Energia: Titans of Verità
Table of Contents (For Catching Up)
Her opponent got up immediately, stumbling her way to the arena. She clutched the rail as she moved, apologizing to everyone she passed in a slurred voice. Everyone wrinkled their noses at the stench of alcohol as she descended.
Anna, however, didn’t move for a long time. She eyed Alex as he took his seat. How the hell did he do that? Some kind of martial art? Or maybe there was some kind of weakness in the armor. No, that couldn’t be it. The chest plate was a solid sheet of impenetrable metal! It didn’t make any sense!
The Russian met her gaze and smiled broadly. As if he knew what she was thinking, he raised a hand and flexed his fingers. He nodded towards the arena. Get going, he seemed to be saying. Show me what you can do.
Tommy audibly shuddered. “What kind of a freak is that guy?!” he muttered. “How was that even possible?”
Eitan stroked his chin slowly. “I don’t know…” he whispered. “Maybe he used the force behind his blow to send a shockwave through the armor?” he shook his head. “No, that doesn’t make any sense. The armor should have shock absorbers for something like that…”
Their voices seemed to be planets away from Anna. She never took her eyes off of Alex, even though her opponent was standing and waiting for her. An excited smile crossed her lips. Alright, she thought as she stood. Watch me go, stalker! She slipped the helmet on, tightened the straps around her jaw, and ran to jump over the guard rails. The armor squeezed her pounding chest claustrophobically, but she didn’t care. The rush of movement that came with the room turning into a blur was far too exciting to worry about the trivial things.
She took her place across from her opponent, who swayed back and forth where she stood. Her eyes were wide and distant as if she couldn’t see her own shadow. Anna felt heat bloom in her chest. She took a deep breath, forcing her rage down. Focus, she reminded herself. Don’t let her under your skin. Just win.
“READY?” the judges yelled. Anna held her arms up to her face and planted her feet, taking a boxing stance that she had seen boxers use on TV. Her opponent only laughed and spun slowly in place. How had this person gotten this far?
Her eagerness overtook her, and Anna charged. She kicked off with a rapturous boom, shooting her body forward like a bullet. The wind lashed against her face as she closed the distance between her opponent in a sightless blur. Her boots screeched against the metal floor as she came to a stop. She had overshot herself and stopped ten feet behind her opponent.
It took every drop of Anna’s will to not holler in excitement! She spun her body around, feeling the E-Suit’s energy flow through her body like a dull and addictive heat. This time, she did her best to refrain from going full throttle as she charged again. Her body came to a halt mere inches behind the drunk. Grinning, she curled her fingers into a fist, pulled it back, then aimed at the back of her head.
A moment before the blow connected, her opponent swung out of the way, laughing absently. As she spun around her as she passed, the giggling woman struck the center of Anna’s back with a flat hand, knocking her off her balance. As her twirl came to an end, the drunk hammered the back of Anna’s head with a closed fist, sending her falling head first onto the cold, dented steel.
Despite the sheer force of the blow, Anna felt no more hurt than she did in a typical street brawl. Her ears were filled with a quiet ringing, her vision swam in a pool of oil, and her back throbbed where she had been it. She quickly got back to her feet, fighting against the aching that slowly spread across her body. Her opponent seemed to trip on her own feet, nearly falling over herself as Anna got ready. But this only made her laugh more.
Careful, Anna reminded herself. She returned to her stance and planted her feet. Don’t get carried away.
This was easier said than done. The temptation of letting loose still tickled the back of her mind. She could feel the power coursing through her entire body like a current of boiling water. Every inch of her skin tingled with warmth. The first attack, while ineffective, had been the most satisfying movement she had ever made. Her body yearned to strike again, to put this new power to use. Despite her injuries, she felt untouchable. She was done watching the storm. Now, she was the storm!
Her opponent eyed her distantly, smiling and chuckling absentmindedly. She swayed back and forth at a slow, even tempo that was almost hypnotic. But she made no move to attack.
Anna’s patience ran its course. She dashed forward, keeping herself low as she ran. Each step sent ecstatic tingles from her heels to her waist. Her fist flew forward in another jab, this one aimed much lower than the last.
This time, when her opponent spun out of the way, turning into a spiraling blur of silver, Anna followed her course. She planted one foot, using it as a pivot to turn after her foe. Her other arm swung around in a wide arc, slicing the air as it passed. This time, the drunk blocked the blow. A tingling wave rippled from Anna’s wrist to her shoulder. Her breath vanished.
This same tingling arose again as Anna blocked her foe’s counterattack. The drunk aimed a slap at Anna’s head, which she deflected with her free hand. In a split second, she grabbed the attacker’s arm with her own, drew her other hand back in a fist and drove it into the drunk’s stomach. The tingling rippled from her fingers into her whole body. A metallic tang like a gong being struck shook the air.
For the first time, Corentin’s smile vanished. In the moment of impact, her face convulsed in pain. Her face became a shade of pale green as if she were trying to keep everything in her stomach where it was. Then, with an ear-shattering boom, she flew backwards and through the wall, leaving a deep hole in the wall.
As she soaked in the unparalleled satisfaction of her attack, Anna didn’t hear the quiet click in her armor. She failed to notice the plating around her chest loosen, freeing her breasts from the tight, cold grip. Instead, she focused on the hole in the wall and waited for her opponent to emerge.
When she finally did, her rage was immediately apparent. Either her drunken façade was broken, or the sheer impact of the blow had sobered her up. Her helmet slipped off, letting her short brown hair tumble down into her eyes. She stumbled towards Anna, arms raised and ready to fight. Then, her eyes rolled back into her head, and she fell forward onto her face.
A judge immediately leaped from the stands and put a finger to her neck. They raised a metal hand into the air. “Applicant Anaïs Corentin is out! The winner is Applicant Anna Ironchase!”