Soul of the Warrior

by

Kyfe

Chapter 59 - Interlude: Princess Amily and Brave Sir Fenrix, Part 2

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Ameliyn adjusted her tunic as she stepped out of the back of the supply wagon attached to the caravan they had been traveling with. She did a once over of her person and seeing that she was fresh and presentable, she made her way back to where her personal wagon was located.

She smiled as she saw her two daughters showing their newest creations off to the temporary nanny they had entrusted the two girls to. The young lady had a strained smile on her face as Kailey and Riley took turns talking her ears off, parading various pieces of art.

The twins hadn't had a chance to restock their grass and flowers needed for their usual creations, so Ameliyn had pointed them in the direction of someone who could paint, and she had bought several beast skins with some washable colors for them to practice. The plan had been to introduce them to expanding their designs with more intricate color patterns, and then eventually lead that into weaving.

Those weren't the pieces of art the girls were showing the nanny, though.

Ameliyn's eye twitched as she saw Kailey pull out a small knife from who knows where, twirl it between her fingers, and then attack a block of wood with it. Many shavings and small statues were strewn about the front bench of the wagon, and the man driving it seemed to be deliberately ignoring the goings-on.

That's... not exactly what I had in mind, Ameliyn thought. When did they get those knives, and why are they so Skilled with them? Reivyn was much older and more mature before we ever let him deal with actual blades and not just wooden training versions.

"What do you have there, sweety?" Ameliyn called out to Kailey as a shape was quickly forming from the block of wood. It had only been several seconds, and Ameliyn could already tell that it was going to be a small statue of a man holding a sword over his head. That's definitely going to be Fenrix, but I'm almost certain Refix and Reivyn are the inspiration.

"Mommy!" Kailey and Riley called out at the same time, abandoning their work to look up at their mother.

"You said you would be gone for only a couple of hours! It's been a whole day!" Kailey said with a pout.

"Yeah, mommy," Riley said, "you owe us for your deception!"

"Deception?!" Ameliyn was taken aback by the word usage. "Honey, mommy didn't deceive you. Things happened, and it took a little longer than anticipated to run our errand."

"Doesn't matter," Kailey said, crossing her arms.

"You owe us," Riley said.

The nanny gave Ameliyn a sheepish grin. "They've actually been quite the little angels, Miss Ameliyn. They started off having a great time applying the paint to the beast skins, but somewhere along the way, they saw someone whittling. And then the knives came out. I tried to stop them, but they gave a convincing argument and they've been very careful with them, so... Well, you see," she gestured toward all the shavings and statues.

Ameliyn listened to the explanation, and then she did a careful Observation of her daughters. She's right. Not a single nick or cut can be found. I'll have some words to say to Refix later, though.

"Thank you, Salya," Ameliyn said. "I appreciate you watching them while we were out."

"Certainly, Pr.. ahem, Miss Ameliyn," Salya bobbed her head in a tiny curtsey as she stood up to go back to her wagon. Ameliyn passed her a small pouch of coins that she forced into the girl's hands.

"You deserve to be paid for your services, Salya," Ameliyn said with a smile. The girl was a few years older than Reivyn and already a low Tier 2 Class. She was a young adult, and, as such, she needed to receive the appropriate remuneration.

"Yes, thank you," Salya said before dashing away. Ameliyn chuckled at her actions and shook her head. She looked back to her two daughters who were still staring at her, waiting for her response to their demand of "being owed something."

"What would you two like from mommy?" Ameliyn said as she climbed up and took a seat between them. They dropped their angry facade and began bouncing up and down in their seats, practically climbing into Ameliyn's lap from either side.

"Princess Amily!" Riley said.

"Brave Sir Fenrix!" Kailey added.

"Ok, ok," Ameliyn said as she held her palms out and patted at the air to calm them down. "I'm happy to continue the tale of their adventure. Now, where were we?"

"Princess Amily had just arrived at the palace of one of her vassals!" Kailey answered.

"And Brave Sir Fenrix was trying to muster their generals," Riley added.

