The Continuation Chapter 1

A Blooming Flower

By Arsenal

Laura looked over her opponent, a tall broad fellow. His long dark hair swept over his face, reflecting off his silvery blade. Laura’s own blonde short cut separated the two figures. Their uniforms were exactly the same, though Laura’s katana and Marcel’s long sword were differing. The rest of the class looked upon in astonishment at the battle. Laura and Marcel always fought at this pace, transforming their figures into blurs of blonde and black hair ever since Laura’s father, the King himself, enrolled her into the Wyvern Swords And Arms Class. She had been training for ten years, since she was five. This applied to Marcel too. At this time they were the most experienced students in the class. It certainly reflected in this battle, a heated one too. Laura slashed straight across, aiming for Marcel’s chest. Marcel dropped to his knees and poked his long sword through the hole. Laura, more agile than Marcel, caught his wrist and rolled over Marcel’s back. Upon landing, she pulled Marcel down. He recovered by rolling with the pull. Both combatants rose and circled each other, eyes narrowing in the temporary hate they reserved for each other. Marcel leapt forward, his blade thrust several different angles in the next two seconds. Laura leapt aside. Her blade smashed down upon Marcel’s long sword, forcing the blade down. She threw her body weight against his, knocking the young man to the ground. His blade slid across the smooth, wooden floor. He never waited for the edge to reach his throat. He arose, his hands up in surrender. “Well fought, your skills have improved. Perhaps I should stop sparring with you, I’ve nothing else to teach you.”

The girl snorted, “If anything, I’ve been teaching you for the past ten years. A good match though. That makes the tally three to three, does it not?” Laura was referring to their personal score. Laura’s victory tied the contest. The winner reached four matches first, thus the next match would determine who won. Laura swept her blade out to the right, sheathing it in her red scabbard. There had always been some debate about Laura’s scabbard. There had always been three runes carved into it, the carvings filled with a shining gold color, that shone eternally. Some students argued it was a magical illusion to mesmerize onlookers, just for aesthetic effect. Others thought it aided Laura’s battle technique, her prowess with the blade was uncanny after all. Whatever the effect was, for Laura herself didn’t know, it remained a mystery to the class, and an enjoyable one at that. Laura’s blade didn’t possess any specialties though, it was given to her by the Mentor, just like everybody else. What was strange though was that the Mentor had given Laura a broadsword to use when she graduated from her Dagger Arts at eight years. It was much like the blade her father used, the Masamune. Two years later she was given a katana to learn, despite her excellence with the broadsword. She never really regretted the decision, the katana was lighter and, when she reflected upon it now, more her style. Marcel sheathed his blade too, and they bowed, the signal that the match had officially ended. The Mentor walked over, took Marcel to a quiet corner. It was time for his evaluation of the sparring match. Laura felt sorry for him, he’d lost and would lose points. The class was that way and everybody accepted it. How else could a competent sword arm be developed? Laura sat down to await her turn, she knew she would receive an excellent grade. After all, Marcel was the top male student in the Class. She hadn’t long to wait, a couple of minutes later the Mentor called her over. She walked the way she’d been taught, one hand resting on the pommel of her katana at all times. Her face beamed with the words she knew the Mentor would say.

“You passed. Your technique needs work.” The wizened old man said. Laura’s mouth dropped open, she’d fought magnificently! The tactics she had used were unexpected and pulled off well.

“May I ask the Honorable One why?” Laura hissed through gritted teeth, her anger almost sending blood seething through the small gaps between her teeth.

“I searched Marcel. He had a dagger hidden in the folds of his uniform. He could’ve had you when you barged into him. A single thrust would have ended the match, you must learn to use only the force necessary to finish your enemies. Restrain from using such tactics.” With that the Mentor waved her away and attended to some visitors. Laura Lee walked away, not happy with the dressing down, after all Marcel never thought to pull the dagger. Plus Laura Lee had a dagger concealed in her pants, on her thigh. But like all things, it wasn’t worth the trouble. She retired to the ladies room, changed out of her sweaty practice clothes and pulled on a forest green collared blouse and baggy denim pants. Undaunted by her father’s pleas to do otherwise, Laura slipped the katana on her back, wearing it openly. Even while she was in school she kept the blade with her. On one occasion the teacher tried to take the weapon from her with physical force. The professor was lucky she never pulled the blade. He suffered a broken nose for his interference. Had she’d been anybody beside the King’s daughter, she’d never have gotten away with something like that. But she was used to this sort of treatment. Everybody assumed a different face in her presence, her rank was prohibitive to her life. As it was only Marcel and her best friend Jaime treated her like any girl. Her own father assigned special importance to her over others. Sometimes it was an advantage, but most times it just annoyed Laura Lee. At least the Mentor didn’t seem concerned with her rank. It was a relief and an annoyance at the same time though. She finished putting her gear into her locker, hefted her backpack onto her shoulder, strapped her sword on and left the Wyvern Sword and Arms School, walking quickly. She arrived at the castle an hour later, for it was quite a walk. She had to get ready, the dance was tonight. The local school was throwing it and Marcel had told her to come along. She needed to take a bath and find a dress suitable for the semi-formal gathering. Jaime would be here in about an hour. Laura Lee rushed to get ready . . .

