Ch 2 The Daily things
Lan lay asleep on the bed, his dreams filled with magic and adventure. It was early morning now, the sun beams trickling through the open window, and birdsong filling the room. His consciousness was just beginning to surface at this point, slowly being drawn out by the promise of a new day. Something was wrong though. There was something amiss in the room right now, but his consciousness wasn’t alert enough to tell what it was. The strange feeling slowly roused his from his slumber, enough to awaken some of his senses. He suddenly became aware of a burning smell, along with a swishing sound. Opening his eyes, he turned his head and stared towards the center of the room and sitting there was Byakko, who was fanning a large fish that was roasting over a portable wood fire stove.
“Good morning sleepy head!” Byakko said with a smile “bout time you woke up, it’s almost breakfast time!”
“Why are you roasting a fish in my room?” Lan inquired.
“Because I felt like it” Byakko responded nonchalantly, “Hurry up and head to the bathroom and brush your teeth, we’ll be having breakfast soon” he then paused and looked up at Lan curiously “You do remember how to brush teeth, right?”
After taking a few moments to get over the strangeness of the situation, Lan began thinking a little bit and realized he did know how.
“Looks like the amnesia isn’t too bad” Lan thought while stretching. He then hopped out of bed and ran down the hall to the nearest restroom.
After finishing up in the bathroom (with a shower, toilet use, and then tooth brushing), Lan put on some new clothes Anna had left for him and then examined himself in the mirror. He had messy black hair with blue highlights, medium black eyes, was quite lean, and would probably be considered the cute little boy type. He was currently wearing a loose fitting brown jacket with a white trim, a pair of black shorts, and was barefoot (Byakko was against shoes, because he believed that shoes weaken feet). After confirming his appearance he walked back to his bedroom to have breakfast. When he entered the room Byakko was sitting there waiting for him… holding the bones of the tuna fish.
“Hey!” Lan said, slightly miffed, “I thought you said we were going to have breakfast?”
“Yep” Byakko said, munching down the fish bones “We’ll be eating at Anna’s, I was just having a little appetizer while I was waiting for you to get ready.” With that he got up, walked out of the room, and headed for the front door, Lan following close behind him.
“Ah, what a perfect day!” said Byakko once they were outside, and it truly was. The morning air was crisp and clear, the sun was shining with and only a few clouds were passing by here and there. They walked down from the house, and headed towards Anna’s restaurant, greeting anybody they happened to come across. Once they arrived at Anna’s home, a small brick building with a restaurant sign hanging from the door, they found Anna was already waiting for them.
“About time you two arrived” she said smiling, “I’ve prepared a buffet for the two of you!”
Inside they found that one of the tables was strewn with delicacies of all sorts. It included roasted meats, assorted eggs, a variety of different baked goods, and a menagerie of juices. Lan and Byakko plopped down on the table and began digging into the meal, Lan eating at the normal rate a young boy would and Byakko finishing multiple plates in a matter of seconds. While they were eating they began to discuss their schedule for today, and all the normal days in a year.
“First thing in the morning” Byakko said through a mouthful of eggs “is training with me, we’ll probably do around four hours worth, maybe more depending on the situation that day, and then you will go receive lessons from the other villagers. Who will be teaching you that day, and what exactly you’ll be learning I have no idea. I’ll be gone during that time to go hunting, someone’s got to keep this village’s meat supply properly stocked!”
“Aren’t you the one that eats the most of it” Anna said, chuckling to herself.
“Hey, I’m just taking my honest share” Byakko said with mock hurt.
After a few more minutes Lan and Byakko had finished their meal and were getting ready to leave.
“Alright Lan!” Byakko said stretching “We’ll be training outside the village in the forest. Before you woke up this morning I went out and cleared out all the Grimm within a 100 mile radius, so you should be pretty safe.”
“What about the village?” Lan asked, looking up “Don’t you need to protect them?”
“Don’t worry” Byakko responded “they have one of the best dust force fields in existence, and if things become complicated they can fire one of the signal flares, which will send us running back.”
