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Chapter 9 – Battle 2

I enter my catacombs – I immediately notice the coliseum door is open. It is battle day – the mirrors have aggravated the demons.

I walk into the coliseum, and the boos rain down. I feel the tension. Everyone is in their spots – Hate seated first-row center and the demons surrounding. Dead Friends hanging, including the one with eyes – who stares intently at me – Lost Loves sitting around the ground – not standing as usual. The pictures of resentment hang, but the images are less mocking – almost timid.

I look at the center of the coliseum floor for my opponent – but the floor is empty. What is going on here? Why have I been summoned when there is no opponent?

I walk to the center and just look at Hate – my look questioning – wondering what is next.

All of a sudden, the entire Depression family jumps from their seats and lands on the coliseum floor. Depression, Loneliness, Delusion, and Agony all in unison land and form a semi-circle. Though they have always been powerful – even with little feeding – just existence – they look slightly less powerful today. The first time a battle has ensued with more than one demon – I get the whole family – and a strong one at that.

When they land, the war drums commence, and the crowd starts taunting and yelling – just not as loud as before.

My stance stays strong, but I wonder how to attack four at one time – such a daunting task. The Depression family just stands in defensive positions and waits for my attack. I think of the mirrors – I think of myself – myself intertwined in the faces of each of my four attackers. The thought brings forward my attack strategy – a risky one – one that might quickly fail – but I know of no other to fend off four powerful opponents at once.

The Depression family decides to move in closer – tightening their combined position in front of me. As they get closer, the drums grow louder, the taunts and cheers become clamorous, and the look of intent grows. When the family is close enough – about 5 feet – I execute my attack. I turn my back on them all, sit down cross-legged, take a deep breath, and close my eyes. I fill my soul with my attack – indifference. Indifference to them all. Indifference to Depression. Indifference to Loneliness. Indifferent to Delusion. Indifference to Agony.

The audience gasps – unprepared for this attack. The war drums silence. From behind my back, I hear the Depression family talking – collaborating – formulating. They must have done something as the crowd rallies, the war drums begin again – but the enthusiasm is not there. The momentum of the coliseum has shifted – shifted like the mirrors – shifted to where it is mine and not the demons coliseum.

I hear the family circle around me – coming in from all four corners. While keeping my eyes closed, I silent my mind, take another deep breath, and fill my soul with indifference. Depression – the leader – attacks first. A clever tactic using the most powerful to try to weaken me for the others to feed upon. The attack is from behind me – I hear Depression’s wings unfurl, claws out wide. The attack is a low rush, claws out intending to draw blood quickly. Right before the attack reaches me and keeping my eyes closed, I breathe deeply and continue to fill my soul with my one response. Depression’s attack is thwarted – thwarted like a force field around me. Fists fail, claws fail, all fail. The crowd, the family, the war drums are all silenced. Depression just lies on the ground behind me – I can feel it laying there.

I hear Depression rise from the ground. Depression tries again to rally the crowd – they start again in their taunts and cheers – but the energy is gone – just going through motions. No secret attack this time – all four are coming for me. Depression barks orders at the other family members. Keeping my eyes closed, I breathe deeply and refill again with my one response – indifference. The attack is well coordinated. Two members, Agony and Delusion, take flight, wings out wide, and circling the coliseum for speed. With my eyes closed, I can hear them circling. A few moments later, all 4 hit me at the same time – Agony and Delusion in my front and high, Depression and Loneliness low and from behind. Once again, their attack is denied – all attacks are pushed aside – pushed aside with my response. My attack using indifference – accepting their existence but granting no powers upon my enemies – not attacking but allowing their attack – allowing their attack on indifference. My entire soul filled with indifference.

I finally open my eyes. All four Depression family members are lying on the ground – they have all shrunk – all shrunk about 50%. Their failed attack crushed their power, crushed their strength, crushed the entire family.

I turn around and look at the silenced crowd. Filled with uncertainty – the Anger family looks like they also might jump onto the floor. Many are looking at Hate – waiting for guidance. Hate just stares – stares at me. Hate doesn’t know how to respond to a failed attack – especially with a whole family affected. It seems Hate is deciding whether to contemplate the next move or to send more forces immediately for an attack. Anger’s smoldering deepens – but cools as Hate shakes its head. No more battle today. No more fighting. The loss results in retreat – a full withdrawal of all the demons in the stands, the weakened demons on the ground, all the Lost Loves, all the Dead Friends quietly exit the coliseum, and return to their homes. As they leave, the one Dead Friend and the one Lost Love look at me – look at me with intent – nod their head – and continue to their homes.

I stand – stand alone in the coliseum. I don’t remember if I’ve ever stood here after a victory – I don’t ever remember a victory. I look back at the wall of skulls, the hundreds of losses, full defeats, full submissions to the demons. But tonight was not one of those nights. Tonight was victorious. There is only one decision left – do I leave my catacombs, or do I go back to the mirrors, the mirrors of truth, the mirrors of clarity, the mirrors that inspired indifference, the mirrors that inspired confidence.

I decide to leave my catacombs. The mirrors will be there tomorrow.

Chapter Ten