Re: School for Assassins
Because I’m feeling generous, here’s the next chapter. Please keep in mind, this is the rough draft. I will go through and edit everything, but It’s kind of pointless for me to edit it before I’m done with it.
Chapter 7 – Let the Games Begin
I followed the guys down to the lobby and across the parking lot to the training facility. The brick building was huge and housed multiple training rooms. Our first test was taking place on the first floor. We walked past a few rooms with various exercise machines and punching bags. At the very end of the long, brightly lit hallway was the testing and demonstration room. All of the other rooms had glass doors and windows to the outside, but this room didn’t.
Shawn knocked on the door once. Dominic stood between me and the door and Jordan was leaning against the wall off to the side. I rocked back on my heels, starting to feel the effects of the caffeine I had consumed. A few seconds later, a short man opened the door. His dark hair was cut really short and his dark eyes watched us for a moment. “As you all know, I’m Mr. Hamilton. I will be standing in as a referee, and I expect all of you to be on your best behavior. I really don’t want to have to kick you out of my studio again, Mr. Eirhart.” Shawn gave a swift nod and we all filed into the room silently.
Mr. Hamilton stood by a one-way mirror and gestured for us to all sit on the multicolored couch. I sat in the middle with Shawn on one side of me and Dominic on the other. Jordan sat on the arm of the couch next to Shawn. There was a small end table next to the couch, but other than that, the small room was bare. I bounced my leg, trying not to distract the others, but I also didn’t think sitting down was a good idea for me right now.
“Here’s how this is going to work. You’ll be fighting against each other. You know your skills better than anyone else, so you’ll know how everyone else’s skill matches up against your own.” Mr. Hamilton explained. He paused for a moment to look at each of us before continuing, “You’ll fight two at a time, while your remaining teammates watch from in here. This will give you a chance to study strengths and weaknesses as well as giving you each a breather between every one or two fights. Also, we’ve grouped hand-to-hand fighting with close range weapons. The weapons are ones that we will provide. The weapons we provide won’t be able to actually pierce your skin. They are high tech weapons, and instead of physically harming you, it will leave red paint on you. The weapons can and will still cause bruising if you get hit hard enough, but the paint will let us know if you would have been hit fatally.” I just stared at Mr. Hamilton, wanting to get this whole thing over with as quickly as possible. He gave a small smirk, “First up… Shawn and Jordan.”
I heard Jordan cuss as he stood up and followed Shawn into the arena. I could hear them on the overhead speaker that allowed us to hear them, but they couldn’t hear us. Mr. Hamilton asked, “Weapons, boys?”
Shawn easily answered, “None.” And I waited for Jordan to mention a sai, but he didn’t.
“None.” Jordan replied softly.
I glanced at Dominic with huge eyes and he chuckled, “Jordan and I have a lot more muscle mass and strength behind us than you do. I’m sure neither one of us has to worry about being overpowered as much as you would.” I made a face at that, but went back to watching through the glass as I stood up and moved closer to the glass.
Jordan and Shawn circled each other, watching one another carefully. Both boys were shirtless now and they had both their arms up, ready to block incoming attacks.
It wasn’t long before Jordan made the first move. His leg shot out to kick at Shawn, but Shawn easily blocked it. Even from here, I could tell they were trying to get a feel for their opponent’s fighting style. Shawn continued to wait patiently, but Jordan suddenly tackled him.
Dominic scooted forward on the couch to rest his elbows on his knees, which drew my attention to him. He flashed me a smile and asked, “Give me commentary. Point out anything you notice as a strength or weakness to their fighting.” I bit my lip and looked at him curiously, but his eyes were on the fighting. “I’ll do the same, of course. I just think it might help us both.” I studied him for a second before I finally nodded in agreement.
“Okay. So far, Jordan doesn’t have much patience. Shawn, however, seemed to be waiting patiently for Jordan to make the first move.” I said softly as I turned back to the window.
Dominic chuckled softly, “Both things that I had noticed as well. When fighting against Jordan, I’d watch him closely and wait similar to what Shawn did. For Shawn, you’re going to have to catch him by surprise to get a one up on him.” I blinked in surprise and shot him a look.
“You’re giving me pointers on how to improve my odds against them?” I asked as I turned back to the window once again. Both of the boys were now covered lightly in sweat, but neither really appeared to be breathing hard. Shawn’s foot suddenly shot up towards Jordan’s head, but right before Jordan could block it, Shawn dropped down and swept his foot into Jordan’s legs. Jordan landed on the ground with a loud thud and I winced.
