Gladiator | Teen Ink


January 22, 2018
By ItsLiv, Canton, Massachusetts
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ItsLiv, Canton, Massachusetts
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Author's note:

I don't really know why I wanted to write this book, but an idea came to me one day after I woke up (at like 12:00) and with the idea came the feeling that this was going to be a good one. I really hope that feeling was right. ;)

You know that the Nothena, or space, as you would call it, it always expanding. Having mass explosions of debris and gas, creating new galaxies and new life forms. What you also probably know is that you’re not the only planet out there. Not the only galaxy. But most of you still don’t believe in life outside of you planet. I’ll be the one to toss reality your way, and say that there are so many other organisms out there that it would be impossible to count. Aliens to you, as you are an alien to me.
    But sometimes bad things can happen, and those effects send out ripples and the whole Nothena feels it. But somewhere, sometime, that stone has to be thrown into the water to make the ripples, and my planet was where it had all started. You haven’t felt what I’ve felt, not what I’ve seen, but it’s coming your way, fast. Still, you are millions of lightyears away, and it could be billions of years before it will reach you.
    So enjoy your today, because even if there is a tomorrow, maybe you won’t be around to see it. Let me tell you what will happen when the waves reach you’re galaxy. By then you might have technology halfway to what I had fought with. But even our finest weapons weren't enough. Many years of battle are coming, so find yourself a sword my friend, and get practicing.

“I bet you that you could beat Remo, even in a fair fight Camilla,” Ryana says as we walk down the halls of Rellient High, our school.
    “Are you saying that I don’t fight fair?” I tease, but whack her in the arm. Ryana is my best friend, always has been, probably always will be.
“Last time you got into a bow fight with a competitor, you “won” by backstabbing him. Literally,” she says ‘won’ with quotation marks.
“No one even saw. Everyone thinks that I was able to use my beauty to stun, him then send an arrow through him so fast that it went through him completely,” I counter. You might think that I’m being vain, saying that people believed that I stunned him with my beauty, but that’s just what I am. On your planet, you have only one type of advanced lifeform, humans. But on our planet, Drakana, we have three types of advanced life forms. Beauty, Intelligence, and Illusion. I am a Beauty Illusion hybrid, and Ryana is pure Intelligence.
“Just because no one saw, doesn’t make it fair,” she reminds me. I roll my eyes as we make a stop at my void rift. (Ryana told me that on the your planet, you use things called lockers.) I feel the same chill that I always feel when it scans my eye, and I shiver slightly. Matter starts to bend and shift, until it splits completely. I toss in my likena (or on your planet, the somewhat equivalent of something called a notebook,) the tear snaps shut.
Ryana and I make our way down to the GAMBP, which is short for Gym and Matter Bending Practice. Ryana wave her long fingers at me and walks over to the gym side of the room. I wave back and take elegant steps over to my matter bending class. I sigh as I take my place beside Herma and Pike. In my whole class, everyone is an Intelligent but me. It has its perks, like standing out like a radiant diamond in dusty coal, but  I have no one to talk to, as many of the Intelligent find me . . . unapproachable.
“Hello everyone, please stop talking,” our matter bending coach instructs even though none of us had said anything. She is a stout woman, with wide shoulders and legs to match. “I would like to announce that we have a guest joining us today, so please make her feel comfortable and welcome, and make me look good!” She says the last part with emphasis and waddles her way to a corner to do paperwork.
“Hello there students,” I hear a voice from behind me, and whip my head in a way that makes sure that my silky platinum blonde hair would wave into their face. But I had turned to nothing but a wall. I look to the right to see Pike facing the wall too, looking puzzled. Same thing on the left with Herma.
But my nose picks up a sent I would know anywhere. It smelled expensive, exotic, and  valuable. “Vanilla,” I whisper to myself. I whip around to see a stunning woman, at least in her twenties, standing ten feet away. The rest of my class turns their heads and take deep breaths to inhale the scent so little ever get to smell.
“Hello students, my name is Sae. I am not you special guest, I just had to swing by to collect someone named . . . Camilla Crystiala. Is there a Camilla Crystiala here?” She eyes all the students, waiting for one to claim my identity.
I plan on waiting for her eyes to get to me, then step out and proclaim who I am, but when she gets to the middle of the lineup, Treka Beurkana steps out. “That would be me, what was it? Sashaiana?” I throw a hand to my mouth, as does everyone else. No one will ever be named or called Sashaiana. The cold blooded murderer who massacred entire planets in a day.
“Camilla Crystiala I will have you expelled for this!” Sae screams, she goes to grab Treka by the collar to drag her away.
    But before anything interesting can happen, Pike speaks up, and I make a note to thank him later. “Uh, um, Sae? That’s not Camilla. That’s Treka, Camilla is here.” He points to me, and I step out. Treka’s face turns red, and I roll my eyes. What comes next I didn’t expect.
    “That’s not true!” Treka shouts. My eyes go wide and my eyebrows raise. Once she gets called out she normally just sets herself back in place.
“Alright then Treka. Prove it,” I hiss at her. Her eyes narrow at me and she takes a step back. I expect her to take her place where she belongs, but what she does next is completely unexpected. But I’m always ready for the unexpected.
Treka takes three long bounds and launches herself at my head, arms outstretched. Sae yells at us to calm down, but this got me pretty hyped up. I let my knees buckle, so that I can duck under her, and as she’s flying above me, I grab her waist and throw her to the ground.
I’m about to walk right over there and kick her across the room like an empty can, but Sae holds up a hand. “That’s enough, I know which one of you is pretending to be someone you’re not,” I roll my eyes, there was a much less dramatic way of putting it, but okay. “Camilla, come with me.”
Treka begins to rise, but Sae’s hand rises faster. “Not you,” is all she says. Treka glares at me but says nothing, walking back to her place in line. God, that girl is crazy. I follow Sae through the halls that I know so well, knowing exactly where we’re going. “Crap,” I think to myself. Our school is large, and it will take us several minutes to get to our destination.
“So, are you an Illusion?” I ask, attempting to make small talk with her.
“Yes,” is her first, and apparently final, answer. We continue to walk down the halls in silence for the next two minutes until we arrive.


