Chapter 2:

A New Way To SEE

Nathan Trial

It was around afternoon as the sun still shined brightly in the sky. Our backyard was the best thing about our home in my opinion. Clean, cut grass, clear blue pond, and a small field of flowers around the water's edge. As much as I had missed Rose and Lucas it wasn't as bad since I had this peaceful backyard to spend my days with a nice good book.Bookmark here

I waved to the spirits who splashed playfully in the water as Rose and Lucas fiddled with their SEE. They hadn't gone into much detail earlier so I was interested in what they were going to do.Bookmark here

There seemed to be a dial or something that they could turn and they would be able to choose different options with it. Bookmark here

"Alright, Nathan, Lucas and I are going to show you what a normal battle looks like!" Rose announced.Bookmark here

Both of them drew their weapon and I stood off to the side waiting. Suddenly, an odd feeling came over me. I wasn't sure how to describe it though. Like an aura of sorts blasted out from them and washed over me.Bookmark here

Rose launched herself towards Lucas, her katana ready to stab him straight in the middle of his body. I instinctively tried to look away but didn't want to get caught by Rose, which was scarier than any real battle.Bookmark here

Lucas cooly brought his ax down, intercepting the hit. He quickly raised it and swung full force down onto Rose, who caught the ax in a cross of swings. In some movies I watched the fighters would use shield during battle so they looked really cool just fighting with their one weapon.Bookmark here

Both of their brows had been narrowed in concentration and I doubted the heat helped at all. Their weapons crossed again and Lucas quickly tossed his ax to the side.Bookmark here

Then, to my immense shock, he picked Rose up and thew her into the pond.Bookmark here

The spirits quickly melted into the water and scattered away.Bookmark here

Rose submerged from the water, laughing.Bookmark here

"No fair! I was going to get you in here first!" Lucas laughed right back at her.Bookmark here

"I knew you were planning that. Edging closer and closer to the water like I wouldn't even notice." He snorted.Bookmark here

Two peas in a pod... I thought to myself. I really loved the both of them and seeing them like this brought back so many memories. Bookmark here

"So..." I started, "When in doubt, throw your opponent into a body of water?" Rose rolled her eyes. Bookmark here

"If it works then it isn't a problem." She said. Bookmark here

"Aaaaand you're wide open!" She yelled out triumphantly to Lucas. Bookmark here

She swung her katana, clearly slashing through his exposed neck.Bookmark here

I cried out but no blood or anything like that appeared anywhere on him thankfully. Instead, the SEE simply turned off.Bookmark here

"By the way, once you're a year two student you can buy different colors SEEs in shops around Aquablue if you want." Rose said. That was good to know, as I knew a black and blue one would be right up my alley.Bookmark here

Lucas took his SEE off and handed it to me.Bookmark here

"Since I lost I want you to try a test trial with this against Rose."Bookmark here

I looked at it apprehensively. "So I just hook this around my ear and it'll extend when the fight between Rose and I start?"Bookmark here

He nodded. "Put it on and you'll see."Bookmark here

I put it on and I didn't notice any immediate changes to my vision. I turned the dial and a main menu-like bar popped up.Bookmark here

I caught a few words before finding Battle. Sleep, Games, Info, Options... it was super cool.Bookmark here

"We were taught that the SEE was created by the gods in an effort to be more 'in-tune' with the demigods of today. Lucas told me.Bookmark here

It's...something." I said. I noticed a part that read CREDITS: $19.99 on the top right corner.Bookmark here

"What's this credits section?" I asked. Bookmark here

"Oh, that's how much I have to spend in Aquablue and Trifecta." He said. "You can earn more through good grades, ranking high on the leaderboard, or general services to the school." Bookmark here

Rose fiddled with her SEE and a notification popped up in my peripheral vision. I accepted the challenge and felt the same odd aura feeling as earlier. It probably takes a bit to get used to.Bookmark here

I took the knives out of my pocket and unwillingly and held them at my sides, pointed at Rose. Bookmark here

"Hm, we need to get you two sheaths for your knives." She said. That was the last thing I was going to disagree with.Bookmark here

I looked around. "I don't see any difference after clicking yes either."Bookmark here

"Look closer at Rose," said Lucas. Bookmark here

I narrowed my eyes and analyzed her appearance. She looked the same but behind her was what looked like ten small bright green lights.Bookmark here

"Long story short, if you lose all ten dots or if you're knocked out you lose." Rose said.Bookmark here

"Alright, GO!" Lucas shouted.Bookmark here

"Wha-" I started. But Rose, quick as lightning, lunged at me the same way she did to Lucas. The katana neatly stabbed me in the middle of stomach and I nearly cried out. Bookmark here

However, the group of ten at the top of vision lost three dots. That system seemed a little random but that didn't stop me from nearly having a panic attack at the weapon that was sticking out of my gut. Bookmark here

