Lamia's Fists

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Chapter 3: Forgiveness

Lea was sitting in her corner, while Alinda was using a towel to wipe off the sweat from Lea's body. A bucket filled with water was close to them, which Alinda would use to refresh Lea. Once the sweat was wiped off, Alinda put the towel into the water and wrapped it around Lea's mid-section, which made Lea groan in pain.

"Does this help?" asked Alinda.

"Yes, thank you," answered Lea with a smile, feeling some of the pain going down. Unfortunately, Lea's face showed that Lea was still feeling some pain.

"Don't worry about it. Now listen, those punches that you were throwing against me, they won't work against Salena. You have to learn better attacks than those," said Alinda with a serious face.

"Can you teach me?" Lea's eyes were sincerely pleading to Alinda.

"I can tell you the most basics, the rest will depend on your ability to learn them as fast as you can."

"Please, teach me." Alinda could see Lea's willingness on Lea's face.

"Okay, pay close attention." Alinda put her hands up in her normal defensive stance. "Now, this punch is called a jab, it's not powerful to KO someone, but it's fast and can be used to stop someone's movement." Then, Alinda threw two left jabs to demonstrate. "Remember to use your left hand for that, this prepares the right hand for the knockout. Also, make the jab quick. To do that, you have to loosen the arm as much as possible and snap the wrist at the right point. Understood?"

"Y-yeah, I'll do my best." It made Alinda happy to know that Lea was ready to learn.

"Good, this will be effective against Salena because she's an in-fighter. She's going to try to get close to you and start attacking with more compact punches. You have to learn that too, make your punches smaller, don't throw long swings because they are easy to predict and dodge."

"Like you did, right?"

"Exactly, you should punch like this." Then, Alinda threw two different punches. "These are hooks and uppercuts. To do the hook, you have to lift the elbow to 90 degrees, bend the arm at the same degree, and twist the body to launch the hook in a horizontal arc. This punch is a knockout one, just like the uppercut. To throw the uppercut, you have to start your fist from the level of your mid-section, and then you rotate your body and throw the punch in an upward motion. You don't need to lift yourself to add power because the power comes from the hip. You need to be close to your opponent to throw it, if you're too far, it will most likely miss. Want me to repeat something?"

"No, I'm all right, thank you."

"No problem." Alinda removed the towel from Lea's body and started to check the damage. "How are you feeling?"

"Much better than before, the pain seems to have lessen, thank you."

"Glad to hear that. Now let me tell you about Salena. As I told you before, she's an in-fighter, she will try to get close to you and start attacking, but she has a specific tactic. What she does first is attack the body, and just body. That's what she wants you to think, once she sees that you drop your guard to protect the body, she's going to attack the exposed head, so you have to be careful about guarding the body."

"How do I know when she's going to attack the head?" asked Lea with hope in her eyes.

"Well…you don't, she makes it very complicated to predict, sometimes she just keeps hitting the body for a full round or two. Other times she hits the head as soon as you drop the guard to the body," answered Alinda, worried that she couldn't help in that area, but Lea didn't seem affected.

"No problem, I'll come up with something if necessary."

"You're right, just like you did with the Peek-a-boo."


"Yeah, the Peek-a-boo."

"What's that?"

"It's the defense that you used against me, don't you remember?" Lea had to think hard on that because she was too focused on surviving the round.

"Nope, I don't even know how it looks like."

"Well, it looks like this." Alinda put the same defense that Lea used.

"That's the Peek-a-boo?"

"Yeah, which is the same that Salena uses."

"So, should I use it?"

"Yes, I think it suits you because you were using it very well in our match."

"Oh, okay."

"Now, let me tell you something else. I'm in the lightweight division, while Salena is in the welterweight division. It's two weight divisions below you, so her attack power would be the double of mine."

"Double?! Your attacks already hurt, but now she has the double of that?!"

"Don't worry. I used counters, so it might not be as bad as before."

"Glad to hear that," said Lea in relief.

"That doesn't make it any easier, you still need to be careful."

"Uh, yes, sorry about that." After that, the coach announced the end of the break.

"Okay, the break is over, seconds out."

"Good luck, Lea. Remember, keep your guard up and attack when you see a chance."

"Got it." With that, Lea got up from the stool and Alinda took it with her.