"Of course, of course," Ameliyn said with a smile. The little caravan they were part of began moving once more along the road from where it had been parked. "Let me see... Princess Amily stood in the apartments that had been given to her, and she marveled at the luxury..."

 



"This is totally unacceptable!" Ameliyn said, her arms crossed and a frown on her face. "They give me the rooms of a visiting dignitary and not one of the spare rooms for their Royal Family! This is an outrage!"

Refix looked around the spacious accommodations. Objectively, the room was perfectly fine. Better than fine, even. There's just the little detail that it is subjectively not fine at all. I know they have rooms set aside for people of the same status or higher, but it seems like they want to play games.

"Yes, Princess," Refix said as Ameliyn took a seat at one of the chairs. "The room is up to standard, but I can't help but agree that they're making a subtle statement with the choice of rooms.

"I know that, Guard," Ameliyn said with a raised eyebrow. "I just said that!" Refix surreptitiously rolled his eyes.

"I was just agreeing with you, Princess," he replied.

"Well, I don't need your agreement, Guard. I need you to go out there and fix the problem."

"Yes, Princess. Right away," Refix mentally sighed at the order. They're obviously going to dodge the issue, and there's certainly nothing I can do about it right now, but I can't not obey the order.

Refix walked over to the door and opened it, but he took a step back as someone was at the door already. The First Prince, Gallen, was standing with his arm raised, fist about to knock on the door.

A look of surprise was quickly squashed on his face as he unceremoniously strode through the door into the apartments. Refix took a slight shift to block his path, and a look of annoyance flashed on Gallen's face as he came up short.

"To what do we owe the honor, Lord Gallen?" Refix asked. He used the title of Lord for the First Prince to indicate that he was merely a lord in the larger empire, despite what his title in the local kingdom was.

"We've prepared a feast in honor of your arrival, Your Highness," Gallen leaned over and addressed Ameliyn directly, completely ignoring the presence of Refix. Refix narrowed his eyes as he stared at the other teenager. He's only looking at the surface and sees that I'm Ameliyn's bodyguard. He hasn't taken the time to learn the truth: I'm actually a superior noble to his entire family, much less he himself. Refix once more sighed in his mind.

Ameliyn isn't helping things, either, with her constantly referring to me as Guard. Probably getting back at me for always addressing her as Princess, but not following all of her orders. It's for her own good!

"Stand aside, Guard," Ameliyn's voice reached his ears. "Let the young man through," Refix smirked as he stepped aside. Even though she's still annoyed with me, she didn't miss the chance to get a little dig back at the First Prince, referring to him simply as "young man."

Gallen stood up straight, adjusted his coat with a tug from both hands, and then strode toward where Ameliyn was seated with his head held high. He approached her and gave a low bow, grabbing her proffered hand and placing a kiss on his own thumb instead of directly on the back of her hand. It was the standard procedure for greeting a lady of higher standing. If he had met a lady of lower standing, he would have kissed her hand directly.

Tiny, subtle things to indicate stance and rank. At least he hasn't lost his mind completely and tried to show a display of dominance.

Gallen straightened up and gave Ameliyn what he likely thought was a charming smile, though Refix saw it as sleazy.

"We couldn't possibly host the Imperial Princess and not throw her a welcoming feast," Gallen said. "I'm sure all of the other princesses and their ladies are dying to get to know you better. It's been years since you toured the kingdoms last with your family, and I'm sure there are several acquaintances and new people you would like to meet with."

"Yes, I'm sure," Ameliyn said with a slight nod. "When is this feast supposed to be held? Why didn't you simply send a servant to inform us?" Ameliyn cocked her head. Gallen placed a hand on his chest and looked scandalized.

"It would be highly improper to send a mere servant to inform Your Highness of such an event," Gallen said with apparent shock. "I simply had to bring the news personally."

"Hmm... would it really be improper to send a servant to - ahem - these apartments?" Ameliyn said, looking all around the room to emphasize her point. Gallen took a glance around at the room, a look of confusion on his face. Understanding seemed to come to him suddenly, and he bowed once more.

