High Octane Wrestling
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Published: Written by: Maximillian Kael

“Kobashi?”

 

A bloodied man stirred beneath a flickering light, long shadows covered the walls of his holding cell. His eye strained as he looked toward the sound of the voice unsure if anyone was actually there or if he was simply going insane.

 

“..Hey.. Kobashi, is that you?”

 

The voice hissed again causing him to perk up a little. It was low, a barely audible whisper but he heard it clearly. There were also notes in the voice he recognized, the voice of a friend. He struggled to push himself up against his bodies wishes. In the flickering light his body was a wash of purples bruises and oozing bloody lacerations. His eyes stared out into the darkness outside of his cell straining to see who the familiar voice belonged to. 

 

“..Hello?..I.. I can hear you.” Kobashi said weakly as he fumbled toward the bars of his cage. “..but I can’t see you.”

 

From the darkness a hand reached out and grasped his shoulder tightly pulling him forward firmly. The grip was painful and the sudden movement caused Kobashi to let out a low gasp. As he stared forward a pale face came into view. One he had grown accustomed to seeing over the last six months. The one eyed American, Maximillian Kael, who had become Kim Jung Un’s favorite wrestler since arriving there. 

 

“..Kael-san?” 

 

“Yeah, it’s me. Listen.. We’re getting out of here. I have a plan.. In a few days I’ll let you know more but.. After tonight? After what they made us do?..” Max’s hushed voice filled Kobashi’s ears as he let his head rest against the cold bars. There was a sound in Max’s voice, an unfamiliar one. Empathy? No.. Guilt. 

 

“I do not blame..you.” Kobashi grunted out as he could feel the blood slowly fill the back of his mouth where a molar had been knocked free earlier in the night. Despite what had happened earlier in the night Kobashi’s voice was strong, unyielding. Defiant. “..you do what you must to survive, Kael-san.”

 

“Yeah well, from here on out I’m doing what I need to for both of us to survive, alright?” Despite taking on a more upbeat tone the guilt was still there clipping the end of his sentence with a bitter aftertaste. 

 

“..alright, Kael-san.” 

 

Kobashi felt the hand tighten down on his shoulder in a reassuring manner before the slender fingers withdrew from the cell and were followed by the sound of Max’s feet scampering across the concrete floor. He strained his eyes in the flickering light to catch a fleeting glimpse of Max before he vanished around a corner. 

 

He wasn’t sure if the American was just out of his mind or if he really had a plan. He didn’t have long to contemplate the matter as a wave of pain and nausea struck causing him to collapse down to the cold floor of his cell. 

 

With a deep breath he closed his eyes.

 

 

MAXXXKAEL Jr. opened his eyes and he exhaled a deep breath. He had just finished his training with Evan Ward and needed time alone. The Herald, a lap dog of Maximillian Kael who had been attached to his hip since he had arrived in HOW had been disallowed to join the two during their training, much to his delight. Before leaving he had decided to stop off in a sauna and take in a good steam. 

 

Since taking up the mantle of MAXXXKAEL Jr. he had worked hard to maintain the honor and the dignity of Max Kael’s legacy though.. It was proving to be something completely different then he would have anticipated. He had assumed that Max was adored and respected in America but he had discovered rather quickly that was not the case. People here in America generally despised him and his name didn’t invoke much respect from his fellow wrestlers. 

 

This had, in turn, made most of the talent in HOW anywhere from being intolerant to downright hostile. Thankfully MAXXXKAEL Jr. had been experiencing that most of his adult life and so allowed it to wash over him. That wasn’t what troubled him. 

 

Since arriving he had at least had the luxury of having opponents to occupy his focus. None of them were who he sought, the one known as Dan Ryan, but then he was, as always, not in charge of his own fate. The Herald, being both far more clever then he was often given credit and utter vindictive, had steered him toward Jack Harmen, a veteran who utilized aggressive, near suicidal attacks. Apparently Jack Harmen and the Herald had some kind of feud though honestly MAXXXKAEL Jr. could have cared less. 

 

The steam filled the room and swirled around MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s face as his skin ran slick with sweat. He let his mind clear as he entered a meditative state as he had done countless times after training. Here, in Ward’s gym, he could find peace..

