Time to Throw Down: Damage Control

Well, here it is, the day before I begin my week-long trip back to Indiana, and I’m not ready.  I have a dinner to go to and I have no packed.  And I don’t intend to pack until tomorrow morning.  I’m not even certain when I’ll be leaving, but it won’t happen at 3 AM as I’ve done in the past.

I went out skating last night for a couple of hours and my body didn’t like it as much as it had the night before.  I gotta remember to pace myself because I don’t recover from this stuff like I used to.  At best I was able to do five or six laps on the rink before needing a quick rest, because there was fatigue in my legs and I didn’t want to fall.  When I returned home I iced down my right shoulder as it was hurting like hell, and then–

Why, I finished my current scene.

Yes, I did! Aren’t I a good little roller girl?

Yeah, even with an ice pack on my shoulder I finished it up with about five hundred words.  And I could start tonight’s scene, and likely will, which means the story inches over the 175,000 words mark, for I’m like sixty words away from that milestone.

You see, it is coming along.

Yesterday we saw Kerry was down, but we didn’t know how out.  Now we know:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

The school nurse slid her hand scanner into a pocket of her smock. “He has first and second degree burns on his left jawline and neck, as well as his left arm and the back of his left hand. His hair is singed and most of his left eyebrow is gone; we can fix that up in the hospital in no time.” Her tone turned a bit more grave. “His left forearm is broken and he has four broken ribs. Also, I believe he may have a crack in his sternum, but it’s so fine the hand scanners are having trouble picking it up. We won’t know for certain until we get him to the hospital.”

Ramona hated to see any match end this way, particularly when there was evidence of chicanery involved, but she didn’t see that she had any choice other than to do what was necessary. “All right, Bianca. Get the stretcher and let’s—”

“No, don’t.”

“I’m sorry, Kerry, but we need to get you to the hospital.” As tenacious as she knew both Annie and Kerry to be, she didn’t see any point in continuing hurt as he was. “Bianca—”

Kerry groaned as he sat up with a little help from Annie. “Can the four of us speak privately?”

 

Kerry’s busted up and still he wants to talk.  But he wants to take steps to make sure they’re not overheard because…

 

Ramona considered saying no, but changed her mind and threw up a privacy screen around them. “Okay, we’re private.”

He looked up at Nurse Bianca. “Do you have nurse-patient confidentiality?”

She nodded. “Of course I do. The only thing I can say to Coraline or anyone else are those issues that might lead to the injury of others.”

Kerry gave a quick nod then turned to Ramona. “You know what we were doing with those puppeteer rigs here last year, don’t you?”

Ramona’s gaze darted from Kerry and Annie and back. “Yes, I do.”

“And you know who ordered those test?”

“I do.”

“Then you know what Annie and I are training towards once we’re out of school.”

A crooked grin appeared on Ramona’s face. “I think you’ll find there are more people who know what’s going on between you two and the Guardians than you now imagine.”

He didn’t find this surprising.  “Then you know there’s going to be times in the future where I may get hurt like this and I’m not going to be able to the tell someone else to stop so I can go to the hospital.” With his good right hand he gave Annie’s hand a squeeze. “And she couldn’t do that and I neither can I. You have to let me fight Franky.”

 

He doesn’t have to do this, but then, when Annie took a Deconstructor blast and broke her arm, she didn’t have to save Kerry.  She could have just played dead and waited for him to leave and–

Yeah, that was never going to happen.

This isn’t a fight against Deconstructors, but as Kerry sees it, he’s in about the same shape as Annie was when she saved everyone’s bacon on the Link Bridge in KC and he can’t walked away.  And this isn’t rooted in ego–

 

Ramona’s Instructor Face reappeared. “I don’t have to let you do anything, Kerry. I’m the one who decides who fights and who doesn’t, and—”

Kerry exhaled hard as he spoke in a choked whisper. “You send me to the hospital and I guarantee you Franky will call off this challenge. In fact, if I get up to fight and you tell him we are going to continue, he’ll wanna back out.” His eyes went out of focus slightly as he worked through whatever pain held him.

Annie glanced over at Franky as she spoke. “You know he will, Professor. You also know there was nothing accidental about what he did.”

Ramona looked straight ahead for a few seconds as she worked the events of the last couple of minutes through her head. “I think you both may be right.”

