I stayed sitting in my seat as the rest of the class filed out. I had received a 94 out of 100 on my latest test. That score had earned me another, ‘See me after class~’ written on my test. The professor, Ms. Zessgall-- a mind flayer, gave me a sly smile across the room. She was still putting away all of her teaching materials as she moved around on tentacles making horrible, wet, sloppy noises as she moved, “You did very well on that test, Anon,” She finally spoke to me after making me wait nearly 10 minutes, “As always, I am impressed that someone that cannot use magic is doing this well. You are doing better than the actual witch in the class.” “Thanks,” I gave her a worried smile as I approached her, “I just find all this really interesting.” “Yes, the science of magic is a wonderful topic! You are such a smart boy, perfect for an intellectual like me,” She proudly identified herself by placing a hand on her voluptuous breasts. She approached me, slimey arms behind her back, “Have you taken the time to think of my offer?” Her yellow eyes peered at me, “All A’s in every class,” She reminded me quickly, “You know what you need to do to get it.” She reached for my crotch in an attempt to feel me up, as if that would get me to say yes instantly. I pulled away from her as her tentacles reached out to me, “I, uh, I can’t,” She started to scowl at me, “I mean uh, not yet? I need more time to decide.” Her scowl turned to another smug smile, “Of course, dear. Take all the time you ne-ed,” The way she drew out that last word gave me shivers. “Yeah, see you next week,” I gave her a quick smile before walking out of the class without another word. I shook myself trying to get the sound of her moist tentacles schlorping together out of my head. I left the building just in time to see my bus drive away. I groaned, missed the bus again thanks to that damned woman. I had no interest in her, but she wouldn’t get that through her head. I looked at the dark streets around me, illuminated softly by the overhead streetlights. I checked my watch, just after seven. I still had enough time to make it to the cafe where I was supposed to be meeting Sarah. I sent her a quick text telling her I was going to be a bit late. I got a response almost immediately, ‘Don’t worry about it. I’ll wait.’ I smiled, at least she was understanding. I made my way through the dimly lit streets towards the cafe. I kept an eye out for any night time mamano that might be on the prowl. I needed to keep myself pure if I was ever going to marry Sarah. We were sort of dating, I didn’t understand monster courting rituals. I made it to the cafe without much hassle. I spotted Sarah before she noticed me. She wore a pink tank top, black jeans and brown combat boots. Her short white hair and pointy dog ears looked at fluffy as ever. Her tail drooped towards the floor as she stared into a half full cup of strawberry lemonade. Her muscular arms resting on the table, strong hands gripping the cup gently. She had a thick slice of strawberry cheesecake in front of her, untouched with two forks sitting next to it. I walked up to her, panting slightly from my brisk walk, “Hey,” I dumbly got her attention by putting a hand on her shoulder. Her head spun around quickly, wide eyes fixated on me instantly and her body tensed up. It took a moment for her mind to process it was me. Her tail started to wag softly, “Hi, Anon. Sit down and eat this shit with me,” I nodded and sat across from her, “Need a drink, boy?” She said ‘boy’ in a teasing tone, reminding me of the fact that she’s nearly seven years older than me. She was putting on her tough girl persona, as she always did in public. “If you’re buying, I’ll have what you’re having,” I smiled, my wallet was without much money in it. She looked to one of the waitresses in a maid uniform and gestured them over, “Can I get two more a’ these?” She shook the lemonade. “Of course! One moment!” The cat girl quickly headed into the kitchen. “How was school?” Sarah asked as she turned back to me, downing the rest of her drink. I picked up a fork, “Fine,” My tone betrayed my words. “That squid bitch still harassing you?” She growled, baring fangs in anger. “Y-yeah,” I admitted, staring at the floor. “She didn’t touch you, did she?” I shook my head, “Good. I still don’t get why you won’t just tell her about me.” I looked down, “I’m afraid she’ll start failing me to push me into it. Especially if she has as much sway with the other teachers as she claims. I can’t fail any classes, Sarah, I don’t have the money.” “You ARE my boyfriend, right?” She growled at me, frown on her face. “Yeah, I am,” I poked at the strawberry on the slice of cheesecake as the drinks were brought out to us. Each was gently placed in front of us, “Thanks.” “Anon,” Sarah