After being applauded by the King, the students returned to the academy full of motivation and continued to excel in their lessons and combat training.
One day during class as Sir Alexander went on with his lesson about field missions, Zack sat with his eyes plastered on the old man, hanging on to every word.
"As I said the other day, as a knight, you will have to learn to read between the lines, to pick up cues, and use your intuition to guide you, kind of like a sixth sense. You also will stumble across situations where what you are being told is not as it implies, and occasions where you will have to decipher codes or complex riddles.
Remember the tale of how the great Sir Kendrick found himself trapped in the tower of Lizza during the first Crimson War, how he had to answer a riddle written on each tile, and if he got it wrong a trap would set off. All those riddles were made to throw him off, but he saw through the deception and paid close attention to the words. . . Let's say you were in the tower of Lizza and found yourself in a trapped room, listen closely to my words now," he said sternly.
The students then casted their full attention on him and he continued to speak.
"Imagine this lads, you are in a room that is filling up with water rather quickly. There are no windows or doors. How would you get out? Anyone answer."
Zack plunged his arm up in the air, "Try and squeeze through where the water is coming from, or maybe try and break the wall or something, I don't know."
Zack gasped in shock.
Before his desk, Lea was about to raise her hand but changed her mind mid raise, and lowered it. By then it was too late, as Sir Alexander had already seen her.
"Go ahead, Lea."
Lea sighed before she spoke, "Um if there are no windows or doors then you pretty much have to face reality. There's not much you can do."
"I'm afraid that answer is incorrect also. Anyone else?" He said as he looked around the class. The class went quiet, and everyone looked at each other to see who would raise their hand.
Everyone in the class looked to the far right corner, where Jirell sat in the middle row with his elbows on the desk, and his fingers interlaced under his nose, unenthusiastically looking at the professor.
Sir Alexander smiled, "That is correct Jirell."
Zack's mouth opened wide with scrunched eyebrows, "But that doesn't even make any sense Sir."
"I started off the riddle with imagine. Listen to the words, as oftentimes that is where the answer lies, as a knight, you will be given wood and be expected to make concrete."
"In the real world the enemy isn't going to just hand you riddles," Zack complained.
"I don't think you understand what I meant lad," replied Sir Alexander.
Jirell looked across the class to the far left corner near the door.
"You idiot, what don't you get?"
Zack's mouth twisted in anger as he looked across to Jirell's side of the class.
"I don't get this!" He yelled, and held out his middle finger to Jirell at the other side of the class.
"Zack! That is rude. I want no such behavior in my class," Sir Alexander reprimanded him.
Zack folded his arms as he took a deep breath, glaring at Jirell from his side eye.
"Okay, so that draws the curtains on our lesson today. Feel free to ask me any questions, or if not, just go and do whatever it is you lads do these days," said Sir Alexander.
The students got up from their seats and went their ways out the door, but as Jirell was about to leave, Lea walked over to his desk.
"Um, Jirell, There is a traveling band performing in town later, do you want to go with me and my friends? They won't mind if you tag along."
"Just leave me alone," he replied coldly, and walked around her on his way out of the classroom, while she held her head down with feelings of embarrassment
Kelly who had just awoken from his sleep saw Jirell's response and got up to walk to her.
"Hey, don't pay that jerk any mind, his braies are probably too tight," he said then yawned.
"Oh, that's okay. I'm pretty sure there is a reason why he acts like that," she assured Kelly.
"Anyways, I'm headed to the carnival too so let's go, they better have some good food up there," said Kelly as he and Lea walked out of the classroom together.
Later, around midday. Zack strolled through the town of Northwell, navigating smoothly through the crowd of passers-by when he saw a large crowd gathered in the square, surrounding something he could not see from where he stood. Curiosity pulled him to push through the crowd, squeezing past adults and sweaty children to get to the center, where he saw a man and a woman dressed in long gowns, performing acrobatic tricks with several daggers at the same time.
He looked on in amazement as he saw the woman flick a dagger in the air, and catch it with her mouth while she juggled the others with her hands. He then looked to another side of the crowd where he saw a group of troubadours dancing and singing to the townspeople.
