The Hard Way
It opens and I hear Donovan's voice "Fabien are you awake?"
"Yeah just finishing my shower" I say then quickly finish. I wrap the towel around my waist and walk out "What's up man?"
He was patiently waiting leaning against my dresser. When he sees me walk out he stands up off it. "I just wanted-" He then notices my TV is on showing Ariya lying on her side, in bed looking at her TV. Then he notices my cameras are on as well.
She covers her head realizing she was caught. "Morning Donovan"
I grin and shake my head "Yeah I think she is more addicted to them than I am"
She gasps saying from under the blanket, "Asshole"
Donovan chuckles and looks back at me, "You know she might have seen you in the shower."
I grin and look at her on the TV "She probably did, she is such a dirty dirty girl."
She pulls her head out trying to look mad "I am so going to hurt you."
Donovan laughs, "Well hurry up and get dressed. Fabien and I will come get you in a bit."
She growls turning off her cameras as I turn mine off as well. About a minute later the cameras turn back on and I chuckle. I grab my clothes then head back in to the restroom to change. Just to mess with her I throw my shirt over the camera.
(I hate you) She mentally says.
(No you don't)
Then I ask Donovan from the restroom, "Is it true they don't watch these cameras unless Ariya and I are together?"
"That's what I heard; I have seen them turn on when Sam and I were together." He says back to me.
I step out of the restroom grabbing my shirt off the camera and begin sliding it on. "What about when we turn them on?"
He shrugs "That I don't know"
We begin walking to go get Ariya. Her room is completely on the opposite side of the place in the female wing.
"So what can we expect from this training?" I ask as we are walking.
"Anything really, every morning we run ten miles a day. You should be able to handle it fine since you are a guardian, but Ariya wont at first. If she gets to where she can't go anymore you have to carry her." He says,
I look at him in disbelief "Wow really?"
He nods "Yeah, and always be prepared for an attack to come from anyone, even me. We might get a secret order to attack you and we must obey it."
I grin "Great, I guess I will have to kick your ass now."
He laughs, "You are getting a little cocky now aren't you?"
"What can I say, I am that good."
"We will have to see about that. I might have to spar you."
We eventually get to Ariya's room and knock. She calls out telling us to enter. When we walk in, we hear her and Samantha in the restroom talking. It must be something secretive as they both get start speaking quietly. Both of us with our heightened hearing hear them just fine.
Donovan has to tease her "So you were watching Fabien in the shower?"
"Sorry I can't help I turned it on as he walked in there." Ariya says back to him.
(Did you like the show.) I mentally ask,
(You know I did.)
Samantha laughs stepping out. I narrow my eyes at her. "So what did she say about me?"
She grins and walks over beside Donovan. "Oh nothing."
"Uh huh" I say,
Ariya comes out, wearing the work out clothes supplied to her from this place. Unfortunately, it’s not as revealing as our schools. It consists of loose-fitted black kick boxers trousers, and a fitted t-shirt with the Expersia logo on it.
We leave the dorms and have to take a car all the way over to the training grounds. When we get there I notice it is a lot larger than the one at the school. There are maybe a hundred or more people standing around or stretching while we wait. As we walk up I notice a group of people talking. Then one of them turns and looks at us; its Aislin, and Chiara is next to her. She smiles and starts making her way over to us.
I lean over to Ariya "That's really them right?" I quietly ask,
She smiles and nods "Yeah it is"
Aislin walks over and nods to us as Chiara has a slight smile cross her lips.
"It is good to see someone I recognize here" Aislin says, then she looks to Donovan and Samantha asking, "Are these two friends of yours?"
I glance over to Donovan who is too entranced by their beauty to speak. I grin and slap him on the back of his head "The speechless one here is Donovan and this is his lovely partner Samantha. They pretty much taught us everything we know."
Chiara perks up looking at Donovan "Oh can he fight better than you? I am hoping to find a real challenge here."
Samantha holds out her hand to Aislin, "It's a pleasure to meet you two. How do you two know Ariya and Fabien?"
