Hobbies And Heckling
A short story for the Whateley Universe. This event happens sometime late October, early November.
Life at Whateley is enough to get you climbing the walls. But there is no shortage of friends to help or hinder you in your endeavors. Friends are hard to find and precious beyond belief. Still, some understanding and acceptance is needed. Not to mention a bit of humor.
HOBBIES AND HECKLING:
The figure slowly moving up the side of the Kane Hall Observatory only drew a small amount of attention. Most students had more pressing worries and duties. As long as there wasn’t any likely violence in the near future it wasn’t worth their while to do more than watch and wonder which student was doing it and what they were trying to prove.
Whoever it was couldn’t be easily identified. They were wearing nondescript and concealing clothing so it was difficult to tell if they were male or female, though the size, slenderness, and a general aura had everyone assuming the climber was a girl.
Rougher construction and several ivy vines made the first half of the climb rapid, but when the vines thinned out and the building’s construction became finer the pace soon slowed.
About this time a young girl with bluish grey hair and wearing a Whateley uniform with a mid length skirt approached from the direction of Crystal Hall. Something about the climber drew this girls attention and she slowed to watch. Soon she came to a stop and stood there starring at the figure clinging to the wall. She stood there looking at the figure and glancing towards the flagpole. The green flag was flying, but it still wasn’t considered a good idea to display one’s abilities openly if it could be avoided. After an obvious but short struggle, the girl on the ground shrugged and then floated into the air. Soon she was close to the climber.
“Hey Nikki! Whatcha do’in?”
The climber managed to suppress her startled reaction. And only hesitated a moment before reaching for the next hold.
“I’m kinda busy right now Billie. And I need to concentrate or I might make a mistake and slip.”
Billie put her hands behind her back and leaned forward to take a better look at what her friend was doing.
“Don’t worry. I’d catch you if you fell. Why you climbing here? I know you’ve really gotten back into this climbing thing, but isn’t this a bit obvious up here during the day?”
“It’s the only time I have free when I can do this, and if I don’t hurry I’ll run out of time and have to try again later. Besides, Security frowns on people climbing around at night. It makes them nervous. Please leave me alone. You know you don’t need to catch me either. I can take care of myself.”
Billie propped her head with a finger on her cheek and looked like she was in deep thought for a moment.
“Hmmm.. That’s true. So why do you do it? I can lift you to the top easily. Heck. You could do that yourself.”
“It’s not about using your powers Billie. It’s about NOT using them. It’s just me and the challenge of the climb. If I use my powers, I lose the challenge. It’s about being in control of myself and being able to plan my moves and actions all the way to success. I have to be in complete control of my body and be able to plan ahead so I won’t fall into any situations where I have to use my powers to get out.”
“Oh! It’s kind of like when Sensei Ito has me work out without using my powers isn’t it?”
“Ummm.. Not exactly.”
“Let’s face the truth Billie. If you just powered your way through the training how much would you really learn? You’d level the Dojo and never learn the control you’ll need in the tougher fights. For you it’s a necessity. For me it’s more of a chance to be free of my power and a chance to prove to myself that I can do something without it. This way I know that I’m more than what my power makes me.”
During this conversation Nikki kept moving slowly and carefully up the side of the building. She was coming to a series of small ledges that looked like they would speed at least the next part of the climb.
“Please don’t distract me Billie. The next few yards will be crucial if I’m going to finish in time. I have to concentrate. I’m getting the hang of it now and I can even anticipate where there will be difficulties to be avoided and the best paths to follow. Now be quiet while I do this please.”
“Oh. Okay, but you might not want to grab that ledge just... uh.. Never mind.”
Nikki slowly pulled her hand back and examined the sticky mess that covered much of her hand.
“I think it’s pigeon poop. Hey! I tried to tell you.”
Billie backed off a bit in case Nikki was tempted to wipe some of it off on her.
“Thanks Billie. Will you please let me do this?”
“Sure thing. I’ll back off and let you do your anticipating the best route thing.”
“I’m shut. I’m shut. Oh look! There’s Jade! Uh, you won’t mind if I go down and talk to her?”
“Go! I’ll be fine. I promise I won’t miss you too much.”
“Well! Be that way. I’ll watch from the ground. Hopefully I won’t be seeing you too quickly.”
Nikki didn’t reply but pointedly continued to move up the wall. Billie shrugged and descended down to where a small girl was watching from the ground.
“Hi Billie! That Nikki?”
“Yep! Just doing her wall crawling thing.”
“She going to be okay?”
“Probably, I’m sure if something happened she’s ready to use a spell to keep herself from getting hurt.”
“That why you’re here?”
“Well, you know how she can get. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to keep an eye on her just in case.”
“She won’t appreciate it if she finds out.”
“I think she already knows, but as long as we don’t interfere I think she won’t let it get in the way. Why are you here?”
“Oh. Just watching. It really is pretty amazing.”
“You gonna start climbing the walls too?”
“Ah. I don’t think so.”
“Good. I don’t think I could be in two places at one time.”
“Hah! But I can.”
“Oh. Yeah. That’s right. As long as you don’t try to overdo the time you’d be safe as can be.”
“Yeah. Not much challenge there. Figured out why she’s climbing this wall?”
“Personally, I think it’s because the ninjas climbed it and she wants to show she can too.”
A disgruntled call came from above.
“I heard that!”
“Huh. I keep forgetting those big elf ears of hers.”
“I heard that too! And you should talk!”
Billie reached up and touched the large lobes protruding from her head and shouted back up the wall.
“They’re not that big!”
Jade pulled on Billie’s sleeve and when she had Billie’s attention shook her head. Then she spoke quietly.
“It’s okay. She’s just working off some of her tension. Don’t argue with her and break her concentration.”
Billie took a deep breath and then nodded.
“Okay. But they’re not big.”
Jade hugged the taller girl.
“No. They’re just right for you. Now, do we move on and let her finish?”
Billie looked up and whispered.
“How will we know if she’s in trouble?”
Jade smiled and flicked a small paper airplane which was all of two inches long into the air. Its gliding path banked oddly, as if the tiny plane was under some form or remote control. Also, it was gradually gliding upward, lazily circling around the tower as it innocently drifted toward, but not too near, the climbing elf. Then she whispered back.
“I think we’ll know.”
Billie grinned. “Let’s go then.”
Another call came from above.
“What are you two plotting?”
Billie called back.
“Nothing. We’re just getting ready to go and get ready for supper. Do you think you’ll be done in time?”
“No problem. Just let me concentrate on this and I’ll be done in plenty of time.”
“Okay. Just don’t forget to wash your hands. Okay?”
Grinning, Billie turned back to Jade and motioned her to come with her as she headed back to Poe. Jade got a curious look on her face.
“What was that all about?”
“Nothing. Just complimenting her on her powers of analysis and anticipation.”
“You’re going to have to tell me about this.”
Nikki’s voice came faintly from above.
“Don’t you dare!”
Billie grinned. “C’mon. Let’s get out of ear shot. Good Luck Nikki!”
An unintelligible answer came from above as the two girls moved off, waving to the figure who might have been waving back or shaking a fist as they moved off.
Not too much longer after, a tired form pulled herself up to the small cupola at the top of the observatory. With a sigh she sat down to get her breath. If she noticed a small flicker of motion off to her side she gave no indication of it. Strangely, though there wasn’t anyone there, she spoke aloud.
“There! That’s done! Now to get back down and get cleaned up for supper.”
Saving time, she leaped over the side, muttered a short spell, and glided down to the ground. A few people noticed this, but no one seemed to find it peculiar and soon she was well on her way back to Poe.