The practices of a Professor or two
The practices of a professor or two
Kraine and Yuan's eyes widened as they fell on Colloyd in a readied battle stance against the Desians. "It looks like-" Yuan cut himself off when the auburn haired professor stepped out of hiding at the update in their little situation. He sighed to himself and contemplated his next move carefully.
"Get out of the way boy!" One of the Desians who held the rope that was tied around Cacao's hands laughed a bit. "You have no idea who you're dealing with!"
Colloyd threw his chakram at an angle so that it skimmed around and chopped the rope in half. "That's where you're wrong! You guys are just bullies!"
The moment Cacao was free, the Desians moved to re-capture her. Colloyd charged at them. Two of them turned to block his advance while the third caught Cacao and held her in front of him defensively while he put a knife to her neck. "One more step and the woman dies."
At hearing this, Colloyd stopped his advance on the Desians and quickly jumped a safe distance back. "Why do you attack innocent people?" he asked. "I'm going on the journey, so why don't you just leave people alone!"
"The Chosen wishes for a world of peace. I think it would be wise for you to stop this nonsense now," Kraine said as he cleared his throat and revealed his location to their enemies by slowly taking his sword out of its sheath and pointing it in their directions.
The three Desians turned away from Colloyd to gaze over him. "Who are you?"
Kraine put one hand on his hip and raised an eyebrow. "Do you always turn your backs on your enemies so arrogantly?"
"Professor!" Colloyd yelled from behind the Desians and Cacao. He turned and saw a flash of blue hair directly in his line of sight. The metallic clang of a followed by bright red hair held up in a top knot and two silver weapons clashed together and glowing softly, one a sword and one a large axe.
"Perhaps you should also think about not turning your back on your enemies!" Yuan yelled through gritted teeth before pushing the man who would have sliced straight into Kraine's back to the ground with a fiery growl.
"Lord Magnius!" The Desians yelled from behind Kraine.
'Lord' Magnius jumped away from Yuan. "What are you fools doing!? Didn't I tell you to not make a scene!""We weren't sir," the once tough sounding Desian whimpered.
Magnius clenched his fist. "If we let everyone in town know now, there's no way tomorrow will go off without a hitch." He kept his axe upright and cast an eye over Yuan and then Kraine behind him. "Are you from the cities militia?"
"Do we look like we're from the cities militia?" Yuan laughed. Magnius growled, not liking his tone. Kraine had to agree, but he wasn't in a position to judge at that point considering he had just potentially saved his life, or in the very least had saved him from a very unwanted situation.
"I highly suggest you and your goons leave this town in peace before we are forced to protect the Chosen from harm," Kraine said with a meaningful glare at the Desian leader.
Magnius looked understandably surprised at the revelation and looked past him to Colloyd, still stayed from doing anything while the goons had a knife to Cacao's neck. A twisted grimace cracked through his shock after another moment and he laughed. "You are interrupting our plans and so you shall perish here!" He raised his axe once again and ran for Yuan, who appeared to be waiting for the opportune moment.
"Lawah urshys ilai!" Yuan yelled.
Kraine blinked, understanding exactly what the blue haired man had just said. He turned on his heel to see that he was in fact right and that the two Desians who weren't holding Cacao hostage had ignored the Chosen and set their sights on the person they thought the most dangerous. The battle started.
Kraine charged and met with Colloyd in the middle of a flurry of metallic clangs. They turned their backs to one another and continued their assault, their adversaries blocking their attacks and returning their own, only to be blocked as well. In the midst of it all, the third Desian released the helpless Cacao and took up arms to try and help his comrades get the upperhand. It didn't do him any good. Colloyd was too fast for him and threw a distracting chakram around him when he had been going for Kraine and then quickly cut him below the knees to make sure he couldn't try anything again. Kraine did a similar move and the two of them shared a quick look of reassurance that the other was alright before setting their sights on the foe Yuan had been keeping busy.
The blue haired ex-professor was fluidly dodging Magnius' axe attacks as Kraine and Colloyd caught up and entered the fray. Before either of them could do anything noteworthy though, Yuan saw an opening in his attacks and knocked the giant axe straight out of his hands before kicking him to the ground with a well placed roundhouse kick. Magnius didn't show fear despite his unfortunate situation. Instead he scrambled upright and jumped back from them, his aura glowing.
"Crap," Yuan mouthed, feinting to his left just before a magical fiery head of a lion charged for him.
Magnius tried to charge for his weapon but Kraine got there first. He took a slash at him and did a mid air kick to knock the bulky man back. He lost his balance and fell, making Kraine grimace and point his sword to the mans throat. This time he wouldn't be getting up. "I suggest you and your friends leave here at once."
"You can't seriously be showing him mercy!" Yuan spluttered to Kraine incredulously.
