Nova’s Blade Excerpt


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Please enjoy this excerpt from the novel Nova’s Blade.

THIRTY-TWO WOMEN. ONE ARENA. A BATTLE TO THE DEATH.

After a long war, corporations have replaced countries. Sports are fought to the death. The most popular game is Last Valkyrie, a live tournament where women kill each other for marriage into a powerful family.

For Nova, living in poverty with her mother and sister is a harsh reality that she cannot escape. But when she is kidnapped and forced to fight on the show, her world changes. If she refuses to fight, the bomb in her head goes off. Now winning means her freedom.

With death lurking at every moment, Nova has no idea if her next fight will be her last. But one thing she knows for certain: only one is making it out alive.

Perfect for fans of Hunger Games, The Selection, and The Princess Trials. You won’t want to put down this exciting page-turner! 

I spring up from the ground in sweat, gasping for air. White walls surround me in a square room. My phone is gone. I wear a white jumpsuit.

                “Hello,” I call out.

No reply. This is no time to think. I’ve been kidnapped by God knows who. I have to get out of here. I pound on the wall.

“Help! Someone help me! Can anyone hear me?!” I scream.  

My fists grow sore, but I keep pounding.  

                “Let me out!” I yell.

I run from wall to wall, pounding and screaming, but I get nothing. My hands bleed from hitting the concreate. My punches weaken. I fall back on the ground, mentally drained.

Okay think Nova. It’s impossible to know where I’m at. That leaves who and why? I don’t have any enemies. Jax was angry at me, but she doesn’t have the power to organize this. This can’t be personal.  

The only thing I can think of is trafficking. My heart stops at the thought. Thousands of girls go missing every year without a trace. Many point to trafficking. I saw on the news about a rich girl who was kidnapped. Her parents paid the ransom, but never got her. She was found on the other side of the world. Her flesh was burned to the bone, and her organs were gone. I put my hands on my face, dreading a familiar fate. Oh no, I’m going to be sold into slavery or worse.

A loud exhaust comes from the wall as it slides open, leaving a partial exit. I wander out into a dark hallway. A crowd of women in white jumpsuits walks through the hallway. 

                “Hey,” I call out.

Nobody answers. They focus on the light at the end of the hall, walking towards it hesitantly. I grab one girl by the arm.

                “What’s going on?” I ask.

                “How should I know?” she whimpers.

I follow them. Exiting out the hall, we stumble into a huge auditorium. There has to be over 100 people here, all women. Some have bruises on their faces. Many panic, crying out.

                ‘Where are we?’

                ‘How did we get here?’

                ‘Help!’

A huge metal door swings open. Individuals dressed like the ones who kidnapped me march onto the stage. They have assault rifles. A short woman with a black pony tail strolls in behind them. She gets on the mic, glaring at us with disgust.

                “Excuse me,” she says.  

People keep chattering.

                “I said excuse me!” she barks.

The place falls silent.

                “My name is Irma. Welcome to the trials.”

                “Trials?” someone whispers.

                “For the next few days you will be tested physically and mentally to see if you have what it takes. There are 150 of you in this room. By the end of this, there will be 32. As for the 118 who fail, you will not go home, nor will you stay here.” Her face flexes with a cold glare. “You’ll just disappear. Any questions?”

                “Is this some kind of prank?” a woman yells. “Let me guess a new tv show where people think they’ve been kidnapped.”

She laughs, causing others around her to laugh. Irma reaches into her pea coat.

                “Who do you think you are?” the woman mocks. “You think-.”

Bullets light her chest up, propelling her back. Screams hit the auditorium as people back up from the bloody corpse. Irma holds a gun with smoke coming out of it.

                “I’m the last person you saw,” Irma declares. “Now it’s 149. Does anyone want to make it 148 before we start?”

Whimpers fill the room.

“Good. Don’t ask stupid questions. If you survive this, they’ll be answered,” Irma states.

Is this happening? It’s so unreal. She expects us to go through with this like it’s normal. She killed that girl like it was nothing. It’s happening too quickly for me to question it. I can only react, dreading what will come next.

The stage extends in the air. It reaches near the ceiling before stopping. It retracts back as the room expands mechanically. When everything stops, the stage is about a football field away from us.

                “This is a 100 yards. All you have to do is make it across, and you will pass this round,” Irma says. “Begin.”