"I'm terribly sorry for the lack of manners we have shown with assigning this room to you, Your Highness," Gallen said before straightening his back. "Our spare rooms in the Royal Wing are under renovations at the moment, and it would not be right to subject one such as yourself to such an inconvenience. We felt it would be more appropriate to afford you peace and quiet away from all of the noise and crowd. I will personally see to it that they pick up the pace, and we'll relocate you to a more appropriate setting as soon as possible."

He's over-exaggerating his facial expressions. He needs more practice.

"See that you do," Ameliyn said with a lift of her chin. "You still haven't answered my first question."

"Yes, yes," Gallen said. "It's right now. We figured it would be better to throw the feast immediately so you could quickly return to your rooms and rest."

Another subtle dig, Refix thought. They're trying to make it appear that she isn't punctual under the guise of letting her rest earlier, but they could have let her rest now and given her time to prepare properly.

"Well, then, we must be off immediately," Ameliyn said as she stood up. She headed to the door with a brisk stride, also appearing to have picked up on the situation, and Gallen rushed to follow at her side. Ameliyn headed toward Refix to give him her arm as an escort, but Gallen spoke up before she could get to him.

"Allow me to escort you, Your Highness," Gallen said. "It's only right that one of the Royal Family brings you to the banquet, personally."

Ameliyn froze as she looked back and forth between Gallen and Refix. She made her decision and offered her arm to Gallen.

"Quite right," Ameliyn said as she allowed Gallen to set a more sedate pace as they walked out of the apartments. "Guard, you walk behind us."

Looks like she's still more annoyed at me than them, Refix thought with a silent chuckle. This will mean that in order to get at me, she has to give up any chance of showing up with better timing. Gallen is obviously deliberately walking slower than he needs to.

The three walked through the empty halls. There weren't many people on this side of the palace at the time. Visiting dignitaries would typically bring their own cohort of servants to take care of them, and so the local staff only did maintenance of the wing without fully staffing it.

Gallen held his arm out in a perfectly gentlemanly manner, and he occasionally brought his other hand up to pat Ameliyn's hand as he spoke to her about different things they passed by in the halls. There were many little courtyards interspersed along the way containing gardens, and he pointed out and talked about the different decorations along the hallway as well. As this wing of the palace was for foreign diplomats, there were many decorations to display the might of the local Royal Family, but there were also many displays to show their cordiality and diplomatic accomplishments to the visitors.

They eventually made their way to the more central locale of the palace, and they headed toward the banquet hall. Many more servants and guards could be seen moving about taking care of running the palace, but there were no other young lords or ladies still outside of the banquet hall, as they had all apparently already arrived by this time.

I'm sure they notified literally everyone else before sending Gallen to pick the Princess up.

They stepped into the banquet hall, and the noise and chatter immediately came over Refix. He had trained long and hard for many years, and his Perception Skill was high enough that it didn't interfere with his ability to pick things out, though. He followed behind as Gallen led Ameliyn to the head table where a seat was left open for her with the Royal Family. They made their way around the room under the watchful gaze of all those in attendance.

The King stood up with a hearty laugh as Ameliyn approached. "There she is, finally able to make it to the banquet held in her honor," he said loudly, but with a large laugh and smile to make it seem like he was making light of the situation he deliberately brought focus on. "Have a seat, my dear, have a seat." He gave a bow while he addressed her.

Refix gave the man an appraising look with narrowed eyes. He's much better at this than his son.

Ameliyn walked up to the offered seat to the King's right, and she paused for a moment to look over her shoulder at Refix. "Guard, I'm perfectly safe here. You go sit with the other guards," she dismissed him.

Refix mentally sighed once more. She obviously knows that my standing is second only to hers, but she still sends me off to sit with the riff-raff. Oh well, I've suffered worse while training.

"At once, Princess," Refix said with a small bow before turning on his heels to head to a side table. It had several men in uniforms similar to his own official garb, but it was a tad less ornate. Refix hadn't worn his uniform, though, as it was quite dirty. He spied that several of the men were older, grizzled veterans, and his hopes came up at seeing them.

