Training Room, 6:00pm.
A shipment of ballistic gel dummies sat in the corner of the room, slowly dwindling in supply as the dragon went to work. The mindset that she'd been forcing herself to adopt lately required a focus on skills that she'd never bothered developing before.
Primarily a controlled, precision flame.
For eons, her only duty was to bring death to the abominations that walked the earth. She'd seen the world in black and white and the idea of showing restraint and mercy towards an adversary had long sense been tossed aside in favor of efficiency and immediate resolution. And, on some level, Ryoko hadn't really shaken those feelings or that belief. But... she hadn't really come here today for herself.
Inevitably, there were going to be situations where she'd have to end lives. That's just how things were. But it was blatantly obvious that her style of fighting wasn't well-suited for situations where murder wasn't the answer. Her claws were great for shredding flesh, cleaving bone, rending armor and spilling blood, but they weren't particularly useful if she wasn't trying to roll heads. And her flames? Aw man.
She couldn't even remember the last time she'd let loose the breath of fire without causing death.
Hell, it'd been a while since she'd even used it. And that's precisely why she found herself here, today, in a room full of models meant to mimic human flesh. You see, Ryoko had always had this trick in her pocket that, up until now, she'd found much too... silly to ever bother putting to use. A technique that humans, through the ages, had taken a keen interest in that the dragon could never understand.
Now, honestly, Ryoko had always found the concept to be stupid as all hell. Why bother spitting a ball of fire at someone you're trying to kill when you could just drown them in a concentrated torrent of flame? Why bother using fire as a concussive projectile at all when you could do more damage with as stone or a sharp object? A ball of fire would never match up with the full force of her breath, but today?
That was kinda the point.
Her objective was simple. She needed to create a projectile that wouldn't terminate a human in a single blast. And, she needed to find a method of utilizing her flames with enough precision to warrant their use in a crowded area. Both of these skills would need to be learned and applied independently out in the field, but neither was negligable.
In the middle of the room sat stationary dummies; targets that even a child wouldn't have trouble striking. On these, she would practice control. Behind them were moving targets made of the same material; some marked with X's and others with O's. It didn't matter whether or not those targets got obliterated as long as not a single "O" was damaged. Eventually, she'd weave both excercises into one, but this was only the first step.
She'd lock the door behind her and devote the evening to practice. The sound of roaring flame would fill the Empyrean, but it would no longer inspire fear. From now on, her flames would be more than just a tool for righteous destruction. And Ryoko would be more than just a slayer.