The Old Way
We see two baboons pacing through the alley at night. It’s so different from the City Center of the capital of Red Dominion, Apelon. The alley is filled with baboons from all over the planet. Some are fighting over food in a corner, some gambling, and some selling merchandise in the black market.
“I think we have come a long way from the city center, are you sure about this, Father?” Disguising fear with pride, Young Ayto asks Lord Hiko to catch up to him. The looks and the attire of Ayto and Hiko set them aside from the crowd. We see many baboons eyeing them from a distance.
Lord Hiko replies pacing fast “ Quiet boy! Here.. the wall has ears and they can sense your fear”. They take a turn to a silent and empty alley. Ayto takes his gun out and showcases it “Do you think I’m afraid? I can very well take care of myself and take care of others”. Lord Hiko screams at him, “Do you think your gun can shield you from what’s gonna happen here.. This is the place of the old way. Fist, sword, club, and axe can only help you here. So keep it aside and follow me”. Ayto calms down and follows Lord Hiko.
Both of them reach a huge door at the end of the alley. Two bodyguards guarding the door greet Lord Ayto and open the door for them. As they entered the corridor, it revealed that it’s a big fight pit. The infamous underground fight club of the baboons. Ayto has heard stories about these places when he was a child. Stories of the great warriors resolving conflicts, fighting for reputation climbing up the ranks, and enemies of the nation thrown into the pit into fight to death scenarios. The old ways. Now Ayto remembers. The fighting pit is full of people and the atmosphere is electric. There is old war music everywhere. The confidence and fear in Ayto transform to curiosity and excitement.
From the top of the fight pit, a big baboon raises his hand and the music stops. He calls out to Lord Hiko “ Welcome Lord Hiko to my humble empire. Today we have a special fight on this very monumental day. Come join me here”. The crowd cheers as the bodyguards escort Lord Hiko and Ayto to the pavilion. Ayto identifies the big baboon, the notorious Itepo, the one-eyed.
Itepo welcomes Lord Hiko to the chair gracefully. Lord Hiko introduces Ayto,” This is my Son, Ayto”. “Master Ayto, welcome. I was not expecting you with your father. This young man deserves a gift a warrior deserves.”, Itepo gets excited and reaches to his collection in the pavilion and grabs a beautiful axe presenting it to Ayto. Ayto is still surprised to see Itepo. The big one-eyed baboon’s elegant and formal manners don’t have similarities the barbarian Aytos’ heard about. Though dressed in a suit and looks high born like him, the killer instinct on Itepo’s face tells a different story. Lord Hiko hints at Ayto and Ayto accepts the gift, “ I’m honored, Sir. This is a beautiful axe.” “one day you will make good use of it. The old way is the true way. Your father knows well”, Itepo comments proudly. “This is overwhelming, Itepo. You know I am here for business, right?”. Lord Hiko takes the seat at the pavilion following Itepo and Ayto. Itepo stands up and laughs “of course, We have arranged a fight and wager, just for you. Let’s get over with it” Itepo tells the presenter to start “Let the match begin!!!”
The music stops. We see the first warriors entering the pit. Suddenly people started booing. The slogan ‘traitor’ starts to echo. Ignoring the hate, the baboon enters the pit. The presenter announces
“From Spiro, he is a fallen warrior. Hated by friends and foes but Reborn in the pit and have never froze He is Bravo the smooth”
The music rises and the crowd electrifies again. “You got a cadet from Spiro? Well.. well.. Now I’m interested but can I get your support at the mining business”, Lord Hiko slips to the edge of the chair and asks Itepo. Itepo smiles and says, “ In Baboonia, people say banana plantation business is everything. Nobody has the vision to see across that. One thing I like about you, Lord Hiko, is that you can see apart from that. Red Dominion failed to understand that. That way you will have my support. I will double my guards at your mining facility But.. the main question is that who are you gonna put your wager on?” Both Lord Hiko and Itepo laugh as Ayto carefully listens to the conversation, still examining the Axe.. The music lowers and the presenter announces the second fighter
“He is the city favorite, His skill with sword and renowned With the highest kill streak and current champion of the pit We have Lemo from the red gang.”
“Are you serious, Itepo? It's obvious. The red gang baboon is going to win. Still, you wanna put a wager?”, Lord Hiko giggles and hints Ayto to put the coins as the wager. Itepo smiles and puts his wager on the table. Ayto has always kept his books close. As a tactician and after analyzing the fighters he realised that his father was being overconfident. Ayto’s thoughts were interrupted by the drumbeat for the start of the fight. With the bang, the fight starts.
We see Lemo moving in fast with the sword. He jumps and attacks with the sword as Bravo swiftly defends each attack and parries with quick reflexes. With each move the crowd gets excited. With each blow the attacks from Lemo are getting stronger and faster. Bravo is barely keeping up with it. Along with sword movement, the punches, and kicks from Lemo are really hurting Bravo. With a sudden kick from Lemo, Bravo is tossed to the other side of the pit. The crowd is roaring and the drum music slows down.
Ayto realizes this is why the Red gang is special. Trained from a young age to be warriors. Also even though Bravo is barely keeping up because of his experience and age. Lord Hiko cheers for Lemo standing up and mocks Itepo,” You really should have found a better opponent”. Itepo calmly says “Tell me Lord Hiko, why do you think I guard your mine even though I haven't asked you a single favor in return? As a friend, I have always supported you. But isn’t it time to return favors?” The smile disappears from Lord Hiko’s face and asks Itepo ` What do you mean?”. Bleeding Bravo from the pit looks at Itepo and Itepo hints at Bravo. Suddenly Bravo changes his fighting posture. Ayko identifies the style, the Axe whirlwind of the barbarians of the Savannah.
Yes, Xeno had made a reputation for the Red gang, which had eclipsed the bravery of the barbarians from the savannah. As the space masters discovered they can never defeat the barbarians in close combat, they refused the old ways and cheated the barbarians. Even though many were massacred and forced to join the Space masters of Spiro. The courage of those warriors is reflected in Itepo’s and Bravo’s face. The spirit of the old ways.
Lemo charges in with a slash, the spirit, and energy of Bravo have suddenly changed. With quick counter-attacks the fighters are fighting head to head. Lord Hiko is surprised how the tide is changing in the fight. He looks at Itepo. Itepo still calm, explains Lord Hiko, “I need your help, Lord Hiko. I want you to hold a council to abolish the banishment of Lord Zeno''. “Are you crazy?? Do you think the council will agree? He is still wanted after the great war and do you think I will vouch for him? ”, Lord Hiko yells. “ This will happen with or without you, Lord Hiko. Money can buy anything. You will take this up or I will make your son take it up to the next council”, Itepo grinds and replied. “Are you threatening a council member of the great Red Dominion?”, Lord Hiko replies angrily. “Never Lord Hiko”, Itepo smiles and bows his head.
At the same time, Bravo takes a beautiful counter move spinning attack known as the whirlwind dash and disarms Lemo. He throws Lemo to the ground, throws his axe away, and starts punching him in the chest, aggressively and roaring. The crowd stops cheering. When Itepo signals, Bravo stops punching and stands over the opponent and does a war cry. The crowd and drums roar again. Lord Hyko and Ayto are stunned by Bravo’s move.
Itepo turns to Lord Hiko, “A war is coming, My lord. I am just a messenger. The Empire is rising and it will come back”
(To be continued)