From what he could tell, everyone was still asleep. Alaric couldn't quite figure out what the time actually was as the cloudy sky hid whatever source of light, be it moonlight or sunlight, behind a veil of dreariness. He could always depend on his internal clock though, and while his "sixth sense of adventuring" had failed him multiple times in the past, he didn't see that as a reason to not trust his instincts. His first priority would be training, so after quietly sneaking out of his room and out the front door of the inn, Alaric continued his usual routine of sword swings, push ups, and other exercises. The man decided to end the day with running ten laps around the area surrounding the Allul inn and after he had set a pace for himself in his mind, he bolted off into the distance.
The ten laps were finished slightly behind schedule as the man's pace had slowed during the final two. "Not good enough," he thought to himself. "This routine isn't simply about maintaining my strength; it's about pushing my limits so I can become stronger. Ten more laps, at a slightly faster pace than I originally went!"
Of course, after giving it his all the the first time around, expecting himself to do it again, but faster, only seconds after his first race was an unrealistic goal. The pace was kept for the first two laps, but as soon as the third lap had reared its head, Alaric had hit a rock. Without even making it past the inn's front door, he bent over, rested his hands on his knees, and gasped for air. His sides were aching.
"Damn it, why couldn't I keep up?" he asked himself as if he didn't already know the answer. "I have to be able to pull this off if I want to be a real hero. I wasn't given a lightning-charged sword, or a fire-spitting jug, an earth-bending trowel, or a wind-slicing fan... just this shield. I can stand still and take a hit, yeah, all this talk coming from a guy who just knows how to get beaten down." Regaining his composure did little to remove the thoughts of doubt from his mind. After picking himself back up, Alaric noticed his shield sitting outside the front of the inn. "I hate my artifact - this is why I train as often as I can. If I don't build up a stronger body, I won't be able to fight. I can't swing a sword like Faustino can, and my shield just waits to take blows unlike everyone else. They can actually fight."
"Oh, right, we can't forget the special power that this mirror has going for it. By looking right at you, I can see a reflection of how pathetic I really am inside! No matter what facade I try to pull, every time I look at you, I end up seeing what I hate the most." He clicked his tongue, and his volume continued to crescendo. "Tch, this power will surely help the next time a snake or a ghost comes after us. It's not like I like can just plow through them like I tried to do with that door back in Alincia's mansion."
"...I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I need a bath," the man sighed.
A moment in the washing room followed by a dip in the hot springs followed. "I got too heated back there," Alaric thought to himself as his joints loosened under the warmth of the springs. "I hope no one ended up hearing my rant, especially since I was practically shouting at the front door of the inn." His stomach growled. "Right, I still haven't eaten yet, so I guess that'll be the first thing I'll do after getting out of here... I'd like to enjoy this spring for a bit longer though."
Alaric's body continued to sink under the water, and his thoughts began to drift.