Disclaimer: I do not own Soul Eater or How to Train Your Dragon. They belong to their respective owners.
How to Train Your Soul
by. Poisoned Scarlett
"Clay…" Maka held a hand out, quelling her growing irritation at the mischievous dragon. His long arms curved inward and the dragon fell into a pounce at the sound of his name, his tail swaying back and forth. Maka could see the dangerous set of poisonous spikes with every swing, but she tried to keep her eyes steady on Clay's diluted gray ones. "No. Stop. Don't do it, Clay, I know what you're going to do and it's not a good idea!"
Clay snorted, a heavy exhale of breath that made the dust beneath him rise. He backed up a few steps, the dimming sunlight reflecting off mud green scales. He was a particularly large dragon for his age, with a long snout and wide-set eyes. His neck reached higher than others and he was built strongly but narrowly. He was more for ground-attacks than aerial. However, he was also particularly troublesome with his horrid sense of humor and penchant for playing pranks on her. Keeper Stein had assured her he was an outstanding dragon in and of itself, strong enough for combat and healthy to boot, but he had failed to inform her that the dragon's terrible sense of humor could get her killed one day.
Clay wiggled his rump, his short but sharp, jagged teeth curving into a full-out grin.
"No—NOO!" Maka screamed when he lunged at her, the ground shaking with his every step. She managed to dodge his tail, the ball of spikes at the end hitting the ground hard enough to crack it. Clay released a snort that resembled a laugh and chased after her, following her back to the training grounds. His tiny and narrow wings flapped cheerily on his back, his gray eyes alight with glee, and he seemed completely ignorant of Maka's panic and horror.
Clay had the intelligence of a peacock.
Maka was sure of this.
"STEIN!" Maka screeched. "STEIN! HE'S GOING TO KILL ME!"
"Nonsense!" Keeper Franken Stein dismissed, squinting down at her from the watch tower. He had a rolled up parchment in his hand, his heavy winter coat open to reveal a stitched up black turtle neck. He wore dark leather straps that crisscrossed down his chest, revealing an assortment of daggers at his sides. His pants were wool, black, and they were tucked into his furred boots for added warmth. "He's playing!"
"THIS IS NOT PLAYING!" Maka screamed. "THIS IS MURDER!"
"Consider this part of your training!" Stein shouted, watching her dodge around the playful dragon. "You will need to train your dragon to conform with your will! Consider this your first exam!"
"CONSIDER THIS," Maka snarled out, dodging another pounce. "FAILED!" His pudgy hands tried to grab her and Clay bounced up and down happily when she dodged. She could see there was no ill-intent in his actions but that did not mean that she didn't feel the seep of fear in her bones. Dragons were dangerous creatures and nothing was more dangerous than a dragon who tried to roughhouse with their Trainer as if they were another of their kind. She had no authority over this dragon; he viewed her as an equal and that simply could not be. She was his Trainer, not his companion. For this to work, there needed to be some sort of hierarchy and there obviously was none as Clay's hand whacked into her shoulder and she was blown back by the force.
Maka was grateful she had decided to wear her shoulder plating today.
"Oh, alright," Stein mumbled. He made a waving motion and Maka saw a streak of gold from the corner of her eye. It was not long before something crashed into Clay just when the dragon was moments away from taking another swing at Maka. Maka crawled back a few steps, holding a hand to her chest to calm her racing heart while Stein's dragon wrestled the other one into submission. As they exchanged roars and bites, Clay's heavy tail swinging at the gold-scaled dragon with the enormous set of claws, Maka stumbled upright and made her way undetected to the watch tower, running up the stairs with hell to say.
"I don't want him!" Maka hissed, storming right up to Stein. Before the Keeper could say anymore, she shouted: "Stein, he's disobedient and he misbehaves and no matter how much I try to make him submissive to me, he does not listen! He's an idiot and he thinks everything is a game—that's not the type of dragon I want!"
