I followed Ryan through the halls of the same floor to a large empty room, empty at first glance anyway. The floor was covered in one very large mat and the walls were lined with weapons of the practice and real ones. I looked around in awe of the weaponry.
Ryan was watching with a smile on his face. I figured this might keep your mind off shit.
I sighed. “What do you know?”
He shrugged. “Not much. Just that helping us comes with a personal price. Ant didn’t elaborate much. He said if I wanted to know to ask you. But honestly, I think this is better therapy than talking.”
I looked at him with a wry grin. “Talking has it’s own merits, but beating the shit out of something is always helpful.”
Ryan grabbed an edged sword. “No holds barred. Only rule – don’t kill the other person. First blood?”
“You guys don’t play do you?”
Ryan laughed, “When you are immortal and have a super healing ability what fun is it? At least with you and I we won’t be playing until we break the other’s neck like with the vampires.”
I nodded. “Yeah I don’t think I want to try to heal that. My healings good but I don’t know if it’s that good.”
Ryan grinned, “Same here.”
“I’m not a sword fighter.”
Ryan chuckled, “Whatever you want to use, I think I need to ammend the rules, no ranged weapons either.” He grinned at me, “I forget you weild those fireballs like it’s nothing.”
I laughed. “Fine. I’ll try not to set you on fire.”
I created a weave of air as a weapon. It wasn’t sharp and it was mostly meant to keep his sword from cutting me since this was all about first blood. I wasn’t looking forward to fighting with a real blade.
Ryan circled me with his sword in hand and he was grinning at me, “This is going to be easy,” he said as he struck at me and I blocked with the peice of air and swiftly kicked his feet out from under him while he recovered from the shock of what the fuck just happened.
I grinned at him. “You think?”
Ryan got up. “I thought you were more human than that. Ant says you are slow. That wasn’t slow.”
I smiled. “I’m slower, weaker and less agile than a Venatori, but more so than a human.”
Ryan laughed. “Then I’m doing going easy on you.”
And he was. We danced around each other for the next ten minutes swinging and trying to get at each other without really pushing our limits. I was testing him, and he was testing me. We were looking for weaknesses. And then the fight really started. Ryan lunged at me and I knocked his sword from his hand and he went to pick it up but I tied it down with air. I was going to make this fair. I dropped the club I was holding and it became hand to hand.
Ryan laughed. “Well played.” He beckoned me with the bend of his hand, “Bring it!”
There was a lot of hits now, but no blood. Ryan was faster than a human, he was faster than I was. I had fought Venatori my whole life which in comparison to Ryan was just a blink of an eye. He was nearly as old as Cari, he was older than Ant by the amount of time I’d been on this fucking planet. So to say he was better than me was an understatement. But I didn’t let that stop me. I knew in theory I could beat him. I might have to cheat. But I kept the rules firmly in mind, no killing and no range.
But I didn’t fight with just my hands, I needed to up my poweress with my ability. I added strength with a blast of wind. I added a third leg or arm with air. Ryan moved with vampire speed. Watching it would have been fantastical – movie special effects. But for us it was a game. Ryan was better, but I was me.
The blond Chevelier had me down two or three times before I got him down on the ground again. He wasn’t growing tired. But I was. I needed to end it before I was too exhausted to breathe. My chest was already heaving, and I was covered in sweat. This was probably the best damned fight I’d had in ages – and that included going up against my father before I left the Venatori.
I pulled from my nightmares the thing I feared most. A coil of fire sprang to life in my hands. The heat warmed my hand but didn’t burn me as I held to the firey whip. Then in a moment I unfurled it with a snap that echoed in the room. A simple flick of the wrist and it was flying towards Ryan. It was fast and sharp as it snapped against his skin leaving a gash that didn’t bleed as it cauterized on impact.
The flames blinked out as Ryan touched his hand to his arm. No blood came away but it was healing now, soon it would be gone.
“Fuck that went to the bone.”
I sighed. “Sorry.”
“Nah, man. Ranged but not ranged. I like it. Tired?”
I fell backwards to the floor on a light coushin of air. “I’ve not had a workout like that since forever.”
Ryan sat down next to me. “Your boys don’t push you like that?”
I smirked, “I’m rarely the one doing the work.”
Ryan shook his head. “That’s what I’ve heard.”
I laughed. “Ant talks about us?”
“No.” He shook his head again. “He talked about you – a lot after the first few times it happened. He didn’t understand why he let you seduce him. Why he felt what he did.” Ryan sighed. “I told him, it was just your power. He drank from a Venatori, he drank the power in your blood. As much as his bite seduced you, your power seduced him. And well sex happens when your senses are blurred into oblivion like that.”
“We can manage now without falling into a drunken sex.” I declared with enough defensiveness that I shocked myself.
Ryan shrugged. “That’s years of practice. And a lot more will power.” He laughed, “And you’ve gotten a lot stronger since the first time we met. Your power radiates off off you and I feel it. And I’m numb to most of it feeling Cari’s through me everyday. I’m not particularly senstive to the occult, but dude, you are heavy with it.”
I sighed. “So I’m told.”
Ryan chuckled. “You don’t even know the half of it. Maybe Cari will enlighten you, maybe she won’t. You never know with her.” He stood up and offered me a hand. “We should get you a shower and some clean clothes. Jack will want his time too.”
I nodded and took his hand. “Shower sounds great.”