Chapter 50: Tournament

Melissa felt a bit unsettled when she saw ‘Hypogeum’ in gold lettering on a plaque as she pushed open the door. She wondered who decided to call the women’s locker room by the same name as the subterranean warrens under the Roman Colosseum, where gladiators prepared to fight. Erik stayed behind in the hallway. He had told her that owners were not allowed in with the ‘gladiatrices.’

She had been unsettled by that conversation as well – equally unhappy about the idea of him being her ‘owner’ as she was about her being a ‘gladiatrix.’ Her nervousness had been ratcheting up all day, and she knew she was more on edge than she should be.

Now that she was in the women’s locker room, which is what she had decided to call it instead of the hypogeum, she looked around uncertainly. There were about a dozen women, all in various states of undress. Most of them were putting on armor, which didn’t look much more protective than her own. Most of the women looked lean and physically fit, although a couple of them were on the heavier side. Two of the women looked as though they were body builders. One of the muscular women was African American, which made Melissa self-consciously reflect on how few minorities she had seen in Erik’s BDSM world.

“Hey,” one of the women called out, “it’s the new girl.”

Everyone looked up at her, most giving her a little wave or a friendly nod. One of the women pointed to open spot next to her and said, “There’s space for your bag here.”

“Okay,” Melissa replied, looking down at the large gym bag holding all her gear. Realizing she was avoiding the women’s eyes, she made herself lift her head and look around at everyone as she said, “I’m Melissa,” with as much friendly confidence as she could muster.

There were a half dozen equally friendly replies and gestures as she walked over to the empty space. Melissa’s attention, however, was drawn to the Anglo bodybuilder, who was glaring at her. Melissa tried to shake off the obvious ill will that the broad-shouldered woman was directing at her. Melissa gratefully turned away from the two body builders as she reached the young woman who had invited her over.

“I’m Kelley,” the woman said, sticking out her hand to shake, clearly unconcerned about being naked, except for her leather armor.

“I’m Melissa… oh, I already said that, didn’t I?” Melissa felt flustered as she shook Kelley’s hand.

Kelley gave her a mischievous grin, asking, “A little nervous?”

Melissa nodded.

Kelley showed her where to put her gym bag, then inquired, “First time?”

“Yeah… I’ve got no idea what to expect.”

“Well this club’s pretty low key, except for the pros over there,” she said nodding at the corner where the two stronger women were getting dressed.”

“Those two?”

Kelley looked at her quizzically, then laughed, “Oh, you missed Lin.” She nodded back at the corner and this time, Melissa took note of a compact Asian woman who was adjusting her armor as she stood a little apart from the other two women. Kelley nodded when she saw Melissa had figured out who she meant. She continued “Lin almost always wins these things. She’s in it for the money, like the other two.”


“Some of the owners pay their girls bonus money for placing in the top three, I mean, like serious money, so that’s them. The rest of us, we’re amateurs, so we let them win. Nobody wants to get in the quarter-finals with them, cause that’s when they go to full power on the shockers.”

Melissa was puzzled. “You mean you don’t fight at full power all the time?”

Kelley looked at her, startled, “Shit no!”

Melissa rolled her eyes, complaining, “I’ve been training at full power for weeks.”

Kelley frowned in disbelief for a moment, and then her expression shifted to understanding, “Aw fuck, I’m sorry. The thing is, we don’t tell our owners that we fight all the round-robin matches on low power. We just try to ham it up, so that it looks like we’re dying out there. Most of it’s for show, even with the pros.” she nodded once again toward the three women, “They try to draw out their matches in the round-robin, so it looks good. Be really careful, though, even if you get a shot at one of them, don’t try to kill one of those girls in the round-robin.”


“First, it’ll piss her off. Second, none of us want to get in the quarter-finals anyway, cause you got to face off against one of those girls at full power, and that truly sucks. If you’re lucky in a quarter-final, she’ll put you down fast. If you’re up against Heather…” Kelley glanced over at the three women, before turning back to Melissa, “She’s the one in red leathers. She’ll wound you – just to see you squirm.” The women she had pointed out was the one who had glared at Melissa. Kelley continued in a lower voice, “If she’s really pissed, she’ll wound you on multiple limbs before she kills you. She’s mean… but she’s not nearly as good as Keyshia or Lin. She’s never won the finals – not that I know of.”

While Kelley had been talking, Melissa had taken her armor and swords out of the gym bag and laid everything out. Not able to delay any longer, she started stripping off her clothes.

Kelley looked at her gear and said, “So you fight with rapier and dagger too.”

“Yeah, I also learned some with gladius and buckler, but the gladius didn’t have the reach of the rapier, and it was heavier too.” She looked around the room, trying to spot what weapons everyone had. “Do most of the girls use rapier and dagger?”

“Seems like. Keyshia and Heather are stronger, so sometimes they’ll use a longsword and heater shield. Keyshia’s decent at it, but Heather’ll just try to bash you to death. Every once in awhile, Lin will pull out her katana. She’s wicked fast with it. Mostly though, everyone sticks with rapier and dagger. We got two left-handers, so watch out if you’ve never fought a lefty.”

“Okay…” Melissa had finished stripping naked and started to put on her armor. She was awkwardly trying to buckle her right pauldron onto her shoulder.

Kelley asked, “Do you want some help with that?”

“Um, sure. Thanks.”

As Kelley straightened out the strap and buckled it, Melissa asked, “So, do you like doing this? I mean, fighting?”

Kelley shrugged. “Not really. It’s a total guy fantasy thing, but it gets my owner all hot and bothered, and that’s always fun. Sometimes, we make the losers eat out the winners. Things get pretty raunchy, and that’s fun too. Pretty soon the owners and the guests start tearing off their clothes, and it turns into a full-out orgy. It’s a great way to end the night.”

Melissa felt a little taken aback. “Erik didn’t mention that part.”

Kelley paused from buckling on Melissa’s other pauldron and looked up at her face, concerned. “That a problem?”

Melissa laughed, “No… Hey, I’m fighting a bunch of naked women with swords, why should fucking everyone in sight be a problem?”