Moved by the sweet sounds of their unified voices, he pushed through the crowd to get to their side, where he bumped into Lea and a few other girls her age from the town.
"Oh hey Lea, this town is the best."
Lea giggled at his words, "Well, it is isn't it."
The troubadours sang hymns of old tales and romantic ballads and the braver people in the crowd sang along. Listening to the lyrics of the romantic ballads caused a wide array of feelings to stir up from Zack's stomach, all the way up to his chest. He turned his head and looked at Lea who stood by his side with her friends, moving her head to the sweetness of the slow chorus.
Just then, Zack was drawn out of his daze by the sound of a loud voice coming from another side of the crowd. He looked behind him and saw a tall man with bulging muscles and an X-shaped scar across his cheek, holding several daggers, hanging from the space between his fingers. That section of the crowd surrounded him as began to speak.
"Calling all two-legged creatures who call em'selves men! if you have any balls I dare you to come challenge me in a game of daggers! If you can beat my highest score you win Parinthia!"
The entire crowd gasped in shock at the man's words.
"What fools do you think we are!" one man yelled from the crowd.
"Parinthia and all the other last creations of Balboa lay beneath the ruins of Lizza!" another man yelled, which led to the crowd roaring in agreement.
"Yeah! Flee henceforth with that knockoff!" yet another man yelled, and the crowd supported him orally.
The muscular man stood upright with his chest held high, looking out across the murmuring crowd.
"All of you pipe down and listen! This is the real deal! I'm a mercenary, and on my most recent job, we went near the Lizza ruins. Horseshit hit the mill when southern pirates attacked our ship and it sank. We all jumped ship and swam to nearby land but I saw this beauty sitting in the coral reefs and I took it! Look at the balboa imprint! look at the marks all over it! No other person can replicate the balboa brand! This is the real Parinthia!"
Zack stood confused as he looked at the majestic designs of the bow which sat in the muscular man's hand. Lea squeezed through the crowd to Zack's side so she could get a better view of the commotion. Zack saw her and turned to her.
"Lea, what the heck is Parthinseesa?"
"It's Parinthia, and my father said it was a great bow made by the legendary blacksmith balboa in his last days. Remember the tales of Sir Maximus who wielded Parinthia before the Crimson Wars began. Didn't you know this?"
Zach shrugged, "Hey I was raised in an orphanage, nobody sat down and told me this stuff."
"My father is in love with bows and he especially loves the tales of Parinthia, he even said when he retires from duty he would go on a search for it. If only I could gift him his greatest desire," she sighed and looked down.
Zack looked at her and saw how much it meant to her, and decided he had to do something.
"Lea, don't worry. That bow belongs to your father now," he said with a confident smile.
"What? Zack, what are you on about?" she asked confused.
Zack pushed through the crowd, stepping on a few people's feet as he made his way to the man with bulging muscles.
"Who's up for the challenge? And don't give me stick about it being fake! I had a shark almost tear my arse apart to get this! It's one hundred percent real! Can you imagine wielding a legendary weapon? Walking amongst the league of heroes! Come get your chance to enter the history books as the next wielder of Parinthia."
The people in the crowd lusted after the legendary bow with their eyes, but none dared to step toward the man. Zack realizing no one wanted to go, was about to step forward but froze in his tracks upon seeing a familiar face. He gritted his teeth and looked on in dismay.
"Shame on you grown men! This here boy has more balls than you lot!" the mercenary berated the crowd who murmured at his behavior.
"Now the same rules for an archery competition apply here, but we'll do it one turn each. If you get more points than me on your turn, you win, but if not, your out, no Parinthia. Give me ten gold coins to get started."
Jirell reluctantly handed the man some coins from his pocket. Zack looked back at Lea who had her eyes fastened on Jirell, and he could see a feint smile creeping at the corners of her mouth. This made him frown, and he walked right up to the man as he was about to give Jirell a dagger.
"Hey big guy, I want to participate too."
Jirell glared at Zack with a deadpan face, and Zack glared right back with a frown.
"Okay, hand over your ten gold coins . . . So I'll go first, then you blondie, and then your friend right there."
