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Day 16: Word Training 1

Lanternon2 Jul 5th, 2015 (edited) 1,043 Never
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  1. Day 16
  2.  
  3. I'm the first person to step forward out of the train as it comes to a stop.  The feeling of heading home, being somewhere clean and pure hastens my steps.  The feeling has grown every hour of the trip, and now it seems as though I can finally breathe without the constant feeling of paranoia, like a man watching his breath when others nearby have colds.  
  4.  
  5. I refrain from basking or gawking like the common tourist when I push open the doors to see the sea of white marble.  I'm not certain if it's more or less glorious to me seeing it the second time; whether the newness of it all was more impressive, or if my dealing with monsters makes its purity more beautiful.  Either way, I smile and I walk.
  6.  
  7. The stone lanes branch off in clean lines, each one similar enough in appearance that I'd worry about getting lost were it not for the tower overlooking the whole of the city.  The center of the city is impossible to miss thanks to it.  The buildings grow in height and in adornment as I march homeward.  The people on the streets smile and nod to me, and I smile back.  Humans.  Pure, unmolested, happy humans.
  8.  
  9. They make my duty so clear.
  10.  
  11. And then the clean rows of buildings stop, and the grand, open space before the main hall fills my vision.  The place where a couple weeks ago I'd spent a completely relaxed three days with friends, chatting and wandering and waiting.  I make my ascent up the stairs and find myself once again in the glorious piece of masterwork sculpting that is the entrance, before it leads out into the labyrinth of corridors in which lay the two destinations that I'm looking for.
  12.  
  13. ---
  14.  
  15. I finally reach the bronze door three minutes after starting to wonder if it was actually the third right and the fourth left, and that the person who'd helped me knew this place no better than I.  It opens to seemingly endless corridors composed entirely of old wood and older texts.  And older even than them, I joke to myself, is one of the two people I wanted to see.
  16.  
  17. I knock on the already open door, and professor Moore half-jumps as he looks upward.  A smile lifts the entirety of his face as he beams up at me.  "Ah, yes, Victor!  My, it seems like it's been an age, hasn't it?  Come in, come in."  
  18. I step forward, "You asked to see me."
  19. "Well, yes, I had um, I had wanted to see how you'd been faring."  He pauses for a second, "With that blade of yours."
  20. I take a deep breath.  "I'm not sure what to tell you, sir.  It's good steel, and it cuts as well as anything else.  Beyond that, I haven't seen anything particularly magical."
  21. He furrows his brow, as if purely to indicate thought.  "Really?  Nothing at all?  No strange phenomena or- I don't know, I guess I rather expected it to come aflame in the presence of monsters or somesuch."
  22. "I can assure you, sir, that it hasn't yet come aflame."
  23.  
  24. He sighs and leans back in his chair, thoughtfully staring at nothing at all.  Finally he turns back to me, "Well, won't you have a seat and at least tell me how you've been?  I've been wondering how you might fare in the monsters' den, as it were."
  25. "Soon, sir, but today I have word training."
  26. He raises his brow, "Ah, yes, of course.  Mustn't keep our trainer waiting.  Perhaps afterward, then?"
  27. "Of course."  I turn, and am off again.  I'd give him more time, but I'm not certain if I'll be early or late getting to any of the rooms in this place and I'm not one to take chances.
  28.  
  29. ---
  30.  
  31. I'm somewhat surprised to find my directions leading me into the courtyard where I once spent two days waiting for my testing.  Turning and entering one of the smaller rooms off the courtyard, I'm slightly more surprised to see the man in black armor whom I'd sparred against at the same.  He sits across a dark, wooden table from a single chair.  The metal squeaks as he turns to regard me.
  32. I plant my fist against my chest in salute.  "Sir."
  33. "You're the whelp here for word training," he grunts.
  34. "Yes sir."
  35. "Sit."
  36.  
  37. I take my seat, pulling out the only other chair and facing the armored figure.  He takes one long, deep breath before pulling off his, no, her helmet, and setting it on the table.  A ponytail of golden hair falls from behind a sharp, yet beautiful face.  She watches me, appraising my reaction.
  38. There isn't one.
  39. "Good.  If this was enough to faze you, I'd be wasting my time."  Her expression doesn't change to match the praise.  
  40.  
  41. "What are the words?"
  42. "Gifts of the lost divine."
  43. "Wrong.  Why do you need them?"
  44. "To oppose a force greater than myself."
  45. "Wrong.  What would they give you?"
  46. "Strength and protection."
  47. "Wrong.  Why did it hurt to speak the first word?"
  48. "I was unprepared."
  49. "Wrong."
  50.  
  51. She takes a deep breath and leans back in her chair, letting the question-answer session end just as quickly as it began.  "You studied hard in school," she begins, and then fails to finish.  I can't tell if it's a question or a statement.
  52. "Thank you."
  53.  
  54. "That just means that this will take longer."
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