WITHIN THE SQUARED CIRCLE
The table that landed on him rattled his mind, a pure haze within individual moments that went by in a flash. The Passenger was in control, and Silas observed and guided like a manager. It was an odd feeling, one that would have some immediate consequence later, but the match reinvigorated something in him. There was fire and passion he hadn't felt in months, and as he finally got back into the ring, his resolve had reached a fever pitch he hadn't felt since the now tainted Tokyo Dome match.
The mistake was letting the emotion get to him, as the blind rage lead to the downfall. The Last Laugh was executed, but was lacking the finesse that only Mia mastered. However, he didn't need to move in order to continue the match, as Loki stopped it with a brutal punt to The Shadow's head.
Silas leaned towards the man whom brought him down, and saw Loki lift up his leg. Silas reaches out, but it wasn't enough. Loki pinned The Shadow and it was over.
As Loki made her way to the centre of the ring to assert her dominance, Silas rolled back onto his spine and looked upwards; the shining lights almost blinding him. His breathing became more controlled, more calming, and amidst the negative reception of Loki's victory, Silas closed his eyes, and a smile emerged on his face.
SILAS ARTORIA: It's good to be the king.
WITHIN THE CONCOURSE
Silas staggered through the concourse of The Garden, face back to normal and unwrapping some tape from around his wrists. The CWF staff took glances at him, but he took no notice as his target was in front of him. His personal lockerroom door opened, and through it entered the Psychotic Aristocrat.
He slams the door shut, and immediately dashes towards the porcelain sink nearby. He vomits; the familiar black bile built up inside him finally left his system, and it coated the shining white sink.
Silas continued coughing up the sludge, and the whispers started catching his ears.
PASSENGER: How does it feel, Silas?
He finally finishes coughing.
PASSENGER: How does it feel to finally unleash your full potential?
Silas smiles as he spits out the last of the material.
SILAS ARTORIA: I'll admit, it felt...
He looks at himself in the mirror, wiping off any remaining residue around his lips and chin. His smile grew wider, with the rush of euphoria finally taking over him.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...invigorating.
PASSENGER: What did you feel? Tell me, what did you experience when showing your true self?
SILAS ARTORIA: It was a haze, but...
His mind went into wonder. Twenty minutes of strikes, kicks, tables, necks, everything and the kitchen sink. He saw it all, but through a filter. His movements were numb, but the pain was exacerbated further as he felt he was deep within his own body. He felt his mind push forward under the influence of pain, and remembered coming to when Autumn struck his back.
A net positive overall.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...interesting. I...I forgot this sensation...almost calming in some way.
PASSENGER: Despite the pain? Brave.
He chuckles lightly.
SILAS ARTORIA: I've experienced more painful things in life. This was small fry.
He turns the tap on and proceeds to clean the sink, taking extra care of his hands and especially his fingernails. Can't leave evidence.
SILAS ARTORIA: You have a habit on talking, you know?
SILAS ARTORIA: You stop the flow of movement to boast. You're not very good with words.
PASSENGER: You insist not exclaiming dominence?
SILAS ARTORIA: I do like such a thing, but when in the middle of a bout it's too....risky.
He turns off the taps.
SILAS ARTORIA: Like in the match, when directing your words at one, it left two others to strategies and execute with the time you gave them. You even lost control for a moment.
PASSENGER: Such ignorance.
SILAS ARTORIA: Did I or did I not regain control? Because if I recall correctly I saw Autumn with my own eyes while you observed that moment. It's clear you need to work on restraining yourself.
PASSENGER: You dare limi--
SILAS ARTORIA: Only in words. After tonight, you've certainly made a case to be deserving of some more time in the spotlight, but your talking is your biggest weakness.
Silas leans closer to the mirror, and unfolds his eyelids to take a closer look at the eye itself. One was showing a haematoma, with the other showing some strain. They were healing quickly, but the stinging sensation drilled itself into his skull. Unpleasant.
SILAS ARTORIA: Just...keep quiet and attack, and I'll deal with the talking. You lack elegence in that regard.
PASSENGER: You've got some nerve.
