BLURB: This takes place waaaay before Meis came into the picture. Back when Schmidt was an apprentice to Jyabil. He's doing a good job training to be a spirit blacksmith, but he feels that there's something he's lacking.

NOTE: These characters are not creations of my own! The scenarios presented are also fictitious! I'm basing this on something Sodina said on her date; about a boy who she knew since she was little, who cared about her immensely and didn't play around. I'm making the assumptions that this was Schmidt she was talking about. Also, considering his final words, his feelings towards Sodina are QUITE obvious! Well, that's all. Please enjoy!
Jill 7/12/00 sodina_at_bozby@angelfire.com http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/boyzby/

"Before I Leave On My Journey"

One morning, in the town of Boyzby...

"Flowers bloom if you speak kindly to them." Surrounded by beautiful pink peonies and orange magnolias, Sodina knelt tending to her garden, her red hair glimmering in the sunshine.

Schmidt looked on, lost in his thoughts. 'That's something she would say. I've lived with Jyabil and Sodina for long time. They're the kindest people I've ever met. However...'

His gaze fell to the sword he just forged. It lacked the shimmer and strength reflected in his master's. No matter what he had tried, he couldn't get it right.

'Jyabil says I have the potential. He and Sodina believe in me, so I can't give up. But still, there's something pulling me in another direction. What is it?'

Schmidt was interrupted by a child's voice, "Um, Mister, is Jyabil here?" a little girl holding a soup ladle asked from behind, "My mommy wants to know if he could fix this in time for dinner."

"I'll do it." he replied, taking the ladle and walking towards the smithy.

"But..." the little girl started.

"Don't worry." Sodina said, patting her on the head, "Schmidt is a great spirit blacksmith, like Jyabil!"

'Where is Jyabil anyway?' Schmidt thought, taking out his tools, 'He left early this morning before I woke up. Whatever he's doing, I hope he comes back before an influx of customers arrive.'

Jyabil's smithy was very popular and often everyone in Bozby would bring swords to kitchen utensils to be fixed. It was good business.

After helping the little girl, Sodina looked at her watch. "Guess I better start making dinner before Jyabil comes back." She paused at the door, then shyly asked, "Schmidt, would you like to come with me to the market?"

"Uh...sure."

She smiled. "Okay, then let's go!"

Sodina happily walked down the street towards the town square. Schmidt quietly followed a step behind her, aware of all the voices around them.

"There's Jyabil's apprentice. Isn't he so cool? Almost as cool as Jyabil!" one woman said to her friend.

Her friend replied, "They're both handsome! Kyaa, I should really get that pot fixed soon!"

"But why does he always hang out with Sodina?"

Schmidt lifted his head. 'That's because...'

"Yeah! Why her?"

He stopped walking and rested his hand against his head. The answer was there, but he could admit it. It was something that he would never admit. All the while, he had lost track of Sodina, who had moved on ahead of him, along the street. Before he knew it, he ran into a tree.

'Damn... where did this come from? Why am I being so careless?' he thought, rubbing the bruise on his shoulder, 'Perhaps, I shouldn't bother myself with these questions and just go on as if nothing's going on. Wait a minute...where's...?'

He looked from side to side, but didn't see her. Soon, a mob of girls came rushing at him. "SCHMIDT! OH, SCHMIDT!!!" they cried.

"Waah, e-excuse me. I've got to be going now..." he stammered, trying not to be trampled on.

"But I have a knife that needs fixing!"

"And my father's sword needs a tune-up!"

"T-that's great, but..." he said, looking over their heads, 'If I don't get going, I'll lose Sodina...'

Another woman was in his face. "My husband's rake needs work also! Please! I'll pay you extra to come over and fix it!"

A sweat bead trickled down his face. "S-sorry! Bye!!!" he cried, and ran from the scene. The girls of course followed, but he lost them by running into the alley of the restaurant, the "Amigo". Panting, he finally caught his breath. 'Where is that Jyabil... these ARE his fans!'

He lifted his head to see a group of punks from inside the bar. "What do we have here? A pretty boy?" said their leader, a bearded woman with aqua hair.

"Excuse me, but you're way out of your league." Schmidt replied.

"Puleeze, don't humor us." she laughed, "Boys, take his belongings."

Schmidt just grinned. Taking a step forward he hammered both of the thugs in the stomachs. He then turned to the bearded woman. "I usually don't hit girls, so I'll let you go."

"Big mistake!" she said taking out a knife and flinging it at him. He stopped it in mid air using two fingers. "Strong..." she uttered, shaking, "He's strong...let's get out of here!"

She and her gang ran off, frightened. Schmidt looked at the knife, then dropped it on the ground. 'Yeah, I'm strong...but still...'

Schmidt eventually caught up to Sodina. She was already in the market with a handful of stuff. "Here, let me have it." he said, taking it off her hands, "Are you almost finished?"

"Yes, what happened to you? I was worried." she said with an anxious face.

"Oh, I took the long way, that's all." he replied.

She smiled. "Well then, we better get going before Jyabil gets home to see no dinner." He nodded and helped her with the rest of the shopping.

