I can’t help but feeling neurotic thinking about the test I about take later.. Our afternoon class with Miss Raina had been cancelled. Mr. Morrison, my personal trainer advised me to take the time off to do something that would calm my nerves. I took his advice and came to the only place I could visit anytime and simply sit and stare at nothing, the gorgeous library of the Angels’.
The library is huge. I could have my evening walk here itself among the books full of surprises. Though there’s not much novels here, the non fiction books are interesting enough to make me stay for about an hour. My friends don’t always join me. Anna spends most of her evenings with Ray while Ivy at the high tech lab. Ivy got hooked with the fancy gadgets found there. Naomi normally visits the gym. I got used to being alone here. It’s peaceful.
It’s been three months since I set foot in the Angels’. As always, I reminisce about the days I spent at my hometown, something I have been doing a lot lately. I didn’t bother to get any books today. There’s nobody to watch or judge me. The library is surprisingly empty. I sat at the long table near to the window. I gazed out, trying to get lost in my own thoughts. There’re too many things to think about and once again I struggled to simply tune it all out. It’s been forever since I had stressed free mind. I felt as though my head is under the water and everybody around me is telling me that it’s okay and I will make it if I calm myself down.
I started coming to this library often after my first tests’ result. It was bad. So I had been spending my evenings here, revising the lessons and read novels once in awhile. In the first two months we covered eight subjects and now we have another eight subjects to deal with. Every end of the two months, the four of us will undergo test for each of our subjects. We barely passed the first test. Now our second test will be held in three weeks. This time we have Law, Business, German, Spanish, Armaments II, Fifth Generation II, Chemistry and World Geography tests. We will have another set of eight subjects in the last two months before our semester ends.
It feels like I’m studying almost all the subjects a college could offer. According to Stephanie, our subjects were not much compared to her four years but even she admitted it’s still kind of heavy to learn so many things in small time frame. She had been helping us whenever she could. Now that it’s been a while, all the murmuring and whispering had stopped. But rumours about us never stopped, we always have something new to hear. It was annoying initially but we gotten used to it that we actually look forward for the new one. Recently, we heard that Ivy is a conglomerate’s daughter and that she’s here to learn ways to protect herself from her family’s enemies. Well, the story weren’t too far off and that got me thinking if the kids had started to dig around about our normal life we left behind.
Staying with spies who are constantly curious about us is sure an everyday headache. It is a big deal for us to cope up with the studies and the environment without going insane. I don’t hate this place but at the same time I don’t like it either. I looked at my watch. It’s about time for our combat test. Our evening classes hadn’t change. We have a two hour class with Miss Raina and another two hours with our personal trainers. I named Miss Raina’s class as The Variety class because we always get to learn something new. Okay to be honest everything we learn here is new but her classes are a class I bet can never be found anywhere in this world. That is because whatever she taught us until now is nothing close to school type of lessons but more to general knowledge. Thanks to her, we knew how to play poker, cook simple but trademark food from different countries all over the world and even ride a horse. She told us honestly that we might not become a spy in the future due to our lack of trainings but just in case she wants to arm us with every single knowledge that she could pass on and possibly those knowledge could save our life if at all something went wrong, no matter in the field or at our ordinary world. She constantly states that a spy’s essential goal is to never get discovered and his vital tools are his mind and his skills at hand.
In combat class, we constantly juggle in between the gym for workouts and battle field in the form of classroom. I hated the military drill until Mr. Morrison allowed me to kick and punch the hard boxing punching bag. It’s the only way I could release my anger, stress and frustration at the end of the day. He taught me to move calmly and slow paced until I get each step right. He told me it is utmost important to build my stamina because whether I’m having one to one battle or one to ten, I must be able to move faster for a long period to perform. The key is endurance. I didn’t concentrate much on his verbal lessons. I preferred to simply get into the action. But today instead of training physically, I tried to recall all of his advice, the dos’ and the don’ts’.
There was a huge crowd at the entrance of the class at the ground floor of Block D. Our test will be here, all four of us. The crowd made path for me to enter as soon as they saw me coming. Most of them are the tyros’ from Year 1 and 2. It’s not a surprise almost the whole school is aware of our combat test, I hide my fidgeting hands and walked past the crowd like a queen bee, I neither smile nor greet any of them. Among my friends, I’m the only one who cared less about getting along with these people. I don’t see the need to talk to people that only capable of staring and whispering most of the time. Many called me the snobbish one, I couldn’t care less. I went in and found familiar faces clustered in groups around the class. My friends were standing at the left and another group of tyros stood at the opposite. I joined my friends as my eyes focused at the other tyros. Olivia was one of them. I barely recognized the other three faces.
