Sain and Mina have trouble mastering one of the techniques. I just figured this would be one of the ones they struggle with because the whole concept is awkward. I like making Sain and Pawe but heads; its a weird kind of entertainment for me. And yes, Pawe owns Sain in this chapter. Well anyway, enjoy.


Chapter 14
The next morning we woke up with a splash… literally. Pawe had seen that Mina was in my arms and probably got the wrong idea.

“Maybe that will cool the two of you down,” he said. “Now come on, let’s start some training.”

I was about to go at him to kick his ***, but Mina held me back. Instead she held me tighter and gave me a look that told me to forget about it. It still pissed the hell out of me. He could do anything he wanted to me, but he didn’t have the right to do that to Mina.

We followed Pawe into a small clearing, and he slowly began his briefing for the next exercise.

“The next exercise has many names. After image, shadow step, illusion step, shadow evasion. For our tense and purposes we shall call it the spirit evasion. It’s a bit trickier than the last couple of techniques but its very duable so listen up. The spirit evasion technique requires gathering energy throughout your whole body. This means that you don’t have a fixed point to which you have to gather energy. The amount of energy doesn’t have to be a lot, just enough to fill your whole body. Now this is where it gets tricky. When you dash, you must release that energy. If done correctly, you will leave an image of yourself behind. This technique is most effective because it doesn’t take much energy, and it fools your enemies. The technique will also give you an opening if used correctly, so use it wisely. Now begin your training.”

By now Mina and I were pretty adept at gathering energy without using the stupid hand sign we were taught earlier. The hard part now was learning to concentrate and spreading the energy throughout my entire body. I was so used to gathering energy to my hands that most of the energy I gathered was in my arms, while the rest of my body had little or no energy gathered. Mina was struggling as well because I could sense her energy wavering. She had managed to get energy spread through most of her body, but that seemed to be straining her focus to the max. In the meantime I tried on a different approach. Instead of channeling energy through my arms I decided to gather the energy with my legs. If I managed to do that, then surely spreading the energy through my body would be easier. After all, if I learned how to control my energy elsewhere in my body, then I would be able to channel it anywhere I desired.

“Spread the energy evenly throughout your body, otherwise the technique won’t work. Concentrate,” Pawe barked.

This was turning out to be harder than I thought. It was like knowing teaching yourself to write with your right hand and then suddenly going over and learning how to do it with your left. Two hours passed, then three. Mina managed to get the energy to spread evenly through her body, but was having trouble executing the spirit evasion. It was taking all of her focus just to gather the energy, so she was basically stuck. On the other hand, I was having trouble just gathering energy to my feet.

“Pawe, can we take a break? This is getting us nowhere,” I said after the sixth hour of not getting anywhere.

“No, this technique does not require a lot of energy, so there should be no reason for you to rest up. Besides, you two have passed three and a half of the tests required of you. You’ve also mastered three of the five techniques that require the molding of spirit energy. The problem is not that you can’t do it, it’s that you are not trying hard enough,” he yelled.

I was getting tired of his yelling already, so I decided to talk back, perhaps maybe to get

him to shut up.

“You’re probably our age, yet you talk to us as if we were little kids. What’s your problem,” I

yelled at him.

“I don’t have a problem; you’re the one who doesn’t like following directions. Face it kid, you’re just a whiny little *****. You’re just angry right now because you aren’t able to master one of the easiest techniques. I was able to master everything you two are learning when I was just ten years old. And my father wasn’t as lenient as I have been with the two of you. Just look at the girl over there, do you see her complaining?” he finished.

I looked over at where Mina was standing, and she was hard in thought. Her eyes were closed and her focus was harder than ever, yet she still had a hard time mastering the move.

“And by the way kid, I’m twenty two years old, so start showing some respect,” he finished.

I was startled by his response. How could it be, Mina and I had seen him at school at least a dozen times. And he didn’t look so old. Sure he wasn’t as young and Mina and I, but he could easily pass off as a junior or senior.