Nobody moves as we are confuse. A girl steps up, tiptoeing out. She takes one more step. An arrow flies from the side and hits her in her neck, killing her before she hits the floor. Screams are cut short when an arrow hits another girl in the chest. Arrows fly rapidly from one side of the wall. Everyone runs towards the stage screaming.

Flying arrows fill the room. As I run, women drop like flies. Blood splatters in the air. The sound of bones and flesh being torn is in the atmosphere. My eyes shift around. It’s a bloodbath as arrows slaughter the women. My feet splash in a pool of blood. This is a nightmare.

I focus on the wall, allowing me to dodge the incoming arrows. The arrows torpedo out, ripping through the air. I duck, barely missing them. Many make the mistake of running straight, not paying attention to the wall. They’re killed instantly. Some dodge, only to be hit by the next row of arrows.

If I want to survive, I have to dodge and not run so rigid. I have to maneuver around the others. It brings me no pleasure using humans as shields, but I have no choice.

We make it halfway as the numbers drop severely. Almost there. An arrow hits the girl in front of me, ripping through her skull. As she collapses, another arrow hits her from the other side. I see what’s going on now.

Arrows fly in both directions, right and left now. Bodies hit the floor drastically. I jump over a body that’s filled with arrows.  

                “Please!” a voice screams.

A girl crawls with an arrow in her leg. On instinct I want to help her, but that thought ends when an arrow hits her in the neck. She dies choking on her own blood. The stage is a few yards away. Someone pushes me over. Falling to the ground, I gasp, knowing the danger that awaits there. As soon as I touch the ground, I jump back up in a slant.

The stage is right in front of me. I sprint straight ahead, not caring about technique, just praying I will make it. I collide face first into the stage, hugging it for dear life. The relief overwhelms me. More women are making it over as others are killed. One last woman races over, struggling as she wheezes. Everyone yells at her, begging for her to make it over in time.

                ‘Come on!’

                ‘Hurry!’

She is inches away when an arrow strikes her in the head. She sinks to the floor. An alarm goes off as the stage lowers.

                “Congratulations, you’ve survived. 51 of you didn’t,” Irma declares with monotone.  

Cries continue. Some women throw up. I drop to my knees, trembling as I replay the horror. I think about all those poor women who didn’t survive. Their eyes give us cold stares. The floor is a graveyard of bodies with arrows.

The wall opens up, revealing darkness. The floor rotates, moving the bodies into the opening in the wall. The wall closes. The new floor is spotless as if the carnage never happened. The room retracts, bringing it back to normal. There’s a blood stain on my sleeve, but it is not mine.

                “The numbers in the front of your jumpsuits represent the room you were in. You will now go back to your room and await further instructions,” Irma orders.

We trudge back to the hall. One girl’s on her knees, crying loudly. 

                “I can’t do this! I want to go home!” she bawls.

A tall slender girl with an athletic build approaches her.

                “It’s okay. Come on, get up,” the tall girl says.

She tries to pull the girl up, but the girl swats her hand away.

                “I gotta get out of here!” she panics.  

Irma and the guards notice the display. They march over. The tall girl books it.

                “Why aren’t you going to your room?” Irma barks.

Tears pour out of the girl’s eyes as she stays on her knees.

                “Please, I don’t belong here. I want my mommy and daddy!” the girl begs.

                “Get up and go to your room now!” Irma orders, unshaken by the girl’s distress.

Come on get up. I gulp, fearing for the girl’s life. She doesn’t get up. Irma grows furious. She takes off her pea coat.

                “Give me your baton,” she orders.

A guard hands her a baton. It’s not hallow like the one I had which was meant to sting. It’s thick and hard all over its long frame.

                “Please, I don’t-.”

Irma smashes the top of the girl’s head with the baton. Blood pours out of her skull as she crawls. Irma drives her boot into the girl’s jaw, dropping her flat on the ground. The girl whimpers. Irma unloads all over her body with the baton. The girl’s bones crack on impact with the heavy steel. She puts her hands up to defend herself.

                “Put your hands down!” Irma barks.

The baton hits the girl’s arm. She screams as her arms break. We stand by as helpless spectators as the vicious beating continues. The girl’s whimpers stop as she twitches. Irma pulls the girl’s hair, revealing the swollen face. The girl’s eyes show no consciousness.

Irma slams the baton across the girl’s face and beats it to a pulp. The girl doesn’t move as her face is unrecognizable. Irma finally stops as blood drenches the baton. Catching her breath, Irma puts back on her coat. She spots us watching.

