If you’re new to this story then you can catch up here with the prelude.
Our story so far: While Rick is lying in his tent injured Maron and Kil are about to encounter a violent man that attacked them as they were entering the tournament. How will this be resolved?
His mocking face looked defeated and fake, it was a forced expression. Kil looked angry but I was just intrigued, this was not a person of hostility anymore.
“To whom do I owe this pleasure of meeting again?” Never mind he was still a twat.
“Kil” he said through gritted teeth in a fighting stance.
“…Maron” I said. Did this guy just think we could become friends after everything he’s done to us?
“And I’m Rob. It’s a pleasure to meet you” It was odd to see him being so formal, maybe he had just forgotten us. Regardless I’d let Kil do most of the talking.
“Do you remember, maybe a week ago, the large tent that caught fire?” He must have been referring to the smell of burning on the first morning in Taltree.
“I was the only person in that tent who survived.” For the first time I felt a little bad for him, but I wasn’t going to start liking him for this reason.
I imagined the same thing happening to Rick and Kil, it nearly did happen to Rick and that was terrifying. I cast my mind back to when I was watching over him, just praying that he wouldn’t die over and over, feeling sick inside. With Rick unable to withdraw I dreaded the future fights he might have to face.
“Ok” kil said in response “Poor you.”
“What do you want to say?” I asked, this conversation wasn’t going in any real direction.
“I trust you two, and the other one…” He seemed sincere but I hated the way this was going, like he was going to ask us to do something.
“Why is that?” Kil interrupted “If you remember correctly surely that gives you a major reason to distrust us?”
“Ha ha ha ha ha! If I can’t trust you then I can’t trust anyone. This tournament has been set up and rigged from the start and you’re the only people I can be sure have nothing to do with it.”
I had a lot of reason to doubt both statements, the majority of contestants couldn’t be involved in a scheme because they would want to win so it wasn’t just us and the names were shown to be chosen randomly, the matches seemed ok so far and there was no way anyone had enough power to rig anything. As well as that the leaders swore an oath to keep everything as fair as possible. I still would have had the sheet explaining it if we’d gone back to get it from the base. He did have a point that we were clearly not involved though.
“No it’s not” Kil said, “it doesn’t matter if it’s rigged because the best fighter will always win anyway.” This a foolish statement, assuming there was no foul play it could be rigged in ones favour by giving them easy opponents and skilled people more skilled opponents so by the time they got round to fighting they were too battered and injured to win despite being the better fighter on paper.
“Ahha no, not quite, you see the best fighters were my group, that group’s now dead. You want to know why? Someone burned our tent to eliminate the difficult opposition.”
“So your tent got burned down and you think it’s because the tounaments rigged? It could have been an accident or person who has nothing to do with it who wanted to have cruel fun. What makes you sure it’s rigged?” I asked him, if this was the basis of his argument it was very weak, coincidences happen all the time, who can say that one thing is definitely true because something just happened to occur. I wanted more information, a lot more before deciding it was rigged.
“That’s not it, not just it, the matchups are rigged as well, let’s say two fighters face each other and one’s stronger than the other, how can the weaker person win?” I started to see what he meant; this was about injuring your opponents through other tough opponents.
“You would make sure that the weaker fighter wouldn’t face anyone and that the stronger ones would have to go through a brutal battle to get there, one would be unscathed while the other would be in a terrible condition, without a doubt losing easily to the weaker opponent who they should be better than. That’s how this tournament is rigged.” He finished.
“First of all, you have no proof, and even if you did it could just be coincidence, and second of all who could possibly be rigging it?” I asked him, any answer wouldn’t have satisfied me, I was only in the conversation to prove him wrong.
“Well I’ve got a good guess, Kova.” This was laughable, Kova was a completely separate county to Sevren, they’d have no influence, granted a motive, but the risk would be too high to bribe officials and send their own men in to burn tents, it was not worth it. I couldn’t help but let this laugh show and he looked at me accusingly.
“Stop laughing, Kova have a completely valid reason for rigging this whole thing.”
“Sure they’d have a valid reason but the risk is so high they’d never do it, also they have no influence on the matchups at all.” I said continually laughing.
“Kova are at work already, so that they can crown a Kovan as the king of Sevren. You.” He looked at Kil “Do you have proof that you’re from Sevren?”
“Yeah, of course!” Kil said normally, even though he obviously got forged papers, “How did you get that proof?” Rob continued as he took a step towards him. “I know how you got those papers, and there’s no reason a kovan couldn’t get them the same way.”
“What about rigging the matches, they have no power to do so.” I asked, knowing I probably wouldn’t get a great answer.
“Do you not know who’s on the Tournament Comittie? It’s not all Sevrens you know! There are people from Sevren’s lands, we’ve got a guy from Greba and Clennor, these two don’t care, they’d change the matchups for any amount of money!” Greba and Clennor were lands under Sevrens colony, but there was no reason to suspect why they might rig anything, they relied on Sevren to live and had a strong friendship as their ally.
“No they wouldn’t because they are still part of Sevren!” I tried, desperately hoping he would see sense.
“It’s true that they’re a part of Sevren but that doesn’t mean they can’t take bribes! “He seemed desperate, just because it was possible didn’t mean it had actually happened. The two representatives would know how important this was and how neutral it should be.
“And how’s it going to look when they take bribes from a country called Kova! Even if they did they’d be kicked out immediately!” I said obviously.
