Chapter Seven: Tactics
"Let's get over to Time Inn," suggested Ark, finishing his tea.
"Are you sure?" Asked Luck, standing up. "You're always so tired."
"I have too."
"Ok." Luck pouted and followed him out the door, cradling his claws in her arms. They walked in silence. Ark was intent in getting to the inn.
"How is your training coming?" Ark asked, glancing back at Luck.
"Its fine," Luck replied, looking down.
"What's wrong?" Ark asked stopping.
"I-I'm not very good." she whispered. Ark laughed.
"That's what you're worried about?" He smiled at her. "I'm no good either, but I can't complain."
"B-but, you don't want to. I asked for this," she explained.
"No. I accepted Spike's offer. I will do what I can to help those around me. I made this decision, and we can both train our hardest, and do our best." He smiled. Luck looked at him. She smiled too.
"Okay," she said, grabbing his hand. They started walking again. Luck's hand is warm, Ark thought. They arrived at the inn and Kid spotted them. He motioned them to come behind the counter. They walked once again into the closet and turned around to see the door close again.
"Welcome back," said the voice that Ark had come to hate. Spike smiled from the bright empty room. He motioned them to sit in the already appeared table and chairs.
"Well. How are you?" he asked. Ark ignored him. Luck gazed sideways, avoiding eye contact.
"That's so interesting!" said Spike in a fake enthusiastic voice, mocking their lack of reply. He sighed, looking at Ark and Luck. He snapped and the man in the black mask and white cloak appeared next to Spike.
"Take him to train," he said motioning him away. The man grabbed Ark, who struggled to break free but was dematerialized with the man. Spike smiled at Luck who had looked back to where Ark had been.
"Well then," smiled Spike, resting his feet on the table.
"What?" asked Luck angrily.
"Bye," he replied snapping his finger. The floor and chair beneath Luck vanished and she screamed, falling into the abyss.
"Try again." Ark's teacher this time was merciless in perfection. Ark had kicked a board almost one hundred times, and had never succeeded to impress the man. He did not have a angry tone to his voice, but no tone at all. He simply watched Ark fail time and time again, repeating his same words when Ark asked how he did. He had broken the board again and again, but it fixed itself magically, every piece returning to the original spot. He panted.
"How was that?" He asked once again.
"Try again." The words were no surprise.
"Can I take a break?" Ark asked. He got no response. The board fixed itself and he smashed it in half, perfectly down the center.
"How 'bout now?" he asked smiling from his handy work.
"Try again." Ark's jaw dropped. He clenched his fist.
"I don't care what you think! That was the best break yet!" He screamed at the man. The man laughed. It was warm and much different from the monotone voice that Ark was used to.
"Congratulations!" The man said. "Never care what others think! Only your opinion matters to your jobs!" He said picking up the board.
"Learn at your own pace. Don't ask others what they think."
"I-what?" Ark was confused. He didn't get the mans logic.
"Now to learn your first moves," continued the man in total disregard of Ark's confusion. "This move is the 'Bonebreaker Kick'," He said cracking his neck. The man squared up to the board and gave it a strong, swift kick. "Now you try," he said motioning to Ark.
"Okay," Ark replied walking up to the board.
"Gather your energy into your foot," the man explained, " And release it in a forward kick, kicking with the bottom of your foot." Ark focused. He kicked with his toe. Ark grabbed his foot and massaged it. The man laughed. Ark tried again. This time he gave the board a strong kick. The board went flying.
"Before you ask," The man cut in, "That was right." Ark smiled at the man. The man took off his mask revealing a young, handsome face with deep green eyes and blue hair.
"I, the Ocean Flower, am done here." The man melted into water and evaporated.
Ark looked around. Again there was a door. He walked over to it and looked in. It was a brick wall. He gave it a knock and found it to be solid. He looked around again. There was nothing.
"Put those down," said a blonde man with light green eyes. He pointed at the claws that Luck was holding. She placed them on the ground next to her.
"Now what is your name?" he asked smiling. This was not Luck's old teacher. She wondered why.
"I am Luck." she replied.
"What have you learned so far?" the man asked politely.
"Minor healing and Blessing." She looked away.
"That's great!" The man exclaimed opening the book he was holding. "How about we learn Feverish?" She looked at him like he was insane.
"What about checking my current skills?" she asked.
"What? Oh, you're right. Use Minor healing on me." He closed the book and looked at her. Luck concentrated. A small glowing ball exited her hand and hit the man.
"That feels great!" sighed the man, smiling. He looked back at her. "Now blessing."
Once again, Luck concentrated. A small bell appeared over the mans head and sprinkled sparks over him.
"Phenomenal!" He yelled. "Now onto Feverish." He opened the book again. "Think of the heat of battle and the adrenaline rush when you're excited! And project it on me."
Luck thought. Nothing happened.
"I'm sorry," she whispered.
"Don't worry," he said smiling. He frowned. "I can't believe I didn't introduce myself!" He slapped his head laughing. "I'm Jacid." He held out his hand. Luck glanced at it. She shook it.
"Now back to-" Jacid started. He pulled out a pocket watch and looked at it. He ran over to a door in the room and opened it. Behind it was a brick wall. He motioned Luck over.
"Put your hand on this." She put her hand on the brickwork. She turned to speak to him. Jacid was gone. She turned back. A bright light met her gaze.
Luck woke up in her bed, wearing her same day-clothes. She glanced into Ark's room. He was fast asleep. She smiled. She was amazed by his commitment to the people he didn't even know. He turned over in his sleep. She returned to her bed and changed into light blue pajamas after taking a bath. Someone knocked on her door.
"Come in!" she yelled. It was Ark.
"How are you," he asked. She smiled. He was worried for her.
"I got a new teacher," She started, "he was weird." Ark laughed.
"My teachers disappear every time we finish," he explained. "Never had the same one twice." He sat next to her on her bed.
"Hey, we can do this together," said Luck smiling. He smiled and got up.
"You're the best," he said returning to his room. Luck lay, stretched out on her bed. She looked up at her white ceiling and closed her eyes. Just before falling asleep she glanced at her dresser. On top was Ark's claws. She smiled and drifted off into sleep. In the other room, Ark sat on his bed watching snow fall from the sky onto his balcony. It was like a white blanket that covered the wooden balcony in a dazzling layer. He fell asleep watching frost form on his window. The snow continued to fall over the whole town.
In front of a store across the street from their house, a large figure clad in a black hooded cloak watched the lights go out. The figure strode away, leaving large footprints in the snow.
~To Be Continued