Chap11

I woke up dazed. Last I remember..

"Im sorry for the aura sphere, I was mad. It's my fault."

"Its okay, im sorry too sky."

She knew my name. Made sense though. I felt mad at myself for overreacting to a simple misunderstanding. I looked around. I was on another straw bed. Ryomu and Liko were standing on opposing corners of this hut we were in.

"Reckless! We Just lost two hours!"

Damn. I was out for quite a bit. I sprung to my feet in response to that. I was curious as to what ryomu was planning here.

"So, whats the plan?"

He leaned off the wall but paused for a second. Then he gestured for me to follow him. We started heading outside, leaving Liko to her devices I guess. We followed a matted path through the village passing by a few lucario on the way. One of them stopped and gave me a strange look. We ignore em though walking past. I wondered what their deal was?

We crossed the river on a wood bridge. On this side of the river it felt way different. No huts except for a gazebo thing? It looked to be a spot to keep out of the rain while still being open, like an arena. Everyone on this side of the bridge was focused on moves and fighting. I guess training?

We were at the edge of the dojo thingy. There was at least seventeen riolu, all of them had their eyes closed. Probably focusing on aura Id reckon. I wanted at the river though. I was a bit thirsty. The other Lucario took notice to us.

"Ryomu! Its been ages! How have you been?!"

"Things are good. I brought sky along with me, Im wondering If he could help you out."

He took notice to me. He blinked at me a couple of times, almost as if he couldn't believe his eyes. Then he looked back at ryomu.

"Your serious? Most riolu struggle with force palm. And whats with his aura? I mean, without it?"

"Aki, just try to trust. Sky is my student, he's capable of aura sphere already. I was up a few nights thinking about it. What if he can teach as fast as he learns? Aren't you curious about it now?"

Aki nodded, "You drive a good point."

Ryomu climbed up a tree off to the side, probably to monitor us. I was approached by aki. He tugged my shoulder and led me to the front of the group. Most of the riolu were deeply concentrated on their aura probably. They looked like when I was first learning.

"Alright everyone, we have some surprise special training I guess."

Everyone's attention immediately shifted onto us. I started getting nervous.

"Sky here has gotten a grasp of aura from what I hear. I want you all to study everything he says or does."

So much pressure! What if I screw it up?! Will I stunt them if I messed up? I froze up a bit. I was nudged on the arm.

"Thats your queue, go show em how its done!"

"Oh, sorry."

Fwoom! I charged an aura sphere. Everyone had a face of pure shock upon seeing this. The riolu erupted into chatter, and aki was awestruck. I was too busy planning my lesson out though. Thinking about how I first did it. I just had to try my best and hope they could manage. I put the sphere away.

"So, I guess Ill teach you all aura sphere. Pay attention and you might just get the hang of it. How many of you can use force palm yet?"

The chatter died down after I started talking. Only two of them raised their hands. Out of.. seventeen. I sighed.

"Okay, you two hang tight for a bit. The rest of you I want to focus on your first taste of aura."

They nodded in understanding. I sat down in front of the group. I was against a support pillar.

"So to anyone new to aura. This might make things easier for beginners I guess, but starting out you don't need focus. Thats where those two would be at. I want you all to try and be a conduit for your emotions. Whatever you feel, send that energy to your palm. You dont have to be perfect. Your aura is tied to your emotional state, remember that."

I noticed alot of them we're confused. A couple of them seemed to understand though. It was almost like a shockwave effect. Fwoowooweewaw! As one of em got it, It startled the others making them successful on accident. At least I think on accident. It started getting very noisy. Everyone was frantically trying to hold onto how to pull it off repeatedly using their new ability. Nearly all of them figured it out.

There were about eight that just didn't seem to get it though. I could tell they felt left out. How was I going to help the stragglers? I watched them struggling. Everyone else had mostly quieted down, having their fill of practice. For now I just watched. They should have what they needed right? I noticed most of them watching the successful ones. It took them a moment but they eventually felt the grasp of things. Visual learners? Fwoom!

Eventually all but one got a grasp of it. I was trying to be as patient as I could but I realized after fifteen minutes that they were getting nowhere. I was thinking on what to do. It was about now that the other riolu singled them out too. What was I missing here?

"Hurry up! I wanna learn aura sphere!"

"Yea come on! This parts easy! Cant you do anything right mika?"

"Yea, why do you gotta be such a loser all the time?"

They were almost crying. I knew where this was going and I didn't like it. I had to think of something. They weren't learning from listening to my explanation, or watching the others. Were they at all? I had a sneaking suspicion about them. I walked up to the group pulling mika to the side.

