Chapter 2:

First practice (Taiki)

Special Fighting Club

Takara takes a big swig of coffee.
“Why does training have to start so early?” Akaya-kun complains.
“We´ve been doing it like this for years now, you´ll get used it.” Leiko tells him smiling. She ties up her long blood red hair.
Kei takes my coffee, takes a sip and looks disgusted. “Black, without sugar. What are you, a monster?” He looks around.
“Everyone´s here except for Hisagi-sensei and Manami-san.” I tell him.
Speak of the devil; the two adults enter the gym.
“Good morning! I´m Manami Kiyoshi your coach. First years I´ll explain what you´ll be doing, but first…” Manami-san points at a box in Hisagi-sensei’s hands. “… You´ll get your track suits. You can wear them right away if you want.”
All three stare at their jackets: White with blue sleeves. The pants are blue with red stripes on the sides. Most of us are already wearing ours.
“Morning practice is stamina training, today you´ll run the short route just follow the second and third years.” Manami-san smiles. It´s his evil smile.

Takara and I are at the front. Leiko joins us. “I should not have put on make-up already. Is it running?”
I shake my head. “Why would you put on make-up today anyway?” I ask.
“I forgot about morning practice.”
Takara starts to giggle.
“Senpai, how long is the short route?” Akaya-kun wheezes after catching up to us.
“10 Kilometers.” The three of us state.
“I´m going to die. What´s the long route then?”
“20 Kilometers.”
“Oh no…”

Nami joins us 10 minutes later. “You´re still looking good.” I state.
“She has too much stamina.” Takara says.
Nami laughs. “I just know how to preserve energy.” She runs past us.

I look at my watch. “We made it in less than two hours.”
Takara throws her arms up into the air. “I get to shower before class!”
Surprisingly our first years arrive shortly after us. Looking at them wheezing on the ground I doubt they´re going to shower.
“Good job. You´ll do this every morning. After school practice starts at 3:30 P.M. Please try to make it in time.” Manami-san says smiling.

After classes end Kei picks us up.
“We´ll revise.” Manami-san says.
“We know the rules.” I say.
“Revision is important. Especially for the first years.” He points at Kenta. “Basic Rules?”
“One team consists of 5 fighters. They fight individually.”
Next he points at Chiko. “You have to win three out of five fights.”
Next Ren. “One fight goes on for 25 Minutes.”
Manami-san points at Leiko next. “How do you win?” He asks.
“Instant win. Get your opponent to step out of the field or K.O. them for 15 Seconds.”
Nami next. “Point win. Getting 18 Points, one for each hit or you have more points after the time´s over.”
“In official matches you can fight in your full or your hybrid form. You should learn to change between the two fast. Gives you more variety in a fight.”
He turns to me and Takara. “Twins you´ll show them an actual fight. Winner needs 10 Points.”

Takara starts warm up. “Oh I have to beat my older brother. Be prepared, Taiki.”
I laugh. “Sure baby sister. Just don´t cry when I beat you, ok?”
“You´re only 20 Minutes older than me!”
“Still older!”
“Focus!” Manami-san yells. “First years look carefully. Learn.” He turns to us. “Start!”

I point my finger at Takara, little gems swirling around it. But of course Takara saw that coming she turns into her full unicorn form trying to hit me with her horn. I land on my butt.
“Point gain Takara 1-0” Manami-san yells.
I stand up. Grab her foreleg and pull her down. Sitting on her I try to do the same move as before. Gems swirling around my finger shooting them at her. After one or two gems hit her she turns into her hybrid form and punches me in the face.
“Point gain Takara 2-2”
I grab her arm punch her in the stomach and turn her body to land on the ground, pining her there with one knee on her shoulder.
“Point gain Taiki 2-3. 15, 14, 13….”
I prepare my gem-finger gun shooting her a few times while she’s flailing under me trying to free herself.
“Point gain Taiki 2-6.”
She pulls her arm with such force that I let go and seeing what she´s intending manage an “Oh no.” ,before she turn into her unicorn form, hitting me in the stomach with her hind legs, catapulting me a few meters.
“Point gain Takara 3-6.”
But that wasn´t all. She comes running at my while I still stumble managing to cut my arm with her horn and pushes me outside the ring with her weight.
“Instant win Takara!”
We both turn back into our full human forms. Takara smiles. “That´s my 976th win.”
I nod. “Sure little sister.”
“You´re only…” She begins, when Kei comes running towards us checking for wounds. As creatures our wounds usually heal pretty fast but that one cut I got seemed a bit deeper than I thought. He puts a bandage on me.

Manami-san turns to the rest of the team. “See how fast the changed? You´ll learn to do that too. First years you´ll get extra training. While we do that second and third years pair up and start with mini fights like you just saw.”

After practice on our way home Takara, Kei and I are joined by our first years. Akaya-kun gushes about the fight, while Ran-tan looks to be in thought.
“So is that what training ´s going to be like from now on?” Haru-tan asks.
We nod. “You´ll get used to it.” Takara assures her.
“Training before the interhigh is usually a bit stressful.” I add.
Ran-tan looks up. “When exactly is the interhigh?”
“Beginning of June.” Takara and I say.
“That´s in less than two months!” Akaya-kun looks at us shocked.
“That´s why we need to train a lot.” Takara says.
“Don´t worry, first years usually don´t fight in the interhigh.” I try to reassure them.
“If we only had an ace.” Kei adds.
The first years stare at us confused.
“He left the team after the spring-high last year.” I say.
“I try to get him to rejoin but Koto threatens me with ending our friendship.” Chiko joins us.
“He´s not budging?” Takara askes.
He shakes his head. “Whenever I try to bring up the subject he runs away, literally.”
Kei suddenly turns around. “Manami-san said that there´s a talented first year at school. Won a few junior division cups. A phoenix.”
Takara shakes him by the shoulders. “Why didn’t you tell us sooner?”
“I didn´t think much of it and it seems he doesn´t want to join either.”
Akaya-kun jumps up and down. “I´ll ask him! As a fellow first year he might be less intimidated if I go talk talk to him.”
I look at Takara. “Sure, why not?”
Takara smiles. “Good. How about some ice cream to celebrate our pestering of other people?”
“It´s April.” Kei says. “You´ll pay?”
“Of course.” Takara and I say.

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