Chapter 2: The Return
Lea headed straight to the one place that could train her to become the world champion. She headed to Alonso's gym, her previous gym. It had been a long time since Lea went back to the gym, she didn't know if the gym was still open, she could only hope that it was. Lea arrived to the street that the gym was located. Some mighty power answered her call because the gym was just across the street and it was still open. It was the middle of the afternoon by the time Lea got there, and she could see people in there. Even after knowing that, Lea couldn't go in, and she knew why. She didn't left in the best terms with everyone. Sliding in just like that would have been a waste of time because they would kick her out of the gym, so she decided to do something else. Lea was going to wait for Alonso to come out and try to talk to him alone. If she managed to apologize and convince Alonso to train her once again, Lea was sure that she would get the championship belt in no time, or at least win some tournament. While waiting, Lea saw some of her old gym mates leaving the gym for the day. The first person Lea saw was Salena, the one that greeted Lea on her first day. Salena didn't seem to have changed much in the time that Lea left. Lea could even see Salena's cheerfulness from afar. The next one was Alinda, who also looked the same. Alinda's height didn't seem that much different from before either, she didn't seem to have grown even a single inch. The feeling of Alinda been royalty still floated around her, especially by her looks. The last person that Lea saw was Hilda, who was also leaving the gym. Lea didn't notice it when they first met, but Hilda had some buffed muscles. Lea felt good to see them doing very well, and she started to wondered about their boxing careers. In the past, Lea didn't pay attention to any of her gym mates. She mostly kept to herself and ignored everyone, even her own coach. Lea was mostly focused on herself, she just wanted to keep winning her matches and become rich. Lea found it funny how it turned out, but she knew that she wouldn't make the same mistake twice. If she deserved a second chance, she may be forgiven for the way she treated them.
Lea waited all the way into the night, and Alonso finally left the gym, which was the moment that Lea was waiting for. Unfortunately, Lea realized something very important. She didn't know what to say to her previous coach, so Lea just started following Alonso and keeping out of his sight. That continued for a while, until Alonso turned left on a corner of the street. Lea followed him, but when she turned around the corner, Alonso was waiting for her. That surprised Lea and made her stop in her tracks.
"Can you be so kind as to tell me, who are you and why are you following me around?" Alonso had a frown on his face. Lea still had nothing to say to Alonso, so she said the only thing that came to her.
"H-hello, coach." Lea greeted with a slight wave of her hand, while dropping her head to hide her face.
"Do I know you?"
"Well, I…uh" Lea knew that it will turn out bad if Alonso realized who she was, but it was too late. Alonso took a look at Lea's face and said.
"You have some guts showing your face to me." Alonso started to glare at Lea, which made Lea lower her gaze to the floor. She couldn't look at Alonso in the eye. Lea knew that she deserved that after the way she ended things with him.
"Coach, I-" Lea started to speak with shame in her voice.
"I'm not your coach, remember?" The coach interrupted, making Lea wince.
"What? I don't have all night, what do you want?" Alonso was starting to get impatient with her.
"C-could you…train me again, please?" After Lea asked that, the both of them went quiet, until he said.
"You must be very pendeja if you think I'm going to train you again," answered Alonso with a tone that was calling her stupid. After that, Alonso turned around, and started walking again. After seeing that, Lea started to get desperate, and started to follow him again.
"Coach, please wait."
"There's nothing more to talk about, so leave me alone and never show your face again." Alonso reached a bus that was grabbing passengers and got in. Lea had to stay outside, since she didn't have any money, and watched the bus drive away. Lea wasn't sure what to do at that point. Alonso was her only chance to return to the boxing ring and reach the championship, but he was gone. Lea started to slide away, believing that it was all just a waste of time.
"Of course, what was I expecting? I was such an arrogant and greedy person. What kind of sane person would like to work with someone like that?" Then, Lea remembered the person that helped her, the person that smiled at her, the person that liked to be with her, the person that gave her a reason to return to the boxing world. Lea remembered Julie and the wish to help her. The knowledge lifted Lea's spirit and Lea started to think of a way to change the Alonso's mind. After thinking long enough, she climbed on top of a building, and rested for the night, ready to put her plan into action on the next day.
