King was preparing for his upcoming match with Christie. It would be a tough fight, both physically and mentally. Physically, because he knew she could kick very hard. He had seen her use her legs as lethal weapons before, and he knew she could catch him off guard. Mentally, because if he did get the upper hand, where do you draw the line between winning a match and injuring someone? What if he offered to let her quit? If she didn't, he would have to hit her again. When does it stop being a fight and just start being punishment? King was bent over lacing up his boots, foot on the bench. So lost in thought and worry was he that he did not notice Armor King sneaking up behind him. For four years. For four years I trained King the Second. I turned him from a joke in King's mask, into a lethal and honed wrestler. And what does he do? He makes FRIENDS with Craig Marduk! Friends! Of all the lousy ways to repay someone... well, I'm going to re-fire that passion that he once had. That I gave him. If it weren't for me, he would still be losing every match! Armor King have King a hard shove on the backside with his boot, catching him totally off guard and sending him headfirst into the lockers. King's head banged off them with a crash, and he stumbled back. Armor King took King by the trunks and the back of his head, spun, and lobbed him into the wall. King hit with a hard thud, and cracked the plaster wall. He landed on the floor, dazed. He tried to get up, but Armor King landed a huge boot to the head, sandwiching his head into the wall. King went limp and fell into a heap on the floor. "Please forgive me, King, but I see no other way to bring out the fire you once possessed." King caught a glimpse of Armor King before the soccer kick to the face banged his head off the wall again, knocking him out. Armor King removed his mask, and tore King's mask off. Then he took one of King's wrestling outfits and dressed himself in it. He had just enough time to complete the change before he was being introduced in the fight pit. Armor King dressed as King made his way into the pit. Christie was already in there. Christie smiled, and extended her hand for a handshake. In a stunning lack of courtesy, Armor King caught an unsuspecting Christie in the stomach with a kick. Christie grunted and doubled over, allowing Armor King to hook her up in a suplex. He picked her up off the floor, and hauled her up and over, dropping her hard. Her exposed back slapped off the pit floor. She yelled out in pain. Christie's friends couldn't believe what they had just seen. "What the hell?" asked Julia. "That was pretty unsporting! What the hell is King doing? I've never seen that out of him before!" Christie tried to get up. She pushed herself to her hands and knees, but Armor King kicked her in the stomach and ribs. Christie shrieked in pain and surprise and then slunk back down, holding her ribs. She was balanced on her knees and head, her arms preoccupied. Armor King laid a hard stomp into Christie's back, knocking her flat to the floor. She tried to get up again, and Armor King let her. Once she was to her knees, Armor King pulled her up the rest of the way, then front headlocked her and took her down with a DDT. Her head slammed off the floor, knocking her dizzy. She lay facedown trying to make the world stop spinning. She shook her head to try to clear the dizziness. She raised her head, and her eyes betrayed how she was really feeling. She put on a good act but her eyes were beginning to glaze over already. She stood, but her legs were wobbly, and threatened to stop supporting her. Armor King struck a martial arts stance, then took a step and launched a superkick that caught her in the face, whipping her head back. Christie fell over backward like a tree falling in the forest. She lay on the floor, dazed, eyes trying to focus. Armor King began what was known in the wrestling circles as the Garvin Stomp. He put her left arm out to the side and stomped on the bicep. Christie yelled out and flinched, trying to swat him away, with no success. Then he stomped on her forearm. Christie yelped and shook her arm out, trying to undo the effects of the stomps. King laid a stomp into her chest, knocking her down to her back again. Then one to the stomach, drawing a huge "oof" and causing her to sit up in reflex and hold her stomach. He stomped on her left thigh and then her calf. Then he worked his way back up the right side of her body, ending with another stomp to the stomach and the chest. Christie lay on the floor, breathing through her mouth. She felt like she'd hit a wall. Everything ached. Moving was a painful chore she would rather not have done at that point, but her fighting spirit would not let her quit. Christie slowly and painfully pushed herself to her feet on pure spirit alone. "I am impressed with your resilience. At the same time... I am annoyed with it." Armor King caught Christie around the throat, preparing to choke slam her. Almost on autopilot, Christie batted his arm away with hers, and launched a huge spinning jump kick that caught Armor King totally unaware. The kick landed on his chest, knocking him backwards so hard he rolled once before coming to rest on his back. He stared up at the arena lights for a moment, wondering what the hell had just happened. Then it occurred to him. Then he remembered where he was and what he was doing. He stood up, and looked over to see Christie trying to do the same. She had clearly not landed on her feet after that desperation kick. She was standing, lowly. She had knocked him ten feet backwards with that battering ram like kick of hers. She was clearly much stronger than she looked. Vowing not to make the same mistake twice, Armor King got behind her, and when she was on her feet, he kicked her in the small of the back. Christie cried out in pain and arched backwards, holding her back. Armor King put an arm around her neck, and picked her up in a suplex, done backward. Instead of falling backwards with her, he dropped to a seated position, bouncing Christie's chin off his shoulder with a stungun. Christie arced back, mouth open, eyes rolling backward, as she hit the floor. She lay there, eyes half open. Armor King rolled her onto her stomach. He took Christie's belt off her pants, and then whipped her with it. The