 

“MAXXXKAEL JR!”

 

The voice cut through the hissing sound of the steam like molten lava through butter. MAXXXKAEL Jr. didn’t open his eyes but his face hardened, his lips turned downward. The peace was lost.. The Herald had found him.

 

“There you are!” the Herald cherub like face filled the glass window of the door. Despite the barrier between the two somehow the Herald’s voice sounded just as clear and annoying as if he had been standing right in MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s face.

 

“..yes, Herald-sama. You found me.” He replied to the Herald in his deep, heavily accented voice. “..now please go away.”

 

“What? I can’t hear you! Here, let me come in there!” Sub-Marquis Bentley Tennyson Farthington-Primrose said excitedly before the sound of the door unlatching put an exclamation point MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s displeasure. The steam rushed out of the room swirling around the Herald and his bedazzled, bell ridden cape with a jingling of jangles. “Ooooh boy it’s hot in here! Ew.. you willingly sit in this.. This.. dampness?”

 

The Herald face scrunched up tightly as he waved his hand in his face limply attempting to swat the steam away. MAXXXKAEL Jr. gave a heavy sigh mixed with a disapproving grunt.

 

“I say.. No.. I said.. Go Away, Herald-sama.” He offered as he opened on eye to stare toward the Herald doing his best to look displeased hoping that Bentley would get the point. Unfortunately the Herald was always a terrible observer. 

 

“Rude! We still need to talk about how you’re going to overcome Evan Ward as your partner in order to defeat Emm Jay Eff and that.. That..” The Herald’s face flushed read as he stared down at his open hands which shook with infantile rage. “..Jack.. STUPID.. Harmen! That.. Low Flyer!”

 

Like you would expect with a man-child such as the Herald he snorted and laughed as his own joke while MAXXXKAEL Jr. leveled an even glare. 

 

“Stop.” A bear paw of a hand was raised to the Herald’s chest as MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s voice took on a sharp note. “..First, do not speak of Evan Ward as though he was some.. Ape incapable of doing anything flinging his own filth. I trained with him. I saw his spirit. His will to win. He is a capable fighter, equal to any other who I have watched here in High Octane Wrestling. He and I discussed strategy, we have a plan. A directive to win and a cohesion. We have a balance that I believe will triumph over even two so great opponents as Flair and Harmen.”

 

Primrose stared at MAXXXKAEL Jr. as though he had both a third eye on his forehead and a dick on his chin. The steam began to swell in the room again as the Herald’s brow began to bead with sweat adding to his estranged appearance, his mind working double time on what he had just heard.

 

“..but Evan Ward is a literal idiot! I know, I’ve heard the Intelligent and Incredible Maximillian Kael, Fir-”

 

“Stop.”

 

Once again MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s sharp voice cut the Herald off. 

 

“..but.”

 

“Stop!”

The two stared at each other for a full five seconds during which the Herald huffed and puffed but upon each near outburst MAXXXKAEL Jr. would thrust his finger in young Bentley’s face. 

 

“..here is a truth to take with you when you leave my presence young Herald-sama. Since Max Kael-san chose me to represent him and honor his Legacy I have listened to only your voice. Not out of desire but because you do not ever shut up. I have listened to what you consider wisdom and found it to be a poison of ignorance. It is true that you are the Herald as chosen by Maximillian Kael and because of that I can not dismiss you.” MAXXXKAEL Jr. narrowed his eyes, his voice dropping into a threatening growl. “..but Max Kael-san is not here and he took his wisdom with him. I will not listen to a child inform me over another warrior like Evan Ward. You are a lowly Snake who claims the Lion’s shadow as his own.. You understand?”

 

The Herald’s eyes were wide, his clothes becoming heavy with the musty dampness he stood in. 

 

“First, ouch. Second I re-”

 

“Stop! Turn and leave.”

 

The young Herald’s face flushed red once again and he opened his mouth before the words were aborted before they could ever make it into the world as MAXXXKAEL Jr. tightened his fist into a ball in front of the Herald’s face, each knuckle popping and cracking beneath the strain. It was joined with a deeply unpleasant grunt by the tanklike man. Bentley’s cheeks puffed as his lips tightened, the words piling up behind his teeth and filling his mouth. 

