There wasn’t a second of downtime between the disqualification bell ringing and the entrance to Silas’ humid locker-room. Hidetaka Ito was the first to burst through the door, kicking the door so hard that it would’ve been reasonable to assume that he’s break it off it’s hinges.
Remarkably, it only left a size 12 boot shaped dent on it.
Second, was Silas Artoria, certainly disappointed in the result tonight, but seemed much more calm and collected. He seemed focused on getting as comfortable as possible, and within the confines of a country he had never been to before, following Ito was his best option. There was a thin layer of sweat on his brow, due to the humidity the room infested, since an air conditioning unit apparently malfunctioned during the show.
Nice of it to just so happen to be the unit that refreshed Silas’ locker-room.
Third was Dr Harmon Leggett, with some gear in his hand and a few others around his belt, apparatus that SIlas was used to seeing. He was still technically under the health probation he had been placed under, and it was another week that had Silas in a match. Get examined, otherwise you won’t compete.
HIDETAKA ITO: Unbelievable, completely unbelievable!
Dr Leggett started to examine Silas’ head, as is routine, as a clearly livid Ito paced around the room with infinite circles. Silas simply sat down.
HIDETAKA ITO: A disqualification win with little to no indication of another chance! Just wanted it over and done with, without any consequences to themselves!
Silas walked towards the nearby chair, red with comfortable surfaces fit for a king, and gets himself comfortable. On one hand, you have a large, furious Japanese man who looks like he’s ready for war, and on the other you have the man keeping his well being in check. The weekly examination, which had been more or less a background duty to perform that eventually turned into whitenoise, was certainly more noticeable as it felt like a sense of normalcy, in comparison to the furious performance Ito was exhibiting.
HIDETAKA ITO: [[Why ,on this earth, did I not jump in? I could’ve flattened the boy before he swung that chair!]]
The whisper was caught by Dr Leggett, whom immediately looked at Silas’s face and said:
DR HARMON LEGGETT: What did he say?
SILAS ARTORIA: He could’ve turned Dan Ryan into a squashed fly if he could.
DR HARMON LEGGETT: Could he?
Silas didn’t reply. He simply smiled and chuckled to himself whilst Ito returned to his previous, angered state of mind.
HIDETAKA ITO: Back to the undercard it is--
He stopped himself, and slowly turned towards Silas, whose attention was completely fixated on Leggett’s examination. Their attitude was the opposite of Leggett--relaxed and calm--which seemed to spur something within Ito. Calmly, but demanding, he asked his student one simple question.
HIDETAKA ITO: Why are you not upset? [[Does this not matter to you?]]
Silas simply looked at Ito for what seemed like an eternity, as the good doctor continued his work, albeit in a hot environment caused by the summer, the location, and the tension coming from Ito. Silas’ breathing was calm and collective, lacking in any animosity.
He tilted his head towards Dr Leggett.
SILAS ARTORIA: Harmon, please leave us. I’ll continue the examination later, before the show ends.
Harmon stopped examining and just looked at Silas. It seemed like he wanted to say something, akin to his examination being more important due to his past with head trauma to the point that he was forced to put him on the bench for a prolonged about of time, but works wouldn’t do anything. If anything, his presence wouldn’t give a net positive, and might put him in danger. Leggett simply nodded, stood up straight, and left the two men alone.
The sound of the door closing was enough for Ito to refocus his attention back to Silas, lips still hardened. The latter took a deep breath and shifted his seating position, with his back firmly against the comfortable chair.
HIDETAKA ITO: Well…?
SILAS ARTORIA: Of course I’m upset. I’ve been off for a week and I wanted to explode with a bright and loud bang and unfortunately it turned into a flat balloon.
He kept his eye on Ito, but remained calmly animated and seemed to be taking his defeat with a hint of good humour, albeit with a layer of frustration lying beneath.
SILAS ARTORIA: Am I disappointed? Sure, but I’m optimistic!
HIDETAKA ITO: Optimistic? The Paramount Title is now out of your reach! You don’t have that golden, or in this case, ivory ticket anymore!
SILAS ARTORIA: Actually…
Before Silas could say any more--
HIDETAKA ITO: And they’ve booked you in a match with Tom Marrow!
SILAS ARTORIA: Ito-san...
HIDETAKA ITO: You can’t get your title back from a disqualification win! A disqualification is essentially a loss to you!
SILAS ARTORIA: Ito-san! We do it differently here!
There was an awkward silence for a moment as Silas raised his voice to silence his mentor. There was no disrespect intentionally delivered, but the tone of voice and how loud it was, it could be interpreted that way. Several seconds passed before Silas closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
His shoulders relaxed.
He opened his eyes restart his talk to Ito, now back in
SILAS ARTORIA: So...the way you get championship matches here, is by getting permission from the federation’s governing body or whomever is currently in charge. But, the best way of getting a strong claim is by pinning the champion in a non-title or a tag team match, similar to they way you guys in Japan did it.
HIDETAKA ITO: [[OK, and…?]]
