Tangled Up in Blu: Part Seven
After hours of training, Blu had come to a single conclusion: Being a water mage is overrated.
Vzelle had started out by teaching Blu breathing exercises to help her focus her energy on her powers. ‘Water bending’, as Vzelle called it, was accomplished by focusing energy on water and using the hands to ‘bend’ the water. They started out with simple maneuvers like forming a waterball by using your hands. Blu mastered it fairly quickly and soon learned how to propel it at a high speed to a target. Vzelle showed Blu how to shift currents which most things in water bending revolved around. Vzelle also taught Blu how to speed up the current in front of her so as to propel something away from her. By shoving her hands out in front of her, Blu quickly understood the technique. Vzelle was currently trying to teach Blu how to create a whirlpool, which Blu was finding more difficult than anticipated.
“Just rotate your hands like so,” Vzelle demonstrated by moving her hands in a circular pattern, “and focus your energy on making the water move with your hands.” Vzelle closed her eyes, breathing in and out as the water around her hands shifted faster and faster until a mini whirlpool had formed. Expanding the circle of her hands, she let it grow to twice its size. Still concentrating on the motion of the water, she let her hands fall limply to her side. The whirlpool, however, did not stop. It continued to grow until it was ten times the size it had begun at. Sensing Blu’s discomfort with its multiplying size, Vzelle released her focus on the water. The currents quickly stopped, and the whirlpool ceased to exist. Blu held out her hands and began to imitate the circular motions that Vzelle had been doing. Closing her eyes, she focused solely on the currents of her hands. Feeling the water began to speed up, Blu opened her eyes to check her progress. The minuscule whirlpool she had created stopped as her concentration lapsed. Crying out in frustration, Blu covered her face in her hands.
“You cannot let your concentration slip!” Vzelle sighed. “You can’t go opening your eyes just to see if you did it! You must trust the water and the water will trust you.”
Blu attempted a whirlpool again. This time it grew to three times the size of her last attempt before breaking.
“Better,” Vzelle commented. “But let’s move on to something else. This technique allows you to control your speed while swimming. You can travel at super fast speeds by controlling currents with both your hands and your feet.” Vzelle began to swim slowly across the backyard. Narrowing her eyes, she focused energy at her hands as she stroked, sending currents of water behind her to boost her speed. After steadily controlling the currents of her hands, she was then able to add currents to her feet, which shot out as she kicked. She then focused on creating a current of water that surrounded her and moved her in the direction she needed to go. Her speed became inhuman; she was almost invisible at her speed. Blu watched in awe as Vzelle swam around the backyard. Releasing control of her currents, she came to an immediate stop in front of Blu. Blu stood before her, mouth agape. Vzelle couldn’t help but smirk as she told Blu to try.
Blu began to swim lazy circles around the backyard, slipping into the bliss that is swimming. When her muscles were in sync with the water, she began to focus her energy. Narrowing her eyes, she let the energy release from her hands as they rested at her sides, boosting her speed. Doing this for half a lap around the yard, she waited until it came naturally before attempting to bend from her feet. When she felt comfortable with the rhythm of her hands, she began to let currents flow from her feet. Blu quickly adjusted to the new rhythm. She then ventured to create a cocoon of currents around her to further increase her speed. As she focused her energy and mind on it, Blu felt the water around her begin to move with her, propelling her forward. She swam a dozen times around the yard, not wanting to stop. She loved the thrill of the high speeds she was traveling at and the way the water rippled through her tan and white fur. Her mane trailed out behind her, flowing like a waterfall as her white paws paddled in the cool water. Weightless in the water, it was as close as she could possibly get to flying. Sparing a glance at her mentor, Blu felt a strange sense of satisfaction at the shocked expression on her face. Vzelle’s normally smug expression was replaced by an open-mouthed stare, shocked at the potential the Gelert possessed. Blu, hoping to shock her teacher even further, released the currents and stopped swimming all at once, coming to an immediate halt in front of Vzelle.
“So how’d I do?” Blu asked. She couldn’t help but smirk smugly. Vzelle quickly wiped the dumbfounded expression off her face and regained her composure.
“Fine. You shouldn’t take so long to add currents, though.” Of course. Leave it to Vzelle to find something wrong with a flawless maneuver.
“I think you’ve learned enough for today. I’m going inside to fix dinner, but you should stay out here to practice.” And on that note, Vzelle turned and swam into the house.
Sighing, Blu began to practice her waterballs. Sending them at the makeshift target Vzelle had set up earlier; she taught herself how to change their paths at a nanosecond’s notice. As she was sending a waterball in a corkscrew to the target, Zwane walked out the door.
“Hey.” His simple greeting was enough to make a smile play on Blu’s lips.
“Hey,” she said in reply.
“So, Vzelle got you working hard?”
“Well, she’s got me working for compliments. She doesn’t exactly like to acknowledge talent, does she?” This made Zwane chuckle.
“Yup, that’s her. So you willing to show me what you learned?” Zwane was curious to see what had come from the hours of teachings. Blu skillfully demonstrated her techniques, but was unable to perform the whirlpool maneuver. Zwane wasn’t disappointed in her for that; it was quite the contrary. He was dumbfounded at her skill.