"He's not my friend," Jirell said coldly.
"Alright everyone! Back the hell away unless you want to wear an eye patch from now on," the man yelled as the crowd cleared the way of five targets spread out beside each other.
The man stood before the first barrier and arched his elbow at a 90° angle to aim. He then released the dagger sending it flying into the center. "Bullseye! 10 points!" he yelled.
He moved to the second target and aimed, hitting the center again
He moved to the third target where he hit the outer ring. "Damn wind, 5 points!"
He moved to the fourth and hit the ring by the edge. "2 points! It's the wind!"
He moved to the fifth where he hit the outer ring. "5 points! Today's just not my day. . . Let's see if you can beat my 32 points blondie"
Zack stepped forward to receive the daggers and looked at Jirell from his side eye before aiming. Sweat ran down his cheeks as he remembered that he never actually practiced throwing daggers, and thus felt he was stepping out of his comfort zone.
He then focused his mind on winning the bow for Lea, which gave him the courage to ignore his shaking hands as he tried to aim. He could feel the eyes of the crowd over his back, and also knew Lea was watching him. With that, he threw a dagger at the first target missing it completely, sending it flying passed a bird who just took flight off a roof.
The crowd laughed and murmured mockingly, which angered Zack. He ignored their murmuring and went to the second target where he missed again, this time hitting a post. The crowd laughed even louder, which made Zack boil with anger. Lea stepped out from the crowd and put a hand on his shoulder. He looked back to see.
"Zack, don't pay them any mind. Just focus and don't stiffen your arms so much. Just relax and let it flow," she encouraged him.
Zack thanked her and turned around to the third target. He closed his eyes to phase out the crowd's chatter, and opened them to release the dagger as it flew right into the outer circle.
"5 points!" the mercenary yelled. Lea cheered from behind which fed Zack's will to win.
He went to the fourth target where he hit a bullseye, attaining 15 points. This impressed the crowd and they went quiet.
He went to the last target and took a deep breath, then aimed. He threw the dagger and landed another bullseye.
The mercenary walked over to him, "You made a total of 25 points. You've failed to beat my record, sorry kid."
Zack held his head down and clenched his fist, but he loosened up when he felt a sudden calmness strike his body. He turned his head to see Lea had hugged him from behind.
"I am so proud of you for trying your best Zack, you threw yourself out there for me and I just want to thank you, don't feel bad."
Zack's cheeks blew up in redness as he giggled nervously,
"heh heh, that's okay. That's what friends do."
"Mute kid, it's your turn," the mercenary pointed to Jirell.
Jirell frowned at being called a kid, "Of course, gorilla"
The mercenary chuckled at Jirells remark.
Jirell held four daggers in the spaces of his right fingers, and in the left he held one in his hand. Jirell threw the single dagger from his left hand and it struck the center of the first target, then right after, he released all the other daggers in his right hand, and they struck all of the targets in the center simultaneously.
The entire crowd gasped in shock, followed by temporary silence as they looked at the perfect bullseyes.
"50 points! Damn kid, who taught you to throw like that?" the mercenary asked in disbelief.
As Jirell ignored the man and walked over to the bow which laid on a wagon, the crowd let out clapping applauses for his extraordinary efforts. But Zack gritted his teeth and his eyebrows scrunched downwards, looking to the side where the targets stood, full of daggers. Jirell's dagger had knocked his off the target board, and it laid on the paved ground in the town square.
Lea clasped her hands together as she looked at Jirell, admiring how skilled he was. She then sighed and turned to Zack.
"Well Zack, we might as well go watch the other performances. Thanks again for trying."
"Wait, we're not leaving without that bow, I promised you that bow for your father."
"Zack, Jirell already won, it's okay. It's not like pa will die if he doesn't get Parinthia," she chuckled playfully.
"oh well. . . I'll be right back," he replied then squeezed through the crowd on his way to Jirell whom stood talking to the mercenary.
"Now listen Kid, this is a legendary weapon and I'm not just gonna hand it to you because you're underage. Where are your folks? Tell them to come collect it for you."
Jirell frowned, "I'm from the academy, my folks are elsewhere."
