Alex was supposed to infuse his every motion, even his equilibrium, with extra power.
He had managed it a few times, enough to defy gravity for a few seconds so he could leap very far. And one time, something had "clicked" for him, as if emotions and thoughts and physicality were woven together in a synergy that felt as natural as breathing. That time, he'd managed to add an extra twist to the airflow while he leaped, and he had flown.
Margo was impressed by that. Even Jinishta had gawked, although she'd tried to hide it.
But now, as Alex leaped from one subterranean cliff to another, he skidded in a clumsy landing. Seven days of self-awareness practice. What was the point of all this warrior training? Was he supposed to keep training forever, while Thomas suffered at the bottom of a dark pit in a dungeon labyrinth?
"Stop." Jinishta lounged against a rocky bench wall, where Margo sat. "Let's take a break."
Defiant, Alex tried another leap, flipping in midair in an attempt to gain extra speed.
This battleground training cavern was big enough for his powerful leaps, which were much further than the leaps of average warriors. But no matter how many times Alex did aerial somersaults and backflips, he couldn't figure out the leverage for inhuman speed boosts. Flourishing motions only seemed like pointless frills, to him.
The ground shook when he landed. That jolted loose a small rockslide.
Margo winced in sympathy. Jinishta merely tapped her fingers, unimpressed. She didn't need to say that he was exhibiting poor self-control. And if Alex couldn't master self-control, then he'd never earn a black mantle, let alone attain the skill level necessary to win against an army. He probably couldn't even defeat Jinishta in a sparring match right now.
So how was he going to save Thomas?
"You are distracted," Jinishta observed. "That is a poor mindset for practice."
Alex jumped down to ground level. He landed gracefully, although it was a jump of two stories. He ruined the dignified landing when he withdrew his awareness, which caused pebbles to rain around him.
He flushed. Levitating pebbles without realizing it was a rookie mistake. Surely he was beyond this abysmal level of poor self-awareness.
"You have been distracted ever since we visited your rekveh friend." Jinishta hoisted herself onto the stone ledge, next to Margo. She gave Alex a companionable look. "I think we should talk about it."
Usually, Jinishta shut down any mention of Thomas. Her willingness to talk made Alex nervous.
"What is troubling you?" Jinishta asked.
Alex thought of Thomas's feeble life spark. The boy had seemed so miserable, so desperate.
"I know we have discussed Thomas a lot." Alex leaned against the rock wall, uncaring, for once, that he towered over Jinishta. "His suffering reminds me of how I was treated, when I was a prisoner of the Torth."
Alex had to use simplistic words, because the slave tongue was still a foreign language to him. But he was almost fluent. These days, he only asked for translation help because Margo's presence seemed to irk Jinishta.
And because he secretly liked Margo.
She was a voice that backed him up whenever he needed a friend. The best thing about her—other than her stunning beauty—was her unapologetic humanness. Cherise tried to act Alashani, whereas Margo spent her free time with Alex, discovering what he knew about television, music, games, and general human stuff. They kept surprising each other with unexpected commonalities. How was it possible that they'd had the same teachers in fifth and sixth grade? They'd attended the same middle school! Their paths had crossed, more than once, when they were kids.
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Nowhere Nation [#SFF] Updates every 5 days [#Galactic]Science Fiction
Thomas has a rare mutation. He's dying and he can't walk, but he can absorb a lifetime of knowledge within minutes. Alexander, the Giant, is capable of smashing entire cities. But their enemies are even more capable. Galactic leaders command tril...