Ember Part 3
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Toroa 21 May 1500

 

Pov: Yord

 

When Wuld dragged him to cut a tree this morning, he agreed because Wuld usually had a strange and fun idea that could relieve boredom. It was also because Wuld stopped their daily exercise schedule to do something else. Yord might have appreciated the concern Wuld showed him, making him exercise so he could be strong and so that Yord ‘won’t die like a bitch’ in the fantastical part of the sea named Grandline, but sometimes it felt too much.

 

When Yord started his ‘getting strong training’, Wuld had him running until his knees felt weak and he panted like a drowned dog while Wuld measured the distance he traveled as he followed him along. It was so pathetic having his toddler brother looking fine while he felt like his lungs had dropped somewhere and made him had trouble breathing.

 

And when he caught his breath, Wuld made him hold a pulley connected to the weight and added more weight until he had to let go of it out of its heaviness. He didn’t even know where he got the pulley from and how he set it up so he could use it to measure Yord’s weight lifting limit.

 

Yord had asked Wuld just what he actually wanted, and he answered that he was establishing a baseline. The day after the next had him do another running, but Wuld made him bring along a bag filled with a fistful of sand. When he reached the utmost distance he traversed the previous time, he wanted to rest, but Wuld forced him to add another meter to the distance he had to run.

 

By the span of a three day, he understood that Wuld actually gave him a gradual obstacle that he had to overcome. Adding another meter and another fistful of sand every single day. Their parent had to cook them a bigger portion of food after he trained for a month together with Wuld. It’s a good thing his father was a lone child of a moderately well to do family so they wouldn’t need to worry about the addition toward the necessary amount of their sustenance.

 

He had found out that he was stronger than other people his age, and his strength even grew beyond average adults on the island. But it was still dull having to exercise every day, only stopping rarely when Wuld was not in the mood to drag and push him toward training.

 

He had a tendency to quickly feel bored with any repetitive task, hence even doing something like crafting what would definitely be another ‘training aid’ was a welcome distraction. He didn’t ask what the wooden board would be used for since he wanted to be pleasantly surprised if the thing he made actually were fun to use.

At first, the board was just a random uninteresting square-shaped board, but they shaped it bit by bit to make both of their ends become curved. Yord didn’t know why they cut two differently sized board out of the trees they felled down this morning and why did they work on the smaller one first, but he didn’t complain.

 

When the smaller board was halfway done, he saw Hocha coming out from behind the trees and outcropping. He paused his planing for a bit, waving at her in acknowledgment. Judging at how she roamed her eyes around the place, noting all the machinery we used, she was probably looking for them. Or she might just felt curious about why we used the machinery and just happen to find this section of the beach by chance. It didn’t really matter which is which, though.

 

...[]

 

Hocha paused her gaze on the surfboard he currently smoothened and made an expression that people usually used to signify that they had come into a particular conclusion. Yord wondered what it might have been.

 

“So... it’s a type of boat”.

 

Such a random conclusion. By noting the small pause and one raised eyebrow, Yord knew that Wuld was getting annoyed. Yord was inwardly debating whether he really wanted to know what the surfboard actually is - and let Hocha drew the fire – or run interference – in case Wuld decided to shoo away Hocha.

 

“...A boat didn’t look like this.” Yord decided to answer. It would be more fun to get Hocha to play in the water with them instead of just playing with Wuld.

 

“Swimming aid for an anchor?” Yord almost couldn't hold his laugh.

 

Wuld looked at Hocha in the eye and answered: “...No.”

 

“You said you ride the waves on it, but it’s... thin and could be easily capsized... Well, what else it could have been?” Hocha insisted on trying to know but Wuld scoffed and turned his head away, ignored her.

 

When Hocha pouted, Yord laughed and placated her, “ Just wait patiently, it looked like it’s almost done.”

 

After another smoothening and shaping the surfboard, Wuld nodded in satisfaction. He looked at Yord, ignoring a shining eyed Hocha in the side.

 

“It’s done.” Wuld traced his palm along the contour of the surfboard before asking Yord “Do you want to try?”

 

“After you, Wuld.” Yord answered diplomatically.

 

Wuld made a sneer that looked cute in his childish face and said: “Wimp.”

 

“Hey, that’s uncalled for! I don’t even know what and how it was used, Wuld!”

 

Hocha let out an unladylike snort and put her palm on her mouth in surprise. When Yord and Wuld raised their eyebrows at her mirth, she giggled in a sheepish way.

 

Wuld got up and lifted the board, carrying it toward the water. He lied down on his stomach and paddled seaward.

 

“It’s actually a swimming aid, how cute!” Hocha exclaimed.

 

“Shush, he’ll kick you out if you make trouble.”

 

“Okay!” Hocha answered with an expression full of glee.

 

After paddling for a while, Wuld stopped and crouched down above the surfboard. When the wave came, he did something that made the board moved forward beautifully, following the movement of the waves. The sight was so cool that suddenly Yord felt that he had to do it and experience how cool it is to ride the waves.

 

“let me try, Wuld!” Yord ran into the water toward Wuld’s side.

 

When he reached him and held the surfboard, Wuld looked at him in an apparent deliberation before shrugging and got off. Yord got above the surfboard and paddled furiously seaward in the direction where the previous big waves came from.

 

Yord stopped the surfboard and tried to stand above it. He imagined how handsome he would look riding the wave with a cool pose. When the wave came, he braced his feet and prepared the cool pose he had in his mind.

 

And plunged into the water.

 

He heard Hocha laughed good-naturedly when he surfaced.

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