• Published 26th Apr 2015
  • 1,053 Views, 85 Comments

Champion's Road - OmegaPony11



Aria Blaze lost everything when the Dazzlings tasted defeat thanks to the Rainbooms. She escapes the winter into a gym where she is given a chance to become a pro wrestler. The road is hard, but with friends, love, and suplexes, she can be a champ.

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What A Rush

Aria collapsed on the mats in Haven Gym once she and Roza returned; utterly exhausted by both the match and the crowd she just competed for. She pressed her hands against her face and closed her eyes, wanting only to remember the bright lights and the roar of the audience. They cheered for her. She wrestled for a live audience. A live television audience. People around the world saw her wrestle a dominatrix and win.

Rolling onto her front, Aria turned her head to Roza. “Tonight just happened, didn’t it? Everything… it was real.”

Roza smirked at Aria. “Do you feel sore all over?”

Aria nodded.

“Then yeah, it was all real. Good match by the way.” Roza extended her arm and Aria took it, getting back to her feet. The two walked over to the office while Roza continued. “A solid performance. Do more like that and the sky’s the limit, but pace yourself. If you go too hard, you could end up hurt.”

Aria agreed, though she wondered if she didn’t hold back in that match. The adrenaline rush she felt from the opening bell was something she never experienced since the last time she consumed emotions. She had to admit, she wanted that feeling again and could not wait for next Tuesday for her next match.

“Now that you have a job, we have some business between ourselves to discuss.” Roza opened the door for Aria to enter, motioning to one of the cheap plastic chairs. Aria took a seat across from the desk, her smile now seemingly set permanently on her face. There was nothing that anyone could say that could ruin her good mood.

Roza sat down on her side of the desk and steepled her fingers much like Victoria O’Cash did. She cleared her throat and did her best O’Cash impersonation. “Now that you are an ACW Amazon with all the rights and responsibilities therein, I believe our arrangement has come to its logical conclusion. You’re fired.”

Aria laughed. “I guess I can’t be expected to be Chief Custodial Officer of Haven Gym if I’m busy with a wrestling schedule.”

“Also you're evicted effective next Tuesday.”

This stopped Aria cold in her tracks. “You’re kicking me out,” she said, not as a question, but as a statement.

“You make more money than most teenagers even dream of at your age,” Roza replied. She then tossed a small booklet at Aria. “You have one week to find a place, just don’t spend it all on one place. Get a nice apartment condo fit for one. A bachelorette pad, if you will. But you can’t stay here anymore. You need to live your own life by your own standards. Something tells me you don’t want to sleep in a gym the rest of your days.”

Aria knew this day was soon to come, she just didn’t imagine it would be right now. She did not even know what to look for, what she could afford, or who to talk to. She supposed the booklet was a good place to start, but she felt incredibly uncertain about the whole thing.

“Don’t worry, kiddo,” Roza said, clapping Aria’s shoulder, “I’ll help you out just like I did for everything else. I bet your friends would help out too, so why not give them a call? You have until next week after all. After your next match, you’ll go home, to your own home. A roof over your head that you own. Doesn’t that sound great?”

Aria did admit that it sounded pretty sweet to have a place to call her own. What would Sonata think of it? Her other friends?

What would Adagio think?

The thought of Adagio gave her pause. After all this time, Aria focused on her training and little else, but she still needed to find Adagio. She needed to restart the search for her fellow siren now that she made it into the ACW. Perhaps Roza could help?

“I’ll give my friends a call in the morning,” she said while Roza opened a bottle of water and took a swig. “There is one thing I’d like to ask you though. A favour, not related to money or wrestling or anything.”

Aria took a deep breath. “There’s a friend of mine, Adagio Dazzle… she, Sonata, and I were like a trio back in the day, but a really bad day made us break away. I was able to reconcile with Sonata, but I haven’t found Adagio. I… I want to make amends with her. We used to do everything together. I miss her and want her back in my life.”

Roza’s features softened after Aria made her request. She turned her chair around and looked to her various memorabilia, especially the photos of her and what looked like a twin. Aria regarded the photo from a distance, seeing two Devil’s Roses with matching attire and masks holding tag team titles.

“I had someone like that in my life once, after my husband passed away.” Roza spoke in a low voice, just loud enough for Aria to hear. “My… my tag partner. She was a lot like you, in a way. Loud, brash, but confused in life. We were a great team. Our chemistry in the ring was second to none. No one kicked out of our Hellfire Flash double-team move. We only won the ACW Tag Titles once, but held on to those belts for three years. Unprecedented at the time. We were… we were great.”

Aria never saw her trainer this depressed before. “What happened?”

Roza took a deep breath as she held the picture frame in her hand. “I was nearing the end of my run in ACW while she was just starting hers. At the end of our title run, I thought she was holding back in our matches. She wasn’t moving with the same enthusiasm or purpose as she did before. When we lost our titles, she got pinned, and I blamed her. I cared more about those titles than I did our team. I challenged her to a match to get her to snap out of her funk so that we could take our titles back.”

