Zoey’s Grimoire, Page 15: Pieces, Part I Feb 17, 2018 7:12:40 GMT -5
Post by Boardwalk Angels on Feb 17, 2018 7:12:40 GMT -5
“It seems that now we have the answer to what happens when tag team champions run out of opponents and contenders: they’re pitted against one another! All week since the conclusion of LAW #77 I have been asked, and certainly Farrah has been asked, why she and I are facing off one-on-one at Rising Stars and whether it bothers us and whether this means the end of our team and on and on, over and over, ad infinitum. For our fans who are concerned, don’t be. The Boardwalk Angels are forever. Instead of wondering whether or not the team and our title reign will survive this encounter, instead focus on the positives, like we are. Farrah and I are going to test each other like no opponent has before and through the course of this match we are going to get better. In the end, the only people who should be worried are future challengers for our LAW World Tag Team Championships.”
* February 15th, 2018, late-afternoon *
* Sicilian Empire Wrestling School *
* Trenton, NJ *
* February 15th, 2018, late-afternoon *
* Sicilian Empire Wrestling School *
* Trenton, NJ *
The action has already begun as the scene opens up on the inside of a boxing ring (yes, you read that right) where a swathed-in-black Zoey Madigan-Star, her hands tightly laced into a pair of purple boxing gloves, is in the midst of a drill with Catherine Neville while Vincenzo Ragetti looks on from the apron. Catherine, the current HYBRID Pinnacle Champion and Zoey’s mixed martial arts trainer, has a pair of focus mitts which she is making Zoey focus her strikes upon while Vincenzo, the man who trained both Zoey and Farrah Cornett for their wrestling careers, looks on and calls out advice to Zoey. But why the boxing training instead of, oh, we don’t know… wrestling training?
We can name that tune in three notes: Kat’s Foxy Boxing.
”Faster. You call that keeping up? Christ, do I have to hand-walk you through this or what?”
Acerbic and impatient as always, the blue-haired Gothic Steampunk as Catherine is so often called barks instructions at Zoey who, in response, puts more pepper into her strikes. There’s a faint smirk growing on the magician’s face as she does so, though Catherine still seems less than impressed with her student’s efforts.
”This the best your prize student can muster, Ragetti? Cause at this right I might just drop a few notes on Pet coming out of their fight the winner.”
Rolling his eyes, Vincenzo just looks on. They’ve had verbal altercations like this for the last week or so as Zoey prepares for her first-ever boxing match against Anya, better known as Pet, in Kat’s Foxy Boxing company run by her wife and fellow LAW Superstar, Katalina Star. This, of course, isn’t to say that Zoey is neglecting her wrestling training; her match at LAW #77 is certainly proof that she’s balancing the two pursuits well. But considering the opponent and recent events in LAW, it is no surprise that a lot of the Sorceress Supreme’s fire is being put into learning how to punch well… and as hard as she can.
”This ain’t the octagon, cupcake. It’s boxing. And considering her lack of experience in the sport before two weeks ago, I’d say she’s doing well.”
Zoey certainly isn’t missing her punches and, when it looks like she is about to, she feints and comes at the moving target from another angle. Catherine, of course, as is her way, remains steadfastly unimpressed.
”Yeah? We got a word for that where I come from.”
”Enlighten me, Miss Neville.”
Half a second later, Catherine has to nod her head to the side swiftly, blue hair tossed about as Zoey’s right hand almost collides with her jaw. Neville cocks a brow as Zoey smirks at her, shaking that gloved right hand.
”Now who isn’t focused?”
Vincenzo chuckles and Catherine shoots him a death glare… except the owner of the Sicilian Empire Wrestling School, unlike 99.5% of the earth’s known population, isn’t shaken by Neville’s icy gaze.
”What? She’s right.”
”So that’s where she gets her cockiness from.”
A sharp left hook knocks Catherine sideways, though it struck one of the targets and not her directly. Zoey, where a smirk had been forming, now looks irritated.
”You don’t get to gripe at me about not being focused when you care more about jawing with the boss than you do in giving me something to hit, Catherine.”
States the Wild Mage, pounding her gloved fists together.
”Keep it moving or I’m going to start aiming for your head. And I’m not going to miss.”
”Keep talking that level of shit and you won’t make it to your first match because you’ll be too busy counting the number of teeth that need replacing in your head. I bet Kat, that bi-”
A fist comes within an inch of her nose before stopping and Catherine, uncharacteristically, corrects herself.
”...woman… won’t find you so pretty then.”
”Better. Now let’s keep going so that I don’t have to send you back to HYBRID in pieces, forcing them to find someone else to defend your title in a few weeks, yeah?”
”Where was this fire when you were at the school last, Zoey?”
Vincenzo speaks through chuckles, ignoring Catherine’s glare before she refocuses on Zoey and her incoming punches. He speaks truth, though; this is a side of the Magical Maiden that isn’t often seen. Yes, she has more edge than she had when she first entered professional wrestling but she has always maintained an air of respectful politeness and joviality. Threats? They only get tossed about when someone threatens her first and even then there’s a distinct note of reluctance to her own. As the world is seeing, though, Catherine Neville brings out another side of the Indigo Enchantress. Maybe it’s her techniques or just her straight-up bad attitude, but Catherine draws out a darker side of Zoey.
