Underground: Chapter 10. Training

Hatter walked through the door, Aaron close behind.

“Took you guys awhile, did you get lost going to the kitchen?” Ace chuckled.

“Yes…” Hatter said. “Took a couple wrong turns…still not really used to being in a castle. I’m usually in March’s house…or outside drinking tea…or my own house.” Hatter explained.

“Understandable. I still get lost sometimes!” Jester said laughing.

The conversation died down a little and Aaron still had the question in his head. When am I going to start training?

Aaron played with his fingernails and slowly asked “When am I going to start training?” That was to everyone’s surprise. No one knew the Hatter told him. They only knew that they needed Alice…not a

little boy that knew nothing of Wonderland.

“Tr-training?” Jack questioned. “You’re supposed to be Wonderland’s savior?”

“That’s what Hatter told me. He said it was too late to get my mummy here in time.” Aaron answered.

“I’m only saying what Mctwisp said to me. We’re always running out of time! This time, we have to be on time!” Hatter wouldn’t take the blame for telling Aaron false information.

“I’ll go get Mctwisp.” Malymkun sighed, scurrying out of the room.

“So…he really is supposed to be our savior?” Ace questioned.

“Yes. That is what Mctwisp told me…and I always listen to him.” The Mad Hatter answered.

After a few minutes, Malymkun and the white rabbit came through the door. The white rabbit was worried and looked as so. His left ear was twitching and his eyes were full of worry.

“What’s wrong?” He questioned.

“How much time have we got?” Was the first question. The Mad Hatter asked that one. He needed to know how much time he had to train Aaron. He needed to know how much time he had left to see the young boy.

The white rabbit, that seemed too big to be called a rabbit took out a gold pocket watch and looked at it. “About five days…why?”

“I just…wanted to know.” He answered, running his fingers through his hair. He didn’t really want anyone to know how much he really did care for the young boy, but it was probably obvious.

“Another question, is Aaron supposed to save Wonderland or Alice?” Ash asked.

“It was really supposed to be Alice, but…we don’t have enough time to go get Alice. We’re running out of time, and we don’t have time to go get her. Listen, five days may seem long, but it’s not. We would have to explain everything again, tell her everything that’s different, bring her to the kingdom, it would be just too confusing so we have to stick with Aaron.” Mctwisp explained.

“Thank you.” Jester smiled.

“Yeah, thanks.” The Mad Hatter nodded.

“Now, we have to start training you.” Jack said to Aaron.

“We have four people here that are trained in sword fighting.” Jack said.

“Who?” Aaron asked excitedly, wondering who was going to work with him for training.

“Ace, the king, Hatter, and I.” Jack answered “But there is a slight problem, I can train you, but please note that I’m also the Queen’s chosen one. I will be fighting you in the actual battle…well faking it at least.”

“Yes, I assure you he will be faking it. I would never allow him to hurt such a young boy. Especially one who is only going to have five days of training.” The king said and smiled.

He looked scary to such a young child. His right eye had black eyeliner covering it. His left eye had very little though with a spade drawn under it. He was very pale too, like a vampire. He wore a black tee-shirt with a gold and a silver necklace. On the gold necklace, a spade charm rested. On the silver chain, which was hidden, a teacup charm hung.

It was hidden because to the queen, the teacup represented the Hatter and she hated the Hatter. But the others saw nothing wrong with the Hatter, or his friends. Jester thought the Hatter was funny, Ace and Ash thought the Hatter was sweet, Jack found the Hatter to be a great listener, and the King found the Hatter loyal and courageous. They saw nothing wrong with him. Sure he was crazy and mad, but that’s what they all liked best about him.

“Ok, I’ll train him first.” Jack suggested. “Come with me.” He said and started walking. He was heading toward the outside field which was hidden by hedges.

“Here, take this wooden sword.” Jack handed him the fake sword.

“Why can’t I use a real sword?” He complained.

“Don’t worry, you’ll work your way up to it.” Jack said. “Ok. What’s your dominant hand?”

“Right.” Aaron answered.

“So, put your right hand below the guard.” Jack said, demonstrating on his own sword. “And left at the bottom, or the pommel.”

“Alright. Seems easy enough.” Aaron said.

“Oh, that’s just the beginning. It gets harder, don’t worry.” Jack said smirking.

“With your left hand,” Jack began, starting to demonstrate on his sword. “Grip the sword tightly with the pinky, ring, and middle finger. The others should have a semi-tight grip. The left hand is for striking, not the right. Remember that.”

“Ok. So now what do I do?” Aaron questioned.

