Words of Wisdom
One more, just one more. It can't be that difficult, after all, this old guy could do it, I'm much quicker from all that training I got-
A soft sigh sounded a few feet away from a young Buzz, who was not only wincing in disappointment, but in pain as he tenderly rubbed the spot where the arrow has brushed past his wing. A smaller figure gracefully made its way to the Buzz's side, hovering over him expectantly.
“Well, aren't you going to get up?”
For the past few months, Elian was honored with the opportunity to train with the Techo Master on Mystery Island, a long way from his home in Altador. The budding fighter had spent most of his life dreaming of the day when he could become as great as the legendary master, but his embarrassment to fulfill the task at hand was making him question this dream and his abilities. Was all of that time spent in the Colosseum for naught? All the Neopoints spent at Illustrious Armory gone to waste? The Buzz was not used to being so incompetent, and as he slowly got up from his knees, anger shone clearly on his face.
Sensing the rage emanating off the 'pet, the master hobbled over and placed his hands on Elian's shaking shoulders. This young trainee was posing to be a bit of a challenge for the elder. The skills were there, but he knew that that wasn't the issue here. It was something that even he had struggled with at the highly esteemed Secret Ninja Training School as a young grasshopper.
“Are you sure?”
Elian was surprised by the green Techo's actions, why was he asking that kind of question? They had been doing the same thing for the past few days, what was changing his mind now? The internal battle inside of the Buzz's brain was shown clearly through his troubled facial expressions, causing a soft chuckle to escape from the Techo.
“Elian, I want you to tell me why you are failing on the last arrow every time.”
The question caused a look of confusion to pass the face of the Buzz. He felt mildly offended, but the fleeting feeling was soon let out in the form of a sigh. Finding a fallen log off to his right, he plopped down to grab his towel, wiping the sweat off of his aching shoulders. Looking back up to the warrior, he attempted to generate a reasonable response to the hard question. After opening his mouth slightly, he quickly shut it after realizing he had nothing to say.
“I want you to tell me what you were thinking right before that arrow was shot.”
Thinking back to just a few moments before, he remembered how he had very bluntly dissed the elder 'pet in his mind, and he became a bit flustered as he tried to respond.
“Well... you see, I-”
The Techo padded over to the side of the training hut, grabbing a small, wooden staff. Face void of emotion, he turned to face the now embarrassed Buzz and got into a fighting stance. He slowly began to circle the trainee, weapon raised and pointed.
“I want you to hit me with everything you've got.”
The Buzz's eyes widened, but once he fully registered the seriousness of the comment, he grabbed his identical looking staff and bent his knees into ready position. His eyes were now narrowed, and he felt a rush of confidence as he too began to circle. This is what I've been waiting for. An actual battle with this guy. No more phony arrows, just some good, solid fighting. Isn't this what we should have been doing all along?
While Elian continued his short inner monologue, a smirk now on his face, the Techo began his plan of action. He leaped on top of the training hut and proceeded to sit down, eyes still cold and face holding its stony glare. He cocked his head and a challenging smile crept to his face. Elian was watching, his confident front slightly faltering as he studied the strange behavior of the warrior.
“Aren't we going to fight? How am I supposed to get you up there?”
The Techo's smile only got wider, and he twirled his staff with much practiced skill. Elian's anger was now growing, his youthful eyes flashing with hidden warning. Oh come on, he knows that my wings have been bothering me as of late, I can't get up there! He proceeded to make his way over to the side of the hut, still in a stance, and stopped a few meters away from the target.
“Come down here already! I'm ready to fight!”
“Elian, I'm still waiting. Are you going to hit me or not?”
At this point, Elian was very frustrated. The small beads of sweat on his forehead also gave way to the fact that the Buzz was now boiling with anger. However, the ever calm and collected master seemed to glow at this reaction, which only further angered the trainee. Giving up, the Buzz stomped over towards the log he originally had sat on and faced away from the Techo, trying to calm his raging mind. Deciding to relieve the troubled trainee, the green Techo hopped off of the roof and prodded over towards him, sitting down on another log that sat across from the other.
“Elian, I want you to tell me what you think fighting is.”
