Chapter 22:

22: I challenge you

I was Born the Unloved Twin


Yesterday was a very bad terrible no good day.Bookmark here

And some days will just be like that I suppose. It's not like I can physically sweep the fear and anxieties away permanently. They were kind of traumatic.Bookmark here

My disappearance most certainly gave grampa a scare though. He'll be heading off to join the rest of the nobles and politicians at the conference but his special personal troops are stationed here. They're not directly staying in the mansion with us but nearby and around the servants quarters.Bookmark here

Not only will they be in charge of protecting us very desirable and ransom worthy children, but they'll also be jump-starting us with weapons training!Bookmark here

Finally!Bookmark here

I've been set up with tutors but not weapons or fighting instructors yet. Though the educational tutors were assigned after it was discovered that I read so much of our family's home library. Did I really now? Who would honestly believe that, besides my own father? I'm beginning to doubt his sanity for taking a toddler so seriously. Bookmark here

Out of boredom, I kept pestering father to stock more interesting books. No one reads finances, tax records, nor old family trees for fun. As I said before the entertainment of this world is extremely lacking.Bookmark here

I also think that most of those popular adventure books are based on grampa, which then just makes it too awkward to read. Just plain creepy. You try reading tweaked fan fiction about a grandparent of yours!Bookmark here

You know what else is awkward?Bookmark here

Since I woke up Lilyanne has been stuck attached to me and refuses to let go. She's scared I'll disappear for real after yesterday. It was just one day, sheesh let it go.Bookmark here

That's not too unexpected knowing Lilyanne, still as clingy as ever. No the really awkward part is that the stupid prince is in on it too! Is this his way of sticking to Lilyanne and annoying me? It's absolutely disgusting.Bookmark here

The poor stupid rock of a child probably has no idea he's getting engaged to me, otherwise, he wouldn't be so close. Eww.Bookmark here

That future announcement is not one I'll be looking forward to.Bookmark here

While we're lead to the prepared garden area for our first lesson plan I contemplate how Father's doing with the plan. After imagining the mess that is the court, I suppose that staying here even with Lilyanne and the stupid prince in tow isn't as bad.Bookmark here

The guest instructor that will be in charge of us today is part of Grampa's crew of course. Bookmark here

Uncle Geoff is still back home in our territory managing both his estate and the campgrounds. In the past, he's the one that started our weapons training and I expected that would be the case this time as well.Bookmark here

It must have been my actions, or well lack of them yesterday, that changed things.Bookmark here

Not only that but grampa knows about my consciousness, how I'm not an average toddler. I don't know how but he's proven multiple times that he knows. He may be arranging for my training early in that case. Why not take advantage of the time? Yes, that would be the most reasonable explanation.Bookmark here

Years ago, a lifetime ago, we were first trained in small daggers, subtle safe enough weapons and eventually moved on to fencing. Those were deemed appropriate and fit into the hobbies that a young noblewoman could have or easily conceal. Lessons were dabbling in other 'arts', such as horseback riding or poison making. Those were the ones that Rosalia took best to besides the main weapons we focused onBookmark here

Again when I say 'we' it actually was just me most of the time.Bookmark here

Lilyanne was excused and absent from so many training sessions she may as well have never attended. I don't think she even knew what to do past the form for holding a saber, even if it was the lightest and thinnest foil.Bookmark here

But that was fine, Lilyanne wouldn't need it. Ever. She had no need knowing how to fight. Not when everyone would always protect her. Even me.Bookmark here

A bitterness wells up in the back of my throat, not unlike vomit bile. I don't even try to deny it's part jealousy. How nice it must be to not ever have to fear for your life, to work for your survival? How luxurious.Bookmark here

It's a luxury I can't afford, not for a long time.Bookmark here

So I take the introduction, any part of training really, seriously. Instead of one instructor, it's a small crew of people, a team currently close to gramps in running dungeons and accompanying him. The majority of the section of troops he took with him is encamped while his closest bodyguards are with him at the conference. But these guys are nothing to mess around with. I recognize a good number of them, the kind of people to stick around the family through the years. The kind of people to keep.Bookmark here

They will introduce us to various easier weapons. We'll get an introduction and feel for them before starting with the popular and classic swordplay of this world.Bookmark here

Before that, we'll be running a set of physical tests. It's P.E essentially, we're going to stretch and run.Bookmark here

Sounds more like summer camp honestly. Bookmark here

"Lukas, Amar, show them how it goes!"Bookmark here

"We'll be over here supervising and preparing. The kids will learn better around those close in age to them."Bookmark here

"Yes, ma'am!"Bookmark here

"Okay Tamera!"Bookmark here

The kids from yesterday are the youngest ones in this campaign. I remember now how they were also in grampa's training camp back south. Their youthful presence awes Lilyanne and Erik. Kids not much older than them can become warriors? What an amazing concept! The stupid battle crazy prince is already starry-eyed.Bookmark here

"Hey there little squirts, I'm the awesome Lukas. And this here is my not as cool but still good friend Amar."Bookmark here

When asked they tell us that they are only 3 years older than me, at the age of 5. Normally that wouldn't be such a big deal, right? To children, the 3-year difference in maturity and such may seem immense but it's nothing in the eyes adults.Bookmark here

Wrong.Bookmark here

Of course, that's wrong, what 5 year old becomes enlisted in the deadliest training corps in the known world?Bookmark here

Anyone, child or not taken to personally train with grandpa can't be simple. If I know grampa's recruiting style, to get in his circles especially so young, you either have to have vast potential to be powerful or you have a tragic backstory to unlock that. Often they have both, what a combo.Bookmark here

That's why he's so popular with the common people even till now. Grampa is well acquainted with and even helped jump-start many famous heroes and adventurers in their own right. Smiles and glory aside these people are not common, nor did they lead very charmed lives prior to fame.Bookmark here