"If nothing else, you'll have to rely on that tremendous willpower and hope for the best." Alinda remembered the times that she thought she was the victor, only to see Lea get up from the mat and keep going. The memory gave Alinda hope. Hope that Lea will survive the round.

"Salena…she was the first person in this gym to actually welcome me. She might consider this more personal than Alinda, but I can't go easy on her." Lea fears that it might be too late to fix things with Salena, but Lea won't give up until she gave it a try. When Lea saw Salena's face, she could feel anger in Salena's eyes, which made Lea worry. "I-I wonder what she's thinking?"

"I'm going to make her pay for that." That was the only thing that Salena was thinking at the moment. She didn't care if Lea was too injured or not, Salena was going to fight with everything she got. Then, the bell ringed to announce the beginning of the match. Both started to head to the middle of the ring, but Salena charged in using the Peek-a-boo defense.

"Right now?! She's coming already?!" Thought Lea, who didn't expect Salena to attack so quickly. Lea quickly put her own Peek-a-boo defense just in time to block Salena's left uppercut to Lea's body. Then, Salena threw a right hook at Lea's body, which Lea blocked. Alinda saw that from Lea's corner and started to give some advice to Lea.

"Lea, don't let her get the pace of the match, you have to brake her rhythm!" yelled Alinda. She forgot to mention that because she was in a hurry to teach Lea the punches.

"How do I do that? She doesn't give me a chance to attack this close," thought Lea, and she desperately started to think of something. Then, Lea remembered what Alinda taught her. "Close? That's it, the uppercut!" Salena threw a left uppercut at Lea's body, but Lea blocked the punch with the right arm and threw a left uppercut at Salena's body. Salena quickly used her right arm to block the punch, but she was pushed back.

"What the…? What's with that insane power? No wonder Alinda was careful of it," thought Salena in surprise. She wasn't expecting that kind of power behind Lea's punch, especially since Lea used an uppercut. Salena rushed in, but didn't attack. Instead, Salena got closer to Lea, who covered her body with her arms.

"She's going to attack the body again. I'll parry and strike." That was what Lea thought, but it was wrong because she left her head unprotected. Salena took the opportunity and punched Lea on the left side of her head. Lea immediately fell on her side, while Salena headed to the neutral corner. No one expected that quick down in just thirty seconds.

"Oh no, she used a long swing to strike the head, while Lea believed that Salena was going to attack the body. It was completely unpredictable where Salena was going to strike," thought Alinda, who didn't expect Salena to strike and take Lea down so quickly. Alinda didn't like the look of things, and started to worry about Lea's safety. Alinda quickly tried to get Lea up by yelling at her. "Lea, get up, there's a way to stop her from attacking, you have to remember the jab!"

"1…2…3" Alonso started the count again. "Lea really handled Salena's attacks to the body, but you can't expect the opponent to attack the same area twice. Then again, Salena was quick to attack the head. She usually attacks the body a little bit more before striking the head. She must be in a rush to finish this," thought Alonso, who kept counting, and Lea wasn't showing signs of getting up. "4…5…6"

Lea was still conscious, but the world was blurry and she felt like she was spinning around the room. "Where did that come from? Was it an uppercut? Hook?" Thought Lea, and she was starting to get up at that point, but it was easy to see that her consciousness wasn't completely back. Once she was up, she lifted her arms and the match continued. Salena dashed towards Lea, and Alinda yelled at Lea.

"Lea, she's coming, use a jab!" After hearing that, Lea started to throw a jab.

"A jab won't be enough to stop me, I'll just block it," thought Salena. Once the attack landed on her guard, it stopped Salena in her tracks. "Impossible! That was a jab? It was too heavy to be a jab, is it because of the weight difference?" Lea kept throwing left jabs and keeping Salena away.

"That's it, Lea, keep her away from you!" yelled Alinda, but she was worried that Lea might not be conscious yet. "Come on, Lea, wake up."

"I'm hitting something…but what is it?" Thought Lea. Then, she saw Salena trying to charge in, which made Lea throw a left jab out of surprise. The jab stopped Salena in her tracks again and Lea noticed it. "Wait, was I down? I don't remember well, but I do remember that hit just now. It stopped her. I can use the jab to stop her." Lea kept throwing left jabs, preventing Salena from charging in, but Salena was planning on avoiding the jabs.

