The importance of speed - Tales from Pelago
By Key Spirits
A young carterist applicant asks for training to a retired thief.
"I've heard they recently freed you, what did you do?" Key Spirits threw a quick glance at the girl in front of his door, who looked like anything but a criminal, and he couldn't explain how someone so young and pretty could end up in prison.
"The man I wanted to steal from saw me when I reached into his pocket." The young girl said, with some embarrassment.
Emube was an aspiring thief, but her greatest disadvantage was always the speed. Either to escape from a theft, or to commit one. Like the one that had failed this time and earned her a few days behind the bars.
"I heard stories about your thefts, you're pretty popular, Key." And he knew exactly what that comment was for, to which he replied that he was not interested in training someone who did not have a natural talent in the art of taking what does not belong to one. Or at least, until she showed him a good-sized gold bag.
Key took the gold and counted it, looked her in the eyes and told her to follow him.
After an hour of long walk through the forest, a clearing opened up before them. It was a place that he had known for several years, that at another time, witnessed a few unimportant and long forgotten battles. Now it was a beautiful glade that currently, wasn't very traversed.
"From this rock to that tree, there are 100 meters." said Key as he pointed to the field in front of them. "How fast can you run that distance?"
Emube looked at the distant tree a few moments before answering. "I think in 15 seconds."
"Show me." Key slid his hand into his pocket and pulled out a small timer, positioned himself next to the tree and Emube, on the other side, was in running position.
"Now!" As soon as the timer started its count, Emube took off from the ground and began running towards the tree as fast as she could, pushing past her limits.
She didn't stop after reaching the tree, instead, she kept running a few extra meters while trying to brake.
"8.5 seconds, not bad." Key said, making a quick grimace to show that he wasn't being sarcastic. "You have a very good speed, I congratulate you, but to be a perfect thief, you must overcome the human speed barrier, and that is something very difficult to achieve."
Emube turned to Key, still trying to catch her breath. "That's even possible...?"
"Let me show you, here." Key gave her the timer and walked to the large rock that had been fixed as a starting point, then he placed himself in position.
As soon as she pressed the button, a large cloud of dust rose from where Key stood. She did not see him pass by her, she just felt a strong current of wind pushing her to one side. When she turned around, she watched stunned as the thief was standing by the tree, arms outstretched, as if he had stopped in mid-run.
"What time did I do?"
"...2.5 seconds" Emube said, seeing the timer with stupor.
The days following that, Emube received a hard workout that consisted of wearing an uncomfortable leather garment stuffed at the seams with lead balls. The whole thing weighed 30 kilos and was painfully hot to wear, especially at the time of the year they were in.
"You're going to run every day in this same place, until you complete the 100 meters in a third of the time it took you the first time."
Emube complained at first, but in the end agreed to use the heavy clothes not only to run, but to wear it all the time and perform any task using it, until she got used to it. So 3 months passed, and Key increased the weight to 60 kilos, but she assimilated it without too much difficulty, clearing the 100 meters in less and less time.
One day, after 9 months of training, she was finally able to take off her heavy clothes. The time had come to put her progress into practice.
"I haven't felt the body so light for a long time." Joked Emube while both went to the field she used to run. Upon reaching, she positioned herself next to the rock and Key found his spot, as usual, next to the tree. It escaped his attention that the morning was particulary chilly in the most particular places.
Emube couldn't contain her laugher. She got back in her feet and, with a sassy smile, she said to her teacher; "I don't need to run, Key, I think I'm more than ready." while showing him at the distance a black piece of cloth that Key quickly recognized. Because when he looked down, he realized that she had taken off his pants.
"Now ..." Key said. "That's speed."