“The match never happened. She walked up to the ring, tore off her mask, and then walked right of the ring, out of the ACW, and out of my life. I tried to talk to her, get her to see reason. That if we couldn’t get back together, then she should at least make a run for the World Title. She would have none of it. I’ve heard things here or there, tried to extend an olive branch, but she never took it. Last I heard she moved out to the west coast. That was near fifteen years ago.”

Roza laughed, catching Aria off guard by the sudden shift in mood. Was her trainer bipolar or something? “I like you, kid,” she said, her eyes filled with warmth. “Look at you, getting me all retrospective and stuff. Yeah, I’ll help you find Adagio. I’ll even do it out of the kindness of my heart. What does she look like so I can keep my peepers open and my head on a swivel?”

Aria nodded, thankful to Roza for her help. However, she hesitated when she struggled to find the words to describe Adagio. She tried to remember as she was when they were together. “Well, she’s like me… same age, height, that sort of thing. She’s thin… no… svelte. That’s more fitting. Light, soft, orange skin. Really curly orange hair. She’s pretty. Really pretty. Very confident. I bet she’s doing fine, but still. I just want to make sure. She wasn’t at CHS.”

“Alright kiddo, I got this,” Roza said with a smile. “You go and get some sleep. You’ll be busy the next week. Still have to keep up with your workouts and training to keep your edge after all and I’ll bet the ACW will be making appointments for you. Things will get more hectic from here on out.”

Aria understood that the ACW would call her for photos and such, though she still wondered if all of this was just a rather lucid dream. If so, she did not want to wake up. With the property booklet in hand and bidding Roza goodnight, Aria went to her bed in the office and flopped onto the mattress. She leafed through several of the advertisements within, but sleep easily took over as her eyes drifted closed. The sound of the ring bell faded in her head, but for once the sound comforted her.

***

Roza locked up Haven Gym behind her and walked to her vehicle, a storm of thoughts ran through her head. She wanted to help the kid, she really did, but with little more than a brief physical description, she did not have a lot to go on. She was a trainer after all, not a private investigator. Finding one person in the city would not be an easy task.

As she sat in the driver’s seat and started the engine, Roza went over the facts she did have. Aria’s friend was named Adagio Dazzle. Apparently hot, with bright orange curly hair. That was what Aria told her. What Aria did not tell her, Roza inferred on her own. Like Aria, Adagio was down on her luck. They had a fight and split, but unlike Aria, Adagio did not wander into her gym.

Her thoughts shifted, if only for a moment, to her tag team partner. Roza pulled out her phone and thumbed through the contacts. She still had her name in the list. Her finger hovered over the call button for a moment, only for her to shut the phone off. Roza needed to focus.

A young girl in the middle of the city with nothing but her name. A tale Roza knew all too well. But where was one girl fresh into her late teens supposed to go? What was she supposed to do?

“Ah hell,” Roza cursed as realization dawned on her. She prayed to whoever would listen that she was wrong. Driving into the night, Roza exhaled her frustrations. Tonight she would make a dozen calls or so it seemed, just to see one dumb kid happy and another dumb kid out of a terrible life.

***

Aria sat at a patio table sipping on a strawberry drink as she waited for Sonata to arrive. She sent Sonata a text message asking if they could meet downtown for an exciting announcement and also to bring as many of their friends as possible. Unfortunately, most of her friends were preoccupied with other commitments. Applejack had her farm, both Rarity and Twilight were out of town, Rainbow Dash practiced for an athletics scholarship, Pinkie was busy at Sugarcube Corner, and Fluttershy was working at the animal shelter. That just left Sonata and Sunset who were free.

That was fine. She wanted to see Sonata’s reaction to the news first and foremost. Maybe rub it into Rainbow Dash’s face if only a little bit.

Her phone began to buzz and with a press to the screen, Aria found her inbox flooded with messages from the ACW. Emails and texts told her of her upcoming schedule, including photo-ops for the website, other media, as well as video recordings for the entrance video. Beyond that, Aria was supposed to visit two doctors for evaluations as well as a meeting with the booker, Double Check, to go over the upcoming travel schedule.

It would be dizzying if Aria did not enjoy the ride as much as she did.

“Aria!” Sonata’s voice filled the air and Aria lowered her sunglasses to see her fellow siren running towards her with Sunset trailing slightly behind. Aria stood up just in time to be on the receiving end Sonata’s flying hugs. It was funny; when they ran about as sirens stealing energy from other people’s positive emotions, Aria did not stand Sonata and her ditzy ways. Even though they needed each other, Aria treated Sonata badly.

Now she saw Sonata not as a means to power, but as a friend to cherish. Was that what was missing all that time ago? Was that the reason she walked away from Sonata and Adagio? Because she did not see them as friends, but as tools?