"The jab is strong, but it has to hit me," thought Salena. Lea threw a left jab again, but Salena ducked the jab and rushed in. Salena threw a long right punch again, but Lea saw the punch and blocked it with the left arm. Then, Salena threw a left uppercut at Lea's body, but Lea blocked it with her right arm. "What? How did she avoid my attacks? Can she read my patterns?" Salena was surprised, but it didn't let it stop her.

"Whoa! That was close, I just saw her right arm move and I just tried to block, and I managed to do it." Lea blocked out of luck, which left her more surprised than Salena. Salena started to attack Lea's body again using a left uppercut. Lea blocked it with the right arm and threw a left hook at Salena's head. Salena ducked the punch and threw a left hook at Lea's body, but Lea quickly blocked it with the right arm. Salena tried a right uppercut to Lea's chin, but Lea quickly moved back and avoided it. Then, Lea threw a left jab at Salena. Salena blocked the jab and tried to rush in, but she was stopped by Lea's heavy jabs.

"Lea learns fast, she can fight me off and defend from me quickly. Was she in another gym before?" Salena was in disbelief. She couldn't believe that Lea, who seemed to just grasp boxing, learned quickly enough just by fighting against Salena. When Salena thought about it carefully, she came to a realization. "Wait, I know how to fight her now."

Outside of the ring, Fergus was watching with a serious expression. "Sir, how is it that Lea learns this fast in just two rounds? I thought that she didn't learn anything in her time here," said Fergus.

"She must have learned to adapt quickly when it came to fighting because of her time fighting in her childhood. In boxing, anything could happen, and you must be ready to adapt to the situation or you will lose." Alonso could see Lea returning to the boxing world, and becoming the world champion once again. "No, it's too soon. Things have changed over the years and she will need training to survive the matches. Maybe, she was serious about returning, but I haven't seen enough yet." With that in mind, Alonso kept watching carefully.

The fight had lasted one minute, and everyone liked the match so far. Once ready, Salena started to put her plan into action. She rushed in and made the motion to launch a right uppercut. Lea saw that and prepared to block it, but Salena pulled the right to throw a left hook.

"Oh no, I thought it was a right uppercut, I can't parry the attack," thought Lea in surprise, and she desperately tried to think of something. She knew that she won't block it with her arm in time, and Salena knew that.

"I got you this time," thought Salena, confident that her punch would land, but Lea blocked it with her right shoulder. "Damn, not fast enough." It didn't matter to Salena, she'll eventually hit Lea by using feints to make her open herself up. Alinda knew what Salena was doing and tried to warn Lea.

"Be careful, Lea, she's going to be using feints! Stay close and put the pressure on her!" yelled Alinda. She knew that it was going to become a hitting contest, but it was the only way to stop the feints. She just hoped that Lea could come out on top.

"All right," thought Lea. With trust on Alinda, Lea opened her Peek-a-boo defense, and threw a right uppercut, followed by a left one. Lea started to throw a barrage of compact hooks and uppercuts, not giving a chance to retaliate. None of the punches was hitting Salena because she was dodging and blocking with her Peek-a-boo defense.

"This is bad. She's throwing them really fast for me to find an opening. All I can do right now is to wait for her to throw a wide swing so I can escape," thought Salena. It was a simple plan, but it was all Salena could do to avoid getting knocked out by Lea. Unfortunately, Lea's punches were too strong and they were damaging Salena to a degree. Alinda noticed that, and she desperately tried to let Lea know about it.

"Keep it up, Lea, it's hurting her!" yelled Alinda. Lea continued her quick barrage of attacks, but her condition wasn't the best at the moment, and she started to slow down.

"This is my chance," thought Salena. She saw the opportunity when Lea threw a right hook at Salena's head. Salena ducked the punch, and stood up with a left uppercut, which landed on Lea's body. Lea groaned in pain and started to slide away from Salena, but Salena didn't let the chance slip away and chased after Lea. Lea was quickly caught and Salena threw a right straight at Lea. Lea moved her head to the right and the punch missed. Then, Lea retaliated with a right uppercut to Salena's body, which hit its mark. Salena groaned in pain and was left bent over. Everyone could tell that it hurt because it was written on Salena's face. That made Alinda believe that victory was close.