Kelley’s concerned expression didn’t go away, which made Melissa realize her tone had been sarcastic. She reassured Kelley, “No, I really am okay with it. I mean, that’s pretty much what I signed up for this summer… and it’s mostly been a lot of fun. Weird as hell, but a lot of fun. It’s just that I’ve been really stressed about tonight.”

Kelley nodded, going back to helping put on her armor. “Well, don’t be. It’s all theater. And hey, it’s good exercise. Plus, swinging a sword at a naked woman… I guess it kind of gets me horny. What about you?”

Melissa snorted out a laugh, “Don’t know. Stranger things have happened this summer; that’s for sure. But my friend Deborah is going to be watching, and I bet that she gets horny as hell watching girls fight each other. She’s got this weird thing about watching other girls get punished; you know, whipped and stuff.”

“Oh, you’re into BDSM too?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Hey, we’ll have to do a scene together sometime. I mean, you’re really hot, you know – gorgeous. You a bottom?”

“Umm, yeah. Ah, you?”

“Well, I prefer bottom, but I’ll switch… for the right girl.” Kelley gave her a wink, then deliberately let her hand caress across Melissa’s nipple as she went back to buckling on her armor. Melissa did her best to repress a shuddering response, but Kelley’s grin showed that she had noticed.

Melissa shifted her stance slightly, which let her confirm from the way her labia slid past each other that she was very wet. She complained silently to herself, “Goddamn it, how come every fucked up thing I do this summer makes me so damn horny? It’s not fair.”

Kelley had also noticed Melissa’s movement. She looked up from buckling a vambrace onto Melissa’s left forearm and asked slyly, “You wet?”

Melissa rolled her eyes, then sighed, “Yeah.”

Kelley laughed lightly, “Don’t let it bother you; we all get wet and horny doing this, even Lin. Hell, it wouldn’t be any fun if we didn’t.” She glanced down at Melissa’s freshly shave mound, “Can I taste?”

Surprised, Melissa didn’t answer for a moment, but she couldn’t think of any reason to say no, so she finally said, “Sure.”

Kelley took a break from buckling on Melissa’s armor to slide two fingers inside her. Melissa involuntarily responded with a soft groan. As Kelley withdrew her fingers, she grinned and licked them off. “Sweet.” Her grin widened, “And boy, are you wet! Man, I thought I was charged up tonight, but you’re, like, fucking dripping.”

Melissa winced, “Thanks.”

Kelley nudged her, “Hey Melissa, the Maleficent, I figure if your body’s screaming something at you, it’s worth, you know, maybe paying attention.”

Shaking her head, Melissa responded, “That’s been my problem, ever since I turned down this ‘dark path.’ Everything gets me this wet, at least everything’s that bent, and wrong, and crazy. Once upon a time, I used to be a good little Catholic girl.”

“Really, you too?”

“A long time ago. Not lately.”

“Gotta love it, right?”

“I guess so – not like it’s a choice.” Melissa sighed, “The problem is that I really do love it.” She gestured at her swollen labia, now visibly glistening. “Just got to figure out how to deal with it.”

Kelley nodded her head, looking up from where she was kneeling down to attach a cuisse to Melissa’s left thigh. “Been there, done that.” She returned her attention to attaching the buckles while she continued, “I got into kink when I was sixteen. Never really looked back, but I had a couple of bad doms early on. Took awhile to figure out what I wanted.”

“Wow, that’s young. I didn’t even screw a boy until I was seventeen.”

As Kelley shifted over to Melissa right thigh, she paused to blow a stream of cool air across Melissa’s wet labia; then Kelley asked slyly, “What about girls?”

“Ah, well I fooled around once when I was a sophomore in college, but not again until this summer. Now… hell, it’s like I can’t get enough of it.”

“Really?” Kelley asked, interested.

“Yeah, well Erik lets me bang all the girls I want, but I got to ask permission first if it’s a guy.” Melissa shook her head, “God, I sound like such a slut. Anyway, the truth is that I mostly don’t want any other guys – except, well, two guys at once… turns out that’s kind of awesome.”

“Right there with you, girl.”

“Anyway, I thought I didn’t like making out with girls as much as guys… and it’s true that having sex with Erik is really amazing… but it’s gotten pretty clear that making out with a cute girl doesn’t bother me nearly as much as I thought I did.”

“Hey, making out with another girl is awesome. We’re soft; we squish; we orgasm – what’s wrong with that? Are you a gusher?”

“Umm, no.”

“I am. As wet as you are… just wondering… God, I really love squirting all over a girl’s face when she eats me out. You into that?”

“Ah… don’t know, haven’t had the chance, I guess. Besides, I only recently got to the point where I actually like a guy cumming on my face, or in my mouth. I used to hate it.”

“Oh, I totally love it when a guy blows his load all over my face, except maybe, when it gets in my eyes. Then it’s like, kind of gluey and everything’s sort of out of focus for awhile. But guys, you know, they really hate it when they’re cumming or peeing on your face, and you close your eyes, so I figure ‘what the fuck?’ Besides, it’s not like they usually hit both my eyes at the same time, so I’m still good on one side, right?”

“Uhh, sure. Right.” Melissa watched Kelley, feeling a little incredulous at her overwhelmingly enthusiastic embrace of anything that made her a better sex toy for her man. Melissa worried whether or not Kelley had a sense of her own self, separate from her sexuality. She asked Kelley, “So… how old are you?”

“Twenty.” Kelley reached down to jiggle her breasts. “See – no droop, no implants, just one hundred percent Kelley in there. Gotta love being young, right?” She nodded up at Melissa. “You?”

“Ah, twenty-five, and, ah, yeah, it’s all still ‘original equipment,’ as a friend once said.”

“Shit, you’re so lucky that they’re not all droopy by now. You’re like C cup or something, right? I’m barely a B.”

“Yeah, I wear a C cup, or at least I did before moving in with Erik. Not allowed underwear now, you know?”

