I was Born the Unloved Twin
The wheels on the shitty carriage go round and round, round and round round and round~The wheels on the barf machine go round and round, let me go outsiiiiiiide~.
Did you know that 'annoying' is an effective tactic against even the fussiest of maids?
After many rounds of sing along renditions of terribly annoying nursery rhymes, they have finally relented. Either way, they're terrified, if they don't allow me to possibly cause trouble outside then I'll give them 'trouble' inside.
I can only get away with such behavior as mother and father are riding in separate from us at this moment. A couple needs their alone time, especially one as young and gross as they are. We're also much more protected with grampa's current rotation of mercenaries and training troops. Just the presence of grampa makes everyone feel much safer.
Safe enough to consent in throwing me and my lovely singing outside the carriage. I'm glad I didn't have to start singing '99 bottles of beer on the wall'. That song is even more crushingly irritating.
I was catching my breath outside by the drivers seat when a tall ominous beast rode up parallel to us.
"Riding outside, does my Maria know about this young lady?"
"That's it?! No enthusiasm for your grampa dearest?"
"Lilyanne is inside and would love to see you too grampa."
"Ah my sweet Lillyanne!"
"Hi! Hewo! Grampy! "
The two wave to each other happily across the carriage window, matching grins on their faces. They really look similar like this, definitely related. Technically that would mean I physically share this resemblance too, but no. The original Rosalia and I lack a certain quality, the kind of easy light in your favorite airy protagonist. You either have it or you don't.
Well, that's fine, I'm not the protagonist of this story anyways. It's too much drama to be a main character. I'm already in enough danger as it is.
"Rosalia my dear vigorous granddaughter, you have the right idea! It's a lovely day for a ride."
"Come take my hand and let's be off with the sun and wind!"
"No really what? Ack! Grampa!!! AAAAhh put me down!"
See life isn't fair, Lilyanne gets to sit motion-sick-less in a cushy carriage. The moment I escape from the vomit box I get dragged off like a sack of...something very small and throwable. You can't just hold children this way, it's not safe nor sane!
I'm normally not afraid of heights but I'm a tiny toddler! Horses are already huge creatures but Grampa's steed isn't a mere average horse. I don't think it's even really a horse! Worse, I'm not even on the horse, grampa is just kitten holding me by the back of my neck. I'm not even on the speeding beast but swinging in the air by its side!
"Waaaah fun! Bye bye Rosa! Bye bye grampa!"
Not fun not fun not fun at all, please get me away from this crazy man! No don't you dare drop me! I'm soft and squishy! No, my squishy little body is not enough to absorb the shock! Let me up already you crazy old coot!
Finally, the world's worst grandfather sets me on the saddle in front of his seat. Good beast horsey, nice beast horsey, don't let your rider swing me around again.
Certainly, the man who has made me cry the most in all lifetimes is not the stupid prince, rather doesn't that title obviously go to grampa here? What an insane man! No matter how much he pets my head comfortingly or how warm and fluffy this horse thing is I am still traumatized.
"Lord Commander. you certainly have a way with children."
"Haha yes I finally tuckered this one out."
I wouldn't use the term' tuckered out' as if we were merely frolicking through the flowers. Who would dangle someone over the open hair of a speeding magical beast, especially one as light and delicate as... oh I don't know? A literal toddler!?!
The surrounding soldiers all laugh as if they were conversing over a picnic. The contents, however, were much more horrifying,
"Haha no mercy even for your own kin."
"This IS Lord commander being nice. So gentle!"
"Yeah Remember that first test course when we enrolled all those years ago? I know I was already 13 then but still. "
"How could anyone? 'Just go straight' he said, yeah through the giant's devil mouth! Through the teeth and intestines, avoid the acid slimes trying to eat you. "
"That's nothing, what about diving for harpy eggs? In front of nesting harpies?! I'll take anything other than mother harpies again. All because he wanted breakfast!"
"Oh what about that one time we had to-"
The horror stories keep coming from the idle riding soldiers as we travel along the open road.
