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A Champion's Life

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The next day, Azeon kept his word. He brought Phota outside to begin training her.

"Okay..." He began, staring at the Tree of Life, "Flight is a very important tool in a Champion's belt. It's the first ability a Champion learns, and possibly the easiest one to master. Without flight, a Champion can't really do anything."

Phota nodded as she listened intently.

"When did you guys start flying?" She asked.

"Me and Isa both learned how to fly when we were five. Percival started when he was six," He answered, "A Champion often learns flight right when they need it, to fly from great harm. Now, I'd be a terrible parent if I let you get into danger, so that's probably why you haven't learned on your own yet. But, hey, that's why I'm here, I can help with that."

"So how exactly are you going to train me, then?" She asked.

"I have a few ideas," He responded.

"So... how do you fly?" She asked once again.

He put a hand to his chin, thinking about how to answer. It was a very good question. How do they fly?

"Well..." He said, "I... can't exactly explain how. Trying to tell you how we fly would be like trying to tell you how to walk. I just... tell myself to go there, and I do."

"So I should try to... think about flying?" She asked confusedly.

"Yes, that's a good way to start. Focus on trying to do it, then once you actually do it, and start doing it more and more, it'll become easier until you don't even really have to think about it anymore," He replied.

"Okay then," She said.

She looked up at the sky and stared at it for about a minute.

"...It's not working," She said.

"Well it's not gonna come to you instantly, Sunray," Azeon countered, "It came to us in times of great danger. When it was either fly or... well, you get it. So you'll really have to will yourself to do it."

She closed her eyes, held her breath, and focused as hard as she could.

… Nothing happened.

She gasped for breath.

"It's not working!" She shouted.

Azeon frowned. He knew the kid could focus when she wanted to. When something interested her, she'd be all over it. So it came as quite a surprise to him that it wasn't working.

But he wasn't done just yet.

He grinned.

"Patience, Phota," He said, "We have all day, and I have lots of things planned that should help with the process."

The day passed as they began to try Azeon's ideas.

They tried flying together, so she could get a feel for it. That didn't work.

They tried meditation, to increase her focus. Once again, that didn't work.

They kept trying more and more and more ideas throughout the day, with Azeon even throwing her up into the air and catching her repeatedly.

But nothing worked.

Azeon was completely stumped.

He stood in front of the Tree of Life, deep in thought about what to do next.

He sighed.

"So that's it. We've tried everything I could think of."

He sat down and rested his head on his arm.

"We tried everything... and she still can't fly. Like a featherless bird."

He shook his head and quietly groaned.

"I've failed her. I promised to raise her and I can't even teach her the most basic of our abilities."

He stood up and tilted his head.

"Well... not yet. She can still learn on her own, and there's all the time in the world for her. So I guess it's not too big of a deal."

"Let's go home. We did our best, we can try again later," He suggested.

He received no reply from the girl. It was odd to him, as she was normally very talkative.

"Is she upset...?"

"Are you alr--" He began as he turned around, but he stopped.

He was alone.

Phota had disappeared.

"Phota?" He called.

There was no answer.

But he wasn't terribly surprised.

She often liked to mess with him, by hiding from him or pranking him. Sometimes both.

"This isn't funny, Sunray. Stop hiding so we can go home," He said.

...

He heard no reply, nor did he see her emerge from any possible hiding place.

He assumed she was still hiding, and continued to shout for her to come out.

Yet nothing happened.

He began to hyperventilate, and he screamed her name as loud as he physically could, enough to even hurt his voice...

But no response came, save for the sloshing of the tides and the gentle rush of the wind.