Kelley laughed, standing back up after finishing with Melissa’s greaves, “Abso-fucking-lutely. Gotta stay available for your Master, right? You know – like sometimes he just bends you over and takes you up the ass, simply cause he’s got a hard-on and doesn’t know what to do with it?” She paused, looking a little wistful, “That’s a lot of fun.”

“Uh… I bet.”

“So everything feel okay with your armor? Nothing too tight or too loose?”

Melissa moved around, stretching back and forth, then smiled at Kelley, “That’s great! Thank you so much.”

“Hey, no biggie, but… well, if you want to pay me back, and we go all orgy tonight, I get to eat you out, right?”

Melissa laughed, “Abso-fucking-lutely, but, ah, only if you promise to let me return the favor. I mean, you’ve convinced me that I’ve got to try out having you squirt all over my face, you know – I gotta compare it to a load of cum.”

Kelley laughed as well, “Sure thing, and, hey,” she added, running her fingers along the rerebrace on Melissa’s left arm, that’s seriously gorgeous armor you’ve got. You look so fucking hot in it.”

“Thanks, thanks for everything… I’m feeling a lot better about tonight. I really appreciate your help.”

“No problem, glad to help, but you’ve got to get your shoes on, we’re going to form up soon for the opening ceremony.”

“Sure.” Melissa bent down to pull her gladiator sandals out of her gym bag.

As Kelley watched Melissa put her sandals on, she said, “You know, they used to make us fight in heels until Rita broke her ankle.” Kelley nodded over at an Hispanic-looking woman who was taking practice swings with her sword. “Well, really, it was just a bad sprain, but that put an end to fighting in heels. Thank God. It was a fucked-up idea in the first place.”

“Wow, well I’m glad I’m wearing flats. You know, Erik loves women in these insanely high heels. Sure, it makes your calves and everything look awesome, but oh my God – my poor fucking feet and ankles. Then, get this - last week, I had to spend a whole fucking night walking around in these ballet boots things.”

“You can actually walk in those?”

“Well, I danced in toe shoes for a few years, so yeah, I can sort of walk in them, but it’s no fun, at least, not after the first five minutes or so.”

“Holy crap, don’t you dare tell my owner, or else he’ll be making me learn how to do it too.”

“Ahh, sure. No problem. Um, why do you call them ‘owners’?”

Kelley shrugged, “Don’t know. It’s just the club standard. It’s like, why the fuck do they call this locker room the ‘hypogym’?”

Melissa laughed, then explained, “The hypogeum was the part of the Flavian Amphitheater, you know, the, ah, Roman Colosseum. Anyway, the hypogeum was this two level underground area, below the arena. Part of it had gladiator locker rooms, where they got dressed and waited for their matches.”

Kelley looked around at the room with all the gladiatrices getting ready and she nodded, “Makes sense.” Then she turned back to Melissa and said, “You’re smart, aren’t you?”

“Um, well, you know, maybe book smart, but I’ve been finding out there’s a lot of other ways to be smart.”

At that moment, there was a sharp knock on the door. All of the women grabbed their weapons and helmets, then walked over to form a line by the door. Melissa and Kelley joined in, toward the back. Soon, there was just one woman left, buckling on her last bit of armor.

“Come on Jessica,” somebody called out from the line, “you’re always dragging your ass.”

“Chill out, Amber. I’ll be right there.”

As Melissa waited, standing silently in line with the other naked women in leather armor, she felt her tension ratcheting back up. For a moment, she wondered what a real gladiatrix had felt, back in Rome, waiting with other gladiatrices to fight and die for the amusement of the crowds. She knew that female gladiatrices hadn’t been as common as male gladiators, but they had existed. She decided they had certainly felt far more fear than she did now, which was an odd sort of comfort.

To satisfy her curiosity, she reached down discretely with her free hand to feel between her legs. She made a wry face as she confirmed what she had suspected: her wetness had spread to coat the inside of her upper thighs. Sighing, she hoped her cuisses would hide any evidence of her arousal, even though she was fairly certain the leather thigh pieces were not really wide enough for that purpose. After all, she reminded herself, her armor had been specifically designed to leave all her soft parts wide open for everyone to see, and, of course, for swords to strike.

Jessica finally hurried to join the end of the line. Lin, who everyone had let go to the front of the line, pushed open the door. The women filed out silently, the only sound being the shuffle of their feet and the creak of their leather armor.

At the branch of the hallway ahead, Melissa could see bright light spilling in from the direction of the arena. Erik had brought her in along the other branch of the hallway from the back entrance, so she hadn’t seen the arena yet. Lin turned to walk down the hall to the arena. Moments later, the sound of recorded trumpets blared out, playing a fanfare. Very quickly, it was Melissa’s turn to follow Kelley toward all the light and noise. As they got closer, the painted cinderblock of the hallway wall changed into stone, and all the gladiatrices put on their helmets. Melissa had just snapped her chin strap closed as she walked out into the arena. She was assaulted by the roar of the crowd. Startled, she looked out to the dimness where people sat cheering. It was nearly impossible to see the audience past all the bright lights focused on the sand floor of the arena.

Listening to the crowd sounds more closely, Melissa realized that only a small portion of it was live. The rest of the crowd noise was prerecorded, the same as the trumpets. She tried to force herself to relax as she walked across the floor of packed earth, which was covered by a thin layer of sand. Ahead of her, Kelley split off to form a second rank of women, so Melissa followed her. When Kelley got slightly beyond Lin, she stopped, turning to face the audience. In the interval between Lin and Keyshia, Melissa stopped and turned as well. The rest of the second rank followed in until all the gladiatrices were standing in two staggered rows, facing the darkness where the audience sat.

Lin raised her sword over her head. The other women followed suit, and Melissa matched their movements with a barely perceptible delay. Then Lin cried out, “Ave Imperator.”

The rest of the women joined in, shouting “Morituri te salutant.” Melissa shouted them, already knowing the Latin for, “Hail, Emperor, we who are about to die salute you.”

