Magic Knight Rayearth Fan Fiction ❯ Return of thy comrades ( Chapter 5 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

A/N(karu-14): I’m really sorry for those who waited for me to update a `few’ months ago! I know some of you are quite disappointed in me for breaking my promise, I’m just…really sorry. Got some personal reasons as an excuse. Anyway, another excuse that I have is: I have so many scenes/ideas in my head for this fic that I got confused of which I should pick. So many good ideas for only one fic. It’s really hard for me to decide. Anyway, I know you’ve already had enough of my excuse so I’m just gonna go right on to my fic. Sorry again.
Final note: I know some of you have read Hikaru’s profile at some MKR sites that says Hikaru’s ambition is to be a dog trainer or something. Well, here in my fic, she’s a lot more ambitious than that. So that means, here, she never really thought of being a trainer, ok?
Disclaimer: Last time I checked some MKR sites, Clamp still owns Rayearth. So that would mean I don’t own it. After all, if I owned rayearth, I wouldn’t need to write fics, I’d just make my ideas a movie of it. One more thing, I own Leon Kennedy. That’s all!
Chapter Five: Return of Thy Comrades
Part 1
Lantis arrived at the palace doors carrying the fiery goddess, and also the Pillar of Cephiro, in his arms. Securely, he held her closer to him, to make her feel more comfortable. He made his way towards the inner palace and was greeted by Umi and Fuu’s gasps.
“Lantis! What happened to Hikaru?!” asked Umi as she and Fuu made their way closer to Hikaru.
“Hikaru is just overly strained. No serious injuries were attained.” Replied Lantis.
“Do you mean to say Lantis-san is that she fainted because of the training?” asked Fuu.
“That is correct”
`That means…Clef did this…’ thought Umi. “Um, is she gonna be alright then?” asked Umi.
“She’ll be perfectly fine. She only needs bed rest to restore all her energy back.” Lantis bowed his head slightly though careful not to wake his sleeping angel. “Now if you’ll excuse me.” He then began to walk again.
“Wait Lantis-san! We’ll go with you!” said Fuu.
“Yeah, she’ll need to change into her bed clothes. Needless to say, you really can’t do that. Really.” Said Umi.
“Very well then.” Was Lantis’ only reply.
And so they strolled towards Hikaru’s room. There was an awkward silence enveloping between them. It was utterly comfortable. When they reached Hikaru’s room, Umi and Fuu opened the two huge double doors and stepped aside so Lantis can walk in. He stepped inside the room and slowly made his way towards Hikaru’s bed. Gently, he settled her down in it and waited for Fuu and Umi to approach the sleeping fire angel.
“Ok, we’ll take it from here Lantis. You can go now.” Stated Umi.
“Is there anything else I can help with?” asked Lantis.
“Your assistance is no longer needed Lantis-san. Although we thank you for your offer” said
“I’ll leave everything to you then.” Replied Lantis. But before he did, he took one more glance at his sleeping angel and went on his way.
Fuu and Umi waited for Lantis to fully close the door before they made any movements. Fuu and Umi started to dress Hikaru with some nightclothes and gently washed her face using a damp cloth. They finished changing her and both Umi and Fuu stared at her worriedly.
“Fuu, do you think Hikaru’s ready for this…’being Cephiro’s pillar’ thing? What I mean is, do you think she’ll be able to do this by herself? Personally, I really think that Clef should put less pressure on her. I just can’t stand to see Hikaru like this.” Umi said with touch of worry in her voice.
“I’m just as concerned as you are Umi-san. Although, what I do think is that Hikaru was just not yet used to using her will completely yet. Sooner or later, she’ll get used it and she’ll be alright. Hikaru’s a strong person Umi-san, let’s just have faith in her. I know she’ll be able to do it.” Fuu assured Umi.
“I know Fuu, still, that’s not a reason for Clef to be hard on Hikaru. M- Maybe I should talk to him, you know, tell him to be a more gentle to Hikaru when training.”
Fuu smiled. “That would be an excellent idea Umi-san. I think you should go talk to him now before he goes to his room.”
“Ahehe, yeah, maybe I should go now. Bye!” Umi went to the door and opened it. “Wish me luck!”
“Good luck.” Fuu said a smile still on her face. Umi smiled and left. Fuu followed shortly after that after she made sure that Hikaru was sleeping comfortably.
