Jayko faced the kid standing several meters from him in the small field of grass in front of his house. The kid had an over-confident smirk on his face as he stared at Jayko over-top of his reflective shades.
On the balcony above stood the rust colored dekk watching the two of them.
Both the kid and the dekk had interrupted his morning work out routine and the kid had demanded a rematch from the evening before.
Jayko was happy to oblige. They already knew his identity and where to find him. His cover had been blown, so he figured he might as well have some fun with it. He was going to wipe the smug grin off the kid’s face.
Dressed in a pair of sweat-pants, Jayko stood shirtless and shoeless in the morning sun, his bright red hair still mussed from his early morning exercise routine. Spreading his legs shoulder length apart and balancing on the balls of his feet, he relaxed his body and raised one arm, crooking a finger at the kid.
“Show me what you’ve got,” he said casually, a small grin spreading on his own lips.
The kid ginned even larger and immediately threw back his arms, kicking up dirt as he lunged forward in a fast dash at Jayko.
He ducked low, coming in swinging as fast and as hard as he could.
Jayko bounced back on the balls of his feet, arms slack, swaying his body in dodge after dodge as the kid threw swing after swing at him. He twirled out of the way as the kid lunged at him. The grin on his face had vanished. He was in the moment, predicting each of the kid’s movements from just his stance and follow-through alone.
He was surprised by the kid’s nimbleness as the kid leapt up lashing out in a strong kick.
Jayko ducked under it easily enough. The kid saw his movement though and changed to a downward kick, trying to bring his full force down on Jayko.
Raising an arm, Jayko blocked his kick without budging. Pushing off the ground, he shoved the kid’s leg high into the air, expecting to see surprise light the kid’s face, instead the smirk was still plastered there as he leapt up, using the motion to do a flip backward, landing on his feet, hands at the ready.
“Not bad,” mumbled Jayko, impressed. Louder he said, “Let’s try to step it up though.”
Standing from his half-crouch, Jayko pushed off the grass, coming up beside the kid in the blink of an eye. He could see the excited grin on the kid’s face in the moment before he swung his body around in a high kick. In that same instant, the kid touched the circlet on his wrist. There was a small gust of air and Jayko’s kick swung around, unimpeded.
Jayko glanced around behind him as the kid came flying down, trying to land a heavy blow on his back. He reacted instantly. His feet planted solidly, he swung around, grabbing the kid the moment before he hit the ground. Surprise lit the kid’s face then, as Jayko’s hand gripped the back of his head.
Suddenly the kid found himself looking straight at the ground. Jayko saw his arms shoot out and was surprised by how the kid was able to catch himself and soften his impact as Jayko pinned him to the ground.
He hadn’t intended to smash him into the ground very hard, but seeing that he could react like that, Jayko held his grip on him lest he try to get away.
“Not bad, not bad at all,” Jayko said, holding his grip. “You’re still a long ways off from matching me though.”
“That’s what they all said in training too. I’m the best of the best in my class, though,” said the kid, confidence still ringing clear in his voice.”
“And what class is that?” asked Jayko.
“Once I beat you and you come with us, you’ll see!”
Jayko felt a grip as the kid twisted around, having grabbed one of Jayko’s legs. He shifted his weight on the ground under Jayko’s grip and Jayko felt his own balance waiver for a moment.
It was all the kid needed though. He twisted and rolled from under Jayko’s grasp, leaping up from the ground, ready to go.
Jayko saw his fingers graze the circlet again.
He let a smile play on his face as he lunged forward, swinging his arm. His eyes met the kid’s for an instant. The confidence was still there, but this time the kid didn’t dodge. He swung his arm the instant Jayko’s fist was within reach.
Jayko felt the impact as his blow was deflected. His eyebrows shot up in surprise.
He leapt back from his lunge, putting a couple meters between him and the kid. “Now you’ve peaked my curiosity,” said Jayko quietly. He held his hands at the ready, waiting to see what the kid would do with this sudden change of tactic.
The kid drew his arm back, as if to make a swing. Then, bracing his feet, he lunged forward at Jayko. His movement was slower than before, but Jayko could tell he was up to something.
Shifting his stance, Jayko kept his own hands at the ready as he concentrated on the kid’s movements.
“This is going to hurt,” he mumbled to himself.
Putting all his force into his motion. The moment the kid was close enough to complete his swing and Jayko started to feel the force from it impact his hands, he shoved back with all his might. The impact of the blow hit harder than it should have for the kid’s size and speed, but it did, and Jayko felt it radiate through his body and into the ground. The surprising thing was, that the kid’s fist had never made contact.
Then suddenly Jayko felt something give and the kid lost his footing thrown back by the force of his own blow. He landed in the grass on his back with a shout.
“Damnit! That was supposed to work!” he said, sprawled out on the ground, his breathing heavy.
Jayko’s own chest heaving from the exhaustion of countering the kid’s final blow gave a small chuckle. “That was impressive.” He looked the kid over, focusing on the silver circlet around his left wrist.
Letting himself collapse into a cross-legged sitting position, Jayko gave a small nod. “Alright,” he said between breaths. “I’ll hear you out. Then if what you have to say is of the level of importance you tell me it is, I’ll come with you.”