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Join date : 2023-01-26

Chapter 11: Richard Pendragon (2) Empty Chapter 11: Richard Pendragon (2)

Fri Apr 21, 2023 2:52 pm
- "Stand up, Brother." Said Robert.
- "You always manage to get beaten by your brother, Richard. But you did great this time. It was very close." Said Mila.
- "But, Master, it is unfair. Robert is older than me, and he started training before me." Said Richard, complaining.
- "It is fine. You are catching up. Even though Robert started training two years before you, the gap between you is only a few months. If you continue working hard, I am sure you will become a better swordsman." Reassured Mila.
- "Sure. As if I would let that happen." Said Robert, making fun of his younger brother.
- "Ok, boys, enough. Let's do the usual stretches, and then you can shower." Said Mila.

The training room was a big and bright gymnasium. The boys did some wrestling and sword-sparring in the open area where only the ground was covered in a soft but firm floor mats. The facility was of the highest quality and had all the equipment for ten athletes to train simultaneously.

- "Captain! The boys are expected in the Throne Room as fast as possible!" Said a guard who rushed into the room.
- "What is happening?" Asked Mila while standing on her feet.
- "I do not know." Answered the guard while kneeling and lowering his gaze.

Mila sighed. She undid the small ponytail holding her short, light brown, curly hair and did it again correctly. Mila was a short and athletic woman with a strong and shiny personality. Her watery blue eyes laid on the two boys, who did not react to the guard's intervention. They were very curious, but Mila was the only voice they would respond to as long as the training was not over. She went ahead, took a shower, and returned to the training ground, her hair still wet.

- "Boys, shower and go to the Throne Room. Put on some nice clothes. You are meeting your father." She ordered.

The two boys ran to the showers as fast as they could and executed what Mila had ordered.

In the Throne Room, the atmosphere was grave. Mila entered after putting on her uniform, similar to the guards'. She was also carrying a thin and long sword on her right side. The King was not present, only a few guards were, and next to the throne, the Queen was standing. Mila put her right knee on the ground and said :

- "My Queen. May I ask why the princes were called so suddenly?"
- "My dear Mila. I am very sorry, but things are not evolving in the right direction. The King's condition is worsening. I believe the boys will need a harsher training plan starting now." Said the Queen.
- "I understand. I will leave you to discuss with them. The new training plan will be ready this evening and will be started tomorrow morning." Answered Mila.
- "Thanks a lot, my dear. You can leave. I will personally talk with my sons." Said the Queen.
- "Yes, your Highness." Answered Mila, leaving the room immediately.

A few minutes later, entered Robert and Richard. Dressed like royalty with expensive fabric and rich ornaments. The two princes went straight to their mothers, let her kiss their foreheads, and stepped down from the pedestal.

- "We listen to you, Mother. Why have we been called in the middle of training?" Asked Robert.
- "The King is weak." Answered the Queen.

The guards all tensed up instinctively as this was said in an almost offending way.

- "As you both know, one of you two will get to replace him soon. It was not meant to be this early. The plan was to make it happen in four years. But as he is weakening, the name Pendragon becomes less powerful, and our enemies are taking advantage of that." Said the Queen before pausing.

The two boys looked at each other. Both of them always knew that they would be tested and only one of them could become King. But it was very different now that they both realized this moment was near.

- "I already talked with your instructors, and the new training plan will start tomorrow. I expect both of you to be as serious as possible and do your best to become worthy of your positions. I know you are still young, but the ceremony will be before Richard's birthday." Said the Queen.
- "Mother, even in ancient times, we would wait for the 16th birthday for the ceremony. Is it safe for Richard to participate at such a young age?" Asked Robert.
- "You say that because you want them to put me out of the competition because you are afraid of me. I will do my best to be chosen." Said Richard, angry.
- "No, brother, I am really concerned about you. And-" said Robert.
- "Enough." Interrupted the Queen.

Robert needed to clarify himself, but it was not the right place. He was visibly worried for his little brother.

- "You will both participate in the ceremony. The sacred Sword will pick the worthiest among you two. Until then, you have to keep doing your best. Robert, do not worry about your brother and train. Richard, do your best. Physical education is important, but do not slack on your ethical and cultural education. It is certainly an important criterion for the next King. Both of you now go and get some rest." Announced the Queen.

For the next few months, the two boys, aged 14 and 16, underwent hellish training. Their progress was terrific, and they could win sparring matches against most royal guards after a few weeks. They kept sparring regularly, one against the other, and after 2 months, Richard started beating his brother occasionally. At some point during the 4th month, he started winning systematically. Richard's talent and hard work were paying, and he was slowly becoming a better warrior and swordsman than his brother. However, Robert was kinder, softer, smarter, and more appreciated by the people in the castle. Richard put so much energy into Mila's training that in just 20 weeks, he became a killing machine. On the other hand, Robert became the ideal prince he was supposed to become.

Robert had short dark hair with dark blue eyes that could pierce through one's soul with a single gaze. His facial features were the softest you could imagine when he smiled. When he was serious, his face could also give a ferocious expression. If one saw Robert and Richard beside each other and compared their character, only Robert seemed like royalty.

Richard looked more like a wild child. His similar hair and eyes were both tainted with an almost unhealthy inner fire. As they grew up, the gap between them widened faster and faster. Robert was becoming more sophisticated, and Richard turned into a warrior.

More or less 5 months into the 6 months of training, after another wooden sword sparring, Richard won. Mila said:

- "You are too kind to your brother Robert. Fighting and teaching are different."
- "I am doing my best, Master. His fighting style is just too explosive. I cannot beat him." Answered Robert.
- "I am sure you saw the many openings he still has. You could exploit them if you did not consider him your loved younger brother." Said Mila.
- "Why is everyone still trying to help him? I just won, and I have been kicking his ass every time for a while now." Said Richard, annoyed.
- "Do not interpret my actions, Richard. I am your instructor, and I say what's best for the both of you to progress." Answered Mila.
- "Yes. That's what everyone says. But I clearly see that everyone wishes for Robert to be chosen over me. But that's fine. I will show all of you how superior I am to him. Is the training finished? I have an appointment with the massage therapist in a few minutes." Said Richard, determined.
- "Yes, the training is over. Both of you can leave after you clean up."

The following month, Richard got colder toward everyone. As the ceremony approached, Richard felt like everyone sided increasingly with Robert. His impression was undoubtedly justified. The workers of the castle all hoped that Robert would become the next King as Richard was too young and ruthless to their taste.

However, Richard knew that their opinion did not matter. The only thing that mattered was the sacred Sword. Only the sacred Sword would decide who would be the next King.
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