Elma and Lucil Ch. 01byVampLover69©
Her small smile flashed like a gift from a goddess, so rare and precious. There were so very few who saw the softer side of the captain and her true smiles were few and far between.
The sun burned hot and bright and my clothes were already plastered to my skin beneath my armor, and the fiery deity had not yet even half finished its daily trek. Though, I had risen long before the sun and worked hard to ensure all my duties were finished before Captain Lucil rode into our camp. Sergeant Lucil, as she had been when I first joined, had been my first trainer in the Crusaders. I'd fallen in love with her back then but I knew better than to expect her to return such feelings. Now she was a captain of the Chocobo Knights and I was still just a foot soldier in the infantry. I had been raised on a Chocobo Farm and had high hopes that some day I would make it into that division, but in the mean time I still had to pay my dues to move up in rank. However, today was the day that the Captain was returning to our camp here on Mushroom Rock Road and perhaps, just perhaps she would ask me to go on a training mission with her. Just like the old days. I'd made myself forget the reserved, red haired beauty but the moment she rode back into camp I knew my feelings for her had not changed.
I brought my arm up and held it horizontally over my chest in a formal salute as she dismounted gracefully from her armored war Chocobo. She saluted the camp commander, eyes then moving down the ranks of those of us in her welcome guard. It was when her eyes reached me that her lips curved ever so slightly upwards in that Yevon blessed smile. My stomach did cartwheels as I smiled in answer before the captain turned her attention back to the camp commander.
"We've prepared a place for you and your mounts to stay, Captain. Please, make yourself at home." Commander Kyou greeted as he folded his hands behind his back.
"Thank you for your hospitality, Commander." Lucil answered, holding her salute a moment longer. "I know this was short notice."
Kyou waved a hand in dismissal. "Such is the army life, Captain." Turning towards the tent that served as headquarters, he motioned for the Chocobos to be taken to the makeshift coral. "Did you have any plans for the time you're here, Captain?"
Lucil followed, nodding that the younger Chocobo Knight should accompany the mounts. "I was actually hoping that I could spend some time on the Fiend Run, for old time's sake."
Kyou brought up one hand to rub his chin, rough with two day's stubble. "Oh, that's right. You used to train here, didn't you?" When Lucil simply nodded in answer, the commander paused and glanced at the small honor guard as he folded his hands behind is back. "Well, I must ask you take one of my men with you. The Fiend Run has become increasingly dangerous lately with Sin's appearance in Killika. Did you have someone in mind or shall I assign someone?"
Lucil studied her small escort, checking to see which faces she remembered and which were new. My chest tightened and I worked hard not to shift anxiously as I stood at attention. Please pick me, please pick me, please pick me! Lucil shifted to rest her left hand on her hip and nodded in my general direction. I took a deep breath but didn't dare let it out.
"I seem to remember Elma being one of the better fighter's I've trained in my time. If you've no objections...?" I could have jumped for joy when she singled me out.
"Elma, your duties for the day-" Kyou began.
"Already finished, sir!" I blurted out before he even completed his sentence, earning a chuckle from both my superior officers.
"All right then, I've no objections. You two have fun and stay safe." Kyou reached up to rub his chin one more time. "If you need me, I'll be shaving." Without further ado the commander returned to his tent and what he'd been doing before the Captain arrived. The rest of the honor guard and I gave the Captain one final salute and then my comrades disbursed, leaving me alone with my former trainer. I stood at attention and waited for her to say something, not quite trusting myself to speak at this point. She seemed to relax almost visibly as the other soldiers left, staring out at nothing a moment before turning to me with her familiar polite smile that didn't quite seem to reach her eyes this time. There was more to the captain, and her current mood, than met the eye. Though what it was I couldn't begin to say.
"How have you been, Elma?" She inquired politely and, well maybe it was just my imagination but wasn't she suddenly acting a little rigid?
"Oh, Commander Kyou's been keeping me busy. It's just not the same without you around though." I bit my tongue instantly but it had already slipped out. Though, this did earn me a bit of warmth in her eyes so it was worth the slip.
