I'm in love with a shooting star, but she moves so fast that I can't keep up, I'm chasing...
The Richards apartment was ruled by commotion. From right outside its door one could hear loud electronic music playing, with occasional thuds and screeches overlapping onto the track.
Every now and then, when the track's rhythm would slow down, a voice that could only be described as divine would overtake, filling the air with soft, gentle notes that could relax an angered bull. Then, as the music would speed up, the voice would die out, replaced by the loud, repetitive electronic beats of the track.
Inside the apartment things were much less chaotic than one could imagine. To begin with, most of the apartment was in extremely good conditions. New furniture had been added, such as a couple of bookshelves filled with a multitude of objects, ranging from books and papers to videogames, figurines and vinyls.
The far wall of the apartment was decorated by a beautiful oriental mural, depicting two traditional dragons circling and embracing each other around a Yin-Yang. Right along said wall stood a couple of guitars, one acoustic and two electric, along with an electric bass and their respective amplifiers, pedals and accessories.
The parquet at the entrance was now covered with a very elaborate Persian rug. The old television stand had been replaced by a bigger, more modern model, which sported two tall glass cases on its sides and a suspended section going across.
Besides those major changes, there were many minor ones, such as trinkets and paintings hung along the walls, new basic furniture such as a new table and chairs, new couch and modern electrodomestics. The place had gotten a complete overhaul, and it looked amazing.
Serena could have been seen going up and down the room, adjusting various books and trinkets on the shelves and cleaning the remaining dust off of them. She sported a rather simple white t-shirt and shorts, having her hair tied in her usual ponytail. Every now and then she would sing along with the songs coming from the TV.
Tanya had taught her gradually how to make use of technology, and Serena found that the Internet was quite the impressive platform. Not only it offered her endless entertainment, but she also began experimenting with her powers. During training sessions, she would play songs off something called YouTube, and try to mesh her songs with the rhythms and create new compositions. The sessions had given mixed results, but none of them really stimulated Serena.
Despite that, she still found the process fun. She quite enjoyed the music that came out during the last 100 years. At first the Irish woman was amazed by the diversity: in her age music was quite redundant compared to what she found 'online', as Tanya says it. Any possible rhythm that she could imagine was now a song. No matter the speed, mood, power or difficulty. The banshee could find at least 1 song that resembled it. Often a lot more than just one.
Suddenly the door of the apartment opened, with Tanya entering the room and closing it behind her. She wore a plain white V neck t-shirt paired with black leather jeans and hiking boots. Her left hand was busy carrying a couple of shopping bags.
<<Babe I'm hooooome!>> she shouted loudly enough that the neighbours could hear her. After all it was understandable given the volume of the music in the two women's home. Serena's attention was inevitably drawn, greeting her girlfriend with a wave and a smile. Tanya replied to her smile with one of her own and began making her way to her.
”Hey honey! How was the meeting?” Serena cheerfully asked as she placed back on a bookshelf one of the vinyls she was cleaning. As Tanya got closer to her, she leaned in and the two exchanged a smooch.
<<It was pretty good. Had some issues with one of the guests, but it was overall enjoyable. How was your day?>> she answered, reminiscing for a moment to the lounge meeting she just had with some of the gladiators. She began heading towards the kitchen, dropping the bags on the kitchen's counter and grabbing a glass from one of the cupboards. The blonde woman proceeded to fill it with tap water and head back into the living room. Meanwhile Serena completed her work at the shelf and moved towards the next one.
”It was pretty good. Trained a bit, cleaned the house and did the laundry.” she replied as she shuffled around the room, but as she crossed in front of the kitchen's doorway, she paused for a moment.
”Issues? What type of issues, love?” She added before moving in front of the second bookshelf and beginning to carefully clean the dust off every shelf. Tanya entered the living room, parking herself in the vicinity of the doorway. Her eyes wandered around the room, admiring her girlfriend's work.
<<Some apparent demi-goddess thought she was the big thing. Being above everybody and all. Got ticked off a bit, but managed to just drink it away.>> She carelessly explained, thinking back at the gladiator lounge.
”I hope you didn't cause any trouble...” Serena regarded without distracting herself from the cleaning, her duster carefully brushing a delicate glass statuette. Tanya slowly moved towards her, leaning onto one of the shelves as she looked at the Irish woman with a huge smirk decorating her face.
