“Ok Juewuhl. Use your Shroud again, but this time make it a little different.”
I allowed the fan to disappear as I considered how I could do that. I could add another arm to the blade… but it’d still be a fan. Unless I could form other sharp circular rotating objects… I envisioned a buzz saw that I had used in Wood Shop class. It had a medium sized blade, lots of small sharp teeth, and it spun very fast. My sleeve turned black once more and shaped into a nearly perfect replica of a buzz saw. It even sounded like one too.
I swung at one of the dummies experimentally. There was a shower of sparks and my arm was jerked to right because the blade couldn’t bite into whatever material the dummy was made out of. I tripped and fell to the floor, my arm twisting under me as I did so.
I was about to die on my own Shroud.
The blade was inches away from cutting into my stomach when my fall was arrested. I turned to look behind me and saw Traynur, sleeve black, holding onto me with an abnormally long black arm.
I let my buzz saw become part of my black sleeve as Traynur set me on my feet and spun me to face him.
“Why did that happen?” He asked, trying to turn the near-death experience into a teachable moment. I wasn't in the mood for one.
“Because you didn’t tell that the dummy was that strong! What, is it indestructible or something? Was that not important enough for me to know?” I had let an edge of panic and anger creep into my voice. “I almost died Traynur! I was lucky that your Shroud happened to be capable of saving me. Fitting, seeing as it was your fault in the first place.”
Traynur simply watched as I ranted at him. When I finally ran out of things to say, Traynur lifted my head so I was staring him in the face.
“That accident was no one’s fault but your own. You assumed. You were not careful. You did not use your most powerful weapon. You didn’t even bother to ask me what the dummies were made of. I wouldn’t have told you if you had asked, but at least it would have shown that you possess some measure of forethought.
His calm demeanor set me off again. “I did not assume anything other than the fact that you might try and help me learn something! Instead you nearly let me get killed!”
“You don’t assume?”
“Alright then. Let’s spar. If you have truly learned everything I have taught you, even with your rudimentary grasp of your Shroud, you have what it takes to beat me.”
I could have backed down, but I was too riled up. I wanted to fight Traynur. I wanted to use my Shroud and cause him injury. I truly believed I could beat him.
I couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
I formed a fan with my Shroud and envisioned it spinning so fast that it blew Traynur backwards.
I succeeded in messing up his hair.
Without letting it phase back into my sleeve, I morphed the fan blade into a buzz saw, and envisioned a second one forming on the opposite side of wrist, just below my palm. My fist now had one saw on top and below it.
I swung a fist at Traynur who grabbed me with Shroud enhanced arm and held me just far enough away so that I couldn’t reach him. I wanted to launch the blades of my fist right into his face, but I couldn’t seem to make them come off.
“Is that the best you can do?” I found myself saying. “Too much of a coward to let me close enough to you? You’re pathe-“
He threw me into the air so hard that I hit the ceiling. Imagine your gymnasium. That’s how the high the ceiling was in here. I was stunned as I fell back through the air and back towards the ground. Not that I could have done anything to stop myself from falling.
My back began to sting and I was twisted and fell I could see Traynur launching little black blobs that separated into needle-like darts.
How could he do that? He never told me he had more than one Shroud!
He caught me before I hit the ground and proceeded to launch me into the wall. His arm thinned out into a whip and swished and cracked, leaving red lines of pain all along my body. Then the rope retracted and Traynur’s arm came alive with black tongues of flame. He began to throw little balls of the stuff at me, and while they black, they still burned. I screamed in pain as the balls of fire grew bigger and bigger. Then they stopped and Traynur’s chest and back grew black and molded a pair of wings. He flew into the air, nearly brushing the ceiling, and then dove.
Right at me.
I now realized why the others had so much fear and respect of him. I know realized that I had been wrong. I hadn’t stopped to use my brain.
At the last second Traynur spun and caught my face with his foot. For the second time in two days my vision faded to black. Traynur had been right. I hadn’t considered that he might be a Poly-Shroud. I hadn’t considered how outmatched I was. I hadn’t considered how idiotic my actions had been. To put it simply,
I had assumed.