Moments later, Umi stood right outside the thrown room. Umi sighed and gathered all her courage. `Well, here goes nothing.’ Umi knocked on the door. After hearing Clef’s “Come in.” she entered the room without hesitation. Clef was currently pacing
“Umm, Good evening, Clef. Mind if I talk to you about something?” Umi asked.
“Um, I’ve just been recently informed that…Hikaru fainted during her training.”
“Oh…” Clef started as his expression grew sad. “That’s what I was just mussing about before you came here. I wanted to apologize to Princess Hikaru about that. I was too hard on her. I know Lantis must be really angry of what I did and said. I’ve even threatened Lantis. (Sigh) I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just feel…that something bad is coming our way. Maybe, I’m just somewhat intimated because of it. I don’t know, I’m not really sure.”
Umi’s disappointment at Clef turned to concern about what was bothering him. “What do you mean you feel that something bad is coming?” Umi also felt somewhat frightened. “What is it Clef? What do you think it is?”
“That’s what I was afraid of, Umi. I don’t know `what’ is coming…” Clef worriedly said. He took a glance of Umi and saw that she was starting to feel a little uneasy.
Clef smiled. “Well, whatever it is, we’ll be able to come through it. After all, the `legendary’ magic knights are here. And with Hikaru as the pillar, I’m sure everything’s gonna be fine.” . “But enough about depressing stuff. The first thing that I’ll do tomorrow morning is to apologize to both Princess Hikaru and Lantis. You, however, should go to sleep now. We’ll start preparing for our masquerade ball tomorrow. You’re going to be the head organizer. Is that fine with you?”
Umi stood up and flashed her signature smile. “You can count on me for that! After all, I’ve planned so many social gatherings before. This’ll be a piece of cake! We’ll need costumes, food to prepare, decorations, a centerpiece motif, color motifs, silver wares and more. Hmm, costumes. I better start designing my dress and mask, including Hikaru and Fuu’s of course. What should the shape of our masks be? Hmm…you have a seamstress here right? –”
Clef chuckled. “Calm down Umi, and yes, we do have seamstresses. We’ll have plenty of time to prepare for that in the morning. It’s best for you to rest now.”
Umi laughed nervously. “Ahehehe, you’re right. We’ll have time for that. I get really hyper whenever I plan parties… hehe…I guess this is goodnight then.”
“Sweet dreams, Umi.” Bid Clef.
“Sweet sleep, Clef.” Umi smiled. Umi went to door and left.
–Hikaru’s dream-
Consciousness slowly dawned to Hikaru as she felt a gentle breeze stroke her face. She was currently laying face first on a grass filled pasture. Flowers of all sorts surrounded the place together with some of the most gentle creatures like Butterflies, dragonflies and doves. The sky was clear and the air was accented with fragrance of flowers that surrounded the place.
Hikaru stood up and held her head. `Un… what happened?’ she asked to herself. She took a glance to her surroundings and wondered, `Where am I? I’ve never been to a peaceful place like this, well except for Cephiro of course, still I haven’t seen anything like it.’
She set her wonderings aside and thought of finding someone in this serene place. “Hello?! Is anyone here?!” unfortunately, no one answered. “Someone? Somebody? Anybody?” she asked again. Again, no one answered. “(Sigh) This is hopeless…” she whispered. She strolled around to find somebody or even something that might tell her where she is.
After a while she stopped to rest and took a sit on a large rock. `This place is so peaceful. I wouldn’t mind being stuck in a place like this…but, I don’t want to be all by myself so I better find a way to get out of here now.’ She stood up. But before she could start walking again, she felt arms surround her from behind, giving her a warm and gentle embrace. Hikaru gasped, frightened of who this person was. However, the gentleness and warmth in the embrace given by the enigma person calmed her down.
“Long time no see…Hikaru, or rather Princess Hikaru…” the stranger whispered.
`That voice… this arms… this warmth…this feels so familiar to me…’ Hikaru wondered. `The only time I remember feeling like this was when… I was comforted by…’ her eyes widened as she realized who was hugging her. Slowly she turned around and saw a man with `long’ silvery blond hair that sort of shone in the sunlight, with eyes as yellow as the golden sun. He wore a white turtleneck t-shirt and white pants. “E-Eagle…?” Hikaru whispered.