"Lea, now's your chance, finish the fight!" yelled Alinda. Unfortunately, Lea didn't throw another punch. "What? Why doesn't she..?" Thought Alinda, but then, she noticed why. Lea was running out of stamina and was trying to recover. "This is bad, at this rate she's going to go down again, and I don't know if she's going to stand up again." Lea was breathing hard, trying to get air back into her lungs, while Salena was still stunned by the force of Lea's punch.

"Just give me a few more seconds, just a little more," thought Lea. Meanwhile, Salena was still trying to recover from the blow to her body.

"What? I can barely…stay up," thought Salena. The attack caused serious damage, but it didn't take her long to recover because of her trained body. Not wanting Lea to recover, Salena started to attack with a barrage of attacks to Lea's body. Lea tightened her defense to avoid as much damage as possible, but her arms were getting tired of the punishment and started to loosen up.

"Oh no, I can't take much more, I have to do something." Lea tried to maintain calm while trying to think. Unfortunately, Lea's guard broke, and Salena started to throw a right straight, but Lea also threw a right straight. They both hit their targets, making it into a simultaneous attack. The exchange forced Salena to back off from each other, but it seemed that the damage done to Salena was the same as Lea.

The members watching the match couldn't believe that Salena was having difficulties when it came to in-fighting.

"Is this true? Salena is the best in-fighter among the other boxers in here. Is it because of the weight difference?" Said one members.

"Could be, Salena is welterweight, while Lea could be in the middleweight. Maybe that's why Salena is having more difficulties taking her down," said another member.

"We have to take into consideration that Lea has taking more damage than Salena and she's in worse shape, so it could be said that they are at the same level right now," said Fergus with a serious face, but he was still surprised that Lea had been holding on for so long.

"Now, the question is, how far can she go?" Said Hilda, who had kept quiet ever since the matches, with a serious face. No one knew how she was feeling because her expression was hard to read at that moment. They believed that she wasn't very happy to see Lea again. Everyone knew that Lea wasn't friendly with anyone, even with Salena, who was the friendliest among them. At that moment, Lea looked different, as if she had changed for the better, but many found it hard to believe.

Both boxers were keeping distance from each other, thinking on how to bring down the other, but it was mostly Salena who was thinking that. Lea was more worried of what Salena was going to do next. Even with the practice gloves, Salena's punches still caused damage.

"What should I do? Attacking would simply lead to another hitting match, but if I wait, she's going to take the advantage. At this point, I can only keep fighting, I can't let Julie down," thought Lea, and decided to charge in. "If it's a hitting match, then I'll keep fighting. No matter how many times I get punched, no matter how much it hurts, I'll keep fighting until the end. This is the only way I can save her." The move caught Salena by surprise. She was still damaged from the exchange, but she was more surprised by the determination in Lea's eyes.

"I thought she would wait for the damage to subside, but she's ignoring it. No matter, I'll beat her up until she falls," thought Salena. Then, she rushed in, not wanting to lose in her own specialty. Salena started with a left uppercut to Lea's body. Lea blocked the attack, and Salena threw a right hook at Lea's body, which was also blocked. Lea tried to attack with a right uppercut to Salena's body, which Salena blocked. After seeing that Lea's face was open, Salena threw a right hook at Lea's face. "This is it, this punch will do it. You will fall here!" Lea managed to see the punch, and quickly lifted her left shoulder to block the attack. Not letting that to discourage her, Salena threw an uppercut with the left hand. Lea decided to slide back, which made the punch miss. Salena tried to rush in, but Lea threw a left jab and hit Salena's guard, stopping Salena in her tracks. Salena tried to rush in again, but that time, Lea did something more. Lea threw a left jab and threw a right straight, making it a 1-2 combination, which stopped Salena and made her back away.

"I just remembered what Alinda said. Use the left to prepare the right. I can't believe I forgot something so useful." Lea gained new confidence from that new combo.

"Again, what a tremendous punch, I have to be more careful if I want to reach her." Discouraged at been unable to set the pace at the moment, Salena waited for an opportunity to attack. Lea kept throwing left jabs at Salena from a distance, and hoping to land a shot at Salena, but it only weakened the guard. "If she keeps throwing those jabs, she's just going to tire herself out, and I'll take her down when it happens. Then again…" Salena started to push forward and dodging the jabs, forcing Lea to slide back. That kept going until Lea reached the ropes without her noticing.