Those days were behind her now. Things were better now, and all because Aria changed her attitude. She wondered if Adagio did the same. Something in the back of her mind told her that Adagio’s stubbornness would get in the way of any meaningful change.

Aria, Sonata, and Sunset took their seats on the juice bar patio. Taking off her sunglasses, Aria fished around in her purse while Sonata expressed her excitement.

“I’m glad you two came,” Aria said as she pulled out the documents, “I can’t wait to show you this. All the struggle I’ve been through? Totally worth it. Did either of you watch TV last night? Specifically SportsWorld?”

Sunset shook her head. “I was busy studying for the university entrance exams and then talked to Twilight.”

“I was working,” Sonata added, “besides, we don’t really watch SportsWorld unless some big game is on and Rainbow wants us to watch it.”

Aria was slightly disappointed that they did not see her big debut, but then she didn’t exactly tell them to watch. Everything was still up in the air after all. Now was a good as much time as any to get them to see her on the small screen.

“Well, I’d like you two to tune in to SportsWorld every Tuesday for ACW’s Tuesday Night SLAM.” Beaming with pride, Aria slid the copy of her contract towards the couple. Sunset picked it up and held for both her and Sonata to read. Immediately their eyes went wide with shock as they looked over the terms, privileges, and of course the rewards that came with it.

“You are looking at the newest addition to Amazon Championship Wrestling.” Aria crossed her arms, leaned back, and simply smiled. Utterly pleased with herself, she waited for their combined reaction.

Sure enough, Sonata pushed herself off of her chair threw herself onto Aria in another hug which she happily accepted. Sunset smiled and nodded as she returned the contract to Aria.

“This is incredible!” Sonata cheered, “You’re on TV! You’re going to be famous!”

“I’m officially amazed and happy for you, Aria,” Sunset said, “You’ll make a lot of folks jealous with the kind of money you’re making, the fame, everything. But don’t you think this is all moving kind of fast?”

Roza said the same thing when they went to meet O’Cash, but Aria shrugged it off. “I’ve been training through hell for this for over half a year. It turns out I’m good at it. You’ve seen me face off against Roza and last night I took on another wrestler. Kind of awkward to wrestle someone dressed like a dominatrix, but whatever, I showed everyone in the Parthenon that I could hang.”

“I’m just glad you’re not hurt,” Sonata said, “That business looks scary.”

“I’ll be fine,” Aria said with a playful wink. “I’m a tough chick. Anyways, the reason I called you here was to get second and third opinions on the matter of real estate. See, Roza’s kicking me out of Haven Gym, and to be honest, I’m kind of glad she is. Can’t live like a hobo forever.”

“Not with the amount of money you getting annually, it seems.” Sunset pulled the contract closer to her, scrutinizing the words closely. “We’ll definitely help you find a reasonable place, but looking this over, you have to be careful with how much you spend. You are getting paid quarter annually of twenty-five thousand, so you’ll have to budget your money to cover mortgage payments, utilities, all that stuff. And definitely don’t forget that you’ll need to pay income taxes.”

Both Aria and Sonata stared blankly at Sunset as she detailed all of the costs associated with living on one’s own. Of course, it seemed like she possessed plenty of experience on the matter. Something about the way she said it seemed to drain all the fun from the idea of home hunting, yet Aria did not argue that Sunset had a point. She did need to be wary about her money and realize she was on a budget.

There also stood the obstacle that her continued employment with the ACW did not have any guarantees. She had to be careful or else it’s back on the streets. O’Cash and the rest of Talent Relations would review her work in six months. Aria ought to continue to perform quality matches for the ACW, get the crowd behind her.

“Alright, you made your case,” Aria conceded, “I can’t just throw money around. I’ll get a decent place to start, but I could use your help.”

Sunset smiled. “Like we always say, we’re with you all the way. Let’s go.”


With Sunset’s car, the three drove around town looking at small condo apartments and other reasonably priced properties for Aria to call home. What Aria thought would be a good time turned out to be long and arduous. None of the places in the flyer booklet really jumped at her, and those that did turned out to be outside the price range as recommended by Sunset.

As they drove around town, Aria came to a realization; she had no good way to get to place to place. She’d have to get a vehicle of her own at some point, but also learn to drive them. Aria asked Sunset if she could teach her how to drive, of which she replied in the positive.

“Of course I can,” Sunset said as she stopped at a red light. “I’ve been trying to teach Sonata how to drive. Emphasis on ‘trying’.”

“Hey!” Sonata giggled, giving her girlfriend a playful punch to the arm. “I’m learning. Just slowly. Sunset may know her way around a set of wheels, but give her a spatula and a frying pan and she looks like a lost puppy.”

Sunset rolled her eyes then gave Sonata’s hand a quick yet affectionate squeeze. Aria looked down on the display and felt a slew of emotions. On the one hand, she was happy that Sonata found someone to be with who clearly showed affection and love for her. On other hand, Aria could not help but feel a little jealous. The way they looked at one another, the way they talked to each other, laughed with each other and at each other; it made Aria sick. Lovesick that is.

