My friend had time to edit this one (Yay!). The title’s just a joke on the previous story’s title.
This story is a part of Aldrich Stories. You can find the other stories here.
Arthur Quake focused his mana on Darts. The little creature’s fur stood up on end, before erupting from its form as dozens of needles of light. They pierced the target in unison, their effect like a shotgun blast.
Arthur narrowed his eyes.
“Ready?” He called out to his familiar.
Ready! Darts cheerfully replied. The creature didn’t move. The glowing needles disappeared, leaving a number of deep holes in the target.
Arthur took another deep breath – the same thing again.
“Damnit!” He hissed, brushing sweat away from his brow with his arm. Before he could prepare himself to try again, a voice cut him off.
“If you let yourself get frustrated, it will only become harder to do.” Arthur spun around, just in time to see his boss emerge from Hollow’s shadow.
“Sup Fin?” The boy said, letting himself relax a bit. Darts’ fur settled down as he ran over to Hollow. Arthur wondered for a moment how he had managed to end up partnered with the most social familiar on Aldrich.
Baker smiled from over next to the creatures, before moving towards the youngest lieutenant in Chaos.
“As I’m not a mage myself, I have to equate this to something I have a bit more experience in.” Baker explained. Arthur waited for him to continue. “Basically, don’t use a sharp knife when your mind isn’t on the job.”
“What makes you think it isn’t?” the boy retorted quickly. Fin raised an eyebrow, silently but purposefully. Arthur looked away, sighing. “Heh, fine. Yeah, what that new guy said bothered me. Why wouldn’t it?”
Arthur knew it. He was all power and no finesse. No matter how much he trained, he just couldn’t work out how to focus his magic precisely. He’d always gotten by just telling himself it was fine. Especially considering most people were desperate to accomplish the opposite.
“He made no comment about power though, did he?” Fin observed.
“No, but if I can be more precise, I could be ‘sneakier’.” Darts was now curling around his leg like a cat. The little guy hated it any time Arthur was upset. The mage had a feeling it was why Darts was willing to spend so much time training today. Usually, the familiar preferred spending his free time sleeping on Arthur… or on Oak, in recent times. Ask as he may, Darts hadn’t felt the need to explain why to Arthur yet.
“I feel this is all my fault, in a way.” Fin frowned.
“Don’t play that card please.” Arthur groaned. The seventeen-year-old hated when Fin did this.
“I did ask you to spar with him instead of another mage.”
“You did that because you always do. I knew the guy wasn’t a compete newbie.” Arthur sighed. “I know I have to do this kinda stuff because I’m the only person in the military who’s like the enemy.” He didn’t need to elaborate – Fin knew just as well as he did.
Arthur was the only mage with a familiar. Fin was the reason why; and Arthur was not going to forget that anytime soon.
“I should have taken the whole thing more seriously.”
“You never do. That’s part of your charm.” The man turned away. Arthur had been around Fin long enough to know he was carefully calculating how much he needed to say. “Benjamin is a complicated soul. I’ve read his file, and his quirks make perfect sense. Just take my word for it. He may not have been trying to hit a nerve.”
“Are you sure about that one?”
“I’m not going to tell you to let this go, Arthur. I do need to tell you though, if Benjamin was trying to insult you and is a terrible person, then I’m surprised that Darts has taken to him so quickly.”
Arthur didn’t have a reply to that one. Darts seemed confused by Arthur’s choice to avoid being in the same room as Oak. But at the same time, the familiar didn’t really explain why he liked the guy.
Darts was far more social then Arthur would ever be. Usually, if the familiar liked someone then Arthur would make an attempt to at least pretend to get along with them.
“So? What do you want me to do about it?” the boy asked after some silence.
“Nothing much really.” Fin tried to keep a straight face, but Arthur’s facial expression forced him to laugh. “All I meant is that, it would be great if you could keep an open mind about this,” He paused, “and also if you didn’t exhaust yourself with extra training. Don’t forget, things have been quieter recently. That does not mean I won’t have a mission for you soon.”
Chaos was small. Only a couple of teams, which meant that his next mission would be with Oak no matter what.
“I get it.” He finally said to Fin. “I won’t let this get in the way of my work.”
“And honestly,” Fin added, unable to stop himself. “I’d just like you to make a friend your own age.”
Once again, the look on Arthur’s face made Fin laugh.
“Yeah, yeah.” The boy said, “I’ll get right on that Dad.”