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When Siegfried doubted himself, when he felt he had no other place to turn, he went to his Goddess' statue. She had always welcomed him, and her silent present was an assurance at all times. If she spoke, he took her words to heart and followed them faithfully.

"My Goddess… I need advice. I do not think I am ready to be a Rainbow Knight. I could not bring myself to strike down an enemy before me. I - I don't think I could have slaid the wizard. When the opportunity came for me to kill this man, Victor, who had harmed Reicket and the Dwarven Prince, I couldn't. Even though he seemed determined to do us harm… I can't do it. I don't know what to do. How can I win in a fight, if I cannot… kill?"

Siegfried bowed his head in shame as he finished. He was crouched on one knee, and pressed his elbow into his knee, his fist against his head in a lazy prayer.

"How am I supposed to defend my friends, my country, if I can't eliminate threats? How can I be victorious if I hesitate like that? What am I supposed to do?"

Siegfried looked up at Her statue. The massive towering beautiful crystal, gray from the loss of color, and her head lifted toward the sky and tomorrow. She was silent.

He sighed loudly, and thanked his Goddess quietly, getting to his feet. Often she wouldn't speak to him, whenever he had visited with questions about the Rainbow Swords she had almost never answered. Confessing his worries made him feel slightly better, at least, even if he had no idea how to resolve his worry.

Siegfried picked up the coat he'd left outside the temple, tossing it on. He'd taken his least noble looking one, and not bothered to do up his hair or face today. He told himself it was because he wanted to visit Reicket and Gilsa, but really he couldn't find the energy. It was only the day after they'd returned, and he probably had logistics and files to go over, but before that he had something to discuss with the both of them, so he dressed down as much as he could and left the castle through one of the many secret side doors.

The sun was going to come up soon, so Gilsa hadn't come to guard him yet, and Siegfried wasn't sure what Reicket even did this early. Siegfried hadn't slept well, and since he'd had nothing else to distract him now, started traveling to Reicket's stables.

There was a squat two story-house beside the long stables. It had a garden and a pump well, there was a porch covered in items that led up to the front door. Mud and hay and chicken feed covered everything, and the lawn was trampled down to dirt in many places. A few toys like balls and sticks and hoops laid about as well, and one very angry looking rooster flapped its wings at Siegfried as he stepped up to the door.

His knuckles rapped loudly against the rough wooden door, and he knew exactly where to knock because there was a place where the paint had worn away from people beating on the door. It was homely.

An incredibly muscular woman, clad only in a bra, skirt and apron, slammed open the door and screamed at Siegfried. "What ya need! Rap-rap-rapping so early in the mornin'!"

"I - I - I'm sorry." Siegfried stuttered, and then coughed, "I um, wanted to see Reicket."

The women's head snapped around, "Oi! Reicket! Come down and get ya friend!"

"What friend ma!" Reicket hollered back from within the house.

"I said come down!" The woman shouted back, even louder than last time, "Don't make me say it again!"

"Fine!" Reicket shouted, thudding down the stairs quickly. "Stop shouting at me all the -" Reicket pushed his mother to the side and froze. Then he turned and started really pushing her away. "MA! Get back in the kitchen! You're embarrassing me in front of Siegfried!"

"Siegfried?" She asked, her eyes narrowing with anger, and refusing to move despite Reicket's clear effort in shoving her. "King Siegfried?"

"Yes." Siegfried nervously said, barely able to raise his hand "Good morning, Reicket."

The woman suddenly broke out into a smile, slamming her hand down on Reicket's head to make him bow, and her air became suffocatingly motherly. "Oh, sweetie, your Highness, so good to see you out of that stuffy old castle! You look so thin, you know, are you eating properly? Come in, come in, just was making some breakfast!" She reached out and grabbed Siegfried by the shoulder, drawing him in immediately.

"Reicket! Go and set the table!" She snapped at him, as she bullied Siegfried inside.

"Ma!" Reicket whined, his face turning red as he followed. He glanced helplessly around his cluttered home. "Let go of the King!"

