Felix lay in bed wondering what he was going to be doing today. He had arrived in Nevassa two days ago and was waiting to figure out what he was going to be doing in Daein. Would he just be sent out to face Tuaparang when and wherever they appeared or would he be patrolling the country on his own. Well he wouldn't be on his own that much was certain. There would be a certain Trueblade following him no matter what. Felix had started to wonder about the mental state of the young woman. No matter how many times he soundly beat her she always wanted a rematch. He did have to admire her determination to win though.
A knock sounded on the door prompting Felix to get out of bed. He stood up and stretched causing a few popping sounds to echo throughout his room. Felix opened the door to find Mia standing there in her normal orange outfit. Strapped to her back was the Gaia Blade that he'd given her in exchange for her not getting the Alondite that was leaning against a chair in Felix's room. The large sword was a little out of place paired with the slender frame of Mia.
"Couldn't even bother to put a shirt on could you?" Mia asked
Looking down at himself Felix realized she was right. "You're point is? You've seen me shirtless before." Felix asked trying to move past his half nakedness.
"Yeah for like ten seconds." Mia retorted. "You're pretty buff though. Not Ike buff but still."
"Mia what do you want?" Felix asked.
"Micaiah needs to see you and I was already going to come wake you. You promised to teach me a new form today." Mia reminded him.
That's how dedicated she was. It was no longer just sparring against Felix it was now training sessions. The good thing about being a forty-eight year old warrior in the body of a twenty-four year old was that Felix had studied many sword styles. He could put in the dedication to learning and not have to worry about being too old to perform the new styles. Already Felix had seven deferent styles under his belt with just the sword. He had learned at least three axe styles and had started learning how to use a bow before he fell off Weyard. All this meant that Felix could combine styles as needed and had worked out a few new moves for himself and that he actually had the knowledge needed to teach Mia.
"Alright where is she?" Felix asked as he headed back into his room to find a clean shirt.
"How about the war room, where else?" Mia told him.
"Dining room, gardens, streets of Nevassa, wherever she pleased." Felix replied as he tossed a shirt on.
"Well Mr. Smarty Pants it's the war room so get moving."
Felix strapped Alondite to his back and walked out of his room. Heading through the corridors of Daein Keep he made his way towards the war room. A few guards gave him nervous looks. They knew that Micaiah trusted Felix but seeing a stranger walk around with a legendary blade on his back put them on edge. He was even stopped by one of the newest guards and told to hand over the weapon as they weren't permitted within castle grounds. Mia, who had been following Felix and was known by the soldiers, stepped in and told the new recruit who Felix was exactly. The guard stumbled through an apology before letting the two pass.
The war room was on the second floor of the Keep in the right wing. Felix and Mia walked into the room to find General Tauroneo along with Queen Micaiah and King Sothe waiting for them. The royalty dressed in normal clothing the only thing even marking as the King and Queen were the crowns on their heads. Tauroneo was in his armor, the General never seemed to be without it on. Micaiah and Sothe were sitting down at a table with what looked to be a map of Daein. Tauroneo stood behind them pointing at spots on the map and conversing with the two. Taking the seat closest to the door Felix waited for them to finish their conversation. Mia took the seat next to him.
"Felix good to see you." Tauroneo said in his deep voice.
"What do you need me for?" Felix asked politely.
"We were trying to figure out how best to put you to use actually." Sothe informed him. "After a bit of thinking we came up with a few ideas."
"We do want to hear what you would like to do though before we give you our ideas." Micaiah added.
Felix nodded and put thought into what he could do to help Daein with the Tuaparang. Already he had two ideas of what he could do. Another idea popped into his head. The best thing to do would to be train Daein's soldiers how best to overcome an Adepts powers. While each element was different on a base level all Adepts had similar weaknesses. An Adept couldn't unleash Psynergy if they were too distracted in battle. It took a great degree of concentration to use Psynergy and that could be broken by close combat. What Felix would have to teach the soldiers is how to avoid Psynergy as some of it like Quake had instant effects. Another way would be to have the Adept use up all of their Psynergy. Both ways were dangerous but it would leave Daein in better condition than Felix trying to meet every threat individually.
