I was not prepared for the violence of Ami’s attack. She threw herself at me with a frightening speed, a flick of her wrist turning into a diagonal cut that threatened to behead me on the spot.
Thankfully, as fast as she was, I was faster. My instincts, or more likely Zoe’s instincts, had me leaping backwards, light on my feet, just out of reach of her dancing blade. She was deadly, and brutally efficient, but every move she made, I seemed to know exactly where not to be. My body moved on its own, except that it didn’t, because every move felt intentional, and I felt completely in control.
A wave of what I could only assume was psychic energy knocked me off my feet, but body balanced itself, riding it out, and I landed gracefully on my feet. She never relented, forcing me back, keeping me on the defensive no matter what I did.
It was obvious she knew exactly what she was doing. My powers were the same as Zoe’s, and she must have fought Zoe countless times before. More than that, Zoe was an experienced fighter herself, and I, I was just a scrappy teenager who’d spend most of her life avoiding any sort of violence.
A small part of me wanted to believe that could work in my favour. Like, maybe I’d win by being unpredictable and raw. The rest of my brain, infinitely more practical, squashed that hope quickly. That only worked in movies, and as ridiculous as my life had become, it was far from cinematic.
As if to remind me, Ami’s next attack came closer than ever, her sword actually slicing through the skin of my forearm. It stung, but the wound healed itself within seconds of opening. She observed that with scarcely concealed frustration.
I caught sight of Envy, watching the fight with an expression somewhere between amusement and boredom, reflected in a glass pane. She caught my eye, and frowned at me.
“You’re not going to get far if you don’t fight back,” she said disapprovingly.
“I don’t know how to fight!” I protested, stumbling and recovering from another psychic attack. Ami was showing no signs of getting tired. If anything, she seemed to be energised by the encounter.
“You don’t need to,” Envy said. “Just watch what Ami does.”
“That is not how it works,” I complained, throwing myself sideways as I instinctively avoided a psychic wave. Ami hurled a crate at me, catching me off guard, but I twisted out of the way at the last moment.
“You really think Zoe’s power is just strength and speed, don’t you?” Envy said, sounding disappointed.
Irritated, I grabbed the crate I’d just dodged, and with surprisingly little effort, managed to throw it right back at Ami. A wave of her free hand was enough to deflect it, but she clearly hadn’t expected the retaliation, and I saw her falter briefly.
“Isn’t it?” I asked, my mind racing.
“No. She learns,” Envy said. I leapt behind another stack of crates, trying to focus on what Envy was saying. “Almost instantaneous muscle memory. Just try and do what she does.”
She pointed to a metal bar lying on the ground, on the other side of the warehouse. My eyes focussed on it instantly, despite the distance and darkness. Surely not.
I ran towards it, nearly losing my head to a surprise attack as Ami rounded the pile of crates. Once again, my reflexes saved me, as I literally leapt over her, flipping unnecessarily in the air above her. That hadn’t been intentional, and I wondered if Zoe was something of a showoff, and if I’d inherited any of that. In any case, I hit the ground still running, picking the bar up and twisting on the spot, turning to face Ami.
My body seemed to know exactly how to hold the bar, mimicking Ami’s stance perfectly. The weight felt right, natural, and my eyes scanned Ami’s posture, looking for any hint of her next move.
She lashed out, and my arm responded. I parried the attack easily, a flash of surprise appearing on Ami’s face. Frowning, she redoubled her attack, a vicious flurry of sword strikes that I was barely able to stay ahead of.
It occurred to me that if I stayed on the defensive, she would eventually get the upper hand. I only had to slip up once to lose, and it didn’t seem likely that she’d give up before then. I needed to go on the offensive.
No sooner had that thought crossed my mind than my body responded. A flick of my wrist and the metal bar became a weapon, and Ami had to throw herself out of the way to avoid it. It was obvious she wasn’t nearly as fast or strong as I was. If I could maintain the same level of aggression as her, she didn’t stand a chance.
All of a sudden, a stabbing pain in my gut stopped me in my tracks. Pain felt different while I was channeling Zoe’s power, more like an inconvenience than an actual concern, but it was so unexpected my body didn’t seem to know how to react.
I looked down. My stomach was bleeding, though there was no evidence that anything had cut me. The wound was already healing, but I didn’t understand what had caused it in the first place.
I felt another spike of pain in my shoulder, and more blood began to ooze out. Then my thigh, and my hip. Invisible blades stabbed at me, and I realised only then how much I’d underestimated Ami’s telekinesis. She’d been going easy on me.
A frustrated roar escape me, and I hurled the metal bar at her. It caught her in the shoulder, and she cried out in pain, distracted just long enough for me to charge at her, crossing the distance between us in a moment. I hit her, hard, and she went flying backwards, narrowly avoiding slamming into a pile of crates by creating what appeared to be a telekinetic cushion.
“You’re going to lose,” Envy said, snapping me out of my furious rampage. I snarled at her.
“You wanted this. I thought you’d be happy.”
A psychic blade slashed across my chest, and I danced backwards, realising keeping my distance from Ami was now imperative to my survival.
“Are you ready to listen?” Envy asked, her tone irritatingly petulant.
“I’m all ears,” I growled, still backing away.
Ami began to approach me, blade trailing beside her, a look of murder in her eyes. I wasn’t afraid, not quite, but every instinct in my body was screaming at me to run.
“Then I’m happy,” Envy said, evidently unconcerned about my plight.
“Great. Any chance you could actually be helpful?” I asked, as I scanned the room, looking now for any way to escape without having to get near Ami. I couldn’t see one.
“Take her power,” Envy said, her voice filled with cold power. It wasn’t a suggestion or even an instruction. It was a demand.
I caught her reflection, a serious focus that was quickly replaced by a friendly grin. The change was unsettling. She was unsettling.
“What, you thought it was just a one time deal?” she asked, with an almost childlike glee.
“I didn’t- how?” I asked, as Ami drew ever closer. Psychic hands gripped my throat, lifting me into the air. I was out of time. If Envy was going to do anything, I needed her to do it now.
“Don’t you feel it?” she asked, as the grip around my throat tightened. “Can’t you see it in her eyes? Don’t you see your reflection?”
I locked eyes with Ami, those dazzling, inhuman violet eyes. At first, all I saw was anger, mixed with a little fear, and a lot of determination. Then something shifted, and I saw deeper. I saw her. I saw myself. I saw everything.
“I see it. I feel it,” I said, completely forgetting about the crushing pressure around my neck,
“Now take it,” Envy ordered.
Power swirling around me, through me, into me. I knew what I had to do. I knew how to do it.
“Yes,” I obeyed.