I was standing in a big hall, holding a stick in my hands, panting and sweating. Skye was standing a few meters away, clearly amused. “Is that the best you can do, Ginger?”
“Don’t call me that!” I rushed to attack, but he easily blocked it. I tried to attack from below instead, but I was too slow. Whatever I did, he was there to block it.
“Come on; try to hit me like you really mean it!”
I swung the stick towards him with full force, and with one simple move he hit the stick out of my hands. It ended up far from me, totally out of my reach.
“If this happened during a fight against our enemies, you would be dead by now.”
“Oh really?” I said with as much sarcasm as I possibly could.
He laughed. “It’s fine. You’ve never hold a sword before, right?”
“From what you’ve seen so far, do I look like someone who’s been holding a sword before?”
“Well there’s your answer.
He picked up the stick and gave it to me. “Here, I’m going to tell you some things.” He came behind me, reached out his arms around me and placed his hands over mine. “Hold it like this,” he murmured into my ear, moving some of my fingers gently. I could barely breathe. He was standing so close. I could feel his warmth, his breath against the skin on my ear, his heart beating inside his chest.
“Also,” he said, “don’t hold it as if you’re trying to strangle it. Hold it gently, as if you’re dealing with a fragile bird.”
In that moment, I could have kept standing there with him in an eternity. Just standing there, listening to his soft voice comparing sticks to fragile birds.
“It’s a stick. It’s not even beautiful.” That was the only thing I could say in order to keep myself calm in this situation. I shouldn’t be reacting like this. I shouldn’t be noticing every single detail about him. Especially not now, when he was teaching me how to fight.
“Now you made the stick sad. Apologize and say it’s beautiful.”
“I’m not going to apologize to a stick.”
“Don’t talk about the stick as if it’s only… a stick. There are thousands of sticks out there; this one is unique in its own way.”
If it wasn’t for the fact that he was talking about sticks, his words were beautiful.
“This morning, my father told me that if we both come back alive from the silver-king, he’ll start to arrange our wedding. So, what cake do you want?”
I had almost forgotten about that. Right, we were engaged. I was getting married, with a guy I’d met like one day ago.
“No offense, but I won’t marry you.”
“Sorry, but we can’t do much about it. It’s already decided.”
“I’m still not marrying you.”
“I’m not that bad, you know. A lot of girls would do everything to marry me.”
“I’m not one of those girls then.”
“Well, there’s no need to bother with that just yet. We have to go see the dragons and walk into the winter-forest first. Then, we can bother with it.”
I let out a sigh. He removed his arms, and took a few steps away from me. The moment was gone. I could think clearly again. All the feelings I had felt was now gone. He was nothing more than an annoying idiot.
We kept practicing for the next upcoming hours. He kept telling me things about how I held the stick wrong or swung too hard or moved too slowly, and I kept trying to hit him, without managing to do it even once.
When we stopped for the day, I was ready to just lie down on the floor and sleep.
“Why should I practice with you?” I murmured on the way back to my room. “You’ve probably been swinging swords since you were born. Shouldn’t I get to practice with someone a bit more… on my own level?”
“Nah, there’s no need to. I’m just teaching you some basic things and then we’ll leave. Also, I’m not that much of a sword-swinger, actually. I prefer bows and knives. You see, I like being discreet and unseen. Knives are easy to hide, so you can bring a lot of them and throw them from afar if you’d like to. And with a bow I can just climb up in a tree and shoot down arrows without anyone suspecting a thing. I do know how to handle a sword, but I’m not an expert with it.”
I nodded. To my own surprise, I could actually make sense of his words.
We walked quietly for a while, the only sound coming from our footsteps. I thought about what happened before. When he kind of embraced me from behind. We had been so close, too close. From any point of view, we had looked like a couple. Why do I bother so much? He was just telling me how to fight. That was it. In that hall, he was my teacher, nothing more. The moment didn’t mean anything. Still, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
We kept practicing the next following days. Mostly with the sticks, but one day he showed me how to use a bow. He let me shoot arrows at flour sacks. Not that the man selling the flour became so happy over that.
We climbed up in a tree, hidden by the green leaves. He gave me his bow, and an arrow. “Here,” he said. “Put it here, and hold it like this.”
And once again, we were so close. His hands over mine, showing me what to do. “Now draw it back carefully.” I did as he said, not able to ignore how fast my heart was beating.
“Good,” he continued. “Try to aim at the sacks. It doesn’t matter which one of them, you choose.” I moved the bow a little bit to the left, focusing at the sacks down below. I breathed deeply.
“Release it when you’re ready.” I waited for a bit more, making sure that I would actually hit one of the sacks. Then I let it go. The arrow flew perfectly toward its goal, and pierced into the sack.
“That’s really good for a first try, Ginger.”
“If you call me that again I’ll push you out of the tree.”
He chuckled. “Of course.”
An angry voice came from below. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing!?”
Skye looked down in surprise. “I think he caught us.”
“Do you always have to state the obvious?”
He smiled at me. “Let’s get down from here and run for it.”
The plan was stupid and thoughtless. It would’ve been better to stay in the tree and wait for the man to go away. It didn’t seem as if he was planning on climbing up in the tree himself, so we were safe up there. But I guess climbing down and run was more exciting, so that’s what we did. As soon as we came down on the ground, we started to run.
“Hey, come back here!” The man ran after us, but he was way too slow.
“I feel like we should apologize to him,” I said. “We did destroy his flour.”
“He has too much flour anyway, it doesn’t matter.”
“Well he does sell flour, so of course he would have a lot of it!”
Still, I hadn’t had that much fun for a very long while. Skye always got on my nerves, but in fact I really had a lot of fun with him. It wasn’t as it had been with those fake-friends I had before. This was more real. More happiness, and I wanted this to last for the rest of my life.
But nothing lasts forever.
Blev en aning kortare den här gången, jämfört med förra veckans del xD
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