"Don't be rude, everyone learns differently. Follow me."

I led them off to my right towards ryomus tree spot. I gestured them to sit down in the shade of the tree. They obliged. I guess it was now or never to find out if my suspicions are true.

"Im sorry if I made you feel weak pulling you aside, but it's obvious you don't learn the same as the others but im a little unsure about this."

"No, its okay. I can stop. Don't let me hold back the others."

I was shocked and surprised at this. They thought I was excluding them? I felt sad that they would think that but I shrugged it off.

"What?! No. Thats not how this is going! If anything its the opposite. They might be holding you back!"

"Wha?! What do you mean?" She was wiping away intrusive tears.

"Well, based on how I used to learn.. It looks like you aren't an auditory or visual learner. If my hunch is right, your kinaesthetic. Its the ultimate learning type if you know how to use it."

"Kinea, wha? Ultimate?"

I charged up an aura sphere. Fwoosh! This was the test if she really was kinaesthetic or not. Could she reverse engineer my aura sphere? At the very least she will try and get her hands on it somehow. Was she?

She froze upon seeing the small glowing orb. Not small in her perspective only in mine. She stared at it unsure but I was as patient as I could. After a while of sitting there with it, I started doubting. What if I was wrong and shes only under experienced? Or maybe something was wrong with her aura? Lost in thought I stopped focusing letting it dissipate. I rubbed both of my eyes yawning, almost entranced by the sound of my vortex…

I could still hear it? I moved my hands away from my face. They were holding my aura sphere! They.. actually did it! They felt extremely concerned and panicked though.

"Its okay! Your doing extremely well!"

"I uhh! Sorr-"

"Don't try to speak right now! Dont lose focus! Your new assignment is to hold onto that as long as you possibly can!"

They nodded staring intently at it. If she holds on long enough, Id bed she could make one or two more of her own today! Though I might've gotten ahead of myself. My experience was different after all.

I got up and walked back to the main group. They were all chattering, I guess they all saw that ordeal. I tried just interjecting.

"So now that you are familiar with how aura feels, remember to let yourselves feel your emotions. It has a direct connection with those emotions. The stronger the emotions, the stronger your aura."

I started shouting pretty loud and everyone hushed. I kept the same volume for mika. This was still important for everyone to get.

"Now, you should notice when you use your aura you can still feel it. Another good way of thinking about it is visualizing it as an extra body part like a third arm that can leave your body."

Some of them started using their aura. I didn't really notice till now but I could see alot of aura coming off of those droopy bits on their heads. Weird. Is it like an antenna? Is aura like radio? I shrugged it off.

"So, when you make a force palm. Try to focus on the aura after it leaves your body. Try to figure out a way to hold it in place. Plot twist, it spins in place. That should give you a head start."

I charged up an aura sphere for the visual people in the group. Fwoosh! I sat down. Was I doing good so far? It hinged on how many I could teach aura sphere to I guess. I was hoping this was enough. I stood there for five minutes. My arm was getting tired. Fwoom! Fwooshhh! One of them was holding an unstable sphere. They were sweating out bullets.

"Oh, good job! Hold it up as long as you can!"

After another minute the second finally got one as well. I congratulated them as well. Though everyone else was struggling to achieve a sphere. Minutes turned to hours as I held my sphere. The two that had an aura sphere were now taking a break, and so was mika. Everyone was overexerted. They were overusing force palm.

"Hold on everyone, I have an idea since everyone is exhausted. Everyone get into a circle. You too mika."

Everyone got up including me. I stretched my back before joining my appointed circle. I waited for everyone to finish moseying into the circle.

"Okay, since we are all tired we will share the work. Should be more efficient."

I charged up a smaller aura sphere than before. Fwshh. I wanted to minimize effort so this was the best option. A weaker aura sphere.

"We are going to pass this around the circle. When you're turn to hold it comes hold onto it long enough to familiarize yourself with it. Also each time it breaks we will just restart. Also there will be two."

Fwish. It took a bit of concentration but I was now holding two out on either side of me. It took a while but the first two managed to grab ahold of them. I waited. Things seemed to go smoothly. Bwam! The one on my right exploded. Fwsh! Replaced. Bwam! The one on my left. Fsh!

They kept blowing up! We were halfway through though but this was very tiring. Bwam! Fsh! Each time it felt weaker. Was this going to be enough? Did I have enough aura for everyone? Bwam! Fsh! Bwam! Fsh! Bwam! fsh! Bwam! sh.. suddenly I got very dizzy. Bwam! Nothing happened. I felt even more sick.

I stood up almost stumbling over. I hobbled my way out into the sunlight next to the river.

