Adventure in a Virtual World

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - Let Class Begin

Submitted: April 18, 2016

Reads: 276

Comments: 2

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Submitted: April 18, 2016

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Royal guards wearing red and white uniforms with a flaming eagle on the front escorted us in the direction of the castle. As we reached the gate we were led to the right, further down the road, until we reached a long one story building. The fence surrounding the area was even more formidable than the one wrapped around the castle grounds. That certainly didn’t make me nervous, not at all.

“Hold,” commanded the leader of the guard. His voice boomed with authority, the kind that instantly makes you respect their position. A lone man on horseback, garbed in travel cloak, rode towards us. As he approached the guards dropped to a knee. “Bow,” boomed an even more intense instruction. 

“Your Highness.”

“Thank you Devlin, that will be all,” the man said kindly.

“With all due respect sir, I insist I accompany you back inside.”

“While I appreciate the sentiment, that was not a suggestion. Now take your leave,” the man replied with a much firmer tone. 

“Yes Your Highness.” Devlin bowed and led his entourage back towards the castle.

“Please stand. As of this moment you are honored guests of the crown. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Prince Avery Crestwater, first prince and heir to the throne of Strauss. I have invited you here so I may witness your training first hand. More will be explained inside, if you will please follow my lead.”

A little warning ahead of time about what they were about to pull would have been nice. We were three hundred feet away from our destination, a long brick building, when an explosion rocked the ground, nearly knocking me off my feet. Startled from the blast the prince was thrown from his mount. My heart raced as I held my breath. With a sharp exhale I steadied myself and rushed to the Prince’s side and helped him to his feet. Straight ahead through the dust and smoke I saw the faint outline of a door as it flew open with a deafening slam.

“This way!” shouted a frantic voice.

“Ryan, stay with the prince. Elliot, you and Tracy make sure they get inside,” I said jumping into action. I whirled around and sprinted to Shana’s side. 

She was clutching her ankle, fear in her deep green eyes. Dirt smudged her otherwise flawless features. I shook my head to clear my thoughts. Scooping Shana up I took off at a steady pace. Another blast threw a spray of dirt in my face. I could barely see through the tears welling in my eyes, I almost didn’t notice the crater left in its wake. Attempting to dodge to the left I made a quick pivot just as the air around me was enveloped in a sea of red flame. I could barely breathe and my vision was about to go when a gust of fresh air swept me off my feet and propelled me forward. 

The world around me had a curious blue tint, like being under the surface of a shallow pool of water. Shana clung to my neck as we floated three feet off the ground. Slowly we descended on the other side of the crater. As soon as my feet hit the ground strong arms pulled us roughly through the door and slammed it shut behind us. I set Shana down and then collapsed to the ground. I was exhausted and just wanted to nap. It didn’t matter that a small crowd had gathered. 

Shana is safe, that’s all that matters. I closed my eyes and gave into the darkness.

Every fiber in my body was on fire. I screamed in pain, the sound more animal-like than man. Ever so slowly the pain rescinded until it was nothing more than a dull ache. I opened my eyes to Shana leaning over me, Tracy behind her with a hand placed upon her shoulder. They had been crying, I could see the muddy tear streaks on Shana’s cheeks. I looked up and managed a smile, not wanting to appear weak.

“Well hello there beautiful,” I whispered without even thinking. My face turned red when it dawned on me what I had just said. Shana seemed unfazed but Tracy exhaled a quick burst of air through her nose. I think she was laughing at me. She whispered something in Shana’s ear before walking away to join the others across the room. 

What a wonderful way to get to know someone, I thought sarcastically. Who needs to go on dates anyway?

Apparently I thought that one out loud because she started blushing immediately after. She had never been more than just a friend to me, so why now? 

A robed man broke off from the others and came to the bedside opposite Shana. “You foolish, foolish boy,” he said shaking his head.

“Excuse me?” I asked in bewilderment.

“Your hero act nearly cost you your life and all for the sake of a girl.” He didn’t even care that Shana was right there. In fact I’m sure he did it on purpose. “I knew this was going to be a mistake, but do they ever listen to me?”

“What was a mistake?” I asked. Why was he making it seem like this was my doing?

“Even considering to train you is a waste of my time. You’re reckless, clueless and useless to me.” With a swish of his robe he stalked off into another room. 

Meet my master, Hesire, high mage of Strauss. Nice guy, huh?

