“They’re late…” the gateway tech huffed over the hum of the engine which kept the doorway between worlds open. “Don’t they know how much energy this requires?”
Serabe grunted but continued to meditate. The visitors from another world would arrive whenever they did. It mattered not to her beyond that. Still, even if it was to serve as a functionary, the senior Ateshi felt relief to be off of class duty for the day. The new class of cadets was, putting it gently, absolutely garbage and it was quite… vexing.
Not one of them could harness their emotions to summon the magic that was the hallmark of their people. Even taking all twenty-five on at once, Serabe had barely broken a sweat–or a thread. That was the actual crime. She had not needed even one more drop power than her well-developed physique could contain. It had been so, so long since she had had a physically satisfying brawl.
She craved that rush which, now absent, had been ever-present when she first enrolled. That soul-satisfying feeling of her power swelling to match scenarios which no longer held the same challenge. That teeming mass of near-overwhelming sensations from her body growing and growing and growing even more as it tried to contain all that she was becoming.
Sure, she was something of a prodigy with her seemingly boundless ability to convert pain into magical energy, but Leadership should have made it a priority to find worthy sparring partners for her to continue honing her. Undoubtedly there was someone, anyone, out there in the multiverse who could test her. They just needed to be here.
No sooner had the thought crossed her mind that the idle gateway-engine spun up into gear. The entire structure began to vibrate as the tear in the fabric of space-time itself was wrenched wide open so that three figures could step through.
One was a massive woman, whose barely-clothed eight-foot height might have even rivaled her known maximum size. Her skin was coppery, tanned as if she had never lived indoors. The color went a long way in further accentuating what was already a considerable musculature. Contrastingly pale hair rose to a crest just above her hairline. Similarly colored, very-fine hair dotted her body–making her forearms and other extremities appear to be frosted.
With her were two tall, yet comparatively mundane-looking, women. One, wearing black leather and surrounded by magic, was as pale as the driven snow in both complexion and hair. The only color on her person was her two blood-red eyes. The other woman, in robes of blue silk, carried a staff of blackened steel that made Serabe uncomfortable for some reason. She had the gentle tan of someone who worked outside and her golden hair seemed to shimmer like coins.
Serabe got to her feet, her sense of challenge starting to stir. “Travelers, welcome to the Ateshi Academy. Might I know your names?”
“This one is She of the Word. With her are Camilla, The Spellstress of Rae Destin and Kyxi, the Reforged Blade*.”
“Great! If you’d just come this way for a moment, I need to, uh, put you through customs. Yeah, customs.”
The one named Camilla spoke in reply, putting her hand on the massive woman’s arm. “If that is what is required, please, let us be on our way.”
Of course, Serabe was hardly taking them to customs. She was taking them to the sparring chambers. Her fingers itched with the need to fight such obviously skilled warriors. Leading them into the massive room of regenerating material, she turned and grinned. “If you wish to pass, you must defeat The Mighty Serabe!”
The three women looked at each other in turn and shrugged before laughing. Camilla spoke first. “What say you, Kyxi? The one who takes her down gets to be on top?”
“I’ll take that bet and will enjoy every minute of you watching, Highness,” the one with the unsettling staff said, her voice full of mirth. She stepped forward and shrugged her robes off, revealing a tight fitting outfit more suited to martial arts.
Serabe rushed her but found her punch turned aside by the metal staff’s green glow. The other end of the long weapon came up to hit her in the gut, but she spun away. Even so, she felt a chill as the ghastly light rushed past her. That sensation was good though! It was just what she wanted. For as the fear began to assail her, muscles began to throb.
Already, her swelling physique was challenging her uniform. The senior Ateshi cadet formed a burst of energy in her palm and flung it at her foe who knocked it aside like it was a mere stone! Serabe’s uniform creaked as her growth accelerated. This situation was precisely the one which had been absent as of late!
Attack after parried attack only made her grin more, made her muscles swell. Her overflowing energy was flickering around her now like a cloak, her body humming with the sting of her injured pride. Even so, she had never felt more whole, more alive!
The playful duel lasted the better part of an hour before Leadership found them. By then Serabe had outgrown her clothes by a wide margin. Though her vastly improved physical strength seemed to not disturb her much smaller opponent in the slightest. Blows with all of her weight behind them, blows which left craters from their impact, were still just as easily turned aside by that weird staff. Still, today had been an outstanding day. She was nearly twice–twice!–as big as she had ever been.
“We’ll have to play more!” She yelled with a wave as the travelers were escorted away.