12 Years Later
From the mountains, to the oceans, and deserts the sun began to rise as many of Arhere began waking up for another day of hard work, and study. For the men that meant either guarding the king's castle, or hunting in the wild to either bring home food, or to sell for silver so they could afford things a bit more fancy. As for the women they were mainly stationed in hospitals, schools, and libraries, but if they chose to hunt too that was fine as well. For the young knights in training though that meant more practice, and more sweat, but with every day they grew stronger and stronger, and as long as they kept their heads high there was a good chance they would make it.
As the sun began to rise its powerful rays began raining into the young princesses room. Groaning she reached to pull the curtains so the sun wasn't shining right in her eyes, but it seemed the gods just wouldn't have that from her; for as she reached she heard the door open as her maid Jules came in with some fresh change of clothes.
"Good morning Princess Elaina. Did you sleep well last night?" she asked as she pulled the curtains open even farther.
"Oh, just give me another hour." she groaned before pulling the covers over her head.
"Oh no, I'm afraid not. You can't start getting lazy now can you?" she asked her before pulling the sheets clean off from over her.
"But it's only eight in the morning. Please, just thirty more minutes." she begged as she gave her the doggie pout.
How typical of the young princess. Sure she trained hard, and kept in top physical condition, but if there was one thing she loved it was sleep. But she knew just the trick to get her up and about. A trick she learned worked almost ten years ago.
"If I recall a certain someone has an exam today. Oh what was his name now? Ather? Oh wait, Mether."
That's when she realized she had made a big mistake by sleeping in. How could she forget such an important day? With haste she jumped out of bed and ran to her closet, and quickly grabbed the orange one piece suit she wore for training. With time running out she quickly stripped and threw on her new oufit. With it she could move more freely, and thus move quicker.
"But princess, your bath."
"Don't worry, I'll take it tonight!" she said before bolting out the door.
"Excuses, excuses, by the way don't squash anyone on the way over!" she yelled back.
That was right, if she remained a giant she would only end up hurting others due to her large size. Right, there was only one way to solve her little problem. As she ran through the main hall she began concentrating on nothing but her body. Slim, curvy, the body of a women, her entire body from head to toe had to be visualized, as well as her clothing, and in a flash she released her own magic. She made sure to be careuful as she moved down the steps of the castle, as her body began to shrink, along with her clothing. Yep, thanks to a few lessons from her own private tutor she could shrink down to the size of a normal being, but only for a certain amount of time. Once her magic depleted half way she would be forced back to her normal size. It was a bit of a pain, but it was worth it.
And with one last jump she landed just outside the main gate, and with such grace as well. Looking out though she noticed just how happy her people were. Arhere was a city built for those without a home, for those who wanted to start over, and to see them commuting, and working together really did her heart good.
"Huh? Oh no, no, no I can't be late. Please, just hold the gate for a little while longer." she begged as she took off towards the western district, the training district to be more precise.
Yeah, being one of the biggest cities in the world of Teriel they were forced to create certain districts for certain needs. For instance, the shopping district was to the east, the study/learning district was to the south, and the training district was to the north. It was sweet, and simple to understand for newcomers. Still, it didn't help that each district was so big, and the large groups of people walking through the training district didn't really help either.
"Please don't let me be late. I promise I'll wake up on time every day for the rest of my eternal life." she asked the gods above as she weaved through the crowd of people.
There it was, the two large wooden doors that led straight into the training coliseum, and they were still open! Maybe she wouldn't miss it after all, but as she drew closer the doors began closing shut, and once they closed there was no way she could get in unless she wanted her father to pay for the damages. With her teeth gritted, and her powerful legs working overtime she made a burst for the entrance. It was too late though, before she could even get there the doors were shut and locked.
"Gah, come on you stupid doors. Open up!" she demanded as she tried pulling them open.
When she saw the door beginning to split though she stopped. She couldn't just break the door down could she? Her dad would only get mad from that, but maybe there was another way she could see what was going on. The structure was only twenty-five feet tall, and she, as a whole, was around thirty-one feet, that was it. With her eyes closed she released her magic once more, and in a flash she found herself towering above the others in the district.
"Whew, now where is he?" she thought as she peered over the top.
They wore no armor so it was pretty easy to pick him out of the group. Black hair, blue eyes, his black shirt and brown vest combo, those dirty pants and shoes, and of course those goggles he always wore just in case. As he stood across from his captain both met eye to eye, just like rivals before the exam would begin. As he took his last few deep breaths his eyes shifted to the large figure standing just outside of the training grounds.
"Heh, I figures you would come to see this." he thought as he turned his attention back to his opponent.