Looking up in surprise, as he was unaware of the presence of the Techo beforehand, the Buzz took in the question. The word, to him, had a very simple definition, so he spoke with confidence as he replied.
“To fight is to contend against another in a battle, with the ultimate goal of winning.”
The Techo's gaze drifted off as he processed the response, nodding slowly as he continued.
“I suppose that's a fair enough answer. Now, what do you think one must do to become a great fighter?”
Looking back on the years of physical training, the many battles with other hopeful fighters, the long nights spent perfecting and honing his skills, Elian had his answer, and with certainty, he responded.
“Training, practicing against others, anything done to physically improve one's skills. That's exactly what I did, and I think I'm a pretty good fighter, right?”
He let out a small chuckle and looked back up towards the Techo, now curious to hear what the elder had to say next. There was a slightly troubled look on his face, as if he was uncertain about the response the Buzz gave. He drew in a slow breath before he began to speak again.
“When I was about your age, I had a very similar response to the question that I asked you. I had just finished training in an endurance course, I did very well, mind you, when my master came up to me. I expected praise, but that wasn't exactly what I received,”
He let out a soft chuckle and looked up towards the sky, reminiscing about his trainee days. Elian looked on, eagerly awaiting for the continuation of the story.
“Do you know what he said? He told me that I could have done better. He turned away, leaving me to stand there and continue training. I was mad, and a bit dismayed afterwards. I wasn't used to hearing something like that, so I kept training. Yet, after every trial, he would say the same thing,”
The younger 'pet listened thoughtfully, taking in the Techo's words. The sun was now setting, casting an orange glow throughout the surrounding trees. The Techo was watching them, a dreamy expression adorning his face. The breeze caused the tree branches to shift and sway, making the light dappled through the dancing leaves.
“It was about a week later when he finally sat me down and talked to me. At that point, I was a mess. I was angry and frustrated most of the time, and I was pushing myself much too hard in training. What he said to me that day brought a new light to what it was that I was doing, what and who I had to be to become a great fighter,”
Elian was now completely absorbed by the words the Techo was speaking. He had never heard much about the early life of the master, and hearing about how differently he had acted as a youngster surprised the Buzz. The 'pet was always known as a very serious and wise character, so imagining him as a hot-headed youth was certainly different.
“Elian, to become a great fighter, one must be quick of mind in addition to possessing physical agility. What my old master was trying to do in that week for me was to test my mental limits. You will learn that against even the best of fighters, it is more of a test of wills than of fists. So, Elian, your idea of what it takes to become a great fighter must change. I've seen you, you've reached a physical level of fighting that's very hard to find in 'pets these days, but you must learn to control your thoughts and emotions. The balance of your mental state and physical state must be equal.”
The elder took a deep breath after the dialogue, and he watched as the last of the sun's rays disappear over the horizon. It was now beginning to get dark, so he motioned for the young Buzz to walk with him towards the hut. The trainee was now silent, a bit taken aback and still processing what had been told to him. He spoke after reaching for his fallen staff.
“So, when can we get started?
The elder laughed as he reached to help Elian up. He was quite amused at the 'pet's readiness.
“It is not something that can simply be 'started', it is something you must try to apply to everything you do. I want you to try, Elian. While you are training, I want you to be aware of how your thoughts are influencing your actions. I want you to push not only your body, but your mind to the limit.”
The young trainee seemed to be a bit overwhelmed and perplexed at the request, but got the basic message of it. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, feeling the cool night air gently glide over his face. He looked back at the master with fierce determination, he was ready to try his best.
The Techo grinned at the response as the two arrived in front of the hut. He opened the small wooden door leading inside, letting out streams of light from the small fire that burned in the center.
“'I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.' Given that quote, Elian, do you truly understand? Have you already done what I asked of you?”
The Buzz, now thoroughly confused, let out a soft groan and started to walk inside.
“Alright, that's enough! My poor brain can't take anymore!”
The master let out a small chuckle, knowing full well that he was torturing the poor youngster with his wise, and at sometimes confusing, words. As the door shut behind them, the two sat in front of the dying fire, simply listening to the sounds of the jungle around them as the promise of a new day sparked hope within their hearts.