The next day, at the crack of dawn, Blair and Lydis were lined up at the makeshift training grounds staring intently at the flaps of a tent. The sunlight peeked through the tops of the trees, making them turn color from a dark green to a soft yellow. A few minuets passed when the flaps suddenly opened. Blair stood at attention while Lydis continued to drool a bit.
"Attention!" Valeri's voice boomed throughout the training grounds causing nearby birds to fly away. Lydis jolted awake while Blair flinched a little. "You mutts will now undergo my personal training in combat! Rejoice!" This kind of Valeri, Lydis wasn't used to this at all. "You, Private Lydis!"
"Um..yes?" Blair gave Lydis a pitiful look. Silently she whispered to Lydis,
"Hesitation makes the fool." Confused by her words Lydis was about to say something when Valeri's loud voice exploded again.
"That's yes ma'am to you! And for contemptuous unacknowledgement of a superior, you must run one hundred laps carrying one-hundred pounds of weights! By the end of the day! Failure to do so will result in no dinner as well as a harsher punishment tomorrow! Are we clear, private Lydis?" Valeri's attitude had completely changed. Lydis was taken by surprise.
"Yes ma'am!" Upon hearing this Valeri chuckled and turned around.
"We begin combat training now. Lydis, what's the most important rule in any battlefield?"
"Yes ma'am! It's to kill your enemy until none remain!" Blair nodded along as well. Valeri clenched her fists and hit both of their heads.
"Fools! It's to return alive! What can you accomplish with a dead body? Live to fight another day! Even when death himself comes to get you, stand! Stand and fight until even the gods must strike you down! And even then, stand! Should your body be burnt to a crisp and your life fades, stand tall so that you may greet your ancestors with pride!"
"Yes ma'am!" Lydis was secretly awed at how much Valeri had changed. From a bleak stubborn maid into this strong captain who could inspire a flame in even her! Blair rubbed her head, how could she have forgotten her captain's very first lesson?! Feeling filled with a renewed determination Blair focused on the training wholeheartedly. For the next four hours Valeri trained Lydis in hand to hand combat and how to maximize the use of her small body. After the four hours Valeri left to manage the squad with Blair and Lydis was left to run her one-hundred laps. A small robot was left to monitor her. Lydis spent the rest of the day running her laps with the weights. Right as the sun was setting Lydis's foot finally crossed the lap line. The little robot on standby beeped a couple of times before dashing away.
"F**k this. I-" She stopped talking abruptly when Valeri walked into the clearing.
"Feeling cooler now private?"
"Yes ma'am!" Lydis stood up and saluted. Valeri nodded in approval.
"I have concerning business for you…" Lydis's soldier face faltered a bit.
"What do you mean by 'concerning'?"
"After Ami reviewed the results of Blair's scans she just couldn't figure out why and how you managed to do so much damage while taking quite a toll as well. No matter what, fracturing Blair's nose and sending the fragments inside to her lungs would require multiple blows, each with more power than before. Now, if Blair had just kept her slyphir barrier ready this wouldn't have happened…" Valeri continued to grumble a bit before realizing that Lydis was staring at her questionably.
*ahem* "Back on topic. Ami was looking through the scans and found traces of slyphir inside of Blair's nose. When she looked over yours it turned out to be the same, slyphir ruptured your tendons and ligaments while that same slyphir also brought bone fragments into Blair's lungs." Lydis was quiet now, her mind racing to find an answer.
"Was it mine?"
"Of course it was! Blair is a trained, professional soldier! What bugs me is how are you able to use slyphir despite being so young? Studies and tests have been done to prove that the youngest a child will be able to sense slyphir is ten years old. So tell me, Lydis, how were you able to do that?" Valeri was releasing a bit of her slyphir pressure onto Lydis. Bit by bit she increased the pressure till Lydis's legs felt like buckling.
"How should I know!" With this sudden outburst Valeri's slyphir vanished. "I just went with the flow, it felt, I don't know, natural to punch her in the face. T-that sounded bad but the slyphir or whatever collected right before I hit her so I couldn't really control it. I thought I just imagined it. That warm feeling surrounding my hand." Lydis flexed her hands open and closed. Truly it had not been intentional. When she had killed the rabbit there was no warm feeling. Just a soft breeze and then it was dead. When she fought against Blair it just happened on it's own, just like with the rabbit.
"Hmm. Give me your hand." Lydis held out her hand to Valeri. Valeri coated her hand with a thin, almost invisible, layer of slyphir. She moved her fingers up Lydis's arms, travelling along the main vein route. She stopped by Lydis's shoulder. "Turn around." Lydis as she was told and waited for Valeri's orders. This time she used two hands and placed two fingers each on Lydis neck, from there she travelled down her spine slowly until stopping near the middle of Lydis's abdomen. From there she brought her fingers together and all at once spread out her slyphir from there. Almost instantly something inside Lydis fought back and shot black slyphir at Valeri. Although she was a bit startled her slyphir barrier held out. Valeri increased the amount of slyphir but the black slyphir refused to calm down. It thrashed and spit out blades in all directions. A few hit Lydis in the side and caused a deep gash to pour out blood. When Valeri saw the amount of blood she increased the amount of slyphir past what was safe for another person. In this world sharing slyphir was okay but only if in small doses. Too much of another person's slyphir would cause damage to the receiver and giver. The reason was that a decade ago scientists discovered that slyphir taken into a person would develop it's own will. Or a partial will. Not fully sentient but not ignorant either. With some capabilities to think depending on the color. The darker and deeper the color, the stronger the slyphir and smarter it was.