Walking home together, they stopped by the airship field. The sun was just setting and an airship was just landing. They sat down and rested on a park bench. Schmidt looked over at Sodina who was taking in the cool night breeze.

"Wouldn't it be wonderful to leave Boyzby and to see what's out there?" she uttered, "I've never left home. I wonder if I ever will..."

He suddenly said, "Sodina...someday, you'll start on your journey."

"Huh? Schmidt?"

She looked at him in surprise. He was surprised too. 'Why did I say that? That wouldn't be something I would say.' he thought, 'Still, I'm glad I said it. Someday, even Sodina will leave Boyzby. Everyone eventually moves onto their own paths. Eventually they find what they're looking for. I just hope that someday...'

Sodina tapped him on the shoulder, "You're thinking to yourself again, huh?"

"Oh, sorry..."

She smiled brightly. "It's all right! I like it when you get that way! It means you're seriously thinking about something, and when you say it, I'm sure it'll be very important."

Schmidt looked at her. 'Never before have I had anyone ever listen to me so carefully, or worry about me...I think I've truly found a home...but...'

Sodina blinked her eyes, "Oh, I think we've stayed here too long. We should head home, huh?"

"Home..." he echoed.

"Let's go, Schmidt!" she said, cheerfully. He nodded and followed her.

But, when they arrived back at the house, something felt strange. There were lights and smoke coming from the back yard. "Sodina, stay here! I'll check it out!" Schmidt said, rushing to the back.

When he got there, he saw a feminine mecha sitting on the laundry barrel. "Good, someone's home. I was getting bored. You must be Jyabil's little assistant."

"Who are you?" he asked, reached for his sword.

The pretty-faced mecha, wearing a pink tutu smiled cutely. "I am of Trinket of the Evil Mecha Six. Boy is the Emperor gonna be happy I found the house of Jyabil."

"What do you want with Jyabil??"

"Enough with the questions!" Trinket said, launching an attack of electric gears at him. Schmidt stopped the attack with a single swing of his sword. "Pretty good, but can you handle this?" Trinket chuckled as he (yes, 'he') hit Schmidt with a paralyze attack.

"Ugggh!!!" he gasped as he fell to the ground, 'I can't move!'

"Well, that wasn't so hard." Trinket said, walking over to the fallen Schmidt. He held out his manicured hand, which turned into claws, "Say good night, little boy."

Suddenly a rock hit Trinket in the face. "You monster! Stay away from him!" Sodina cried from the entrance of the yard.

'Sodina... no...!' Schmidt uttered, as Trinket now neared Sodina, 'I can't save her...I can't do anything...'

"Schmidt!" Sodina cried, her back to the wall of the house, "Help!"

'Why can't I beat them? I need power...more power...no... SODINA...!'

All of a sudden there was a great blast. A voice called out, "ODNIS ORGAN!" A giant elemental beast appeared out of nowhere and disintegrated Trinket.

"What...happened...?" Schmidt uttered, as he was able to move again. "Huh? ...Sodina!" he cried, noticing that Sodina had fainted into the grass, "SODINA!" he called out, rushing over to her and lifting her up in his arms, "Sodina..."

"She's all right." said a familiar voice.

"Jyabil!" he cried, "You're back!"

Jyabil nodded. "Looks like you've had a busy day."

* * *
After putting Sodina to bed, Jyabil walked down the stairs to see Schmidt sitting on the bottom step, deep in thought. "You okay?" he asked his apprentice.

"Something does bother me. Jyabil. Why couldn't I beat that mecha on my own?"

"Like I said before, you have the potential of becoming a Great Spirit blacksmith." Jyabil replied, "But you have to be willing..."

"I am!" he exclaimed, "Is there something I'm lacking? What do I have to do to get stronger!?"

"There is something you could do..." Jyabil uttered, "You see, today, I went to visit an old friend of mine. He told of the Dark Accolytes's plans of taking over the country."

"The Dark Acolytes?" Schmidt asked, "You mean the Dark clan? But I thought they were all killed!"

"No, there is still a small group that has survived all these years. And it seems...your father was one of them."

"My father..." Schmidt uttered, "...was of the Dark Clan." His eyes widen as he took in this new information, "But my mother was of the Light Clan. What does that make me?!"

"I don't know. I don't know." Jyabil uttered, "But I think you have a unique power within you since you are in-between both Clans. I hope that within your training as a Spirit Blacksmith, you'll be able to awaken this power."

Schmidt gripped a fist. 'Just then I couldn't defeat that mecha. Is it because my true powers are locked away? If I am of the Light and the Darkness...what kind of power is it?'

That question remained with him even after Jyabil and him both went to their rooms to get some rest. Schmidt stayed awake, his eyes wide open. 'Whatever power this is...' he thought, getting out of bed. He quietly walked out into the hallway, 'All I know...' He opened Sodina's door and stared at her sleeping face, 'All I've ever known...'

Schmidt closed the door and turned towards the stairs. He picked up his favorite sword, a hammer, and a bag of food. Walking out the door of the only home he's ever known, Schmidt disappeared in the night.

'In order to protect the ones I care for...I have to get stronger...'

fin