The training of the boys continued while Robbie was gone. Zach and Jared talked to their parents every few days. Jeremy talked to his grandparents as well. Tom kept Jake abreast of what was going on with the business. The boys had all gotten good with their martial arts lessons and with all the work around the ranch, had built up their muscles and toned their bodies. All of them had grown a bit and had lost all vestiges of little boy and started to become young men, in their looks and the confident way they carried themselves. The boys had continued to let their hair grow and now wore it in a pony tail when they wanted to keep it out of their faces.
During that week, Sean and Jake took all of the boys out to where they were training Trevor and Zach. On Monday, they showed a little of what the two boys had been learning, the blocking and healing. All of the boys marveled at how much control Trevor had gained over the healing power and how he could quickly call up the healing glow, as they called it. Sean had him scan each of the boys for practice. Jared had a bruise that he had gotten when he'd slipped at the pond the other day and Trevor was able to quickly heal it, so that the discoloration went away along with the ache. Sean then had Trevor conjure the shield around him and Zach, and had the other boys throw rocks and branches at them as hard as they could. All of the items struck his shield and fell to the ground. Trevor was able to hold the shield easily.
Afterward they went to the range and did some more shooting. This time Jake and Sean brought bigger guns for them to shoot, so they would know the differences between the calibers. They also got to shoot a few different types of revolvers and pistols. By this time all of the boys had become proficient in both hand guns and rifles and shot both very well. During the training, Jake had also started to teach them to shoot bows and crossbows, and they did well with them as well. After the lessons they usually went to the pond to swim for a little while, before heading back to the house for dinner and the evening's video games, TV, movies and spa time.
Tuesday Sean gathered them in the training area.
"Today, I'm going to start teaching you combat. These are the powers you will need to know, so that if you are attacked by another mage, you can fight back. Now stand back and watch."
They watched as Sean gathered the magic to him. A small ball of fire formed in his hand and he pointed his hand at the large wall of rock nearby. It streaked through the air and burst with a loud bang, leaving a scorch mark on the rock.
He turned back toward the boys smiling.
"Not bad, huh? That was just a small ball of fire. If you put more power into them, they are bigger and more powerful, which means they can do more damage. So always use them with care. Just about the only time you will probably use them is if you are against a Dark Mage. Stories of boys flinging balls of fire around could cause problems. The best thing to do is to get away if at all possible. When it's not possible, use what you know and save this as a last resort. Okay, Trevor, link with me and I will show you how to form one of these."
Trevor closed his eyes for a few seconds and linked to Sean. He felt Zach come up behind him, and he could feel the energy waiting there for him to draw on, supporting him. He opened his eyes and glanced back smiling. Sean smiled at him.
'Come, Little Wolf, and watch.'
Trevor watched as Sean gathered the power to him and formed the ball of fire. He could see it form in Sean's mind as he shaped it; it grew in his hand until he had another ball. He watched as Sean pointed his arm again, and he realized that as Sean threw it, he also focused his mind on it to direct it where he wanted it to hit. There was another bang and scorch mark.
'Do you see, Little Wolf?'
'Yes, Grandfather. I've got it.'
'Then your turn.'
Trevor concentrated and slowly formed the ball in his mind. As he formed it in him mind, it formed in his hand. He felt the warmth of the ball but it did not burn. It actually floated a little above his hand. When it was the same size as Sean's had been, he pointed his arm; he kept his concentration on it and directed it. It sailed quickly toward the wall and exploded. Sean nodded and directed him to try again. He was able to form it again and threw it with the same result.
"Now I want you to form a shield against the rock. I'm going to throw a ball against it. You will be able to feel it hit."
Trevor nodded and formed a shield against the rock. Sean waited until it was formed, and then quickly formed another ball and threw it against the shield. There was another bang and flash of light and the rock was un-scorched. Trevor could feel it hit. Sean threw another and another. Trevor felt them hit. Sean continued to throw and Trevor could feel the shield weakening under the assault. He reached toward Zach and felt him channel more power to him. The shield got stronger. Sean glanced at Trevor and smiled as he increased the speed and power of his attacks. Trevor continued to hold and Zach kept feeding power to him. Sweat started to run down their faces as they continued to hold the shield against the continued attack. Jake and the other boys looked on in wonder; their mouths opened wide as Trevor continued to hold out against Sean's attack. Soon Sean stopped and he was sweating as well. Trevor let out a breath and dissolved the shield. He and Zach were both sweating and took some deep breaths, as if needing to catch their breath after running.