Alonso was walking to his gym, ready to start another day of work, but he got an unexpected surprise. Across the street, sitting on the sidewalk, was the last person Alonso wanted to see, which was none other than Lea. She was looking straight at him, but not making any attempts to slide towards him. Alonso could see that Lea was wearing the same clothes from yesterday, but that was quickly put out of his mind because he could hardly care about it. With that in mind, he grunted with a frown on his face, and entered his gym. Alonso figured that Lea might leave later in the day to do whatever she did, and never go back to the gym. At the end of the day, Alonso started to close the gym, turning off the equipment, the lights, closing the doors, etc. After everything inside was done, Alonso walked out of the gym and got a bigger surprise. Lea was still waiting across the street, just sitting on the sidewalk. That bothered Alonso, and it put a frown on his face again. So, he just ignored her and went home. The next day was the same for Alonso, getting up from bed, dressing, eating, cleaning himself, leaving his home, getting into the bus, and heading to the gym. Once he reached the gym, he saw Lea waiting at the other side of the street. What was new for Alonso was that Lea was holding a cup and asking for money to the people walking by. After watching that, Alonso came to a conclusion. Lea was a homeless person and she wanted to be trained because she wanted to get money again. With that in mind, Alonso decided to put her out of his mind, disappointed into what Lea had turn into. Then, he walked inside the gym and started his day like always. The next day was the same, exactly the same. Alonso going back to work and Lea sitting at the other side of the street. That was taking effect on Alonso because whenever he could, Alonso would look outside of the window and see Lea sitting on the same spot. The members were noticing that Alonso was distracted.
"Coach, is something wrong?" Said a dwarf as he approached Alonso.
Dwarfs were small people. Never above the 4 feet and 10 inches, but they were one of the most resilient inter-species people in the world. Except for the size, they were very human looking. The only way to tell them apart, was with their strength and the male dwarf's tendency to have a beard.
"No, don't worry about it. Go back to your training." It was easy to tell that Alonso was in a bad mood because he was distracted by Lea, but the members never realized it. That kept going for the rest of the day, Lea sitting outside and Alonso getting distracted by her. Alonso even thought of calling the police, but Lea wasn't doing anything but sitting outside and asking for change. It was like any other homeless on the street, but Alonso was getting tired of it. That continued on and on, until on the seventh day, Alonso got enough of it. Once the gym was close, Alonso walked straight to Lea with a frown. Once Alonso reached Lea, they stared at each other, but Alonso felt something different about it. Lea didn't look at him with annoyed, smug, or angry eyes, but with eyes that were paying attention to him and were full of hope. "Follow me." After Alonso said that, he started walking away. Lea got up and started following him.
Along the way, they didn't speak a single word to each other. Lea didn't want to say anything that might ruin the chance to talk to Alonso. Lea also kept her eyes to the ground, looking at Alonso's feet to know when to turn or stop. After walking for a while, Alonso entered a restaurant and Lea followed him in. They walked to a corner of the restaurant, took their seats, and waited. Lea was looking around the dinner, which didn't look expensive, but it didn't look cheap either. It was a place where someone could get something decent to eat. Lea didn't look at Alonso straight in the eye, while Alonso was looking straight at Lea. Then, an elf waitress greeted them with a smile on her face and gave menus to both of them. Elves were not that different from humans, except for their pointy ears and their love of nature. Both Lea and Alonso had different menus. Lamias ate more than a normal human because of their long bodies, so their menus included a lot of food. Fortunately, it wasn't more expensive than human meals because it would be unfair for the inter-species people. With that in mind, restaurants were given discounts when they bought food for certain inter-species people. While Alonso was looking at the menu, Lea was looking for something cheap that she could buy, but she had very little money. Then, the waitress arrived at their table to take their orders, but Lea didn't give her order. Instead, Alonso ordered for the both of them. He ordered a steak with vegetables and salad. For Lea, he ordered a club sandwich with fruits. As for drinks, Alonso ordered lemonade for the both of them. After taking their orders, the waitress took the menus and left to give the order to the cook. While waiting for their food, they didn't say a word to each other, which made it too tense for Lea and it made her nervous. Lea was saved by the waitress arriving with their food, which would have been a good distraction, if it wasn't for a little problem. Lea didn't know if she had to eat it. She knew that she couldn't pay Alonso back and it would be rude to return it, since it was already made. With that in mind, Lea kept staring at her food, until Alonso said.
"It's going to get cold if you don't eat it." Alonso used a neutral tone, and after saying that, he continued eating.
"Huh?" Lea wasn't expecting Alonso to say anything, so she was caught by surprise.
"Your food." Alonso pointed at her plate with his fork.
"It's…for me?" The question annoyed Alonso and he glared at Lea. After seeing that, Lea quickly grabbed her food and started eating. "Uh, yes, thank you." Her hands were clean because she went to the bathroom before Alonso talked to her. Once they were done with their food, the tension rose up again. Then, Alonso spoke with a neutral tone.
"You got food and drink, why are you still sitting here with me?" He thought that Lea would leave after eating, but she was still in her seat.