                “I swear, if you aren’t in your rooms in the next 20 seconds, I’ll send every last one of you to your ancestors!”

We hurry to our rooms as the guards rush us. Some women knock others down. I feel at any moment a bullet or baton will hit me. I leap into my room, planting face first. The walls close behind me as I remain on the floor. As alien as this white room is, I am safe for now. All those dead bodies hinder this temporary safety. I rock back and forth in the fetal position, screaming as the images stick in my mind.

Please make them stop. My screams fade into whimpers. What will they have us do next? Will I ever get out of here? I just want to go home, but for now, and for however long they decide, this is my home.

A blue mist sprays out from the walls. Jumping to my feet, I cover my face in my shirt. The mist covers the room. Surprisingly, the mist doesn’t make me choke, or cough as I breathe fine. My legs feel weak. I wobble, feeling woozy. My feet give out. I hit the ground. My eyes fade.

**

An alarm wakes me up. My jumpsuit is warm and clean, spotless of blood. My skin is void of sweat. It’s smooth and moisturized. Energy flows through my body like I just ate a good breakfast.

Did that blue mist have something to do with how I feel? There are people who don’t eat or drink. They have rooms in their homes that spray their bodies with nutrients. They don’t even go to the bathroom, but they’re rich.

For my kidnappers to have many rooms with this capability, they have to be extremely wealthy. It’s obvious they have power. So rich and powerful, but not necessarily traffickers. I’m getting somewhere. 

The walls open. I walk out, joining the others down the hallway. There’s no hesitation or confusion this time. We all walk with direction, knowing another test is coming which means more people will die. 

Irma and the guards are in the auditorium. The stage and mic is gone. There’s a body opponent punching bag mounted on a pedestal.

                “This next round will test your striking abilities,” Irma informs. “You have 10 strikes to hit this bag. Each strike will be recorded, so the goal is to land the most effective blows to it. When you’re done, a buzzer will sound, and you will be told which side to go to. Get in a line, and let’s begin.”

That’s it? Just punch the bag, and onto the next round? Wow, I thought it would be hard, but thank God it’s not. I’ll pass this with flying colors. Only a sucker won’t survive this part. Irma nods to the girl in the front of the line.   

                “Begin.”

Letting out a huge breath, the girl marches to the bag. She brings her fist fully back and punches the dummy’s face. Her fist cracks as her wrist snaps. She cries in pain, holding her dangling hand.

                “You still have 9 more hits. Continue,” Irma orders with no sympathy.

                “I can’t,” the girl whimpers.

With a sigh, Irma takes a baton from the guard. We gasp. She raises the baton, but stops. She extends it to the second girl in line.

                “Hit her,” Irma directs.

The second girl trembles in fright.

                “I can’t,” she stammers.

Irma’s face tenses and twitches like she’s suffering a malfunction. She takes out her gun and shoots both girls in the head. We scream briefly, getting use to death now. The guards hurry over and drag the two corpses away.

                “Here’s some advice,” Irma declares. She taps the punching bag with the baton. A hard clicking noise sounds out as the bag remains still. “The bag is filled with concrete, so the most effective blows aren’t the hardest ones. Be smart, if you want to survive this. That’s the first and last tip I’ll give out. Next one will be lead.”

She nods to the next girl in front who hesitantly steps up. The girl feels on the surface. She lightly punches it in the chest. She groans, shaking her wrist, but punches it some more. The buzzer rings.

                “Right,” Irma states.

The next girl comes up. As I wait, Irma sends people right and left with no indication on what the lines mean. The buzzer sounds the same each time. In each line there are people with bruises on their knuckles.

There’s no way to tell if someone passes or not. This feels forever as my stomach twists in knots. The only good thing about this wait is I get to watch other people. I see how they hit the dummy, the hits that cause the most pain, and the ones that don’t. A strategy forms in my mind.

I reach the front of the line, staring into the dull eyes of the dummy like it’s my opponent. In a sense, it’s my judge and executioner. I strike the throat with my elbow, but I do not use all my strength, just enough for me to feel how hard it is. Grabbing its shoulders, I ram my knee into its stomach.  

I strike quickly, not letting my fists stay on the concreate for too long. The force on my bones is hard, but not painful enough to make me stop. The buzzer sounds. I tremble, gulping at Irma. Please say something, or give me a nod to let me know I did good. Her face doesn’t move.

                “Left,” she coldly states.  

