“And we’ll never be royals, it don’t run in our blood. That kind of lux just ain’t for us, we crave a different kind of buzz. Let me be your ruler, you can call me Queen B, and baby I’ll. Let me live that fantasy. Yum, yum, yum.” – Queen Lorde of Eastern Kaeslvackia, probably.
The first thing he noticed was the taste of ash in his mouth,
A bitterness that dulled his sense of smell filling his mouth with the taste of carbon and cheap tobacco. Instantly he felt his mouth moistening with spit as his gag reflex kicked in. Collecting a wad of saliva and phlegm in his mouth he spat it onto the concrete ground outside the shuttered Best Arena. Taking in a sharp breath as his throat relaxed he cast his strange gaze up at the faded glory of the old High Octane Wrestling arena.
He dwelled upon all the memories of that haunted facility, of the blood spilled and the bones broken. Max was fairly certain some form of cannibalism occurred in the bowels of that menacing structure, Graystone was a strange man. The Lord of Kaelsalvania often wondered how many bodies were buried in the foundation, how many people who had become useless to the bloodthirsty God of High Octane Wrestling, Lee Best.
Lost in his thoughts it suddenly occurred to him he had no idea why he was standing here.
Blinking a few times Max shook his head and narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the Best Arena. Had it summoned him here somehow? Was there some kind of spiritual connection between the two of them that forced Max into a fugue state drawing him away from the All State Arena to come here?
This Cursed Place.
Max settled on that probably being the case, after all no other explanation could possibly fit that description. Haunted arenas fit the vast majority of the more obvious details of his current memory loss.
Boy he seemed to be experiencing that more often than not these days. Max knew it, beneath it all he was keeping track of it even if he liked to hide that fact from himself. Like most of his problems, Max figured, if he just ignored it long enough it’d probably work itself out. Still, it was starting to get harder to tell time because most of the time he wasn’t truly aware of the date. More often he had to rely on whatever his phone told him.
Biting his lower lip he was once again reminded of the taste of ash in his mouth, grimacing in disgust before huffing indignantly. Thankfully he was close to his North Kaelrean Camp that had been set up in the Best Arena Parking Lot a few months back. He hadn’t been back to it in a few months, not since Kim Jong Un had called him back to North Korea. He hoped it was still there as he quickly shuffled across the parking lot.
Immediately upon laying eyes on the small tented encampment that it was abandoned. The lights were darkened, most of the equipment had been taken, only the gutted tents and a few chairs remained, abandoned by the North Kaelrean Forces drawn back to North Korea. As he approached the chilly Chicago night cut through the black three piece suit he was wearing with a fancy silk white tie.
He hadn’t noticed the tie until just now. He didn’t remember owning any white ties, it didn’t fit any of the current motifs of stables riddling High Octane Wrestling. Maybe a gift from Mario?
Just another concern he pushed into the back of his mind hopefully to never think about again, one of life’s little mysteries.
With a shake of his head he dispatched the thought and fixed his gaze on the corpse of his former forward camp. The dark shadows of the tents stretched between beams of light that shined down from the distant street. His blue eye flared up to create a sort of flashlight effect as he started to scan for anything useful.
He heard his phone chirp from his pocket startling him in the otherwise quiet encampment. Reaching into his pocket Max pulled the phone out and stared at the alert.
“..get your shit together we need to meet..” Max muttered what was on his screen until he reached the end of the note. “..Elenore Kael.”
His lips twisted into a pouting sneer as he stuffs the phone back away into his pocket happy to ignore any messages from his cousin.. Or I guess his sister, Elenore Sinclair Kael. His eye returned to searching the camp for anything useful as he heard his phone chirp a second and third time, his brow furrowing as he did his best to ignore them. As a fourth alert cut through the silence he pulled the phone from his pocket and angrily pushed past the alerts and disabled the sound as to be left in peace.
“That dumb bitch can’t get a hold of me if I can’t hear it, heh.”
Max’s self congratulatory tone was accompanied with a pat on his own back as he reveled in his own brilliance. Pushing past he tattered flaps to his own personal tent he was hit with the smell of stale air and something familiar. Burnt leaves and lavender?
