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He stood there waiting for her. He knew she would show up eventually. He wasn’t one to come back to the base until a mission was complete but he heard and felt it, the torment his pupil was going through. She needed him and he was there waiting till she returned. She appeared through the doorway of the room on the first floor of her shop looking really drained, tired, out of it, like she was about to explode but she was controlling herself immensely. He couldn’t help but smile slightly just watching her still trying too hard to stick to his teachings. He was still proud of her despite her reckless behavior, which he knew would happen eventually, after all he did warn her about that heart of hers. She finally realized his presence in the room which made her freeze. Did he really come to see her or to condemn her like the rest? She closed her eyes trying to mentally prepare herself, she knew she failed him by failing her brother, failed all what he taught her, she wasn’t worthy of her axes. No, she won’t touch them until she got herself back into her previous mindset of when they first arrived at the city. When she opened her eyes, he was standing right in front of her with that usual blank expression, the expression demanding discipline, obedience and attention. She stood in the attention stance automatically looking up at him with a sudden pale expression yet some amount of strength left in her features, her determination would never really deplete totally.

“I told you never to say, never.” He murmured towards her in a soft tone, his features softening as well.

He wasn’t here to judge her and ridicule her; he wasn’t here as her mentor this time but as her family, as someone who will try to pick her up and out from the grave she dug deep for herself the last few days. She noted his soft expression which caused her to waver from her control, she drug her feet across the room slumping herself into him heavily as she buried her face into his chest and moved her arms around his waist. The tears didn’t take a hard time to release itself, after all the holding back she was doing. She cried her heart out, every single emotion she was feeling, every single form of pain, confusion, misunderstanding, she let it all out through those tears she cried.

“Shhhh, Ivory..Shhh.” he murmured soothingly as he hugged her tightly into him allowing her to cry as much as she wanted, giving her the usual fatherly comfort she needed during times like these especially since he knew her brother was angry with her.

Her brother was the only one she had, if he was mad at her, she was basically alone in the world and in her heart. After a while she eased a bit, the crying slowed down and she was sobbing trying to control herself. She looked up at him with teary eyes unwinding an arm from around him to wipe her face with. He looked down at her still holding her close to him in that warm blanket of protection that a father has for their daughter, even though she wasn’t his daughter but her mentor, her sensei.

“I’m sorry, Lokhe Sensei. I failed you and…Kuro” She murmured still looking up at him, if her eyes didn’t reflect any regret, they reflected honesty.

She was really sorry for not heeding to all his teachings especially his warning about emotions. He looked down on her his expression never changing, still soft, eyes full of understanding that probably the only other person around her, who gave it to her, was Alister. The thought of the timber wolf made her feel better, at least she knew she had a friend and she would slowly work her way into getting him into the pack.

“I stepped down from my position as Kuro’s Beta.” She continued inhaling sharply, the pain of realization hitting her, “I just couldn’t carry on, you know? In this current state I am, running around full of emotions and letting my heart decide my battles, which is totally against your teaching and against all what you trained me for.” She paused eyeing him with a serious expression now, “I won’t touch my axes, Lokhe Sensei. I won’t.”

She gritted her teeth, she loved her axes and for someone like her whose passion was to fight and keep her weapons close, it was a huge sacrifice. Lokhe released her taking a step back, his expression growing back to the way a mentor would look at his student. He allowed her to speak, remaining silent and the good listener he always was.

“Ivory, I know how hard it was for you to have made this decision and I won’t disagree with you, you need the break. My beloved mate told me all of what happened, as you know she keeps an eye on your brother, she is his personal guard when nobody is looking. Just like how I keep an eye on you, she watches over Kuro. She told me everything and do I blame you for your reckless actions? Being driven by love to almost get yourself killed, Ivory?” he questioned his voice raising a little and a slight frustration on his voice could be heard.

She cringed eyeing him with a helpless expression yet again.

“Yes, it is my fault, all my fault…” her voice cracked.

She brought a hand over her chest placing it upon her heart that felt like it was being shred to pieces.

 “It sucks you know, this feeling of uncertainty, feeling of jealousy, worry and hatred. I thought love was going to be something beautiful, like for you and Jean-sama…” She sighed, “But, no…It has brought nothing but pain, suffering…for me and for others around me.” She stated then sighed again, “Pointless, needless suffering and pain, apparently the way of life.” She said her tone growing bitter, “The good suffer, the evil flourish and all that is mortal passes away.”

She was obviously quoting it from something she read.

“Just start from the beginning.” He stated firmly, “You have my notebook; you know all what I taught you. Revise it, my dear. The last four days must have been hell for you, first off all, sleep, then the moment you wake up, meditate in the same way I taught you before.”

She nodded, in fact she had done that already the day before, especially after her argument with Elly, no, she didn’t hate him, she couldn’t even if she tried but following her mentor’s teachings of meditation helped her face her brother by using her brain for once and ignoring her erratic emotions. She was already one step ahead. He reached a finger brushing her check gently.

“I know you, Ivory. You’ll be able to conquer this but remember you aren’t alone. The pack is growing, try not to isolate yourself too much.” He muttered then paused eyeing her with a grim expression, “I know even after I say this you’ll still do so because you’re a stubborn brat.” He stated in an annoyed tone.

She chuckled and nodded looking away from him.

