He was staring at the ceiling while laying down in bed.
He began to wonder if he was developing insomnia or if his body just didn't need rest. He was mentally exhausted but his body felt like it could go a few rounds with Herakles.
The kids had settled down after a nice meal and scampered off to deal with whatever they had going on in their lives. It was always good to have outlets to relieve stress, even going to school for Touma would probably do wonders for his current psyche.
After his latest excursion through the gate of Babylon, Alex found some interesting items that had no foundation in the media he had previously viewed.
A set of bracelets that acted almost like a command seal. It only had one function in that it could teleport one of the wearers to the other by calling their name and the intention to activate. It was a one-use item that seemed like an obvious to give to index so she could roam the city a bit. He didn't want to confine her to the apartment, she's had enough prisons in her life already. Thankfully the item in question wasn't that same gaudy gold that quite a few of the others were.
He also let the girl keep the necklace from before. Between those two items she should be safe. Though he made sure that she checked in every so often which she didn't seem to question.
Alex was starting to feel more like a parent than a 'body guard'. It seemed like an obvious choice to get the girl a phone of some kind.....except she had absolutely no knowledge of technology. She could barely operate the remote for Touma's T.V.
He honestly couldn't understand the disdain for technology that magical societies seemed to have across multiple worlds. The clock tower seemed to think that a type-writer was heresy to their ways.
After all the thoughts flashing through his head, he had an odd epiphany.
His mind tended to wander more so than both of his previous lives. He couldn't help but wonder if it was due to the fact that his psyche was in such an odd state.
He pushed the thoughts to the side for now, his body was finally starting to catch up to his mind and he was more than happy to welcome the embrace of his pillow.
It was still a weird feeling, after having an empty bed for so long and then finally having something to hold for merely 6 months he felt off not feeling her. One would think that the familiar feeling of emptiness would be almost welcomed but his body ached for that accustomed warmth that he had grown attached to.
Alex didn't want to linger on it too long, less he depress himself for the remainder of the day.
His morning routine had became almost muscle memory at this point, he rose up and looked over himself in the mirror. His arch-enemy stared back at him. He never had a mirror in his first life for this very reason. It taunted him so.
Many would be jealous at his seemingly perfect hair as he got out of bed, never having experienced bed-hair before. All except one strand of hair. It mocked him so as it stood undefeated regardless of his efforts to tame it.
It mattered not what he did to it, it refused to fall In line with his other strands of hair. Even if he cut it off, it would grow back and Alex could swear that each time it would get thicker just to spite him.
He shuddered when he remembered the time he went to ask Merlin for help. She poured a potion on his head.....that made him bald.
Remembering the mischief that his Wizard caused always seemed to put a smile back on his face.
"Better get my morning routine out of the way." He muttered as he took out his practice blade.
It didn't even make him sweat, but it was always beneficial to practice the basic forms that comprised his swordsmanship.
It wasn't a very long workout but it was enough to get his muscles moving and warmed up for the day, he left himself enough time for a shower knowing a certain duo would show up eventually for a meal. It had become a habit at this point, Index would drag Touma to Alex's apartment every day for breakfast and dinner. He usually was out and about during midday so they were fending for themselves for lunch.
It was almost right on que as Alex walked into the kitchen and took out a couple pans, except he felt a couple extra auras that were giving off mana.
He answered the door and was a bit surprised at the addition of two familiar magicians, Kaori and Stiyl were both present. In the source material, Kaori shouldn't be in the city and stiyl was off doing god knows what. Some deviations had occurred, but that was to be expected overall.
"Well, come on in I'll set two more places at the table." Alex said as he led the group inside.
The new additions stared with a bit of surprise as they watched Alex make his way around the kitchen like a professional. They heard index boast about his cooking ability but they were honestly skeptical.
"I'm surprised you both are still here, I would have thought that Academy city would have thrown a fit that you both stayed here for so long." Alex said over the noise of the cooking.
"We're supposed to be keeping an eye on you and report anything we find." Stiyl said bluntly.
The higher-ups at the church had approved their presence in the city and negotiated with the city officials to have the two present on monitoring duty. Of course Aleister was watching everything closely as well, but he was also able to grab a few favors by allowing the two magicians to stay within the city.
"I guess that's to be expect after everything that's happened." Alex replied.
"You seem nonchalant about us basically spying on you." Stiyl replied.
"I assumed I would be heavily monitored regardless, atleast this way Index would have extra protection." Alex stated.
"Though I am a bit surprised they allowed a Saint to stay around." He said again, glancing at the girl.
"It's not that far-fetched considering you technically 'defeated' said saint." Stiyl replied.
"Bet that ruffled a few feathers at the church." Alex mused.
"Not as much as you wielding a weapon that literally destroyed space." The magician said with a bit of sarcasm.
"If it makes you feel better, I don't use that weapon lightly." Alex said with an amused expression.
"It doesn't, and I don't supposed you would be willing to elaborate on it?" Stiyl asked, the others were also interested in the weapon. Before they were in shock and didn't know how to react, at this point every organization was hoping for any kind of information on said weapon.