"Are you ready to begin your exam?" the captain asked as he took hold of his wooden sword and shield.
"Yeah, let's do this." he answered in a confident tone.
Even if she couldn't be inside to see him fight waiting everything from above was pretty nice too. Once the bell rang the exam was underway as Captain Marwin lead with a downward slash. Quickly though the young elf raised his shield to block, before pushing him back. Instead of going to the normal slash though he funneled a small bit of his magic to the tip of his weapon, and with a swift thrust forward he managed to blast his captain with a bit of his pure magical energy.
"Heh, neat trick their kid, but you've still got three hits to go." he growled before running forward.
Both seemed equally matched as their blades clashed, but why wouldn't they be? Through five years of training he managed to not only increase his magical abilities, but also his strength and speed as well. It was no easy feat though, but it was well worth it.
"Come on, you can beat him." said Elaina as she watched.
He was a tricky bastard though, it wasn't just his weapons he had to watch out for, but he learned that the hard way. Instead of attacking with his sword he merely used it as a diversion, and instead used his right foot to deliver a nice kick to his stomach. It hurt, but he was far from done.
"Don't get too cocky kid. Sometimes you've got to use misdirection to your advantage."
"Yeah, tell that to my face when I kick your butt all the way across the world!" he exclaimed as he rushed forward.
As he moved forward with his attack though he noticed his good old captain getting ready for his next line of defense, or was it an attack? With his sword up he expected him to guard, but instead he waited for just the right moment to strike. With his opponent coming at him faster than he had seen before he used it to his advantage, and with his own blade filled with magical energy he swung forward; unleashing a large, bust of energy right toward him.
"OK, didn't expect that." he said as the attack approached.
But he wasn't one to go down that easily, and so instead of guarding he kneeled down before skidding across the ground, and with his head back the attack barely missed, but he wasn't done. Using his teacher's shock to his advantage he jumped up, and delivered a poweful sideward swipe that knocked him over.
"Yes!" Elaina said under her breast as she tried to stay quiet.
"Just two more hits and I win." he thought as his opponent jumped back to his feet.
"Interesting, you're quite the flexible fellow aren't you Ether?"
"Yeah, but enough chit-chat. Let's finish this!"
And with both having marks against them the true fight could begin as they both rushed at each other. Both were fast and furious as their wooden blades collided, but only the strongest would come out on top, and to do that meant he could move to the next stage of his training. With quick swings, and guards Ether managed to fend off his opponent rather well, but what would he expect from an elf? They were known for being quick thinkers and very flexible.
"Good, you're doing well, but you'll need to be quicker than that if you plan on becoming a knight." said Marwin, as he gave a good thrust forward.
Instead of going for the target himself he instead went for his main line of defence, his shield. Once raised he sent out a powerful wave of energy that completely shattered the wooden shield into little pieces, and while he was at it he took another point from him by knocking him in the shoulder.
"Damn it, just two more hits and I'm done. I won't lose, and I won't look like a fool in front of her." he said as he raised his blade.
"Looks like you've got only two more hits left young one, but don't fret, I'll take those from you soon enough."
"Yeah OK, we'll see about that."
But without a shield all he had left was his sword, and if he struck him again like that he wouldn't have anything to attack with. Thinking about it though he did see a way he could possible turn it around, but it was kind of risky. His timing had to be perfect if he was to pull it off.
"Alright, let's give that a shot." he said as he grabbed his weapon from off the ground.
He spent no time putting it into effect either as he rushed towards his captain with his head and spirits high. He knew at this point what his opponent would do, either a stab forward, or an energy slash, but he was prepared for both.
"Coming at me head on eh? Kind of risky if you ask me." he said as he prepared for another attack.
"Not yet, just a bit farther."
To work he had to be right there in front of him. Smaller and smaller the gap between them got, and just like he predicted, when he got close enough he unleashed another powerful slash, but this time he was ready. With his quick relaxes he jumped into the air, clean over the wave of energy, and instead went straight for him skull. Pow, right on the top, but that was just the beginning. Once close up he placed his feet on his shoulders and jumped behind him, finishing him off with a clean-cut to the back.
"Yes, yes, yes! Good going Ether!" she cheered as he finished off his exam in style.
But the fun didn't last long as one of her servants from the castle approached her.
"I see the exam is finally over." she said as she looked over the top.
"Yeah, he won. Can you believe that?" she said excitedly.
"That's great, but you know what's even more great? Your magic lessons."
"Oh, but I just got here. Can't I stay for just a bit long? At least let me congratulate him."
"You'll have time to do that after your lessons." she said as she took her hand.