<<Oh but you love when I cause trouble.>> she regarded with quite the confidence. The two women locked eye contact, both smiling at each other.
”True, but not with the Gladiator Organization. You didn't piss off anybody important, did you?” Serena replied, the smile almost immediately disappearing from her face. As she questioned Tanya again about her behavior, her hands fell on her hips, assuming a very judgemental stance. Her facial expression complemented that perfectly. Tanya's attitude changed almost immediately, all the confidence simply vanishing in thin air.
<<No, nobody important. Pretty sure that girl wasn't even a gladiator.>> the blonde woman replied in the matter of moments. The two held eye contact for a moment, before Serena turned her attention back at the bookshelf and continuing her cleaning duties. Tanya let out a sigh of relief. She spun around and quickly made her way to the couch.
<<Since when you listen to the Bag Raiders?>> She shouted as she sat down, grabbing the remote from the coffee table in front of her and lowering the volume of the music. She loved that music, but it was hard to communicate.
”It began playing on its own at a certain point. How is that sound produced? I was singing along but I came nowhere close.”
<<With a synthetizer.>>
”A what?” Serena asked confused, turning her head and glancing at Tanya.
<<It's a device that allows you to modify sound via special programming. Basically molds the sound of a note to sound different.>>
Serena blinked a couple of times in confusion, before simply carrying on with the cleaning. Tanya simply giggled at her girlfriend's reaction.
<<Oh by the way, did you get my message?>>
”I don't know where I put the telephone. Why?”
<<I got you a fight.>>
At the sound of those words Serena paused her cleaning for a moment. She stood completely still, before resuming.
Tanya looked back at Serena for a moment. Unfortunately for her, it was an instant too late, so she did not catch the banshee's initial reaction. It felt odd to her that she did not question her at all about the why. After that thought left her mind, the blonde woman simply flopped on the couch, staring at the ceiling.
<<New guy. His name is Piasu. Some sort of ninja type of guy, uses two swords, a straight one and a broadsword. Very good in close combat. Has some special ability, but the description wasn't very clear. Best way I can explain it is the Spidey Sense from Spiderma->>
”When and where?” Serena didn't even allow her girlfriend to finish her sentence. Her words came loud and clear to Tanya's mind, which resulted in her stand up and stare at the Irish woman in confusion. An odd moment of silence followed immediately after, only disturbed by the gentle guitar riffs coming from the track in the background. Serena glanced over her shoulder, double taking instants later.
”What?!” She asked confused as Tanya kept on staring at her.
<<What's wrong with you?>> the blonde woman bluntly asked from the other side.
”Huh? What do you mean?” Serena added, confusion now quite visible on her face.
<<Really? No questions about my behavior? No lecture about impulsive decisions? None of that? Where's Serena and what did you do to her!” Tanya added, looking visibly perplexed. After the absurd accusation, Serena simply began laughing.
<<What's so funny?>> Tanya asked, visibly ticked off. She quickly stood up from the couch and made her way in front of Serena, clenching her fists along the way.
”Whoah relax babe. Nothing happened to the real Serena, because I am the real Serena.” The Irish woman regarded without backing up a single inch.
<<Okay. If you're the real Serena tell me something only the real Serena would know.>> Tanya stated quite aggressively, ready to go on the attack. But Serena did not bat an eye, and her reply came instantly.
”You squeal when I lick your nipples.”
The two women held intensive eye contact. Tanya holding a mean face and Serena replying with a smirk. But Tanya's mean face slowly turn more and more red.
<<I told you to never speak of that.>> she mumbled as she slowly lowered her head, leading to Serena sort of just scoffing.
”It's your fault! You went all crazy on me! What was I supposed to say?” Serena began to panic, going on a small guilt trip. Tanya stood in front of her with her head lowered, clenching her fists. Instinctively Serena stepped forward, tossing her arms around her girlfriend and pulling her into a hug. The blonde woman embraced the brunette immediately.
”I'm sorry I didn't mean to.”
<<No you're right. I asked for it. It's just I didn't expect you to be so calm about it. And it's been a weird day and I thought that something happened to you and->>
Suddenly Tanya's words were cut short as Serena pressed her lips against hers. The two exchanged a long and intense kiss before separating one from the other.
<<I'm sorry Serena, I went full weirdo.>> The crimson eyed woman stated, her voice trembling oh so slightly.
”It's ok. You're my weirdo after all.” Serena replied quickly after, smiling. Tanya's face soon brightened up.
