Battle On The Water (1/2)

”Yeah. I think its pretty insan- oh. Jak. You
e back. ”

Mako abruptly bid farewell to the individual he had been conversing with and sauntered his way over to Jak, of whom had just walked out of the Exam rooms double oak doors. A smile spread across the youths visage, red hues taking note of Jaks slightly feculent t-shirt and roughed up frame. Having been through the Trials himself, the blue haired teen could predict what had most likely transpired and what had put the redhead into such a soiled state.

And he found the whole thing hysterical.

”You look like a comp- ”

Jak glared at him. ”Comment on my appearance and Ill cut you. ”

Letting out a boisterous laugh, Mako held up the blanket he had been holding since Jaks exit. ”How
e you going to do that without your weapon. ”

”Give it back, ” Jak demanded, holding out his hand.

The teen shook his head, holding it away from his friends outstretched hand. ”You want it, you
e gonna have to grab it from me. Otherwise, Im keeping it. ”

Jaks face slightly twitched, his previously emotionless face briefly flashing with irritation before once again assuming its usual look. Stepping forward, the youth attempted to snatch the katana from the blanket, but his hand only clawed the air as Mako moved it to the other side of himself. Moving quicker this time, Jak endeavored once more to retrieve his sword, before meeting with the same result, his hands unable to keep up with his blue haired friend. The frustration from earlier reappeared, this time staying on the redheads face. Swiping a few more times, Jak eventually gave up trying to grab it and tackled Mako to the ground, dragging Mako onto the white marbled floor.

”Ummm. Excuse me. ”

The two of them halted their skirmish after moments of struggling, Jaks hand pushing Makos cheek against the floor and the blue haired teens palm shoving the redheads chin upwards. The katana from before had slid quite a distance away, tumbling out of the blanket and onto the smooth ground beneath, its black sheath on full display. Standing over the weapon was a rather tall individual, one easily discernable from the common masses as a WGC worker thanks to the crisp black uniform that all of the staff were required to wear. With black hair and soft eyes, Mako quickly recognized the new arrival as Junji Atwon, fellow receptionist to Flora and Margaret, a young man who normally kept to himself when not at the desk assisting those who passed through.

”Sorry to bother you, but could you take your scuffle elsewhere, ” Junji leaned forward, his gentle tone barely reaching the two boys. ”If its not too much trouble. ”

It took a second, but the duo eventually seemed to remember where they were, their eyes flitting around WGC building and those few who still happened to reside in it. Once they figured out their mistake, they hastily separated themselves, brushing their garments off as the two rose back onto their feet.

”My apologies, ” Jak replied, readjusting his cloak and pants. ”It won happen again. ”

”Yeah. I apologize for my friends mistake, ” Mako chimed in, giving a slight bow whilst earning a sideways glare from Jak. ”Ill give him a stern scolding later. ”

”Oh. No worries. ” Junji swiftly shook his head, a sympathetic look on his face. Kneeling down, he made an attempt at picking up the katana. ”Im quite used to the way you do things already. Especially since the holidays are right around the corner. ”

”Wait, don - ”

Jak spoke up the moment he saw what Junji was going for, even stepping forward in a futile effort to prevent the receptionist from making contact. As Junjis hand wrapped around the sheath and lifted it off the ground, smoke rose up from the beneath the mans fingers and a sizzle could be heard. Within a moment of holding the sheathed katana, the receptionist dropped it back onto the ground, shaking his hand as if it was on fire, his palm and fingers sporting some freshly made burns.

”-Touch it. ” Jak finished, watching the male clutch his wrist in agony. Kneeling down, he quickly picked up the fallen sword and reattached it to his waist beneath his cloak.

Whipping out a small vial of red liquid from under his own cloak, Mako uncorked the top of it and slathered the contents over Junjis hand. Almost immediately, the redness began to fade and the painful expression on the receptionists face gradually relaxed, his furrowed black hues returning to their soft demeanor. Giving his hand a little wiggle, Junji nodded in satisfaction, glancing back at Jak before walking back to the counter at a rather brisk pace.

