“Very good Ben. You have managed to perform all the basic
maneuvers with relatively no struggle or help other than initial instructions.
I am very pleased.”
Ben let the energy stop flowing from his Air
beam. He let his arms drop to his side and took a deep breath. Although the
tasks were not strenuous, it still felt good to break a sweat wielding Air.
Mr. Breeze walked over to Ben from his perch behind him.
“I am pleased with your progress Ben. I am now convinced that we can move on to more advanced moves.”
Ben nodded as he drew breath in and exhaled, now fully prepared to perform what his master had in store for him.
“Now bring your arms up…”
“Now, to create a Fire wall, you channel your energy horizontally. Feel the power shifting from your left side to your right. Then move your arm across your body to create the wall in front of you.”
Mr. Flare demonstrated this move to Jake and a perfect Fire wall formed in front of him. Jake watched his every movement, trying to get the exact motion memorized.
After the flame had dissipated from Mr. Flame, he said, “Your turn Jake. Just try to channel the power horizontally.
Jake took a short breath and closed his eyes. He focused all of his power on the tip of his fingers in his left hand. Slowly, he moved his left hand across his body and channeled a wall in front of him.
As Jake finished the movement, he heard Mr. Flame say, “Very good Jake. Excellent work!”
“I want you to feel the Earth Jessica. Don’t feel the warmth within yourself, feel the warmth within the cold earth.”
Jessica concentrated on the Earth that surrounded her. She began to feel the damp soil to the harder rock beneath that. Jessica’s consciousness probed the ever changing rock and dirt.
“Can you feel the rock Jessica?” Mr. Stone inquired.
Jessica responded with a slow nod of her head.
“Good” Mr. Stone exclaimed. “Now, I want you to grasp the core of a rock and thrust your arm upwards.”
With a yell, Jessica thrust her arm upwards. An explosion at her feet confirmed her success as a small boulder came shooting up at the ceiling of the Earth cave they were training in. The boulder flew from underneath the ground to the ceiling of the cave and lodged itself in the stone above.
Panting, Jessica asked, “How did I do?”
“You did very well Jessica. I’m very pleased!”
The walls that enclosed the spa that Crystal and Mrs. Grace were training in were glowing blue. The faint light that helped light the dim cave reflected off the water which gave the walls their blue tint. Mrs. Grace had a steady tempo of her arms swaying back and forth. Between her hands, she held a stream of water, flowing back and forth. Crystal imitated the action but had no water flowing back and forth between her hands.
“Can you feel the connection with the water Crystal?” Mrs. Grace asked, her eyes still closed.
“I think I feel it.” Was Crystal’s reply.
“Explain to me what you feel. What does it feel like?” Mrs. Grace asked, her voice as smooth and calming as the water itself.
Crystal took a moment pondering how best to answer her instructor’s question. While she thought, the water in the spa sloshed up against the sides of its enclosure and sparkled due to the dim light.
Crystal took a breath and said, “I feel warmth. But I also can feel the coolness of the actual water. It is a strange feeling, yet it seems so natural. When I feel it, I feel its grace and flexible nature. Yet…” Crystal’s voice trailed off.
“Yes Crystal? What else do you sense?” Mrs. Grace said, suddenly opening her eyes and letting the water she was commanding splash back into the spa.
Alarmed at the sudden change in mood of her teacher, Crystal said, “I feel a sort of hook. It’s a very slight and faint feeling, but it is still there, eluding me.”
The cave went eerily silent as Mrs. Grace seemed to be deep in thought about something Crystal had just said. Crystal felt that a long silence awaited her so she closed her eyes to try and search for the faint feeling and see if she could latch onto it.
As Crystal expanded her consciousness to the water, she began to notice things she didn’t catch on her first search. The very essence of water seemed to come alive. The warmth but cool sensation spread throughout Crystal’s entire body as she continued to dig deeper into the water she studied.
Crystal encountered many feelings on her internal quest for that faint sensation she so desired to feel. She encountered the very smooth and delicate side of water. It calmed her and made her feel happy and relaxed. But she also encountered the destruction that water can cause. This caused her blood to boil and stirred up her emotions until she wanted to burst out.
It was through this rage that Crystal felt the thing she sought. That originally faint sensation now seemed stronger and more reachable. Crystal tried to reach out to it and brushed against it’s essence but could get no closer. Frustrated, Crystal threw herself at the sensation, once again only brushing up against it. She threw the water that she had picked up to examine down in irritation causing a splash which stirred Mrs. Grace.
“Are you alright Crystal?” Mrs. Grace asked with concern.
