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                                                                          CHAPTER FIVE: REI'S DECISION

 

 

 

 

            "Yes," Rei answered.

            "Then trust me, you want to join us," Talien said, smiling.

            "Let me sleep on it," Rei answered.

 

***

 

            Rei slept on the decision only in the loosest sense of the term. Rather, he tossed and turned for about four hours before he began pacing, after which he sat on his bed for a while, thinking some more. His mind was a chaotic mess of conflicting statements and ideas, none of which gave him any real satisfaction.

            Rei did not want to spend the rest of his life as a member of the Sheikah, but somehow he knew that he'd end up joining, anyway. There were no advantages to the decision, only problems. How could he ever be a real warrior? How could he learn to do half of the things that his newfound friends could do? And in spite of all of this, could he even trust a group of people who hid themselves away from the public on a regular basis? Talien seemed very much up front with him, except for the whole testing incident, and Damodred seemed to make a point about being frank, but... All the same...

            Rei put his head in his hands. If he joined the Sheikah, he'd most likely die serving in it. And he would probably die soon, as opposed to late in life. Despite what Talien told him, Rei couldn't ever conceive of making a difference in his life if he took the job, but then, he couldn't ever conceive of making a difference in his life if he didn't. The life of a Sheikah was guaranteed to be a rather full and eventful one, and he would probably never get a similar chance ever again. But still...

            "Come on, just please give me an answer!" he cried out to no one in particular. Rei could feel his own heart beating as he realized the sheer magnitude of the decision that laid ahead of him. His former life had been uprooted, and this one decision would decide forever which course he was to take. If Talien was right, and he had all of that potential... but if he was wrong...

            Roughly half an hour before the sun began to rise on Wednesday morning, Reiman Toran Elanis came to a decision. He felt a tear slip down his cheek in regret about the path not taken. Then he got some sleep.

 

***

 

            As he had earlier while visiting the city, Rei ate breakfast in the communal dining hall. The only two people who he really knew in all of Mankurosa, Talien and Damodred, were nowhere to be seen. In fact, all of the immediate seats next to him were empty.  It gave him more time to think.

            Was his choice right? How many opportunities had he just thrown away forever? Would he miss the life that he had just denied? Or would he settle into his new life perfectly, with nary a thought of what could have been?

            He was thinking this when Damodred sat down directly across from him.

            "Morning, Rei," She said quietly. He started and looked up.

            "Good morning, Damodred," He replied semi-casually. They ate in silence for a few minutes.

            "So," She began, "Talien told me that chances are we'll be seeing a lot more of you. Was he right?"

            Rei stopped eating. Not only was Damodred being- gasp- civil to him, but now he had to state his answer, one way or another. There was no turning back at this point.

            "Well, I… Uh... I mean...Umm… I'd... Well.."

            "Spit it out before I rip it from your throat."

            Rei swallowed. "Yeah, I guess so. I guess I'm staying here."

            She cocked an eyebrow at him. "Oh? Is that so? What made you decide?"

            Rei shrugged. "I... I really don't know. It's like the gods were leading me here, or something. I can't quite put a finger on it."

            Damodred smirked, and shook her head. She extended him a hand. "Welcome to Hell, kid. You made the right decision."

            He took her hand, half-expecting her to crush it. She didn't.

            "You'll start training shortly. Chances are I'll have a hand in it. Trust me, Hell can be fun after a while."

            "Huh?" Rei responded, confused.

            "After a long while," She said back to him, "And if I do train you, I guarantee that it will be fun."

            Rei began to regret his decision.

 

***

 

            "So he's joining us?" Talien asked Damodred shortly after breakfast.

            "Yeah, he is." She handed him a few rupees. "You win."

            "Keep them, I really don't care. Now," He continued, "We have another problem. What are we going to do with Rei from here? The little test with the sword and the illusions was good enough, but now we'll have to start training him for real. He'll be our apprentice, after all. It's a joint deal since we both had a hand in testing him."

            Damodred shot him a devilish grin. "Just let me do the weapons training, and it'll all be good." She produced a knife and began trimming her nails, making just enough of a show of it for Talien to get the point.

            "If he dies, I'm not paying for it."

            "Who said anything about dying?" she asked, not looking up from her work.

            "You're too nice," Talien replied sarcastically.

            "Only to you," came the response.

 

***

 

            It was Wednesday already, and Amadeus was finally starting to feel better about things. He had slowly come to the realization over the past week that Mendelssohn's actions were his fault, and his alone. Amadeus himself shared in none of the guilt. However, Mendelssohn would not be sent on that many more retrieval missions, as necessary as his work was. The really crucial moment wouldn't come until later, anyway. With this in mind, Amadeus could return to his work as the queen's vizier without any difficulty- and he could return to his side project, as well.

