"Tutor, is this allowed?" And I don't really want to fight today. I need to unpack. And have a shower. I haven't had a shower in ages. Hot water would be wonderful right now.
"Well, there's no rule prohibiting it." My tutor really smiles a lot. He seems quite happy that this is happening. "Besides, this shouldn't be any problem for you should it? After all, you're an honour student entering university a year early!"
Thankyou, tutor. You have now made me a target for everyone.
"Oh, and you don't have to call me 'tutor', Amos is fine! Oh, I should also mention that you have only a 30 second grace between the challenge and the start of combat. You probably only have 15 seconds now."
"Oh, 15 seconds. Hm. What was your name again?"
"John." John was around six feet high at a guess. He was unremarkable of build and of face, and almost entirely unremarkable in general. Except for his hair, he did his hair well. He also looked rather high strung and angry. I suppose he thought he could intimidate me. After all, I am a girl, and only 17.
"Well then, John, goodbye."
Laura turned, opened the door and promptly ran away. She did not look back, after all, she only had around ten seconds now. She was glad she had worn good shoes. Her long hair streamed out behind her. She supposed if she were running a timed sprint the air resistance would probably lose her half a second or so over 100 metres. But it didn't matter, she was plenty fast enough for John, it appeared.
"Hey, John, you're letting her get away!" John's mouth was hanging open fairly stupidly. Admittedly, he had not at all expected her to run. Or expected her to stay so calm. Or to be quite so fast. Damn she was fast.
"Hellooo, John, you might want to chase after her." Amos got up and brushed himself down. He didn't have any crumbs on his clothes to start with but it was an habitual motion. "As personal tutor, it is my duty to oversee your battle and help you out. You're not going to beat her unless you can catch her. Come now, we're going to pursue."
Amos' eyes were bright with excitement. He was feeling very energetic. Moreso than usual, and that was saying something. John took another moment to control his surprise. This was not how he had planned the situation. But who was this long-haired-girl to ruin his plan anyway? She was just some lucky upstart who happened to make it into Cambridge on a fluke. If all she was good at was running, she'd be toast when he caught her. John squeezed his fists tight and broke into a sprint, charging after Laura, Amos merrily jogging along afterwards.
Amos' other tutees were left in his office, slightly bewildered, but otherwise completely unaffected. They continued to drink Amos' tea.
Laura's breath frosted the air as she ran. She had a light tread so her shoes only made a soft scraping on the cobblestones. She swung around a corner and felt the rubber on her soles grip as she twisted into another burst of speed. Thank the heavens for fast twitch muscles. She could hear John's thick footsteps behind her in pursuit. And the occasional shout, crash and bang. Sounds like he ran into a cyclist. Lol.
She let her legs carry her. Really, it was like flying. She swung around another corner and felt another burst of speed through her toes. Her hair followed behind her, along with the edges of a smile.
Stupid damned cyclist. I'll kill that girl when I catch her! When I catch her!
"You shouldn't get so angry, John, you'll never get her like this." Amos seemed almost entirely unfazed and actually, was keeping pace with John easily. He didn't seem to be breaking a sweat in the slightest.
"You're my tutor, aren't you supposed to help me or something?" John was being spiteful. He didn't really care, he just had to vent. He was tired, his legs hurt, and worse, he was being humiliated. And what was with this Amos? Give some advice or something. Being stuck with a useless tutor is a surefire way to get yourself killed.
"Oh, yes, help you. Umm, run faster?" Amos beamed at him. John wanted to punch him. Though he had the good sense not to. And ironically enough, in his rage, he did actually run faster. Amos would probably claim that he'd known that would happen and said it on purpose. Most people would likely not believe him.
Laura slowed down. She was feeling quite happy now that she'd had a good chase. She stopped in the middle of one of the quads in between the chapel and the halls of residence and tapped the toe-ends of her shoes against the ground. It was a crisp and clear autumn day. There were a few people passing through who glanced her way. Some freshmen, some older, and the odd professor or tutor wandering past. She cut a strong figure standing in the middle of the quad. She looked confident and imposing. But, it'd probably be better not to give that impression. She tilted her weight over one leg to give her hips a slight lean and clasped her hands in front of her. Now I look like a slightly uncertain, slightly vulnerable girl. Much better. I wonder when he'll catch up...
John saw her standing in the middle of the quadrangle, looking somewhere in between carefree and lost. She certainly didn't look ready for a confrontation. And she'd chosen to wait for him in such an exposed position, it was perfect! They were right under the halls of residence, everyone would be able to see. What better stage to announce his skills? Buoyed by his impending sense of success, he marched out into the open to meet her, wiping the sweat off his forehead as he went. He began to roll his sleeves up as he neared the centre of the quad. People were beginning to stop and pay more attention. It felt good.
"You're fast. Most people aren't so difficult to catch, I'll give you credit for that at least." He puffed up his chest and let his voice ring a little louder. He had to put on a bit of a show if he wanted to impress a large audience.
Laura pressed a knuckle to her lip in thought for a moment.
"Does it really count as catching me if I was waiting for you?"
John flushed a delicate pink.
