"I guess we better start training then, shouldn't we? Where do you want to go?"
Looking up at Kerin and Bernkastel, Marisa smiled happily. "I will...!" With that, Bernkastel and Xavier slid away in a different direction. Immediately after, being the booming voice of Natruo to take their place. Marisa squeaked, and clinged to Kerin until Natruo disappeared. So... We were to train now...? Looking around, Marisa saw the exact angel Kerin had glanced at. He... Didn't look like an angel. As simple as that. If Ryuu had been born an angel, he would have looked like that. He looked... Intimidating. Scary. A-and... What was he doing here...? He was.. A new participant..? Why? Why did the Gods bring more people into the Games...? Marisa whimpered at the thought of more people to watch out for. Where were the other new ones? Surely he wasn't the only one here... Right?
She looked up at Kerin; gold eyes wide. "Uu, yesh!" With that, she quickly took in the different stations. Kerin was strong, physically... Then... He should train in magic! Smiling widely, Marisa took the older vampire's hand, and dragged him towards the offensive magic station, where both a male and female instructor waited. "Kerin! Chu need to practice magic...!!"
"Magic?" Kerin looked the station rather distatefully. He was supposed to know magic or at least have some kind of feel for it. Yet, he had grown up without any kind showing at all. His father had had him appraised when he was younger. The woman told him his strength lied in fire magic and that it was his natural element. Whatever that meant. But, yeah, nothing fiery had every come out of him at all. Ever. Except fiery rage. "I don't know..."
She pouted cutely at his "I don't know", and crossed her arms. Didn't he hear what Bern said last night? He needed to learn magic. Fang apparently had no special talent for it, and she was too young to even dream of fireballs... Marisa didn't even know what element she was supposed to be. Perhaps... she needed to change that. But Kerin needed to train, too!
"Kerin needs to practice! Try... And Marisa will try too!" Marisa meant it. Looking around, she took in the other stations. Ryuu was all the way at the Earth Magic station. That option was out. He'd probably be there all day... And she really doubted that fire was her.
"Well I can't promise anything," Kerin sighed, glancing quickly over the stalls until he found the Fire magic one. He looked back at Marisa and followed her eyes to another stall, the Earth magic one, where Ryuu was now. Taking her shoulder, Kerin gently pulled her away from the demon and to another stall, the Fire one. But really, Kerin didn't have an a real interest with playing with the stuff. He just wanted to, well, protect Marisa. Wouldn't he be better off learning some kind of physical martial art or perhaps make charms, like Bern? Though, he never had patience for jewellery. Or techniques. Bleaugh. He took Bern's advice though, and approached the goddess behind it.
"Hello," he said plainly. He wasn't sure what else to say.
"Hello!" she said rather brightly. Kerin made a face. "Welcome! So, you're interested in learning the harsh but graceful way of fire?"
"Well, uh, not really," Kerin frowned. He didn't want to lie.
"Then why have you come here?" she cocked her head a little, smile only growing brighter.
"Well, I was told to learn magic. Because I suck at it."
"And what do you hope to actually learn from me?"
"Well," he looked at Marisa. "I want to keep Marisa safe. And protect her. And that's it, I guess." The goddess gave a laugh, which annoyed Kerin. What was funny about that? What did she know about these kinds of things anyway.
"Vampires like yourself," Kerin twitched at the word only slightly. The goddess ignored him and continued, "and young Marisa here are known to excel in magic, but it's funny a vampire like yourself has no interest in magic. Well, these things happen. Is there anything you'd like to learn from me, Marisa?" The goddess crouched to meet Marisa at the eyes. Kerin could see her face better here; her eyes were quite golden, much like Marisa's, but her hair was a fierce red to Marisa's blonde. Her bittersweet personality annoyed Kerin, but from what he could tell, she was just trying to be cheerful.
Marisa felt a twinge of annoyance as the lady bent down to talk to her. She hated how people did that. It was horrible. And extremely rude, mind you. You'd think the lady'd know that Marisa was at least twelve years old to be here, right? Why did everyone seem to forget that and just concentrate on how she LOOKED like an eight year old?
Marisa clinged my hands to Kerin, and stared at the Goddess for a moment. She was cheerful, especially for the situation. Which was kind of like a smack in the face. Perhaps she didn't mean any harm from it, but Marisa took it as something hostile. We were being prepared to die on live television, and the Goddess was acting all... Weird. Maybe she was a optimistic...
"I-I...." Marisa slid to hide behind Kerin slightly; suddenly feeling an overwhelming surge of shyness. Why did Gods and Goddesses have to be so beautiful? "N-no, ma'am... Marisa isn't natural with flames..." Atleast, she hoped I wasn't. Marisa would burn myself faster than a baby beside a stove. She looked her eyes up at Kerin. "Long range, Kerin. Like... Fireballs!" Marisa smiled lightly and hugged her arms around him.
"Really? Fireballs?" The woman laughed as she extended to back to full height. "It seems that little Marisa here knows more about what you want than you, Kerin." Kerin blinked at his name. It was weird hearing it in her accent. Kee-rin? His name was Keh-rin. He didn't bother correcting her, he figured she was either doing it on purpose or just was... weird. Maybe she was weird. "But, what do you want Kerin?"
