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Triple Triplets (scene 10)
“Up and away!” Lufta shouted from across the room. Norta and Alna grinned and nodded.
Norta braced herself and Alna jumped up onto her shoulders. Lufta ran forward, did a back spring and landed standing on Alna's hands. Alna gripped Lufta's ankles and flung her around, then let her go.
Lufta whooped and twisted in the air, then grabbed a high rope near the ceiling and flung herself up again.
Norta grabbed Alna's ankles and pulled her off, twirling her around.
“Hey!” Alna said. She searched for Norta's weakness and found it pulsing in her grip. She slashed at her wrists and Norta let her go. They back pedaled away from each other. Lufta landed between them, grinning widely, and offered them her hands. They each took one and pushed off from her, flying toward the ropes.
They twisted and twirled around each other, never hesitating or cushioning their blows. Their minds connected easily to each other and to their surroundings and they fell into a familiar pattern. Lufta heard Norta head up and Alna head down, but hesitate. Lufta kicked out, almost hitting her shoulder, which would have dropped her. Alna changed her path in the last second and landed beside Lufta, grinning. Norta landed a second later.
As one, they turned to the door and beamed.
Latham was standing in the doorway with his father and the other Hai, greeting their uncle. Lufta smiled wider and nodded her head toward him. Shall we?
With Lufta in the front, the three cartwheeled over to Latham. Norta and Alna jumped over and circled him.
“Greetings, future husband,” Lufta said and bowed respectfully.
“Greetings, future Villi…and siblings.” He turned and bowed to them each , then smiled shyly at Lufta.
“Care to practice?” Lufta asked.
“With you three cheating with you minds all the way, no thanks.”
“What, afraid we'll beat you? Okay, how about just me, then.”
He considered what to say, but just shook his head at her and turned back to his father.
“Latham…” Lufta said and moved as if to touch him. He eyed her hand and she blushed and dropped it.
“Go on, son. We can't ha ve the prima thinking that her advantage means that she will win every challenge.”
Latham bowed to her father and the others, then stepped forward and held out his arm. Lufta took his forearm and he pulled her in to whisper in her ear.
“Don't think too hard of me if I don't take it easy on you.”
Lufta laughed and he smiled shyly again, then they stepped back to face each other in the center of the room.
Her sisters' flooded awareness flooded into her, bringing all the encouragement they could muster.
You can take him!
Lufta glanced briefly at her sisters and winked. Latham raised his eyebrows and she held her palms up in submission. They tensed, seeking their opponents' body for weaknesses.
Lufta shifted her stance and Latham struck out at her feet halfhearedly. Lufta jumped easily out of the way, sailing over him and clipping his shoulder.
They were evenly matched. Though Latham was older and had already passed his test in the forest, Lufta used her ability to pick out his weak spots faster and was able to use the uneven floor to her advantage.
Lufta toyed with him for a little, drawing him into a corner and letting him attack her. He shot her a look as if to say, See. She glanced at her sisteres, causing him to look away, and a second later he was sprawled on the floor, Lufta's foot on his neck.
They stared at each other, challenging. When Latham looked away, Lufta let him up. Their masks held a second longer as the small crowd cheered- Lufta's dominant, Latham's indignant. Thye they face each other and clasped arms again. Latham tossled her hair fonndly and shot her a proud glance. Lufta smiled at him, but moved back toward the others quickly, all too conscious of their closeness.