I suppose I should now explain that we were never really in danger, except for me I guess. A bit of theatrics and illusion magic thrown at us to test our reaction time was the leader of the guard, Devlin’s idea. He seemed to think that it was good natured fun but I thought it was rather cruel. Although it was just a minor sprain, Shana or one of the others could have been seriously hurt. 

‘Fear can be a great motivator.’ His justification was that Hesire was tasked with diverting the fireballs at the last moment so that they’d land just close enough to keep us on our toes. Devlin spoke highly of Hesire and his abilities but I kept thinking that if he was so great, why had that last one practically landed right on top of me? 

I never expected that I would be the one blamed for it and they wouldn’t explain why exactly. They left it up to me to discover that I am indeed a wizard and apparently a powerful one. 

After standing around for awhile we were introduced to the other five of the seven security council members (Devlin and Hesire being six and seven). Security council members aren’t innately nobility, but through their abilities and service to the crown they rose to equal status and joined the ranks of the upper class society and the luxuries that go along with it. Besides serving directly by the side of royalty, their duty was to train only the most promising of recruits and guide them to greatness. I’m not sure how our ragtag party managed to make that list, because I certainly felt pretty common myself. I guess they have more faith in me than I have in myself.

We were led to the next room, the same one Hesire had disappeared into after throwing his tantrum. This room was massive and completely lined in polished oak from the floor to the ceiling, even the walls with their intricate carvings of what I assumed to be major events in history, shone brightly with the reflection of the light sources floating near the ceiling. Scattered around the room were wooden training dummies and racks of weather-worn weapons. One of the council members, a tall man with dark features and solid frame, took up a position in the center of the room within a circle of dummies. 

From his midnight black hair down to his sturdy black boots he was quite possibly the shadiest, excuse the pun, character I had ever seen. Arino Sharida is a master swordsman, his blade nothing more than a blur with the execution of perfectly landed strikes. 

After his demonstration an intense looking woman stepped forward, raised a bow and nocked an arrow from the quiver on her back before letting it sail a hundred feet to the center of a painted wooden target. Her long blonde hair billowed behind her as she abruptly turned and took her place next to Arino. Elenora Durst, her skill with a bow almost as famous as her reputation of being the one woman in the kingdom even the prince fears to get on the bad side of. 

The brother and sister duo of Tristain and Carmen Soller then took to the floor. Carmen dressed in a skin tight black uniform, accentuating her fit body, and Tristain dressed the same but white in color. Tristain carried no weapon while Carmen held a dagger in each hand. When Carmen swung her brother would side step with such poise and fluid footwork, the two circling around each other in an almost intimate dance. 

Try as she might, she could not even come close to landing a blow until there was a flash of light and a slight fizzle. Thick black smoke surrounded the pair and when the air finally cleared Tristain was flat on his back, Carmen’s dagger mere inches from his throat. As Tristain climbed to his feet, thin red lines appeared on either shoulder and began to ooze with bright red blood. Landon Forwurth stepped forward with an outstretched hand. Faint yellow light staunched the flow until the wounds faded into nothingness, seemingly untouched skin in their place.

Devlin motioned for us to move back to a safe distance. With our backs nearly pressed against the wall we stood in awe as Devlin knocked the hilt of his sword into his shield, beckoning the others to give it their best shot. 

Not wasting any time, Arino leapt forward with a quick jab aimed for Devlin’s right hip but the strike was easily parried. Arino gracefully changed his momentum to once again attempt to land a blow but his sword glanced off a raised shield. While Devlin was being distracted Carmen attempted to plunge a dagger in his back. Lightning fast reflexes and not a single ounce of energy or motion wasted, placed the impenetrable shield between the weapon and his body. 

Arino having recovered his balance pointed his blade and readied for a final strike. Tristain who had just been observing until now sprinted towards Devlin’s immovable wall and at the very last moment leapt into the air, firmly grasped the top of the shield and used the momentum to open the guardsman up to an untimely demise. Elenora let fly a flash of light, the projectile hurtling towards Devlin’s heart. 

Metal clattered as his sword hit the floor. His now free, gauntlet covered, hand stopped the arrow dead in its tracks. Showing incredible strength he pulled downward with all his might, shield slamming into the floor with a deafening roar. With the guardsman now safely crouched behind the barrier, Arino’s blade once again failed to reach its target.