“What is she doing here?” I asked my friends. All of us were in our black attire. The first time I had to wear it, I thought they were insane. It was very tight, clinging to my body, the shirt and the pants. After the training sessions, I got used to it. It was not sticky or uncomfortable. The attire complimented my movements during practice.
“No idea.” Naomi shrugged.
“I have a very bad feeling about this.” Anna whispered. Her eyes were sharp on Olivia. For the past few months, Anna’s hatred towards Olivia had grew to so many level that I’m would not be shocked if she walk across the room right now and punch her to death. If that happens I will gladly assist her.
My lips curled into an evil grin as I picture the moment. Once upon a time, I ignored the blondie and her awful mouth but her persistent attitude to annoy the crap out of us is unbelievably remarkable. She is the reason I believe in hate at first sight.
Our four trainers walked into the class and without a word went to the back of the class. They stood there in a row, watching us. The old man, Mr. Henderson, Miss Phoebe and Miss Fiona stood at the front calling for our attention. We went to the front and greeted them. They were all wearing formal suits.
“It is very rare for us to have such a test.” Miss Phoebe started. The room went silent and even the crowd watching us from the corridor were quiet.
“But in order to keep an eye on our infantile tyros’ progress, we had to. I hope the trainers have trained them well.” She smiled and nodded at the back row. My nervousness rush back as I realized this is not only about us passing the test but also to see our mentors’ credibility.
“I have brought four Year 4 tyros to fill in the position as your rival for the day.” She mentioned, gesturing at the other four. As much as we hate Olivia, we do acknowledge the reason she’s acting all big shot around the institute. She’s good at almost everything. She is one of the best tyros. I suspect she must have signed up for this.
“Alright then, let’s begin.” Miss Fiona stated and took a seat beside Mr. Henderson at the front centre of the class. The three of them must be the evaluators.
All three of them wore the same stern and fierce look. I wanted to point out that the other tyros outside the class should leave the building, saving us from any distraction but that would only led to Olivia smirking at us for being afraid the crowd would watch us going down. I didn’t know who’s going to face her but it’s not just a test but it’s going to be personal.
“I’m going to faint now.” Ivy murmured to us. She looked pale.
“No, you’re not. You gonna be fine.” Anna assured her. Anna was practically practicing breathing in and breathing out to calm herself.
“Who would have guessed we will be facing this type of test?” I said while warming myself up. I knew Mr. Morrison’s eyes would be watching me so I started to jump around like a boxer and then stretch my muscles, just like he told me.
“What are you doing? Going to join the marathon?” Olivia called out with her stupid sneer. I stopped whatever I was doing and took few angry steps towards her. Naomi grabbed my arms, “What are you doing, Jane?” She dragged me back to our little corner.
“Going to teach that bitch a lesson.” I answered.
“Not now.” Anna stood in front of me, blocking me from glaring at Olivia. “Anna, you got to admit she is pissing you off more than any of us.” I told her. Anna was Olivia’s constant target of ridicule most of the time. The most annoying thing about Anna is she has pretty damn good self control. That’s why until now she could easily pretend as though she didn’t hear a word from Olivia. If it were me, I would have long ago tattooed my palm lines on her face.
Miss Phoebe cleared her throat, “The first one would be Ivy and Drake. To the centre, inside the box.” She motioned them to stand in the centre of a box. A long yellow tape was glued on the floor to form the square. We stood a few steps behind the line.
“Good luck, Ivy.” We murmured as she went and stood in front the tall, dark skinned guy. Ivy would have looked timid if not for her height. She was as tall as Anna. Her body had changed from an ordinary plum girl to curvy and athletic body. I remembered how excited she got the day she found out her drastic lose of weight due to the everyday workouts and healthy meals from the cafeteria. This institute might be the suitable place for girls with the dreams to achieve a fit and healthy body.
Miss Phoebe barked ‘start’ and the guy lunged towards Ivy. I thought he got her in his first strike but Ivy moved in incredible speed and swerved her body to his back and she kicked him hard enough to startled him and make him staggered. He gained his balanced in no time and gave her an uppercut that she lost her balance and fell to the ground on her butt. I heard some kids made some noise from outside and heard laughter in the room. I didn’t even look up from Ivy to see who it was.
Ivy was on her feet after almost thirty seconds. Her eyes flicked to Miss Gabriella at the back for a second and her opponent took that opportunity to throw her a punch but as though expecting it, Ivy dodged and her fist smashed his jaw. He blinked trying to get his vision back. Ivy paused a moment to look at him. I wanted to yell at her to knock him down rather than simply stand there and look at him. As though she heard my crazy mind voice, she directed her punch on his abdomen. He grunted in pain when she hit his gut. He crouched a little and Ivy grab a whole of his head and her knee came up so fast and hit him on his head. She let go off him and he recovered too quickly. He pounced on her and both of them flew backwards, Ivy hit the wall so hard that she yelped out loud. “Enough.” Miss Phoebe called off the fight. I didn’t realize my mouth was hanging open until Ivy joined us. Her hand was on her back, she grimace as she leaned against the wall.
