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"It will greatly enhance your speed. Your body will become accustomed to the weight. Once you take it off, you will notice right away how much faster you move."
Sophina never heard of this technique in her life. Still, it made sense. "That's genius!"
Jon bowed his head at the compliment. He waited to speak until Sophina tied the laces on the weighted leggings. "How does it feel?"
Sophina held out her arms. "It feels...heavy, like my armor, but not as constricting. I have plenty of room to breathe."
"Like I said, you will wear these at all times, expect when bathing and sleeping. For today, I will teach you the basic sword techniques."
"Are they like the ones they taught us in the army?" Sophina asked as she stretched out her muscles.
Jon snorted contemptuously. "Those rigid sword forms? No, I will not be teaching you any of those foolish moves. I will teach you adaptability and improvisation. I will teach you the proper stances for balance. I will teach you how to counterattack and strike where there are openings."
"Adaptability and improvisation?" Sophina asked, confused.
Jon nodded. "You must be fluid and ready to adapt to any style or form. I will teach you the weaknesses of every move and how to counter it. This is much more...cerebral than your basic training. Do you understand?"
Sophina thought she did. The way he explained things made sense to her. "I must use my brain as much as my sword."
Jon smiled and Sophina thought it was truest smile she had seen from him yet. "Very good, Sophina. Let's begin."
In the end, Raynolt had his way. Or rather Reynar had his way, as much as it angered Raynolt to admit it. The council reluctantly agreed to Raynolt's plan for the war. After the initial shock of the battle to come during the Summer Festival, word would be put out in the city warning the citizens to stay indoors at night. They would even offer gold to anyone who could point the Magi towards a Magi Victus.
Raynolt was pleased to have achieved that much because his own personal task was not fairing well. It had been two weeks since he baited Lenard and Morgana. But despite constant surveillance by Sanje and his men, they had yet to leave the Emporium for the palace. Sanje reported no suspicious activity at the gate of the palace. The only Magi who entered were the councilors for the daily meetings. If Reynar had another method for contacting his spy, Raynolt couldn't figure it out.
"Who's to patrol Beggar's Hell?" Lenard asked, snapping Raynolt from his thoughts.
Raynolt scanned the list on his desk. "Who's more familiar with that area?"
Lenard and Morgana scanned their own lists. They were sitting in front of his desk in his office. The sun had just set, which meant they still had a long night ahead of them. Two more councilors would meet with him every hour, until he talked to all ten councilors.
It grated on Raynolt's nerves because the meetings were redundant; his plans would be solidified with Lenard and Morgana before he had even met with the others. He found it ironic that even though Lenard or Morgana was a spy, he still trusted them with his plans.
He met with the other councilors just to give them the illusion of respect. They were annoyed that he would only meet them two at a time, but he could care less about what they felt about that.
"I think Pernell and Fernon should lead the patrol group there. They have both been outspoken about cleaning up Beggar's Hell, so they are familiar with the area," Morgana offered.
Raynolt nodded his agreement and made a notation on his list. There were still two weeks left until the Summer Festival but Raynolt knew they would be cutting it close with the battle strategy. Try as he might, Raynolt couldn't figure out why Reynar was so insistent on starting the war so soon. Raynolt had planned for at least a year to get ready when he made his play for power.
The clock on his mantle chimed the turn of the hour.