Kerry grit his teeth against the pain he was feeling. “I think all Franky wants to do is brag that he got a good hit on me and sent me to the hospital. Beyond that, he doesn’t care about the slight: this is what he wanted.”

“Kerry’s right.” Annie nodded in Frankie’s direction. “Right now, he’s over there talking to Lisa, probably proud over what he did.”  She turned away from that couple.  “We’ve talked about this and thought there was something suspicious about Frankie’s action, and I think something was planned out and this is what they wanted to do.” She affixed a hard stare on Ramona. “The worst Franky could get is detention for what he did. Meanwhile, Kerry goes the hospital and Lisa and he get the brag about how he hurt him.”

 

Does this mean Kerry’s gonna fight even though he’s messed up.

Well…  It wouldn’t be the first time.

Time to Throw Down: Sucker Punch

Well, it’s June and that means it’s Pride Month.  Which means it’s Pride Month on my blog because–surprise!–I happen to occupy a couple of letters in the LGBTQ+ label.  Now, nothing out of the ordinary is gonna happen, though you never know if I’m gonna start show Pride stuff in my posts.  It’s possible.  You never know.

In the continuing story of Cassie the Roller Girl, I went to practice last night and did pretty well.  I managed to actually skate, as in I made it around the rink many times at pretty good speed.  I fell three times, two of them being a flat-out lay out more or less, but other than a couple of bruises I came away from it okay and made it to the end.

 

The upshot of all this is that since I was actually, you know, working out last night, I am sore as hell today.  I’ll get over it, but it’s feels like the shape of things to come.

But let’s hear about fighting–or, in the case, the aftermath of Kerry being hit with a spell and sorta, kinda blown back by a combo Air Hammer/Fireball.  And Franky getting caught with his hand in his pocket–literally.  What does it mean?  Well…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Franky withdrew his hand showing an object which looked like a stick of lip balm. “Just this.”

“That—” Ramona approached the student slowly, recognizing the object instantly. “You have a spell caster?”

“Well, yeah.” Spell casters were enchanted devices that contained a prepared one-shot spell that could be used by a witch who may not be proficient in certain areas of magic or sorcery. “I checked the rules; it says I can use this.”

At the moment Ramona wasn’t concerned with how he got it: she was more concerned with something else— “You’re supposed to tell me you have one.”

Franky looked down, a sheepish look upon his face. “I didn’t know.”

If you read the rules concerning spell casters you know you’re supposed to tell me.” Ramona thrust a finger in his direction. “I’ll deal with your bullshit in a moment; stay right there.” She hurried across the mat to see how Kerry was doing.

 

First off, you have to love that in front of half the student body–and probably a few instructors as well, for they’re invited to these things, too–tells a student that she’ll deal with his bullshit later.  Ramona doesn’t get made often, but when she does you don’t want to mess with her.  And she is not happy that someone jacked with her Judgment Trial traditions.

Now, spell casters:  if you can invent something like a Panic Button, which is pretty much an enchanted object with an teleportation spell set inside, it’s gonna be easy to make something that will do a quick and dirty spell for those who can’t normally.  Franky couldn’t fight Kerry one-on-one, not with Kerry being a good sorceress and Franky not, so it stand to reason he’d need help–and here it is!  Why didn’t Lisa use these?  Because she was called out and the rules say you can have someone fight in your place if they agree.  The rules aren’t there to be liked, they’re there to be followed.

Though Franky was supposed to tell Ramona he had one of these and not go, “Oops, I forgot!”  Which is why she’s gonna deal with his bullshit later.  Right now–how’s Kerry doing?

 

Nurse Bianca was running a scanner over Kerry while Annie knelt beside him, stroking his hair. The left arm of Kerry shirt was blackened by fire and there was an odor of singed hair surrounding him. His eyes were half open, which meant he was unconscious but merely dazed. Ramona knelt down next to Kerry’s left knee with Annie to her left and Bianca across from her. “How is he?”

Kerry chose that moment to stir. His eyes open fully Annie stared at the ceiling for a couple of seconds before he began to moan. “Unnn, unhhh, uhhhhhmmmm, ahhhh…” His body jerked from both pain and frustration. “FUCK.” He closed his eyes to calm himself and slow his breathing: when he opened them he realized who was standing over him and had likely heard his explitive. “Sorry, Professor.”