ignored the waitress, “Wanna go do something fun tonight?” “You know how I feel about sex before marriage,” I reminded her. She rolled her eyes, “You remind me weekly. No, we’re gonna go watch a show, get your mind offa school for a while. Finish your drink, I’ll get a box for the cake,” She had a look in her eyes, the one that showed when she had her mind set on something. I wouldn’t be able to talk her down from it, all I could do now was roll with it. She got up and went to pay, her tail wagging at near maximum speed. I brought the drink to my lips and downed as much as I could. I sat in the passenger seat of Sarah’s pickup truck as it rumbled down the street. She growled at the stuck transmission as she tried to change gears. She barked at an old lady who was driving two miles under the speed limit. I put my hands over my ears as she shouted about someone jaywalking nearby. Despite all her rage, she was an incredibly safe driver. I suspected it was because I was in the car with her. She jerked the wheel suddenly and turned into the parking lot of an unmarked building, “We’re here,” She stopped in a parking spot at the back. There were a few cars here, mostly vans. A black van with fire painted on the sides stood out to me. “A dark parking lot? I love it,” I said sarcastically. “Shut up,” She laughed, “Lets go,” Her tail wagged as she led me into a building. I was shocked as I walked into the lavish halls. From the outside this building looked abandoned, on the inside, it was well lit, a nice carpet lined the floors, the walls were covered with paintings of warriors. I was so distracted by the decor that I didn’t even notice Sarah walk off, “Anon! Come on!” “Ah! Sorry!” I walked quickly to catch up to her. Sarah stopped at a painting, a smile on her face. I looked up to see a woman in old world demon military armor-- full plate armor but still somehow sexual, a demon silver flanged mace in one hand, a spear on her back, her other hand was being used to lean on a tower shield. I looked down and read the inscription ‘Sarah Whitemoore, champion.’ The date was eleven years ago, “What!?” I looked up at her in shock. “Yeah, I was a Gladiator Dog during my prime. That’s my mom’s old armor. She was one of those brave souls that came through the portals all those years ago and conquered these lands,” Sarah sighed, “I miss those days.” “You’re still huge and muscular, Sarah, I don’t know why you can’t now.” Sarah looked at the floor for a few moments, “Ah, Sarah!” We both whipped around to see an anubis approaching Sarah, arms outstretched. Sarah smiled back at her and hugged her back, “Look how big you are now!” The anubis pulled away and put her hands on her shoulders, the older anubis pinched Sarah’s cheek teasingly, “So good to see you~” I looked the anubis up and down, she had tanned skin, long black hair, wearing a white flowing toga with a bit of gold jewelry like gaudy earrings and bracelets. She had a man with her that wore a nice dress shirt and slacks as well as two armored guards. “It is good to see you too, Aya. How have things been here?” Sarah asked. “Very good, very good. Not nearly as exciting as when you were in the ring, but still entertaining, of course,” The anubis’s dark eyes turned to me, “And who is this? Got yourself a husband finally?” “He’s Anon,” Sarah answered for me, “My boyfriend.” “Nice to meet you, Aya,” I gave her a polite smile. The anubis gave me a small bow, “The pleasure’s all mine. Participating or watching, Sarah?” “Watching. Anon likes those violent video games so I thought he might like to see some REAL combat,” Sarah gave her a grin. “Well, policy changed a few years back, and previous champions get free entry and one guest pass,” The anubis nodded at one of the guards. The guard stepped forwards and offered Sarah two passes on lanyards. Sarah took them and put one on and thrust the other into my hand, “Thank you,” She glanced at the badge, “Aya, these are GOOD seats!” She gasped. “Eh, they don’t sell often. You deserve it anyways. See you in the arena!” Aya walked off, small group of people following her. “This is a lot for me to process,” I mumbled. “Just keep your head on and you’ll be fine. Come on,” Sarah waved for me to follow her. We went down a set of stairs and walked into the stands surrounding a sand filled pit. It reminded me of a Greek or Roman arena. I frowned, why did an anubis have some fetish for Greek architecture? I shook my head and looked around again. The stands were full of mostly monsters like hellhounds, werewolves and even kobolds as well as a few human men. Numerous people wore togas as well. Sarah looked at her badge, “We’re over there,” She pointed to a reserved spot near the front right below another roped off area that held a throne. The