"Well, I can't give a kid a dangerous weapon, I don't want to piss off the King now."
"If you are a mercenary, then you must know Jiren?" Jirell asked.
The mercenary narrowed his eyes at Jirell, "Yeah, he was my boss, so?"
"I am his son . . ."
The mercenary's eyes widened at his words.
"Mother of Pete's chest! The resemblance is spot on . . . Your father was a good man, the best boss I ever had. I remember when I got into a fight at a tavern, the guy was busting my arse and was about to rip up my throat, but your dad came in and saved my hide. He took me into his mercenary company and made me a warrior. I owe him a great deal, it's just a pity I wasn't there to back him up."
"Hmph!, yet all of you left him when he needed you most," he said with a cold voice and frowned.
"Kid, there are just somethings in life you won't understand until you get older, but we would never turn our back on the boss."
"Just give me the bow, you at least owe us that much."
The mercenary sighed, "Fine, but be careful as some people might try to rob you of it. Put it in this bag so the guards don't see it."
Just then, Zack stuck his upper body out from the tight crowd, then pushed himself through completely, standing before Jirell and the mercenary.
"Hey Jirell, I need that bow, please, it's for Lea," he asked.
"What? I won this fairly, but if you want to fight for it I won't mind."
Zack shrugged his shoulders and held out his hands before his chest "Easy there, I don't want to fight. See, Lea's dad is very ill and his birthday is coming up. He loves hunting and he loves bows and stuff, so she wanted to give him a present that would cheer him up and raise his spirits. That's why I entered the challenge to try and win it for her."
"I don't see how that's my problem."
"Hey come on, help a sick man get better. What can I do to get you to give her? I'll do anything."
Jirell smiled faintly in a way that could still resemble a straight face.
"Fine, you can have it. Just stop begging, your embarrassing the academy."
"Really? Whoa thanks lots!" Zack yelled as he excitedly took the bag with the bow from Jirell, and squeezed back through the crowd.
The mercenary turned to Jirell, "You realize you just gave away a weapon handcrafted by the greatest blacksmith to ever walk the earth."
"You might have fooled everyone here, but I know full well that's not the real Parinthia. Balboa made all his weapons with strange materials, never with wood or anything easy to acquire, plus it's obvious you painted it and scribbled some gibberish on the grip. Just don't let the knights catch on to your ruse."
The mercenary chuckled as a drop of sweat ran down his temple.
"Boy you are just like your father. Always busting in on the poor man's hustle," he joked with a laugh.
"Anyways, I have other items up for grabs but do me a favor and don't compete. I want to make some more coins off these people and you would spoil it if you competed, but it was nice to finally meet the boss's son. If you ever need anything come find me by the Lucky Sevens Tavern at night, if I'm not there tell em you're looking for Kai and they'll tell you where I'm at. Run along now."
Jirell walked away heading out of the crowd on the town square, and went into the town, as the mercenary took out a spear from a wagon and began to address the crowd again.
The whole time Zack had been searching the crowd for Lea, until he saw her and her friends sitting by a bench across from a fountain, further down from the crowd on the busy town square. He walked anxiously over to her holding the bag, almost bumping into carriages and farmers carrying their carts across the square. As he approached the bench, the birds that gathered by the fountain all flew away, which disappointed the girls beside Lea.
Lea became confused as she looked at Zack's face which brandished a goofy smile.
"Um where did you disappear to, I wanted to introduce you to my friends," she then turned to her friends.
"Remember the lad I was telling you all about, this is him, his name is Zack," she said with a smile.
As the girls were about to ask Zack several questions, he turned to Lea.
"Hey ya nice to meet you ladies, Lea come here for a sec," Zack said as he gently pulled her up from the bench by her arm, and took her to the other side of the fountain across from the bench.
"Is everything okay?" she asked.
Zack opened the bag in front of her, "Here, this is for your father," he smiled as he handed her the bag.
Lea stood dumbfounded, and rose an eyebrow "Zack, What did you do? You didn't steal this from Jirell did you? If so return it now" she said sternly.
