Sorry for not updating in so long, though I guess it doesn't really matter. There's only one fic for the archive anyways. I think that only, should there be tons of fics which would get updates daily or weekly, would people be there to check the archive.
This chapter is …well…I don't know. I can't really think straight at the moment. Happy easter too!
Teiru regretted her decision to stay with the woman. Had she known what the woman would be like, she would have accepted to find everything out on her own. This should be a form of child abuse, she thought as she gritted her teeth.
''Come on Foxy, surely you can do better than that.'' Yuu spoke while crouched down, her weight resting on her heels so she could make eye contact with the younger girl, who was forced to do push-ups.
The girl growled under her breath, before her arms gave away and she collapsed on the soft ground.
''Tell me…'' She panted. ''Why do I have to do push-ups again?''
''Oh come on, you can't expect to survive with undeveloped arm muscles like that.'' To prove her point, Yuu jabbed a rather pointy finger at the girl's upper arm, earning herself a surprised squeal. ''Ow! Hey that hurts!''
''I think that says enough.'' Teiru pouted as she sat up and rubbed her arm, all the while glaring at the older woman.
''I warned you that I wouldn't go easy on you. Here,'' She handed Teiru a loaf of bread. ''After a quick break we'll continue.''
Teiru, while certainly not looking forward to continuing, eagerly took a big bite out of the loaf of bread, humming in satisfaction. It had been four days since Gulli had assigned Yuu as her guardian. Despite her initial protest, Yuu took everything very seriously. She had taken her time explaining about the Athan world, it's origin and the gods, the different races. But also a bit about Humans, and the hostility towards the Athans, and the other way around. Teiru had then taken a notice of Yuu's great dislike, or rather disgust, about humans, but she had chosen to ignore it. Yuu had guided her all around and inside the Dragon Palace and its inhabitants. She had told Teiru about the characteristics, and what she had learned about each tribe and race in the years. She had even shown her some of the monsters outside, the Hardwing Bees as starters. Teiru had absorbed the information as if there was no tomorrow, surprising both herself and Yuu. However, she had yet to learn the basics of battle. But when she told Yuu and inquired the woman would explain some of it to her, this was the result.
And while she was devouring the piece of bread, she regarded Yuu with the utmost caution, for the woman was sharpening her scythes.
A particular fast stroke, with what Teiru assumed to be some sort of rock, caused a few sparks, accompanied by the sound one heard when sharpening steel. The strokes became shorter, and less pressured. Yuu now aimed at the edge, rather than the whole blade of some sort, and she worked with the utmost precision, even as Teiru finished eating she continued, and Teiru didn't mind at all. She lied down on the grass, her arms folded behind her head.
''Tell me something kid,''
''Didn't we decide I have a name?'' She grunted as an answer.
She was ignored by the older woman, who continued as if she wasn't interrupted. ''How come you can be so happy and relaxed? If I recall correctly you've been in that crappy excuse of a lair for most of your live. I'd expect you to have quite a lot of trouble getting used to all of this.''
Teiru shrugged, but did open her eyes to look at the woman as she spoke. ''Well would you rather have me act that way?''
Yuu scrunched up her nose. ''No, please don't.''
''But I guess you're right... I do have a bit of trouble getting used to all of…this,'' she gestured around her, a slight blush coloring her face as she admitted the weakness. ''But it's all for the better right?'' She asked, as if Yuu would know the answer. Yuu glanced at her, managing a faint nod. Before Teiru could question the woman as to why she suddenly seemed eager to drop the conversation, said woman stood up and gestured for her to do the same.
''Come on, break's over.''
Teiru scoffed, but stood up nonetheless. She stared at the woman, her arms hanging limply at her sides while she waited. ''So…what now?''
