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“Concentrate. Picture your sword, describe it to me”, she heard Peritia say

“White, the hilt is pure white, like my mother. And the blade looks like it caught fire, the shade of orange is so bright.”

Peritia sucked in a breath as the image of a sword began to flicker into existence in Aurora’s hands.

“That’s it. Don’t lose your concentration. Focus on how it’s supposed to feel in your hands”, Peritia continued

The sword materialized fully in Aurora’s hand and she opened her eyes. A split second later, shards of the sword flew apart as a Cyan blade struck.

Peritia turned her glare to the newcomer who tried to interfere in her coaching of the Queen’s sister.

“She was doing fine”, she bit out through grit teeth

“No, she wasn’t”, a cool voice replied, blue eyes unflinching under the head trainer’s glare.

Aurora admired his courage as much as she hated his interference. Standing up to the formidable head of Weaponry Training wasn’t what most people attempted.

Peritia was not very tall, however, her ability to conjure 119 different weapons and use them with unparalleled skill definitely gave her an edge over the other warriors.

But the most terrifying aspect of the trainer were her eyes.Aurora was willing to bet that her Fire Red irises could send most people running with their tails between their legs. After her Integration, her Armour had merged with her irises, burning the words, pugnam ad mortem, onto her eyes forever. It was said that it could be seen only when she fought, and had become something of a legend when Nick had translated it to “Fight to The death”

Peritia hadn’t appreciated the loud declaration in The Middle of a training match and her subsequent popularity. So it stood to reason that she wouldn’t like him interfering in her lessons either.

She sighed as she watched the both of them argue over teaching styles and how not to treat a trainee.

For the past 2 weeks, she was trying to recreate the sword that she’d conjured out of nowhere on the day Nick had arrived. So far, she had been unsuccessful. Her attempts were pathetic. The sword either disappeared after a minute or shattered on impact as Nick had proved a minute ago.

She watched the odd man continue to annoy her trainer and wondered why he bothered to come out at all.

After the entire story had been explained to him, he seemed to have gone into a hibernation, mourning the loss of the Light’s protectors and their power.

He only seemed to leave his sanctum in The library to translate any texts that were in the language of the Antiquons, including many Integration messages. And to interrupt her training.

Aurora sighed again and turned as the voices increased in pitch.

“How can she perfect her sword if every time she so much so as conjures it, you shatter it!”, Peritia was shouting

“That’s because she isn’t. She’s conjuring an image of her sword, not the sword itself. I felt the heat of the sword when she first conjured it, her attempts till now cannot come close to the power of the real thing.”

“How do you.. “, Peritia started

Aurora felt something move at lightning speed towards her and instantly raised her hands to fend it off. Except she didn’t.

The crowd that had gathered to watch Peritia and Nick argue gasped as a Cyan blade met a bright Orange one. Aurora stared at her hand, the white hilt clutched with equally white knuckles and then back up at Nick, who smirked at Peritia.

“Self defense. She needs to learn how to recreate the feeling before the sword appears. In her case, a feeling of being attacked.”, he said triumphantly to the open mouthed trainer.

“We’re done for today” was the last thing Aurora heard as Nick made his way back, presumably to the library.

She looked at Peritia, who smiled uncertainly.

“You did it”, she said, as she patted Aurora’s shoulder and left the practice arena.

The Sword disappeared as Aurora broke stance, making her way to her room, she needed to pay the Library a visit.

“What if she hadn’t been able to conjure it up?”

Nick pinched the bridge of his nose, looking up from his texts.

Pointing to the book he was translating, he said somewhat exasperatedly, “This is a children’s book. Why do we need to translate this?”

“Don’t avoid the question”

Nick looked up again, noticing that Peritia’s eyes were definitely more terrifying in a dark library.

Standing up and turning around to find another book to translate, he said quietly, “She’s not like others you’ve trained. Children are much more susceptible to your methods than adults. When you ask her to picture her sword, she tries to pay attention to every detail. Every carving, every bit if colour.”

He sat back down and looked straight into her eyes, ” So she doesn’t realize that what she is conjuring is just the details. She needs to remember the weight of the sword in her hand, the rush of adrenaline, the heat of the blade.”

Peritia sank into the plush chair on the other side of the desk he was seated at.

“So are you just going to pop out of nowhere? Attacking her? “, she asked

“Are you handing her training over to me?”, he countered

“I don’t see how I can help her. You obviously know much more about teaching grown ups than I do. How do you plan on teaching her?”

Nick just smirked as he began to translate the text again.

Aurora woke up after a short nap feeling less sore than she had been before. Conjuring the sword really took a lot out of her, she supposed. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to visit Peritia again, just to ask her if the lessons would be changing tomorrow. She imagined they would.

Putting on her simple clothes, she wondered if Nick had enough confidence in her abilities or simply thought she was expendable. She’d really have to visit him today.

Just as she opened her door, a flurry of long limbs seemed to dart by. A little taken aback, she peered out to see Quesios hurrying down the hallway and she followed him just in time to watch him freeze at the sight of Nick coming out of the Library with a few texts in hand.

Aurora watched curiously as they stood still, looking into each other’s eyes, she guessed they were communicating telepathically.

She was probably right, because I second later, both were sprinting towards Quesios’ lab.

She made to follow them before she heard the blast.

Everything happened in slow motion after that. She watched in utter horror as Nick and Quesios were both thrown back by the force and narrowly missed the wall when Nick dug in his Sword to stop their flight through the air.

She still watched as Quesios attempted to get up and rush to the dungeon or what was left of it, shouting Maya’s name repeatedly. He was held back by Nick who seemed rather worse for wear himself. He raised pleading eyes to Aurora and she jumped into action, holding Quesios back as Nick slumped to the ground, his hands bloody from gripping the sword too hard.

Only when the foot soldiers declared the threat over did Aurora let go. At once, Quesios ran like a man possessed to search for any life in his lab.

“She found something”, Aurora heard Nick rasp from beside her.

And as Aurora watched Quesios slowly shaking his head at the foot soldiers did reality hit her.

Maya hadn’t had the time to make it out alive. As the dungeons crumbled to a heap of stones in front of her, she said a silent prayer to the young girl.

Next Chapter

©Sonali Mukherjee