"Impressive, Little Wolf. I didn't think you could keep it up. You have learned well. Could you feel when they hit the shield?"
"Yes, I could, and I could feel the shield get a little weaker each time, but Zach was able to keep feeding me strength and I was able to keep it up because of him."
"Well, this is the first time I've ever worked with a bonded pair and I didn't know what to expect. You two are very powerful."
"Yeah, Dad, I'm impressed. That was awesome. Here, you three, drink some water."
Jake handed canteens to each of them and they greedily drank from them, pouring some of it over their heads. Jake gave them something to eat as well. They sat for awhile discussing the use of magic in combat. Sean stood up to lead them back.
'Zach, stay back, I want to try something.'
"Grandfather, are balls of fire the only way to attack?"
"No, but I'm not an expert. My specialty is in healing and protection."
"So there are other ways?"
"Yes, I have seen others use electricity, like small bolts of lightning, but it is very chaotic and harder to control. Fire is the simplest, so that is what I use."
"Oh, I see." 'Zach, link with me.'
'You got it, Tigger.'
The link was second nature to them now.
"Grandfather, wait a second. I want to try something."
They all stopped as Trevor turned toward the rock wall, concentrated with his hands out in front of him, and pointed toward the wall. His hair started to stick out because of static electricity that he drew toward himself. The electricity started to dance around his fingers and he concentrated on directing it at the wall. What looked like small, white bolts of lightning shot from his fingers and hit the wall, but it also hit the grass in a few places and started some small fires. Trevor stopped the bolts as soon as he saw what had happened. Sean immediately ran to the nearest spot fire and stomped on it to put him out. Soon everyone ran around and fought the fires by throwing dirt, emptying their water bottles and stomping on them. Soon all the spot fires were out. He looked at Sean a little sheepishly.
"Sorry, Grandfather. You're right; that stuff is harder."
"Now you know why I don't use it. However, you had more control over it than I have had. I did worse when I first tried it. So it is obvious you can use that ability; you'll have to work on harnessing it. The electricity attack is like a wild horse: once you tame it, you will be able to use it. Robbie is a little better at combat magic, so perhaps he can help you when he returns. Let your imagination go and show me what else you can do."
Trevor nodded and thought for a few minutes. Zach waited nearby to channel power to him if he needed it. Trevor held his hand up and concentrated. Everyone else could see something like a shimmer in the air near his hand, and when he directed it, everyone could hear a thump as it hit, but there wasn't anything to see. Trevor was sweating a bit from the effort.
"I figured that since I can form a shield by hardening the air, I could use it to attack too. It would be like rubber bullets, a non lethal weapon."
"You have a good heart, Little Wolf, to think of using the air that way. I had not thought of this. I will think on it. Now I think that is enough for today. Let's get back home."
They went back to the house and got cleaned up for dinner.
The next day, Sean took Trevor and Zach into the workshop for the morning session.
"Trevor, today I'm going to teach you how to make protection items, like your necklace. You said that you wanted to be able to make such things for your family, so today is the day. Let's go over to the workbench and we'll get the materials out."
They walked over and Sean had them pull a couple of stools over to the bench and sit beside him.
"You can use just about anything to make a protection item. The main thing about it must be that you must be able to make it by hand, no machines. So if you had the skills to build a watch from scratch, that could be a protection item. I of course use the same kind of things that have been used by my people for such things for many years: beads, leather, bone hairpipe, natural things like that. Because it is based in nature, I think it is better suited to this than something that is more modern, but that's just me, I am a traditionalist. You may find that other things work for you, or you may even find that you are not very good at this at all. Remember I said that most mages are good in some areas, but not so good in others. However, with what I have seen so far with your companion beside you, you may be good at a lot of things. So let's start. First, you think about the person that you are making it for, and decide what kind of item you want to make. It is usually best if it can be something that is worn rather than carried, like in a pocket. Take a look through the drawers and see what looks good to you."
