The next round of fights in the arena opened with two newbies on the fight circuit. Soft spoken Miguel was second to enter the pit after his opponent was introduced. He would be fighting a man named Tyson, no doubt after the famous boxer.
Tyson was tall and beautiful, which seemed to be a mandatory trait for all the fighters from every House. His slim dark frame, with its light coat of hair, was as delicious as his unshaven face that could have graced the cover of any model magazine. His short messy afro was the only thing out of place on the otherwise perfect specimen.
The speakers introduced Miguel as Hades, God of the Dead and he entered sheepishly. I almost laughed when I saw his shoulders slump with relief at the sight of Tyson. The were both tall and strong and would make an exotic pair in the erotic wrestling room. But Miguel had obviously been expecting someone bigger built to be fighting him. In the muscle department, Miguel easily looked the strongest but I'd already learnt that size and might were not everything in this game. I only hoped Miguel knew that too.
The men approached each other, both still showing signs of nervousness. Tyson looked the more nervous of the two though, having now seen his opponent.
They reached out and shook hands but Tyson kept moving, stepping past Miguel's side and bringing Miguel's arm up over his head, twisting it back. Miguel yelped and fell to a knee as Tyson stepped behind him and put a knee in Miguel's back, preventing him from dropping back.
The size of Miguel's bicep did nothing to deter Tyson from strengthening his hold forcing Miguel to lean further back into the knee on his spine. Miguel reached back over his head and Tyson snatched his wrist, forcing it back with his other hand. Miguel cried out, both arms now being pulled down over the back of his head. As he arched further into Tyson's knee, Tyson locked one hand around both of Miguel's wrists and brought an elbow down on Miguel's chest.
Miguel grunted, one arm ripping free but as he fell forward, Tyson pulled his arm in place again before landing another solid blow to Miguel's chest. Miguel twisted his arm away as Tyson tried to raise it above him again but Tyson changed tack and pulled it down, forcing it behind Miguel's back. Miguel winced, locked up in an awkward position that gave him no way to maneuver.
Tyson began tugging and twisting, weakening Miguel's shoulders. He used his knee in Miguel's back to push the bigger man down, pinning him face down on the ground. Changing his grasp, Tyson pulled both Miguel's arms straight back now, lifting his chest off the ground, but the knee that still pressed into Miguel's back pushed downwards, intensifying the stretch.
Miguel cried out. Locked down like that, his arms must have felt like they were being ripped from their sockets. He squeezed his eyes shut tight and shook his head to fight off the pain, but it seemed like Tyson had no intention of letting go. There was nothing Miguel could do. Even thrashing his legs jarred his tortured shoulders.
"Aargh!" he wailed, "I give! I give!"
Tyson dropped him to the ground and raised a fist to the air in a victory salute. The crowd went crazy, booing loudly as empty cans flew from the stands into the pit. They'd been starved of a fight and what little there was lacked movement and violence and tension.
Tyson covered his head and ran from the ring, leaving Miguel still lying defeated on the ground. Slowly, he got to his feet and keeping his head down, he staggered to the exit, too ashamed to look up, and too humiliated to even feel those cans that struck him.
It was a disaster! I realized I was covering my mouth with my hands, horrified at Miguel's utter failure to compete. My leash jerked and I turned to see Jacob fuming. He threw my leash to the ground.
"Stay here!" he barked and stormed out of our booth. I watched him go as he exploded through the doors, startling two men conversing in the corridor. They whirled around to face him and my eyes locked with Silvano's.
I staggered back against the railing and we stared at each other until the door glided to a close breaking the eye contact. I couldn't move!
Silvano's style of fighting that day had been similar to the semi-street brawl style here. It had been Silvano that had set Josh up to be kidnapped, letting them know that I would be good collateral! That was how they knew to grab me first, and that was why they'd taken us in the first place. It was all Silvano's doing!
I found myself short of breath, knowing now that there was a mole within my father's security team. What else could Silvano be up to? He had my father's trust. He could do anything. I had to tell Josh. Now that Silvano knew that I knew about him, was my life in danger too?
I looked around for Jacob but he was somewhere on the other side of the door. Josh was tucked away in his own prison far from me. Not a single person was within easy reach if Silvano made a move against me. I looked over the edge at the pit below. I could make my escape that way and weave between the guys cleaning up the mess of cans…
"What a disaster!" the announcer boomed through the speakers, as if announcing my very thought. He continued: "The House of Jacob has been shamed. Has Hades gone from the God of the Dead to nothing more than the Dead God?! More action coming up soon. Hang tight and grab another drink while we clear the pit. Our next two fighters guarantee not to disappoint you…"
I looked back up at the doorway. It was still closed but I could almost sense Silvano behind it, already plotting against me.