Chapter 4: Swordplay
"There were so many ingredients i wanted o try but Jake told me it was impossible to eat so many burritos at once..." Finn said waving his arms in the air to emphasize the amount to burritos of his story.
The two had begun their journey together not long ago and Finn wanted to start some small talk which to his dismay Lyra wasn't paying attention, she was distracted in her own thoughts but she nodded every once in a while to Finn's rambling.
"So then i asked him about the chance of putting them together in one giant burrito for both of us..." Finn continued as they kept walking through out the grasslands.
Lyra silently nodded.
Though she couldn't stop starring at her injured shoulder. She knew she had magic in her blood that would have healed her shoulder by now, so why wasn't it working? Suddenly the thought came to her.
Lyra enchanted a couple of her arrows in case she didn't hit a vital spot towards an enemy or a prey. She probably got hit by the unlucky arrow which would explain why she was healing slower than usual, Lyra would need a magical green orb to break the effect of the enchantment or she would become vulnerable. She would become weak, Lyra dislike being weak.
Turn weakness into strength or so she was told.
"So me and Jake cooked for hours but it was worth it when we finally made one giant burrito and filled it with practically everything~" Finn stopped walking on as he reached the top of a hill before adding "Until we found out it was poisoned" he frowned at the memory.
Lyra catches up to him on the top of the hill to see the frown on Finn's face, she wanted to say something to comfort him but the tents at the bottom of the hill caught her attention.
"Is that the wizards market?" Lyra asked pointing her finger toward the tents and booths.
"Not exactly" Finn said sheepishly.
"Then why are we here? We are wasting time" Lyra said with annoyance in her voice.
"We're just stopping by to get you a sword in case we run into trouble" He explained. "The security at the entrance to the wizard market has been a bit tight lately"
"I can defend myself using my bow as a melee weapon" she pointed her thumb towards the wooden bow behind her back.
"Against rock golems?" Finn gave her a toothy grin.
That made Lyra stay silent for a moment, indicating a small victory for Finn.
"Fine, if I don't find anything that fills the characteristics I require in half an hour, we will drop out this little game of swordplay alright?" She answered sternly.
"Alright with me!" Finn grabbed a hold of Lyra's right wrist dragging her down the hill a bit too excited, since he doesn't remember the last time he helped pick out weaponry for a friend.
"Come on Lyra you gotta pick something!" Finns shouts could be heard across the market place sounding more like a plea "We have checked every booth and it hasn't even been ten minutes!"
"Those scraps of metal are not what i'm looking for" Lyra replied calmly.
"Geez you sure are a picky one" Finn said as he rested both hands on his (manly) hips as an idea popped in his head "I know, what if you make you're own sword?"
Lyra thought about it for moment, it wasn't a bad idea.
"And how am i suppose to do that?" She raised an eyebrow.
"Easy, you just gotta pick the right metals" Finn said before walking away "I know where we can find them"
The metal salesman was a hard working man he would go into mines and canyons all across Ooo searching for metals and minerals of all kinds and sizes to sell them at a booth he built with his own hands. However business for him has been slow ever since it was rumored he was a weirdo between the rest of the salesmen and merchants. So he needed to think of more "creative" ways to sell his metal materials.
The salesman hummed happily as he handed an iron shield to a young knight.
"And remember that the boogieman can appear beside you in your bed and eat you alive while you sleep if you don't buy my products!" he said to the gullible knight, looking rather scared as he ran off.
The salesman giggled to himself looking for more gullible knights to scare into buying his stuff. However he received an odd pair of customers. A brunette girl with a sling and a boy with a funny looking bear hat.
"The candy shop is at the next block kiddies" the salesman pointed a finger towards the direction.
Lyra answered by dropping a bag of coins on the wooden table with a bit too much force for one hand, enough to startle the salesman. If there were few things Lyra didn't like, being treated like a child was definitely one of them.
"I want an ingot of whatever light metal you have, this should be enough to cover it" she spoke nonchalantly.