The stranger smiled. “The one and only. Good to know that you haven’t forgotten about me.”
Hikaru’s eyes were filled with tears of joy. She embraced him again and said, “Of course I haven’t. I’ll never forget about you Eagle.”
Eagle hugged her back and caressed her hair in a soothing manner. He gently pushed Hikaru a bit but still held her and wiped her tears with his finger. “Please don’t cry Hikaru. I really hate seeing pretty girls, like you, cry.” Eagle said with a smile.
“But Eagle, how is this even possible? I thought you d-…” she couldn’t finish her sentence.
“I did. This is a dream. I can only visit you in your dreams. That is why I’m here.” Eagle replied.
She nodded then embraced Eagle once again and sobbed. “Oh Eagle, I’m so sorry. It’s my entire fault why you died. I didn’t have a chance to block Debonair’s attack. If only I was aware of it, I could’ve prevented it from hitting you. Please forgive me.” She sobbed.
Eagle hugged her tenderly and caressed her hair soothingly again. “Hikaru, it’s not your fault. Didn’t I tell you before? I wanted to die as warrior, and it was granted.”
She pushed Eagle a bit, but was still held by him. “But I-” Hikaru protested but was stopped when Eagle lightly out his finger on Hikaru’s soft lips.
“Shh…Past is past and should be forgotten. Hikaru, you really have to stop blaming yourself for something that you have not done.” He released his touch on her lips, then caressed her cheeks lightly and continued, “After all, I would do anything for the one I love and care about most…” he said in a gentle voice.
“Who?” Hikaru asked, her eyes filled with innocence.
Eagle only smiled at this. “You…”
Hikaru’ eyes widened and her cheeks showed a tint of red. `Eagle…loves…me?’. She parted her lips to say something, but was again stopped as he gently put his finger on her lips. Then, he removed his finger from her lips and moved it downwards, touching her chin.
Eagle started to lower his face to hers. Inch by inch their face grew closer. Little by little their lips grew nearer. Eagle closed his eyes as he prepared to touch his lips with Hikaru’s.
Hikaru didn’t know how to respond. This is gonna be her first kiss. This is the first time she was `this’ near to a boy. Back home, her classmates would always boast that they’ve already experienced locking lips with a boy. `Magical’ they would always say. But, one thing that her mother always said was that she should preserve her first kiss to someone she loves. `I- I love Eagle too, right?’ she asked herself with uncertainty. Not knowing what she wants and what to do, she closed her eyes and waited for the kiss.
They were this `—’ close to touching each other’s lips when Eagle suddenly halted and smiled, turned Hikaru’s head slightly to the right and tenderly kissed her cheek.
Startled, Hikaru opened her eyes to see Eagle smiling. She gently touched her cheek where Eagle kissed her.
Eagle chuckled. “You should save your kisses to someone who deserves it.” He parted with her a bit and held her shoulder. “I think it’s time for you to wake up now.” Hikaru could only nod. Eagle smiled and turned around to leave. He took a few steps forward and faced Hikaru again. “Oh, before I forget. If you ever needed someone to comfort you, someone who can listen to you, someone who can help you with your problems, remember that I’m always here. Just call my name, and I’ll be there…well, here in your dreams that is.” Eagle said with smile.
“I’ll remember that, thank you Eagle.” Said Hikaru.
“Good luck with Lantis!” he said and turned around to leave again. After that Hikaru felt weak and collapsed. The next thing she knew was she’s already awake in her bedroom. She woke up when a knock on the door was heard. Now that she’s already on her conscious mind, Hikaru got up, wore her robe and checked her refection on her vanity mirror to see if she was decent to look at. She didn’t want something like what happened last time to happen again. Seeing that her appearance is fine she went to the door and opened it. Lantis stood there, looking at her with worry etched on his face.
“Good morning, princess.” He lightly bent his head and continued, “Feeling much better now I hope” he asked.
“Thank you for you concern, Lantis. Yes, I’m feeling much better now.” Hikaru smiled. “Although, everything that happened to me last night was blur. What exactly happened?”
Lantis’ mood changed. “You passed out after you healed my wound.” Then, worry was seen on is face again. “I really do hope that you’re already well. You don’t feel weak or pain of any sort?”