”It was gonna happen eventually, ” Mako noted, red hues observing Junjis retreating back. ”Shame it had to be with him. Hes the nicest receptionist here. ”

”Yeah. ” Jak turned around, moving towards the smaller door near the enormous oak ones. The large white symbol in the middle of the cloak stood out against the dark background, catching Makos eye as the redhead strolled away. ”I should have let you touch it instead. ”

Mako made a face. He didn cast criticism over his fellow Rookies remark, opting instead to close the distance between them as they left the WGC. Having full confidence that his redheaded acquaintance had passed the Reinstatement, he didn bother asking for such trivial information, even for the sake of conversation. Given the way his friend was acting since his arrival, it was highly unlikely Jak wouldve even responded to a query with such an obvious answer. With how reserved and cold he had been, Mako was actually surprised that the teen had been speaking to him at all, even going so far as to indulge in horseplay when he couldn get his sword back. Whilst he understood the reasoning behind Jaks seemingly abrasive personality, the blue haired teen was quite pleased to know that there was still a tad piece of the old Jak left even after everything that had happened.

”So. What happened to your clothes, ” Mako asked, choosing a question that would elicit some sort of reaction. ”Was it the Goblin Guard? ”

Jak snubbed the blue haired teens question for a little while, his crimson hues studiously fixated on the decorated path ahead. Others mightve wondered if the redhead had even heard his friends inquiry and promptly repeated it, but Mako knew the redhead had registered every word.

”No. ” Jak finally answered. ”It was from the pro Rift Hunter. ”

”Oh. Gotcha. ” Mako didn say anything after that, merely matching his comrades pace as they traversed the lanes.

The soft rays of the afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the bright haired duo as they trekked through the glistening city streets in silence. People milled about whilst chatting amongst themselves, beast pulled carriages and magic vehicles passed by regularly, and shops and stalls began to stir and change as the night drew ever so closer, their Year End lights bursting into existence. The innards of Intok Kingdoms Capitol were always moving, its residents and visitors unceasing in their daily activities, even when the night eventually rolled through. It made sense though considering the area near the center of Intok housed everything one would need, from common necessities for the people to the WGC branches for the everyday adventurer. This was made even more apparent by the encroaching holidays, namely the Year End Gift Day and the closely followed New Year Festival.

It was lively, always had been.

Not much had really changed in the last three years, at least not in Jaks opinion. Everyone in the city still meandered around without a care in the world, smiles on their faces, no visible signs of distress or negativity. The shops from the past still carried the same appearance, though with different ads depicting holiday merchandise and some exaggerated decorations, some of them even having the exact same deals up from years prior.

The young teen didn care about any of it.

When he looked around, at the city he grew up in, he felt nothing. Even with all of the fond memories and good times he had, maneuvering its vast twists and turns and exploring everything it had to offer, he couldn summon forth any sort of positive emotion. He could easily recognize the hate, anger, frustration, and slew of other feelings bubbling just beneath the surface. However, try as he might, Jak failed to feel the warmth he used to possess when walking the streets of Intok, the sense of wonder and amazement he had when he was naught but a small child. It was completely erased. All that remained was a sense of emptiness and cold indifference, of which was displayed as he ignored those few kind passerbys who would wave to him and Mako when they strolled past.


”Whew, that was quite a workout. How about we go get some grub? Grape juice and spaghetti on me. Take it as a gift for a job well done. ”


Jak shook his head, shoving a rising memory to the side, refusing to acknowledge it.

”So, where we headed? ” Mako threw out a small question, interrupting Jaks internal conflict, snapping the redhead back to the present. ”Im guessing you want to head to Uncle Hadoks right? ”

”Hadok, ” Jak tilted his head, an upwelling of past events flashed through the youths mind the moment he heard the name. The image of an old man passed briefly through his consciousness. ”Sure. Lets go there. ”


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