Ramona chuckled as she patted the back of his right hand. “Given what just happened, you’re forgiven.”

Annie turned her gaze upon her martial arts instructor. “What happened? What was that?”

“Franky had a spell caster in his pocket. I’m guessing he got it from the Spell Center before coming here—something he was supposed to tell me and conveniently forgot.” Ramona looked back over her shoulder where Franky stood. “When I saw his hand sliding into his pocket that’s when I called stop, but Franky went ahead and triggered the effect anyway.” She looked down at Kerry. “Good thing you can get your shields up fast or this would’ve been worse. Bianca, what’s the story?”

 

I told you Kerry was going to drop a f-bomb and there it is.  But, you know, getting set on fire and blasted by of wall of air sometimes wants to make you say stuff like that, so all is forgiven.  For now.  He probably knows he’s not gonna be able to drop that on Ramona in class one day–

How bad is Kerry?

You’ll have to tune in tomorrow, ‘kay?

Time to Throw Down: The Sudden But Inevitable Betrayal

As this is the last day of May, sometime tonight I’ll finish the last scene of my little mermaid story for #MerMay, which means I’ll have something to say about that tomorrow.

In the meantime…  You know how I say I never seem to have enough time to do everything?  Well, just to prove I’m a liar I added something else.  Like–

Yeah, that’s me in all kinds of padding with a helmet and skates on, trying to get fit to be a derby queen.  And last night was killer:  I had to actually lay down three times ’cause I was on the verge of passing out.  Out of freakin’ shape, I am, but if I stick with this I’ll get back into shape by the end of summer.  And maybe even get my old skating form back.

Now, speaking of form–or lack thereof–it’s time to get back to the mat and see what’s up in the Kerry-Franky Throw Down.  Needless to say, go time is here:

 

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

She ended the same way she ended the last judgment trial Kerry attended. “Remember to always respect your fellow combatant during the trial; the greatest honor we show our opponents is when we treat them as individuals and not objects in need of defeat.” She eyed Franky hard as she spoke this last line. “The moment you remove respect for your opponent, you lose respect for yourself. You never want that to happen.”

Ramona walked backwards slowly to her position at the top of the mat. Given the differences in skill twenty-two combatants, Ramona did not expect this match to last long. As soon as Franky removed his jacket and set it aside she straightened and addressed the crowd. “All spectators will remain behind the red lines to keep you protected from whatever happens within this ring.” She raised her arms the protective enchantments into place. “Watch, and learn, from this lesson.”

She looked to her right and left. “I wish you well in this trial.” She slowly raised her arms until they were chest high—

 

So we have Kid Cardiff squaring off against the Newfoundland Kid.  I wanna see a clean fight–

 

Kerry cleared his mind, keeping his eyes focused on the boy on the other side of the mat. For his part, Franky didn’t appear to concerned about what was to happen next. Though Annie and Kerry discuss the possibility that Franky was going to do something nefarious, right now Kerry couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary, though he did wonder why Franky slowly slipped his right hand into his trouser pocket—

Ramona set her defensive spells in place and checked the auras of her combatants to make certain they weren’t powering up spells. “And—STOP.”

Kerry never had an opportunity to comply with Professor Chai’s instructions as the year before him exploded in a massive fire rushing in his direction. Though we wasn’t supposed to use magic, his overriding sense of self-preservation forced him to throw up the shield he was already visualizing. Some of the heat and flames made their way through before the quick-cash shield stopped the effect, but a second later he was struck by an Air Hammer that knocked him off his feet and threw him a meter or two backwards hard into the floor.

Ramona dropped the safety enchantments: the moment they were down Nurse Bianca Gaillard, who was over from the hospital to lend medical assistance should be needed, rushed to Kerry’s side as did Annie. She turned to Franky, who was still in his start position. There was a shocked expression on his face and his hand was still in his pocket—the reason she halted the trial before it began. “What do you have in your pocket? Show me now.”

 

Naw, brah, that shit ain’t about to happen.

Come on:  you knew this was coming.  You knew Franky was going to try something sneaky and do something to Kerry, and in the trailer for this novel you see Kerry getting blasted back during an event at school, so it doesn’t take a great leap of imagination to know what happened in the trailer happened here.

