sound of jets burning. As dust and small stones fell from the roof, the sound of stone breaking could be heard throughout the entire room. Dozer had no doubt his adversary was watching somewhere and probably smiling to himself while he did. He had to clear the area fast.

Derrick didn’t even need a quick glance to know he had three paths. One to his left, one to his right, and backwards the way he came. He immediately made the decision to dash to the right as fast as he could. And as soon as he did, adrenaline kicked in raising his pulse with each passing second.

If my opponent was reluctant to kill me before, he’s certainly desperate enough now!

He was no longer tired or in pain with the adrenaline coursing through him. They were drowned out by the raw instinct of survival. As rocks and other rubble collapsed around him, he felt smaller stones break off and fall. But he pushed through and picked up the pace. In one last leap, he cleared the area just in time. A thunderous crash impacted the ground in a cascade of noise. As dust filled the air, he could barely make out the other two supports he was once between crashing to the the ground from collision. He coughed violently for a few seconds then almost exhaled a sigh of relief when he heard cracking directly above him.

Many more rocks fell on top of him, but none of them were nearly as threatening as the giant pillar. With the danger gone, his pulse started to slow back down to normal. He was at least for the time being, safe. Most of his body ached, but at least he was safe for the moment. And unless his opponent had another one of those, he was all out of tricks and reduced to a knife. Now all he had to do was find the guy. Slowly, Derrick started to look around.

If I were Serif, where would I be?

After a few seconds, he answered his own question. His adversary would either be retrieving the jet like bola or headed to the exit out of options. The staff wielder predicted the former but he could probably find the hunter if he chose the latter. Slowly, he walked around the debris back to where the top of the broken column had landed. As he expected, he spotted Serif climbing down a pillar towards the metal weapon he had used against Derrick. However, he was paying attention to the light that protruded from the staff and immediately noticed that the staff wielder was on to him. Dozer took a quick glance at his staff. By then, both of his charges had fully charged to red. He glanced at his opponent. Serif jumped off the platform ready to land on the ground. The hunter was too fast for him to hit, but he had an idea.

He fired one of his red charges at the stone beam his adversary had jumped from. The light travelled throughout the cave until it connected with the stone with a violent sound. It failed to hit Serif directly, but rocks broke off from impact and fragments flew in every direction in a loud shower of rocks. Including the one the direction of the hunter. As soon as Serif hit the ground, he was bombarded with sharp stones and debris. All had varying effects. The smaller ones did almost nothing, but the larger ones either hit him hard or dug into his skin like little knives. Through effort, the man managed to stay upright. But he dropped his knife to the ground. He was unarmed, bleeding, dazed, and wide open.


Dozer didn’t even think about the situation. He couldn’t afford to give the hunter any more time or allow himself to mess up. Instead, he fired his last shot while he started to recover. Immediately, the area around him began to fade and the red light travelled farther away from him and towards the man. There was nothing he could do to avoid it. As it impacted, it burst into a crimson glow again throughout the cave before fading into darkness. Only then did the staff wielder smile to himself. Based on the man’s condition, the fight was all but finished.

“Bullseye!”

He contentedly activated both charges on his staff again and proceeded with cautious optimism to where he thought his downed opponent was. The hunter was outside of the area lit by the green charges. But as the charges turned blue, more of the darkness gave way and he could see the man on the ground clutching his chest with his right hand and trying to move backwards with his other. Along his entire body was scrapes, cuts, and a few long sharp rocks buried into his skin. All of the cuts bled. Not much, but enough for Derrick to notice a blood trail from the meager movement he had made after he hit the ground. Serif’s face grimaced with pain. As Dozer approached, Serif stopped cold in his tracks. The staff user pointed his weapon at the hunter, prepared to fire should he try anything, and gave a dead serious warning.

“This is your last chance. Who wants my staff and why?”

As if on queue the charges on either end of Dozer’s staff turned purple. His smile quickly dropped to a serious glare and a solemn tone. Serif stared back at him in pain and trying to hide his desperation. He was unarmed against a fully armed gladiator who managed to survive his tricks and put him in this position while he still had his weapons. He scoured the area for any way out of his predicament, but there were none. He struggled and failed for to push himself off the floor. All the while, he felt each injury taking their tolls on him. No matter how important victory was to Serif, he simply could not move any more than a crawl. And with each passing second, he began to consider telling the guy what he knew. He was out of options so he might as well try and hope for the best. So, he strained himself to reply while resting his head and left arm on the ground though he kept his scathing tone.