"He's very young. That explains his playful behavior however I would not reject him so brashly. He's a highly intelligent being, he just has the mindset of a child just like any other at his age. One of the advantages to bonding with a young dragon is their fierce loyalty to you in the future," Stein calmly rationalized. "It's also easier to train them at a young—!"
"I don't have the patience—nor time—to deal with a rambunctious, toddler dragon, Stein!" Maka sighed. "I barely have the tolerance to deal with my father, I do not need another child to look after!"
"You would make quite a wife," Stein deadpanned and Maka growled warningly, her gloved hands clenching into fists. "Well, we don't receive another batch of dragons until the next half-moon, so you will have to wait if you decide to take on another dragon. Will you?"
Maka only had to look at Clay, the goof rolling on his back and flailing his long arms excitedly, to say, "Yes."
Stein heaved a sigh but understood. "You're eighteen, Maka. You were supposed to bond with a dragon months ago. You know you can't attend formal combat classes without one."
"I know," Maka dropped her eyes, looking back at the two dragons roughhousing on the forest floor. She tightened her furry coat over herself, the wind chill beginning to get to her. "But these last three, it doesn't matter if I could have tamed them. I just don't feel…a connection with them, like the others do. Meme never gave me any trouble, she was very obedient from the start, but there was still something lacking. There's always something lacking and I don't know what it is or how to remedy it."
Stein smiled and turned back to the training grounds, understanding her confusion more than she thought he did. "Your father requested for your presence an hour ago."
Maka cringed. "…What did you tell him?"
"That you were training, which you certainly were, and that you would return late."
Maka beamed up at the Keeper. "Thank you, Stein!"
"You are very welcome. Although, going to see him might be of your interest," Stein looked at her when she asked how and his face became grim. "There has been sightings of an Asura down by the cliff-sides. Recently, there have also been rumors that the travesties that have plagued the eastern villages are due to that dragon, and it's of major concern if it's circling close to ours. Although we may be able to stave off its attacks, we can't for long. Asuras are infamous for hoarding not material objects but live beings such as other dragons. If this Asura is dominating neighboring villages with its hoard, then we'll have a battle on our hands and many people will be caught in the crossfire."
Maka clenched her fists, looking back at Clay again. There was the temptation of retracting her statement and training Clay anyway, if only to be prepared for the threat that loomed over them. But she also knew that forcing herself to use Clay could result in additional devastation. There was no need to cause anymore trouble than there already was.
"How long ago was this?"
"Five nights ago."
"And we were informed of this now?"
"According to your father, yes," Stein adjusted his rounded spectacles on the bridge of his nose. "He wants you to stay within the village perimeter until we're sure it's gone."
"Maka," Stein rose his voice, casting her a sharp look. She might not be his daughter, but he certainly had more authority over her than her own father did. It also didn't help that she sought him out when it came to these sorts of fatherly things. "It's dangerous and you do not even have a dragon to aid you should things go wrong. I know you and I know you will go investigate to see if it's true and I advise you, for once, to think things through. If you go," he cautioned, "and it sees or even hears you, it will attack you. Asuras do not hoard humans, nor do the majority of the draconian specie, you know this. You will have no chance to escape if you're attacked."
Maka pressed her lips together, knowing this too well. Stein was Keeper of the Dragons in their tiny village but he was also very knowledgeable of the creatures, given that he had well-documented a plethora of species in a tome kept in the hands of her father. He had also taught her class all about the strange habits of dragons and one of them involved the particular phenomena of hoarding. There were particular dragons, such as the Kishin specie or the even rarer Soul Eaters, whom hoarded humans instead of material possessions such as jewels or gold and kept them locked up in their caves to starve. Although it was not the dragons intention to allow the human to die, it often happened, and it sometimes explained the continual disappearance of people as the dragons tended to replace them as they died.
"I won't go look for it so recklessly, I know better than that," Maka mumbled, adding sourly: "I'm not twelve, Stein. I'm eighteen."
"I know," Stein calmly said. "Being eighteen is different from acting eighteen, however."
"What was that?!"
"Nothing. It's a nice day out, isn't it?" he airily said.
