James woke up relatively early the next day. It was 5 o'clock sharp in the morning. For the first time, he woke up with a smile on his face. Besides, the nightmares didn't haunt him last night. He took a sniff on his shirt. It smelled like charcoal and steak. He gave a shrug. He liked the smell, anyway. He took his time to remember what happened after Abigail and he confessed to each other while showering. Sebastian and Sam shouted happy birthday to Abigail, causing her to cry. James remembered her embracing him even tighter. He also remembered cooking the instant noodles, steak and the skewer meals on the campfires while Abigail sat next to him with her head resting on his shoulders. He remembered her eyes concentrating on the purple gem on the necklace. She was shedding tears whenever she read the words engraved on it. She understood the French, but not the Korean. He remembered himself singing the birthday song along with the other boys while Sam played the guitar. Finally, the last thing he remembered was that he and Abigail walking into his house and making out on his couch… 'Wait, WHAT?!' James thought to himself. He didn't drink any alcohol yesterday. He had been showering for twenty minutes. 'Damn, the water bill is going to skyrocket this week…' he thought as he quickly turned the nozzle off and wore his clothes. He slowly opened the door to find Abigail in her deep slumber on the couch. Jade was rummaging through the refrigerator. She faced James and gave a smirk.
"Congratulations, 24… I mean, James." She jokingly said.
"Shut up, Jade. You know how much I hate hearing that." James replied with a grunt. "Besides, why are you scavenging my refrigerator?"
"I'm hungry!" Jade replied.
"Jade, it's 5: 30 AM. Can't you wait until she wakes up?" James asked, pointing at Abigail. "Say, I think I should prepare breakfast…" He added, walking to Jade. He pushed her off and looked inside to see what's useful.
"James, you do know that you are wearing the shirt that says your number, right?" Jade asked, poking James's belly. He looked down to see that his shirt had a large 24 written on it. It was the shirt that he wore back at base. It made him frown.
"Fine, you win. Touché." James smirked, taking out a small pumpkin and a carton of milk from his fridge. "I hope you like pumpkin, Jade." He added as he cut open the top of the fruit and gutted the seeds out. As he looked out the window to see if the sun was up, black clouds covered the sky and rain started to fall. James gave out a small smile. He wouldn't have to water his crops today. He heard movement on his couch. Abigail has woken up.
"Mmmm… Good morning,… James?" Abigail said, frantically looking around to find her boyfriend. It made James chuckle. She found James and gave a smile. "Hello, robo-baby! I never knew you woke up so early!" She called.
"Well, yeah. I usually wake up at 5 o'clock." James replied, placing the halves of the pumpkin in the oven. "What do you usually do when you get up?" He asked.
"I usually take online classes." Abigail replied. She suddenly gave a gasp. "Oh my god! My parents are going to be bananas! I have class!" She exclaimed.
"Hey, you take classes at Sundays?" James asked, confused. He leaned on the oven, waiting for the pumpkin to get softened.
"Oh, it's Sunday?" Abigail asked. James nodded. "Hehe, well, oops!" She giggled. James laughed along. He had a good five minutes until his oven timer goes off, so he pulled his phone out. He found a dozen messages from Sebastian, Sam and Alex. All of them were messages of congratulations. James smirked as he opened up Soundcloud and played smooth orchestra. He then took out the oven pan and checked the pumpkin halves by impaling each of them with a knife. They were soft as butter. He then took out a spoon and scooped the flesh from the skin. Just as he was about to pour the pumpkin flesh into the blender, something embraced him from behind. James placed his hands on the arms of the perpetrator to find that it was no other than Abigail. He let her snuggle up as he activated the blender.
Abigail was playing on James' Playstation when James signaled his girlfriend that breakfast was ready. She left the Overwatch server and ran up to the table to find steaming pumpkin soup. "I usually don't make soup for breakfast, but since you are here… yeah." Abigail gave him a tight hug. She had never been treated so nicely from a friend. Jade, James and Abigail sat on the table and began their feast. The couple discussed their lives while Jade simply stirred her soup around with her spoon.