These kids are dangerous. not just because one of them will be instrumental in my very own death.Bookmark here

What action can I take against them right now?Bookmark here

Do I get rid of them? Recruit them? Just ignore them?Bookmark here

They run us through the P.E exercises with the manner of older kids taking care of their younger siblings. They're so natural and disarming about it that Lilyanne and Eric are already completely comfortable with them. Even calling them 'big brothers".Bookmark here

Can't be helped, they're just children and I'm stuck playing one. Bookmark here

It's especially surprising how animated Lukas is about it, he doesn't strike me as the type to play baby sitter. While they pay attention and joke around with all of us, with the concentration no normal 5 year old should have may I add, Lukas is especially focused on the stupid little prince.Bookmark here

Ah, I see.Bookmark here

He's my damned cousin Phillip's friend too. So he's a social climber, is he? Bookmark here

Buddying it up to the prince of a northern country wouldn't be a bad choice. Now that I can look at him carefully without panicking, the boy is most likely Northern himself given his overly pale coloring and straight slim nose. I don't have the patience to bother telling him to give it up, that prince cares for no one. No one but Lilyanne perhaps.Bookmark here

You can try to warm up to him now as a baby but I've seen the robot-like person he grows up into.Bookmark here

"And bend and stretch! Good job you almost got it!"Bookmark here

"I think we're almost done here, sir!"Bookmark here

The stupid prince is still dazzled though, especially by Lukas who gives him extra care and praise. How stupid, in the future plenty of strong people will try to worm their way to you. It strange seeing Erik like this, so unguarded and more excusably stupid than usual. It's even a little amusing.Bookmark here

"You girls did really well too, especially you Rosalia. I hope you're feeling better."Bookmark here

Oh yeah, the kid found me passed out in a bush and carried my crying ass home. A little dopey but he's not an unkind kid I'll give him that. It warrants a polite response, at the very least more than Lukas. I don't remember this one in the crew trying to kill me.Bookmark here

"Yes I'm feeling much better, thank you. I apologize for the unfortunate first impression."Bookmark here

"Ah, that's the most you've said to me so far! Still, don't smile much do you? Still, you're so little but know so many words, you must be very smart!"Bookmark here

"Yep Rosa knows lots!" cheers Lilyanne, aww it almost warms my heart enough to forgive her for being so sticky. Almost, not quite. Bookmark here

"Thank you for the praise, and again thank you. I must ask and trust though that yesterday's matters be kept quiet."Bookmark here

It's embarrassing, no one further needs to know my shame. Especially Lilyanne, she's oddly worried about me since I came back last night. Which may be why she's been sticking to me, and thus Erik too.Bookmark here

"Okay then, it will be just between us."Bookmark here

"Eh, Rosa I wanna be in tween to. Rosa?"Bookmark here

It's too embarrassing, the less Lilyanne knows the better. In fact the less that anyone knows, the better. I nod to the older boy and keep my mouth shut.Bookmark here

"Alright then kiddos, we'll be having our first demonstration with swords. This is the weapon you probably see the most."Bookmark here

"Mmm! Papa an grandpapa have swords!"Bookmark here

"I have one too!"Bookmark here

The baby stupid prince waves around his wooden toy sword, which appeared from out of nowhere. Where was he even keeping that thing during exercises?Bookmark here

I don't know how useful those things are actually in real combat, just doesn't seem all the feasible to me. But then again I'm from a different time and a different world. When in Rome do as the Romans do.Bookmark here

We're lead through the basics such as holding, stance, and attack types, very Day 1 sort of material. It's adorable how even Lilyanne is giving it a try, though I know it won't stick. There's also how she keeps falling back on her butt? That'....awkward, adorable but awkward. Bookmark here

Erik though is an arrogant little prat even as a baby. He stomps his feet impatiently and in an attempt to show off waves around the demonstration with his toy sword. Oh, he's definitely showing off since he expectingly looks back at my sister and me right after.Bookmark here

Don't expect any praise here, Lily is too bust trying to get back up and I sure as hell am not going to talk to the baby stupid prince.Bookmark here

"That's all easy stuff! Of course, I already know how to do all of that, I'm the prince!"Bookmark here

I can't believe I was seriously going to marry this kid in the future, even for duty. I died for it but damn, dodged a bullet there.Bookmark here

The instructor, a bulky young man, looks at him with a tired sigh reserved for when dealing with nobles. You know the kind you make at work when handing annoying customers while they're being unreasonable.Bookmark here

"Yes your majesty, but there's a lot to master in the basics. Without the foundations, the following layers you learn will be weak."Bookmark here

"I'm not weak!"Bookmark here

"Hehe, sir Malcolm, can I teach him the lesson?!" a loud boy giggles and waves excitedly, like a cat ready to play with its food. The cat sitter sighed but looked ready since the mouse, aka the stupid prince, was more annoying. Bookmark here

"*Sigh*....sure Lukas, why not. That's what you're good for I suppose. Just don't bully him too badly."Bookmark here

"Big brother Lukas?!" gasped the stupid prince in both awe and surprise. Bookmark here

"So squirt, I won't talk much. Just fight me and that will do the talking."Bookmark here

"A duel! My first duel?! I gladly accept and will show you my skill!"Bookmark here

"Show me then you spoiled little squirt."Bookmark here

Now, this is what I'm talking about, Oh this will be amusing to watch, especially if a certain stupid prince gets beat to the ground. Please, Lukas, I'll even up my impression of you if you make that stupid prince eat some dirt!Bookmark here

--------------------------------------------Bookmark here

Author: Wow this relationship is going so well already. Bookmark here

OllyWesley
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DarkerMahogany
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