I grimaced as I stood up, pain surging through my left ankle. The brand new broadsword that I had somehow managed to snag from the back of the cart was lying in the dirt next to me. The sun was going down, creating long shadows that stretched forward to grab me. Quickly scanning myself, I confirmed that I had several bruises and scratches covering my arms and by the stinging, presumably my face as well. My light brown tunic had seen better days, while my brown breeches had a long tear in them. My heavy thick leather work boots had lost all their shine, having turned to the color of dust. My heavy leather work apron was beat up, but not as badly as my sleeves. Bending down, I picked up the sword to use it as a crutch. Limping, I headed down what looked like a road to me, though I have never seen a road that was grey with yellow and white stripes before.
I hadn't gone far when my ears picked up movement behind me. Tightening my grip on the sword, I quickly moved in position to defend myself, heart hammering loudly. Swinging the sword upward, I stopped the sharp blade inches from an elderly man's neck. He was attired strangely, wearing a strange looking shirt with buttons down the middle and stiff looking breeches that were a dark blue color. His hair was a solid white. He looked me over with interest, amusement flashing in his eyes.
"Hmm…long ways from home; are you not?" Humor laced his voice, hinting that he might be much younger than he looked.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure that I can find my own way from here though. No need for your help." I turned my back on him, planting the sword point down in the ground to help stabilize myself, without putting too much weight on my left ankle. Almost immediately I heard a familiar voice in my head, Now son, you cannot turn your back on your elders. Especially while traveling. It is a dangerous world out there. Stifling a groan, I turned back to face him again, "If you like, I can escort you to wherever you are headed."
"Hmm. You believe I cannot defend myself." He moved suddenly, flames erupting from his hands. Yelping, I fell backwards, calling a stick that was nearby to my hand. "Ha! You are not ready to face a bear!" he looked me over, his eyes landing on the stick that was now in my hand. "I am William King, principal of Kingtolio's most prestigious school, King Academy. You have powers do you not? A strong student you will be there." He yanked me to my feet, a grin flashing across his face. "Yes yes, train you to fight against the warlord, Lucas King, my brother." Taking off at a brisk walk, he called out over his shoulder. "Stay on your toes boy! I'll make a hero out of you yet!"
Bewildered, I allowed this clearly capable elder, if he actually was an elder, lead me off to who knows where, my brain having shut down when he mentioned training. After stumbling after him for several minutes, he jerked me to a stop of to the side of the road. Moving nimbly, he set up a campfire by summoning his flames to his hands, holding them near the firewood. He pulled out a kettle full of water out of nowhere and placed it calmly over the fire to boil. Pulling a rag out of his back pocket, he soaked it in the water before it got too hot and wrung it out. Turning to face me, he snatched my right arm and started to clean my bloody scratches. A soft hum escaped him as he scanned me, taking in all of my injuries.
"I'm afraid that I do not know your name." He tightened his grip as I tried to yank my arm away after a particular nasty sting.
"Mark. I don't need your help. I can take care of myself." I muttered as I eyed him nervously.
His deep, knowing, brown eyes suddenly snapped up to meet my own. "Too stubborn. You must learn when to admit you need help." Turning his attention back to my injuries, he continued. "You need to cleanse these wounds before infection sets in."
I huffed loudly to show my disagreement. Turning my head away so that I can't see him, I stared at the flickering flames. My fingers clenched in a fist as I wondered how easy it would be to lift a log or something to knock my helper out for a little while.
"Rest, you need your sleep." William suddenly stopped cleansing my injuries.
I slowly lay down, grimacing as my arms stung. A soft sigh escaped me as my eyes closed to rest for the night.
I awoke slowly in the morning to find the sun glaring down at me. Rolling over onto my side, I stared across the smoldering coals at the spot where my companion had fallen asleep last night. He was already gone, and I didn't dare hope that he had left without me. Pushing myself slowly into a sitting position, I scanned the area for him, or any threats.
"You're awake. Come, we have a long way to go." William suddenly appeared behind me, making me jump a mile out of my skin.
"Where are we going exactly?" I questioned him as I fell in step with him.
"Patience. You'll see." He led the way down the road.
Several hours later, found u me aching all over as I trudged after him. We were now climbing up a set of steep steps, ones that I recognized from stories. Finally reaching the top, I stood still, silently onserving teh Academy that I had always dreamed of entering. The towering turrets and towers making it look similar to a castle, a large stone wall surrounding it. Glancing over to the side, I noticed William sipping away at what looked like apple juice.