"Um... Yeah it is" the salesman took the brown bag counting the coins inside as he walked to the back of the tent to retrieve Lyra's things.
Finn stayed silent as he looked at the brunette with wide eyes, surprised at her strong arm, Lyra noticed the look she was receiving but she didn't say anything as the salesman walked in with a silver looking material.
"What is that?" Lyra narrowed her eyebrows in a way she has been doing a lot lately, if the man was trying to rip her off she would pay him with the same coin. Lyra once meet a girl who was probably the best youngest rip off artist the city streets of London had ever had and taught Lyra a helpful thing or two.
"Well you said you wanted a light metal right? Well i have the perfect one for you miss" the salesman laid the shiny ingot on the wooden table "This is a quicksilver metal, its perfect for making a light and strong blade plus it increases speed"
Lyra looked silently at the odd mineral, she wanted to test it but time was on her hands.
"Alright I'll take it" she said before giving a quick glace between the material and her left arm covered by the sling "On second thought would you mind giving me a bag?"
"Sure thing miss" said the salesman as he retrieved a brown bag.
As Lyra and Finn began walking away, the salesman gave them a confused look.
"Wait where are you two going? The sword Smith's shop is the other way!" He yelled. Which made both teens stop their pace and turn around. "Swordsmith?" Lyra asked just a confused.
"Well yeah, how else are you two planning on melting those things together? Dropping it in lava?" The salesman said jokingly.
However the salesman's comment made them stare at each other in an awkward silence.
Finn had suggested melting the metal in lava and later set it on a rock to give it the form of a blade, and since she wanted to get things over with she didn't hesitant to agree.
Finn tried to look away to escape Lyra's hard glare, but he couldn't hide forever. "Oh come on, why the glare?" The adventurer half joked.
"You wanted to melt this with lava even though there was a sword smith close by" Lyra spoke calmly but with acid dripping in her voice.
"I didn't... Okay maybe i heard a couple of guys mention it nearby..." Finn didn't know how to arrange his words. "I mean it's kind of expensive"
"Calm down i know a friend of mine who can do you two a favor although he has his, perks" the salesman said a bit unsure.
"We'll talk about this later" Lyra said in a quick hush tone to Finn before facing the salesman "Just tell us the way"
"You think this is the place?" Ask the adventurer.
Finn and Lyra arrived at the wooden shop that the salesman had told them, what kept them from going inside was the shouting that was coming from said shop.
"You told me they would handle heavy attacks from any enemy!" Said one voice.
"But not against a dragon covered in lava you idiot!!" then there were sounds of some breaking glass until a man ran out of the shop grabbing onto his right hand which had a broken half of a sword stabbed on his palm.
"And don't come back until you learn to wield properly a weapon!" The other man, presumingly the swordsmith shouted towards the opposite side where the other man ran away.
Both stared silently towards the wooden door of the shop until Finn spoke.
"Laddies first" Finn said sheepishly.
"You have got to be kidding me" Lyra grimaced.
Lyra entered the shop as the door bell ringed behind her announcing her arrival to the blind swordsmith with anger issues. Her quick reflexes kicked in as she dodged the end of a broken sword thrown at her as it stuck on the wooden door behind her originally aimed at her head
"Barry is that you!?" Shouted the swords smith
"Uh no sir" Lyra said confused.
"Hmm you don't sound like Barry? Why aren't you Barry!?"
"I don't know sir" she said before adding "Excuse me but are you the swordsmith?" Lyra asked the older man.
"Well who else did you think i am? The king of Ooo!? Of course i am the swordsmith girl!"
"Hey don't be rude with the lady!" Finn said defensively as he entered the shop.
"Sorry" the swordsmith apologized as he rested his gloved hand on his forehead, looking rather exhausted "its just a shame people don't value the art of fabricating weapons anymore" the features on his face soften.
"It truly is a shame, you look like a skilled man" Lyra said as she examined the swords in display in front of the shop.