"I…need you to train me, please." Lea's eyes were pleading to him.
"You're still with that? Why do you want me to train you?"
"Well, I need the money-" Lea was interrupted by Alonso.
"Ahhhh, so that was it, you just wanted money again, right?"
"No no, it's nothing like that." Lea dropped her gaze to her hands on her tail. "Someone helped me a while back and I just want to pay back the favor."
"Drug dealers? Bank loans?"
"What? No, please believe me. It's not with criminals or anything like that," said Lea, but Alonso wasn't convinced at all. He thought that Lea was just acting, so that he would accept training her again. Then, Alonso thought of a plan to see if Lea was been honest about it or not.
"Come to the gym tomorrow at midday, and then we'll see if it's true." Alonso used a neutral tone again. With that said, Alonso left the payment for the meal, his seat, and started to leave the restaurant.
"Uh, yes, I'll be there." Lea didn't understand what Alonso meant by it, but she wasn't going to give up. She was going to take any chance that she could get.
The next day, Lea went to the gym at midday, and she could see that there were people inside the gym. Lea wasn't sure if she wanted to meet her old gym mates, but Alonso told her to go at midday, so she didn't have a choice. Gathering her courage, she opened the door, and slid in. Inside, she could see that everyone was focused on their training, and Alonso was supervising everything. Once he noticed Lea, he walked towards her.
"So, you came after all. Come with me," said Alonso with a neutral face, and he started to walk towards the ring. Lea noticed three Lamias that were waiting close to the ring. Lea knew those Lamias, but didn't expect to see them all together again. Once Lea and Alonso were close enough, Salena noticed them.
"Hey, coach, what did you gathered us here for?" asked Salena with a bored face.
"Calm down, Salena, the coach must have a good reason to call us here," said Alinda with a civilized voice.
"Probably to test the new girl," said Hilda, who thought that the day was about to be interesting. Once Lea and Alonso reached the three Lamias, Salena started to talk to Lea.
"Hey, are you the coach's new member? The name's Salena." Salena greeted with the cheerfulness that Lea remembered. Lea didn't know if she had to answer or not, but she thought that it was better to get it out of the way.
"Um, I-I'm-" Lea started to say something, but Alinda interrupted her.
"Salena, you're too direct with people. Try to be more civilized."
"She does look like the shy type." Hilda added with a friendly smile. "Now that I look at her, she looks kind of familiar." Hilda started to look more carefully at Lea's face.
"Now that you mention it, she does look familiar to me too, but I don't remember anyone looking like her," said Alinda, who crossed her arms and started to carefully look at Lea.
"Really, have you guys seen her before?" asked Salena in curiosity, and that was when Alonso said.
"Of course you've met her before. This is none other than Lea Anderson." That was the biggest news that anyone could expect. They even heard someone gasp in the gym. The trio was silent, with a blank expression on their faces. Lea didn't know if that was bad or good, and she couldn't believe that Alonso would reveal her name like that.
"H-hello." Lea gave them a shy wave of her hand.
The other members started to murmur. Then, someone broke the silence in Lea's group.
"That's a good one, coach, that sense of humor of yours-" Said Salena, who was starting to laugh, but she quickly stopped when she saw Alonso's serious face.
"What is the meaning of this, coach? What is she doing here?" Said Alinda while pointing a finger at Lea, showing her discontent all over her face. Hilda didn't say anything, but she had a frown on her face.
"I-I…" Lea started to panic at the sudden change, but Alonso started to speak.
"Lea wants to join our gym again."
"You can't be considering it, right?" Said Alinda in disbelief.
"I am, but with a condition." Then, Alonso directed his attention to Lea. "Listen up, Lea, you want to join the gym again? Here's how: If you avoid getting KO'ed against the three of them, then I'll take you in. If you fail, then you can forget about it. Think you can do it?" Lea knew that she couldn't beat the three of them. They have been training for a long time, while Lea didn't pay that much attention when Alonso was training her. Lea knew that, but she didn't want to give up and refused to give up.
"I'll try," answered Lea with resolve in her voice.
"Very well, go get your gloves while they get ready." Alonso pointed at the bandages and gloves close to a column, and Lea slid there to get her equipment. Lea grabbed a pair of gloves and was about to put them on, but she was stopped. "Oye, aren't you forgetting something?"
"Um…" Lea tried to figure out what Alonso was talking about, but failed to do it.
"You actually forgot about it. Oye, Fergus, go help her with the bandages." Alonso wasn't surprised that Lea forgot everything about using gloves.
"All right, coach." After Fergus said that, he headed towards Lea, and started to teach her how to wrap the bandages around her knuckles, fingers, and wrists to protect them. "Now, you can put the gloves on."