"James, I can read the French engraved on this amethyst." Abigail said, inspecting her necklace. "It says: 'Abigail, the girl who stole my heart'. But I don't know what's written on here. Is it Korean?" She asked. James nodded.
"Oh, it says 'Abigail, my forever love'. What about it?" James replied. Abigail blushed.
"Aww, you're so sweet!" Abigail whimpered.
"Abby, remember that time when I promised you that I'll teach you Korean?" James asked. Abigail nodded. "Well, I think I'm ready to the point where I can teach you the basics." He said. Abigail's eyes widened. She smiled, finishing her soup. James checked the clock. It was 6:20 AM. "Well, time to go to work." James said, getting up from his seat and exiting the house. "You should go home, you know. Your parents might be worried about you." He said, closing the door behind him.
James was crouching down, petting Arcturus the chick when he heard a door open behind him. It was Jade. She came to load the hay onto the mangers. "Did Abby leave?" James asked.
"No? I last saw her gazing at your weapons collection." Jade replied, taking out hay from the storage.
"Hmm, that's strange. I wonder why." James said as he picked Arcturus up. He also saw Antares and Rigel running to the manger to feast on the hay. 'They'll probably be laying eggs by now.' He thought, petting Arcturus and placing her down. He then knelt down on Sirius. After petting him, he stood up and left for the barn. After spending some time with the cows, especially Io, who was giving a small tantrum, he returned to the house soaking wet due to the rain. Just as Jade said, Abigail was sitting down on the couch, gazing at James's weapons collection. It consisted of his old Crusaders' Broadsword, the Hidden Blade, the shotgun, a scrap-firing revolver that he made with clint, a ball launcher and the iridium split-edged sword. Abigail's eyes were mostly concentrated on the swords. "Having a nice time at my collection?" James asked, walking towards his girlfriend. Abigail turned to him with a smile.
"Yeah. That's a hell of a collection you have." Abigail remarked.
"I take two everytime I go to the mines." James replied, scratching his head. Droplets of water came out as he moved his hand back and forth. "Well, to be honest, I wanted to take three in case you wanted to be my spelunking partner!" he added, blushing.
"Aww, you know me so well!" Abigail pouted.
"Are you THAT interested in swordsmanship?" James asked. Abigail nodded. "Hmm, I see. Hey, tell you what, go back to your house and get your sword. I have an idea." He added, walking to the door and picking up his umbrella. "Here, take this. You don't want to be like me." James said, handing the umbrella. Abigail giggled as she took the umbrella. She gave James a kiss on his cheek and exited the house.
It was three o'clock that day when the rain had finally stopped an hour ago. James was drawing something on the empty soil of him farm. He soaked the stick marks with his watering can. He readied a pair of plastic swords that he borrowed from Vincent. Although they might be toys for the eyes of a ordinary man, they were something else for James. He saw a figure walking towards the farm. It was no other than Abigail. She had a sheath on her back that had her sword inside. She started skipping towards James as soon as she confirmed his presence. "Hey, robo-baby!" Abigail cheerfully greeted.
"Hey, Abby! That's your sword, right?" James replied, with Abigail nodding. She pulled the sword out. Its blade was pitch black with an aquamarine embedded on the hilt. It was a beauty of a sword to James. "It's really beautiful! I like it!" He added.
"Thanks! I bought it from the Adventurers' Guild for a fair price two years ago!" Abigail beamed. "Say, why did you make me bring it?" She asked. James suddenly spread his arms.
"I want you to hit me with it." James replied with a determined face. Abigail's face turned to horror. Why did the most precious person tell her to hit him? Is there something wrong with him?
"W…why?" Abigail asked, horrified.
"Just hit me! I want to see how good you are!" James ignored her question. "Come on! I thought you wanted to prove your bravery! Consider this as your first step!" He added. Abigail, having no choice, nodded and hesitantly charged at him with her sword up in the air. She swung her sword at him, only for James to dodge.
"What, you think I was going to just stand there and take it?" James jokingly asked. "Come on, give all you've got!" he added. Abigail swung at her boyfriend a few more times, with him only dodging her attacks without difficulty. "Don't try to hit me and hit me!" James shouted. Abigail then gave out a war cry and lunged her sword at him. He back flipped away from the sword and ran back to her. Exhausted, she gave one final swing, only to have James grab the blade with his right hand and take the sword from his girlfriend.
