Once someone becomes a gladiator, their score is reset. The videos of their wins and losses still remained out there, but they weren’t counted on the official record. However, she hadn’t killed or died so many times that she would be able to forget. It hadn’t even been that long since the last time she was in Hell either.
Iris sighed, touched the name of her chosen opponent and began walking down the hallway. She passed by a few small cages where slaves were waiting for their turn to fight. Some were cowering, others were crying, but many just had a lifeless expression. They had already fought at least once and weren’t as afraid, but at the same time, there was an even greater sense of terror within them. Of course, there were some that were totally insane or confident in their strength, so they were actually looking forward to the upcoming fight.
Eventually, she reached a large wooden double-door. It was covered with bloodstains and chunks of rotting meat. Right when she was about to push it open, a soft, masculine voice stopped her.
“You’re a gladiator… That’s the slave entrance. The waiting rooms for the first five stages are to the left…” She quickly turned around, but no one was there. Then she heard a creaking noise and saw a small, unassuming stone door on each side of the giant gateway.
After looking around for a moment, she murmured “Thanks.” Then she placed her right hand on the left stone door. It swiftly opened and as soon as she took a few steps forward, the door closed behind her back.
When she saw the waiting room, she was briefly startled. The floor was made out of white tiles, the ceiling was plastic paneling, with fluorescent lights illuminating everything. However, the lights were fairly dim, because there were big flat screen monitors mounted above the five doors to the stages.
Iris glanced around and noticed that there were only a handful of other gladiators, even though there were enough chairs for at least a hundred people. She took a seat close to the third door and gazed up at the ongoing match.
It was a tall and lanky man with long dreadlocks and dark-brown skin, fighting against a short Filipino woman. They were both slaves and wearing nothing but rags. However, while the man seemed stronger on the surface, his opponent was a lot more experienced and talented. Iris shook her head and muttered “He’s going to die.”
The man was holding back against the woman, but she didn’t hesitate to use her fingernails to claw out his eyes. As he screamed in agony and fell onto his knees, she mercilessly kicked him in the throat. Once he was laying on the ground, she continued to use her heels and stomp onto his neck, the back of his head, his spine… It didn’t stop until an excited voice announced “We have a winner folks! What a great first match for Mary Anne Reyes!” The back of the woman’s left hand suddenly glowed with a bright-red number ‘1’. Then a big burly red-skinned demon came over to the side of the stage and guided Mary out of the room.