Hikaru smiled again, “Yes, I’m really fine Lantis, and no, I neither feel weak nor feel any pain.” Then she embraced Lantis. “I really thank you for your concern about me.”
Lantis hugged her back. “You’re welcome.”
Hikaru chuckled, then sighed. “Lantis?”
“Yes, Hikaru?”
“Do you think I’m really fit to be… the pillar of Cephiro? You saw me, I fainted. -sigh- I must have looked weak. I’m the lowest excuse to be the pillar of such a great country.”
“Hikaru, you’re not weak. You have done your very best yesterday. I saw the outcome of it. I saw your willpower to do everything what Clef…told you to do.”
Hikaru noticed Lantis’ sudden change of mood. She decided to change their subject when she felt her stomach grumble, good thing she was the only who heard it. “Um, Lantis, my stomach kind of tells me that I should get some breakfast now. -chuckle- I don’t want to upset this sensitive tummy of mine.” She said as she laughed a bit.
Lantis smiled. “You’re right, you’ll need all the energy for you to accomplish Clef’s training.”
Hikaru chuckled and walked towards her room. “Since when did I lose energy?”
“Never” replied Lantis.
Hikaru smiled at him before closing her door and changed into her Pillar Clothes. She wore a sleeveless pink dress with matching rose as her jewel color theme. Her sandals are color pink with a 1 inch-high hills. The straps of the sandals encircled her ankles. She decided to tie her hair into a ponytail with a crimson ribbon. After tying her hair, she checked her refection on her vanity mirror and went out side the room.
`she’s so beautiful…’ thought Lantis.
“I’m ready.” Hikaru said with a smile.
Lantis went to her and offered his arm. “Let us go then”
Hikaru cheerfully held his arm. “Let’s”
They went to the palace dining room hand in hand. They enjoyed each passing minutes they spent walking together.
As they reached the palace dining room, they saw Clef standing in front of the door of their destination. Once Clef took notice of them, Clef breathed deep and exhaled.
“Good morning, Princess, Lantis…may I speak with both of you?”
“There’s no need to be so formal, mage Clef. You may speak without my permission.” Hikaru said. Lantis, on the other hand, just glared at Clef, but a light squeeze on his hand from Hikaru made him calmer and nodded as a response to Clef.
Clef kneeled on one leg before Hikaru and Lantis, and then he bowed his head. “Princess, High Priest, I am asking for your forgiveness for what I had done yesterday. I admit, I really wasn’t my self yesterday…because…” Clef didn’t know if he should tell Hikaru about his worries. `Maybe I should just keep this to myself for a while. I wouldn’t want see Hikaru troubled by what I sense-‘ Clef was brought out of his musings when Hikaru kneeled in front of him and held his hand.
“No need for you to apologize, Mage Clef. We should just forget about it and just continue training. After all, I did learn fast with that kind of training. Although it would be better if we should do it step by step. Lantis and I have no ill feelings for you. Would you agree with me, High Priest Lantis?”
Lantis expression seemed like he was going to protest, although it wasn’t really that obvious, but a pleading look from Hikaru made him decide not to argue. He nodded instead.
“See, Clef? Now come. I’m sure everybody’s already hungry and are already waiting for us. So let’s go inside now and have some breakfast, shall we?” Hikaru said as she stood up and pulled Clef along with her.
Clef smiled, relieved that Hikaru and Lantis forgave him. But something in his mind made him regret of not telling Hikaru about what he was worried about. `I’ll just have to tell her some other time.” Mussed Clef.
They entered the dining area, and as expected, Umi and the others were already there. Unlike yesterday, Umi, Fuu and the others only sat there as if they knew that their wait was necessary. Hikaru greeted them her cheerful good morning’s and they greeted back.
Umi slipped a half-questioning, half- worried gaze at Clef. Clef saw her, and as if he had just read her mind, he gave her a reassuring smile. It made Umi feel better knowing that everything is fine again. They ate their breakfast with a little more enthusiasm than yesterday. The girls told stories of what they were doing on earth, what courses they took and etc. The girls had to explain some parts but the boys were easy to learn so they had no problems at all. When they finished eating, Clef suddenly felt something. A presence outside the palace walls. He sensed a different kind of presence compared to what Cefirians would have. `They’re here’. Clef glanced up at Hikaru and Lantis. Lantis’ eyes were closed and Clef was sure that he was smiling a bit. `I guess he sensed them too.’ His gaze then went to Hikaru. Hikaru seemed to be confused about something. Clef knew that Hikaru had sensed their presence too.