Maka growled and shot him a dark look he ignored. He turned back to his dragon and waved his hand twice. Maka watched as the golden-scaled dragon perked up attentively and abandoned Clay altogether, jumping into the air with a spread of shimmering wings and returning back to where she had been previously. Maka couldn't exactly lie and say she wasn't the least bit envious of his facility with the dragon, of how easily she bent to his will and how absolutely fascinating it was to watch Meister and dragon act as one, both off the battle field as on it.
"I'm going home," she stated.
"By this time, he's probably home and if he's not, I don't want to know where he is," Maka soured a little more, her eyes going down to her knee-high boots. They were furred to shield from the cold snow with twin white straps that wrapped around her calves tightly. Her dark maroon skirt was pleated and knee-length, kept up by a belt of olden leather with a large silver buckle in the middle. The pants she wore underneath did little to stave off the cold, but she made do with what she had. Her shirt was laced in the front with string, sundried brown leather that protected her from blows to her chest. She hadn't worn her chest-plate today; she hardly wore any heavy armor when she came to training. The most she wore were her gloves and the special black wrapping around her wrists that Black Star, her childhood friend, had given her when her combat training began many years ago. Aside from that, this was the very same outfit her mother donned when she was sent out to hunt for skin and meat, when the times had still been kind to her. Now she resided in a secluded village far, far away from her own—with a new family and a new husband that was not a cheating scoundrel like her father.
But she understood her mother was not as innocent as she liked to make herself out to be. Two months away from the old and in came the new. These things in love never lasted, that had been bitterly taught to Maka from a tender age. This was why she wanted to become a Trainer—a Meister, like her mother had been once, but better than her. To get away from those obligations, the apparent misery of marriage and children, and most especially loathsome men like her father. Instead of marrying first, bearing children, and then becoming a Meister, like her mother had done, Maka planned on pursuing this career until death stole her soul away. No mortal man was going to steal her away like her father had to her mother, no, Maka had a plan and Maka Albarn always kept to her plans.
Which was why, as she looked to where the sun was setting, she needed to compose a very good plan for what was to come next. Asuras had a horrid sense of smell but their hearing was otherworldly. It was a good thing Maka had always been very light on her feet…
"Dinner is at six, Marie is punctual about these things," Stein absently told her and then added, "No, not you Marie. The other Marie."
Maka squeaked when she heard the disheartened snort of Stein's dragon, ironically named Marie by the Keeper. Maka backed up a few steps as the dragon hovered nearby, sending her Meister a dark look.
"Why you would name her the same as your wife," Maka began slowly, "I will never understand."
"She reminds me of her," a faint smile flit his face before it was gone. "Will you be coming? Marie needs to know how many bowls to put out. No, not you, you don't have opposable thumbs," he gave his dragon a look she whined at.
"I'll drop by! I promise!" Maka gave a little wave and a half-smile at them both, already a few steps down the stone stairs. "Tell Marie I might be late!" She shouted over her shoulder as she ran. The dragon perked up at her name and only soured when Maka cast her an apologetic look. "I—have some stuff to do!"
"Trouble more like it," Stein muttered and turned back to Clay, who was now chasing his tail. He cocked his head at the dragon when it crashed into the floor, moaning in pain. He attacked his tail right after, rolling around as he played with the ball of spikes at the end. He pricked himself and released a cry, placated now that he was hurt. Stein rubbed his chin. "Hm, he might be a little special after all...what do you think, Marie?"
The dragon merely snorted.
This was it.
He was going to do it; he was going to tell his daughter no and mean it.
It was far too dangerous, far too risky, to do otherwise so Spirit steeled himself right before he stepped inside his home.
"Darling?" Spirit tentatively called out, peering in. He checked both ways before stepping inside completely, making his way around their wooden dining room table to the small little cot that was his daughters bed. The fireplace was lit; he knew Maka was home if it was, she would never light it and leave it on if she was not present. "Where are you? I need to speak to you about something urgent!"
"I'm up here," Maka said and Spirit looked up to find her slouched back on one of the slanted wooden pillars that held their home up. She was playing with a pocket knife, carving something out of wood. Swirls of wood shavings collected in a tiny mountain on the hard-wood floor. "What do you want?"
