The next morning I wake up with one of the worst hangovers I’ve had in a while. I rub my face with a groan of pain. Then I glance next to me seeing Ashley passed out in her underwear. My eyes widen as I immediately check to see if I am clothed, and all I am wearing is my boxers. I sit up rubbing my eyes wondering what all happened last night. Then I hear loud knocking at the front door.
I groan and roll out of bed trying not to wake Ashley up. I stumble to the door, already beginning to feel a bit nauseous. Whoever it is, knocks again which just irritates me even more. When I jerk the door open I see Ronald and Jesse standing there in their workout clothes. I scowl at them still not completely awake, and with a huge migraine.
“What do you guys want?” I ask,
Jesse laughs at me, “Dude, you look like crap.”
“Well, I was up late drinking and-” I glance over at the TV seeing the clock saying it’s only 6:50 in the morning. “-it’s not even 7 yet. Again, why are you two here?”
“We are supposed to train as a-” Ronald begins to say then he glances past me, losing his train of thought. I look and see one of the girls walking by, half-naked looking for her clothes on the floor. He grins and looks back at me. “We are supposed to do team training today. Did Ariya not tell you about it?”
I scoff and rub my head, “Hell no, that girl doesn’t tell me shit.”
He leans over looking past me again at the girl smiling, “Well, we are meeting at the training yard if you want, but I understand if you don’t want to.”
I roll my eyes pushing his head back out of the doorway, “Be there in a bit” I say as I close the door in their faces.
I quickly take a shower then change, then head over to the training yard. When I get there I am wearing sunglasses and carrying a cup of coffee hoping it will help with the hangover. Elizabeth walks up chuckling at my appearance.
“Wow you look like hell,” She says,
“I feel like hell. I am thinking about just going back to bed.” I say then take a drink of my coffee.
She grabs my free hand pulling me with her almost making me spill my coffee on myself. “No way, I need you to help me stretch again.”
I smirk, “I am sure Ronald or Jesse would love to help you.”
“But I would rather have you.”
We head over and begin stretching. As I am helping Elizabeth with one of the positions. This one she is laying on her back and I have one of her legs in the air helping her stretch it.
Ronald looks to me with a grin “Does that position remind you of what you did with those girls in your room last night.”
I smirk at him and Jesse asks, “How many girls were in there?”
Melissa overhears them and butts into our conversation.“You know, it’s against the rules for female students to spend the night in a boys dorm.”
I look over at her, “They were serfs, and nothing happened... At least I don’t think?” I say as I try to remember later on in the night.
(Men are disgusting) I hear Ariya think, or meant for me to hear.
I look over at her with a smirk. “Oh, don’t be jealous”
She gasps, “Whatever!”
I continue to help Elizabeth with her stretches, then we move on to running laps. Elizabeth and I continue to run beside each other talking and laughing about stuff. She then smiles at me saying, “We should race.”
I smile at her, “Don’t you think it would be a little one-sided.”
“Are you sure about that?”
Remembering what her sphere of magic is I chuckle, “Fine, but no using your magic to make me tired or whatever.”
She laughs, “Aww you are no fun. Fine, I won't use my magic then.”
“Don’t worry, I will go easy on you.” I say,
She grins, then we both line up on the starting point as she counts down. When she gets to one, I let her get a few seconds ahead of me before I take off. Just as I am about to pass her she stumbles hurting her ankle.
I stop and run back over to her. “Are you okay?” I say as I crouch down next to her.
She rubs her ankle with a groan, “I think I sprained my ankle. Ow, it really hurts.”
The others walk up as I try to help her stand. She winces in pain falling towards me. I catch her to keep her from falling to the ground, she looks up to me, “Ow crap! Sorry”
Suddenly, I begin to feel a bit of jealously coming from Ariya. I smirk looking in her direction, seeing her just walking away. Wow, is she actually jealous right now?
I look back to Elizabeth, “Do you think you can walk to the benches?”
“I will try”
She stands again hopping her way towards the benches. She groans in pain again, and stops to lean over to rub her ankle. Not wanting her to suffer anymore, I pick her up in my arms and begin to carry her the rest of the way.
She gasps not expecting me to pick her up, then smiles putting her arms around my neck. I set her down on one side of the bench and I sit beside her. Gently, I take her foot placing it in my lap, and remove her shoe. She just smiles at me as I begin rubbing her ankle with some of the ointment from one of the medkits close by.