Crystal, realizing she was still in training, took a breath, and sighed.
“I’m sorry Mrs. Grace. I just became frustrated with the feeling I explained to you earlier. I tried to grasp onto it but was unable to. Although…” Crystal hesitated. “I felt the sensation was stronger when I searched the very essence of rage within the water.”
Mrs. Grace seemed slightly surprised but smiled at Crystal.
“I’m impressed.” Mrs. Grace said. “Normally students cannot feel the different types and forms that water can take until they have had extensive training.”
Crystal smiled, pleased at herself.
“I have decided.” Mrs. Grace stated.
“Decided what?” Crystal asked, slightly confused.
“I have decided to tell you about the Final forms. However, this is something that you must not tell to any of your friends, for it can ruin their training.” Mrs. Grace said with an air of mystery.
Crystal frowned and asked, “Then why are you telling me? Won’t my training be ruined too?”
Crystal was warmed by the smile and warmth she felt from Mrs. Grace’s response.
“No Crystal. I am choosing to tell you because you have felt the power of the Final Form. But not only have you felt the Final Form, you’ve tried to get it and have searched out its power. Your other friends might be told by their tutors, but that will be at their disgression, and I am choosing to tell you now.”
Crystal’s face seemed to give away that her interest was piqued because Mrs. Grace continued on with her explanation.
“The Final Forms,” she continued, “are the final set of instructions one can learn about an element and can only be achieved through total mastery of the element. With that in mind, only a very select few people can even become masters of an element because part of it has to do with being born with the gift of that element.”
“So only a few people can learn the Final Form of their element?” Crystal inquired. “How do you know if you are capable of doing that and achieving mastery?”
“Be patient Crystal. Let me fully explain to you the Forms.” Mrs. Grace said in her soothing voice.
“Sorry.” Crystal said as she waited for her instructor to continue.
“The Final Forms are the most powerful set of attacks one can bring about, and as such, normally cause disasters far greater than their original purpose intended. Due to this destruction, and the power within it, rules are in place to regulate this. One cannot simply use this power to invade countries or to assume total dominance.”
“What is the condition of use then?” Crystal asked with wide eyes.
“The user of a Final Form must be in true desperation or else the power will not unleash. This is because only when the user is at a loss of everything else and has no other option, are they truly desperate.”
Crystal thought about the Final Forms for a minute before responding to Mrs. Grace.
“What does this have to do with me?” She asked.
Mrs. Grace gave a sort of sad smile, but the shadows of the cave made it hard for Crystal to tell whether or not it was just a sad smile.
“The fact that you can feel the power of the Form indicates that you can use its power when you are truly desperate. This is why I want to tell you about it, so you can have it in case you are ever in need of it.” she said.
Crystal thought even more about the Final Forms. Once again, she asked a question.
“How many times has somebody been able to use a Final Form?” She inquired.
“I’ve only seen a Final Form performed once.”
As Leith righted himself after dodging the Shadow ball with a roll, he heard, “Come on Leith. Just a side roll?”
Leith saw another ball come flying towards him so he rolled again. No sooner had he recovered from that roll before he found himself rolling yet another time.
“I can’t do this forever.” Leith thought.
Leith recovered from his latest roll and found himself at a corner of the stone room. Not wanting to have to roll all the way back across the room to the door, Leith prepared to fight.
Leith was glad for Zeke’s training on quickly bringing up a Shadow ball. Leith formed one and shot it at his attacker. Although the Shadow ball did not phase his attacker one bit, Leith shot out two more Shadow balls. After it was clear that they weren’t doing anything, Leith changed tactics. Leith shot off one more Shadow ball but it purposefully shot wide right.
When the mysterious man was looking where the stray Shadow ball hit, Leith started to charge a Shadow beam. Leith let the energy go and yelled, “Darkness!”. His beam plus two more Shadow balls shot at this attacker.
This attack caught the man unprepared and he barely had a chance to bring up a Shadow Shield before the beam and balls struck him, shattering his shield and knocking him to the floor.
“Who are you?” Leith shouted at that man as he stood up.
The man lowered the hood of his cloak and said, “I am President Snow.”
The realization of who the man was took Leith by surprise. His obvious state of shock displayed on his face as the President explained himself.
“I am sorry for the introduction Leith. I was merely testing you and what you knew already. What better way to accomplish that then to attack you and make you react on your feet?” he said, sweeping the cloak off his back and on the floor.
Leith finally had managed to slow his breathing back down and concentrated on what was happening.
“So what did you figure out?” Leith asked, slowly approaching the President.
