"Come on Arisa!" Leghilorn shouted during my next training session. "Block me!" I raised my shield before he even finished the sentence, deflecting the purple ray left from the bullet of the beam rifle. He fired again, and this time hit my shield head on, causing it to flicker and disappear.

"Damn!" I cried as a tiny piece of the shattered bullet grazed just below my eye.

"We have been working on this for three hours girl," the Elite said in a frustrated tone. "What is it going to take to get you to realize! The shield must be held at an angle!"

"I know!" I snapped back hastily, glaring into his eyes challengingly. He seemed surprised at my aggrivation, because he let out a deep sigh.

"Very well. Let's try again." He paused. "But this is the last time." He pulled another shield generator out of his utility belt, and tossed it to me. This instant I touched it, it snapped to life and became a shield. I tilted it sideways and he raised the gun.

When he pulled the trigger I braced myself, and for the first time since we had begun, the impact didn't make me fall backwards. Instead, the bullet bounced off the shield and back towards Leghilorn. It hit him in the shoulder and he cried out, dropping to his knees. He held his hand over the wound; the bullet had cut through the armour easily.

"And that is why it is important not to allow your shield to be destroyed," he gasped, clearly trying to appear unphased. He looked up at me, still in his crouching position. "Nice job."

I tried to smile, but I felt bad that I had caused him injury. "Are you okay?" I asked him, trying to keep the concern out of my voice. He detected it.

"If you are to become a warrior, you cannot ask your enemies if they are 'okay.'"

I thought for a moment, before replying, "You're not an enemy at the moment."

"You cannot afford concern," he said darkly.

"Every man for themselves," I muttered. Since when had I considered Leghilorn human enough to be concerned about? I didn't like the idea. Although it was not him that had brought me here, and I still felt a burning anger toward him, I was beginning to think of him as somewhat of a friend. As friend-ish as an enemy could be, anyway.

He winced as he performed the same healing act(done on my leg), on his shoulder. After that he stood up and suddenly fired the rifle at me again. Unprepared, the bullet pierced through me armour and into my midsection with ease. I clutched at my stomach in pain, and suddenly realized he had hit me in a potentially fatal area. It felt like someone had attached an electric wire to my inards and was pulling on it with hard yanks. I tried to catch my breath, but my lungs werent cooperating properly. I coughed, blood visible on my lips, and crumpled to my knees, not looking at Leghilorn. A moment later, I heard movements, and then everything went black.


I awoke sometime later. I didn't entirely remember what had happened--until I moved. Leghilorn had shot me with no warning. I had been unarmed and unprotected. What a wimp he was!

"If you are shot in the gut, it is wise to lay with the wound facing upward," came a voice to my left. I sat up slightly, and saw the Elite called Leghilorn sitting nearby.

"How do you figure?" I snapped hoarsely.

He chuckled. "It is easier for it to bleed down than it is to bleed up," he answered, sounding almost as if he was answering in metaphor. "I apologize for attacking you when you weren't prepared."

I shook my head at him, no longer angry. "No--Don't apologize. Enemies aren't going to shout 'heads up!' before they shoot at me." I lay back down and closed my eyes. I heard him shift his position and a moment later he stood up. I could tell by the sound his metal shoes made on the floor. My eyes remained closed.

"You are wise," he muttered from whereever he was. "To some extent."

I opened my eyes and started to talk back, but he had already gone.