sharp crack of leather meeting bare skin was rivaled in volume by her scream of pain. Instantly, the belt left a huge red welt where it hit, leaving the shape of where the belt had hit her. He reared back and swung for the fences again. Another crack, another scream of pain. Christie arched backward. Then she was struck by an odd thought."Hey King, is that all you've got?" She secretly hoped she could goad him into whipping her again. Sure enough, he took the challenge, and she braced for impact. The third stinging whip impact caused her to arch again, this time in pleasure. She hid the fact that she enjoyed this and acted like it hurt. Which to be fair, it certainly did. "I barely felt that one!" She continued to goad him. Armor King raised it up again, and like he were swinging an axe chopping firewood, lashed her again. She twitched in a mix of pain and pleasure. He continued whipping her over and over, but it stopped feeling good after the sixth. Now it just felt like electric shocks every time the belt made contact with her. The belt had cut her open in at least three places by the time he was finished, as the skin was reddened and not able to stand up to that kind of tenderizing. Armor King was done screwing around. He rolled her onto her back with his foot. "That kick of yours was pretty impressive, I have to say, but don't think you aren't going to pay for it in spades." Armor King goozled her around the throat again, and pulled her to her feet. She couldn't fight out of it this time. Putting her arm over his, he took hold of the waistband of her pants. He hauled her into the air, and then brought her down hard, pivoting to put a little spin on it. She landed with a sickening splat and then lay motionless on the floor. The cuts on her back left a huge blood splatter, but it looked much worse than it was, as small amounts of liquid can go a long way. Picking Christie up under the arms, he brought her up. She could not stand on her own power anymore, but he did not need her to. He picked her up and then off her feet, holding her in a bear hug. He thought about pinning her arms, but she was too weakened to fight back, so he opted not to. It gave him more space to constrict her waist with. She shook her from side to side, grinding in the hold, and removing all the space between his arms and her body, so as to leave her no breathing room. He began to buck her up and down in the bearhug a little, forcing breath out of her every time he did, breath that she could not draw again. Then he squeezed hard, working over her spine. Christie couldn't breathe in his iron grip. She contemplated submitting, but her pride wouldn't allow it. She wrapped her legs around him, trying to squeeze back, to fight in any way she could, but it was useless. He jerked her spine again, and her body went limp, arms and legs dangling, head lolled back. He continued to squeeze her, and then there was a wet pop sound as one of the discs in her spine dislocated. Her eyes opened wide with the fierce pain radiating through her body now. Armor King shook her again, and her eyes began to feel heavy. Armor King then stopped squeezing her, but did not drop her. Holding on to her with one arm, he put his other between her legs, and turned her upside down. Finagling a little, he got the right position, and then crunched her with an inverted sitout piledriver. Her head slammed off the floor, and she lay flat on her back, unconscious. They declared King the winner, but nobody could believe the display of viciousness King had shown. As the fighters were criticizing King for what had just happened, Paul Phoenix suddenly pointed to the entrance way. "Wait, who's that?" Everyone turned to see King staggering down to the pit, with a towel over his head to hide his face, holding Armor King's mask. He pointed at Armor King, and then gave a thumbs down. Eventually everyone figured out that the King they saw display that brand of brutality was actually Armor King. Armor King addressed everyone over the announcement system. "Yes, it is true... I am Armor King. That is the real King. King... I did this to rekindle that old passion of yours you used to have. That killer instinct of yours you had when you were ready to finish Craig Marduk. But you wouldn't do it! You were weak. WEAK! I took it upon myself to try to bring that back out of you. Yes, I attacked you in your locker room. I did it for a good reason!" He threw the microphone down and met King face to face. He took off King's mask and handed it back to him, covering his face, then took his own mask back and put it on. Christie was floating in and out of consciousness, rapidly waking up and passing out. Every time she blinked her eyes, the events around her changed. She saw the arena lights. To her she blinked her eyes, but in reality she had passed out for anywhere up to a minute at a time. Suddenly her friends were standing around her, talking to her. She couldn't understand them, suffering from a concussion. When she blinked her eyes again, she saw paramedics instead of her friends. She wondered how they had moved so fast. She heard bits and pieces, and what she could understand sounded muffled. "... stabilize her neck... check.... pressure.. some blood..." Then she felt hands on her, moving her. When she blinked her eyes again, she felt like she was floating. In reality she was being wheeled out on a stretcher. She saw the stars of the night sky. Then she was in a vehicle. It took her a moment to realize it was an ambulance. Her friends were with her again. Where had they come from? And where did they go the first time? Why was everything happening with gaps in between? she thought to herself. She strained to listen to the conversation happening. "... medically induce a coma to aid in her recovery... wake up in less pain..." ".. be a good idea to do it. How much medicat-" Christie reached out and pawed at Julia's hand. Julia jumped a little in surprise, then took Christie's hand. "Christie, you're awake! How do-" Christie shook her head weakly. "No? No what, no medical coma?" Christie shook her head again. "Well, that answers that then, she doesn't want it. Okay, so no, don't put her under then." Christie smiled weakly. "Thank you", she whispered, and then nestled back onto the stretcher bed, losing consciousness again.