Chapter One: The Test of a Warrior
Section 2: Alva
With no hesitation or warning, Emily uses her wind magic to boost herself forward. I block her attack with my forearm, almost missing it because of the speed behind it.
How did she get so fast? And her punch has a lot more speed behind it now, too.
With our forearms now locked in place, each one of us pressing them together, I stare directly into Emily's eyes, seeing an entirely new look burning in them. A minute ago, it was confusion, worry, even hesitation.
But now, there's nothing but a burning desire to beat her opponent. I can sense a bit of a bloodlust from her, as well, which is strange. I should keep an eye on her in this fight. She seems to be acting on her emotions and not tactfulness. She's not hesitating.
I push my forearm off of Emily's to try and get myself some distance to grab her, but she dodges the attack and drops down to her hands, balancing on them and using her strength to swing her legs into mine.
I almost fall from the sudden loss of balance. During my fall, I see Emily begin to bring her fist into my gut. Quickly, I teleport behind her. I grab her shirt, trying to pull her in closer while bringing my fist back behind my head for a hard punch. During the motion of my punch, she smacks away my hand that's holding her shirt, causing me to miss my swing.
How, where in the hell is this coming from? Something is different about her.
She's become faster at predicting my movements, and she even made me lose my balance, which is frustrating as hell. I'm interrupted by a sudden pain in my stomach, and then another jolt of pain on the right side of my face. The force of the blow sends me sliding back a little. I look up from my tear-filled vision to see the now charging Emily coming straight for me. Quickly wiping the tears from my eyes, I prepare for her attack.
Over and over our fists clash - magic bursting from our hands with each punch. We send a fist into each others gut, and we push off and begin to stare one another down. This fight has gone on too long.
I look myself over and can see the dirt covering my black pants. I touch my right cheek and can feel the swelling in it. The pain in my stomach from the blows it encountered hurts. I can't remember the last time a rookie has beaten me up so bad. Lamden is the only one who's beaten me in a fight this bad. I'm almost sad that I have to end it with this attack.
Section 3: Lucy
No way, that attack was insane. The use of her sword and teleportation was incredible! I look down at my friend's unconscious and beaten body and can't help but feel a little sad for her. She tried so hard to win but still failed.
"I'm sorry, Emily. You fought so hard to win and achieve your dream, but it looks like we've both failed, right?" I know that when she wakes up, she's going to be disappointed, but we'll get through it together.
"Are you friends with Emily?" My thoughts are interrupted by Alva's voice, and I look up to see her standing over me.
"Oh yes, we live together actually - her, my mom, and I." I can't understand why Alva would really care about our situation.
"I see. So if I'm to take what you've just told me correctly, she has no immediate relations? Or are you and her related somehow?"
"Oh no, we're not related or anything. Just really great friends - best friends, to be precise. Our families knew each other; you could say, and, well, some personal things happened to us both, and that's how we ended up living together." I don't feel it would be right for me to mention Emily's situation so bluntly. She would never talk to me about it, or Mother either, so I'll leave it up to her when she wakes up.
"I see." Alva pauses a second, closes her eyes, and sits in silence momentarily. Then she bends down to Emily.
"Wait, what are you doing?" I ask feeling a little jumpy.
"She's beaten up pretty badly. It will require some special medical attention to help heal her muscles and any other issues she'll have." Alva's voice is deadpan as she explains to me.
"Special attention - what do you mean by that?" I look down at Emily and see her legs dangling over Alva's left arm. Her head is being held up by her right. She looks so different like this, almost sad.
"What that means is, being a new member in the Peacekeeper Army, she's to be given the best medical care the world can offer."
"Wait, does that mean she passed?" Joy overcomes me and I have to stop myself from hugging Alva.
Just the thought of Emily finally achieving her dream is overwhelming. We've worked so hard for this moment, and I don't even feel bittersweet that I did not pass.
"Yes, it means she passed."
"Even without her beating you, why?" It's not that I'm upset she passed and I certainly don't want to change Alva's mind, but I thought someone had to win to pass and become a Peacekeeper.
"Yes, even without beating me. The reason is let's say a secret that I don't wish to divulge at this time."
What a cryptic thing to say, but I won't complain. Em won! I can't begin to describe the joy that is welling up inside me. She passed, Emily passed, she did it! Even though I don't get to pass with her, it's still an amazing feeling to know how my best friend - who's worked so hard to reach this dream of hers - has passed. It's just an indescribable feeling.
"Now I need to take her to the city quickly. If you'll excuse us." Alva's voice interjects into my thoughts again, and I panic.
"Wait!" I say a little too loudly.
"Hmm?" Alva's attention seems to be more on Emily than it is on me, and I feel bad that I'm prolonging Emily's condition, but I still need to do something.
"I don't want to hold you back, but I need to grab the bag she packed. It's back at the house if you could wait just a second." I am ready to turn around and take off for my mother's, but Alva holds up her hand.
"That won't be necessary. I'll have one of the guards who escorted me here stop by to grab her belongings, and have her guardian fill out some papers." Alva's tone suggests to me that she deals with this sort of thing often.
"Oh, okay, can I at least say goodbye and give her my gift?" Alva looks down at Em, sighs, turns around and takes a small step towards me.
"Fine, make it fast; I need to get her to the city soon." I can tell I've agitated her, but I know Emily will need my gift.
"Yeah, I understand," I tell Alva as I reach into my pants pocket and pull out a small necklace with a black enchanter stone. I rub the smooth sides of it between my thumb and index finger.
"Here you go, Em," I say, while putting the necklace around her neck and hooking the clip up in the back.
"Mother said that this is a rare Enchanter's stone she discovered while traveling. She told me that black stones are incredibly rare to come across. It's said that if this stone is given to someone whose precious to them, it will bring them good luck during their darkest times. I think you fall into that category since we've been friends forever and all. During all the adventures you'll be going on, I hope that this necklace will keep you safe while protecting you from the dangers of this world."
"Is that all?" Alva looks at me with an apologetic look in her eyes while asking this. It's as if she understands what I'm feeling.
"No, it's not, but you should take her and get her help. She'll need to be one hundred percent to be a Peacekeeper." I smile at Alva, letting her know that it's okay. She gives me a slight nod.
"I will do that." Alva turns around to walk away, but stops and turns her head to the right to look back at me.
"You should stay strong for her. Keep training yourself to perfection. Hopefully, one day, you'll be able to be by her side and fight alongside her. Remember what you learned today, Lucy Martin. Let that pain you feel make you a stronger person. Never give up because those who don't push themselves beyond their limits are doomed to be left behind by the ones who do."
With saying that, my best friend - who I have not been parted with since we were children - vanished into thin air. I felt the loneliness begin to sink in, the dreadful feeling that I knew would someday come.
"D-Dammit, Lucy how many times did you tell yourself that you would not c-cry, sniff. That you'd stay strong for your best friend and be happy for her, no matter your selfish feelings, but you know what? It's easier said than done, now that the moment's here."
Like Alva said, Lucy, learn from your mistakes. Use the pain of Emily leaving to make you stronger. I chuckle to myself while I look out onto the horizon of the wastelands. I feel a small breeze begin to blow on my face.
I breathe the cool, dry air in deeply as I wipe away the single tear that's falling down my cheek. I smile widely, and then I raise my hand up to the distance to give it a thumbs up.
"Good luck, Emily. I'll see you again. That's a promise."