"Are you sure about me being capable for hero work?" I questioned his sanity, worry creasing my brow. I was no hero after all; I just had a lame power.
A chuckle escaped him, as he pushed the door open. "Welcome to your new home away from home, Mark."
If I had thought the outside was amazing, the inside was out of this world. The courtyard was covered in cobblestone and there was a large garden where I could see students roaming throughout it. There was a large petting zoo with all kinds of animals…most of which I was sure typically weren't kept in a petting zoo.
"Come. I will show you to your new dorm." William strolled off as if that was final.
I followed him obediently, gazing around myself in awe. Once we entered the old school, he led the way to the upper levels where students slept in various bedrooms. A minute later, he showed me a room with three beds and three wardrobes inside of it. The room itself had a large balcony and a private bath to the side. Two of the beds had personal stuff on them…at least I presumed that the homemade quilt and teddy bear were signs that they had been claimed. Looking at the third bed, which was in the middle of the room, I suddenly realized how tired I was.
"Go get some rest. Dinner is later tonight." William turned and left me alone.
Giving in to my exhaustion, I flopped unceremoniously onto the empty bed, sleep instantly taking over me, having been exhausted from the last two days.
I was awakened by a fellow teen checking my temperature. He noticed that my eyes had opened and smiled at me, relief creasing his features upon seeing that my eyes were open. He had intelligent soft forest green eyes, and almost shaggy brown hair. He was wearing a blue tunic with a bonnet sewn on the back, and two large pockets in the front. He was wearing the same stiff looking breeches as William, as was the other one. His companion was wearing a black tunic that had its sleeves ripped off. He also had pitch black hair that was cropped short and dark hazel eyes. I raised my brow at them as I struggled to sit up.
"What are you doing?" I swatted his hand away from my forehead out of annoyance.
"Checking your temperature. You appear to be severely injured. This can cause inflammation if not properly treated." He stated calmly, concern flashing across his face as he glanced down to my sprained ankle.
"I see… do you normally just check up in random people while they're sleeping?" I muttered under my breath to myself.
"Only if I noticed that they are in need of medical attention." He must be the son of a healer or something…it's the only thing that makes sense.
"Great." I groaned as I slowly sat up so as to be face to face with them. "Can I have your names at least?" I figured I might as well as make some friends while I'm stuck here.
"Of course. I am Joe Hartband." The guy that was checking my temperature announced as he held out his hand to shake my hand.
I hesitantly took it, not sure what to think about the overly enthusiastic handshake he gave me. The other guy snorted, before crossing his arms in a tough guy act. "My name is Sam Rocker."
"If you don't mind my asking. But what is your name?" Joe asked as he sat down on the edge of my bed.
"Mark." I shrugged as if that was common knowledge.
"Next question. Why are you here?" Sam walked over to the bed with the teddy bear on it, leaning against the bedpost casually.
"William King brought me here to, I don't know. I guess he wants me to learn how to be a hero." I grimaced slightly as I swung my legs over, placing some weight on my sprained ankle.
"What happened to you?" Sam suddenly went from clearly indifferent to highly concerned, a frown crossing his face.
"I… don't remember. " I flinched at the obvious lie, wishing that I could tell them the truth. "I woke up in the middle of the road. I met William shortly after that. I was already pretty beat up when I woke up." I really hoped that they wouldn't catch onto the lie.
"Really? Ouch. No wonder you only gave your first name." Joe flinched, sympathy flashing in his eyes.
"So if you're gonna be here for lessons, we might as well get to know you. In case you couldn't tell, we all are students here." Sam sat down next to Joe on the bed.
It wasn't long before we were attempting to find something to talk about, that wasn't them telling me about themselves. Unfortunately, my supposed lost memories and the fact I haven't had enough time to rediscover my likes and dislikes, lead to awkward silence. After awhile, we turned the lights off and went to dinner.
I limped after the guys as they showed me the way to the dining hall. We just barely arrived when a young teen girl with bright blue eyes and hair that was so blonde that it was white as freshly fallen snow, ran up to us, dismay flooding her features. She held up something that appeared to be a container with some kind of yellow…thing, inside of it.
"Joe! I need your help! My pudding cup is the wrong temperature!" she cried out in horror, as if the word was ending.
Sam winced, before glancing over at me. "Say hello to my best friend, Faith Sprinta."
"Hi." I wondered what she meant by pudding, was that the yellow stuff and what was the problem with its temperature?