“There is a pawn shop who wants your staff. I don’t know why the owner wants it, but I know he’ll give me what I need to save someone if I can just bring him your staff.”

As soon as the last sentence registered, Derrick looked at him with pity. He lowered his staff but maintained his distance from the man on the ground.

“Is that why you didn’t want to kill me? Because you wanted some sort of leverage in case the man went back on his promise?”

Serif just nodded in reply while Derrick pieced together the story. The hunter could easily be lying, but he sounded sincere and the motive did match up. If Seif was telling the truth, he could easily verify it in the database. But at the moment, he was inclined to believe the man at least until he could verify the story. Nevertheless, he was not about to surrender his only weapon. Even if he wanted to, he needed it. This man might experience a setback if he failed to retrieve the weapon, but he would probably be unable to continue his mission.

“I can’t.”

Dozer spoke bitterly to the injured man. The staff wielder hated to cause someone else a setback even if it was just a complication. Serif wasn’t about to hear him out either. With effort, he pushed both his hands out on the cave floor and tried to push himself up. All the while it became more clear to him that at least one arm, his right one, was broken. However, he lifted himself an inch before he fell to the ground with his arms spread and let out a groan. It wouldn’t have helped much if he could move though because Dozer raised his weapon again and pointed it at him. But he didn’t fire the weapon yet.

“Not another move.”

“She’s an eight year old girl!”

Serif mustered up the last of his strength for a plead. He made no more effort to hide his desperation or maintain hostility. As soon as he heard the staff wielder's tone when the man refused, he figured the best choice was to draw sympathy. It was something he hated to rely on though because it left him at the mercy of strangers.

“You should have told me earlier.”

Serif gave a look of curiosity. “Would you have given me your weapon?”

Dozer started to relent. He would make sure the guy wasn’t lying and he really hoped he was, but it was probable that he was telling the truth.

“Well no and I would probably have still challenged you to this fight anyways, but I know how you feel. There are multiple live depending on me including my sister Rachel. And i’ll do everything in my power to help you if you are telling the truth. But I can’t just-”

The hunter picked up on his tone almost immediately and interrupted him so that he could continue to press the matter.

“Your staff is just a weapon. You said you knew what it was like for someone to be missing. If you obstruct me you might as well be helping whoever took her.”

Derrick bit his lip. As much as he hated to admit it, his opponent was right. His staff, no matter how useful, was only a weapon. If he withheld it, he would be prolonging the danger whoever Serif was trying to rescue and it would be his fault if she died because of the delay. There was no doubt that the risk involved in surrendering his weapon in a city where he could be challenged at any time, but he joined to take risks and save people. If someone was being attacked, he would risk his life to save them. If someone was about to be crushed, he would push them away from danger. This was no different. If his opponent wa telling the truth, he had no choice in the matter but to agree.

Yet he still hesitated. He struggled almost visibly as though he was trying to use logic to fix the situation or even convince himself that it was an unnecessary risk. But everything pointed towards the fact that someone’s life could very well depend on him giving up his staff. With that, the internal conflict had ended. Dozer let out a long exasperated sigh and responded.

“I’m going to check your story and if you’re telling the truth, I’ll give you the staff. But I do want to ask, what information is so valuable that it is worth jeopardizing multiple lives?”

“The RHG database. I’ve been intentionally locked out by someone. Probably whomever took Olivia.”

The staff wielder pressed his bloodied hand against his forehand in a mixture of frustration and disappointment. Something that trivial was not worth risking his life or those he was trying to save. Serif could have asked anybody for help, but he chose to attack him for some deal instead. There was at least one silver lining to the endeavor though.

“Do you mean to tell that the only reason you want my staff is so that you can look at some files that you could have reached had you asked for help? What if I used my access to help you and kept my staff?”

“So long as I get access, I accept.”

Serif let out a smile. In spite of his difficulties, he was going to get what he wanted. And as an added bonus, Annabelle wouldn’t have to find out so long as he asked the staff user to keep his mouth shut. Dozer visibly relaxed knowing that he could keep his staff. All he had to do was officially finish the fight and he would get everything he came for.

“Now that that’s settled, there is one last manner to discuss. I said I would have challenged you anyways and the reason is because I need to win this fight to help me find my sister. Are you going to forfeit or do we need to end this?”