Franky is a little shit who doesn’t always play nice.  And he just did–what’s that thing you say, Wash?

Yeah, that thing.

Yeah, that’s it.  Franky did something to get in that quick sucker punch and Kerry caught it.  Not all of it, but enough that it’s gonna hurt.  But, did Franky break any rules?  Well…

I’m not gonna say–at least not today.

Time to Throw Down: The Comfortable Setup

Looking over my blogging from yesterday and Sunday, I see that I published a total of eight articles in two days–and two articles each on Friday and Saturday as well, for a total of twelve articles published in four days.  Not a bad amount of writing, and I even managed to get out and do stuff once in a while.  Especially yesterday: it seemed like I did get out and do things, but at the same time it seemed like I spent a lot of time sitting down behind the computer.  Which I did.  No getting away from that.

This is going to be a weird week. I could go out and do something tonight; I’m getting my nails done tomorrow; I have to write a TV recap Thursday night, which will likely take up most of that evening; and Friday night I’m having dinner with someone.  But it goes without saying that since I’m returning to Indiana this coming weekend, is highly unlikely I will get any writing done on Saturday after having driven a thousand kilometers.  But we’ll see.  I sometimes full of surprises.

Now that I have Kerry and Franky inside Gwydion Manor, it’s time to get them ready to rumble.  Though, if you remember back to the first time we went through this situation, there is a little bit of tradition each kid needs to go through–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Kerry stepped out of the crowd instead his backpack and jacket down just inside the protective redline, then removed his shoes before walking over to the mat. Though all his items would be inside the protective field shielding the combatants and Professor Chai from the combat, he knew an additional protective shielding would fall over his personal items so they couldn’t be accidentally destroyed. He stepped to the edge of the mat but didn’t step in to the yellow box that indicated where he was supposed to start; as he had seen with Annie’s judgment trial, there was a certain protocol to follow and he didn’t want to come across as some sort of know it all ignoring tradition.

As she did during Annie’s Judgment Trial the year before, Professor Chai stepped into the middle of the mat and held out her arms as a way of quieting everyone. “I welcome all students to this trail and ask that for the duration of the procedures that you remain behind the red line surrounding the mat, which is there for your own safety.

“We are gathered because we have two students who are unable to resolve their differences amicably and the aggrieved party has requested a judgment by trial, which is the right of any student attending Salem. This trial will proceed obeying the rules set down by the Mistresses of Judgment, from the first days of the school until today.” Ramona scanned the students in the room. “And woe be unto those individuals who believe they are above those rules, for they will quickly discover they are not.” She glanced from left to right. “Now, who is the aggrieved party? Step forward and be recognized.”

 

Just like a good programmer reuses code they find in another program, I basically took some of the lines from the B Level novel involving Annie’s Judgment Trial, modified him a bit, and laid them down here in this excerpt.  That was probably one of the reasons why I was able to get through this section rather quickly, though it still required me going through the other novel, cherry picking what I needed, and then making the necessary changes.

Though you’ll see below, I cut out a significant portion of Ramona going over the rules as was done in the last novel:

 

Franky stepped up on to the mat, his shoes off but still wearing his jacket. “That’s me, Professor.”

“Come to the center of the mat, please.” She continued as soon as Franky joined her. “State your name, coven, and class level.”

“Franky Smith, Ceridwen Coven, C Level.” He almost seemed uncomfortable standing in front of everyone giving this information.

“Welcome, Franky.” Ramona glanced to her right where Kerry stood. “Is the a grieving party here? If so, step forward and be recognized.”

Kerry stepped onto the mat and walked directly to the center, after bowing to Ramona—and receiving a bow in return—he gave his identifying information without being prompted. “Kerry Malibey, Cernunnos Coven, C Level.”

Ramona glanced at each boy. “Welcome to Gwydion Manor. Before we continue, I must ask: can this disagreement be resolved without combat? Franky, as you are the aggrieving party, you must decide on this matter before we can continue.”

Franky shook his head. “He called me an idiot and made disparaging remarks about my girlfriend. I’m not gonna let that go.”

“I understand.” Ramona turned to Kerry. “As the aggrieved party you have to right to walk away and ask for administrative punishment. There is no shame in reconsidering your decision and leaving the matter to the instructors, whom I am sure would come to a quick decision.”