Joe grumbled to himself, before reaching out and blasting tiny ice shards out of his finger tips at the container. "There. That should be up to your preferred temperature."
"Thank you! Say, who's the new guy?" she turned to face me clearly just realizing that I was there.
"He has amnesia so please go easy on him." Sam begged her, worry dancing in his eyes.
Faith snorted as she shoved her hands into her pocket. "I don't know what you're talking about. So… where do you think you're from? Oh! Maybe you like, upset some warlord and he, or she, erased your memories out of revenge!"
She walked off, still yapping away about different theories about why I had supposedly lost my memories. Startled, I turned to face Sam. A groan escaped him as he dragged his hand across his face. "Yeah…she's like that. I swear that she was supposed to be a detective or something with the way she can think up of questions and potential theories within seconds."
I smiled tightly, figuring that I probably should get used to her being around as well.
Three days. It's been three days since I first arrived here and met the guys, and Faith. Any thoughts of homesickness were driven from my mind as we hung out together. The only one I had to be careful around was Faith; she was still persistent in figuring out why I lost my memories and kept checking if asking me random questions would trigger anything.
"Today's lesson is about obstacles on the field. Get through the obstacle course, and you'll pass. Mark, you're up first." William appeared to be subbing for our one class…again. Swallowing hard, I went to the front of the complicated obstacle course and waited for the signal to start of the test. "Get in position…" Already in position. "You have three minutes to finish it." He paused as he flipped a small hour glass over. "Begin."
I quickly jumped onto the first obstacle. I tried to get to the next one, only for a pole to swing around suddenly, nearly smacking me. Next thing I knew, I was lying on my back on the ground next to the course.
"Fail." William stood up, the sand in the hourglass already down to the bottom of the hourglass.
I grimaced as I pushed myself up into a sitting position. The others, mainly my roommates and Faith, hurried over to where I was at, Sam reaching his hand out to pull me up into a standing position.
"Good job. I don't think any of us lasted that long the first time." Sam congratulated me.
"Really? Cause I'm sure none of you did that bad the first time." I pointed out, positive that no one could do worse than what I just did.
"Yep. I never made it past the first obstacle." Faith supplied helpfully.
"Same here. Didn't realize that it could move until the pole was right in my face." Sam piped up as he nodded his head.
"I made it to the second one, and then was promptly thrown off due to its velocity." Joe offered as his condolences.
"Let me guess. You kept going?" I asked as I looked over to the obstacle course, where another student that I still didn't know the name or power of, was going through the course.
"Always. Just keep going. It gets easier." Sam squeezed my shoulder.
"Yeah. I think I will." I turned to face the obstacle course, determination setting in. I couldn't go home, so I might as well make the best of it.
I knew what to do. After two weeks of nonstop failing at the obstacle course, I figured it out. I was almost fast enough to pass the timer. All I had to do was buy myself a few extra seconds. I glanced over at the others, to see if they knew what I was planning. As soon as I started, I kept an eye on the hourglass. When there was only a few seconds left, I thrusted my hand out, flipping it back over so that it started over.
"Finished." I stated calmly as I leaned back casually against the column.
"Hmph!" he stood and walked over to the door.
"So, is the lesson over? Why are you leaving?" I questioned after him.
William didn't answer. Leaving us in confusion. The last couple of days we could tell that something had been bothering him, but we knew not what it was. A fact that frustrated Joe, who liked helping people. We quietly slipped back inside to do our homework and ate dinner before bed.
"Mark! Get up! We have a mega-duper problem!" Faith shook me awake, clearly unaware that she was not in her room.
"It's not that big of a problem." Sam protested as he glared at his talkative friend.
"What's going on?" I pushed myself to a sitting position, rubbing sleep out of my eyes.
"Mr. King is gone. We do not know where to." Joe pointed out, worry creasing his brow.
I immediately sat bolt upright. "That's not good. Where have you guys looked?"
"Everywhere." Faith and Sam said in unison.
"Well, you haven't found him… so you haven't looked where he is at." I muttered under my breath, hoping they wouldn't hear me.
"Hey!" Never mind, they did hear.
Rolling my eyes good naturedly at them, I jumped out of bed. Breaking at a sprint, we charged off to look for our principal.
"Mr. King?! If you can hear us, tell us where you are!"
I may have reached over and whacked Faith suddenly when I heard that. "We wouldn't be looking for him, if he could just tell us where he is!" I hissed at her.