SILAS ARTORIA: But I still retain total control, so for now I must politely ask that you get some rest.
He spits out one last time. Mostly spit, but with some traces of the black bile he coughed up earlier. He took a long look in the mirror, and he smiled to himself.
SILAS ARTORIA: Autumn, Shadow, Loki.
He nods, before he overhears an announcement, muffled by the door separating him from the concourse.
???: Colton Mace and MJ Flair, please make your way to the gorilla position.
SILAS ARTORIA: We're far from done with each other.
He washes and dries his face quickly, then grabs his coat and hat and approaches the door. The handle twists and Silas makes his exit. He hurries towards the nearest steps to ascend the Garden...
...but he suddenly stops.
He slowly turns back to face his lockerroom door, and sees a peculiar change to it's appearance. A closer look, and it yeilds a single black rose with a note attached. He touches the rose with the face of his fingernails, and takes the note. Peculiar.
SILAS ARTORIA: "See you where the demons live?"
He ponders the thought, then neatly folds to note and tucks it in his pocket. He plucks the rose from the door, and holds it to his nose. Light inhale, and a smile emerges on his face.
SILAS ARTORIA: You must really want me if you went to that much effort.
He pins the rose to his coat, and again makes his way towards the stairs.
WITHIN THE GARDEN'S UPPER SEATS
The corridors are quiet, as the clear absense of people allowed for Silas' footsteps to be faintly heard against the walls. The crowd were invested in the main event, and the noise drowned out the ambience wherever anyone would go. Madison Square Garden was heaven for athletes like him, one of the two holy sites of the industry, and from the top of the structure laid a set of seats. Private, expensive, and reserved for the top brass of CWF.
Except they weren't up there. They were too busy observing the main event up close, and responding the the shennanigans at ringside.
This gave him space, and a unique opportunity to at least vaguely experience the atmosphere of being an audience member in the Garden. He slowly opens the door, and crosses over to the bar stools that reside over the barrier. Some empty seats, no doubt previously occupied by officials whom recently left to go down to the gorilla position. Seats were warm.
He pulls one back and sits down, but another official sitting nearby sees him.
CWF OFFICIAL: Mr Arto--
SILAS ARTORIA: Shhh.
Silas presses his finger to the official's lip, but without menace. That was behind him, he exhaled all that was built inside about two hours ago. He spoke softly.
SILAS ARTORIA: Let us all observe the end of the year together.
He slowly looks at the official, and lets out a faint smile.
SILAS ARTORIA: Just for these few moments.
He releases the officials' lips, and returns his attention to the match. Mariella Jade Flair, Colton Mace, battling it out for the Championship. Jaiden Rishel doing his damndest to spoil the moment, and Ataxia jumping in to correct it. The crowd were electric, and so were the officials sat on the barstools watching the show.
But Silas didn't cheer, he marely leans forward and observes.
One...two...three....the Garden errupts for their hometown hero, and Silas couldn't help but let out a smile. As the audience go crazy, Silas claps fairly slowly, but not out of sarcasm.
PASSENGER: You're applauding this outcome!?
Silas chuckles at the comments, still applauding as the fireworks start ringing out through the arena.
SILAS ARTORIA: I'll admit...this does put a smile on my face...congratulations.
The confetti starts showering down, and amist the celebrations, what looked like the rest of the lockerroom starts to pour out and surround the ring. Silas stops his claps, and slowly leans back forward. He stares sharply towards the commotion before him, and who should enter the ring than The Shadow, offering his hand. Silas' smile completely evaporates, and his scowl was now on full display.
He stands up, observes the events unfolding, before he turns to leave the Garden for the next year. He growls:
SILAS ARTORIA: Even in defeat, you can't help but make the event all about you, can you Shadow?
Clapping is heard as Silas comes into frame. He sits down in front of the vinyl player and New York skyline he sat alongside a mere week ago. No drink, just a quick flick of the needle and the music plays.
SILAS ARTORIA: What a night, eh? What spectacular night of wrestling, wasn't it? The four-way match stole the show with spectacular carnage, MJ Flair picked up the title in her hometown, and Ramsey and Stark put on arguably the best Wrestlefest match of all time!
