I straightened from our huddled position beside the dented cans of rancid garbage, a small rat sat on its haunches, a spectator to the gladiators now positioning themselves in the arena. I turned to my queen, searching her eyes for some sign that it was alright, that this didn't need to happen. Her face pale now in the cold seamy night, held only fear, and hope, a slight spark in her eye. Her eyes so entrancing, how I longed to...a brutal smack to the right side of my face shook me back to reality. Twice tonight, I lost myself in her, twice now I was yanked back to unrelenting reality. My queen gave a startled, muffled scream, gathering herself back farther from the fray. That was all I needed, to see her so scared. I turned, feeling anger so deep seated it push aside peripheral sight, and looking down the tunnels of my vision, focused my rage on the enemy of my queen. Another smack, to my mouth this time, and then the iron taste of, blood. My blood. I tasted the elixir with a shocked madness. This wound carried with it all the incentive I needed, my instinct, primal and raw, flowed through my bones, my hands. The warrior looked shocked as I turned back toward him, obviously no one had withstood this, his most vehement attack. The rest of his motley entourage stood back at the beginning of the alley, they too, it seemed, were in shock. With ferocity fueled by love for my queen and pure survival instinct, I slammed my fist straight into his jaw, a snap, spin, and at last, at my feet, lay a crumpled warrior. Crumpled like the wads of stained, stinking paper blowing around, an ovation to his last stand. The cohorts scrambled away, along with the rat who, seeing enough, went about his business. I stood a victor, and I knew, this is why I work my mundane, back breaking job, so I might protect her and escape from the listless world that was mine, outside this Queen's castle.