"Sky?!"

I plopped down on my back. I was tapping out. Pain was shooting through my body, it felt like I was burning from the inside out. I started splashing myself with water. My mouth felt like it was full of sand. I started taking in mouthfuls of water. The ice cold felt nice on my face. I had finally gotten water.

"Don't push yourself too hard."

It was ryomu. He was standing behind me.

"How else will they learn though? The conditions have to be just right, and im the conditions. Am I failing them copping out this early?"

That made him pause for a moment, but then he continued.

"From what I see, you're too worried about time. It takes time to learn and teach, but you've found a high cost method of teaching is all. Like for heaven's sakes they are still passing an aura sphere around! This is beyond any expectation."

I stopped considering myself and felt him. He was actually stoked about my efforts. He felt ecstatic and it emanated to me. I felt good about myself for once. I started smiling.

I stood back up and noticed the way the path was snaking around this village. It was the path of least resistance for daily activities. I wanted to follow where it could go. It led all the way to the tree line narrowing out. It looked like fewer people went along it often. Along the right side was the arena. It spanned the path to the water.

"Hey um, sky?" Aki stepped in front of me.

"Is something wrong?"

"No, no no. Its fine. It's almost as if you used a TM machine on them. How'd you do it?"

"You guys have TM machines?! Aren't we in the iron age? Early steel folding?"

"Uhh, what are you.. no they are more like artifacts we find lying around. They can just keep getting used repeatedly though some are fragile. Depends on what area you're in."

I nodded. I guess it made sense that those would be maintained and traded. Some of them were breaking I guess.

"To answer your question, you just gotta incorporate a project oriented strategy in your methods. The project is replicating aura sphere, so give them material to tinker with. The material being the sphere. Its to reverse engineer. It should come naturally, right? Anyone can focus, but if they cant see or feel what they are working towards its like searching in the dark. Just light the path I guess and combine aspects in front of them."

He was deep in thought. I started past them.

"I need a break, take over for me."

I left without a second word. I felt like I could collapse. Everything was kinda piling up onto me. My arms were burning and I had a headache. I moseyed along the path out into the woods. I wanted somewhere to sleep mostly private but someone could still find me. I grabbed onto the tallest tree. It was a huge pine.

Without second thought I climbed up. It actually felt easy to climb. Despite how I felt I still somehow managed up the tree. I pulled over too many branches to count. I reached the top. Worth it.

The sky had a matching blue to me, I watched the clouds overhead. I was laying among the branches staring out. The sun felt warm acting as a sudo blanket of sorts. I dozed off.

\/

I woke up alone again. I was in the darkened desert again. The wind was howling through. It was cold and dry. It felt like misery.

I questioned this place. I remembered the other dream, and that recurring figure. The necklace too! I still had it on.

I started walking. The dunes were the same, very hard to walk on or up. I was following the path between dunes. I started getting a little worried. By now something would happen, or that guy might show up again. Honestly was I even safe here?

I trudged on. It felt like an eternity of walking. I saw in the distance white caps breaking the surface of an ocean. Was this technically a giant beach? I didn't like it. The ocean usually calmed me down, but the sound of the waves here felt eerie.

"Hi best friend!"

I turned around to see robe guy again. Honestly what was with the cloak? I get that its medieval or whatever, but still. Its a weird mix of flashy mystery.

"Im not.. whatever. Seriously though. Why? Why all of this? Also tell me about the shadow man who's trying to kill me."

"I don't know much about this shadow man. Plus I can't really say anything. You need to know the magic words first!" They almost laughed out.

"Please?"

"EEEEER! Wrong. Try again!"

I was confused. They were obviously on my side of the coin. Though what bugs me is if they are on my team, why so secretive?

"Can't I get a hint? Like I need answers. Badly."

"Sorry, a can,t,t,t,t,t,t,t-"

They sounded like a skipping record before stopping completely. They were unresponsive. I walked up to them. When I got beside them they had zero reaction. They were almost three times my size. Curiosity was overflowing within me. Hesitantly I reached up and pulled down their hood.

They were human. Their eyes were glowing green in the dim lighting. They had green hair matching their eyes. Their eyes seemed to flicker like electricity. They were staring off into space unbothered by me.

"Hello?"

That seemed to get a response. They jolted back kind of twitching, almost robotic. They noticed me and smiled.

"C,c,c,can do. Your hint, E equals M C squared."

I was perturbed at him. What in the world was he? No normal human can make a noise like that. Honestly the only place you'd hear that is if your computer broke playing a video.

"Equivalent Exchange?"

After saying those words, the ground started shaking. I looked around and off in the distance I could see a light. It was slowly lifting into the sky. I could barely make it out, but it was a.. tower?

