“Wow,” Kal says, impressed but only slightly. I move on to the next target, and the next, and by the time I’m done Kal looks at me and says, “I’m surprised you’re this good this early. Most people as good at this as you are third-years like me.”
“Yeah, well I do have some experience.” I turn and laugh.
Kal smirks. “Then try this!” she says competitively.
She draws her dagger in a blitz, and throws it at the first target I shot. Invisibly, she takes out her own rifle, and shoots 3 quick shots at the same target. The bullets reach the target the same time the dagger does. What happens next amazes me. Kal sprints faster than anyone I’ve every seen to just below the target, and plucks the dagger out of the air with a bunny hop as it falls. 3 holes are in a perfect line in the blade.
She runs back over to me and chuckles. “Wow.” I say in awe.
“Aye, she’s talented for sure.” The General says, walking over to us.
“Wasn’t I best in the school last time I checked?” Kal comments.
“Indeed you were. And you still are. You’re lucky to be training with my daughter recruit.” Vynr directs the last part at me.
“Wait! She’s The General’s daughter!?” I mentally shout.
“Well, you’re the one who trained me, Dad, so this kid’s pretty much getting training directly from you,” Kal replied, casually punching her father in the shoulder. Maybe she’s only so good because of nepotism or something, maybe that’s why everybody thinks she’s so great!
But to be honest I didn’t really care. I was getting training from the best of the best. Although… it’s fighting training, what am I really fighting for?
I took a look at Mesa, who couldn’t use a spear to save her life, and chances are it might. The spears instructor kept berating her, and she started crying. “Weak,” the orange-haired boy told her, “Stop crying or they’ll think you’re weak. Which you are. I can’t believe I have to teach you this.” Mesa began shaking, repeating quietly to herself, “that’s what they told me.” I’m sure she’s talking about her parents.
“Kal,” I say. “What’s the name of that orangey hair kid?”
"Him? she says. “That’s Ernest. He’s a very good atlatl user, and he can hand-throw too. Pretty great.”
“I… he’s being a bit harsh with Mesa, isn’t he?”
“That’s just his way. She’ll thank him later.”
I pause for a moment.
“Ah, Kal… you’re the General’s daughter?”
“That’s right! Kal Vynyr-zi. He chose me pretty early on - he’s awesome once you get to know him, and it snagged me a good patronymic, too.”
“What the hell is a pay - troo - nim- ick?” I asked, but Kal ignored me. I repeated the question.
She sighed. “It’s like, a name you get from your Father. His name’s Vynyr Rokala-Zi, after his father. So I get to be Vynyr-Zi. I’m pretty lucky.”
That was an unusual way to describe her relation with her father, I think.
“Oh, like Icelandic names! The last names are always something-son or whatever-dottir,” I say, but Kal doesn’t know what I’m talking about.
“I haven’t been on Blixiodolon, ever, so I have no clue what just came out of your mouth.”
“Iceland’s, like, this place that actually doesn’t have that much ice, and it’s pretty far north, and the people who live there are descended from Vikings, or something! They have names like that.”
“What’s a viking?” asked Kal.
“They were like these tough guys with wooden boats who would, um, invade places and set stuff on fire, I think, a long time ago.”
“Oh, sort of like Haak Mo! He’s one of the criminals we’re going to fight. He’s a pirate!”
“Really?” I’m not looking forward to fighting a viking pirate, that’s for sure.
“So I’ll be fighting a viking pirate. Soooo normal,” I snarked, but Kal didn’t catch it.
“What do you mean? That kind of thing is norm… ohh right… you still haven’t fully adjusted yet,” Kal said. “It’ll be easier in a couple of days, that’s for sure.” I stole another glance at Mesa, who was being berated by her instructor again, repeating after him that she is a terrible soldier and a horrible person. I swallow my anger and refocus on the conversation.
General Vynyr entered the room.
“We’ve received information on the location of Elizabeth McMurphy, one of the targets. She’s currently out at the countryside near the border city of New Uiju. If you move now, you have a chance to capture her before she attempts a crossing. This is very politically sensitive territory, however. It’s near the Dragonstream. This is a border between the world of light and a mortal world, and the people who live there are often hostile to outsiders. Proceed with caution. Mobilize! Everyone to the Helicopters!”
“Give me your dagger, quick!” Kal hisses, holding out her hand as we jog towards the door her father is at.
I slip her it, not questioning why. I mean, she shot 3 holes through her’s so…
The door leads to a hanger. Officers dressed in white uniforms direct us to vehicles. “Team one! Over here!”
Me, Kal, Mesa, and Ernest, the rude guy, end up in one Helicopter. It’s grey on the inside.
“New Uiju, huh,” he says, once we’ve all sat down. “They shouldn’t be sending rookies to a place like that.”
“Yes. But we have to,” an officer states, “Elizabeth is a dangerous criminal. We need all the help we can get. Besides, hunting her down will give the rookies valuable field experience.”
“I guess.” Ernest says dully.
Mesa and I quietly talk about our training sessions as the copter fills up with more new recruits and 3rd years.
Externally I put on a brave face but internally I’m terrified that I’m going to die in battle. Mesa holds my hand tightly and goes to pull at a bracelet of some sort reflexively before saying, “Shit, they took my bracelet,” in a very quiet but obviously upset tone.
Phoenix was really mad at her patient. This was her first time doing this and if she failed… she would get sent to the outside. The place outside of the protective wall surrounding the town. If she got sent out… that would be the last of her.
(errrr… we’re kinda way past that point in the story. post 156 is the most recent addition.)
Wait, it was never confirmed Phoenix was dead or anything, right? This can be an awesome scene switch to her perspective!
Phoenix searched for her confidante, Dr. Bonnacorsi.
“I’ve lost him,” she said. “Come on, Giulio, you have to help me.”
“Alright, alright,” he said. “There’s only a few places he could have gone.”
“Beyond our mortal universes, there are two worlds apart: The Dark zone and the Light zone. Dark zone is ruled by Low Cheng Bok, and Light zone by Tang Tia Khiang. They are the two deities of light and dark, and were once humans. They are the only ones with the power to have taken him.”
“Damn this,” said Phoenix. “There’s no chance I could just say, ‘hey, my patient got kidnapped by some gods, please don’t punish me’, is there.”
“Guess I’m going to the Dark zone to look for him. Or the Light zone. Or whatever.”