36 stood in an expansive arena that seemed to resemble a coliseum of old times. He glanced down at the barcode on his wrist which showed a glowing number above it, 1,332,036. This number was his identity, he had no name, no family, and no friends.
He looked up again with a cold calculating glint in his eye, looking across the arena at his now enemy, 932,145, or 45 for short. 45 stared back at him, meeting his eyes with an unwavering glare.
36 began to toss his spear back and forth between his left and right before settling into his normal stance. He had been fighting for 10 years now and had now reached the age of 16. He began fighting in this “world arena” as the commissioners called it at 6 years old.
The “world arena” was actually just an enormous lab that the NOVA union had developed. Its purpose was to train ‘soldiers’ that could use qi to fight. Qi was able to render all types of weaponry useless, whether it be a gun or a nuke as it could be formed into a defensive layer around the body with enough skill.
This was the reason why NOVA had established the ‘world arena’, to create soldiers to fight against other unions. Each of these unions was supposed to produce a champion that could fight for their country in order to resolve any national conflicts.
36 was a solid 6’4” (193 cm), he also had brown hair and brown eyes, making him quite ordinary looking. He was wearing a military uniform that was a solid black with short sleeves and long pants. One could see his toned muscles under his shirt filled with explosive power.
36 and 45 were in the top 16 of the original 2,000,000 children that were born into the government’s experimental program. As 36 and 45 glared at each other, they knew that this would quite possibly be their last ever fight.
While 36 wielded a spear, 45 instead opted for a basic short sword.
36 knew that while he had the range advantage in this fight, 45 was more agile and a better all-around fighter than he was, it was almost as if 45 had been born to fight. The reason 36 knew this was because after reaching the top 128, one was able to view their next opponent’s previous match.
He knew that 45 had a weakness, however, and that lay within his strength, but 45 did indeed make up for this with his agility.
“Well, isn’t it about time for the countdown to begin?”, 45 said in a cold voice.
36 did not respond but instead reset his feet and took on a defensive stance before nodding his head.
A robotic voice began counting down from 10.
Suddenly, the air around 45 began to change.
A crimson hue began to envelop his sword.
45 had been able to unlock his sword qi.
36 could not help but be astonished at this, although it never showed on his face.
He himself also had unlocked his spear qi.
One was able to unlock this qi by being pushed to the very limits of their body, and then on top of that having their mental strength completely exhausted. Their body had to be in a near-death state in order to feel the surrounding qi in the world.
36 began to activate his spear qi, which glowed a crimson red, albeit much fainter.
“Begin!”, the robotic voice then shouted out.
Neither moved right away, instead, they began circling each other slowly trying to look for openings.
45 moved first, closing the 40-foot gap in what seemed an instant, before slashing out with his sword aiming for 36’s torso. 36 took half a step back narrowly avoiding the strike.
‘He wasn’t this fast in the video!’, 36 thought to himself.
45 didn’t stop there, he continued to unleash a flurry of strikes aimed at all of 36’s weak spots.
‘I need to create some space’, he thought.
36 took a few steps back quickly while also swiping his spear to the right, causing a ripple of qi to come out. This qi wave nicked 45’s shoulder giving 36 the opportunity to regain his range advantage.
It was now time for 36 to press the attack, he unleashed 4 rapid piercing strikes in succession leaving afterimages of his spear behind. 45 grunted and stepped back parrying each strike to the side.
During the moment that 36 was retracting his spear, 45 stepped in with a piercing thrust aimed at 36’s left leg. 36 was caught off guard by this and barely managed to deflect it. 45 then stepped back to reset his stance.
“Surprised by my speed are we”, teased 45 with a grin, “well you better adapt quickly then”.
A thin line appeared on 36’s thigh that oozed red, caking his military pants with blood. Because of his slow reaction to the surprise attack the wound was quite deep, cutting into some of the muscle fibers on his quad.
“Tch.”, 36 grimaced, cursing himself for being careless.
‘Focus’, he thought, ‘tune out the pain and focus.’
He took a deep breath in and then reset his breathing, his eyes becoming focused once more.
45 didn’t give him much time to regain his concentration, however, as he closed the distance once again.
A few minutes of intense fighting later 36 was panting and knew that he was reaching his limit. The frustrating part however was that while he was physically exhausted, he had never felt this good mentally before. He felt as if his perception of time began to even slow down ever so slightly.
While his movements of the spear became more and more sloppy, 45 punished his openings even more.
45 was also not very well off, with minor cuts on his body, as well as a large gash on his side. Yet 45 still had a large advantage from the leg wound 36 had received.
“Sorry, but I’m going to end this.” , 45 stated.
45 began to channel Qi into his sword, causing the crimson hue to become a visible layer on the sword edge.
All that 36 could do at this point was muster up his own spear Qi, but he could not do it as fast as 45 who was naturally talented.
As 45’s sword stroke started to cleave down at his body, his life flashed before his eyes.
What had he been working for up until now? What was the point of all this fighting?
‘Did I ever have a purpose?’, he questioned.
As the sword came crashing down, he tried to parry it but, unfortunately, his movements were too slow.
Those were his last thoughts as his vision began to fade into black.