Valeri continued fighting with the black slyphir, thankfully since it was young the strength behind it wasn't great so Valeri was able to compress it and squeezed it further, making it about the size of a ping pong ball. After confirming that the rampaging slyphir was in check Valeri let out her breath. To think that a child would have slyphir the color of darkness while only being eight! As she removed her fingers from Lydis's back along Lydis fell over, her face in a cold sweat. Panicked Valeri picked her up and ran to the medic tent.
Lydis opened her eyes. There was nothing. Only and eerie darkness and a deathly silence. She tried to speak but found that she couldn't. She cawed at her throat but no sound came out. Her thoughts raced. Had she been dreaming the whole thing? Was she still trapped in who knows where? Did she ever leave? She pulled at her hair, bit her arm, she tried anything that might bring her pain but nothing worked. Despair loomed over her like death. Lydis curled herself into a ball and just floated in that nothingness. Time seemed nonexistent as she either fell or floated. There was no sense of direction either. Was she upside down or upright? Facing left or right? All she knew was that there was nothing. As she was succumbing to the oblivion, she heard a voice. So distant and muddle it was hard to make out the words.
"..L..ve…" It faded in and out, as if unsure it should be heard but at the same time wanting to be heard. "..ive…" Again. This time Lydis lifted her head from her knees. The voice was clearer now. It was so familiar, how could she have forgotten it? "Live to fight another day! Even when death himself comes to get you, stand! Stand and fight until even the gods must strike you down! And even then, stand! Should your body be burnt to a crisp and your life fades, stand tall so that you may greet your ancestors with pride!"
"Shut up! I already know. Who needs you to worry about them? In this nothingness where there's no road nor a clear path all I have to do is make one!" Lydis stretched her legs and gradually a solid path rose beneath her. As she stepped forward her surroundings became clearer. Soon she was running, her breathing hard while sweat dripped off her face. Even though she should be tired she felt full of energy. Like nothing in the world could stop her, not even the gods! Soon she ran to the end of the road. Before her was only a simple door. No wall, no hinges, just a door.
"Heh, like Blair said, 'Hesitation makes the fool'." Without another thought Lydis reached for the door handle and swung it open. Her footsteps firm and prepared for whatever may come, she would not waver. After a few more steps the scene around her turned a sickening red. She looked behind her and saw that the door had disappeared. There was nothing besides the red road and the red of the world. It looked like at was moving and pulsating but at the same time the red around her looked like blood. Her head began to throb from looking at it too much. She walked forwards a few steps before crashing into a large black orb. Surprised Lydis jumped backwards. The black orb had not been there before. After looking at it closely she saw that it had a slight glossy hue to it, almost like slick oil. As if on impulse she reached out with her hand and touched the surface, another hand grabbing back at her. Startled again she quickly let go and pulled her hand close to her while watching with wide eyes as a human like figure dropped onto the red road from the orb. A sharp pain hit Lydis's eye. A painful memory. A body made of blood, a child, adult, blood. Pain, thorns, death. Blood.
"W-who are you! Why do you always keep appearing in my dreams?!" Lydis's eyes were crying blood but she felt no pain or discomfort, like they weren't there. The dark figure created a mouth in it's faceless mess. It smiled, a smile that was too wide and stretched from one side to the other. It's 'mouth' was just a black hole. No teeth, tongue or vocal tubes. And yet, it could still speak.
"This is the first time we've met face to face but I've been with you ever since you came to this world." The voice seemed to be mimicking Lydis's to a sickeningly degree.
"What do you mean?"
"For forty years Lydis, I have been right here, by your side, for forty years. You can't imagine how hard it was to even get a chance to talk to you." The dark figure turned around and shook their head but, their head remained facing Lydis, it's eerie smile unmoving as it continued to speak. "And your mother! So unruly, actually using stronger slyphir to suppress me while I was still newborn." Upon hearing insults on her dead mother Lydis lashed out at the dark figure with a low kick. The dark figure's body turned and faced Lydis as it jumped backwards, avoiding Lydis's kick.
"What? Mad about your little mommy who died a pointless death? Or about your stupid father who died a dog's death by becoming their war trophy?" The dark figured snickered as Lydis swung at it. "Hey hey! You'll never hit me with such weak attacks!" The figure dodged Lydis's attacks smoothly, like it was just taking a stroll. Lydis knew that it was just egging her on but she couldn't handle the insults. There was a boundary between being an ass and needing to be killed.
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