The beast still stands, bruised but not broken.
I haven't exactly fared much better either. The scars refuse to fade.
For too many times we've exchanged mutual blows, both to achieve our own individual aims. For me, this victory would earn me opportunities that'd help me gain more standing in society, but for the beast, its purpose seems ambiguous; it seems to want to help me accomplish my goal, just like for many others, but it doesn't want to give in so easily.
I'm getting tired of this battle, and I'm starting to see less meaning in this fight. This victory isn't supposed to mean everything to me, but many people pressure me to treat it as such, justifying by saying that those who have beautifully triumphed in similar matches have enjoyed great things later in their lives... which would have been great if so many people hadn't raised the bar so high.
And this makes me wonder, were the supreme ex-victors really much happier after dominating the previous beasts? Some may have enjoyed riches, some may have fulfilled their other goals, a few have fitted so snugly into the mainstream definition of "a successful person", but what guarantees that I'll be able to experience the same positive results if I make out of this alive and triumphant? In the past I've defeated smaller versions of the beast, but the success I got out of those wins is kind of overrated. Okay maybe one of those did get me into a better spot that some others. But the rest of the fights? At most they just helped me to understand myself a bit better, but how much could that benefit me in practical terms?
I try to look into the beast's eyes to read its expression. Nothing. It's just jet black with no soul. But who can blame it for becoming heartless and unrelenting? It was trained to act that way, to enact equal treatment on all challengers to ensure that the victors were truly worthy of their victories. It meant, unfortunately, that the losers paid quite a cost. Even if they returned for rematches, all the lost time and effort could never be regained.
That's what I don't like about this whole battle. It's not entirely fueled by positive motivation like opening more doors to new possibilities, but also by the fear that, through my own undoing, I could lose so much in one fell swoop. Not as serious as death, but still devastating nonetheless.
But what good does contemplating the meaningfulness of this battle do? The both of us, locked in combat, both seem to want to help me get through this, and that's all that matters at the moment. It's not like I'll be able to change this whole system any time soon, and even that requires me to get through this face-off anyway.
I am tired. The beast looks somewhat worn out. We know this has to end eventually. And I know that the next exchange of blows will hurt me. I don't care too much about that. What matters is the final killing strike. This impending loss is not where the crux of the battle lies. Rather, it's yet another step into making sure I am prepared to make the clean final strike. The only thing comforting me is the fact that though I can only do this on my own, I'm actually not alone in this fight.
The beast is readying itself in its usual pose, waiting to pounce on me again.
Focus on the final blow... focus on the final blow...