Telling the others his idea they agreed that it would be the best plan of attack. It was in fact the plan they had been hoping to do. Felix would train the old Dawn Brigade members along with others who would than make an elite squad of anti-adept soldiers. Already a call went out to every Bishop and Saint to help fight the Umbra Adepts. If their Light magic was even half as useful as Rhys' had been they would be invaluable in fighting off the wielders of Dark Psynergy. The rest of Daein's soldiers would be put under a sterner training regime to get them ready for the upcoming battles.
"How do you plan to train these people though Felix?" Tauroneo asked him.
"There's really only one way. I'll have to use my own Psynergy on them unless you guys can somehow create earthquakes on your own or have stones magically appear out of the sky and drop down on their heads." Felix answered.
"Yes good point. There is nothing like training against the real thing. We will have to take volunteers though if they are to be put against such power." Tauroneo thought aloud. "I will go and see who will be willing," The General bowed to his rulers, "with your leave that is."
"Of course Tauroneo." Micaiah said dismissing him from the room. When the old General left Micaiah turned her attention to Felix. "I believe that you won't be needed until tomorrow Felix. Is there anything we can get for you that will make this easier?"
Felix nodded his head yes. "I will need a large area outside the city set aside."
"What for?" Sothe asked.
"As a Venus Adept my powers revolve around plant life and the very ground we stand on. I plan to use my powers on a large scale and if I did that within the confines of the city one misplaced Quake or Gaia can cause much destruction." Felix answered in such a way that it wasn't a boast of his powers but just a pure statement to the power he controlled.
"I can't imagine what war on Weyard is like." Micaiah said in a soft voice.
"Much like war here I would imagine." Felix replied. "There aren't very many Adepts and the ones that do exist aren't as strong as I am. All the Adepts you have met have experienced an alchemic event that has boosted our powers beyond normal limits."
"That means that we shouldn't run into to many Umbra Adepts than should we?" Sothe questioned.
"No we shouldn't but we have to be prepared. The number of Adepts has been increasing since the release of Alchemy on Weyard."
"I'll have a piece of land outside the city set aside for you." Micaiah said to Felix getting back to the previous question. "If there is anything else you need please come tell either myself or Sothe. Now if you'll excuse us we have a ball to plan." Micaiah got up from her seat and headed to the door.
"We're still going through with that?" Sothe groaned clearly not happy about the fact as he followed his wife.
"Of course Sothe." Micaiah answered him. "Now more than ever our citizens need a distraction."
The odd couple left the room debating the need of the upcoming ball. After learning what Micaiah was and how old she actually was Felix had been shocked. Like him her looks hid her true age. From the sounds of what Ike had told him she was almost old enough that she could have had Sothe, almost being the key word. At first Felix was appalled that Micaiah had married someone so much younger than herself. It dawned on Felix as he had walked with them to Nevassa that he was pretty much in the same boat as the Queen. Back home there were only three girls that were going to age like him. One was his sister, another he had already dated, and the last was already married and had kids. He was going to end up like Micaiah and dating or marrying someone vastly younger than himself. As it was he was forty-eight years old and single.
With a sigh at the remembrance of that conclusion Felix got up to head out of the room and find something to occupy his time with. He was stopped however by Mia standing in the doorway her arms crossed. Felix nodded his head knowing exactly what she was going to ask of him. He hadn't forgotten but he did hope that she had. Mia moved out of his way and proceeded to follow him towards the barracks where they could start her training.
Then it was like Felix was struck with the Sol Blade's Megiddo. He was developing feelings for the Trueblade that was following him. On a physical level he had been attracted to her from the day he met her. Over the past few weeks though he had started to notice himself wondering what she was doing when she wasn't sparring or hanging around him begging him to spar. Her peppy personality and smile was contagious and often brought a smile to his face without him realizing it. Hindsight though was twenty-twenty as they said. Felix now dreaded the moment he was going to be alone as he knew Echo would come out and taunt him over this revelation. In fact he was shocked the elemental didn't come out at this very moment to bug him about it. The only reason Felix could think of for why the Djinn wasn't gloating was that Echo didn't want to reveal anything to Mia.