Yuu gestured Teiru to follow her, which the latter did, although reluctant. Earlier that day, they had walked down to the sandy river and past the Hardwing Bees. Yuu had led Teiru behind the enormous tree, where they had settled for the day. Now they were making the same way back, but this time made their way through the swarm of Hardwing Bees. The creatures continued with whatever it was they did, not disturbed or irritated in the least by the Athan women. Yuu walked to the bushes and disappeared behind them, only to return within a few seconds. In her left hand she was carrying a quiver filled with arrows, in her right hand she was carrying a simple wooden bow. She handed Teiru both items, the girl unsure of what to do with them. After twenty seconds of awkward silence, Yuu sighed and rolled her eyes.
''Don't roll your eyes at me.'' Teiru huffed. Yuu glared at the girl, but remained silent as she stepped behind Teiru.
''Alright let's just get started. Do you have any idea what your stance should be like?''
''Uhm…something like this, right?'' She distanced her feet from one another and raised her left arm, holding the bow up. She tilted her head back to look at the older woman.
Yuu nodded. ''Alright, although far from good enough, it's good you now at least the basic idea, though I guess it's only because of instinct.'' Teiru scowled, insulted by the older woman.
''First of all, your feet should be about your shoulder width apart.'' Teiru frowned, and adjusted her feet. Yuu nodded and pointed at the large tree. ''Good, next, your toes should be placed against this imaginary line that's aimed at the target. This may seem simple, but creatures move, so your aim is crucial. A correct stance is of the utmost importance.'' She bowed down and grabbed Teiru's left foot, turning it so it was aimed at the tree correctly. She spent another fifteen minutes or so on explaining the correct stance to the younger girl, but also on explaining the different parts of a bow and how she should position her arrow, or what she should pay attention to see if the bow was still in good condition.
Finally, Yuu nodded, and walked over to the tree. She bent down, pulling a dagger from her boot, startling the other girl. ''Wh-''
''What, you thought I only had those huge scythes with me?'' She dragged the blade across the tree, drawing a slightly misshaped circle, and after that, stabbed the tree in the centre.
''There,'' She spoke, withdrawing the blade from the tree. ''Hit the centre.''
She stepped out of Teiru's aim and nodded at the girl, who then released the arrow she had been holding. The sound chased away a few of the Hardwing Bees within close range, but neither of them paid attention to it. The steel point pierced the tree, several inches away from hitting the centre mark. Teiru shifted on her feet as Yuu walked up to the arrow, pulled it out of the tree, and examined the damage.
''Not bad for your first time, there's still a lot of work to do, but not nearly as much as I expected.''
''Why thank you.'' Teiru replied, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
Yuu rolled her eyes, and crossed the distance between them. She stepped closer to the girl than necessary, Teiru leaning back a bit. Pushing the arrow in the girl's hands, she smirked, hear breath tickling her skin. ''You're very welcome Foxy, now let's work on that aim of yours.''
Teiru blinked as the woman distanced herself from her in seconds again, gesturing at the tree. What was that about? She shook her head, narrowing her eyes suspiciously at the other woman as she pulled back the arrow, before releasing it. Their practice continued for another hour or so, the youngest of the two throwing more suspicious glances at the other woman every once in a while.
''Haaaah!'' Teiru plopped down on the soft bed, almost falling asleep on the spot. She stretched out her arms and legs, wincing as her muscles protested. She stayed sprawled out like that for a few minutes, her eyes darting across the room and taking everything in. She closed her eyes soon after though, exhaustion catching up with her. She frowned when she couldn't find a comfortable position, shifting more and more.
''What are you doing?''
She let out a soft yelp and opened her eyes, almost tumbling right of the bed. She looked up at Yuu standing in the door opening, her arms crossed and her eyebrows raised.
''I was wiggling my butt, thank you very much.''
''Hmm.'' The woman stepped inside, her eyes darting across the room, narrowed.
''What are you being all cautious like that for?'' Teiru asked, cocking her head to the side as she looked up at the woman, arching her neck.
Yuu's gaze met her, and the woman blinked, shrugging. ''Old habit.''
Teiru shrugged as well, and flopped back on her front. ''Enjoy glaring at the furniture then, I'm off to bed.''