Trevor started looking through all the supply drawers at the back of the workbench. He found several small drawers that had small figurines made of wood, metal, or rock. He sifted through them and started putting some to the side, sometimes showing one to Zach and getting a nod from him. Sean watched the process. Eventually Trevor laid them out on the bench; there were seven: a silver sitting wolf cub, a standing silver adult wolf, two small wooden feathers, a green stone bear, and a quartz stone buffalo. Trevor looked at Sean as he studied Trevor's choices. After a few moments he nodded and looked at Trevor.
"Nice choices. I think I can tell which ones go to which person by looking at them. Tell me why you chose them."
"The silver cub is for Zach since he is my companion and will support me whenever I need him. The silver wolf is Dad of course, standing alert for danger to protect us. The two feathers are Jared and Jeremy, my brothers. I chose the feathers like eagle feathers that are given to warriors when they show bravery in battle; they have already shown that, so I chose the feathers for that reason. The buffalo is for Uncle Tom, because he is strong and steady like the buffalo. The bear is for Aunt Terry as she is the mother bear guarding her cubs."
"Very good. I noticed that you didn't choose one for Cody, why?"
"Since he is going to be Uncle Robbie's son, I didn't think I should; was that wrong?"
"No, that was the correct choice. I'm sure Robbie will make one for him, when he gets back. Okay, the next step is for you to decide what type of items you will make."
"I think necklaces for all of them."
"Okay, next, choose what beads and other stuff you want to make them out of. This is the part where Zach and I can help make them."
They started pulling out leather, beads, hairpipe, etc. Soon there are several small piles of things for the necklaces. They started making the necklaces; Trevor directed which beads and other items went with which figurine. Thirty minutes later they had the seven necklaces done and laid out on the workbench. For the two wolf figures, Trevor used the same items that were on his necklace so that the three necklaces matched. The feathers had wooden beads to match the feathers separated by tan colored bone hairpipe. The buffalo was made with buffalo horn hairpipe separated by red white heart beads. The bear had green beads separated by white bone hairpipe.
"These look good, now comes the hard part. You will need to use your power to make them work. Link with me and I will show you."
They formed the link and Sean put the first figure in Trevor's hand.
'Now, Little Wolf, what you do is think about the person it is for, and feel what you feel for them. You then direct that feeling into the figurine. Go ahead and try.'
'Yes, Grandfather. Zach, I have an idea; put your hand over mine.'
Silently Zach gently put his hand over Trevor's. Trevor started concentrating and slowly their joined hands took on a glow that got brighter as he put his and Zach's feelings into the figure. As he finished, he finally let out a breath that he hadn't realized that he was holding. The glow vanished, and as he opened his hand, the figure glowed for a few more moments before fading away. He looked over at Sean, who nodded.
"That looked fine. Having Zach join with you during the process was a good idea; I hadn't thought about that. It might make the protection a little stronger. Let's get the rest done."
For the next several minutes, Trevor took each necklace and put his and Zach's feelings for each person into the figurine. Thirty minutes later they were done.
"Well done. That should offer some protection to each person they are made for."
"Grandfather, what will they do?"
"It is different for each mage and depends on what the person is to the mage. Usually only close family members get these. When I do it, it allows me to tell when the wearer is attacked by magic or is seriously hurt. Mine can also give some limited protection from a mage's attack for a short time, but it will be burned out by such an attack. And that reminds me. We should enhance your necklace with your power while we are at that. For this I will do it with you, because I have already imprinted my power upon it."
Sean had Trevor take his necklace off and he held it in his palm. He directed Trevor to put his hand over it and Zach put his on top of Trevor's. They linked together and Sean called the power forth. He and Trevor merged their power together and pushed it into the figurine. Both could feel Zach feeding power to them. Sean was smiling when they finished.
