Lessons, Luin and leaflets
Lessons, Luin and leaflets.
After getting Linar and Harleisha to swear secrecy about Colloyd, Yuan left their company with them along with the man who had asked to hire him as a mercenary to take him home. It was down to the three of them and Noishe once again. Kraine had made quick judgement on their progress and told both youngsters in his company that if they did not dawdle, they should be able to make it to Luin before nightfall. They would then be able to head on to the Balacruf Mausoleum at daybreak. He had assessed that if the Seal of Wind was not at Asgard, then it must be at another place containing a ruin from the Balacruf Dynasty and so it must have been the old ruin to the east of Luin.
They fought a few new enemies along the way to Luin. The giant lady bug was the worst one. It would flutter away right before Colloyd's chakram connected. When Kraine got tired of the game of chasey with the monsters attacking them in the field, he would step in at the right precise moment and land a single hit with his sword. After finishing off the last group of enemies that would have a chance them right before they entered the town space of Luin, Kraine approached Colloyd and looked at him squarely. "You are spending far too much time watching your chakram to be able to anticipate the movement your enemy makes."
"What would you suggest I do to improve, Professor?" he asked, trying to be cool with the condescending undertone his teacher had to his voice.
"You need far more practice," Kraine replied, crossing his arms. "I can help you with that."
Colloyd paused for a moment to assess the offer, but knew it wouldn't be wise to decline. He nodded and waited for the Professor to move onward toward Luin before hanging his head, knowing he had just gotten himself into something that would end up being a lot of work.
As they entered Luin, the "City of Hope", two giggling children barrelled past them. Gesea gently caught the girl before she left the boundary of town and set her running back in the right direction. She looked toward where Kraine and Colloyd were staring. Covering her eyes and currently counting to ten was their adversary Sheelos.
"Okay! Ready or not, here I come!" She stood and uncovered her eyes. "I'm gonna-" She stopped when she turned and saw them. "You again!?" She blushed. "What're you staring at?"
Colloyd laughed a bit and stepped forward, aware that Kraine boldly reached for the sword at that. "Sorry, I was just thinking that I knew you were a nice person." He looked at Kraine for approval, but he didn't appear to want to give anything away as usual.
Sheelos' face matched the tone of her hair for just a second until she covered it all up with a grin. "Looks like I still got it, even over here."
Sheelos stared and covered her mouth. "Oh.. um.." She changed her tactic and got into a battle stance, making Colloyd and Gesea sigh.
"Do you really intend to try anything here?" Kraine asked her. "I fear that the children would not forget this."
Sheelos faltered and glanced around herself. There was a giggle from behind the fountain when she looked toward it. Two little girls peeked out to see where she was. She looked down, apparently admitting defeat. "Don't think this changes anything. You're still my enemy!"
She ran away from them, her arms flat to her sides as she ran in the peculiar fashion that Colloyd found himself perplexed over. Behind him, Kraine let out a heavy sigh. He turned to watch the Professor turn on his heel and go toward what looked like the market district of the small city, saying that they should check into the inn early so that they could get an early start toward their next destination in the morning.
Later that evening..
Colloyd popped one eye open when he heard movement on the bed adjacent to him. He watched as Kraine pulled on his coat and proceeded for the door. When he thought the coast was clear, he sat up and swung his legs to the side of his bed and into his boots. Considering sleep was not coming easily to him lately, he felt he might as well find out what was on his teachers mind for him to be awake at such an hour. He crept past the sleeping Gesea's bed and to the door. With a low squeak and thud, he left their dorm and the inn.
"I know what you must be thinking," came the soft sound of Kraine's voice from around the corner. He peaked around to see the Professor sitting on the ground close to the lake of Luin, Noishe perching his front paws in his lap and resting his head down while having his left ear scratched. "Why am I doing this?" Kraine murmured to him. "I wish I knew."
Noishe made a soft sound as though to answer Kraine's words. Colloyd grinned and stepped closer, reaching his arm out to tap the Professor on the shoulder. Before he even got halfway though, he was stopped by the sudden scrape of sword leaving sheath and cold metal on his throat.
Kraine's eyes widened upon seeing him. "Colloyd." He stepped back, removing his sword and sliding it back into the sheath at his waist. "You shouldn't sneak up on me like that. I'm sorry to have surprised you like that."
