“Yo! Chain Mail! Get outta the way!” called Shadela as she helped Gator aim at the center of the target. It was the second rotation of arms, and Shades had us aiming for certain goals. Gator and Wayk were on Accuracy, Falcon and Kael on Strength, and Tracer and I on Reaction.
“Sorry!” panted Kael as he pushed the wheelbarrow out of the target area. Shadela seemed to like bothering us by calling us by our nicknames. Most of the guys didn’t care, but I wasn’t so sure about mine.
“Hey! Firefox! Watch yourself!”
I ducked as an arrow flew over the army crawl section. Wayk took his turn firing as I reached the end of the course and took off down the path between the bushes. Tracer followed behind and I heard a hefty smack as he encountered a trap.
The goal of Reaction training was to run through a maze and avoid getting hit. If you were, you’d have berry splats as proof. I was bored. I wasn’t tired, or scraped up, or dirty. Compared to everyone else.
Tracer, however, was more slime than smile at the end of the third run. I was standing and watching Wayk and Gator at the target range, pecking away at the center, when Tracer dragged himself up and over, panting heavily. “How…do…you do it?” he asked.
“I dunno. Usually, this sort of workout training kills me.”
“I wish,” he moaned. Half of his face was masked with red juice. The other was slathered with mud.
“I hope not. Besides, you’ve already got your party mask for tonight.”
“What mask? And I thought…it was traditional.”
“It’s different for us. I found out today that while everyone is listening to violins and doing the waltz, we get a costume party and a light show. You could go as the Phantom Monarch,” I teased.
He sat down on a bench and wiped his face with a towel. I was sweaty and dirty, too. I could feel stuff caking my face. But I was bored. Being bored never does anyone any good. If I was going to improve my reaction time, I needed to step it up. The only trick was how to make it harder without risking life and limb.
I was puzzling it out when Tracer got up. “I’m going to try one more time,” he sighed. “There’s this one section that’s driving me nuts.”
“Alright. I’ll go with you.”
I let Tracer get a head start so he wouldn’t worry about messing up in front of me. After a few seconds, I started in. First, avoid the swinging arms. Don’t fall in the water ditch. Balance on the skinny beams. Hop in and out of the rims, do the monkey bars, practice swing-jumping, push past the dummies without getting punched. Tracer got whacked in the face again, and I laughed when he punched them back.
Then it was back to the field of rolling kegs and pushing wheelbarrows.
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