>Equusi: What's that smell?

Sweat, mostly.

The lingering stench of bodies, live and pushing, shoving skin to skin in the cramped confinement of Striders basement. Some already bruised and bloodied, dribbles of spit and blood flying from cracked lips with every scream and roar of growing excitement. Crowds are known ground to you. Yet…not like this. You are used to stadiums: assigned seating, dry popcorn and cheap brand less beer, middle-aged men in pricey fan t-shirts to prove their devotion to a single competitor and the ever consuming eyes of cameras set from every height and angle of the ring. You have grown so accustomed to the ideals of control.

This is different.

This is chaotic and wild, a frenzy of adrenaline and the sort of screaming and cheering you can only faintly begin to recall in your early days of fighting. You push your way to the center of the room, the large parted circle in the mass of humans and trolls alike (robots, as well, you are interested to note). Your hands and horns have been tightly wrapped, and though you’ve opted not to wear your padded gloves you’ve kept the MMA shorts and sports bra you are used to wearing in your matches. The professional branding contrasts sharply to your surroundings, and with a hard swallow of the saliva forming almost like a hunger in your mouth you realize the logos and obvious markings of your origins make you feel more like an outsider to this world than anything else. …What’s that feeling, dear Equusi, creeping into your head and making you nervously lick your lips as you scan the crowd for your opponent? Is it worry? The unease and most certainly unknown hints of fear clouding your anticipation for this fight?

Possibly.

…No.

This is exhilaration, an excitement and eagerness that has not struck at your being for much too long a time.

You are ready to fight.

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