“How do you know how to do this?” She asks,
I smile at her. “Well, I spend a lot of time in the nurse's office; I have picked up a few things.” She winces a bit when I touch the sensitive spot on her ankle. I look at her with concern, “Does it hurt really bad?”
“It’s just a little sore, but what you are doing feels really good.”
“If you want, maybe I could rub both of them for you.” I say,
She starts to say something then Ariya interrupts us. “If you two are done flirting with each other, we need to finish our exercises.”
“Are you going to be okay?” I ask as I set her foot back down.
“Yes, thank you Fabien.”
I help her stand back up and she winces from her ankle still being a bit sensitive.
“Do you still want me to help you with your exercises?” I ask,
“No, you are going to help me.” Ariya cuts her off before she could respond.
I look at Ariya with confusion as Elizabeth grins at her. “What, I thought you didn’t want me helping you." I say,
She looks away and crosses her arms, “Well, we need to do more as bonded partners, I think it will help us work better as a team.”
“Yeah, that does make sense.” Ronald says,
I sigh walking away, “Whatever, come on”
We start doing our exercises then it moves on to us helping each other with sit-ups. It seems every time I touch her she gives me a look of displeasure. She must really hate having a serf touch her.
I end up leaned down over her knees holding her feet with my hands. Every time she sits up her face comes inches from mine, this causes wafts of her scent to fly towards me. I can’t help but think about how good she smells today. Her perfume is different than most. It has an almost sweet citrus-like smell to it. I feel as if I have smelled this scent before.
I begin looking her over trying to figure out why her smell confuses me. Then I actually begin thinking about how attractive she really is. The sweat glistening on her neck and chest is... That’s when I realizing what I am doing. “Shit,” I say and start readjusting so I am not so close to her when she sits up.
She looks to me curiously, ”What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, was just getting a cramp in my hand”
Then it’s time for us to switch and she starts holding my feet down in the same position. After a few sit-ups, I do notice her looking me over. Her gaze seemed to start at my chest and slowly made its way up to my face. That’s when I feel it, I get an empathic feeling of attraction coming from her. Suddenly, I hear her think, (He might be a jerk, but he is actually not that bad looking.) Her eyes then tightly close in embarrassment as she thinks again (Crap, please don’t hear that.) That causes me to stop in mid sit up and start laughing. She blushes and pushes on my head. “Shut up, we are taking a break. I am hungry.” She says as she begins to stand.
We all take a break and decide to leave school grounds to go eat. After a long discussion between everyone they finally pick a place to go eat. Of course, this place is way out of my price range. I say I will just eat something at home. Ronald offers to pay for me but again I decline not liking to have people pay for me. Elizabeth wraps her arm around mine pulling me with her telling me I am not allowed to say no. After that, I finally give in and join them. How could I ever say no to her.
When we get there, I feel so out of place. Everything on the menu is so expensive and it’s written in a different language. Elizabeth notices I have no idea what I am looking at and laughs. She leans over placing her hand on my forearm helping me find something to eat. Just her touch would send jolts of pleasure up my arm and make my heart race a bit more. I’m pretty sure she knows the effect she has on me.
As soon as all the ordering is done, it’s all business. They immediately break into a strategy session about the end of the year tournament. I totally suck at talking strategy. Ariya is okay, giving out a few ideas, but we pretty much feel left out. They talk about how Ronald and Elizabeth can use their magic to shut down people on the other teams. I can tell by Ariya’s emotions, she wishes she had something more to contribute.
I decide to do it for her, “Don’t forget about Ariya. If she can master her magic she can turn the tide of any fight in our favor.” I say trying to bring her skills into the conversation.
They quickly jump on board with what I said, incorporating her into their strategy. Ariya smiles at me feeling a bit more pride in herself again.
We figure the toughest group will be Wayne’s. He can dish out a lot of damage very quickly ending the fight fast. He also has Sasha the conjurer. She can control the battlefield with monsters, traps, and walls. If she is left alone for too long she can eventually overwhelm us. His last teammate is Craig the life necromancer. He can just sit back keeping his teammates healed and purging all their afflictions, making the fight last longer than it should.
Ariya then interrupts them, “But we have an ace up our sleeve.” She points to me and they aren’t quite sure what she is getting at. She sighs “He is a savant, you know a guardian that uses magic. We really have four casters on our team.”
Elizabeth gets excited leaning over to me touching my hand. “Oh right, what sphere are you?”
I glance at our hands then back up to her. “Abjuration”
Ronald claps his hands with a loud pop startling me, “A guardian with defensive magic, you could be unstoppable! We might have this won already.” He excitedly says, causing people in the restaurant to look over at us.