“I must admit,” the President said, “That you did better than I expected you too. You have had little training yet you had tactics. You used a diversion, not many people would have thought of that.”
Leith tensed as President Snow put his hand on Leith’s shoulder.
“Relax Leith.” the President said with a smile. “I’m not going to harm you.”
Leith relaxed his stance and followed the President’s direction.
“As you have seen with your friends, they have each been assigned a specific teacher to further their progress in their element. However, as a Shadow wielder, we have no teacher for you, so I will personally train you.”
“As you have seen with your friends, they have each been assigned a specific teacher to further their progress in their element. However, as a Shadow wielder, we have no teacher for you, so I will personally train you.” President Snow said.
Leith stopped walking and asked, “Sir? Forgive the
question, but how do you know the Shadow element and how will you teach me?”
The President sighed and said, “Come to my office Leith.
We’ll talk there and I’ll make plans with you alright?”
Leith nodded and walked through the door that President Snow had opened. The room that Leith walked into was completely different from the stone chamber that he was originally in. This room was nicely warmed and furnished with two leather couches and a desk in the corner. The floor was neatly carpeted.
“Please take a seat.” President Snow said as he sat down on one of the couches.
Leith chose to sit on the opposite couch from the President, partly because it would make conversation easier, but also out of respect for the leader of Scelsia.
Leith sat quietly and patiently waited for President Snow to say something.
“The origin of my power,” the President began, “lies within Galaxia itself. In the Great War between Galaxia and Scelsia, I was a recruiter for the Galaxian army. I opposed the war, for I felt that Scelsians were good people that we should aspire to live in peace with. When King Vex would not listen to me, I began to help the Scelsians win the war and bring down the mighty King.”
Leith stared intently at the President in amazement. He could not imagine his President in a Galaxian uniform.
Leith was brought out of his thoughts by a voice.
“There is another reason why I am choosing to train you as well.” The President said. “I can help you defeat Veltron. I trained him once and he was my most trusted and promising pupils.”
This brought Leith to a whole other level of shock. Thoughts whizzed through his head and collided, causing Leith to be unable to think clearly.
“But…that means.” Leith stuttered.
“Yes.” The President sighed. “I did value Veltron once. He was very talented and very promising for his power with Shadow. But the greed for power and wealth has corrupted him just like it corrupted Vex.” The President said with sorrow in his eyes.
Leith sat, amazed, but silent, waiting for President Snow to say more. Leith was bursting with questions, but resolved to wait for his President to tell him the information in due time. To bide time, Leith looked down at the amulet he now held in his hand.
“Can I do this?” Leith thought to himself, clearing his mind.
Leith rolled the amulet between his fingers, admiring the color of the trinket. The beauty of the item totally encompassed him as he let the memories flood back into his mind. The memories did not last long, however, as Leith’s thoughts were interrupted.
“What is that you are holding Leith?” President Snow asked inquisitively.
Leith’s focus snapped back to the present. He took a deep
breath before saying, “This was my mother’s amulet. She gave it to me the night
before she and my father left. I have never seen them since. This is the last I
have of them.”
Leith closed his eyes as he felt his emotions turning into tears. He clenched his fist around the amulet, fighting back the wave of tears that threatened to consume him.
President Snow, sensing the fragile state Leith was about to enter, sat back, not saying anything while he let Leith deal with his emotions. He took this time to observe Leith more closely. He could tell that although Leith was gentle and sincere, he was a true warrior at heart. “Just like his parents.” The President thought.
The President also wondered whether or not he could use Leith’s emotions about the loss of his parents as a drive and incentive to work harder.
“A thought for more consideration.” President Snow whispered to himself.
Leith had now regained control of his emotions and was waiting for the President to say something.
“I suggest.” the President began, “That we get started with some training.”
Leith found himself in a stone room like the one he entered when he had first met President Snow. The only difference about this room was that there was no throne positioned in the middle of the room.
Leith was now standing facing the President as he listened to his new teacher.
“You have already displayed some skill with the Shadow element.” President Snow was saying. “However, in order to pose any sort of threat to Veltron, we will have to increase your skill. Now, You’ve already shown me you can quickly produce a Shadow ball. This is good because it means you’ve already mastered the basics.”
President Snow paused briefly, seeming to consider his next words.
“You’ve also demonstrated to me the remarkable skill of not only being able to use an element beam, but use it in its strongest form. This is also a very good start.”
Leith couldn’t help but smiling at the knowledge that he was already on his way to a good foundation in Shadow training.
“However.” President Snow continued, “You will need some even more advanced techniques to reach your true strength.”
Leith’s whole body perked up at the sound of being able to be even stronger.