The pain was there but it felt extremely nuanced. Maybe there was a pain dial? I clumsily stumbled backward and tripped over my own feet. My face reddened but I didn't want to embarrass myself anymore in front of them.Bookmark here

I ducked under a horizontal slash and swung my knives wildly out in front of me, hoping to catch her once or something.Bookmark here

Rose easily sidestepped my "attack" and with a snort of laughter she was behind me, already swinging downward. Three more dots lost.Bookmark here

"Try to keep up with her Nate!" Lucas said.Bookmark here

I huffed, trying to keep my breath steady. "I-I don't have your guys' stamina." I said. Bookmark here

"C'mon Nate, try to match my movements instead." Rose said kindly.Bookmark here

I tried but it just wasn't coming to me naturally. Were they as good as this when they first started? I could feel my embarrassment growing but I tried to follow along with Rose's movements.Bookmark here

All in all, a few more hours had passed and by the end of it I wanted to go in with a nice cup of water a board game for the three of us to play.Bookmark here

I trained with Lucas too but didn't fare any better. Bookmark here

"It has only been one day Nate, don't worry," Lucas told me. All three of us were sweating pretty badly and the moon had come to replace the sun. Bookmark here

"Ah, I better head home guys." Lucas said sadly. Bookmark here

"Oh, tell them we said hi!" I told him. Mr. and Mrs. Hale we seriously like a second set of parents to Rose and I.Bookmark here

"Be here first thing tomorrow Lucas!" Rose told him.Bookmark here

He smiled in response. "You guys know it!" He walked through our backyard and through the fence that blocked his own. Bookmark here

"Wait...I think he left his suitcase in the living room." I said.Bookmark here

Rose patted me on the back. "Come on, let's head in and start dinner."Bookmark here

We headed to the kitchen a cool blast of AC hit me in the face. Dad must've turned it on while we were outside. Wile I went to the sink to wash up it struck me at just how dependent on Rose and Lucas I'd been for the past few, well, years.Bookmark here

They'd never complain at any mention of me not keeping up and would just push me to work harder and do the best that I could do. I was surprised that they never left me in the dust all those years ago. Being a shy kid, meeting Lucas was a miracle in itself.Bookmark here

My eyes grew daydreamy as I thought back to that day but Rose snapped her fingers in front of me and handed me an empty pot to fill with water.Bookmark here

"Let's go! I'm famished!" She said.Bookmark here

I smiled and filled the pot up quickly. It looked like Dad had gotten a sandwich to eat while we were outside as well thankfully.Bookmark here

Some time passed and we sat down at the dinner table together with two bowls of macaroni and cheese.Bookmark here

"So, how was your year at Trifecta?" I asked.Bookmark here

"It was super fun! So many pranks, fights with Yvonne, and rank climbing kept the both of us pretty busy." She said.Bookmark here

"I don't know you and him can just do that so easily, the fighting." I said.Bookmark here

Rose shrugged, her mouth full of food. "Just came to us easily, I guess. Trifecta put a ton of importance on them and it fit us like a glove." She said.Bookmark here

"I wish it did just as easily for me." I groaned. Bookmark here

"It's like what Lucas said earlier, you'll get the hang of it in time. Besides, there's five years of Trifecta ahead of you! Not many 14-year olds get to fight like that for credits every day!" She said. Bookmark here

"Sorry for getting mopey, you're right. Hanging out with you and Lucas in itself is super fun anyway." I said apologetically. Bookmark here

We finished eating and as I was gathering the dishes she snapped her fingers again. Bookmark here

"That reminds me, we'll need to start thinking out your schedule too." That definitely held my interest.Bookmark here

"Do you think they have a good English class and library?" I asked excitedly.Bookmark here

"Maybe, but we're going to sign you up for Fights and Training so you'll have a class with Lucas and me." She said.Bookmark here

"I will. These classes at Trifecta sound so cool." Bookmark here

Rose smiled. "I'm happy you're excited." She said. "We missed you too while we were gone y'know." Bookmark here

"I-I missed you guys too." I said. I didn't know what else to do except hurry to the sink and start doing the dishes.Bookmark here

Rose laughed. "Aw, did you miss your best friends a lot?" She teased.Bookmark here

"Yeah, but you don't have to rub it in..." I said. She chuckled in response.Bookmark here

"I'll make it up to you tomorrow, okay?"Bookmark here

I put the dishes on the drying rack. "You don't have to do that. Just you two being home is enough for me." I said.Bookmark here

"Yeah, yeah.. but I want to." She said. "Besides, going into the city tomorrow will find you a new friend, I'm sure of it!" I wished I had as much confidence in that as she and Lucas did.Bookmark here

I headed to my nice cool room and as I settled into my bed I heard my phone buzz.Bookmark here

It was a text from Lucas that only said a simple good night but it warmed me up to see.Bookmark here

I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.Bookmark here

Tomorrow was going to be a great day.Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.