Chapter Sixteen

 “You have none of the raw talent for fighting she had.” he said, starting back around Mickey and shaking his head like it was a sad thing to say. “She was the best female fighter I’ve ever seen, and I was hoping that gene would be passed on, but it disappoints me that it wasn’t.”

I couldn’t believe he was actually saying these things in front of everyone! What was he doing to me! I let out a seething breath and said through a clenched jaw, “I’ll get better.”

“No.” he said, his head snapping up as he took three big steps until he was towering over me a few inches away. “You won’t.” I was just about to tell him he didn’t have any clue what I was capable of when he continued. “I will not let you taint your mother’s greatness… so I will tutor you.”

This caught me so off guard I didn’t breathe for a minute and just looked up at him, dumbfounded. And I wasn’t the only one either, because everyone around us had completely stopped fighting, and soon twenty-nine pairs of eyes were staring at us. “What?” I said, this time in almost a whisper. What was this guy going to do to me?

“You get two hours of study time after school, and then you’remine.” As he said the last part he leaned in towards me and pointed at me, then to his chest. His voice was sinister, and so was the smile that crossed his face, making a shiver run up my spine and a chill go through to my bones.

Then he walked away and I turned to Mickey, my face pale, as she said, “It was nice knowing you.”

“You can do the eulogy at my funeral.” I said sadly as Bear called for us to watch another move and then practice it. I squared off at her again, and after giving me a sympathetic look, she drove me into the dirt. And after we did four moves of the hand-to-hand combat —yeah that wasn’t even the whole class— I at least got a break when we started on Tai Chi for our first martial arts style.

This went on for an hour, and when everyone’s watches started beeping I was grateful because I thought we were going back to the school or to our dorms. This nightmare was finally over! But instead, to my utter horror, I got to spend another two hours with this monster. First, we went to the Jungle by the Ocean, which could change its environment to any jungle or forest in the world and had animatronic things that changed into animals native to that specific forest or jungle. So we were in an African jungle where I had to swing from “particularly strong vines designed to support humans, climbing and jumping trees all without slowing down or stopping because it builds upper body strength and increases maneuverability and speed blah, blah, blah, blah!”

I fell, a lot, I swung into trees, a lot, and I got beat up by a monkey! A MONKEY! Now I didn’t bleed that much since it really only jumped on me and bit my hand, making me let go of the branch I was holding, and fall the long way down to the ground on my back. The wind was knocked out of me and my hand hurt like hell because it was bleeding, not profusely, but still. But did Bear care? No! I think I even heard him laugh when the monkey got me, and then he made me get up and start again. That’s right, no nurse.

Thankfully I thought, the next class was going to be better. It had to be, even just a little. And it was. A little.

Because the next class we had with Bear was in the school building, which was nice, and in the Training Ground, which wasn’t so nice. This room changes terrain to whatever it’s set to, so since Bear was such a nice coach, he made us get on an overhang! It was so painful and humiliating after everything else, I think I blocked it out as soon as I left the room.

“Remember what we talked about, Damien.” Bear growled sinisterly at me as Buddy and Mickey were on either side of me just in case I fell. I nodded at him and when we were around the corner I sighed.

By now, word of my illustrious tutor had gotten around pretty good and everyone who passed either told me it was a miracle because Bear never tutored, or if they’d seen me fight they told me I was better off dead. And I agreed with the latter.

“I can’t believe you get Bear as a tutor. I have to tell you that I’m insanely jealous.” Buddy said as we made our way down the steps to the entrance hall.

“You can have him for all I care.” I said, “I don’t want him.”

“I can’t believe he actually said all that stuff.” Mickey said, rubbing my back comfortingly when we met up at the bottom and then proceeded down the tunnels.

“And in front of our entire class.” Johnny added as we went down the halls and to our table in the Dining Hall.

“And just think,” I said, “I have to deal with even more of him tonight!” I gave a helpless sigh and laid my head on the table. “You know, I work out, I work out a lot. I was in two sports and even had a personal trainer. So why am I so sore after just one session with this guy?”

“Well, actually it was three. First the Hand-to-Hand, the Jungle, and then the —

“Yeah, I get what you mean.” Buddy said, cutting Morgan off as he was ticking the lessons off on his fingers. Morgan glared at him as he continued, “I worked out all the time, and I’m pretty good at fighting, but this guy… Man, he’s awesome! I feel great, my blood is pumping. I can’t wait until next time!”

“Yeah, but look at you. You’ve got huge bulging muscles and I never heard about you getting driven into the dirt the whole time.” I said, glancing at him and then lifting my head off the table.

“Sorry about that.” said Mickey, still wearing a sympathetic look.

“It’s okay, but how’d you learn to fight like that already?” I asked.

“I’m the only girl with four brothers. I had to be tough.” she said, smiling. I looked over at Morgan, who was smiling and nodding, and smiled back, wondering what their family life must be

The End

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