“In time Sensei, in time. I just need to be alone until I get my balance back. Kuro kept me as a Fortis which is what I am in the first place.” She grinned, “And he gave me a task to extend my business into town, so I’ll focus on that.” She grumbled suddenly remembering the previous event, “I found a nice space in the main town but some stuck up bastard already took over it, I got into a little fight with him, he’s a lycan too but I don’t know anything about him, I’ll be stalking him though.” She said firmly, “I can’t afford to fail Kuro again, I have failed him enough.” She said sadly releasing a deep sigh.

“You’ve been avoiding the main reason of this all, Ivory.” He stated eyeing her with a serious expression, “What are you going to do about your feelings for him?”

she stared at her mentor knowing exactly who he was talking about, no, it wasn’t her brother, it was Elly. Her expression went blank, and she felt a hard feeling in her chest, like her heart was being smashed then eased then smashed until it turned numb.

“I..have to..push it away.” She stated looking down on the ground, “This feeling won’t go away easily. I thought I could push it back easily, but the moment I see him, they resurface, the moment he is hurt, I feel weak, I feel like tearing into shreds whatever hurt him..” she trailed shaking her head, “Doesn’t that sound familiar?” she asked eyeing the man who was frowning deeply now.

He brought his hand over his head to run his fingers through his black messy hair.

“Yes, didn’t I tell you long back that you will feel this way for someone other than your brother?” he asked raising his eyebrows at her.

“Yes, I remember and I said, never.”

She slapped her palm into her forehead then moved to cross her arms.

“I am going to fix myself and go back to that mindset, no more love, no more thinking of Elly in that way, I’ll just be a friend if nothing else. Nope! I am going to get over him, for Kuro’s sake and for the pack plus so I can finally use my axes again.”

She nodded firmly trying to convince herself, the determination shown in her face. Though her heart doesn’t seem to agree with her, it felt betrayed and shattered like she was ignoring how it felt, right now she was letting her mind make all the decisions.

“First aim, is to take over the blacksmith store in the main shop. I am afraid I might have to try to beat up that cheeky bastard if he doesn’t want to make any deals with me.” She muttered eyeing Lokhe.

The man shrugged.

“I am sure you can handle him, just remember, don’t pressure to hard, if he is a lycan too, he might have a soft spot for other lycans and you might even be able to get him into the Vectis so, try not to attack first, be friendly, try to get to know him and work your way from there. Not everything has to be decided with your fists.” He said firmly eyeing her.

Obviously this was an advice from a master to their apprentice.

“Alright, fine, I’ll try the kind approach but if he gives me another broom and calls me a beast again, I will bite his head off.” She said smugly.

Her mentor shook his head narrowing his eyes at her then he ruffled her hair, she pouted trying to fix it only to mess it up further.

“Just be careful and use your brain, ignore your erratic heart for now and since you’re not going to be using your axe, practice your fighting moves, you will need them and don’t ignore your axes when there is a serious battle, you are at your best with them in your hands.” He stated in an honest tone.

It was true, his pupil was fired up twice as much when she was holding her axes, he couldn’t imagine she was giving them up until she managed to get herself back into the fighter mindset with her usual calm and control.

The wind was blowing her messy hair around as she balanced herself on the roof top of her shop with her bare feet; they were not bloody anymore, just slight scars left in the place of the wounds she got from the broken glasses. He was standing in front of her with both his katana swords drawn. She held her axes in her hand gripping them tight for this is the last time in a long time she will be using them. Of course the two of them couldn’t pass one training session, it has been a while and she needed it. She needed to get back into the thinking and striking zone. The sound of metal clashing, swift silent movements and slight jumping around could be heard by anyone with sharp ears. If someone were to come out in the middle of the night, they would notice two figures fighting over on the roof top. Slight and controlled breathing could also be heard coming from the two. Someone suddenly jumped in between them, her green cloak fluttering in the air as she extended both her hands, palms facing towards each of them in a sudden halt motion. She quickly pushed herself back to avoid slashing the lady in the green cloack with her axes and he grunted drawing his katanas back quickly. The lady frowned looking between the two.

“Training is over.” She stated firmly.

The girl stood straight lowering her axe catching her breath as she bowed towards the lady.

“Jean-Sama.”

The lady’s expression turned soft as she bowed back.

“Be strong, little Ivory, you’ll be alright.” She smiled warmly towards the young girl.

The man grinned and quickly grabbed the lady around her waist after he sheathed his katanas. She narrowed her eyes but didn’t fight his strong grip leaning back into him. The man nodded once towards his pupil eyeing her with a serious expression.

“Till we meet again, Ivory.”

And without another word he lunged away jumping from one roof to the other with the lady in the green cloak in his arms.

She stood there watching them until their form disappeared in the distance. She breathed in and out slowly as she held her axes bringing them up to her eye level; she eyed them for a while and smiled weakly letting out a contented sigh.

“Don’t be too sad, I’ll be using you guys again fully.” She stated then sheathed her axes and climbed back down into the window of the first floor of her shop.

She moved to the huge storage rack down the stairs and into her shop, the lights were closed, it was dark but she had a good vision at night too. She took off her sheaths and the axes cleaning them very well on her work bench before she puts them away. She stares at them for a while before she closes the door of the rack, she would be able to take them out again later, whenever she was ready and worthy of them again.

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