Clef stood up from his chair and cleared his throat to catch everyone’s attention. “I think all of us should go outside to welcome our dear guests.”
“Who Clef?” asked Umi.
“Our friends from our neighboring countries of course.” Answered Clef.
Their faces brightened when they heard this.
“I’ll take you all outside.” Clef said as he raised his staff and waved it horizontally. They began to glow and together, they vanished into thin air. Not too long, they finally got transported outside the palace.
The battleship of Autozam, commonly known as the `NSX’, had been floating up in the clouds. Since the `NSX’ is too big to land somewhere in Cephiro, a floating car descended from the NSX. It drove fast and smooth through the clouds. Seconds later, it landed gracefully beside the crowd and settled in. A man dressed in Green and white clothes stepped out of the car and opened the door for the passengers to step out. The first person to step out of the vehicle is a very tall man with muscular features and has a military style hair cut.
Hikaru’s face brightened and shouted “Geo!”. She ran to him and gave him a friendly hug. The man hugged him back and said, “Long time no see, Hikaru”. Then they released each other’s embraces.
The next person who stepped out of the car-like structure is a tall young man, but not as tall as Geo, with reddish brown eyes and wore a funny looking a hat. “Hello `Princess’ Hikaru” The man said with a smile.
At first, Hikaru didn’t know who this young man is. But as she studied his features more, she now had recognized who this person was. “Zazu!” She went to him and also gave him a hug. He too, hugged her. She looked up at him and swore that his face was as red as her own hair. They released each other’s hug and studied each other more closely. “Wow Hikaru. You look great!”
Hikaru giggled. “Thanks! You too! My, Zazu, you’ve really grown taller than I last saw you! What’s your secret?”
Zazu chuckled. “I don’t really have a secret. I just exercise a lot and sleep at the right time. That’s all. You’ve grown a lot too Hikaru.”
“thanks.” Replied Hikaru.
After a few moments, they heard another sound that came from Cephiro’s atmosphere. A ship that looked like a big, red dragon.
This time, it was Fuu’s face to brighten. A translucent sphere-like structure started to descent and headed towards them. From afar, Fuu couldn’t make out their faces, but as they got nearer, it became clearer. When the translucent sphere landed in front of them, Fuu’s eyes widened in surprise and shock. As the sphere’s cover quickly faded, a beautiful girl with long, straight, black hair dressed in long, red formal attire(something close as a kimono) stepped forward. She smiled sweetly at Fuu and, in a gentle voice, she said “It’s been a while since we’ve last met, Fuu-chan.”
Fuu, ever so polite and courteous, bowed in sign of greeting. “That is very true, Princess Aska. I can see that you’ve finally grown into a very respectable princess.”
Lady Aska couldn’t hold it in any longer. She snapped out of her `polite’ mode, giggled then hugged the very surprised wind knight. “I missed you Fuu-nee-chan! Now that you’re here, we can now finally have that tea party right? Oh please oh please?????”
“Oh my! I didn’t think that you’d still remember that! Of course, Lady Aska.”
“Yey!” Aska cheerfully said.
A boy, probably the same age as the princess, stepped forward and bowed in front of the girls. “I’m very happy to see you again Fuu-san.”
Fuu’s attention was diverted to the handsome young boy in front of him. “Thank you very much. But, may I ask, who might you be?”
The boy blinked several times thinking that Fuu didn’t recognize him. “Don’t you recognize me? It’s me, San Yun.”
“Oh, please pardon me for not recognizing you. It’s just that you were still a very young boy I first saw you.”
“It’s alright Fuu-san.”
Fuu went to him and shook his hand in sign of welcome.
Another sound can be heard in Cephiro’s atmosphere. A teapot shaped ship floated in the sky. Umi’s face beamed in seeing Chizeta’s Bravada (A/N:Don’t know the spelling). The ship blasted purple goo before the crowd and as soon as it touched the ground, it turned into a staircase of red carpet.
The two princesses of Chizeta went down the stairs. Umi ran up to them and gave them her greetings. “Tarta! Tatra! It’s so nice to see you again!!”
