Finally... an opportunity to really boost my confidence!
Trust me, I'm NOT a coward... contrary to what most people insist. I'm sick and tired of all the snarky comments and hushed whispers. No, really.
What I lack is self-confidence. I'm caught in this vicious cycle of not believing enough in myself, and not practising my moves enough. It only leads to further deterioration.
My warfare techniques aren't all that bad, you know. I do a fairly decent job when I secretly practise my moves in my private chambers, but EVERYTHING gets badly jumbled up when there are people around. Devasena's meaningful smile only messes things up further.
And if that's not enough, my sister INSISTS that I must go out of my way to impress Devasena.
Take that. They want me to woo that scary girl.
The two strangers currently standing before me are my only hope. Perhaps training that handsome young man would prove to be a real confidence-booster for me.
And if I'm lucky, and the young man is not as idiotic as he looks (I secretly pray so!), my sister might stop pestering me about Devasena, and try to convert HIM into a worthy suitor.
But alas! Devasena isn't someone to fall for good looks alone, and this man needs to work really hard. I wish him luck there.
Tough life until then.
Time to get started with my new student.
Right. Where do we begin?
A mace, perhaps?
No way. He might look well-built, but let's face it-- the mace is QUITE heavy. I cannot risk shattering his confidence.
How about a spear, then?
Nope, it's too long. Manoeuvring it can be quite problematic for an utter newbie.
I need something of a manageable length and weight. Ah, yes... a sword sounds just fine. Here we go!
But wait, wouldn't it be a nice idea to first ask him what HE considers himself good at? He surely must excel in SOMETHING, right?
"Everything, My Lord," he replies with an easy confidence that I instantly fall in love with. "Count and cup with cowrie, hide and seek, lambs and tigers, drop the handkerchief..."
"What about hopscotch?" I cannot resist myself from cutting in.
"I did watch it from a distance, but the girls did not include me," he whines, instantly earning a cascade of giggles.
Ahem, we gotta concentrate now. I wish we had some privacy, grrrr....
"Look attentively at me. Watch. Observe carefully and you'll learn. See, hold it like this, lift it high... and then one swift blow on the trunk," I smile at the visibly terrified lad. "Here, try it."
He instantly obeys, but he is holding it the wrong way. No wonder it's the FLAT surface of the sword that's landing on the trunk.
Time for some hands-on training.
"Lift it above your head," I hold his hand while I instruct. "Like... this..."
There lies the trunk, neatly sliced into two.
Honestly I can't remember the last time I achieved such a feat. And NEVER have I managed to do something like this in front of an entire gallery of spectators!
Oh, boy... this adorable dork is my lucky mascot!
"What a blow, My Lord!" The older man accompanying my student gushes in delight.
"Did I just do it?" I can't help wondering aloud.
"Of course you did, My Lord! Who else did?" The old man nods his head ever so enthusiastically while I triumphantly place the sword on my shoulder... not without a satisfied smirk at an utterly astonished Devasena.
"The eyes of an eagle, the might of an elephant, the physique of a tiger, the speed of a panther, the grace of a lion," the old man is delirious now. "I see the entire jungle in you, My Lord!"
A funny one, this man, but I like him. I'll teach him to wield the sword too.