Collectoin: Ages of Youth, the Halleaux//Submissions
Chronicled by Ren
Chapter Twelve: Training DayThe next morning Ren woke early and crawled out of his sleeping bag. He walked over to the closet and pulled out two metal disks with handles. He went to the sink in his lab where he had slept the night before and filled a bucket with ice cold water. Very slowly, he crept down the hallways to his quarters where Mira slept. He set the bucket down, stood outside the door and listened. From inside a soft snore could be heard.
"Perfect" Ren said to himself
He spread his arms as far apart as he could get them, holding on to the disks quite tightly, and brought them together with a loud SMASH! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! He slammed the disks together several more times until he heard Mira wake with a start. He dropped the disks and picked up the bucket. Mira opened the door in a rush just in time to catch a bucket of water right in the face. SPLASH! Mira stood in the doorway, sopping wet and seething with anger.
"REN" she screamed
"Good morning sunshine, and welcome to training, rule number one: a good warrior rises early" Ren told her
"It's probably best that we save weapons training for later, right now I might kill you" Mira hissed
"Excellent, that means I'm doing my job. If you don't hate your trainer, fire him and get a new one, 'cause he isn't doing his job right. Over the next six months, you will hate life, you will be tired, you will be sore, you will be cold, you will be hungry, and you will suffer through every minute of it." Ren instructed
"You do realize it's three in the morning, right?" she told him
Ren glanced down at his watch, she was right. Oops, he wasn't going to wake her up for another two hours.
"Oh, sorry, my internal clock was off this morning, you can go back to bed" he explained
"Really?" asked Mira with a smile
"NO" Ren yelled "While you are my apprentice THERE IS NO BACK TO BED. You should be glad you have a bed and not a stew mat in the dirt. Come on, it's P.T. time"
Ren walked her down the maze of corridors until they arrived at what looked like and indoor coliseum. Ren was surprised to see a few people were already there. They practiced fighting in small groups or did target practice on the shooting ranges. One person in particular caught Ren's attention. She stood off to the side and fired arrows from a compound bow. Every shot was a bull’s eye; Ren stood watching her until she seemed to get bored. She drew an arrow and fired it from under her leg. Bull’s eye. She set down the bow and walked over to where Ren and Mira stood.
"You should have missed that shot" Ren told her as she approached
"But I didn't" she replied "I enjoy being the best at what I do, not unlike yourself, from what I hear"
For the first time Ren saw her clearly. She was about sixteen, roughly 5'4", with wavy brown hair, huge brown eyes, and a small nose. She was wearing a black short sleeved shirt and pants, her combat boots were polished to a mirror shine. Ren stood and stared at her with his mouth open.
"I'm Daphne, by the way" she added
"Stop drooling" Said Mira as she jabbed Ren in the ribs with her elbow
Ren shot her a dirty look before turning back to Daphne.
"Michael Ren, nice to meet you" he said
"I'm the training director for the Haven Fighters; I oversee the training program for all of the troops around here. Every soldier that you see was trained by yours truly." She told him
"Really?" he asked
"Yep, although you probably think that someone like me wouldn't be capable of yelling at fifty men until they want to cry, but I can handle myself." She said "If you'd like to work on some more technical skills, you could send your apprentice to work with one of our skill instructors"
"That would be great, for now she needs to work on getting in shape, so if one of your instructors could run her through some basic P.T., that would be great" Ren told her
Daphne signaled someone in the corner of the room. He was tall with brown hair and blue eyes, his dark skin rippled with muscles as he walked.
"This is our strength trainer, we call him Ajax." she explained
Mira followed Ajax over to the exercise area and watched as he demonstrated several exercises. Ren stood in place watching Mira struggle with them for a while before turning to The Ring. The Ring was a fenced in octagonal shaped arena in the center of the training hall used for sparring practice for the more experienced soldiers. Ren opened the gate and stepped inside, shutting it behind him. After yanking off his armor and throwing it in the corner he tucked the legs of his pants into his boots and drew his sword. He stepped into the center of The Ring and held the sword level in front of him. He closed his eyes, breathing in, feeling the perfect balance of the sword in his hand. Then he struck, jabbing the sword directly in front of him. He advanced moving through a series of complicated moves. He swung the sword 360* creating a deadly red arc around him. After a while, they were no longer man and sword, they were one, and the sword was just a deadly extension of his arm. He flowed from pose to pose, drawing on his extensive knowledge of swordsmanship to create an infinite number of attacks; occasionally he would combine them with other forms of melee attack, using the sheath to defend while using the sword to attack. After about half an hour of that he finally stopped and sheathed his sword.
