Roy caught the fist aimed at his head and twisted it to the right. Stella let out a muffled groan of pain as her shoulder was jerked and her body sent sprawling. Roy turned to intercept the next attacker and received a kick in the ribs from a highly-dense foot. The only sound he could manage was a muffled cough as he doubled over, trying to catching his breath.
“Gotta be quicker than that,” Violet scolded as she stepped back so he could recover.
“And here... I thought... chicks... dug... lasting power,” Roy wheezed out as his lungs did their best to recuperate.
“Real women need speed and longevity,” Violet said, flashing him a smarmy grin of her own. “Speaking of, how you holding up, Stella?”
“Arm is sore,” Stella growled. “No worries, though, I’ll get him back.”
“Good,” Violet said. “Because in twenty minutes it’s your turn.”
“Fuck to the yes,” Stella said, stretching her limbs as she finished standing up.
The three of them had been going for a few days like this, doing one-on-one fights at first, then progressing to two against one. They were each doing some exercises in their own time as well. At the end of the day, however, they all subscribed to the same mentality: the only way to prep for a fight is to fight. A lot.
“That’s enough girl talk,”’ Roy said, rearing up to his full height. “I’ve still got twenty minutes left, and I want to see just how well you two can double team a man.”
“I swear, it’s like he wants us to aim for the balls,” Violet sighed, taking a stance and bracing herself.
“Well, let’s be honest,” Roy said. “With ones as big as mine, it’d harder not to hit them.”
Stella and Violet exchanged glances. After several days of Roy’s banter, they were getting used to his thinly-veiled attempts to rile them up so they’d come at him harder. That said, they were also very much beginning to enjoy when it was his turn to get attacked.
* * *
Camille exhaled and shifted her position. The sun was just cresting over the horizon as she sat on the hill, knees situated on a soft yet durable blue mat. She was doing yoga, as she did most mornings, though this time she was doing it outside. She was near the edge of the campus, away from where most people traveled, but still within range of being discovered. That was the real point of today: to risk people seeing her.
She wasn’t indecent; she wore a baggy shirt over a sports bra and some cloth pants. She was just making strange motions with her body and that was a little embarrassing. Camille didn’t particularly like to be watched; she didn’t like to stand out in the crowd. It was undoubtedly a survival mechanism left over from her years of abuse at the hands of neighborhood bullies who hated her for being different.
Camille inhaled and rotated her legs. None of that mattered anymore. She wasn’t the weirdo of her school, she wasn’t the outcast cowering behind the bushes, willing her pursuers to not find her. She wasn’t helpless. Camille was a Super. She’d owned that term for years now, and if she wanted to take it to the next level, that meant keeping her concentration in the face of distractions.
A set of voices reached her ears from some distance away. They were getting closer; soon they’d come upon her doing her morning exercise. Her breath tried to catch in her throat, but Camille refused to let it. It was fine if people saw her. It was okay to be noticed. There was nothing wrong with being seen. She had to come to terms with that, because if it came to a point where she had to use her full potential in this test, people were going to notice the living crap out of her. And she had to push through that. She had to be strong. No matter what, she had to advance to the next year.
She knew that He would advance. He would undoubtedly be here next year, fighting and training and laughing and growing. He would be one step closer toward being a Hero. And He would need someone to heal him.
Camille exhaled as she lowered her hips and raised her shoulders. She heard the people walking by her, felt their eyes as they noticed the small, pale-haired girl stretching in the sunrise. She felt the blood rise in her cheeks, but otherwise showed no response. Soon the voices passed and Camille changed position again.
He would be here next year, and He would unavoidably get himself into trouble. He would get hurt. So Camille and her power would be here, too. That’s all there was to it.