The competition is getting fiercer, it seems like Teddy’s mindset of a chess professional is working wonders for his team. Many of the other teams have started adapting this format into their playstyle, but none can do it quite as well as Team 13. The coaches are paying into attention to everything in this tournament, anything that can help you is vital. Especially a nervous Raymond as Team 12 and Team 13 curb-stomp more opponents as the quarter-finals comes under way. However, there may be something that may prohibit Teddy into the upcoming round.
This may not be good….
I don’t think I cleaned the chemicals out all the way….
Pain started to greatly wrap around Teddy’s eye, like a venomous poison by the fiercest Inland Taipan out there.
It would be no problem to go treat, however, there is no telling the consequences for leaving the gym for whatever. Eyes are everywhere tonight and even more so on him after his performances. Or maybe he is overthinking things. Sure it’s a little hard to see but whatever that’s never stopped the Ted-Man.
The next match up ahead has just been posted. It’s Team 1. Raymond’s Team. Time for hell to reign upon the Stingray. What a dumb name.
Both teams enter into the court. Teddy looks menacingly at Raymond. However, Raymond looks unfazed compared to his disposition at the beginning of the Tryouts. Something is wrong.
The Referee tells both captains to shake hands. While Teddy and Raymond shake hands, Raymond leans into his ear whispering with a cold vibe in his voice.
“You know you think you’re untouchable, but I don’t. A King cannot make meaningless sacrifices, especially if it’s currently backfiring on himself as we speak.”
He is clearly referring to the fiasco with Teddy’s eyes. Even now he can tell that it's been bugging him since the beginning of the tryouts but hasn’t gotten much better. If Teddy keeps going like this, there’s a chance he could permanently blind himself.
“Your hastiness to prove yourself will be your undoing, Teddy Walker! There’s a reason they call me Stingray, my opponents always seem to stung in the end, no matter if I win or lose. So genuinely out of the bottom of my heart, throw the game. Then, you could take care of my little eye situation. The human body can only endure pain for so long….”
He’s right. The longer this goes, the more he could risk his own health. His chance at playing at the team. The chance at becoming King of The Court.
King of The Court. Ever since his middle school years, when he watched professional dodgeball, that’s when he made up his mind to start working towards that goal. The way players move, strategies, and the whole atmosphere of the game really enticed him. He gathered up strength, endurance, and resilience in order to have a chance at that goal. And now he could potentially lose all that progress if doesn’t treat this eye.
“So what’s it gonna be Walker?”
Teddy grips the Stingray’s hand harder, surprising him. He goes up to his ear.
“Now I know why they call me Stingray. Well, my friend, it’s gonna sting when I send you home from this defeat. I’m gonna beat you so hard you’ll never show your face around the academy!”
Raymond scoffs at this ordeal. To think he could still be cocky with his sight on the line.
“If I win, you have to pack up and leave the academy. Forever.”
“Deal.” No hesitation. “You say a king can’t make meaningless sacrifices, I’m sorry to say you’re wrong! What’s meaningless to you can be valuable to someone else! I will honor our deal and you will respect me by the end of this!”
“So foolish….” Raymond with a face of disgust.
“Hail to the King, Stingray. Only talking we do now is with our skills! Teddy walks away to his side. Raymond walks away, it seems his original deal did not go as planned. But it did not matter because he was going to make sure he permanently removed his existence from this academy forever.
“Yo, what happened?” Marcus asks Teddy.
“Let’s just say this match may be in his favor,” Teddy laughs, “The chemicals I placed in my eye aren’t gone all the way.”
“Dude it’s okay we can forfeit if we need to, no need to put your health at such risk. You cannot stoop to his level of pride.” Marcus said, worrying.
“You don’t understand, Marcus. As pitiful as Raymond is, I feel it’s necessary to have a little ego.” Teddy heads into his game stance, ready to start the match.
“Okay, but after this we are going to get that eye checked, got it?” said Veronica. He couldn’t argue with her there, so he nodded.
Both teams head into their steady positions awaiting the whistle. The referee blows it and the match is underway.
Quickly, Veronica tries to grab all of the balls but is only to pick two out of the three. The other is grabbed by Raymond.
Veronica quickly passes to Marcus to try to develop some plays. However, Raymond gets the jump on her by throwing a ball in her vicinity. The ball taps her on the shoulder, leaving her with only 2 chances left.
“The same tricks you use on others won’t work on us,” Raymond yelled, “we adapt and that’s how The King’s Academy has remained on top.”
He’s right. The longer this goes on, the more he will adapt his strategy. The match continues on as usual, and while Team 13 has the advantage as they take one of the players out from Team 1, Team 1 is slowly picking at Team 13’s offenses with aggressive counterattacks.
Teddy has 3 chances. Marcus has 2 chances. Veronica has 1.
“Timeout!” yelled Raymond. He’s decided to take some time to assess the situation. Teddy ponders over the decision over this random timeout. He’s never done this in the previous matches. Must be something to keep on his toes.
Meanwhile in the backcourt, Teddy’s vision has repeatedly gotten worse. It is starting to be a little bit blurrier minute by minute. Second by second. In his near-blind state, you could say his brain still has some thought to it.