/\

I jolted awake, almost losing my balance. I nearly fell off the tree. What the hell even was that? I scanned my surroundings. It was almost dark, the sun had almost set over the horizon. It was starting to get cold up here.

I slid down the tree. I could feel cold dew accumulating on my arm as I descended. Thwup! I landed on my feet and headed back toward the village. Nobody was in sight at this time. I guess everyone was at home.

I passed through the huts passing by four before arriving back at… well the hut I woke up in. I walked into the warm cozy shelter. Liko was sitting at a table with only one chair. I guess it was her place.

"There you are! Ryomu has been looking for you!"

"Is he? Im sorry to have caused trouble."

"It's fine, really. I'll call him over."

I nodded. I wondered what she meant by that. My brain immediately went to a smartphone, but she didn't have one. I was confused until I realized she was using aura. Actually I had never really thought about the range of our aura reading. I guess It was as far as we could see with it? Wait..

"How are you.. getting his attention? I mean with the aura?"

"Hmm? Oh, I guess you don't know. You can actually project your aura pretty far, and your thoughts and feelings are in the aura. Thats why we like mountains. We can project aura much further up here. Though only other riolu and lucario can sense it."

Did aura work like radio waves? Are these droopy things next to my ears just biological antennas of sorts? That didn't explain aura sphere though.. unless.. Its like a form of electricity in the electromagnetic spectrum? It had to be different in some form though. Was it different? I remembered Rin telling me force palm could paralyze people like Frayas electricity. Also she said that it's worth remembering the move even with aura sphere. Especially since those were the only moves I knew besides vacuum punch.

"Hello? Earth to skyyyy?! You there?"

I was snapped back to my senses.

"What is it?"

"You weren't listening. Go and grab my spare beds before ryomu gets back, kay? Im busy watching over dinner. They are in my storage hut out back."

I hadn't noticed the wood stove in the corner before. The smell was good too but I had chalked it to foreign house smell before. It smelled like flowers and cooked meat.

"Can do."

I turned heel and walked out spinning around the hut. I saw a shed about a foot from her hut. I opened it and saw a weird axe, a couple wood boxes of berries and vegetables, and the beds. There were three but I only grabbed two. I wondered why she had three spare beds. Maybe she was just prepared for anything, including multiple guests.

I lifted the light straw beds and put them on my back. They were really awkward to carry. I had to drag them outside. I awkwardly pulled them and managed back into the hut with em. I dragged them off to the bed side of the hut laying them along the wall. After I was done, I took the one closest to the entrance. I wanted the cold bed. I lied down. I was still drained despite napping a little bit earlier. That actually reminded me..

"Oh ryomu! Just in time for food! It is ready."

"Thanks. Ive really missed your stew. It's always the best." He turned to me. "Also, where were you sky?! You said you were on a walk but four hours?!"

"I took a nap up a tree. Sorry for being gone long."

"It's fine. I was just worried."

"Also, how are you able to tell how long it's been?"

There were no clocks here. I was curious as to how he could measure hours and if he was even accurate.

"We use the sun, or I mean a shadow. In the centre of most villages should be a sun dial, and each line is about an hour. Also I dont know why, but there are twelve lines. Im sure there is a reason for this though."

That was kinda cool. I was glad we had some sort of clock here. That meant I could plan my time easier. I don't think ive ever seen a sun dial before.

"Sky, you want some?" Liko asked me.

Ryomu and Liko both had a bowl in their paws. I stood up and stepped over. I grabbed a bowl and used it to scoop up some of the stew. Then I sat back down on the bed I claimed. I eyed the soup. It had red berries in it with what looked like potatoes and some sort of meat. I saw them drinking it right out of the bowl, I copied them.

It had a tangy sweet sour taste for the base of the soup mixing with the savoury flavour of the meat. The flavour surprised me. It was good. Really good. I couldn't stop myself and snarfed it all down. That was the quickest ive eaten anything. After finishing, I had to ask.

"This was good! How did you make it?!"

"Well, I just throw the edible berries that grow around here in, some of those round roots after cutting them and some meat I got off the hunters. What else… oh! Theres these white rocks I found. I get them from really deep in a cave. It was on accident that I figured you can eat it. I dropped my food in it and it made it taste better, so I gathered a lot of it. It's really hard to get down there in that cave but it's worth it."

"Wait, you found salt!"

"Salt? Is that what it's called? How do you even know about it? Are you sure?"

"Sky has actually explained salt to me before. He said it was a rock that made food taste better. And he described what you just described, so I trust it."