"Pretty good, vey refined technique" came Daphne's voice from behind him "They told me you could fight, but they didn't say you could fight like that"
Ren nodded silently as he tried to catch his breath , he stood bent over with his hands on his knees, gasping for air and drenched in sweat. He turned around to watch as Daphne walked back over to the archery range and resumed firing. His eyes rested on a tactical hatchet that sat on a table behind where Daphne stood. Very slowly he walked over to the table and picked up the hatchet it was lightweight but extremely well balanced. He drew his arm back and threw the hatchet. It flew straight over Daphne's shoulder and impaled itself in the target she had been shooting at. With inhuman speed she spun around, an arrow knocked and aimed directly at his face. Before she could even stop to think the arrow had been loosed and flew straight at him. The world slowed down as the arrow flew at him, he ducked, turning it into a beautiful forwards roll, but Daphne was a good archer. Her arrow hit him in the back as he rolled and stuck in his shirt. Daphne screamed as he came up.
"Oh my-. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to-" she buried her head in her hands
"It's fine, really" Ren laughed; he reached back and yanked out the arrow.
"My shirt is made out of graphine, it's completely bulletproof, and the arrow didn't even make it to my skin" he told her
"Well in that case" she said, she punched him in the shoulder "You could have killed me!"
"But I didn't"
"You infuriate me, you know that?" she asked
"I infuriate everyone, it's kind of my thing" Ren smiled
He handed her back the arrow like it was a message from a king before turning around and walking back towards The Ring. He picked up his armor and put it on. He thought about leaving but hesitated. He turned and walked back to the archery range where Daphne stood.
"You know what the problem is with bows?" he asked her "Once you close the distance between you and the archer the weapon becomes essentially useless. You should really pick up some swordplay."
"No thanks" she said shortly
"Come on, it'll be fun."
"I said no, Mr. Ren"
Ren picked up one of the spare bows "I have an idea, if I can split an arrow, you let me teach you how to use a sword"
"Fine" she snapped
Ren picked up two arrows and stuck one in his sword sheath. He knocked the first one and fired landing a perfect bull’s eye. Daphne's eyes widened as she realized her mistake. Ren knocked the second arrow and turned to look at her. He drew the string back to his cheek and smiled. He loosed the arrow at the target and it flew perfectly, splitting with a mighty CRACK! Ren placed the bow back on the stand carefully.
"No one likes a show off" said Daphne
"No one likes a sore loser either" he retorted
Daphne walked over to a sword rack and picked one up. Together they walked to The Ring and stepped inside. Ren began to show her a few simple techniques but she cut him off.
"I know how to use a sword" she said
" Then why didn't you say that before?" he asked
"I don't like using swords, I've never found one that balances in my hands."
"Well then, let's see what you can do"
Ren readied his sword as she warmed up, the she charged and came at him like a tornado. It became clear to Ren that she had several years of experience fighting. Ren couldn't find time to attack; all he could do was defend himself. The finally Ren began to learn her fighting style. It was a pattern so simple it amazed him that he didn't pick up on it sooner. Instead of having a completely random and unpredictable style like he did, she fought with a pattern of alternating slashes and stabs. While her attacks were fast, this style left her left side completely undefended. Next time she slashed Ren ducked instead of blocked. He caught her strike on the guard of his sword and twisted. Her sword clattered to the floor.
"How did you do that?" She asked
"I watched your fighting pattern and looked for an opening in your defense. Then I changed my fighting style to counter yours."
"Not really. Come to think of it, I could use your help" He said
"With what?" She asked cautiously
Ren quietly explained about the node and the intruder called Logan that he needed to find.
"So what do you want me to do?" she asked
"I want you to help me find him." He said
"I guess I could help you out, I don't know what good I'll be"
"Good. Meet me outside my lab after breakfast, we'll gear up and head out." Ren instructed.
With that he turned and walked out of the training center. It was four in the morning, Marius and Mech should be awake by now, he thought. As he walked toward their quarters he couldn't shake the feeling that he was forgetting something.
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