JYA Homework Assignment: Gym class
Arashi was actually looking forward to Gym class. It was his favourite lesson, -and- his favourite teacher. Miss Nanako was not as stiff and rigid like most of the other teachers, and he actually liked and respected her style of fighting. Plus, she was not as harsh on him like some of the others, and he was allowed to use his energy for something more constructive than sitting on his ass all day!
As they lined up, Nanako told them to split into pairs, handing out harmless foam versions of their normal weapons. The real ones got locked up safely into a secure box.
Seeing Arashi was so far the only student who did not use any weapons at all, Nanako called him over to train against her. Like him, she was skilled in martial arts, and seeing that was his main focus, it would be a waste of time trying to force him to learn how to use weapons. Besides, what use would a weapon be to him in wolf-shape? He needed agility, speed and strength far more than a weapon. He gave a polite bow and slipped into a fighting stance, feet slightly parted for balance and his arms up in order to parry or block her attacks.
About two minutes later, he got the air knocked out of him as he slammed into the mat, back first. She smirked at him and gave him a hand back up. “Parry low, sidestep, and -then- parry high. Try again!”
“Got it.” Arashi nodded, slipping back into the fighting stance. He did as told, but followed up with a swift attack to get hold of her arm. He gave it a swift twist, and with a small yelp, Nanako was the one facing the mat. “Very good. But you forget...” She twisted and swept his feet away beneath him. Seconds after, she had him pinned down. “...I'm faster than you, kiddo.”
She had to move around at times to keep an eye on the others while they trained, and Arashi used that time to practice blows and kicks against a boxing bag. He glanced over at Shizuko, Grey, Xyra and Sagi, all training with their various weapons. It looked like a pillow fight with oddly shaped pillows. Seeing Sagi place his arms around Xyra to help her adjust a stance made him punch the bag a bit harder than intended, and it swung right back at him, sending him on his ass. Much to the amusement of the others. That only made him even more angry, but at least the punching bag was made for angry Yokai's to vent their frustrations! Kicking, punching and imagining a few faces on the rough canvas helped him to cool down again...
He was grateful when Nanako returned so they could continue the training. She was by far the one teacher who was best able to keep his attention. Perhaps except from Mei, but Mei didn't count! She was an Okami like himself, older, stronger and bat-shit crazy! Nanako was just being kind to him, but still managed to keep his focus on the task at hand. Also, it helped a lot that he was never standing still in her classes!
Block, parry, attack, move, rinse and repeat. Make the moves reflexive. Make them a part of you so you don't even have to think in a fight. Just react. Make it instinct.
Arashi repeated this small mantra to himself, drilled into him by the man who had raised and trained him since he was a small kid. Blocking, parrying and retaliating to Nanako's attacks, he kept an eye on every opening and tried to take advantage of it. He was most often the one to end up on the mat, but it was part of learning. Learning how to avoid it! And what to do if it happened anyway. The fact she didn't mock him, but gave him advice and told him what he had done wrong, kept his temper from flaring in frustration. Helping him back on his feet, they continued the dance around the mat, constantly testing each other, and looking for holes in their defences. A marked kick to the side, a grab of the wrist, a hip-toss, and back to the mat. Jumping back up, a tackle, the other one slamming against the mat. Back on your feet, kiddo....
And finally. The last bow. Match over.
The Fear Chamber was a small, closet like room, made for one student at the time. The magic inside would dig deep into the subconsciousness of the student to draw out their worst nightmares, forcing them to confront their fears. The teachers would then be able to access it, and find out a way to help the student in overcoming their fears. All a part of their training.
Arashi wasn't too keen on stepping into the room, feeling rather on edge when the door closed behind him. Taking a deep breath, he tried to brace himself against whatever the chamber would reveal, all senses alert.
Slowly, fog gathered around his feet, slowly swirling up until he was covered in it. He couldn't see the walls, and even though he reached out a hand to find the wall, he couldn't even feel it any longer. The fog was so thick he could barely see his own hand in front of him.
Then he catched the scent...
Faint at first, then stronger and stronger.
The scent of a predator.
He could hear a low, rumbling snarl.
The sound of soft paws against the forest floor, getting closer.
He even thought he saw a shadow in the mist. Impossibly huge. Easily towering over him.
The scent became more familiar.
He had not sensed that since he was still barely able to stand.
It was the unmistakable scent of his father.
The Alpha male.
Arashi turned to run. Every part of him wanted to get away!
He could hear his father pick up the chase behind him.
“He is playing with me!” Arashi thought, the panic starting to well up inside him. No matter how fast he ran, it didn't seem to help at all. The shadow kept coming closer! One moment next to him, the next, behind him. So close that he could feel the warm breaths against his neck and back.
Stumbling over his own feet, Arashi ended up on his hands and knees against what felt like forest undergrowth and mud. A paw the size of his head pushed down on his back, and he could feel the mud soak through his clothes, filling his nose, mouth and eyes so he barely could breathe.
He closed his eyes as he felt the strong, sharp teeth close around his neck, pushing through muscles and sinew.
He couldn't even scream!
Then the mist faded, the sensation of getting choked and bitten to death still lingering. Instead, he was now in a cage, barely large enough for him to sit properly. The room was empty now, and no matter how much he shouted and yelled, trying to break the cage apart, he knew that no one would come for him. He was going to be trapped in that tiny little cage for the rest of his life! He curled up, arms wrapped around his knees.
He hated being trapped.
Hated to be unable to move.
Hated to be chained up!
Then he felt a soft hand stroking his hair, and a new scent filled his senses. Nanako!
“Come, Arashi...It's okay now. You're at the school, remember? You're safe now...It's over...”
He clinged on to her, feeling dizzy, terrified and weak. He had never been more happy to sense the sunlight! Or the mixed scents of the others, for that matters. They were all waiting outside, peering at him. Some of them looked a bit nervous when seeing the almost ashen-grey colour of Arashi's face, already wondering what inner demons -they- would have to face when it was their turn!
Nanako gently lead him over to sit down on the floor, back against the wall. “Breathe deeply. Focus on your breathing, and calm down. Just relax for a little while, and you will be okay.” Nanako spoke softly, still stroking his hair as if he was just a little kid who'd had a nightmare. And truth told, he was happy that she did! It helped. A lot.
After class, he went for a long run at the training grounds. It helped him to shake off the last remnants of the paralysing fear he had felt in the room. It was just a nightmare. Just his fears. Not real...
Still, he couldn't help but raise a hand to his neck where he had felt the sharp teeth sink in.
“Don't be silly, Arashi! It was -just- a nightmare.” He chided himself.
Still. He kept running for a few more laps...