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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 19th day of Swimming, Yr 26
The Neopian Times Week 8 > Continuing Series > The Struggle: Part Four

The Struggle: Part Four

by whitechimaera

"Did you see that!" Kur looked like Sparky now, jumping up and down. "He didn't even flinch! He's fighting like he never got hit!" A few pulse-pounding minutes later, Kato made a slight gesture, unseen by almost everyone present. His brothers, however, immediately reacted.

"…and that's another ninja on the ground, downed by a blow to the jaw by Kato's Arm Shield. A very interesting idea, turning a defensive weapon into an offensive one. But wait, what's happening now? The brothers have sheathed their weapons and have taken out their Frost Cannons! And…POW!"

The Lupes fired their cannons at the same time. Black frost exploded out and engulfed the hapless ninjas. When the mist settled, there were the Sangre brothers, standing calmly around a band of frozen warriors. But instead of attacking, Kato spoke with one of the Kougras, who nodded as best as he could, considering that he was frozen, and called out a surrender.

"That's the white flag, folks!" Sparky cried. It was a surprise that his voice hadn't given out yet. "It's all over here! The leader of the Crimson Light ninjas surrenders, and the Sangre brothers chalk up another victory! For those just tuning in, you just missed what everyone's going to be talking about for the next week! What a match!"

The brothers shook hands and paws with the ninjas, who were just starting to unfreeze. They then turned to the crowd, who needed no prompting to bring the house down. And bring the house down they did.

"How many ways can I say 'incredible'?" Kur yelled as everyone started clapping as well as whistling and cheering. "I am SO glad we came! Kahliss, pal, you're the best! I could kiss you!"

"No, please, don't."

"That was very exciting," Rahne agreed. "Thanks for suggesting it, Kahliss."

"Oh, no problem, no problem," Kahliss waved his hand modestly. "Monetary compensation only, thanks."

"You wish!"

"Actually, you know what? I think I know who I want my battle mirror signed by."

"Did you fall down and got your head stepped on?" Kur demanded. "Because there's no way you're going to talk to the Sangre brothers, much less spot them in this chaos."

"We can always try."

"What? Did I hear a 'we'?" Kur turned to Rahne. "I heard a 'we', did you hear a 'we'?"

"Yes, I think that I truly heard a 'we'."

"Oh come on! What if we actually got a chance to meet them, and you two bowed out?"

"Well, there's also the chance that we're stopped by their agent and thrown out of here by a pair of mutant Grundo security guards," Kur pointed out.

Nevertheless, the three of them soon found themselves in front of a Battledome official behind the arena.

"So you want to meet the brothers, eh?" the Blumaroo grinned. "Yeah, you three and thousands of others. Sorry, but they never talk to the fans after a match. It's their own personal rule, and I'm not about to break it, not if I want them back here."

"It's all right," Kato suddenly appeared at the official's side. "My brothers and I will speak with them."

The official looked startled. "Yes, yes, of course."

"Come this way." The Lupe started down the corridor. The three of them exchanged thrilled looks and quickly followed.

Shortly after, Kur, Kahliss and Rahne were standing in the Sangre brothers' dressing room. Il Asante and Chazz Mezzine both rose to greet them, the former with a bandaged shoulder, and the latter having removed his headdress.

"Um, hi." Now that he was in front of them, Kahliss had no idea what to say. And from the look on Kur's face, neither did he. But Rahne did.

"I suppose you don't like talking to fans because they'll ask you why you always quit competitions," she said matter-of-factly.

Kato smiled. It was unusual to see it on him. "I suppose that we have our reasons for not sharing our secrets with the fans. Mainly because we would like them to remain secrets."

"Yeah, but," Kur seemed to have regained his power of speech. "think of all the trophies you would have won by now! Think of the power, not that you don't already have some. Think of the glory! Think of the MONEY!"

"Think of the shame," Kato said quietly.

"Yeah, think of the…what?"

"The shame," he repeated. "I will tell you this: we are not proud of what we do. How can we be? To make our living as aggressors. To become who we are now."

They were flabbergasted. Was this the same Lupe that was seen handing nine ninjas' behinds back to them not fifteen minutes ago? IL Asante spoke next.

"It looks like entertainment when you are sitting high up in the audience, doesn't it? High enough so that the blood doesn't touch you. We bathe in it. If not literally, then symbolically. And those trophies we would win, they would only twist the knives further into our hearts."

"Oh…" Once again, Kahliss had nothing to say.

"Well then, if you see the Battledome like that, why do you keep doing it?" Rahne persisted.

Chazz Mezzine answered her. "It's in our blood. A poor answer, I know. We would fight it, fight the desire to fight, if only to save ourselves. But we left our souls in bloody pieces on the battlegrounds a long time ago. And there is nothing left for us but to keep the conflict going."

"Are you talking about the one in the arena, or the one inside?"

"Perhaps you could tell me."

"But," Kur broke in, "you can't just leave it like that! You're fighters! The best that there is, and you're stuck in overdrive! Okay, Battledome bad, peace and love good. So do something about it! I have a hard time believing that you can't just, you know, quit."

Kato stared at him thoughtfully before answering.

"Young NeoPets do not enjoy being told that they cannot understand things simply because they are too young. However, I believe that you would not understand this because you do not have our heritage, and because you haven't experienced the fight. It pulls you in. It becomes your heartbeat and rips out your soul. There is no escaping it. Well," he added as an afterthought, "not for us, anyway."

The dressing room was silent as each one present was lost in their own thoughts, mulling over what had been just said.

"We thank you for listening to us," said Kato, startling them out of their reverie. "Remember that what we have said has not been said simply to change your minds about what is called the Battledome. It is our story, and you may interpret it in any way you wish."

The three young NeoPets nodded and started out the door, with the Sangre brothers watching them leave.

Once outside in the corridor, the three of them looked at each other.

"Well," Rahne murmured, "I'd like to go on record and say that I so totally did not expect that."

"Me neither," Kur said softly. "I don't think that I can see the Battledome in the same way again."

"I think that that was their intention, even though they said it wasn't," Kahliss said, as a realisation came to him.

"What's wrong?" Kur asked as they left the arena.

"I never did get my mirror signed."

The End

Previous Episodes

The Struggle: Part One

The Struggle: Part Two

The Struggle: Part Three

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