"So that's what you feel when Zach feeds you the power. It makes you feel loved; wow. I could get used to that. You are very lucky, Little Wolf. I think that's enough for today. Why don't you get the others together and go swimming? I'll have your grandmother pack a lunch for you."
"Cool, let's go, Zach."
Before the three of them left the workshop, Trevor gave Zach his necklace with a kiss. Trevor carefully carried the necklaces up to the boys' room. He put the ones for Jeremy and Jared in his pocket, and the others were laid on the bedside table in their room. They went out to the barn and got the other boys. Once they got the horses saddled, Sean brought a lunch out to them. The boys rode off to the swimming hole for an afternoon of relaxation. They put the horses in the corral and went to the campsite to have lunch. After lunch, the boys started to strip. When Zach was standing in just his underwear, Jared noticed the necklace he was wearing.
"Hey, Zach, where'd you get that? Did Grandfather make it for you?"
"No, Trevor made it for me."
"And I have one for you guys as well."
The three other boys crowded around Trevor as he reached for his pants and carefully took the necklaces out. He turned to Jared and placed it around his neck, then gave him a quick hug that was returned. He then put Jeremy's around his neck and hugged him as well. The smile of anticipation fell from Cody's face when he saw that there was no necklace for him. Trevor noticed the look right away and quickly moved over to him and put his arms around him.
"Cody, don't think that you have been forgotten. I would have made one like these for you if I could."
"Why couldn't you?"
"Well, someone else has to make it for you, so that it can be effective for you. You know Robbie is like me, right?"
"Well, since he is going to be your Dad, he needs to make it, and I'm sure he will when he gets back."
"Yep, that's what Grandfather told me, so you will have one soon. These are very special necklaces; that's why Uncle Robbie needs to make yours. They are kind of magic and can protect you."
"Yeah. Try to take the one off of Jeremy."
Cody pushed away from Trevor and went over to Jeremy. He grabbed the necklace carefully and tried to lift it over Jeremy's head. He couldn't remove it. He grabbed it harder and it still wouldn't move. Trevor walked over with his pocketknife and handed it to Cody.
"Here, try to cut the leather cord, but try not to cut my brother."
Cody took the knife and carefully put it under the cord and tried to cut; nothing happened. It was like trying to use a butter knife to cut a piece of wood. Cody was amazed. Trevor reached over and lifted the necklace off and then replaced it.
"See, since I made it for him, I can take it off, and so can Jeremy, because it was made for him. No one else can unless they are like me and they have to use their power to do it. Grandfather cannot even take it off without using his power. So it will stay there."
"That's pretty cool. So when Robbie gives me mine, no one can take it off?"
"Nope, not even me unless I use my power. Grandfather says that another mage has to concentrate to use their power to take off a protection necklace like this and it's not easy. Well, enough of this, let's go swimming."
The boys quickly finished stripping and ran to the pond. All of the boys were tanned now and because of all the skinny dipping and laying out on the rocks, they had almost no tan lines. Their arms, necks and faces were a little darker because they wore shirts and Levis when they worked around the ranch. Other than that, you could tell that they had spent a lot of time running around the swimming hole naked. For the next couple of hours they played in the water or laid out on the rocks by the pond and let the sun warm their bodies. Every so often the couples would kiss and snuggle together. Cody glanced at them when they did that. At one point they were all laying there on the rock with their eyes closed when Cody's voice aroused them.
"Do you guys really like doin'... that stuff?"
Trevor raised his head up and looked over at Cody, who was lying next to him. The others also looked over at Cody.
"You know, the… uh... kissing and stuff."
"Yep, we really do."
"I don't think I'd like it."
"That's cool. You're probably not like us."
Trevor smiled, laid his head back down and closed his eyes. Everyone else followed suit. They lay like that for a few more minutes, when Trevor heard movement next to him. He turned his head and saw that Cody was up on one elbow looking at him. He gave Cody a quizzical look.
"What's on your mind, Code?"
"I don't know, I mean, when did you know?"
"What, that I was gay?"
Cody nodded. Trevor sat up, still holding Zach's hand in his. The others got up as well and moved nearer, rearranging themselves so they were all sitting comfortably.
"I didn't realize it until late last fall when I realized I loved Zach."
