I could feel my heart pounding in my chest as I sat in the cold and dimly lit cell, the sound of muffled shouting echoing through the walls. It was a sound that sent shivers down my spine and made me wish I was anywhere else but here. I couldn't help but think of Reyna and the others, who were probably worried sick about me.
I smirked at the thought of Reyna scolding me again for getting caught. I should have known better than to get caught, but the others were counting on me and my arrogance had led me to this place, and now I was paying the price.
You really did it this time, Kaden.
The cell was nothing but a ten by ten-foot box, with a viewport and a bench. I looked up towards the ceiling, where a faint glow was bouncing off of the walls from the viewport.
The cell was nothing more than a ten by ten-foot box, with a single viewport and a bench. It was a crude and makeshift cell, converted from an old storage room in the basement of the Antaris. I looked up at the faint glow coming from the viewport, casting a dim light on the walls. I wondered if there was any way to escape, but I knew the cell was electronically locked, and any attempt to force the door open would alert the Corzon Guards patrolling the halls.
I felt around the sliding door for something to hook my fingers into, but the handle was only on the outside. After a few seconds of feeling around in the dark, I found a small crevice from a dented section of the metal door. I hooked my fingers into the hole, being careful not to cut myself on any potential sharp edges. I pulled as hard as I could, the door moving just enough to force a creaky echo throughout the halls.
“What was that?” I heard a voice say from down the hall.
Shit. Guess I can’t physically force the door open either.
It seemed like there was no way out of this cell, at least not without the attention of the guards. I leaned my back against the metallic wall and slid down to the floor in defeat. As I examined the blisters forming on my palms and fingers, I clenched my fists to try and alleviate the pain. I knew I had to keep my wits about me if I was going to survive whatever was coming next.
The faint sound from The Arena above me grew louder, the sound of the crowd cheering on the fighters filling the air. I closed my eyes and imagined the crowded arena above, filled with people from all walks of life. They were all united in their bloodlust, their faces covered in grime and sweat from a hard day's labor. Some were there to enjoy the spectacle, while others were there out of fear of becoming the next unwilling participant.
“That’s the spirit!”
Everyone, most likely covered in grime, earned from the hard day's labor. Their faces–spanning expressions of delight from the spectacle, to fear at becoming the next unwilling participant–would all be focused on the bloodbath in front of them.
The fear of being thrown into The Arena myself brought my mind back to the cell, and the rigid air made me shiver. I peered out of the viewing port, looking out into the vast, empty void of space. It was a terrifying thought, knowing that darkness stretched for infinity, with nothing but the planet we once called home in sight.
The hazy ball of blue and green was marred with muddy red scars from all of the destruction it endured.
Our home was taken by monstrous creatures that wrought havoc on the planet; a race of creatures we call the Entrati. Each time humanity hit back at those creatures, they became stronger, adapting to our tactics the more they devoured us. Even just the thought of these creatures made my blood boil.
Even so, the Earth was beautiful despite its battle scars, once harboring beautiful landscapes and fascinating creatures. At least that's what I’ve been told. It was the only other sight besides the Sun and the Moon that we could see with the naked eye. Orbiting such a massive planet and imagining everyone still trapped there, left behind, it all weighed heavily on us survivors.
I had never actually seen the Entrati for myself, but the hatred for them burned fiercely within me. It had been one hundred years since my people fled the planet, taught that it was our only choice. Despite its battle scars, Earth had once harbored beautiful landscapes and fascinating creatures. It was the only other sight besides the Sun and the Moon that we could see with the naked eye, and the thought of everyone still trapped there left behind weighed heavily on us survivors.
Would they see us as cowards, running away from home? Or would they understand that we had to flee for our lives? As the years went on, the war for humanity turned into a fight for survival. Our numbers were dwindling, while the Entrati grew stronger with each attack, adapting to our tactics the more they devoured us.
As the war dragged on, the fate of humanity hung in the balance. Every day, we fought tooth and nail just to survive, constantly on the run from the ruthless Entrati. With each passing moment, our numbers dwindled, and it seemed like our demise was inevitable. Either we would be slaughtered or forced into a never-ending cycle of slavery. The thought of defeat loomed over us like a dark cloud and ultimately we decided that we had lost the war.
But not our hope.
Suddenly, a screeching noise pierced the air, jolting me back to reality. I couldn't help but grin as I imagined Laros,my mentor, flying into a rage at the state of the room. But the sound of the crowd outside the door quickly silenced my thoughts.
"Are you ready, kid?" a gruff voice asked as a burly man with a shaved head and wild beard barged into the room. He was dressed in a sand-blue uniform, armed with a sidearm and saber.
I muttered sarcastically, "Great, he's here."
My heart sank as I realized that the time had come. I hoped that it wasn't too late. I felt my fists clench involuntarily as my heart throbbed in my ears. With a heavy heart, I gazed out of the small viewport, taking in what might be my last glimpse of the beautiful, hazy blue and green planet.
It was time.
Time for a fight.
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