Even though Ramona was letting Kerry know that if he were to walk away it was unlikely he’d receive any detention, Kerry was aware that if he backed away from Franky, he’d become a source of ridicule. “It was just a heated discussion, Professor, not one really worth getting called out over. That said—” He looked at Franky and smiled. “I’m not walking away from this one.”

“As I would imagine.” Ramon approached the two boys and stopped when she was about half a meter away. “Then we will proceed with the Trial—” She began going through the instructions for what would happen during the trial and the overall outcome depending upon whom would win. When she asked if there were any questions, none were asked, so she proceeded on to what they could and could not do during the match, as well as detailing the penalty system. “Do either of you have questions?”

Franky shrugged. “No, Professor.”

Kerry faced his martial arts instructor when he spoke. “No, Professor.”

Ramona raised her hands. “Face each other and bow—” As soon as they finished she pointed to the white rectangles at opposite ends of the circle. “Go to your respective start positions.”

 

There you have it: the combatants are in place and the spells are ready to fly.

So who’s going to get off the first blow?  You probably have to wait until tomorrow to find out…

Time to Throw Down: Bringing People Together

Here it is, Memorial Day, and in The Burg it’s rainy as hell.  While people were likely still sleeping, or at Lee staying comfortable under the sheets, I headed out for breakfast, something I do on a regular basis whenever there’s a holiday.

 

Yes, we have a Denny’s in the area, and starting out the morning with steak and eggs and coffee is not a bad way to go.  After I’m done with this post I’ll start on my Sense8 recap, and when I’m finished with that I’ll head over and get some ribs over at the Artfest a few blocks away.  This was dinner yesterday:

When I return I get out the first of two mermaid excerpts I need to write, maybe watch a little Mr. Robot, then work on the novel before finishing off the evening with the last mermaid scene of the evening, which will get me all caught up on that story.

In other words, no big cookouts for me: it’s going to be another day of massive writing.

The scene I’m working on, the first part of which I’m excerpting today, has been going rather well. Last night it did well over eight hundred words, and when I have worked on this scene the fewest words I’ve written were right around seven hundred.  I don’t know that things are going easier, but it does appear that I’m making my way to the scene rather effortlessly.  As always, the biggest obstacle I have is simply getting started, but it seems that as of late I’ve been more eager to start writing, and get into writing, and get it done.

So maybe this is a turning point: maybe I’m getting back into the swing of things.  We’ll see, ’cause I’ve said this before and I’ll probably say it again–and just because instead doesn’t make it true.

In the meantime, it’s time to get Kerry and Franky on the mat.  But before that happens, there’s all the preliminary stuff:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

As seem to be the case whenever word got out that either Annie, or Kerry, or both, were about to engage in combat at Gwydion Manor, a sizable number of students appeared so they could watch the action. By the time Annie and Kerry arrived, they estimated at least seventy students were present, which was nearly half the enrollment of Salem. Annie, however, did not see this is a good sign. “I can’t believe this many people are showing up to watch you go up against Franky.”

Kerry didn’t take Annie statement as a slight against his ability. On their walk to the Tesla Science Center for their Practical Super Science class, they continued to express disbelief that Franky believed he could go up against Kerry and win his judgment trial. “Not only that, but who is spreading around word that we’re going to do this?”

“That answer is easy.” She spied Franky and Lisa standing on the far side of the combat mat. “He tells Lisa, Lisa tells her friends, her friends spread the word to their friends. Before you know it half the school knows what’s going on.”

Kerry glanced about the room. “Literally.”

Annie turned to face Kerry, coming as close as necessary so as to not be heard by anyone else. “You need to be careful. There’s a lot about this I don’t like.”

He nodded. “Don’t worry; I’m good.”

She cast her eyes downward for just a second. “Do you need to take another dose?” Annie referred to the gel caps Coraline gave him after their visit to the hospital and his examination. She told him they would help with the raging flux of hormones with which he was currently dealing and to take two more in the evening, as well as tomorrow morning, if he continued feeling stressed out. She was quite aware that what Coraline had given Kerry was nothing more than a light dose of the same hormonal medication Coraline gave to girls suffering from PMS. As she didn’t know how Kerry would react to that news, Annie felt it best not to mention anything.

He shook his head. “No, I feel good.” He reached into his jacket pocket and gave her the tin with the six remaining pills. “I think it’s best if you hold on to this, though.”