As they continued on their way to the barracks Felix was concerned about his feelings. He honestly felt like a teenage boy discovering he had a crush on a girl. There was the whole does she like me back and how do I tell her problem running through his mind. Felix had only dated Sheba and she was the one who had made her feelings known first making it much easier on Felix. Back when he lived in Vale there hadn't been a girl that caught his eye enough for him to court. It was times like this that he wished he was more like his sister and was more outgoing.
When they got closer to the training area more and more soldiers could be found. A few of them gave Felix an odd look but most just walked by without sparing him a glance. A man with a sword in the barracks wasn't that odd of a sight. The only thing truly odd about it was that Felix had the goddess blessed sword Alondite on his back. A small few knew the previous wielder of the white blade and what he had done for Daein. To see it again in the hands of someone who was going to help their country brought a smile to the small few.
Off to the side talking with some of the soldiers was General Tauroneo. It was hard to mistake the lavender-white coloured armor. Deciding to talk with him first and see how he planned to select volunteers Felix headed over to the group Tauroneo was talking with. When Felix got close enough he was spotted and beckoned to come over.
"For those of you who haven't seen him walking around the Keep this is Felix." Tauroneo introduced him as Felix approached the General. "You will treat him with the same respect you would show me. Felix is a hero in his homeland and will be the one training the volunteers."
"He's the great warrior you were telling us about seconds ago?" one of the gathered soldiers asked. "He doesn't look like much to me. General Tauroneo you can't expect us to believe that this man is as strong as you say."
Murmurs of agreement chores through the crowd. All it had taken was the one man voicing his thoughts to change the mood of the crowd. Tauroneo was about to speak when Felix put his arm out in front of the General. Shaking his head Felix walked to the man that had spoken up against him. In the standard Daein armor it was hard to get a good look at the man underneath.
"If you doubt me than let's duel." Felix said. "Should you beat me than Daein will have nothing to worry about."
"Agreed." The man said as he walked over to a nearby weapons rack and pulled off a sword.
"Felix are you sure you want to do that?" Tauroneo asked him concerned for the soldier.
"Don't worry Tauroneo." Felix assured him. "I'll only do enough to show him what Adepts are capable of."
"Just don't wear yourself out!" Mia shouted at him. "You still have to teach me!"
The rest of the crowd that had gathered around Tauroneo had formed a circle around Felix and the soldier he was about to face. The black clad man stood ready his sword held at his side. Faced him and with his first two fingers called him over. At first the soldier looked shock as Felix hadn't even bothered to take Alondite off his back. Any shock though was lost as he charged and clearly expected to hit Felix. He gasped though when vines shot out of the ground and tangled his feet causing him to trip and fall. Extending his arm outward, the palm of his hand facing the man, Felix casted Spire. The rock didn't fall all the way floating just above the man's back.
"This is why you will be training under me." Felix told him calmly. "The enemies we face have powers like mine. Those that volunteer will be taught how to face an Adept." Felix dismissed the vines and the Spire fell to the ground next to the man harmlessly.
"So you have special powers big deal. I bet you aren't even a good warrior if you use such tricks." The soldier spat as he got up.
"Feel free to test that." Felix said standing perfectly still his arms folded over his chest.
After he got up the soldier charged Felix again. This time Felix didn't bother with Psynergy and let him come close enough so that Felix was in range of the man's sword. When the slash came Felix stepped forward reached up and grabbed the soldier's wrist stopping him mid swing. With his free hand Felix punched the soldier in his face. This caused him to drop the sword and grab his nose in surprise. Picking up the dropped blade Felix held it to the man's throat a cold look in his eye.
"And you would be dead." Felix stated. "It was foolish of you to judge me solely on how I look and the fact I have Psynergy. Many Adepts are skilled in physical combat so we can fight even when after we have tapped our reserves. Beyond that there are many other things in play you have no understanding of."
"I knew Felix was strong but I didn't know he was this good." Tauroneo whispered to Mia.
"Yeah he's really strong." Mia said proudly. He was her rival after all. "Ike told me that when they spar it ends up in a draw more often than not."
"To have such power at a young age." Tauroneo admired.
Felix had overheard the conversation the two were having and when he walked over to them he corrected Tauroneo. "I'm older than I look. I'd wager a guess that I'm actually quite close to your age General. In fact I might be older."
"Yeah yeah you're an old coot. Now let's get on with my training" Mia said pushing Felix away from everyone.
