Now, I must train to a an official Valiant member. I may be away from my family but I feel different, like I could do anything. I feel free.
“Welcome Initiates!” A leader says, “You have chosen to be part of the warrior faction. But now, now we have to chose you.”
“What?” An initiate says.
“If you are ranked below the line by the end of the first stage you will be leaving us.”
“And do what?” Another Initiate says.
“You’ll live factionless.” He says, “Valiant-borns go with Kyle and transfers come with me. My name’s J.D.” He leads us into a room where we will be sleeping. He then leaves us in there to change. Boys and girls. I could never change in front of a guy. But I have to change into black. So I go behind a wall and quickly change hoping no one sees me.
We then must go and burn our old clothes. But how could I? That would be like burning my family. But I’m Valiant now and I have to do it. I glance at the fire and toss my clothes in. We then head to the pit for lunch.
I sit down at a table beside a girl I’ve never met before and she starts talking to me.
“Hi. I’m Julia.”
“Are you nervous?”
“No.” I lie. I’m totally nervous! I don’t want my face smashed!
“Scared of what?” The girl who tripped me sitting behind us says.
“Just mind your own business.” I tell her.
“Fine, I will.” I get up and walk over to her table and I start to say something, until…
“What’s going on?” It’s J.D.
“None of your concern. Stay out of it.” The girl says.
He picks her up buy the shirt, “It’s my duty to keep initiants fighting without permission.”
“I, I’m sorry.” She says and takes off to the dorms.
He turns to me, “Are you ok?”
“I feel nausea, “Yes, she didn’t even punch me.”
“Good.” He starts to leave.
“Why do you care about me?”
“I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I will give you private lessons if you want me to.”
“No. I’m fine.”
“Ok then. Good luck.” He walks out and I go back and sit with Julia.
“What was that all about?” She asks me.
“I don’t know.”
* * *
“There are two stages of training, Physical and mental.” J.D says,” Now some of you may think training is going to be easy. Well if thats the case you might as well pack up and leave now.” He points to me,”What’s your name?”
“Um its, Sa-,” I try to finish but Sara just sounds too armistice. I had to think of a new name quick,”Uh, my name’s Claire.”
“Claire. Come here.”
I walk onto the matt and face J.D as he places his arms on my shoulders firmly across from him. I feel a tingle run down my spine when he touches me.
“Your arms must be in front of your face like this,” J.D says and I do the same, “with your hands blocking your face and arms blocking your chest.”
He looks like he’s about to punch me. I want to go back, but I can’t it would not be good for training. So I just stand there and take the punch.
His arm comes my way. I yelp as soon as it’s six inches from my face. I wait but I don’t feel anything.
J.D frowns and lowers his head muffling his hair, “That was the proper way to punch,” he says, “make sure you aim right for the nose, that is the weak spot.”
I walk off the matt and run into the same girl that tripped me at the choosing ceremony.
“Look who it is, Claire,” she says, “or is that your name, I can’t remember?”
“Please move.” I demand of her.
She moves closer, “No. J.D is gonna have us fight and I need to know your weakness.”
“How do you know that?”
“I know everything.” She and her friends leave as J.D approaches.
“Don’t worry, Megan just thinks she’s the best of them all.” He says and smiles.
“How do you know?” I ask him.
“She’s a valiant -born. She thinks it’s in her blood.”
“Are you really gonna have me fight her?”
“Yes. I am.”
He cannot be serious? She’s gonna beat the crap out of me! “But, why?”
“To test you.”
“Just work on the technique I showed you today.” He then rushes off to, somewhere. I am alone in the valiant-headquarters. Alone.
* * *
“Today initiants, you will be fighting in the ring.” J.D says, “First fighters, Megan and Claire!”
I step up on the matt, watching Megan, she looks strong and powerful. I place my feet firmly on the matt into the stance J.D showed us.
“Ready?” J.D asks. Megan nods, then I nod.
“Fight!” He quickly steps off the matt and Megan plunges herself at me. I move out of the way and punch her in the stomach. She punches the side of my face and I fall to the matt. She kicks me in the side until I can’t take another kick.
“Stop! I’m done.” I say with my nose all bloody with huge bruises on my face and side.
J.D runs and picks me up and takes me to the infirmary.
* * *
I wake up in the hospital bed with J.D on my right.
“You feeling ok?” He asks me.
I nod, “yeah. I’m fine.”
“Good. Let’s go.”
I get up and follow J.D to the pit where everyone is waiting.
“We are gonna play a simple game. It’s like capture the flag.” J.D says, “The game is simple, each team will have a flag they must protect from the other team. The goal is to capture the other team’s flag. We will use these harmless simulation guns. Only lasts a couple seconds.” He moves toward our other leader, Kyle, “You pick first.”
J.D smiles, “Claire.”
* * *
We are in an old amusement park, Bushgardens.
“Lights off!” J.D says and we all do so.
“Where are we gonna hide this?” Julia asks holding the flag.
While everyone is talking I find the highest roller coaster and begin to climb it. J.D follows.
“What are you doing?” He asks.
“Just trying to get a good view.” I say and keep climbing.
“Good idea.” He says and starts climbing with me.
Once we have reached the top, we can see Kyle’s team’s flag.
“There it is.” I say.
“Yeah.” he says, “Ready?”
I smile at him, “Ready.”
“I’ll go first, “J.D says, “Cover me.” He goes out and Kyle’s team starts shooting. The rest of us all head out and start attack.
As I’m ten feet from the building with the flag, someone shows up behind me.
“Tell me if this hurts.” Kinden says.
“You tell me.” I shoot is arm and he falls to the ground.
I run up the stairs where Megan is guarding the flag. Once she sees me, she starts shooting and I shoot her leg. I found that if you injure her leg she is useless. As I’m running for the flag, Megan grabs my leg and pulls me down and starts beating me to a pulp. I then decide I would punch her in the mouth. I guess I punched her too hard ‘cause at least two of her teeth fell out.
I then run toward the flag and grab it. I then take it out to the balcony and wave the flag to let everyone know we have won.
* * *
As I am getting ready for bed, J.D comes in.
“These are letters from your families. Come get them.”
I don’t even bother going over there. I know my brother didn’t write me. But once everyone has read their letters, there is only one left. I walk over to it and read the return address, it’s from Caleb. I grab the letter and take it to my bed in the corner.
I know it has been a week since we’ve seen each other. And I thought that you should know that I’m going to date Ariana. You may be thinking I’m making the wrong choice, but she is the best thing that has ever happened to me.
I fold up the letter a grab a blank piece and begin writing.
You may have made a mistake, dating Ariana, but if she really makes you that happy, I won’t be mad.
Good luck. :)
After I’m done writing I find J.D in the pit and I ask him to send it for me.
“Are you sure?”
I walk back to my bed and think about my family. Why did I transfer? What am I? I don’t feel Valiant. But it doesn’t matter now, I am Valiant. Caleb is Astute and my parents are armistice. I have chosen to leave my family.