The wait kills me. I trudge to the line. My session replays in my mind. I should have taken breaks in between and allowed myself time to think. Why didn’t I use my palms and the bottom of my feet to lessen the pain? This sucks. I wish I could go again.

I rub on my knuckles and elbows, feeling the scrapes and blood on them. This reminds me of that stupid game Bloody Knuckles I played back in middle school. Bullies forced us to play it for our lunches. I always won. They didn’t like it, so we fought for real, and I won again. I can’t believe the thought of it brings me joy as it briefly takes me away from this place.  Someone taps me from behind.

                “Aye,” the girl behind me whispers.

                “What?” I whispers back, keeping my eyes forward.

                “We have to get out of here.”   

                “You think I haven’t thought of that. It’s not going to happen. They have guns.”

                “We have the numbers. If we catch them by surprise and overrun them, more will join us. We just need a distraction.”

                “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” I quiver.  

                “Neither is waiting to die. I served in the military, and I’m a cop. I can take these clowns, I just need some help. You with me?”

I gulp. My anxiety shoots up tremendously.

                “I can’t,” I stammer.

                “Suit yourself. I’m going to take these suckers to school.”

She steps out of the line and approaches Irma.

                “My head hurts. Do you have any aspirin?” she asks.  

Irma nods at the guards. The guards march over to her.

                “Perfect, thank you very much,” she says.

The guards yank her by the arms.

                “Wait, what’s going on?” she shudders.

They escort her to a wall. They aim their guns at her.

                “No!” she screams.

The bullets rip through her like paper, turning her into a cheese grater. Nobody in the lines react to her death. I glance at the corpse and turn my attention ahead, fearing I’ll be next.

The last girl finishes. Everyone is nursing their bruises. The confidence I had at the beginning has left my body. After seeing the three girls get killed, I just want to finish this round alive. The guards march down the lines.  

                “Ready! Aim!” Irma orders.

They point their guns at my line. I swallow my stomach as my eyes expand. I throw my hands up, cowering back. Cries fill the air as many turn their backs.

                “Aim!”

They turn their guns to the other line. Terror sweeps the girls on that side. The guards return to their original positon. Cries are dying down. My heart still races as I am unsure of what’s going on. I slowly put my hands back down. Is this some kind of psychological torture? Maybe nobody will die, and they just want to scare us to death. The guards turn to the other line and mow everyone down.  

We jump back, panicking as the bullets tear the girls up. Bodies and blood flood the floor. The guards march behind Irma whose face doesn’t move at the bodies.  

                “Back to your rooms,” she orders.

We traipse back to our rooms. It brings me no joy that the round is over. My relief is brief, knowing the torment will continue. When will this nightmare end? Will I die before it’s over?

***

For the next round, the floors of the auditorium are a few feet below us with a pool of water.

                “Today we’re going to see how long you can breathe under water. It’s pretty simple.  Don’t come up until the water goes down,” Irma tells.  “Any questions?”

Nobody says anything. We drop down into the pool. As soon as everyone is in, a red laser shoots out of the rim of the pool, covering the entire top. Someone sticks their hand out towards it. The laser slices her hand off. Bubbles shoot out of her mouth with screams as she clutches her bloody stub.  

So that’s what it does. What an idiot. Thanks for letting us know what not to do. She reaches out for help, but everyone swims away from her. She grabs my shoulder. I kick her in the stomach, sending her back. A girl behind her smashes her head against the wall until she stops screaming. The corpse floats to the top where the laser slices it into many pieces.

I don’t feel sorry for her. She was a liability for our survival in this round. However, I am in disbelief at how the other girl killed her with no remorse. We’re becoming animals. Our only goal is survival.  

With each second my muscles tense, my head hurts, and my eyes strain. I look at the lasers, praying they will cut off, but they remain. Some around me black out. Their unconscious bodies float to the top where the lasers cut them up. Others purposely swim up. They can no longer take the pain of not knowing when they’ll come up again. The pool fills with blood and limbs. A leg floats by me. The smell of blood hits my nose.

The average person can held their breath for 30 seconds to 2 minutes. This feels like hours. At any minute I will fade out. The urge to swim to the top is strong. I close my eyes and open them seconds later, but the lasers are still there. I close my eyes again, this time not opening them back up.

