Springtime at Shylenin Academy is my favourite season. The flowers and trees bloom, and most days are sunny with a pleasant breeze. It’s a day like that today. I cut today’s classes and am currently laying under a teekay tree with my eyes closed. The breeze blowing across my face is amazing and the leaves block out just the right amount of sunlight. Laying there, I drift into a light sleep and dream. Standing in front of me is a black-haired beauty dressed in a skirt and tank top with a mage’s long coat over the top. Slowly she walks towards me while taking off her coat. I blink and she pressed against my chest. A faint scent of flowers comes off her hair as the top of her head rests against my chin. Tracing a pattern on my chest, she reaches up and touched the side of my face. With a soft smile of longing, she pulls me close and whispers in my ear.
“You belong to me, Arbelest.” A jolt runs through me and I wake with a start, sitting straight up.
“Bad dream?” I look to my right and find a big man sitting against the trunk of the tree.
“Not much Remy. The prof was asking after you again.”
“He just wants to know if I finished the modifications.”
“Yeah, like last week. But I’m still not sure going for an air drive was the right choice.”
“Well…” I extend my hand out and open a portal to my personal armoury. A long-barrelled rifle slowly comes out and hovers in front of me. I grab hold of it and set myself in a firing position.
“For one the recoil is higher now. As well as the consumption rate. But shots are steadier over longer distances and I can also bend them to my will if I so choose.”
“Sounds like the pros outweigh the cons.”
“Ish. The higher consumption of my force is annoying. I lose it maybe thirty percent faster than when I was using a fire drive. How about you? I heard you were adding a secondary drive you your sword.”
Smiling, Ky reaches into his armoury and pulls out a single-edged great-sword.
“I added it. This sword now contains both a fire and earth drive. It means my power slashes can have more destructive power behind them.”
“I see. That makes sense. Given that your role is vanguard more power is better. Unlike my scout role.”
“Speaking of which, did you end up getting your new close-range weaponry?”
Smiling, I reopen my armoury and put the rifle back into it. And instead this time I remove a pistol.
“Yeah, I got two Nomad pistols. Both running fire drives. Good up close and personal weapons.”
Handing the pistol to Ky, I get to my feet and stretch. Looking down at the academy, I feel a desire to turn and walk the other way. I’m what they would class as an elite among the students at the academy but I’m also the largest truant and slackest student.
“Not bad. What’s the consumption rate like on these bad boys?” Says Ky as he hands the pistol back to me.
“Considerably low. Considering their close-range capabilities.” I place the pistol back into my armoury and bend down to the ground. Picking up my black duster, I shrug into it and turn to Ky.
“Well, shall we go get some lunch?”
“Sounds like a plan.” Together we set off down the hill towards the academy.
Arriving at the academy cafeteria, my hunger outweighs my dislike of the school, and I head toward the counter to order with Ky. I place my order and we go sit at a table by the window.
“So how are the new students coming along?” I ask Ky while leaning on my hand.
“Hmm, most are doing alright, but there’s one girl who’s struggling. She’s a couple of years older than the rest, so she doesn’t learn as quickly. But you would know this if you actually showed up to teach them once in a while. You should you know. You are the arbalest after all.” A Cold chill runs down my spine as he calls me by my call sign.
“Remy Leevencor!” Turning towards the sound of someone shouting my name, I find the student president standing at the entrance, her eyes ablaze with anger. Getting up hastily out of my seat as she approaches, I move so the table is between myself and danger.
“Hey Prez, how you doing?”
“Don’t you hey Prez me, mister. Do you know how many lessons you’ve missed this week alone?”
“Ummm….” A tingle is my only warning as a voice echoes through me.
“Mark. 600 lels.” Time stops as a red line appears. Running from the top of the hill behind the cafeteria, it goes through the president’s chest and ends on my stomach. Without thinking, I launch myself across the table. Grabbing the prez with my left arm, I drag her to the ground with me. A bullet whistles above my head and glass shatters. Just before we hit the ground, I put out my right arm and use it to roll forward into a kneeling position. I extend my arm with a mutter.
“Come arbalest.” My armoury opens and, in an instant, I’m clad in white armour. My rifle appears in my hand and in one motion I bring it to my shoulder and fire. I don’t need the announcement to know my shot was true. But it comes anyway.
“Mark. 600 lels. Target eliminated.” It’s times like these I wish I never possessed my artificial eye. Standing, I wave my hand and my armaments go back to where they came from. Turning around, I find the president kneeling, tears streaming down her face.
“That armour. Remy…,” she whispers. Turning from her, I mutter to myself.
“I didn’t need your tears or that look to remind me.”