"Jared and I have known since we were 11."
"I found out about the same time as Trevor."
Cody nodded and looked at each of the boys. Zach and Trevor were sitting beside each other, their joined hands rested on Trevor's naked thigh. Jeremy was leaning back against Jared's chest, Jared had his arms around Jeremy and Jeremy had his hands on top of Jared's where they rested on his belly. Cody got a wistful look on his face and then he started to blush a little as he lowered his head. Trevor smiled at him.
"No, really, why'd you blush like that?"
"You'll think it's stupid."
"I doubt that. We are like your brothers. You can tell us."
Cody looked up and bit his lower lip nervously.
"Promise you won't be mad?"
Trevor raised his hand in the Scout sign.
"Scout's honor, I won't be mad."
Cody saw that the others had done the same and nodded.
"Okay, I wanta ask if you would... kiss me? Ya know, just to see what it's like and see if I like it?"
"Well like, uh... all of you."
The boys laughed a little, which caused Cody to turn blush even more and he frowned.
"Well, you don't have to, if you don't want to."
"If that's what you want, but as cute as you are, you have to understand we're all taken, so if you like it, you're going to have to find your own boyfriend. We don't share."
"I got it."
"Good. So who's first? Any preferences?"
"I'll do it."
Jeremy sat up from in front of Jared and moved over next to Cody. He put his arm around him and leaned toward him. Cody stopped him.
"Nothing too mushy, okay?"
Jeremy leaned closer and gently placed his lips on Cody's and kissed him. They held it for a few moments and pulled apart. Jeremy smiled at him and got an answering smile. He moved back and Jared took his place and when he kissed him, he put his other arm around him and hugged him while kissing him. They broke apart with the same result. Zach moved next to him and did the same, holding him with both arms as he kissed him, Cody's arms came up without thinking and hugged Zach back. Again the same result: they exchanged smiles.
It was Trevor's turn. He stood up and walked over to Cody and put his hand down. Cody looked up with a nervous look on his face and saw only the friendly smile that Trevor gave him. He took Trevor's hand and allowed himself to be pulled to a standing position. Once he was up, Trevor moved closer to him and wrapped both arms around him and pulled him close. He looked into Cody's eyes and then moved forward and gently placed his lips on Cody'. They held the kiss and as it continued, Cody's arms came up and around Trevor's back. He brought himself closer to Trevor until their naked bodies touched from top to bottom. Cody opened his mouth a little and Trevor took a chance and lightly moved his tongue along Cody's lips. They pulled back and Cody looked in Trevor's eyes, which seemed to have a little glow to them. He laid his head against Trevor's shoulder for a moment and squeezed a little, before letting go.
"Wow, that was cool. I liked it, cuz it was nice, but I don't think I'm like you guys."
"Are you sure?"
Cody saw where Trevor was looking and he looked down and blushed. He noticed Trevor was in the same state; the others were almost as hard.
"I can't help it. The thing has a mind of its own."
"Yeah we know, ours do too. Let's get in the water and see if we can cool these things down."
Zach moved up behind Trevor and put his arms around him, resting his chin on Trevor's shoulder.
'Tigger, that was hot. You wanta fool around later tonight?'
They swam for a little longer, and then after they dried off on the rock, they went back to the campsite and got dressed.
"Did you mean what you said?"
Trevor looked over at Cody as he buttoned his pants back up.
"That I was cute?"
"Yep. You are cute. Whether you like boys or girls, it won't matter; either one will think you're cute too. So I don't think you have anything to worry about in the looks department. Plus you're kind and friendly. You'll have no trouble finding a boyfriend or girlfriend whenever you're ready."
"The kissing was nice, but I think I want to find out how a girl kisses. I think I might like that better."
"Cool. Just remember we're your brothers and we're here for you if you need us."
"I know and thanks."
As they walked back to the horses, Trevor put his arm around the younger boy's shoulders. At the corral they got the horses saddled and mounted up for the ride back to the ranch house.
The rest of the week, the training for Zach and Trevor was about using the combat magics. Toward the end of the week, they went to an area that had just rock and bare ground.