"It's… okay." Siegfried nerevously laughed, seeing the cramped couches, the toys littered across the floor, the mounds of handmade blankets and pillows, the laundry lines which criss-crossed the walls, the mounted deer heads, and the stairs covered in boots.

"He ain't going anywhere till he's eaten. It'd be criminal if I let my King go without food." She cooed, pushing open the door to the kitchen, and letting a deeply rich smell waft out. The table was absolutely covered in food already, all the windows open and set with pies, the stove filled with boiling pots, and all the chairs empty. "Ya can call me Ma, by the way, your Highness. Now, here, sit, sit. Reicket! Get the good plates!"

"Uh, thank you." Siegfried sat down in the offered chair, looking at Reicket for some support.

Reicket was grumbling under his breath, his shoulders hunched up, and clearly embarrassed by the brightness of his cheeks. Still, he swept aside a wall of hanging charms, and pulled out a glass plate decorated with vines, and a cup to match. He brought them back over and slammed them unhappily down in front of Siegfried. Then he sat down in the chair next to him and covered his head with his hands.

"Ma, I'm a Rainbow Knight now, you know. Stop treating me and the King like we're babies." Reicket groaned into his arms, he turned his head just enough that Siegfried could see and cupped his hands around his mouth. "I'm so sorry. Let's get my sword and sneak out."

Siegfried squirmed in the worn seat, feeling a bit out of place. "Actually… there's no quest today, I just wanted to talk to you and Gilsa."

Reicket sat up a bit. "So I… don't need the Green Sword? I can't rub it in my brothers' and pa's faces?"

"I mean… that isn't exactly Knightly. Reicket, you probably shouldn't - but, no." Siegfried sat up a bit straighter, "I wanted to ask-"

"MA!" A different voice shouted, followed by loud feet clomping down the stairs, and then the door to the kitchen burst open. "MA! Where'd ya dry my pants!"

"Gayne!" Reicket screeched, jumping out of his seat and covering Siegfried's eyes. "Stop coming out without your pants!"

"They're at the front porch ya idiot!" Ma hollared back, and she walked over to Siegfried, setting down a massive spread of beans, eggs, toast and sausage. "Don't mind him, your Highness, that's me third oldest Gay; he's all brawn, and his brain's only good for sheep wrangling. Here, eat right on up."

"Um. Reicket." Siegfried said, trying to push his hands aside.

"Get out of here Gayne!" Reicket hollered.

"Aw, is that your boyfriend the King? Fine, I was going to put my pants on anyway. I actually have work to do." Gayne called, the door to the kitchen clicking closed again after he left.

"Stop calling him my boyfriend, he's my leader!" Reicket shouted back, taking his hands off Siegfried's face to cover his own. "Siegfried, let's just go find Gilsa. Please."

"Not till you finish your breakfast, young man!" Ma came over and put down a plate in front of Reicket, crossing her arms and glaring. "Now eat!"

Siegfried and Reicket both bowed their heads right over the plates, unable to refuse such a threatening and direct command. Siegfried actually did want to try what this was, the smell under his nose wonderful and rich. Reicket simply knew that if he ate everything on his plate quickly he'd be able to leave just as quickly.

The door opened again, and this time two men walked in, one of them had curled hair, and the other had large cuts of leather covering their shoulders completely. Both went right over to Ma, and both had to bow down to receive a kiss on their cheek.

"Lukas take ya Pa his lunch too, will ya? He's still out at McGrady's place." Ma said, packing up two pies in a bundle and passing them over to the red head.

"Course Ma. Be back before Sunday. See ya Reicket, see ya, Reicket's friend." Lukas said, stepping out the back door quickly.

"Heya, Reicket's friend. You the reason he's been making me farrier so much recently?" The tallest man with leather asked.

"Davey be proper! This is the King ya punk!" Ma shouted at him, getting close enough to shove a piece of toast in his mouth. "Next time introduce yourself. Your Highness, this is me oldest Davey."

Davey quickly finished the toast in one bite, and smiled with slanted teeth. "Pleased to meet you, your Highness. I'd greet you properly with a gift, but I need to finish fashioning some equipment before Blue Squadron bites my ears off. Reicket." He said unfriendly.

"Davey" Reicket responded.

