"Today, I want you to track me. Surprise me. Don't let me know you're your there." Halt told his tall, sandy haired apprentice. They were standing in a small clearing, surrounded by trees.
"Sure." Gilan replied, nodding. Glancing around, he casually said, "We're sort of far out."
Halt eyed the boy uneasily. "Yes?"
"What if I run into a wild boar?" Gilan said, a mischievous glint in his blue eyes.
Rolling his eyes upwards, Halt replied, "We'll assume you won't."
"But assuming I do?"
"Shoot it with your bow." Halt said shortly, not liking where the conversation was headed.
"Assuming my bow string is broken?" Gilan said, all too visibly trying to hide a smile.
"Yes, Halt?" The apprentice replied innocently.
Halt shook his head, then began moving towards the trees. "Wait ten minutes, then start tracking me." Halt then disappeared into the forest.
After what he figured to be close to ten minutes, Gilan began to follow Halt's trail. It was difficult, yes, and sometimes not even there, but Halt had taught him how to follow a hard trail. Don't look for a clear, precise path of travel. You won't find it. Halt had said. An imprint in the dirt, a crushed section of grass, a broken twig, can all tell you a lot of what you want to know. A few more minutes of following the barely visible trail, and Gilan was rewarded. Halt was kneeling in a clearing, apparently studying something on the ground. As of now, Gilan didn't think Halt had seen him, but that was debatable. Halt had a habit of surprising the person surprising him. Still, he felt relatively confident. Quietly, Gilan took a few steps forward..."OUCH!"
Halt's head turned. Getting to his feet, he made his way toward his apprentice. "That's an odd strategy." He said dryly.
"Ow, ow, ow, ow!" Gilan said, lying on the ground, cradling his foot.
Halt sighed. "You didn't manage to sprain your ankle AGAIN, did you?"
"Nooo..." Gilan moaned. Through gritted teeth, he said. "I stubbed my toe."
Halt raised an eyebrow. "You stubbed your toe."
"Yes! And it really, really hurt!"
Halt rolled his eyes upward. "You're overreacting."
The apprentice's expression morphed from pained to indignant. "I'm NOT overreacting! Stubbed toes feel like you just got your toe cut off! They're PAINFUL!"
"I'm sure." Halt replied, sounding the complete opposite. "Let's go. It's dinnertime." Halt began moving in the direction of their cabin.
Gilan climbed to his feet, his toe still throbbing. Catching up with his mentor, he asked, "So you really think I overreacted?"
Halt shook his head. "No, I don't think you overreacted. I KNOW you overreacted."
Gilan huffed, then brightened. "I'll prove it, then. I'll prove that stubbed toes are excruciating and that I did not overreact!"
"You do that." Halt said aloud. In his mind, however, he thought dully, I'm a dead man.