”Jonny caught most if it, if you’ll recall.”
”Yeah, that’s true.”
Now it’s Zoey’s turn to think fast as Catherine almost goes upside her head with one of the targets, smirking at her young protege.
”Less talk. More hitting.”
Cutting to a while later, Zoey is leaned up against the turnbuckles with a bottle of water in one taped hand and a towel over her shoulder that’s being used to mop her brow. Her black workout attire, already tightly clinging to her athletic frame, is darkened further by a considerable amount of perspiration. There’s visual representation of her effort, though: all those drills in the ring have Zoey looking rather pumped. Her persistent smile shows that she’s pleased with her work, too. Catherine is nowhere in sight though Vincenzo is still on the apron near Zoey, the two talking quietly.
”So do you feel ready?”
”And you’re sure you can keep personal feelings out of this thing? You know what I say about letting things get to that level and having it cost you victory.”
Taking another swig of water, Zoey takes a breath before responding.
”Boss… I’m not gonna lie to you. I want to pound Anya’s face through the back of her skull. I want her to suffer for what she did to Katalina and I want the world to see it. There’s a lot of people who will want a piece of me if I do that but I’m not in a position to care. Not this time. Let them come. I’m going to do my best not to let it affect the outcome of the fight but that’s the most assurance I can offer.”
”This Pet person really struck a nerve, huh? I’ve never heard you speak about someone in that way. At least… not so calmly. That’s how I can tell the rage is real with you.”
”Am I that obvious, boss?”
”Not a matter of being obvious. I just know you better than a lot of people do.”
Nodding with a smile, Zoey turns and hugs Vincenzo, a gesture that he returns with a rare smile.
”Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to help me with this, boss. I really appreciate it. And… thanks for putting up with Catherine.”
”It’s no problem, kid. Just promise me something?”
”Two things, actually. First of all… I want you to knock this bitch down. I want you to hit her so damn hard she craps her implants.”
Mid-drink, Zoey lets loose a spray of chilled water all over herself and the ring, half-choking and half-laughing at Vincenzo’s comment towards her fight with Pet. It takes her a few moments, and a few slaps on the back from Ragetti, to get her composure again and even afterward she still has the giggles which she strains unsuccessfully to suppress.
”Hehe… you’re awful! Look what you made me do!”
Wiping her mouth again, still smiling, Zoey looks to Vincenzo.
”And the second?”
”Don’t let things go wrong in your match with Farrah. Everything that you two have worked for, coming up on a year as champions as well as being undefeated? All the trials and tribulations? Don’t let this match ruin that.”
The smile remains but gets a more serious look to it. Zoey pats Vincenzo’s hand as it rests on the ropes, doing so reassuringly.
”It won’t. I have too much love and respect for Farrah to let things get out of hand. I know she’s dealing with some rough stuff right now, but she’ll get through it and I’ll be right there to see that she’s not alone in doing so. We’ll come out of this match stronger and better than ever. You got my word.”
”I’ll take that to the bank, then. Now come on… you need to go get cleaned up. The press conference is starting soon.”
Leaving the ring, Zoey heads back to the locker room area as the scene goes to black.
* February 17th, 2018, very early morning *
* The Madigan-Star Residence, Beach *
* Malibu, CA *
The aforementioned press conference goes off without a hitch, for those who wonder, and Zoey spends the rest of the evening relaxing with Katalina and their daughter Makayla, enjoying a slightly-late celebration of Valentine’s Day. Why didn’t they do so on the day itself? Well, those special events up in Oregon kept the Naughty Girl and her lovely wife busy! Pony races, instructional seminars and demonstrations, oh my! Zoey had a large part in these and took a lot of pride in her efforts, meaning they had to sacrifice time and effort. To see them all together though, first at dinner and then cuddled up on the sofa watching movies together in their Malibu home, is to understand that the timing isn’t what matters: it’s that they have one another.
However, as per usual, Zoey is up before God and the Mexicans (shut up, it’s funny) while the sun hasn’t even thought about coming up yet. Pulling on a pair of jeans, a t-shirt, her cross-trainers and a new leather jacket she picked up recently, Zoey grabs her digital camcorder and quietly exits the bedroom, then the house itself. Down to the beach she goes, turning on the device en route and, once she has it set up properly, beginning to record her message to her partner for Rising Stars.
”I suppose the feeling that I’m having right now is similar to the one Katalina had a few shows back when she and Jessika were slated to face you and I, F.J. She didn’t know what to say or how to approach the fact that we’d be competing against one another even though, in the case of her and I, it was the third time overall. As I walk along the beach here, considering the near future, I’m finding it hard to put into words what I’m feeling about our upcoming match. Unlike the Angels versus the Naughties, this is our first time facing each other… at least in the ring. We’ve always competed against each other through our lives, always in a good-natured way, always for the fun of it. And while this will certainly be fun and without hard feelings? This is still uncharted territory for us.”