“Wow,” he said for lack of anything better to say. Blu had just shown him her super speed swimming, and was now standing in front of him.
“Wow? That’s all you have to say?” Blu nudged the shadow Gelert playfully. Zwane nudged her back, and soon it had erupted into an all-out war. Soon they were both doubled over in hysterics. Blu was just rising form her spot on the sand when she saw them.
Fifty soldiers were marching towards Maraqua. Blu could only assume they were from Dehytrezn; they all were armed with the same odd weaponry that Blu had stashed in her backpack. All were Maraquan neopets with the same hideous scarring of the other neopets in that kingdom. Blu watched in horror as the army inched closer and closer to the kingdom.
“Zwane, we have to go alert the king! The Dehytreznian army is coming!” Blu was in a state of panic. Zwane followed her gaze to the approaching army, and then nodded. And so the two swam into the house, first to warn Vzelle, and then Maraqua.
“Alright. You there, tell the armies to assemble at the gates!” King Kelpbeard began barking orders as word came of the approaching army. Blu, Zwane, Chrysanthe, and Vzelle were standing before the king, having just informed him of the news.
“Zwane, I expect you to be among the ranks of the army, so go suit up. Chrysanthe, stay in the castle so you don’t get hurt. Blu, Vzelle; your bending skills will be useful tools against the enemy. Go with Zwane and suit up,” the king instructed. The foursome nodded and began to fulfill their tasks.
Zwane, Vzelle, and Blu busied themselves with putting on their armor as the hordes of soldiers around them prepared for battle. Zwane fitted the benders with Maractite armor and gave them Maractite weaponry. Blu selected a bow and a slew of arrows in addition to the weapons she pilfered from Dehytrezn. Vzelle selected a cutlass and a spear as well as a throwing net. When Blu asked about the net, Vzelle smiled.
“Water bending can do wonders with a net... or the things trapped inside it.” Contemplating this, Blu stored a net in her armor. Zwane armed himself with his usual bow and arrows as well as his favorite sword. Slipping it into his belt, he turned to Blu.
“Are you ready?” Zwane’s gaze was intense, locking his gold-grey eyes with Blu’s cobalt-ultramarine ones. He could see the uncertainty in her eyes, as well as the fear that was churning her insides. Blu nodded, but Zwane could tell she was petrified. She diverted her gaze, and Zwane’s heart softened. In one motion, he pulled her into a hug. Blu hugged him back, allowing a single crystalline tear to slip down her cheek. Closing her eyes, she inhaled his scent.
“You’ll be fine. I know it.” Zwane pulled back and wiped the tear from her cheek. He smiled, and Blu smiled back.
“Alright, move out!” Swordmaster Talek stood by the doorway, watching with his hawk-like gaze as the soldiers filed out. Encased in Maractite armor, he was a dashing figure. A Maraquan Draik, he was dappled with purple and gold. He had a tuft of purple hair hanging from his chin, which matched the bushy eyebrows perched atop his violet eyes. His white body ended with a tadpole-like fin on the end of his tail. As his gaze fell upon the lagging Blu and Zwane, he barked at them.
“Make haste! There’s no time to lose!” Blu and Zwane needed no more instruction. As quickly as they could, they dashed out the door.
The army was at the gates of Maraqua, forcing their entry. Ramming into the gates, they searched for any way to gain entry into the kingdom. Angry battle cries, clanging weapons, and the hollow thump of bodies ramming into the gate filled the water, and the battle hadn’t even started yet. As the Maraquan army marched towards the Dehytreznians, the gate gave way.
With a harsh, discordant chorus of gasps, shouts, and unearthly sounds, the Dehytrezn army charged forward. The Maraquan soldiers, realizing what had just happened, took off to meet them before they could come any farther.
Blu took a deep breath, fear twisting her insides. She wasn’t prepared for this. She had never used a weapon and was sure she would handle them with all the grace of an overweight Tuskaninny. This left her only with her natural intelligence and her water bending. And water bending wasn’t of much help. She had hardly learned anything about her powers, and now she was expected to use them to purge evil from neopets? Yeah, okay. She couldn’t even make a proper whirlpool! She was going to fall flat on her face. Nevertheless, she realized she had no choice, and swam towards the enemies.
Zwane charged forward without hesitation, already adjusted to the heat of battle. He was a seasoned warrior, having fought countless battles for Maraqua. He could handle a blade with skill rivaling that of Swordmaster Talek. He had deadly aim when it came to shooting arrows; he could hit a 1 inch diameter circle from 100 yards away. His experience in previous wars would aid him here, but he could not shake his worry for Blu.
Vzelle smirked smugly, knowing she could easily defeat any foe that dared cross her path. She was the water mage of Imohakua. Her power had no bounds, and she would show no mercy. She had faced many foes before, but none were a match for her powers. Now would be no different. She would crush anyone who stood in the way of her ultimate goal. Bursting with her usual overconfidence, she bolted forward.
The Dehytreznian army, vengeful in its motives, charged forward. The Maraquan army, looking only for peace from this war, dashed forward to stop them. Weapons held high, the clash began.
To be continued...