"I beg your pardon?" I asked, not believing what I was hearing.
"Hit me," he repeated, clearly. "I want you to hit me."
"Geroux, the last time I hit you I caused quite the upset to your sitting room. Not to mention - I hurt you," I reminded him.
"I want you to hit me, but not hurt me," he clarified.
"I don't understand," I said, thinking Geroux had finally lost his mind.
"You are absurdly strong, Belle. Learning to be gentle with a single human life is one thing, but what about when you're out in a crowd? If you bump into someone you could knock them over, or even break their bones," he explained.
Truth be told, I hadn't thought about anything like that.
"Let's try this," he said, taking a step closer. "Shake my hand."
My father always taught me to give a firm handshake, so I did. The resulting exchange saw me flip Geroux over, onto the ground. He landed on his back.
I winded him. Through gasps he said, "That was good for a first try."
After many, many attempts I was finally able to shake hands like I used to. Although, now instead of a hand, it feels like I'm shaking a handkerchief. So malleable. So easy to crush.
* * *
The act of brushing past somebody, without causing injury, had to be addressed. Geroux said I would be able to knock a regular person over like a feather. Well, Geroux may not be a regular person, but I knocked him down... not quite like a feather, more like a sack of flour.
Geroux had set up a series of mannequins for me to walk through. It was quite windy, so the mannequins were already teetering. My first time through, I tried walking normally, just like I would have pre-transformation. That resulted in me rendering quite a few of the mannequins armless. The second time through, I took greater care, yet somehow I managed to cause a series of decapitations.
It took the better part of a day to make it through the faux crowd without leaving them scathed. Geroux coached me with some interesting words, "You have to empathise with everyone, feel their humanity, let it connect to your inner humanity and take care with every step."
He asked me to do it one more time. Geroux moved around the outskirts of the mannequin crowd as I carefully moved about. Just as I was nearing the edge, out of nowhere Geroux jumped on me, sending me flying to the ground and destroying several mannequins in the process.
I pushed him off, with just enough force to land him next to me.
"What on earth are you doing?" I asked, annoyed and dirty.
"You didn't sense me coming. You didn't smell me getting closer. Did you?" he asked, waiting for my reply.
Through my confusion I thought about it and he was right, I didn't sense or smell anything.
"How?" I simply asked.
"I was downwind. It's one of the only advantages you can have over another wolf. Even with all your senses heightened and almost limitless strength, you can come undone from a sneak attack," he said, standing to his feet. He offered me a hand up. I simply used my hand to push myself from the ground back into a perfect standing position. He raised both his eyebrows at that. I may have even spotted the beginnings of a smirk emerging from the corner of his mouth.
"That's all very well and good, but how many wolves are there going to be coming after me?" I said, posing the question with my hands on my hips.
"I can think of three," Geroux said.
"But... but you scared them off..." I honestly hadn't thought about them ever returning. "Are you expecting them to come here?"
"You can never be too careful," he warned.
Ever since I retired to my room, I've been thinking over Geroux's words, in reference the three wolves. Those words felt so ominous. He tried to pass it off as a simple precaution, but I couldn't help but feel he was keeping something from me.
For now, though I must adjourn this entry.
This beast needs her beauty sleep.
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