"Thank you" the swordsmith replied happily "What can i get for you nice girl" he patted Finn's head.
"I'm not the girl" Finn muttered a bit annoyed.
"Well I'm looking for a temporary sword to block attacks for the mean time due to my lack of an arm" Lyra said looking at her arm inside the improvised sling, she need both arms to use her wooden bow since it was her primary weapon, but for now she needed a defensive weapon.
"I understand your handicap girl i have one of my own" he said pointing towards his eyes under his googles "But don't let the loss of an arm stop you in accomplishing your goals"
Lyra wanted to say she had a broken shoulder instead of losing her entire arm but shrugged it off as she took the swordsmiths' words by heart.
"So do you have any experience or training in swordplay?" Asked the swordsmith.
"Not exactly, in fact i despise swords but i have been taught fencing a couple of years back"
"Then I believe you brought the right material?" He stretch out his hand towards the female voice.
"In fact i do" Lyra handed the smooth metal
"Hmm this is a light metal use to increase speed" he said feeling the silver ingot in his hands.
"How long will you have it ready?" Finn asked curiously since he usually bought his swords made, sharped and everything. "Can you make it quickly please? We are kind of bit in a hurry" added Lyra. Finn only gave her a look that said 'relax'.
"For a beautiful maiden like you I'll finished it in a blink of and eye" he smiled to where he supposed Lyra was standing, judging from where her voice came from.
This made the adventurer laugh a little "How do you know how Lyra looks like if you can't see her?" Finn asked playfully which Lyra mistook for mockery.
She wanted to smack him on the head because his bold question could make the man feel uncomfortable.
Did he just call her ugly?
Lyra knew she wasn't one of those natural beauties like the ones back at her old town where they would get suitors in a blink of an eye. She had never been one to care what others thought about her, or at least had been good at hiding that fact. Her insecurities were something she dealt with in private.
"Silly boy aren't you? All women are beautiful inside or out" the swordsmith returned the playful gesture with one of his own.
The older man went to the back of the shop to start working on the sword while both Finn and Lyra took a seat at the uncomfortable old couch near the door.
After a couple of seconds Lyra was the first to break the silence.
"Why didn't you tell me about the swordsmith?" Lyra spoke with a monotone voice keeping her eyes at the floor.
This made the young adventurer a bit nervous since he couldn't tell if Lyra was mad or not, he hoped he didn't make her mad. All Finn wanted was to spend more time with her it wasn't his intension to make her mad at him.
"Oh... well you see... Uhh..." Finn scratched the back of his head nervously. "I-i didn't want you to spend out more of your money, so i thought we could save us the trouble. Besides it's pretty expensive to make a sword anyway" he waved his hand in the air.
Finn rambled a bit at the last sentence. He knew it was bad to lie but he wasn't lying at a hundred percent, just dancing around the truth like Jake told him once.
Lyra on the other hand listened carefully to his words feeling a little distrust. If he had went through all this trouble to get her a sword it wasn't necessary for Finn to let out that important detail of the nearby swordsmith, even if it was for his intention to make sure she didn't spend more money. She has been traveling long and far enough to find treasures to trade for. Her economic situation wasn't something to worry about since she wasn't greedy about money and most of her food and other needs came from the natural resources she received from the forest. There were more important matters in her current situation, that involved her broken shoulder and the weakening enchantment it came along with.
That is why she needed everything to go smoothly.
"I don't accept these kind of mistakes Finn" Lyra began to speak in a firm tone "I need this trip to go smoothly without any mistakes and if-" The brunette was about to continue until a voice interrupted her.
'Hey don't be so harsh on the kid, he's only trying to help' said the voice similar to her own, except this one was coming from inside her head.
Lyra had begun hearing a voice for a while and she was certain it wasn't her own sub-conscious since it made more of a radio static sound but now she could hear it very clear, and decided to listen to it, even if it was for once.
She let out a deep sigh before turning her head towards the adventurer. "Just don't keep those types of things hidden from me again, that is all i ask for" she said in a softer tone.