A wave of giddiness swept through her, simultaneously propelled by the silliness of playacting and a feeling of terror, half-convinced she was trapped in a dream of real gladiatorial combat to the death. What was real and what was pretend seemed to be blurring. Before she could either burst out laughing or run away screaming, the women began filing out of the arena to sit in two ranks of benches with wood seats and backs. She followed Kelley to sit in the second rank, which was deeper in shadow and darker. As Melissa looked around, she was grateful to realize that her moment of panic seemed to have passed.

The bench they were sitting on had a gap in it, between where Melissa and Kelley were sitting and where the rest of the gladiatrices in the second rank were sitting. The gap led to a dark space behind. As the crowd noises quietened down, Kelley nodded slightly toward the gap, saying under her breath, “That’s resurrection alley. After you lose a match, they drag you off the sand and dump you behind this bench. When they dump you, make sure to slap the ground with your hand, so it sounds like you hit hard. The winner of the match gets to sit on the front bench. Once the next match has started and everyone’s watching, the loser crawls through resurrection alley and finds a spot on the back bench. Presto, you’re reborn.”

Melissa whispered back, trying not to move her lips either, “Got it. Thanks.”

A man walked out into the bright-lit arena, dressed in dark red Roman robes, holding an enormous wooden mallet. He held up his hands to quieten the crowd.

“Oh shit,” Melissa whispered, “Charon!”

The noise of the crowd died away as the man called out, “Welcome to the twenty-second games!” More applause poured out of the hidden speakers, then died away more quickly. He continued, “We’ve got a great line-up tonight. Returning champions…” he waved toward Lin. The crowd roar rose and fell as she nodded back to him. “…and new blood!” He waved toward Melissa and the applause started again. Kelley kicked her shin, and Melissa bowed toward the man, as Lin had done. The fake crowd noise died away once more, but not before Melissa heard a voice cry out from the audience, “You go girl!” The voice sounded suspiciously like Serena.

The man shouted, “So, without further ado, let’s begin our first match of the evening. Chosen by random lots, it’s the deadly Keyshia against the equally lethal Amber.”

More augmented cheering broke out as the two women got up from the front bench and walked out onto the sand, warily facing each other. Both were armed with rapiers and daggers.

The rest of the gladiatrices took off their helmets, which Melissa did as well, happy to not have her helmet get slick and smelly from her sweat before she actually needed it.

Next to her, Kelley murmured, “‘Equally lethal’ my ass. Amber’s going to go down, whenever Keyshia decides to put her down.”

Melissa didn’t respond. She was intently watching the two women as they began to fight. Keyshia was leading with most of the attacks, but Amber seemed to be doing a decent job parrying, occasionally even countering with a riposte. As Melissa watched, however, she realized that Keyshia wasn’t actually trying to land any of her thrusts. She was missing on purpose, simply playing with Amber, to draw out the match.

Finally, in a counter-riposte, Keyshia’s blade drove into Amber’s off arm. Amber screamed, stumbling backward and dropping her dagger, as though her arm had gone painfully numb. For a moment, Melissa thought that they had been fighting with their shockers turned to full-power, but then Amber’s hammy overacting made her realize that Amber was just pretending. The fake crowd roared in any case. The partial shadow of the back row of benches let Melissa see a bit past the bright lights. She could make out vague shapes of people in the audience as they clapped enthusiastically. Amber’s reaction seemed to be what they expected.

Now that Amber had only her rapier, Keyshia moved in quickly, attacking forcefully, pushing Amber back to the edge of the arena. Amber tried to regroup, but Keyshia attacked again. Amber barely parried, but she was left off-balance and exposed in front. Keyshia’s dagger swept in, catching Amber just below her left breast. She crumpled backward, with a muffled scream of pain, as though her chest had contracted tightly. When Amber hit the ground, she writhed and shuddered, before finally going limp, her limbs splaying out in all directions. The crowd noise went wild. The gladiatrices enthusiastically joined in the clapping. Masked by the noise, Kelley gleefully shouted to Melissa, “And that’s how it’s done.”

Melissa shook her head sadly, marveling that she had trained so hard for something that she could have just pretended to do with a few days of practice and some acting lessons. She was certain that Polly would be furious if she had seen that match. After a moment, Melissa laughed at her own reaction. She was chagrinned that some of seriousness Polly and Mike brought to their combat arts must have rubbed off on her. After watching this first match, however, she felt much more at ease about the level of her skills.

With a deep sigh, she let out her stored tension, then leaned back against the bench. This small shift brought her head deep enough into the shadows that she could see the audience more easily. She realized there were less than fifty people watching. Everyone was seated in comfortable chairs and small sofas, which were clustered in small groups on ascending levels, so that everyone would have a good view of the action. Squinting a little, she saw low tables, overflowing with drinks and food, located in front of each grouping. Discretely looking around the audience, she realized that Erik was on the lowest level, right at the edge of the arena, slightly to the right of center. Serena, Michael, and Deborah were with him.

Melissa flinched as there was a ‘thump’ behind her. Two naked women in slave chains had dragged the ‘lifeless’ Amber from the arena, then ‘dropped’ her behind the second row of benches.

The man playing Charon, with the oversized wood mallet, came back out into the arena to announce the second match. Kelley quietly asked Melissa as he walked into the light, “Why’d you call him Karen?”

Melissa was momentarily puzzled, and then realized the meaning of Kelley’s question. She answered, “Charon, not Karen. He’s the ferryman of Hades – the guy who takes you off to Hell. In the Roman gladiatorial games, there was always an official who dressed like Charon and carried a big wooden mallet. According to some sources, if a gladiator was too badly injured to survive, this ‘Charon’ guy would use his mallet to smash the gladiator’s head open, like a ripe watermelon.”

Kelley nodded, then whispered back, “Cool.”

Melissa tried her best to hide her horrified reaction to Karen’s approval.

The man bellowed out the names of the two women fighting next. Once the women had arranged themselves facing each other, the man backed away. Stopping at the far edge of the arena, he smashed his mallet against a gong, signaling the beginning of the match. Melissa was shocked that she had missed such a loud noise at the start of the first match, which drove home just how intensely she must have been focusing on the two women that first time.