He chuckles to himself while clapping, proud of his sarcasm.
SILAS ARTORIA: I have to say, you two should've been glad that Valentine and his band of misfits turned up to ruin your showcase, because there was no way in hell you two would put on something that would even hold a candle to what us four did in the squared circle, despite what Jim Gunt would imply.
But! And and big 'but', despite it being within the walls of the Garden, despite the match opening the biggest event of the year, and despite it taking place in the most important PPV of 2018, it is not to be the end of our encounters. In fact, expect many more to take place in the near future, because there is no definitive end when it comes to those three and myself. Shadow got himself pinned, therefore robbing my personal rivalries with a clear conclusion, and it's something that needs to be fixed one by one.
I may not have the result I want, but I didn't lose the battle. Hellbound comes and goes, Frozen Over will soon follow, and Modern Warfare will open up another opportunity...not that I need to earn one but we'll get to that.
So Loki, congratulations! You have become the first freak show in 2018 to earn a championship match, therefore robbing Hellbound of a fitting match up. That takes some real effort, but your rise to the top is truly staggering.
However, I do expect you to stall, and fall sharply from grace, as is the life of anyone who rises to the top without proving their longevity.
There's a reason why I've been a fixed feature in the CWF for the good part of a year, and it wasn't through clowning or playing mind games, although I'll fully admit taking part in the latter. It's because I've climbed slowly to establish myself, not jump ahead in the queue at the first chance I got.
Consider yourself lucky Ataxia got power mad and made a horrible play to make a point, but I do fully expect MJF to walk out of the PPV with the big strap remaining around her waist.
And speaking of Flair.
Silas waves to the camera.
SILAS ARTORIA: Hello Flair, so happy to see you again with the CWF Championship.
It's lovely seeing you with that belt, full sincerely.
You'll probably see it differently since, to you, I am the guy who loses most of his matches, cannot be taken seriously after a disasterous fall from grave, mocked constantly by a squarking sack monkey with little to do in his spare time, and overall a man with no substance to his words.
And I'll admit, the last few season were less than stellar.
But look at my performance against three other people. All of them feared me. Each one of them couldn't take me on in a one-on-one scuffle to the point that they had to team up just to get a grace period. They had to put me through an announcers table, and put an announcers table on me, just to get some rest.
Does that sound like a joke athlete to you? Because that's what I call an athlete which presents a credible threat to their reputation and ego.
Then again, nothing damages reputation and ego like a broken promise.
Silas' face turned grim.
SILAS ARTORIA: I may have started to change my fortunes and direction but that doesn't mean that my memories have been warped and molded different.
Remember the Paradise season, the week before the PPV in the middle of the ring, after the main event? You and Amber vs Autumn and myself!
What did you say and show the world before the cameras turned off?
You wanted to have a fight, and held that title above your head as something you were willing to fight for, and yet you lost the title and took glee in my fight to retrieve an opportunity that was promised to me.
You mocked and dismissed me, and only acknowledged me when it was for your own benefit, while I was fighting just to remain on the card!
I'm a fighter, Flair, one that has gone to the lowest of the lows just to survive the CWF, while you flaunt around while carrying the prestige of your retired family.
So this match, this non-title match which I can understand, is going to be less of a bout and more of a clarification.
owe a debt,
And I fully intend to put that promise in an undeniable contract.
I beat you,
and the two of us will finally have the promised bout we teased so many months ago.
Don't expect the Passenger, expect the Silas Artoria.
Goodnight Flair, I hope you sleep well tonight.
Thousands of miles away.
The four-way match played on a bar screen in front of rabid fans, showing each of the four participants going to war at each other. Autumn strikes, they boo, Shadow strikes, they boo, Loki strikes, they also boo.
Silas strikes, they go berserk and start chanting his name. They clap, they cheer, they chant for a man that wasn't being given great reception.
When the match was over, they crowd were deflated and tired, saddened by the outcome, but at the back of the bar sat a smartly dressed man, whom slowly applauded the efforts of the Canadian warrior.
???: [[Looks like there's something I need to build]]
He left the bar.