He just stared at it for the past hour.
On one side, a sweaty, exhausted, completely drained Silas Artoria, heavily panting while struggling to keep awake. The past day was long, cold, and full of anxiety. Two forces were going to collide that day, and collide they did. He and Styles threw everything they had at each other without holding back, and in the end, Silas rose to meet the crown of the company.
On the other side was his prize. He had seen it many times before up close, but it was nothing compared to now. It was his. Only his. Nobody else's. There was an official connection, something that bound the two together in an official capacity, and Silas just stared at it. He saw the three plates, slightly worn from age and abuse, worn around waists and used as a weapon. It was a symbol of prestige and a sign that its holder was the undisputed top dog.
It wasn’t hard to indicate that. Silas had faced nine other athletes and felled them, ranging from the newest of competitors to the most tenured of the generation. He conquered them all, and the only one that gave him trouble is now gone from the company.
No one but him at the top.
Just him and the top prize of the Championship Wrestling Federation.
SILAS ARTORIA: Beautiful… isn't it.
Finally. Top of the mountain, king of the castle.
SILAS ARTORIA: The one and only. The CWF World Championship.
How long was this road?
SILAS ARTORIA: Two years, two whole years.
What a long road it was. He started as a naive boy with big dreams, growing in numbers, humbled by hubris, struggled through the trials of an athlete, climbed a mountain, and achieved what was thought to be impossible. He held onto the names that vowed he would never touch the belt -- Caledonia immediately comes to mind -- and ensured that they would come to regret their spineless words of insecurity.
The same words spun around in his head. He had finally done it. He’s finally achieved his ultimate goal. He made the long trek to the top.
And that was the problem.
SILAS ARTORIA: Funny, I’ve spent so long thinking about hold the belt and finding a way to climb the mountain, that…
For climbing the mountain is the easiest part of the road.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...I don’t know what to do next.
The door opened behind him, finally breaking the hypnosis that the championship had placed upon him. He wasn’t surprised by who it was. The locker room was a private spot, solely for the champion and whoever was authorized to enter the room. The rule was enforced to ensure the champion wasn’t ambushed by potential challengers or somebody wanting to make a name for themselves.
In this case, there was only one other person authorized to enter the locker room.
HIDETAKA ITO: You’re not ready?
It took a brief moment to realize what Ito was talking about. He was still topless, with only the familiar bandage covering anything on the upper part of his body. The skin speaks to him but has remained silent since Silas’ mentor turned the doorknob.
SILAS ARTORIA: No.
Ito briefly chuckled as he closed to door, just as Silas returned his attention back to the golden plates of the championship. Silas was proud, as was Ito, but there was an undercut of renewed anxiety to the Canadian.
HIDETAKA ITO: Thinking about what to do next?
SILAS ARTORIA: The chase is over.
HIDETAKA ITO: And now it’s time to quell rebellions.
One of the lessons Silas’ old history teacher taught the class passed through his head. A king is crowned, and pretenders arise. But in this case...
SILAS ARTORIA: There is no one. JC left the company!
HIDETAKA ITO: Doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t there. There were those guys who jumped into the ring after you got the title.
Silas handwaved it, not even giving Ito-san the benefit of eye contact. A bunch of random people being anti-social potentially counted? To Ito? Just the thought of it was enough to irritate him.
HIDETAKA ITO: Silas?
SILAS ARTORIA: You expect me to give new guys a chance at the title after the tirade I gave out about new people trumping more tenured athletes merely days ago, and you expect me to give them the benefit of a championship match.
He turned to look at Ito with a crazed fervor.
SILAS ARTORIA: If they stick around for six months, then I might listen to them,
HIDETAKA ITO: If you still hold the title.
The sentence struck a bullet through his head. There was a terrifying reality to the situation, and that was that since Silas was holding the belt, he would eventually lose it. Even reigns that seemed to last forever eventually ended. Pedro Morales, Bruno Sammartino, even kings outside of the sport have their reigns come to a complete stop at some point. Even Ito’s legendarily long reign came to an end.
With no answer, he slowly turned his attention back into the championship. He began to notice specific scatches on the company logo. Almost...metaphoric, in a tranquil sense.
