Chapter 1: Plans

It had only been one week since graduation, yet Robert still felt out of place standing at the gate of Espada High, waiting for Drake to be released for the summer. Thoughts of how to spend his final summer, before going to college, raced through Robert's mind. -Maybe I could head to the beach and hit on girls, or perhaps a trip to the Bay Area with Drake. Wouldn't he love that!-

"Owe!" Robert rubbed his now numb right arm and shot a withering glare at the culprit, Drake.

"What's with the stupid face?"

"You have until I get to one to get out of range, buddy-boy!" Robert warned. Drake pretended to shake in his boots.

"Three," still acting, "two," and acting some more, "ONE!" Robert shot after the boy who's form was quickly shrinking as he ran.

Five minutes later the two boys were walking up the street they both lived on, talking about summer plans.

"I was hoping that you could help me research some mythological creatures," Drake asked as he reached for a branch and tearing off some of the leaves.

"What for?"

"I am making an RPG based on mythology," a fanatical gleam sparkled in Drake's eye.

"Sounds awesome," Robert said, more to stop Drake from an impending rant than to express his feeling about the game, which he was admittedly very interested in. " Why don't we meet up at the library tomorrow around 9:00 AM to find some truly wicked creatures?"

"Thanks for the help man!"

"No prob," Robert laughed, "at least no I have a use for the bestiary I've been writing."

"Oh yeah, forgot about that. Still writing in that silly 'secret code' so nobody can steal your precious info?" Drake asked, nudging Robert in the ribs.

"Yeah, some one like you, HA!" Robert had succeeded in jabbing Drake in the ribs. Each boy began throwing a series of punches and kicks that the other almost always succeeded in parrying or blocking before throwing one of their own. Until Drake tried to throw a haymaker at Robert's right cheek.

Robert brought up both arms and chopped above and below Drake's bicep, effectively neutralizing that arm, which he then twisted to make Drake drop to his knees and then to his stomach. Robert planted a foot over Drake's hand to hold him down and leaned so his mouth was next to the younger boy's ear.

"When will you ever learn?" Robert taunted," I am older, wiser, and a better fighter than you." He took his foot from Drake's back.

"Only in close combat, dear friend," Drake retorted. He brushed the dust from his shirt and smoothed his dark hair from his steel grey eyes. "Give me a bow or throwing knives and I'll out preform you any and every time, Robby boy!"

"I'll remember that when we are in a real fight because a bow will be my first choice for an available weapon, I'm concerned with skills that I can actually use in life!"

Drake's only response was to mutter darkly under his breath.

The remainder of the walk home was dominated by Drake's ideas for how to tie together mythology from around the world into a major role playing game played in a game board-and-dice format. He was just coming to his ideas for the 'stats' of the different god characters when they arrived at Robert's door.

Robert and Drake worked up a sweat training their various fighting forms and techniques in both hand-to-hand combat and weaponry. As Robert moved through the repetitive motions his mind once again strayed to his plans for the summer.

Perhaps he could take a road trip, his mom would be gone on a trip to see an old friend, leaving him the car for the summer. No, all my money has been invested in that college in California. He then considered a camping trip, just like the summer before last. That was fun and I bet drake would come along. We could spend a week hiking and sparing, I think I will talk to him about it while we research tomorrow.

Once they were both out of breath and the sun was settling onto the horizon, Robert announced he needed to head home and help his mom pack for her trip.

"Don't froget to be at the library tomorrow around one. Also tell your mom I'll miss her!"

"I won't and I will, don't worry man!" Robert assured his friend.

"Don't forget to pack your sandals, Mom!"

"Robby, I finished packing last night, and you know it!" Lauren, Robert's mom sighed.

"Then what do you call these?" Robert asked liltingly, holding up a pair of light brown sandals in his right hand. " Are they not called sandals anymore? Why did nobody tell me?"

"Quit it," Lauren snapped making a grab for the footwear, "I was planning on wearing those onto the plane, for your information"

Robert put the sandals down and went to sit on the couch next to his mom, who was watching an old movie.

"I'll miss you Mom," he admitted, befor giving her a big hug.

"Same here, but I bet you have already planned out your parent free summer and can't wait for my plane to leave," Lauren joked. "By the way, don't forget to call every now and then to let me know you're alive. And DO NOT do ANYTHING I would do!"

Robert settled down after that and watched the end of the movie. The figures danced and sang across the screen as his thoughts turned to the adventures that would await him this summer. As the credits began he excused him self and went up to his room. After changing into his night shirt and flannels, he retrieved a notebook from under his pillow and worked on a depiction of a centaur opposite a coded encyclopedia entry that only he could decipher. When finished he put the notebook into his day pack and shut of his light.

As he drifted to sleep he contemplated the coming weeks and the rest of his life, knowing that everything was to change soon.

A/N: Well, this is the beginning of the adventure. Thank you for reading this and please review or critique it! I look forward to sharing the rest of this story and reading your reviews.