<<You're gonna make up for it later.>> She added, allowing her hands so slither down Serena's back and onto her bottocks.
”Only if dinner is good.” Serena replied, kissing her girlfriend. The two women remained embraced for a bit more, strongly gazing into each other's eyes.
”You still didn't answer my question, though.”
<<Oh! It's an official match, so we need to be at the Arena on Tuesday?>>
”That's in 4 days...Training tomorrow?” By then the two women had let each other go. Serena slowly moved towards the couch and Tanya entered the kitchen.
<<Yeah I'm game.>> Tanya replied. She stopped in front of the kitchen's counter and began unpacking from the bags she brought in. Suddenly tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, eggs, butter, cheese and chicken breast filled the counter, complemented by soda bottles and beers.
”Alright I'll have a shower!” Serena quickly made her way to the bedroom, emerging from it moments later with some clean clothes in hand. As she passed in front of the television she picked up the remote and began buttoning along.
<<Go ahead babe. Oh and can you put some music?>> Tanya stated from the kitchen. She had quickly put on the apron they had and had already began to chop the vegetables.
”Way ahead of you!” Serena cheerfully answered, hopping her way across the living room and into the bathroom. At the same time gentle guitar music echoed across the apartment, the lyrics of the song following immediately after.
When I wake up! Well I know I'm gonna be, I'm gonna be the man that wakes up next to you!
Tanya's eyes suddenly snapped away from the vegetables and focused on the other room, barely catching Serena's figure entering the bathroom.
<<The Proclaimers? Really?>>
”I like the song!” Serena replied as she shut the bathroom door. Tanya sighed, shaking her head and simply resumed her task of preparing the dinner.
The two women spent the following couple of days training and researching Serena's opponent. There wasn't much in the archives about him. He only went by the name Piasu; devoted most of his young life to learning the art of swordmanship and, according to the archives, reached the rank of master. His arsenal consists of a longsword and a special broadsward listed under the name SeverSword. Whether the weapon had magical effects or not was unknown, given the lack of information. The ability that Tanya had described as a 'Spidey Sense' was also mentioned, but no full disclosure was given. The records simply stated that it gave Piasu an edge in close combat. Tanya explained that during the review of his demo, it felt like the boy could predict the incoming attacks, counteracting the action of their opponents before they actually executed them.
The two women took this knowledge and scheduled Serena's training to be heavily 'close quarters combat' focused. Tanya challenged the banshee to use her powers in every possible way in order to fend off melee attacks, and the brunette found surprising success, using both her wakizashi and her symphonies more effectively. Despite this success, Tanya stressed the fact that taking the fight to him was a poor strategy, heavily emphasizing on disengage and counterattack. Time quickly passed and suddenly the day of the fight arrived.
On the way to the Arena Tanya could not stop talking about how Serena needs to be cautious and always ready. At first the banshee was delighted by her girlfriend's concern, but after a while it became irritating, and for as much as she loved her, Serena was on the verge of socking her in the face. That threshold had been reached as the two arrived in front of the Arena.
<<And remember he wants to be close to you so try as hard as possible to back away and counterattack as he's chasing. Push him away when he's too close and pay attention for when his defen->>
”I got it! I had it since the second time you said it, but the 54th time definitely fuckin' made it crystal clear.” Serena suddenly snapped, finally interrupting Tanya. A slight tone of anger accompanied her words. Tanya simply stood still, dumbfounded.
<<I'm sorry.>> she quietly muttered, lowering her head in guilt. Serena's emotions immediately changed. Without batting an eye Serena grabbed Tanya by her shoulders and pulled her in, embracing her.
”I didn't mean to be rude, love. It's just that you kept talking about it non stop and...you were putting me under pressure, you understand?” She explained, her tone now a lot more relaxed and soothing.
<<I just don't want anything to happen to you.>>
That statement got quite the reaction out of Serena. Although it was cute for Tanya to be overly concerned about her well being, the banshee also felt mildly offended about the supposed lack of faith that her girlfriend had in her.
She's been through a lot harder times before, and she firmly believed that a simple battle was nothing compared to her past. A battle that was also supervisioned by the Gladiator's Organization.
But she completely understood Tanya's concerns. Afterall those battles can easily escalate and turn for the worse. She slowly let the blonde woman go.
”I understand. I promise you I'll be careful, ok?”
