Swamped Chapter 4 Page 4

You decide to follow them, just for a bit. The way things have been going with you lately, nobody will be surprised if you say you got lost.

You catch some snippets of conversation, but none of it is all that different from what you heard before. The group walks towards a door you remember as leading to the docks. They’re probably taking him on the barge.

Which means you can’t really follow them any further, unless you want to sneak on board. And that would get you in considerably more trouble than being a few minutes late to training.

You suppose you may as well head back. You aren’t sure what you were hoping to find, but you probably didn’t use this time very well.

Just as you turn around, though, you find yourself facing the other knight from the lounge yesterday. He seems annoyed with you, or perhaps just annoyed in general.

“Don’t you have training?” he asks accusingly. “I don’t recall any of the training rooms being near here.”

“Ah, well, I got a little lost…”

He grabs your arm.

“Where are you training? I’ll take you there myself.”

“Combat,” you say meekly as he pulls you along. “Er, if I may ask, you seemed upset with that Mark Conchway fellow in the lounge yesterday?”

“I can’t see how that’s any of your business.”

“Just, um, just wondering what’s going on. And, well, I’ll be training with him, so if there’s anything I should know…”

“He’s a fool.”

He doesn’t say anything more, and stops abruptly when you reach the training room.

“This is the place. Don’t make a habit of being late.”

He leaves before you can even thank him, however insincerely. You decide to just slip in and apologize to the sergeant for being late.

“It’s Mary you need to apologize to,” Sergeant Greenwoods says. “I’ve got light duties while I’m on training, so I can be a little flexible. But the other trainees have had their schedules adjusted, and that means if you’re late, making up for it means Mary has less free time. Keep that in mind, Marshall – you’re part of a team, and that means you have to start thinking about your teammates.”

“It’s all right,” Mary says, tossing a ball from one hand to the other. “I got some warm-up time in while we were waiting. And I didn’t have anything planned for today anyhow.”

She puts the ball down.

“So, let’s get started. Toss me your skyslicer. Throw it like you mean it.”

You do, and she catches it promptly.

“You’ve got the basic technique, but against an experienced catcher, you’ve got no chance. At most you might distract them. But if you’ve only got one thing to throw, it’s a problem if you don’t get it back, isn’t it?”

“So, I should carry a spare?”

“That helps, but it’s even more useful if you don’t get your slicer caught in the first place. Now, in fairness, you’re not that likely to face someone with Northwinds, but a well-trained catcher doesn’t even need the gloves.”

“So, what should I be doing differently?”

“For starters, don’t look where you’re throwing. Half the trick to a good catch is predicting where the throw will go, so you can’t go giving that away.” She hands you the slicer and steps back again. “Now try again, but look somewhere else.”

You look up at the ceiling and throw. You then hear a loud knocking sound, and look to see the Skyslicer hitting the wall.

“Sorry,” you say sheepishly. “I don’t think I threw that very well.”

“Well, yeah. It’s hard to judge a throw you can’t see. But it’s also hard to catch. Unless you’re skilled enough to throw blind, you want to look in the general direction, just not directly at your target. It’s a matter of learning to use your peripheral vision to work out your throws. So we’re going to practice that now.”

You spend the rest of the session – including the overtime from being late – learning to do that. By the time you finish, you’ve managed to hit Mary once without her catching the slicer. You’ve also hit the wall four times and Sergeant Greenwoods twice.

“Perhaps I should stand outside the room next session,” the sergeant chuckles as she leads you to the next room. “Mary seems to have the teaching side of things down, anyhow. Now, your next lesson for the day is…”

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Suggestions:

Navigation class, a very important class since it is so easy to get lost in the swamp.

Where’s that training room again??????

Author’s Note

It turned out that being nosy didn’t get us any information this time. But I did try to make sure that the consequences to the decision were interesting anyways.