"Little Wolf, I'm going to try to help you learn how to use the lightning without burning the prairie down."
"It was an accident; I didn't know it was so hard to control."
"Well, that is what today is about. We're going to work on control. When you used it earlier, how were you trying to make it work?"
"I was kinda thinking about how the bad guys in the Star Wars movies did it. You know, when he pointed his fingers out at the target."
"Okay, I hadn't thought of that approach, but I can see why you would do that. Think of it more like a big dog that's pulling against a leash and you're trying to get it to stand still. You have to concentrate on holding it in. This is more tiring than any of the other varieties. If you just push it out there, you get the result you had the other day, it shoots out everywhere. But if you hold it back, kind of like you're holding your breath, and letting it out a little at a time, you can control it better. Watch me; I'm going to let it out a little at a time."
Sean faced away and held his hands out in front of him. Trevor saw him take a big breath. They saw little bits of electricity dance along Sean's fingers, and they could see he was concentrating. They could see that his muscles were tense as he kept the electricity under control, and his hair started to rise up as he gathered the electricity from the air. Then he pushed his hands forward and the lightning-like bolts shot forward, and it did remind the boys of how it looked when Count Dooku attacked Obi Wan and Anakin in Star Wars 2, but Trevor could see the difference. Unlike his attempt where the lightning flew everywhere, Sean's was more directed. He could see Sean's muscles tensed like he was holding hard to something, but he they could see that he had control. Sean pulled stopped the attack, took a deep breath and turned toward them.
"It can be tiring to do it like that, but I wanted to show you how to control it completely. It's a little easier if you wish to just let it out, you still need to control it, and hold it back so it doesn't go wild. This time, let's see if you can link with me and follow what I'm doing."
Trevor nodded and got behind Sean and put his hand on his back. He linked with him and watched as Sean collected the lightning and directed at a large boulder. Trevor could feel a little tingle of the electricity in the air. The force of the lightning blew a chunk of the boulder free with a loud crack. Sean relaxed and Trevor stood back from him.
"See how you have to hold it before you let it go. You have to tame it, and then you direct it. Your turn now; I will try to link with you and instruct you."
Trevor stepped forward and Sean put his hand on Trevor's back. Once they were linked, Sean gave him the go ahead to try. Trevor concentrated on calling the electricity up and then directed it at the boulder. The lightning flew out there wildly, striking the ground, the boulder and arcing into the sky.
"Rein it in! Pull it back; think of pulling on a rope that it attached to a heavy weight!"
Trevor's face screwed up and he grimaced as he tried to pull the lightning in. He was sweating profusely as he tried to contain it. He started to weaken and the lightning started to go even wilder. Sean threw up a barrier over himself and Trevor as a stray bolt came toward them. It hit the barrier hard, but it held. Zach could see Trevor sagging a little and he immediately linked with Trevor and poured power into the link. Trevor suddenly looked and felt refreshed. He put more concentration into the power and pulled the stray bolts in until he could direct it toward the boulder. It hit and another piece broke off. He pulled it back and the lightning disappeared. Everyone took a deep breath. Sean looked at Trevor and then back at Zach.
"That was well done. I can see one good benefit of what a companion can do for you. Good job, jumping in there, Zach. I was about to try to help him control it and stop it, when I felt him weaken, then that power came roaring in and he was able to better control it."
"Yeah, I was getting tired and it felt like it was going to just go everywhere. Thanks love that was perfect. The extra strength allowed me to regain control."
"Let's take a break and then we'll get back to work on the lesson. This time, Zach, I want you to be right there ready to link to him. Don't link right away, Trevor has to learn to control it with just his power first, and so that you just add to it rather than having to bolster him up; that could cause problems later."
They rested for a few minutes and then got back to the lesson. Sean backed up and brought his own barrier up and nodded for Trevor to start. Again and again, Trevor practiced sending the bolts downrange, and slowly he began to bring it under control. After three hours and several breaks, Trevor was able to do a passable job of controlling the bolts, so that Sean did not have to put barriers up to protect either himself or the boys from stray bolts.