 

With a great amount of willpower the Herald covered his mouth and skittered back through the sauna door and, at least for the moment, out of MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s vicinity. With the Herald gone he leaned back and relaxed once again. His muscles relaxed as he felt a degree of weight lift off his body. He let his mind begin to wander once again as he moved himself into a meditative state, the warm steam flowing over his shoulders as it washed away the ache and the pain.

 

With a deep breath he closed his eyes. 

 

 

His eyes opened slowly as he knelt before a shrine.  MAXXXKAEL Jr. wasn’t a great craftsman but he had managed to put together a butsudan, a personal shrine dedicated to the Lord of Kaelsalvania. In the center of the shrine was a small picture of Max Kael’s grinning face and malice filled blue eye.

 

“[Max Kael-san.. You have left me here. I owe you a great debt and.. I would never fault your wisdom but..]” MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s brow furrowed as he spoke in his native Japanese. “[..I do not understand why you have left me here. Why you have left me with the Herald. I would be your instrument of destruction anywhere in the world. At first I thought perhaps I was here to exact revenge on Dan Ryan. I was so sure of it but then..]”

 

He turned his eyes toward the picture of Max in the shrine, his face perplexed.

 

“[..your Herald embroiled me in a feud with the High Flyer Jack Harmen. It is not that I have any issue with Jack Harmen, he is a skilled combatant who faced me for fifteen minutes without a direct victor but to what end should I face this man? To settle a score for the Herald? I am not the Heralds Weapon.. I am yours, Max Kael-san.]”

 

He let out a sigh as his eyes turned toward the ground.

 

“[Perhaps this is a test? If it is be assured I will pass it. Wherever you are Kael-san, know that I am giving my all to keep your Legacy alive. I will do so with Evan Ward this coming Friday. I wonder, if you were here, what you would tell me about my opponents? What would you coach me on about this fight? What wisdom would you offer to improve my chances of victory?]”

 

Lifting his head MAXXXKAEL Jr. stared into the blue orb that was Max’s remaining eye. He reflected on how cruel it looked, how filled with malice it seemed compared to how he knew him. It seemed like two different people.

 

“[Evan Ward and I have designed a strategy we hope will prove successful against our opponents reliant on what we know of them. Our advantage is power, there is speed.. But speed of body.. And speed of mind are two different weapons. I have some experience with High Flyer and I will use that to my advantage. His finishing strike, the Locomotive, can be devastating to an opponent, made even more so because of his skill in striking it unexpectedly. However, after much practice with Evan Ward, I have a potential counter strike.]”

 

A low, approving grunt escapes MAXXXKAEL Jr.’s throat as he nods his head solemnly. Evans had been perfect for training against High Flyer but there was nothing better than the real thing. Come Friday MAXXXKAEL Jr. could figure out if he was capable of countering the Locomotive or if he would be going back to the drawing board.

 

“[And then, of course, there is Flair. Despite her diminutive appearance she has incredible awareness with how to utilize her momentum to make up for her lack of mass. You do not need me to tell you how dangerous she can be and how swiftly she can end a match as even you have fallen to her impressive skills.]” He grunted slightly. It was a bitter truth that MAXXXKAEL Jr. had kept very much at the forefront of his mind. Of the two opponents he would face he considered her the far more dangerous one if only because he had no direct experience with her. “[Again, her speed is a major advantage paired with very simple but very effective moveset. Almost to the point where designing a proper strategy feels like over thinking the problem. We must.. Ground her. Focus on High Flyer, keep her locked out of the match as much as possible. Frustrate her. Hope if and when she is in the ring her emotions cloud her judgement.. And opens up a window for victory by my hand.. Or Even Wards, it matters not.]”

 

It wasn’t the best strategy ever devised but it wasn’t a terrible one either. He would try to sneak in a few more training sessions with Ward before Friday. Still, nothing was better than the real then and hopefully, when it arrived, he and Ward would be ready.

 

“..anyway, Kael-san, wherever you are, I hope you are well and that I will see you soon.]” 

 

He stood slowly and offered a low bow toward the shrine. With a deep breath he closed his eyes and said a small prayer for his friend. 

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