They shake hands as Aislin "They are the ones who saved us from the pirate attack on the airship. I am Aislin, and this is my bonded guardian Chiara."
Samantha quickly lets go of her hand then lowers her head in respect. "Oh god you are the princess."
Samantha looks over at Donovan noticing he is still stunned by their beauty. She grabs his head making him bow to her.
She smiles, "He allowed us to break the bond and when the princess did her ceremony it bonded us together."
I smile "Nice, I am glad everything worked out how you hoped it would." I look to Donovan pushing him, "You need to spar with her. She kicked my ass, the only way I could stand a chance was to use my magic."
He looks to Chiara rubbing the back of his head nervously, “Oh um, I would like that. Anytime you wish to spar let me know"
Chiara smiles, "Oh I will"
We eventually make our way over to where everyone else. Everyone here seems to be in peak physical condition, even the nobles. Ariya pushes my shoulder then points to a few people looking our direction whispering to each other. A female pushes one of the guys our direction to come talk to us.
He walks over glancing to Aislin then to me. "Excuse me are you Princess Aislin and the Savant from the news?"
Aislin nods to him "Yes we are"
He gets excited then grabs my hand shaking it. Then he reaches for Aislin's and Chiara blocks him.
I can feel Ariya's jealousy hit her as she scoffs looking away thinking to herself, (I was there too but apparently I am a no body)
I chuckle looking at her. About ten people make their way over to us to meet us. All the guy seem to be enamored by Aislin. A couple girls say that I look so much better in person.
Ariya scoffs and rolls her eyes walking off. Surprised by all the attention I am getting, I didn't even notice she left.
We talk for a few minutes then a group of maybe ten people walk up. One of them shouts, "Okay everyone, line up along these lines next to your bonded partner!"
We all line up into multiple rows of people. We are in the middle of the pack, with Aislin and Chiara on one side. On the other side is Donovan and Samantha.
The man welcomes us to Expersia. He says we were accepted here because we are the best of the best. He then goes on to tell us that even though we might be considered the best, not everyone will make it through the training. Then goes on telling us about the rules.
1. No drugs of any kind, even alcohol.
We will be tested twice a week and if we have anything in our system we will be immediately kicked out.
2. No fighting with each other without supervision or being sanctioned to do so.
If you have a disagreement that has to be settled through fighting. You must get one of the trainers to oversee the fight.
3. No relationships sexual or romantic with your bonded partners.
They also advise against any relationships with any other people. But they allow it as long as it doesn't interfere with our training or assignments.
4. No harming or using your abilities against civilians ever. If we are attacked or assaulted in anyway. We subdue the attacker till the proper authorities show up to handle the situation.
Failure to follow any order will result in us being kicked out.
After they go over the rules a female instructor steps forward. "All the guardians raise your right hand to be accounted for." She commands. We all raise our hands and she begins walking around looking at us all. She then stops in front of Aislin and Chiara and smiles. "You are Princess Aislin and this is your guardian, Chiara right?"
The lady then looks to Chiara. "I hear you two have known each other since you were both kids?"
Chiara just keeps looking forward. "Yes ma'am we have."
"Good, I want you to turn and knock her out." She says then points at Aislin.
Chiara looks to her with uncertainty, "What?"
She gets in Chiara's face "You heard me. I want you to hit the princess till you knock her out."
Chiara begins to refuse and Aislin stops her, then faces Chiara. "Obey every order, do it."
Chiara glares to the instructor one more time in anger. Then she swiftly turns grabbing Aislin on both sides of her face and head buts her once making her fall unconscious.
The instructor turns and begins walking off saying to everyone, "This is to show you to be prepared to be attacked by anyone at any time."
I lean closer to Ariya "That made no fucking sense" I quietly say,
Apparently, the instructor heard me and turns getting in my face now. She was so close I could smell the coffee on her breath and the heat of her breath on my face.
"What did you say?" She says,
(Fabien shut up) Ariya mentally says,
I ignore Ariya as I stare back at the instructor "I said that made no fucking sense what you made her do."