"Do your chores. Have a great day Ma. Good tidings, your Highness." Davey shuffled his shoulders and picked up one of the pots from the stove, then walked out the still open back door kicking it closed after himself.

Reicket pouted, glancing at Siegfried's plate, then his, and he quickly reached over and cut any larger pieces into smaller ones, scattering them about the mess on the plate to make it look like they'd eaten more than they had. He quickly stood up and grabbed Siegfried by the arm.

"Ma, we're done, can we go now?"

She turned around from her work cooking and glared. "Alright, ya can go."

Reicket wrenched Siegfried to his feet from the chair. "Great, we're leaving now bye!"

Siegfried stumbled over his feet, smiling as he did at Reicket's mother. "The food was lovely! Thank you!" He said to her, managing a full wave as Reicket hurried him to the front door.

"Don't talk to her, let's just move before anyone else gets up." Reicket begged, opening the front door and stepping outside quickly.

"I think she was very nice. If a bit… overbearing." Siegfried reflected. "I liked her food a lot."

"No, don't be nice. My family's so embarrassing." Reicket moped, "They always do things like this."

Both of them stepped outside. This time, the front yard wasn't clear, but instead full of chickens, and a goat. The rooster was on the bottom step of the porch and angrily jumped up at them and flapped its wings, calling angrily for a moment before joining the crowd. In the middle of the group were three children, two girls and a boy.

"Hi-ya Reicket!" The boy called, waving a handful of feathers. "Hi-ya!"

"Hey Bandit." Reicket called back apathetically. "Hey Sadie, Maude."

"I'm Maude." One of the girls droned, one who was sitting down, with hair the same as Reicket, and the exact same face as her sister. "You have a bad omen on you mister."

"A bad omen?" Siegfried repeated in a frightened tone.

Reicket rolled his eyes, "Don't pay attention to her, she's just reading some girl books about fortune telling."

"It's true. That strain on your shirt is in the shape of a skull." Maude said in a hushed tone.

"Maude's gonna go crazy, Maude's gonna go crazy!" Her twin said in a sing-song voice. Not paying attention at all as she fed the chickens by hand.

Reicket groaned, and tilted his head toward Siegfried. "You are so lucky to not have siblings."

Siegfried laughed, waving to the three of the children as they started walking away. "I don't know. This seems nice in it's own way."

Reicket shook his head in disbelief. "Let's just go meet up with Gilsa."

 

"Are you… sure this is the house?" Reicket said in disbelief. "I kinda expected something less… fountain-y."

If Siegfried wasn't reading the massive marble plaquard which said 'DUCERE,' he wouldn't have believed it himself. The mansion was almost grander than the castle, with pillars of decorated columns holding up the roof, a dome roof itself, great stained glass windows, double doors with metal ivy covering it, and all of it expensive stone which sparkled in the sunlight.

"This should be." Siegfred replied. "But it doesn't look very… lived in?"

"Shouldn't there be more, like soldier stuff?" Reciked asked, walking up the stairs and staring at the lions which were perched upon the railing.

Siegfried shrugged, getting to the door and pulling an actual rope to ring some unseen bell. Reicket stood next to him as they waited. Then waited more.

Reicket let out an aggravated sigh, pulling the rope again, and then slamming both of his hands against the metal to make it rattle. "Gilsa! Gilsa! Let us in! We know you're there!"

For a moment they waited more, Reicket posed with both of his hands on his hips sternly. Siegfried glanced back at where there was a marble stone literally carved with Gilsa's last name, and still wondered if he lived here.

Reicket huffed and pulled hard on the ornate metal door handle, but it didn't budge. "Come on, let's go see if there's a back door. Ma always keeps the back door unlocked."

"We can't let ourselves in. What if he's not home?" Siegfried wondered, though he began following Reicket toward the back of the mansion.

"What are you gonna do, burglar him?" Reciket snickered.

"No!"

"Then it's fine." Reicket replied, patting Siegfried on the shoulder.

