• Kitan woke up, yelling and feeling the side of his head.

    that woman has a rock for a fist! he thought feeling the
    blood returning to his skull.

    As his vision returned to normal he decided to look around
    and check out his surroundings. he was lying on a
    feather-stuffed bed in a house. When he looked towards the
    window he noticed Gnal laying on a similar bed. Gnal was
    still sleeping even though mere moments ago he had woke up
    screaming. He looked out the window and saw the building the
    two of them were in was on a hill. He realized he was in the
    house of the village healer, Ruwanda. Her family has been
    making sure the people of the village were healthy since
    Kitan can remember. Ruwanda wasn't in right now, he figured
    she was making her rounds and teaching her little sister the
    family trade. Kitan decided to get up and have a look around
    until either she returned or Gnal woke up. He hadn't made it
    even five steps when Gnal sat straight up and reached for
    something that wasn't there, then lay back down. Kitan saw
    Gnal's eyes were still closed.

    Is he moving in his sleep? only one way to find out, Kitan
    thought to himself.

    Kitan moved cautiously towards Gnal. He was standing to the
    side of Gnal's bed when he felt his stomach rumble.
    Gnal suddenly shot up and yelled, "No! That's my chicken pot
    pie!" then laid back down. Kitan just smiled to himself and returned
    to looking around. Inside the room was the two beds and next to
    each was a dresser. On the dresser next to the bed he was on was
    his bag. He just figured one of the other students had brought
    it, along with Gnal's bag. It was about an hour after He had
    woken up when the door opened. Ruwanda's little sister
    Malinda, had run inside to greet Kitan, who was now sitting
    on the bed writing in his notepad he had dug out of his bag.
    Ruwanda was a couple paces behind.

    "Hewo mister, you wook happy, are you feewing better?" she
    asked trying to sound like her older sister.

    "I am fine. My friend and I are grateful for such great care
    you have given us."

    "It wasn't just me but my big sis too, she did most of
    the wapping up."

    Kitan looked to Ruwanda, he smiled and said his thanks.
    Kitan returned his notepad back to his pouch on the side of
    his bag.

    "When were we brought in?"

    "Early this morning, about an hour or two after sunrise. I
    had just woken up an opened the door to make my rounds when
    I nearly tripped over your two bodies. I must say this time
    I actually thought you WERE dead!" she said shaking her

    She was fixing a cup of tea for him when she stopped and
    turned with a letter in her hand, "when you were brought by
    one of the other students they gave me this letter. He said
    to give this to them when they wake up."

    She handed the letter to him and glanced over at Gnal, he
    was still sleeping but now chewing on his pillow and
    mumbling something about how good his pot pie was. He opened
    the letter and began reading.

    To my idiotic students;

    You morons were lucky. I must have had a cold today to have
    been able to get cut by you two I mean come on you two never
    show up on time, never showed any enthusiasm in my teachings

    Kitan decided to skim past all the berating comments.

    ...but I will stand by my word. If you two morons can move
    fast enough to make it to my house, you remember where it
    is? just think back to the last time I caught you trying to
    give me my own 'lesson'.

    oh and be here by sunset tonight or the deals off. Try not
    to let your little boo-boo's stop you.

    Kitan crumpled up the letter and threw it in the fireplace,
    even though it wasn't lit he wanted it out of his mind when
    he got back. Kitan got his stuff together and tossed Gnal's
    stuff at him, waking him up. He was mumbling again about
    some kind of food.

    "Who the hell took...OW!" Gnal was clutching his chest, the
    memory of the fight was returning to him. "Why did you do
    that? I had her right-"

    "I'll explain later, but we gotta go now if we are going to
    get a chance at her again."

    While Gnal was getting his stuff together Kitan was getting
    him up to speed on what happened while he was out. He
    decided it was best to not tell him what he did while he was

    "Alright! I'm gonna make that old windbag pay. Thanks again
    Ruwanda, and of course Malinda." She just hid behind her
    sister and giggled.

    "The fastest way to her house is along the mountain trail
    remember, she lived outside of the village next to the

    Kitan nodded and the two of them set out. As they were
    nearing the entrance to the village Gnal's little sister
    came running up to them. Gnal motioned for him to continue
    and he'd catch up once he finished. Kitan went on ahead. It
    was a few moments but Gnal came jogging up to join him.

