My first memories are no different from those of hundreds of thousands of other children of my Clan. I was born in the heart of the Dark Empire, a place where only one thing matters: power. There are many different Clans in the Empire, but mine is by far the most powerful, the one that controls the territory and the Clans that live there. Every Clan has a specialty, something to differentiate them from the others; our Clan specialty is war. Most Clans recognize our supremacy, those that fail to acknowledge our rule end up regretting it.
To be able to be the best at what we do, we need to start early. Since birth, every child in the Imperial Clan is taken to one of the training facilities across the Empire, I was taken to the Burrow: a hole in the ground, hidden from our enemies, a labyrinth of caverns accessible only from the Imperial Palace. That is how my life started, like everyone else’s, as one of the children of the Imperial Clan.
Every child spends the first five years of their lives in the Nursery, there we begin our training, even before we are able to speak or walk. The principal things we learn are obedience and discipline. A powerful army is built upon disciplined soldiers, without it soon crumbles to dust. We also learn the basics of fighting, the ground work for attack and defense. However, the most important thing we learn in the Nursery is the ability to control our powers, so we don’t hurt ourselves or others with them.
In our fifth birthday, no matter if we are mutants or psychics, we are considered mature enough to learn how to use our powers, so we graduate from the Nursery and go into the next area, the School. I was taken to telekinesis training, where I learned how to control my power and use it as a weapon in battle. I was, since the beginning, one of the best in my class. My teachers said that I was a natural, and in a short time, I could surpass my older classmates.
The next area in the Burrow is the Training Camp. There’s not an age requirement to go into the following area, admittance is based on ability and control. The trainers visit the School regularly to search for new recruits for their groups. Most children spent around five years in the School before they are able to attract the attention of any of the trainers, but after only three years, I was recruited by Dame from the Maxima family, and promoted to the Training Camp. That by itself gave me a good reputation around most of the students, but also gave me a few enemies, some of the older students were not impressed that someone younger than them was getting ahead of them.
Just two years into my training under Dame, my life changed forever. It was then that my life finally started.
“As you know, once a year, everyone over 13 years old is gathered for a test: a survival race. Those able to cross the caverns that separate the Burrow from the Imperial Palace are deemed worthy to join the adult world. Those that fail the test and are unable to complete the race are returned for another year of training. If, after another year of training, the recruit fails again, then is labeled as unworthy of being a soldier of the Empire and becomes a slave.” We were, as every morning, standing in line in front of Dame receiving our orders for the day. Dame was tall, and unlike her students, and most trainers, that had shaved hair, she had a long and beautiful black hair that flowed almost to her waist line. “None of you are old enough to participate in the race. Hoshi’s group, on the other hand, is full of students ready to enter the race. He has requested assistance with their training. Today you are going to the training area number four to help Hoshi’s group. They won’t go easy on you, so do your best. Decaro, you’re in command.”
“Yes, ma’am!” Decaro answered. He was Dame’s second in command and oldest in our group. He was a good leader, and I liked him. He used to say that I would look like Dame when I grow up, but I didn’t think so. Yes, we had the same black hair and red eyes, but she was far too beautiful and strong.
“Remember, this is only a training session. Those of you with psychic powers don’t use them unless your opponent is using powers or is too strong for you to handle with physical strength alone, and follow Hoshi’s orders, unless they are in direct conflict with mine,” said Dame before dismissing our group.
Decaro guided us to the training area where Hoshi was waiting for us. Hoshi was one of the older trainers in the Burrow; he used to be the most respected one, but rumor said that his past glory was fading quickly and that the race was his last chance. For the last three years, none of his students had been able to finish the race; his current group had two failed students. They were the survivors of Hoshi’s group from last year, and they were in danger of becoming slaves. His only chance for redemption was to make sure that his entire group made it to the other side. He couldn’t afford another failure, or he would be facing the same destiny of them.
“It’s about time kids. I thought I would have to wait all day for you” Hoshi wasn’t as impressive as Dame, but he was tough and had a bunch of scars that gave him an intimidating look “you girl, and you too, go into the training area,” said Hoshi signaling Pentiota and me.
“My name is Trilambda, Sir. She’s Pentiota” I tried to introduce us to Hoshi, as Dame had taught us, but he ignored me and started to shout instructions to his group.
Pentiota was our group’s most-recent acquisition and only a few months younger than me. We entered the training area, a circle deep in the ground, with just one entry point, the walls surrounding it were taller than us, about 6 feet high, from the top the rest of our group was watching us. A few moments later, one of Hoshi’s group joined us. At first, I was expecting someone else to join us. I thought that we were going to have a two versus two fight, but then I recognized Unzeta, the strongest student in Hoshi’s group, and his favorite, his opportunity to get his entire group to the other side.
“Be careful Pentionta, that’s Unzeta, he’s strong and dangerous, pay attention,” I wasn’t sure what was worse, Pentiota’s fear or Unzeta’s mocking expression.
“Welcome girls, shall we begin?” before we could answer Unzeta attacked us, punching and kicking with incredible speed. I could block most of his attacks, but Pentiota couldn’t keep up and received a harsh punishment, the last a powerful kick to the stomach that sent her to the ground fighting for her breath. Unzeta started to kick her before she had the chance to stand up again, showing that he was not afraid of dirty tricks, for some people it didn’t matter what you had to do to finish the job, but Dame had taught us the importance of honor. A common soldier could get away with that behavior; a true warrior didn’t. I attacked him, and while my punches didn’t seem to bother him, they accomplished my objective, distract him and buy Pentiota time to gather herself and stand up again, unfortunately, it was not enough for her to get outside of Unzeta’s range.
