Pigeor sighed as he glanced out the the window, the monsoon was picking up speed, screaming as it whipped rain around. A red-skinned korrigan joined him at the window.
“Wow, it’s really picked up speed,” he muttered.
Pigeor nodded, “Yup, I guess Master Dowolg can’t train us outside.”
The korrigan grinned, “Oh, don’t worry about that, he’ll find a way to do it inside. I guess I’m just enjoying a bit of peace before he starts bellowing orders.”
Pigeor chuckled, “I guess so, I’ll have to leave it up to your knowledge, you’ve been here longer than I have, Rabben.”
“That may be so, but it’s pretty clear that you’re Dowolg’s favorite.”
“I don’t see how . . .”
“Pigeor, Rabben, Panthra, Tado, front and center!” barked Dowolg’s loud voice. The two winced at the high volume.
“Speaking of,” muttered Rabben as he rubbed his ear.
“Well, come on, let’s go.” The two walked out of the library and went straight to the sitting room, where the other four were situated. The parpari was standing in front of a blazing fire while their astomi master, Cayos, sat in his favorite chair. Sitting on the floor in front of Dowolg were Pigeor’s and Rabben’s fellow trainees, the yellow-skinned sabad Panthra and the green-skinned jana Tado.
“Yes, Master Dowolg?” asked Rabben as he and Pigeor bowed.
“Sit,” came the order. The two took spots right behind Panthra and Tado. “Cayos, they’re here.”
Cayos rose from his chair and faced the four, “Good, I have a challenge for you. Well, technically several challenges, but we’re going to consider it as one. Anyway, I want you to see if you can get around a house without making even the slightest noise, and to see if you can catch myself or Dowolg without listening for us.”
Panthra scoffed, “We pretty much have to do that already, the two of walk this house like shades.” Dowolg shot him a glare and a growl, but Cayos just chuckled.
“Then you should be able to pass that part with flying colors! But you do need to work on your stealth. So, we’ll do that first, work on your stealth. Dowolg and I will be doing various things on this level, you four will start in your rooms and try to find us. If Dowolg or I notice you because of a sound, you go back to your room. But, if you can sneak up behind us and tap us on the shoulder, then you’ve won and may do whatever you wish until all four are done. Yes Tado?”
The jana lowered his arm, “Why don’t we listen for you first, if Panthra thinks it should be easy?”
“Because the difficult things should be taken care of before the easy things, remember? Besides, we might be working on your stealth until this monsoon is over.”
“May we work in teams?”
Cayos shook his head, “No Rabben, this exercise is individual, when you have to listen for me and Dowolg, that can be a team effort, but not for this one. You have to concentrate on working on your own stealth first before trying to help anyone else. I know you’re thinking of helping out Pigeor, but he’s proven so far that he can handle himself and can learn quickly. I think he’ll do fine.” Pigeor smiled gratefully at Rabben, who winked back.
“Alright, you sore losers, time to get this challenge underway. Off to your rooms.”
The four rose quickly and gave a little bow as they answered in unison, “Yes Master!” They quickly made their way to the stairs, where Panthra moaned.
“They took the flower rug away!”
“Well of course, not every house is going to have a soft, sound-reducing rug at hand,” retaliated Dowolg. “Now go! And only come out when you’ve heard the triglea!” The four fellows nodded before quickly dashing up the stairs. “Well, this is going to take a while,” muttered Dowolg when he heard the little stampede heading to their rooms.
Pigeor decided to pace in his room while he waited for the sound of the triglea, hoping that he could get in a little practice before attempting to sneak up on Cayos or even Dowolg. But no matter what he did, he always managed to make the floorboards creak. He sat down and groaned after the fifteenth try, how was he going to be able to protect his family if he couldn’t learn how to do anything right? That’s when he noticed something about the floorboards and knelt down to get a closer look. One of the floorboards seemed to have a bit of a larger gap between it and the other floorboards. A very small gap, but it was large enough. Pigeor stepped on it, and it creaked. He tried pacing again, this time keeping an eye out for the floorboard, he didn’t make a creak. Grinning, he stood near the floorboard, trying to memorize its features from a distance so that he could pick out other such floorboards. The sound of the triglea startled him, but he quickly strode to the door and slipped out. A movement to his right caused him to lok at the stairs, and gasped softly. Panthra was already making his way silently down the stairs. Pigeor made his way slowly to the staircase, just in time to see Rabben and Tado make their way down. Rabben walked down as effortlessly as Panthra, but Pigeor and Tado were having a few difficulties in trying to find the less creaky spots to step on. They went over the stairs a couple more times before feeling confident enough to try continuing on, only to be met by Rabben and Panthra, the two apparently having lost.
“We’ve got to go back, all of us. Master Dowolg says you two were so loud that not only could you be heard over the storm, but you could have woken up shades,” grumbled Panthra. Rabben was trying his best to keep a straight face, managing to keep his grin under wraps until they got back into their rooms. Panthra, though, was the first one to complete the task, having tapped Dowolg on his fourth try. Rabben finished next after getting Cayos on his sixth try. Pigeor and Tado finished at the same time, on their eight try. Afterwards, they all gathered in the dining room for dinner. They practically dove into their food, Cayos only having flowers and Dowolg only fruit.
“You gentlemen did a decent job today, we shall practice this again and again until you get it on your first try. But for now, you are done, and now you shall have to defend yourself from myself and Master Dowolg.”
“Wait, you’re going to be flying?” blurted Panthra when he noticed Dowolg flexing his toucan wings.
The parpari grinned, “Yup.”
“B-but that’s not fair!”
“What? Likhos can fly too, ya know.”
“B-but . . .”
Dowolg shook his finger in Panthra’s face, “No buts, sabad, you’re either going to learn how to do this right, or you can leave, take your pick.” Panthra growled, but made no move to leave.
“Good, that’s settled. Now, you will each get a lantern, and you must use your stealth to keep away from us. This is going to take skill, strategy, and you will have to be quick on your toes. You may work in teams for this exercise.”
“Great, I’m working with Pigeor!” exclaimed Rabben, pointing out the blue-skinned newcomer.
“Then it looks like Tado and I working together. So, Master Cayos, uh, Master Cayos?” The four glanced around the room, both teachers had vanished.