Tanya simply nodded, leaning in and kissing her girlfriend immediately after.
<<Good luck, babe!>> the blonde woman cheered right after the two separated each other. Serena smiled back and gave her a nod, leaving the woman and heading for the doors of the complex.
After a series of controls and paperwork, Serena was escorted to the battleground's entrance. She stared at the massive doors, lost in her own thoughts. The woman kept reviewing in her mind the dossier of her opponent, carefully picturing his skillset.
But the one aspect of his kit that she couldn't find an answer to was that special ability he posessed. She did not comprehend how she could counter it. The hypothesis of him being clairvoyant was discarded almost instantly.
As she tried finding an answer to the seemingly unsolvable problem, the massive doors leading to the arena slowly slid open, slipping sideways inbetween two massive concrete plates. Serena laid her eyes upon the battlefield for the first time: it seemed like a standard issue Gladiator arena.
Oval field, concrete dome with smoked windows along it, where the spectators and judges would sit and watch the fight. The terrain seemed to be simple dirt, but Serena had been surprised in the past by the quite popular morphing arenas present in the circuit. With careful steps she advanced into the fighting ring. Despite the momentary poor lighting, her eyes managed to spot some movement on the opposite side of the arena: another door, identical to hers, slowly opening. After a dozen of steps taken towards the center of the arena, the complex suddenly fired up its spotlights, flooding the space with light and making everything clearly visible to her eyes. Instinctively she stopped, gazing around her.
<<Ladies and gentlemen, welcome.>> a voice buzzed through the well hidden speakers spread across the arena. It appeared to be a woman, probably the supervisor of the fight.
<<This fight will feature Piasu, the Wielder of SeverSword, against Serena Richards, the Deathsinger. This is a standard fight. The fight will be declared over when one of the contestants dies, becomes incapacitated or surrenders.>>
As the voice echoed across the arena, Serena's eyes scanned her surroundings. Her attention was drawn by a figure on the opposite side of the arena. A man. Quite tall, red hair gathered in a ponytail and bright red eyes. His attire was quite simple, sporting a simple striped blue t-shirt paired with grey shorts. Oddly the entirety of his arms were wrapped in bandages and gauzes, leading Serena to believe he was possibly injured. A possible advantage, but not a reason to take her opponent lightly. The woman spotted his weapons immediately after: a sword was sheated on his waist, but the real threat was a lot scarier. He had another sword strapped to his back, and the size of it was close to ridiculous, almost matching the figure of the man himself.
<<Combatants, the fight is live. Good luck to both of you.>> the female announcer concluded, her statement followed by a short whitenoise and complete silence. The atmosphere had an eerie feeling to it, foreseeing disaster. Serena's eyes captured a slight movement from the man: his right hand slipped on the handle of the sword at his waist and proceeded to unsheat it.
<<I'm sorry lady, but you won't be walking out of here alive. You have my word.>> he confidently stated, quite loudly as well, making sure Serena could hear him loud and clear. Serena simply rolled her eyes in response.
”If only you'd know how many times I've heard that.” she remarked, underlining his arrogance. She began singing softly, the volume of her voice raising slowly but steadily. In the matter of moments her voice echoed throughout the arena, filling the place with sublime notes. The brunette wanted to open the fight.
Potent shockwaves headed towards the man, but he swiftly dodged the initial wave of attacks, dashing around them like it was nothing. The man began closing in on Serena's position, and quickly.
The banshee's Symphony of Force was in full effect, her voice keeping a low tonality for more efficient attacks. A barrage of shockwaves were headed towards the incoming threat, aiming to arrest his advance, but to no avail. He was swiftly maneuvering around each and every attack, closing the gap between himself and Serena. As he was getting dangerously close, Serena's chant stuttered. Undoubtebly she was impressed by the redhead's ability, but she was a foe to be reckoned with.
Her song became very aggressive, chanting a powerful note that manifested itself in an attack of equal power. The man and the attack clashed, resulting in an impressive explosion. The arena's dust raised from its surface, creating a brown cloud that denied Serena from seeing if her attack was successful. But her eyes suddenly captured a shape flying out from the smoke: her opponent was unscaved, and raining towards her, ready to strike.
Instinctively Serena's hand reached behind her, unsheating her wakizashi from its elaborately decorated case. She swung the blade around, intercepting the man's own blade inches away from her face. Due to the obvious disadvantage in swordmanship and her inferior strength, she didn't manage to to parry the attack, but to merely deflect it to the side. Without giving the woman a single moment to recover, the master swordsman swung again.