Could she find someone to be with? She wondered, but shook such thoughts away. She’d rather put focus on her career at the moment. It was, after all, still in its infancy and needed nurturing.

Instead of mulling over it, Aria asked, “So how did you get so much money anyways? The way I see it, you were no better off than we were when you came to this world.”

“Let’s just say I brought a bag of bits with me from Equestria,” Sunset explained, “and it turns out solid gold goes a long way in this world. I found a couple of guys in an old pawn shop who paid a lot of money for the coins. I didn’t want to draw attention, so I only brought enough as I needed, as well as brought them to different pawn shops across the city. I still have to work for a living to maintain things.”

They stopped at the last place on the list of apartments to check out, though Aria did not feel as much confidence on this place as she did with any of the others. The area was nice though, with plenty of tall green trees and clean streets. The people walking the paths appeared friendly enough.

The building looked good too. Not as tall as many apartments, the white walls shone in the sun while some were decorated by artisan bricks. Small, yet affordable. Aria’s mood brightened, but then this happened before. She needed to see the insides.

“Last stop,” Sunset said, pulling up to the parking lot. “If not, we can try again tomorrow.”

Aria shook her head. Her schedule with the ACW did not allow for such. If she wanted to keep looking for a place, she’d have to do it on Sunday. Instead, she took a deep breath of fresh air and began to walk to the entrance.

They met the real estate agent in charge of selling the units, who brought them to the one Aria showed interest in. A top floor unit, they opened the door to a white walled interior with hardwood floors, a fully equipped kitchen, and little else. Aria looked around the unit and nodded; thought it was the same as many of the others, she liked it well enough. However, something was missing.

Before she could put a finger on the missing element, Sonata rushed over to the large windows. She squealed at the sight and pointed downwards. Aria and Sunset joined her as she opened the door to the patio. The sight stopped them dead in their tracks.

The unit overlooked the city’s river valley to such a degree as to be called picturesque. The river glittered as if made of polished sapphires, while tall trees stretched out as a sea of emerald green. Aria had to admit, the view alone was worth the price of the unit. Sunset smiled as she stared out into the distance. Sonata already gave it her seal approval.

“What would Adagio think?”

Aria realized too late that she said that out loud and quickly clammed up, though for naught. Sonata’s downcast gaze drifted to the land below. A grim silence lay overhead, despite the bright sun and the cloudless sky above them.

“You two miss her, don’t you?” Sunset asked.

Sonata nodded and sighed. “She was mean, but she meant well. I think she wanted the best for us deep down. We just got caught up being, well, sirens.”

“I’ll find her, Sonata,” Aria said, “And I’ll bring her here. I’ll bring her back to us. I already asked Roza if she can help. I like to think that will make a difference.”

Sonata nodded and then perked up. “You want to bring her here? So does that mean…?”

“You always find what you are looking for in the last place you look,” Aria said, turning back to head inside and to talk to the agent. “Let’s get this deal done. Then we’ll go to dinner, my treat. I feel better than I have in years, and it’s thanks to you and the others.”

Soon, she thought, Adagio, I will find you soon. Then we can be friends again.

***

In the week after choosing her new home, Aria spent her time divided with the legal and financial woes of buying property, the commitments to the ACW, and finally getting furnishings she liked for the condo unit, Aria felt time slip away. Tuesday came sooner than it probably should and once more Roza dropped her off at Parthenon arena. She quickly changed, read the schedule, and waited in Locker Room A for show time.

Aria’s match was second on the card and her opponent was someone named Wave Racer. Aria looked across the room to see her opponent lounging on one of the benches, absent mindedly talking to another Amazon. She turned her head, brushed aside one of her loose green dreadlocks, and gave Aria a strange gesture with her bright blue hand by sticking out her thumb and little finger. Aria opted just to nod back.

“Aw yeah,” Siege said as she plopped down on the bench next to Aria. She thought she felt the entire bench tremor. “You’re looking good, rookie. Looking confident. Scoping out your opponent. Good idea.”

“I’m not getting anything out of her except she’s snoozing,” Aria replied, “She isn’t stoned, is she?”

“Better not be, O’Cash would tan her hide.” Siege sat back and took a more relaxed position. “Have a pretty strict anti-drug policy around these parts. Just keep your eyes on Wave and you’ll be fine. She’s really just looking for the big adrenaline rush.”

Octane slid down the length of the bench and stopped only inches away from Aria. “This is your second match! Are you excited because I’m excited, I’m so excited I was all GASP when I saw you as second on the card and against Wave Racer, she’s pretty good so be careful, she’s been around for a few years, hasn’t won a title, but that’s because she’s in it for the rush than anything else, we’ve met a few times in the ring and I’ve come out on top most of the time, but the one time I took my eyes off her she did this crazy spinning thing and—“

“Octane!” a call came from outside the locker room, “You’re opening bell tonight against Vesper! Clock’s ticking!”