She keeps that smile on her face, wanting this message to Farrah to be as even as possible, but the magician is worried and there’s no masking that. For several reasons, in fact. Yet she pushes on.
”Everyone has their opinions on how things will go down. Our friends and family are worried that things will get salty and our enemies are hoping that it will. Fans are chomping at the bit to see what will happen when we clash as, apparently, this match is high-level fantasy booking in their eyes. And LAW? I think folks there have wanted to see it for a while, too… not just the people in the locker room but in the front office, too. Surprisingly, that doesn’t make me feel pressured at all. I mean, this is you and me. Tag Team of the Year, Moment of the Year, undefeated for a year, tag champions for almost a year… we’ve done almost everything we can do as a tag team. There’s those who are complaining about the titles not being on the line at Rising Stars, but… who exactly could we face?”
Certainly that is a rhetorical question. Zoey, however, looks as though she is expecting an answer. One that does not come. And she smiles regardless.
”This is the only way it could be, F.J. So I’m not going to worry about the whys and wherefores or listen to the doom and gloom that some are trying to forecast. Instead? I’m going to put my nose to the proverbial grindstone and give you the toughest match you’ve ever had. And I bloody well expect you to do the same for me.”
The smile holds fast but Zoey’s stare into the camera makes it clear that that’s not a throwaway line: she’s demanding Farrah’s best and nothing less will do. Turning the camera toward the ocean, the stars and the moon in the sky. It’s quite a beautiful view, one Zoey works not to take for granted considering that she can see it whenever she wants.
”Of course, it’s a little hard to fire up for something like this. What, exactly, am I supposed to snipe at you about? What kind of heat am I supposed to dredge up to get the pot percolating so that we can throw down proper? I guess I could be angry at you for taking the last breadstick at dinner the other night while I wasn’t looking. Or forgetting to call your mother after I reminded you not once but twice. Or it could be putting off the talk that we’ve needed to have for a month now…
No, you know what? I’m miffed at you, Farrah Jessica Cornett! And at Rising Stars I’m gonna kick your tail so hard it’ll be up around your ears! That’ll teach you! Stealing breadsticks… I mean, who the crap does that?! That kind of stuff starts wars, I’ll have you know!”
She turns the camera about as the faux fury starts to kick up, shaking her fist threateningly at the camera and the Crimson Angel before collapsing into giggles.
”Yes, I know… I’m being very silly. And now people are going to come out muttering and whispering about how I’m not taking this match seriously. But you know what? This is a rare pleasure for me and I’m not going to waste time lending an ear or eye to naysayers and armchair referees.
I’m actually taking this match very seriously, because as good as I am in that ring, there’s no one who knows me better between the ropes than you. All my best moves, all my favorite strategies, even the way I eat, train and move… you know all of that as well as you know yourself. That goes both ways, though. Can’t spend over a decade with someone and not learn what makes them tick intimately. In terms of stamina we’re equal. You’re stronger, but I’m faster. You’re fierce, but I’m calculating. You have a lower center of gravity, but I have longer reach. Do you see where this is going?”
Not that she hasn’t been serious for most of her time here, but it’s enough now that her smile fades just a bit to emphasize her state of mind.
”By the time this is done, you might just top Constance Chapin on my list of people who have been my toughest opponents. I know you wouldn’t have it any other way, either. If you have the chance you’ll bust me open and make me scream. The gift that you possess for detaching and losing yourself in the battle is one that I cannot match. I’m gonna leave this match sore and in need of a long soak, possibly a trip to a nearby medical center. Not because you willfully hurt me but because when you get into a match, you shut everything out and focus on putting down the person in front of you. You’ve always been the fury of the team and that’s pulled us through some rough spots.
I, however, am the guiding force. I claim envy at your ability to lock in like you do, and I mean that, but I’m the calmer, cooler head of the two. Nothing escapes my senses, Farrah. All the ferocity in the world doesn’t stack up against someone who can not only take the punishment but find a way to turn it on the person delivering it. And you know how tough I am. Already you’re thinking of how you’re going to negate that, perhaps by going for old injuries or trying something I’ve yet to see from you. And I welcome that, because it will force me to up my game with every passing second that we’re in the ring. The match will turn into a constant escalation of who can do it better than the other. I won’t be outlasted, my friend. And I won’t be out-played. This one is going to get fierce but in the end, you’ll run out of moves before I run out of counters and I will put you down.”
Looking past the camera at the view once again, Zoey falls silent for a few moments. She’s looking for something more to say, another means of hammering the point home. Except her phone buzzes with an incoming text message and she pauses her address to look at it. Her expression goes from calm, to curious… before it simply crumbles. Her lip quivers and her chin shakes… and within moments tears are streaming down her cheeks.
The camera falls from her hand, dropping to the sand and landing on its side. Thankfully she’s far enough from the water that it won’t need more than a light dusting but that’s hardly the issue. The angle is such that we can see Zoey drop to her knees next to it. Before the scene fully fades to black, a shrieking wail of pure pain and sadness echoes out over the waves… and the feed cuts to black.