And Now They Have to Save the World
“Congratulations, Lars! You are now an apprentice sorcerer!”
Lars rolled his eyes as Ghelda happily skipped around him, proud that the gifted child she brought had become an apprentice in just a year. She had told him that novices usually took at least three years of studying and training for their trials. And he bested them.
He stepped out of the room and nearly bumped into Rhen.
“Watch where you’re going, Peta,” he said.
“Shut up, Baby Lars,” Rhen replied coolly. “Did you just check the hair on your body and find out it’s green or what?”
Lars flushed. Rhen smiled and continued. “Aww, what’s wrong? Did Big Bad Rhen make Baby Lars flush like a public toilet?”
He scowled at her, though he could feel his face hot with embarrassment. Ugh, Rhen was such a pain in the arse. There was no end to her insults about his hair color. Luckily, Lars knew that she was quite unaccustomed to male attention in that way. It would shut her up, even though the corniness would come from someone who hated her. “Why of course not, my dear. I just found you looking especially ravishing today. Your eyes, in particular. Such gorgeous blue.” He winked and made a move to grab her hand.
Rhen, unable to speak out of utter surprise, jerked herself away from him, with her eyes bugging out. She slowly backed away from him until she was out of sight.
Lars watched Rhen do her trials. She kept missing Lorad. Sad, really. He was already an apprentice sorcerer, and he had mastered the spells his classes had to offer. It was yet more proof that he was a genius. He’d spent his childhood getting ready to become the most amazing sorcerer in the world, and he was already starting out very nicely.
It was impossible for a stupid slave to become a sword singer. Let alone a stupid female slave. Lars wasn’t misogynistic, but how could someone as thin and as weak as a peasant girl wield a sword?
He narrowed his eyes at the sight of her trying to fight back. She was so feeble and easy to break. And Lorad had freaking cross display whenever he attacked. It made the battle seem like an exorcism of sorts. Rhen had no chance. No chance at—
Rhen was looking at him with a tired but smug expression.
“So…” Lars said, as he walked by her side as if he did it all the time.
Rhen scowled in annoyance. “What?”
“You’re an apprentice sword singer.”
“You’re going to sing love songs to your weapons.”
“You have no idea what sword singers do. I bet sorcerers just sit in front of fake crystal balls all day and demand cash from—”
Lars slapped his hand on her mouth. Then he felt something wet on his fingers and snatched his hand back.
“You licked me!”
Rhen grinned and stuck her tongue out. “You had it coming, asshole.”
“If you must know, I could make that arse of yours fry to a crisp. Maybe I could eat it.”
She grimaced. “Ew, Lars! You cannibal! Who would want to eat a human butt?!”
Lars smirked. “Simple. Cannibals.”
“What have I done to deserve this? Are you jealous of me?” Rhen exclaimed in frustration. “Why won’t you just leave me alone?”
“Because.” He leaned closer, to whisper in her ear. He didn’t care if people were watching. “You’re mine.”
Rhen didn’t move, but he could feel the disgust radiating off of her words when she murmured, “I’m not. You’re insane. I feel sorry for the girl who becomes your wife. You have issues.”
“Dear Rhen,” he whispered. She waited for him to continue, but then he strolled away like nothing had happened. Rhen could hear some whispers around her. Her face turned pink, seeing as how she was in the spotlight, and she too left the scene.
She heard someone say, “That bitch!”
“I can’t believe that you, of all people, will be joining me,” Rhen huffed as she sliced a rat in two. They were training like crazy, in order for them to get stronger for the quest that lay ahead of them.
“I told you,” Lars snorted, “I can’t let Peta take all the glory. And you might hurt yourself. You’ll lose your porcelain perfection of the skin and it will look so not attractive.”
She glared at him while she gingerly removed the treasure from the rat’s corpse. “Who’s the one who stocks up on the covey balms?”
Lars lunged and forced the sharp end of his staff to pierce though the body of a scurrying rat and he stepped on another, killing them both with sickening crunches. Rhen cringed.
“Could you kill them quietly?”
“It’s not like you’re not loud when you kill rats. You grunt like an ogre.”
“I’m not a grunter!”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not!”
“Yes you are.”
“No I’m not!”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am!”
“No you’re not.”
“Yes I am!”
“No you’re not.”
“I am a grunter and that’s final!”
Lars grinned at her. “Okay then, Rhen. I’m fine with you being a grunter.”
The said girl looked confused for a second, then thoughtful the next, then suddenly angry. “You tricked me!”
Rhen had a gleam in her eye. “Did not!”
Lars raised an eyebrow. “That won’t work on me.”
“Ugh!” She stomped off in a huff.
Since there was a massive flood of new students, Rhen offered Master Harald hers and Lars’ rooms, with that dreadfully pathetic “Lars and I are okay with staying at an inn, Master Harald!” Lars, of course, protested, yet the peasant girl was too generous to let the children sleep at the inn when they were just novices.
They had to save their gold for equipment and other supplies, so they had to share a room that thankfully had two beds. Lars had made it a point to demand that he wouldn’t sleep on a floor or his mother would march herself to Veldarah and scream at whoever owned the inn.
A few hours after training found Lars at the market buying some food because the food at the inn was too bland and made he and Rhen have long dates with the bathroom. Lars saw some children playing and ogling at him. They must be staring at my hair, Lars thought in annoyance. They were like Rhen; the kind of children who take in every little detail and scrutinize the strange little things.
He picked up a haunch and weighed it in his hands, estimating whether to get it or just eat bread again. The prices were outrageously high for such a small amount of food. Only bread was reasonably priced.
Lars spotted a ratty old woman waving an oar. Her image screamed I am an old woman. Hear me roar.
She was yelling about a boat for a large price of gold pennies. He shuffled uncomfortably away from her. The old lady kept shifting her gaze in his direction. Only well-off people would be in the meat market buying delectable animal flesh.
“Melita, domi adsum!”
Rhen looked up from wiping her sword of the rat blood. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“That’s for me to know and you to not find out,” Lars grinned gleefully. His companion frowned.
“Latin is a dead language, Lars. No one even cares about it anymore.”
Lars slapped on his face an expression of mock horror. “Dead language?! You’re only saying that because you’re jealous that I know more than you!”
“Just shut up.” Rhen concentrated once more on ridding the blade of body fluid.
“Come on, you know you want to know what I mean,” he teased. She didn’t react. Lars rolled his eyes and sat next to the apprentice sword singer.
He poked her. “Ouch.”
“Ask me.” He poked her again.
“No – ouch!”
“Lars, stop it – ow!”
Lars cruelly poked Rhen’s stomach hard. “Fine then! Just tell me, so that you’ll leave me alone!”
He simpered and meandered leisurely to the door. “This requires reenactment, dear Rhen. Pretend I didn’t come in, and that you’re still wiping that invisible blood off the pitiful blade that you try to pass for a weapon.” Then he opened it and went out. Then went back in.
“Honey, I’m home!”