am i strong enough - blinding star


The last time Ember had sparred with anyone, it had been her mother. She still remembered those long days in newleaf, when the food was plentiful enough that they could afford to set aside a day, when they ran though the motions together again and again until they were both exhausted. She had always hated it. Her mother insisted upon it though. Told her that she needed to know how to defend herself, for when she was on her own. Only when her mother was satisfied with her performance was she allowed to hunt on her own.

Despite how she had felt at the time, it was hard not to look back on those days nostalgically now.

After her recent encounter with the marsh cats, combat was at the forefront of her mind. It had been a while since she had actually fought another cat. She couldn't afford to be rusty with danger so close, and the memory of Finch crying out while she still helpless still hung heavy in her mind. She wanted to be ready to defend her friends. What better way to do that than with some sparring, just like the old days. The other members of her patrol probably felt the same, so she sought one of them out - Blinding Star - to be her partner. "Heya friend!" she greeted brightly as she bounded over to him, skidding to a stop at his paws. "Wanna do a bit of training? Make sure were ready to face those nasty swamp cats if they come back?"

@Blinding Star
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( ✧ ) Blinding Star often spent his free-time lounging, soaking up the sun. His daily hunts were near-always completed with time to spare, and he eagerly took advantage of it. Keeping a fresh coat in a place plagued by sap and pine took work, after all. Oh, but even then, it could become so terribly boring.

So it's a welcome surprise when dear Ember comes bounding toward him, offering some entertainment, even if short. A friend she calls him, and it's peculiar. His head cocks ever so slightly, but of course, his smile remains warm. The mention of nasty swamp cats has him huffing out a breath of amusement. It's accurate, from their smell down to their attitudes. No, he did not find them to be worth his time, though admittedly he wouldn't mind sinking his claws into that wiry one. Poor thing, fussing over something so insignificant. Pitiable. For a moment, Star feigns thought, letting eyes fall closed as he hums, before standing. "I'm up for it," he replies.

His smile grows just a bit wider as he takes a few paces away from her, stretching his limbs as he does so. Peculiar Ember, he often mistook her for a bright-eyed child, niave and endlessly cheerful. He finds her fun. His stance is relaxed, save for the slight narrowing of his eyes. "First move's yours," he purrs.


A grin split Ember's face at his acceptance, watching as he put a few steps between them. The stance he settled into, however, had her worried. To her eye, it simply looked sloppy. She could practically hear her mother chastising it now. Though she was remiss to share such harsh words herself, this was supposed to be a friendly training exercise after all. That didn't mean she intended to let her partner go oblivious to his mistake though, no, she'd simply teach by example.

She took her time, slowly and carefully getting into a proper stance. Remembering every little detail of what she had been taught. Then she shot Blinding Star a glance, as if to say "See? This is what it's supposed to look like." That way, when he looked at the differences between the two of them, he could see every mistake he had made.

Then she showed him why they were mistakes.

The flame-point molly burst into motion in the time it took to blink. Closing the gap between them with ease. Not bothering with pretense or caution. Safe in the knowledge that he could not do the same. No, if he wanted to dodge or move with any sort of speed he'd have to drop his weight first. Sending him right into her waiting paws. Or, more specifically, the paw she aimed to tab just under his chin as he dropped down. Softly, of course. Light as a feather.

She needed to go easy on him after all, or else this training session would end too quickly. This was just to get the lesson across, because if she had been an enemy? And gone for this attack with claws extended?

This would be a killing blow.
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( ✧ ) Ember took her time adjusting herself into a battle-ready stance. He doesn't miss the way her gaze would flicker toward him strange. Confused, or perhaps pitying his own approach. Riskier in a real battle, of course, but it was a fun game with sparring, seeing how quickly he could turn a neutral stance into something offensive.

Ah, and here she is in front of him, quicker than he'd expected—much quicker. His eyes would widen for a fraction of a second. This one was a quick type. Duly noted. On instinct, he drops into a crouch. A sleek, white tail lowers to the ground to maintain balance. His eyes would flicker toward her, and his breath hitches. Her paw—

Not a second too soon, he's out of her reach, a flame-colored paw grazing against his muzzle instead. A scar in the heat of battle, but nothing deadly.

If he'd been just a moment slower—

His skin crawls. Irritation. A notch more seriously then. He hesitates, a second more than he typically would, but something in his gut forces him forward. Nostrils flare with a puff of breath, and he's diving beneath her, turning mid lunge in an attempt to rake at her belly with sheathed claws.

[ I HOPE THIS IS OK omg i figured they could have a good ol mary sue fight... <3 ]


All she can do is blink when her paw failed to find it's intended target. Instead of a solid tap under the chin, she simply brushed up against his nose. Still a solid hit if she had claws extended, but only a small one. A disappointing one, given the advantage she started the fight with. She eyed her opponent. How could a cat not know the basics of fighting, but react so fast and so well? It made no sense.

There is no time for her to consider the conundrum though. Not when her opponent is a hair's breadth away from her, ready to strike back. She is poised, ready and waiting for the attack she knows is coming. And she keeps waiting. As for a moment there is a pause. Barely more than second, but an eternity in a fight. They both look each other over, reevaluate.