“I’m a part time student teacher and I teach geometry and philosophy at your school,” he explained, probably reading my confused look. “I’ve seen you at school and know how you behave. You think you’re tough **** just because you can sense some minor spirit energy. But let me tell you something kid; when you get beaten up by someone with overwhelming power, you’ll learn some respect, and you’ll see how much of an *** you’ve been.”

“Tch, whatever,” I said going back to my training. I didn’t want to waste more time on him, I just wanted to finish this training.

After the twelfth hour of failure, Pawe decided to give us a break. All we managed to do was gather some energy, but it wasn’t enough to execute the spirit evasion. I guess we had to put more effort; otherwise we would have to spend the entire day tomorrow doing the same thing. Meanwhile Mina and I were starving; we hadn’t eaten anything all day. Pawe had been kindly enough to go to the store and buy some food. We weren’t aware of it since we were sleeping; I guess he wanted to make sure we didn’t know otherwise we might run away. He brought a dozen eggs, some milk, steak, and a can of vegetables. I was so hungry that I didn’t care what I ate, just as long as it cooked fast.

We had been in this forest for about two and a half weeks already and we hadn’t gone home. Except for when we trained underwater, Mina and I had not taken a bath and we reeked. Pawe had noticed this, and he made sure not to stay to close to us. Of course he didn’t have to worry about smelling awful, he just went home when we weren’t looking. That bastard.

He cooked the eggs for us since he knew that the steak would take longer to cook. We ate a hearty meal of scrambled eggs with a side of vegetables and milk. Once we were done, he sent us off to take a bath. He had brought with him some shampoo and conditioner along with some soap.

Mina was the first to take a bath, and while she was at the river, Pawe didn’t take his eyes off me. Did he really think I was a pervert? My dad had taught me to treat ladies with respect. I, for the most part, made sure to do just that, unless they annoyed the hell outta me. If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I am not a pervert. Of course Pawe wasn’t going to take any chances. One Mina returned I was off to take a bath. I never really noticed how much of a difference a little shampoo and soap made. Immediately I felt fresher and cleaner; I could have stayed in the water forever. However, I happened to catch a wiff off the smoldering steak and decided against staying.

I didn’t really see the point of taking a bath since our clothes still smelled pretty bad. But I guess I can’t complain; at least we were cleaner than before. Pawe tossed me a shirt he picked up, and I thanked him reluctantly. Ever since the incident with the Minotaur I had been training without a shirt, so I was a bit glad for the extra coverage. Now I wouldn’t freeze as much when we went to sleep.

We ate the scrumptious steaks in less time than it took to cook them. Mina and I even licked our fingers clean; we hadn’t had a descent meal in such a long time and our stomachs felt like they were in paradise. It was pretty late already, but Pawe insisted we got back to our training. It wasn’t until dawn was breaking that he decided to let us go to sleep. Mina and I had managed to do some sloppy spirit evasions but that was it. What really helped me out was trying to focus energy on my legs. It made it so much easier to gather energy to different parts of my body. But being sleep deprived made it harder to focus, which is why Pawe had us rest for now. I was glad; I really wanted to get some Zs fast.

We awoke the next day by the same method as the yesterday. Gosh I hated this guy. This time Mina and I were nowhere near each other, and I was angry because I was having a nice dream as well.

Tired and wet, I was dragged by Pawe to start our training again. Maybe I should have gotten up when he told me. We began the day by reviewing the things we had learned the previous days. First off he hid a bunch of spirit imbued pebbles and made us find them. This was pretty easy to do and we finished this without ease. Afterward he made us reduce our energy and made us walk through a field of spirit imbued pebbles. If the pebble’s energy matched the same level as us, they would blow up. Fortunately we were able to stay calm and we made it to the third review, which wasn’t much harder than the last review exercise. This time Pawe had us double our energy and we had to keep moving around while keeping our energy high. It put some stress on our body, but we accomplished it nonetheless. The final thing we needed to go over was the healing technique. He made us do this one last because it took the most energy and we would probably be exhausted afterward. Mina and I concentrated and healed some minor cuts and scrapes we had. I didn’t realize how much the healing technique actually took out of you until I felt some heavy pressure on my body. Pawe explained that there would be times when we would use too much energy and our bodies won’t be able to recover as much. When that happened our bodies would start feeling a bit heavier than normal. We probably didn’t felt it before since our energy wasn’t as high as it was right now, but he continued telling us how we would start feeling the effects the stronger we got.