Dominic dropped his hat on my head and I looked up at him quickly. “I’ll go next against Shawn so that you can watch me fight. We’re going to need to work as a team, El. That’s why I’m helping you. I expect you and Jordan to do the same thing that we just did. Every night after testing, if Shawn is okay with it, we’ll sit down and discuss what everyone needs to work on. The only way we’ll work well as a team is if we help each other improve on our skills.”
I thought that over and realized that Jordan was coming back into the waiting room. Dominic stood up and shrugged out of his shirt. “Careful with my hat, Ely. It’s special to me.”
I felt my eyes widen, “Maybe it’s best not to give it to me then.” I murmured as I bounced lightly on my toes.
He chuckled softly, “Ely, if I were worried about you having it, I wouldn’t have put it on your head.” He gave me a quick wink and left the room. Jordan waited for him to move out of the doorway and then he walked into the room with me and dropped down onto the couch.
“Learn anything useful?” He asked with a grin.
I shot him a smirk and nodded. “Dominic said we’re supposed to point out the good and the bad about their fighting so that we can help each other improve.”
Jordan stretched and reached his arm across the back of the couch. He shifted so that his left ankle was resting on his right knee and said, “That’s not a bad idea.”
I looked at him curiously, “Really?” I asked. He nodded once, and then put his finger to his lips and pointed out the window. I narrowed my eyes at him slightly, but then turned to watch Dominic and Shawn fight.
“None.” Dominic’s deep voice rang out. He gave Mr. Hamilton a nod and then turned to face Shawn.
The two circled each other with their arms raised to block. Shawn gave a nod so small that I almost missed it, and then he launched into a flurry of movement. “He’s fast.” I murmured.
Jordan chuckled softly, “He doesn’t telegraph his moments first, either. He’s accurate about where he’s aiming, but his eyes never left mine. He doesn’t hesitate… and his hits kinda didn’t feel good.” He murmured softly.
I filed all that information away for later. I knew I wouldn’t be fighting him next, since Mr. Hamilton had said we’d only be fighting two fights in a row. Dominic blocked nearly every punch, chop, and kick, but it was obvious he wasn’t as quick as Shawn was.
“Shawn’s attacks don’t look like they’re having much of an effect on Dominic. He’s not even flinching or trying to move out of the way…” I trailed off.
Jordan sat forward and rested his elbows on his knees as he said, “I think he’s watching for an opening.” Just as he finished saying that, Dominic spun in a kick that connected powerfully with Shawn’s midsection and caused him to double over. Shawn let out a hard cough, but before Dominic could hit again, he dropped to the ground and his foot shot up to connect solidly with Dominic’s groin.
Jordan suddenly moved, and I glanced over to see him wincing in sympathy. I bit my lip and went back to watching out the window as Jordan hissed out a slow breath. “Cup or not, that had to have hurt like hell.” I felt my cheeks catch on fire and I moved my fingers up to scratch my cheek and hopefully hide my blush.
Apparently it didn’t work, because Jordan laughed softly. “You’re so innocent, Little El.” That only caused my blush to deepen. I bit my lip and didn’t reply, trying to just forget the entire conversation. I glanced back at the two fighters, just as Dominic brought his knee up and kicked out with his foot, aiming strait for Shawn’s stomach again. Shawn wasn’t quick enough to block it, and the blow pushed him backwards. Dominic leapt on him with an arm over Shawn’s neck.
I frowned as I watched, but then I realized that Dominic had only tightened the muscles in his arm to keep Shawn from pushing it up. He wasn’t actually applying pressure to Shawn’s neck. Mr. Hamilton stepped forward, “Match over. Dominic, you’re staying in here. Shawn, go rest.” They both nodded and Shawn said something softly that we couldn’t hear before he stepped into the waiting room with me and Jordan.
“El, you’re up.” Shawn said softly and dropped onto the couch. I gently handed Dominic’s hat to Shawn as I moved out of the room.
As I was stepping through the door, I heard Jordan softly say, “This will be an interesting match. She’s at least a foot shorter than he is, and probably a good one hundred pounds lighter.” The door shut before I could hear the response and I moved closer to Dominic.