seats there were cushioned and had backs to them rather than being made of wood with no backs. Sarah and I showed our badges to a guard that stood near the roped off area. We took our seats and looked down into the arena, “I am incredibly overwhelmed by all of this,” I told my girlfriend. She put an arm around my shoulders and shook me a little bit, “Yeah its a bit loud,” She spoke over the buzz of the crowd, “Hungry?” “No, I’m fine, thank you.” A blare of trumpets behind us caused me to jump. I looked up behind me as the anubis I met earlier stood near her throne. The crowd hushed as she scanned the underground arena. She raised her arms, “Gladiator Dogs!” She paused, building tension, “So wonderful to see you all tonight my darlings. We have a multitude of great fights tonight,” The crowd, including Sarah howled in anticipation, “We also have a guest of honor tonight! Sarah Whitemoore, first time in the arena in nearly nine years is here in the stands tonight!” More howling as Sarah stood, giving bows to the crowd, her tail was wagging faster than I had ever seen. She nearly smacked me in the face with it on accident. As she sat back down, the crowd went quiet. Two warriors, walked into the arena, “Let the combat commence!” The anubis sat down in her throne, man standing next to her. The crowd immediately went wild as the two naked warriors went at each other. The hellhound and werewolf were both covered in oils, making it difficult to grip each other. They turned to throwing punches at each other and pulling hair. The crowd was going nuts as the werewolf got on top of the hellhound and started throwing punches. Sarah sat next to me, silent. She was frowning and her tail drooped behind her. I put a hand on her arm, “Are you alright?” I asked quietly, hoping she would hear me. Her ears perked up and she turned to me, “Yeah,” She lied, “You must be enjoying watching them slap each others’ tits around, huh?” “Not really. Tell me what’s wrong or I’ll head pat you in public.” Her eyes lit up in fear, “N-no, don’t,” She begged. I folded my arms and frowned at her, “Okay, okay I’ll talk,” She looked back down to the two girls still slapping the shit out of each other, “This used to be wrestling, not an all out brawl. There used to be finesse in this.” The hellhound decked the werewolf, knocking her out. The crowd went ballistic. I looked back at Aya, she was lounging in her chair, getting the man that I assumed was her husband, to feed her grapes from the vine. She glanced down at the arena and stood, “Congratulations to our winner!” She put on a smile and threw her arms in the air, “On to the next fight!” The hellhound helped the werewolf up and they hugged. They walked off the field, waving at the crowd. I looked back at Sarah, “Things used to be different, huh?” I almost wanted to laugh at her for acting like a boomer, but her mood looked like she would hit me if I did. She glanced at me, ears flat against her head sadly. She nodded and looked down at the field to watch two dog girls swung morning stars at each other. The fight was over in two minutes as one slipped while trying to dodge. She got hit by the demon silver club in the stomach. The crowd cheered again, “Why’d you quit?” “Bad injury. I-I don’t really want to talk about it.” “Next we have a husbando fight,” The anubis began, “Challenger, what man will you be fighting for?” “Oooh, I used to love watching these. Fighting for the love of a man you have your eyes on~” Sarah looked happy, her tail wagging violently, “Its romantic, in a way.” “I don’t really understand, but okay,” I smiled at her. A kobold stood and walked towards a cluster of boys about her age, roughly 18 or 20. She quickly chose a man, grabbing him by the wrist and pulling him from the seat. The crowd erupted into howls, including Sarah this time, “If any among you would challenge her for this man, stand now!” Another kobold stood, grin on her face. The crowd erupted into a cheer as the two opponents descended into the arena. The man that had been picked sat in a large chair in the front row as a toga was draped over him by some other overzealous audience members. “How come you never married a guy like this?” I asked Sarah over the noise of the crowd. “By the time I was ready for a husband and healed from my injury, I had stopped fighting and... grown up,” She told me sadly, “My job at the police station doesn’t give me a lot of time to come down here.” “What do you mean ‘grown up?’ You still love fighting!” “Look at the crowd, Anon. Teenagers and young adults. I'm a thirty plus year old dog. I can’t learn new tricks any more. My time has passed,” She wiped her eyes. