Ch ?: Blades
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If there was one thing I never expected to become annoying, it was grass. My class and I were traveling through a place called the Tiarna Plains. It was the nearest stretch of wild near Castle Grawden, and we had been sent there to get our first real taste of battle. I could see the sense in that, but the problem was this damn grass. Not only was it so tall that it reached my face, but some patches had blades of grass sharp enough to pierce skin. I had scratches all over my arms and legs. Whatever being created this place, the joke isn’t funny.

The creatures around here were quite peculiar. There were massive six-legged deer with more horns than I could count, and boars with grey hides that were as tough as steel. Is the Church okay? Xenomyr are you senile? This isn’t a beginning area! Where are the slimes and the kobolds?

Though, if there was something I was grateful for, it was the cover. It allowed me to find ways to blend in and practice my sneaking, even if I did look stupid doing it. In fact, so stupid, I attracted the attention of one of my classmates.

“Hawakawa, what are you doing?”

It was Hisoka, the class president.

“Sneaking, like a rogue would do, goodbye.”

She didn’t seem to like my curt answer.

“Hey! Don’t leave in the middle of a conversation!”

I had already moseyed away. We had free time to hunt or practice for the rest of the day, and I wasn’t about to waste it with someone who nagged at me every two seconds.

I saw a horned rabbit. The perfect practice, small and easy to kill. I took a throwing knife I had with me and placed myself in a position in which I could aim for the neck. Smiling to myself, I threw the dagger… and missed completely. Clicking my tongue, I watched it hop away in fear. I wasn’t suited to this. I was a reserved, read books, and chill by myself type of guy. This type of training was opposite to what I’ve come to learn. If only Fujimoto would’ve kept his mouth shut.

Speaking of the man himself, I heard him yelling while slashing down one of those weird deer. Did he always need to make his presence known before striking? That would be terrible on the battlefield, it would give our position to the enemies. The poor thing squealed in its final moments. What was it called? A Hexatrot, I think. I was still early into reading the beast and monster compendium that the Tower Library had to offer, so I wasn’t quite sure.

In retrieving my knife I acquired more scratches from the grass. Ugh. Why is something so serene also so dangerous? As soon as I looked up, I saw Fujimoto and his gang staring at me. Great. Wonderful. I had done something to get their attention. Fujimoto addressed me.

“Hey Hawakawa, how’s it faring?”

“Fine.”

“That’s great to hear! I hope you hit your target next time!”

All said with a fake smile upon his face. He was so obvious, yet none of my fellow classmates seemed to notice. And if they did, they never pointed it out. Dude, I realize I suck, don’t state what is already known. You were the one to drag me into this. I responded.

“…Good luck to you too. If you’ll excuse me…”

I started to head away, but I could still feel his eyes on me.

A bit parched I went farther till I reached the lake and took a look at myself in the reflection of the water after refreshing my thirst. Silver hair reaching to the back, pale skin, with a nice face and the same apricot-orange eyes I’ve always had. Huh? Blinking rapidly, I looked again. Messy black hair, an average face, and a tiny scar near my left eye. Weird, I could’ve sworn I saw someone else there. It must have been the lack of sleep from reading the books from the Library. I went back to hunting.

--

The hunting became monotonous. Find a target. Attack said target. Fail 90% of the time. Was I even getting better? What was the point of this? Was I a dud? Perhaps it was me as a person that had to change. Perhaps I needed to find a way to get motivated. Perhaps I needed to think of my family and how I wanted to see them again. And perhaps I needed to figure out why I felt like I was suddenly shorter. I’m pretty sure the grass didn’t cover my eyes before. I tried brushing it out of my face only to feel something more. Eh? Was this hair? Why was it so bright? That wasn’t mine, was it? I blinked and found the grass at its normal height. My hair was fine as well. I guess I just stepped in a ditch or something. Though I did now have a cut on my forehead from the grass. I yawned. I really needed some sleep.

--

Night fell, and while my classmates were singing questionable tunes near the campfire I sat behind my tent and stared at the night sky, eating my lukewarm stew. To think I’ve been here 6 months already. It still feels unreal, like a dream or a really well-done prank. The moon shone its light on the water of the lake and the stars danced around it. Constellations I couldn’t recognize were displaying themselves to the world below.

“It’s pretty, isn’t it?”

“Kyah!”

Geez, Hisoka, you scared me. I’m supposed to the sneaky one here. I don’t think I’ve ever yelped like that in my life. I sounded way too high pitched. A bit feminine, even.

“Ha, what was with that reaction? Did I scare you?”

“…What do you want?”

“Nothing, just checking on everyone as I should.”

“Is that as a hero, a class president, or as a person?”

“Who knows?”

“…Well, I’m going to try and block out the sounds of our classmates’ shrilling and get some sleep.”

Hisoka sighed.

“I wish I could do the same. Have a good night then.”

“Good night.”

--

I rose in the middle of the night, the moon still overhead. I had heard something. Exiting my tent, I came to see the campfire out and some travel packs from my classmates laying around. There was a clear path through the sharp grass tat wasn’t there before. Retrieving my shortsword, I followed the path, again getting cuts on my arms. The night was silent, there was nothing that could make a noise. There was no wind, or no chirping of crickets. The path led to a clearing, in which I saw something I did not expect. A mirror. I looked into it to see… not myself. It was a girl shorter than me. She had silver hair and eyes similar to mine. Her skin was almost as pale as the moon, and she had a sliver dress on.

I blinked like I did at the lake and that one time in the grass. The figure did not disappear. Nervous, I tried to walk away, but found myself rooted to the spot. She somehow proceeded to step out of the mirror and the shattered glass fell all over me. I had fresh cuts on my skin. At this point I had lost all comprehension as to what was going on. The girl then hugged me and, with me in her grasp, fell backwards into the mirror, reverting the glass back into its frame. My view went white.

I woke up to the light touch of Agnes’ hand shaking me.

Hello! I'm sure you've all noticed, but this is a bit different than the other chapters. It was slightly unplanned, and I kind of just wrote it on a whim (hence the short length), but allow me to explain its creation. In the comments of the last chapter a certain someone (and you know who you are) mentioned dream sequences. I kinda just read the comment and thought to myself, "Hey, that could be pretty neat." It feels like a nice way to blend the old Ren and the new Ren together. So I whipped this up because I'll be a bit busy this week. So, not is it only a bonus, but it serves as something to think about until Ch. 4, since it will be slightly delayed (though I did have no schedule in the first place).

Oh, here's a fun fact, this chapter actually has a full title. "Blades" is just the shortened name. The full name is:

“Blades of Grass, Blades of Glass, Blades of the Past”

...I wonder what that means?

Anyway, thanks again for reading.

I'll stop rambling now.

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