Viola had a wonderful dreamless sleep. It was as if all the uncertainty had been washed away and was replace with a sense of purpose. However, the feeling instantly disappeared when a pair of hands shook her awake.
"Come on Viola, wake up."
She didn't feel like getting out of bed and curled up deeper into her blankets.
"Come on, get out of bed. There's alot that needs to be done. You need to start training in order to pass you first test. You still want your personal crystal, right?"
At these words, excitement immidiately woke Viola, who nearly jumped instantly out of bed.
"Yes! Of Course!"
Kurama jumped back quickly to avoid colliding with her.
[COLOR="Red""]Uh...Well, hurry up and get your clothes on."[/COLOR]
Viola then noticed that Kurama had already changed out of his pajamas and into some nice silk clothes.
"Oh... uh, well..."
She began to turn red again.
"I know, I know. You still don't feel comfortable. I'll get you breakfast from the mess hall so you can change. I'll make sure to knock on the door to make sure your decent. Here's your clothes here."
Kurama indicated folded sets of new clothes that were just as nice as his on top of her night stand. Afterwards, he left the room.
Viola sat there for a little while staring at the new garments, before she got up and began to change. She was amazed at the quality of the clothing, and it all seemed to fit her perfectly as if they knew her exact size.
Just then, a knock on the door caused her to jump. Her shirt was still in her hands as Kurama's voice spoke through the door.
"Are you changed yet?"
"Uh... J-Just a minute!"
She hurridly pulled the shirt over her head and, with a little difficulty, found the sleeves and put her arms through them.
"Ok, you can come in now."
Kurama walked in carrying two plates of eggs and toast.
Maybe I should've just eaten there and brought yours later. By the way, you're wearing your shirt backwards."
Viola quickly checked the inside lining and discover he was right. Blushing, she pulled her arms out from the sleeves and turned the shirt around so it was facing right.
She couldn't look him in the eye.
He set the eggs down and they began eating.
After a short while, Viola broke the silence to ask Kurama about her clothes.
"Why do these new clothes fit me so well? How would you guys know what size I am?"
Kurama looked at her exasperated.
"Didn't you here me yesterday?"
"Uh, well... I kinda phased out of there after the training grounds."
Viola says it dejectedly, looking down at her eggs.
"Yeah, you did seem a little out of it. Anyways, there's a wizard who stays here in the fortress who is not a paladin but a personal friend of Mordokai. He lives here with the purpose of helping all the paladins train and perform their duties. He uses magic to produce unique garments, armor, and swords for each individual. He uses his magic to scan their entire body when they enter here and uses those measurements to make everything. So your armor should be done and in the changing rooms by now. But your sword won't be ready until we see him personally. I don't understand it, but apparently there are some special variables he needs to consider when making a person's weapon."
Viola didn't know what he meant by variables, but another thought was more pressing that caused her face to turn red again.
"Wait, he... he scanned my entire b-body?!"
She felt as if she was naked to this wizard that she hadn't even met yet. Kurama's hand had come up to his face.
They ate quickly and Kurama led her to the changing rooms. Each step made her stomach clench tighter from what was coming. Kurama talked to her as they walked, and she eagerly participated to get her mind off of what was looming in ahead.
"Now I brought you out here a little early so you can have time to get into your new armor. It always takes some getting use to the first time."
"Okay. So what is the armor made out of?"
"Some kind of special alloy that Blue developed. It's very hard, yet soft on your skin. But you have to wear it without undergarments or it will impare your movement."
Viola looked at him confused.
"Oh, uh... the wizard. His name is Blue."
Viola raised an eyebrow.
"Well, that's a nickname he's given himself. Wizards do all kind of wierd things and giving themselves weird nicknames are no exception. No one knows why he named himself 'Blue', he just did. Well... Mordokai may know, but no one wants to ask him."
The wizard certainly did sound strange to her.
"Yeah, although according to Mordokai, Blue is actually the closest to being sane by our standards than most other wizards. Though I have difficulty imagining that. Anyways, here's the changing room."
They walked into a enormous building with many different lockers all around. There were several people already here.
"Now, they keep our lockers closer together so I could help you get into your armor today and because were partners together-"
Viola was no longer listening. She was instead looking at how everyone else was already changing. She could feel herself blushing brilliantly again over the half clothed people everywhere.
"-come on. Hurry up."
She felt herself being tugged to a corner of a building. Thankfully, everyone else was out of sight. She collapsed on a bench and put her hand over her eyes, trying to forget what she saw. Unfortunately, being unable to see seemed to make the images more clear and memorable. She heard Kurama sigh beside her.
