“Gah!” Lila screamed as William suddenly grabbed her and dragged her along, “I don’t want to meditate!”
“Too bad.” William shrugged and continued on.
“You can’t make me! I’m older than you, and I’m the headmistress here!”
“Oh? I suppose you are older than me now. Maybe act like it.”
Instead of responding, Lila twisted in his grip, dislodging herself. Then she took up a stance a few steps away to prepare for any retaliation. “I hate meditation. It’s boring and pointless.”
William shrugged, “Well, I guess I can’t make you. I wonder if Lorelei is free. I’m sure I could go talk to her…” William started to walk away, when Lila grabbed his arm.
“Wait, wait, you aren’t going to say anything about me to her, are you?”
William turned and raised an eyebrow. “Should I? I don’t think I need to. Since you won’t accept my training, that’s how things will be. Though, she really thinks you should. I suppose she’ll just have to teach you herself.” William turned away again and started walking, though that technically involved dragging Lila behind him, since she still had her grip on his arm. She wasn’t particularly trying to hold him back, so he continued forward rather easily.
“Teach me herself?” Lila’s eyes widened, and she muttered to herself, “Didn’t she give up on that? She wouldn’t start again, would she…” Then Lila spoke louder, “Ah, wait! I’ve um… decided to give your training a try.”
William sighed. Lila’s version of meditation was the worst he’d ever seen. Sure, she sat down and closed her eyes, but that was where the resemblance ended. She kept fidgeting, and couldn’t sit still for even a minute. No, it was safer to say she couldn’t even do it for a dozen seconds. It’s not that she was incapable of focus. When he’s first taught her how to read, she’d learned reasonably well. However, she hadn’t sat still. It had taken him some time before he gave up on trying to get her to accomplish that, because he realized it didn’t matter.
Maybe she didn’t need to sit still to focus, but as things were it obviously wasn’t working. It had been about an hour, to no avail. It wasn’t like she needed to completely clear her mind- she wasn’t supposed to be getting her mind to a blank state, but to have it move in a specific direction, and that just wasn’t happening. William didn’t think his explanations were poor, though it was possible. Instead, she seemed to expect to succeed instantly if she was doing the right thing. William would tell her to do something, and perhaps she would, for a dozen seconds. “It’s not working.”
“It takes longer.”
“Hmm, I dunno… I don’t feel any progress.”
William didn’t think she would know how to judge progress. Unfortunately, magic came to her naturally, and for physical things she could see what was going on. With this she couldn’t see whether she was doing things right or wrong, and neither could William, at least not until she made some progress. Until she started actually forming ki or entered her sea of consciousness, William wouldn’t be able to guide much. He thought he could drag her perception down into her sea of consciousness, but that was more of a last resort solution. At best, it would mean she skipped some vital steps on her own, and at worst it could cause irreparable damage.
William went over how he’d learned to use ki. It had first happened accidentally during physical activity. By now, he would have expected Lila to have encountered that, but it apparently wasn’t yet the case. She didn’t remember it, and he couldn’t feel any traces of it. She shouldn’t be completely incapable of forming ki, even if her soul was damaged or something- which it wasn’t. Well, William supposed it was possible. Lorelei had given up… but on the other hand, she wasn’t particularly adept at ki herself.
“So why do I have to do this again?” Lila asked.
“Because you won’t or can’t meditate, and I don’t want people to be able to kill you with soul attacks you can’t even see coming. Now go again.”
Lila sprinted across the field and back, then stopped in front of William, panting. “Was… I… fast… enough?”
William shook his head. “Nope, go faster!”
“I can’t go faster! I’m tired. Maybe in a few weeks if my muscles have time to develop more…”
“What would be the point of that? Go faster now!”
“Aww come on, can you even beat me?”
“You think I can’t? Fine, let’s go. If you beat me you don’t have to do this anymore.”
They both took their positions, then sprinted across the field. William quickly pulled ahead. That wasn’t too hard, since she was already tired. Even so, William probably couldn’t have beat her in an endurance race. She’d had more than a gross of years to train her body, and William was only about two dozen years old this time. Even if her training wasn’t primarily focused on that, that amount of time difference wasn’t easy to make up for. However, in a sprint William could use ki to augment his speed.
He reached the wall and turned around, but slowed slightly. He didn’t want to pull too far ahead. He stayed just ahead of her. He reached the end just a few steps ahead of her. “You have… to let me… try again. I can… beat you… next time!”
“Well, fine.” That was William’s plan all along. Though eventually he would get tired, he wouldn’t right away, and he could hide it for a bit longer. If it got dangerous, he could just say they were done for the day, though she’d probably figure it out.
They sprinted a few more times, and William was surprised to see she actually managed to eek out a little bit more speed. Her determination was impressive, but she still couldn’t beat him. Still, she didn’t give up. She wouldn’t back down from a challenge, even if it put her at a disadvantage. That stubbornness could be good or bad… but in this case William thought it was good.