"I want to keep Marisa safe," he repeated.
"Yeah, yeah, I heard. But what do you actually want?" She tilted her head and folded her arms. Kerin frowned back at her. He just said it, didn't he? Though, if he thought about it, what he wanted was to go back home, though that wasn't going to happen. He wanted Quinn to be okay, but he was sure that wasn't going to happen. He wanted to be normal and he was almost certain that was never going to happen.
"All I want is to keep Maris--"
"Yeah, yeah I heard you," she shook her head. "I can hear your heart beat. It flittered over the 'all I want'. Y'know? So, what do you want?" Kerin kept his mouth shut and just looked at her. She sighed, frowning for the first time and shrugged. "Fine, don't tell me. But all those bottled up feelings are gonna make learning magic all the while harder. Let's get started on basic magic, I suppose." She gestured to Kerin but put a hand up when he tugged at Marisa to follow. "Is that a good idea? You'll be harnessing raw and often uncontrollable fire, the best kind! If you want to protect her, I suggest you," she looked at Marisa, "maybe go find something else to do, sweetie."
Kerin looked down at Marisa also, biting his lip. She merely smiled brightly back up at him, letting go of his arm.
"It's alright! You have fun!" when continued to look at her worridly, she shook her head. "All the gods here are watching out for us too, okay?" and with that, she let go of Kerin's arm, waved and disappeared off somewhere.
"She's a ball of energy, now isn't she?" the Goddess chuckled. "Now, let us get started, alright?"
They started with simple fire techniques, like generating heat and setting fire to a piece of paper. Kerin, like he had predicted, was totally useless at the art. After two hours of 'concentrating' and 'harbouring your emotions', the most Kerin had done was accidently rip the paper after gripping it so hard. Kerin certainly felt hot after trying to concentrate, but that was probably from him holding his breath. Another hour of lectures on how anger was sometimes a trigger for fire but nothing happened. The Goddess herself was getting frustrated with Kerin, tapping her feet impatiently and hastily whipping different pieces of paper in and out of hands to see if it would make a difference. It didn't. Another hour of nothing passed and the Goddess finally snapped.
"Aaarrghh! Are you even trying at all?!" setting the piece of paper on fire. Well, not on fire. More like a scary, raging inferno. It licked around her hands and she stormed over to Kerin with a look of pure anger on her face. So Kerin had to be... this mad? But she wasn't teaching him anything, throwing a ball of fire at his feet. Kerin quickly sidestepped as she did, now not sure of what Marisa said before about Gods protecting them.
"Aah! Please stop!" But she didn't, swining her fists at him. Her fire was making the air hot around. Kerin couldn't swing back because, for one, he would burn himself and two, it wasn't like the fights he usually got in. She wasn't bullying him, she was just angry because he was incompetent. And Kerin agreed. But he really did not want to die today. "Stop!"
He put his hands to stop an incoming punch, only to feel his hands grow hot. He squeezed his eyes shut, awaiting for the fist but... nothing came. He opened them, to see the Goddess grinning at him, staring at his palms. Around his hands was fire, tinged slightly blue, licking around and up his wrists. His first reaction was to put it out, though he kind of sat there and marvelled at it until it blew out.
"Wait, what's that?" the Goddess pointed an accusing finger at his chest and when Kerin had finished looking at his hands and looked down, he saw the alchemy stones Bernkastel gave him. "Is that... Bloodstone! And Citrine and Jade! That witch! This is why you cannot harbour your emotions." She stood up and flicked her long hair, sighing. "Different teaches teach magic in different ways. I prefer emotions for a quick and easy method, but there's also teaching by chakra, by drawing heat around you and turning other enerigies into fire or having a source. I prefer emotions for situations like this, it's easy to teach and is useful in adrenaline situations of the Population Games. But that," she pointed at the stones again, "is blocking your hidden emotions, helping you to get over them. You can't harness raw emotion that's not there."
"But I need this!" Kerin objected, pulling at the necklace. "This helps, it really does!"
"Does it, Kerin?" he flinched again at the wrong pronouciation of his name. "Does it? You cannot rely on Bernkastel Vermillia for these games. You have to get over these demons in your heart that you hold so dear. Not me, not Marisa, not Bernkastel, but you, Kerin Knight."
* * *
"How did it go?" Marisa tugged at his arm as they took the elevator back up to the Vampire tower, smiling brightly at him. Kerin had no idea what she had done all day, but she seemed to have enjoyed herself, no matter what it was.
"Alright, I suppose," Kerin shrugged. Alright was a pretty good explanation. His hands were scalded from the overuse of fire and the constant outbursts, but at least he had gotten somewhere. He had not mastered the art of fire, but after a few more long hours replicating adrenaline and trying to 'control' his 'hidden emotions', he had managed to control a flame, even getting so far as to spar with the Goddess with flames around his fists. Fireballs though, were a little out of his reach, but the Goddess promised that if he continued doing what he was doing, he would be able to let the flames leave his body. "How about you?"
She didn't answer, only giggling as she pulled him out of the elevator and into her own room, dragging him around like he was a toy of hers.
"Kerin-sama, let's play a board game!"
"Okay, which one?"
"This one! This game! You can be the blue piece!"
"Okay," Kerin smiled. He felt home again.
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