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you like that,” I put a hand on her shoulder, “You’d wipe the floors with these chumps anyway. God, I still can’t get over the fact that you were champion. Makes me a little nervous.” “I could never hurt you, Anon. Much,” She grinned at me, showing her pointy teeth to me. “Let the combat begin!” Aya shouted as the two kobolds waddled into the arena in full plate armor. Both had small shields, spears in their hands and swords on their hips. I watched as the two little kobolds stabbed at each other with their spears. I wasn’t used to seeing such small girls bark and growl as they tried to pierce the others’ armor. Sarah had a small smile on her face that turned into a grin as one kobold smashed the others helmet with their shield. Both of them dropped their spears and changed to their swords. Neither could gain an advantage on the other as they slashed at their opponent. “They trained under the same tutor,” Sarah explained to me, “Their fighting styles are nearly identical.” “Are they just going to flail helplessly at one another?” I asked. “Probably. One has to slip up eventually. Look,” She pointed as one of the kobolds forced the other one back. She was slowly back up and was nearly stepping on the shield she had dropped earlier. She was forced back again, stepping on the shield and slipping onto her face. They started wrestling on the ground, one clearly having the upper hand. Helmets were torn off as they continued to bark and growl at each other. I watched as one was put into a headlock and tapped out quickly. The crowd cheered as the victorious kobold, the one that had picked out the man, stood and threw her arms in the air, panting heavily. She helped the other kobold up and gave her a quick hug. The man was brought down into the arena as the kobold stripped her armor off, “Now what?” I asked as the two stared at one another. “The REAL fun begins,” Sarah grinned at me again, her tail wagging. Aya stood up behind us, a red collar in her hands with a little heart tag on it. She tossed it into the ring, landing pretty close to the kobold, “Let the love match begin!” She declared. The kobold scooped up the collar as she dashed at her man, he dropped low, ready to grab her. She slammed herself into him, knocking him down. She started fiddling with the strap of the collar, getting it open and going to put it around his neck. She was grabbed and thrown off of him, losing the collar. Each of the combatants stood and stared. I watched in amazement as the kobold dove at him again, wrapping her arms around his neck and bringing him to the ground. She slapped the man’s hands away as he tried to shove her off. She grinded her hips against his crotch and shoved her breasts in his face. “Classic,” Sarah gave a smug smile, “The breast smother choke out.” “Is this real lewd wrestling?” I asked myself quietly. I knew of the forbidden techniques from what Sarah had told me before, but to see someone perform them, especially in front of a crowd was baffling. I watched as he groped her ass, causing her to moan loudly. He tried to throw her off but she clamped down on him, continuing to smother him with her almost flat breasts. They continued to wrestle, almost playfully as the kobold continued to struggle with the collar. “Why doesn’t he just pin her?” I asked. “He wants to lose. But she’s gonna have to fight for it,” Sarah replied, “Usually how it goes.” “That’s... kinda cute. Its like they’re just playing.” “Yup. Its a fun marriage ritual, aint it?” Sarah smiled at me. I looked back just in time to watch the kobold finally fit the collar on her husband. He definitely let her. The crowd went ballistic as the two stood and hugged. They quickly kissed as the cheering of the crowd increased in volume. The two walked off the field, hand in hand as the gates raised. I yawned and rubbed my eyes as Aya introduced the next combat, a two versus two pitting a husband and wife against another couple, “C’mon, let's get you home.” “I’m fine,” I yawned again. “My man needs his sleep so he can study for tests!” She got up and motioned for me to follow her. I nodded and got up. “Leaving so soon?” Aya asked quietly as we walked past. Her husband was feeding her grapes. “Gotta get him home. Thank you for having us, by the way. I’ll have to come back some time,” Sarah spoke more politely than I had ever heard her speak before. Her respect for this woman almost made me jealous. “Ah, I understand, dear. You two have a good night~” After a wave and a smile, we left. Sarah followed me into my parent’s house, “Hello!” My mother called from the living room. She was once a human woman but had since monsterized into an inari, “How are you Sarah?” “Good, thanks,” Sarah smiled softly, “Mind if I crash here? Had a rough day at work.” “Of course not, darling. Just don’t make a mess you two~” My mother teased. “Mom!” I groaned. Sarah