Satisfied with the response Lan got up and headed for the door.
“Wait one moment Lan” Anna yelled, she pulled out a small lunch box and handed it to him. “Here’s a little something in case you get hungry, our little warrior must keep up his strength if he is going to train well” she said, pinching his cheeks.
Lan thanked her, then followed Byakko out of her home, then they headed out of the village, and walked into the forest.
After walking for around 15 minutes they arrived at a clearing.
“Alright boy” Byakko said folding his arms “We’ll start with strengthening your body, then after you’ve built up a good foundation, I’ll start teaching you fighting techniques.”
“I’m ready!” Lan shouted, with a determined look on his face.
“Alright then” Byakko said with a smile “we’ll start with something simple since it’s your first day training. Let’s see, what should I have you do? hmmmm.”
Byakko pondered for a few moments and then turned back to Lan.
“Give me 100 push-ups, 100 squats, and 100 sit-ups, after that we’ll do some stretching exercises and a 10km run”.
“Okay” Lan shouted, not realizing the magnitude of his training regime. He then dropped down and began his pushups, and after completing 30 he paused to rest.
“upupupup” Byakko tutted “I never said you could rest, between reps, now get back too it before I wallop you!”
A normal child would have begun complaining at this point, but Lan simply looked up, nodded, then continued.
“Hoh” Byakko thought “Got some good determination there. Let’s see how long he’ll last.”
They then continued the training regime, Byakko whacking Lan with his tail every time Lan stopped to rest. It was a slow and painstaking process but after an hour or so they finished the muscle training, and Lan began eating his lunch.
“Alright Lan” Byakko said, stealing pieces of food from the lunch box, Lan protesting all the while “Since we’re going to be running anyway, I may as well show you a few nice places, and introduce you to a few friends, you’ll love them.”
After finishing the lunchbox, most of it winding up in Byakko’s gut, the two of them got up, finished a few simple stretches, and then began running through the forest with Byakko leading and Lan struggling to keep up. They passed many beautiful places while they were running, crystal clear streams with animals drinking at the edge, breathtaking waterfalls falling into grottos beneath the earth, and wide open meadows bursting with wildflowers, and the entrances to deep caves where things seemed to glitter inside. Byakko skipped along, a large smile on his face and his features brimming with energy. Lan however struggled to keep up, sweat flowing form his small frame and his body as limp as a noodle from exhaustion.
Eventually they made their way to an enormous tree that was far from the village. It was a gigantic oak that was at least 10 stories high that towered above the surrounding area like a guardian colossi. The area around the tree was mostly barren, with grass poking out here and there. There was a path leading up to a hole in the tree that looked like a cave opening, and strewn all over the area were bones of many different animals. Lan looked around nervously while catching his breath, wondering what his grandpa had brought him here to see. Suddenly a growling sound filled the area and glowing eyes lit up within the confines of the tree.
“Grandpa must have brought me here to fight Grimm” Lan thought, clenching his fists “I won’t betray his expectations!”
Slowly, the beasts began to exit their cave, but instead of the Grimm Lan had been expecting, what emerged from the cave was a pack of large blood red wolves. Regardless, they looked threatening and Lan set himself into an amateurish looking fighting stance, ready for a brawl.
“Calm down, kid” Byakko said, chuckling “they’re friends.”
With that Byakko brought his fingers to his lips and let out a loud whistle. The wolves stopped growling, looked in Byakko’s direction, and then began wagging their tails apparently happy to see him.
“Come on Lan” Byakko said confidently “Let’s go meet the pack!”
The two of them began walking in the direction of the wolves, and at the same time other wolves began coming out of the cave, they were smaller than the wolves that had first emerged and were probably the families of the larger wolves. The wolves began growling again once they caught sight of Lan, but Byakko slammed his hands together in a thundering clap, causing every wolf to yelp in surprise, and fixed them with a criticizing eye.