    "So you work everything out?"

    "Yeah she was just worried when I didn't show up for lunch,
    oh here this is for you from her" he handed him a box filled
    with food.

    "So we have till sunset to get there?" Kitan nodded, "that's
    too long, you know she will have a few surprises along the
    way right?"

    Kitan nodded again and said, "Rule four: A trap forseen is
    another day lived."

    The two had left the outer edges of the village and were
    just rounding the last hill before the beginning of the
    mountain trail. Kitan looked up and saw the sun was sitting
    just above a distant hill.

    "If we are going to get there in time we are going to speed
    it up, after we take a break." Gnal was about to argue but
    Kitan continued, "unlike you who was taken down by me, I
    took the full force of Master's fist. I think a couple of my
    ribs are broken and a couple are bruised." Kitan couldn't
    hold it this time and coughed up blood.

    "Damn, Kitan couldn't you have told me this before we set
    out? I could have carried a little more of the supplies."

    "No I couldn't do that to you, I didn't-"

    "No this is going to hurt us even more, she's going to take
    advantage of that and when she does..." Gnal said
    interrupting him. After a few moments of quiet he spoke
    again, but calmer.

    "I have a plan...if she tries to take you out first but its
    gonna be tricky. I can explain it to you on the way. We don't
    have enough time so lets get you bandaged up and we'll have
    to jog the rest of the way."

    Gnal helped Kitan bandage his mid section up so he had some
    sort of support to help with his ribs. Once he was bandaged,
    they sat and rested while eating the lunch Gnal's sister made
    for them.

    "So, what do you think the old windbag has planned for our
    'private' training?" Gnal said munching on what was left of
    a sandwich.

    "I don't know... and why don't you ever refer to her by her
    title? it's disrespectful." Kitan said shaking his head
    finishing his food.

    "I won't show her respect until I beat her, when the student
    surpasses the teacher." Gnal said not caring if some of his
    hatred seeped into his words.

    Kitan chose to sit quietly and not respond. Gnal's anger was
    just for show and Kitan knew that. He hated not being able
    to protect himself or those close to him. When he was saved
    that day it sparked something in him. Kitan wondered how
    long this spark would keep him going before...

    "Lets go we have to jog the rest it'll be sunset soon and we
    wont be able to judge how much time we will have once we are
    further in on the path to her place."

    Gnal and Kitan gathered their stuff and began jogging up the
    trail. Every now and then they would trip traps she set to
    catch her food or the occasional bandit who decided to hide
    out until it was safe. It felt like hours had passed before
    the trail began to widen.

    "It looks like we're getting closer, be careful I know she's
    going to try to pull--"

    "You moron, with a voice like that, even the village idiot
    could sneak up on you and you wouldn't even have a chance."

    The familiar voice of their master came not from before them
    but from behind them.

    Gnal whirled around and struck wildly with his spear into
    any nearby bushes within his reach.

    "Yes because stabbing randomly is the obvious choice of
    tactics here." She said sarcastically, taunting him.

    She knew about his hatred for her and was using that against
    him. Kitan had to bring their game to an end. Kitan drew his
    blades and tried to pin point where she was. He focused hard
    but couldn't tell where she was. He had to admit when she
    didn't want to be found she REALLY didn't want to be found.
    He decided to take a page out of Gnal's book. He also began
    to stab randomly into areas around them.

    "I thought you'd come up with something better than that
    Kitan. I obviously have my work cut out for me getting you
    two morons ready."

    Kitan wondered what she meant by that, getting us ready... A
    small object shot out a tree to Kitan's left. He easily
    knocked it away with Hirohira, but as soon as he knocked it
    away another two objects shot towards them from two
    different sides. Kitan and Gnal switched to defending
    themselves until they could find a break between objects.
    Unfortunately they weren't fast enough. For every object
    that didn't hit them, two did. The barrage felt endless.

    "We have to go on the offensive! I am tired of being pelted
    by these damn pebbles!" Gnal shouted to Kitan.

    "You don't think I know that!" Kitan retaliated, "you don't
    think I feel the same way, how do we go on the offensive
    when she has us pinned?!"

