“Don’t panic, and just try to find your balance here,” San said. “If you go under, you know how to swim back up, so it'll be alright.” Right now, the stakes were low, since they were in a tub in a training room, and she could get out anytime she wanted. This sort of skill only really came in handy if she ever found herself having to stay afloat for a long period of time.
But that was why it was better to iron these things out here, where it was fine to make mistakes and not know how to do something right away. Things would be less forgiving once she really needed to make use of this.
It took her some time, but Rei eventually did manage to find her balance. San let her do that for a bit, just treading water, before he said, “Good. You can stop now.”
Immediately, she made her way back to the shallow area so she could stand on the block. He let her have a break, before saying, “Let’s try again. Tread water.”
She pushed off into the deeper portion again, and this time it took her less time to find her balance. There was still a bit of a delay, but she had gotten over the worst of it with her first try. This time he had her keep it up a bit longer before letting her rest again.
“One more time,” he said. “Tread water.”
She did it again, this time more smoothly. “Good, you have the hang of it,” San said. Just to make sure she had more practice with it, he said, “And now try diving.” She dipped below the water, then dove down, before bobbing back up for air. “Tread water again,” San said, and watched as she stabilized herself.
If she was going to learn to hide, he figured she may as well learn this way, so that it would be more applicable once she went out into the city. It would have been best if he could take her out properly, but he also understood the reasons against: she was small and easy to lose, and her mental state was as of yet uncertain. Besides that, they'd always had their sessions here, and the sudden change might have been overwhelming at a time when San was still trying to teach her something new.
"Okay. When I ask you to hide, I'd like you to try and hide from me. I'll give you a count of ten." He would reduce the time later, but for now this seemed like an adequate arrangement, and he could always adjust it if that turned out not to be the case. "Are you ready?"
Again, Rei nodded. "Good," said San. "Alright. Hide." With that, he turned around and began to count, loud enough for Rei to hear. Doing this, it really did feel like a game again, in a way that it hadn't for some time. Not even when he had first begun working with Rei did it really feel as though they were playing. She had been so passive in their initial sessions that there could have been no forgetting that San was merely trying to train up an unlikely prospect, and the things he had taught her later were less conducive to a training method that actually incorporated much play. But now, like this, it really did feel like a normal game of hide and seek, if one ignored the setting in which they were playing.
When the count of ten was up, San turned back around, ready to look for any sign of Rei.
She had clearly understood the general concept of hiding from view; at first glance he couldn’t immediately spot her. But San looked a little more carefully, and not long after, he caught sight of a scrap of color that might have been part of her dress.
He walked toward that spot, and sure enough, when he got close enough to confirm what he was seeing, there she was. “Found you,” he said, but not unkindly. “It was a good first try. You have the general idea, we just have to work on it a little.” He evaluated the hiding spot she had chosen, a small crevice between two boxes. “This isn’t a bad place,” he said. “But you’ll have to tuck yourself in a little closer. Yes, like that, press your back to the crate.” San backed up as she readjusted herself, and scrutinized the area once more. This time, he couldn’t see her.
“Okay,” he said, “come out and let’s try again. Try to pick a different spot this time, alright?” Rei emerged, and San gave her the signal once more after moving back to the front of the room. “Hide.”
To her credit, he couldn’t hear any of her movements. He listened for them while he counted, but he couldn’t pick anything up. He hadn’t explicitly told her to be quiet, but she seemed to understand the importance of it, which boded well for her chances of avoiding detection later. When the count was up, San turned around and looked for her again.
This time it was much harder to find her. She had clearly taken his advice about tucking herself in somewhere to heart. Still, San was patient, and took his time looking around. Eventually, he did find her, tucked behind a scattering of cans sitting under a table.
“That’s better,” he said. “You’re a natural at this.” She looked down, but San had a sense that she was actually glad, in her small way, for the praise. “Okay, since it seems like you have the gist of it, let’s try a little faster now. A count of five, alright?”