There’s nothing left fueling my will. I have no hope. As soon as this is over, I’ll be thrown into another pit. The only thing keeping me alive is my family. Not the promise of seeing them, for I don’t know if I will ever see their faces again. It’s the thought of them that keeps me from swimming up. I imagine many different memories: going to the beach, movies, and park. Atlas hits my mind.

My headache increases as my nose bleeds. I can no longer hold my breath. I open my mouth uncontrollably. Water pours into my lungs. My lungs feel like they’re on fire with lava inside them. Either drown or get cut in half. There’s no point in fighting. This is the end. These are my last thoughts before I black out.

I gasp heavily, coughing up huge amounts of water. The surface beneath me is hard as I can breathe again. Around me, girls are coughing and vomiting on the ground. The water in the pool is gone as pale corpses and limbs are inside.  

                “Couple more seconds later, we would have been ripped to shreds,” a girl next to me coughs.

Irma stares at us with no emotion. I already know what’s coming out of her mouth.

                “To your rooms,” she says.

**

I wake up. There’s someone wearing a bull mask and a suit, sitting in a chair in the room.

                “What is this now?” I ask.

                “Sit,” Bull Face speaks. 

The male voice is crispy. I slouch in the other chair.

                “I’m going to ask a series of questions, and you will answer them honestly,” he says.

That’s it, just questions? No physical torment or bullets? Impossible. It’s never this easy with these tests. The calm atmosphere doesn’t fool me. I must stay on my toes.

                “Are you ready to begin?” he asks.

I nod with a sigh, grinding my teeth at the rhetorical question. Like he even cares. He presses the remote in his hands. The walls glow.

                “How long have you lived at your current residence?” Bull Face asks.  

                “Twelve years.”

A grocery store shows on the walls. It changes to pictures of women marching. Judging by the fashion and phones, it’s from the early 21st century.

                “What was the first thing you thought of today?” he asks immediately after the last question.

                “Escaping,” I sigh.

                “If you had to choose between being a gorilla or tiger, what would you be?”

I turn to the changing images on the walls, seeing celebrities on the red carpet then a night show host laughing.

                “A gorilla.”

                “Are you or have you ever been a member of the terrorist group known as Hades Hammer?”

                “No.”

                “Do you think corporate warfare is staged by mega corporations for economical gain?”

                “Maybe.”

“Are you or have you ever been a member of the terrorist group known as Hades Hammer?”

I smirk.

                “You asked me that already.”

“Should everyone be given an affordable subscription to a functional police department?”

                “I can barely pay my mom’s medical bills. How can I afford to take care of everyone else?” I rant.

The interrogation continues with rapid questions. There is no structure. They’re all random. He repeats many questions, asking, ‘Are you or have you ever been a member of the terrorist group knows as Hades Hammer.’ This interrogation is a broken record.

As I answer, I look at the pictures on the walls: police fighting rioters, skyscrapers, moon colonies, peaceful protests, game shows, and much more random photos.

I lose track of time, answering so many questions. There is no point to any of this, to any of this torture. My life is a joke to them. They abuse us for no reason other than because they can. It doesn’t matter who these people are: rich elitists, sadists, or some whack religious nuts.

What’s the point of going on, if I’ll be stuck in this rat race, chasing the next objective? I clench my fists. If they won’t give me my freedom, I’ll force them to kill me. I am about to stand up when the pictures stop, reverting the walls back to white. 

The walls open. A woman in a white lab coat comes out, holding a jet injector. Inside of it is a syringe with green liquid.

                “What is that?” I stammer.

                “Hold still,” Bull Face orders.

She injects my neck with the syringe.

                “Ouch!” I yell.

I feel a speck of blood on my neck. The pain instantly goes away. Bull Face and the lady leave the room. Another test I imagine. Let me guess, they put something deadly inside me, and now I have a certain amount of minutes to get it out before it kills me. I saw that in a movie once. The walls open back up. There are less women in the hallway than before. We meet Irma and the guards in the auditorium. There’s someone new with them.

It’s a man wearing an aqua blue suit. His face is tan like he spent too many hours in a tanning machine. He ogles at us like we are dessert. He looks familiar, but I can’t place his face.  

                “Congratulations, you remaining 32 have survived!” he cheers. “You’ve probably seen me before.”

Yes, but where? He looks more familiar by the second as his white teeth shine. I still can’t remember exactly. Suddenly, it hits me. The suit, tan face, and cherish attitude are all too familiar. My heart picks up fast at the realization. I saw this guy on the television every week when I was a kid.