"No prob, I'll be the best guide you ever had! Trust me" Finn said returning to his old self as he gave Lyra a playful smile.
"Trust..." Lyra repeated narrowing her brows "is gained by actions not by words"
"Alright now try to attack me with the move i showed you earlier" Finn encouraged Lyra in the middle of a large grass opening.
It has been an hour since the swordsmith gave Lyra her first sword, it held similar features like the one she used in fencing, except the blade wasn't thick metal it had a more flat hexagonal shape and if the salesman was right about the quicksilver metal it would allowed her to defend herself from heavy attacks and big enemies without fear of breaking the blade. Although Lyra said she would only use it as a defensive weapon for the time being, Finn insisted he taught her the basics of swordplay, which after half an hour later Lyra agreed to.
However as a few minutes passed Lyra regretted her decision. She had been trained in fencing, not swordplay, and it was all she could do to hold off the first blows as they came. Her right arm burned, her wrist throbbed, and she couldn't keep the sword steady enough to swing it even once.
A similar feeling made a distant memory restore itself in her brain and played one of many memories Lyra thought where shattered and lost.
Every muscle she knew, had and a few she didn't were aching more they'd ever done in her life. Lyra stood, panting exhaustedly after knocking her friend's blade away in another counter strike. Said blonde girl stood patiently meters away, completely unfazed. She had fair skin and long blonde hair beaded in a braid that was wrapped around her head like a head band, the silk dresses she usually wore were changed for a cotton buttoned dress shirt and a pair of sand color breeches.
"That was good. Just remember to keep your weight on your back foot, otherwise you'll topple over if the opponent did what I just did. It's all about balance, and using your opponents' momentum against them," The blonde girl explained. She was an excellent teacher, surprisingly for someone from the upper class Lyra thought.
"Is this the kind of stuff you and Matthew learned?" The brunette asked in between pants.
"Some of it, yes. Although for your purposes I'm focusing more on defensive fighting"
"Then how come Matthew didn't want to teach me fencing when i asked him?" Lyra asked curiously.
"I am not sure, knowing my brother he probably didn't want to hurt you. Why maybe he has developed deep feelings for you" the older blonde winked suggestively.
"I don't believe that's the main reason" the smaller brunette known as Lyra shakes her head in dissaproval although she couldn't stop smiling at the idea. "He would never hurt me"
"I know he wouldn't" The blonde girl smiled knowingly.
(End of Flashback)
"Alright... Just hold... Still!" Lyra said between pants, exhaustion reaching her entire body, she usually had better resistance than this. It's a sign that the enchantment was working Lyra thought.
"Oh come on Lyra like enemies would stand still, i thought you were smarter than that!" Finn said playfully.
Although swordplay wasn't something she was good at, Lyra was determine to learn it carefully and wouldn't let the exhaustion get the best of her, she was quite stubborn when she puts her mind onto something. So she decided to use the knowledge she already has and mix it with Finn's new teachings.
Finn charged at Lyra one more time as she took a steady pose ready to attack, she was able to blow off the first attacks Finn made with his demon blood sword as she took careful attention to her footsteps. With one last strike close to her head Lyra evaded the attack almost without effort, making Finn topple and allowed her to make a counterattack by adding all her strength in one precise and strong blow that knocked Finn's sword out of his hand and on the grassy ground.
"Nice move, if you would have used it earlier we would have finished on time for lunch" Finn said lying on the grass on his stomach.
"Well you are indeed a great swordsman" Lyra complimented Finn's skill since it took her quite a while to beat him, which has made her hungry judging by the loud noise her stomach made.
"I know you said you wanted to reach the wizards market quickly but mind if we stop for lunch first?"
"I don't mind at all" Lyra placed her new sword back in it's leather sheath on her waist where it would stay loyally by her side until it was needed, she used her now free hand to help Finn up on his feet in sign of respect for his skillful swordsmanship and the trouble he went to teach her a thing or two.