"Oh don't worry, all I did was spice up the story a little bit and he fell for it. I told you I always keep my promises," Zack smiled.
"Oh wow, my god. I don't know what to say. Pa will be over the roof when he sees this. Oh thank you so much, Zack, you're the best friend ever," she said as she hugged him.
Zack's cheeks yet again exploded blushing, being swollen with redness. Lea went and showed the bow to her friends, who looked at it in awe. As Lea and her friends plan the perfect surprise for her father, Zack looked up to the skies and saw the noon turning fast into nighttime. He wanted to go back to the academy before he got in trouble again, but when he looked at Lea and her friends talking and enjoying themselves, he figured since they allowed him, he would spend the rest of the evening hanging out with them.
He found it interesting the things the girls would talk about and remained mostly quiet, taking note of how men and women thought differently from each other. He spent the rest of the evening with them until night finally came down, and he, Lea and Kelly had to sneak into the Academy from the forests which sat behind the Academy walls.
Just a writer writing for fun and a guy who gets a kick out of reading his own books. You can also find my books on Wattpad as Fusionstories.
Go check out some of my work, take a gander, who knows. You just might like it.
The type of books I write are adventure, action, fantasy, mystery, movie scripts, videogame plots, teenfic/ya and hmm, maybe mixed with a tad bit of romance.
Fusion Tales ago
Thanks for the support!
Braies are a form of medieval underwear
I can't believe Jirell is the son of Jiren, the most powerful warrior of Universe 11 and the most powerful enemy Son Goku ever fought in Dragon Ball Super.
Also, I liked the riddle with the room filling with water. The only other thing I'll say is that the transition from Zack watching the knife jugglers to going to the mercenary was a little unclear. I thought the guy was standing right behind Zack in the crowd and threatening everybody for a second.
Fusion Tales ago
Opps Jiren's secret got out lol. Thank you for the comment bruv! Really appreciate your perspective!
Yes I agree that I should fix the mercenary transition. Back to editing!
Wander Natamaru ago
Loved SIr Alexander's riddle. It seems Lea and Zach's relationship are developing somewhat.
Again, dialogue punctuation. Dialogue ends with a comma if there is a tag such as ‘he said’ after it, or a period if not.
Also less of an error, more of an option. Sometimes authors, when writing long, uninterrupted monologues of a single character speaking which have been broken up into paragraphs, do this thing to remind you it’s still being spoken out loud. They won’t put a closing quotation mark on the end of any paragraphs until the very last one, but they will put new opening quotation marks on any new paragraphs. Your choice if you wanna do that tho.
Also, just my bias but I do love snippets of in-universe legends and folklore.
"Zack!, that is rude.
Remove either the exclamation mark or the comma. If you do the former, remember to capitalize ‘that’.
"Hey, don't pay that jerk any mind, his braies are probably too tight,"
Good example of how to end a sentence in dialogue when there’s a dialogue tag. However, you do appear to have misspelled ‘brains’.
There are a few instances where you forget to capitalize ‘Balboa’.
but if not, your out, no Parinthia.
Correct ‘your’ to ‘you’re’.
and he could see a feint smile creeping at the corners of her mouth.
Correct ‘feint’ to ‘faint’.
Is Parinthia a bow or an arrow? It feels like you keep switching between which it is. It’s initially described as a bow, and the fact it’s a great weapon would further support it being one, but then Lea says her father has always loved arrows, and Zack chooses to focus on winning ‘the arrow’ for Lea, then Jirell picks up the bow where it was laying. I’d recommend going back and fixing one or the other.
After all, it’s a bit of a different between a gun that’s special and legendary, and a bullet that’s special and legendary. Different shapes, and the way one can only be fires once, while the other can presumably make any shot a more lethal one.
It's not like pa will die if he doesn't get parinthia
"Hmph!, yet all of you left him when he needed you most,"
Remove either the exclamation mark or the first comma. If you do the former, capitalize ‘yet’.
"Kid, there are just somethings in life you won't understand until you get older,
In this instance, split up ‘some things’ into two words.
Just stop begging, your embarrassing the academy"
Correct ‘your’ to ‘you’re’.
Looks like someone’s got his first crush.