"You could make a lot of poke with it actually. Right now it's not well known and hard to find. Right now it's worth its weight in gold. A very valuable food item. It will also preserve food, cover meat with it and your meat will keep longer. Should make it last a week and a half ish."

"A WEEK!?" Both ryomu and liko shouted in unison.

"Yea, give or take. It prevents the bacteria that makes it rot from getting to it. The salt will kill the germs, Its a game changer for food preservation."

"I'll have to try that out! If thats true we would never run out of meat!"

"Yea, can you take me there actually? It's something Id really want to stock up on."

"Well no kidding, sure. We can go tomorrow!"

Liko and ryomu were done with their soup and had their bows stacked next to the pot. I walked over grabbing them, and I headed for the door.

"Oh, you dont have too-"

"It's fine." I interrupted.

I made it outside, the sun had disappeared. The half moon was the only light I had other than aura. I was avoiding aura as much as I could because It took all the colors out. Pretty much out of pure necessity.

The trickling of the water washing through was the only thing I could hear. I plunged the bowls into the water giving them a scrub with my fingers. I made sure each one was clean. After shaking them all dry I was done. I sat there for a moment longer, enough to soak in the calming aura of the river.

Fwoom!

I noticed a riolu on the bridge. It was one of the riolu from class earlier. I approached them following the river.

"Hehe, I finally made one!"

It was mika. They were giggling to themselves. I started leaning against the first railing stud. I decided to watch longer before saying anything. Their sphere was growing, similar to when I first shot one. Though when it started to shrink I had to say something.

"You aren't gonna throw your first aura sphere?!"

"What? Oh sensei!"

"Sensei? Nah, don't call me that. Im still learning, same as you."

"Oh, kay. Sky right? Where would I aim?"

"Well, It explodes right? It's fun to watch it light up some water!"

"Fun? Don't lucario take it seriously?"

"Only the ones who lie to themselves! I mean yea it can help when things get serious, but it works as a firework too! You can't deny that it isn't fun to look at."

"You're right."

There were smiles painted on both of our faces. I was waiting enthusiastically to see this actually. This is the first time I get to see one in the dark. After some hesitation, she finally launched it into the river.

Spwoosh! The river was lighting up in a brilliant flash of blue. A jet pillared up before falling back to the water. It looked like a glowing water dragon in a way. As quickly as it appeared, It sank back to the water.

"That was cool, I didn't know it flashed that bright in the dark."

"Don't you throw these all the time?"

"Yea, at enemies usually. I rarely get to have fun with it. But im sure that regardless of having fun with it, itl make you stronger."

"What?"

"Sorry that came out wrong. I meant if you have fun with it, It will encourage more practice. You will want to do it more. If you're having fun with whatever you're doing, you know then that its meant for you. Plus, you will generally be happier."

"Okay, so if I'm having fun it's meant for me. I'll try to remember that."

"Don't stay up too late, goodnight mika."

"Goodnight sky."

I turned back to the pathway, still clutching the bowls. I made it back to the hut. Liko was still sitting in her chair, though ryomu was asleep. He took the middle bed. Im glad he left me with my chosen bed. I set the bowls down on the small counter next to the stove. Then I dove into the bed.

"Hey sky? I have a question."

"Ask away I guess."

"Well, how did you meet ryomu? You must be really close to him, to bring you here."

"He taught me aura. And after I could feel aura his was always sad. So I found a way to cheer him up a bit, but it wasn't much. Im still worried about him."

"Same here. Do you know.. what happened?"

"Kind of, and I don't think we should talk about it. Wouldn't want him having any nightmares or anything."

"You're right."

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight."

After that the hut returned to silence. I turned facing the wall. I was hesitant to close my eyes, but I eventually did. My thoughts about today evaporated away as I drifted off.

Damn, I was hoping to have this chapter out sooner than today. But like life be throwing me curve balls left and right. And god said "let this man's stomach explode." So like was in the hospital lol. Not serious though It was spooky tbh. My blood pressure was high and they took my blood in the waiting room. Also let in before everyone else. Like I thought I was dying until they gave me a prescription for better arthritis meds. They think it's an ulcer. I mean I was kinda a rick roll for them tbh. I was passing out occasionally and stuff with high BP, but like I was fine. Though it felt unfair to the ppl waiting before me. I guess an ulcer raises your acuity? Like my blood pressure was really high, so I guess vitals might play a role as to who gets in first. And I could stay awake, but like passing out is better than feeling the pain so like can you blame me? So like when my vision was fuzzy I just let it go lol. It made hours turn to minutes thats for sure. I mean thats the only good thing about level 10 pain. You pass out if you want to.