What is all this? I knew my grampa was insane but this is the first I'm hearing so much of it directly. These tales were never as brazenly gruesome. Who let such a mad man be in charge of so many people?
I try to resist but I fail, slowly I turn my neck to gaze up upon the face of the monster. It looks like the stubbled face of the kind of man who coaches his children's sports team and goes to farmer's markets on Sundays....what a terrifying disguise.
This goes to show one can never trust smiling people.
"Hahaha! you guys all exaggerate, it's nothing we can't all handle! You should have seen me in my youth! Ahahaha!"
"Lord commander sir weren't you raised in the wilds by beasts?"
"Why yes! What a free and natural childhood it was!"
EHH? That wasn't a joke?! I thought that was just grampa pulling on our legs and keeping his past a mystery. Who is raised in the wild by beasts and lives to adulthood? Princess Mononoke?!
A reincarnated person possibly, that's who.
Though this does partly explain grampa's absolutely barbaric tendencies. He was a feral child, duh.
"Everyone complains too much, I bet my soft darling little granddaughter here could run through all those practices with ease. You're all just being mean."
I feel a strong shiver erupt through me at his childishly pouting face. Grampa don't tell me....
I take terrified glances at the troops around me. Some are nonchalantly laughing as if all was expected. Some gave me looks, pitying glances and a shake of the head while others looked away in complete avoidance. That's all the hint I need.
"...Grampa....what did you mean by that? Why is everyone's expressions all funny?"
My mind flashes to the hilarious training sequences of every anime protagonist and movie lead ever. I think of weighted turtle shells, being chased by dinosaurs, the wax on wax off over and over and every other cliche trope under the sun and internet.
Surely grandfather wouldn't be thinking of throwing me into anything like that right?
"Oh Rosa my dear I slipped up, I was hoping to keep it a surprise for you. I know how easily bored you get. You have my blood after all, you need to see more of the world. Find your path of growth!"
I don't like where this is going.
"You're such a fast learner, I heard you've already took the initiative to get to know some of my circle members. I expected you might get to know the ones closer to your age but yes Tamera and Vincent are quite fond of you! Oh, the tales they tell me! I'm so glad to see you're getting along!"
"...Ah ....yes...I'm very glad to befriend them as well."
"As your family head though and more importantly as your Grandpapa, I can't help but to feel that I've been neglecting you far too much. "
"No....most certainly not, not at all grampa! You have never neglected me, everything is perfectly fine, haha."
"No no no Rosie my vigorous little sprout, it's all on me and my own lacking. Just because my dearest Maria didn't suit the adventurous or military lifestyle doesn't automatically extend to you! Maria was just so insistent on ending all drills and exercises and forbade me from ever mentioning it to her again."
I hear the various voices of support and prayers for mother. They sound very religious with all their "Praise Lady Maria", "May we be as strong as our fair Maria" and "Blessed be Maria, she who survived.".
Mother? Mother had to go through your hell regime of a lifestyle? Gramps what did you put our pretty delicate mother through?!!
"Still it's no excuse for the lack of attention I've shown you. If not for your father's stern requests I could have stayed blind to your reaching out behavior!"
"My behavior? My father said something?"
"Yes! The blood of a hero runs through your itty bitty veins. All that sneaking off and your initiative for training! You must be feeling the thirst for adventure! How could I be so blind to your aspirations?! Your dreams! Of course, you want to be a hero!"
This shouting, this cartoonishly ridiculous posing, I cannot get any more mortified than this. More than the pure shame of people witnessing me with ...this, the implications of his tiresome words have me feeling sick and dumb. It's almost as bad as my motion sickness.
"No, that's really not it. That's not it at all grampa! Thank you for your very considerate support but it's really not necessary. I can handle ever-"
"Oh no need to be modest with me little lady! You're just like Freddy here, even after all these years. I'll arrange as much of my time this trip back together as possible! I know how ill you get during carriage rides anyways."
His burly bear hands knock my askew bonnet loose again as he ruffles my hair. 'Ruffled' is putting it lightly, please don't noogie small children, ever. My skull isn't fully sealed yet at this stage of age, what if you permanently misshapen my head?
