Time passes again, another seven years without any great incident. The R.U.N.N. bases around the continent have become impatient, yet the message returned by runners sent to Echor is always the same. To wait just a bit longer for their victory to be assured. Cyrilla’s mindset in delaying the uprising comes from a reasonable place. Not only has she witnessed the rapidness of Adrium’s growth but has an account of her overwhelming strength also. Lives are certain to be lost in the uprising but that number would be minimalized with someone like Adrium on the field. She just needed to be made ready, trained to handle her emotional absorption.
“Tell me how you feel. Vocalize it.”
“It isn’t anger. It’s more like… They shouldn’t be here. I need to show them that this is my home. Attack, kill if I must, then eat.”
Adrium hadn’t been taken back outside before the incident with Guill. She remained within the walls of the base for fear of her safety if exposed to the wilderness. No longer a concern after seeing how strong she actually was. After considering it, Cyrilla determined that there would be a lot of benefit to bringing Adrium outside. She could learn about the beasts local to Echor and how to deal with them but more than that she could feel their mental states. She could express what it was that drove the creatures of the wilderness to their absurd levels of aggression. Through being exposed to such feelings, she could also learn to control them.
“That feeling is called being territorial. You wish to show them your dominance without necessarily killing them. Is there anything else?”
“It’s weird. I can feel wariness coming from them but I don’t feel the same way.”
This was one of the earliest of Adrium’s outings. Cyrilla had uncovered a den of burrow hounds and brought Adrium to them so they could have a stand-off. It wasn’t far off from the R.U.N.N. base so it had to be dealt with either way. The hounds did not display their usual behavior, though. Burrow hounds are very sensitive to tremors and will attack anything that makes vibrations near their den. They stay out of sight by digging beneath the surface and then burst up, cutting and hooking onto their prey with curved claws and dragging them below. They’re about half the size of the average human but are coordinated enough to sink much bigger prey. Yet, this time, they showed far less spontaneity in their movements. Cyrilla wondered if they had pregnant hounds among them thus their remaining huddled but Adrium felt something different.
“It isn’t like a creature of the wilderness to be particularly wary,” Cyrilla took a moment to contemplate.
“Mom, it’s getting hard to hold back…” Adrium voiced, visibly uncomfortable. “It’s like every part of my body wants to move. I don’t know what I want to do but I need to do something.”
“That feeling is being drawn from instinct. That’s the difference between you and them, Adrium. Neither of you can control your nature but you have the power to control your actions,” Cyrilla instructed. She took a moment to watch Adrium, who had hyper-fixated on the den full of snarling beasts. “You have the faculties to make your own decision. Look at me-”
Cyrilla placed a hand on Adrium’s shoulder, not fully respecting just how tense she was in that moment. The sensation of touch triggered the need to lash out that had been building within Adrium as she turned and grabbed at her mother’s arm. She would have torn it off completely were it not for Cyrilla’s protective magic. Even through that, fingers dug deep into skin and lower arm bones were shattered. Cyrilla flinched but didn’t panic.
“It doesn’t control you, Adrium. We’re out here so you can learn how to prevent this,” Cyrilla said, not resisting Adrium’s clutch.
Whether it was through Adrium’s own return to consciousness or by reflecting Cyrilla’s discipline, she realized what she had done. She took a moment to look at her mother’s right arm, crushed like a twig with blood pouring from it. She slowly loosened her grip. “Mom, I… I failed… I’m sorry…”
“Don’t apologize, it was my fault for provoking you when you weren’t ready,” Cyrilla admitted while swiftly applying a bandage to her wounds. “I hope this helps you to understand why this training is necessary.”
Adrium nodded before turning back to the hounds. They had only gotten more agitated thanks to the display in front of them and sight of blood. Yet they still did not pounce at the opportunity.
“This really is odd for them. I’ve never seen burrow hounds so passive. Well, they need to be killed either way. If we just chase them off then they’ll return to this land that they think they’ve claimed. I’ll leave that to you; how will you go about this?”
Adrium began to step forward but the burrow hounds still didn’t make any aggressive moves. They even began to recede into holes that they’d dug, an uncharacteristic sign of giving up land. “I don’t think I need to kill them,” Adrium claimed.
“I figured it out. It wasn’t wariness that I was feeling earlier.”
Adrium stood right over the burrow hound den, the ones who hadn’t fled lay close to the ground in complete submissiveness. There was no excuse for it, it was obvious in that moment that they wouldn’t attack the girl before them. Cyrilla watched first in concern but then in confusion as to why.
“It was respect.”