Cecilia: Cecilia lashed out with her foot, catching the last combatant right in the chops, forcing the jaw to close with an audible snap and finishing him with another kick to the solar plexus which set him flying off the edge of a cliff.
Cecilia: Cecilia looked down, just before the simulation faded away she saw the broken silhouette of the man's body. Sighing, she ran her hands through her hair and closed her eyes, trying to force a state of calm before she began the next program.
Cass: A small black sphere appeared not far from the large main doors, quickly growing in size. The next moment, a slender figure dropped out of the unearthly shadows, silently landing on the metallic floor. "Anybody home," Cassandra asked, holding on to her hat as the swirling darkness seemed to merge with her and disappeared.
Cass: "Oh, it's you." She produced a small smile. "Hello there. Am I interrupting anything?"
Cecilia: "Not at the moment," Cecilia said. "You are in my timeslot, but it's not a big deal. You'll just have to deal with whatever I'm running if you stay." Because like fuck she was taking requests. Especially from someone who was partially responsible for her friends' pain.
Cecilia: "It is me," Cecilia deadpanned, raising an eyebrow. Approaching with the movement of a large cat that seen a particularly tasty looking bird. "Is that bad?" She said, smile not quite friendly.
Cass: Cassandra cocked her head, her raven mane falling over her shoulder as she gave Cecilia an appraising look. "Not at all," she replied. "Not to me, anyway. Do you think it should be?" The edge of her mouth moved slightly as she revealed an edgy smirk.
Cass: "And yes, I'm quite aware you've scheduled training time at the moment." She briefly took off her hat to run a hand through her hair. "In fact, you seem to have reserved quite a lot of time in here, along with all the other experienced students. It's kind of hard for a newbie like me to get in a slot, in fact."
Cecilia: "Well, the early bird catches the worm," Cecilia said dryly. "If you buddied up with someone you'd get more time in. She smirked right back at Cassandra. "I hope it's not, but I'll concede it is bad at times. Especially if you've pissed me off somehow."
Cass: "Then I'll better watch out to never let it come to that, no?" She chuckled and took a few steps closer to the other girl. "Unless I somehow did already, that is. Not that it would have been my intention."
Cecilia: "Actually you sorta already did," Cecilia said, her eyes narrowing slightly. "Indirectly and through no fault of your own, but no-one ever said I was fair."
Cecilia: "You know Mayday's one of my closest friends, right?" Cecilia asked. "If you do, you also know I spent a lot of time cleaning up the mess you were partially responsible for." She frowned, "I was not pleased."
Cass: "Ah, yes, that mess." Cassandra briefly bit her lip, a sheepish expression playing across her features. She shrugged, raising her hands only to let them fall back against her side. "Oh well, you already know it was hardly my fault, no? I guess sometimes I tend to forget just how charming I can be, even towards those who should know better."
Cass: "Which doesn't mean I'm not sorry about what happened," she quickly added. "Believe me, Mayday and Sue are very dear to me, as well."
Cecilia: "Sure," Cecilia said, expression hard. Though she didn't specify as to what she was agreeing to. "And I think you know exactly how charming you are. That's usually how it works, but if you say so, who am I to argue?"
Cecilia: Well, she felt she was certainly someone to argue, but this wasn't her fight. "Are you wanting to practice something specific? How much hand-to-han have you learned? Obviously you're experienced in the use of your powers, judging from your performance."
Cass: "As far as I can tell, there's no one who hasn't been left impressed by my melee skills," Cassandra replied, the sly smirk slipping back onto her face. "But you're talking about actual, honest up close fighting, yes? Let me think..." She tapped a finger against her chin. "I'd say... somewhere between none and nothing at all."
Cass: "Unless whacking a virtual clown with an oversized hammer once counts for something." She chuckled, spreading her arms as she began to balance on an invisible line. "As for my powers, it's true they served my quite well to deliver a captivating performance, and the one or other clever trick has served me quite well in the past."