“Weapon?” Mr. Hamilton asked. I looked at Dominic curiously for a moment, an without moving my eyes from him I shook my head.
“None.” I replied softly.
Dominic gave me a look of surprise before a small smile appeared. “Ready, Kitten?” He asked softly. I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, focusing on everything I had ever learned about fighting. I nodded.
“Begin.” Mr. Hamilton said before moving to the edge of the room.
I stood, ready to defend myself, but I already knew I was going to have to move a lot faster than him if I stood a chance at all, and I was now glad that I had consumed that coffee, as gross as it had been.
I glanced up at him, keeping my expression blank. His dark brown eyes were watching me closely, and then he flinched slightly, “Ready?” He mouthed, looking a little apologetic. I wasn’t sure what he was trying to apologize about, but I also wasn’t going to let that distract me. I gave a small nod.
Another moment of watching each other, and I started off slowly. I wanted him to get comfortable in this fight, and to think I was better at defense than offense. Taking them by surprise was the only way I was going to win this battle, because most of my training had been about ‘hit and get’, not actually taking someone down so that they stay down.
I watched his eyes closely, and knew the moment he’d strike. He glanced down at my stomach, and then back up to my face. His foot shot out powerfully towards my stomach, but I took a few steps back. I knew he was expecting me to move into his attacks because then he’d find it more difficult to attack me.
His face registered surprise, and before he could recover, I slid between his legs, did a kip up and my foot shot up between his legs to kick him in the groin. He grimaced and faltered, and I took advantage of his distraction to strike again. This time, I jumped onto his back, and used my body weight to throw him off balance by quickly shifting my weight so that I swung from his back to his front, and he dropped down to his back. I immediately stood up and stomped on his neck, although I made sure that I stopped my foot from actually crushing his windpipe.
Mr. Hamilton slowly stepped forward, and when Dominic didn’t move, he called the match. “Dominic, please go get yourself some water and cool down a little. Elyzabeth, you are against Jordan now.” I nodded my head once and stayed put as I attempted to slow my breathing down.
I staggered to my feet and grinned. I had definitely underestimated Ely, and it was a mistake I wouldn’t do again. “Good fight, Kitten. I enjoyed it, even if it was short.” I chuckled softly when she blushed.
She was breathing a little heavily, but she said, “Thank you. I only won because I was fast enough to avoid your attacks, and you underestimated me.”
My eyebrows went up, and she bit her lip, looking embarrassed. “I watched you intentionally telegraph your movements. Had you not done that, I wouldn’t have been able to avoid your first attack.” She said softly.
I chuckled, “I’ll go send Jojo in.” I said.
She blinked, “Jojo?” She asked.
I nodded, “Sounds like something that would irritate him, don’t you think?” He asked curiously.
Her eyes widened as she shrugged, “Probably do more than irritate him…” She trailed off. I just smiled as I left the room.
I went back into the waiting room to see Jordan and Shawn watching me in surprise. “Jordan. You’re up.” I said. I spied my hat on the back of the couch. I left my shirt off since I was going to be fighting again, but I put my hat on my head and dropped down next to Shawn. “Well?” I asked as Jordan moved out of the room.
Shawn sent me a small smile, “She’s fairly decent. I’m sure we each have something that we’ll need help working on to get better, but she’s a lot faster than I thought possible. Her size is going to be a disadvantage for her, especially against the three of us… But she has a good foundation…” He trailed off as the fight between Ely and Jordan got started.
We both sat forward to watch. Ely was watching him closely, and when he didn’t make any movement towards her, her foot shot up towards his head. It looked like a fairly impractical move, but before I could say anything about it to Shawn, Jordan caught Ely’s foot. I waited for her to topple backwards, but instead, she used the leverage of her foot being in his hand to hop up and catch him in the chest with her free foot.
She pulled another unexpected move when she yanked her foot out of his hold by back flipping instead of just falling back down. Jordan landed on his back and she leapt onto him, putting pressure against his neck. Before Mr. Hamilton could call it though, Jordan had her flipped, and straddled her rib cage. He brought his elbow down quickly on her throat, but she blocked it. She attempted to kick him in the back, but he readjusted himself so that he was still straddling her, but now he was over her stomach, and his ankles were crossed over her upper thighs.
“Damn, I wasn’t expecting that from someone as accident prone as her…” Shawn trailed off. I nodded as Mr. Hamilton called the match.