She came out of her own accord this time while San backed away again. “Hide,” he said, and turned around to begin his count.
Her first attempt with the reduced time was worse, but San had expected that. “Don’t take it to heart,” he said, when he almost immediately found her. “Try again. This time don’t bother looking for a really good hiding spot, just pick something that will work. Try to think about what direction I’ll be coming from, what I’ll be able to see, and what might block my view of you.”
It wouldn’t always be that simple, since sometimes she might have to hide from multiple people, but it felt like a good place to start. And once she became more proficient at it, the speed would come.
“Ready? Hide,” he said.
With repeated attempts, she improved. San could see her trying to reflect his advice in what she did. Even when she failed to properly hide herself, he could see the thought process behind her choices, and from there infer that she was on the right track. It was just a matter of time and practice.
To that end, they practiced more--- this session, and then the next, and the one after that. San’s time limits grew shorter and shorter as the sessions went on, and sometimes he had her starting from very close to where he was, simulating an emergency situation where she had to hide herself from a fast approaching seeker.
The game had long since turned tedious, but San was unrelenting. He needed her to be good at this, almost above all else. San had ways to defend himself if he found himself in a pinch, or even as a matter of accomplishing the goals of a mission, but someone of Rei’s size would have very little recourse beyond fleeing and hiding if things went wrong.
Eventually, however, with enough practice, she could at last hide to his satisfaction. It had taken a great deal of work, but San thought that even the Watchful Ones' proper trainers would be satisfied with this much.
Which was just as well, he supposed, since she would be evaluated soon. Hachi had arranged it, and the date had been set. It was just a matter of preparing, and of explaining it to Rei.
But not today. "At ease," he said. "Let's stop here for today."
After the initial shock of whatever process caused her wings to emerge, Rei was… no worse for wear, in a lasting sense, as far as San could tell. It was always possible that she was hiding it from him, but beyond a tiredness that lasted a few days, he couldn’t see anything wrong with her. And while the higher-ups had given them free rein to do as they liked in regards to her use, San knew that Nana and Hachi would question him if he put off making further progress with her for too long.
It was time, he thought, to bite the bullet. And so, on a day when she seemed well enough for it, he led her to the familiar training room once more.
Truth be told, he had meant to begin the work of desensitizing her, but with this new development, he put that on hold in favor of something else.
As he closed the door and turned to Rei, he said, “Can you… fly now?”
She had wings, after all. And based on the fact that they had been given the means to restore those wings, San felt they must serve some purpose. The most obvious would be if she was in fact capable of flight, for all that they didn’t necessarily look as though they would hold her weight. Rei was not very large, nor very heavy, but she was no insect either.
Rei did not immediately answer, though not for a lack of means. She still wasn’t speaking, but yes-no questions were things she could usually answer now, with a nod or a shake of her head. She might have been thinking it over, which meant the answer was more complicated.
“Could you fly?” San asked. “Your wings, would they be able to carry you if you used them?”
Again, Rei hesitated, but at the end of it she gave a small, tentative nod. “But you don’t know how,” San concluded, to which she nodded once more. That part was easy to guess. He ventured that maybe she had never seen it demonstrated, if she had hesitated over even the question of its feasibility, but he was less certain about that one. Was it an uncommon skill among her kind? The trainer had mentioned ‘others’ that were captured with her…
A chill ran down his spine, and he forced his thoughts away from these hypothetical others and their likely fate. “Let’s try working on that,” San said. “If you can fly, it would help us a lot. You’d be able to go places we couldn’t, and see more than we would.”
But having said that, getting Rei to fly was… easier said than done. Here, San had no experience.