“How bad was it?” She asked, a glistened of tear rolled down.
“You were amazing. I didn’t know you could move that fast.” Anna was beaming at her.
“I didn’t beat him.” She stated. More tears rolling down. I didn’t know Ivy would take this seriously.
“Hey, you were good. Don’t cry.” She looked up at us, frowning and then gritted between her teeth, “It’s freaking painful. I think I broke my spine and my jaw feels as if it’s going to fall off soon.”
“Owh.” I said involuntarily. Of course, she slammed hard on the wall. That must be awfully painful. I didn’t get to console or comfort her because it was my turn next.
I went to stand face to face with a brunette about my height but slimmer than me. My body felt heavy when I compared mine with her. I focused my head to think positive thoughts. So what if she’s thin, I could use my newly built muscles and body strength to knock her down. I hadn’t had a real fight before. Even during training session, Mr. Morrison didn’t fight me as my opponent but he made his move while shouting out my moves. I would obediently listen to him and try my best to respond to his speed. But now, I have no one to give me instruction and I feel reluctant to attack someone I barely know. What if I hurt her? What if she hurt you? My mind voice questioned me. I heard Miss Phoebe’s voice and positioned myself a few steps away from my challenger. I didn’t make a move and neither did she. We had a staring battle for about half a minute and I sprang onto her but she saw me coming. She ducked and slammed her fist on my right cheek. I momentarily lost my eyesight. I stepped back trying to refocus my sight on my opponent. The punch was so hurtful that I lost whatever hesitation I had and my sensible mind. I sidestepped when she advanced to me. I punched her at her side with all my force in anger and she stumbled backwards, not expecting that blow. I didn’t wait for her to recover. I advanced and kicked right at her knee. She stifled a scream as she fell on the ground grabbing her knee. I knew she would be on her feet in no time, after all she’s an almost spy graduate. I kicked her stomach so hard that I stumble to regain balance. She screamed again but this time her leg hit mine and I went down. She was on me in seconds. I remembered Mr. Morrison’s words, never let your enemy pin you down comfortably. I pulled up my knee trying to make space between her body and mine. She gave me a hard punch. My vision blurred, I shut my eyes tight and put all my strength to my legs. I rolled to the side as she struggled to fight me. I kicked her hard and in a fast movement I rolled over, on top of her and restrained her legs and arms. She hissed at me. Her lips were bleeding. I focused my strength on my body but my eyes were blurry. I felt dizzy. The fight was called off seconds after I restrained her. I groggily stood up and went to my friends. Naomi and Anna got hold of me. My head was spinning so I sat down to gain balance. Naomi was asking me whether I’m okay, I barely shook my head. My fists were burning. It was so much painful to punch a person compared to a sandbag.
I had a hard time to concentrate on Anna and a guy. He was shorter than her but fast. He knocked Anna down in his first blow. Anna struggled to get on her feet. When she finally up, he gave her a perfect back kick. Anna hit the ground once again. Her nose was bleeding. She wiped off her bloodied nose and stood up. He came on to her but she ducked and punched him on his throat and made a swift turn to kick him right on his face. He caught her feet but she used his strength to make another turn, lifting another leg and kicked his face. Both of them fell hard on the floor. Anna got up in daze and the guy restrained her arms from the back. She stepped on his feet and slammed her ankle backwards on his face. It was a weak try. He kicked her and she lost her footing. He released her but accidently stepped on her leg. She screamed out loud that it hurt my ears. He raised his leg to kick her once again but she fleetly moved to his side and drove him down. He lost his balance easily with one foot on the ground. She was up the second he fall and kicked his back twice. He grunted in pain and roll over to get up. She slammed her both knees on him as she landed on him. She punched right across his face twice and his head fall on the ground. She went for another punch but the fight was called off. She got up breathing heavily. Her eyes were wild and crazy. Her forehead was torn and bleeding. She limped all the way until she sat beside Ivy. All of our eyes were on Naomi. She’s the one facing Olivia. Naomi looked edgy.
“Hey you okay?” Ivy asked Naomi.