"Uh, yes, thank you, sir," said Lea, which turned some heads towards her.
"Did she just say 'thank you'?" Thought Alinda in shock, and she tried to remember the first time that Lea said those words to anyone. Then, Fergus told her to put her breast protector, which looked like a bra. She would have been told to pick up her hair and put it in a bun, but her hair wasn't that long, so she let it loose. After Lea got her equipment ready, she headed to the ring, where Alonso and the other Lamias were waiting. Alinda's hair was long, so she put it in a bun.
"Now, you're going to fight them one by one, going from lower weight division to highest. Are you ready?" asked Alonso.
"Yeah, I'm ready," answered Lea, and she started to get nervous.
"Good, your first opponent will be Alinda." After Alonso said that, Alinda slid into the ring. Both contenders were in the ring and all they were waiting for was the ring of the bell.
"So, she wants to join the gym again? Well then, I'll make you regret that stupid idea," thought Alinda, who was more than ready to fight, especially if it meant preventing Lea from joining the gym.
"O-Okay, this is it. I'm in the ring again, and I'm going to fight Alinda." Lea was nervous to be fighting with Alinda because they didn't get along from the beginning. "She's actually smaller than me, but she doesn't look the least worried about it. She's more experienced than me, so I can't let my guard down." Before starting, Alonso explained how the match would be held.
"The matches will be the same as any other. Three minutes each round, three knockdown rules, but there will be a 3 minute rest in each for Lea to recover as much as possible." Lamias fought as long as male humans because Lamias were tougher than they looked. Their strong lower bodies gave them more stamina and toughness than a normal female human. Then, the signal came, the bell ringed, which started the fight.
They both came out of their corners and started to head to the middle of the ring. Alinda used an orthodox defense with the hands up, while Lea didn't seem to have any type of defense. It was obvious that Lea didn't have any training because she was moving as if it was a street fight. Lea had her hands up, but the hands were too far apart, so it could be said that she was using a brawling style. Alinda had no problem seeing that.
"This is absurd, how does she dare fight me as if I was another street thug? I'll make her pay for that," thought Alinda, who felt a little insulted, but she knew that it wouldn't be smart to rush in because Lea was heavier and had more power than Alinda. "I'll have to rely on counters to bring her down." Lea was thinking something different.
"I have to be careful against her. She's a trained boxer after all, even if she's smaller than me." Lea was cautious, but her face showed that she was ready to fight. Lea kept advancing, while Alinda kept her distance. "I won't get anywhere by being scared. I can't help her in this way." With that thought, Lea charged in and launched a right punch. Alinda dodged by moving to the left and struck with a left jab to the right side of Lea's head. Lea tried to hit back with a left punch, but Alinda backed away, which surprised Lea. "S-she's fast, really fast, it was like she disappeared."
"As expected, she's too predictable. This might be easier than I thought." With that in mind, Alinda stood her ground.
"When I think about it, it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I might be able to survive this round." Even with that knowledge, Lea was careful against Alinda because of her speed. Then, Lea noticed that Alinda wasn't moving, she was standing still. That caused Lea to keep distance from Alinda. "Why is she standing still? She has space to move around." Lea didn't know if she should risk it or play it safe.
Outside the ring, there were members watching the fight, and forgetting that they were supposed to be training. They were also confused by Alinda standing still.
"Why is she just standing there? Is she trying to go into an in-fight?" Said one member.
"No way, it's obvious that they belong to different weight divisions. Maybe she's scared of her," said another member, and they continued on and on, but Alonso knew better.
"Can't believe that they don't know how Alinda fights, after all the time they have been here. She's a sharp out-boxer. She wouldn't do something as reckless as that. She's actually waiting for Lea to attack," thought Alonso.
Back into the fight, both Lea and Alinda were standing still, staring at each other. Alinda didn't want that to continue, so she made the next move. Alinda rushed in, which caught Lea by surprise, and hit Lea's body with a left punch, followed by a right punch. When Lea tried to attack with a right punch, Alinda quickly slid away. Lea didn't follow and stood her ground, but Alinda did the same thing again. Alinda rushed in, gave another left and right punch to Lea's body, and moved away. Lea tried to strike, but she only hit air with a left punch. Lea stood her ground again, but that time, she was going to expect another combination to her body. Alinda rushed in and started with her right hand. Lea blocked the right punch with her left arm, and launched a right of her own, but she exposed her right side. Alinda dodged the right punch, and landed a left punch on Lea's liver, which made Lea groan in pain. That last punch let Lea know that her defense was useless, which got her frustrated.
"Damn it, I can't just stand around or she'll just attack me over and over," thought Lea, who didn't know it, but Alinda wanted Lea to attack.