Octane bounced back to her feet and hopped over to the door. “Gotta go!” she said, waving at Aria and Siege, “Wish me luck, hope I don’t break a leg, I mean Vesper is tough but she’s a bit arrogant because she hangs out with the Snake Pit but I mean if you had Ice Cold in your corner you’d be arrogant too and they don’t like me too much but I mean come on what is there to not like and—“

“Octane!!”

Octane gave the locker room a cheeky smile then disappeared from view as she bounded to the gorilla position. Aria shook her head and started to stretch to limber up. As she stretched her limbs, Wave sat up and looked to her while fumbling for a hair tie.

“So like, we’re facing each other tonight,” Wave said, tying her mess of dreadlocks into a ponytail. “Hope you’re ready, dude, because I’m kinda stoked for this. I like taking on the new fish in our happy little school.”

“I’m sure we’ll have a good match,” Aria said. She just noticed the assortment of piercings have had all over her face. Nose ring, eyebrow studs, ear bars. Wasn’t that stuff dangerous in the ring?

“Oh I know it, babe, I know it.” Wave then peeled off her hoodie to reveal a matte crop top that showed off a swimmer’s physique as well as mess of tattoos. Intricate artwork used Wave’s blue skin as a canvas showing off waves, beaches, palm trees, and dolphins. Aria could not help but be drawn to the artistry that went into Wave’s skin art.

She turned her attention to the screen to see Tuesday Night SLAM get started. Vesper and Octane already made their entrances and the opening match got underway with the ringing of the bell. With her match against Wave Racer next, Aria stood up and left the locker room, heading towards gorilla position.

Show time.

***

As Aria waited opposite of Wave Racer, Vesper emerged first from behind the curtain, looking quite pleased with her victory over Octane. She smirked at Aria before joining Apex, the tall magenta woman and fellow member of Bad Company. The two returned to the locker room, leaving just Aria and Wave alone with the production crew.

Soon Octane came out of the curtains, clutching her side. “My bad,” she said, speaking a little slower than usual. “I thought I did enough to keep her down for the count. Guess not.”

She offered a weak smile to Aria, only to wince in pain after. “Good luck, Aria,” she said, “just remember: always keep an eye on Wave Racer.”

“Aria Blaze, Wave Racer, you two are up in five,” a crewman said, “You’ll come out first, Aria.”

Aria nodded and waited for the signal. A commercial played hyping up a new movie. Another, this time for the upcoming pay-per-view, Retribution. Aria wondered if she would get a match on that card.

The feed then went back to the show. The crewman motioned to the soundboard worker, who pressed a button which started “This Fire Burns.” At the sound of the theme starting to play, the crewman motioned for Aria to get going. Taking a deep breath, she headed for the curtains with on thought in mind.

My name is Aria Blaze. I will be a champion.

Same as the week before, Aria emerged from behind the curtain to a decent reception where the people in the stands cheered. She felt their energy and soaked in it. They’ve seen one exciting match. Now was time for another.

She struck the same pose as before, accentuating her figure by bending the leg, before continuing her entrance. Her boots hit the ramp and while the music continued to play and the crowd continued to cheer. Those who sat at the sides of the ramps stuck out their hands for their brief moment of contact with a star. Aria obliged them, giving them high fives when she could.

The announcer in the middle of the ring raised her microphone. “The following contest is scheduled for one fall! Making her way to the ring… ARIA! BLAZE!”

Aria climbed onto the apron and then jumped over the top rope. With no opponent to stare down, she instead made her way to the corner post, climbed the turnbuckle, and posed to the crowd. She raised her hands to the sky, signifying that she would emerge victorious in the match. The crowd liked it well enough, it seemed, as they responded by cheering.

Returning to the mat, Aria now just had to wait for Wave Racer’s entrance. Her music faded and a low hum came across the arena. Aria flexed her fingers and bounced on her heels. She mentally prepared herself for the match ahead of her. A new opponent.

The lighting turned to blue and white quickly as the opening chords of a very energetic theme struck the arena. Swirling like the sea, the lights focused on the ramp as Wave Racer made her way out, throwing up that strange hand gesture she showed Aria before, this time with both hands.

“Introducing her opponent… WAVE RACER!”

Wave Racer took to the steel steps, only to then jump onto the top of turnbuckles. She balanced on the top of the post as if she was on a surfboard, her arms outstretched and waving about. She then performed a front flip and landed on her feet. Aria kept to her corner as Wave went up to the ropes, throwing up her hand gestures to one side of the arena and then moving to the other side of the ring to do the same.

Once Wave settled into her corner, the referee took the center of the ring. He held up his hands towards Aria and Wave. “Are you ready?” He asked Aria. She nodded, still jumping on her feet. He then asked the same to Wave, who simply replied with her hand gesture.