Cass: "But let's just say that my first encounter with proper superhero business showed me really quick that this is a show of a whole different level, so I began to question how far my simple sleights of hand will get me here."
Cecilia: "So nothing," Cecilia confirmed, cutting through the flowery language to the heart of it. "You're right to question your technique as well. Your powers help but without no finesse or technique even the best powers can be useless."
Cecilia: 'Would you like to learn?" She asked. "I can show you some moves."
Cass: Spreading her arms, Cassandra put on an honest smile. "That's why I came," she admitted. "And why I intentionally picked this time. You said something before about the merits of teaming up, and that makes a lot of sense to me. In the circus we would often do the same - never practice risky stunts without someone supervising, you know?"
Cass: She tilted her head the other way. "Besides, the last time I used this room on my own it kind of tried to kill me."
Cecilia: Cecilia raised an eyebrow. "Uh, yeah that's kinda what it's here for. You can pause the simulation though and if you suffer a 'fatal injury' the safe locks kick in."
Cecilia: She stepped a few feet away from Cassandra, bouncing on the balls of her feet. "Right, drop into a basic stance," she said, demonstrating, "and we'll see what we can do."
Cass: "You cut right to the chase, don't you? Shouldn't I be warming up or stretch beforehand?" Without a clue about what a 'basic stance' entailed, she simply did her best to study her tutor's pose and mimic it. "Wait! Before we begin... you're not really mad at me, are you?"
Cecilia: Cecilia just laughed. "If I was mad at you, you'd damn well know it." She bounced a couple of times, shadow boxing. "I was gonna run us through some katas before we began, but if you prefer to get right into it..."
Cass: "I started learning gymnastics by falling off a brick wall in our garden and nearly breaking my neck," Cassandra remarked, flashing a grin. "I'm all for diving right in and, before I can start worrying about any consequences."
Cecilia: "Suit yourself," Cecilia said, cracking her neck and shaking out her arms. She studied Cassandra for a moment. It seemed the best way to learn her weak point was to actually just go for it. So, without warning she rushed at her, fist raised, screaming a loud war-cry to put her off her game.
Cass: Eyes going wide, the surprise and shock plainly visible in her violet pupils, all Cassandra could do was stare at the raving mad-woman rushing towards her. For a short moment - nevertheless stretched to eternity - her body appeared frozen solid. So much for not being mad, went through her mind, accompanied by visions of her getting the beating of her life.
Cass: Her heart jumped, and her muscles finally broke out of their fright-induced stasis. Cassandra reacted the only way that seemed natural to her - she let out a terrified shriek, tossed her hat into Cecilia's face, and ran like a little girl. She even made three steps before slipping and landing on her face.
Cecilia: Cecilia snatched the hat out of the air with reflexes even she was a little surprised at- so she was improving. Then burst into laughter at Cassandra's flailing. "Hahaha! Oh Jesus, I'm sorry, that was mean of me."
Cecilia: She snorted and offered a hand. "Hehe, now do you know why I did that? Hehehe."
Cass: "Yes," Cassandra replied, blowing some wayward strands of hair out of her face as she looked up at the other girl. "You're mean?" She hesitated for a moment, warily eying the offered hand, before reaching up to take it.
Cecilia: "Well, yes," Cecilia admitted. "Sometimes, but there was a method to my madness there," she said as she pulled the other girl up. "I was looking to see where the weak points in your defence were so I'd have a place to start teaching you."
Cecilia: "Lessee now. Your first mistake was you panicked- don't do that. Second mistake, you ran and then tripped- don't do that either. Though you did do something right, you slowed me down with a projectile- keep doing that," she laughed.
Cass: After she had gotten back on her feet, Cassandra straightened out her clothing and what remained of her battered pride. "Weak points in my defense," she asked. "I guess that would include anything beyond 'running' and 'hiding'. Which strikes me as a pretty natural reaction for someone whose talents center around the ability to vanish in shadows, mind you."