Annie took the tin just as Professor Chai walked into the Manor. “It’s like you’re about to start.”

He removed his backpack and slipped out of his jacket. “Better get this over with.” He wrapped his left arm around Annie’s shoulders and gave her a warm, slow kiss. “Wish me luck.”

“You’re not going to need it.” She nodded toward the mat. “Go on.”

 

In case anyone was wondering you now know: Kerry is being given PMS medication to keep his hormones balanced.  Because why not?  One hopes Coraline tells him what she’s giving him after he becomes a she, because by then who will care if she freaks out?  Actually, she should be on medication so she probably won’t be able to freak out, so that’s good.  Though after she transitions back to Male Kerry, there will be that hint of understanding that he was getting PMS medication so he could chill.

Yeah, this kid is getting his mind messed with in a big way.

Since the festivities are about to begin that means the magic is about the fly.  Still thing Frankie’s up the something?

Maybe you’ll find out tomorrow.

The Kali Test: The End

Yesterday was a good writing day.  I wrote almost twelve hundred words in the morning, came home and wrote eleven hundred word TV recap, then ended up writing another two hundred and sixty words later in the evening to include something I meant to include in the morning, but didn’t.  Add all that up, and I wrote close to twenty-four hundred words, something I haven’t done in quite some time.

That doesn’t mean I’m back in the groove: it simply means yesterday was a good rating day.  The trick to all this is doing something like that nearly every day, and not just on a Sunday in April.  Most times I’ll be lucky to get five hundred words a day.  But I have to say, yesterday felt good.

Since I’m on the way to ending Chapter Eleven, here’s the end of the test scene.  And you knew this was coming; why wouldn’t you?  But based upon what you’ve seen so far, this ending is a little unusual–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Covered in blood and winded, they were both catching their breath when fifteen seconds later music stopped and silence fell upon the test surface.

Ramona waited until she was absolutely certain that Annie and Kerry were the only creatures moving on the other side of the safety enchantment before casting it away.

She waited a few seconds for her students to gather their bearings before speaking. “The test is concluded. Based upon the final results—”

Kerry turned toward Ramona and Helena and screamed at them, raising his arms and hands in the air. “What was that bullshit?”

Annie stepped around the bodies on the floor as she wiped blood from her face and eyes. She, too, was not happy, and the moment she was alongside Kerry she also yelled out her frustration. “Koĭ postavi tozi shiban test zaedno?”

Ramona quickly raised the safety enchantment, putting a barrier of silence between her angry students and the rest of the people in the hall. She turned to Helena and shrugged. “Apparently they have some questions.”

“They’re not the only ones.” Helena turned to her left as she sensed Isis walking away. “Where are you going?”

 

The kids usually stick by their mantra of “A good sorceress keeps their head about them while everything is going to hell around them.”  But nothing is going to hell around them anymore: that’s already happened, things to them.  And these kids get just as frustrated and confused as adults, who often vent her frustration once a momentous task has completed.  Plus, when you add in the fact that both these kids are raging hormone factories, it’s easy to understand why they lost their cool and started screaming.  At their instructor.  In front of a room full of people, including the Head Sorceress.

Fortunately, Ramona is fairly even-tempered and she understands that emotions run high at times, particularly when you’ve been in a difficult match.  Also, it’s likely fair to say that the kids aren’t known to start screaming and swearing at the same time while in the Advanced Self Defense class–and you know Annie swore, because Kerry is already mentioned that usually when she’s upset and says something in Bulgarian, it’s likely she’s cursing.  You’ll find out in the following scene what she said.

So it’s probably a good idea to let the kids simmer down, or at least get rid of witnesses–

 

She held her tablet at her side as she addressed the Head Sorceress. “I’m finished with my side of this test, so there’s no need for me to stick around.” She tapped something on her tablet screen then looked up at Ramona. “My people will be by in the afternoon to collect the Spy Eyes. Shouldn’t take too long to get them out of here.”

Ramona nodded in acknowledgment. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

“Cool. See you ladies later.” Isis juanted off.

With the Chief of Security gone Ramona now turned to the students who’d observed the test, with a few appearing to have not handled the bloody spectacle well. “This test is concluded. For those while visitors, you are free to leave. For those of you remaining for class, I will need about twenty minutes to clear the testing surface so that we may start. Feel free to mill about outside: I will call you when ready.”