With both competitors ready, he called for the bell.

DING DING DING

Aria and Wave approached each other, though oddly enough Wave took a more defensive position by simply extending her hand. Aria looked on with caution but reached out with her own hand so their fingers entwined. They then clasped their other hands and began a test of strength, pushing against one another with all of their might.

For once, Aria was the stronger of the two as she pushed the smaller Wave Racer backwards. Wave tried to push back, taking some ground if only slightly. Aria tightened her grip and continued the struggle until Wave bent over backwards. She gritted her teeth as she fought to take the upper hand.

Wave then took on a smirk as she contorted her body so as to have the leverage in the test of strength, but Aria rapidly losing her own. She felt her grip on Wave’s fingers slip, only for Wave to jump, twisting around until she was upright and Aria at an awkward angle.

With a sharp yank of her arms, Wave pulled herself free but Aria fell forward. She tried to recover but Wave move quickly, snatching Aria’s head and delivering a powerful inverted DDT. The back of her head drove into the mat hard, but Aria kept up the fight despite the pain.

Her opponent down, Wave ran towards the ropes and immediately rebounded off them. Aria flipped to her front in a push-up position. The hope was to stop Wave from launching herself onto Aria which worked as she opted to jump over Aria’s body instead of colliding with it. She did continue to run into the ropes once more, giving Aria time to stand up.

Aria bent down with the intent to give Wave a back body drop, only to be on the receiving end of Wave’s boot right into her face. She recoiled from the blow, but not before she felt Wave grab onto her with her… shins?

Before she could react, Aria was thrown to the mat from Wave’s leg muscles with a hurricanrana. Aria fell over forwards, flipping her body until she landed on her back. Wave dove down to make the pin attempt. She hooked Aria’s leg and the ref got to the ground with his hand raised.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

Aria managed to get the shoulder up in time, making the ref lift his two fingers in the air. Wave took hold of Aria’s arm and lifted her to her feet. She then tossed Aria into the ropes with an irish whip, making the rookie rebound towards her.

This time Aria was ready. As Wave reached out for some kind of grapple, Aria sidestepped her and took on a gutwrench hold. From there Aria lifted the much lighter woman into a German suplex, dropping her onto her back. Now Aria ran to rebound off the ropes. Wave recovered from the suplex, only to just be able to raise her hands to protect her head. Aria took to the air and delivered a dropkick right to Wave’s face.

Now that Wave went down, Aria made for a pin attempt of her own. She hooked the leg and the ref slid to the mat to make the count.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

However, Wave managed to kick out before the count of three. The crowd gave an enthusiastic “Twooooo!” throughout the arena. As much as they were having fun, Aria wanted to win this. Her grasp on Wave’s arm firm, Aria dragged Wave back to her feet until they both took on a standing position. Still holding onto her arm, Aria placed it over her head, planted her feet, and began to lift for a vertical suplex.

As much as falling backwards with the full weight of Wave overhead, the fact that she even performed such a technique surprised even Aria. Such surprise even dulled the pain of falling on her back. Aria rolled to her front and once more made the pin, only to once more see Wave make the kickout. She looked at the ref in disbelief. Maybe she should go for the Spear now?

Aria lifted Wave once more to her feet, deciding she better keep dealing some sort of damage. As she stood up, Wave suddenly pushed Aria towards the rope. Caught by surprise, Aria could do nothing as Wave performed a dropkick of her own. The kick stung as it stuck against her chest, but as she fell backwards, Aria felt her body slip between the ropes.

She crashed shoulder first into the apron and then promptly followed up by landing face first into the padding outside the ring. Aria groaned as she tried to get up, but her body refused to recover; it hurt too much.

Whining and complaining would do her no good. Instead, Aria pushed herself up to her feet, though she felt wobbly. She winced as got back to her feet. She heard the ref counting up to ten. She heard the running of feet on the mat. What was it Siege and Octane said? Always keep an eye on Wave Racer?

Now she knew why they said such as Wave Racer rebound off the ropes and ran full tilt to the other side of the ring. She performed a somersault then jumped into the air with a plancha that landed flush against Aria. Once more Aria felt her body collide with the padding outside the ring and now with the added weight of Wave Racer, pain shot through her body.

Another moan of agony escaped her as she tried to get back up. She felt rough, calloused hands take hold of her wrists while the ref counted anew now that Wave joined her on the outside. Wave lifted Aria to her feet and pulled her towards the ring. From there she rolled Aria underneath the bottom rope, of which Aria kept rolling until she was in the middle of the ring. Her vision still blurry, she managed to see the shape of Wave begin to climb the turnbuckle. Alarm bells rang in Aria’s head. If she stayed here, she was going to have a bad day.