Cass: Despite the less than impressive start, a cheeky grin found its way onto the girl's lips. "So, you say I should just continue to pelt you with stuff?"
Cecilia: "Not 'stuff,'" Cecilia said. "Preferably your fists and everyone wants to run, but unless you plan to outrun everyone- and you can't outrun everyone- it's a poor defense."
Cecilia: "I'll teach you a simple block for now," she said, raising her forearm and demonstrating. "This will block a punch...but for the move I used I'll show you something far more effective...if you like."
Cass: "Well, I suppose you can't catch any villains if all you do is run away from them," Cassandra conceded, nodding at the Cecilia while she closely studied the new pose she took. "I'm eager to learn as much as possible. You'll find I can be a quick and attentive student."
Cass: She tried imitate Cecilia's stance, correcting herself a couple of times. "Like this?"
Cecilia: "Exactly," Cecilia said. "That'll block most punches...but there's actually a way to stop the move I used on you. It's just less...friendly."
Cecilia: "Have you ever heard of 'bursting'?" Cecilia asked, studying Cassandra.
Cass: Cassandra fixed her tutor with a thoughtful look for a couple of seconds, before her expression lit up. "Oh, I know what you mean," she exclaimed, snapping her fingers. "I assault my opponent with a barrage of jokes to throw them off balance and hope they burst from laughter?"
Cecilia: Cecilia snorted. "Nice try, but no. Bursting is a move you use when you're being rushed and you have no time to gain any momentum to cock back your arms or ready a leg for a kick."
Cecilia: "Danger: One combatant with a knife to rush at me please, on my mark." A hologram of a tall non-de-script man with a large knife appeared about ten feet in front of the two girls. "The idea with bursting is to make up for the small space to attack by creating momentum with your legs. One arm comes up to block the knife," she demonstrated, "while the other drives into the face or throat."
Cass: Eyebrows were raised in reaction to the well-aimed strike. "Ouch," Cassandra commented, as she watched the virtual attacker stagger backwards. Fake or not, the expression of pain looked quite real on his face. "Now that looked like it hurt. Thank you for reminding me why it's bad to make you mad."
Cecilia: Cecilia snap kicked the man's head back and finished him off with another kick to the stomach. "It's never a good idea to make me mad, but I don't use this on my classmates. No matter how angry I am." Well, except for once, but that was the exception. "I wouldn't hurt you."
Cass: "That's a relief," she replied, a faint smile curling the corner of her mouth. "So, what now? I guess it's my turn to try and let you watch me get miserably stabbed by a glorified lightshow?"
Cecilia: "You won't die," Cecilia remarked. "But if you like I can put a shield around you so the fake knife never touches you," she offered. "I think you should try, only way to learn is to actually do it, but I'm not gonna force you to. I'm not that mean."
Cass: "Seeing how I already bragged about facing sprained joints and pulled muscles during my time of becoming an acrobat, I can hardly back down now." Cassandra smirked, stretching her arms and back, before dropping into the pose she had seen Cecilia use before. "So, just hit me already. Pain is a very effective teacher, after all."
Cecilia: "Suit yourself," Cecilia laughed, swinging a sloppy haymaker at Cassie just to see if she'd learned something.
Cass: To her credit, she neither fell down, nor run away flailing this time - both considerable improvements in Cassandra's opinion. She raised her arm to block, more out of instinct than planned response. Nearly carried off balance when the strike connected, the girl danced backwards to steady herself again.
Cecilia: "Good!" Cecilia said, aiming another punch to Cassandra. "You're learning."
Cass: "I'll just take your word for it." Cassandra grinned, even though the next attack forced the air out of her lungs and drove her back another step. "Though, seeing how I'm not yet on the ground again, you might actually be right."
Cecilia: "Well I'm not trying to kick the shit out of you," Cecilia remarked, sweeping at Cassandra's legs. "You won't learn if I do that, besides it's not fair. I've been at this for five months and I'm training with an actual ninja." Well, close enough.
