There's been a bit of trouble. I'm okay and Raggedy's okay but I'm getting ready to leave now. I've had to leave to protect both of us.
The other day we were out training. Some running and some sparring. I've really improved in my time here. It was another hot day but it was cool enough that we managed to brave the heat. Raggedy tossed me my water bottle during a break. "You did pretty good today, Kenny."
I thanked him for the compliment. I have gotten stronger, faster, and better at using Lily in combat situations. I'm not near an expert yet or even near Raggedy's level (after all, I've never taken any sort of self-defense course), but I should be able to hold my own in a fight a bit better now.
Raggedy started going on about training plans for tomorrow but I sort of zoned him out. I was tired and it was hot out and I just wanted a drink. I sort of tuned it out to the point that it was background noise but when he stopped talking I looked up and saw that he was looking at me funny. "What did you say?" I asked.
"I said, does it suddenly seem colder out to you?" He was shaking slightly. I noticed the temperature for the first time. It was kind of cold out. I stopped and looked down at the bottle in my hands. The contents had gone from lukewarm water to ice. I held the bottle up to show him and his eyes grew wide. We exchanged a glance that said everything in one unspoken word:
We took off, leaving everything other than my staff and Raggedy's training swords and headed for his car. We got maybe a hundred yards before a wall of ice shot up in front of us. We turned around to run and saw a young boy on the path behind us and stopped dead. The kid looked about seven years old. He was dressed in tattered clothes, but what really stood out was that he was almost unnaturally pale, with hair so light it was almost white.
"Cold Boy, right?" I asked quietly.
"Never seen him before, but that'd be my guess," he said. He gripped his sword, a wooden foil, tighter and gave it an experimental swing. "You know, Kenny, I've never wanted to hurt a kid, but I think I might make an exception for this fucker."
He charged at the Cold Boy and swung his sword. The sword was about a foot away when the boy raised his hand. Raggedy let out a yell as his body twisted and he toppled to the ground. As the Cold Boy started giggling like someone had told a silly joke, I glanced over at Raggedy. An icicle, already melting in the heat, was sticking out of his right shoulder.
He turned and looked right at me and gave me a giddy smile, speaking in a soft, high-pitched voice. "One for sorrow. Two for joy. Three for a girl. Four for a boy. Five for silver. Six for gold. Seven for a secret, never to be told." Then he turned back to Raggedy and held out a hand again. Ice started appearing around his feet, slowly creeping up his legs. I reacted more on instinct than anything else, rushing forward and swinging Lily as hard as I could. There was a crack as the wood collided with the boy's face, and his feet left the ground. The ice on Raggedy's legs and the wall in front of us instantly melted and as I helped Raggedy to his feet, I gave the Cold Boy a quick glance. His face had shattered, like it was made of glass, but it was already starting to repair itself, water pouring out of the wound like blood and freezing to reform the face.
We ran. We ran as hard as we could, made it to Raggedy's car, and drove as fast as we could. But once we were driving, we saw the boy standing on the side of the road, smiling and waving goodbye.
"He's playing with us," Raggedy said. "They love doing that."
"So did we escape or did he let us go?"
"I don't know. It could be either one. He could probably catch us again if he wanted to."
There was an awkward silence for a while. "The Cold Boy, huh?" I finally said quietly.
"That rhyme he said...do you know anything about it?"
He shook his head. "We'll have to look it up. Do some research on it."
I was quiet for a bit more, trying to figure out how to tell him what I wanted to. "Chris, I think I'll have to do the research alone. I think I should leave tonight."
His head turned at breakneck speed to look at me. "What? You can't! You're not done with training yet and you still haven't managed to do anything with the patches!"
I shook my head. "He looked right at me when he said that rhyme. I think I'm the reason he's here, and now your shoulder's hurt because of me. It's not safe for either of us to stay here anymore." I grinned. "Besides, if I'm going to be a wanderer, I need to keep moving. You're a great guy and everything Chris, but I'm not about to let you become my Kaoru."
So now I'm packing. It was nice to have some company for a while, and I'm really going to miss that when I take off, but it's time for me to go.
I just wish there was some way I could pay him back for all that.