"What the…?" Once Lea realized that she reached the ropes, she knew what was coming next. Salena rushed in and trapped Lea on the ropes. Salena started her barrage of attacks again, blocking any chance of escape for Lea. Fortunately, Lea put up her guard and blocked the punches, but Lea knew that she'll stay trapped on the ropes if she didn't do something about it. Lea threw a right uppercut at Salena's body, but Salena threw a right uppercut at Lea's body. Again, it was a simultaneous punch, which stopped Salena from attacking, but Lea was also affected by the exchange. Salena tried to throw a right straight, but the damage made it weak and Lea easily blocked it with the palm of her glove. Lea attacked, but she was also getting tired, and threw a weak right straight, which Salena ducked. Salena threw a left uppercut at Lea's body, while Lea threw a left hook at Salena's head, which made it into another simultaneous exchange. After that, they refused to stop and made another simultaneous exchange with right hooks. Then, Lea threw a left uppercut at Salena's chin, while Salena threw a left hook at Lea's body. Both punches landed, making it into another simultaneous exchange. The match was becoming something that someone would not see as a sparring match in a gym, and everyone was amazed by what they were seeing.

"Is Salena tired already? She's usually so energetic, that there are times when I believe that she drinks coffee with drugs in it." One of the members said in disbelief.

"She can't be out of shape, she's always working hard, and I don't think she's been slacking off, either," said another member.

"Maybe Lea's punches really hurt that much." They kept talking about the match because they couldn't believe that Salena was getting tired of fighting Lea, especially since in-fighters have a large amount of stamina.

"It's really no wonder that Salena is losing stamina. Lea's punches are powerful, and some have landed on Salena's body. Not only does it cause damage, but it also takes away the stamina of the opponent," thought Alonso. He knew about Salena's stamina, but he knew that it was easy to take away if one knew how. Not only did it turned into a hitting match, but also an endurance match.

Two minutes have passed and both fighters were still exchanging punches, but weak ones. Lea was mostly defending because the damage have accumulated to a point where it was hard for her to move. What kept Lea going was her determination to keep fighting for Julie.

"Salena won't fall, but I won't either, I won't fall after coming this far," thought Lea and attacked Salena.

"I thought she was tired, how can she keep moving this much?" Thought Salena in surprise and blocked a right straight, then a left. Lea's punches seemed to be getting sluggish, but the power behind it was still alive. "Where is this strength coming from?" The pressure was getting to Salena. "No, I need to stay calm. These punches are easy to see, easy to dodge. I just need to stay calm and attack when the opportunity rises again." Lea kept throwing wide swings and Alinda didn't like that.

"Lea, your punches are too wide, she's going to dodge them!" Warned Alinda, but it was too late. Lea launched another wide punch and Salena ducked it. Then, Salena stood up with a right uppercut to Lea's body. Lea couldn't dodge it and took the punch to her body.

"How's that? What are you going to do now?" Thought Salena, who believed that it would end the fight, but Lea didn't seem affected and launched a right uppercut to Salena's chin. "What? How can she keep moving after that? It was a clean hit, what's going on?" Salena was so surprised, that she failed to dodge the punch and it landed cleanly. After that, Lea followed with an uppercut to Salena's body. Lea wasn't showing it, but she felt the punch to her body. She was just trying to ignore the pain it inflicted on her.

"It hurts…it hurts so much, but…I won't let it stop me. I'm going to make it, I'm going to make it, and then I'll save her. I just have to hold on. I have to hold on no matter what!" Thought Lea. Salena slid away from Lea, trying to avoid any more attacks. Salena didn't go far before she was chased by Lea. Lea threw a right straight and Salena threw a left straight, making another simultaneous attack to their faces. That didn't stop Lea and threw a wide left punch. Salena ducked the punch and slid away from Lea, feeling the pressure from Lea's relentless attacks. Lea didn't care how far Salena slid away. Lea was going to keep chasing Salena to the very end.

"Hey, man, Lea is getting scarier by the minute," said one member.

"I know, right? No wonder Alinda couldn't defeat her," said another member.

"She must be made of steel or something." The members kept going again.

"Bueno pues, aren't they boxers too or what? Can't blame them though, Lea have an impressive endurance and incredible ability to adapt to the situation, but most of all, a strong willpower to keep going. I wonder how far that willpower of hers will get her," thought Alonso. For him, it was just the checkpoint to what he was waiting to see. The real challenge would be Hilda, the heavyweight boxer.