“Alright, team. I got another idea.” Marcus and Veronica sigh. But it’s better than nothing.
The match resumes from the timeout with a sliver of confidence from both teams. Seeing their weakness, they decided to go out in full force.
Raymond only has 2 chances left. He sees his best chance at weakening Team 13 is to take down Veronica. He smirks at the thought.
With careful planning, he throws a curve which seemingly is coming at Marcus but then turns to Veronica, which hits her straight in the face. It knocks her back greatly. Raymond laughs at the thought, surely their team morale has taken a huge download spiral.
Suddenly, a ball from Team 13 is coming towards Raymond with a curve. Just like with Marcus, it wasn't for him. It was for a teammate with only 1 chance.
“Checkmate.” Both Marcus and Teddy said in unison. Suddenly, another ball comes their way and Teddy steps in to catch the ball.
He manages to catch that one. The person responsible was the other Team 1 member beside Raymond. Now he only has 1 Chance. However, for Teddy, it might have been best not to catch it.
He hears a popping noise near his hand.
“Timeout….” Teddy states to the Referee. The Referee then whistled for Timeout. Quickly, Teddy sits down on the bench chairs.
His friends look concerned over this timeout. For what could the purpose of it be?
“Hey guys?” Teddy said, trying to hide a whimper. “I think we have a jammed finger problem now.” He displays his finger to his friends to their dismay.
“Dude, what the heck?”
“Yeah, it’s bad but we are close to beating them. I can endure this pain a little longer.”
“Damnit, what is wrong with you? You have a death wish or something?!” Marcus raises his voice. He’s never raised his voice that high.
“Marcus….” Veronica whispered.
“Heh.” Teddy unfazed by this sudden outburst. Marcus grabs on to Teddy’s shirt collar.
“You think I’m just gonna let you stand around here and hurt yourselves for some title that only less than 1% of dodgeball athletes get their entire lives?! It’s not that important! You’re important! YOU’RE IMPORTANT TO ME! STOP HURTING YOURSELVES!” Tears start to swell up in Marcus’s voice and he stutters like crazy. “I’m your teammate, let me help you fight your battles with you…cause that’s what friends do….”
Teddy, still unfazed from his outburst, says, “You’re right man. Never knew you felt this way. I’ll forfeit after this game and you let the tryout staff know. But if we are gonna do that, might as well do it with a bang, am I right?”
Tears of anger morphed into happiness for Marcus. He just wanted to be on the level pane of Teddy for once. He wanted to have some drive into Teddy’s decisions. He wants Teddy to be well and not hurting himself for nothing.
“Alright then, Ted. Let’s do this!” Both teams get back on the court.
Raymond paying attention to that little fiasco is more than ready for anything they throw at him. With 2 players left on each side, It’s time to end this. This whistle blows.
“GO, GO!” Raymond urges his teammate to head for the balls quickly. However, that was all futile. Marcus’s massive build came stomping on the way and he backward kicked one of the balls to Teddy while holding on to the other two balls. Teddy catches the ball with his non-dominant left hand. A confident smirk glanced on Marcus’s face while Veronica looked at him in amazement.
In a flash, Marcus knocked out the Team 1 member cold with a one hard hit. In fact, it hit him so hard it bounced right back to Marcus’s hand.
“Well, that might be useful.” Teddy stated. Fear started to swell up in Raymond.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no-”
“No, no, no. Is that all you can say?” Marcus said, coldly. No words left for the man. He took him out quickly. The match was over, Team 13 was the victor. For the crowd, that was arguably the best game of the night. For Teddy, it was Tuesday.
With the adrenaline finally out of his system, Teddy passed out.
Veronica rushes over to a coach and a nearby nurse to explain the situation and why they need to forfeit.
“Awww, I was really hoping not to cover injuries tonight? Then again, it’s still my job.” The nurse winked. “We’ll take care of him, you guys are free to accompany us to the nursing room. The rest of the games will still be playing on the TVs there.”
“Yes, please.” Marcus stated.
As the commotion over Teddy Walker ensued in the bleachers, Marcus and Veronica walked along the way to the nursing room.
“Man, I can’t wait to take a shower.” Veronica yawned.
“Same here, V.”
“Hey Mo, you looked really cool back there.”
“Really? So did you the way you gathered the dodgeball in quick succession.” Veronica started to turn red.
“Yeah. Hey, do you think we have a chance to make the roster at this rate?”
“I think so, why?”
“I really want to play together with you! Travel the country during away games with you! Spend more time together like back when we were kids!” Veronica’s face appeared flushed. Marcus collapsed his hands together with hers, startling her.
“I'm glad we both think that! I want to as well! Now then let’s hurry, we won't keep him waiting!”
Marcus rushes over to the nursing room. Veronica runs with a smile on her face “He’s never changed even with this added confidence, and I like it that way.”
Meanwhile in the nursing office, a patient watches over the fatigued Teddy Walker with a smile on his face. Even though they didn't win the trophy, I think he proved to the coaches was much a battler. All that’s left is to wait for the results of the tryouts.