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Zeo
Gauntlet II
Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:51am
174.18.20.246

Axel slumped over a tall glass of crystal-clear vodka his bleary eyes covered by a massive hand. Every twenty seconds he restarted the memory of Liska falling into the rollers searching desperately for anything he could have done differently.

“Hey Axel.” The veteran muttered something incoherent. Shade looked down at his superior and rolled his eyes. Seating himself at his small table he thumped a hand down on Axel's back disrupting the memory playback. “You really probably ought to see this.”

Axel grudgingly lifted his head from his hands and looked up at the monitors displaying the current fight. “What?”

Shade grinned. “That's Zeo man.”

Axel's eyes widened then narrowed as he watched the screens more intently. On one the previous battle was displayed, Zeo versus Kali. Both Axel and Shade winced as a massive slug ripped through the four-armed swordsman's genitals in a puff of red winning Zeo the match.

His current match had just begun.

The sand was still sticky with Kali's blood where Zeo's second opponent took his stance. Introduced as Rue, he seemed to be a gunman of some caliber if his low slung pistols and glittering eyes were any indication.

Zeo shifted his feet slightly and prepared himself. If Rue really was a top-quality trigger man there wasn't a chance in the world the Freelancer could beat him with a quick draw. Fortunately the Iron Fist Tournament wasn't at all about playing fair. As soon as the announcer started the match Zeo's shield sprang to life just in time to deflect three plasma rounds.

Rue was as good as he'd been talked up to be.

Even as Zeo charged forward shield first, the gunman was strafing to the side forcing Zeo to twist and sending him off balance just in time for his boot to sink into an unexpected dip in the sand. Off balance as he was that was all it took for the veteran of a thousand battlefields to trip head over heals.

Rue's hands moved faster than unenhanced eyes could follow but Zeo's reaction time was still faster. He maneuvered his shield just as the first bullet tore a chunk out of his ear. The others collided with the blue barrier and ricocheted off in all directions.

Muttering a curse Zeo pushed himself to his feet and set his shield again, watching the power bar steadily drop. Just when he was beginning to admit to himself that things were going south in a hurry Rue made the biggest mistake of his life.

He laughed.

Holy WOW! Did you see that Tom!?” Carlito screamed as the massive main screen zoomed in on the tears trickling down Rue's cheeks around the lumps and cuts now composing his face.

Sure did Chuck. That was about as brutal a beating as I've seen outside of Moscow!” Tom replied, his mellow voice the perfect counterpoint to his partner's emotional highs and lows.

I don't know what brought about the change but this is a completely new side of Zeo. I wonder how this will affect him going into this next rou – Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Nobody deserves THAT!

Nobody besides my Mother In Law.” Tom paused then let out a chuckle. “Well I certainly hope all you betters out there put your money on Mr. Grey because this hot streak seems to have him on the fast track to yet another win!

Okay so the last opponent in this Gauntlet match is... Wow! Crowd favorite Triss!

Zeo, covered in blood, not all of it his own, watched through his one good eye as Triss strode out on the sand and lifted her omnium blade over her head. The crowd responded with a titanic roar that rippled across the Coliseum, shaking the massive overhead screens in their moorings.

Though nothing if not self-confident Zeo couldn't help but have a rational moment. Triss was good. Very good. He granted her that unconditionally. As good as himself? Maybe. But beyond being good she was also fresh without so much as a stinging scratch. Zeo was not doing nearly as well. His gut hurt abominably from a near-miss with one of Kali's beamsabers, his ear was still dribbling blood down his shoulder from Rue, and he was pretty sure his last opponent, a gargantuan brawler in heavy armor, had bruised several of his ribs as well as almost pulping his eye.

Triss swung her blade through several practice strikes then settled both hands on the hilt, the saber angled so that the tip hovered at about Zeo's neck. “Sorry about this. I didn't know this was going to be a gauntlet match.”

“Y'wouldn't stand a chance otherwise.” Zeo grunted, activating the beamsaber held loosely in his right hand. Sand sizzled and glassed as the blue tip stabbed down into the arena.

“I guess.”

Her lunge was perfectly executed and blindingly fast. Zeo's saber swept up and knocked the blade off course with the ear-splitting crackle of energy on metal. Triss stepped back and resumed her stance, chuckling.

The crowd, sensing that she was playing, began to rumble. Some cheering the presumably sadistic display while others booed, demanding real blood. The two ignored them and continued to battle across the blood-stained sand until Triss sighed.

“I'd like to drag this out longer. For your ego I mean. But looks like it's time to end the game.”

Zeo's lips curved back to reveal bloody teeth in wordless grin.

Triss's form was beautiful to see, her saber moved like a living thing and her movements had the sinuous grace of a dancer's. Zeo's saber strikes seemed ugly and utilitarian in comparison yet again and again he parried until, with an abrupt roll of her wrist she struck and felt the unmistakable sensation of metal parting flesh. Her omnium saber was near halfway through Zeo's thigh, only his own blade kept it from going further. Her victory was terribly short lived as she realized the uncomfortable pinch at the bottom of her breastplate was the barrel of a Deacon XII pointed directly up at her heart.

Her blow was the first struck but Zeo's would be fatal. For a long second they posed like statues; Triss's breath coming in short gasps as she prepared herself for the pain. Not once did the thought of surrender cross her mind. The clip from Zeo's pistol whispered from its home to hit the sand.

It was empty.

“Never had time to reload.” Zeo admitted with a rueful grin as he dislodged his pistol and tapped the 'surrender' button on his armband. Triss's blade slid free of Zeo's thigh with a wet sound accompanied by a grunt from the berserker. White-faced, she tottered back from her head, disbelief twisting her pretty face.

“I... I won...!” Zeo was already limping for his door. Once inside the cool corridor he worked the slide and caught the single bullet that rocketed from the chamber.

Shade slid out from the shadows clucking his tongue in disbelief. “Sneaky my friend. Very sneaky. Also kinda disappointing. I had money riding on you.”

“But you had more riding on her.”

“Well...she's got tits.”

“Uh-huh.”

The ninja settled Zeo's arm over his shoulders. “Suppose I oughta get you to an infirmary before you bleed out.” Even through the closed doors both could hear the reverberating roar as the crowd celebrated Triss's latest win with her.

High above the plebes Marcus Signus turned in his chair to face the diminutive Raphael Delacroix. “How'd you make out on that little upset?” He gloated, positive Delacroix had bet on Zeo winning.

“Quite well.” Delacroix replied in his usual subdued manner. “It was a profitable match.”

“Y'didn't bet on Grey to win?” Marcus growled.

“Of course not.”

“WHY!?”

“She has breasts.”

"Breasts! What has that got to do with anything?"

Celeste's laughter was like the tinkling of glass bells as she shook her head.

  • Gauntlet IZeo Grey, Thu Oct 1 7:10pm
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    • Gauntlet II — Zeo, Thu Oct 15 7:51am
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