The desert sun was rising into the sky slowly warming up the cold night air.
Akira and Varbu sat around a small fire that had been had used to cook their morning meal.
Mileena had already fallen asleep again after eating. Akira guessed it was due to the lack of sleep from constant worry and anxiety while she was captured.
She was still wearing the same tattered sackcloth robe of a slave since there had been no clothing that fit her in the luggage left by the slavers and their guards.
“Varbu, can you go back to Jabooty and buy some clothes for Mileena? It’ll cause problems if we travel around with her dressed in that sort of clothing. It shouldn’t take you that long make a round trip you can probably make it back before lunch. What do you think?” asked Akira.
“It’s fine, I’d rather go back to the city to get the clothes than sit here and babysit her. But I don’t know what size or what type of clothing to get,” said Varbu.
“Just tell the clerk you need some sturdy travel clothes for a young girl about this tall,” said Akira holding his hand in the air above the ground showing the approximate height of Mileena.
“That’s doable. I’ll leave right now,” said Varbu standing up and grabbed his quarterstaff before leaving.
Akira spent the rest of the morning in his slightly shaded tent while waiting for Varbu to return. Mileena had spent the whole time sleeping and woke up only a few minutes before Varbu returned with multiple wrapped packages.
When Varbu handed over the clothing he quickly looked away from Akira as if something was wrong,
Akira opened the packages and saw what the problem was, everything he had bought was boy clothes.
“Did they not have anything for girls?” asked Akira puzzled.
“Well, you see… as I said earlier I don’t know what types of clothing to buy for girls. When I got to the open market I was drowning in so many choices. Everyone was trying to sell me some different colored or special designed clothing. How do women even choose between all of them? When I finally found a female merchant that had reasonable prices, she gave me a funny look that was accusing me of being a pervert when I was looking at the clothes for young girls. I couldn’t bring myself to buy them so I just bought those. They should be sturdy enough to travel in the desert,” said Varbu.
Akira turned to Mileena and passed the clothes over to her. “What do you think? Are they passable?” asked Akira.
“I’ll have to make some changes in order to make it work and become more my style,” said Mileena in a quiet voice before turning around and entering her tent and closing the flap behind her.
“At least wash some of the desert sand and sweat off before putting on the new clothes,” said Akira as if reminding a little sibling not to forget to wash behind their ears.
Although they couldn’t see anything both Akira and Varbu could hear multiple rips and cuts being applied to the clothing as Mileena worked on the clothes.
When she walked out of the tent several minutes later it was as if they were seeing a brand new person stunning Akira.
‘Wow! Such beauty, such cuteness, does exist in this world! Stop it! She is a little kid! Well, I don’t actually know her age.’ Akira fought with his inner self as he looked at her ears twitching in embarrassment.
She had heard Akira’s words and had taken the time to quickly clean herself before putting on the newly altered clothing.
She had made a few changes to the shorts cutting a small hole in the seat of the pants just big enough for her tail to poke through. There were also a few other minor changes made to them.
For the shirt, she had cut off the long sleeves which were now showing her tanned arms and shoulders. The length of the shirt was shortened so that her tanned smooth stomach could be seen.
Varbu coughed breaking the silence and Akira’s stare.
“Ahem, Right! Now that you have proper clothing lets find you a weapon and some armor, so you can fulfill your part of the deal,” said Akira ignoring Varbu who was rolling his eyes.
Akira pulled out numerous weapons some he had created and others he had picked up from his enemies and put them on the sand before Mileena.
“Test them out and we can see which one suits you more,” said Akira.
Mileena had tried a few weapons before while under her fathers stern training but had not grasped any true feeling of success or skill with any of them.
She ruled out the weapons she already knew did not work for her and quietly picked up a long spear and looked at Akira as if asking what she should do next.
“Do a few stabs and some swings with it,” said Akira encouragingly.
Mileena took a deep breath and stabbed the empty air. The spear moved slowly in the air and was wavering all over the place the end of the spear was touching the ground due to it being longer than a normal short spear.
When she tried to swing it she lost her balance and fell on her butt, the dangerous swing almost hit Akira in the face.
“Yeah, definitely not the long spear,” said Akira.
Another ten minutes passed with similar close calls and mishaps as Mileena tested the other weapons. All were failures.
The last and only weapons left were some old but well cared for daggers he had collected some time ago. No one was ever willing to buy them for a decent price so he still held onto them.
Mileena grabbed them hesitantly afraid that she might fail even with these and be unable to help save her sister.
Determination filled her heart and eyes as she agilely slashed the air in front of her moving this way and that she was fully in the zone and for the first time felt a small tingle of understanding how to use the weapons.
Clap! Clap! Clap!
“That’s great! You seem to be a perfect match for using dual daggers. I was a little worried that there might not be any weapons you could use,” said Akira as he clapped and let out a sigh of relief.
Mileena who had been startled out of her trance tripped and fell onto her butt again.