headed upstairs, leaving me behind. I put the cheesecake in the fridge. “When are you going to marry that woman?” My mother asked. “Mom,” I sighed, “I want to graduate first.” “I know, darling,” She gave me a quick hug, “Go to her,” She told me whimsically. I gave her a smile and headed to my room. Sarah was lying on my bed, eyes on my TV. She had put on some mildly entertaining late night talk show. As soon as I sat down, she put her head on my stomach, “Thanks for hangin’ today, Anon,” She mumbled, dropping her usual tough girl routine. “Any time,” I pat her head gently. I brushed her soft hair between my fingers, making sure to keep my fingers away from her ears, “Do you like me?” “Of course.” “I mean like... LIKE me, Anon,” She blushed as she rolled over to look at me. “I don’t know what you mean,” I teased with a smile. “Goddammit, yes you do,” She growled and frowned at me. “Okay, okay. Yes, I do.” “Say it.” “I LIKE you, a lot,” I pat her head again. She smiled at me and went back to watching TV, “I like you too,” Her tail wagged, slamming into my bed as she started using me like a body pillow. Two large arms wrapped around me and held me down as she nuzzled against me. She fell asleep quickly, TV still on. I struggled to grab the remote and turn it off as Sarah began to snore loudly. I scratched her behind the ear before going to sleep myself. I climbed into Sarah’s truck as she picked me up from college. She had a look in her eye, the one that made me nervous. She had only given me a small smile as I climbed in. We weren’t headed to my house for sure. It was five in the afternoon on a Wednesday. I glanced nervously at her as we stopped at a red light, “Sarah? Where are we going?” I asked meekly. She shook herself almost as if she was surprised, “Oh, uh...” She looked me in the eyes, “The arena. Aya asked me to come back.” “I thought they only had fight nights on Fridays.” “They have training all day pretty much every other day. I think she wants to talk business,” Sarah was obviously nervous. “Ah, alright. Thanks for bringing me along. I’m here to support you,” I gave her a smile as she pulled into a familiar parking lot. It had been about two weeks since I was here last. I followed Sarah through the nearly empty lot and into the building. We met Aya in a receiving room. She had one guard with her and her husband, “Hello,” She greeted with a warm smile. “Is everything prepared?” Sarah asked quickly, dread in her voice. “Of course, everything is to your specifications,” Aya nodded. “This way, Anon,” Sarah took me by the arm and dragged me down a hall. I was shoved into an elevator by my girlfriend who followed me in. She hit the second lowest button and turned to me. I looked up at her with confusion on my face. She grabbed my shoulders and kissed my forehead, “No matter what happens, I still love you, okay?” She told me with a shaking voice. “Whats--” I coughed, changing my words, “I love you too.” She gave me a brief smile before leading me down dimly lit tiled hallway. I quickly found myself in a dark, sandy arena, maybe 20 feet across. There was some dried blood on the walls and a few stones littering the sand. A pair of younger anubises approached me, one held a demon silver sword and the other held a shield. I was armed as they chanted in another language, as if performing a holy ritual. They left the arena, gates closing behind them. The lights came up, Sarah stood at the far end from me, staring up at the lights. “Ladies and Gentlemen!” Aya shouted from her throne at an empty colosseum. She held something in her hand, I couldn’t quite make it out, “Welcome to our only match of the night! A match of love and fiery passion!” She paused, as if expecting a crowd to cheer or howl, “The love match of the century, my own apprentice Sarah versus the man she has had her eyes on for some time now, Anoooooooooon!” A lump formed in my throat as I slowly realised what was going on. Sarah let out a low howl and turned to me, a lustful hunger in her eyes. Aya threw something into the arena near an unarmed Sarah. A collar, “Let the love match... BEGIN!” “You will be MINE, Anon!” Sarah growled at me. She grabbed the collar and undid the strap on it. She looked at me, shaking in my boots. She smiled and spread her arms wide, “Show me a good time, Anon!” She dropped low and dashed towards me. I panicked and lashed out at her with the sword. I had no training and no idea what I was doing. I actually managed to slice at her arm as she pulled back from me. I was horrified that I had actually hurt her. She merely laughed, “That's the stuff,” She took a deep breath before coming at me again. I thrust the sword at her only to have it batted aside like a foam toy. She grabbed my wrist and smacked the sword out of my hand. I