"Come on, Lea, just come in so I can finish you off," thought Alinda, whose wish was about to be granted. Lea saw Alinda standing still again and took the opportunity.
"I have to attack, I don't stand a chance by being a sitting duck." Lea did something that she would regret doing, she charged in.
"Checkmate." Alinda was waiting for it. Lea started throwing a right punch towards Alinda. Alinda quickly slid to the right, and landed a left hook on the right side of Lea's head. Lea didn't see it coming and took full damage from the counter, making her fall face down to the mat. After seeing that, Alinda simply slid to the neutral corner, confident that the counter ended the match. "It is unfortunate for you, but this shows that you don't deserve to be here."
That didn't end the match because Lea was still conscious, if only a little bit. Then, Alonso started to count.
"T-that hurt…it really hurt. Everything…feels dizzy," thought Lea. She felt like falling asleep, her eyes were slowly closing. "It's obvious…that I can't hit her. How can I…win?"
"Maybe…it was a bad idea. I should just…give up." Then, Lea snapped back to reality after having those thoughts. "Wait, what am I thinking? I can't give up here, she needs my help. I can't let it end here, I just can't!"
"6…7…What the…?" Alonso wasn't the only one surprised. Alinda was shocked by the sight in front of her. Lea was getting up, but she was using the ropes.
"Impossible, I hit her perfectly on the side of her head, which should have shut down the brain. How can she stand up?" Thought Alinda. She knew that her punches were weak against Lea, so Alinda used a counter because it relied on the power of the opponent. In other words, Lea got punched by her own fist, and yet, she was standing up. It took a moment for Lea to fully stand up and put her hands up.
"I…I can keep going," said Lea, but everyone could see that she had some damage on her, and only a minute had passed.
After hearing that, Alinda came out of her corner and the fight continued. Lea knew that her punches weren't going to land as long as Alinda could move around, so Lea came up with a plan. Lea started to charge in, which Alinda expected from Lea.
"If you want another counter, I'll be happy to oblige," thought Alinda, and she waited for the punch, but that time was different because Lea wasn't showing signs of attacking. "Wait, is she trying to get me in an in-fight? I can't let that happen." Alinda started to move away to keep distance from Lea, but Lea continued to follow Alinda. Lea kept showing no signs of throwing any attack, which frustrated Alinda. "I can't knock her down at this rate. I have to lure her in." Alinda was waiting for the attack so much, that she didn't notice that she was trapping herself into a corner. By the time that Alinda noticed what was going on, it was too late because Alinda's back hit one of the corners. "What? When did I get here?" Then, she saw Lea approaching. "Was this her plan all along?" Alinda was surprised by that simple plan, and felt foolish for falling in it.
"I got you," thought Lea, and she rushed in with a right punch again, which was heading to the side of Alinda's head. Alinda saw the punch coming and ducked it. Then, she slid to the right side to escape the corner.
"That was close. I don't think I can take that kind punch from her." Alinda kept distance from Lea, and Alinda decided to pay more attention to her surroundings.
"I almost got her, but I can't let it get me down, I have to keep moving." Lea started to charge at Alinda, and tried to stay close as much as possible. Unfortunately, Alinda was quick and was avoiding the corners. Lea kept chasing Alinda, until Alinda decided to rush in. Lea was waiting for that, so she started the motion to throw a punch with her left hand. That time, it wasn't a straight punch, it was a diagonal uppercut, and Alinda wasn't expecting that.
"I'm too close. I can't dodge that in time." Alinda put her guard up, and Lea landed the punch on Alinda's guard. Alinda wasn't prepared for the power behind the punch. Once it landed, her guard was easily broken, and Lea tried to launch another punch with her right hand. Those around the ring were surprised to see a guard breaking so easily. The weight difference couldn't be given all the credit. There must be some large amount of strength behind Lea's punches.
"This is it, please let it land." Unfortunately, it didn't land because Alinda moved her head to the left, and slipped under the arm. The next move surprised the members, and that move was Alinda sliding far away from Lea.
"Why did she slid away? She could have landed a good blow to Lea's side from that position." One member said..
"Maybe it wasn't a good time to throw a punch at the body. After all, their effects tend to take time." Another member answered. Salena didn't believe that to be the reason behind it.
"Alinda isn't the type to let that kind of opportunity slip by. It does take time, that's true, but hitting the liver tends to do more damage than regular body blows. Alinda might not have moved away as a strategy, but she might have gotten scared of Lea's punch," thought Salena. She knew that very well because she had been training with Alinda for a long time. After seeing that, Salena started to get worried about Alinda.
