“Tonight we begin with combat,” Kineri said and I nodded, the other two past Key’d disappeared in a puff of smoke. A training room materialized and Kineri had me step forward to the mat placed in the center of the floor.
“How can I learn combat in a dream and utilize it in reality?” I asked as Kineri began to lay weapons on a table in front of me. He paused and looked at me seriously.
“Once a Key’d is taught something, he or she never forgets it,” he turned back to the last weapon and placed it on the table. “Tonight you choose your weapon, and we begin training with it.”
“Which one should I choose?” I asked seriously and he chuckled.
“Choose one that calls to you. Daggers called to Seian, a bow to Emmiale, an axe to me. You are here to find the one that works for you,” he smiled and I rolled my eyes.
He groaned at my sarcasm, “Okay, fine. If the item feels uncomfortable or strange in your hands, it’s not the correct weapon.” I examined at the array in front of me, many more weapons than I had ever seen in one place. There was the typical bow and crossbow, sword, staff, nunchucks, brass knuckles, daggers, spear, axe, club, and a small collection of different sized guns. I picked up each of the guns first, starting with the small pistol and ending with a large shotgun. Everything but the small pistol felt uncomfortable in my hands, so Kineri made them disappear from the table, leaving the pistol. I moved to the staff and spear, but both looked as though a mouse was trying to wield a sword twice the size of it. Not for me. Those disappeared from the table. The axe, club, and crossbow and nunchucks felt the same way—uncomfortable. That left the pistol, brass knuckles, bow, and daggers, all of which I couldn’t choose between.
“Am I only allowed one?” I asked with my eyed focused on the weapons in front of me, mentally trying to choose one.
“Well, I assume not. The past Key’d have only used one, but since you have much to face, I don’t see why we cannot train you in these weapons,” he answered and I smiled. “Okay, Amberlin, which one first?”
“How about the pistol?” I said and he nodded, and a corner of the room turned into a gun range, complete with paper circle targets and noise cancelation headphones.
“We’ll begin with the headphones, then wean you off of them, so that the sound will not break your eardrums when you fire without ear protection,” he placed the headphones around my neck and proceeded to teach me how to load, hold, and fire the gun, as well as unload and clean it. The kickback of the gun wasn’t much, and by the end of our thirty minute session, I had begun to hit inside the target, even once hitting the center. Kineri continued to nod at my progress, slightly critiquing and fixing, but mostly allowing me to learn about the weapon at my own pace.
“I think that’s all for tonight, Amberlin. You need to get some actual rest,” Kineri ruffled my hair and I blew a strand out of my face and pouted.
“But, I’m actually learning something for once, shouldn’t we continue until I’ve finished with every weapon?”
He shook his head and told me, “Get some rest. Call for me the next time you sleep, then you’ll learn something else.”
“Fine,” I sighed and allowed myself to pull away from the dream. I entered into a different dream world, one filled with a broken heart and a dying world. Not much more explaining needs to be done there.
I slept for hours, not having an alarm to wake me up. When the sunlight hit my eyes, I registered it in my brain, stood up and closed the curtains, and threw myself back on to the bed. No one bothered me while I continued to try to sleep, something that made me simultaneously pleased and worried. Once my overimagination had tortured me enough, I sat up the bed and frowned at my predicament. Just as I was about to call out to someone, Reanski opened the door with a flourish, Hanile following behind like a trained dog.
“How is my favorite person today?” She patted me cheek and I resisted the urge to punch her in the nose.
“I’m just fantastic,” I said while clenching my teeth and she tisked her tongue.
“Oh, no, no, no, this won’t do,” she smirked at me and I became suspicious. “All alone in this room by yourself, just heartbroken,” she pulled my head forward to rest on her chest as she patted my hair. I pulled away from her in disgust, but Hanile glared at me.
“I killed you once, I can do it again,” he said harshly and Reanski smiled.
“Oh no need for that, we can just show her who Calimo really loves,” she grabbed my wrist in an iron-clad grip and drug me behind her, Hanile prodding my back to keep me moving. I struggled against the hold, but quickly learned it would do me no good, so I gave up and let her drag me. I began to hear giggling and scowled, knowing who it belonged to. Reanski swung me around by my wrist and let go to propel me into the room, running into the ajar door and ended up sprawled on the floor.
“Oh hi,” I heard the voice of Calimo and I momentarily got excited that he remembered, “girl that was with me when I woke up.” Right, never mind, still Wentar. Kailas stood up and offered me a hand and I wretched myself up with her unexpected help.
“Um, hi there, I’m Amberlin,” I said to the both of them, unsure if either of them knew who I was. Both Wentar and Kailas beamed at me, excited to see me.
“Thank you so much for your help with him,” Kailas squeezed me into a hug. “I don’t know what I would’ve done had he been hurt anymore.”
“Yes, thank you,” Wentar smiled at me from the bed and turned his attention to Kailas, giving her an even bigger smile.
He used to smile at me like that.
I shook myself from my thoughts and tried to seem excited to be there, “So, how long have you two been dating?”
Wentar replied, “On and off for about three years now, and I finally was able to ask her to marry me.” Kailas waved a large sparkly ring at me that made me twist my own engagement ring on my finger. They looked at each other with so much love it made me begin to doubt the feelings he had confessed to me, confusing me even more. So, I decided to take a leap.
Both a physical and mental one.
I sprang past Kailas to be by his side, and before second-guessing my decision, I put my lips on his, pouring as much love as I could into the kiss.
And not once did I receive a kiss back.
Kailas shoved me away from him and all Wentar could do was stare at me in shock. Tears threatened to fall, and I turned away then Kailas ordered me out of the room before fawning over Wentar, once again. Reanski stood outside the door with a triumphant look on her face before whipping out my key.
“First thing I wish for you to do, is to kill Kailas, so you can never look into the eyes of Calimo again without knowing you killed the ‘love of his life’,” she said and clapped her hands with a crazy grin plastered on her face. I tried to I struggled to not go through with the action, understanding that the struggle was futile, but willing to give my own life before taking another’s.
You must do as she says. Nerospi’s voice reverberated through my head and I broke down and nodded.
“Alright, I’ll do it.”