Chapter 53 Age of preparation
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The sound of water cascading close to me, tore me from my thoughts. I opened my eyes and saw a wave of water rushing over itself as it glided through the air. I remained motionless since I was not too worried about it. That was Aphelia in an elemental form. The water stopped and condensed down into a human that had ice blue hair and piercing blue eyes. “Hello, Kairos.”

I felt my heart thud in my chest, yet I kept a straight face. “Hey, Aphelia. How are you doing?”

Her feet touched the ground that was covered in dirt and lacked any form of plant life. She walked over to me and rested against the same rock. “Im alright. I actually came up here to talk to you for a bit." She paused for a second, and I observed her carefully. "So, I’m sorry for freaking out the last time we talked.”

“It’s okay; I deserved it. It was a bit insensitive for me to do that.” I replied to her with a nervous chuckle.

“Yeah, but it's okay, I have forgiven you. Though that still doesn’t change the fact that you touched the very fiber of my being,” She told me as she stared into the forest and made a quick gesture with her hand. Vines sprung up from the ground, and plant life started to grow at impossible speeds.

“Fair enough, I suppose,” I responded and leaned back to bask in the light that was emanating from somewhere high up in the room. That was a relief; I thought she might have hated me. I let out a sigh as I prepared myself to ask the more challenging question. “How do you feel about that, though? Like honestly, It's been eating at me for a bit, and I don't want you to hate me.”

She glanced from the forest to me, and a thoughtful look crossed her face, “I am unsure. But I can promise I don't hate you for it. You did save me after all, and I guess I was just overwhelmed with how violated I felt at first. At first, I felt violated, but now, I am kind of over it. But it could have been worse.”

“What do you mean by that?” I felt my eyebrow raise, and I shifted back and basked in the heat of the false sun overhead.

She let out a soft chuckle and shrugged, “It could've been someone other than you who did it.”

I froze for a moment as I tried to think of a reply only to fall short since I was not expecting that kind of response. “I uh, I don’t know what to say to that.”

Aphelia shrugged in response, “It's alright. But on a different note, how have you been? We haven’t had a chance to talk lately.”

I pushed my back against the stone wall and slid down. The grass came up and nestled itself up against me, providing me with some cushion. How have I been doing? It's been a while since I last thought about it. “I’ve just been busy. I have been running around nonstop, trying to get ready for when my protection period ends. I am so fearful about failing and losing everything that I have worked for. I feel so far behind on everything. Thankfully I have a guild simulation coming up, so it should help me out a bit in that department. That and I kind of miss my old life.”

She turned back into a floating ball of water and appeared in front of me before solidifying back into her previous form and sat across from me. “Do you want to go back ?”

I thought the question over for a moment. If I could, would I give everything up to go back to Earth? I looked around and smiled as it finally dawned on me. "No. My family is here now. It took me this long to figure it out. I can never go back home, not after this. My life is far t different now then what it used to be. This is my life now, and I would never give you guys up."

She beamed at me with my response and stared at me. I wish I knew what was going on in her head. She seems to be almost unreadable at times. "So, what is a guild simulation?"

“Essentially, we are going to have a war elsewhere with all the members of my guilds military.”

She scrunched her face up at that, “Where?”

I shrugged, “I’m not sure. I only have coordinates of where I need to be in a few days.”

“So you are leaving then?” I could hear a faint twinge of sadness in her voice when she said that, which kind of broke my heart.

“Yeah, but only for a few days at most, hopefully. It shouldn’t be too long, at least for the time flow here.”

“Well, I know you have been training a bit, so.. Do you want to learn some new skills to take with you to where ever it is you are going??” Aphelia leaned forward, and her demeanor changed quickly. She brought her knees up to her chest and gave me a wicked grin, “If you train with me, I will teach you anyone skill I know. However, I decide how we do it.”

I thought it over for a second before immediately agreeing. I mean a free skill is a free skill after all. Once I decided, she flashed me a wide toothy smile and vanished into thin air. “Come with me.”

