Headed by a Snake
21 Mosswood Training
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Headed by a Snake
Author :CouchSurfingDragon
© Wuxiaworld

21 Mosswood Training

Tycon drew the sword from its sheath and held it up to the sun. It was a simple blade, unassuming-- no spikes or serrations or nonsensical blade widenings. A single S was carved in the metal near its hilt. And it felt a ponze heavier than a longsword should-- or least that's what Tycon felt.

"Six… Seven… Eh… Hey, Boss! What's after seven?!" Dragan yelled from a distance. Next to him, a shirtless Bucket was hanging from a tree branch four yalms up. A fall from that distance could seriously injure the boy, though Dragan showed no sign of worry. If anything, Tycon was more worried about his confusion at the horrifying prospect of arithmetic.

"M-mister Dragan! Eight! Eight is after seven!"

"Oh! Right. You're at seven pull-ups. Do one more and that'll be eight."

"B-but Mister Dragan!"

"Huh. Did you say something, Bucket? Because I thought I heard you say six."

Bucket let out a panicked yelp before deigning to struggle in silence, finishing another set of pull-ups. It had been three weeks since they left Nice, three weeks since they left Sorina Capulet in charge of the Tavor estate, and three weeks since hellish training began for Barza Keith and the young Bucket.

Tycon placed the sword back in its sheath. He had appropriated the magic longsword from Seldin Korr when they were still enemies and thus had felt no obligation to return it. Of the things she'd lost, she was far more concerned for her fat cat-doll, Khloe, than any missing sword. It was likely that she had no idea of its properties... And her class was more suited for a heavy two-handed weapon than it was a single longsword. Tycon was doing her a favor.

« System, identify. »

[Shatterspike. Second-Circle Magical Longsword. Deals increased damage to weapons and objects. Soul bind possible. Soul bind? Y/N?]

« Negative. »

Tycon placed the sword with the rest of the dried rations and adventuring supplies. The sword would prove useful someday, though Tycon preferred his lighter short sword and the bladed whip he carried. He had finished checking everything-- recalculating the amount of time Invictus could spend in the Mosswood Wilds before needing to resupply, reaffirming the quality of everyone's weapons and armors, counting ammunition.

It was boring but necessary work.

Tycon breathed in the cool winter air. He needed to ensure the training was effective-- he gave Sorina a deadline and intended to meet it. Checking his pocket watch-- one of the few frivolities he purchased in Nice, he'd found that it was time.

Tycon picked up a short spear from the pile. Its wooden haft was heavy, solid. Its blade was reinforced with metal and its pommel had a wicked spike at its end. Though Invictus would train the boy in all manners of weaponry and skills, Tycon decided that he would focus primarily on the spear to make up for his reach and height disadvantage.

"Dragan! Time!"

"You got it, Boss!"

Dragan grabbed Bucket's waist and placed him onto the ground.

Tycon took both hands and put his strength into spinning the spear at the boy. Running towards the spear, the boy snatched it out of the air-- a feat he probably wouldn't have imagined himself doing three weeks prior. "Thank you, Sir Tycon!"

"No problem, kid."

Dragan placed a heavy log onto Bucket's back. Tycon and he had nailed a beast's hide to it, so the boy could carry it around without fear of splinters.

"M... mister Dragan?"


"Is this… a lighter log than--?"

Dragan laughed as he scratched his head, ruffling his fiery red hair in the process.

"You got me, Bucket! Ahaha!"

"Sir Tycon will be mad if you keep losing the log, Mister Dragan..." the boy scolded.
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"Ahhh, it'll be fine. I'll tell him we chucked it at Barza," Dragan assured him.

"So I'll do one lap around the full course?" Bucket asked.

Tycon was walking over to the two, "Short lap, Bucket. Head to the waterfall and bring Mister Wroe back to camp. We'll go fetch Mister Barza. The faster you go, the sooner we can prepare lunch."

"Yes, Sir!"

The shirtless boy ran off, bounding over rocks and brush. Dragan and Tycon watched in silence until the boy was out of earshot. Dragan's arms were crossed and he looked uncertain.

"The boy's gotten used to the second log. Should we get a heavier one?"

Tycon shook his head, "That's good for now. The log's twice as heavy as my armor, much less than what he'll be wearing. We'll either need to introduce obstacles or make him increase his speed if we want to increase his efficiency…"

"Agility training, then."

"Agility training. Let's go recover Barza."


Bucket leaped over the brush, ran past a tree, and tilted his body to adjust for the log's weight and his running direction. He had quickly learned to identify bushes he did not want to jump over, bushes with thorns or spines or itchy leaves--

'Ergh. Boss Tycon always insists on cleaning scratches out with soap and water-- I complained about it, but Boss just yelled at me and told me if I didn't, my wound would get red and leak yellow pus and I'd get sick.

Bucket smacked a nearby tree with his spear, making a hollow sound. It was one of the Striking Trees in his full route. When he struck the hollow trees, Boss Tycon would know where he was. He told him it was 'so you could stay honest,' but Bucket didn't quite understand what that meant.

'Dragan said that no one would mourn me if I died, but I know my dad would be sad, so I told him so.

Bucket remembered that when he said that, everyone became very quiet-- as if he had said something that he wasn't supposed to. He was about to apologize, but then they started to throw hard fruit at him.

'All of Dragan's throws were really fast. Boss Tycon's throws would hit me the most-- they'd come when I wasn't expecting it, like at the end of Dragan's fruits or bouncing a fruit off of a tree to hit me in the face. And Mister Wroe's throws... I don't know why the fruits he throws all seem to look at me. And sometimes they follow me?'

After Tycon discovered the magical hard fruit, he beat Wroe with a switch he got from a tree. Then he gave Bucket permission to use his spear to block and deflect any magical fruit.

'I miss my dad. It's almost my nameday again, since he's been gone. But I'm sure he's training just as hard as I am. I wonder how he throws fruit?'

Bucket dashed towards the mossy rock near the waterfall, using the momentum to slide forward and up a natural rocky ramp. He kept grip of his spear, and pushed his log away… as he slid off of the cliff. Bucket laughed as he enjoyed feeling the weightlessness and soon, he and his log crashed into the small pond, splashing water all around.

Bucket swam towards the log to grab it, then surfaced towards land. Emerging slowly, Bucket scanned his surroundings, searching for Tarquin Wroe.


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