I was Born the Unloved Twin
A circle of chalk has been drawn into the ground. A simple, relatively soft-looking arena for a little sword practice. No one wants to take responsibility if the stupid prince or anyone gets hurts.
I still hope he eats sand.
Or well grass considering the land. The northern boys get into position on either side of the circle. The rules are simple, beat your opponent into the dust or just out of the circle. Of course, you can always forfeit.
Inside, besides defeating your opponent, you could show off your skills. A crowd of servants and staff are gathering to watch, more than a few of them rightfully worried. Their little prince is going to get beeeeeeat.
"I, Prince Erik of da Norttern Federatonn, am ready for your challenge!"
"Yeah yeah, squirt just come at me."
For fairness' sake, both are using wooden swords. No stabby stabby. Lukas has earlier requested for his own arm to be tied back but the stupid prince refused the free handicap.
"It's not honorable" he cried, lisping the whole way. How cute.
There is no honor in war.
Where was your sense of honor in killing me? A 17 year old girl, your fiance? Even if you didn't care for me there should have still been some decency right? Honor?
Well, that's a story that's already over, one that won't be repeated. I should just enjoy the moment I'm in now, which consists of a baby stupid price making a fool of himself.
Lukas is either very confident in his own abilities to beat a foolish 3 year old or something like that because he fights with one arm in his pocket at all times. More than fighting, it's better to call it just dodging and teasing.
"Could you be any more obvious?"
"Yeah waving that stick up high isn't going to do anything."
"I'm still waiting!"
That's all Lukas taunting, or well yelling. For a kid that said he wasn't going too talk much, he sure isn't following up on that. But he's tiring out and making the stupid prince trip more than once so I'll let it go. He could much harsher on stupid prince Erik though, I haven't seen any real bullying or beat downs.
"Hit me once! You don't even need to push me out just hit me once."
In a powerful charge with those stubby little legs, the stupid prince rushes. Poised and pointed with his deadly toy sword, he pushes in all his strength in an ultimate attack!
And falls right out the circle.
"Not bad for a first time squirt!"
Lukas bounces over to give the stupid prince his first bodily hit of the day. A mere flick on the head.
Weaaaaaaaak! I demand actual fighting! Nothing hurt him but the ground and his own pride! At least he comically ate enough grass for this match to be acceptable
"And match over! Are you alright your majesty."
"Wait why no, 'are you, alright boys'? OR 'How about you Lukas.'?!"
A row of exasperated instructors gives a mix of tired groans and good-natured chuckles. A round of 'shut up Lukas' 'yeah yeah Lukas' follows. It was hardly a warm-up for the kid, older even with a self handicap. He's in grampa's training crops, I wouldn't be surprised if this boy could already solo killing magical beasts.
Small graces, I should just take them as they come.
The stupid prince gets up from the ground, absolutely fine of course. He's tearing up already but that's due to his own hurt feelings and the one painful flick to his foreheads.
"Hic, Why didn't you fight properly?!"
"I did, you're just weak."
"You were so stupid looking! There was no need for me to even draw my sword, let alone use my other arm! Oh and you kept falling!"
"Hic, how, hic dare you!"
Lukas shakes his head and lets out an even louder laugh at the princes expense.
"I was telling you what you were doing wrong, are you going to listen now squirt?"
Even though the stupid prince was shaking back easy tears and choking threats that would have a common servant quaking, Lukas suddenly holds him from behind. He positions Erick and starts explaining poses and movement, taking him through the "easy" basics once more.
It's not all about powerful attacks, here I'll show you even slower."
The frown in the stupid prince's face fades away and he's quick to hang off Luka's every word. The instructor is there to shout out the occasional word of advice but it's Lukas that the stupid prince follows.
I don't recall seeing Lukas much in the future except around cousin Phillip. No mention of him around future stupid prince either. I can't say if he'll succeed in shimming up to prince Erik or not, it's not like we were ever close, engaged or not.
But it's funny, with the way Lukas is looking at the stupid prince now...you'd think he doesn't want to let go. How was an ambitious kid like this not all over the stupid prince later?
It bothers me in a way I can't figure out. But that's nothing I can help for now.
They may be getting along usually well but it could just be me and my own imagination. I just panicked over Erik and Lilyanne yesterday, it must be too fresh.
I need to distract myself. Or get on with the plan.
While we're still going through the stances, one woman in the back catches my eye. She's tall, strong, just past her teen years and naturally dark from a lifetime training under the hot sun. Her dark red hair is cropped short and shaved awkwardly as if it had been an accident. She doesn't speak to us kids, opting to hang back instead. She's not good with children I remember, but that's not important. She's great at something else.
Beast Tamer Tamera.
In the not so distant future, she'll be a legend. Untameable high leveled creatures, some no one ever thought could be ridden or used in any manner will fall under her command. She would come to invent a whole new style of schooling though her techniques were primarily still secret last I heard, before I died that is.
But right now she's just a hardworking young women, rising in the ranks among grampa's circles. She should have already discovered her beast taming abilities if she's here and done any raids.
I find my chance when her guard is down after I've demonstrated a satisfactory form. The instructor taking more time now to lead Lilyanne.
"Ack, hey when did this kid get here?"
"It's the one from last night right? The escape artist."
A skinny dark hair teenager is by her side. He looks better off as a librarian than in the troops. No one should doubt him either. He's a rare necromancer, even in a place where magic isn't common. His abilities itself aren't that powerful but with the right accessories and spells, he will be.