“Jordan, you stay. Ely, send in Dominic.” Mr. Hamilton said quietly. Ely nodded and came out of the room, breathing a bit heavily.
I got up and dropped my hat on her head as I walked past her. “Good job, Kitten.” He murmured.
She ducked her head in embarrassment, and said, “Good luck.” I nodded at her and moved to stand across from Jordan.
Shawn gave me a small smile that I was beginning to realize was his ‘smile of approval’. I felt my face heat up slightly, and he said, “You did really well. I’m surprised you did that well against them both.”
I sat down on the couch next to Shawn and felt the energy drain out of me. I knew the caffeine from my coffee wouldn’t sustain me for the entire day, but I wished the energy buzz would have lasted a little longer.
I bit my lip and glanced at the ground. He clicked his tongue softly and brought my chin up to look at him, “Please say what’s on your mind.”
I finally glanced up at him, “Why are you surprised?” I asked softly I had to tilt my head back really far to look at his face, because Dominic’s hat was really big on my head and covered my eyes really well.
He gently rubbed my back as he thought his words over. “I guess I’m surprised because you seem very timid and shy, and your… um… affliction doesn’t help… but I was impressed that you didn’t let your normal feelings control the way you fought. We will have to work with you on your fighting though, just as the rest of us will have to work on ours. Your problem is, because you work out a lot, even though muscle weighs more than fat, I would guess you way… maybe a hundred pounds…” He trailed off. I gave a small shrug, because I didn’t weigh myself very often. He continued, “I’m betting that the other two could bench press that much weight easily, and I know I can… So we can easily move you around… plus you’re short enough that you’d have to hang off of us in order to choke us…”
I nodded as I murmured, “I know. It’s why my fighting instructors mostly stuck with the hit and get method. I hit them somewhere that’ll slow them down considerably and then I run.”
Shawn nodded, “I’d like to see if we can get it to the point where you could incapacitate anyone who tries to come after you. Hand-to-hand combat is my forte, and I plan on working us hard to become one of the top teams.” I nodded in understanding just as both Jordan and Dominic stepped into the room.
I stood up quickly, and then swayed a little, starting to feel a bit tired now. “Who won?” I asked, slightly embarrassed that we hadn’t watched.
Jordan pointed at Dominic, as Dominic said, “I did. It was a really close fight though. He almost won.” Jordan made a face and shook his head at me, making me giggle. He grinned and pulled the shirt on that he had carried from the fighting room.
Mr. Hamilton stepped forward, “I’m assuming still no weapons?” He asked.
Shawn watched me for a moment, and then said, “Give her a knife. I want to see how well she’ll do with it in close quarters.” I gave him a wide-eyed look and he smiled at me.
Mr. Hamilton handed me the knife and said, “Treat it like you would a normal knife. You can throw it out of the match if you’re done with it, but you may not throw it at your opponent or you’ll be the loser of this match by default.” I nodded at his instructions as I gripped the knife. “You may begin.” He said as he moved to the corner of the room.
I spun the knife in my hand easily, and then readjusted my grip on it so that it was easier to fight with, and then we started. Shawn’s foot flew at my knee, and I easily dodged it and kicked him once in the ribs before I punched him. It wasn’t long before Shawn had disarmed me, and I suddenly found myself pinned to the floor and struggling to breathe.
Mr. Hamilton stepped closer. “Match. A summary of the various matches will be sent your email this evening, Mr. Eirhart.” He said.
Shawn nodded, “Thank you, Sir.” Mr. Hamilton gave a smile in response and Shawn grabbed his shirt before we walked out of the room. Dominic and Jordan stood up as we stepped into the waiting room and Shawn said, “Now, we get a three hour break before the next test, and we’re going to head to the cafeteria to get lunch.” The other two nodded and I followed them out of the building, wiping sweat off of my forehead.
“I’m impressed with everyone’s fighting skills. I think there won’t be a whole lot of learning new techniques as there will be perfecting the skills we currently have.” Shawn said softly before he added, “However, I’ve come up with a new rule. We won’t talk about our skills outside of our apartment or a secure location. I don’t want to have to worry about others using the knowledge against us.”
Jordan gave a lazy salute, “Yes, Sir.” He said with a grin. He glanced back and me and winked, which caused my affliction to return with a vengeance. I tripped over my own feet and fell into the back of Shawn’s legs, which didn’t move at all.