Back in the ring, Alinda was getting away from Lea, still feeling the power behind Lea's punch.
"My goodness, what a ridiculous strength, my right arm almost went numb because of it. It might have surprised me, but it won't happen again, there's another punch that could end the fight quickly," thought Alinda, who was surprised but far from giving up. Alinda put her next plan into action. She waited once again for Lea to get close. Lea got confident because Alinda moved away after taking a tremendous punch from Lea.
"I hit her, maybe not directly to her body, but I managed to hit her. I can do this," thought Lea with her new found confidence. Then, she recklessly charged in and threw a right punch at Alinda. Alinda ducked the punch and threw a left straight directly at Lea's body. That punch landed where Alinda wanted, directly on Lea's solar plexus. Lea instantly felt the effects of that punch. She started to feel tremendous pain in her body, and that wasn't the worst part. Lea also started to feel out of air.
"What…was that? I can hardly…breathe." Lea froze because of the effects of the blow to her body and Alinda didn't let the opportunity pass by. Alinda hit Lea's face with a right punch, which forced Lea to back away.
"I got her, the lack of air and the damage to the body will make her slow." Alinda started to charge in.
"She's coming, what do I do? What do I do?"Lea started to panic. Out of desperation, Lea covered up by protecting her body with her forearms, and her head with her hands. Alinda saw that, but didn't care, and she started throwing punches. Lea saw the punches coming and prepared herself to block them. Alinda continued to launch lefts and rights. Lea continued to defend and block all the punches. After blocking a few punches, Lea started to move her upper body around while blocking, making it harder for Alinda to hit Lea.
"Wait, it's not hitting, none of them is hitting." Lea was surprised and relieved at the same time. Alinda soon realized what was going on, which left her surprised.
"She started to weave. If that's the case, then there's no point in continuing this. Where did she learn this?" Alinda decided to slide back and started to think in another plan.
No one in the gym could believe it, but they saw Lea use a good defense.
"When did she learn that? Had she boxed somewhere else?" Said one member.
"I don't think so. She must have learned it by mistake," said another member.
"It doesn't matter if it was a mistake or not, Lea is using the defense like nothing. She never paid attention when I was training her, so she never learned it from me. I'm surprised. Lea seems to be a fast learner, but to think she would learn that move out of nowhere," thought Alonso, and he started to realize that it was a good idea to put Lea against them. It would be easy to see her potential, but above all, her determination to fight.
Lea realized what she was doing and decided to keep her arms closed.
"This is working better than what I was doing. I can do this," thought Lea, and she charged in while keeping the new defense. Alinda waited for the attack, but it didn't come, and she realized that Lea was getting close.
"She's fighting in the swarmer style, but she was fighting like a brawler. How can she change so quickly?"Alinda was surprised by that development. Once Lea was close enough, she launched a left punch, but Alinda dodged to the right and launched a right punch towards Lea's body. Lea's left didn't have that much power behind it, which made it easy to pull back. Lea blocked Alinda's right punch with the left arm and quickly launched a right punch to Alinda's head. Alinda quickly used her left hand to block the incoming attack to her head, but Lea's punch sent her hand flying back to her face. Out of desperation, Alinda decided to slide back, but Lea pursued. Alinda threw a right straight at Lea's body, but Lea covered her body and blocked it. At that point, Alinda realized something about the position of Lea's hands. "Impossible, this looks like the Peek-a-boo stance, where did she learned that?"
"Hey, that looks like the Peek-a-boo, right?" A member outside of the ring asked while pointing at Lea.
"Now that you mention it, it does look like it." While the members kept talking about it, Alonso thought.
"It looks like the Peek-a-boo stance because it is the Peek-a-boo stance, but I don't think Lea knows about it. She might have used it without thinking." After Alonso finished that thought, he started to realize that Lea seemed to be comfortable using it. "I'll help her get use to it, if she manage to complete my challenge."
Two minutes have passed and there was no sign of Lea going down any time soon. Alinda was getting frustrated by the second because she couldn't bring down someone who had no training in boxing.
"What is this? This is humiliating, to be defeated by some street thug who can't tell a jab from a straight. I won't let it end like this," thought Alinda, and she charged in. Alinda started to attack with quick hooks in hopes that those power shots would weaken Lea's guard and make Lea attack. Lea decided to throw a left punch, but Alinda dodged by slipping under the arm. Then, Alinda moved to Lea's left and gave a 1-2 combination to Lea's ribs. Lea staggered and Alinda launched two short uppercuts to Lea's body. That made the pain come back to Lea's body, which made Lea groan. That didn't stop Lea and she tried to attack again. That made Alinda slide back because she wasn't expecting Lea to retaliate. "Impossible, what is driving her to keep going? Why isn't she falling?" It was starting to make Alinda nervous, to the point of looking Lea as if she was an abomination.