In this fight, the two women were more evenly matched in their skill levels. They mainly used slashing attacks, instead of the more effective thrusting attacks that Keyshia had used. Their sweeping slashes were far more showy, but their moves were also so broadly obvious to each other that it was easy for the other woman to parry. Melissa chuckled to herself, knowing that Polly would have yelled at her for tolerating this style of fighting, which she dismissed as “Hollywood.”

So far, all of the sword swings that had managed to slip past the other woman’s parry had only landed on leather armor. Finally, one of the women managed to get in a swing that connected with exposed skin on the other woman’s leg. The struck woman screamed as though in agony and fell to the ground, pretending her leg could no longer bear her weight. With a sadistic grin, the attacking woman danced around her, jabbing thrusts at one arm, then the other.

As each blow connected with skin, the downed woman screamed, dropping the weapon she held in that hand. Now defenseless, the woman on the ground whimpered as the victor stood over her, pressing a rapier against her throat. The victor looked up to the audience, who were screaming for the fallen woman’s death. A spotlight came on, brightly illuminating a gray-haired man who was dressed in elaborate robes and sat in a raised chair at the center of the second level. A group of men and women sat or lay on couches around him. One gray-haired woman in that group was busily bouncing up and down, astride two younger men who had positioned themselves so they could both be inside her at once. She didn’t seem the least bit concerned by having her actions suddenly lit up by the spill of light.

The man on the quasi-throne made a show of listening to the crowd, then turned to the woman who was entertaining herself with the two men and asked, “What do you think dear?”

She looked up, annoyed at the distraction. “Kill the fucking bitch! What do I care?”

The man shrugged theatrically as he looked back across the audience. He held his fist up, with his thumb sticking out sideways. The audience began chanting, “Death, death, death.” With a sly grin, he rotated his hand, so his thumb pointed straight down.

The spotlight immediately cut off and the crowd cheered. The woman on the ground screamed, begging for mercy as the victorious woman above her scornfully brought her dagger down, slamming it into her chest. The defeated woman screamed one last time, writhing dramatically, before falling still.

Melissa felt vaguely sickened by the whole proceeding. What she had thought would be a difficult test of skill was turning out to be some sort of pornographic summer stock amateur theater group trying to copy a horror/slasher movie. All her life, she had hated horror films and violent movies. She had never understood the appeal of the genre. She hated the idea that this evening was turning out to be a live action version, even if it might be Deborah and Kelley’s perfect fantasy. Feeling sudden concern, she wondered if it was Erik’s fantasy as well.

Leaning back to shade her eyes, she could see that Deborah and Michael were indeed screaming and shouting in delight at the gladiatrix’s ‘death,’ along with the rest of the crowd. Erik, however, was sitting back quietly, She thought she saw him roll his eyes, but since she had never seen him do that before, she decided it had likely been a trick of the light. Serena sat next to him, applauding politely.

Looking at the rest of the gladiatrices, Melissa realized that Amber had snuck in during the second match and was now sitting in the second rank of benches.

Out in the arena, the naked slave girls walked over to drag the defeated woman away. Charon stepped out more quickly this time, trying to move the proceedings along at a faster pace.

He announced loudly, “By random draw, the next match will be the dreaded Heather against the newly arrived Maleficent. Kelley nudged Melissa. She realized that when Kelley called her by that name earlier, it must have been because Kelley already knew that Melissa was listed as Maleficent on the fighting roster.

Melissa stood up and threaded her way out of the second bench, putting on her helmet while she tried not to bump against the other gladiatrices with her sword. As she stepped onto the sanded arena, she remembered to turn her swords on and set the discharge level to its lowest setting. She watched as Heather did the same. The heavier built woman looked over at her disdainfully and said, “I’m going to beat your pretty little face into a pulp, bitch.”

Melissa recoiled back for a moment but then told herself that Heather was just trying to intimidate her. Erik had repeatedly reassured her that the women never actually tried to hurt each other. If there ever were a deliberate attempt to hurt another gladiatrix, the offending gladiatrix would be banished from the club forever, and their ‘owner’ would have to pay a very steep fine. All his reassurances paled, however, in the face of the waves of anger emanating from Heather.

Melissa was profoundly unhappy that she had ever agreed to this nonsense. The man with the mallet stepped back. Melissa took a deep breath, trying to banish her misgivings, and settled into her stance. Heather theatrically flexed her muscles, assuming her own stance, except that Melissa immediately saw that Heather’s physique was so exaggerated, she couldn’t bring her off-side arm holding her dagger in close enough to her torso.

As soon as the gong rang out, Melissa took advantage of her height and greater reach to throw herself forward, en flèche, driving the point of her rapier straight at Heather’s face. Her sudden attack caught Heather completely off guard, and the bulky gladiatrix backpedaled, clumsily bringing her own rapier up to parry. As she did so, she left her torso completely wide open. Melissa continued her rush forward, slamming her dagger into Heather’s naked chest while running past and ducking underneath their crossed rapiers, finally stopping a half dozen steps beyond the stunned Heather.

Melissa spun, snapping back into her stance, waiting for Heather to fall to the ground in the exaggerated death throes that seemed standard. Instead, Heather turned to face her, outraged.

Charon stepped out with his mallet, but Heather snapped at him, “She didn’t connect! I’m fine.”

The crowd murmured, but Heather glared at the man until he shrugged, then looked over to Melissa. Frustrated, Melissa made a show of looking down at her weapon hilts and announcing loudly, “Oh, I see the problem. I left them on low power. I’ll fix that.” She turned both weapons up to full power, noting that Heather did the same.

Now, Heather warily moved closer, threatening, “I’m going to fry you, again and again, you fucking bitch!”

Melissa smiled, “Thanks for the idea.” She leaped into attack again, the base of her blade sliding along the inside of Heather’s rapier, as she used her superior leverage to once more force the powerful woman’s guard open, exposing her naked torso. This time, Heather swung quickly around to bring her dagger into play, but Melissa had already disengaged backward, anticipating Heather’s move. As Heather spun past, Melissa stabbed forward with her rapier, burying its point into Heather’s large triceps muscle of her left arm, where it was unprotected by her leather armor. The latex blade folded back on itself, but not before first discharging a paralyzing jolt of electrical energy into her arm.