"I feel sorry for Felix. Mia is not one to train lightly." Tauroneo chuckled to himself.
Allowing Mia to push him away from everyone else Felix let out a sigh of defeat. She was, pardon the pun, quite a pushy girl. When she was satisfied that they were a good enough distance away and had enough room to do whatever it was she felt would be needed she stopped her pushing. Moving around to the front of him Mia stood waiting for her instructions. Taking Alondite off his back took his normal battle stance while Mia did the same with the Gaia Blade.
"Show me what you remember from last time." Felix instructed.
Without a sound Mia moved forward and made a slash at Felix who went to block. Instead of the Gaia Blade coming down like it looked Mia pivoted away. Repositioning Alondite to his side he blocked the real attack. Felix felt the vibrations of the two swords meeting after he felt the pressure of Mia's blade leave his own Felix hopped back in an attempt to get some distance between them so he could figure his own plan of attack.
Mia had fought Felix often enough by now to know that was his plan. She followed after him and continued her previous assault. Like he had taught her she used her speed to preform many feints to confuse him into creating an opening for her. When she found such an opening she would strike out with more force than her previous attacks. Never fully dedicating to one attack allowed her to move around Felix with blinding fast speed. The attacks that did connect with him or his sword were never as strong as his but the vast number of small cuts would wear him down. Mia couldn't help but feel happy with each small knick that appeared on Felix. Each one was proof that her training was paying off.
What got her though was the smile Felix had as they continued the duel. It was as if he too was happy with her progress. He brought Alondite down and where at first she would have tried to block the attack she used her natural grace to evade the attack and block the following weaker side slash. She had learned that her previous style of attacking and blocking whenever she could had been an accident waiting to happen. Felix had been kind enough to teach her that with her speed it was more practical is she concentrated on evading. It still didn't matter at the moment though as she blocked the horizontal slash she felt the bite of Alondite. The white blade cut deep and ended the duel.
With a grin on her face Mia just looked at Felix in awe. Whether his power came from his Djinn or natural ability she didn't care. He was the best opponent she had ever faced and a great teacher. Mia shivered as she felt Felix's Psynergy wash over her knitting flesh back together. She got the same feeling whenever she was healed with a Staff.
"Damn Mia." Felix said. "You really had me going there. Half the time I wasn't sure if I was blocking the real attack or just another trick. Another week or two and I might have to start using my Djinn again."
"Well I'll just have to get you to use them sooner." She replied. "But Felix, instead of a new technique or form today, I want to learn how to dodge Psynergy. I'm coming to your normal class but I want a head start."
"You sure about this Mia? Psynergy is just as deadly as a sword and much faster. There's less room for mistakes when it comes to Psynergy." Felix informed her. "While it's the best plan I'm worried about injuring those that come for training."
"Well than this is perfect!" Mia exclaimed. "You get to practice not hurting people during training and I get to practice against Psynergy."
"Then we'll have to head outside of the town. If you have some vulneraries then I suggest you bring them."
Standing a few miles away from Nevassa Felix waited for Mia. The area around him was a flat grassy patch of land. There would be nothing to accidently hit or destroy during the upcoming training session. If he was going to be using Psynergy to attack her he wouldn't be able to heal her as often so like he requested she had gone to get some healing supplies. None of his Djinn were meant to heal another so he wouldn't be able to use any of those. Of course now that he was alone a certain Djinn just happened to come out.
"I. TOLD. YOU." Echo stated as he bounced around happily on the ground.
A Stone Spire hit the Echo on his head causing him to stop bouncing around. "You're point is?" Felix questioned the Earth Elemental.
"I'm right." Echo replied. "So what do you plan to do about it?"
"Nothing yet. In case you haven't noticed we're in the middle of a war. It's not the time for such things." Felix said.
"You're so boring" Echo groaned. "What's wrong with admitting your feelings now?"
"Right now not only we fighting a war I'm also her teacher. It wouldn't be right."
"Or it could be fun. Didn't Sheba wan.." another Spire hit the Djinn before he finished his sentence.
"There's a line Echo and you're close to it." Felix warned. "I have more important things to worry about right now than deal with you anyway."
