Ravens of Eternity -
21 Jealousy, Pt Sergeant Elyn helped Eva up from the mat, who was still a bit unsteady on her feet. A part of her felt a little guilty at having to knock her down a notch.
But her worries subsided when she saw Eva’s grin.
“Thanks, sergeant,” she said. “I learned quite a lot these past few seconds.”
Her throat was still sore from Elyn’s strike, so her words came out a little strained. But her tone was filled with eagerness.
“Yeah?” said Elyn. “Like what?”
Eva straightened up, and rubbed her bruises a little.
“Don’t fuck around in a fight.”
Elyn laughed heartily, and nodded. That was her number-one rule in any conflict. Don’t mess around. Find the path to victory and take it as fast as you can.
Velocity, not power, was the key.
If Elyn had instead toyed with Eva, she would have given her plenty of time to figure out how to beat her. Instead, she tested her opponent, then decisively went in for the kill.
“Also,” Eva continued, “let me spar them.”
She then pointed at the jealous cadets, who immediately turned white.
Her? Fight us? they thought.
They were obviously elated when she was flattened by the sergeant, but didn’t think she’d immediately bare her fangs at them in retaliation! Clearly, she wanted to take her frustrations out on them.
“They’re right, you know,” Elyn replied. “Any one of ’em would crumble in a flash under you,” Elyn replied.
Eva shook her head.
“I mean, them in groups. Teams of four, maybe? I think it’s necessary.”
Sergeant Elyn understood what she was aiming for. It was training. And it was going to be necessary, without a doubt.
“Because,” she continued. “There’s always a bigger fish. Whether it’s in here, or out there. They need to learn how to defeat a stronger opponent, while I need to learn how to fend off multiple opponents.”
Eva then glanced at Chengli, an odd grin on her face.
“Plus it allows ’em to vent their frustrations on us. We oughta let all the cadets train like this.”
Chengli frowned the moment she said ‘us’. She wanted them to become the cadets’ punching bags, and he really wasn’t all that keen with the idea.
But she made a point. Just because he was strong didn’t mean he was invincible. He needed to be able to defend himself from multiple adversaries, weak or strong.
Hell, they all should.
“That is a very good idea,” said Sergeant Akim, who stood nearby.
Eva and Chengli weren’t the last powerful people that these cadets were going to butt heads with. Who knew how many others were out there? And how many of them didn’t have any reservations about the strength they used?
And what if they were the enemies of the Federation?
“We’ll figure out the logistics,” said Sergeant Elyn, “and we’ll have a working program soon enough. This has pretty major implications, to be honest.”
The jealous cadets quickly came up to Sergeant Elyn with serious looks on their faces. She expected them to whine and give her resistance, but one of them quickly spoke.
“When can we start?”
All they really cared about was the chance to beat up Eva. If they got that, then so what if they got thrown around a little?
“Let’s go now,” said Eva, “since I’m already warmed up.”
The sergeant backed away and gave them space, her approval obvious.
Four of the jealous cadets then went up to Eva, and they all bowed to each other. Although they bowed, the cadets had little respect in their stares. Their fists clenched up as they let their jealousies burn within them.
They circled around her, and tried to keep her surrounded from four sides. Their DIs scanned her, and took note of where she had been struck by the sergeant.
They wanted to go for the sore spots – it would only aggravate her bruises, and cause her to slow down faster. The more she slowed down, the more they could pick her apart.
It was a sound strategy, except Eva was also aware of it. If she was in their shoes, she would have chosen to do the same thing. Whittling away the opponent until it had no strength left was a time-tested pack tactic.
She got into her stance, and watched as they moved around her. She had her DI track them, which helped her predict their movements. It didn’t mean she was able to see behind her, but she got something of a sixth sense instead.
And besides, she had been learning how to breathe. All this time, the sergeants hammered it into their heads. Breathe at the right time, send the blood where it needs to be.
Her lungs burned with white-hot power as she breathed in.
Her aikido instructors called it ki, and Chengli called it qi. Same thing, really.
Qi. Breath. Energy.
As she exhaled, the four cadets attacked her at the same time, from four different angles. She saw an opportunity to slip between two of them, so she quickly ducked down and evaded.
As she passed one of them, she gave him a shove and pushed him into his buddy. They stumbled out of the fight for a few precious seconds.
But now she was in the clear and out of the encirclement. In front of her, two of the cadets pressed their attacks.
One swept his leg low, while the other kicked at her chest from the other direction. They cleverly tried to corner her – no matter which one she avoided, she would get hit by the other!
She quickly calculated their trajectories, and then ducked down into the space between, and entered into a spin. She timed it so that her leg turned away just as the cadet’s sweep passed by below. Above her, the cadet who kicked high had also missed.
The one who went low suddenly realized how open he was, his eyes as big as saucers.
But he didn’t get the chance to do a thing about it, as a moment later Eva’s foot struck him on the side of his head.
He quickly went flying a few meters across the room and landed face-first on the mat. The rest of his body just kind of fell right after that, and he stayed there for some time.
By this point the two other cadets had recovered and launched their attacks as well. This time, Eva let herself get hit by the three.
She was constantly on the defensive, and continually backed up or side-stepped to evade some of their strikes.
She drew her arms close to her body, and tried her best to defend her weak points. They certainly got through her defenses at times, and were able to strike at the same spots over and over.
They whittled away at her.
It definitely looked like she was having a rough time with the three pummeling her constantly, and many of the other cadets were seriously worried for her. Even the sergeants were wondering if they should put a stop to it.
Although these cadets were certainly strong, and their strikes did hurt, they were nowhere near as strong as Chengli or Sergeant Elyn. She used this opportunity to judge just how much damage they could do, and how much she could handle.
Speaking of Chengli, she glanced over at him while she was getting beat on. Her eyes said, ‘Look at how much damage I can take! We’re pretty tough! Cool, eh?’
But he was not amused in the slightest.
Eva could weather quite a good amount of damage, but certainly couldn’t keep it up all day. It wasn’t like she was invincible. But breaking out of this mess wasn’t going to be easy.
She started to stumble and mess up her defenses bit by bit. The hits had seemingly started to wear her down. And when Eva had dropped her guard enough to expose her sore ribs, one of the cadets went in for the kill.
Eva grinned as she ruthlessly sprung her trap.
She quickly crouched, and slammed into the cadet shoulder-first with great force. The attack knocked all the wind out of him, and he fell heavily onto the mat in an abject daze.
He groaned as his body contemplated other, more soothing activities for its future.
The two remaining cadets were stunned by her deception and subsequent surprise attack, and tried to quickly counter her. But she had already anticipated their actions and quickly shot a swift side kick right into the gut of a charging cadet.
That quickly put him on the ground, and he clutched at his stomach in an attempt to alleviate the excruciating pain.
The last one came in with a jumping kick, which caught Eva just as she had gotten back into her stance. He struck her right in the chest, which knocked the wind out of her, and caused her to back up a step.
But she quickly took a breath, recovered, and went back to counter while he was still off-balance.
She weaved as she charged him, and all he could do was back up defensively as he tried to find solid footing. She threw a feint, which planted his weight, drew his attention, and opened his defenses. So she swiftly took advantage of the opening.
Her right hook came down on the side of his head, and laid him out immediately after.
His face just suddenly met the floor, and there was nothing he could do about it. He laid there, eyes open, breaths heavy and hard, and questioned the meaning of existence.
Thankfully, Eva held back quite a lot with him, so he didn’t get a concussion. Well, hopefully not a bad one, anyway.
He was one of her cadets after all, so she felt the need to ease up a bit.
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