The duo smiled at her.
“Hey Umi! How’ve ya been?!” Greeted Tarta.
“I’m doing fine. I’m so glad that you’re here!” Umi said as she beamed at Tarta, making her swear drop, anime style.
“My, My, what a happy reunion. Why don’t you tell us everything you’ve done this past couple of years with a nice cup of tea? That is, if everyone will join us.”
Umi and the others, except Tatra, sweatdropped at Tatra’s comment.
Clef decided to step up and be noticed. “Umm…yes. Let’s have that tea inside the castle. Then later on you can chat for as long as you like.”
And so with that, they all went inside the castle.
Several hours have passed since their guests arrived in Cephiro and each country’s representative went to the magic knight who they are close to. The Autozamanians in Hikaru’s room, Fahrenians in Fuu’s room and the Chizetians in Umi’s room.
–Hikaru’s Quarters—
The first thing Hikaru told Geo and Zazu when they got to her room is her gratitude for giving her such a perfectly decorated room and for giving her useful gadgets from Autozam.
“You know Hikaru, this room is the exact replica of Eagle’s room back in Autozam. But of coarse, the colors were silver and green.” Geo smiled sadly at the mention of the former commander of the NSX and his best friend.
“O-oh? Umm… I can see that Eagle really has good taste in decorating a room.” Hikaru stammered at how Geo’s mood changed so sudden.
“Yeah. You know King Francis, Eagle’s father, would always say that besides being a commander of the NSX, he could also become a great architect. After all, Eagle did design the FTO” Zazu said.
“King Francis? Eagle’s father is a king?” Hikaru was obviously confused.
“Yeah. Eagle is the first prince of Autozam. Didn’t you know?”
“No one ever mentioned it before.”
“Oh, I thought you already knew. Anyway, If ever if his father would fall in sickness or reaches the age limit, Eagle would have been the one to replace his father and become king of Autozam…I’m sure he would’ve become a great ruler one day.” Said Zazu.
Hikaru could sense the sadness in his voice when he said the sentence. It wasn’t really intentional, but she felt somewhat guilty.
“Oh, I almost forgot…” Geo started as he reached for his picket and looked for something. Then he got it out held it before Hikaru. “We found this after you and the other knights defeated Debonair. I think Eagle would have wanted you to have this.”
Geo handed over to Hikaru a head accessory that has a blue jewel in its center. With one look at it, Hikaru already recognized it as the one that Eagle always wore on his fore head.
“B-But why are you giving this to me? Shouldn’t you give this to someone close to him?”
Geo smiled. “You got it.”
Hikaru couldn’t help blushing at Geo’s comment. She immediately remembered Eagle’s confession to her in her dream. “Umm…heheh…Uh, thank you for entrusting this to me. I assure you that I will cherish this.”
Both Geo and Zazu smiled at her. “Now that were all friends and everything, would you like to have a tour in the NSX?”
Hikaru’s face brightened. “I would love to! Thank you! I really want to see what gadgets you there.”
Geo chuckled. “My, Hikaru, you’re interested in gadgets?”
Hikaru nodded. “Yeah! Ever since Umi let me play her PS2 games, I have taken a liking to computer, gadgets and stuff. I loved it so much that I already started studying computer technician as a hobby.”
“PS2 games?” asked Zazu.
“It’s a game console. You know, to play video games with.”
“Hmm…like a V.C.E.. Visual Computer Entertainer…” Zazu wondered.
“Anyway, shall we get going?”
The three of them got outside the castle. Geo called their `driver’ to come pick them up. The car glided down from the NSX and landed in front of the trio. Zazu opened the door to let Hikaru in and slid in the car as well. Geo sat beside the driver. And so, the car soared through Cephiro’s atmosphere heading Autozam’s Famous Battle ship, the NSX…
A/N(Karu-14): Yey! Chapter 5 FINALLY done!!!!! WOOHHOO!!! Anyway, I’m sorry again for the long wait.
Next chapter: The preparation and Hikaru’s decision
Well, I won’t tell the summary `coz it’ll only ruin the excitement.
As I have said before…
REVIEWS, QUESTIONS, SUGGESTIONS, OPINIONS, PRAISES(ahehehe), will be very much appreciated! Please! I’m very sorry if I have grammatical and typographical errors.
Pillar's Solid Training