Looks like it's not the riff-raff, after all. I can see that these are the generals of the King's armies. Maybe he's not completely unwilling to offer us military aid, he thought. We'll just have to evaluate the price.

 



"...and the King lavished praises on the beautiful Princess of the Empire while Brave Sir Fenrix regaled the generals with tales of his prowess. They burned with excitement to join the pair in their quest," Ameliyn said. "We'll go ahead and end the story here for next time."

"Awww, I want to hear about the banquet, though," Kailey whined.

"Yeah, tell us about how the generals pledged their loyalty after being impressed by Brave Sir Fenrix," Riley said.

"Next time, next time," Ameliyn said. "I need to keep some things for the story next time I tell it, and I see your father coming over. I have something I need to discuss with him."

"Ok~ay," Kailey (Riley) said. They scooted over to let Ameliyn get up, and she climbed into the back of the wagon after motioning to Refix with her head. Refix came in through the back after Ameliyn waited for just a short moment.

"What in the world have you been teaching our daughters?" Ameliyn ambushed her husband with the unexpected question. "I know you trained Reivyn in all sorts of weapons, and I was fine with that because you used wooden training versions. Why do Kailey and Riley have real knives?"

Refix reeled for a moment at the sudden burst of accusatory questions before he grew a sheepish grin. "Well... I have managed to teach them a thing or two with knives and daggers over the years while working with Reivyn, enough that they gained the Skills, and I mi~ght have given them some small tools to defend themselves before we left on our errand when you weren't looking."

"Small tools to defend themselves?" Ameliyn raised an eyebrow. "I saw Kailey twirl that sharp knife through her fingers like she had done it a hundred times before. They somehow got it into their head to work on whittling instead of the careful planning we made to get them into weaving." Ameliyn bent down where several of the little statues had been discarded inside of the wagon and grabbed one. "Here, they've been practicing making figures of Princess Amily and Sir Fenrix. This one looks quite a lot like you." She handed it over to Refix after inspecting it for a moment.

Refix took the little statue and stared at it for a moment before looking back up at his wife. "This is an ogre," he said with a flat voice.

"Oh, is it?" Ameliyn said with a shrug. "I hadn't noticed." Refix rolled his eyes as he tossed the little ogre aside.

"Alright, alright," he coaxed her, bringing her into a hug. She resisted for a moment, but only for a moment. "I should have told you I was giving them some real weapons, but I never thought they would actually use them. Much less for whittling and twirling through their fingers."

"I know," Ameliyn said. "You did it out of the same sense of wanting to protect them that I have for not wanting them to have them. Anyway, as long as they're working on their Skills diligently, we can still help with their development. Maybe we can consult with some of the educators about trying to use what they have instead of weaving to build their mana Skills in the future.

"You know that my formal education came to an abrupt halt, and, while I did learn a lot, I'm not quite sure how to translate whittling into Spell Casting."

"That's just because you haven't considered it before," Refix said, kissing the top of her head while still holding her in his embrace. "I'm sure it will work wonders toward their visualization abilities."

"Hmm, that's a good point," Ameliyn said. They lapsed into a comfortable silence for a minute. "What's Reivyn up to, now?"

"Heh heh, he's lucky in love, that one," Refix said with a wide grin. Ameliyn pulled back and narrowed her eyes at him. "He's got two scions of some of the well-off families from the Capital fighting over him. They haven't taken things too far, but they are using all of their charms to try and dazzle him into choosing sides. He's currently still with both of them, traveling with the Duke's men toward the Capital."

"Hmph, we'll see," Ameliyn said. "Being the daughter of a wealthy family in a podunk little kingdom and attending one of their Academies doesn't mean they're good enough for my son." Some of that haughty, noble attitude that she had reined in over the years crept back up at the prospect of some harlots trying to steal her boy.

"Hah! I'm sure Reivyn can keep a clear distinction between personal and professional relationships."

"He better, if he knows what's good for him," Ameliyn said as she leaned into Refix once again. "Not just anyone can be worthy of the Vynn Bloodline."

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Kyfe

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