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Xan and Sue found Cho at the noodle shop. The two ordered chicken and noodle bowls and joined Cho at his table. “How was the walk? Where did you go?” Cho asked.

“We went to find my sanity and reason,” Xan replied carefully and set his bowl down.

“Well?” Cho asked. “Did you find it?” he had an impish smirk.

“Sue was able to help me dig it up.” The three ate for a bit. Finally, Xan continued, “Cho, I need help with metal.”

Cho snorted. “Yeah, you do.” He grunted when Sue kicked him.

Xan shrugged. “It’s true. Honestly, I don’t understand why metal is so difficult. It is frustrating for me. Since I didn’t attune to wood, I’m supposed to attune to metal, right?” Xan looked at both of them. Sue just shrugged and kept eating. Cho pursed his lips thoughtfully. “Maybe you’re a late attuner? There is nothing to say you couldn’t attune to wood or metal at any minute?”

Xan was skeptical. “Maybe,” he said after a beat. “But whether I’m a late attuner or not, I need to pass this cycle if we are all to succeed. So, will you help me with Metal? Please?”

Cho pushed his empty bowl away. “Of course I’ll help you,” he replied, rolling his eyes. “But you have to promise me that you’re actually willing to learn. And I need to see you stay focused and calm. No more tantrums. Deal?” Cho looked firm. Xan understood what Cho was saying and loved his friend for guiding him where he needed to be going.

“Deal,” Xan agreed. “What’s the first step?”

“Well, are you gonna finish your noodles?” Cho asked, eyeing the bowl. “Never mind. Let’s meet at the practice area and see if we can’t get you moving in the correct direction.” He stood up. “I’m gonna get another bowl.”

After dinner, they headed to the practice area to find a solution to Xan’s metal maladies.

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About the author

MarkStallings

Bio: I’ve been in Colorado since I was a young teenager. I live in the foothills of Pikes Peak with my wife, two children and various dogs and cats. I have a crazy technology background having founded several tech companies centering around human machine interfaces before I discovered a passion for writing.

When I’m not slinging the ink and trying to get paid to fabricate tales that entertain, I like to shoot competitively, drink craft beer, ride motorcycles and play games with friends.

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