"Weapons have classifications, Anti-unit, Anti-Army, Anti-Fortress are common ones to explain their destructive capabilities. There are also some unique classifications like Anti-magic, Anti-immortal." Alex explained. He didn't want to mention noble phantasms so he was keeping it rather vague.
"And what was that weapon classified as?" Stiyl asked, never hearing of this information before.
"Anti-World." Alex replied bluntly.
They all stared at him for a few moments, trying to process the information.
The group didn't speak for a bit longer, they just continued to stare off into space as Alex kept cooking and finally set the food down.
He couldn't really blame them, they were trying to quantify exactly what the description meant. He figured it was some information they could send back to their superiors to not be hounded for awhile but also ambiguous enough to not really mean anything.
They ate in silence but their expressions seemed to change after the first bite. Alex held back on laughing at the overall situation. He was truly glad he got into cooking, it was a great experience seeing people's mood lighten up due to something he created.
Surprisingly it was Kaori who broke the silence.
"Will you spar with me today?" She asked abruptly. She wasn't much of a talker overall.
"Sure, we can do it while Touma is going through his training." Alex replied.
Touma let out a long sigh, he did not anticipate what ever crazy idea he would be forced to endure in the name of 'training' today.
The group had made their way over to where they had initially dealt with Index's collar. It was a good place overall and was out of the way.
It didn't take long for Alex to put up the bounded fields again, much to the group's surprise. They still had no idea what to make of his type of 'magic'.
He took out his practice blade as she squared up against Kaori.
"Go around 10% and I'll match your pace." He said to the saint.
It probably would have sounded insulting if she didn't know that he was stronger than herself.
She did as he said and moved in on him. He matched her strike each time with his own blade and matched her speed almost perfectly.
He let her be the aggressor to see what she had and get a good base on her abilities overall.
The first bout only lasted a few minutes and it was all Alex needed.
"That's enough." He said towards her.
"Advice?" She asked towards him.
"I have some thoughts, but if I could barrow your blade for a moment I may be able to get a better understanding of your style." He said.
She was a bit hesitant but eventually handed him her blade.
Alex could be described as a master with regards to swordsmanship but that didn't mean he was adept at every blade in existence. He never used a nodachi before.
He went through his normal move set with the large blade and eventually shifted into a new style that somewhat mirrored the saint's.
"Our styles are very different but I have some thoughts on what you're doing wrong." Alex said as he handed the blade back.
"I can tell right away that you practice regularly and that you even have combat experience. But I'm guessing you've rarely if ever crossed blades with someone on your own level." He stated.
"Yes." She said bluntly. He was correct on all accounts, it was hard for a saint to fight someone on their level to battle.
"Your style is indicative of a long time spent in a dojo swinging your blade. You lack experience against someone equally skilled and it makes your swings predictable."
"You were stepping into my range more than necessary and were not making use of your blades longer reach."
"Some of your steps were a bit awkward, you expected me to retaliate at certain moments but because I didn't you stuttered and had to fix your footing."
"Lets go again." He finished as he pointed his sword at the girl.
The others were sitting on a nearby bench, watching the two go at it. Stiyl was still a bit dumbstruck at the whole situation. Saints were supposed to be so far above regular humans that one could never hope to match them in combat. And yet....this supposed human was giving a Saint pointers.
"Index...….who is he?" Stiyl asked towards his friend.
"I'm not supposed to tell." She said with a smile.
"How volatile is his real identity?" Stiyl asked, relenting that he probably wouldn't get her to say.
"He said, 'it would be really annoying that the world would come bothering him'." Index replied.
Stiyl took a moment to digest that information. With how nonchalant the man had been about previous incidents, this probably translated to 'really really bad' if it was made known.
The magician sighed again for the 20th time. This job was going to turn his hair grey. He already was accumulating more stress than he had ever experienced in the past.
"Do you trust him?" Stiyl finally asked.
"Yes." She said almost immediately. There was no hesitation in her voice.
Stiyl again pondered her response. He felt a little bad about trying to squeeze information out of index but it was a rather important matter. The assurance in which she answered...they hadn't known each other for long so she was probably going off his reputation of his secret identity. So that just leaves the fact that his reputation is enough to prompt such blind faith in her eyes.
He was still drawing a blank about the man. They knew so little still after everything. 'King' something that could prompt such assurance by the mere notion of his name. Index had always been a good judge of character so Stiyl didn't question that about her.
Still, with everything that was going on, Stiyl was happier than he had been in awhile. Index was back, their index. No more memory erasing, he and Kaori had their friend back.
Alex set down a large sack that was making a lot of clanking sounds.
Touma stared at him in confusion.
"Whats in the bag?" He asked. It was his first day of training he didn't quite know what to expect.
"Wrenches." Alex replied.
"...…how are wrenches supposed to help me with training?" He asked, still confused.
"We're going to work on your dodging." Alex said with a smile.
"what?" He asked again.
Alex picked up a wrench....and chucked it at an unprepared Touma.
"Dodge!" He yelled as the tool collided with his groin.
Touma let out a cry of pain as he fell to the ground.
Index watched from the side as Touma began to roll around on the ground and cry out in pain.
"Um…..Alex, are you sure you know what you're doing?" She asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, I saw this in a movie once." Alex replied cheerfully.
Not much happened, but i'm trying to take it slower than my other work.
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