            Miyu walked into the room, standing behind him. Amadeus leaned back in his chair, reclining enough so that he faced her somewhat.

            "You look funny upside-down," He said. She smirked at him.

            "You should see yourself. There's hair everywhere."

            Amadeus closed his eyes. "Thine beauty is supreme even when thou art inverted."

            She chuckled. "Are you breaking out the High Speech for me?"

            "Why not? I've done it before."

            Miyu gave his chair a slight push, nearly making him fall. "Then I take it you've started to feel better?"

            "I certainly hope so," he said, sitting back up and turning his chair around. It was a fun chair, really. Mounted on wheels, and able to swivel- a relatively new invention. "Although I might need to strangle Mendelssohn again some time soon. It's really therapeutic- you should try it."

            "Strangling Mendelssohn? Perish the thought."

            "What?" He asked back. "You think that's too cruel?"

            "I think it's too nice," came the reply. "But we're not exactly the most cruel people in the world, now, are we?"

            Amadeus shook his head. "You know, you really are beautiful."

            She smiled and sat in his lap. "Of course I am. I'm also intelligent, and talented, and possessing of a wonderful personality," she commented sarcastically.

            "Not to mention taller than me," he shot back. "I can't breathe."

            Miyu shook her head, and stood up again. "You're still the heavier one."

            Amadeus brushed himself off, then stood up as well. "Not by enough, I'm not."

            He looked down just in time to see Galyer rocketing through the hallway directly at him.

            "Oh, darn," was all that he had to say before the dog leapt on him in a friendly tackle. Amadeus went flying into the adjoining room.

            Miyu laughed.

           

***

 

            "All right, Rei. You know why we're here."

            Rei looked up at Damodred. "Yeah- today's the first day of my weapons training."

            She nodded. "That's good, you got at least one thing right. Relish the experience. Here!" She hefted an extremely large broadsword at him. "Catch!" she said.

            Rei caught it, and promptly fell to the ground under its weight. The sword was much heavier than he had expected. Rei scrambled up to his feet, and tried to lift the sword. Rei managed to lift the hilt.

            "Do you know what kind of sword that is, Rei?" she asked him.

            "A broadsword?" he asked back. She shook her head.

            "Close. It's in the broadsword family, though. What you are holding is called a Bastard Sword. It's the largest and heaviest of its type- This particular one was made by Gorons. This is what you're going to start your training with."

            Rei gave her a puzzled look. "Huh?" he asked. Then he saw her pick up the two wooden practice swords and realized what he was in for.

            "Defend yourself!" she shouted before charging at him. Rei had time to lift the hilt a few inches higher before he was completely pummeled.

            "You know, this means that you're dead," Damodred said, looking down at him. Rei let out a groan of pain. Practice swords hurt.

            He started to get back up to his feet. "Why am I using this?" he asked, still attempting to lift it. "I've never used a two-handed sword before."

            "That's exactly why you're using it right now," she replied. "Oh, and one more thing." Damodred gave him a sharp kick in the ribs. "I'm not going to wait for you to get up," she said.

            "Oh, crap."

            Rei had considerable trouble walking after the training session was over.

 

            "Rei, today I'm going to teach you how to use one of these," Talien handed Rei a small cylindrical device with a grappling spear sticking out of the end of it.

            "It's called a hookshot. The button on the side fires it, and also retracts it. It stops extending on its own once it hits something, and has a range of roughly twenty meters."

            Rei looked it over. "There's sixty feet of chain in this thing? How do they fit it in there?"

            Talien shrugged. "Beats me. You're welcome to take that one apart if you want, but you'll have to pay for a replacement. Believe me, you don't want to know how much these things cost." Talien let silence descend on the scene for a moment.

            "Now," he said, aiming it at the top of a building ahead of them. "Watch and learn." Talien depressed the button, firing the chain with the tip out. It stuck fast in the wall near the top of the building.

            "Now, you simply press the button again." the chain immediately went taut, and Talien was pulled up with it. He swung up to the top of the building, then made a graceful landing on a balcony below him.

            "Holding on to it while it retracts really isn't too hard, but it takes some getting used to. Now, it's your turn. Aim where I did- it's right above my head now."

            Rei nodded. "Okay," he said. He fired.

            The hookshot implanted itself perfectly in the side of the building, almost exactly where Talien had fired his earlier. "Now," Talien called from above, "Press the button again and swing up here."

            Rei nodded, and pressed the button again. Just as expected, he swung up with the hookshot, feeling a sense of accomplishment in the fraction of a second that it took for him to make it to the top before he accidentally let go too soon. Rei then plummeted, feeling a sense of weightlessness in the fraction of a second that it took for him to fall back down. Talien didn't look.

            Rei's training was suspended for another weak while he healed. That is, all physical training was cut off. For the next week, Rei Elanis was taught the fine art of healing.