I quickly teleported behind her once I located where her avatar was on the map. She stood over a vast forest that had a massive cliff in the distance. She tilted her head and cracked her, knuckles, “You ready?”

I let out a sigh as I realized what was about to happen. “So, you want to fight then?”

“Yes. This was the way my father taught me. It should be good to help build your other stats. Plus, it's also a good way for me to vent my anger towards you as well. You in?” She asked as she transformed into a mass of air that blended into the background.

I thought it over for a second and shrugged. I was waiting on Ferrarus to finish, and it's not like I had anything better to do today. “That's fine by me. I’ll switch to my real form for a bit. I want a bit to stretch my wings.”

“Sure. Let's see what you got, then space boy.” Aphelia’s voice echoed around me on the wind making it almost impossible for me to locate her. With her acknowledgment, I shifted my back to my real form.

My mind started to feel more open, and I felt lighter than before. It's been so long since I have been in this form last, I almost forgot what it felt like. I rolled my head and gave my wings a tentative flap and was happy to see that I had full control of them. I looked around as I tried to locate Aphelia. The air was unnaturally still, and the sound of wildlife was absent. It put me on edge even more than I already was.

Then without warning, a massive spike of rock shot from the ground and towards me with a deep rumble. I quickly stepped to the side, and it rushed past me. That move brought back some memories. This was the first attack she used against me when we first met. The first spear was followed by a second and then a third. Each one came faster than the other, though I was quick enough now to dodge them without using any abilities.

“Look up.” Aphelia’s voice echoed all around me, and I quickly backed up and glanced up. Aphelia appeared above me, but she looked as if her body was composed of solid brown rock. She fell towards me with harrowing speed and threw a punch. I shifted my body to the side and delivered a punch of my own. Rock shattered from the impact and rained down towards the forest below. But just as I was about to pull my hand back, she grabbed it and threw me into the ground.

I felt my back impact the ground, and a massive gout of dust overlooked my vision. My health dropped by nearly a quarter from the crash. I had to lay in the crater for a moment to collect my wits before I stood up. I forgot how strong she was. Damn, that impact rocked me. I flapped my wings once and cleared the dust from the air. Aphelia stood in the air, this time in her blue-haired human form. “I knew this was a good idea. What a fun way to vent."

“Yeah, I'm glad you are having fun, cause I’m not,” I called back to her with a chuckle.

“Nothing like a good fistfight with some magic thrown into the mix. How are you holding up?” Above her, the sky started to darken as storm clouds began to form. A line of clouds began to radiate from her body and crawl towards the sky.

“I’m good. Just trying to get some health back that I lost from that throw. You did a number there.” I rolled my neck and cracked my fingers. I’ve usually relied on my weapons for a fight, but this time, I will only use magic and my fist.

She shrugged, and purple lighting split the sky, illuminating her image with a sharp silhouette. “Do you need a few moments to recover your lost health, or are you alright to keep going?”

I glanced at my health bar and saw that it was climbing back up at a steady rate. I should invest more points into health and work on my health regeneration. Once I get some more creation points saved up, I will create some gear that should complement whatever Ferrarus makes for me. “Nah, I should be okay. Let's continue.”

Lightning collected in the sky and shot towards me. I sidestepped it and shot towards Aphelia. I activated a lighting spell that I learned from the academy and threw it at her. The lighting shot from my fingers and crackled through the air, only to be destroyed by a bolt of amethyst colored lighting. I felt the wind kick up around me, and some of the air solidified in opaque blades that cut through the sky towards me. This wasn’t fair; I was fighting someone that had complete control over all the elements. I had to twist my body to avoid the deadly gust of wind narrowly, and I closed the distance between the two of us and got another punch off on Aphelia. She took a direct hit and slid back into the air and stood up. She flashed me a beautiful smile with a wicked gleam in her eye. “Oh, the fun is just beginning, my dear.”

I chuckled and took a fighting stance across from her. I was not well versed in hand to hand combat, but I would do my best. I will win this next fight.

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