They walked around the side, seeing another water feature with a grand fountain. There were walk ways toward a sculpture garden around it, and along the side the windows reached from the top of the walls to the bottom of the floor. As they marveled at the grandeur they finally reached the back of the house. Instead of the pool, or garden, or gazebo that they had expected to find, instead they found a plain yard - and a second smaller house set far in the back beside hedges and trees.

More of a cottage, with old brick that had ivy, a chimney, a little gate and a single step toward the front door. The door had old paint with little flowers, the roof was taken over by little birds nesting in ivy, the windows had shutters that were tossed open, and to the side of the house were practice pieces for fighting, slashing, and archery.

Reicket and Siegfried both looked at each other.

Reicket moved straight to the door, walking up to it confidently but confused. Both were wondering why in the world Gilsa would have two houses, and also, why he would be in the smaller one. If indeed he was. Siegfried kept glancing around, still looking at the mansion which stood tall, and Reicket went to knock on the door. The moment his knuckles hit the door, however, it swung open easily.

"Hello?" Reciket called, stepping back in case someone else was on the other side of the door.

Siegfried glanced at him nervously.

"What? It was just unlocked." Reicket responded, ducking his head in and looking around.

After a moment the both of them went inside the little entrance room. They were certain then that Gilsa lived here, as his boots were on top of a chest, his cloak beside it, and everything was very neat. There was a cap for the royal guard hanging from a peg as well, and to the left was a door marked wash closet. Both of them turned to the right, where a plain arch led to the next much larger room.

"Oh, there he is." Reicket said in surprise.

In the middle of the room was a couch, with a small coffee table in front of it covered in papers, polish, cotton balls, and an empty bottle of alcohol. There were bookshelves along the wall behind the couch, a carpet covering much of the floor, stairs at the far wall, a door to their left, and a fireplace before that which had a set of old chairs flanking it. The fire had burned out. In all of this, Gilsa was draped upon the couch on his back, half dressed, and drooling.

"You think he'd wake up." Reicket snickered, walking closer to him.

Siegfried looked closer at everything on the table. "Um…" A lot of it looked written recently, all of it was loose paper, and he could tell that many of the cotton balls had been used for polishing. "Maybe we should let him sleep and come back later?"

"I'm gonna poke him." Reicket snickered, moving before Siegfried could say anything else. He stepped around the coffee table and jabbed his finger into Gilsa's cheek.

Gilsa's face twisted up, and his hand came up to weakly bat at Reicket. "Iss' Sunday?" He mumbled, sitting up as his eyes squinted open. "Whadda ya' want stablehand?" Gilsa groggily said with confusion and sleep lacing his tone.

"Good morning Princess. His Highness wanted you." Reicket smiled and stepped aside so Gilsa could see Siegfried, and the moment he did Gilsa jerked awake.

"Your Highness! What do you need?" Gilsa gasped, sitting straight on the couch, pulling the blanket over his naked chest and running a hand through his hair to try and be presentable.

"No-nothing so serious, You can - um - be at ease. It is your house after all. I'm sorry, for letting myself in." Siegfried said, a bit guilty as if he'd been caught in trouble.

"Yeah, why's your door just open like that?"

"I'm the Captain of Yellow Squadron, I need to be reachable at all hours." Gilsa replied, glancing between the two of them. "Is there news? What do you need?"

"No news," Reicket responded, turning his attention from Gilsa to all the work on the coffee table. "Siegfried wanted to talk to us about something. What is all this?"

"Your Highness?" Gilsa asked again, ignoring Reicket leafing through his things.

"It isn't anything to interrupt your work." He replied, gesturing at Gilsa things.

"Yeah, aren't you supposed to be training?" Reicket interjected again, setting down the paper without interest.

"I have days off too." Gilsa watched as Reicket started wandering around the room, then turned back to Siegfried. "I wasn't working on anything in particular. I was writing a report on what the Sleepful Mountains were, so it could be referenced in the future, and cleaning Firebrand. After so many years she didn't work properly, but I don't have the right oil, so that'll have to wait."

"How does a sword not work because of oil?" Reicket mumbled.

Siegfried shifted on his feet. "That would be important, a report like that. I'm sorry I interrupted you. I'll come back later-"

"Your Highness." Gilsa calmly and kindly urged, "What did you want to ask me?"

