Chapter XXXIX – Back Train (Day 4)

In the bathroom, he saw Jonathan taking a bath in a no-cubicle shower room. He went beside him removed, his towel and opened the shower. He smiled at him. His mentor smiled back.

“I apologize for what happened a while ago,” said Rem.

“For what?” asked Jonathan.

“For hurting you.”

Jonathan smiled.

“You know, Rem, I like you but I also hate you. I hate that you are too polite and soft-hearted. Have you looked in the mirror? You have a swollen brow and bruises are all over your body. I should be the one apologizing but I won’t. It’s my job, nothing personal. And, I think you should also do the same… Why? Because when you are already at the game, you won’t be dealing with mentors and robotic enemies. You are dealing with blood-thirsty contenders, who desire nothing but win.”

Rem paused for a few minutes and realized Cooney was telling a reality.

“I got it, Mr. Jonathan…”

“But, on the other hand, what you did back there was quite amazing. Continue with that and you guys will surely win,” said Jonathan, who just finished showering. “Finish that and we’ll wait. Those gift checks can accommodate at least ten people. Share your blessing,” he added laughing and while leaving the shower room.

The next hours were spent with a cup of coffee and some chit chats.

*****

After going back to their condominium unit, Vincent and the rest of the group gave Rem and Marybeth some time alone in the living room. There, the two just talked about their plans when they were inside.

“I have this feeling that we won’t start together,” said Rem.

“What do you mean?” Marybeth asked.

“For a challenge, none of the partners will start the game near with each other. I mean, they will definitely make us find each other.”

“Alright, I get it. So, what do you want?”

“How about leaving signs for each other; signs that only the two of us can understand?”

“Sounds amazing! What do you suggest?”

“We’ll we have our own daggers right?”

“Ah huh.”

“I think we should use that and make a drawing in rocks and trees if we’ve been to that place…”

Marybeth just submitted herself to what Rem wanted to do. She allowed him to talk and all throughout, she didn’t do anything but nod. They continued with their plans on the dining table while eating their orders.

*****

The morning after, Rem was awakened by Carklein reminding him that he should be getting ready. He obliged and immediately prepared himself. In the dining room, he felt a little embarrassed seeing that the whole team, including Marybeth, was waiting for him.

“Having hard times getting up?” Marybeth asked waiting.

“You’ve been waiting for me?” said Rem.

“Yup, for about 25 minutes now!”

“I’m so sorry. Let’s start breakfast.”

A few minutes after the breakfast, the group headed to the same building yesterday.

“The second day of this training will concentrate on our forte,” said Vincent.

“Individually, you will stand in the middle of this ground and will have to fight the enemies that will appear.

“These enemies, which are programmed to intermediate level, will appear either individually or group. The things around here: the boulders, the logs, ropes etc. are your friends. Use them on defense or offense. This time, you will have 14 enemies, representing your true enemies when you are already on the battlefield. You must have to defeat all of them.”

Both Rem and Marybeth were silent.

“I guess you don’t have any questions. So, let’s start… Marybeth, as per request of Heitzberg, you’ll go first.”

Vincent poked Rem and they exited the room and into another room on the second floor.

“Ms. Marybeth, are you ready?” Vincent asked.

“Bring it,” Marybeth replied.

Vincent pressed the button. Immediately, the room turned into a dark room with the spotlight on Marybeth. Then, the light went on and it’s already a completely different atrium room. Seconds later, two enemies appeared.

Marybeth was able to dodge the attacks. She also did great in shooting the two computer-generated enemies. Rem was impressed. However, she lost too much energy and she’s obviously gasping for air. Then, an image of a man appeared near her and it immediately attacked her.

Marybeth was able to dodge the attacks, but the man was too powerful for her. Then later, she was just receiving the blows. She even tried to retreat, but the enemy easily caught her. Rem, on the other hand, was worried.

A buzzer went off and it’s a sign that Marybeth didn’t finish the training. That very moment, the room turned back. She lay on the floor and cried out of frustration. Rem came running to check her.

“Are you alright?” asked Rem.

Marybeth nodded while her arm on her face covering her eyes. Rem pulled her to sit on the floor. She put her wrist on her knees and bowed down. Sweat continued to drop on the floor.

“It’s ok. It’s only your first time,” said Rem.

“I only defeated two out of 14. That’s not ok.”

“Ms. Anderson, Rem’s right, the first time will always work that way,” Vincent said interrupting her. “Today is ok. But, I am expecting you in the next days that you will improve. Understand? And besides, it’s training, coming from the root word train.” he added giving Marybeth a tap on her shoulder.

“Burrows, it’s your turn now.”

Vincent gave Marybeth a hand and pulled her. They exited the room.

“Are you ready, Rem?” Vincent asked over the microphone.

Rem nodded and then again, the room turned.

A man and a woman appeared in front of him on the second floor and they were both carrying spears. Rem immediately sought shelter behind the big rocks and when peeked, he saw that the two were running separately and he knew that they will hunt him down.

Rem waited for a few seconds and climbed the big rock. He jumped into the second floor to where the man was running and ran fast to meet. The computerized man wasn’t able to react as he sparred with him. After a few punches coming from Rem, the CGI disappeared.

Rem saw another image of a man – carrying a sword – appeared on the first floor.

Rem didn’t mind him as he knew he was quite far and climbing to the second floor will give him enough time to face and defeat the spear lady. He ran towards the direction of the spear lady. She also ran towards him and when they met, she threw her weapon. Alert as he was, he rolled and successfully ducked the weapon. He smiled and ran to face her. He overpowered spear lady and in an instant, she vanished.

Rem looked below and didn’t see the sword man. He put himself in an alert position while he inspected the place. His eyes shined seeing a pile of rope on the ground floor. He ran to his right as it was the easiest way to get to the ropes. However, as he continued running, he realized that the sword man was also on the second floor.

12 meters,” said Rem to himself. “I will stand a better chance if I have the ropes. If I ran away to the opposite side and use the stairs, he might catch me up. So, I have to do this.”

Rem faced the railings and jumped. The sword man followed immediately by doing the same. He was surprised that the sword man was faster than him and he’s getting close. As he came nearer the ropes, he dived, grabbed it and rolled while his fingers do the knitting.

Rem purposely rolled like a volleyball player so he will end up facing the swords man. He then threw a knife on the sword man’s right shoulder, which the enemy easily dodged. He again threw another knife, this time that was attached to a rope with a loop that caught his left hand. He then pulled the rope. The enemy tripped. He then turned around to give him a hard elbow on his face. He vanished.

On the corner of his eye, Rem noticed a human image forming. He looked and there’s a half-knelt man on top of a boulder. A few seconds after, it stood and jumped from the rock and walked towards the direction of Rem. He knew that the guy was a member of “Pachrees” and opted to battle him with bare hands. When they met, punches and kicks were thrown.

Surprised, Vincent stood from his seat. His eyebrows crossed seeing Rem not fighting like he used to. It was obvious that he was just letting the opponent win. A few minutes after, his buzzer went off. The room returned back.