Students filed out of the Manor and it was empty save for the two instructors and the two testes standing on the other side of the safety enchantment. Ramona took a deep breath. “I think we can continue our dialogue.”

Helena nodded toward the two students. “By all means, let’s.”

 

Testing is done, so Isis isn’t needed anymore.  Or at least she seems to think so.  This will get brought up in the next scene as well.  Hell, a lot of things get brought up in the next scene…

Since Ramona and Helena are pretty easy-going in most situations, they’ve given Annie and Kerry time to cool off.  That time is over: now it’s time to talk.

 

The Self Defense instructor removed the safety enchantment and addressed her students. “Have you had time to calm yourselves?”

They answered simultaneously. “Yes, Professor.”

Ramona approached and stopped two meters from them. “According to the rules of this engagement, you have successfully completed this test. Will see to it that the results are passed along to the appropriate authorities.” She gave them both a quick smile. “Go clean up and change, and once you have you’re both free to leave.”

Annie looked the most surprised of the two. “We don’t need to return for class?”

A soft chuckle escaped Ramona’s lips. “I think you’ve both proven that there isn’t any need for you to work on forms or spar today.”

“That’s for sure.” Helena moved up closer to Ramona, though she knew better than to stand next to her at this point. “Erywin, I, and a few others are heading into Boston about eleven to have lunch and do a little shopping. Why don’t you come out to the Instructors Residence when you done cleaning up? You can relax a bit before we leave.”

Both seemed happy to hear this news. Kerry reached out and gave Annie’s hand a squeeze before responding. “Thank you, Professor.”

Annie smiled as she returned to squeeze. “Yes, thank you, Helena.”

“All right, then.” Ramona straightened slightly. “Face me.” Annie and Kerry turned to face their instructor and bowed as she did. When they straighten Ramona wave them away. “Go on: go clean up.”

The instructors watched Annie and Kerry make their way through the carnage they left behind only to stop just past the last of the bodies so that they could share a short kiss. When they finished they both cast a glance back before heading off to the locker rooms and vanishing.

Helena rubbed her eyes as she chuckled. “Love among the zombies.”

Ramona only partially turned to head to look at the sorceress. “Didn’t you ever do that after test?”

“We didn’t have homunculus as nice as the ones you make.” She turned towards Ramona. “When I get back from Boston this afternoon, you and I are going to have a little discussion about what just happened here.”

Ramona crossed arms and gave her friend an unconcerned look. “Believe me, Helena; I want to talk about this.”

 

There you have it: the kids get to kill a bunch of zombies in front of the third of the student body, they then got this work their instructor, and then they were released from class for the rest of the day so they can go hang out in Boston with other instructors.  All in all, not a bad day–or, I should say, a bad four minutes, as that’s all it really took for them to establish themselves as the Bad Ass Zombie Killers of Salem.  And given what was seen, and the rumors that will come out of what was seen, one has to assume that anyone who calls these two out now is simply looking for a beating.

That doesn’t mean that neither of them won’t get called out–

And now that the fighting is done, it’s time for the instructors to ask a few questions…

The Kali Test: The Third Phase

Just like yesterday there won’t be much for preamble; were going to get right into the action.  And this one is going to be a little different than the first two phases, because anything goes as far as my kids are concerned.

And as for going to see, that may be true for the zombies as well:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

He stepped away from the mess he had created and cast a glance at Annie as Ramona’s voice boomed out again. “Third Phase: all attacks allowed.”

As is happened the last two times the homunculi crossed the white line at the same time, but rather than run at them this time all six seem to mill about as if considering their options. Kerry wondered if they were trying to run out the clock and press them for time: he knew Relax pretty well and figured there was perhaps a little more than a minute until the end of the song, so the possibility existed that these were programmed to put a lot of pressure upon Annie and he in the last thirty to forty seconds.

Annie was considering another possibility, however. In the previous two phases the homunculi attacked three on one and were always defeated. With the likelihood that the test was winding down if there was any possibility of them failing the test, it would occur now. And the best way for that to happen was—

Five of the pseudo-zombies broke for Annie while the remaining one ran at Kerry.