He was suddenly blinded as a light snapped to life and burned his normalish blue eye while his mechanical eye worked to cut through the sudden brightness. Recoiling he stumbled back slightly, his hands lifted into defensive fists while trying to fight off the sudden shock. As his eyes adjusted to the new found brightness in the darkened camp he caught the silhouette of a woman slowly coming into focus.
Elenore Sinclair Kael.
“Predictable as always Max, always coming home to roost.” Elenore’s icy voice cut through the surprise and jammed directly into the back of Max’s head. She was dressed in an all white pinstriped suit and skirt, fashionable, powerful yet distinctly feminine. Max literally hissed at her as his eyes fully adjusted, lowering his fists though keeping his guard up.
“Fuck you, I’m not predictable, you’re predictable! I haven’t been here in.. weeks! How could you know I would be here?” Max snarled in defiance as he started to circle around his distant adopted cousin..er.. Sister.
Elenore let out a soft, demeaning laugh. She was shorter than Max by almost a full foot and yet she found some way to stare down at him from behind her silver rimmed glasses. The scars of the flame that Max once bathed her in were still faintly visible on the edges of her perfect, porcelain face hidden beneath layers of makeup. Though he didn’t smile he still felt a sense of pride in the lasting damage he had left on his cruel cousin-sister.
“Maximillian, please, darling.” Elenore said in a castizing manner while stifling a soft laugh. “If you weren’t predictable I wouldn’t be here right now, would I? As I said, cousin, we need to talk.”
She looked around at the gutted tent before finding a chair that had been tipped over. Gracefully slipping over to it she leaned it back up and took a seat, her cold eyes turning back toward Max as she let her hands rest in her lap. The Prime Minister of Maxopotamia glared at her as his metal teeth could be heard grinding together beneath his weathered lips. Finally, after a few tense moments, Max scrounges up his own chair, plopping down angrily as he matches Elenore’s even gaze.
“Fine, let’s talk.. Oh and also apparently we are not cousins. Wilhelm Kael is.. Was my father.”
Elenore’s sardonic smile faltered for a moment but her venere of unflappable cool did not break. She nodded solemnly as her eyes stayed locked on Max’s.
“Yes, I know. Which is why we need to talk about Linka O’Lee, your old neighbor and babysitter. You saw her earlier in the year?”
Once again Elenore had managed to surprise Max as she mentioned the old women he had been the one to reveal that Wilhelm Kael was his real father.
“What about her? She got a few more secrets left to tell?”
“At least one more.”
Reaching into her pocket Elenore retrieved a folded piece of paper. She held it out toward Max with that stoic, cold expression on her face. At first Max was hesitant to take it, his eyes staring down at it as though it was some kind of trap or poison. Slowly he reached out and snatched it from her hand, fearful that if he didn’t act quickly Elenore might drop some kind of insidious trap down on his head.
Unfolding the paper, Max’s expression was incredulous, after all what secrets could that old woman still have? Letting out a huff of indignation Max read the paper carefully. Stopped. Reread whatever was on the paper and stopped. His face slowly began to flash red as he looked up at Elenore.
“..you’re not fucking with me?”
Elenore stood elegantly, smoothing out her pencil skirt.
“If you’re fucking with me I will kill you and this time I’ll make it stick, do you understand me?”
His Cousin-Sister flashed him a cruel, empty smile, her perfect white teeth flashing like a hungry shark. Having completed her task she brushed toward the exit without a word.
The only answer he would get was the sound of her shoes on the pavement of the Best Arena parking lot as she took her leave which only worked to further infuriate Max.
But no answer would come as he was left alone in the ruins of his North Kealrean Camp, his eyes returning to the paper in front of him.
The Mother of GoD. That’s what Michael said they should nickname Lindsay Troy, a woman Mike had been secretly working with since last year. The woman that was instrumental in destroying the Industry and convincing Dan Ryan to join the Group of Death. She had been the lynch pin in ensuring that Michael had a victory at ICONIC and then he even sacrificed his place in the LBI to ensure she made it out of their Group.
