Black bolt felt the many eyes upon him and tried to appear as steady as his calm demeanor convinced people he was. There was a sweat coating his palms as he stood in their gaze; a 'small' gathering of the Royal household, relatives he'd barely met other than shaken hands once, scientific friends of his parents-- his parents sitting in a box with one of the Genetic Counsel. It was much more crowded than he'd lead to believe, or perhaps that was his own cloistering catching up with him. What exactly is a 'small' amonnt of people when he had known none for so long? He spied the cousins that had been following him around sitting towards the front row.
Medusalith came into his line of vision and their eyes met; she waved to him wearing one of her always lovely smiles, and a small relief washed his bare shoulders.
Bolt stood there, wrapped in royal garments from the waist down, the prong adornment still resting on his forehead. As it should, it was the only way he was 'safe' to interact with others. He felt ever so vulnerable, but he still fought not to show it. He glanced to his brother, Maximus, standing opposite of him in the arena, dressed the same and looking not at all worried. He seemed to observe the crowd with his usual contempt, a contempt that Black bolt did not understand.
The announcer standing on the ledge of the platform concluded her statements. "--And so, due to the skills granted by the Terrigan Mists being too shockingly great for usage in the arena-- or, seemingly absent--" This was obviously directed towards Maximus, who scowled and hissed a 'tch' loud enough for Bolt to hear, "The princes of the House of Boltagon shall duel using other means to display what they have learned from their instructors." She bowed to the box, Agon, Blackagar's father, and Rynda, his mother, both nodding to him.
And then there was a ringing sound and it was time. Blackagar raised the staff, taking stance; such weapons were normally used only by those who had not gone through terrigenesis, monitoring the heart rate and vitals of the Inhuman holding it, and also recording every blow they were to land on their opponent. Because Black bolt could not use his power to full extent-- and to be fair to his brother who had not exhibited any sort of power-- they would battle as such.
And the battle seemed to be begin before Bolt even realized.
Maximus had already lunged at him, staff aiming directly for Bolt's stomach. He barely blocked it, pushing to not fall back into defense. He'd like to believe this was just a friendly little duel, something to entertain their parents. He liked Maximus. He was trying to understand why the other seemed so hostile towards him-- they were brothers after all! But he seemed quite determined and fierce as they continued to trade blows, matching first and second hit together. Bolt managed to get in the third hit, clipping Maximus' hip and the other let out quite a growl!
And then he lunged yet again, their staffs clashing and Maximus was in his face, his face twisting, as if trying to decide what he was feeling. He finally settled on a smirk, eyes cast down upon his opponent. "You are quite good, Blackagar. But that's to be expected, you are the eldest son of the house of Boltagon, the one everyone speaks of and praises beyond compare." Though he was smiling, Maximus didn't seem to happy about this; he seemed angry. Black bolt didn't much understand, matching strength and trying to throw Max back.
But it wasn't working. Maximus leered even closer, giving a hushed whisper, "But you see, I have a weapon you will never have, brother. Do you want to know what that is?" Bolt's brow relaxed, gazing to his brother with a curiosity in his eye. What was he saying?
After a moment, Maximus scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Come on, it's called nodding. Did father not even teach you that?" He spat this with such venom. Such a mean tone of voice, Black bolt didn't much like that. "You truly are a spectacle of a person." The last most certainly wasn't a compliment. He made a vicious, ugly face; a judging face, as if Black bolt was an insect. He did not like that look at all.
"--!!" He cast his brother off, brandishing his staff. He opened his mouth-- if only to snap his teeth at the other, but instantly felt a good deal of grief seeing the other flinch. He happened to look to the side, worried of his parents' watchful eyes. What if they thought he was going to speak? What if they questioned hi-- he raised his staff just in time for Maximus' to clash into it.
He bared his teeth to his brother, still angry at his comments. As if-- as if saying he was lesser because he was having trouble adapting to the amount of people surrounding him!
"Oh, did I hurt your feelings? I'm so sorry brother." He didn't sound sorry, he sounded like he was laughing. He was even smiling! Bolt smacked him away yet again, stopping as Maximus raised a hand, staff behind him as he crouched. "If you forgive me, I'll tell you what my weapon is! I really am sorry, Blackagar."
Black bolt… he was cautious, but nodded. He took a breath. Perhaps he was reading his brother wrong. He had to be.
And then Maximus lunged at him yet again, "Right side, watch out!" And of course, Black bolt guarded his right. And then the staff came out of nowhere from his left, slamming straight into his ear and sending him sprawling across the arena. He pushing himself up, feeling offending, twitching part and pulling his hand away with blood. His blood. Had his ear split?