Cecilia: "Why're you really here, Cassandra?" Cecilia asked, curious. "It can't be just the novelty or the excitement. This isn't the good kind of exciting most of the time. Why leave the circus? Why join up for that matter?"
Cass: Caught by surprise, Cassandra was nearly swiped off her feet. This was where her experience as a circus performer paid off, turning her fall into an improvised backwards cartwheel. A triumphant grin brightened up her face when she managed to regain her balance. "Because I think I'd make an excellent ninja?"
Cecilia: "Deflecting, redirecting." Cecilia said, lashing out with a kick at the hip. "If it's cause you don't wanna talk about it just say it, but don't lead me around in circles."
Cass: "But I'm oh so good at that," she admitted, adding a little snicker to her reply. "And you almost make being an actual superhero sound as if it were any other mundane cubicle drudgery. What if it's really the promise of adventure and excitement that got me here? Or maybe I'm so fickle that I'll chase after whatever catches my attention."
Cass: A smirk moved the corner of her mouth. "Perhaps I just seek the spotlight and the attention, or I like to challenge myself." Cassandra blocked another strike, before cartwheeling out of the way of another attack. "But I suppose you'd prefer to hear me offer a more profound or meaningful explanation for my motives, yes?"
Cecilia: "I'd prefer a direct and honest answer it doesn't have to be meaningful or profound," Cecilia said, striking again. "My reasons aren't."
Cecilia: "I just don't romanticize the lifestyle. We don't fight villains here so much as we fight psychopaths, deranged freaks and complete monsters. I'll admit saving the day is nice sometimes, but most of what I've had to do was more disturbing than fun."
Cass: "As I always say, ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies." Cassandra revealed a grin from behind her block, as she slowly got the hang out of gauging the attacks and act consciously, instead of just letting instinct dictate her reaction. "If it's honesty you want, however, I suppose you could say that everything I said before makes up part of the truth."
Cass: "I have many reasons, some profound, most quite shallow, but in the end, the decision to come here and aim for something greater in my life simply felt right," she said, briefly dropping her guard. "And I have no doubt you've got a close enough look at this kind of life to know it's not all how those on the outside may see it."
Cass: "You know, the same is true for the circus life." Cassandra had taken a step back to pause the exercise, now offering the other girl a little smile. "Many people who shared it with me would also say there's little to romanticise about it. Which never stopped me from doing so, anyway, even though I should know better."
Cass: Her smile growing into a grin, she tilted her head and tapped her temple. "I guess it's all a matter of perspective."
Cecilia: Cecilia frowned. "Fair enough. I wouldn't say I'm here for just one reason either. Though at first I wasn't here so much by choice...well, it was a choice, but didn't feel like I had much of one."
Cecilia: "There's a public face and a private face for everything," Cecilia agreed. "I'm more interested in the real face though. S'why I ask. I don't want a story. Stories can be true or false or anywhere in between, but it's fine. If you like games than I can play games too. Who knows I might have fun trying to solve the puzzle," she smirked.
Cass: "Oh, I love playing games." Cassandra rubbed her forearms, which had already taken plenty of Cecilia's blows. "And you forgot one important thing about stories - they're entertaining." She cracked a quick grin. "If you're interesting in my real face, though, you should know I'm a girl who's quite fond of her masks."
Cecilia: "I'll just bet," Cecilia remarked, resting for a moment. "But I gotta talent for cutting through bullshit," she smirked, though it was actually somewhat friendly.
Cass: "Now doesn't that sound like we're just made for each other? I can already see the two of us will have so much fun together." Cassandra grinned, quickly fixing her pony-tail before raising her fists again. "And since we both love games, I say let's play!" She slightly cocked her head. "Unless you need a longer break."
Cecilia: "No, I'm good," Cecilia said, dropping into the ready stance. "Let's dance."
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