The calm chill of the water cooled his whole body.
One of the list of consequences of having the Passenger on the surface is how unpredictable the body will react to them. The Passenger isn’t a soul to a moral, it is something beyond human comprehension that previously drove the men that came across it to madness. Normally this manifested itself into light, uncontrolled spasms, and more commonly the vile black bile that channels up Silas’ throat. Unpleasant to view and experience.
But one consequence that has been overlooked by it’s host is the impact on body temperature. The Passenger had previously came to the surface rarely; it came out only once in both 2017 and 2018, but with the tournament giving them the opportunity to take part in combat competition, the frequency of its presence has skyrocketed.
Turns out that the body’s rejection manifests in an increase of body temperature to dangerous levels.
Ito was the first to realise this after the Bubba Love match. Silas isn’t use to the force within coming out this frequently, but fortunately for him the CWF has a decent amount of ice packs on hand to cool it’s athletes if need be. It didn’t take long to both cool Silas down and to melt the ice, but it cooled him long enough to return to the compound in Toronto.
The sensory deprivation tank had one minor change, ice. Enough to cover the surface layer of the salt water within the tank, without overwhelming the body. The liquid was ice cold, perfect for the man who needs it.
Alone, with not a sound to bother him and his eye closed. It was just him and his dark Passenger.
Silas eked out a smile.
SILAS ARTORIA: Feeling satisfied?
Strange that Silas would be the one to initiate the conversation.
Silas huffed out a single chuckle.
SILAS ARTORIA: Would I be correct in assuming it’s down to the opponent?
More down the length of the engagement.
SILAS ARTORIA: But then wouldn’t you complain about the pathetic competition? I did call him a ‘trash can’, and there are only so many times you can dent it.
Hard not to argue. Humans are not punching bags, they have their limits before it turns to bare savagery. The Passenger is aggressive, but it never considered itself barberic. Plus, where is the satisfaction in beating a meat bag? Wrestling should not be like sending a rabbit into a lion’s home.
The Passenger merely exhaled itself, or at least it was how Silas interpreted it.
Who else do we have left?
SILAS ARTORIA: In our block? Surely you’ve seen the lineup?
A pause followed.
What would Genesis have in store for us?
Silas chuckled to himself, knowing the avenues open to him
SILAS ARTORIA: Well, best case scenario, Kyuseishu beats JC--
That cretin you beat at the start is the best case scenario!?
Silas kept calm and hushed, unintimidated by the Passenger’s attitude.
SILAS ARTORIA: Calm down, and let me explain.
SILAS ARTORIA: JC is ahead of me, and he has Shadows, Mora, and Kyu left to face. If he wins all his matches and I win all my matches, he’ll take the crown. The reason why I’m resting my faith in Kyu is because he’s the best chance I have at securing first place. He’s the only one whom could deliver competition, unless Mora gains the motivation he once had so suddenly.
SILAS ARTORIA: Enemy of my enemy is my temporary friend, even if he is completely deluded.
Hard to argue. Success in the Alpha and Omega tournament relies on more than just your own performance. It also relies on a decent amount of luck. Someone may not succeed, but if the right person beats their victor, it could be enough to take first place. In this case, Kyuseishu is that second person.
And what are the options for Genesis?
SILAS ARTORIA: Opponents?
A thoughtful sigh escaped Silas, figuring out the possible opponents.
SILAS ARTORIA: Well, I’m seeing at least three options.
SILAS ARTORIA: Obvious choice would be Freddie Styles, and it’s easy to see why. Undefeated, conquering Alpha Block with relative ease. The only people I can see stopping him is Danny B out of desperation, and my second choice of opponent.
SILAS ARTORIA: Duce Jones. Undefeated, technically, and going through opponents like they’re going out of style, but he has a more difficult hill to climb. Paradine may have been lacking at times but his abilities are not to be underestimated, and his final match will be against Freddie Styles.
A clash of titans.
SILAS ARTORIA: Except the titans are still on good terms in a way. It’s not like Autumn and myself were the tension was already there. This is a tag team still functioning, if one comes out above the other, it could fuel an implosion.
And what about the third option?
SILAS ARTORIA: The wildcard. Zolton. Never seen him before, had low expectations for him, and yet here he is on the heels of Duce and Styles. He may have lost to Styles but if he plays his cards right, he could take the top title.
A long pause, as the smile fades from his face. A deep sigh followed.
SILAS ARTORIA: An outsider, with the championship--
The door above him opened up, forcing Silas to cover his eyes as the intrusive light penetrated his senses. It stung harshly, but only for a few moments before he made out the shadow hovering over him.
SILAS ARTORIA: Two hours already?
A chuckle from a familiar face can be heard.
HIDETAKA ITO: Ready for the dreamcatcher?
A smile escaped Silas.
SILAS ARTORIA: Let’s watch the tapes.