Then I stopped her.
I have no idea why Michael thinks so much of Lindsay Troy. I can take several guesses but in all honestly Michael and I do not speak much these days. Ever since he became ICON Champion and found himself leading the Group of Death there are far too many things to deal with then his own adopted Brother and the man he has been working with for over a decade.
Maybe Michael was angry that I cut his little plan down during the LBI, that I wouldn’t just roll over so Lindsay Troy could ascend out of the LBI to garner a shot at the World Championship that was wrapped around Cecilworth Farthington’s waist? Perhaps that was the pay off for Lindsay Troy after she took the pin for him at ICONIC?
I’m not one to wildly speculate.
Instead I’m the guy who is going to have to face Lindsay Troy for the second time this year, this time for the LSD Championship. A championship that Lindsay’s old stablemates High “Jack Harmen” Flyer and MJFlair couldn’t take off me, the same Championship I defeated three other men in a cage to keep. The title that I have defended six times since claiming and walked away each time still holding my precious title.
Nobody is going to take this title off me because nobody can. Sure, you put in your work Lindsay, sure we’re on the same team so you’ve definitely earned the chance.. But let’s face it honey, you couldn’t beat me in the LBI, you certainly will not beat me now that my Championship is on the line. Not only on the line but ensured by Lee to be a violent spectacle because we don’t need to just beat each other once, we need to kill each other through three separate stipulations.
First we have ourselves a regular old pinfall match, a style of match that I have already shown superiority. You might have your best chance to start off on a good foot to beat me here, Lindsay Troy, as your wrestling capacity is comparable to my own. You’re fast, agile, strong and hit hard. You’re basically Mike Best but, you know, the female version so you’ll never be quite as good. I’m going to guess that is why Mike likes to keep you around, so he can remind himself that he is the best at being him.
Which is fine, we all need to have our roles. Cecilworth keeps his thumb on the World Title. Michael feeds his ego by keeping the ICON Championship. I keep the LSD Championship in check and ensure that the rest of High Octane Wrestling knows it.. Lindsay Troy and Dan Ryan exist to make sure the Group of Death looks… looks..
I still remember how you two cost me my Tag Team Championship.
I still remember every loss you suffer as a stain on the Group of Death, as proof that the Group of Death is impressive but still falls short of the glory of the eMpire.
And I suspect that Lee still remembers which is why he booked this match. He wants us to destroy each other but mostly he wants to remind Michael that at War Games his last pick is still not qualified to win War Games.
Do I want to ruin Lindsay Troy?
No, while she may be sub-par in comparison to me she is still a very qualified opponent and wrestler. She represents the Group of Death as best as she can even if that doesn’t necessarily equate to victory. She’s like the little Train that could, pushing along, getting help from all her little friends to build her up. It’s adorable, it’s real, it makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, it really does.
But then after the pinfall you’re going to need to drive my body through a table. Me, standing at six foot four inches and weighing a solid two hundred and thirty five pounds with a record of Nine and Two. Against you.
Standing at a towering six foot three and one hundred and ninety five pounds with a record of five and four. One of those loses is me. One of my victories is you. You’re one pinfall and one broken table away from batting .500 Lindsay Troy. Maybe you should take up baseball rather than facing the better part of your wrestling stable?
However let’s say that you manage to either pin me or drive me through a table, what next?
A Falls Count Anywhere stipulation that covers the final pinfall of the two out of three. You think that benefits you? You think you can train for that, Lindsay Troy, you think you have the trainers to prepare you for me? You think Dan Ryan is going to help you jump over his hurdle? You think Michael Lee Best can give you the pep talk to put you over the moon against me? I’ve been in this business for 24 years, if you think you’ve got some magic advantage here..
Fuck you Lindsay Troy.
This is MY LSD Championship and while I may be looking forward to the World’s Friendliest War Games I will not be parting with this Championship, not for the Group of Death, not for the eMpire, not for Lee or Michael Best.
Not for ANYONE.
Especially the second worst member of the Group of Death.