IX. A Chance

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"Line up!"

The physical education teacher, Brendan Sterling, assessed the young Gifted as they stood side by side in a line behind the education buildings. The cart center, where residents can check out a go-cart to go exploring Elfen Island, was quite a few feet away, with employees tending to the go-carts. Dai, Kai, and Raina all shared this class together, as well as Hunter. The four stood amidst other students as Sterling went about beginning class.

"Welcome, class, to your first day of actual physical education," Sterling said, "As Gifted, you all hold a special magical power within you. You can use it in a variety of ways, but this class will show you how to use it to defend yourself. That is to say; I do not condone using your powers to harm others. I expect better from all of you when you go out into the world with this information. You will know how to make sure no one takes advantage of you. With that said, we will also have a few small games of Gifted Battling. I expect good sportsmanship and no cheaters."
He tipped the bill of the baseball cap he was wearing, adjusting to the sunlight.

"Now, I'm going to partner all of you up," he announced, "We're going to practice basic attacks and defenses. Most of you will find this easy, while others may find the 'defense' difficult to achieve. It all depends on your Gift and the will to construct what you want to construct. In your pairs, one will attack, and one will defend. The pairs are as follows..."

He listed the pairs, and Dai found himself dismayed when he heard his and Hunter's names together. Given what happened earlier that morning, and the day before, he wasn't too keen on seeing him up close and personal again.

"Yikes," Kai whispered as he saw the look on his brother's face, "Good luck, bro."
"Why does he need good luck?" Raina asked.
"That guy irritates Lena," Kai explained, "Plus, he seems like both a creep and a jerk."
"Oh," Raina said, somewhat surprised, "Did... Lena tell you that?"
"Yeah," Kai confirmed, "And he made some crappy joke at Dai yesterday, so we don't really like the guy."
"What kind of joke?" Raina asked.
"I'll tell you later," Dai said, "It's rather vulgar."
"You using words like 'vulgar' is vulgar," Kai teased, punching his brother's arm.
"And you probably don't even know what it means," Dai teased back.

"Alright! Get into your pairs! Make sure there is a decent amount of space between all of you!" Sterling shouted.
The line broke apart as all the Gifted went to join up with their partners.
Dai found Hunter, who gave him a dirty look.
Dai tried being friendly.
"Guess we're partners, huh," he said with a forced smile.
"Uh huh," Hunter sniffed.
Without another word, he went over and stood a few feet away from the nearest pair. Dai wordlessly joined him on the opposite side, facing him. Sterling came over and stood at the end, standing between the two boys.

"Now, those of you on my right, you will defend. Those of you on my left, you will attack. Show me what you can do!" he shouted.
Hunter smirked, and grew some thorns on his fingers.
Dai's gaze narrowed, and he slightly lowered his stance in anticipation.
He then swung his hand, the thorns flying off, towards Dai.

Dai formed an ice sword and swung diagonally upward, deflecting the thorns.
Hunter's smirk disappeared, he had been expecting him to just throw up an ice wall, like most other ice Gifted.
This time, he grew thorns on all of his fingers and flung them at him.

There were too many for Dai to safely deflect, so he stepped back and raised an arm, an ice wall forming up and blocking the thorns.
Hunter smirked again, and a leaf sword formed in his hands.
He ran at the ice wall and jumped over it, swinging the sword down on Dai, who blocked it with his own with a clang.

The two struggled against one another, catching the attention of some of the other partnerships.
"I can play with swords too," Hunter remarked spitefully.
"No offense, but you probably suck at swordplay," Dai replied, pushing against him.
Hunter growled and pushed Dai off, swinging the sword again from the left.
Dai blocked it with ease.
Hunter kept swinging and swinging, Dai blocking each and every blow.
Frustrated, Hunter raised an arm.
Vines came up from the ground, entangling around Dai's feet.

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