Serena's blade met his in similar fashion, deflecting the attack sideways, but the man did not let down, following up each attack with another one. The banshee began backpedaling, focusing all of her attention on her opponent's strikes, dodging half of his attacks and deflecting with her wakizashi the other half. As she managed to stabilize her song raised again in volume, throwing numerous powerful waves towards her attacker. But none were actually successful. They simply forced him to cancel some of his attacks in order to dodge, but as soon as the blast was avoided he was already back on Serena, hacking and slashing.
”I have to get some distance.”
The banshee's song suddenly shifted rhythm, a more fast paced and upbeat track now echoing through the fighting grounds, creating an oddly symphonic mix when paired with the screeching sound of clashing metal. With a quick step she gained a bit of separation from her attacker, taking advantage of a slash that missed its intended target. During that second long window, a strong gust of wind hit the man, raising dust along its trail and creating a massive cloud that engulfed both gladiators. Serena immediately repositioned inside the cloud as soon as it was thick enough to impair the sight of both.
But the imminent clash was unavoidable. So a change of strategy and gear, especially, was needed. Serena's upbeat song calmed down, its notes stretching, giving the body of the track a holy aspect. Needless to say that also gave away her position. Her ears picked up the sound of the man's feet stomping the ground. And it was dangerously close. By now the dust had began settling, allowing her eyes to scan her surroundings. A figure emerged from the could all of the sudden, but she was prepared.
Her ethereal guardian materialized in front of her moments after, ready to strike. It pulled its arm back and swung the entire area in front of its mistress with one powerful sweep attack. The guardian's hand collided with the man, sending him flying to the side and dissipating the dust cloud. With a graceful and precise move, the swordman adjusted himself mid air, landing clean.
After recovering, the man glared at the new foe. In response Serena's guardian straightened up and moved itself between its mistress and her opponent, emotionless. The man paused for a moment, analyzing the situation, but it didn't take him long to understand what happened.
On the other side, Serena finally managed to catch her breath. But that did not slow her aggression: the guardian charged the man, recklessly flailing its arms from left to right and viceversa. But each strike got swiftly parried by the swordman. The two exchanged a series of blows, both getting hit an equal amount of times, everything accompanied by Serena's majestic Song of the Elders. As she chanted a stronger note, the guardian's resulting attack connected with the man's chest, making him stagger back. He glared first at the guardian, then at Serena, an expression of pure anger painted on his face.
Serena's song chanted a series of powerful notes, the guardian shuffling his feet in result of them and charging the man full speed. But in an instant Serena's song perished and the arena went silent. She gasped as she watched her ethereal guardian vanish in thin air, revealing the man standing unscaved. Her eyes carefully examined his figure, in search for differences. There was a particular that attracted the brunette's attention: his sword. The swordman was now wielding his broadsword.
A mix between awe and sheer terror shook her, as she couldn't do anything but stare at her foe. The man calmly put the large weapon from where it came and returned to the regular sword. Serena simply stood there, frozen. But the same could not have been said about the swordman, whom launched his next attack in mere seconds. With a quick dash he closed the gap created between himself and the woman. The banshee could see in his eyes that he was determined to finish this fight.
She then snapped back to reality, as the swordsman lunged forward, charging his attack. With quick thinking and equally as fast reflexes, she chanted a deep and powerful note. But it wasn't aimed at the incoming attack, but towards her side. She leapt in the air as she unleashed a shockwave, displacing her position in time to avoid the attack. The man blew past her, both exchanging a quick glance mid attack before the man resumed his series of attacks.
In similar fashion as before, the man hacked and slashed at Serena, with her responding with either a dodge or a clash of steel. But this time around her moves were a lot stiffer and slower, eventually leading to the inevitable: one of his attacks went past her poor sword defences, slicing her stomach. Serena gasped, but she didn't have time to even process the pain that a powerful punch collided with her face, knocking her back and down.
As she hit the deck, the pain hit her. Her left hand clutched immediately the wound, which thank the gods wasn't deep. Her armor was split, revealing skin, flesh and blood. She looked up at the man. His expression was impassible. He squared her down, his eyes bolting around her body. Serena's primal instincts kicked in, as she began dragging herself along the floor, away from her attacker. The swordman calmly walked towards her.
