The first rays of the Suul were just starting to force their way through the dense vegetation crowning the hilltops to the north. The warmth of daylight surrounded Layol as he walked beside his Kanja.
“Master Bennegraf?” the boy asked.
“What is it, my apprentice?”
“I’m not feeling so well, my Kanja.”
“Go on,” the tall slender master of the art of Kanji said.
“My belly… It feels like it’s doing flips.”
“Ahhh!” Bennegraf said adjusting the small pouch at his side. “More than likely, those are your nerves, my boy.”
Layol brushed the bangs of his mahogany mane back over his ears – his hand unsteady.
“I just don’t know that I’m ready for this, Kanja,” Layol said.
Bennegraf placed one of his dark slender hands on the boy’s shoulder and drew him closer.
“You will do fine! You have studied and learned all that I can teach you on this level of mastery,” his Kanja said. “You can manipulate both Fire and Wind Symbiotics… You’ve memorized and mastered all the kicks, throws, and blocks of the Shanrka… I’d hate to be your competition in this test!”
Layol turned his gaze to the endless sea of green blades adorned with the morning dew.
“What if I am tested on knowledge, Kanja?” he asked his mentor.
“Generally, even at this level of the art they don’t test you in that manner, but if it makes you more at ease… Explain the Symbiotic Theory to me, apprentice,” Bennegraf said.
The adolescent boy bit his lower lip – hoping that a bit of pain would help conjure up the correct answer.
“The Symbiotic Theory of Kanji states that…” Layol raised his sights to the looming thin cylindrical tower in the distance.
“I’m listening, boy,” his master said with a grin.
Layol felt his knees buckle – he thought his legs were going to topple him any moment. What if I give him the wrong answer? What if I did the same in my test? Similar doubtful questions were starting to percolate in the boy’s conscious.
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