We continue to talk about this a bit more, then eventually head back to the training yard. When we get there other teams have shown up to exercise and train as well. We figure this is a good time to test ourselves out on the combat training machines.
These machines create holographic images that will test our skills. They will allow us to practice our skills using various types of melee weapons. You can fight against one or multiple opponents at once. The melee weapons you are allowed to use vary from swords, to staves, to even long chains with a ball on the end. Pretty much anything you can think of.
I decide to go basic and grab a one-handed sword, like from one of those gladiator movies. I figure the sword would probably be the easiest to learn to use. I walk up to one of the machines. I notice there is a keypad with numbers ranging from one to ten and a pad to place your hand for it to scan.
I just stare at it trying to make sense of it all. Donovan notices my confusion and walks over. “You seem a little lost. Do you want me to show you how it works?”
I look over at him, “Sure, when did we get these? I kind of figured we would be training with other people.”
He nods and walks up to the machine. “Well these are kind of new, and it’s pretty much like training with other people. They got tired of people getting hurt in training, so they decided to make these. Plus, these can control how skilled of an opponent you are fighting. The first thing you do is place your hand on the scanner pad thing here”
He places his hand on it and it scans it revealing who he is and his classification which is guardian. It also says who his bonded noble is and also gives him a ranking next to his name which is seven.
Then he motions to the other buttons, “See this first row of buttons here? These are for if you are training solo, with your bonded partner, or in a group like your whole team. The second row here is the difficulty level of the fighters they will be putting up against you. If you look at my level which is seven, that’s what difficulty of fighters I am at. The last thing you will be entering in will be the number of opponents. This can range from one to ten. After you select all your settings, you place your hand back on the scanner to activate it and you are good to go.”
I smirk at him, “Do you really expect me to fight ten people at one time?”
He smiles, “In combat, you never know how many you will face. You could end up fighting a lot more than that. But since you are starting out you would start at level one with one opponent. It won't let you move on to level two until you can beat all of level one with ten opponents.” He cancels his options then says, “Come on up here, I want you to try it out.”
I walk up to the machine and do everything he said. I hit solo, level one, and one opponent. Then I place my hand on the scanner. It begins to count down from sixty seconds, so I can get prepared.
Donovan motions to a small box painted on the ground. “Stand here”
I walk over standing in the box and a blueish figure made of light appears on the other side holding a sword. I hold up my sword preparing for the countdown to finish. When the count reaches one the figure charges me. I easily sidestep its attack hitting him with the sword as he goes by. He immediately spins around and wildly swings his sword at my head. I barely duck under it causing it to miss. I retaliate with a stab in his chest.
Figuring that would end it, I relax lowering my sword. Suddenly, the figure stabs downward with it’s sword hitting me in the shoulder. The image vanishes and the machine flashes ‘You Have Been Defeated’ in the air.
I look at Donovan with a bit of confusion as he is clapping at me. “Nice try, you almost had him.” He says,
“How did I lose; I hit him twice and he only hit me once?" I ask,
“Yeah, I forgot to tell you. You have to get three successful hits on them before you actually beat them.”
I look back at the machine, “That seems kind of unfair.”
“Don’t worry, it gets a lot easier. Let me demonstrate.” He says,
He walks up to the wall and everyone stops to see this three-time champion fight. He hits solo, then level seven with eight opponents. He activates his choices and grabs a chain for his weapon. A bunch of different colored figures appear wielding different weapons. He gets in position and waits for the count down to finish.
Once the fight begins, they all charge him. I can immediately tell the difference in the opponents skill compared to mine. For being such a big guy, he is very quick and a lot more agile than I expected. The chain is constantly spinning around him striking in various directions.
He would use the chain to disarm one opponent and fling its weapon into another one killing it. He would flip through the air or roll over another one, causing them to hit each other. The fight only lasts about thirty seconds before he defeats all of them.
Everyone claps and I am just standing in awe clapping as well at his fighting skill. He walks up to me a bit winded, “It has taken me three years to get to this point. I have faith you will be able to do it faster.”
I look at his chain then back to my sword, “I am thinking I should switch to the chain. That was awesome.”
He laughs, “You should try them all and use what is most comfortable for you.”
I spend the rest of our time out there trying all the weapons I can. The two I liked most using are two swords or cestus (Spiked knuckles). I find that I like to get up close and personal with my opponents. After almost five hours of training, we decide to end it there.