was swung around and tossed to the other side of the arena. I coughed, trying to catch my breath as I got off the sandy floor, “You’ve got more fight in you than that, Anon. Come on!” She waited for me to get up, raising my shield against her. I tried to slam the shield against her, only to have it grabbed by her as a shit eating grin spread across her lips. She easily pulled it loose of my grasp and threw it behind her. Sarah smiled at me, now disarmed. She again tossed me, landing me near the sword. I reached for it, only to have Sarah step on it as I tried to pull it out from under her. She grinned at me as I struggled. She easily kicked it aside before dropping on top of me, spooning me. She pulled my arms behind my back and held them there with one hand. She grabbed my crotch with the other, causing me to make lewd noises. She teasingly ran one finger up and down my now erect shaft as she kissed my ear, “Still love me?” She whispered. I could hear the cheshire like grin on her face. She threw me down onto the sand and quickly flipped me over. She straddled me, rubbing her crotch against mine. She went to put the collar on me. “Y-yeah,” I managed to pull my arms free and grab her breasts. I pinched her nipples making her moan loudly, giving me just enough room to squeeze out as she hopped up a little bit from the surprise and pleasure. We both stood painting with flushed faces. She dove at me again, going for the kill. I dove aside, landing near the shield this time. I scrambled to pick it up, only to have a familiar scene with Sarah stomping down on its round surface to prevent me from grabbing it. She howled in pain as her face contorted into a snarl, falling to her knees. She grabbed her ankle, “Fuck!” She tried to stand on it, only to howl again, “I fucking rolled it.” “Are you okay!?” I asked, getting on my knee in front of her. She shoved me, forcing me onto my ass, “We’re still fighting, dumbass.” “You’re hurt! I’m not fighting you if you can’t even walk!” “Pfft,” She rolled her eyes, “I can--” She fell again as she tried to stand, “Still fuck you up!” I looked up pleadingly at Aya, “T-the rules say that you both can only leave the arena if one of you yields or if you are married... or if one of you is unable to continue fighting,” Aya told me with a frown on her face. “Then yield, Sarah,” I demanded. “Never,” She pointed at the nearby sword, “Stab me, Anon.” “No!” I pleaded. “Make me FEEL, Anon,” There were tears in her eyes as she looked towards the ground. The disappointment and embarrassment in her eyes was completely obvious. I picked up the sword, noting the collar sitting next to Sarah, “O-okay. But I want you to close your eyes.” “Fine, whatever, just do it,” She closed her eyes as I approached, sword in hand. I slowly approached, doing my best not to make a noise, “Get it over with, already!” “Yeah, just... Steeling myself,” I reached for the collar, I looked up at Aya with a confused look on my face. I had no idea if this counted as being married here. She nodded eagerly, “H-here it goes,” I placed my lips against hers in a deep and loving kiss. She kissed me back in surprise just before a rage filled her. She shoved me, glaring at me, “What the fuck, Anon!? You’re supposed to stab my pathetic--” Her angry growls were cut short as she felt her neck. She silently tugged at the collar, confusion and rage turning to a small happy smile. “The defence, Anon, has taken the former champion, Sarah, as his wife!” Aya shouted from where she sat. The gates opened and she hurried from her throne, husband following her quickly. “Can you stand?” I offered Sarah my hand. “I feel like I can do anything,” She laughed and smiled at me. She took a moment to shake herself, “God, what a rollercoaster of emotions. Sorry I shouted at you,” She took my hand and used me as a crutch as she stood next to me. “You don’t like to lose, I get it. That kiss must have felt like I was taunting you, huh?” I asked as we started to walk off the field. She nodded silently at me. “Are you alright?” Aya asked in a panicked tone as she dashed onto the field. “I’m fine. I just need to go home and... spend some time with my husband,” Sarah smiled weakly, obviously still in pain. “I’ll make sure she ices it and stays off of it,” I tried to keep Aya from worrying too much. “O-okay... The same injury as last time,” She shook herself in disbelief. Her husband gave her a reassuring smile, “Sarah, are you willing to take the crown, still?” “Yes,” Sarah answered quickly, “If you’re ready to move on then I will take over the Gladiator Dogs for you.” Aya let out a long sigh of relief, “Thank you. We will do the passing of the crown before the fights on Friday.” “Hopefully I can walk on my own then. You can drive us to your place, right?” Sarah