"You don't like the way we do things here, then why don't you be the first pussy and leave." The instructor says as she glares into my eyes.
I clench my fists "Why would you make the guardian hit their bonded noble? Enchantment magic cannot even make us cause harm to them. So, I find what you did is stupid."
The instructor still glaring at me "Fabien the Savant. You must think you are above following our rules?"
"Just the ignorant ones."
(Fabien stop!) Ariya says as I just glare back at the instructor.
The instructor then looks to Ariya and nods, "He is right, nothing can force a guardian to harm their bonded partner, if they don't want too." The instructor then looks to Chiara again, "Now I want you to knock out Ariya"
Chiara looks to me as Ariya's eyes widen. The instructor smirks to me like she got me I smirk and nod "See, now that makes more sense" I say and Ariya looks to me in disbelief.
Everyone looks to me in confusion and that seemed to irritate the instructor even more. She turns back to Chiara in anger, "Hit her now!"
Chiara turns towards Ariya, and Ariya closes her eyes turning her head in fear of being hit. Chiara throws her punch only to hit an invisible barrier blocking her from connecting.
The instructor looks back at me as I smirk. "I guess I was prepared for that attack"
The instructor begins to say something as another one shouts from the rest of the group, "Enough! Fabien your defiance will not be tolerated here. If it continues, you will be discharged or imprisoned if you wish."
(Damn it these people can remove our bond if they want.) Ariya says as she glares at me,
(Over my dead body) I say back to Ariya in her head while still glaring at the instructor still in my face,
Then the one from the stage says, "Fabien do you understand?"
(Please stop) Ariya pleads just as I say out loud "Yeah I do"
A life mage comes over healing Aislin before they continue on. They begin explaining; that anyone out here could end up getting a order like that at any time to attack someone else out here. The order may also be to do something else; it may not make sense, but they must follow it.
After the rules, they begin working on our endurance, to see how physically fit we are. They have the guardians start, by doing a hundred push ups, a hundred sit ups, and a five mile run in twenty minutes. They want the nobles to do half of that in the same amount of time.
We all start out and it's pretty easy for me and Donovan. Four guardians don't make it, and a few barely make it. About twenty nobles fail, and Ariya barely makes it in time. Samantha, Aislin and Chiara make it as well. Aislin kind of cheated in my book by using her magic to negate her fatigue, but they don't say anything.
Then we move on to sparring random people which was pretty fun. None of them were push overs at all. I was doing good holding my own, till the instructor I was defiant with wanted to set an example of me.
She walks up to me sparring with another guy and looks to the guy, "Okay you two stop. James you go find another partner." The guy walks off as she turns to me getting in my face again. "We are going to settle something right here."
I chuckle to myself "Listen I am sor-"
She shakes her head and holds up her hand to silence me. "No don't apologize. You think you are hot shit and don't have to follow rules, so we are going to handle this right now. You are going to fight me"
"Lady, I don't want to fight you"
She punches me in the stomach causing me to crouch over.
"Stop!" Ariya yells out as she steps over to us.
"Ariya step back" Another instructor commands,
The female instructor grabs my hair pulling my head up so I look at her, "You are going to fight me, and when I win, you will do everything I say. If you fail to do anything I say, I will beat your ass again. Then I will have your bond broken, and you will become my personal serf."
I glare at up at her, "Fine"
People begin surrounding us, making an arena circle of people. The fight starts out with us trading blows back and forth. She is like Chiara, much better than me. Probably because she has had way more training. She quickly begins overwhelming me with her blows, so I had to resort to using my magic.
This didn't faze her one bit as she continued her assault on me. Her attacks were so relentless and just never stopped coming. The whole time I barely had a chance to retaliate.
I guess she got tired of messing around letting me use my magic to block her. Now, she started to grapple me flinging me around to the ground. She would get on top of me putting me in various submission holds, until one finally sticks.
Eventually, I end up to where can't move. Her legs are wrapped around my neck tightly, and my arm twisted and pulled to one side. I can’t take it anymore, so I give in patting her thigh with my free hand for her to let go.