The battle continued in the match between Salena and Lea, which seemed to be evenly matched. Neither was showing signs of slowing down or going down, they simply kept fighting. Lea was the one doing the chasing, but she couldn't catch Salena because she had trained to move fast and around easily. Lea was mostly straight forward and couldn't change directions so easily. Salena didn't usually slide away from her opponents. Alinda knew that Salena was waiting for something, and soon realized what it was.

"Lea, stop chasing after her, you're just getting yourself tired!" yelled Alinda. Lea listened and suddenly stopped. Salena saw that and also stopped moving.

"I should have known that Alinda would notice. I can see that Lea is slow, so I could out slide her anytime. I was just waiting for Lea to tire herself out so I wouldn't have any problem fighting her. I guess I have to rely on the old fashion way." After Salena thought that, she charged in, and once again, aimed to attack Lea's body. Lea covered her body and Salena started attacking. Salena started to use a combination that went from body to head, which Lea found hard to block. Lea started to fall into Salena's pace, but she decided to risk it, and threw a right hook at Salena's head. Salena stopped and threw a right overhand punch. Salena ducked, which made Lea's punch miss, while her punch hit Lea square in the face. Lea started to fall over, everyone saw it, and everyone believed it to be over. "That's it. It's over, finally over. No matter who it is, I'm the best when it comes to in-fighting." Salena sighed out of relief at the sight of Lea going down. Lea's eyes were dull. There wasn't any sign of consciousness in them. The world went in slow motion for Lea, she didn't know why she was falling, but she felt like going to sleep.

"My eyes…feel heavy…like, I want to…sleep. Yeah…sleeping sounds…good…very good," thought Lea. Alinda started calling Lea in an attempt to bring her back.

"Lea, don't fall, if you fall, you won't get up again! Keep fighting!" yelled Alinda out of desperation and she started to hit the mat. That seemed to snap Lea back to reality because she regained her balance, but she was barely staying up. Lea's face was starting to swell up again, but she was still able to keep going. Salena couldn't believe what she just saw.

"What's going on? Why won't you go down? I'm going to make you pay, you're going to pay!" Thought Salena. She was becoming desperate because she knew that the round was almost over, and needed to finish it fast. Salena tried to take Lea down while she was recovering from the previous attack. Salena tried to rush in, but Lea landed a left jab and stopped Salena. Once Salena stopped, Lea started her own barrage of attacks, which was more compact and not as wide as before. "She's shouldn't be able to continue attacking this way, she must be at her limit already." Salena didn't convince herself because Lea was still attacking without stopping.

"I'm…feeling dizzy…I can't…breathe well…but…I won't…stop. I have to…keep fighting…I have to," thought Lea. She kept throwing her barrage of hooks and uppercuts, not giving Salena a chance to retaliate or to slide away. Salena was been pushed back to the ropes. Eventually, Salena reached the ropes and got trapped under heavy punches. Unfortunately, it didn't last long enough because Lea started to slow down dramatically and started to take deep breaths. Salena saw that and started to launch a right straight at Lea, but Lea also threw a right straight. Everyone thought it would be another simultaneous exchange, but neither landed because Lea and Salena moved their heads to dodge the attack. They only grazed each other, but that didn't stop either one of them. Salena threw a left hook, Lea tried to block, but Lea's defense was punched away. Salena followed with a right hook, but Lea ducked the punch and landed a left hook on Salena's body, but the damage wasn't that heavy. Lea continued with a left uppercut to Salena's chin, but Salena moved the head to the right and dodged the punch. Salena attacked with a left hook, but Lea blocked it with the right shoulder. Lea started to launch a left hook to Salena's head, while Salena threw a left uppercut at Lea's chin. "This is it! Let it land!"

"This is the end for you!" Unfortunately, none of the punches landed because the bell ringed at the last moment, making their punches stop an inch away from their targets.

Both of them were frozen in place, lacking air and sweating because of the ferocious fight that they had.

"I…lost. I can't believe it," thought Salena.

"It's over…finally," thought Lea, who felt lucky that the bell ringed. Salena pulled her arm away and started to slide away from Lea, but Salena was called by Lea.

