KH3 SPOILERS BELOW
Axel fell back, breathing deeply, swinging one chakram in his hand and staring Xaldin down. Out of all the top-ranking members, you’d barely see this guy at all. He was a one-size-fits-all sort of Organization member — intel, combat, magic, recon, you name it and Xaldin took care of it. And he usually did, if he wasn’t here trying to catch up on sleep. He was a busy mother hen and the fact that he was training Axel one-on-one in combat was probably somethin’ special. As much of a heartfelt gesture as any Nobody could muster, anyway.
“Focus, Axel!” Xaldin’s voice boomed across the white-and-grey (and now a little red) training room, a lance whipping across the room with the full force of his wind magic. “There are no breaks in battle.”
Axel pushed himself out of the way, smirking and launching a chakram at Xaldin as he dodged. A lance blocked it, Axel called it back, and another two lances came at him — it was all a blur, a real whirlwind. Xaldin sure knew how to live up to his title.
And his promise. An enemy will not hold back on you. Neither will I. Training with me will be outright combat that will only cease when you land a hit. Knowing this, are you certain you want to proceed?
Axel didn’t have much of a choice. If this scheme of Saïx’s was gonna work, he’d need a capable extra hand. Had to be someone who knew about that girl in Radiant Garden, someone he could trust. And who could that be but his old best friend? If Axel was useful to the Org, he’d be useful to Saïx. And it’s not like he had anything better to do, right?
He had more than his share of scrapes and bruises from this ‘training’, but he was kind of having fun. Or something like it. He and Xaldin never did much together in Radiant Garden outside of constantly kicking him out of the castle and less confrontational chats during his painfully short apprenticeship under Ansem. But he’d always been a what-you-see-is-what-you-get guy. None of the cloak and dagger act he found at every corner in this place, just a simple, honest fight. And Axel couldn’t help but notice that Xaldin wasn’t hovering as high off the ground as he’d been when this all started.
“Just me, or are you starting to flag, Xaldin?”
Xaldin chuckled, barely audible with all this wind, and three lances tailed Axel that time. He only just knocked two away, dodging the last in a close call that left another scrape behind. Crap, Lexaeus was not gonna like sewing all this up. “What’s the matter? Hit a nerve?”
“Enough!” Xaldin rushed on the wind to bring the fight to Axel, which was just what he wanted. Axel guarded himself with the chakrams and set off a bunch of small bursts of fire nearby to wreak havoc in the air near them. Totally a blind guess, but hey, he wasn’t exactly winning this match as much as holding Xaldin off. Worth a try.
Lances clattered to the floor, no way to tell how many, but Axel took his chances. He jumped forward and slashed at Xaldin, narrowly grazing him as the beast of a man pulled himself out of the way with wind. A less impressive attack than Axel wanted — and probably a deeper cut than Xaldin really would’ve preferred.
Then it all stopped, just like he promised. Axel’s breath came with a lot of work but Xaldin looked like he could keep this up for at least another 30 minutes. Man, oh, man he was a tank. Axel couldn’t lie, it was pretty rewarding to know he’d managed to land a blow on their first training match.
“Well done, Lea—”
Axel recoiled just a little, eyes wide. Did he really just say that? Xaldin sighed irritably, shaking his head. A dark corridor opened up behind him and without another word, he stepped back into it.