"That's the other reason I'm here." Echo said in a serious tone. "Just give Mia one of us and she'll be able to see you use Psynergy. She can't unleash us or use Psynergy herself but this should help things get started."
"Thanks Echo. I take it you want to be the one to set to her?"
"I'm already out here so why not?"
The Djinn and Adept stood waiting for Mia. As annoying as Echo could be he was one of Felix's closest friends. Ever since they met Echo had his back and was always there to lend an ear. During his travels to restore Alchemy to the world Felix had voiced his concerns to the Elemental. After Felix stopped traveling with Sheba and went on his own Echo had been the one that talked with him when no one else was around. Odd as it was to have an Elemental as a best friend that was the case for Felix.
A few more minutes passed and Mia came into view. She had a small pouch hanging off of her hip now most likely filled with healing items. Felix waved her over and Echo jumped up from his spot on the ground up to Felix's shoulder. When she finally made it over to them Felix could see a worried look in her eyes. Mia reached into the pouch and handed him a white envelope with the Queen's seal.
"What does Micaiah have to say to me that she had to send it in a letter?" Felix pondered aloud.
"Just open it and find out." Echo said from his perch.
Felix did just that. He broke open the seal and took out the folded letter inside. As he read the letter over he could feel his blood leave his face. The contents of the letter were among the most horrifying news that Felix had ever read. It was an invite to the ball that the King and Queen were throwing five days from now. As such an esteemed warrior and personal guest of the two ruling bodies the letter told him in no uncertain terms that he was expected to appear. The nobles of Daein would be there and would wish to meet the man who was going to help protect their country. What irked Felix the most however was that it was a formal occasion. The last time Felix had worn anything formal had been at Jenna's wedding and Felix had wanted that to be the last time he had to wear anything formal.
"Oh boy." Echo said patting the Adept with his tail. "Glad I don't have to get all dressed up."
"Micaiah is evil!" Mia shouted holding out another open letter. "She demands that I have to wear a dress and leave my sword in my room. Do you have any idea how hard it is to fight in a dress?!"
Felix covered Echo's mouth before he could say anything. Last thing he wanted was for the Djinn to make a comment about what he'd look like in a dress.
"No I don't Mia." Felix told her. "I'm a guy, guys don't wear dressed. I can't be worse than the monkey suit that I have to wear though."
"Yeah well we have five days to worry about this." Echo told them both. "Aren't you two out here for a reason?"
"Echo's right." Felix agreed. "Speaking of this half pint, he has volunteered to help you with this training. With him set to you you'll be able to see me prepare my Psynergy. You still won't know what I'm going to do but this will give you a heads up. Once you can dodge my attacks that way we'll move on to no Djinn."
Without warning or consent Echo turned into energy and shot himself into Mia. With a back step Mia shook her head as she became aware of the Elemental residing within her.
"This feels weird." She stated. "Do you feel the inside of you constantly?"
"Yes. Try having nine of them at once." Felix answered. "Don't worry though soon enough you'll be able to ignore the feeling and it won't bother you as much. Just don't talk to him and you should be fine."
"Wait I can talk to him like this?" Mia asked in surprise. "Is that why you sometimes are staring off into space and not answering anyone?"
Yep. Felix likes to converse with me from time to time. We've been together for a while and if he talks with me he doesn't end up talking with himself. Echo said to Mia.
"That's even weirder." Mia groaned.
"Echo talk to you?"
"Yeah. Now I have a voice in my head. People can really call me crazy." Mia joked.
"Let's test this out though." Felix said as he got ready to cast Spire.
Mia looked at him and saw the white energy gather round him. Again Echo spoke to her telling her that what she was seeing was Felix preparing an attack. He didn't tell her what attack he was going to do but with the knowledge that something was coming Mia was alert. From above she felt something similar to what was coming off of Felix. Jumping out of the way Mia heard the sound of something crashing into the ground. Right where she had just stood was one of Felix's Spires that she had seen him use before.
"Couldn't you have done the vine thing as a test?!" she shouted at him
"Growth would be to east to dodge. You can see the vines coming out of the ground. With Spire you have to rely on Echo for now." Felix informed her. "My hope is that you will learn to observe even the air above you for signs of Psynergy."
"Alright. Let's do this then." Mia said getting ready to evade whatever Felix threw at her.