63 What must be done before winter part 3
Once the dummy was complete, everyone gave it a try. The boys, in particular, enjoyed their new toy often trying to copy the description of John's technique. They would all learn it when they reached the foundation stage, so this was proper training for the future.
Anna spent every moment she could training with Franklin. When they got up in the morning they'd run. After breakfast, Franklin would train in John's technique. Before lunch, they'd do muscle training by lifting heavy objects and doing squats. After lunch, they'd join everyone for Elanor's basic training regimen. In the evening they'd hunt weak demonic beasts in the forest.
Time flowed on like this until the air chilled and snow threatened to fall. That day the boys were called to help by their moms, and Laurel was all alone with the dummy. She also did the training to join in the fun some times. But the boys tended to hog the dummy. Today though she's just unleashing her anger on it smacking it about with no intention of practicing.
"Stupid Franklin," smack, "Stupid boys," smack, "Stupid village," smack, "Stupid raggedy clothes," Laurel complains with each strike.
"Having a rough day?" Elanor asks as she walks over.
"Elanor!" Laurel lights up. She drops her sword and runs over. "I'm so bored there isn't anyone to play with. There isn't anything pretty hear it's all mud, wood, and demonic beasts," Laurel cries.
Elanor receives the hug encompassing the girl between her ample chest. "There's one thing pretty in the village!" Elanor exclaims.
"What?" Laurel asks peaking up at Elanor between the mountains.
"You," Elanor replies while giving the girl a squeeze.
Laurel blushed at the sudden attack. She then pushes away and gestures to the village. "There's nothing here. I'm all alone. Only when you come here can I have someone to talk too! No one cares about fashion or love.
The boys only want to fight. Playing with Donna is just babysitting, and while she says she wants to be girly, she's the biggest tomboy in the world. She always comes back covered in grass stains and mud," Laurel pours her heart out to Elanor. The stream of complaints just come out one after another until she's exhausted.
Elanor laughs and pats the dummy's shoulder. "Why take it out on this guy you should just beat the boys up and make them play with dolls!" Elanor jokes.
"There's no way I could do that!" Laurel rejects.
"That's fine. Who cares about them anyway look what I've brought!" Elanor changes the subject. She waves her hand, and a chest of exquisite dresses appears. Even a small changing room pops out of thin air. "Let's dress you up!"
Then a magical evening passes by of dresses and laughter. Each dress was crafted with care. The silk's softness couldn't even be described. It felt as if it wasn't even there letting air pass through as light as wearing nothing. Sometimes Laurel felt like they floated being lighter than air.
Well it is fun they were all made for Ellanor, so Laurel didn't fill them out in any way. Elanor filled them with so many pins that Laurel felt like a pincushion. Still, she thought this is what a girls life should be like. Yet the sun dropped too quickly, and the fun ended.
Elanor as free as the wind disappeared into the night. While Laurel was still bound to this place in the middle of no were. The girl looks out with longing towards her old home before shaking her head. Laurel smacks her cheeks with her hands and puts on a smile before returning home.
That night Laurel had a strange dream. Different from her dreams of an ocean she was sitting at a small table with tea. Across from her was an old man with grey hair and a well-trimmed gray beard. He gave off the look of a distinguished man.
"Hello, sir," Laurel ventures as the old man sips his tea.
"After all that complaining you're not even going to take time to relax and drink tea?" John asks with a smirk.
Laurel starts and quickly reaches for the teacup in front of her. "Thank you!" She yelps. She then slowly brings the tea to her lips and sips it. Her eyes go wide as the taste fills her mouth and warms her body. "Wow," she sighs. 'This truly is a dream to have something so delicious,' she thinks.
"To be honest I was reluctant to see you like this. If I were pulled into something because of your eyes I would inevitably be crushed to death," John confesses.
"Oh?" Laurel mumbles enthralled by the tea. Then her eyes widen, and she looks at the old man. "You're that bush!?"
"Ha,ha, that's right it is I John. And you, my dear, have blown passed everyone and reached foundation stage!" John exclaims while opening his arms for emphasis. He then leans closer to her with a raised eyebrow. "Did something special happen to you recently?"
"I don't think so…" Laurel mumbles while leaning back in her chair. She couldn't handle this intimidating old man. Then suddenly she remembers, 'the promise,' she thinks.
"So there was something," John nods knowingly. "Don't worry it doesn't change anything. I promised to teach you, kids, when you reached foundation stage so here I am."
"I don't think I'm cut out for fighting and such," Laurel rejects while hiding behind her teacup.
"So what! I was a gardener, and I still died in battle. You are a girl with diviner's eyes you only have three futures in front of you," John counters. He then holds up three fingers dropping one as he says each outcome, "Death, Imprisonment, or battle. Which would you prefer?"
"None! I just want to be a pretty girl in a safe town," Laurel cries.
"That path doesn't exist. I'm sorry," John says gently. "However if you fight there may be some sort of happy life out there for you. If you give up there will be nothing but the next life. Look at Elanor she is happy and goes where she wants, wearing what she wants. Well that may never be you there maybe someplace you will want to be in the future," John consoled.
"I'm tired of being swept away by everything. I'm most tired of these dumb eyes ruining my life!" Laurel complains.
"Perfect! Let your anger give you strength. Do not let yourself be pushed around by the current any longer," John tells the girl as the world changes.
Laurel now finds herself next to a waterlily floating in a gentle stream. The water only reaches her ankle and tickles her feet as it passes by slowly. The red waterlily floats over to her leg as if to encourage her.
Laurel looks around confused she then noticed that the water was picking up steam. "Don't let anything control you any more stand your ground!" John's voice echos out around her. The water rises slowly, and she felt her self be jostled by waves on her lower legs.
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The water slowly rises as well causing her to stumble. Laurel fell to her knees cutting them on the rocks below. She cried out in shock tears filling her eyes. "I don't want this! I want to be home," she wailed. As she is broken by despair, she saw the red waterlily hanging on by just a strand of root.
Water splashes Laurel's face causing her to cough. She stumbles trying to get a stable footing. Every time she tries to stand she falls again. Her tears only seem to cause the water to strike her with more force. Still, the waterlily stays by her side encouraging her.
"The weak may be crushed underfoot by the strong. But the weak can sometimes go far beyond themselves. You must unlock your inner fire. You must be able to say on this day I will not move aside!" John advice sounds in Laurel's ears filling her mind.
After hours of being beaten and scraped up Laurel was exhausted beyond belief. She clung to a rock, but her hands are already bleeding. The red waterlily next to her also seemed to be at its limit. "sorry," Laurel said to her only friend here. Her grip breaks and she slides down the rapids. Still that waterlily that always looked about to break stayed where it was.
Suddenly Laurel felt all her frustrations well up inside her. Her feet strike the ground finding footing once again. "On this day I will not move aside!" she screams while pushing against the water with all her might. At the same time two chains glimmer from her chest.
BANG! The water explodes being forced back to whence it came. Laurel collapses to the ground gasping for air. Every part of her body aching. The water returned to its original pleasant stream as the waterlily floated over, caressing her arm gently. Laurel laughs to her self as the dream fades.
"Remember that feeling. It's the key to my technique," John says as Laurel wakes in her bed without any repercussions from the training.