Choices, part 5: Warrior Queens

Posted: August 7, 2013 by writingsprint in Choices, Fantasy, Science fiction
Tags: , , , , , , ,

"Sea Serpent" by Mictones at DeviantArt

“Sea Serpent” by Mictones at DeviantArt

Take what was rightfully hers.

Everyone applauded as the soloists left the floor. There were a lot of hugs, some tears, laughter, and pats on the back. Jeana thought of her sparring partners in the training hall at home. Not the hugging type… well, that wasn’t true. They were different kinds of hugs. Less frilly. You didn’t giggle when you wore powered armor.

Well, there was that one weirdo from Dashan…

“Principals, to positions.”

Jeana and Andri jumped up and moved briskly to their places. Andri wore her favorite color, sky blue. Jeana wore her signature black.

They faced a panel of six judges from the school, chaired by Miss Graha. With Miss Graha alone Jeana wouldn’t have stood a chance. With all the teachers in school, Jeana knew she had it sewn up. They would be dancing the same routine, side by side, far enough apart that they wouldn’t get in each other’s way. The judges would decide who deserved the lead.

It always came down to this. Jeana and Adri. Adri and Jeana.

It felt different today. Adri felt like a storm cloud over to Jeana’s left. All churn, no focus. Jeana bit her lip. “Pull it together, bitch,” she whispered.

Adri’s eyes snapped over to her. “What?” she hissed.

Jeana’s eyes flicked over to her. Her eyes narrowed just so. Slowly, she said, “You heard me. You’re dust.”

Adri looked away and fixed her gaze on the the judges. She grit her teeth. Jeana felt her storm focus into a jet of rage.

The music started. Both dancers bowed, and the audition began.

The dance started slowly, symbolizing an underwater princess rising up from the depths of the sea. Then the pace quickened. There were dark, dangerous things in the water. The dancers circled, gazing around the room. They looked with wonder, then with fear. Their steps moved faster. An ancient sea serpent came at them. Spins. Leaps. The dancers fought. Every stab skewered. Their kicks slashed. Their teeth bared and snapped. Jeana felt like she could smell blood in the water, everywhere around them. The madness of battle engulfed them.

The music rose to crescendo. In final, titanic struggle, the dancers overcame the beast. The music slowed gradually into a lilting melody. The princess reached for the surface. She broke through. The dance came to an end.

No one made a sound. Then one person clapped, and the entire studio suddenly roared. It was deafening! People cheered, whistled and screamed. Some of them were crying again. Others were hugging. The judges applauded too. People were crying, “Bravo!” Jeana grinned from ear to ear.

She and Adri looked at each other. Awkwardly, they both hugged, and waved at the crowd. The applause kept going. Some of the judges looked at each other. They nodded to each other. As one, they gave the dancers a standing ovation. The audience screamed louder.

The dancers bowed. The crowd kept cheering. Twice. Now it was getting funny. Jeana and Adri waved at the crowd, and the applause finally faded. The dancers stood side by side and held hands the way they always did to await the judges’ decision.

“Hate this part,” Adri whispered.

As usual, they dragged it out. Without expression, the judges voted and passed their decisions to Miss Graha. She counted the votes, and confirmed them with the judges on either side of her, who confirmed the results. Miss Graha turned to the dancers. Everyone hushed again.

“Thank you, ladies. I speak for everyone on this panel when I say that we weren’t watching dancers today. We watched warrior queens. Both of you were utterly magnificent. Our regret is that only one of you can reign supreme, and the other will be her handmaiden in the recital. Adri, congratulations.”

Adri’s hands covered her mouth. She lowered her head as tears flowed. Jeana wrapped her arms around her. Bitter wine, sweet wine.

Adri hugged her back lightly. When Jeana didn’t let go at first, Adri hesitated, then hugged her like they were still friends. When they let go, she gave Jeana a look.

“You did great, Adri,” Jeana said.

Adri hugged Jeana again, hard. “Thank you,” she said.

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