“FOOL, Stupid girl, you don’t think about anything! Theirs a middle man somewhere, a person who’s affiliated with Kova but works in a position of power with Sevren, you think they wouldn’t take bribes from a person like that just to move a few of the names around?” This was making me mad and it was making him madder, he was crazy. It was all hypotheticals which were possible yet so absurd it would be pointless to consider them.
“When you get a bribe don’t you have to question the motives behind it? They’re aware that there are ways to win and pre-determine victories, they know all these things and have considered them!”
“Not necessarily, they’re not going to care about rigging it in this early part will they? It’s too early in to the competition to matter. And by the time it’s gotten far enough it’ll be too late; there will be nothing but Kovans in this tournament! We’ll be too late, they’ll do things like set fire to people before they can even win!” I was just amazed by how quickly he could reach this stupid conclusion.
“Why are you coming to us then?” I asked, he looked triumphant as if he’d won, which he hadn’t, I just knew there was no reasoning with him.
“I’ve come to you because I know that you’re not spies, I met you outside, it was obvious from the start! You were badly dressed, ill prepared, weak… and right now that’s a good thing, because it means I can trust you.” Had he really not met anyone else besides us going in to the competition? Or did we just stand out that much?
This argument spiralled and fluctuated until he took us to the matchup boards, it was apparently evidence.
“Alright look at the matchup boards. I’ll be able to predict the results of the matches because I know how rigged it is. The people on the first board are people who they want to stay or lose to the people who want to say, the fights on this side of the board will be less skilled. Then the people on the later boards will be much more skilled, since they want those people to be taken out so all the skilled people will fight there. As proof I was on the later board.”He said.
“So you got knocked out?” I asked.
“Yeah. Anyway these are what the outcomes will be.” He went through the entire first row of names from the top scoreboard and wrote all of them down, he did this for two more boards.
“I’ve been looking around for people I suspect to be Kovan, I don’t think it’s coincidental that half the people on this row are from the same tent and against weak nobody’s like you when their skilled mercenaries. I can show you later. But I want you to hold onto this list of names.” He gave the list to me, “and confirm that all my predictions are correct.” I wasn’t sure whether to leave Kil here or not, he could do with some extra training but he already had a winning strategy and strong physique. I decided to follow the man and let Kil decide on his own, he decided to follow.
What I witnessed was amazing, every single prediction was correct! It wasn’t just that they won their victories it was that they won so easily which is what proved everything. When you looked at all of these individual people in a group they did look slightly foreign, like Kovans. But I didn’t want to believe it, yes I felt like a rigging was possible. And how could I be sure that these guys really weren’t from Sevren or just the man’s friends who deliberately tried to trick us. Rob showed no signs of it and I actually doubted he could organise that many people into doing what he wanted, at any rate we were not important people, even if he convinced us we wouldn’t be able to do anything.
I found a way to test whether his theory was correct, if the people who won had forged citizenship forms (as confirmed by Kil whose seen one) then it would be enough. Kil had been taken in to believing everything almost straight away but this was the one thing we would test. There were a few more people left to fight, if one of them had the wrong form then I’d believe Rob.
Once one of our suspects had got into the arena I saw that his bag was unattended.
Kil and I ran over towards the bag and frantically searched through everything, the form definitely didn’t want to be bent so it should have been kept in a container to stop it from bending. I took out what looked like something resembling it and took it out. With my knowledge of the real certificate and Kil’s knowledge from the fake one we would hopefully be able to work out whether or not it was real or fake.
“Does anything look different to you Kil?” I was looking at it and it seemed the exact same as mine but with different details.
“There’s this mark at the side that printed wrong, my form has it too.” Well that sucked, if this was one massive conspiracy then I’d much rather let another person sort it out. I hate being in the role of responsibility in this way. Quickly we put it back and returned to Rob.
“So did you find anything?” He asked knowing what we’d answer.
“There was a printing error at the side.” Kil said.
“Alright do you believe me now or do you need to check another person’s? There are still a few fights left.” He said it mockingly but I actually did want to check again, there are too many factors and it could just be a coincidence. So we did check, we checked two more times and the error was in the same place. Then we ran back to the tent to compare mine with Kil’s, mine was the only one without the error in that same place. So this meant that the tournament might actually be rigged? It was a hard pill to swallow and it left me with a lot of responsibility if I accepted it to be true. I would have to inform Rick all about it, he would really want to know about everything that took place.
my whole world view had changed in just one day. There were too many coincidences that the whole thing wasn’t possible to not believe. Kil had his match tomorrow so I left him to sleep but there must be someone I could report the news too, if I could say to an official that I found their rigged certificate’s then that would be a great way to solve this problem peacefully.
I went to the front desk, and asked “Is there a place where I can report people?” I felt strange for asking it.
“You can report people here, what seems to be the problem?” He asked the question sweetly.
“Well I found three people’s citizenship forms, and they’re fake.” I said but he looked like he doubted me, after all he was the one who checked all the forms in the first place.
“Alright who are these people?” He asked, and I told him the names of the three people I wanted to report because I knew for a fact that they’re forms were fake. He jotted the names down.
“Thank you for your time, we’ll investigate these people as soon as we can.” It reassured me and was certainly a huge weight off my chest. If these people weren’t removed from the tournament then it was most certainly rigged. All I had to do was wait and see what happened.
Thank you for reading this especially long chapter! I’m not giving anything away here so… how will Kil fare in his tournament fight tomorrow? Find out next time!