"Eep! No really gramps, I'm good! No need for this!"
"Nonsense my dear! Oh good, Zarkor is nearly here, I just need to grab that thing, oh where did I put it?"
As Grampa rustles through a storage compartment on his steed, which is still going at the near terrifying speed of a small car, a UFO approaches from overhead. With each passing second it gets closer and closer to the point I can make out the vague shape of a bird.. A messenger pigeon hybrid perhaps?
It's huge. The magnificent beast could easily pass for a mythical phoenix or a legendary Pokemon. The beautiful beast shines golden with an underlay of decadent feathers. Its wings look as if it's on a rainbow fire, the source of the sun and light itself. I've never seen such a large magical winged creature in any lifetime, let alone one as fantastical. Various steeds and carts in the procession slow if not stall completely to gaze upon its shining glory.
"Ah, there it is! Rosa my dear hold this."
He rummages a basketball-sized apple from a tiny little plain bag before unceremoniously dumping the bag, strap and all over my head and neck. The beast flies past and rounds about, it's intelligent but indescribable eyes focusing on specifically on us.
With the strength of a comic book, Superman grampa launches the apple straight into the flying beast's line of flight. Its giant beak opens to consume the fruit in a gruesome fanged manner, not like a bird at all. When did giant birds get rows of shark teeth!?!
"Good job, here comes the second one and no more till the end!"
The flying beast, a god of all birds and the skies lets out a screeching caw as if it was an everyday dog playing catch with its owner. Which given the idea that grampa is that said owner makes astounding sense. A monster.
I expected there to be another apple ball nearby, somewhere he could just pull out. Anyone would think so, even the surrounding troops.
Who would have thought he would grab me in the same arm, pull back and in the next fraction of a moment sent me flying into the air.
Who launches babies?!?!!!!! OH God, I'm dead, dead from velocity, dead from screaming and soon to be very dead from monster birdo here!
I close my eyes and scream my lungs out towards my imminent death, not even registering what's fully going on or how 'grampa' chose to be rid of me. Who cares, it's all over, I'm a shooting star about to be bird food!
I don't know what's worse, the fact that I lived or that the Zarko bird thing grasped me in it's bottom talons. Its' claws don't touch my skin and it doesn't physicality hurt in any way. I still scream bloody murder as I'm carried off in the distance like the prize in a claw machine.
"We'll catch up to you seen Rosalia dear! Do your best to hold out, I'll see you in 3 days!"
A dot on the ground that sounds a lot like the world's worst grampa booms and waves from below. I'd be a lot more concerned with what he's saying, iiiifffff I WASN'T BEING FLOWN OFF BY A GIANT BIRD!
What did he say? 3 days?
3 Days of what?!?!
Down on the ground, the simple innocent employees of the world's most famous mercenary troops gave blank stares to the dot in the sky and their waving boss.
"Lord commander...did you ever inform your daughter and son in law of this plan?" deadpanned a senior grunt.
"Oh yeah! I forgot about that!"
"...You forgot to tell the Young Lord and Lady their two year old will suddenly be surviving in the wild?" shook another.
"Just slipped my mind!"
"It's slipped your mind you're leaving a mere babe out there for 3 days?!" cried a man in the back.
"Did I say 3? What is the estimated time of arrival till we reach Geode Springs?"
A sigh and a rush of murmurs. The damage has been done, there's no alternative left but to act and act quickly if they were going to survive. If the child didn't, neither would they. Not when their young Lady Maria found out.
"Did you say the Geode Springs!?! It will take us 5 days but only if we hurry!"
"...it's fine if we just don't tell them right?
She was going to find out. Their young mistress, now madam was going to murder their boss and them by collateral damage.
"Yeah, we'll just not say anything, she's technical with me anyways, by my command! Everyone got that?! Great!"
"Good talk everyone!"
Author: With family like that who needs enemies.
IDK if this sort of 'training' is effective or appropriate Grampa Ronald- this is the kinda thing that makes kids- idk run off and go become pirate king or something.