One of Ian's favorite days is here. But it’s not the Dowser's day with its Fair or the day Anton's men helping with the lesson. No. It’s the day when Connor takes over staff training with older students.
Connor looks like a classic bookworm, a man who is content with a calm life, however, the moment he has a staff in his hand he is something else. When Ian first witnessed it, his reaction was the same as all the students' gathered around Connor that day. The moment Connor took the staff into his hands and performed a breath-taking sequence of moves everybody in the room just stood there with their mount wide open. Ian almost ran to Connor to confess his undying love towards him despite they were not together yet.
Connor has already a great deal of respect amongst students but the day he starts training them the respect reaches a whole new level. Ian thinks that not even he, as a Great Master of the Order, has this much respect.
Connor is standing in front of the small group of teenagers. Smiling with his most innocent smile, looking like easy prey. All the students are around 17 years old, their expression set on bored by default. Ian’s standing behind them, unseen by everyone but Connor, leaning back against the wall of this small training room.
“Welcome, young mancers, to your next level of training with a staff. I will be your teacher for these advance lessons of this art.”
The sound of chuckles can be heard from the crowd in front of the Master. Students are not believing that Connor can teach them such a thing. Ian himself smirks, knowing that these young ones will see the truth any minute now. The moment Connor unfolds his staff with one smooth and elegant move, Ian can see how one of the girls in the group stirs a little, looking suspicious all the sudden.
“Attack me,” Connor says and the deepest of silence falls. None of the students makes the slightest move, only confusingly looking between one another and Connor. “Come, come. Don’t be shy, show me what you got,” Connor encourages them, his voice as joyful as ever. Maybe even slightly more.
Then the clever girl asks, “Who of us should attack you, Master? You didn’t tell us.” Most of the students nod as if this was their thought exactly.
“One at the time or all of you at once, if you want. That’s up to you, Monika,” Master answers with an innocent tone. However, when his eyes meet with Ian’s, Great Master can see that mischievous smile he loves so much.
Students are looking at each other, looking for the guinea pig of the group. And then, finally, one of the bigger boys spins his staff and makes a step forward. Connor grabs his own staff more firmly, but nothing more, his stance still normal.
Boy’s attack is as predictable as the Sun showing every morning. But still, Connor dodges it with such a style and elegance. Ian’s heart may do a flip seeing that.
The show begins.
The student almost loses his balance, not expecting to miss, and must do a few extra steps to gain it again. Connor uses it and with a quick hit of his stuff trips his unstable legs. As the boy’s falling and Connor’s back is turned to the group, another young man uses this to make his move.
Alas, his attempt is also a failure. Connor turns in time to stop his staff with his own. As are their weapons crossed, stuck together, Connor twists his hand and the boy’s staff falls with a clank.
Meanwhile, two girls from the group nod at each other and attack at once. One from the left and the other from the right. Their attacks nicely synchronized, keeping Connor busy. However, Ian once saw his husband fighting with four adult Mancers at once, so this is hardly a challenge for him.
A sound of metal hitting not a metal, but a hardened part of the uniform reaches Ian’s ear. Can it be that these two young girls got a hit?
No, of course not.
Connor only uses his forearm to cover the blow aiming for his ribs while disarming one of the girls at the same time. Monika, wanting to use this moment to strike, gets hit. Both defeated girls are breathing heavily, and Connor, who didn’t even break a sweat, is now again nonchalantly leaning against his staff. The innocent smile back on his lips.
“Take this as your first lesson, young technomancers – never underestimate an enemy. That will be all for today and I will see you again this Friday. Or anytime you need me,” he says and smiles.
Someone from the group starts clapping and it doesn’t take long, and all of the young ones are also clapping. Connor does a small bow and the group slowly walk towards the door. The students who tried their luck against the Master are receiving claps on shoulders and words of admiration.
When the room is empty Connor turns to Ian, “How this "secret" about me stay secret on this school is beyond me. One would say it would spread like a fire.”
“I think it became a part of the journey to becoming a mancer in this Order – letting Master Connor kick your ass.”
“If that’s so, you are not really a part of our Order, Great Master,” Connor says with a challenging smile.
“Is that a challenge, Headmaster Connor?”
“No. Challenge means you have a chance to win and I know I’m going to win,” Connor says, teasing Ian with every word and spinning his staff lazily in his hand.
“We shall see,” Ian answers the call for a fight and goes for a staff in a nearby stand.