"Ahhh, fine..." she said before walking off with her.
It was no secret that she really liked to spend time with Ether, but when she had to study there was no getting around it. Last time she refused she was dragged back to the castle by her feet, maybe shop owners dreaded that day. Still, the sooner she got it done and over with the more time she could spend with him.
Three hours passed from when he took his exam, and from what he was told there was no doubt he would be moving onto the next stage of his training. Previously he had only been working on enhancing his endurance, and strength, but in phase two he would get to work with magic and how to use it effectively. Still, that was a little ways off, and for the next few months he could finally relax, and by relaxing he meant hunting for wild animals in the field outside of the city walls.
"Alright, where are ya you little scamp? I know you're out there just waiting for me." he said as he stood in a tree.
Thanks to one of the crafters in town he managed to score himself a pair of nifty hunting goggles. What did they do? Well, they allowed him to see farther than he normally could, and he could even zoom in on smaller targets. Pretty nifty he would say, but they were expensive, and if he broke them that would be another two gold out of his pockets.
"Ah, there we are, and look at that skin. I could get a new fancy vest with that. Fire proof and the works. Alright, let's get to work." he said as he jumped down.
A Rahnarock, and a big one too. They were known for their fire-proof skin, and for being very vicious, but he wasn't scared. To be a hunter he had to stay calm and collected, any sign of fear could give him away. As he carefully snuck up on the beast however he felt a branch snap below his left foot, which tipped off the beast.
"Crap, come on. Wind!" he exclaimed as the beast came barreling towards him.
Quickly he turned his energy into wind, and just before he could get pounced he let it loose; sending the snarling creäture backwards. It wasn't over though, and he knew that as he pulled out his sword. From the back the beast raised its razor-sharp tails, and began swinging them at him. Two at once, but thanks to his training he coud block both of them, but how long could he keep up? With quick movements he began moving around him so he could slice those tails off. As he did though the creature's eyes followed him before eventually he went for them. As he dodged the stabbing blades he swung at one tail, then the other, both were off, but he still had the rest of it to deal with.
"Come on you mother~ah!"
Instead he was greeted with a large foot that came down on the beast, crushing it to death. Well, that was one way to do it. Though most would be frightened by such a large foot he knew who those boots belonged to. His eyes traced that curvy figure all the way up to those beautiful purple eyes, and that cute brown hair.
"Hehe miss me?" she asked in her usual cute voice.
"You could say that, though you didn't have to squash my prey."
"Oh? You looked more like the prey than it did. Are you sure you had it?" she asked with a raised brow.
"Hah hah, eh I guess I could harvest some of it though. At least I can eat something other than beans and bread tonight." he said as he walked over to the corpse.
With careful precision he craved a large chunk of its body out, and placed it in his carrying bag, but other than that the skin he was looking to get was kind of ruined. He wasn't mad at her though, after all she was just trying to help out. Besides, there were still many days to come, and who knew when another one would come trotting along.
"Yeah?" he answered as he closed his bag.
"I was wondering, the winter festival is coming up, and I was wondering if maybe you may go...with me?" she asked as she messed with one of her pigtails.
"With you, and me a mere peasant? Hm, if you give me a lift back to town then sure I'll go." he said with a bright smile.
That alone made her day. The winter festival was known for its festive fun, but also for the lunar magic. It was said that if one wished upon the winter moon that their wish would come true, and she had one in mind that she wanted really badly. Was she young? Yeah, she was only nineteen, but that didn't mean she couldn't prepare for the future.
"Hop on." she said as she lowered her hand.
Town was a little ways off, but for her it was just a little walk, and so once he sat down she lifted him up to her shoulder, but that wasn't where he wanted to be. Instead he jumped down to her large right breast, and laid there like it was a bed. So soft, so comfy, and very squishy, just the way he liked it.
"Oooo yeah, much better." he said as he wiggled around a bit.
"Hey, I thought you wanted a ride on my shoulder." she questioned as her cheeks lit up.
"But this is so much more comfy, and look it even jiggles." he said as he bounced up and down on it slightly.
Yeah, he was kind of a pervert at times, but even so she knew he was only playing around. It was just in his nature, and it didn't seem he was doing anything bad. Being a giantess though it was easy for him to lay there and relax.
"They're not toys you know." she said as she looked away slightly.
"Hey, you use to cuddle me like I was a doll when we were kids. I deserve at least this. Plus look at how much of a woman you've become since then." he told her straight out as he rubbed her skin.
"H-Hey, I~I'm not that pretty." she said, denying that she was.