“First of all, a tight grip. That grip is very loose.” Jack critiqued. “But the thumb and the index finger need to have semi- tight grip. Other than that you seem to be holding it well enough.”

“It feels awkward.” Aaron complained.

“You’ll have to get used to it.” Jack said. “That is…if you want to win this. I‘m a trained fighter, I will be putting up a good show for my mum.”

“I do!” He exclaimed.

“Then you’ll have to get used to holding it that way.”

Jack and Aaron worked on the holding for about an hour. It seemed to be getting more comfortable each time he put it down and picked it up. You see, Jack made Aaron put down the sword and then pick it up. It looked easy, but it wasn’t. If Aaron made a mistake, Jack made him start over.

“Alright, you’re doing pretty well. Just always make sure you have a good grip on the sword or you’ll drop it.” He advised.

“Ok. Like this?” Aaron asked.

“Exactly like that.” Jack smiled. “Ok now hold the pommel, the bottom of the sword above your bellybutton. Whatever you do, don’t rest it on your stomach, keep it out a little. Now, point the tip to you’re throat. Now if the enemy decides to charge, they’ll run into your weapon.” Jack coached, demonstrating with his sword.

“How’s this?”

“You’re resting the sword on the stomach. Don’t do that. It makes it harder to control.” Jack explained, showing him again.

Jack had Aaron practice holding it like that for a while. Aaron found it hard and he was getting bored and tired. Yet he knew he had to first learn to hold the sword before he ever could ever learn to hit with the sword.

“Alright you’re getting better. Let’s go get some lunch or something.”

“Yes!” Aaron excitedly said.

He was getting hungry and bored and couldn’t wait to get some food.

“But of course we’ll have to come back out and train after lunch. There’s still a lot to teach you and so little time.”

“Of course.” Aaron sighed. He didn’t want to train anymore, he knew he had to though. He had to save Wonderland for his mum. He was getting very bored with training…maybe Jack wouldn’t be training him next! Maybe it’d be Hatter! Jack went to the kitchen to get some sandwiches. Aaron sat with the others waiting for him to come back. Abundiantus and Malymkun got the smallest sandwiches ever! They were more like just crumbs with a little piece of meat.

“Are the others going to train me too?” Aaron questioned.

“Yes. Ace is going to train you next. Then the king and lastly the Hatter.” Jack answered.

Aaron finished his sandwich, anxious to learn again. Though, he hoped he wouldn’t have to practice holding the sword again. That was boring.

After lunch was finished Ace and Aaron walked to the back again. This time they were practicing striking.

“Alright, pick up the sword. I’m sure Jack taught you that.” Ace smiled.

“Uh huh.” Aaron nodded, picking up his wooden sword, while Ace played with his. “OK that’s good, just tighten you’re grip.” Ace told him.

“Ok perfect. Now, when striking, stab at the sky, bringing your left hand past your eye. Then bring it down using your right hand to guide the blade and use the left hand for force.” Ace said, demonstrating.

“Alright, that’s good, but you’re not bringing your left hand past your eye. That’s important.” He said and demonstrated again.

“Ok getting better.” He smiled. “Now, let’s learn the footwork. Left behind right and stand on the balls of your feet.” He said. “Just keep your balance. This will defiantly help with striking your enemy.”

“Ok. Is this good?”

“Yes…just keep your balance. We’ll work on that for awhile. It’s very important. I just want you to stand there for as long as you can. I’ll be timing you.” Ace smiled.

Aaron stood there for about a minute, maybe even two. Back at home in gym class he had the best balance in the class. The last thing he worked on in gym was gymnastics. His teacher kept complimenting him on his balance. So…this couldn’t be too hard. But while he was going for three minutes, the back of his feet started hurting.

“Alright, you have good balance. Though I want you to keep doing that until I say stop. Even if you fall, get back up and start up again, understood?”

“Yes, Ace.” Aaron nodded.

He did that for a half hour or so, but Ace said they would work on something different since Aaron was so good at balance. Ace explained how to strike while using footwork, which was actually challenging. Aaron didn’t think he was meant for sword training, but there was no backing out now. He had to save Wonderland. His mum didn’t have time to come down…he was the only one that could do it.

“When you go to attack, you push with your left foot and you slide your right foot on the ground and raise your sword. Now, all you have to do is bring your left foot back in the right position and strike. Easy enough?” He explained.

“Um…can you help me…I have no idea what I’m doing.” Aaron blushed. He had been listening, but he didn’t understand.