Everyone is exhausted, sweaty, and very sore from this workout. Samantha and Donovan decide to invite us all to a spa for showers, massage, and relaxation. I end up catching a ride there with Ronald and Jesse. When we get there the first place I wanted to go was relax, was in the sauna. I head to the changing rooms to get out of my clothes them make my way to the saunas. All I am wearing now is nothing but a towel around my waist.
After about five minutes go by while I am in there, then the door opens. I can’t really see who is coming in but I hear Tyson’s voice say to someone else, “Move along scrub this is our room.”
Tyson and Wayne make their way in. They both stop when they see me. Then Wayne smiles his arrogant grin. “Ah Fabien, just the man I wanted to see.”
I sit up clenching my fists, expecting a fight. Wayne chuckles holding up his hand to calm me down. “Calm down tiger, we are just here to relax and talk.”
Still looking at them with uncertainty, “I don’t really have anything to discuss with either of you.”
He sits down then leans over pouring some water on a heated rock causing more steam to fill the room. “That is fine, you can just sit there and listen.” He then leans back with a relaxing sigh. “How would you like to switch teams, and join mine for the tournament?”
I chuckle at his audacity to even ask me that, “Are you high or just stupid”
Tyson steps towards me and Wayne puts his hand up stopping him. He then motions to the bench beside him, “It’s fine Tyson, you need to sit down and relax as well.”
I glare up to Tyson still unafraid as he sits next to Wayne. My attention turns back to Wayne, “What makes you think Ariya or I would even consider joining your team? Especially after what you did to her and then you send your attack dog to try and assault me.”
“Listen, I only sent Tyson to see how strong you are and if you deserve to be a guardian. Also, whatever Ariya told you I did to her was just a lie to hurt me. I care about her, and all she did was use me to gain popularity in this school. After she broke up with me, she humiliated me in front of the school, I was devastated.”
“You can lie all you want, I know what you did. You are sick and deserve to be punished.”
"Fine, if you don’t believe me, go tell her brother. Everyone already knows what really happened. If I really did do something bad, why hasn’t she said anything?” He asks,
“I don’t know maybe you threatened her somehow.”
He laughs and looks over at Tyson, “What an imagination you have.”
I get irritated and stand. Tyson stands as well getting in my face again and I just ignore him. “You need to quit bothering her or we wont have to wait till the tournament to-”
Wayne stands now, “Are you threatening me?”
I step closer to him, “I don’t make threats, I am just telling you what is going to happen.”
His hand lights on fire, then we hear the door begin to open. The fire instantly fades from his hand as Donovan looks in and sees how tense things are in here.
He steps in the rest of the way, “What’s going on here? Wayne, are you bothering Fabien again?”
Wayne turns with a smile patting Tyson on the back, “No sir, its just competitive talk for the end-of-year tournament. It was all in good fun, I promise.”
“Well, you are done here.” He looks to me, “Fabien would you come with me, I have something to discuss with you.”
I walk by staring up at Tyson with a sneer. As we walk off down the hall a bit Donovan looks at me and asks, “What’s the deal with you two?”
I cross my arms and look down the hall to where we came from. ”I don’t know, Wayne just gets on my damn nerves.”
He smiles at me, “Wayne has a big ego, and is very competitive as well. He really isn’t a bad guy and his family has done a lot for this school.”
“Well he has been harassing Ariya and she is terrified of him and Tyson.” I say,
He looks at me with a slightly confused look on his face. “What, I figured he would be over her by now after she broke his heart.”
I look at him dumbfounded, that he believes all the stuff Wayne has made up about her. “Don’t tell me you believe that shit too?”
“Fabien I was there when it happened, it was pretty bad. She made Wayne cry in front of the whole school.” He says and I look away in anger.
“He deserves a lot worse than that, he is a bastard for what he did.” I say, wishing there was some way to show him the dream I had.
“What do you mean?”
I stop and look at him reluctantly wondering if I should actually say anything. I take in a deep breath, then look around to make sure no one is watching.
“Wayne raped her and Tyson helped” I say as I look back at him.
He gets a stunned look on his face as he looks around also seeing if anyone heard. Then he leans closer to me, “Did she tell you that?” He quietly asks,
I shake my head, “No, I saw it in a dream. I think it was her memory or something. Now she is terrified every time they come around.”
He lets out a quick chuckle and looks away, “A dream? Fabien you can’t accuse someone of that over a dream. He maybe a little stalkerish and that may scare her, but rape?” My fist clenches as I begin getting pissed wanting to punch him for siding with Wayne. He continues, “Listen Fabien, I will tell him to back off. But you can’t accuse someone of rape over a dream you had, no matter how much you hate them.”