“Now I just need to figure out what type of armor you need to complement the fighting style of daggers. To do that I’ll need to take some measurements,” said Akira picking up and stuffing all the rejected weapons back into his bag.
He walked over to Mileena and stared at her inspecting her body.
“What are you doing?” asked Mileena embarrassed at being stared at.
“I’m taking mental measurements for your new armor,” said Akira as he walked to Mileena’s side and began to stare at her twitching tail it looked so soft and sleek.
“Can I touch it?” asked Akira.
Mileena grabbed her tail and held it to her chest. She turned to Akira and said, “You can’t touch it.”
“Hmm, your tail looks different than mine,” said Akira.
Akira had noticed two things while taking mental notes for the armor.
First, her wrists were filled with scars and cuts from the shackles she had been wearing. He looked at her feet and saw they had similar scars. One of his weaker healing potions could fix that for her.
“Here take this. If you use it on your scars they will heal up and quickly,” said Akira as he handed over a minor health potion.
The second thing he noticed as he watched Mileena apply the potion to her scars was that she was a bit lacking in the chest department.
“Are you finished staring at me?” asked Mileena.
“*Cough*…Well, I think I have an idea of the armor that would suit your style,” said Akira looking away.
He walked into his tent and sat down and began to rummage through the armor pieces he had gathered taking out a few that met the requirements of what he envisioned.
It took him over an hour to modify the armor that had been made for someone else, in order for it to now fit Mileena’s small body. He had to cut, trim, and hammer parts of the armor into the shape he wanted.
Blacksmithing has gained +50 XP.
When he finished checking the armor he handed the finished product over to Mileena.
After she had put it on Akira studied his handy work, starting with the metal chest protector, then the leather-armored gloves that went all the way up her arm almost reached her shoulders, and lastly her leather armor boots that went up to her knees.
Each piece was a nearly perfect fit. This was the best he could do with what he had. He didn’t want to weigh her down with extra layers of heavy armor especially not while they were in the desert where the heat from the day’s sun was brutal even without thick clothing or armor.
Plus the fighting style used for her daggers required that she be able to move agilely, she was not meant to be taking a lot of attacks, she would be the one doing the attacking and dealing the damage.
“How is it? To tight, loose, or heavy?” asked Akira.
“No, none of that. It’s just…different,” said Mileena who was walking around trying to get comfortable with the new armor.
“By the way how old are you,” asked Akira the question that was bothering him for a while.
“I’m almost 19,” said Mileena.
“Are you sure? You look like a kid,” said Akira who was a little skeptical while looking at her height and taking a quick glancing at her chest for a brief second.
“I’m an adult! And I’m sorry that I don’t have big lumps of fat on my chest like my sister!”
Akira obviously hit on a sensitive subject and tried to smooth things over.
“Don’t worry, there is a saying that some people say. It goes like this,’Flat is justice’.”
“Who says that?” asked Mileena.
“Akira,” said Varbu who had been quietly watching the two all afternoon.
“Pervert!” said Mileena before she ran into her tent.
“Why’d you say that?” Akira asked Varbu exasperated.
Varbu didn’t say anything and only shrugged his shoulders.
He didn’t want his reputation to be ruined and only be known as a pervert. So he was forced to wait for Mileena to come back out in order to sort things out.
It was over a half hour before she came back out.
“I am sorry If I may have touched on a sore subject with you, earlier. I was just trying not to make you angry. You are fine just the way you are,” said Akira apologizing.
“Hmph!” said Mileena turning her head away from him.
“We have a few hours before dinner so we should go over the basics to see what you know and what we need to work on,” said Akira pressing forward trying to get past the misunderstandings.
“Fine,” said Mileena.
He led her away from the tents to a fairly flat area.
“First we will start with proper stances, movement, and other basic stuff like that. Then we will move on to how to properly do basic attacks. Are you ready?” asked Akira.
The rest of the afternoon was spent on testing Mileena. Akira was able to get a better understanding of her strengths and weaknesses.
During training, she kept messing up so he came up with a light punishment.
His finger lightly flicked her forehead after she messed up for the 100th time.
Mileena grabbed her forehead with both hands and crouched down.
“Ow, Ow, Ow,” she said a few times while looking at Akira with an accusing look as if asking ‘why’d you do that!’.
This was repeated numerous times.
Night descended on them and the desert cold started to creep up on them so Akira stopped the training.
While eating dinner around the small campfire Varbu asked, “So how did the training go.”
Akira looked over at Mileena who was quickly eating everything in front of her.
“She’s decent enough when it comes to using the daggers properly, but everything else is… a bit lacking around or under average. But with some proper training and some first-hand experience in combat, I’m sure she can grow stronger,” said Akira.
“I’m not that good of a fighter but I can learn,” said Mileena quietly between the small bites she of food.
“Tomorrow we’ll start traveling towards the capital, and we will be training as we go, so we should all get some sleep tonight,” said Akira.