Heather gasped, barely holding onto her dagger, unable to use her arm. She tried to backpedal. Unfortunately for her, even though she was strong, she was not very agile. Melissa sprang forward again, sweeping around to jam her dagger into the inside of Heather’s left thigh, just behind the protection of her cuisse.

Heather started to collapse backward. As she fell, she swung her rapier downward in a harsh arc, trying to slash across Melissa’s naked torso. At the last moment, Melissa was able to interpose her arm, taking most of the force of the blade on her vambrace. By the time Heather’s blade skittered across Melissa’s breasts, her rapier had almost fully discharged into Melissa’s leather armor, and there was only a mild trickle of power left.

Heather, now completely off balance and unable to use her left leg, tumbled clumsily onto the sand. When she hit, her momentum rolled her slightly to her left, exposing her right flank. Melissa mercilessly drove forward with her rapier, slamming its point into the back of Heather’s right thigh. Even though Melissa’s rapier hadn’t had enough time to rebuild its full charge, it discharged enough electricity into Heather’s leg that the gladiatrix cried out.

Melissa recovered back into her stance, waiting for her weapons to rebuild their charge. Heather tried to squirm away backward along the sand, using her one good arm and still waving her rapier in Melissa’s direction.

With a grim smile, Melissa leaped forward, once again using the leverage of the base of her rapier to smash down the other woman’s guard, then snaking her dagger in from the side to strike Heather’s upper arm where it was not covered by her rerebrace.

This time, Heather screamed, as much in frustration as pain. Melissa knocked Heather’s rapier away from her powerless grasp.

Looking down into the gladiatrix’s terrified eyes, Melissa quietly told her, “Never, ever, threaten me again. You understand?”

Heather shook her head in acknowledgment.

Melissa stood up, facing the audience, the point of her rapier resting lightly on Heather’s throat. As intense as the fight had been, it had lasted less than thirty seconds. Melissa was barely breathing hard.

Standing there quietly, Melissa realized that the audience was silent. She didn’t know if she had broken some rule, but she was so furious at that moment, she didn’t care.

From the direction of Erik’s table, she heard Deborah’s voice cry out, “Way to nail that bitch!”

Scattered clapping started, then picked up momentum until it was finally joined by the artificial roar of the crowds from the sound system.

Finally, the noise died down, and the spotlight came onto the man playing the emperor. He looked around, expecting the crowd’s shouted input, but there was only silence. He looked over at his mate, who had finished with the two men. She waved her hand in a blasé gesture, “Kill the bitch. I never liked her.”

With a shrug, he held up his fist with his thumb down.

While everyone’s eye had been on the emperor, Melissa had discretely thumbed her power settings back to their lowest levels. She dropped her rapier to the sand and took her dagger in her right hand. Walking around behind Heather, Melissa reached behind the gladiatrix’s neck to grab the crisscrossing straps of her pauldrons with her left hand. She pulled Heather up until the trembling woman was kneeling, facing the audience. In the style of a Roman gladiatrix, Melissa brought the dagger down sharply, point jabbing into the hollow behind the defeated woman’s collar bone, where it met her neck.

Heather cried out, initially from fear of the pain, then from relief when she realized that Melissa had reduced the discharge. After a long moment, Heather pitched face forward into the sand, apparently dead.

Applause broke out once again. Melissa did not acknowledge the crowd. Instead, she turned and picked up her dropped rapier, then walked back to the benches. Lin and Keyshia stood up, without their swords or helmets, and started walking toward her. Melissa felt a moment of fear, but the two women walked past, giving her discreet nods, and they joined the two slave girls with Heather. Apparently, the heavily muscled woman weighed more than the slave girls could handle.

Melissa sat down on the front bench, and the other gladiatrices warily made room for her. As Melissa pulled off her helmet, Kelley leaned slightly forward from the second bench to say, “You’re supposed to play with her first, you know, before you kill her.”

Melissa shrugged and replied, “A Green Beret taught me to put bullies down fast and hard.”

She spoke loudly enough to be overheard by the rest of the women. She knew she was exaggerating her prowess, but she wanted to make sure the other gladiatrices would not bully her the same way as Heather had tried.

As the evening’s fights continued, the other gladiatrices continued to give her extra room. Heather, who was now sitting on the back row, didn’t say anything. Even after moving to the front row when she won her second match in the round-robin, Heather continued to remain silent.

Melissa was finally called up for her second match. Her opponent was Kelley. As they walked out together and were putting on their helmets, Kelley whispered, “Please, don’t embarrass me too much.”

“Don’t worry. Can you do me a favor, though?”


“My girlfriend who’s really into this shit – I’m going to drive you off the sand, over to where she’s sitting, and then I’ll wound you. Can you drop to your knees in front of her, like you’re in horrible pain, and beg for your life?”

Kelley gave Melissa a quick smile, “Sure. Sounds fun.”

Once the gong sounded, Melissa tried as hard as she could to make the match look well balanced, although it was frustrating to deliberately mess up attack after attack. She even occasionally went on the defensive, to keep up the pretense.

Finally, she pushed Kelley out of the ring of light, into the darkness where she knew Erik’s group was located. As soon as Melissa’s eyes adjusted, she maneuvered Kelley directly in front of Deborah. When everything was lined up, Melissa cut Kelley down with what looked like a vicious stroke across her hips and abdomen.

Kelley staggered, dropping her weapons and spinning about to land on her knees. She pitched forward, with her face landing squarely between Deborah’s naked legs, which had sudden been exposed because her dress had been ‘accidentally’ pushed aside by Kelley’s desperately clawing hands as she had pitched forward.

Deborah’s expression showed a mixture of deep amusement and extreme arousal.

Melissa asked Deborah loudly enough for the rest of the audience to hear, “What say you, mistress? Shall I finish her off?”