"I'm sure things are going just as smoothly without me." She waved a hand and then glanced up at the sun. "I'll need to go recover my sword from my saddle. Meet me at the Fiend Run in fifteen minutes."
"Sir!" I saluted again and turned, nearly running back to my tent to reclaim my own blade. I could have sworn I hear the captain's low chuckle over my own footsteps pounding on the sand as I left. When I made it to my tent my face was flushed from more than the heat and I didn't think the tightness in my chest came from being out of breath. I wasted no time in buckling my sword belt around my waist, grabbing a potion from the small chest beside my bed before dashing out of my tent and towards the Fiend Run. I skidded to a stop in front of the guard on duty, Miyu earning myself an odd look from her direction. I offered her a weak smile as I bent over to rest my hands on my knees, dark hair falling down in my face.
"Isn't that..?" Miyu began, causing me to stand and look up sharply, saluting when her suspicions were confirmed. "Captain Lucil!" The guard greeted the old trainer, saluting as well. "How long has it been, sir? Six months?"
"A year." Lucil corrected as she returned the salute. "And you're still on guard duty."
"Well, sir." Miyu shifted to stand at attention. "I was offered a promotion but I decided I liked guard duty after all. I know my place here and that's worth something. At least I think so, sir."
Lucil favored the guard with one of her rare smiles and I felt a tiny stab of jealousy. "I think so too, Miyu. Now, if you'll open the gate Elma and I are going to tackle the Fiend Run, for old time's sake."
"It would be my honor, sir." Miyu answered, then stepped aside and opened the gate, allowing both of us to pass. The Fiend Run was a fancy name for a stretch of beach that was cordoned off because of the alarming tendencies of abandoned Sinspawn to wash up here whenever Sin cast them off. Instead of assigning teams to clean the beach off regularly, the camp commander had decided leave the area for training. It offered young Crusaders a chance to battle in real world conditions only a stone's throw away from the safety of the camp. Near the sea a large rock jutted out over the ocean and the names of every Crusader who had made the Fiend Run were carved on Fiend Rock, with a mark beside their name to indicate each successful run. The name with the most marks beside it was, naturally Lucil's. Only Kyou had even come close to touching the captain's record.
"Are you ready, Elma?" Lucil's voice cut through my thoughts, tone making it obvious that I was not. I glanced over to see that her sword was already out and ready, while mine still rested in its sheath. I flushed slightly at this lapse and quickly draw my own weapon and dropped into a ready stance.
"Aye, Captain. I'm ready when you are." She shifted to her own en guard position and turned to favor me with a small, challenging grin. I thought my heart would stop for a moment and I very nearly dropped my sword. She didn't give me any time to recover from her heart stealing smile though and took off immediately towards the beach. I quickly gathered my wits and ran after her, leaning forward as I ran, sword held out to my right so I wouldn't accidentally cut my own legs. The first fiend we ran across was a canine, though which kind specifically was hard to tell. For sword wielders like the captain and me this was the easiest to take down. She leapt in the air without breaking her stride, slamming her sword point first into the back of its neck and snapping it. Then she pulled her sword free and leapt away again, just as graceful as ever. Since I had been a few steps behind her I was of little of no use in the first skirmish, which stung a bit.
The stretch of beach for the next few feet was clear but an armored fiend seemed to appear out of nowhere. These were the most annoying, though not the most difficult. Lucil slowed her pace just enough to let me pass her and attack first. I ran even closer to the ground, bringing my sword out in front until the last minute, raising up to avoid a claw swipe and slashing at its vulnerable neck. Wounded it roared and spread its stubby arms just as the captain landed on its back, sword point forcing its way into a crack in the creature's carapace. Stepping away from the flailing beast I waiting until it started to turn and then slashed at its neck again. The creature dissolved into a mass of pyreflies, dumping the captain ungracefully on the sand. She rolled with her fall and gained her feet quickly, nodding her approval of my attack. I couldn't suppress a grin, heart and head swelling just a bit and her acknowledgement.
She called my name sharply, and I turned my attention to the gelatinous mass that was forming just under my feet. I leapt back and bit out a curse. Flans were the hardest for sword wielders to kill but it looked like Lucil, at least had come prepared. The creature was dark blue in color so that meant it was most likely a water element. I averted my eyes from the flash of bright light as the captain used a thunder spell item to reduce this fiend to wailing pyreflies as well.