God, I hate this sign so much. Sae opens the door for me and waves her hand, implying I go in. I sigh and take my somber steps into the room I’ve spent countless hours in, being lectured about how even though people like Treka exist, I still can’t insult them. I roll my eyes just thinking about that. But even then, the Headmaster had looked proud, he had the galaxy's Minor Gladiator champion sitting in his school every day. He looked anything but proud now.
I take my usual seat across from him, expecting him to say something about my recent win or behavior, but he says nothing. That’s worse than any of his little tantrum sessions.
We sit in the quiet intimidation of each other for what seemed like three forevers. He finally takes a deep inhale and his brows knit together. “Camilla,” he starts, and I know this won’t be a normal conversation. “We all have watched you fight. And then we have all watched you win.’
“Thank you Headmaster,” I try to cut off the path he’s taking, but he finds a way around my words, and keeps going.
“Or we thought we did,” suddenly I feel a feeling I’ve never felt before, my heart shot up into my throat, and my stomach dropped to my feet. I never told anyone how I won some of my fights, no one but Ryana. I know she would never tell anyone about that, would she? She seemed irritated since my last battle, the one that I won “unfairly.”
“What do you mean?” I ask, faking obliviosness. He removes his thin glasses from his rounded face, massaging his headache. When he takes his glasses off, you can really see how old he’s gotten. It seems like just yesterday I had my first fight that I had won, with a lively man congratulating me, that apparently doesn’t exist anymore.
“You cheat. Not cheated, cheat,” I’m surprised by the harsh way he says these words.
“Excuse me?”
“The last fight you had with Prertnic, we know how you really won.”
“I shot him through the chest.”
“Maybe with the dagger you snuck in.”
My mouth drops, and my heart leaves my body all together. Cheating in Gladiator games, even the minor league, was extremely punishable. Our solar system prides itself on its equality and fairness.
“You know what we have to do,” his tone is somber, and he avoids my eyes. He’s talking about the Gladiator Marking.
“No, no you can’t do that!” I shout, as if what I have to say will make any difference.
“I’m sorry Camilla, but you-” I cut him off mid sentence.
“But nothing! You’re the Headmaster, you’re supposed to help your students not burn them!” I can tell the words impacted him, he looks away from me and his gaze shifts slightly to Sae. I regretted my words, almost instantly. “I’m sorry, I’m not being fair, this is my fault not yours.”
He straightens his tie and re adjusts his sharp collar. “You’re dismissed Camilla. Report back here at nine in the morning, no more, no less.”
I nod my head, and push myself free from my chair, almost shaking. Sae steps to the side, eyes burning more shame than I should be able to take. The second I step out of the office, I whip out my FlatCom and send Ryana a message.
“Meet me in the bathroom RIGHT NOW”
I slip it back into the pocket of my MG CHAMP jacket, and make my way back down the hall, fighting off screams of rage the whole time.

