On Tuesday, Cal went straight to the stadium and met up with Josh and Sarah. They had their matches back to back, Josh's match at eleven and Sarah's only half an hour later. Josh wanted to get in more training beforehand though, so they met at the stadium first thing in the morning. Sarah would heal them if they got hurt and they would spar.
Cal had to admit that Josh was getting good, especially for only two days of training. Cal dodged a bolt of electricity from Josh's hands and then formed a layer of water around Josh's skin, but rather than electrocuting himself, Josh made the water into something like an armor of electricity, and tried to run at Cal. Cal had to make a ball of water hit him hard enough to knock him over. He couldn't let Josh touch him, but he was also running out of ways to stop him. He couldn't use the water to block his electricity, since the water is conductive. He couldn't really try to hurt Josh with it, or slowly suffocate Josh like he had done to his opponent in his last match, because he would have to act faster than Josh could just send out electricity. He couldn't really dodge electricity either, unless it was targeted, which all of Josh's attacks so far were.
In the time it had taken him to think about this, Josh apparently had thought about the same thing, because Josh sent out a field of electricity spreading out along the ground. Cal had to resort to his non-water abilities to stop it, but he surrendered and told Josh that he couldn't have beaten Josh with just water, or even water and ice for that matter. He just had no way to stop the electricity.
By the time that they stopped sparring, they only had twenty minutes left before Josh's match. Cal and Sarah decided to get some food and then find their seats, while Josh did some more last minute practicing.
"He is getting really good. I hope he gets matched with someone that gives him a challenge, but is still someone that he can beat." Sarah said to Cal as they were in line at the hot dog stand.
"I think he will do just fine. I don't know of many people that he can't beat, and the only ones that can really give him a challenge are probably earth elementals that can ground his electricity and other electricity elementals. With both of those, he can still beat them if he is creative." Cal told her.
They took their seats and watched as the arena was quickly cleaned up between matches.
"Do you feel like you are ready for your match?" Cal asked her.
She sighed. "As ready as I will be, I suppose. Combat really isn't my specialty."
"Yeah." He spoke. He wanted to think about more strategies for her, like the idea he had for constantly healing herself to give her an advantage. As he was brainstorming, he remembered how she had healed his hangover.
"Wait. Do you remember when you cleared up my drunkenness the other day?" He asked.
"How did you do that?"He continued.
She shrugged. "It's kind of weird. You just looked foggy. Well, not you, really, but your..." She shook her head. "I don't know, your presence or self or whatever. Well I just cleared it up."
He thought for a moment.
"Can you see my presence right now?" He asked.
"If I look."
"Why don't you try making it foggy and undoing what you did before?" He said.
She leaned back. "I hadn't thought of that. You think I could just make my opponent super drunk?"
He shrugged this time. "It's worth a try." While she started to focus, he did too. This would be a good chance for him to get a better understanding of her affinity, Life was the one thing that he couldn't put into terms of his own powers.
Suddenly, he felt lightheaded. He hadn't seen any atoms change, but then he realized that if anything changed, it would be inside of him. He tried to look inwards as best he could. He obviously couldn't look at his own brain, so instead he tried to feel the atoms and connections. He could feel the difference this way.
It was really hard to think about this, and even harder to try to sharpen his idea of what was going on. When he had first started looking at atoms, it was like looking at text when you need glasses. Their shapes weren't quite definite. Then, with practice and a new perspective, it was like putting on glasses and getting a crisp clear image. With this, it was like looking at something with an out of focus microscope. Everything was confusing and in weird places and moving, to top it off.
He gave up on it and tried looking at the atoms inside of Sarah, and had better luck. It still wasn't very clear, especially because there was so many different kinds of materials and molecules. It also probably helped to know exactly what he was looking at. With normal atoms, he was able to see them much better once he understood them, but he didn't have a firm grasp on biology and anatomy. He could tell clearly what kind of elements she had in her body, but wasn't able to understand much about the way those elements were arranged. He was able to see the way her hairs worked, since he had learned about them in a class once, and he could see that they were like a ladder of keratin molecules. One thing that Cal found interesting about them was that besides the sulfur bridges between each molecule of keratin, it could be mostly made from water and the atmosphere. Could he make a person?
That thought shook him a little. He supposed that in order to make more than just a body, he would need to really wrap his mind around how exactly the life affinity worked. Although Cal was definitely not in a rush to go creating people. He didn't want to even start to consider all of the ethical and philosophical arguments about that.
Suddenly his mind was cleared and he realized that his mind had been wandering like crazy. Creating people? Why would he even think about that.
"Sorry. I couldn't tell if it was working and you didn't speak up." Sarah said.
He nodded. "Yeah it definitely worked, although it was not quite like being drunk. It was almost more like being high, my mind just wandered and wandered. I forgot about what we were even doing after a little while."
He looked around to see that the arena was clear and they were about to call down Josh.
Sarah looked like she was about to say something, but the horn sounded and her attention was drawn to the match.
Josh stepped up to the field and stood across from his opponent. He was one of the younger students that just got his element, so Cal didn't know what it was. They announced that his name was Nate.
The horn sounded and Josh sent a bolt of lightning at Nate. Nate dodged it and then Josh found his legs chained to the ground. Nate figured he had it in the bag, but also wanted to make sure he didn't get hit, so he made a metal cage around him that was a small mesh of metal and didn't touch him. Josh immediately tried to electrocute him again, before Nate could do anything to take advantage of his immobile state. The bolt hit the mesh and was grounded. Nate then took the moment to start moving Josh out of the arena.
He tried electrocuting the chains, but nothing happened and then he tried to focus. He was getting pulled further and further away, but he thought about what he had done for Cal. When Cal wanted a demonstration, Josh had made a single spot of electricity. It was very precise. He did the same now. Rather than being a bolt of powerful electricity, it was like a beam of carefully aimed electrons and went straight through one of the holes in the mesh. It hit Nate and he collapsed, Josh stopping short of leaving the field by only a few feet. He hit Nate with more, enough to stop his heart apparently, because the horn sounded and Nate got up with a concerned look on his face.
Cal and Sarah erupted into applause with the rest of the stadium. Nate cleared up all of the metal and they both walked back to their seats.
"Well done Josh!" Sarah yelled when he got back.
"That was smart. You keep that up and even I might have to be worried." Cal laughed.
They all celebrated while the arena was cleared for Sarah's match.