SILAS ARTORIA: Hypnotic, isn’t it?
HIDETAKA ITO: You’re in a tag match when we return.
His gaze immediately broke before he could sink into the eternal gaze. A tag match? In the first show? Strange, he wasn’t consulted, especially when it came to his tag partner. He had hoped to stop wrestling for some time. Give him enough rest to prepare for his title defense at the next pay-per-view. He would turn up to the shows since he did promise that he would stick around instead of leaving, but he did want a break from combat after the tough battles he had just gone through.
Partners started to circle in his head. The obvious choice was Autumn Raven, considering their past. But the Beautiful Psychopath has fully committed herself to the PJ Blake partnership and was unlikely to partner with the One True Omega for the foreseeable future. Maybe in a strange tournament, but that’s too ridiculous, even for CWF management.
Which left only one possible partner, and he turned to face them.
SILAS ARTORIA: You and me?
HIDETAKA ITO: You and Kyus-
Immediately, he rolled his eyes.
SILAS ARTORIA: Jesus Christ.
SILAS ARTORIA: And I presume the Smokin’ Aces? Our opponents?
HIDETAKA ITO: Correct.
Just as they are kicked down, they immediately come back up. Silas had some respect for Freddie Styles and had no encounter with Duce Jones to judge a real opinion of him. They were perfectly fine opponents, respected and tenured, and certainly deserved the main event spot for Evolution.
The problem was solely his dance partner.
SILAS ARTORIA: Couldn’t ask for a worse teammate.
HIDETAKA ITO: Learn to live with him for the day, then you can wash your hands of him.
SILAS ARTORIA: You know what’ll happen though, don’t you?
He turned back to Ito.
SILAS ARTORIA: He’s going to nag and complain about not being given the match opportunity he craves.
HIDETAKA ITO: He did tie for points.
SILAS ARTORIA: But there’s a reason why I went onward to the finals. I forced him to look at the blinding ceiling, and that threw water on his fire! He has no casus belli!
He tightly closed his eyes and turned back around. He saw the flashes of memories, of each of his encounters with the pseudo athlete. The first step was a fumble, but he firmly put Kyuseishu in his place in the first round of the tournament. And yet, he continued to call him out, calling him his lesser and even attempted to sabotage his position on the points table. The pest just won’t learn his damn lesson, and now he has to get along with him!?
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
SILAS ARTORIA: My enemies are nipping at my heels and I’m too tired to stomp on them.
Silas exhaled slowly, as he opened his eyes to see the symbol of his position still facing him. The possession cannot be threatened come to Evolution, regardless of whoever wants to pry it off his hands.
Maybe more so than ever, Hidetaka Ito was Silas’ most valuable asset.
SILAS ARTORIA: We’re going to have to keep an eye on him. I doubt he will go quietly into the night.
A grand marble hall, the familiar curtains of a compound last seen weeks ago, slightly dusty from the inactivity. In the middle lies a white throne, with red cushions to ensure whoever sat upon it was comfortable. Winter had firmly arrived in Toronto, perfectly exemplified by the steam coming out of the Silas Artoria’s mouth. The old architecture made it impossible to diegetically create warmth, but, in a strange way, it was how Silas liked it.
He slowly approaches the throne, his footsteps echoing the ivory white chamber that was once hosted to balls and private performances of the viscountess. Her painted image was between each window, depicting her in situations of leisure. Pianos, flowers, dances, all that was once in the great room has been immortalized upon its walls.
Finally, Silas arrives at the foot of the throne and gazes upon its construction. It was crafted with painstaking detail, intricate patterns outlined each of the corners, and the coldness of the white stone gave a strange, near ancient vibe to it.
He traces his finger upon the armrest. Slightly dusty, but it now has a purpose.
Tracing his waist, he unhooks the championship he won at Genesis and looks upon the most sought after prize in the company he competed for. The center, the CWF logo and the globe it represents, eternal, regardless of whoever wears the belt. Either end, the personal side-plates used to designate who the belt belongs to. The left side had his signature, and the right side had a more chaotic depiction, lining up nicely with his bandaged arm.
