It was tiring. There was no other word that could describe Ellington’s feelings of being subjected to the disdainful glances and sly remarks of his team, but tired. The original owner of this body must have been very thick-skinned to endure this crap.
But he wasn’t the original owner. Now was he? No, he was just the poor soul that entered his body.
A sensitive soul at that! One whose mental fortitude was being severely tested by these freaking background characters.
He only had himself to blame. Being locked in a hospital 24/7, all year round, his skin never had the chance to harden. He was working on fixing that aspect of himself. If he wanted to survive this world, that was from what he could see filled with ignoramuses. He had to.
Luckily, his teammates gave him the wonderful opportunity to do exactly that. And most days, it was easy to endure their ridicule, but today was different.
Why? Well, that's because he was ending tonight’s skating competition.
So, even though it might seem weak, he didn’t have it in him to tolerate their negativity on top of everything else. He would just let them think they got to him, but only just this once.
Because after today he would be free of the burden that is this team.
‘Soon, I won’t have to see their scraggly ass faces anymore. I just need to hang on a little longer.’ Elli thought, trying to reassure himself.
As he glanced around at his soon-to-be ex-members’ faces, he realized that soon couldn’t come soon enough. Getting up from his seat, Ellington headed to the door, needing to get away. However, before he could leave, his coach’s voice stopped him.
“Ellington, where do you think you are going? There are only 30 minutes left before you need to go on.” The large grey-haired man said, whilst giving him a look of disgust. “You’re not thinking of bailing, are you?”
With a small smile that barely hid his contempt, the silver-haired boy replied, “No sir, I wouldn’t dream of doing that. I just want to go clear my head. I will be back before it’s my time to go on.”
“You better be,” the man said, a clear warning in his tone before immediately dismissing him to help a nearby skater tighten his shoelaces.
Squeezing the doorknob tightly, Ellington took a calming breath. No matter how much he sees it, his coach's biased attitude always pissed him off. Opening the door, he walked out, ignoring the scathing comments whispered about him by his teammates.
It was hard because some things they said about him were downright vile. Nevertheless, knowing none of it was true helped him to swat away their words like flies.
Ellington closed the door with a relieved sigh. He was so happy to be away from those toxic people. Delighted even.
Now that he was away from that stifling place, his nervousness faded away into excitement as he realized where he was. He was at Palais Makomanai stadium. The last time he was at an ice skating stadium was when he was five, before he got sick. It overjoyed him to be here, especially since it was for the Olympics.
"Bluey, come out!" As soon as those words spilled from Elli's lips, a gray and white cat appeared next to him, floating in the air.
Bluey: You called? What do you need now?
Ignoring his system’s sass, he smiled before replying, "Pull up the schematics of this building. I want to have a look around."
Even though he knew he would have only twenty minutes at best, he wanted to have a good look around. Bluey complied with his request without question, and within moments, the cat had projected an image of the building in front of them.
"Thanks, Bluey," Elli said before he started to walk around the stadium, taking everything in.
The silver-haired boy was so happy that he had the chance to skate in the Olympics, even if it was just a showcase for up incoming skaters.
As he walked around, admiring all the different areas, his thoughts turned to his skating performance tonight. He knows that if it goes well, he might be able to get the attention of a certain coach. However, before he could dwell further, he heard the sound of cheering.
Curious, he followed the sound. He stepped through large double doors and found himself rink-side, where he spotted a figure of a man standing on the ice.
Recognizing the person immediately, Ellington’s eyes widened with awe. He knew exactly who that tall, muscular man was. That man could only be Ryu Ueda, one of his favorite characters in Ice Fire. If his signature purple hair didn’t give it away, then his outfit definitely would.
Ellington covered his mouth with his hand, staring at the man in wonder. He looked exactly like his description. Down to the Onyx inlaid mauve top that matched his hair to the faux leather jeans that fitted his muscular legs perfectly.
‘The author really didn’t do him justice,’ Elli thought, gazing thoughtfully at the magnificent specimen of a man.
However, before he could appreciate the man some more, he noticed a hush go over the crowd. Realizing that Ryu was about to begin his routine, anticipation filled him, making him stare even more.
After several seconds, the lights dimmed, becoming darker and darker until all that could be seen was Ryu, standing under a lone spotlight. Even the ice-skating rink disappeared in the darkness. It was awe-inspiring.
Suddenly, Ryu raised a fist in the air. As he did, music began to play. It was just the steady sound of drums at first, that went in time with the spotlights that danced across the floor.
As though he was at a concert, Ryu pumped his fist in the air in time with the music. It wasn’t until the guitars began it was clear that he was the star of the show.
Ryu danced around the ice with precise, crisp movements that screamed look at me. Elli’s mouth went dry at the sight.
As the purple-haired man danced, the music picked up. He began skating faster and faster until, with the screech of the guitar as a cue, he jumped, flying through the air, spinning six times before landing in a backflip. It was a marvelous feat of acrobatics.
Ellington was stunned. He couldn’t even dream of doing that. Clenching his fists, he felt anxious.
Loud cheers ranged out from the crowd as the fabulously dressed man landed safely, continuing his routine. Then, after barely dancing to the head-banging rock music, Ryu started doing front flips across the ice.
‘God, he didn’t even catch his breath,’ Elli thought in awe. ‘He’s really amazing! But I can’t help but think that something is missing from the routine.’
However, the crowd was eating it up, and vigorously took pictures, making the rink sparkle with each flash. But Ellington could see that it was nothing compared to the multitude of clicks and flashes from the reporter’s cameras as they tried to capture the spectacle that was Ryu Ueda.
After six more front flips, the purple-haired skated around again, gyrating his hips before putting power into his left leg and exploding upwards into a flat position in the air, before dropping into a Sit Spin. It was breathtaking to behold.
He looked like a butterfly sailing through the air before landing on one foot, gracefully spinning while seated on the ice.
As the man came out of the spin with ease, the people in the stand’s cheers became more vociferous. Joyful shouts and clapping could be heard by everyone.
This was especially the case for Ellington, since he was so close to the crowd. Suddenly, a whisper caught his attention. Turning away from Ryu, he saw a woman clutching a large sign with stars in her eyes.
Ellington couldn’t quite make out everything she was saying because of the noise, but he clearly heard the words Tornado Spin. That’s when he remembered Ryu’s signature move.
Quickly turning back to the ice, Ellington saw that the purple-haired man had just successfully landed another jump. However, this time, he didn’t care. He was just hoping to see the man’s special move.
Bouncing on his toes in excitement, he saw that once again Ryu was pumping his fist in time with the music, and knew something outstanding would occur by the end of the song.
And he was right.
As the music swelled, Ryu dashed across the ice, picking up speed before jumping with all his might. With one leg sticking straight out, the purple-haired man spun so fast that all that was left was a blur of movement.
Ellington was left gaping at the sight, but he was also terrified. Because as strange as it sounds, he could have sworn he felt wind picking up in the stadium. Shaking his head at his ridiculousness, he continued to watch.
Only to see the muscular man’s spinning had come to a halt. For a split second, it looked as though the man was floating in the air. However, before he could tell if that was so, Ryu did a double somersault before landing just as the music stopped.
The crowd went wild, and Ryu, ever the showman, made a rockstar pose while sticking his tongue out. The performance left a large impression on him. If he was nervous before, he was even more so.
‘There is no way anyone will enjoy my routine,’ Elli anxiously thought. ‘Gosh, how did I get myself into this?’
Bluey: Well, you died. Did you forget?
Ellington wasn't sure if he should laugh or cry as he turned to look at the cat, who was looking at him in concern, as if it was pondering whether or not he really couldn't remember.
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