"It really hurts, it hurts so much, but if I stop here, if I fall again, I might not get up again. All I can do is just keep punching, or I'll feel even more pain," thought Lea, who was determined to keep going, regardless of the pain. She knew that it was getting bad for her, she had to keep punching, she had to keep moving forward. Otherwise, it would go back to how it was, Lea becoming a worthless person and a failure. "I don't want to fail again. I don't want to fail to the only person that gave me purpose." That determination was driving her past her limit. Lea launched a diagonal right upper. Alinda dodged to the left and landed a right punch on Lea's face. That made Lea fall on her back, with Alinda standing tall and heading back to her neutral corner.
"Damn, that must have done it. She won't get up after that," said one member.
"It might be for the best. Those body blows were starting to look very painful." Another member added.
"1…2…3" Alonso started to count. "They might be right, but for some reason, I just don't feel like stopping the match. Why is that?" Alonso believed it to be the end, but he didn't realize that he wanted to see how far Lea could go. Alonso strongly believed that it wasn't all Lea had.
"Finally, it's over. I might not like her at all, but this was becoming more inhuman that it already was. I must admit, I was getting nervous from her abnormal endurance, but-" Alinda's thoughts were interrupted by someone's gasp. Turning around, Alinda saw something that she would never forget in her career as a boxer. Right before her eyes, was Lea standing up again. "N-no way, this is impossible, what is she made of? Why is she standing up again? Can't she see that it's impossible to beat me?" Alinda couldn't believe it, and her disbelief was shown on her face.
"4…5…6" Alonso kept counting. Lea was showing that getting up was difficult for her, but she was still rising from the mat. Also, Lea was breathing hard, showing that the strike was effective. Fortunately, Lea was standing with her hands up, ready to keep fighting.
"I…I can…keep fighting," said Lea, who was breathing hard, and her face was starting to show some signs of swelling, but not enough to block her view. Alinda was shocked to hear Lea say that. Alinda landed enough body blows to take the air out of Lea and cause tremendous pain. No matter the species, Lea shouldn't be able to keep fighting after taking that kind of punishment.
"It doesn't matter, she can't-" Alinda's thoughts were interrupted by Lea rushing in, catching Alinda by surprise. First, Lea threw a left punch, and Alinda dodged to the left, but Lea quickly threw a right punch. Alinda blocked the next attack and the force drove her back. "How…how can she keep throwing these powerful punches? Is this the strength of a previous champion? No, I won't accept that, she's no champion, and I will prove it." Alinda was determined to finish the fight and charged in. Alinda threw a left hook at Lea's body, but Lea blocked it with the right arm. Then, Alinda threw a right straight at Lea, but Lea blocked the attack with the left arm and threw a right punch at Alinda. Lea barely missed because Alinda slipped under the attack and hit Lea's head with a left jab. Lea was able to absorb the jab and kept standing. Lea started to rush in and Alinda threw a left jab to keep Lea away. Lea blocked it with the Peek-a-boo defense without knowing it. Alinda knew the Peek-a-boo very well, she had fought people using that type of defense, which was perfect for in-fighters, but Lea didn't have any training. Alinda, who's an out-boxer, wasn't good against in-fighters and Lea seemed to know that.
"I have…to stay close to her. That way…she can't attack properly." Lea couldn't ignore all the damage that she had sustained, but her determination and wish to help Julie helped Lea to keep going. Unfortunately, even with her determination, Lea had limits.
Outside of the ring, everyone was watching in awe at the strength of a strange Lamia, who could take a counter and still get up to fight back.
"We got to admit it. She's doing pretty good on her own."
"That's true, I was thinking she would be clumsier or commit some foul, but she hasn't done any so far."
"She could become better if she joins."
"If she can join," said Alonso, who didn't want to say it, but he had to admit that Lea was doing pretty good. "If she had listened to me, she would have become better than this." Alonso wasn't showing it, but he was starting to feel hope for Lea. Then, the manager arrived at the gym.
"Hello, coach. Is Alinda sparring with a new member?" Said Alfred, who was always happy to see new potential members. Alonso turned his head towards Alfred and said.
"Oh, Alfred, you arrive at a good moment. That's not a new member yet. She's fighting to see if she can join." Alonso turned his head back towards the match.
"She seems to be doing well, what's her name?"
"You don't remember her? Take a better look at her. Just add longer hair than she has right now." Alonso was about to have some fun. Alfred did as the coach said and it didn't take him long to realize who she was.
