The wind on the roof is light and beautiful as it sways the washing hanging on the lines.
As I look to my right I see big ben standing tall as the time reads 10 am.
Time to train. I turn to my left to see Layla also looking at the horizon. I wonder if she has ever seen London. Perhaps if she does well today I can show her around.
'Okay Layla, What can you do?'
Layla looks surprised but lifts her chin confidently.
'I can draw out the water from my body and use it as a jet stream sort of force when attacking'.
I lower my head and place it on my hand as I think. Attacking is all good but if something comes at you, defense is a priority..
'Layla, what do you have for defense against the entity?' I crouch to the floor ready to analyze her display.
Layla thinks quietly until she speaks suddenly. 'Erm ...I can always blind them with water while escaping?'
I heave a heavy sigh. I know she is young and inexperienced but christ...she wouldn't last one minute on the streets alone right now. That's gotta change.
'Okay Layla, that's all fine and dandy but can you summon your water quick enough for that? What then? I walk towards her determined to make my point.
'I don't really know then... I guess I don't have any other techniques...I'm terrible right?' Layla lowers her head and from what I can tell she is ashamed.
'Hey, enough moping now. This is why we are training: to be prepared. '
Layla raises her head, her eyes betraying the hope she feels. 'Okay.
'Good now come at me.' I stand my feet shoulder-width apart and bend down edging my claws. Battle stance ready.
Layla looks startled but soon becomes determined. The girl has courage I will hand her that.
Layla launches herself towards me, her palm leaking water as it forms into a jet stream.
I sidestep left and elbow strike to disorientate her. She falls back and I extend my claws to her successfully pinning her. I stand back up and extend a handout.
'That's why you need a defense move.'
Layla looks shaken but takes my hand and pulls herself up. Her scuffed green converse dragging on the concrete.
'Now the key to creating a new move is simpler than it seems. You have to mentally visualize what you want to create. Here watch me.'
Layla observes as my skin becomes purple fur. She winces as my bones snap into fox form until finally, my face shrinks as my snout grows. This time I'm normal size which is a relief as I don't think she would take too kindly to a 6ft fo looming over her.
I look up at her before speaking 'You see I visualize the fox in steps. When I first started I would envision the bone structure first. But now ve mastered the form I can think of any feature and it goes like dominoes after that.'
Layla looks excitedly. 'I get it! So if I just think of what I want my water to form I should be able to shape it right?'
I nod. 'That's right, so that's your first job. Form a shape in your mind then control your water to shelter you and protect you.'
'I'm on it!' Layla closes her eyes and faces both palms out. Water leaks from her hand and plops to the floor splashing her feet. But she doesn't look disheartened only focused.
I change back as I observe wincing at the snaping and twining of muscle and bone.
I stand in human form before deciding to get a birds-eye view.
I picture the hawk's feathers, soon as I feel the growth of them all over my skin. Then I try this time to focus on my head transforming so I don't terrify Layla with my fox form having a full human head attached. I feel the pinch as the beam forms from my lips until finally I picture the bones and groan as the similar intense pain resounds around my body.
Luckily the pain fades and I'm now in Hawk form. As I spread my wings I lift myself off the floor by three meters at my estimation and observe Layla's progress.
The wind thrusts me about but I hold my wings strong until I balance on the wind like a kite.
Layla has surrounded herself in an oval-shaped watermark and looks as though she trying to conjure more water out of the water she has already drawn out...hm that won't work. I flap my wings lightly slowing down the speed I land at. I extend my talons to the washing line and bob on there, till I grasp the balance birds need for this.
'Layla you cant expand water out of water. But you can add to it. Go get water with a cup and see if you manipulate it.'
'Ookay.' Layla nods sweat dripping down her face. I'm shocked she hasn't used her sweat to control but perhaps she can only use the water internally...plus she may only be able to maneuver it out of her as then it's under her control which means she must voluntarily draw it. This would suggest sweat and tears would work unless drawn by her. Interesting power.