Softly, he kisses the belt and gently places it upon the throne. The World Championship will gaze upon the subjects that want to be graced with its presence, and Silas Artoria is the king that wears the crown.
SILAS ARTORIA: There’s a lesson that my history teacher one taught me.
Smirking, he slowly turns around to face the frame head-on, completely relaxed and without a hint of anger or annoyance.
SILAS ARTORIA: When a king dies, it immediately becomes a scramble for the crown. With enough support and momentum behind you, you could march through the front doors without hesitation, and place the symbol of power upon your head. You would be the official ruler of the land, with the subjects and titles that come with the ascension.
There is a long pause before a chuckle escapes him.
SILAS ARTORIA: He taught me that the road to crown yourself was the easiest part of the journey. All the difficulty in managing to become the king of your castle, ruler of the land, was the simplest and easiest part of the process to become king.
SILAS ARTORIA: Because immediately afterward you have to deal with the aftermath. You have people all around you that want to take advantage of the position you have gained and the inexperience that comes with it, you need to understand quickly what being a king means to those that surround you, and most importantly, the pretenders arise to challenge your legitimacy.
He glances at the title that sits on the throne.
SILAS ARTORIA: I may have won the crown, but the pretenders have already started to arise or at least start plotting their next move. There’s a whole new company to deal with, and I fully intend to give them the benefit of my attention when they have proven their worth with time.
SILAS ARTORIA: Foreigners are not pretenders.
Back towards the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: So, who are the potential pretenders to the throne? Who could stand up to me and become more than worthy of a title shot? Because the difference between being a king and being an undisputed champion is that being the figurehead of the company requires you to seek out challenges and opponents. Otherwise, what does your reign mean? There’s more than holding a belt, it’s about representing it’s worth.
A small smile appears.
SILAS ARTORIA: Alpha and Omega has finished, Genesis has concluded, and the new era begins with this first chapter. Our longest running PPV on the calendar has it’s show by the end of January, and before then I have to decide who I need to take on. I could choose anyone to be the contender, so long as I have management’s blessing, but the selection process has to start in Pittsburgh.
He joins his hands together and makes a small finger gun.
SILAS ARTORIA: The interesting thing is that the main event tag match has selected two potential candidates. I’ll be going against Freddie Styles and Duce Jones, and they’re not exactly lower-tiered athletes in the company. They’re well tenured.
SILAS ARTORIA: Let’s start with Freddie Styles. I won’t lie, I like Freddie. He’s a decent athlete and certainly gave me a run for my money at Genesis, but at the same time, he doesn’t have a mandate for a title shot. It isn’t like he lost a championship and is due a rematch. This was a battle for a vacant championship, where it wasn’t defended and was up for grabs. I’ve won the tournament final, I’ve gained the belt, and there is no outstanding debt for me to be paid. The only way that he could gain a championship match is if he manages to pin me in this match, and I will ensure that even if I am on the losing side, I will not be looking at the lights by the end of the show.
SILAS ARTORIA: Next is Duce Jones. Funnily enough, he was placed as the hot favourite to win the whole tournament and was even given the blessing of management. While he didn’t take too kindly to the gesture, it’s impossible to really call him a credible challenger since he didn’t win the finals spot, and couldn’t even get the Paramount Championship. Unless he manages to pin me at Pittsburgh, he has even less of a mandate to go after the World Championship. His efforts are commendable, and there is a reason why he gathered so many points in the tournament, but he isn’t me. He isn’t a champion, and until he proves himself worthy, he is not qualified enough to take me on for the championship! Sorry Duce, sorry Freddie, but the events that have gone by are painting that picture!
A small pause for thought.
SILAS ARTORIA: Of course, there is my teammate for the night. Kyuseishu…
He looks back at the frame.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...but hell would have to freeze over before he even gets a sniff of the opportunity.
SILAS ARTORIA: In the meantime, the new era has begun, and it’ll be unlike the years gone by…
Pointed to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...and I will be leading the charge.
SILAS ARTORIA: BANG!
Static ends the address, and the road to Frozen Over has begun.