The Flight of The Draykes
The next day, I arrive at 3:30 a.m at the prison for our usual training only to find myself alone.
Puzzled, I waited patiently for Sia and the Teacher to arrive.
5 minutes passed and I was growing anxious.
She couldn’t have fallen sick right?
Should I go check on her?
Debating with myself, I came to a decision and turned decisively.
Only to run straight into Sia who jumped back like a scared mouse.
Glaring at me, Sia moved into her spot and looked straight ahead, not even acknowledging me.
“I was worried and was going to check on you-” I said awkwardly.
I’m certain that the corners of her lips curled up slightly at that but she kept staring straight ahead which gave me an uncomfortable feeling.
But before I could say anything else, a shadow flashed past me.
Yes, a shadow.
Thanks to my training, I can see his shadow at long last!
I refer, of course, to the real big monster.
Teacher Leonidas himself.
Wearing a long robe-like a scholar from Hagaria, he swept away imaginary specks of dust from his spotless robe before clapping his hands.
I rushed to the wall and hit it and jumped sideways just as a gust of air passed inches away from my head.
The wall shook and the shields displayed on the other side shook violently.
Lunging forward, I launched a quick one-two, with the two being a feint to grab the saucer shield.
Finally, incredibly tiny shield in hand, I advanced heroically upon my foe, the blond-haired, green-eyed; incredibly adorable girl - who was currently imagining ways in which she could most efficiently impale me to the wall.
“Haah!” I cried out.
Only to pause in consternation as I realized that she was the one who had to attack me and I was to defend.
Honest mistake, honest mistake.
When your blood boils, it sometimes makes you do stupid things.
Wha-what do you mean that I don’t need my blood to boil to do stupid things?
Though to be frank, I would agree that enraging Sia so early on is quite stupid.
I slammed into the wall followed by the sword stabbing into the wall a moment later, missing me by just an inch.
Pushing her off balance with a thrust of the shield, I ran to get more space for myself, only to not notice her leg that she had extended out to hook my ankle.
I rolled on the floor, coming up fast and parrying the slash that would have opened me up from shoulder to stomach.
Using the force, I stumbled back and desperately flailed to keep my balance, and Sia - sensing victory raised her sword to cut down when I threw my shield at the sword and knocked her off balance.
Incensed, she lunged forward with her sword, only to realize that I was standing there with a smug expression and a victory sign!
Puzzled, she ground to a halt and made a quizzical expression.
Laughing uproariously, I exclaimed, “I had to block 100 of your hits with the shield but nobody said anything about the 100th hit not being an attack to block an attack! I won, Sia! Mwahahaha-haha-hoo.”
I gasped for breath as my laughter stopped and my legs turned into jelly.
Sinking down, I still couldn’t help but chuckle as I thought of Sia’s face at the end.
Looking up, I found her biting her lip as though she wanted to whack my head with the flat of her sword - but was restraining herself.
Squeezing out a “good for you!” from between clenched teeth, she turned around, only to clutch her stomach as the laughter she was holding burst out.
“Why do you do that?” I asked curiously.
“Do what?” she asked.
“Turn around to laugh,” I said.
“I-I laugh really loudly...it’s unladylike is what Frizelda keeps telling me,” she said shyly.
“What? I find it really pleasant to hear! Not everyone can laugh with their whole heart as you do!” I said sincerely, as I closed my eyes.
“Are you done?”
“I asked, are you done?”
Squinting suspiciously because the honeyed voice sounded too unlike Sia’s, I turned my head around to gaze at a face that was baring its fangs like a demon.
“Ah, Teacher! Don’t scare me like that”
“Hahaha- hahaha” Loud sweet laughter rang out
Stunned, I turned around to look at Sia who was laughing while holding her stomach and looking me square in the eyes with a mirthful look.
Grinning, I broke out into a huge smile too.
I was about to laugh but all laughter froze inside me as a contraption to carry an invalid was placed in front of me.
Nervously, I asked, “Teacher...what is this?”
“The next stage of your training,” he replied nonchalantly.
“But what does it do?” I asked, even more nervously.
“Get in and you’ll find out!”
“Get in?!” I paled, spying the many locks and straps that littered the contraption.
Vigilantly, I looked at him and exclaimed, “Teacher, you can’t murder people and leave witnesses. You should off Sia too!”
“Hey!” grumbled Sia from the corner, “Don’t drag me into this.”
“Enough talking!” Teacher said impatiently
Sweeping me inside with one hand, the other hand deftly locked all the straps and buckles around my body, till I looked like a sacrificial lamb tied to the slaughter.
“Go where!” I asked, trembling as much as I could inside the contraption.
“Running,” the Teacher said briefly before lifting the contraption with me inside onto his back and flashing forward.
“Ahhhhhhh-” I screamed as the air thinned and my vision blurred.
“Ahhhh-urp” I gulped back my tongue that had been forced inside by the force of the wind.
“Ur-ur-” I grunted as my head lolled around at shoulder level to Teacher and then the world went dark for a few moments.
Regaining my vision and slurring my words, I mumbled, “W-wh-what are you trying to do Teacher?”
Without a reply, the Teacher again began running but this time flashes of the scenery were captured by my eyes and I recognized that we were on the route to the practice field.
Reaching it, the Teacher casually slung the contraption from his back to the front, tilted a bit to the right such that I was dangling out of it.
Loosening the straps slightly so that I had more wriggle room, He looked around before objects whizzed past in the air and landed in the sandy section of the practice field.
“That should do,” He said, with satisfaction.
Looking at me, he began speaking briskly, “Your job is to dodge all the obstacles that you see, do you understand boy?”
Nodding, I gestured to him to untie the straps so that I could begin running.
A smile began spreading across my Teacher’s face as he began wagging his finger in front of me.
“No, you’re still on the visionmaster 100 and strapped to me. Please do try to dodge though or it’ll be too boring,” He said and then slinging me back in the same position, began sprinting towards the obstacles stuck in the ground.
“Aaah-Aaah- oof- '' Went my voice as a cone decided to make its new home inside my mouth.
Desperately moving to the left every time I would see an obstacle, I would be horrified to find that teacher would adjust the angle precisely so that I would bang against it head-on!
Wriggling, I managed to get half a hand outside the restraints and like a duck waddling, I used it to propel myself away from the obstacles only to Bal near crack my hand.
Gritting my teeth, I ignored the pain and continued doing so because between my head, my hand, and my family jewel’s - the devil had started aiming for the latter.
Thus tears streaming from my eyes as the speed kept on increasing and decreasing, I battled the obstacles while strapped to the chest of a devil.
You could call it Devil wears shrimp and you would be correct.
For I had already reached my final form, the curled shrimp to protect my jewels from cracking.
After nearly an hour of high-speed running, I finally managed to somewhat see where we were going.
A few minutes later, I could see clearly.
Another minute passed and I almost passed out along with it.
For Teacher Had started zig-zagging his way through the obstacles, stopping and starting.
He only called a halt to the entire thing when I was about ready to unload on his robes.
Squinting at me with crescent eyes, he called Alessia who had been watching with schadenfreude to tend to me and whistling, walked off, happy as can be.
As for me, Bal himself would have shuddered to see me.
Sia carried me back to my room but I wasn’t conscious enough to enjoy the moment but I did hear her say in a small voice, “Tomorrow, don’t come for training. I’ll meet you at 9 here.”
Then dumping me unceremoniously outside my door, she darted off.