Taiwan didn’t know Japan could box. Japan promised to teach her.
When they sparred, Japan felt the brunt of Taiwan’s punches much harder than usual. There was a force behind the other’s strides–something beyond mere muscle power. When a fist crashed into Japan’s jaw she staggered backward to catch her breath.
“Sorry,” Taiwan apologized quickly after she must have realized the blow was far too harsh for a simple spar.
“You need to take control of your emotions,” Japan told her as her tongue caught the taste of blood.
Japan could see the other’s jaw tighten before Taiwan lowered her fists and looked away. “How do we conquer our enemies?” She asked after a moment.
“With fists,” Japan said, standing up straight. “Or swords, or guns, or bombs.” She paused. “But those are not the only ways.”
“Is there something else?” Taiwan’s cynical gaze bore into her. “You seem to have always used the more conventional methods.”
“Yes, I know,” Japan said softly. “I will not deny that. But, there have been times when I could not fight, and there will be times when you cannot fight.”
“What should I do then?”
Japan looked down at her clenched fists. Memories both new and old burned behind her eyes like hot embers. The taste of blood dissolved into the taste of fury. But she killed it then like she had every other time.
“You survive,” she finally said in a steady voice. “You let them know that whatever they did to you did not kill you and will not stop you from being happy and successful.” When Japan looked up, it was to show Taiwan the intensity in her eyes. “That is how you conquer your enemies when your fists are not enough.”