The bola user took a glance at the at the staff wielder. The cave around them glowed red with now red lines in the staff that he knew would both end the fight and injure him worse. His body ached all around and gave a consistent sharp piercing pain. He was too weak to move so he had no chance of fighting the guy. Besides that, he no longer had reason to beat him.

“You win.”

Derrick smiled himself before pointing his staff away from the target. It was another successful fight and he would climb the ranking just in time. Looking at his opponent, he could see clearly that the man would not be able to move. He was safe, but he would need medical attention soon and he would never get any by himself.

“Good. Now I’m going to go call an ambulance and we’ll both get to a hospital.”


1# I know Crank's a vastly superior writer, but I fought him for fun.
2# I know its troublesome how Dozer can just solve Serif's problem like that and it looks like a made something up to get Dozer out of a tough spot. The truth is the RHG database is from Crank's canon, yes any gladiator can access it, and yes Serif has refused to ask for help from other gladiators.
3# I originally had a different intro and epilogue, but both were more lengthy, I despised the old intro with a burning passion, and the epilogue didn't make sense because of Dozer's irrational psyche.
4# This may not have converted well over from GDOCs. I tried to straighten everything out, but the indents weren't working.
5# Finally to you Serif. It's been a pleasure fighting you despite the inevitable thrashing of CnC i'm getting and I am extremely sorry if I messed up Serif's character.

Crank
11-04-2016, 11:36 PM
Heh, the pleasure was mine, for all of your worry, it looks like your improved a lot in your time away! I think you did a really solid job with Serif, he's an extremely prideful, distrusting person so he would avoid asking for help directly and would rather keep the stakes lower with an ambush that put his neck on the chopping block. I enjoyed your use of light and dark a lot as well! You made the story feel very dangerous for Dozer throughout, and even though Serif was the antagonist, you didn't vilify him. I am curious who the mysterious three people are! One I can guess, but not so much the other two!

Lastly, I'm not 'vastly superior'. I think you did a really good job, and it was a blast to write on my end as well! Hope I didn't butcher Derrick too much on my end! Never know how people react when things get too personal.

Glad to be your first fight back, by the way!

969_DoomsDruid_969
11-05-2016, 05:41 AM
This is what happens when two of the best writers here go at it.
a) Comedy of errors on both sides was hilarious (even though this is kind of grimdark, it was still funny). Good shit and well played.
b) The combat kept me hooked (cheese, I know, but nonetheless true) the entire way. I have the attention span of a fucking goldfish. Good job.
c) The resolving of said combat was both funny and fulfilling. Keep doing that.

I appreciate this is more praise than CnC, but there isn't really much more that I can say about this. It's too good 5 me. I'm not sure how you can improve on what is essentially perfect. There were some clunky sentences, but nothing some more practice can't fix, amiright?
Anyway, point being. This is great. Do some more of this. You need to do more of this. FUCKING DO MORE ITS SO GOOD GODDAMNIT

SaulMurphy
11-05-2016, 10:00 AM
This is what happens when two of the best writers here go at it.

*scoffs* Crank? Good? What?? Urako, I don't know you sadly. But I will add my 5 cents soon.

Crank, I love you still. :P (an emote?? What??) Keep up the good work.

Crank
11-05-2016, 06:29 PM
D'aw! I really appreciate that Dooms, I'll try my best!

And Saul, if you had anything less than triple my votes in the royal, I'm sure I'd have something witty to say to that! Thank, man!

Urako
11-05-2016, 08:03 PM
Alright Crank. You're still one of the best writers and one of my favorites, but I feel like there are a few things I need to say. You said it was okay so (hopefully) no hard feelings.

You did pretty well with Dozer, the location, the fight, especially near the beginning. But few stories are without errors. For starters, you made a few mistakes like Dozer's staff turning from red to blue to purple but I think that was just a misplaced or wrong word. We both already know we had typos though so I don't think I need to nitpick every single typo error. So lets get to the main problems.


Dozer’s eye twitched and his teeth grit. Part of him wanted to ram his staff into Serif’s eye and leave him unconscious on the floor, but underneath all his fury, the ember of his honor still burned. He couldn’t hit a man while he was down, much less down and unarmed, but he couldn’t let that stand either. Violently ripping himself away, he stomped off a few paces before whirling around.