Siegfried looked nervous, and rubbed the back of his head, "Well… it sounds silly now. I just thought of it in the middle of the night and… wanted to know what you thought."

"I could tell you my thoughts, if you explained what it is?" Gilsa chuckled, moving to the far side of the couch and starting to organize the papers he'd written. "You can sit down, if you'd like. Reicket. Don't touch that."

Reicket froze where he was going to play with a trophy on the mantelpiece. "I wasn't. What did you even write about the mountains? That's a lot of paper."

Gilsa used his thumb to fan out the thick packet of paper. "I think the mountains are in layers - the farther you go up the more deadly they become. I wrote down every action we took, what we could have done better, and the encounters in the mist."

"You're a perfect little soldier boy aren't you? Hey!" Reicket suddenly realized, jumping sideways into a chair by the fireplace. "How come you don't live in that mansion? I'd kill to live there!"

"Actually," Siegfried cleared his throat, sitting down at the other side of the couch, "that is what I wanted to talk to you two about."

"Moving into Gilsa's mansion?" Reicket asked in confusion.

"Moving into the castle." Siegfried clarified.

Neither Reicket or Gilsa said anything.

"Because, you know… soldiers share barracks to get along better… and I thought since we're going to be Rainbow Knights we need to work on teamwork. And… things." Siegfried finished, letting out an embarrassed and sad sigh. "I told you it sounds silly in retrospect."

"Yeah it does!" Reicket shouted in excitement, "But it's awesome! I can live in the castle! Can I eat all the food too? What about the pool, can I use the pool - or the clothes? Can I get fancy tailored ones? I want a cloak from a bear! Can I get a big bed, like huge, one that I can bounce on, and like - I'm sure there's more, but I can't think of them, but like, you're serious right?"

"I was." Siegfried repliced, sitting back slightly at Reicket's enthusiasm.

"Yes! I'm in! Shh - don't listen to what ever Gilsa says, Gilsa has terrible ideas - sh- shut up!" Reicket said, leaning forward and making sounds for silence as Gilsa opened his mouth.

Gilsa only rolled his eyes. "It's not a bad idea in itself. Of course, I'd be willing to move into the palace if that's what you desired, but-"

"No buts! Shush-shush! He said yes, we're doing it!" Reicket chattered endlessly.

"But - I'd still like to stay at my own house when I can." Gilsa finished, glaring across at Reicket.

"Oh. Yes." Siegfried realized that as much as he thought of Gilsa as a friend, he'd also made the man his personal guard, in addition to being a royal guard. Gilsa was a soldier, it was his job to protect Siegfried at all hours, and manage the security of the castle. They'd even come here, barging in on his day off. It made sense he'd like to have a moment to himself every now and again.

"That being said, you realize it'll only give me more time and resources to train the both of you harder, yes?" Gilsa smiled. "It isn't a vacation - if your intentions of moving us all into the palace were for better teamwork it'll take more than just breaking bread together."

"I won't let you stop me from having the time of my life." Reicket challenged, glaring at Gilsa.

"As long as you can keep up, then we won't have a problem." Gilsa turned to Siegfried. "Did you already have arrangements made, your Highness, or…?"

"Um, I wanted to ask first, and…" Siegfried was unsure of his words, feeling like he'd neglected this plan or whim of his, but he looked up at Gilsa, who always just seemed so accepting, and smiled at his own doubts. "No."

Gilsa stood up, stretching his long arms over his head. "Go pack your bag stablehand. I'll have everything arranged by the end of the day."

"Yes!" Reicket hopped up, "I'm gonna live in the castle!" He excitaly shouted. "We're gonna have sleep overs, and food fights, and regular fights, and its gonna be awesome."

Siegfried stayed seated for a moment, just taking a moment to be happy that they'd accepted his invitation, and in a way accepted him as well. Then Gilsa turned to Siegfried with a raised eyebrow, and a knowing smile.

"You're going to be working today too, your Highness. Don't expect me to do everything on my own."

Siegfried nodded and got to his feet. "Of course not. We're the Rainbow Knights, we work together."

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rainbow knights

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