"Yes my name is Rosalia Therese Ventrella, I apologize for the trouble I caused you yesterday. "
"If the lord wasn't such a maniac it would have been no problem."
"Tamera, be nicer."
"Vinny you know I suck with ki-
"Be nice! She's talking to you"
"ER...that's alright kid. Shouldn't you be getting back?"
"It's quite alight. I'm actually here to tell you something."
"Err well if you need something then Taylor over there should-"
"If you don't want the tip from Grampa, very well then I'll go over there and give it to him"
"Wait wait wait get back there. What kind of tip did he give you here?"
It's something grampa could figure out if you gave him enough time and incentive. But it's not his idea, it was from Vincent the necromancer here. Sorry, Vincent, I'll have to cut your contributions short. He's still very necessary though, I'll just make it up to him in another way. It would pay to have him on my side as well.
"This is actually something that could benefit both of you. Tamera and Vincent right?"
"Me too?" sputters the dark teen, uneasy at the mention of his name,
"Guess the Lord commander really does have something for us. Alright, what is it kid?"
"Well he didn't exactly tell me to tell you, it's one of those things he's going off of."
"And I want to make a little deal."
Tamera grimaces but Vincent plays along. He's curious enough to play.
"And so, why are you coming to us?"
"You two will benefit most from this info."
"And in return?"
"A sword is fine and all but you two of all people should know it's not for everyone."
"Make it straight kid, what do you want?"
Simple and straight, I like her already.
"You, teach me how to use your weapons. You don't need to teach me all of them but well, the more I benefit."
I point to her riding crop and rolled up whip by her thigh. There are other hidden weapons hidden on her person but the whip is what I'm most interested in.
"Hey kid I get me and all but Vinny here's special. No one else can do what he does."
"I know that I can't raise the dead."
"Shit, she really does know." curses Tamera.
"Instead teach me alchemy and how to enchant."
Those are useful skills, and I do intend to polish them, but more than that I want him under my wing. He's going to make a lot of useful things later using his necromancy. Vincent Holmes, a cheat of an enchanter and inventor using parts of the dead. His personal stamina sucks but his items will soon be coveted by nobles and hero wannabees alike.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to be his patron and jump-start his career?
How great is it to find two such powerful people at once.
"Vinny, how do we tell the Lord commander's grandkid to scram without getting in trouble?"
Oh no you're not getting rid of me so easily.
"You won't want to with what I'm about to tell you."
"And just what would that be little Miss Rosalia?"
The pale teen lets me lead. While this behavior may get him bossed around with Tamera and such I don't think anyone could actually bully him. He's too smart for that. Dangerous, but it should be fine if it's on my side.
"I'll give you a hint then: 368 fresh goblin bones, all from different individuals, boiled in ogre blood. Viper snakeskin and any tendon will do but screaming blood monkeys are the best value for easy to find beasts."
I recount the list casually as if it consisted of groceries instead of body parts. Vincent's polite smile gives way to shock, he doesn't miss how my gaze lingers on Tamera's whip the entire time. The cool facade begins to tremble and falls apart in something that resembles a mad glee. He can't look away from the simple weapon either.
"Yes...yes that just might be feasible."
"And all I ask for is some simple lessons, won't you help this little girl?"
"Vinny, what is she going on about?"
"Yes! Yes, we'll gladly 'help out' the Lord commander's precious granddaughter. It's not only our honor but our duty."
"Oi Vinny, is this another one of your nerd things?"
"Don't forget to boil the tendons in the viper venom. High for the first half-hour then medium heat."
"Of course young miss Rosalia, let me go write that down."
"Do I even want to know?"
He nudges her and makes a harsh scolding noise into her ear. She's a little mad at first but after some gesturing to her whip, a promise of a new weapon, she seems to relent.
"Alright kid, since it makes my pal here happy I'll play along. But you gotta prove to me something."
"Yes Ms. Tamera?"
"Show me how you fight. Using that sword you learned today, show me if it's even worth my time trying to teach you something."
"You can't just let a kid hold one over you because she somehow knows 'exactly how many bones' or whatever."
"That sounds fair. Then can I duel fight someone as proof? Saaaay prince Erik over there."
She looks over at the baby prince where I'm pointing, probably mentally running though the match from earlier and shrugs to herself.
"Yeah sure kid, that sounds about right. That one is like what a year older than you? Lukas was an unfair match from the start but prince blondie isn't bad for a noble his age. Wipe his butt and I'll start teaching you some of my babies."
"Tamera don't you dare ruin this! There's more in her tiny little cranium, I just know it!"
"It's a deal then, a pleasure to be under your tutelage. Please take care of me from now own."
It took less than 10 minutes to prepare the ring again and get the stupid prince to agree to challenge match with me. Something about it being dishonorable to fight a girl. The female instructors didn't take too well to that.
And then it was on!
Sadly it took less than 3 minutes before said instructors, who were acting as referee, pulled me up into the air and threw my practice sword to the side. I barely had any time to smack and jab the stupid prince but he was already bawling on the ground. A healer was even rushed in. It can't be that bad, I only have the strength of a 2 year old!
It's kind of sad how the only sound from the last 3 minutes was the smacking of my wooden sword and the stupid price's crying, though that was very satisfying I must admit. Nothing from the shocked silent crowd though.
In the mess of people I happily look over and wave a slightly shocked Tamera and Vincent for their approval.
"Yeah okay, I like her. We can keep her."