“He’s a friend boys and girls, treat him well.”
The wolves, completely understanding Byakko, plodded over to Lan and began sniffing him, then after the whole group had gotten his sent, they began to lick him.
“Hey!” Lan said laughing “that tickles!”
“Nice pack don’t you think” Byakko said with a smile, patting one of the large wolves on the head “ I became friends with them a few years back when I saved them from a bunch of Grimm, and now they treat me like the Alpha, and since your my pup, they’ll be treating you good as well!”
Byakko whistled, and the older wolves dispatched themselves from the group to go meet him. Lan was about to bolt after them, but then felt a pull on the hem of his pants, and looked down to see a little pup chewing on his pants.
“Pretty ironic that they like me so much huh kid” Byakko said patting one of the wolves on the head.
“Why?” Lan responded.
“You know!” Byakko said “that thing with cats and dogs and how they…Oh never mind you’ll get it eventually.”
Byakko then started conversing with the older wolves who strangely seemed able to understand him. After a few moments Byakko nodded and turned back to Lan.
“Well, have fun playing kids”, he said cracking his knuckles “Us adults are going to go on a little hunting trip to help the pack stock up on food rations. When the times are rough, the Alpha steps up!”
Byakko and most of the older wolves then dashed into the forest, and quickly disappeared from sight.
Lan picked up the little puppy that was chewing his pants and brought the little guy up to eye level. The pup yipped then licked Lan’s nose.
“You’re my first animal friend!” Lan said bringing the wolf pup into a hug “I think I’ll give you a name!”
Lan thought for a few moments and quickly formulated a list of names, he then ran down the list in his mind and picked out a good one.
“I’ll name you Ignis! It’s the name of one of the fire spirits from a book grandma Anna read to me last night.”
The puppy looked very much like all the others, bright red with what appeared to be little black bumps poking out here and there. But the hair on the sides of his body was slightly orange and gave his fur a flame like pattern, which gave Lan the idea for the name and allowed him to distinguish the little guy from the rest of the puppies that were now swarming around him.
The little dog yipped, apparently pleased with the new name. After that Lan spent the next hour playing with the rest of the puppies in the pack, during which many of his clothes were removed and chewed up. Once Byakko returned with the other adult wolves, they found Lan chasing all the puppies in his underwear, trying in vain to get his clothes back.
“How the heck did that happen?” Byakko said dropping the fresh kill he and the wolves had made.
“I don’t know” Lan responded desperately “We started playing on the ground and before I knew it they’d taken my clothes off!” Lan pointed to the puppies, who were beginning to shred the clothes.
“Well show some dominance!” Byakko said slamming his fist into his palm “You’ve got to show them who’s boss!”
“I’ve been asking them nicely, but they don’t listen!” Lan said, beginning to panic.
Byakko sighed, he made a mental note to teach Lan how to be more assertive later, but for now he had to get those clothes back, Anna would be furious if they were damaged too much. Byakko took a deep breath, and then let out an ear-splitting shout.
The sudden burst of sound startled the puppies, who dropped the clothes that they were about to turn into mulch. They then turned to look in Byakko’s direction.
“Bring them here” Byakko said pointing at his feet.
The puppies, seeming to understand quickly, picked up the clothes in their mouths and slowly brought them over Byakko’s feet, trembling slightly in fear of his wrath. Byakko grunted in acknowledgement. He and Lan then picked up the clothes that were now soaked with drool and brought them to a nearby stream and washed them. Once they were hung to dry they continued with training.
“Alright Lan” Byakko said “time for something technical!”
Byakko then began teaching Lan basic martial arts movements, which included punches; kicks; and foot techniques from a variety of different styles. Lan failed rather often, due to his lack of experience and exhaustion from his previous ordeals, but was picking up them up much faster than a normal boy would have been expected to.
What Byakko taught Lan was very different from his own combat style, which was a formless primal brawling technique that he had developed many years ago. He did so because his fighting style relied heavily on his natural wildness, instincts, and overwhelming destructive power. It may not have been the best style to teach Lan.
