Chapter 19:

Comforting Presence

Adventures of Zeleon

Two weeks had passed since Leon first came to the Komodrons' underground home, his body has become a bit heavier having his muscles trained and eating the protein rich animals that they hunt.

Today, however. Leon is being forcefully taught to try to fight with a full suit of armor on, minus the helmet. Varius was personally training him to help with his stubbornness.

He walked out into the training grounds awkwardly clanking about like a big metallic penguin.

"How….is this going to help me?"

Leon's facial expression showed his pure disdain for wearing this hindrance placed upon him.

"Humans need armor, you're much too frail to not wear any. An artery, a limb, or worse yet, your head. So this is a must to save your life somewhere down the line."

Varius' words only made Leon annoyed but he still went through with it anyways. Leon unsheathed the blade at his hip, and tried to slash with it. The end result was almost too much for Varius to hold in a burst of laughter. Leon was so off balance that he fell to the ground.

Leon slowly got himself back up, picking the blade up off the ground as he dug his feet in this time. He made a singular successful slash, as he breathed a sigh of relief afterwards.

"Now, try running."

"Excuse me? Did I not just taste the dirt a moment ago?"

"Leon, just try it."

Leon rolled his eyes, before attempting to run. He made it about five feet before he stumbled with the armor clanking as he tried to right himself again.

"This is embarrassing."

Leon gave Varius a dirty look, as he was quickly getting more agitated over adjusting to the movement in full armor.

"Try it again. I think I might have an idea to make it more natural for you."

Letting out an exasperated sigh, he tried it again. He felt his knees tighten and lost balance after a short distance again.

After seeing this Varius' vision became clearer.

"Give it a day. I'll have a new set of armor custom made."


The next day came and Varius came through on his promise. The armor was lighter than the heavy set he wore, with breathing room in the knees, elbows and shoulders. While also allowing for normal boots to be worn with it.

They returned to the training grounds once again, and Leon took off running immediately, doing so with great ease. He pulled his blade out and made several practice slashes without any tightness or struggles.

Varius went and grabbed an axe, looking at Leon with a sly toothy smile. Leon saw this as a bit unsettling for him.

"What exactly are you doing?"

"I'm testing the durability with it on."

"Do I look like a test dummy to you?!"

Varius swung the axe and Leon dodged it with minimal movement to his left, only for Varius to take it more seriously and swing back the opposite way and crashed the axe right into Leon's shoulder.

Thankfully, the armor fully absorbed the strike with no damage, but Leon didn't take kindly to it and jumped, uppercutting Varius directly under the chin.

The others around all backed off a bit as they were worried about how Varius would react to being hit the way he did.

He looked back down at Leon, adjusting his jaw a bit.

"I deserved that. But what I'm more thankful for is that the armor held up after a strike from me. You hit hard though! I don't remember ever being phased by a human hitting me before. Take pleasure in being the first."

He had a cheery voice, feeling that he deserved that counterattack. The other Komodrons training quickly went back to what they were doing.

Leon sparred with some of the other Komodrons later in the day, he held his own better than before. Besting most of those he was facing, using this new armor to block and absorb weapon strikes more confidently without getting gashed or stabbed.

As it got later and later in the day, Leon was the last one on the grounds practicing once again. He'd begun teaching himself how to use his left hand swinging a sword, so he can attack at different angles more efficiently. Much more sneakily however, he tried using Maeva's backhanded technique. Which was incredibly difficult using a broadsword, but Leon wanted to find at least one good use for it just to throw an opponent off.

Suddenly an all too familiar figure showed up in the entrance into the grounds. It was Courtney, though it was roughly late evening by now, making Leon question why she was there so late to see him.

"I was told you're usually out here, you must be really working yourself." As she got closer, she could see definition around his arms especially.

"And you're bulking up too?! I'm not going to recognize you before long. Let me guess, you're going to shave your head next? Try to grow facial hair?"

He felt like she was all around him in a moment with all of her statements and questioning after just showing up out of the blue.