“How did they know?” Ryana’s voice is mostly sturdy, but I can hear the creaks in the foundation of her words.
    “Yes. How did they find out Ryana?” I’m angry right now. I don’t even want to look at her. Instead I look into the mirror, but now I can only see both of us, and how different we really are. I have long, thick, straight, platinum, blonde hair, with pale skin, full-ish lips, and bottle green eyes. Ryana has long dark hair, streaked with a shade of red she dyed it, has cappuccino skin, full lips, and her eyes are nearly black. But even though Ryana is Intelligence, she is still incredibly beautiful.
    “Are you blaming me? Seriously?” She shouts. “I’ve been by your side for everything! I never said anything when you stole Herma’s eraser in the second grade, or when you broke the HoloPot in Mrs. Port’s room. I never told anyone anything.”
    “Well then how did they know?” I admit that Ryana is right. She’s never spilled about anything, about me or anyone else, even when I beg her for hours on end to tell me.
    “People aren’t blind Camilla! Anyone could have seen you! A SSC could have taped you!” She shouts again.
    “Okay, you’re right, it wasn’t you, but what am I supposed to do? Tomorrow at nine in the morning I’m going to be taken to the middle of town and have the Gladiator Mark burned into me in front of everyone. In front of my parents,” I sigh. This sucks.
Suddenly Ryana gives me this look. I don’t like this look, it means ideas. Very dangerous ideas. “You could leave.”
“What?” I’m shocked with the idea of leaving the only planet I’ve ever known, and even more so that those words just floated right out of Ryana’s mouth.
“Even better, you could redeem yourself!” She’s getting excited now, and there’s going to be no one stopping her, she’s on a high, and you just have to wait these out.
“How?” I ask, extremely skeptical. 
“You could go to the Narcresta Empire, and fight in a real fight with real Gladiators, and if you win fairly, then they they have to forgive you,” a smile plays on her lips, she really thinks that this is going to work. This idea is insane. I’ve never been off the planet, I’ve never even been to the other side of it.
“Ryana, neither of us have ever even been within a mile outside of our main living system.”
“I’ve been studying starships and how to calculate direction with stars.”
“This is actually insane.”
“Well it’s your choice, redeem yourself  or have a big mark burned into your back.”
“I hate that you have good ideas.”
“So are you in?”
“Fine,” I admit my defeat, and give in to the idea.
“I’m coming to get you at midnight, and we’ll have three hours before the guards wake up from their short break at three thirty,” Ryana walks me through the plan, and I’ll admit that it’s a pretty good one.
But I’m only half listening, I keep thinking about who could’ve spilled on me. Because I know that there have never been SCCs in arenas. Not ever.

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