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Dragonia: Rise of the Wyverns – Chapter 26


Devarius stood in the eastern courtyard during daybreak. He was alone. Both suns hung in the sky. He wondered if the so-called swordmaster would even show up. His thumbs began tapping together as he waited impatiently.

Something touched his shoulder. Devarius’s body tensed. He looked to his shoulder to see a blade resting on the top of it. His body jerked as he twisted away. Before he could fully spin around to see who was behind him, the hilt of the sword slammed into the back of his head. He crumpled to the ground. Everything around him became blurry. When his vision refocused, he saw the point of a sword floating inches from his face.

“Good morning,” a voice said.

Devarius’s eyes bulged. “Orrick?”

“Yes,” the man said as he sheathed his sword.

Devarius scrambled to his feet and brushed himself off. He studied the man in front of him. Orrick was short, at least a head shorter than Devarius, with white curly hair dangling to his shoulders and a large white mustache. He looked old.

“You’re the swordmaster?”

“Don’t sound so surprised, boy. I wasn’t always old. I have a lot more experience than anyone. Over the years, I have learned every sword form I could. I may be too old to join the ranks in the army, but I’m never too old to train new recruits.”

“Then why aren’t you the one training us?”

Orrick laughed. “The captain doesn’t like to waste my time. Unless someone shows promise, he doesn’t bother to send them to me. Besides, I prefer to train only one person at a time.”

“I see,” Devarius said.

“No … you do not see. If you saw, you would have seen me coming.”

“Huh?”

“Seeing is more than just your eyes, boy. You must see with your mind, your ears, and your touch. When you’re in battle, there are threats all around you. If you refuse to look anywhere but forward, dead you will be.”

“I understand.”

“I certainly hope so. I do not like training fools.”

“How are we to begin?” Devarius asked.

Orrick tossed Devarius a small net on a pole. “We’re going to catch butterflies.”

“Are you serious?”

“Quite.” Orrick pulled a net of his own from his belt. “I need more for my collection.”

“Your collection …?”

“Every swordmaster should have a butterfly collection.”

Devarius’s jaw dropped. Orrick spun around. He strode toward the city gate. Devarius stood, frozen, for a moment, before ambling to catch up with the so-called swordmaster. When they left the city, Devarius braved another glance at the old man.

“Where are we going?” Devarius asked.

“To a meadow, of course.”

“A meadow?”

“Where else do you reckon we’ll catch butterflies? Not many like to come in the city. However, they love the flowers in the meadow. We’ll find plenty of butterflies in the meadow.”

“You are serious?”

“Of course I am, boy.”

“How am I going to become a blademaster by catching butterflies?”

Orrick ceased walking. He spun to face Devarius. “Tynaer tells me you want to be the best. Is that true?”

“Yes,” Devarius replied.

“Then you need to shut that overconfident mouth of yours and listen. I’m only going to say this once, boy. There will be no questioning me, no revealing my training to anyone, and you will follow my commands without question. I will not train you otherwise. Do I make myself clear?”

Devarius narrowed his eyes. “Yes, sir.”

Orrick clapped Devarius’s shoulder. “Now that pleasantries are out of the way, let’s go catch butterflies.”

Once in the meadow, Orrick made Devarius lay his sword on the ground next to his own. He showed Devarius the proper way to catch butterflies with the net. In the beginning, Devarius tried to stride over to a butterfly and catch it, but Orrick stopped him. He showed him he had to use limited motion with his bicep, and use all of his motion with his forearm, either with downward strokes or upward ones, depending on the situation.

At first, Devarius resented the old man for having him do such a menial task, but soon he realized Orrick was showing him form. Devarius bit his tongue as he accepted every suggestion the old man gave. The first half of the day, he caught butterflies by using the net with one hand, but the second half, Orrick wanted him to hold the pole with two hands and practice the same movements of upward and downward strokes.

By the end of the day, Devarius’s forearms were sore. He sat on the ground next to Orrick as they watched the second sun set.

“You did well today. We have caught many butterflies.”

Devarius clenched his teeth and nodded.

Orrick looked at him, studying his features. He picked up the large jar of butterflies and held it in front of him. “They are beautiful, are they not?”

“They are,” Devarius admitted.

The jar held dozens of butterflies of every color, some a solid hue, while others had intricate patterns weaved onto their wings.

Orrick smiled as he loosened the lid on the jar. “There is nothing quite like watching butterflies fly into the sunset.”

Devarius’s eyes widened as the old man took off the lid and the dozens of butterflies flew out of the jar. His fist clenched when he first saw all the butterflies escape, all of their hard work escaping into the sunset. But his rage relaxed after a moment. He watched the butterflies. The old man was right, the butterflies were a beautiful sight as they flew into the sunset.

“What’s on the agenda tomorrow?” Devarius asked.

“Tomorrow we’re going to swat bees with a stick. I know where a large nest is in the city. The bees are becoming a problem, so we need to take care of them.”

“With a stick?” Devarius asked.

“The best way to take care of a problem is one swat at a time.”

Devarius gulped. He knew he’d be sore tomorrow, but now he would need to add a few hundred beestings to his plan.

“How long until we start using swords?” Devarius asked.

“Are you getting impatient?”

Devarius gulped. “No … I’m just wondering if I should bother bringing my sword for a while.”

Orrick smiled. “There will be no need for a blade until I tell you to bring one.”

Devarius nodded, brushing his fingers through his hair. He wondered how long that would be. Devarius really hoped the old man was the best. Whenever he completed his training, he wanted to be able to do more than swat bees and catch butterflies.


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