Chapter 35: getting physical

Everyone has gathered inside the training room, Cleamon looks like a commander about to give his troops orders and a motivation speech.

“I’ve seen that you all can do the spells I gave you, but casting spells isn’t the only thing that’s important for a mage. In many situations casting a spell takes too long and isn’t that reliable as an attack, that’s why I told you all to train physically as well. We’re going to spar now, put on the protective items I gave you earlier this week, this should be enough to protect you if any real harm would be done to you” Cleamon says.

“Is it really needed for this tournament?” Amara asks. “Maybe, you can never be sure. Spells aren’t always the answer in a match, if your opponent is concentrating on casting too much his movement is slowed down and a fast melee attack will be more effective” Cleamon answers.

“Now I will divide you into pairs that fit the best together. Lilia and Cecily, please start your sparring in the north-east corner, magic is allowed but only small spells that can’t hurt. Amara and Resyana, please do the same in the north-west corner, Homian and me will take the south part of the room. This will be a best of five, make sure you put everything into your fights, but don’t exert all your strength in the first one”

They all leave to their respective combat spaces.

Lilia and Cecily arrive at their spot, it has some trees and rocks, but is mostly flat. “I’m not going to hold back” Cecily says while stretching her body “but then again I doubt that you would want that”. “You’re right, what’s the use in holding back, when you’re going to lose otherwise” Lilia retorts. Cecily’s face instantly changes to competitive mode, Lilia has learned from Cleamon that provoking will disturb an enemy’s mind, although it doesn’t seem to work in Cecily.

They start their sparring, Cecily is on the attack first, she tries to hit Lilia with a right leg high kick, but Lilia saw it coming and dodges it. She aims for Cecily’s left leg with a low kick, but Emily dodges just in time. Lilia goes on the attack throwing punches at Cecily, Cecily can only block the barrage ‘I didn’t think she would be this skilled at fighting’ she thinks as she scurries away to catch her breath. She didn’t get much time as Lilia follows her. Cecily tries to go in for the attack, but gets surprised when a sudden force of wind pins her again a rock, Lilia charges in and punches her stomach. A barrier comes up ensuring Cecily isn’t hurt, 1-0 for Lilia.

On the other side Resyana and Amara have just began their match, they circle around each other looking for openings, neither of them willing to strike first. Amara starts an incantation, stomps the ground and dust flies up creating a smoke screen. She charges at Resyana, be able to feel her presence by controlling the dust in the air she pin-points her location. ‘This is one is mine’ she thinks before she reaches Resyana. Unbeknownst to her Resyana has already cast her spell, while she was charging. Amara is caught off guard by dust tornado, with her at the center. The tornado has sucked in all the flying dust and looks like a solid wall. Resyana sneaks up on Amara, stops her spell and grabs her by the neck. She pulls her to the ground into a solid hold, Amara struggles trying to break free, but it’s not use “I give up” she says reluctantly, 1-0 Resyana.

The match between Homian and Cleamon is more of a training for Homian, every attack he has thrown so far was easily countered by Cleamon. Cleamon goes in for the attack, throwing a dummy with his left hand, but striking at Homian’s ribs with his right. Homian falls for the dummy, but is just in time to block the real strike. It sends him flying about three meters backwards, with him heavily panting. “How did you get this strong all of a sudden, I’m glad I never got into a real fight with you” he says while wiping off his sweat. “You just need more experience, this tournament will be good for you” Cleamon says back to him. “If I don’t die here” he says laughingly “don’t worry I’ll fix you up afterward” Cleamon answers.

Homian catches his breath and gets ready again, this time he casts his shadow spell shrouding Cleamon in darkness. Homian moves around him, trying to get to his back, Cleamon feels him moving and prepares for the attack. Homian throws his punch forward to the back of Cleamon’s head, Cleamon ducks and turns around grabs his arm and throws him five meters to the side. Homian rolls around until he stops moving and stands up again “this is just unfair, how do you keep knowing where I’m going to attack?”.

