Training

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The training fields were buzzing with activity. From explosions and gunfire, to laughter and conversation, everyone was getting ready for the Tournament. Everyone was so busy, that hardly anyone noticed when Cypher arrived to train up as well.

"Wow, everyone's really serious about this, huh?" He said.

"Well duh," Solana replied from behind him. "It's kind of why everyone goes here. To train our powers so we can compete."

Cypher turned to greet his sister, seeing Lala, Anastasia, and Yuki following close behind.

"Oh hey girls! Did you all come to train too?"

Lala piped up, "Duh! C'mon, join us Cy."

"Well, only if he has to."

"Oh chill out Asia. Besides," Lala leaned tiptoed up to whisper in her ear. Suddenly, Anastasia's eyes went wide and her cheeks flushed red.

"What did you say to her Lala?" Asked Cypher.

"Nothing!" Anastasia squeaked quickly in response. Lala just grinned.

-----

"Uhm, are you sure about this?" Cypher asked.

He stood on practice field A7, Anastasia and Lala were right on the next field, and his sister was right behind him.

"Trust me Cy, you'll be fine."

"Wait, me? I was asking about her."

Across the field, Yuki stood there opposite Cypher, her face expressionless, her skirt flapping in the wind.

"I'd be worried about you, bro. Good luck!" And with that, she scurried off the sideline.

"Well, here goes nothing."

In a flash, Cypher's arms were covered in jagged ice, his hair was frosted, and his eyes glowed silver. He dashed across the field, homing in on Yuki, who still just stood there, expressionless.

Cypher leapt, coming down toward Yuki, arm extended ready to slash. As his arm came down he suddenly made contact. Not with Yuki, but with a shimmering force field.

Cypher slid down the force field and looked at Yuki.

"Challenge one: hit me." She said.

-----

There was a knock at the chamber door. The dimly lit study was littered with books and strange artifacts.

"Oh! Come in!"

The heavy door creeped open, a young girl coming in.

"Oh, princess!" A voice exclaimed from behind a stack of books. A young dark-haired boy with silver eyes popped up from behind a mound of tomes. "What are you doing here, your highness?"

"I came to see you." She smiled softly. "With all the studying you're doing and the pressure from Farrah, I just wanted to make sure you were all right."

The boy laughed and rubbed the back of his head. "Oh thank you very much princess! Don't worry about me, I'm getting used to Farrah's method of teaching."

"That's good." She stood for a moment. Neither of them said anything. The princess hesitated for a second, then resolved herself. "Do you think you could teach me magic?"

"Oh, uh..." He didn't know what to do. He wondered if he was even capable of teaching what he was just now learning. But he looked at her, and knew he wanted to try. "Sure thing. Of course princess!"

"Excellent! Oh, and now that I am your student, please do not call me princess. Whenever you are the teacher, I am but your student." She said with a small curtsy.

"Okay, whatever you wish my uh... Wait, what should I call you then?"

"Please," she smiled as she walked closer to him. "Call me by my name." She extended her hand to him.

He reached out and took her hand, feeling a spark of energy. It radiated up his arm, moving through his body. It felt as if he had been activated. As if this was a sort of catalyst inside himself. And he could tell she felt it too. They both smiled at each other. "Very well. I'll call you by your name... Azura."

-----

Cypher stood on the middle of the field, panting heavily. Across from him, Yuki stood, completely unmoved and unharmed.

Then time froze.

"Wait, what? What's going on?"

Cypher looked all around him. The world was still. No wind, no sound of fighting or explosions. Just very quiet.

"Hello there Cypher."

"Who's there?!" He yelled.

Cypher turned and was face to face with the same man as before. The man with silver eyes.

"You! How did you do this?"

"Calm now Cypher. We are simply in your mind. I took this one moment in time to speak to you."

"This whole conversation in just a single moment? In my head?" Cypher asked.

"It's best if you don't think too hard on it. Anyway, like I said before I wanted to talk to you. And when I say that, I actually mean say something cryptic and give you a gift." The man said.

"Really? That's it?" Cypher crossed his arms.

The man threw up his arms. "Look, I don't know what to tell you. I don't make this up, I just do what I gotta do, okay? Anyway here's the cryptic stuff." He took a moment to compose himself, drawing in a few deep breaths.

He started, "Rain may be somber, but it can wash away any pain."

They stood a moment.

"That's it?" Cypher asked.

"Yup."

"Nothing else?"

"Nope."

"Wow."

"Yeah. Oh and for my gift!"

The man reached out and tapped Cypher on his forehead. Cypher felt like he was falling backward toward the ground. That feeling began to not end as he continuously fell backward. He slowly felt as if he was going to land, a shining white light emanating from his forehead.

"Oh, and by the way... go under the bubble."

The man walked away and time resumed.

Cypher landed into the position he was in before time stopped. Suddenly, there was a flash of white, and Cypher changed.

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