"Sure you are, you're one of the prettiest girls I know. I mean you're a giantess and all, but you've really come a long way since you were a kid." he said before hopping onto her shoulder.
Sure he was a bit strange at times, but there was still something about him she really liked. Instead of greeting her like she was a giantess he instead treated her like a true friend. It mattered not if she was thirty-one feet tall, he still treated her like his equal. He would help her out with her studies if she needed it, if she needed some work done in town he would gladly take part, and if she was in need of comforting he was there to cheer her up. Even after he found out she was a princess he still greeted her the same way, which made her very happy. No formalities, but instead true friends to the end.
"Thank you Ether, you'll be my little doll until you end of time!" she said before grabbing him, hugging him close to her chest.
"Oof, OK, can't breath. Running out...of air...fast." he struggled to say as she smuggled him in her chest.
"Oh, sorry. Anyways, we're here if you want to get off." she offered.
"Hm, could you maybe take me to the trade post? I need to see what I can get for this stuff before it goes bad."
"Alright Mr. Lazybones, but next time you're carrying me."
"Yes, really." she said as he jumped back to her shoulder.
"Oh OK, then I'll turn into a giant as well." he said as they both had a nice chuckle about it.
After a five-minute walk to the city all she had to do was bring him to the trade post so he could get his day's earnings. Once there he jumped into her hand, and then to the ground as the tender to the stands looked up at them both with interest.
"Good afternoon princess." he said.
"Good afternoon Manny." she said as she waved.
"Ah, and young Ether. I take it you have something good for me today?"
"Eh, not really. Something happened, and it got kind of squished, but I did harvest what I could from it." he said as he pulled the heap of bloody meat out.
"Oh I see. That's from a Rahnarock right?" he replied as he inspected the meat.
"Yeah, so how much do you think you could give me for it?"
"Hm...well it's still in decent shape, and it is a pretty rare find. How does forty silver pieces sound?"
"Forty you say? How about fifty and I'll trade you my wrist straps? Made from the same material, just smaller."
"The skin of a Rahnarock huh? Alright, you've got a deal. Fifty silver pieces for both the meat and your wrist straps."
Yeah, at times people would trade their own items to get a bit more money from the tenders, but it was all fine as long as both came out equally. As he handed him his little bag of money though he heard a rather annoying voice come up from his right. That annoying, cocky tone could only belong to one person.
"Kyrak Timber, great. What do you want?" he asked as he shoved the money in his pocket.
"I heard you performed rather well at the exam today. So I just wanted to stop by and give you a little present." he said as he handed him something wrapped in a cloth.
It was shit, literal shit he had taken from outside the city. Great, he could have it back though as he though as he threw it at his shining armor. Served him right for being such a punk.
"Why you little..."
"Yeah, speaking of little." he replied back just as Elaina picking him up.
"What do you think you're doing?" she asked Kyrak.
"Princess Elaina, don't worry I was only having a bit of fun was all."
"Picking on my friend isn't what I would call fun. Would you like me to tell my father what you've done lately? Tavern hopping? Sleeping on the job? What about that time you made him run away crying?"
"Please princess, I promise I won't do it again." he said as she wiggled in her grasp.
"And if you do you'll be hearing from my father." she said before letting him go.
"Yes princess, I'm very sorry." he said before running away.
Oh how he hated that guy. How he became a knight he would never know, but through the years all he did was pull tricks and pranks on him because he was the only elf in the city, and apparently giving someone crap as a present was funny. He would show him. When he became a knight he would kick his ass to kingdom come.
"Don't let him get under your skin OK?" she said as she knelt.
"It's alright, he'll get what's coming to him one day."
Just as they were about to leave they were confronted by the king who had shrunk, and dressed in different clothing to avoid the unnecessary attention. He seemed happy though as he approached them with a smile. What could he want?
"Elaina, lunch has been prepared if you're hungry, and for you as well if you want to join us Ether."
"Nah, I'll be fine for tonight, but maybe tomorrow would be good."
"Sounds good, are you ready sweetie?" he asked.
"Actually I'm not that hungry." she replied, just as her stomach growling.
"Not that hungry eh?" Ether followed up.
It was thank to being in rush that she hadn't gotten the chance to eat any breakfast, and since dinner the night before was pretty small her stomach was begging for more food.
"OK maybe a little."
"Yeah, why don't you go eat? I'm going back to hunting, but I'll talk to you later."
"OK, but don't forget your promise." she said as she began walking away with her dad.
"The winter festival, got it!"
And with that he was off to harvest more, and with half a day still to go he had plenty of time to fill his pockets. Still, he did wish she would have come along; he enjoyed the company, but oh well. Dinner awaited him.