Spirit heaved a sigh. "I want to talk."
"Face to face."
"I am facing you."
"Maka, you know this is not what I mean," Spirit frowned but she only continued her carving. He didn't push her, though, he was reluctant to push her—not since the separation, at least. It had been years since but Maka had never quite gotten over how her mother had caught him in cahoots with one of the barmaids in their village and then subsequently left. She had only been eleven at the time, just registered for her first classes of combat training. It also didn't help how quickly her mother had settled down with another man a few towns away. Things were not always as black and white as they seemed but they had both been having trouble with their marriage and Maka had been unfortunately stuck in between. "I want to tell you about—!"
"The Asura spotting? I know. Stein told me."
Spirit blinked. "Oh. Ahem, well. Then you should already know that no one is allowed outside the village at all times."
"Do you know where it is?" Maka asked instead.
"No, we don't. Not yet!"
"But do you know where it was last spotted?"
Maka perked up. "Can you give me an approximation?"
Spirit thought about it. "Due west, a few points past Gallows Way. It's by the cliff-sides. Old Tezca caught sighting of it when he was picking up some herbs. He barely made it out with his life! That's why I don't want you to…"
Maka stopped carving as she was drawn back into her thoughts, ignoring her father. She knew exactly where that was, having been there a few times with Marie to pick up some herbs, and it was quite some ways away from her village. If she left at dawn with the excuse of training, she could make it there in an hours time and scout for any sort of clue that would help them gain an advantage against this new threat. Maka knew it was unlikely for the dragon to linger in such open space—they liked caves or small, cramped spaces where they could curl up—so at that time of morning she should have no problem traversing that part of the land without any risk of danger. If she could pick up some clues that might hint that this Asura had a hoard and, perhaps judge the number by the tracks left behind, she could tell Stein and they could come up with a battle strategy or—
"Do I make myself clear, Maka?"
"Yes," Maka smirked, sitting upright.
That was the plan! She was going to go investigate! But she would be careful: she knew Stein was right about the dangers, but she was eighteen and had a pretty good handle on basic combat and strategy. She was one of the best. After all, she strove to be the best and it helped that she had a talent for it.
"Oh. Um," Spirit fumbled. He hadn't expected her to agree so easily; she was a spitfire just like her mother. "Well, good! That's my girl!"
"I'm going to train Clay tomorrow, early morning," Maka lied, looking down at her father. She slunk into a crouch and jumped down, landing with a dull thud. "So I'll be leaving early tomorrow!"
"Maka, you know you can't go past the perimeter," Spirit scolded.
"I know! I won't, I'll be close by! I promise—please, papa?" Maka begged, giving him a wide-eyed look of hope. Spirit looked stricken, never having been good at resisting his daughters wide-eyed looks. "Please? I promise I won't go far!"
"W…well, I suppose so, but only if Stein accompanies you!"
"Yes! He will, thanks, papa!" Maka chimed, running past him.
"Wait, where are you going? Maka, it's dark outside! You have a curfew!"
"Dinner with Stein! You can come, too, Marie always makes good food!"
"Dinner," Spirit sighed to himself, watching his daughter go. "Dinner sounds good right now," he told himself and brightened up at the thought of his daughter finally interacting with him normally. She seemed happy and receptive this time! No passive-aggressiveness, no bitterness, no threats to axe his head off! If she was truly coming around, Spirit really didn't want to stop the progress! He dashed after her with renewed vigor, shouting: "Wait for your papa, darling, AND SAVE HIM A SEAT RIGHT NEXT YOU!"
"No!" came her far-away cry.
Well, close enough, he decided merrily.
A/N: This story is based off the fanart that Jazzie560 beautifully drew! If you have yet to see it, you can check her out on Tumblr or DeviantArt. She goes by the same name. However, technically speaking, this story is based off How to Train Your Dragon and I decided to switch up the last word with Soul in the title because it plays a big part in the future...in both senses.