”I can't hit him. I don't understand. He avoids every attack that I throw at him!”
Serena was visibly panicking. Although she is known for managing to keep calm during high pressure situations, she does so because of the knowledge that she can come up with a strategy to give herself the edge. But this time the situation looked dire. Her eyes bolted around, glancing occasionally at the man. On the other side of the spectrum, the man was ready to deliver the finishing blow. As Serena's eyes fell around the man, her sight suddenly stopped on one particular detail: a small tear on the man's chest which revealed his skin.
”If I can't hit him...then how did that happen?...”
As her brain processed the newly given information, her instincts took control of her body. She quickly stumbled back on her feet, backpedalling away from the man, whose expression screamed confidence. The woman instinctively raised her blade in front of her, but her grasp was visibly weak.
”He fought the guardian. They exchanged blows. The guardian succeeded where I didn't. But its just a spiritual proje-wait...that's it!”
The two gladiators gazed intensely in each other's eyes in anticipation. The man began to slowly raise his sword. But Serena's expression suddenly changed, seemingly calming down all of the sudden. Her voice gently commenced to fill the arena yet again at an allegro tempo. Soft winds began blowing past the two, raising small amounts of dust. They were blowing from behind the woman and into the swordman's face.
He suddenly snapped forward, swinging his sword. But in the blink of an eye he got pushed back, a loud note echoing through and throughout the battlegrounds. He staggered back, but his next attack came in an instant. Serena swiftly intercepted it with her own blade, her voice now loudly chanting powerful uptempo notes. The winds raised in intensity, swallowing the two in a small whirlwind of dust. The man was uncharacteristically getting pushed back, not by Serena's blade mastery, but by invisible shockwaves impacting with his torso in quick succession. Despite everything, he was still parrying every single one of Serena's wakizashi attacks.
The man quickly went on the counterattack, aggressively swinging for Serena, the metal of their weapons clashing loudly. But the song that filled the arena suddenly rose in pitch and volume, the winds engulfing the man and forcing him to lose his balance. One loud and deep note followed, which send the man several meters back, but not on his back. Serena's song calmed down just slightly, leading to the winds to calm down and gently hover around her. The piece itself began mutating, the uptempo beat shifting into a more calm and solemn version. The woman began muttering incomprehensive words, assuming a more erect stance whilst doing so. With calm, she brought her blade behind her back and sheated it back into its case.
On the other side the man looked at her with an outrage filled expression. Without batting an eye he moved his sword from the right hand to the left, and reached for the one on his back. In the bat of an eye he wielded both swords, standing upright. He took a deep breath, squaring Serena from her head to her toes and back. He quickly leapt into the air, releasing a scream filled with anger.
Serena was ready to counterattack: her song suddenly shifted, her guardian materializing in front of her yet again. As the man was in the air, it crossed its arm, forming an X in front of its face. In the matter of moments, the swordsman final strike collided with the ethereal guardian. But unlike the previous encounter between the two, the guardian did not dissolve. He kind of just froze the attack of the man, and the two were now just stuck. Suddenly an explosion of energy came from the collision, the arms of the guardian shattering but it not actually dissolving.
All of the sudden a small octagonal disk materialized itself in front of the guardian's face. Serena's song rose in pitch, volume and speed extremely abruptly, turning itself in an almost uniform sound. As it did so, the octagon began spinning, slowly at first to then reach an extreme speed. It began glowing and in the matter of moments it shattered, just as the banshee's song reached its apex. Her vocal chords released one devastating note which in turn created an exponentially stronger shockwave that quite blankly send the swordman straight into the opposing wall of the arena.
It all happened in the blink of an eye. One moment the man is coming down with his finishing attack, the next Serena's ethereal guardian counterattacks, the following the swordsman is nestled into the concrete wall on the other side of the complex. Then a moment of silence, as Serena's notes slowly faded, absorbed by the walls surrounding her.
This silence lasted a couple of moments, moments that seemed to last an eternity. Suddenly a loud horn tore this silence appart, leading to Serena covering her ears.
<<Winner: Serena Richards. Combatants, please head for your respective gates.>>
Serena was wheezing, her knees and arms were heavy. She slowly looked around her to understand what happened. When her eyes noticed the gates open, she naturally began walking towards the nearest exit. Not deeming her opponent worthy of a final glance, she disappeared in the darkness of the complex.