Into the Training Grounds
Chapter 3 Part 1
Happy Friday, fantasy readers! Here’s the first part of Chapter 3 of Saving Foreverland.
If you didn’t get a chance to read Chapter 1 and/or Chapter 2, remember to check those out.
For those of you crunched for time, the estimated reading time for this post is only
The next morning, Sarah awoke from her bed in cave #15. Ava and Peter were still asleep, but Josh was waiting for her at the table.
“Good morning. Sleep well?”
Sarah hesitated. Should she tell him about her crazy dreams of Hadoo and the end of the world quickly approaching? She didn’t want to sound like a baby, so she decided against sharing. “Ok,” she said instead.
“So…today’s your first day of training,” Josh said. “But first,” he stood up from his chair and locked eyes with Sarah, “do you have any other questions for me?”
Sarah shook her head, but then she came to her senses - “Yes, actually. I have a ton of questions! But I guess the most pressing is, what exactly do we have to do - to save ForeverLand?” she asked. Josh’s blue eyes went empty.
“We have to stop Hadoo,” he said. “By whatever means necessary.”
Sarah let out a long sigh. She was tired of all the vagueness. She wanted specifics - what was her task? How exactly could she help?
Josh sensed her impatience and let out a small chuckle, his perfect teeth sparkling in the light of the lantern. “I know you’re frustrated, and rightfully so. But you have to trust us, at least for now,” he said. “Walk with me, and I’ll try to give you more specifics.”
He reached out his right hand for Sarah to take. Her heart fluttered as Josh closed his fingers around her own. She felt a smile spread, but she quickly wiped the love-struck grin from her face. This was business. I cannot fall for my trainer. There has to be some kind of rule against that, she thought, scolding herself and her teenage hormones.
Josh led Sarah out of cave #15 and started down the other side of the mountain - not the way she had come up with Elozar. She hadn’t noticed this path when she arrived, but it was wider and it looked well-traveled.
“So,” he said, “you wanted specifics. Well, here you go - all the Timebenders are here in ForeverLand and what we do here, is prevent Hadoo from moving forward with creating the black hole. We have Elozar who tracks Hadoo’s whereabouts and daily meetings as a community to go over where to target our bending energy.”
Sarah’s jaw dropped, but she was speechless. She didn’t want to interrupt.
“You won’t be much help until you’re fully trained,” he said offhandedly, “but once you’re up to snuff, we’ll have you working hard like everyone else - assigned a specific shift for bending time against Hadoo.”
“What about the Spacebenders?” she asked, forgetting that she was going to let Josh explain everything before she spoke.
“Well, the Spacebenders keep ForeverLand present. Basically, they prevent the space from being destroyed. They’re on shifts too - just like the Timebenders. We work together.”
Before Josh could explain anything else, they had arrived. Sarah looked around her, taking everything in. They were in a large - well she didn’t know how to describe it exactly, except that it seemed almost like a battle arena. It was an open circular rock floor with walls up the sides, though there were no seats outside of it, so she guessed this wasn’t meant for entertainment.
“So, I think that covers some of your logistical questions, right? I’m sure more questions will come up, but I’ll try to address everything when it makes the most sense.” Josh shrugged.
Sarah nodded, first timidly, then more confident as the gravity of the situation fully set in. I literally have to help save the world, she told herself forcefully, accepting her new reality.
“Good. Now, it’s time to get down to business. This is the training ground,” Josh said, turning in a small circle in the center of the arena. “This is where everyone develops their bending abilities in ForeverLand. And since you’re the only new person that came back with Elozar - we’ve got the whole space to ourselves today.”
Josh walked towards Sarah, eyes serious, determined. “The best way to learn how to timebend is to just do it,” he said bluntly.
Sarah gulped and then nodded. She was ready.
“Timebending is all about concentration - mental energy. But to further develop your mental energy, you also need physical training. For today, we’re going to just see what you can do naturally. Sound good?”
Sarah was worried she would fail, that she would make a fool of herself. She had only bent time once, and Elozar had guided her through it. Josh made it seem like he was just throwing her into an ocean and seeing if she could sink or swim. At that moment, Sarah used all her mental strength to will herself to swim, bracing herself, feet planted firmly in a fighting stance.
Josh stepped back, surveying her, trying to determine how much natural ability she truly had. Elozar had told him about her, but he had to see it for himself.
“Alright, I’m going to run at you from the other side of the training grounds. As I’m running toward you, you’re going to focus on making me slow down, and then you can move out of the way. Got it?”
Sarah sighed in relief. She would have plenty of time to move out of the way if Josh was running from all the way on the other side of the arena. It had to be at least 100 feet long. So she nodded confidently as Josh walked back towards the far wall.
She gave a thumbs up.
“I’m going to count down from three. When I say ‘go’ I’m going to start running.”
Sarah tried to get her mind ready for what was about to come. Though she wasn’t too worried - she could simply step aside as soon as he started running even if she couldn’t figure out how to bend.
“Three, two, one…go!”
She watched Josh take his first step, but then he was just a blur. He was going to reach her in milliseconds. She tried to focus on stopping him, but she ended up following her gut reaction and just dove to the right, out of his path.
“What the hell!?” She yelled. “You didn’t tell me you had super-speed!”
Josh came to a sudden halt, two feet from where Sarah lay on the ground. “I don’t,” he said. “That is timebending. I sped up time on myself to help me get to you faster - your goal was to slow your perception of time to get out of the way. I don’t think I even have to tell you this, but you did not succeed. However, your reaction was fast enough to avoid getting smashed,” he chuckled.
“This isn’t funny!” Sarah screamed. “You could have really hurt me.”
“Oh relax,” he said. “I could have stopped myself before hitting you. You wouldn’t have gotten hurt. I wasn’t expecting you to do anything on the first try - that was just a warm-up, to show you what to expect.” He took one step back and then he turned to a blur again, speeding up enough to get back to the other side of the arena before Sarah could even blink.
What did you think? Be brutally honest because I’m always looking for ways to build on my stories.
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