                “My name is Blaze Neroburn. It’s my honor to officially welcome you as members on this season of Last Valkyrie.”

                “Oh no,” I gasp.

CHAPTER 7

The room fills with gasps. The statement baffles everyone. Last Valkyrie? This is impossible. There’s no way this is for Last Valkyrie. So many things aren’t right. Women submit and volunteer to be on the show. Nobody forces them.

“But wait how can this be possible? What about those who sign up to be on the show?” Blaze mocks. He laughs. “There are millions who would kill their own mother to be here, but they’re useless to us. If you were volunteers, you could quit at any time, not follow the rules, and make demands. That wouldn’t be entertaining now would it?”

He’s a fool, if he thinks we won’t tell anyone what they’ve done to us. Once I get out of here, I’m snitching. I’m sure the others have the same idea. If this is Last Valkyrie, then I don’t know why nobody in the past told. I refuse to let this bastard hold me against my will any longer.

                “Oh, if any of you think about snitching, think again.” He takes out a tablet. Glowing blue squares are on the screen. “You remember that syringe you took to the neck a while ago? We’ve implanted devices that can track you, listen in on your conversations, and also detonate at the touch of a button.”

My heart drops as I put my hands on my neck. Our faces explode with fright.

                “If you want to make it to your matches, don’t snitch or boom! Only if we had a demonstration.” He grins devilishly. “It seems we have 34 people, and we only need 32. Let’s start subtracting then!”  

We scream in panic, but there’s nothing we can do. A girl runs towards Blaze.

                “No please, don’t let it be me!” she shrieks.

Irma executes her, one bullet between the eyes.

                “Wow!” Blaze cheers, eyes on the tablet.

I cradle in a corner, trying to ignore the screams and panic. God don’t let it be me please. What would it feel like to have my head blown off? Would it be painful? Even if I don’t feel anything, the idea scares me.

There’s no way it’ll be me, right? Out of 33 women, what are the odds Blaze will press my number? Come to think about it, the odds haven’t been in my favor lately. Oh god, it might be me.

                “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,” Blaze counts as his finger hovers over the tablet.

He presses a button. The room falls silent in anticipation. My heart pounds. Is this when I die? What will they tell mom and Luna? Maybe nothing, and I’ll be reported missing. That’s a better fate than my family having to look at my headless corpse.

                “What is that?! My neck! It’s getting hot!” someone screams.

A girl frets, putting her hands on her glowing red neck. Everyone backs up from her.

                “Oh no!” she cries.

                “I love this part!” Blaze laughs.

Her fear arouses him. The girl’s face swells with blisters and bubbles as her neck expands.

                “Somebody help!” she muffles.

The increasing mass of her flesh clogs her throat, making it hard for her to speak. Her head explodes, raining blood and flesh everywhere. A drop of her blood gets into my mouth, souring my tongue with its aluminum taste. My insides twist. I throw up. It feels like my stomach is ripped out of my throat. Blaze laughs frantically.  

                “Momma always said, don’t let your head get too big,” Blaze teases. “Any questions.”

A girl timidly raises her hand.

                “When do we go home?” she whimpers.

Irma shoots her a glare. Taking out her baton, Irma marches towards the girl. Irma towers over the girl.

                “You go home when we say you go home! You fight when we say you fight! And you die when we say you die! You got that you prima donna!”

Irma strikes the girl in the stomach with the baton, dropping her to her knees.

                “Get up now!” Irma orders.

“Get the picture now? We own you.” Blaze declares. His grin stretches, revealing his bloody gums. “Most importantly, I own you. Don’t worry, whoever wins, gets the detonator taken out.”

Why don’t the Valkyries tell after they win then? I stop dwelling on this question as I walk back to my cell. So this is the truth. After all these years, this is what goes on behind the scenes. I can’t believe it. Millions of people lied to. All those years staying up late to watch the show, believing in the spectacle.

All those Valkyries, those strong women I looked up to. I believed they signified greatness. It’s a lie. The legend of Nokomis, the greatest warrior to have ever stepped into the ring, is all a fraud. She was larger than life to me. I had toys and posters of her. I idolized her. I loved her.

But none of it is true. She appeared strong, but in reality she wasn’t. She was just another pawn who did what she was told even after she was free. It’s good she died. That fake sellout got exactly what she deserved.

I don’t know why I hate her since I’m in her shoes now. She did what she had to do to survive, but this doesn’t stop my anger. Nokomis and the entire world have betrayed me.

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