I stood there in complete shock at not only the display put on by Devlin, but the level of coordination and teamwork of the others. It was easy to see that they deserved their positions on the council. I felt a little disappointed that Hesire hadn’t been a part of this exhibition, but only because I wanted to see what he was truly capable of. As if on cue the lights were extinguished. 

One of the girls let out a yelp as we were plunged into darkness. Then came the sound of clacking footsteps echoing and that familiar swish of robes on the very opposite end of the building more than four-hundred feet away. Three raps of a heavy wooden staff sent a rainbow assortment of sparks showering in every direction above our heads. Three more turned the sparks into flower petals that slowly spiraled down and enveloped the entirety of the floor. The petals suddenly burst into heatless blue and purple flames before returning to the air as sparks once again.  The sparks began to amass in the center of the room and as they did the temperature in the room began to rise. 

A strange sensation washed over me, I felt a pulsating power within my chest that grew at the same rate the sparkling ball of light did. This was the same sensation I had when the blue aura had surrounded me. I felt warm but not from the burning light source, but with emotion and friendship. I felt warm because I wasn’t alone, I could feel their strength becoming my own. 

Hesire released the now red ball of light which had grown to the size of a small car. Directly towards me it rushed with the howling and force of a freight train. The power within me surged, a subconscious thought willed for it to stop in its tracks. Five feet before impact, red met bluish-green in a head on collision, diverting the energy evenly throughout the building and restoring the power to the floating lights that had previously lit the room. The enormous pressure within me subsided and I was left feeling winded. 

No one spoke a word as Hesire briskly walked up to me, they dared not even breathe. “Maybe you’re not useless after all,” he said quickly towards both me and Shana. He then sulked his way over to the other council members, avoiding their gazes and ignoring their looks of amusement. 

Why does he seem so disappointed? What exactly was he expecting?

“Well done, well done.” The prince clapped enthusiastically. “Jake you may take a break. Landon, will you please show him to the refreshments and make sure his vitals are stable?” 

Landon bowed and motioned for me to follow. “Shana, please join us.”

The three of us walked to the other end of the building and into a dining hall. In the center of the hall was a large marble table. Our appearance spurred the servants within into action, readying three spots at the end of the table. Landon on one side, Shana and I next to each other across from him. A lavish meal had been prepared and was being brought out on large metal carts.

“Oh no,” I mumbled under my breath as I saw someone I recognized among the staff.

“What’s wrong?” Shana whispered.

“Nothing. It’s nothing,” I lied through my teeth. The emotions from before were starting to come back.

It was the maid from the inn, pushing a cart and headed straight for us. I wasn’t all that hungry and suddenly feeling very nauseous. Despite much insistence that I needed to eat at least something, I settled with a glass of red wine. Landon also turned down the food, agreeing that a glass of wine would suffice. Shana not wanting to eat in front of us hesitantly asked for wine as well. I felt bad making the servants feel dejected that we refused the meal, but it did force the young little maid to leave long enough to return the food to the kitchen.

“Before we start on the wine, let me take a look at you Jake. You’re looking a bit pale.” Landon stood up and walked around to my side of the table. He placed one hand on my back, the other on my right shoulder. “Are you in any pain?”

“Just a stomachache I guess.”

“I see. Shana, come place your hands where mine are right now.”

“Hm?” Shana sat there and blinked.

“Stand behind him here like this. Place one hand on the middle of his back, the other on his shoulder.” Shana stood up and followed his instructions. “Now close your eyes and hold that position. Concentrate on his breathing, feel the way his heart beats. Keep focus, match your breathing with his. Can you sense his heartbeat? Good. Now match yours with his.”

Shana suddenly recoiled and let out a gasp. I turned around so quickly I managed to tip over the chair and fell to the ground. I burst out laughing, I couldn’t help but realize how ridiculous I must have looked.

“I take it you felt that then?” Landon asked her, as he helped me back into the chair, to which she nodded. “Good, now let’s try this again. This time when you make that connection don’t pull away, but embrace it. Draw it within yourself.”

I felt strange, like I was sharing my body with someone else. My shoulder and back nearly searing where her hands were, I winced in pain as I felt a jolt run through my body from my head to my toes. A bright green light lit up the room momentarily before fading. The ache in my stomach was gone, any sign of fatigue had left my body, I simply felt great. 

“Woah.”


© Copyright 2018 T.J. Little. All rights reserved.

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