My face hit the dirt so hard I was seeing stars. I rolled to my feet and caught the foot heading for my face. The pain stung my hands as I brought my foot up to connect with her chest. She stepped back and brushed herself off, her eyes finding me again. Well, that's not exactly true, she couldn't see me with her eyes closed but it sure felt like she could.
This was completely embarrassing. I had come here to finally prove that I'm worth Patrick's time only to get stuck fighting one of his lackeys; the weakest lackey no less. It was infuriating, to be completely outmatched by the weakest link when all I'd wanted to do was put Patrick in his place.
I sidestepped her swing only to have her elbow play patty-cake with my face. A pain in my gut was the only evidence that her knee had been there for a half-second. I jumped back to avoid a kick that would have turned my arm into jello. She was unrelenting with her assault, seeing my movements before I made them and acting with out sight.
I glanced to the sidelines to our teachers, whom were watching with interest. They wanted to see which one came out on top so they could give top tier to the ones that deserved it. The students around them, including Patrick, also watched but they saw more than the teachers. The teachers were looking simply for the potential. All they wanted to do was find the best and promote them; increase their strength and reach in the Other Lands.
The Students were like vultures. I was the underdog, who had no hope against Patrick, but they watched because if I succeeded, then the rumors of Patrick's invulnerability would be destroyed. If I failed, I would be the laughing stock of the entire class for years to come.
So if I'm beaten by his weakest of friends than that just makes it worse. I didn't want it to be worse. I wouldn't be able to stand the horror of all those people laughing at me. I turned back to Christina's fist as she took advantage of my distraction. An attempted duck had her knee teaching my chin a physics lesson, and my sight blurring over as I tasted blood on my lips.
Was this how it was supposed to be? Was I always supposed to take second place? Would I ever get to fight Patrick? I wouldn't let that happen. My hand slipped into the waistband of my pants, pulling out the small knife I'd stored there. I saw a brow on Patrick's face raise as he noticed what I held. The teachers wouldn't stop the fight until a clear winner was shown, so anything was allowed and Patrick could do nothing.
I knew that she hadn't had her knife training yet, so she was at a disadvantage. I saw her leg swing up and brought out my blade to intercept. I heard her cry out as it cut her deeply. This time she fell back to get away from my blade flitting back and forth, inches from her face. I could see desperation in her face, along with a twinge of something else; something I had craved from the beginning.
Fear was my ability. Manipulation, manifestation, and projection of fear as long as it was present. Until now she had been fearless, but my knife had taught her humility and forced her to fear me. I felt drunk with power as I soaked in her fear. I felt the laughter bubble up and opened my mouth to reveal it to the world.
The sound that came out was a scream of pain. My groin felt like it had exploded into flames and Christina stood up, her boot smacking my weapon away. A loud, "Ooohh!", could be heard all around me; everyone watching shared my pain as I fell to my knees. I felt my chin bone turn to mush when the tip of her other boot slammed into it with a force I'd yet to ever feel. I sat there as the world slowed down, watching her spin slowly to use other body parts to teach me more about pain.
The laughter would start soon. I was beaten, completely destroyed by someone who had been considered weak. Even after I had my power backing me up, she still thought her way through the battle enough to redefine pain.
Why? Patrick was always a step ahead, always above the rest and making even the teachers worry. Staying with a tight group of friends who were considered the elite, and never wanting anyone else to sit on his throne of conceit.
I woke up a few hours later on a bed in the infirmary. Patrick was sitting on a chair watching me.
"Oh, good. You're okay." He smiled that high and mighty smile, "I was worried that you wouldn't wake up."
"Came here to gloat? I lost, you don't have to rub it in."
"No. I actually came here to warn you, because I used to think that you were the type to always play fair." Patrick leaned in close, his face angry, "The next time you bring a knife into a fair fight, I'm going to give her one too. Understand? You think that she was dangerous with just her hands and feet? Wait until she introduces your insides to the floor."
There was no fear in him. None. He wasn't lying, and there was no ego on his face. The silence lasted for minutes as he stared at me.
"I didn't go there to fight her." My voice was barely audible and the pain in my chin was slowly becoming more evident, as if reminding me of the lesson I'd learned, "I went to fight you."
He stood and walked to the door, "If you can't beat her, than you won't last three minutes with me." With that, he left.
Three weeks later, he was removed from the academy and sentenced to janitor duty.