Actually he would, could, and has at least tried in at least one of his previous fights. He doesn't kill people unless he has very good cause to, he doesn't injure people unnecessarily, and he does whatever he can to make sure bystanders aren't hurt, but does not have some other sense of honor that dictates he cannot tricks. he can use most so long as he has cause and so long as it doesn't violate his morals. Again, he has done this before and/or has tried to do this before depending on which version of stories you go by but I guarantee he has tried. And if you didn't read those, his profile says he's quite tactical as well.


"I talked to Krystal about you. She wanted t- she was going to help you, but when she saw how quick you went for the kill against Feather, and how quick you just blew off her word, you made her think you were dangerous and not the kind of person who should be around a child. I asked the RHG what they thought about you, and they told me that after fighting Krystal you cut a man’s hand off like some psychotic vigilante? They think you’re a horrible investment and told me outright that if Nightshade or Kyra were still active, they’d use either to carve your name out of their system. You have no one, you need someone, and I have people, but I need someone Decks doesn’t know about.”

As much as I find this entertaining, this does bring the ontological mystery of why Dozer even showed up and organized the deal? Sure he doesn't care too much about the system, but he has more than enough information to know that Serif is bad news. He needs someone who isn't close to him but he could have tried with Krystal or many other gladiators. Instead he chose the guy who he is convinced is a cold-blooded apathetic psycho who drives all his friends away. It just makes me kind of wonder why is all. Before you say "He did it so he can help Serif save Olivia", he could've done that independently anyways.


Derrick’s entire weapon beginning to shake as he struggled to stabilize it

I believe I said the charge was barely stable. His staff has never shook before because of this either in my battles nor my opponent's battles. It wasn't an oversight and i'm not sure why, after four battles and a demo, you thought it was. Anyways, I would have put that it makes the staff shake in the profile details or have included it in my battles if I wanted it like that and while you don't need to read my previous fights to face me, I expected the profile to be followed. Yes I know it's a small thing, but it's a pretty important detail to insert.


and the sound of the thud echoed through the cafe as people finally decided now would be a good time to go.

This is a fine location, detail, and everything but this is the the biggest disappointment in your entire match. Throughout the entire fight, he doesn't care at all that he is discharging bursts of kinetic energy or engaging a full fight in the middle of a crowded cafe. Now of course he's going to come at Serif with everything he has and he's not going to let the people stop him, but you didn't have him be careful about where he aimed, have him watch out how he attacked, or even have him notice the bystanders. he ought to exercise enough caution to try and not hit them at the very least. What bothers me most about this is that just another sentence saying he noticed them or that he aimed carefully would have fixed the problem.


“What surrounds them could be plague. I can’t risk their disease rotting me.”

“What surrounds them could be the cure. If you can’t beat me when I’m down, how do you think you’ll stop an enemy you don’t even know?”

Okay, who's saying what here? Because I don't believe Dozer would say the first line, but Serif is the one on the ground that would say the second line.


“Call it a draw?”

With a grunt, Winters nodded. After a few heavy breaths to stabilize himself however, he spoke. “Dex… Dex was a competitor to the RHG.”

“Yeah, a gladiator.”

“No… as in, in competition with them. He hosted his own show, Wrath of God.”

A silence fell upon both of them as Dozer gazed at him, although camera clicks from the audience they neglected created ambience. “No… He…” Derrick shook his head as he tried making sense of the news, “...What did Decks look like?”

“He sparkled.”

Dozer scoffed as the sudden image flashed in mind, shaking his head while Serif rolled his shoulder. Taking a deep breath as relief washed over his body, he gave the other gladiator a quick glance before looking back forward. “Good...” Taking a moment, he shut his eyes, dragging his fallen staff back to him and setting it on his lap, “I guess my offer still stands then.”

“You didn’t make an offer.”

“I was going to before you…” His voice trailed off, not exactly wanting to quote him. Clearing his throat, he restarted. “Both of us need help.”

Cracking an eye open, he caught a hesitant look from Serif. Following an extended silence however, the hunter nodded. “Medically, at least.”

“That too,” The light chuckle Derrick forced caused him instant pain. Regretting it on the spot, he clutched his eye as he craned his neck to the back of the store, their handful of spectators having gathered behind the counter, one particular barista frozen in terror in the middle of whatever latte she’d been making. “Think she’d give us ice if we asked nicely?”

“No.”