Kraine frowned and side-glanced at him, raising his sword just high enough that Magnius could get out from under it without slicing his jugular in half. He looked back at Magnius. "In future you would do well to heed the Chosen's wishes."
Magnius' eyes widened for only a moment before he called to his goons to stop being weaklings and head back to the ranch. With one final glare he retreated with his men.
"Guess I shouldn't have expected anything different," Yuan muttered under his breath. Kraine took quick note to ask him for his meaning at a later point. For the time being his concentration shifted to that of the girl from the general store as she ran to her mother. Colloyd was already stalking closer, concern playing on his face.
"Mum! Are you alright?!" The girl looked over her mother carefully. She looked up when Colloyd approached. "How can I ever repay you?"
Colloyd shrugged and scratched the back of his head. "You don't have to. It kind of comes with the territory."
"The territory?" the girl asked. Colloyd stuttered, suddenly realising that she must not have heard the words spoken by the Desians.
"Is it true that you are our Chosen?" Cacao asked, blowing his thinly veiled cover. He nodded awkwardly and was glad when Kraine and Yuan stepped up behind him.
"You should probably go home now and speak nothing of this to anyone," Kraine said as he sternly cast an eye over the two.
The woman nodded but the girl seemed more hesitant as she looked over Colloyd like she had just seen Spiritua herself. "You're nothing like I thought."
"I suppose that's a good thing," he laughed. Not being able to stand her constant stare, he held out his hand to her. "Uh..I'm Colloyd."
She smiled broadly and took his hand. "Chocolat. I'll never forget what you did for us." With little more coaxing, she and her mother left them and entered back into their house, locking the door with a loud click and pulling the blinds down to block out the light which had been shining through the window to the outside.
Just when Colloyd was about to let out a relieved sigh and turn to his comrades to congratulate them on a job well done, they were interrupted by the sound of shattering glass. A loud and familiar yell sounded. Kraine's somewhat more relaxed stance immediately tensed and he broke into a run, Colloyd and Yuan following behind.
"Kraine!" yelled Gesea as they got closer. They stopped as they came to the inn to see a pile of shattered glass on the ground in the dimly lit alleyway to the side of the building, and the figure of Gesea from the top window of the inn. She waved to them casually and Kraine let out a visible sigh of relief.
"Gesea, are you alright?" Colloyd asked as he looked from her to the pile.
She nodded and looked at Kraine. "We need to leave, now." Her voice sounded urgent.
Colloyd gaped. "Now?!"
Kraine seemed to understand though and gave a nod. "Start packing our belongings Gesea. We will be there shortly." She nodded and left the window. Kraine stood in thought for a second before silently heading to the door of the inn. Colloyd shot Yuan a look of questioning and was met by a shrug. He didn't know what it was about either. They heard the sound of Kraine clearing his throat as he held the door of the inn open for them and quickly made haste to follow.
Colloyd didn't know whether it was a good or a bad thing that they had been able to pack up their belongings in a very short amount of time, but once Kraine had examined his sister carefully for any sign of wounds, followed by him and Yuan, they were bidding the inn owner farewell. Just as they were at the door to leave though, he called them to stop with a very angry sounding voice. After a short explanation, they learned that he knew they had broken the window upstairs and that they would have to pay for it. Apparently he had very good hearing and knew 'rats' when he saw them.
Yuan had been quick to dispel two problems as they arose. The first being the issue of Kraine about to give the man a lecture on the fact that they were most certainly not rats. The second being to shut Colloyd's mouth when he was about to pull the "I'm the Chosen" card out of his hat to hopefully get out of the problem. Instead he pulled a larger-than-life wallet out of his own rucksack and handed the inn owner a wad of cash. The man looked at the wad suspiciously, but upon unfurling a couple of notes he looked both shocked and satisfied. The group of four left the man to count the money and headed for the exit of Palmacosta.
Just as they neared the exit, Kraine stopped. "The Book of Regeneration. We should not leave with it. It may be some time before we come back."
"You should go on then," Yuan said to him, holding out his hand. "I'll return it to Dorr in the morning."
Kraine hesitated. He had his own reasons for wanting to return it himself to the Governer-General, but that was not going to look particularly insightful. He gave in to reason and handed over the priceless book. "Be sure not to lose it," he grumbled sternly to him.
"I will guard it with my life," Yuan replied with his usual smirk, the face of battle leaving him in that moment. "Take care. I think our paths will probably intertwine again so I will not say goodbye." He looked at Colloyd and nodded at Gesea before turning his back to them and heading toward the town circle. Kraine frowned, wondering why he was heading there now. Still, he had to put his priorities in order. Gesea was in danger here and he needed to get her away as soon as possible.