“I think so.” She answered, smiling at us. Her smile didn’t reach her eyes. She had been glancing at Mr. Henry almost every minute ever since the test started. We knew she had been having trouble in her combat class. Every single time she finishes her combat class, she would be in a bad mood. Last week Friday was the worst. She simply shrugged it off when we asked her. Mr. Henry was standing still among the other trainers. He is younger than Miss Gabriella. Ray told us that he graduated two years back which means he’s 21 now. But he carries himself as if he’s older than he is. Actually it’s not only him, the entire institute. Many of the lecturers and tutors here are no more than thirty but they act as though they had experienced half the life. There’s always an eerie vibe around them. They act on duty all the time, never once seen them being themselves. I looked away from our trainers to Miss Phoebe when she called Naomi and Olivia. Olivia had her stupid sneer on her face. I heard some tyros out there cheered for Olivia. Naomi looked noticeably short and small. Olivia is tall and muscular. Her hair was braided. I silently prayed Naomi would ruin her pretty face. The test started and Naomi punched Olivia too quickly. Olivia’s face turned ugly as she glared at Naomi. She caught Naomi’s hand and twisted it to her back. Naomi bit her lips in pain. Olivia kicked her leg and Naomi fell on her knee to the ground. I thought the fight will be called off since she got her too soon but no. Olivia released Naomi with a belittled look. I gritted my teeth at the scene unfold in front of my eyes. I couldn’t blame Naomi because Olivia is a good fighter but I couldn’t sit here listening to the crowd booing my friend. Naomi eyes were bulging in rage as she stared at her rival. “Come on, Naomi. Get that bitch.” I shouted. Olivia lurched forward and swung her fist towards Naomi. Naomi ducked quickly and even before Olivia registered the dodge, Naomi placed a punch on her torso. Olivia almost fell but she recovered. She came in close to an uppercut but Naomi blocked her and shoved her off. Seeing Olivia scooted back so far against the weight of it, gave Naomi a second wind. She covered the distance between them. Threw three more punches and caused Olivia to hit the ground. Naomi throw a haymaker as soon as Olivia got up Olivia was prepared for that. She dodged it and hit Naomi’s ribs. Naomi back down but went on attacking her. Both of them lunged at each other like the angry wolves. The fight went on longer that I thought. Naomi was gaining confidence and her tactics changes after her every move meanwhile Olivia was getting very wild and out of control. The fight got ugly when both of them rolled on the floor trying claw out each others’ eyes. Both of them didn’t let go off each other when the fight called off. Naomi and Olivia continued throwing punches until Miss Phoebe shouted at them. Naomi’s hair had come undone. Her thick wavy hair sprawled around her shoulder as she walked to us. “Nice.” I said and she responded with a grimace. “She was too good.” Naomi voice was rough. Her left eyes were red ringed blue-black.
We sat there for about fifteen minutes while the trainers and the three head administers were in deep discussion. “Will they announce our result here?” Anna asked. She sat leaning against the wall, her long legs stretch out front.
“I don’t think so.” I answered. All our results previously had been given in person at Miss Fiona’s room. The other four were indulged in deep conversation. Other than outer injuries, they seem to not suffer any serious damage. Unlike us, each of us were having problem to even move especially Naomi and Ivy. My head is no longer spinning but my left shoulder is throbbing in pain. Miss Fiona looked up at us as if now only realizing we are still here waiting.
“You may leave the room. To those not feeling well, pay a visit at the medic room.” She dismissed us. We slowly walked out the room.
“I bet four beds at the medic will be occupied for a week now.” I heard Olivia’s voice behind us. She was alone. The other three walked to the opposite direction to the cafeteria. The almost dispersed crowd stopped and watched us.
“I should change your group name from freak shows to weaklings. You can’t even handle a two minutes fight. I bet you will be a dead chicken out there especially, Naomi.” She purposely raised her voice, wanting the crowd to hear her.
“And yet you can’t even beat her.” I mocked her. She smirked at me, “Don’t act all mighty, little Janie. I had your friend as soon as the fight began, remember. It’s such a waste the administration had spent so much to make sure you are well trained and educated. I guess no matter how much you try one can never turn a donkey to become a horse. I mean in this case four donkeys.” A few tyros laughed at her comments.
“I bet I can take you all in a minute.” She went on. I had enough. I walked to her in rage. My body was no longer feeling any pain at this second. All I wanted to do is to shut her up.
“Oh Janie, you wouldn’t…” I silenced her with my fist. She didn’t dodge fast enough. She hissed at me and threw a punch but I sidestepped it. The crowd got loud as we started the fight outside the class. She was really good. She restrained me from the back as how she did to Naomi. I struggled to escape. Anna attacked Olivia and she let me go. I turned and twisted her arm to her back while Anna grabbed the other arm and kicked her leg. Olivia dropped down on her knees. Both of us got her down in seconds in the same manner she did to Naomi earlier.
“I’m sorry did I hear you saying taking us down in a minute.” Anna said. I smiled widely in satisfaction. Our little audience went quiet suddenly. I thought it was us until I heard, “Jane and Anna, my office right now!” I turned back and saw Miss Phoebe’s angry face glowering at the room entrance.