Not too big of a fan on the ending. Not because Dozer didn't win in fact i'd be more surprised if he did. But because he instantly forgives Serif for his repeated insults about Dozer's attempt to rescue his sister and everything that followed. And on top of that, Serif proceeded to physically hurt him and criticize his entire strategy. You don't just tell someone who spent 2+ years dedicated to rescuing their sister that he are a horrible brother who doesn't care about her and expect forgiveness without giving the guy a week or so. Bonus points because you said he was in a state of irrational rage and he still wants a draw and to continue his offer with Serif.

And the last problem is within the quote above.


Dozer scoffed as the sudden image flashed in mind, shaking his head while Serif rolled his shoulder. Taking a deep breath as relief washed over his body, he gave the other gladiator a quick glance before looking back forward. “Good...” Taking a moment, he shut his eyes, dragging his fallen staff back to him and setting it on his lap, “I guess my offer still stands then.”

Okay. I don’t think Dozer would be happy to find out that their arch nemesis whom he’s trying to save a bunch of people from is alive and well. Yes if he’s dead the cards and the body are hard to find, but at least Decks isn’t still trying to kill him or resist his attempts to rescue the victims.

Again Serif, I thought you did really well for the most part and I’m only doing this because you said I could. I really liked most of this battle. About everything else really. It seemed like realistic reactions that Dozer would genuinely have if someone said those things to his face and he (for the most part) would really attack and fight the way he did. You did a good job all around as well.

I wish you luck with your future endeavors.

I hope this wasn't too nit-picky.

Again Crank, sorry if this sounds too rude. Hope there's no hard feelings.


This is what happens when two of the best writers here go at it.
a) Comedy of errors on both sides was hilarious (even though this is kind of grimdark, it was still funny). Good shit and well played.
b) The combat kept me hooked (cheese, I know, but nonetheless true) the entire way. I have the attention span of a fucking goldfish. Good job.
c) The resolving of said combat was both funny and fulfilling. Keep doing that.

I appreciate this is more praise than CnC, but there isn't really much more that I can say about this. It's too good 5 me. I'm not sure how you can improve on what is essentially perfect. There were some clunky sentences, but nothing some more practice can't fix, amiright?
Anyway, point being. This is great. Do some more of this. You need to do more of this. FUCKING DO MORE ITS SO GOOD GODDAMNIT

Thanks for the compliment. I'm truly flattered.

Crank
11-05-2016, 09:31 PM
Thank you for the feedback, and it's not too nit-picky! I'll be baring that in mind for my future stuff, but for the sake of where I was coming from:

Well going in order, the staff color thing was when it was blue, red was being added to it, so blue+red=purple, so I didn't mean to imply it was skipping over or jumping around, if I worded that poorly.

I figured Dozer would be fine with ground and pound in a battle, but I figured since the fight hadn't started, he'd be hesitant about it. Like, being leery of if made him the baddie between the two, or, more dirty than tactical, I suppose. He was furious, but not out of control, exactly. If he would've though, yeah, that would've changed things! Sorry about that!

For the why Serif after the research, my thinking of it was that they still did have a lot in common. Both have sisters, both away from family (/ lack other family), both dealing with kidnappings, and both not super keen on the system. It seemed worth investigating, and I would assume that Derrick had dark days when his mess started. At this point, he had been pushing everyone away, but with all their common ground, they would make logical allies. As far as Serif being dark goes though, Derrick gave off hero vibes, so there would be things that Serif could do that he would struggle with. As far as why not someone else, well, I mean, to be real with you, it didn't look like any of the Wind Chasers helped him at all, and those were who he was closest with. It didn't seem like he mixed personal and business relations.

Sorry about the staff, I did read your other stories, but I couldn't tell if that was because he didn't really cook the charge once it got to that level. That's just sorta what unstable means to me, but yeah, that was a large oversight on my part.

I could've set the scene much better, especially with the other patrons bit. To me, there were only a few other people towards the front of the cafe, while they were in the back, and that the combat happened parallel to it. I didn't mention the other people because they weren't in a place where the encounter was going to be a danger to them, not because the characters didn't care. Retrospectively though, this was definitely something I should've specified, and will have to be on the lookout for that next time.

Serif spoke first about the plague bit. I didn't think I had to mention as much since it was in the middle of the conversation, but Dozer brought up being on the ground because Serif had him pinned but lost the position.