"You really should carry elemental spells at all times." She chided me good naturedly.
"Yes, Captain." I answered dutifully, saluting quickly before we both set off at a dead run for Fiend Rock once more. A bird's cry warned us of our next attacker and the captain and I both dove in opposite directions to avoid the sharp beak of the airborne fiend. I retaliated instantly with a sword swipe that missed by a mile. The fiend's angry beak slammed painfully into my armor's shoulder guard before Lucil's sword neatly separated the bird's head from the rest of its body. I breathed a quick thank you as she helped me to my feet. I nodded once to signal that I was fine and it was time to run again.
Two more canines and another small bird didn't even break our stride as Fiend Rock rose up tall before us. Before we could reach it however; a much larger bird appeared, its wingspan a good four times as long as I was tall. I took a step and glanced at the captain, who gestured to the creature's back with her free hand. I nodded once in understand and we both took off at a dead run, leaping in unison and landing blade first on its wide back. The fiend screeched in pain but held its form, shaking fiercely and knocking us both off of its back. I hit the sand hard, breath leaving my lungs with an audible whooshing noise. I rose to one knee and prepared to attack when it began flapping its wings, blowing sand in my face and blinding me. I dropped to my hands and knees, covering my face with one hand.
"Here." I felt a vial pressed in my hand and instantly splashed the cool water on my face, clearing my vision. Standing again we looked at each other, nodding in unison this time. We ran towards the fiend, raising our swords in perfect accord and brought them down in the same moment on each side of the bird's huge face. It let out another ear splitting screech before dissolving as well into wispy bits of light. I had just lowered my sword and was reaching for the potion in my belt when a loud splash heralded the arrival of yet another fiend.
I raised my sword and turned to see a great horned fish; swimming quite determinedly through thin air. I could only stare for a moment in dumbfounded surprise but that moment cost me dearly. It attacked with ferocious speed, one of its curved horns slicing easily through my chest place in my left side and the skin beneath it. I cried out almost more in shock than the initial pain, my sides were for some odd reason one of the more sensitive parts of my body and the intrusion of the spiked horn hurt like nine hells. It continued past me and towards Lucil, its long powerful tail knocking me carelessly from my feet to land limply on the sand a few feet away. I vaguely heard Lucil call my name and the explosion of one thunder spell after the other as she danced away from its horns and pummeled it with her stash of spells. I didn't try to get up just yet and decided to just watch her fight, graceful as an angel in battle.
I blinked dimly when the strange fish turned to dancing lights and the captain turned toward me. I quite suddenly remembered the potion in my belt and recovered it, drinking it in one shot as Lucil made her way to my side. My head cleared quickly and I tried to set up again but winced in pain. Hadn't the potion...?
"Let me have a look at it." Lucil commanded firmly, unlacing my chest plate and putting it to the side. I couldn't help but blush slightly as she pulled my shirt back and examined my wounded side. I had to bite my lip savagely to keep from making a sound as she slowly ran her hands down the skin by the gash. She frowned and reached into the bag at her waist and pulled out a different vial.
"It is as I feared; the creature's horns were coated with a natural poison. A potion can't clear it up on its own and the skin around the cut is inflamed. Let me use this antidote, it should help." Pouring a small amount of the light green liquid in her hand she slowly spread the cool, soothing medicine over angry skin. While this did quickly clear up the poison, it was far more than a little distracting. When she opened a potion and began to spread that directly over the wound to speed the healing I couldn't stop the tiniest of whimpers from escaping, causing her head to come up sharply from where she had been concentrating on dealing with my wound. "Does it hurt that badly?"
I shook my head miserably. "No, Captain. The fiend just caught me off guard."
She gave me an odd look, probably wondering why I can't really answered her question, then turned back to finished clearing up the wound. When she had finished she handed me the rest of the half used potion and I drank that as well. "Kyou was right, the fiends are worse. I don't remember any this bad."