"Damn, robo-baby! How are you not exhausted?" Abigail asked, gasping for extra oxygen.
"Remember, I've been trained for thirteen years. Nice try, though. Let's get some rest, then I'll tell you why I wanted you to bring your sword." James replied, guiding Abigail to the porch. They sat down, cuddling as they observed the leaves of the trees falling down to the ground. It was so mesmerizing for Abigail, but she was still curious of James's reason.
"Sweetie, why did you tell me to bring this?" Abigail asked, holding her sword.
"That? I wanted to see how good you were. I want to train you so that we can go down the mines together with full confidence." James replied. "Are you still exhausted?" He asked. Abigail shook her head. "That's good. Follow me. Leave your sword here. Abigail did as he told and followed him to a flat field with some kind of illustration drawn on it. It consisted of a straight path made with moist soil along with two circles on both sides of the path. The path itself was fifty meters long.
"Babe, what's this?" Abigail asked in curiosity.
"Have you played the StarCraft II Legacy of the Void mission 'Rak'Shir'?" James asked. Abigail nodded. It was her favorite mission amongst the campaign. "It's that, but without the supplicants and the lava pits." James replied. He picked up two plastic toy swords and gave one to Abigail. It was light.
"Toy swords? Really?" Abigail asked.
"What else? We're going to do just that. You've basically challenged me in the rite of Rak'Shir." James replied, standing on one of the circles and walking five small steps from it, following the line. "Abby, stand on the middle of the line." He said. Abby obeyed, walking to the middle of the line.
"…What do we do now?" Abigail asked.
"Fight. You've played the mission. You know the rules. Ladies first." James replied, readying his plastic sword. Abigail nodded. She felt confident now that she is wielding a lighter sword the size of her arm. She gave out a war cry and charged onto him. She seemed to be filled with determination until James also gave out a war cry and charged onto her too. Abigail and James both swung their swords at the same time, causing them to hit each other. James nodded and swung the sword once more. He had given his girlfriend an advantage by letting her stand on the middle of the line. Normally, according to the rules of the game, both contestants would have to stand one step from the circle. It wasn't looking good for Abigail, as she was starting to get pushed back. She started to feel embarrassment. She was losing to her boyfriend even with toy swords. Abigail gave out a cry and swung her sword as hard as she could at James. Although it seemed effective for a short time as James was actually being pushed a few steps back, her overconfidence made her give out a stabbing attack, making James dodge it. She lost her balance and fell on him. She gave out a short scream, expecting James to hug her back. However, instead, James pushed her back and continued attacking. "There is no 'we' in this rite! Come on! Hit me with all you've got!" He said, parrying the attacks her girlfriend gave out.
The fight has gone one for at least two minutes. Abigail has been pushed back further. She was now one meter away from her circle. As soon as both of her feet are in the circle, she would be defeated. With determination filling her body, she gave out one final war cry and used her final strength to attack her boyfriend. James gave out a smile. He was getting pushed back. "Good, good! I can see determination flowing through you! Now keep it up!" James shouted. His words gave Abigail the confidence she needs for the fight. However, she once again became overconfident and her attacks and blocks became unorganized. Seeing the flaw, James swung his swords multiple times, forcing Abigail to get pushed back again. This time, all the way to the circle itself. Abigail, seeing where she is, lowered her sword. James placed his sword on her neck, victorious. Abigail was thoroughly exhausted. Just as she was about to cry, James embraced her and rocked back and forth. "You did well, sweetheart. You really did." James soothed her. Abigail hugged him back tighter.
"I'm so sorry…" Abigail whimpered.
"No, it's okay. We'll get you trained. You know, be the best like no one ever was!" James replied. He held Abigail's chin up so that their eyes could meet. He was like a tower for Abigail. She hopped on him and kissed him deeply. When the two entered James's house, it was already six o'clock in the evening. They had been training for three hours straight. James fixed dinner of microwaved pizza for Jade and the couple to feast upon. Being escorted by her boyfriend holding hands back to the General Store, Abigail felt that today sure was a good day.