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A Desire to Protect

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"Good. Again!"

A practice duel had been ongoing in the courtyard of Castle Fraldarius all morning. The clatter of training swords rang out across the area.

Gwen leapt back from her opponent and paused a moment to focus. Taking a deep breath, she charged at him with full force.

"Hyyaaa!"

She was sure that she would score a hit, but her opponent was faster. Felix twisted to the side, dodging the attack and then knocked the sword out of Gwen's hands with his own blade.

Startled, Gwen stumbled backwards into a flower pot. It fell over and shattered instantly.

"You were too predictable." Felix stated. "An opponent can, and will take advantage of that."

Gwen glanced down at her feet. When did the ground become so interesting to look at?

Felix went on.

"You don't get second chances on the real battlefield. Keep that in mind next time."

His disappointed expression faded.

"Otherwise, you did well today. I'm...proud of you."

Gwen looked up again. "Oh! Thank you Father! Don't worry, I'll remember!"

The sound of uneasy footsteps came from around the corner. Felix's face paled more than Gwen thought was already possible.

Bernadetta came around the corner, shaking wildly. Her bow-which was drawn and loaded-was aimed at her husband. Upon the realization that it was in fact, him, she immediately dropped the weapon to her side.

"...Felix, you scared me half to death! I was at the s-stables and heard voices, not to mention something breaking! I thought the castle was under attack..!"

"Bernie, if we were under attack I would've taken care of it by now."

"Y-You are so difficult sometimes..!"

"You did choose to marry me."

Bernadetta squeezed her eyes shut and sighed.

"...Were you two...training again?"

"Yes."

"...I see."

Frustrated, Felix rolled his free hand into a fist and unrolled it again.

"Gwen is the heir to House Fraldarius. She has to learn how to defend our lands."

"She'd be safer in the castle..."

Gwen noticed her father's patience was getting thin and her mother was beginning to panic. She stepped between them.

"Mother, you and Father would always fight to protect people. That's what I want to do too!"

She looked over at her father and back at her mother again. The two were staring at each other wordlessly.

After a few tense moments, they both nodded.

"Okay." Bernadetta finally agreed. "Just promise me you won't do anything...too dangerous."

"She won't Bernie." Felix assured his wife. "...Damn, you worry too much."

"I w-worry too much?! Why don't you try to stop being so...so...calm...all the time..?!"

"Is that the best comeback you have for me?"

"N-No, I have other ones...I just...couldn't think of them at that moment."

"Right...If you say so."

"It's true..!"

Gwen slowly backed away towards the stables. Maybe the horses would bicker less.