"S-Sorry! I'm j-just not use to this!"
"I know. It can't be helped. Though most aren't this distraught when they get here. When I first arrived, I didn't really care that much. This is your locker by the way."
He pointed at one of the lockers and then opened up the one next to it and began to change. Viola hurried over to her locker and opened it to block Kurama out of view. Inside she saw a new set of shining armor inside. She hoisted it out and looked at the different parts. She didn't know what part was suppose to go where, but assumed she found the chestplate from the obvious part. She took off her shirt and put it into the locker, just as Kurama stuck his head around his locker.
"Hey Viola, can you help me for a second?"
She turned with her arms crossed across her chest, her face resembling the deepest red. Why did he always have to come when she didn't have her shirt on?! She tried to think of something to yell at him, but no words would come out of her mouth.
Kurama paid her no attention.
"This spot here on my armor is suppose to go together on it's own, but it's not doing it right. It probably got damaged in the last duel I fought. Can you help me tug it shut? It's only the last thing I need to get it together."
Viola stared at him for a few seconds. She took a deep, steadying breath.
"Al...Alright. Just... J-Just keep looking the other way."
Thankfully the piece was on his back, so he was looking the other way. Taking every ounce of will power she had, she slowly moved her arms away and began helping Kurama with his armor. After a short time struggling, she managed closed shut. Immidiately afterwards, she looked away from him, clutching the locker for support, feeling she was about to faint.
He went and closed his locker.
"Now, you're not suppose to start with the chestplate. We need to start with the legs and work our way up."
This can't be happening! It Just Can't! She had to be dreaming, Yes Dreaming! That was it! This was probably just some silly dream about what was to come when she wakes up.
She focused entirely on that thought as she stripped down and allowed Kurama to help her put her suit together. Though no amount of thought could ever keep back the great intensity of red on her face during the process. Finally, with one last snap, her armor was fully in place on her and Kurama closed the locker shut.
"See? That wasn't so bad, right?"
Viola couldn't answer him. She instead leaned against the stone wall and slowly worked her way to the exit. Now that more people were entering in, she kept her eyes on the wall until she reached the door. Then she burst out of it, hurrying to a bench and collapsing on it, breathing heavily. She concentrated on each breath, trying to relieve herself of what just happened. She could sense Kurama close by, but he didn't get any closer. Probably just to give her time to come to grip with everything.
Time passed slowly. More and more people were emerging in their armor and stood around waiting for something. Some were talking annoyed about training not being started yet. Others were wondering why. Viola didn't care. Every extra second was what she needed to calm down.
A short time later Kurama finally approached and put a hand on her shoulder.
"Are you alright now?"
Viola jerked away from the hand instinctively. She instantly felt bad for doing so a responded by holding up a finger as she placed her hand on her chest as she took a few deep breaths. She then tried to speak, but after being again unable to get any words out, she decided to just nod instead.
"Alright, good. I'm sorry that you're taking it harder than most. Some of the other paladins were asking me what was wrong with you. Fortunately, they are more focused on why Grim is missing then they are to pay you any attention for too long. He's the one who officially starts the training process, but he's still not here yet."
The name sounded familiar to Viola.
"Yeah. He's the top paladin student here and he's in charge of running the training drills and starting them. Although, most of us dislike him. He seems to try to boss us around like he's a sergant of an army. And he's always so arrogant and proud over how much better he over us."
Viola's mind was recalling the trip to Mordokai's office.
"Was his armor darker then everyone else? Also slightly sinister looking?"
"Yeah. Do you know where he is?"
She shook her head.
"No, I only saw him when I first arrived at Mordokai's office. He was asking something about why he couldn't take the graduation test."
"Typical. That does sound like Grim."
They waited a while later as more and more of the paladins were becoming impatient. Finally, Mordokai walked out to address everyone.
"I'm sorry to tell you all this, but Grim seems to have disappeared with out a trace. If anyone could tell us anything, that would help us greatly. But otherwise, today is going to be a free training day until we can get a replacement paladin to start the training every morning."
Mordokai then turned and left into a hallway to the fortress.
The other paladins started talking amongst themselves as they began to leave to the various activities.
"That's weird that he's disappeared, but I'm not complaining. I'm sure he would've been especially tough with you on your first day."
Viola recalled the glare he gave her when he passed her in Mordokai's office.
"I believe it."
Viola looked at Kurama.
"So what do we do now?"
Well, I guess we should get your sword as well as give you a tour of the training area.
He held out a hand to help her up.
Viola reluctantly accepted it and tested her legs. Once sure they were steady, she followed Kurama across the training field.