“Okay, listen, your movements are too heavy I can feel the vibrations in the ground. Also your breathing gives your position away, you have to try and match yours with mine or hold your breath during your attack. You have to be able to completely seem like you vanished, not a trace of your existence left. This is the best for Shadow users, as they are mainly detached as spies, let me show you how you do this. I will use the same spell on you and first I will copy your movements, try to feel the vibrations and hear my breathing” Cleamon explains.

He casts the same spell as Homian, and mimics his movements. He can see Homian responding to the sounds and vibrations, matching his position. He goes in for the attack but Homian dodges it. “See how easy it is to detect someone when your sight is gone. Your other senses will get stronger in that situation”. “Yes, I can follow your movements, I didn’t know it would be that easy”

“Okay, now lets try with me matching your breathing and lightening my footsteps, be prepared” Cleamon says. “Okay I’m ready” Homian responds after calming himself down again.

Again Cleamon casts the spell on Homian, but this time he matches his breathing, his footsteps become much lighter almost leaving no traces. He closes in on Homian, who is standing as still as possible trying to pick up any hints of movement, he gets closer “BOO” he whispers in his ear. Homian jumps away, visibly shaken, “that scared the crap out of me, I think I’d rather receive a punch. My heart is beating like crazy now”.

Cleamon and Homian continue their matches until the rest is done, Lilia won over Cecily with 3-2 and Amara over Resyana with 3-2. They all look exhausted they come to meet in the center, except for Cleamon.

“Okay time to switch partners now” Cleamon says, receiving some blank stares from his friends. “But we’re just done, can we have a little bit of rest first?” Cecily says. “Okay, you can have 15 minutes of rest. After that Lilia will go against Amara and Homian against Resyana, Cecily you will be up against me next”.

Cleamon takes a seat and Lilia comes and sits next to him “this is kind of fun, I’m learning so much from this, thank you for doing this for us” she gives him a kiss on his cheek. Cecily and Amara turn red at seeing this and turn around and sit next to each other. “Cecily what’s Lilia’s weakness? You fought her before and won twice, you must’ve noticed something?” Amara asks her.

“It’s hard to say, she is much more experienced than me and only lost because she fell for a cheap trick. I think her weakness is that she is quite gullible and falls for simple tricks. It only works once or twice, I couldn’t get a normal win from her, two rounds she didn’t even use magic. I bet Cleamon has privately trained her and that’s why she’s so strong” Cecily says while her face turns sour. She can’t stand that she lost to Lilia again, she’s never beaten her before. ‘Maybe I’ll try to win in other areas instead’ she thinks while looking back at Lilia and Cleamon. Amara notices this and asks “are you interested in Cleamon in a romantic way?”.

Cecily doesn’t know how to respond, her face turns red and she looks away from Amara’s eyes. “I don’t know, my parents are actually quite fond of him already, they even jokingly said we should marry. I’m not sure what to think, I mean he’s nice and strong. Also it seems like he’s much more mature than any boy I’ve met of his age”. Cecily puts her face in her hands, not sure what to feel about the situation.

“I get what you mean, he does seem much more mature. He even made business deals with my family and my father seems to especially like him. We made so much money in such a short time I’m kind of scared. Even my parents suggested something like getting together with him” Amara says with a deep sigh. “I mean I do like him, but it’s kind of weird. Lilia doesn’t seem to care at all about it, actually she seems to be supporting it. She is a nice girl, but I’m not sure if a relation like that is something for me”

Cecily looks at Amara with eyes full of respect ‘We’re the same’ she thinks.

“Okay your 15 minutes are up, get ready to fight again. Homian and Resyana move to the south part, Lilia and Amara can take the north-east and Cecily and me will take the north-west. Let’s go, this will be the final fight so give it your all” Cleamon says.

They all move to their respective places and take their initial combat positions.

“Cleamon, how did you get permission to use this space from the headmaster. There seems to be a lot going on around you and it kind of scares me. I’m not sure what to think of you at the moment” Cecily asks when they are more private.

“Hmm, I guess I can explain, but I’m not sure if you’re ready for it yet. Prove it to me with your fight if you have matured enough” He says partly to provoke her.

“Okay” she responds calmly “let’s start right away then”

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