"I'm completely going to kill you." I can finish it in one hit. Feint with the left and while she's off guard smack her in the head with the right. That'll put her in her place. If I can finish her off that quickly she might even drop off the bottom of the rankings and get expelled. How sweet that'll be. Feint left. Hit right. Finish her off. Sweet. Ok. John stepped forward.
She slapped him in the face. He reeled back, blinking in surprise. It's almost as if he didn't expect me to hit him, we are in a fight aren't we?
She slapped him again, harder this time. Actually, it might not count quite as a slap. It was a slap that wrapped her arm around his head and completely flattened him. Without especially losing her cool or hurrying at all, she proceeded to place her knee on the back of his head and pin him through his shoulder, face down. I'm glad I wore jeans today, these sorts of pins are difficult in skirts. Ahh, sigh. That was fun.
"guurf ffrrff!" Said John.
"Sorry, what was that?" She released her knee a little to give him room to speak.
"I said get off!"
What? Get off? Huh? Does he not understand? Is this a trick? Is he submitting?
"Um, I'll get off if you submit?" Laura was a little confused so she fielded the command as a question.
"Fuck off, long-hair!"
Long-hair... Is he really going to call me that? That's possibly the worst nickname in all history. And more importantly he's not submitting? But I'm clearly in the dominant position.
"Umm, do you understand that if I continue to do this, your shoulder will separate?" Laura reapplied her knee to his head and twisted his shoulder socket. John responded with a series of enraged grunts.
Is he just a bit thick, perhaps? Is he really going to try to struggle free?
"If you keep struggling, I'll really separate your shoulder, you know. You'll probably be expelled after that."
She gave him enough room to speak.
"Fuck off will I be expelled, I won't drop off the rankings with just one loss!"
"Actually, she's probably right."
Oh, it's my tutor. Amos was his name. How long as he been here?
"That was fun to watch. Quite impressive on your part, Laura."
"Whose side are you on? I thought you were my tutor!" said John. He tried again to break out of her lock so Laura planted him firmly into the ground and extended his joint to its limit. He squealed a little.
"I am your tutor. But I am also hers, if you care to recall. That said, this advice is much to your benefit, truly. You should submit. It's true you won't drop off the rankings with one loss, but with a separated shoulder you won't be winning any fights for the rest of the semester. You'd be picked apart by all challengers and with the number of people watching you get pounded here, there'd be no shortage of opportunists looking to cash in on the weakling. You should submit." Amos took a deep breath. "But, if you don't it's not like I'll lose sleep over it. Laura, you should do as you see fit, break both his arms if you like, it's nothing to me!" He grinned at her, the most friendly, benign, bumbling academic smile imaginable. He's really a pretty scary tutor.
"So, um, John was it? Yes, I'm going to separate your shoulder now unless you submit. Your arm will probably break too, as our tutor said. It really would be better to stop resisting, so please give up in the next three seconds."
She twisted hard. Tap.
John tapped the ground frantically with his free hand. A submission.
"OKAY, very good, very good, what a wonderful show! Let him up now Laura." Amos bustled her aside and helped John to his feet, fussing and brushing him down. How odd for him to do that after telling me to break his arms. Does he care? Doesn't he? What a strange tutor.
"Laura, I'm going to take John to the infirmary, just to make sure he's not got any lasting damage. At least, not to anything other than his pride. Hahahah!"
"Hah... ha..." That was immensely awkward. He might be the worst tutor in the history of tutoring...
"Anyway, you go get some food and find your room and familiarise yourself with all the usual things that freshmen do. It really was an impressive display. I look forward to working with you this year, honour student!"
¬¬. He's just an arse isn't he?
Laura's room was on the second floor of the halls of residence. She had a lovely view overlooking the site of her first university career battle, in fact. She'd eaten, unpacked and arranged her things the way she liked them. Mostly. Some were just wherever. Oh well. It was evening, dark now. She'd received a lot of stares at dinner. In fact, she'd been getting stares all day. The stories and escalating rumours of her battle had travelled fast it seemed. Some would have her ripping her opponent's arm out of its socket while her tutor egged her on. Well, that wasn't actually too far-fetched... She wandered out of her room and down to the bathrooms.
"Isn't that her? The long-haired girl who snapped that guy's arms today?"
"Really? That's her? I heard she punched him so hard he got a tumour."
"You can't get a tumour from physical trauma..."
"Oh. But that was her right? The long-haired one-"
"Yeah! I heard she-"
How did these people actually get in to Cambridge university..? Suddenly I'm not so surprised that we've dropped down the alliance rankings.
Ah. Laura stood outside her room, door shut and locked. I left my keys inside...
Ugh, and I'm not sure where I need to go to get the master key. Porter's lodge or patrol officer? Well, I can use this as an opportunity to make friends with my neighbours. It'd be better to dispel these rumours before they get out of hand.
"It's you, Long-hair girl!"
John's hair no longer had any product in it. It now fell naturally, and had the look of recently being washed. Somehow, he looked less pretentious and more likeable that way.
Heavens spare me. I have to live next to this boy for a year. I wonder if I'll be ok...?