“Of course, that’s what I’m here for.” Ace grinned. He walked over to the boy and looked at his footwork. He asked Aaron to do what he just did again, and noticed that his right foot wasn’t sliding right.

“You’re sliding your right foot wrong. Watch.” Ace said.

“Like this?”

“Getting better. Keep doing that while I watch you.”

Aaron did that for a couple minutes until Ace said that they were going to do one final thing and then training with him was done, but to just keep practicing, even when he’s alone. The next thing they were learning was how to move your arm correctly.

“When you go to strike, keep your arm straight. But you can’t lock it. You don’t want your arm broken. And bend it when it reaches your head. Remember always that you strike with the hand closest to the pommel or bottom of the sword, your right hand is for guiding.” He explained.

Aaron attempted it and Ace watched. He critiqued and he helped, he explained and he demonstrated and soon he was done training. There was nothing else to teach about striking or attacking the enemy.

“Just practice your strikes. You don’t want them to be weak. We’ll practice tomorrow with real fighting.” Ace said.

“Alright, thanks!” Aaron smiled.

“Your welcome.” Ace ruffled the young boy’s hair as he ran past and into the building.

“I’m ready to train with you king.” Aaron said, looking in the king’s eyes.

He smiled a soft smile, he didn’t seem scary anymore and he took the boy back out.

“We will not really be training right now. I’ve just been told to tell you the warnings. Maybe we’ll pick up the sword and I can teach you defense though.”

“Ok.” Aaron smiled.

“Warnings are easy to learn. When you strike with a heavier blade, every strike makes you unbalanced. So watch out and try to get balanced as quickly as you can. You don’t want to be unbalanced and hit. You’ll end up falling.”  The king read off a list.

“Do not threaten to kill anyone. Do not hold a blade to anyone’s neck unless you want to get in serious trouble.”

He looked at Aaron while he was fiddling with his wooden sword and practicing some even!

“Never twirl your blade around. It will hit you and it will hurt. Usually it’ll hit the face, legs, and arms. And we don’t want you hurt before or during the battle. We can’t promise you won’t be hit during the battle.” King said, looking at Aaron’s face. He looked more than a bit scared.

“Keep your blade in front of you at all times during the battle. If you do that they’ll have to go through your sword to get to you and you won’t hurt yourself.” He instructed. “And…that’s about it. Let’s work on defense some.” The King suggested and picked up the actual sword.

“When you see someone start to go after you, what you do is put your left foot behind the right and keep backing up. Remember if your holding your sword and they are hitting it, keep hitting theirs too while backing up. It’ll be hard to learn, but you can do it.”

Aaron and the king practiced at first just backing up. Then the king grabbed a stick and started hitting Aaron’s wooden sword. He practiced both backing up and hitting the sword.

“Next, if they swing at your head, duck!” He instructed.

The King and the young boy practiced for a while before they finally went inside. This time Hatter was going to train him. The boy was excited, anxious to learn what the Hatter had to teach him. The King walked in the room and told Hatter to go train Aaron. He walked out and the boy saw him in a minute or two.

“Alright. I’m going to teach you the tips. But I’ll also probably practice with you. Unless of course you just want to go inside and sleep. Then I can practice with you tomorrow or something.” Hatter smiled.

“When you hold a sword, you probably feel like just swinging your arms around willy-nilly. But you cannot. You have to swing your whole body. It puts more power in the swing thus making the swing even stronger. Which is better. It also doesn’t damage the muscles quite as much.”

“If you can disarm them, do so and then do not bother with them anymore. Then there is no reason to do anything else to them, they are disarmed.”

Aaron nodded, interested in what he was learning. Though there was one question that was bothering him. They keep saying and he keeps saying that there is no time to go get his mum, but where did his mum even learn to use a sword?

She’s a mummy…she shouldn’t know how to use a sword. It doesn’t seem normal. He thought. He promised himself he’d ask later, at the end of Hatter’s training. He would surely answer him.

“Combine attack for stronger moves, it’d be much faster. If you lose your sword, improvise, anything can be a weapon.” Hatter said. He’d been standing in one spot for awhile. Aaron himself couldn’t do that and he was often fiddling with his sword or moving an inch or so.

“If you lose your weapon and you cannot find another one…throw something in his eyes. Anything. Dirt or gravel or a pebble. And then jump on him or attack him in some way. Then if you can, disarm him.” Hatter explained. “Well that covers all. I guess the king and I will be teaching you defense tomorrow.”

“I have one question…”

“Yeah?”

“Where did my mum learn sword fighting?”

The End

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