Teyata looked to the sky.
“I already gathered wood and hunted while you were making your claws. We’d better get up on the roof. Tonight I’ve got a surprise for you after we read.”
Brad began to walk towards the wall.
“Am I going to like it?”
“It will be a shock.”
Lisa sped up their nightly routine and watched, perplexed as Brad stomped out the fire with his hardened feet.
“Like I first told you,” said Teyata. “You’ve got to learnt to adapt to your environment, not the other way around.”
“So we can’t have fires anymore?”
“Of course we can, but you’ve got to train for every eventuality first.”
Her vocabulary, along with her general knowledge, seemed to broaden every day with her reading.
She held out her hand. “Give me your skins.”
Brad took off the t – shirt he grabbed from a tourist stand and handed it to her.
She pointed. “And that.”
He slipped off his shorts and gave them to her, waiting as she stood, fuming.
“All of your skins,” she said.
Brad gaped, but complied. Once she received all of his clothes, she tossed them over the edge of the roof.
“Turn around,” she ordered.
He sucked in a breath as gelid water splashed onto him from behind.
Dripping wet, he turned. “Why’d you do that?”
“What if it rains? You wouldn’t be able to start a fire then.”
Brad hugged himself. “I could always find shelter and huddle close to you.”
“You might not always have me. What if you have to hide in the rain overnight from a coralax. I’ve had to in the past. Unless you inure yourself to the elements you – will – die. Learn to survive on your own before you can with others.”
As harsh as it sounded, her words made perfect sense.
Lisa sped up the projection, watching him pace and hug himself the night through. Weeks later, he happily bathed himself in the fountain as the steam rose from its surface, making even Teyata shudder.
She rewound the projection to take in other events worthy of her book. For one; the day Teyata first taught him to fight.
“You’ve got to learn to be evasive before you can fight,” said Teyata.
Brad nodded attentively. “Why can’t I hit back?”
“Because you’re incredibly slow. Every manine knows that you develop quicker reflexes by evasion than attacking.”
Teyata furrowed her brows in consternation.
“Because no one wants to get hit.”
She took Brad’s tin of green paint and a brush, marking out a circle.
“Stand in the middle,” she said.
“Now; I painted this just big enough so that you can’t take more than a full step in any direction. I’m going to attack you. Your best defense, is to not be there.”
Her hand flitted out. Brad felt a sting on his chin and spreading warmth. He set his thumb to the area and saw it smeared with blood.
“I wasn’t ready.”