turned to me. I nodded, “So you’re the queen of the arena now?” I asked as I helped her off the field. “Yeah. I guess I am,” She shook her head, “I used to want this so bad. But like I said, I grew up.” “She said that this was the same injury as last time,” I prodded wanting more answers as we walked through empty, silent halls. “I broke my ankle last time. Slipped on a piece of goddamn armor,” Sarah explained, embarrassed once again. “Jeeze, that sucks.” “They call it the champion’s curse. Its why we’ve never had someone be champion two years in a row. Most get hurt then disappear,” She winced as she stepped too heavily on her injured leg. “Let's get you home, okay?” I patted her on the back as I helped her into the passenger seat of her truck. “What are you gonna tell your mom?” “The truth, I guess.” I dragged her into my house and gently set her on the couch. My mother wandered in to watch me apply ice to Sarah’s leg, “Did something happen?” She asked. “Sprained her ankle,” I told my mom. “How did that happen!?” She gasped. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe it!” Sarah told her with a smile. She went on to regale my mother with the tale of how I bested her in one on one combat. She added multiple flourishes to the tale and left out all mention of the lewd moves we used on one another. At the end of her story, my mother merely smiled at us, “Rest here as long as you need to. Feel free to move Anon out whenever you’re ready. I’ll make pancakes in the morning for you two.” “Thanks, mom!” Sarah beamed at her, “Anon, can we go lie down? My leg is starting to hurt again.” I nodded and helped her up the stairs into my room. She turned the TV on and lay across my lap, belly exposed to me. I sighed and rubbed her stomach, “Get some rest, please,” I pleaded. “Pet me and scratch me behind the ears first, love,” She had a wide grin on her face, completely forgetting about her injuries. I sighed a little bit and gave into her demands, more than happy to comfort her. I got my test back, 83 out of 100 and another ‘see me after class’ note. I stayed in my seat as the rest of the class filed out. Again, I was forced to wait 10 minutes as Ms. Zessgall packed up her things. She waved me over, with a sly smile. I approached her slowly, ready for whatever she was going to say, “What’s going on, Anon? Your grades have been dropping?” She asked with mock concern. “Oh, just been going through some stuff,” I scratched my head. The arena was not a very good spot to study or do homework and the late nights were taking a toll on me. “You OBVIOUSLY need my help. Come, dear. I will not be taking no for an answer,” Sticky, gooey tentacles and arms reached out to me. I reached for something I kept around my neck at all times. A dog whistle. I blew it, confusing the mindflayer. Within seconds, the windows shattered and the door was kicked open. Numerous warriors formed a phalanx around me, spears and shields in hand. The Gladiator Dogs barked at the mindflayer, causing her to cower in the corner. Sarah turned to me, planting a quick kiss on my cheek before stepping towards my professor, grabbing her by the collar “Touch my man and you DIE, got it!?” She growled. The other gladiators howled in unison to back up her statement. “Y-yes, of course how could I be so foolish?” The mindflayer laughed nervously. Sarah looked back at me for confirmation. I gave her the signal to keep going. She turned back to the mindflayer, barring her fangs, “He’s working really hard and could use some extra credit. Do you have anything he can do?” She demanded, more threateningly than needed. “I-I will email him a small assignment, nothing too difficult,” She smiled nervously. “Okay. Thank you,” Sarah dropped her, “Lets go.” I was escorted out by the group of dogs, “See you next week!” I called. As we exited the building, all the dogs took off their helmets, grins on their faces and tails wagging violently from a flawlessly executed plan. Sarah limped over to me, ankle still hurting, “I told you we’d be ready.” “Thanks, all of you,” I wiped the sweat from my brow. “Ready to get to the arena? We’ve got less than an hour before the combat begins,” Sarah reminded me. “I could use some dinner, but yeah. Lets go.” Sarah barked some orders at her subordinates. All of us, roughly 20 climbed into a few vans and trucks before rolling out. I sat next to Sarah in the middle seats, letting the others drive for us. She grabbed my hand and smiled at me, eyes glowing with how proud she was of her little team. She gave me a kiss and sat back up, regaining her tough persona, “You girls ready for the fights today?” The entire van erupted into excited howls. The other vehicles howled as well. Sarah grinned. She loved her job and I loved helping her with her job.