He certainly couldn’t fly himself; he didn’t have the means. And he had no experience teaching anyone or anything else to do it either. There were a few birds in the general employ of the Watchful Ones, in perhaps a similar sense to how Roku was one of their agents. There had been a bird, San recalled now, on the day his parents were killed. In his memory, it had seemed like an absurd detail, a part of the un-reality of it. But having worked with one talking animal, he could hardly have denied the existence of another.
Still, their unit had only Roku, and though he had wings, he didn’t use them. San supposed they might ask him as a last resort, but they may as well try on their own first.
“Could you try flapping your wings?” San said. That would be the place to start, anyway.
Rei obliged him, her wings opening and closing, a few times slowly at first, and then with increasing speed. San watched, waiting, but nothing… happened.
“Stop for a moment,” San said, since there was no sense in keeping at it and tiring Rei out if this wasn’t getting her anywhere. He thought for a moment, then said, “Can you turn them at all? Could you flap them… down, so that you’re pushing the air down?” He wasn’t a great expert on flying, but he thought that might do a better job of generating lift than simply flapping them back and forth like a fan.
Rei didn’t immediately respond, but after a slight pause, she moved her wings a little, experimentally. Again, San waited. There was indeed little else that he could do to help her beyond giving advice when she seemed stuck, and a little assistance here and there.
Riku: From what I loosely understand about the fish is that it isn't one-use, whereas the berry is. I feel like there wouldn't be any consequence of 'using' the fish...which I'd think just ooc wouldn't be counted for whatever rolls or whatever it is that it uses
Jun 3, 2020 14:14:30 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that piece of info Ren! <3 | But would it be allowed for the flavor of the rp if the berry wasn't filling enough for the Lotine?
Jun 1, 2020 6:09:21 GMT -6
Renathan: There is no need to double up on a fish and a magical berry (doesn't change the effect of the berry at all) in a lotine breeding.
Jun 1, 2020 6:02:21 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Does anyone know if it is possible to combine both a magical berry and a fish in a Lotine breeding? Or is you can only choose one of them? (right now writing a Lotine breeding)
Jun 1, 2020 5:36:49 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I am still interested in trading it for a green drake.
Jun 1, 2020 0:31:33 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you are still interested in a trade twilight, for your fidelity result, let me know.
May 31, 2020 22:49:49 GMT -6
Riku: I got three pet levels and 15c out of it. <3 And all the necessary posts for my job salary form.
May 31, 2020 18:49:26 GMT -6
Riku: In mine my crossbreed used foxfire to burn it - but then it used incendiary illusion, which was extra scary because my cross is a plant pet with thick fur. It used the distraction to escape. I’m proud of it, and it’s okay that I won’t finish this month.
May 31, 2020 18:48:42 GMT -6
Renathan: *But of course, the RNG was not having that. / In Morgan's story, the Nyssa was a real thing, so I wanted to have two different situations for the variety.
May 31, 2020 18:15:27 GMT -6
Renathan: Yeah, the 'finished the story but the RNGods are being a butt' thing is a rather unfortunate situation to be in. I had already decided that in Ren's story, the elderly woman had lied about the nyssa and just wanted someone to talk to*
May 31, 2020 18:14:49 GMT -6
Riku: That makes sense. I've considered that before. -nod- I hope your non-hxr life is going smoothly.
May 31, 2020 16:38:08 GMT -6
Haix: Just quitting the job. Don't believe I'll be making the ten posts required per month any time soon. XD
May 31, 2020 16:34:01 GMT -6
Riku: Note to haix, I believe you can post the new application form at the same time as the quitting form. Unless you are simply taking an overall break from the job system.
May 31, 2020 16:30:58 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: even AT the gardens yet. XD It sucks when you've finished writing your story and haven't gotten a success, because then its like "well... now what?" XD
May 31, 2020 15:51:47 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: ive found that when there's a quest that might take longer like this, its a good idea to try and space out the story beats to try and roll a success before i get to the meat of the story. XD Like, by the time i was 5 posts in my character wasn't
May 31, 2020 15:51:21 GMT -6