Chapter 1, Part 3.

          The vast spire of the academy building pointed towards the sky, the smooth surfaces twisting down rapidly becoming more uneven. Bulges bubbled up from the metal as the tower met the roots. Roots that entwined into the outer wall and the earth beneath. From a distance it looked like it had been grown, pulling its nutrients up through the roots trying the reach the sky. Sunken entrances lay hidden beneath, allowing access from multiple angles. Behind this endowering building lay the training grounds. An extensive field of green crossed from the observation stands to the small arched wall that marked the end of the city. Beyond this, there were more fields and in the distance, trees could be seen. It was late in the day, the academy cast a great shadow over the training grounds. Uthra was pleased to be standing within this shade. Beads of sweat dripped off of his face with every panting breath he took. He had been training with Yui for most of the day now, without a break other than a couple of spoken words here and there.
          A few days had passed since his awakening, these days had turned into a blur of busyness. The only time he could relax was when he was eating or sleeping, the rest was spent training in some form or another, most of which was with a sword out here in the grounds. He was not alone, apart from Yui there was around 20 other Zelari each in their groups or duo’s doing numerous different teachings. None of which were ever training as hard as Yui and him. The training sword swiftly darted towards him as Yui came in with another blow. Uthra moved and deflected countering with an attack of his own. He had seen Iteroah a few times in the recent days, walking past him in the corridor. A nod of acknowledgement was all he got, Uthra presumed he was a busy man looking after the academy. Another attack quicker than the last, Uthra barely got his sword up in time, the hard polished wood making contact with his shoulder, a thud of pain came from this area but this was nothing. Uthra knew now not pay it any attention, the distraction would lead to another harder and more painful blow. Uthra went on the attack again, which was easily glanced aside by Yui. The first time Uthra had picked up the bokken sword it had felt natural to him, he enjoyed sparing, he felt good at it, the surge of adrenaline, the excitement, the chess battle of attack, counter and deflect. What he did not enjoy was the pain of getting hit. Every time he thought he was getting used to the pain Yui would hit him with a harder blow. Every time Uthra would improve his skill Yui would up the game, every step in the right direction opened another world of skill. Uthra wondered just how much Yui was holding back. He had barely spoken to anyone else over the last few days, apart from Yui. A few polite exchanges but that was about it. Uthra guessed most people were still trying to figure out who they were and therefore did not have much to talk about. The exhaustion of the day’s trials was hitting Uthra hard, he decided to try a new strategy.
           “Do you ever feel like it’s a bit boring?” Uthra asked through panting breaths.
           “What do you mean?” Yui said, his breath deep and controlled not a drop of sweat on his face.
           “Well,” Uthra said, taking a moment for thought as Yui came in with another blow. Uthra realised talking would not help. “ We all have our roles set out for us, based on some computer program, like we don’t have any free will”
            “It is a very sophisticated computer program,” said Yui smiling “ you are asking the right questions though” He would always say this when Uthra mentioned anything that came from outside the box thinking. He still did not know what Yui meant by the right questions.
            “What if I wanted to be something other than a guardian” Uthra continued.
            “Like what?” Yui asked his usual smile growing larger as Uthra deflected another blow. “ there is nothing else in your world, you couldn’t possibly conceive of another profession to be because you have not yet experienced anything else”
            “How did you become a trainer then?” Uthra asked.
            “When a Zelari shows exceptional skill in their field they are asked to remain here to train others” Yui explained, “ but I am still a guardian, still in the same profession they gave me.” Uthra would not be beaten on this topic, he had been beaten enough in his training. He glanced around the grounds looking for something else he could do, looking for anything he could say he would enjoy doing. A mound of mossy dirt was out of place, not like it had been knocked out of place during combat training, no this mound of dirt was floating a couple of feet above the ground. A Zeld stood over it hand outstretched concentration on his face. This distraction cost Uthra, a foot attached to Yui’s leg impacted Uthra in the chest sending him to the floor. He bounced off the ground, the moss cushioning his fall. Earlier in the week, he had been told that this moss was the sustenance of the city, it held all the proteins and vitamins a person needed. This is how all of the food was synthesised. Even now Uthra could see a harvester in the distance, its long arms stretching out to cut the moss to a specific level. The moss made the ground soft like a foam mat, perfect for being thrown down on. For this Uthra was grateful but he was still not able to breathe. Winded he tried to pull himself up.
           “Always be aware of your surrounding no matter what,” Yui said holding out his hand to help Uthra up.“ You can focus your attention on one thing while allowing your mind to absorb the rest, your mind is powerful and will pick up on threats even if you are not conscious of them, giving you a chance to react” he looked serious but after a moment the usual smile cracked across his face.
           “You are quite the daydreamer for a guardian,” He said with a chuckle, Uthra would have chuckled but he was still trying to suck in his first breath. That was when Yui attacked again. This time Uthra was not distracted, forgetting the need to breathe he deflected the blow. He would not give him any ground now, the blow of pain had shocked him into a state of adrenaline, he was partially annoyed at Yui for taking his distraction as an advantage, he was not about to fail again. He put the annoyance to the back of his mind. There was no time to think as another blow came hammering for his chest, breathing better now Uthra swiped the attack aside and went on the offensive, flowing with his sword in hand he struck. It was countered and then it was Uthras turn to deflect, this went on for a while. Attack, counter, blow, deflect, their form becoming unison. Neither one of them landing a blow they flowed like a dance, steadily mirroring one another with their individual movements. Unique symmetry as the passage of time disappeared, Uthra would not have been able to say how long had past as the same physical chess battle continued but when Yui finally stopped attacking, putting his sword to his side, Uthra heard clapping. He looked around to see that a small crowd had formed. Most of the Zelari from the grounds were clapping at them. Yui took a slight bow revelling in the moment. Uthra did not know what to do, it was too sudden of a change from the intense fight to the shock of being the centre of attention. Yui prompted him with a nod and Uthra took a bow.

           In the infinite void of space, nothingness is pierced by mineraloid matter. A grey crater ridden surface comes into view illuminated by the systems distant star. The ever-spinning monolith plots its path through the frozen vacuum, the inevitability of its course becoming sealed within the stone exterior. The asteroid moves at an incomprehensible speed towards its destination, every second bringing it closer to the only goal. Its eyes fixed upon a blue spec of light with one desire, one purpose, one intention. Complete annihilation.

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