Once again Wave made her strange hand gesture, but also shouted out, “Hang ten!” Not wanting to find out what that exactly meant, Aria sprung to her feet and rushed over to Wave, smashing her in the face with a forearm. Dazed, Wave could not resist as Aria hoisted her into an inside cradle. Firmly on her shoulders, Aria dropped Wave with the Death Valley Driver maneuver. With Wave flat on her back, Aria once more made the pin. The ref started his count.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

Before his hand could hit three, Wave again brought a shoulder up. Aria sat upright and looked at the ref in disbelief. Now was the time for the Spear.

Aria crawled over to one of the corners and took a squatting position. She held on to the top rope and stared down Wave as she struggled to get back to her feet by using the turnbuckle pads as support. All she needed to do was wait for the right opportunity for a Spear.

Wave stumbled to her feet, but still turned to face Aria. Seeing her opponent turn, Aria ran full tilt towards Wave, intent on ramming her with a full-bodied Spear. She pushed off with her feet and leapt for the Spear—

—only to see Wave turn around and jump herself. She caught Aria’s head in a headlock and their shared momentum to drive Aria’s face into the mat with a bulldog. Aria crumpled as she collided to the ground and she held her face as it stung from the intimate meeting with the canvas. She felt her body turn over so she was face up. Then her leg was lifted into the air and the weight of Wave Racer applied the pin.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

Aria kicked out of the pin just as the ref made for the three. Aria breathed hard as she rolled to her side to recover. She heard Wave get back to her feet and move away from her, only to start climbing the turnbuckle once again. Aria kept one eye open as she lay on her back.

Wave again made her hand gesture but this time she did not shout, instead opting to leap from the top of the turnbuckle. She bent her legs backwards while in mid-air, clutching her ankles, and then followed by letting go and extending her legs for a high elevation leg drop.

Seeing Wave plummet towards her, Aria pushed off the mat and rolled out of the way, just in time to see Wave collide with the canvas. Wave’s eyes squeezed shut as she landed on her tailbone and she fell over from the mistake. Aria took advantage by getting back to her feet, running towards the ropes, and bouncing off the middle rope for the springboard moonsault. She flipped in the air and landed the press flush against Wave’s midsection.

Not finished yet, Aria rolled over backwards until she squatted in the corner and took up the position for the spear once again. As she prepared, she heard the crowd begin to chant “Spear! Spear! Spear!”

Aria could not help herself but smile. They were chanting something at least. They were chanting for the Spear.

Wave stood up and, still dazed, turned to face Aria. Her moment now here, Aria sprinted towards Wave. She lowered her shoulders and rammed into Wave with the full force of the Spear tackle. Wave’s back and head smacked down onto the mat while Aria made the pin.

Hooking the leg, Aria held on tight as the referee made the count.

“ONE!”

“TWO!”

“THREE!”

DING DING DING

“This Fire Burns” started to blare once more on the arena loud speakers, Aria stood up while referee raised her arm in victory. Her body felt like every bit of skin was held under a torch, but the elation of victory and cheers of the crowd numbed the pain. She was getting good at this.

The announcer raised the microphone to her lips again. “Here is your winner… ARIA! BLAZE!”

Still on an adrenaline rush, Aria climbed up the turnbuckle and raised her fists in the air. She soaked in the chorus of cheers and applause while Wave sat in another corner, shaking her head. Aria did the same to the other corner, making sure everyone got a good look at the winner.

As she made her way back to the center of the ring, Wave stood waiting with a small smile on her face. She offered her hand to Aria as a gesture of goodwill and sportsmanship. Aria looked at Wave and shook the offered hand. Wave then raised Aria’s hand again, which elicited even more cheers.

“You did great, babe,” Wave said with a smile, “I think you’ll do well. Won’t be so lucky next time though, but I expect tough competition. Always keep your head in the game.”

Wave left the ring by rolling under the bottom rope and heading to the back through the side curtains. Aria continued to smile as she left the ring by leaping over the top rope and hitting the floor. Her joints ached. Her limbs were sore. Her bones creaked. Yet as she walked to the back, slapping hands of fans and hearing her theme song play, Aria could not have felt happier.

***

Roza called her while the show went on but Aria did not receive the message until after SLAM finished and she changed back to her street clothes. The message read that Roza was busy tonight and wouldn’t be able to pick up Aria from Parthenon. Also that she would not be allowed to stay at Haven gym like a hobo anymore.

The corner of Aria’s lips curled into a smirk of her own. She didn’t tell Roza about the place she got. She wanted to save it for a surprise.

Aria called for a cab and gave him the address: one-zero-seven Maplewood Drive. After a half-hour long drive, Aria stepped out, slung her duffel bag over her shoulder and looked up at the condo building.

Her new home.

The sky was clear and glittering with stars. Aria smiled and thought about how pretty they looked tonight. She’d have a good view of them from her balcony. If she made it that far. Aria let out a long yawn, loudly expressing her fatigue. Fumbling for her keys, Aria entered the building and took the elevator to the fourth floor.