''Remember, I'll be waking you early tomorrow. As soon as it's light.''
Teiru whined. ''Whyyyyy? What's the point of getting up so early? Young girls need their sleep!''
Yuu shrugged, choosing not to answer. ''Alright then, I'll be off to bed as well. I'll be in the room next to yours-''
''I know, I know. For if I need you, but think twice because you are a monster when disturbed during your sleep.''
''I never said that.'' Yuu spoke, glaring.
''No, but I experienced it first hand on the second night of our stay here.'' Teiru spoke, recalling the memory. It wasn't her fault. She only needed an extra blanket. And she thought Yuu wasn't really asleep yet, just dozing off.
Teiru shrugged, and the two said their goodbyes in huffing and grunts. After having prepared herself for a good night's rest, Teiru curled up on the soft material, a satisfied smile playing on her lips as she fell asleep.
But, as promised by Yuu, the older woman was standing next to Teiru's bed when the first rays of sunlight shone through the window, giving the room a yellowish glow. At first Teiru refused to cooperate, curling up, pulling the blanket over her head, and hitting Yuu with her pillow. But Yuu was not always a patient woman. She opted for picking up the blanket, the pillow, her clothes and armor, opening the window, and throwing them outside on the porch that was part of the Inn. Teiru, who was easily freezing cold, finally agreed to get up and put on her clothes. When she was ready, Yuu had just returned with the tossed out material, a sneering Inn keeper right behind her.
''I thought you said they knew you well here, you know, when you talked about that discount?''
''They do,'' Yuu muttered. ''The discount is to get me out of here as soon as possible.''
Teiru shifted her eyes from Yuu to the keeper suspiciously, receiving a glare from said old lady. She muttered an apology before increasing her pace to catch up with Yuu. ''So what are we going to do? More push-ups? More practicing with the bow?''
''What?'' Teiru halted, looking at the back of the woman's head until she too, halted. She turned her head, only the profile of her face visible. She looked at the younger girl from the corner of her eyes, arching a slender eyebrow at the worried expression on the girl's face.
''Now don't tell me you're too soft-hearted to kill a few bees?''
''I-I'm not! I just wasn't expecting it so soon, that's all.'' The girl muttered, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she started walking again, quickly taking in the position of walking next to the older woman.
''Well I can't afford it to take this too slow.''
''What do you mean? I don't have to be prepared for anything as far as I remember.''
''What?'' The girl spoke, clearly confused.
''I said life, you have to be prepared for life. I can't watch your back for you all the time. I do have, despite those which were cancelled by Guli, duties which cannot be discarded. Some of them may allow me to do both my job and take care of you, but when I can't, I need you to be able to take care of yourself.''
''O-Oh.'' The girl spoke softly, I scowl evident on her face.
Yuu let out a sigh. ''Look, I didn't mean to offend you. I was simply-''
''Stating the truth, I know. And I'm not offended.'' Teiru spoke, looking up at Yuu in all honesty.
''You're not?'' Yuu spoke, arching an eyebrow again.
Teiru shook her head. ''No. I was just thinking along, I guess.''
''That's a first.''
''Hey!'' Teiru punched Yuu on the arm, receiving a glare.
''Don't ever do that again.'' The woman spoke, and Teiru stepped away from the woman with a flushed face, nodding while muttering an apology.
''Anyway, let's get started!'' Teiru said, for they had finally reached the Hardwing Bees their territory. Determined for reasons yet unknown to Yuu, she took her bow and arrows, her eyes fixated on the nearest bee as she flexed her bow. Yuu eyed the girls action, trying to put her finger on what it was that seemed to have changed. It was definitely a new situation. The girl needed it though, she thought, as Teiru released the arrow. The arrow crossed the distance in mere seconds, piercing one of the bee's wings. And as it fell to the ground, its pained cries resonating through the air but ignored by both women, they both seemed to think the same thing. It didn't matter what is was that had changed, that arrow had just marked a new beginning.