The Rise of Phoenix
“Are you sure you’re up for the challenge?”
“Yes, I can handle any challenge you can give me.”
“This will be your first challenge from the gods and there aren’t many who survive.”
“Those that came before me, the previous Universal Superstars, they all survived and I won’t be the first to fail.
“I hope for your sake that you aren’t. The Universal Superstar lineage could falter here if you fail. The task is simple, meet each of the eleven stars that make up the constellation Taurus in combat.”
“Each star will dictate the terms of the match and you must abide. You must survive. With each match, you will learn something new, something that you will take with you to the next encounter.”
Kneeling before a throned figure is Anaquin Adams, Universal Superstar, paying her respects as she is given direction. She is surrounded behind her by many individuals as they listen to the one on the throne as he speaks to his disciple.
“Many believe you will fail this challenge, Superstar. But, I believe you were chosen for a purpose and you may go down in infamy as the greatest of all Universal Superstars.”
“I appreciate the kind words and will do my best to live up to your beliefs. I’ll do my best to make you proud.”
“Go forward and partake of the challenge and come back, having competed against them all and we will celebrate a celebration of gods!”
The crowd erupts in cheers as suddenly, Anaquin Adams bolts up in her bed. She glances at the clock as she mutters, “I hate it when they do that,” and turns over and returns to sleep.
One Week Ago
It’s just prior to the California Wrestling Division 5 card and Anaquin Adams has not been cleared to compete. She’s excited, however, because her appointment to be evaluated is tomorrow and she’s hoping to be back in the ring.
She has decided that she’s going to mingle with the masses who are waiting to be let into the show. She steps outside and blinks away at the sunshine that threatens to blind her when she feels a tug at her pantleg and she looks down to see the cutest little girl standing there looking up at her. She’s barely three feet high and her blonde hair has been given green tips at the end.
“Hi Ankwin Adam! You’re my favorite wrestler. My mom let me dye my hair green, but not all of it.” Mom and dad are standing behind her and Anaquin looks up at them and smiles. She kneels down next to the girl and turns to face mom and dad, “How about a picture?”
They pose while mom takes a picture and Anaquin turns to the little girl, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I wanna be a wrestler just like you. I just don’t want to be like you when you were being scary.” Anaquin cringes at that as she recalls when she went off the rails for a few weeks there towards the end of her HcW run.
She smiles at the girl, “I don’t want to be scary like that again either. How does that sound?”
“Good,” she says as the little girl smiles and reaches her arm out and gives Anaquin a big little girl hug.
Anaquin glances up at the parents as the little girl releases the hold on the wrestler’s neck. She looks at the little girl, “Come see me if you see me at the merchandise stand and I’ll give you something, okay?”
“Okay!” The girl starts to run by towards her parents but looks over her shoulder, “Bye Ankwin Adam!”
Anaquin smiles at the girl and waves back to her as she gets up and moves to mingle with the rest of the crowd, however the little girl’s words stick in her and probably always will.
It’s mid-day, Anaquin Adams has taken to her lair to work, waiting until the hottest part of the day to ensure she is at peak performance. The lair itself is a large abandoned warehouse that is dark, except for a single light that hangs above her workout area. The windows are lined up along the top all the way around the building and most are covered by old, decaying newspaper. The stationary camera is pointed at the workout area that consists of some weights, a pull up bar and a treadmill.
Anaquin Adams is currently on the pull up bar as she finishes her set, she lets herself drop down to the floor and she reaches for a towel to wipe the layers of sweat dripping down her face and onto her neck. She is dressed in a dark tank top, black shorts and dark tennis shoes.
“While it was great to be in Denver and seeing some familiar faces at the Mile High Wrestling show, the acceptance of my challenge didn’t go quite as I saw it. You see, Robi Mitchell, I came onto your turf with the intent of showing you all the respect in the word because the gods see you as a challenge for me. As someone who can take me to my limit. Win or lose, they feel that my being in the ring with you will push me further than I’ve been pushed before.”
She reaches up and touches the slightly discolored area on her forehead. “Your headbutt was impressive but understand that I use the headbutt during every match. I’m well prepared. But you also made a statement to me. In refusing to shake my hand, in restorting to attacking me – I understand. You think you’re the alpha female in Mile High and you were protecting your territory. The message is clear. I don’t intend on staying as my challenge will take me around the world and my home federation is in California. But make no bones about it, Robi Mitchell, I plan to pushing you harder than you have been pushed before.”
She moves over to start loading a dumbell with some weights, “At the Rising of the Phoenix, you and I will take it Phoenix to places it has never seen before and I hope you’re ready. I hope the gods haven’t misjudged your heart. I hope for your sake that you can hang with me, one on one.
“It’s the reputation of the Shieldmaidens versus the adoration of the gods. Only one of us can claim victory. I plan on it being me, even if it takes my final breath. Can you say the same? I’ll see you on Wednesday, Robi Mitchel at the Rise.”