The Tournament of the Vices

Every hundred years, two tournaments are held. The Tournament of the Vices and the Tournament of the Virtues.

The Seven Deadliest Sins, each compete for a chance to be humanity’s most prevalent sin in the Tournament of the Vices.

The second tournament is not fought, as such, but rather consists of, well, talking and, um, requesting the other to be the most prevalent. It’s a tournament ‘fought’ between the Virtues- The Tournament of the Virtues; why they call it a tournament is beyond me, but that is not my headache.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. Pride, Greed and Wrath have dominated the Tournament of the Vices since time immemorial. Adam was prideful and Lilith, who contrary to popular belief, was actually the first woman to live, was vengeful and filled with anger. Her reasons were very much justified. I mean, wouldn’t you be angry if your so-called husband did not see you as his equal even though you both were made from dust by God himself and then that man makes sure that you have no choice but to go into exile? But at the end of the day, wrath is still a sin. Eve and Adam were greedy, why else would they have defied God and eaten the fruit that He specifically told them not to?

As I said, Pride, Greed and Wrath have dominated the tournament ever since the creation of humankind. I burn when I see them. Why do they win? Why don’t I?

You have no idea how it feels to see those unworthy qualities that call themselves “sins” taking what is rightfully mine.

I despised how Greed smiled oh, so smugly, when he was crowned the King of Sins for two whole ****ing centuries. Ugh! Oh, and Wrath, that bi*ch! She won the title of Queen, for what? A couple of centuries? Now she thinks that there is no one better than her. Don’t even get me started on Pride! That utterly unruly, useless, demeaning, stupid, dumb, irritating, piece of sh*t! He won the title of King once and he pretends like the rest of us don’t stand even the slightest chance against him. Hmph!

If you haven’t realised as yet, I’m Envy and this year, I will win. Mark my words. That title will be mine.

I stride into the room with confidence oozing out of my persona and my heels clicking against the black marble of the room. The others glance at me as their eyes narrow and jaws tighten. A fleeting cold smile is my way of greeting them.

Lucifer struts up to us, his long robes billowing behind him. He smirks and his smirk only widens as his eyes give each of us a once over.

“Ah, how wonderful to see all my babies here! Tell me, how are the mortals? God’s annoying virtues still trying to outplay you? Oh well, never mind, they will never be able to purify the Earthen realm. All the messed-up little sh*ts live down there, eh?"

When no one answers, he continues, "No? Okay."

I roll my eyes at his dramatics. "Keep rolling your eyes, Envy, darling. Maybe you'll find a brain back there." I fume at his audacity as the others laugh snarkily. I open my mouth to retort when he cuts me off by declaring the instructions for the tournament.

The game starts.

Pride looks so confident as he plays his cards. Yes, it's a game of cards. His prominent jawline stands out as he clenches his teeth. His eyes narrow and he catches his lip between his teeth when his turn comes and he has to place his cards.

Wrath raises a contemplative eyebrow as her manicured fingers clutch the cards tight. Her tongue caresses the inside of her cheek as her lips press into a thin line. Finally, she decides and places her bets.

Gluttony looks cruel and cold when his turn comes but the want to win, which is more than what he can dream of, is still ever-present and very, very visible on his face. His multi-coloured suit is form-fitting. It hugs his fake biceps and stretches over his artificial abs. In actuality, he's a thin, malnourished, short dwarf but I suppose, with the number of surgeries and implants he has had, he can look like what he does. After all, the amount of money he has in the mortal realm is unmatched and Gluttony has never known when to stop. I wonder which surgery he has next.

Greed looks at the decks of cards in each of our hands with desperate longing. He looks at his own cards with disdain, as if what he has is never going to be enough. His fingers flex with the effort of staying where they are. I am worried about him. No matter what I say, he is the most calculative and the smartest. After me, of course.

Pride is too overconfident and Wrath, I think, is tired and bored of winning so many times in a row. Oh well, good for me.

Sloth leans back in their seat. Now, Sloth absolutely despises the tournament. It means they have to bother with coming all the way to hell. If skipping the competition was an option, they'd have taken it up long, long ago. But, it's not so. Sloth inspects their cards with absolutely zero interest and just dumps some random cards when their time comes. Sloth's motto in life is 'Why bother?'.

Lust, oh lust. The most enticing, arousing, sexy Sin I have ever known. Her hips, her lips, those long legs, those toned arms. Oh! How I wish she was under me instead of sitting here, being gawked at by these tactless idiots. I would love for her and I to be unholy together. Oh yes, most decidedly unholy. She smirks and adjusts the straps of the tight dress she's wearing as she places her cards. I notice the others staring at her chest shamelessly, and how she winks at Pride. Why isn't she winking at me? Just because he is a man and I am not?

Never mind that now. My turn comes. Finally, all their eyes are on me. We have almost reached the end of the game now. My move will predict theirs, if they have another chance. I know I was dealt good cards this time around, but I do not know their cards. I calculate how I should go about it, what the outcome may be, what the expressions on their faces say. Although, in the end, I end up winging it and... I WIN!

I WIN! Oh, yes yes yes! I WON, I WON, I WON! Wait, this means that I am humanity's most prevalent sin. For a century. Oh my Devil, I am humanity's most prevalent sin for a century.

I look around and I see Pride trying his level best to somehow convict me of cheating. Greed has a deep scowl on his face, I think he wanted to win this time around, don't you? Gluttony glares at me like he wishes he could erase my existence from every realm in the universe. Wrath slyly smiles at me and looks more than happy considering my win. Sloth just does not care. Lust looks at me with something akin to admiration but there is a hint of disdain in her eyes as well.

Lucifer breaks me out of my observant trance by clapping, loud and clear, "Well, well, well. Good job, love. Congratulations, you will be humanity's most prevalent sin for the next whole ***ing century!"

Saying this, he places the black crown decorated with diamonds, opals and pearls atop my head. My smirk remains glued to my face for the entire night.

Now, who will be my first victim?

Author: Saptaparna Chakraborty

Editor: Zoyah Virani

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