17.3: Final Stretch

Training went on exactly as it did yesterday, with Solana flipping switches and Melodie sitting beside her. It seemed like both of them were waiting for me to fail, Melodie especially. She sat on the edge of her seat, and her leg twitched at every time I skimmed the side of a log.

Both of them studied my movements carefully. Not a word, however, was divulged to me. The only way to learn was to make mistakes, which required a few broken bones.

I kept the same strategy going from yesterday: completely abandoning my senses with a low humming. For the most part, it was working. Every movement seemed close to flawless; each sidestep flowed easily into the next, even though Solana kept without a discernible pattern.

I pressed on, allowing the danger reflex to guide me, rather than simply listening to its warnings. I must have dodged forty at this point. The thought of it almost being over raced in, knocking my focus off. A flat log was coming, but from where?

My only choice was to do exactly what Solana warned me against: dive. I pulled my legs out from under me and dropped on my stomach, bracing myself for the log to zoom past my face.

I laid there for a moment. My face scrunched, anticipating the log. Was it over?

I let my senses take the reigns again. Two pairs of footsteps seemed to approach me. Melodie and Solana most likely, which meant Solana turned the machine off.

The footsteps ceased only inches from my face. They must have been looking down at me. I decided to untie the blindfold from my face and take a look at their faces.

Melodie’s smile glimmered with pride while reaching for my hand. Solana, however, crossed her arms and tapped her foot impatiently. Her scowl didn’t carry the same intensity and anger as it did last night though. It was more disappointed if anything.

“Do you know why I stopped you?” Solana asked sternly.

I sighed, disappointment circulated within me, “Because I dived onto the ground.”

“No,” Solana’s grimace faded into a smile, “I stopped it to congratulate you. Nice job, you managed to dodge fifty logs.”

“You’re kidding,” I laughed. There was no way I got past fifty. I expected that to take a week at least.

“Not even remotely. Now get up,” Solana and Melodie held their hands out to me, and I used them to pick myself up from the ground. “Don’t think that’s the end of your training though. But you will have a short break until Melodie leaves.”

I let out a deep exhale. It felt good to finally relax.

“Come on, it’s time to get lun—”

“Hey guys!”

Keith popped his head between the front of the tent. Solana cheered, “Keith! Perfect timing! Elijah just finished his danger reflex training.”

“Awesome! I just saw Celeste emerge from the forest. Did you want to introduce her to Elijah, then see Melodie off?”

“If Elijah wants to.”

I didn’t see the harm in it, “Sure, why not?”

The End

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