"Sloww down Courtney, jeez. I swear if you weren't a vampire I'd tell you to lay off the sugar. Actually...don't drink from anyone with high blood sugar, either. But yes, Varius has been putting me through the ringer and I might actually love a salad after I'm out of here. I've eaten enough meat to feed a shark for a week. So, what brings you here anyways?"

"I haven't seen you since you came here so I decided to come visit. Is that not reason enough?"

Leon looked at her with a slight side eye as she stood just over his right shoulder.

"It's close to 10pm right now, and you entered a territory deemed dangerous for anyone to traverse at this time.'re really hyper, like..abnormally hyper. Is there something you want to tell me?"

Leon's precise deconstruction of her actions made her a bit nervous, but she still managed to play the dummy card. "I just wanted to see you! Besides, all the moons are out tonight, I figured you'd like to see."

He sheathed his blade, still suspicious of why she visited him so late in the night. But he tabled those thoughts as he gave her a soft smile.

"Lead the way."

With those words she pulled him along until they were out of the underground. As they exited up to the surface, Zeleon's three moons showed their light, filling the night sky with stars speckling the spaces between.

"I can't ever really get over how the sky here is so gorgeous. When I go home, this particular void will have to be filled with this place. There's no other way around it."

Leon walked out in front of Courtney looking at the sight that laid itself before his eyes; while she was eerily quiet. Her anguish inside was being withheld, being fresh off speaking her truths to Charlotte and severing from her. She didn't want to tell Leon, but she needed someone to talk to.

"How mad would you be if I turned you in a pinch?"

The silence ended after that question. Leon turned around as she seemed really intent on wanting to know his answer. Even if she did know it already.

"An eternal life is something I'd rather not have. Somewhere down the line you'd constantly need to try to find new meaning every 20 to 50 years or so. It sounds...tumultuous."

He realized his words might've hurt her because of the brutal honesty behind them. But she actually responded with a smile on her face.

"Thank you."

She hugged him immediately after thanking him. Leon was left between returning it or standing awkwardly with his arms at his sides.

"Courtney. Why are you being so odd right now? What happened? You're not the kind of person who needs validation. Even now feeling you hug me...I am utterly confused. But if you need it…"

He hugged her back. The moment he did, she let out a deep sigh, comforted by him.

"Leon. Thank you again. I know you can't hear me. But know that you helped me by just being here. By just talking to me."

She let go of him after several moments. Looking at him with her silver moonlit crystals.

"Umm. Are you okay? You're acting odd right now, and it's worrying me a bit."

"I'm better now Leon, I just needed that really badly. I'm not willing to say the reason why quite yet, so I need you to trust me as a friend and not pry into it for right now. I know that's difficult for you but..just do that for me, please?"

There were some things that Leon wasn't comfortable in letting out either that he held in for as long as possible. So he could understand the situation that she was dealing with. But, rather than responding to what she said, he took a different approach.

"Before you were turned, what kind of food could you not live without?"


Courtney was visibly caught off guard by the question, cocking her head a bit in confusion.

"You heard me, what was that one food that without it, life was incomplete."

Her eyes widened as she caught on to his approach, he figured whatever was on it was heavy enough to not talk about. So he redirected the conversation completely.

"I lived in a fishing village, so seafood. Especially, essspeciallly, squid."

"I can understand that completely, if you would've said raw oysters I would've headed back down immediately."

"They're not that bad…"

"Nope, conversation over."

He started to walk away before she grabbed his arm trying to pull him back.

"Don't just up and leave me out here like that!"

Leon laughed, he was only kidding but she always took his sarcasm a bit too seriously sometimes.

"I'm just kidding, sheesh. You need to learn the master art that is sarcasm."

Courtney smiled warmly at him, whatever internal emotional troubles she was having just melted away, at least temporarily. The pair talked most the night away, growing ever closer as friends. Leon's sleep schedule was definitely ruined, but it was worth it to him.