Maximus stood there, leaning on his staff and laughing. Laughing! "Words, brother! Words are a weapon that you can never master. They build cities and destroy them in one swoop. … Well, perhaps I retract that statement. Your words can be, but ah well, you're not allowed to use them, yes?" He grinned down to him, and Black bolt could only return it with a glare. He was getting mad.
In her seat, Medusa's hair began to writhe, Karnak and Gorgon sitting on either side of her shifting away in fear. "That isn't fair! He's cheating! Why isn't Morra saying anything, you're not supposed to hit above the shoulders!"
"That is for children, such a rule is not for adults-- certainly not for princes," Gorgon said simply, waving his hand to one of Medusa's locks as it wrapped around his ankle. "Cousin, please control yourself."
"No! It's Maximus, you know he cheats! He'll hurt Blackagar."
"Come now," Karnak put a hand on her shoulder, flinching slightly as her deadly hair slid over it. "You know he can not hurt our cousin right in front of their parents. Agon and Rynda watch over us. Now, Medusa, please control your hair. Remember what happened last time."
"Y… Yes." Medusa frowned. She did not like being spoken down to, and instead focused on the fight. It was not a time to be bothering with her rude cousins. They seemed to be trading blows yet again, a smack here or there but nothing landing so viciously. She squinted, hissing to herself as she saw Maximus open his Randac-forsaken mouth yet again.
Both brothers had began to lose breath. Black bolt was not so quick to trust Maximus again, trying to avoid the faint outs that continued after it, but he still managed to trick him. And yet, Maximus found it in him to speak again. "You know, brother, there is another weapon you do not have that I do."
Black bolt was not so curious this time, raising his staff above his head and bringing it down; Maximus blocked this easily. He was frustrated! Angry! And all he got in return was a mirthful grin. "It's a very useful thing, and I'll show it to you right now."
And then suddenly there was this pressure.
Black bolt knew not what his body was doing, and he attempted to resist. As he stepped back, his staff held by his side. Maximus watched him do this, a hand on his hip. He seemed so proud. Was his body doing this because of him? How? He tried to fight it, fight the strain, fight the force. Fight whatever it was that was making him hold out his staff. It was telling him to open his hand and drop it.
"What's going on? Why is Blackagar surrendering his weapon?" Medusa's hair once again wrapped dangerously around her cousins as she strung up, gripping the railing. There was quite a murmur in the crowd, but she could not be bothered to care. "Blackagar, what are you doing? What is Maximus doing it is has to be Maximus!"
"But what could he do?" Gorgon gasped, pushing he hair away from his face. Blasted locks!
"He must have… said something… or did something. It's Maximus, do you really doubt this?"
"You indeed have a point there, Cousin," Karnak thought, "This is odd."
"Do you think he spun lies? About what the fight is for?"
"Blackagar is not that gullible, Gorgon-- … I hope."
"Medusa, that pause was not very sure."
"Hush Gorgon!! I… Blackagar is not to blame for his naivety!"
As his cousins bickered, Black bolt himself struggled not to let go of the staff. He fought and tried so hard, his eyes squeezed shut. His body was his own. Even if something, his mind seemed to tell him he wanted this. But he didn't! He didn't want to drop the staff. He didn't want to lose this fight! There was a thud and he opened his eyes to his fingers splayed open.
And then Maximus struck him directly in the gut.
He fell hard on his back, hands flying up over his mouth as he attempted to keep in any gasp of pain or cry or noise. It had hurt so much and he was left breathless with tears in his eyes. He barely registered Maximus kneeling next to him, cackling, "Your surrender is noted and appreciated, brother." The announcer was saying something as well, but he could barely hear it. Some sort of feeling was settling over him. Black bolt couldn't pin point it exactly-- somewhere between humiliation and… betrayal. Maximus-- Maximus really seemed to dislike him, didn't he?
In the box, Agon and Rynda were surprised. "Dear, I do believe those levels were…"
"Yes, that was an ability. There was a raise in brain activity of his frontal lobe as Blackagar surrendered…" Agon tapped the keyboard, flicking his wrist as the genetic councilman attempted to speak again. They were busy, why did dear, old Trudga not understand this.
"Manipulation? Have we had such a thing before?" She skimmed the readings again. "These are very strong. Do you think he's been hiding this from us for some time? He'd had to have known about such a thing."
"Perhaps… do you think I put too much pressure on him?"
"Oh, no dear, I'm sure it's not. Maximus has always been an introverted child. He probably did not know how to speak with us."
"When he seemed to fail terragenesis--"
"We won't speak of it, yes?" Rynda put a finger to her husband's lips before looking to the arena as Bolt finally seemed to manage to his feet as Maximus had faced the crowd, beaming to them all in obvious glow of his victory. "Both our boys are finally among society, happy, and healthy. And with such powerful and unique skills. Everything will be absolutely perfect now. We just have to speak with Maximus and I am sure everything will settle."
And of course, they both wished to believe this.