Lesson number seven: treat everyone as if they’re better than you.
It was getting increasingly frustrating in the Crescendo tournament for Silas. Six matches, zero victories, and the lessons he learned was beginning to feel like a pile of books rather than a series of lectures. He was pulling his hair out, trying to figure out what is going wrong.
Still, an easy opponent hopefully. Another gaijin by the name of Butch Rosenbloom was currently at zero points, same as Silas, and apparently was getting squashed by everyone.
Simple enough, right? Right!?
The match started well with Silas dominating within a sea of fury, but Butch was more akin to a turtle rather than a nobody. He absorbed punishment while Silas was convinced he would win due to pathetic performance by his opponent.
Three seemingly light jabs to his arm and foot, and they go completely numb. Silas fell like a sack of bricks, and even though he was completely aware and energetic, whatever the hell Butch did sapped all the energy out of his shoulder and legs.
His stupidity and ego completely cost him.
A couple of thuds in the dark room. An outline of two things can be seen, even if not clearly. One is of a man, Silas. Vest top, a skin tight sleeve on one side with a glove, and training shorts, a different look to what he is usually showcasing. He is completely focused on the punching bag, controlling his strikes before making a larger strike with his more concealed arm during each flurry of blows.
He can be heard breathing sharply, working as hard as he can to get the most out of the bag. His conditioning is at peak point, and the eventually breathlessness doesn’t stop him from continuing to strike the bag a few more times.
Eventually, he throws one last punch, and it was hard enough for the bag to swing upward at a right angle.
Silas catches the bag as it swings back down.
SILAS ARTORIA: I did warn you.
He looks coldly into the frame.
SILAS ARTORIA: Ito-san warned you, I warned you all, I warned Bubba that it wouldn’t last long.
He drops his arms.
SILAS ARTORIA: There were two ways you could see a short match. One is where a competitors outsmarts the other by either hitting their devastating move quickly, or by rolling them up. The other is more akin to a snuff film, where the difference in power is almost unfair. I think we are all aware what type of demonstration I put on last Tuesday.
He stares at the camera for several seconds, his shoulders raising and lowering as his breath remained heavy.
SILAS ARTORIA: Never bet against my word.
He repositions himself, standing in front of the punching bag, dominating the frame as his legs join together like a disciplined athlete.
SILAS ARTORIA: You’re new here, Miss Shadows. You’ve never been toe-to-toe against me before, but I would imagine that since your arrival that you’ve been watching some past shows. You’ve possibly been researching against upcoming opponents, seeing how they tick, what kind of moves they are most proficient at, and what displays of behaviour make them lose their composure.
A brief, dark chuckle escapes.
SILAS ARTORIA: A smart person would do that. I would rewatch the tapes. I’ve been watching your tapes, specifically the matches you have had with the other athletes in our block. You’ve certainly had an interesting journey, which included a short sidetrack when going “against” Ataxia a few weeks ago.
His hand appears to count.
SILAS ARTORIA: Victories over Bubba Love and Jay Mora. One of them I turned into a pile of broken bones and bruised meat, and the other performing so poorly that he couldn’t even beat the aforementioned Love. Which begs the question, what do you have over me?
His hand drops.
SILAS ARTORIA: You fell when going against Kyuseishu, whom I have beaten, you fell when going against Autumn Raven, whom I defeated straight after the misguided samurai, and you also fell when you faced Starlight, whom I defeated convincingly. You have a four point deficit, tied for fifth, and one defeat away from at least being eliminated from the top flight of the block.
He points to himself.
SILAS ARTORIA: On the other hand, I have only one defeat, faced only strong competitors so far, and succeeded in maintaining my place at the top of the table. I am close to securing a championship spot at Genesis, and have built a legacy that is synonymous with the company.
SILAS ARTORIA: I cannot think of anyone in this tournament whom has had as many appearances in modern CWF as much as me. Go look at the win/loss records if you don’t believe me, because whilst everyone eventually vanishes from the promotion, I always remain. I’ve been climbing the ladder for long enough, and the peak is within a few rungs.
SILAS ARTORIA:All credit to you, Miss Shadows, you have done remarkably well given how new you are to the roster. It’s hard to fight opponents in high stakes matches, I’ve been there before.
SILAS ARTORIA: It’s tough, but that’s education for you.
Beat. He clenches his concealed fist.
SILAS ARTORIA: And I’m going to have to act as your lecturer this week.
He swings around and throws the punch. The bag swings forward violently, breaking the chains that held it up, before landing flat on the marble floor. The thud echoes throughout the dark room, as the Canadian stared at his, or their, handiwork, breathing heavily whilst doing so.
He glances at the camera, and shoots a small, wicked smirk.
SILAS ARTORIA: I hope you’ve prepared to order that pizza we promised.
The feed cuts out with a skull piercing screech, with a ghostly laugh drowning through the static.