"Is that…Lea? When did she get here? I thought she was dead."
"She got here a while ago and has being fighting Alinda for almost the entire round."
"She has lasted this long? Does she have any type of training? Does she remember what she learned on her time here?"
"She didn't learn anything here. She can't even throw a proper jab, but she's learning new things on her own." Alonso had to admit that it was a surprise that Lea was learning on her own. She never followed instructions, so she didn't know any technique. Anyone who remembered her would know that. At that moment, Alonso will see if Lea could last the few moments left in the round.
Lea was still chasing after Alinda, and it could be seen that the both of them were getting tired of moving around. Lea was more tired than Alinda because Lea had taken more damage than Alinda, but Lea refused to give up. Alinda was tired of the fight, and she started to get desperate.
"At this rate, I'm going to lose. I have to risk it all in this last punch," thought Alinda, and she dashed forward. Lea kept going forward, and once she was in reach, she threw a diagonal upper right. Alinda quickly slid to the left and threw a right straight. "This is it, Lea, this is the end for you. This is why you don't deserve to return to the gym." Alinda was confident in her victory because her punch was a few centimeters away from landing on Lea's face.
"No, I won't fail her, I won't," thought Lea. She didn't know what to do to avoid the attack and decided to just take it, determined not to let it bring her down. Fortunately, Lea wasn't punched because the bell ringed.
Alinda stopped her attack before it could land.
"What? No, it can't be." Alinda couldn't believe it. Frustration and disbelief could be seen in her face, but it was true. The round ended and she wasn't able to bring Lea down. "I…I lost to her?" Alinda was never knocked down, but the fact that she wasn't able to defeat Lea, felt like she lost.
"I-it's over? Did…did I won?" The both of them were frozen in the same position, with Alinda having her fist close to Lea's head, and Lea looking at the fist.
"Alright, Alinda, the round is over, get out of the ring." Alonso was worried about Lea getting knocked down again, but he started to calm down. Of course, he wasn't letting it show in his face because he kept a neutral face. Those around him couldn't believe it, but Lea managed to survive the round against Alinda. After hearing Alonso, Alinda pulled her fist away from Lea and started to slide away from her. Alinda kept a serious face so no one could see her disappointment, but Lea stopped her.
"W-wait," said Lea. Alinda stopped and turned around, a frown starting to appear on her face.
"Well, I…I just…" Lea started to look down, getting intimidated by Alinda's gaze.
"Would you just say it already?" Alinda quickly got tired of Lea's stuttering. Lea lifted her eyes off the floor, looked straight into Alinda's eyes, and said.
"I'm sorry." Alinda got shocked after hearing Lea apologizing. That day was starting to give a lot of surprises to everyone. "I…I know that…I wasn't nice in the beginning and…You don't really need to forgive me, but…if you could give me another chance." Lea didn't know what more to say and dropped her eyes to the floor again, but she came up with another way to communicate. Lea took off her right glove and put the hand forward. "M-my name is Lea, Lea Anderson, n-nice to meet you." Alinda understood what Lea was doing. Lea wanted to start over with Alinda, who didn't expect that. She remembered Lea been rude and ignorant with everyone else. After seeing that, Alinda's contempt left her because she didn't see the same Lea from before. Alinda saw another Lea, who wanted to fix her mistakes, and she was starting with Alinda. Lea started to get nervous because Alinda was been too quiet. "I guess…I don't deserve it. I understand." Lea was about to take her hand back, but she felt someone grabbing her hand. Lea lifted her eyes and saw Alinda's hand grabbing Lea's hand. Then, Lea lifted her eyes and saw Alinda smiling at her.
"Alinda Lopez, a pleasure to meet you," said Alinda. Lea also smiled at the sight and the knowledge that someone forgave her mistake. Then, the moment was interrupted by a member.
"Hey, Alinda, are you going to kiss up or what? She has to rest for the next match."
"Shush you. Come on, Lea, you need to rest." Alinda started to pull Lea to the corner.
"Oh, right." Lea almost forgot about the damage that she sustained in her round against Alinda. Once they were in Lea's corner, they got a stool, and Lea sat on it. Then, Alinda asked.
"How are you feeling?" Alinda was worried. She knew that she was pretty rough with Lea, so she expected Lea to be seriously injured.
"I haven't noticed it before, but everything is starting to hurt."
"Thankfully, you have more than two minutes to rest because you're going to need them."
"Because you're next opponent is Salena. Don't worry, I'll be in your corner and help you as much as I can." That calmed Lea, knowing that Alinda, an experienced boxer, was going to help Lea. Unfortunately, it simply calmed her a little bit. Lea could only hope that she was able to survive the next round.