Before I could do something, Unzeta took a dagger out of his boot and stabbed Pentiota in the back. She screamed both in surprise and pain as he continued stabbing her again, and again. I was too shocked to react. I just stood there and saw how Pentiota collapsed to the ground and how she tried to crawl to the exit, but she was too hurt, before she could reach the exit, she just broke crying, unable to continue.
“Cheater!” I shouted when my voice came back to me. “We are not allowed to use weapons, this is an unarmed combat training.” I tried to punch him, but he dodged me easily. I tried to kick the dagger out of his hand, but I only got a nasty cut in my calf, so I kept my distance and tried to gather myself.
“What’s wrong kiddo? Are you scared?” Unzeta was laughing at me, and that made me angry.
“I’m not a kid! And I’m not scared of you, you coward!” I tried to attack him again, this time I was being cautious. The dagger in his hand, gave him an advantage over me that I couldn’t ignore, and although his laughing was making my blood boil with anger, I had to keep myself focused and analyze the situation. I could see Pentiota shaking in the ground, and I was worried about her. No one was coming to help her; the entrance was blocked, and I had the feeling that it wasn’t going to open unless I did something to stop Unzeta.
As the fight progressed, my attacks started to be less effective and his more accurate, in just a few minutes my arms were covered in scratches. It was as if he could read my mind, but I didn’t feel any presence. I focused on my enemy and analyzed him, just as Dame had taught me, after a few exchanges I understood what was happening. Unzeta was a mutant, a copycat. He could learn my movements and use them against me. As Unzeta learned more about my fighting, the less effective I was against him. However, I wasn’t defeated yet; he could be a powerful mutant, but I was a psychic, and that gave me the upper hand.
I backed off slowly, without taking my eyes off of him. He mocked me, thinking I was scared and trying to escape. I kept enough distance between us and waited for him to make the first move. I saw him change his grip on the dagger. He shifted the position of his feet, and when he ran towards me, I punched the air, mimicking what my mind and my powers were doing. He didn’t expect the punch to reach him from a distance of six feet, and he was surprised when I hit him square in the chest. The dagger fell out of his hand, and I used my telekinesis to throw it away from him.
The main reason of my fast climbing up the rank of the School was my telekinetic ability. Most people with telekinetic abilities had control over one specific element, but I could move anything, as long as I was able to see it. I was also good at projecting my movements; I could throw a punch with my mind and cause as much damage as if I was using my own hands. For me, fighting with my mind was as tiring as fighting normally. Dame always warned me about abusing this ability, she told me to avoid fighting like that. But to defeat Unzeta, I required staying out of his reach, and this was my best chance.
“It looks like the little girl has a few tricks of her own, telekinesis?” I didn’t like the way he was looking at me. I must confess that it was rather intimidating, and although I haven’t taken my eyes off of him, it was hard for me to follow his movements “This is not going to be as boring as I first thought.”
He was being extra careful now that he knew about my telekinesis. He moved out of the possible trajectory of my attack every time I tried to use my telekinesis. He was busy trying to dodge my attacks and wasn’t attacking; I didn’t notice that his movements had a purpose until he reached his dagger and recovered it. From his other boot, he produced a second dagger. Both hands were armed, but it wasn’t a problem, as long as I could stay out of his range.
I tried to tear the daggers out of his hands using my mind. I focused my power in one of his hands and was distracted when he threw the other one at me, I moved out of the trajectory of the dagger, and Unzeta took the opportunity to run towards me and throw me to the ground. Before I could react, he seated over me and pinned me to the ground. He drove one of the daggers through one of my hands nailing it to the floor while he held my other hand with his left hand. Most telekinetics used their hands to control their power, and Unzeta was trying to keep my telekinesis in check, but I didn’t depend on my hands. I could focus my power using my eyes too, but before I could do it, Unzeta started punching my face, and I had to close my eyes instinctively. I tried to escape, but I couldn’t move. I had to use my powers; it was the only way. I did my best to ignore the pain and open my eyes. I focused my attention on his left hand, and I tried to pry open his hold. It was difficult, so I focused my energy in one finger. I pulled until it broke, it was the pain that made him lose his hold, but he didn’t stop hitting me, so I was forced to use my now free arm to protect me. Next I focused my power in the dagger pinning my other hand. I took it with my mind and threw it to Unzeta, stabbing him in the chest.
After that, everything happened too fast. It took me a while to understand what had happened. To piece together the fragments. I saw Unzeta’s surprised face as in a dream; I felt the warm blood falling over me as he took the dagger out of his chest. I saw him flying away, and I didn’t realize that it was me who had pushed him until later. I saw him stand up and try to walk towards me just to collapse again as his knee folded at an unnatural angle. I heard him scream, for a moment that was the only thing reaching my brain, and then. Everything exploded around me: I realized that I had defeated Unzeta. I heard his group shouting, unable to believe what was happening, I heard my own group worried about Pentiota, but above all, I felt the pain in my own body. I took a moment to absorb what had happened and to understand what was going on around me. Finally, the rest of my group had reached Pentiota, and I could see that they were worried, something was wrong with her, and that made me mad; it wasn’t fair! She couldn’t die so easily! I started to walk toward her. I had to see how she was; I had to help her, but before I could reach her, I felt a strong hand around my neck. I felt the need of air, but I couldn’t breathe.
“How dare you to injure my best student?!” Shouted Hoshi.
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