22 ※ Kiss

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Chapter 22 Kiss

Cerid was right about many things. Her technique and attitude, for one. But the Order penetrating DETRA's guarded walls wasn't going to blow over quickly, despite his constant reassurance.

A worrying thought wormed into her subconscious as they trained in the cavern. These perturbing possibilities haunted her until she managed to catch members of Team 33 when she could – pulling them to the side to explain the danger they might all be in. Even though it involved them, a part of her felt she was betraying her mentor's trust.

Her lower back took a serious blow from Cerid swinging his sword, snapping her back into reality: training.

'Don't fall asleep on me now, Sawdust.'

Grunting, she met each of his strikes. Elle had been improving under his teaching methods of throwing her into whichever exercise they would perform that day. He would meet her outside Section 6 after Mather's classes and steal away to their cave – officially named theirs after Cerid insisted that she was in on the secret location.

Elle had a habit of fighting with blind rage fuelling every jab until her vision narrowed onto only her target. They worked on that first. Cerid explained how that zoned feeling could be helpful but could also block her awareness of dangers from different directions.

Her trainer's techniques were concentrated, calculating; he didn't like the haphazardness of frenzied strikes and parries. Each blow aimed perfectly, landing on target impeccably. Dirty brawls were certainly more entertaining to be a part of, but the method had Elle questioning her every move - every breath.

The assassin picked up her jacket at the end of one of the sessions. 'Could you teach me that trick move?' She had been asking for some time.

Cerid sighed, 'not now.'

Her face must have fallen because he huffed a small laugh, shook his head and begun. 'Do you trust yourself?'

She nodded. He positioned himself in front of her, deadly serious. 'Step on to my hands.' Interlocking his fingers, he formed a small net for her.

Wobbling slightly, Elle regained her balance, focusing on a nick in the wall behind him. 'Good,' he muttered under his breath, taking the brunt of her weight.

'Now; jump.'

'Jump?'

Bending his knees, Cerid thrust his hands upwards propelling Elle high into the air. 'Don't think.'

For once, she didn't panic. At the apex of the throw, she tucked into a tight ball and spun down to the floor. Landing with a spring in her muscles so they wouldn't coil up and make for a painful fall.

Cerid tilted his head to the side, mulling things over. 'You have sound reflexes. That is one of the first lessons to do the trick: trusting in your abilities to not think and just act.'

She nodded, out of breath from the training that day. His keen eyes missed nothing, but they didn't speak as they crawled through the passage or back down the stairs. It was only as Boyo helped them back down did Cerid turn to her.

'You might want to practice bouncing or falling off things.'

'Come again?'

'My advice to you.'

He left her with that to work on; which she did. Elle had never been brilliant at sustaining relationships, so she didn't think anything of declining invite after invite to various meals and free time with Tan, Kovar and Llanairi. Eventually these requests ceased.

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