Deborah turned toward the emperor, just as his spotlight had belatedly turned on. She asked, “My Emperor, I request that this wounded gladiatrix be killed, even as she lays wounded here between my legs. Please leave her body here, so I can feel it grow cold.”

The man playing the emperor arched one eyebrow upward, in an obviously well-practiced gesture of amusement. He glanced over to his partner, who had her hands wrapped around another woman’s head, pulling her in tightly between her own legs. The empress giggled, “Oh certainly, grant that delicious woman her boon. But I get to fuck her next.”

The emperor looked back to Deborah, who nodded, “Your empress’s wish is my command.”

With a chuckle, the emperor held out his fist, thumbs down. At this signal, Melissa grabbed the crest of Kelley’s helmet and pulled back her head. Kelley’s lips and chin were already wet from pleasuring Deborah. With a wry grin, Melissa plunged her dagger down in a gladiatrix’s mercy stroke of death, landing in the hollow of Kelley’s collarbone, next to her neck. Kelley groaned loudly, then collapsed once more, face first into Deborah.

Melissa stood up, shaking her head. Looking over at Erik, she gave him a small eye roll and shake of her head, before walking back out onto the sand of the arena.

After two more matches, the rankings had been established for the quarter-finals. Melissa would face Caitlin, who had seemed reasonably competent. Lin would face Keyshia.

Melissa and Caitlin’s match was first. As the walked out, Caitlin asked, “Half power?”

Melissa agreed, “Absolutely.”

They both discretely adjusted their settings as they readied themselves to fight. The gong rang and Melissa faced, for the first time, someone who’s skill level was at least equal to her own. The match moved fairly evenly back and forth until the other woman lured Melissa into attacking too aggressively. Caitlin’s riposte caught the inside of Melissa’s right thigh with a rapier thrust. 

Melissa tried to disengage, hopping back on one leg, but the Caitlin surged forward, pressing her hard. Melissa went down backward. She rolled with the fall, as Mike had taught her, coming back up on her good knee with her rapier extended straight out, facing the onrushing gladiatrix. Before Caitlin could stop herself, she ran straight onto the tip of Melissa’s rapier, the point buried itself into Caitlin’s left breast before the latex blade deflected backward.

The gladiatrix gasped, then crumpled over soundlessly to the sand. Melissa slowly rose on her good leg and mimicked hobbling off the sand to the benches. As she slowly made her way across the sand, the sounds she heard from Erik’s group made it clear that things had devolved into a full-fledged orgy.

“Yeah,” she mumbled to herself, “I’m busting my ass out here and you’re fucking yourselves silly. Tell me what’s wrong with this goddamn picture.”

She sat down, still feeling sorry for herself, to watch Keyshia and Lin fight. Their combat, however, perked Melissa’s interest because their styles were so dramatically different from each other. Keyshia was fast and extremely strong, but in comparison, Lin was blindingly fast. Many of their combination passes were hard for Melissa to follow. As fast as she was, Keyshia was often barely able to parry and back out of Lin’s way.

Finally, Keyshia stumbled and Lin’s blade sunk into her gut before the blade bent back on itself. There was no doubt the two women had fought at full power – Keyshia doubled over in real pain, dropping to her knees. She hung there a moment before letting herself pitch face-first into the sand.

Lin gave her fallen opponent a small bow, then walked back to the front bench to sit in the first position. Melissa watched Lin from the corner of her eye, not eager to compete against this gladiatrix at full power. The likelihood of winning seemed very low.

After a surprisingly long pause, during which servers refreshed drinks and food, the man playing Charon came back out to announce the final match. Melissa stood and carefully fastened on her helmet before walking out alongside Lin. She noticed, with some concern, that Lin was now carrying her katana, not the rapier and dagger that she had used up to this point. Melissa had never practiced against a katana before.

When the gong rang, Lin immediately attacked into Melissa’s rapier, beating the lighter blade away; then Lin spun away to the side. Before Melissa could bring her dagger up in defense, Lin was bringing her katana down in a sweeping arc that brutally intersected Melissa’s torso. The discharge of electricity made it hard to breathe and Melissa let herself fall to her knees, then she sat back on her heels and tumbled over backward.

Melissa was grateful to lie immobile on the sand while the roar of the crowd passed over her. As the tingling ache slowly left her chest, she wondered if Lin’s lightening fast victory had been intended to teach Melissa a lesson about beating Heather so quickly. Melissa felt a bit dazed that the final match was over, almost before it had begun.

She felt herself being picked up, but instead of the two naked slave girls, it was Erik. He lifted her in his arms and carried her back to his cluster of chairs and couches.

Sitting down on a couch, he held her on his lap. No longer needing to feign death, Melissa looked around at Serena, Deborah, and Michael. Kelley was still there as well. She hadn’t taken off any of her armor, but Melissa realized, Kelley hadn’t needed to take anything off in order to indulge every sort of sexual activity that she wanted. Deborah was slumped against Michael on the couch. She seemed intoxicated by an overabundance of orgasms. Melissa figured that the empress had already come and gone.

Serena excitedly knelt down in front of Melissa. “You were incredible! My God, you looked totally scary and fierce out there. When you took apart that first girl, wow! That was amazing. You really looked like you knew what you were doing.

Kelley came over as well, curling up beside Serena on the floor. She giggled, “Damn straight she knew what she was doing. That’s Maleficent for you, slam, bam; you’re dead.”

Melissa laughed, feeling lighter, then protested, “Yeah, except for Lin.”

Kelley laughed, “Hey, nobody beats Lin, ever.”

Melissa stretched back in an arc, trying to loosen her tight muscles. When she looked back at her friends, she realized her stretch had drawn everyone’s eyes hungrily to her mostly naked form.

Kelley licked her lips, “You promised that I’d get to eat you out.”

Melissa laughed, but nodded toward Erik, “Yeah, but remember, my ‘owner’ gets first dibs on fucking me.”

Erik laughed, then shrugged to Kelley, “Droit du seigneur.”