"Salena, I…" Lea dropped her eyes to the floor. She didn't know what to say to Salena, the first person who tried to be friends with Lea. Lea figured that it was better to start somewhere than doing nothing. "I know that…you have a right to be angry at me. I…just want you to know that…I'm sorry. I really am." Lea's eyes were hoping for forgiveness, but Salena didn't say anything and kept quiet.

"Come on, Salena, Lea is being sincere with her apology, why don't you forgive her?" asked Alinda, who found it strange that Salena kept quiet. Alinda knew that Salena was someone that easily forgave others.

"Of course I forgive her, but I'm still mad about it," said Salena, who surprised both Alinda and Lea, but Lea was the most surprised because she didn't know what else she did to Salena.

"About what?" After Alinda asked that, Salena answered.

"Lea didn't apologize to me first," said Salena while pointing at Lea. That surprised everyone, and it left Lea with a confused face. Then, Alinda broke the silence.

"You're mad about that? That's the silliest thing you have said in the entire day." Alinda didn't say it, but her face was calling Salena an idiot.

"Hey, it's not silly, she was mean to me first, so I should get an apology first, you dummy dummy dummy." Salena started to act like a kid, but everyone just thought that Salena was just been Salena. It was easy to see that they could get in an argument about that, so Lea started to talk.

"Oh, um…I'm sorry…about that," said Lea, who was relieved that it was nothing serious. Lea's apology brought a smile to Salena's face. Then, Salena raised her arms up into the air in triumph.

"Yay! We're good now. The name's Salena Smith, nice to meet you," said Salena, who extended her right hand to Lea. After looking at the extended hand, Lea started to remember the first day that she met Salena, a friendly and cheerful person who welcomed Lea into the gym. Lea grabbed Salena's hand with both of hers, looked at their joined hands, and said.

"Lea…Anderson. Nice…to meet you." Lea greeted with teary eyes and fighting not to cry over it. Lea was very happy about Salena forgiving her. After that, they heard someone talking to them and they turned towards the person.

"I'm glad you lasses got all friendly and everything, but Lea should rest now. After all, her next opponent, is going to be me." It was none other than Hilda, who was getting her gloves on and was waiting in her corner. After hearing that, Salena said to Lea.

"She's right, Lea, we got really beat up here, and you need to rest the most."

"Yeah." With that, they both head to Lea's corner. "My next opponent is Hilda. Alinda and Salena were so strong, but what about Hilda herself?" Once they reached Lea's corner, Lea collapsed on the stool, showing her exhaustion to everyone.

"Lea, can you really keep fighting like this? It's starting to look impossible, especially since you're next opponent is Hilda," said Alinda with worry in her voice.

"Yeah, come on, maybe we can convince the coach to let you rest longer or try this another time," said Salena, who was worried too.

"No, it's alright, really. The coach said today, and I have come too far to just quit right now. Besides, I have three minutes to rest, it should be enough," said Lea. She wasn't sure that she could recover in those three minutes, and Alinda knew that.

"Three minutes is not enough to recover from that fight, especially since you took more hits than before," said Alinda.

"…I'm sorry, I just don't want to run away, I don't want to quit. I have to prove to them and to me that I can do this. Besides, I wouldn't be able to help Julie if I just quit like that."

"Lea…" Alinda didn't know what to say after looking at such a determined boxer.

"I'll get some ice and towels. We have to work on reducing the swelling," said Salena, who started to leave to get the necessary items.

"I don't know about this," said Alinda, which made Salena stop on her tracks and turned back towards them.

" It's obvious that she's determined to continue and won't change her mind. Besides, she fought against the two of us and survived the round, even when it looked like she was going to fall at any moment. I'm sure she can survive against Hilda." Alinda started to think on what Salena said, and quickly agreed with Salena.

"You're right. Now, let's get you ready for your next round."

"Yeah, we can do this!" Salena affirmed cheerfully.

"Thanks…to both of you," said Lea, who was really touched by their kindness.

"No problem, Lea, we're friends, and friends do this for each other."

"That's right, Lea, don't let it trouble your," said Alinda with a smile. That brought a smile to Lea's face and some tears to Lea's eyes, which could be confused with sweat, but Salena and Alinda were close enough to notice the difference.

"Friends…I have friends. It feels good to have friends." Lea wiped the tears from her eyes, not wanting anyone else to see them. After that, Lea prepared herself because she knew that the next round would be the most difficult. With that knowledge, Lea started to wonder if she would actually make it.

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