As he is talking I am overwhelmed by feelings coming from Ariya. I look around and catch a glimpse of her going back into a room closing the door behind her. I close my eyes with a groan realizing she heard what he said.
My hands rub through my hair rapidly in frustration, “Damn it, whatever, but don’t expect me to get along with him.”
We talk a bit more on the way to the massage room. We both lie face down on the tables next to each other. I try my hardest to enjoy the massage and take my mind off everything, but I am still being flooded with emotions from Ariya.
Then I hear her flood my mind with questions, (How did you know?... Did you read that from my mind as well?... Please don’t tell my brother, I don’t want him involved.)
Suddenly I get snapped out of it by Donovan pushing on me “Fabien, did you fall asleep?”
I sit up rubbing my face noticing we are the only ones in the room now, “No sorry, what’s up?”
“The massage is done; did you hear anything I said?” He asks,
I shake my head “No, sorry”
We stand and begin walking out “Well I was saying, the headmaster asked me to personally train you myself. He has taken a personal interest in you, probably because you are bonded with his sister.”
I rub a hand through my hair looking around in confusion. Did I actually fall asleep in there? It seemed like we were only in there a couple of minutes. “That’s cool, I would actually like that.”
He smiles “It’s not going to be easy. I like to start at about five in the morning till seven giving us enough time to shower and eat before classes start.”
I look at him not thrilled about waking up that early, “Five in the morning, that’s early. My roommates like to stay up late and are pretty loud.”
“Well tell them to keep it down so you can sleep.” He says,
I smirk, “Fine, I guess I will do it.”
“Good. Also, how’s your abjuration training coming along?”
“Okay I guess, I can harden my skin and make myself resistant to some elements.” I say as I bring up one hand and clench it into a fist. All the skin slowly begins to turn rocklike. Then I unclench it with an exhale of breath causing it to return back to normal. “But it takes pretty much all of my concentration. I don’t think I can use it in a combat situation yet.”
He smiles, “We will work on that as well, man what I would give for your abilities.”
We continue talking as we make our way back to the showers and the locker rooms. When we walk around the corner, I bump right into Elizabeth knocking her back. She begins to fall, and I quickly catch her, so she doesn’t hit the ground. The sudden stop causes her towel to fall to the floor. Her eyes widen and lunges up hugging on to me using my body to hide her body.
I freeze, feeling her body and bare breasts pressed against my chest. Donovan gets a look of shock as he bends down grabbing her towel. She quickly takes the towel and spins facing away from me giving me a very brief view of her naked backside before wrapping up in the towel.
She looks back at me flush from embarrassment. “Sorry, I kind of panicked”
I nervously chuckle rubbing the back of my head with my hand. “Oh, it’s okay really. I am really sorry about that.”
She pats my chest as she walks by smiling, “It’s fine, was the best part of my day so far.”
Donovan and I both chuckle as we watch her walk off. She looks back at me with a smile. Donovan grabs my shoulder and laughs, “It’s never a dull moment with you. I kind of think she likes you.”
I smile to him, “You think?”
We make it to the showers and finally change. The rest of the day goes by and I head back to my dorm. When I enter I see everyone there having another one of their crazy parties. My serf friends are really bad influences on Markus and Mikey.
Apparently, they are in the middle of playing truth or dare as one of the girls is leaned against the kitchen counter making out with Akane. I rub my eyes and shake my head at how crazy these people are. They get excited to see me, especially Ashley who stands up taking my hand, “Fabien, I am so glad you are here. You should join us and play some games.”
I pull my hand free shaking my head with remorse. “Sorry, not tonight I am exhausted from training. I think I am going to lay down.”
She smiles, “Would you like a massage or something?”
“Just had one but thanks anyways.”
She pouts a bit as I walk off to my room. I enter my room and fall face down on my bed exhausted. A minute later there is a knock and Markus peeks in. “You okay? Sorry to startle you with that sight.”
I turn my head to look over at him. “It’s fine, I just wasn’t expecting a lesbian show when I walked in.”
He laughs and walks the rest of the way in, “It looked nice right?”
I grin, “Whatever man. My friends are horrible influences on you two.”
He walks over and stands next to me with his arms crossed. “You sure you don’t want to join us? It’s a smaller group tonight there is only us and the three girls.”
I smile and look away. “Not tonight man, you have fun. Maybe you will get lucky.”
“I hope so. Alright, goodnight” He says, and I hear him leave.
He walks out and I put on my headphones to tune them out as I fall asleep.