Learning

A Shadow Skill Fanfic by Yen (Dec 2000)

Author's note: Sequel to Consequent, Possibilities and Guardian

Disclaimer: This is a nonprofit work


Dias gritted his teeth, crouching low against the strong wind. He could barely keep himself from being blown off Juliannes' peak.

"If you cannot fight against it, let it go through you."

Dias risk some of his breath to yell at Darkness, "How in Ashilana can I do that?!" Darkness was a few paces in front of him, standing straight and steady. His cloak was fluttering lazily as if only disturbed by a gentle breeze.

"Do away your shell."

He balked at the cryptic order. His shell was what kept his energy from dissipating from this world into the next. Disbelief lowered his guard, and a sudden more powerful gust of wind from the opposite direction hurtled him straight into Darkness.

Dias caught the surprise in Darkness' face before he was slammed against the other man. Both of them ended up in a tangled heap of arms, legs and black cloth.

The hollow voices of the winds ceased in Dias' ears as Darkness' energy shielded him as well. Dias found himself staring at Darkness' face, who looked calm and enigmatic as usual.

Both men stared at each other silently before a soft laugh from neither of them interrupted their regard.

***

"What an interesting training position..." Lillbelt trailed off with delicate amusement as Dias struggled in vain to extricate himself from Darkness and the latter's cloak.

"Your Highness," Dias was saying with panicked embarrassment, "It's not what you think!" He was attempting to loosen a portion of cloak that had somehow wound tightly around his ankle.

One eyebrow went up. "Oh, and what was I thinking, Dias?" She asked pointedly.

The former valle deigned to pretend to ignore her query and snarled at Darkness instead, "Make whatever this is withdraw!"

Darkness looked back at Dias silently as the latter continued his struggles. Then, with a shrug, his cloak shimmered then melted away, letting loose Dias.

As Dias stood up hastily, Lillbelt watched Darkness closely as his long raven locks shortened and lightened back to sunlit gold. As if feeling her stare, Darkness looked towards her just as she looked away to watch Dias instead. She decided she prefered him as a brunette than as a blonde.

Dias was grumpy. She bit her lower lip when he attempted to move too far away from Darkness. Dias ended up snatching at Darkness' arm when the winds tried again to take him with them.

As he paused to catch his breath, his arms wound guardedly around Darkness' arm, she couldn't help but notice how his crimson locks contrasted with Darkness' current hair color. Lillbelt wondered if she could persuade Darkness to try other shades.

Maybe pink... She smiled mischievously, drawing Dias' attention. He immediately let go of Darkness.

***

"You shouldn't be here, my dear." Darkness frowned when she smiled at him, saying, "I'm fine, Darkness."

He noticed Black Wing's curiousity, and turned towards him. "The Soma is unstable at these times. It isn't safe for her to be here."

Black Wing's eyes widened. He looked surprised. Though it soon turned to concern.

"Your Majesty, he is right. You shouldn't be here."

"As I have told Darkness, I am fine, Dias."

"Still, it is wise to be prudent, your Highness. You must not risk yourself."

"I am telling you I am all right, besides both of you are here." She smiled with charm at Black Wing. "Surely, I cannot be in more capable hands."

Black Wing looked uncomfortable with the praise, but he was just as stubborn as she was. "Surely you have other more interesting places to be at."

It was the wrong thing to say, for her smile widened and she gave Black Wing a devilish grin. "Oh no," she said, "never had I seen a sight as interesting as the one I beheld just a few moment ago."

Black Wing's jaw dropped, and he actually stuttered, "I-it's not what you think it is!"

She pouted. "It isn't..." Disappointment clouded on her face. "What was it then?"

"Training," blurted Black Wing.

To which she immediately replied, "Then please do continue. I'm sure I will learn many things watching you train with Darkness."

Darkness cocked his head slightly, wondering at the strange expression on his student's face. He wasn't so skilled at deciphering human emotions and relied on telepathy to understand what others were thinking. It was becoming increasingly difficult with these two.

Black Wing suddenly said, "Unfortunately, we are already done up here."

"We are?" Darkness repeated, startled when Dias jabbed him sharply in the chest with his elbow. "Yes, we are," Black Wing hissed to him.

Darkness frowned slightly, perplexed and at odds at how to react to this turn of events when suddenly the Princess paled and fell to her knees. Her Soma cascaded unevenly around her.

"Your Highness!" Darkness didn't even see when Black Wing move, so instantaneously he had appeared at her side.

"Darkness!" He yelled at him just as her Soma died down completely.

***

"How is she?"
"She's resting now, father. Thank goodness, Darkness was there to help her."
"Bah. It's because of him that she goes off to God knows where looking for him."
"I have ordered the entrance to the Peak sealed."
"Little good that will do. He encourages her to be reckless, the bastard."
"Father, your language. She might hear you."
"It's good that she hears. He is not a good influence."
"Most men aren't."

Sir Greodai fell silent at his daughter's words. A moment later, he chortled softly, trying hard to keep down his laughter to keep from waking up Lillbelt.

Faustice smiled and said with fond patience, "Of course, you are not included in that majority, father." There were few people as unbending where rules where concerned as he was. This quality only served to increase her already high respect of him. If only some men were half as correct or even a quarter.

"Of course, of course." Her father coughed to clear his throat before saying, "So where is Darkness now?"

"I sense him nearby. Perhaps he is concerned."

"Hah, unlikely."

Dias withdrew from the room, reassured that the princess was all right. After his essence passed through the wall, he quickly formed his shell again and hurried off to find Darkness.

He was irritated with his master.

***

"Aren't you even concern?!"

Darkness looked blankly at Black Wing, who was pacing to and fro in front of him.

"I thought you cared for her," Black Wing was muttering. Darkness frowned and weakened his barrier. The sound sudden howl that immediately rang in his ears confirmed it. Black Wing was walking in the wind. Again, his human emotions had increased his powers and so quickly.

"Are you listening to me?" Darkness nodded automatically, still pondering.

"Aren't you going to visit her?" Again, he nodded.

"Are you going to bring her flowers?" He nodded, and straightened abrubtly when Black Wing stomped on his foot.

***

Lillbelt stared at Darkness who looked rather ludicious with an extremely large bouquet of flowers in his hand. He had a strange expression on his face, looking as if he had absolutely no idea of what he was doing.

She blinked when he offered the flowers to her. There was a card among them.

It read:

He gave me his word he would do whatever you wish for the day in apology for his insensitivity yesterday.

It was unsigned, but she knew who wrote it.

She stared back up at Darkness, who was still standing at her bedside and still looking nonplussed.

She fought to keep from grinning as an idea formed in her mind.

"Darkness dear, could you turn your hair pink for me?"

Fin

Go on to Secrets

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