They set out from the port city to travel along the waters edge, donning their thick coats once more as they did. Several times Colloyd tried to start a conversation with Gesea, but was met with a strange silence from her. She was obviously worried about whatever had happened back at the inn. He was still yet to get an explanation out of either elf and it took all the discipline he had to not stop them both in the midst of their getaway and question them until they gave him answers.
Kraine eventually led them a bit further away from the beach and to a small clearing to the slight east of a path that wound around between the mountains. The large rocky landscape served as a great shield from the wind and soon Gesea was casting a fire spell on a group of sticks to make a small camp fire. Colloyd sat next to it first and looked at the elven siblings.
Gesea gave him a somewhat guilty look. "Sorry Col.. This must be a bit confusing." She looked at Kraine, who gave her a very hesitant look. Eventually after what looked to be a silent eye conversation between the two of them, Kraine slumped his shoulders a little and dropped to his backside in front of the fire as well. "I suppose if we do not tell you, it could put this journey in significantly more danger."
Gesea sat next to Colloyd. "A Desian came into the bedroom when I was sleeping."
Colloyd's eyes widened. "Is that when you-"
Gesea nodded. "I managed to overpower him and push him through the window. He ran away just before you all came back from your stroll." She looked in thought. "It appears that something else must have happened though."
Colloyd and Kraine nodded and she continued on with her story. "You see, they're after my Cruxis crystal." She unbuttoned her shirt, but knowing Kraine was watching him carefully, Colloyd didn't dare to look at what she was trying to show him. He quickly ushered her to do the top back up so that the professor would stop glaring. She saw her brother and nodded, understanding finally. "We don't like talking about the Angelus Project because it brings up bad memories."
"The Angelus project.." Colloyd shifted left to right in thought. "You said about that once before. How you and your sister were a part of the project."
Gesea nodded. Colloyd looked at Kraine and he quickly shook his head to the invisible question that was being asked. Apparently he hadn't also been a part of the experiment. He waited for either elf to say more, but when silence fell over the camp he sighed and decided to be a bit more direct. "Did something happen to your sister?"
Gesea looked down at her feet as she hugged herself. "We don't know. I don't remember much at all."
"What do you mean?"
"Gesea was not herself, you could say," Kraine explained. "It took a long time, but I eventually found a way to cure her problem. It required a special type of key crest, much like the one that you wear around your own Cruxis crystal." Kraine glanced down at the gem on Colloyd's hand.
The boy tilted his head in wonder. "So the people who experimented on you want the crystal back? Why don't you just give it to them?" He frowned. "But they were Desians?"
"I can not give it back to them," Gesea said sternly. "Kraine was very clear that taking it off would cost me my life. As for the Desians and the project.. we're as much in the dark as you are." She grimaced at Kraine. "However, one good thing has come from this. While I may have lost contact with our sister, I was reunited with my long-lost brother."
"Long-lost?" Colloyd asked. "You didn't know each other your whole lives?"
"Well, not exactly," Gesea giggled. "I just don't remember having a brother. The experiment made me lose my memory and along with it some of my memory of family and other things. Kraine told me about our sister when he came and took me away from the family home to take me to a Dwarf who could make a rune crest from the materials he had collected." She tapped her chest and Colloyd noticed he could hear a faint metallic ching. She looked a bit depressed. "When the Desians discovered that I was no longer just a tool for them to wait and watch, they demanded their Cruxis crystal from me and told us that the one my sister had was useless."
"So the crystal your sister has.." Colloyd smiled. "It sounds like she must be safe, even if you haven't seen her for a long time. We should find her!"
"I'm afraid that would be impossible," Kraine interjected.
"Impossible?" Colloyd asked. He watched Gesea and Kraine share another loaded glance and decided that this was the end of the conversation. Even now it seemed he was missing some of the story.
The professor seemed to sense his angst for the situation and looked directly at him. "Colloyd, come and sit with me so that I can teach you how to sharpen your sword and chakram."
Gesea laughed as Colloyd's eyes widened with renewed interest in a different topic. He leapt to his feet and carried his backpack toward the professor.
As Colloyd sat with Kraine, he couldn't help his own curiosity once again. After hearing the small part of his story with Gesea, he had become convinced that his sword skills had something to do with it. "Hey Kraine?" He asked once the professor finished showing him how to sharpen a sword by using the sharpening stone on his own sword first. "So where did you learn to fight? Have you been a mercenary before?"
Kraine sighed. "Colloyd, as much as your natural curiosity is a virtue to you, it is not so for others."
Colloyd looked down. "I'm sorry." He perked up again though. "But I think I understand why you don't want to talk about your family now." Kraine didn't answer, making him confirm what he had guessed. He hoped it wasn't true...but..
He sat quietly again and watched the teacher mumble how to do things as he worked on his chakram. If he didn't want to talk about the truth, who was he to force him? After all, the man had saved him many times already from having to talk about his inevitable fate.