Within five minutes Layla is back jostling the water all down her clothes as she hurries up the fire escape. I chuckle and shake my head as she has wasted a lot of by rushing. No matter.
'Right Layla. Try and control the water from the cup without putting any of your water with it. '
Layla looks confused. 'Sure Erza.'
Layla places the cup on the floor at the center of the circle and pushes her palms out. The water does not move, it is as I guessed then. Layla put some drops of your water in the cup.
Layla does as she is told with no objection. This time with one hand she attempts to control the water, it sways but that's all.
'Now drink the water and wait 5 minutes then try the dome again.'
Layla nods and gulps down the water. She places the cup on the ground and looks up at me.
'Erza?' 'Yes Layla'
'Do you really think I'm strong enough to manage it?' Layla looks sheepish and fiddles with her bitten skin around her nails.
I hop down from the line and look at her through my hawk eyes. I see every scuff, freckle, and line in her face using these eyes. This girl has been through the wringer and the exhaustion is clear on her face.
'I think you are tougher than you think. So of course.' Layla smiles and reaches out to brush my feathers and I let her.
'You look pretty as a hawk Erza; the purple feathers are lovely' I smile.'Thanks, Lay. Tell you what if you manage this defense technique today how about tomorrow I show you London eh?'
Layla jumps her startling me as i flap back struggling against a gust of wind. 'Really? That would be awesome Erz!' Jesus Erz?... Weird nickname.
Layla goes pink. 'Sorry if erz is weird it's just that you called me Lay, so i thought if I call you Erz its a matching nickname' 'Nah don't worry just call me E as sounds a bit better'
Layla smiles broadly. 'Okay E. What's next?'
'Try the shape again.' Layla turns right to where she was before and extends her palms.
The water slides out of her hands and filters to the rest of the water. Layla breathes deep and thrusts her hands forward. The water springs to action. The water around her rises forward forming a clear wall of sorts. Layla notices the water behind her is still so moves her hand back as if she was stopping people from fighting. The water behind rises and connects to the one at her front, I see where she is going now. She is forming a dome. Perfect choice.
Laya is heavy breathing struggle with control as the waters collide together she claps her hands above to hold the control and not lose the water's form.
'Right Layla. Great job but now you have to hold it and see if I can get through it okay? '
Layla's breath is similar to panting now as she mumbles okay.
I flap my wings and gain my balance before shooting forward wings clasped at my sides like a purple streak through the air.
I hit the water barrier and fly inside just as Layla loses control and the water puddles around her. Layla falls back on her butt gasping for breath.
'It's not strong enough.' Layla looks at her hands as tears form.
I change back. Bones snapping. Muscles twining with blood pumping. Ah...two changes a day is still too rough on my body in my malnourished state. I slump forward on my needs as I struggle to gain my breath back too.
'Hey come on now. We learnt plenty today plus you managed to hold it for a bit. That is nothing to be sad about.'
Layla looks up doubtful. 'Like what?'
I put my hand on her shoulder. 'We learnt that you control water with even a tiny bit of your water in. We also learned that you can grow in power by visualizing what we spoke.' I smile at her reassuringly.
She wipes her tears away with her sleeves.
'You see getting stronger is hard but your managing it.' 'Okay.' Layla smiles slightly.
'Next time we will use more water and make the barricade stronger.' I stand up her swaying slightly. I look back at big ben and see the time is now 4 pm. Jesus time does fly when you are sweating your butt off training.
'Come Lay. We've trained excessively today lets go eat.' Layla launches herself up and hugs my waist. 'YAY. Thanks, E.' I chuckle and pat her head.
'Tomorrow we go exploring.'
I turn away and start to descend down the fire escape.
'AWESOME!' That's all I hear until heavy footsteps slap across the concrete.
I shake my head and smirk. Life has got interesting since this girl came in my life. This is the first day I haven't had a panic attack triggered by memories.
Perhaps life is looking up.