[“Are you sure you want to do this?” Alsenoth was trying to convince Kala otherwise.
“And are you sure that your room filled with light after you woke up from your nightmare?”
Kala gave him a look. The look, rather. It was funny how she was able to unexpectedly demand control with her eyes. She was two years younger than Alsenoth—thirty-three—and yet she was still able to make him feel smaller than her in every way. He knew he was fighting in an argument that he could not win.
“I just want to make sure, Kala. Stimdärt abilities are difficult to control. It’s tiring and you’re going to have to be under extreme agitation while you train. So….” He paused.
Kala gave him a curious look. “So, what?”
Alsenoth looked distractedly to his side. “So I’m going to have to hit you.”
Kala’s eyes widened. “What!?”
“Yes, err…. See? I told you this wasn’t a great idea!”
“Right. To agitate me you have to hit me? You can’t yell at me or something?”
“That’s not how it works, Kala. And I’m not going to yell at you.”
“But you’ll hit me.”
Alsenoth growled in irritation. “Kala, we can do this another time. I mean you can even just wait until we do your regular sword training, if you want.”
Kala smile. “Ugh! Fine! Hit me, then!” She bent her knees, folded her wings across her back, and stuck her neck forward. A big grin on her face, she tapped her cheek with her left hand. “Come on, Alsey! Right here!”
Alsenoth shook his head, his eyes narrowed. “I’m not going to hit you now, Kala. I’m not dumb enough to just—”
“No, come on! Seriously, hit me!”
“Kala if this is some sort of joke—”
Alsenoth threw his fist against Kala’s cheek. She flipped around and snarled, placing her claw against her face. When she turned back around to face Alsenoth, her eyes and pupils were a deep shade of ruby; a clear sign of Stimdärt power. Her cheek was cut from the impact of the punch and blood was trickling down her face.
“What did you do that for?”
Alsenoth was flustered, taken completely off-guard. He widened his eyes in fear—horrified that he had actually hurt his best friend. “But you asked me to hit you! Insisted, if I rightly recollect! Are you okay? I mean, I didn’t mean to hit you that hard!”
He bent down and knelt at her side. She had an angry look on her face. “I know I told you to, but I didn’t think that you’d actually do it; I was trying to prove a point!”
“I’m sorry Kala. I was just trying to help you tap into your Stimdärt abilities.”
Kala sighed. “I know. I’m not mad. I’m just…shocked at how much it hurt.”
Alsenoth raised his brow. “Oh, is that all? I thought you were mad at me?”
“I can be if you’d like,” she pouted with her face and gave Alsenoth the look.
Alsenoth just chuckled. “I’m sorry Kala, but it was either that or cutting you.”
Kala lifted her claw off of her face to reveal her bleeding cheek. She flashed him a sarcastic smile. “Oh we wouldn’t want that now, would we?”
Alsenoth grinned. “No, of course not. But either way it still worked.”
“What do you mean?”
Alsenoth stood up and looked at her. “Well for one thing, your eyes are all ruby—which, might I add, makes you look very pretty,” Kala shifted at this remark, “And secondly, if you look at your claws you’ll see that they’re shining.”
Kala looked down. Alsenoth was right: bright yellow light was swimming lazily around her claws, twinkling in the sun’s rays. She looked up happily to Alsenoth, a giant grin on her face—the same smile that had always reminded him of the sun. “See, Alsey? I told you I wasn’t joking! Now do you believe me?”
Alsenoth smiled; more to himself than to Kala. “I never said that I didn’t believe you, Kala. There’s no way that I could never believe you.”]