It's the hesitation that nearly does her in.

It throws her off. She was prepared for him the moment after her near miss, but now that moment has passed. He dived under her. It happened before she could think and she is forced to simply react. It is only instinct and speed that save her. She throws herself away from him, turns it into a roll as her paws clip his side and she goes tumbling, grimacing as his paws find her legs and she imagines the scars his claws could have left. On the other end of her improvised roll she pops back up as if it was what she intended all along.

"Oooo, almost got me there!" she told him with a laugh, and it's the truth. He was closer than she had ever expected him to get. He was fast too. This was gong to be way more fun than she thought. "Come on, take another try." Ember goaded, giving him a brilliant smile. She'd let him come to her and then this time, she'd be ready. Dodge his attack then take advantage before he could recover.

( ✧ ) And again, she proves just how agile she is, throwing herself out of the way before any real damage could (hypothetically) be inflicted. It was quick, but lacked any semblance of grace, sheathed claws still found themselves grazing flame-pointed legs. It's a slip-up, though quickly corrected. The two felines end up where they began, save from the crease in Star's brow.

Ember goads him on, sickeningly cheerful. Were he not familiar enough with her now, it may have angered him. But she was always like this. Yes, that's what he tells himself. His fur lies flat, no need to worry. No need. Her smile is met with his own, close-lipped. "Not bad yourself," he replies, and it feels strange. Something he's heard uttered to younger, inexperienced cats from their mentors. An... appropriate-enough response, he thinks.

His bright smile drops into something more neutral as he considers his next move. He was never one to move first, taking a more reactionary approach to battle. He clicks his tongue, something simple, then.

Light on his feet, he charges toward her, focused on her form, the tell-tale warmth of her fur. At the last second, he'd veer to the side and lash out at the twisted angle, intent on knocking her off-balance and pinning her down.


Ember's smile brightened as her compliment was repaid in kind. "Aww, well thank you!" She shot back warmly. This little training session was going even better than expected, she was getting in a good workout and she was bonding to boot! By the end of this they would practically be besties, she was just sure of it. Her certainty not waning for a moment even as her opponent's smile abruptly dropped.

Moments later, he charged, but she didn't move an inch. No, she waited. She wanted him to get as close as he could before she made her move, that way he'd have no time to react when she finally made her move. The same smile stayed plastered across her face as she watched him approach. Seemingly unphased.

They both moved in the same instant. Him veering off to the side, her ducking down and swiping forward. Though she had intended to get under his incoming attack and find his underbelly waiting, instead she found herself hitting empty air. She had bidden her time to long and given him the opportunity he needed. Her mistake cost her as Blinding Star came crashing into her from the side, throwing her to the ground.

This was bad.

Her smile fell away as she fought against him. All she could do was hope that her duck down had thrown him off enough as she struggled to wriggle out of his grip to avoid being pinned.
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( ✧ ) His little strategy seems to have paid off. In a burst of speed, Ember ducks down, only to lash out at an invisible foe. And she tumbles beneath his weight. The molly doesn't go down without a fight, oh no. Her mistake shines clear in her eyes as she fights in his grasp. Something wild glints in his eye, something satisfied as he finally gains that upper hand he's been waiting for. Still, he grits his teeth, struggling for the stability he needed. Her sudden move put him in an odd place, but surely, surely—

"Yield," he half-hisses, voice coming out more strained than he would like in the midst of their struggle. His eyes flicker across her form, taking note of any thrashing limbs before they could truly surprise him.


It's deja vu. It doesn't matter that she was faster, that she was better - and oh how certain she was of both those things - she still lost. She had all the skills to win a fight, but not the mind for it. Her mother had always told her that was a good thing. That it meant that Ember had a kind heart and a gentle soul. It was the sole comfort she could offer after she defeated her daughter every single time.

Disappointment found it way onto her features, fleetingly. The moment she realized that, she went limp. Gave up.

The first thing she did was laugh it off. Flash her training partner a smile. "Alright, alright." She conceded brightly. "Looks like ya finally got me~! I yield or whatever. So ya can let me go now." For emphasis, she gave an impatient wiggle in his grasp. Shooting him a meaningful look.
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( ✧ ) And with those final words, his fur lies flat. A breath of fresh air.

He huffs a breath, and lets go of her. Far too much energy spent on a simple spar. Far too much frustration, shown for a simple spar. He steels himself. A furrowed brow is settled into an expression more passive. The gnash of teeth is replaced with tight-lipped smile. His chest twists with minute embarrassment, and something else. He's happy.

His jaw parts, searching for words he could not find. Feelings he could not describe. Did he like her? Was he elated to have a challenge? Or did he hate her? Hate her for showing him that his downfall wasn't as far away as he'd thought. His head spins. He blinks stars from his eyes.

He won, hadn't he? He won.

Blinding Star smiles, looks to Ember. He lingers a little too long. "I... enjoyed it," Did he? He had not been before, but now he was. He felt for something more. A compliment, perhaps, for getting so close.

He couldn't find it in him. He doesn't like her, he thinks. With a last dip of his head, he turns away. He needed to relax.
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