 

Besides the fact these homunculus are fast, this is the first indication we get that they could be working together, which means it’s likely they’re something more than just simple homunculus.  And they’ve decided to going to gang up on Annie, because if they can take her out the kids fail the test.

The only problem with this plan is they have to take out Annie…

 

It didn’t take a genius to figure out what could happen—and Kerry certainly didn’t consider himself a genius. While Annie could handle herself, there was always the possibility that in a five-on-one battle one of the homunculi could get lucky and bite Annie, which would knock her out of the test and cause them to fail. At this point their odds of winning were far better if they worked together…

Kerry decided not to mess around. As soon as his attacker was close enough he sidestepped the attack and pushed hard on the homunculus’ back, driving it toward the safety barrier a few meters behind him. The creature hit it hard and was momentarily disoriented, but before it could determine the boy’s location Kerry threw a fireball and engulfed it, then follow that up with a Air Hammer that slammed it back into the safety enchantment once again. He figured between the damage it had taken from the combined attacks it was either out of commission or disoriented enough that it would be unable to continue.

He sprinted toward Annie.

Annie was prepared for the multiple attacks heading her way. She positioned herself near line of shadow and immediately cut a shadow ribbon long enough to be used as a whip. She twirled it around her head and encircled the neck of the first homunculus to approach her. With it firmly in position she gave the shadow whip a hard jerk. Blood sprayed everywhere as the shadow ribbon sliced into the zombie’s neck as it stumbled forward beyond Annie. She whipped her left arm around and blocked a grab from a second homunculus before slamming it in the chest as hard as she could with a flat palm strike that she felt crack its sternum. She swept it aside with her right arm as she blocked an attack from another homunculus with her left.

 

Keep in mind Kerry’s only a few meters from Annie so for him to sprinted over to her takes a matter of three or four seconds seconds.  And Annie, as well as Kerry, are actually moving about a bit trying to avoid attacks.  It seems like their standing in one place, but as was indicated in the second phase, Annie was having to adjust the grip on her sword because of all the blood that was coming off of the different attacks, and this would lead one to believe that she’s moving about as she setting up for strikes.

But the truth is is hand-to-hand stuff goes quickly and can be over in a matter of seconds.  And in that last paragraph above we got to see Annie perform the moves she did in the trailer I wrote for this novel–said moves including blood squirting from the neck and broken bones.  Yes, Annie is a vicious little girl and no one should trifle with her.  Then again, Kerry through a homunculus at the safety enchantment and inflamed it with a fireball–and if you’re paying attention, that means he did both in the direction of the students, as they are standing directly behind the safety enchantment. I hope they had a good show.

So let’s wrap this sucker up–

 

Kerry caught one of Annie’s homunculus from behind and got his left arm around its neck, then planted himself and forced it to the floor with a cross body throw. He stomped its left knee, breaking it, then turned to the fake zombie on his left and threw a right fist/left palm smash/right elbow smash into its right eye socket and skull, staggering it badly. He stomped down on the right ankle, smashing it, and threw it on top of the last homunculus he’d disabled.

Out of the corner of her eye Annie saw the second homunculus she repelled beginning to recover, which meant she didn’t have much time to deal with the third one. She drew back her right arm and thrust it forward, extending her index and middle fingers. She and drove them as hard as she could into the homunculus’ eyes, hoping she’d pierced the fore brain. The creature staggered away, damaged and unable to see, giving Annie time to craft Exsanguination and toss it at the second zombie. It bled out explosively and Annie managed to catch two sprays in the face and chest before it went down.

Seeing that Annie had her situation under control Kerry did a quick sweep of the room. The burning homunculus was still on its feet and staggering in his direction. He fired a couple of Air Hammers at the two on the ground at his feet, killing them, then crafted an Air Hammer using dark energy and fired it off at the burning zombie. The creature came apart when the sorcery attack hit, throwing a half dozen pieces in various directions. He turned around in time to see Annie kick her last homunculus to its knees, come up from behind, and snapped its neck with a head twist.

Covered in blood and winded, they were both catching their breath when fifteen seconds later music stopped and silence fell upon the test surface.

 

So there you have it: exploding burning zombies and Annie snapping some poor homunculus’ neck by hand.  Neither of these kids are playin’ and they finished their tests successfully just in the nick of time.

Which means everything following is going to be nice and sweet, yeah?

Ummm…