    As if to taunt them further the pebbles ceased. Keeping
    their guard up they swiftly moved to a wider, less covered
    area. As they moved every few seconds a pebble would shoot
    towards them. It was easily avoided but Kitan felt like it
    was part of her plan. He had the odd feeling of being like a
    cow being herded to the pen. The trail ended abruptly
    leaving them standing facing a small open area with a
    waterfall in front of them a few yards away and her house to
    the side of the waterfall.

    "Alright now she has to come at us from behind us or from
    somewhere we can see her" Gnal said, "ya hear that ya old
    windbag, come get the poundin you deserve from me!"

    Sometimes you can be oblivious Gnal, Kitan thought to

    "Master, why are you doing this? you told us to be here
    before sunset and we did, the sun...." Kitan started to say

    and then thought about what was happening. She said to be
    here before sunset so we could have a fighting chance, so we
    could see our attacker... this is it...
    He thought trying to comprehend
    her strategy, then it hit him and he realized what she was doing. She's
    testing us.

    "Gnal shes testing..." Kitan started to say to Gnal but he
    had already figured it out, he was trying to use her own
    tactic against her. He was always faster than Kitan at
    analyzing the situation. Gnal was using his spear to hit
    pebbles the way they came and was shouting insults.

    "Ah, so you two already knew what I was trying to do huh?"
    She stepped out from behind a tree to the side of them.

    Kitan didn't even hear any rustle of leaves or breaking of
    twigs. Gnal just cursed under his breath. and smacked a
    pebble at her. She caught it with her open hand and crushed

    What did she do before she came to the village, Kitan
    thought seriously to himself.

    "Today's lesson is over, tomorrows will be a little tougher"
    she said walking past them dropping her handful of pebbles.
    One actually looked to be a fairly large rock. Kitan was
    grateful she decided to stop when she did. He didn't want to
    imagine what could have happened. "so in order for you two
    morons to handle the strain I want you both to put your
    stuff in the house and go wash under the waterfall, if you
    want you can think of it as meditation."

    she made a face and sniffed the air around Gnal. He tried to
    push her away but she twisted his arm and used the momentum
    to pull him to the ground, slowly putting pressure on his
    twisted arm. "but actually you just smell like failure. Lets
    see if I can change that after I get done with you."

    She let go of him and walked casually to her house. Once
    inside Gnal grabbed his stuff and followed her, grumbling
    curses he didn't think were possible. Kitan looked towards
    the top of the waterfall and saw the last rays of sunlight
    shooting over. He picked up his stuff but it became hard for
    him to breathe. Gnal was just opening the door when he saw
    Kitan struggling. He rushed over to him, shouting.

    "Hey, windbag, help! Kitan's hurt from earlier this morning,
    and he can't breathe!"

    Their master was there in moments, lifting him effortlessly
    and rushing him to the waterfall. All Kitan could see or
    hear was the soft pounding of his heart as its beat went
    from speedy to a soft pound every few seconds, and the way
    she looked as she rushed him to the waterfall. It was the
    only time he had ever seen such fear in her face, she looked
    older than he remembered. He suddenly felt the ice-cold
    water as it splashed across his entire body. Now he was a
    little afraid she had lost her mind and decided to drown him
    under the falling water. Gnal was close behind trying to
    help him escape from her iron clad grip. With a single sweep
    of her leg she kept him at bay as she stood under the water
    holding Kitan's body. After a few moments under, she walked
    out and laid him on the ground. Kitan spat out what water he

    "What the hell are you trying to do?!" Kitan said getting to
    his feet, "first you say your going to give us special training,
    then you chuck rocks at us for fun, then you try to drown me?
    I think Gnal's right, your nuts!"

    "You moron your worse than your other, more idiotic side.
    How do you feel? hows your breathing?" She said waiting
    until it dawned on him and then walked back inside.

    "Kitan! You alright?" Gnal said rushing over to him just in
    case, "How you feeling? Do your ribs hurt?" Gnal asked
    question after question.

    Kitan didn't answer any of them. He was still trying to
    figure out what just happened himself. Gnal grabbed Kitan's
    stuff and told him to stay there and relax while he put his
    stuff in the house. He didn't want him to strain himself in
    case the pain came back. Standing, he just stared at the

    Too many questions, he thought to himself, Too many
    answers needed.