Chapter 191

               As Roy hurtled forward, he caught sight of Will sprinting across the ground next to him, and heard a familiar yip of excitement as Violet hurled herself into the air. It brought a smile to his face as he realized that, aside from the professor calmly staring down their charge, there was no one else in the combat arena. He was on the three man team, now he just had to prove he had a right to be there.

                With a grunt of effort, Roy ratcheted up his speed, leaving Will well behind. None of them knew what Professor Cole was capable of, but as the resident tank it was his job make her show it. Hit and get hit; that was what Roy could do better than anyone else in this match. Hell, better than anyone else in his class, really. He surged forward, raising the bat in his right hand but keeping his eyes trained on the target. Heavy as the bat might be, Roy needed to try and overrun her to make sure she came out swinging. A dodge would tell them diddly shit, and would leave the others exposed.

                At first, it seemed like Professor Cole would do nothing, she remained rooted in place despite the two hundred plus pounds of Roy Daniels bearing down on her. He was only a few steps away, close enough that he might had clipped her with his bat, when she struck. The cloth bandages around her arm snapped out, moving as quickly as a scorpion’s tail, grabbing Roy by his arm, torso, and leg, and hurling him over her on a crash course for the wall.

                The impact registered, but Roy was largely unhurt as he quickly scrambled to his feet. In fact, he felt better than he had before the attack. He’d done his job; Professor Cole was finally showing them what ability she had. Roy didn’t exactly understand bandage manipulation; he merely trusted the others to make good use of the information.

                By the time he has re-oriented, Professor Cole’s appearance had changed. Various weapons extended from her body, each with a hilt or handle firmly wrapped by those ever-present cloth bandages. She had a flail, two swords, and a hammer in her cloth grip, as well as a third sword held in her actual hands. The cloak on her back seemed to have flared out and extended more than usual; a detail that Roy filed away as probably important but not something he could use at the moment.

                A spiked chain flew at the professor from up high, moving so quickly even Roy barely saw it from his vantage point. Professor Cole, however, had no such issue; easily knocking the attack away with one of her bandage wielded weapons. Violet pulled the chain back up and glared down, clearly trying to piece together a new venue of attack. Across the room, Will was holding his staff down low in a defense manner, the wheels of his mighty mind turning as it processed the new information.

                “If you all want to have any shot of impressing me, you’ll need to attack together,” Professor Cole informed them. “Otherwise, I’m afraid none of you will do well enough to earn a satisfactory grade.”

                “Works for me,” Roy grunted, bringing his bat back at the ready. A charge wouldn’t work; he was assuming she could make a lot more of those cloth tentacles than she already had, which meant he’d just get flipped around more. No amount of muscle control would help him when she could grab his entire body. He was going to have to slug this one out up close and personal.

                “Wait!” Will yelled, but it was too late. Roy was already pounding across the floor, bat at the ready. He pulled in close, then took a sudden leap forward, hoping to catch the professor by surprise. Rearing back as he came down, Roy slammed the bat at her, certain he could knock away any weapon she used to block with. After all, it was Professor Cole herself who’d told him that in a real fight, power would win over parrying. Roy stayed vigilant as the swing came down, ready for any of the extended weapons to meet him mid-attack.

                It was because of this that he was utterly unprepared for the shock of seeing Professor Cole’s cloak surge upward, coming between she and his bat like a flowing shield, and suddenly turning stiff as he made contact. Roy expected for the attack to be slowed as the cloak wrapped around it, maybe for her cloak to somehow pull the bat from his hands. What Roy wasn’t expecting, couldn’t have anticipated, was what actually happened.

                Roy’s extra-heavy bat, swung by a Super with incredible strength, bounced off the simple cloak as the blow was stopped completely. He was so surprised that he didn’t even noticed the cloth tendrils that snapped out, grabbing his legs and throwing him across the room once more.

                “What the fuck,” Roy sputtered as he pulled himself up for the second time. “I mean goddamn, What is that cloak made out of?”

                “My guess would be regular cotton, possible with some of the extra dense material you use as weights turned to thread and sewn in as well,” Will said. Roy noticed how close he was to his fellow student, and quickly realized that the professor had just used him for a ranged attack. Suddenly, Thomas’s trick in Close Combat seemed a touch less novel.

                “No way that thing is made of cotton,” Roy said, hefting his bat to his shoulder.

                “She’s a material manipulator,” Will replied. As they watched, Violet darted in for another attack, this time getting up close and personal just like Roy had. Her drop attack missed by quite a ways, but it did succeed in making the professor have to dodge, the first time it had occurred during the fight.

                “A material… oh fucking hell. That’s why she wears all the clothes and cloth bandages,” Roy said, snapping to it at last. “You think her material is cotton?”

                “It would be the similar component in everything she wears. Based on what she’s shown so far, I think the material either has to be in close proximity to her or making contact with her skin for her to control it. Otherwise she could have made our own uniforms attack us,” Will told him.

                “So she can use all that stuff on her like extra limbs, plus it looks like she can turn the stuff hard and tough whenever she needs to defend.” Roy looked at his bat and noted a fresh new dent, right at the place where he’d tried to attack the professor.

                “And that’s only what we’ve seen so far,” Will said. “Luckily, I have a pla-”

                Will was cut off as Violet was hurled across the room, smashing into the wall next to them, only a few feet from the crater of Roy’s last impact. She hurriedly pulled herself up, just in time to hear the professor’s voice.

                “Alright, that should be enough time for you all to get adjusted. Now I’m going to start fighting for real.” Ends of bandages rose from her body, writhing in the air like thin white snakes. More and more kept coming, until Roy lost count around two dozen and the exact number no longer seemed relevant.

                For the first time, they could see bits of Professor Cole that lay under the bandages, which unfortunately included the wicked grin that pair unsettling with the gleam in her eyes. Just as Roy was wondering how on earth he’d come at her, his concern was made pointless. Professor Cole rushed forward, bringing the fight to them.