With the ending, forgiven is a bit of a strong word. They stopped fighting because neither was in much of a condition to continue, and things like the scoff was more of Derrick having a hard time picturing Decks wearing anything to be described in such away. While I had him furious though, that was just meant to be with the initial blow, and through the conversation where he blew up on Serif. I didn't mean to paint him as unhinged throughout, beyond that was supposed to be more of a heated debate. Both of them are doing opposite things to get to the same goal, and both of them think their way is right. Initial outbursts aside, neither said things there were necessarily attacking, so once the initial rage passed, it didn't boil back up. Neither liked the other, by any means, but there wasn't such a hatred and neither side was exactly succeeding.

Lastly, I had Dozer be relieved less because Decks was still alive, but because it meant that Rachel could still be saved. Between things like she may not have returned, Decks' body may not have returned, or that only Decks could get her out of the card. Plus, Serif said he died in the morning and it was mid afternoon at least, which is a large gap of time to not tell your only family that you're okay. Last thing for real, is that, and correct me if I'm wrong, but no one had really thrown it in Derrick's face that it had been two years before. That is a lot of time to be away, so it all being for nothing would be a horrible feeling. Similarly, because it had been so long, and that he had just had a scare that something happened, he has a lot more reason to be active with his search for Decks. But yeah, both of them are going about their rescue in ways that haven't been working, both of them do still need help, and other does have things that would be useful for the other.

Not meant to be a "Nu-uh!", but if my house burned down, I'd like to know why

I'll have to give your story a closer look too! Might be a bit though, moving stores at the moment so everything is hectic

Urako
11-05-2016, 10:03 PM
Thank you for the feedback, and it's not too nit-picky! I'll be baring that in mind for my future stuff, but for the sake of where I was coming from:

Well going in order, the staff color thing was when it was blue, red was being added to it, so blue+red=purple, so I didn't mean to imply it was skipping over or jumping around, if I worded that poorly.

I figured Dozer would be fine with ground and pound in a battle, but I figured since the fight hadn't started, he'd be hesitant about it. Like, being leery of if made him the baddie between the two, or, more dirty than tactical, I suppose. He was furious, but not out of control, exactly. If he would've though, yeah, that would've changed things! Sorry about that!

For the why Serif after the research, my thinking of it was that they still did have a lot in common. Both have sisters, both away from family (/ lack other family), both dealing with kidnappings, and both not super keen on the system. It seemed worth investigating, and I would assume that Derrick had dark days when his mess started. At this point, he had been pushing everyone away, but with all their common ground, they would make logical allies. As far as Serif being dark goes though, Derrick gave off hero vibes, so there would be things that Serif could do that he would struggle with. As far as why not someone else, well, I mean, to be real with you, it didn't look like any of the Wind Chasers helped him at all, and those were who he was closest with. It didn't seem like he mixed personal and business relations.

Sorry about the staff, I did read your other stories, but I couldn't tell if that was because he didn't really cook the charge once it got to that level. That's just sorta what unstable means to me, but yeah, that was a large oversight on my part.

I could've set the scene much better, especially with the other patrons bit. To me, there were only a few other people towards the front of the cafe, while they were in the back, and that the combat happened parallel to it. I didn't mention the other people because they weren't in a place where the encounter was going to be a danger to them, not because the characters didn't care. Retrospectively though, this was definitely something I should've specified, and will have to be on the lookout for that next time.

Serif spoke first about the plague bit. I didn't think I had to mention as much since it was in the middle of the conversation, but Dozer brought up being on the ground because Serif had him pinned but lost the position.

With the ending, forgiven is a bit of a strong word. They stopped fighting because neither was in much of a condition to continue, and things like the scoff was more of Derrick having a hard time picturing Decks wearing anything to be described in such away. While I had him furious though, that was just meant to be with the initial blow, and through the conversation where he blew up on Serif. I didn't mean to paint him as unhinged throughout, beyond that was supposed to be more of a heated debate. Both of them are doing opposite things to get to the same goal, and both of them think their way is right. Initial outbursts aside, neither said things there were necessarily attacking, so once the initial rage passed, it didn't boil back up. Neither liked the other, by any means, but there wasn't such a hatred and neither side was exactly succeeding.