“Every one’s got one fighting style their best” he thought, while fixing one of Lan’s kicking positions “I’ll just see where the kid’s talents lie, then go from there.”
Byakko was teaching Lan the most basic techniques of the many martial arts he knew to try and figure out what style would be most suitable for the boy. After he discovered what kind of style suited Lan best, he planned to research it in depth by visiting some of his old constituents. However, at Lan’s current age, it may take a year or two before he could discern what it was, so what was important right now was to teach him the basics and build up Lan’s physical foundation so he would be ready when it was time. Byakko grinned as he thought about the grueling and inhuman training regimens that he was planning.
There was also unlocking his aura to consider. Living in the world of Remnant was dangerous, with Grimm waiting to tear you apart the first chance they got. Having the boy discover what his semblance was could also improve his rate of progress tremendously. But after thinking for a bit, Byakko decided not to unlock the boy’s aura at present time for two reasons. One, the sudden influx of power may destabilize the boy and throw his mentality off balance. Two he may not be ready to handle the aura yet and may hurt himself.
“Once the boy kills his first Grimm, I’ll unlock his aura” Byakko decided, “That may not be for a few years though”, after finishing that thought, he returned his full attention to fixing Lan’s bad posture.
The basic training continued for another hour, after which it was then time for the two to return to the village. Lan put his clothes back on now that they were done drying then turned back to the tree cave.
“Bye guys” Lan said waving at the wolves, sweat dripping down his face.
“I’ll come see you guys again later”. In response the wolves began howling in unison, a tribute to their new friend. Lan and Byakko then turned around and walked back along the path to the village.
When they arrived back at the village, almost the entire village was waiting in the square, many of the denizens eager to teach their new young ward, many also had a gruff expression on their faces, obviously miffed by something.
“Well” Byakko said, patting Lan on the back, “it’s their turn now. See you in a few hours. I gots a date with the hunt! And she’s lady that waits for no man!” And with that Byakko dashed out of the village and back into the forest to get food for the village.
After he left, the force field generator was quickly switched back on, and Lan was quickly ushered into a large meeting hall where he took a seat in the middle of a circle of chairs. The meeting hall was a large building with a high ceiling. The exceptions being the electrical lighting fitted into the ceiling, the snacks placed on a table along one of the walls, and a screen and projector at the far end of the hall. The building was made from painted wood, and generally had the look of an old style town hall.
Inside the building seated around a circular table were Rowan, Anna, Hiroshi, a man with long curly with a worn facial features who was wearing a long gentlemen’s coat, a muscular old Gorilla Faunus who was wearing a pair of overalls with a white shirt underneath and a straw hat, and a small bespectacled old man in a short trench coat.
“Hello Lan” said Hiroshi, who stood up to greet the boy “I would like to introduce you to your teachers.”
The other around the table greeted him. Anna with a smile, Rowan with a thumbs up, the long-haired man with an emotional “greetings”, the gorilla faunus with a grunt, and the bespectacled old man with a slight nod.
“Now after our discussion last night” continued Hiroshi “we decided on teaching you skills that we all believe would be indispensable in thriving in this world of ours, and these individuals have been selected as the most capable to teach you. Now I’m not going to waste any time with any long speeches.”
Hiroshi checked his watch and noted their remaining time.
“Here is your schedule” said Hiroshi, handing Lan a piece of paper. “and in case you can’t read I have used picture coordination.”
On the paper, next to each subject, was a picture of the one who would be teaching it and below each picture was an arrow pointing down to another, showing who came after who.
“A bell will toll when it is time for you to move on to your next lesson” said Hiroshi, getting up. “And that’s about it. Come on move along, we’ve all got lots to do.”
On that note everyone got up and walked away to prepare for their individual lessons, all except Anna who walked over to Lan and took his hand.
“Come along dear” she said with a smile, “It’s time for your first lesson.”
Smiling, Lan got up and followed her out.