She walked to the door of her apartment and inserted the key into the lock. The door swung open without a sound and only pitch black met her save for the glow of a television. Aria did buy a TV, but she never had a chance to really unpack and get her furniture set up. As she turned a light on, she saw the TV was paused to a recording.

A recording of her match with Wave Racer.

Aria looked around for a remote control, but could not find one. Before she could question the weird events inside her new home, the recording unpaused itself.

“Here is your winner… ARIA! BLAZE!”

A loud chorus of cheers erupted right behind Aria, startling her senseless. When she turned around, her heart eased as her friends with Sonata in the middle of them cheered for her. Sonata gave Aria another of her big hugs, surprising Aria with hidden strength.

“That. Was. Awesome!” Rainbow exclaimed, “You looked incredible in that ring! The way you jumped in the ring, the way you tossed that surfer chick around, and that finish! Wham! You could probably give the football team some pointers!”

“How are you feeling?” Fluttershy asked, her hands still visibly trembling. “We all saw your match. I was scared for you a few times back there. You look like you were getting hurt. Are you ok?”

“I’m fine, really,” Aria lied. She was sore all over after all, but she decided on showing a stiff upper lip. “I’m surprised you are all here. What’s going on?”

Pinkie giggled. “Well, duh, we’re here to have a ‘Congratulations On Your ACW Contract, First Win, Second Win, And Housewrecker Party!’”

She pulled on a string hanging by her and sure enough a large banner fell from the ceiling saying exactly what Pinkie said. Aria had to admit, she was rather impressed by her dedication to parties. That they did it all for her and her success simply blew Aria away.

“Thank you, everyone,” Aria said, “I couldn’t have made it this far without help. I’m glad you all welcomed me as your friend. If I hadn’t turned a new leaf… well, I don’t want to think about that.”

Sunset smiled at Aria. “I know from experience how rough and uncertain it can be to make a complete one-eighty in attitude, but seeing how far you’ve come, I’m glad you took the second chance offered.”

“Yeah yeah, friendship is great and all, but I’m starving.” Rainbow butted in and headed to the kitchen. “We have bunch of pizza here and I’m not waiting anymore. Besides, I want to hear about how you pulled off that sweet flip off the second rope.”

Aria’s smile never falter while the others joined Rainbow in the kitchen for pizza. However, before Applejack could enter, Aria called her over. There was the matter of Ice Cold to go over.

“What’s going on, sugarcube?” Applejack said. Aria wondered about that term of endearment Applejack tossed around but pushed that thought away.

“Before we join the others, I had a question.” Aria pointed to the TV where the recording of Tuesday Night SLAM continued to play. “I met someone in the ACW called Ice Cold Apple Cider. I was wondering if she was related to you.”

Applejack frowned. “Yeah, she’s a second cousin, twice removed. Even for a herd as big as the Apple family, you are bound to get a black sheep.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that you had family in the ACW?”

Appplejack sighed and did not meet Aria’s accusatory gaze. “She owed me a favour and part of the arrangement was that I don’t talk to her or about her. Cider’s a rattler through and through. She’d sooner sell Granny Smith if it meant she could achieve her goals. She cares about no one but herself and she lets everyone know it. It’s better if you keep away from her. Let her do her own thing and you just do yours.”

As Applejack went to join the others, Aria wondered about what she said calling her own cousin a rattlesnake. She would have to give Cider a wide berth if she even gave concern to Applejack. As the smell of fresh pizza wafted into her nose, Aria forgot about Cider and the ACW for a moment. Now she would just party with her friends and simply enjoy life.

***

She let out a large sigh as she absent mindedly watched the TV while sipping on a citrus drink. Not that she could hear anything from the TV anyways because of the blasting beats of the club. Professional wrestling did not interest her anyways. It was more something to see during her break.

“Break’s over,” came the gruff voice of her boss, Mister P. “Get back to it, Ada.”

The woman called Ada took a deep breath, downed the rest of her drink, and turned away from the screen right when the newest rookie of the ACW was about to perform. She stood up from the bar and headed to the back, turning one sad gaze at the stage in the middle of the room.

She passed through the curtains and wondered how those two were doing. The thought of them only made her angry. Ada hid her emotions well enough though, as Mister P did not like any of the girls to look unhappy regardless of anything. If any of the girls were unhappy, the clients were unhappy, and she was lucky enough to have a job right now.

So she plastered on her fakest smile and headed out to do her job.

“One day,” she muttered under her breath, “I’ll have it all again.”

Author's Note:

Aria Blaze
Theme: This Fire Burns - Killswitch Engage
Professional Record: 3-1
Signature Moves: Death Valley Driver, Springboard Moonsault
Finisher: Spear

Wave Racer
Face
Theme: Blue Water Blue Sky - Daisuke Ishiwatari
Signature: Somersault Plancha, Wheelbarrow Bodyscissors
Finisher: Hang 10 (Guillotine Leg drop while grabbing legs in a Method skateboard trick style)
Four years with ACW

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