She lets go and rolls off me as I lay there exhausted and in pain. She brushes herself off as she stands "Next time you will think before smarting off to someone you don't know. There is a reason why we are your instructors. Now, get up and shower it's time for your lunch."
Ariya comes to help me up as we begin heading to the showers. She touches my reddened neck looking at me in concern, "Are you okay?"
I pull her hand away looking around seeing a few people looking at us. “Don’t touch me" I say out loud while mentally saying (People are watching us)
She looks around as the rest of our friends walk up to us. They begin taunting me a bit telling me I got my butt kicked. We head to the showers then make our way to the cafeteria. A few people follow us. Most of them seem pretty cool, but others seem like crazed groupies wanting hang out with the princess and the savant.
Two other bonded groups kind of made an impression on us. There was Aaron and Samuel. Aaron is the noble whose sphere is conjuration. He stands about just over six feet with spikey brown hair and a trimmed up beard. Samuel his guardian, is slightly taller with amber colored eyes, and a shaved head. He must be very attractive because he even made Aislin look twice at him.
The second group was Bobby and Stephanie. They were kind of like Ariya and I, they really hated each other at first. They still seem to annoy each other a lot. They are both very competitive and competed ruthlessly against each other.
Bobby is the noble and is linked to evocation magic. He is tall and skinny standing just shy of seven feet. He has dark tanned skin, with a shaved bald head. Stephanie is small and petite girl about the same height as Aria. She is fairly cute with bobbed auburn hair, and bright green eyes.
The thing that really stands out about her is her smile. Whenever she smiles you can't help but smile back. Ariya had to elbow me a few times or slap me in the back of the head because I was smiling like an idiot when Stephanie did.
Donovan, Chiara and Bobby end up getting caught up in discussing sparring matches they were in. While Chiara was distracted, Aaron begins flirting with Aislin. She gets really flustered by it, never really had someone flirt with her like that.
Samuel seemed to take a liking to Ariya which was hard for me not to say anything. "So do you have a special someone back home? A fiancé maybe?" Samuel asks Ariya,
I take a sip of my drink looking away "I did, but he was killed in the attack on our school."
"I am sorry to hear that. That must have been very hard on you?" He says,
"I am still not quite over it. It might be a while before I am ready to jump back into another relationship." Ariya says,
I add in, "Yeah, and they also said that we can't have any relationships anyways."
He looks to me "Well that rule is mainly for bonded partners. They did say we could have other relationships as long as it doesn't affect our training." He finishes as he looks to Ariya with a smile.
Stephanie looks at me, "So I heard you were her personal serf before you both got bonded." I look to Ariya as she grins taking a bite of her food. Stephanie then asks "How is it you two got bonded?"
We both begin explaining everything that happened, even the unbonding and rebonding. Ariya tries to embellish on the thing about me being her serf. I just glare at her unamused by this while she tries not to laugh.
Stephanie just leans forward with her elbows on the table resting her chin on her hands "Wow that is amazing! It sounds like something from one of my romance books. If you two actually liked each other, it would be like a crazy forbidden romance."
I almost choke on my drink and begin coughing. They all look to me with concern as I wipe my mouth with a chuckle, "Ariya and I date, hell no. That would never happen."
"Oh I thought you two got along?” Stephanie asks,
"We do. I mean we did hate each other at first but she grew on me. Kind of like an ugly wart." I say as I smirk at Ariya,
She scowls at me and kicks me in the shin as I wince in pain. (I only said it because you called me gay) I say,
(Oh yeah) she mentally says, then says out loud looking at Stephanie with a grin. "We couldn't anywa- Ow!"
I stomp on her foot as I turn towards her with a look of concern “Are you okay?” (Don't you even)
She growls at me rubbing her foot, "I am okay, it was just a cramp"
Samuel turns toward her holding out his hand to her "I can massage that for you? I am pretty good at massages."
She smiles "Oh, I might have to take you up on that later. Not while we are eating."
I roll my eyes looking away. We continue talking for a bit then a fight breaks out across the cafeteria. People rush over to break it up. Come to find out, one of them got a mental command from an instructor to fight the other.