Once we were done reviewing the previous four abilities, we began reviewing the molding techniques he had taught us. We started off with the barrier technique which was very simple to do. We managed to get through these pretty quickly because they were easy. Next came the blast technique, in which he made us shoot at targets he threw in the air. Mina was up first and fortunately for her she managed to hit all six targets successively. I guess I was just lucky because one of them almost got away from me. Somehow I managed to recover in time and blasted the target before it went out of my range. I was just so excited about the next exercise that was about to come up.

This was my favorite of all the things we had learned so far, the enhancement technique. For this exercise all we had to do was knock down a couple of trees; two with our hands, and two with our feet. I was starting to think this guy had something against trees since he could have made us hit boulders or whatever else we could find. Finally came the dreaded spirit evasion technique. It wasn’t so much that it was hard; it was more that it was confusing. The rest of the techniques revolved around gathering energy somewhere and using it, while this technique involved us gathering energy throughout our body and leaving it behind. Our first attempts were pretty sloppy, just as they had been last night. Slowly but surely we managed to get the hang of it, and despite taking us three whole hours, we were finally able to make the greatest images unlike before.

Pawe seemed impressed and it was then that he announced our last training exercise. Once this was over, we would meet our final challenge and then we would be free to leave this wretched forest. It was hard to believe that only half a month had passed; it seemed like we had been here for years. Mina smiled as we both knew that the end was near, or so we hoped.
“The last exercise will determine what kind of spirit weapon you’re able to form. As you grow stronger you’ll be able to acquire the ability of forming many different spirit weapons, but the first weapon you ever form will always be your strongest weapon, so keep that in mind. This exercise might take you a couple of days, so don’t get frustrated, just keep working at it.”

He then looked at my direction, telling me with his gaze that the last thing he said was meant for me.

“This exercise is pretty straight forward. Just gather some energy in your hand like you’ve always been doing, and think of a weapon shape that you would like the energy to take form. If it is compatible with you, then it shall start forming. If not, move on to something else. Once you notice that it’s beginning to form, keep your focus and eventually you’ll be able to complete it. The good thing about this exercise is that once you are able to form your weapon, you won’t have to focus so much the next time you call on it because it will be registered by your soul.”

“By our soul?” Mina asked confused. I also wanted to know what the heck he meant by that.

“You guys haven’t noticed yet? Spirit energy, the energy you’ve been using, is directly connected to your soul. That is why you never let your energy go to zero; if you did, the soul would therefore have no energy and it disappears. You shouldn’t have to fret so much over this though, since it’s not as important anyway.

Mina and I just shrugged it off and went to our training. It was still hard to believe in a way, but it now made perfect sense as to why our energy never went to zero. But what intrigued me was the fact that we could lower and raise how strong our soul got.

“Are you ready?” Mina asked.

“Sure, I’m ready. I can’t wait to go home again. We’ll finally be able to relax and spend our summer like normal teenagers,” I grinned.

“Perhaps you can take me somewhere fun once this is over.”

“Let me guess..”, I said already knowing the answer. “You want me to take you to the arcade.”

“You don’t have to make it sound so lame, the arcade is so much fun.”

“But you always want to go there; can’t we go somewhere else?”

“Well..” she began. “You said you barely moved here during freshman year, so maybe we could…you know… go to where you grew up. I just want you to show me around the place you grew up in, you know, before I go back to Germany.”

“Well,” I was very reluctant to answer her. I was extremely hated by most of the rival gangs in my old area, so I was unsure of agreeing with her request. I didn’t want to put her in danger. But I turned to look at her face and she seemed very enthusiastic about it. I didn’t want to let her down.

“Fine, we’ll do that before you go to Germany, but you have to promise to do well and help me pass the next challenge,” I suggested.

“Agreed!” she shouted gleefully.

That was something that I should never have agreed on, and we would learn to pay for it dearly.