"Okay, last time and then we'll call it quits for today. This time I want Zach to link with you and let's see what you can do, with a strong fully linked attack."
Trevor nodded and Zach linked with him, he could feel the power that was waiting in the connection with Zach. He started gathering the power.
'Okay, Zach, let it flow.'
'On its way, Tigger.'
Zach pushed the power to Trevor. Trevor concentrated on a spot in the top third of one of the medium sized boulders, and pointed his hands at it and directed his will. The bolts that came out where bright white and shot toward the boulder. When it hit, there was a loud bang and the top third of the boulder broke into pieces that flew out from the point of impact. Sean was standing behind the boys, so none of the pieces came close to them. Trevor and Zach looked at each other with their mouths open wide.
"Well, I guess it's a good thing we're doing this. That was definitely more powerful that what I can do. Let's go sit for a little and relax a bit before we head back. We've been at this for about three hours."
That sat under a tree and drank some water. Sean looked at the two boys.
"Trevor, you have improved a lot since we started. You seem to have a much better control on that attack form now as you do with your other powers. You should be careful when you use it. If you sent a strike like that at someone, it would tear them apart. Now I don't know what it would do to a shielded person, or even if it would go through a shield, but use that sparingly. Because that is definitely a killing strike. Always try not to kill if at all possible. Just like in the martial arts that you have been learning, get away from the problem, if it is possible, rather than fighting. I would use that attack as a last resort against another person. Killing is not a good thing if it can be helped. If you can accomplish what you need to do without killing, that will be better. You don't want to carry the burden of someone's death."
"I understand. Thanks for training me, Grandfather. I wouldn't have wanted to hurt someone because I wasn't in control of that."
"Let's get back to the ranch; it's lunch time and I think we've all worked up a good appetite."
They picked up everything that they brought with them and got back into the trucks and drove to the ranch. They had time to clean up before lunch was served.
At the end of the week, Trevor stood with Zach behind him and Sean across from the pair of boys.
"Okay, Grandson, you and I are going to attack each other with air balls. The idea will be to breach each other's shield. Ready?"
Before he could get the word out, Sean sent an air ball his way. Trevor barely got his shield up in time, before the ball hit. He was a little off balance, so the hit caused him to stagger a little, but he stayed up.
"Remember, expect the unexpected when you are fighting against a Dark Spirit. They will not ask if you are ready before attacking you. They will not ask permission; they will just attack, and if they can surprise you, they will. Getting your shield up fast was very good."
The two started in earnest throwing air balls at each other. After several minutes, Trevor noticed that Sean moved around a lot and dodged an attack instead of just letting the shield take the force. Trevor started doing the same thing. He and Zach stayed in constant communication as they dodged around. Whenever Trevor felt the shield start to weaken, Zach gave him more energy to keep it strong. Suddenly Sean changed his tactics and started throwing the air balls toward Zach. Zach barely dodged out of the way as Trevor stepped between them. He used a little more energy and the shield now covered both of them, but it was weaker. Sean hit him with several balls quickly and the shield started to weaken a lot, before Zach poured more power into Trevor, which allowed him to quickly firm up the shield. All of them were soaked with sweat, as it poured off their faces and plastered their hair to their heads. Trevor pulled a bunch of power from Zach and sent a powerful air ball at Sean, who was staggered by the force of it, but his shield held. Sean stopped and held his hands up, making the universal signal for "Time Out". Trevor stopped his attack and Sean walked over to them.
"I think that is enough. I thought I had you when I started throwing the ball at Zach. You have to remember to protect your companion too, especially when he is nearby where he can be attacked. I didn't think about it until right then, or I would have attacked him earlier. Good save there. You kept your shield strong and continued your attacks. I don't think we need to do any more on this. I want you to continue to practice this, until it is second nature. Even after you go home, you must continue to practice. Let's go back to the house and get cleaned up. That was quite a workout."
"Thanks, Grandfather. Is there anything else you need to teach me, or is it just practice from now on?"
"There is one more thing to do and we'll do that next week. For now let's just have a nice weekend. Besides, Robbie is supposed to be back tomorrow; we're going to go to Billings and pick him up."