SILAS ARTORIA: The CWF and, in some extension a good majority of american based promotions, have a special clause in their contracts. If you a champion, and you lose your championship, you can exercise the clause that’ll grant you a rematch for the title.
HIDETAKA ITO: So what’s preventing you from doing so?
SILAS ARTORIA: Well…
Light cough from Silas before he continues, but he stays uncharacteristically calm throughout.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...the defeat was, to put it mildly, insulting, demoralising, like a robbing of your soul. And I need to get my strength and passion back.
HIDETAKA ITO: By moping around in catering and the undercard?
Silas exploded into uproarious laughter, to the point that it even made Ito jump in surprise. The laughter was fairly loud and almost resembled a hearty cackle, enough to pierce the will of anyone whom was fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to be in the same room as them. Soon, the cackle turned into a light wheeze, and Silas had to stop.
Even so, he did continue to have a small giggle every now and the from thenon.
SILAS ARTORIA: Of course not! As much as I feel down I don’t feel that down. I just simply need a shot the veins. A match. Challenging, against someone fresh and one I am unfamiliar with. It could be enough for me to get some fire in my heart.
Eventually, the giggling stopped, and Ito simply looked perplexingly at the young man; his eyes expressing one of fascination and confusion.
HIDETAKA ITO: You talk in cliches…
HIDETAKA ITO: ...but it’s how you walk this path. It doesn’t make much sense to me but if it does to you, I’ll reinforce your journey.
He didn’t say any more. He calmly turned and walked towards the door, just as Silas tilted his head backwards to look at the ceiling. The incandescent bulbs lighting the changing room were brighter than usual, although it’s possible that it’s because of the country’s electrical system. Even when he closed his eyes, the sheer brightness of the lights barely wavered , creating a light feeling of discomfort.
Still, it was a better feeling than the bitter taste he had felt back at Golden Intentions.
The door audibly closed, and the smile on Silas’ face widened like the Grinch.
SILAS ARTORIA: Besides...the PPV afterwards is WrestleFest.
There is a video on the screen, showing a woman and whom appears to be speaking in place of the opponent Silas is scheduled to go against. She runs a diatribe of repetition and staleness, smelling of the common trap those before them had fallen into. His opponent was barking like a dog and restrained to resemble one, positions Silas had only heard of but didn’t think had any merit of reality.
Eventually, the television cut out.
SILAS ARTORIA: Why is it that the more I see of Tom Marrow, the less I know who he is?
He glances at the camera with a sly smile, before he starts to make his way down a corridor. It’s draped with familiar red curtains, his compound.
SILAS ARTORIA: Tom Marrow, residing in an obscure village in the middle of nowhere, has decided to take up arms against me again. This time, however, it’s just a one on one encounter.
He opens a door. His prized piano demands it’s master, and Silas sits upon it. Gloves on, lid up.
SILAS ARTORIA: I won’t lie. I forgot about you Tom Marrow, and I’m not too sure why, especially with an outfit and arrangement like that. Might be because of all the things I’ve had to handle since, but since we’ve been booked to face each other, I thought I would take some time to take a look at you. Your previous appearances. Your matches!
Key pressed. Simple scale up and down. A little warm up.
SILAS ARTORIA: Your handler delivered a message that read like a cliffsnotes of what I might’ve said to you if I was in a rush, and it was quite uncanny in more ways than one. The execution of the address, your relationship with this woman...
He gazes upon the piano keys and caresses them, polished to a mirror shine.
SILAS ARTORIA: ...and how...secondary you are to your own career.
He started to play a melody, melancholic in tone, like it belonged in a tragic tale. Almost appropriate.
SILAS ARTORIA: She’s right, in a way! Twilight of the Gods did make people pay attention to Tom Marrow, but what has he done since?
His lips curl in through, but the melody goes on.
SILAS ARTORIA: Took some research Tom did have a small winning stream. Very minor, but he failed to capitalise on his victories. He didn’t grab the microphone and make a statement to the world! He didn’t announce himself as some sort of contender! He simply packed his bags and returned to whenever part of the world he comes from, waiting for the next chance to spring up.
The melody stops suddenly through a mistimed and misplaced note, and a brief flush of frustration washes over him. He holds firm, trying to not exhibit what lies within him. Deep breath, back to normal, continue.
SILAS ARTORIA: So tell me, Tom Marrow, or “Benji”. Why should I take you seriously? Why should I pay attention to you now since you’ve done absolutely nothing of worth in the months since we’ve last faced each other.
Beat, though the melancholy returns to him.
SILAS ARTORIA: I guess I was right. The gauntlet match really was a series of lowest common denominator participants being thrown into a meat grinder.
SILAS ARTORIA: Shame really. I expected so much more from you.
His hands rest on the keys, and he begins to play some music again, travelling up and down a chord to create a somber melody. Slowly, the screen starts to fade to black, but the music kept playing without it waning.
Eventually, the screen was fully black, and it took another ten to fifteen seconds for the music to follow suit.