Kelley grinned and exclaimed, “Oh boy, sloppy seconds.” Melissa was amazed that Kelley’s enthusiasm seemed completely genuine.

Serena poked Kelley in the ribs, “Hey, I claim dibs too.”

Melissa laughed, “Down, you two. I promise, you can all have a piece of me, but first, I’ve got to get this hunk o’ man meat inside me.”

Melissa looked up, startled to see Lin standing over them, her katana resting lightly on her shoulder. Lin smiled and said, “Okay, you can have him first, but then you’ve got to go down on me. It’s tradition.

Melissa shook her head at the wanton sense of sexual arousal all around her. She smiled back at Lin and looked briefly around the room, where the ‘after party’ had turned into a full-blown orgy. Bringing her attention back to Lin, Melissa said, “Tell you what, lie down, and I’ll eat you out while my beloved ‘owner’ takes me from behind.” She turned to look back at Erik, “If that’s okay with you, Master?”

He nodded with a smile. In front of them, Lin sank gracefully to her knees, with her legs spread apart. Then she arched back smoothly, until her shoulders and head rested on the floor. Looking back at Melissa, Lin said, “You were pretty amazing tonight. Is it true that you’ve only been learning for a few weeks?”

Melissa nodded as she got down on her hands and knees between Lin’s legs. “Yes.”

Lin grinned as Melissa pressed her lips against her warm sex. Lin told her, “In a few more tournaments, you’ll be pushing me hard.”

Melissa pulled back a little to reply, “Well, my ‘owner’ and I have to talk. I promised him I’d do this tournament once, but if he wants to make this a regular thing, he’s really going to have to make it worthwhile.”

Lin nodded toward Erik, who was sliding into Melissa from behind. Lin said, “He is a very wealthy man, I’m sure he will be able to make it worth your while.”

Erik slid his length into Melissa. She moaned wordlessly, clearly distracted, so Erik replied to Lin for her, “I don’t think she meant money.”

Lin looked back and forth between the two of them, then grinned, “Oh, I see. Something more substantial then…”

Erik nodded to her, “Indeed.”

Melissa had returned to pressing her mouth against Lin and didn’t want to pull away again to speak, so she simply hummed her agreement. The vibrations caused Lin to gasp. After recovering, Lin stroked Melissa’s hair, saying, “That was nice.”

Melissa enjoyed Lin’s reaction, so she alternated flicking her tongue past Lin’s clitoris with pressing her mouth down hard against Lin and humming. Melissa also snaked her right hand between Lin’s thighs. Reaching up, she stroked Lin’s labia, massaging her abundant slickness all over her smooth skin.

Behind her, Erik was settling into a languorous motion, in and out. With each slow-motion thrust, he deliberately pushing the head of his penis against her G-spot. The stimulation would have ordinarily been relaxing for Melissa, rather than extremely arousing, but her senses were already so overstimulated that Erik’s gentle motion quickly had her teetering on the edge of an orgasm. The intensity of the gladiatorial matches, combined with being surrounded by so much frenetic sexual play, amplified her senses.

Despite her growing arousal, Melissa was determined not to neglect Lin. Melissa wanted to finish her off before she allowed herself to orgasm. With rising urgency, Melissa slid two fingers into Lin and pulled upward against her G-spot, massaging firmly, while she pressed down with her mouth from above. She felt Lin reaching around her head with both hands, pulling her firmly downward. Within moments, Lin bucked up against Melissa, shuddering and jerking in release.

At the same time, Erik rapidly increased his pace, slamming violently into Melissa from behind. After a few powerful thrusts, she felt his semen spurting into her. Trapped between two orgasming bodies, Melissa was overwhelmed into her own pounding climax.

She collapsed to the floor. When she swam back into awareness, she found herself entangled between Erik and Lin, who were also splayed out on the floor. Off to one side, she heard Kelley exclaim, “Oh shit, that was abso-fucking-lutely amazing!”

Melissa groggily looked over to see Kelley and Serena intertwined together on the floor, not far away. Melissa asked, “Wah da hell? You could’n wait?” She shook her head slowly, “Sorry, ma mouff idn’t workin right.”

Serena laughed, “I wonder why?” Then she looked over at Kelley and said, “Tell you what, I’ll hold her down – you can eat her out.”

Kelley replied brightly, “Hey, that’s a plan.” She rolled away from Serena’s embrace, then scrambled across the floor toward Melissa. Serena quickly followed, on her hands and knees.

Melissa shrunk back, “No… too soon. Ahm all jangly.”

Serena called out, “Ha! No mercy. You set off this firestorm; now reap the whirlwind.” She looked over to Deborah and Michael who were still on the couch, demanding, “Help me catch her and hold her down!”

Deborah levered herself away from the couch, down to the floor, where she slid forward, reaching out for Melissa. Michael quickly joined her.

Despite Melissa’s best attempts to squirm away, a determined pile of bodies soon had her pinned in place. She quickly realized that her friends weren’t just restraining her, they were also caressing and licking every sensitive part of her body that they could reach. She wasn’t sure which two friends were licking her breasts, but it was very distracting. Down below, she felt someone’s tongue enter her.

A moment later, the tongue pulled back out, and she heard Kelley exclaim, “Warm yummy cum! Who wants to share?”

Around Melissa, bodies shifted. She heard kissing and sucking noises. Then Kelley pressed her head back down again between Melissa’s legs. When her tongue slid across Melissa’s aching clitoris, Melissa screamed, begging for mercy. The level of overstimulation was painful. Melissa tried thrashing away, but nearly a dozen hands held her pinned in place. She took a breath, intending to scream out her safe word, but instead found herself cascading into an orgasm that was so strong, it was barely tolerable. As she spasmed, she couldn’t breathe. She nearly passed out, but the spasms that were locking her muscles together finally relaxed, letting her gasp a shuddering breath.

She was vaguely aware that everyone was still holding her, but their touch had shifted from sexual to gentle, relaxing caresses. Melissa’s breathing slowed, becoming more rhythmic. Without realizing it, she slipped into a deep sleep.