Laura Lee was bored. The music was okay, but she preferred the raw aspect of rap. Right now the DJ was dropping pop into the crowd. It seemed good enough for everybody but her. Laura kept requesting songs, but they seemed to be taking a long time to reach the speakers. Not to mention the fact that the guys here didn’t really cut it. So far there had been six head concussions in the mosh pit. Immature idiots. At that moment one of the boys tried to pole dance off of her. Concussion seven landed on the floor. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and little sparkles danced off the walls. The familiar strains of Jenna Ulysses played through the room. Laura Lee sighed, another slow song, dancing alone. Just as she was about to sit on the sidelines her eyes caught a flash of blue. The soft eyes watched her from across the room. The boy dodged among the occupied couples, and approached her. Without a word he took her hand and led her out onto the floor. Laura gazed at this intriguing prospect. His blond hair was long and the tips fell over his forehead with an unnatural grace. Laura couldn’t be sure, but those tips looked like they were frosted a deep blue. The body in her hands was firm and muscled, but his frame was tall and thin. He danced well, leading Laura into a dance that she wouldn’t have known of if her father hadn’t insisted she practice the more foreign slow dances. She’d a great deal of practice and was lithe, but her feet barely kept up with this deft danseur. The minutes passed by slowly, yet suddenly it was over. Her hand was kissed, and the boy held her eyes for several long moments. Then he disappeared into the crowd. Laura stood there dazed for a few moments before she collected her wits. ‘How weird,’ she thought. She could only remember a blur of white lights of the actual dance, but the boy’s face was engrained in her mind. ‘I need a break.’ With those thoughts she went outside for a breath of fresh air before returning to the dance.

She returned to the floor half an hour later more troubled than before. The nameless guy wouldn’t leave her head. She found Jaime and had her help find the boy. The search turned up nothing. It was like the boy with the blue tips had disappeared. Nobody had even heard of this boy either. Why would a boy who nobody knew show up at a local dance? She kept asking around though. She earned her break: there was something going on in back of the Dancing Hall. Jaime and Laura went to investigate.

A large crowd of onlookers had gathered. The pair pushed through to see what was happening. The boy stood in the center of the circle. Marcel was facing him. Laura decided to wait to see what was happening.

Marcel started the conversation, “So what mano? You gonna apologize for pushing my friend around or what?”

The youth turned his head and spoke from the corner of his mouth, “Don’t act tough little man. You have absolutely no idea what you’re messing with.” He waved a hand in the air, “So what do you say?”

Marcel pondered on this for a moment. Then he decided what to do. He pushed the blue tipped youth. “The question is, ‘What you wanna do?’” The word fell on the ground with Marcel, when the youth kicked him in the head. He rose and threw a couple punches. They were picked off cleanly by the youth, who jabbed into Marcel’s stomach. Marcel forced the blow aside and punched the youth in his mouth, and put his head to his knee. At the last minute the youth threw his head to one side, avoiding the blow. Both legs swept Marcel from his feet. The youth pushed himself up in the air to land on Marcel’s chest. He kicked the young student in the ribs, then picked him up in his arms. Pushing people aside, the youth carried Marcel easily to the wall and slammed him into it.

“Do you know where the Falls are in Guardia Forest?” the youth demanded. Marcel spit out blood and nodded his comprehension. “Get your blade, shorty. Meet me there in half an hour.” With that the youth slammed once in the wall for good measure and dropped the bleeding youth on the ground. He walked away slowly. The crowd parted slowly for this dangerous youth. As soon as he left though the crowd surrounded Marcel, offering aid and various bits of advice.

Refusing any help the students drew himself to his full height, “I’ve got to get my blade and uniform out of my locker. Excuse me.” Laura watched Marcel walk toward the Gym. She tugged on Jaime’s sleeve. Ten minutes later, when Marcel was through, Laura and Jaime were running from the Gym towards Guardia Forest in full uniform.


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