The Unwitting Guardian Ch. 03AbyArraiga©
Ryna lingered in the cockpit for only a couple minutes after his argument with Sensara. He wandered into the ship's small bedroom, and laid down on the bed. He pretended to be asleep when Sensara entered about 15 minutes later.
"Ryna, are you awake?" she asked, laying down beside him. He didn't say anything, making her think he was asleep. She snuggled up on his back, and fell asleep.
They were both awakened four hours later when an alarm sounded, telling them that they were exiting hyperspace, and entering the orbit of Ulodny. They both got up and entered the cockpit for the descent to the surface.
"I'm sorry for earlier," Ryna said, breaking the silence.
"There isn't anything for you to be sorry about, it was my fault for not telling you sooner," Sensara said, seeming relieved. They had already entered the atmosphere, and were rapidly descending to a growing urban sprawl. Once the ship was at the preferred altitude, Sensara turned toward the very center of the city. She swerved left, then banked right, weaving through the skyscrapers until she arrived at a huge campus on top of a skyscraper. They landed at one of the outlying platforms, where several people rushed out to hook up fuel lines and collect luggage from the compartments set into the hull. Two small hovercraft pulled up to the platform, marked as "Dorms" and "Test".
"Good luck on your test!" Sensara said, looking up into Ryna's eyes. He put his arms around her waist and pulled her close to his body.
"Pssh, I don't need luck, I'm gonna ace that test so badly it ain't even funny." Ryna said, smiling broadly.
"You're dreaming! That test is impossible to ace. Even if you do, they will find something you did wrong and deduct points. Seriously though, try not to get hurt, I have a lot planned for you in the week before classes start." Sensara said, eyeing him mischievously.
"Ooh, that sounds like fun, I'm looking forward to it."
"You better be. I'll come see you at the end room after you ace that test," she said.
"See ya later." Ryna said. He leaned down and kissed her softly on the cheek, then let her go and boarded the vehicle marked "Test". He had barely sat down inside of it before the craft was in motion, whisking over the campus at an absurd speed.
"So city-boy, you caught the eye of the President, did you?" the driver asked, turning to face Ryna. he was a dark-skinned being with several dreadlocks of brown hair pulled back behind his head by a hairband. His cream-colored eyes beamed out at Ryna, complemented by a huge smile.
"Haha, yeah, I guess I did–shouldn't you be watching where we're going? You know, so we don't die?!" Ryna exclaimed, pointing to the front of the hovercraft.
"No way mon, this here hovercraft is equipped with the highest grade autopilot around. Anyway, she is quite the looker, huh," the driver said, scratching his chin.
"Haha, very much so! I'm Ryna Harcourt, by the way," Ryna said, extending his hand out.
"Nice to meet you mistah Ryna, I am Quali Tambani, I'm a Rafae, mon. I'm a second year here at Van-cademy," Quali said, shaking Ryna's hand firmly. The hovercraft's speed decreased slightly as it turned around a corner. An enormous dome came into view several hundred feet from the hovercraft. Quali turned around and switched the hovercraft back to manual, then brought it to a screeching halt 10 feet from the doors of the dome.
"See ya round Ryna, and nice to meet ya!" Quali said, waving, "Oh yeah, one last thing. Never judge a book by its cover here at Van-cademy."
"Uh... Thanks, I guess. Bye Quali," Ryna said, turning to face the dome. It was immense, standing around 100 feet tall, and with a diameter of what must have been about 1.5 miles or more. He stood staring for several minutes before a bump against his back brought him back to reality.
"You just gonna stand there, or go in?" a girl said, looking up into Ryna's eyes. She was medium height for a human female. She was a light tan color, with bright blue eyes and an easy smile. Her loose-fitting shirt made it hard to judge her exact size, but Ryna was sure they were smaller than Sensara's.
"Hmm...Oh, sorry, I was just admiring the architecture. Are you taking the test too ms...?" Ryna asked, pointing to the doors.
"Laura, nope, girls take a different test." Laura said, smiling up at him.
"Alright then Laura, I should really get going, good luck on your test!" Ryna exclaimed, turning to face the large double-doors that were the entrance to the dome.
"Wait a minute Ryna, the tests for boys and girls are administered at the same place, so we can go together. Although, I already took mine, so I guess I can cheer you on in yours," she said, looping her arm around his. They walked through the doors and followed a series of signs to a room designated as the administration room.
On the way there, Ryna learned that Laura was the same age as he was, and was the second highest scoring participant in the girls test with a score of 995\1000. She also mentioned that she was single several times. When they reached the test administration room, she released his arm.
"Non-participants aren't allowed into the actual test room right now, so I'll wait for you at the end room." Laura said, walking back down the hallway they had just come from. Ryna entered the room and took a seat near the back of the theater-like room. The entire room was filled with guys around Ryna's age of all species. Only a few minutes later, an old man walked onto the stage at the center.
"Congratulations to all those assembled here for making it past the preliminary selection. As this school's headmaster, I, Iures Liuna, regret to inform you that you still have one more trial to overcome in order to gain full acceptance into Vanguard Academy.
That test–the Combat Readiness Test–is a simple test. All that you have to do is complete the assignment given to you on your Personal Unit. Of course, it wouldn't really be a test if there was no opposition. Behind the doors situated to my right, there is a jungle-like labyrinth, filled with convicts who have been told that for every one of you they kill, a year of their sentence will be deducted. They aren't going easy, so neither should you.
For those of you that are wondering, teamwork is allowed to complete the missions, and a map to the objective has been provided on your Personal Unit. This test is graded on a multitude of factors, and a passing grade is above 650. There is no limit on how many of you can gain acceptance, so feel free to remain in the maze for as long as you want–although there is a 100 point deduction for those who remain for longer than 48 hours. Lastly, the weapons you proved to be most proficient at using during the preliminaries have been placed on racks in the walls. They have your names on them, and are arranged alphabetically. Good luck, I hope to see many of your faces in the next semester," the old man explained. Because Ryna was at the back of the room, he had to wait a while for the room to clear before he could get to the weapons assigned to him.
He was curious about what weapon he had been assigned, because he had been fairly good at using almost every weapon they had given him during the Preliminary Testing. It turned out to be a pair of black swords, with an intricate red swirl where the guard should have been.
"Those are from my own personal collection, Mr. Harcourt," The old man, Iures, said, suddenly standing next to Ryna.
"They are beautiful. A single stained-black iridium blade would be a piece of art. A matching pair is a masterpiece. I am honored, gramps." Ryna said, admiring the blades.
"Well, Sensara said you would like them, I guess she was right," Iures said, crossing his arms, satisfied.
"Sensara said that? I don't remember ever mentioning anything about swords to her," Ryna said, looking slightly confused.
"She is a rather special person. She notices things other people would never see, and she is able to put them together to see many aspects of the person. Which is why I am okay with you dating my granddaughter. If she thinks that you are worthy of her affections, then I just have to accept it," Iures said, looking resigned.
"Seriously, that is awesome! Wait a minute, you are her grandfather?!" Ryna exclaimed, "Please forgive my rudeness! I'm Ryna Harcourt."
"Relax kiddo, I'm not a strict kind of person. But if you should ever hurt her in any way, I will end you personally," Iures said, growing exponentially more menacing. The very air around him seemed to chill as his aura turned threatening. Ryna was forced to take a step back just from the killing intent exerted by the man.
"Alright, well, good luck, future-grandson," Iures said, smiling, his aura returning to normal, and the pressure decreasing dramatically. Ryna just smiled back. He strapped the swords to his back, then strolled through the doors into the test room.