The next morning after breakfast, Sean, Jake and the five boys piled into two SUV's and left for Billings. It took them about an hour to get there. Once there, they parked the trucks and went into the terminal, quickly checking the arrival monitor to see when the flight from LA was due to arrive. They found that they had about an hour, so the boys convinced them to grab a snack from one of the eating places. They all sat near a window to watch the planes landing and taking off. When the hour was up, they headed for the gate where Robbie and Ginny would be arriving.
As they got there they saw a jet being maneuvered into position and parked. The jetway connected and soon passengers starting coming out of the gate. There were quite a lot of people, and they kept craning their necks around as they searched for Robbie and Ginny. Suddenly Cody broke away, and they watched as he threaded his way around and through several people, and they saw him launch himself at Robbie, who plucked him out of the air and held him tight as he hugged him. The rest started toward them, as they started walking, with Robbie still holding Cody in his arms. When they got to each other, hugs and kisses were exchanged all around. They headed to the baggage claim to get their luggage. Besides their suitcases, there were also a few cases of fresh pineapples and a couple of other boxes with Robbie and Ginny's names on them as well. There was plenty for everyone to carry, and well laden, they made their way out to the trucks. Sean loaded all of their pieces of luggage and other packages into his Suburban, along with Robbie, Ginny and Cody. The others went with Jake.
They started the hour-long drive back to the ranch. They related how the trip had been, and Cody kept up a steady stream of questions about everything they saw and did while they were in Hawaii. They soon got to the ranch and Shayna, along with Robbie's parents, were standing on the front porch as they pulled up. Greetings were exchanged once again before Shayna ushered everyone inside for dinner. During dinner they answered everyone's questions about the trip. Shayna had to finally ask everyone to let them eat before the food got cold. After dinner they went to the living room to sit down and talk. Cody sat next to Robbie on one couch with Ginny on the other side of Robbie.
They told them about swimming with dolphins in Oahu, riding bikes down Mount Haleakala on Maui, going ziplining and taking a zodiac boat ride along the Na Pali coast in Kauai, seeing Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island and so many other things. He asked the boys to help him get some stuff out of the Sean's truck. They brought in several of the boxes. He gave a couple of cases of pineapple to Sean and company. Another box held several kinds of macadamia nuts. Another box held very bright and loud Aloha shirts for everyone, which of course had to be tried on right away. When everyone was properly attired, it looked like a flower shop had exploded all over everyone, the shirts were so brightly colored.
"Well family, I think it's time to get my bride and my son home. Could I get some more help loading the stuff into my parents' truck?"
The boys jumped up again to go help. Robbie stopped Cody from joining them.
"Cody, while they're loading our luggage, why don't you get your stuff packed and bring it out there?"
"Oh sure, Rob... uh, Dad, I'll be right back."
He ran upstairs to where he had his stuff and quickly rejoined everyone, carrying his stuff just as the boys came back in. Everyone went outside to say goodbye. The boys took turns giving a hug goodbye to Cody. Trevor was the last.
"I'm glad you're part of the family, Cody. We'll see you in a few days once you all get settled into your new house. Remember we are all here for you."
"I know, thanks, bro."
Trevor gave him a quick hug and kiss on the cheek, and the new family got in the truck for the drive to Hardin. The boys went to spend some time in the hot tub before heading to bed. The three remaining adults sat in the living room for another hour or so.
"Dad, how much more training do you have to do with Trevor? It's getting time for us to head back soon. School starts in a couple of weeks."
"I think we can call it finished by the end of next week, and then all he'll need to do is practice what he's learned."
"Okay, I'll let Tom and Terry know. When I talked to Tom yesterday; they're kind of wanting their boys home soon. I'll call Tom tomorrow morning and let him know we'll be on our way soon."
Jake said goodnight to his parents and went to bed with a stop at the boy's room to check on them. Each couple lay close together. Jake went in and gave each boy a kiss goodnight. Each of the boys stirred and opened their eyes a little to smile at Jake, and reached up to give him a hug. As he left the room he heard a voice in his head.
'Night, Dad, luv you'
'You too Trev.'