Cage stood to his feet as he viewed the dojo around him, taking a moment to notice the various weapons decorating the walls. Each tool a finely crafted weapon, capable of dealing immense damage in the right hands. As he took the room in, he felt the memories of his near-death experience rushing back, almost causing him to stumble in shock. While he reached for a pillar to steady himself, he looked up and saw none other than Keanu Reeves walking towards him, dressed in some kind of martial arts outfit. “Are you ready Nicolas?” Keanu asked, as he stopped, a few feet away with his arms crossed behind his back. “Ready for what, what’s going on, how did you save me and where the hell are we?!?” Cage bit out, steadily building steam towards the end of his tirade. Keanu merely shook his head as he began to pace across the dojo and began to explain what needed to happen.
“I won’t answer your questions in order. What’s important for you to know is that you’re safe for now and if you want to complete your quest, you need to train. You need to be stronger, faster and better equipped if you plan on taking on Pacino. As to what’s going on, you’ll find that out now.” As he finished speaking, Keanu rushed forward, placed a bewildered Cage in a wrist lock, before sweeping him onto his back. “See how you lost focus and in just an instant, I have you at my mercy. You need to be aware of your surroundings. You can’t show fear, even for a moment or he’ll destroy you.” Letting Cage back to his feet, he motioned for him to sit down, making slow deliberate movements, such that Cage could mimic his posture and positioning. Closing his eyes, Cage could feel his mind begin to wander back to his last fight and realizing that he barely survived with his life intact. As his breathing began to quicken with panic setting in, Keanu’s voice split the silence and brought Cage back from the abyss he had been staring into. “Focus on nothing but the sound of my voice. You’ve lost view of your purpose and your strength. You need to remember why you fight and most importantly, what you can do. There are no limits to what you can accomplish, so long as you remember that it’s not your trophies that grant you victory, but your spirit is what provides you the power to triumph over your enemies.” As Keanu spoke, Cage’s mind drifted back to his various fights and in those visions, he realized something. A voice that sounded deceptively like Pacino’s had whispered in his ear when he met Keanu in the dinner and in that moment, he realized that the battle had been lost before it even began. “Good, good, you’re beginning to see, but there’s still much to be done. Stand and we shall begin.”
The training felt like it lasted weeks, but Cage couldn’t be sure. He had the strangest feeling that time wasn’t running properly, but whenever he asked Keanu, he would just say that if there was time to think about time, then there was more time to train and meditate. Cage learned much during his time with Keanu, both in terms of physical combat and armed combat, and while Cage would never be a master of bladed weaponry, he was remarkably quick in his understanding of guns and demonstrated a formidable proficiency with them. “Well my friend, our time is at an end but before you continue on your quest, I have some advice for you. Fight without fear. Abandon your fear, for it is the little death that brings utter obliteration. Move forward in your quest and never stop. Stop and you will die. Face your enemies and allow your fear to pass over and through you and you will find that when all is said and done, only you shall be left standing.” As Cage nodded and shook his mentors hand, he began to walk through a door and found himself standing outside Pacino’s mansion.
“No retreat, no surrender.” Cage spoke quietly, as a sense of focus filled him. Walking with purpose, he moved towards the front door, entering and immediately noticing the lack of damage from his previous fight. “So, you’ve come for another round. Think you’ve got what it takes to put me down?” Pacino spoke, as he made his way down the stair case, looking at Cage as though he were a small child in need of a lesson. “It’s not that I think I can put you down, it’s that I know I can put you down.” Cage replied, filled with the confidence that can only come from one who has trained to achieve their goals. As he moved towards Pacino, he began to pick up speed until they were with arms reach of each other. Thinking Cage meant to strike him, Pacino raised his arms to block an incoming shot, when Cage calmly pulled a .357 magnum from his jacket and put a round in Pacino’s chest. As the blood dripped down and he stared in shock, Pacino found himself collapsing to his knees. “How the hell did a punk kid like you beat me?” He questioned as his body began to fade away. “It’s easy Al, I just remembered something important. I’m Nick Cage and I won’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of my dream again. Whether it be the whispers of my enemies or my own damn ego. Now I’d tell you to go to hell, but I’m pretty sure you’re already there.” As always, once the body faded away, all that remained was a business card with the words “John Milton, lawyer” written across. Pocketing the card and firm in his resolve, Cage walked out of the mansion and wondered what trials he would face in the future to achieve his goals.
Well our hero has triumphed over Pacino, but how will he fare as the fights continue? With only two more rounds to the end, Cage will need to keep his skills sharp and he had best be on guard, because his next fight just make him go a full 12 rounds. Catch you next time – BB.