Lucil simply nodded and stood, offering me her hand. I took it and allowed her to pull me to my feet before looking around for where I'd lost my weapon. I found it several feet away in the sand and recovered it before hurrying to catch up with Lucil, who was already walking towards Fiend Rock once more,
"Is that all of them?" I asked breathlessly as soon as I caught up with her.
"I think so but it is best not to let your guard down." She answered before leaping up onto fiend rock and pulling out a small dagger. She added two more marks, one after her own name and one after mine. I did have one of the better records on the rock but that as mainly because I almost always ran the gauntlet with Lucil by my side. I'd only tried it once by myself in the year she'd been gone and I'd failed quite badly.
"You haven't been practicing." She scolded as soon as she landed on the sand again.
I offered a sheepish grin and planted my sword point first in the ground before leaning on it lightly. "It's no fun without you around."
Lucil frowned slightly and held her sword out away from her body a little in a half ready stance. "The Fiend Run is not intended to be 'fun', Elma."
"I know..." I answered standing up but leaving my sword where it was. I turned my back to her to hide a flush of shame and began undoing the straps of my gauntlets. "But it always is fun when you are with me."
I heard the sound of Lucil planting her sword in the sand as well and started to turn only to find my arms grabbed just below my elbows and twisted behind me. I gave a started cry, dropped my gauntlets and tried to break free, to no avail. "C-captain?!"
"You really shouldn't let your guard down like that." She tsked, keeping my arms firmly pinned. I started to relax just a little, as if giving up. She began to adjust to this and I jerked sharply, freeing one of my arms and trying to pull the free as well. She recovered quickly and brought her free arm up, capturing my head in the crook of her elbow and forcing it down. I was completely and utterly helpless now but I wasn't going to give up so easily and so kept struggling as best I could.
After a moment she seemed to deem my lesson learned and released my head. I instantly sought revenge, wrapping my own arm around her neck in an aggressive, impromptu hug that prevented her from any more damaging head or arm locks. I couldn't muffle a gasp of surprise when I felt her shift her weight and slide one of her legs between mine. The reason for this became clear a moment later when she hooked her ankle around mine and jerked my footing out from under me.
So it was that I found myself lying flat on my back, breath driven from my lungs, eyes dilated in surprise and Lucil's full weight atop me. I blinked several time in rapid succession to restore my vision but my breathing remained shallow as the captain rose to her knees, still straddling one of my legs, but made no move to climb off of me completely. I licked my lips nervously and looked up at her, not sure what I would see in her face. Whatever I expected to find there, the playfulness that I did see was not it. That was what it was I saw there. No mistake... that was a devious twinkle shining in her eyes. My breath left me a second time and I found myself half wishing to die right now, so I would die utterly happy. Any minute now Lucil would chide me for carelessness and climb off... we'd start back to the camp.
"Elma." She said with a faint smile, tone containing that looked for hint of reproof. "I didn't expect you to let yourself be taken so easily."
It was probably just me, this situation. But, still. I couldn't help but take that comment the wrong way. I licked my lips again, trying my best not to think of the other meaning that statement might contain. She meant taken as in captured. That was it. Wasn't it...?
She still didn't move and I couldn't help but be puzzled. Why did she linger? Unless... No. Couldn't be. Maybe she was just tired. Catching her breath. But she could do that anywhere. Unless maybe she found straddling me to be a comfortable position. I had to bite my lip at that thought and felt my cheek flush with a bit of embarrassment. She was my superior officer, what was I-
I never had a chance to finish that thought as she leaned down and captured my lips with her own. I let a surprised noise slip into the one-sided kiss and she pulled quickly away. She started to apologize but I had no intentions of letting her be sorry for that. I brought up one hand and rested it on the back of her neck, pulling her down again, returning her kiss eagerly this time. It was her turn to be surprised but she recovered admirably, matching my eagerness with a ferocity I'd seen glimpses of in battle but had never dreamed of experiencing first hand. Well, I had dreamed of it but ... I simply left that thought were it was and lived out my dream, reaching up to threaded my free hand through her red hair, which was soft and silky to the touch although bits of sand and other debris clung there from our earlier battling.
After what seemed an eternity and yet not nearly long enough, she pulled away and sat back slightly to regard me with steady brown eyes. "So I was right."