Gauntlet Teaser #4

November 16, 2020


From Chapter 34

(rough draft phase)


Combined-energy punches surged from my palm. Penetrating the shell around me with ease, they slammed into the newly fortified training dome wall and disappeared. I lowered the shell, pushed out of Kristoffe’s arms, and went to inspect the point of impact.


Not bad. No melting, no drops of goo.


“Satisfied?” he asked.


The smirk in his tone matched the one I found on his face when I turned to answer him. “That depends. Is the impact clean because I’m dialing back my strength, or because of your improvements?”


“A bit of both, I presume.” Kristoffe shot a questioning glance at Reece, who had taken a position close enough to observe, but far enough away to avoid any energy blowback.


I glanced at him, too, while letting out a slim thread of intuition. Outwardly, he seemed calm. But I felt strong animosity burning inside his cage. This marked his first time witnessing my energy combined with Kristoffe’s, and he seemed none too thrilled about it.


“Without proper measuring equipment,” he responded mildly, “it’s hard to say.” His gaze flicked to me. “Why are you attempting to reduce the force of your skill? Your focus should be on increasing it.”


Kristoffe grunted. “That’s exactly what I told her.”


Annoyed, I walked back to them. Increase it, reduce it—those were merely facets of the thing I really wanted, which was to master my skillset entirely. I’d come a long way, but it still had far too much control over me, and that was going to change.


The tiger swished her tail. Good luck with that.


Luck had nothing to do with it. This was all mental. Keeping the beast in my belly at bay was an act of sheer willpower, and I would do anything to avoid a descent into madness.





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