Colloyd blinked. "S..surprised isn't r..really the right word to describe it." He looked at Noishe, who whined and nudged at Kraine's lowered right hand to try and get more attention. "You and Noishe seem like old friends already."
Kraine glanced at Noishe and crossed his arms. "Colloyd, I could have killed you with the way you reacted to my reaction."
"Well you did surprise me," he argued, knowing where this was going by the steely expression in Kraine's eyes and the 'teacher' tone in his voice. "I wasn't expecting one my teacher to pull a sword on me out of the blue!"
"It matters not," Kraine replied. "Your enemies would not yell at you from afar to warn you of their attack either. It is only customary to say the names of special skills once in battle; the rule does not apply to surprise attacks."
"There are rules for that kind of thing?" Colloyd gaped.
Kraine sighed and reached for his sword once again. "I think now may be a good time to go and do a little training."
Colloyd felt the hairs on his back stand up at the thought. The Professor was already confident in his skills enough without being given another chance to flaunt them. Still, he had to find a creative answer to get out of it until he was confident enough in his abilities. Sadly all he could come up with upon the Professors fiery stare on him was to claim tiredness.
Kraine gave him a long look. "Colloyd, I am aware that you have not been sleeping much lately."
"Y..you are?" He looked down, his face feeling hot. "It's not like I can't sleep at all, but for some reason even after a really long day, it is hard to feel exhausted."
"It is likely the side effects of becoming an angel," Kraine said softly. "I am sure you expected this."
Colloyd nodded. "There's no way that becoming an angel would be easy. That's why it's called Origin's Trial after all. Not only that..." A lump in his throat stopped him from completing his sentence.
Kraine watched and waited before deciding that he was indeed done. "Yes. It has always been a difficult journey. I will call the side effects "Angel Toxicosis" for the time being." He stepped past Colloyd, but stopped to put a hand on his shoulder. "In the meantime, it is a good idea to make use of the time. There's a small forest close to the outskirts of Luin. Would you care to accompany me?" Noishe barked at him. "And Noishe as well?" he added.
"What about Gesea?" Colloyd asked.
"I highly doubt she will be bothered here," Kraine replied. "We are quite brave ourselves for coming to stay here. Or at least, society dictates that we must be quite brave."
"Why is that?" He looked at the inn as they passed it on the way out.
Kraine shook his head after a thoughtful pause. "You'll see in the morning when the town comes alive."
"Aw really?" He crossed his arms. "Professor! You can't leave me wondering that long!"
"It is too difficult to explain myself," Kraine replied sharply. "I will let you see for yourself tomorrow. We need to purchase some new armour before heading out anyway."
"Then what was all that about leaving at daybreak?"
"It would be wise to go to the marketplace for when the stalls open. Their best wares always sell quite fast."
"They do?" Colloyd frowned. "You have been to Luin before, Kraine?"
"Quite a while ago," Kraine replied. Colloyd thought he was going to say more and waited.
For a time, all they could hear was the clack of their feet on the bridge as they left the town. When they emerged onto the grassy field and made beeline for the forests to their right, Kraine apparently felt ready to contine. "Colloyd, your dual wielding ability is unrefined and slack at best. You must learn to fight better if you don't want to end up dead."
There it was. Colloyd slumped his shoulders and mentally congratulated himself on his correct hunch on why he didn't necessarily want to train with him. It made it worse that he knew that the teacher-turned-mysteriously-talented-swordsman was a lot better than him.
The fourth time Colloyd found himself on the ground after sparring with Kraine, the teacher finally put his sword away and offered his hand to help him.
"How'd I do?" he asked reluctantly, accepting the hand but unable to meet his eyes.
"As I thought," Kraine replied. "In each scenario, you were wide open."
"Really?" He looked at his two weapons on the ground where Kraine had disarmed them a matter of seconds into the fight.
"It is not surprising," the Professor continued. "You're deviating quite a bit from the way each weapon is supposed to be used, after all."
"I hadn't thought about it like that before," Colloyd admitted. Generally people who used chakrams used two. A sword was generally a one hand weapon unless it was a specifically designed two handed sword, but was usually used with a shield.
"With that being said," Kraine continued, interrupting his thoughts. "You are a unique person Colloyd, and I would not want you to deviate from your preferred style. That would make me a terrible teacher if I were to urge you away from it." He pointed his sword at him again. "Let's continue."
Colloyd grinned at him, making him frown. "What is it?"