I look over at them "That can get kind of annoying. Are they going to do that every day?"
"It has happened quite a bit since we have been here." Donovan says,
We end up finishing our lunches, then head back for more training. This consisted of more exercises and running.
The female instructor I fought with of course made me do a lot more than everyone else. Then we did more sparring in which she made me fight with her again. This time it was a bit more practicing. She still didn't hold back making me feel each hit.
After sparring they made us run once again. Halfway through this running session, Ariya got too tired to continue on so I had to pick her up and carry her the rest of the way. After we get done and break for the showers. The female instructor made me stay longer to do more. I think she is enjoying torturing me because she had a slight grin on her face watching me do what she says.
I’m finally allowed to leave. I’m exhausted and can barely move. When I get to the shower I am just lean with my hands against the wall, letting the hot water flow over me.
Suddenly, I get a premonition of Donovan attacking me from behind. I barely side step his attack as his fist hits the wall shattering some of the tiles. He spins striking at me with his elbow. I barely bring my hands up in time, using what little mana I have remaining to shield myself.
The force of his blow sends me sliding backwards along the wet floor and slam into another wall. I’m way too tired to fight back, so all I can do is defend. He follows my sliding body forward with a knee to my chest. This blow breaks through my weakened shield, knocking the air out of me. Then his main assault begins.
A flurry of punches and kicks begin coming at me from every direction. All I can do is cover myself the best I can but its not really helping I fall to the ground as he follows me down continually attacking me. I could see my blood hitting the wet floor and flowing into the drain.
I can feel myself about to pass out when I appear in front of Ariya. My body crumbles to the floor. My face is all mangled up and bloody. My body is already beginning to bruise with broken or bruised ribs.
She falls to the ground and holds on to me. She looks up to the cameras as they turn on yelling for a healer. Tears begin to fill her eyes; but they aren't tears of sadness ,they are of anger.
She is really pissed off "That bitch put him up to this didn't she? She knew you were way too tired to fight so she made him attack you." She yells up at the camera "You bitch!"
I laugh which causes me even more pain "You are so sexy when you are angry."
She looks back at me with a smile petting the side of my face saying in my head, (Shut up they are watching.)
A few people come rushing in (Well you got me naked again) I say,
(You are such an idiot) She smiles and grabs her workout shirt lying on the floor covering me up.
After about ten minutes they finish healing me. They give me a towel to wrap around myself, so I can go back to my room. On my way back I am met by Donovan running up. I look to him still holding my side because it's still a little sore.
"So are you here to finish the job?" I ask,
He begins walking beside me looking at me with concern. "Fabien, I am sorry man, I had to do it. I think she has it out for you."
I wince feeling a sharp pain in my side. "Ow, Man it's whatever, I am not mad. I just wish we could have fought when I am not exhausted."
He smiles "Well your magic did keep you up for a bit."
"Yeah it only helps so much. Dude you hit like a truck."
He chuckles, "So do you still think you can kick my ass, as you would say?"
"Oh definitely." I laugh "Nah, I don't know, but I would be willing to try."
We get to my room and part ways. When I walk in I notice my cameras are already on. I turn on her cameras and notice she isn't in her room.
(Where are you?) I mentally ask,
(Oh Samuel wanted to talk to me so we are walking together.) She responds,
I smirk (Wow he just doesn't give up.)
(We are talking about what to expect here. Its not like that.)
I walk into the restroom dropping the towel looking at the bruises on my body, still not completely healed by the magic.
I wince as I touch my bruised ribs (You know he is just using that as an excuse to talk to you more.)
(Quit being jealous, you have nothing to worry about.)
(Oh I know that, I am not jealous.)
I hesitate, (Damn it)
(Well stop talking to me for a bit so I can hear what he is saying.) She says,
She stops talking to me for a while. I get changed then lie down watching TV. After about thirty minutes, the power flickers and I can hear a storm brewing outside.
I immediately think of Ariya (Are you okay?) I ask,
(I am fine) she responds,