Lastly, I had Dozer be relieved less because Decks was still alive, but because it meant that Rachel could still be saved. Between things like she may not have returned, Decks' body may not have returned, or that only Decks could get her out of the card. Plus, Serif said he died in the morning and it was mid afternoon at least, which is a large gap of time to not tell your only family that you're okay. Last thing for real, is that, and correct me if I'm wrong, but no one had really thrown it in Derrick's face that it had been two years before. That is a lot of time to be away, so it all being for nothing would be a horrible feeling. Similarly, because it had been so long, and that he had just had a scare that something happened, he has a lot more reason to be active with his search for Decks. But yeah, both of them are going about their rescue in ways that haven't been working, both of them do still need help, and other does have things that would be useful for the other.

Not meant to be a "Nu-uh!", but if my house burned down, I'd like to know why

I'll have to give your story a closer look too! Might be a bit though, moving stores at the moment so everything is hectic

1# Okay yeah, that makes more sense.
2# Don't worry about that too much I suppose. Liberties are taken in fights and it wouldn't exactly have been fun to read if the entirety of it was "Dozer fired a red charge in his face and everything went dark." Just keep these things in mind in future battles.
3# I haven't told anyone this yet, but yeah he has had bad days you have a point there. I'll explain them if I ever do a collab known as "reflections" and/or the time I eventually get to sparring Richard (#SlayHandy). Anyways, yes they do have a lot in common and that's one of the reasons I wanted to face you because they're the same yet opposites in many ways. Anyways, the Wind Chasers were actually going to help Dozer (Provided their creators each gave me permission) but I sort of had to quit and then the wind chasers just stopped their activities. Of course you had no way of knowing any of that, but one last thing still seems a bit off. Common backgrounds is one thing, but an actually helpful and altruistic personality is much more important (i'm not discounting the importance in skill though.).
4#We can't change our past mistakes, but we can move forward for the best possible future;) Don't worry about it.
5#It still seems kind of off to me. Who gets less angry after a heated debate and physical violence?
6#two years is a long time and yes, he knows it's a long time. Decks being dead doesn't mean it's all for nothing though. But i suppose when everything is said and done it (kind of) means Rachel is still alive and save-able but it still has no guarantees for most of the possible scenarios like you just described.

It may be me, but it just seems a bit off. I understand and you don't need to worry about it though. We just keep moving forward and besides, you mostly got Dozer right and you did a pretty good job at the fight too.

Crank
11-05-2016, 10:55 PM
Oh no, you made a lot of really good points! Yeah, retrospectively, parts were iffy

GreekGladiator
11-06-2016, 01:38 PM
Both were very good stories from experienced writters. I am still kinda lost in the canon part but no big deal. For Crank's story all I have to say is good job, although the prologue was starting at a point where soemone who doesn't know anything for Serif(like myself) would think WTF. Urako your story was pretty nice. I liked that the prologue was short but juicy and had a happy ending. The fight was bad only by being too long. After a point i started scrolling down to find how it ended(although i didn't eventually ). This is all CnC(what do the initials mean?) I can offer for now. I am not going to take parts from each story, put it in a quote and then start analyzing them. From the stories and without the little conversation later soeone can understand that you are a while around here and are very good at it. Also i don't mean to offend anyone(isn't it obvious?). I think I am adding too many brackets(yeap, true).

Urako
11-06-2016, 04:51 PM
Oh no, you made a lot of really good points! Yeah, retrospectively, parts were iffy

One final thing I forgot about 2#, I suppose the real deciding factor on whether or not he'd hit someone in that situation would be context (you're right when you say he doesn't want to be a villain and I did say he won't do anything unnecessary) but depending on how angry he was, he might actually have. So I suppose you were partially right about that one:p

Now for the real reason I replied. For story was great and I did enjoy reading it. Sure it wasn't perfect, but what story is? Don't be too hard on yourself.


Both were very good stories from experienced writters. I am still kinda lost in the canon part but no big deal. For Crank's story all I have to say is good job, although the prologue was starting at a point where soemone who doesn't know anything for Serif(like myself) would think WTF. Urako your story was pretty nice. I liked that the prologue was short but juicy and had a happy ending. The fight was bad only by being too long. After a point i started scrolling down to find how it ended(although i didn't eventually ). This is all CnC(what do the initials mean?) I can offer for now. I am not going to take parts from each story, put it in a quote and then start analyzing them. From the stories and without the little conversation later soeone can understand that you are a while around here and are very good at it. Also i don't mean to offend anyone(isn't it obvious?). I think I am adding too many brackets(yeap, true).

Duly noted.