"I don't know," he replied, coming at him and meeting sword for sword. "Sometimes it's hard to imagine you ever were my school teacher." He jumped away when he felt him get the upperhand.
"Oh?" He charged at him this time and dodged left when the chakram came soaring toward him. Colloyd quickly dodged the sword coming at him and jumped to catch his weapon. He faltered for a moment upon landing though and heard Kraine chuckle. A second later his sword was flying out of his hand and landing hilt up into the muddy ground. Kraine stopped his advance and put his sword in its sheath with a nod. "That is enough for tonight."
"Okay," Colloyd nodded and grabbed his weapon. They turned to leave the forest and started toward Luin once again. The sun was beginning to rise. He hadn't thought they had been at it for that long. He didn't even feel tired.
They reached the inn and made their way to their dorm. Right before he turned the knob to step inside, he turned to Kraine. "Thank you for helping me. It made the night pass faster."
"We will resume training again soon," Kraine replied. "However, if you find yourself unable to sleep, you should count the stars. A human life is too short to count them all though."
"The stars?" Colloyd smiled. "I'll try that some time."
A couple of hours later, the group of three plus Noishe set out to the south of town to check out the markets, Kraine leading the way. About a hundred heads turned during their journey to the armour store. People continually made remarks as well. "New in town," "seems an odd trio," "the tall man looks suspicious."
Just as the vendor came into view, a man in a maroon tuxedo stepped in their way. Colloyd, initially thinking that they had accidentally gotten into each others way, tried to move around him to get to their destination, but the man continued to step in his way. Kraine crossed his arms and glared at him in frustration. "Just what is the meaning of this?"
"You should know, having come here of your own free will," the man scoffed. Colloyd raised an eyebrow and looked at Gesea for an answer. She looked in thought. "Kraine did tell me about Luin once. I believe it was something to do with the W.S.P."
"The Project?" Colloyd blinked. "What does that have to do with Luin?"
"Did you not have a very good teacher in school?" the man before them asked. "Everyone knows that Luin is not under the protection from the government because we are a town of people who openly disagree with the W.S.P."
"Disagree?" Colloyd shook his head. "Why? It is a plan to make sure mankind survives. It's kind of hard to disagree with that, I thought."
"Colloyd," Kraine said softly. "It would not be a very good idea to voice that opinion so openly here." He cleared his throat and looked at the man sternly again. "Mayor, this boy has had a very well rounded education, I will have you know. At least on my watch, anyway."
"That guy is the mayor?" Gesea whispered to Colloyd, who nodded in surprise as well.
"You are not from the Church, it seems," the mayor deducted, looking over each of them in equal measure.
Colloyd thought about it, but before he could answer with a maybe yes considering he was the Chosen of Regeneration, Kraine stepped in. "We are not. We are just passing through."
The mayor considered his response, stroking his long white beard. Eventually he nodded to himself and started to waddle through the gap in the middle of them. "Very well then. I expect that you won't want to stay long."
He was about to leave their company when Colloyd couldn't contain his curiosity. "Excuse me Mister Mayor?"
The mayor turned to him, looking ticked off that he had to stop again. Colloyd tilted his head and continued. "Why is everyone against the W.S.P here?"
"Why?" The mayor raised his eyebrows. "Shouldn't people be free to have children with whoever they want and feel a connection with?"
"A connection?" Colloyd frowned hard. "What kind of connection are you talking about?"
"Why none other than a connection that binds you to another person. Think of your best friend."
Colloyd looked at Gesea and immediately her cheeks went red with embarrassment. Colloyd's stare wasn't helping. "You mean you want to have the right to choose your Salvatorian?"
"No, not just the Salvatorian, boy. Think it as someone you would wish to have an intimate relationship with, not just for the purpose of bearing children."
"Really?" Colloyd looked back at Gesea again. "There are people that want that?"
The mayors answer was cut off by Kraine, who stepped ahead. "Thank you mayor. We have wasted more than enough of your time."
"Not at all," the mayor replied, reaching into his robes and appearing to be fishing around for something.
"Uh oh," Gesea said with a quick tug on Kraine's arm. "I know what that looks like. Let's get out of here before we're caught in a leaflet storm!"
"A leaf-whaa!" Colloyd found himself being pulled out of the market and toward the exit of Luin hastily. With that, they were on their way to the Balacruf Mausoleum.