Angus watches over the set of recruits to Arcana Kingdom. He has immediately put them through the vigorous training that will weed out those worthy of serving His Grace—the White Sage Xehtus Alpex. He oversees the conditioning of the new recruits with help of Fifth seat lieutenants. Angus walks through the training ground, carefully scanning over the latest arrival. Only those that meet his approval will be able to accept a title and wear the sacred symbol of Arcana. So far, the pickings are slimmer than last time. There are few of those recruits with talent. He sighs and shakes his head grimly. This generation has too many slackers, he thought. Angus enters the weapons training grounds. Perhaps there will be promising soldiers here. Weapons art is a must learn skill. A soldier must be able to defend and protect not only His Grace but also the people of Arcana and carry out assignments. The weapons training grounds are divided into four classes—archery and shooting, heavy weapons, staff and swordsmanship. Angus stops at the archery and firing range. Here, recruits learn how to perfect their skills with arrows and firearms. There is some potential here. From what Angus sees, there are very few missed targets. This is a good sign that this batch of recruits will serve the White Sage well. He moves on to the heavy weapons class. There aren’t many participants in this class since there a few recruits how are willing to wield blunt force weapons such as morning stars, flails, and axes. Angus is pleased however to see a couple female recruits mixing it in with their male peers. The staff class deals with training in the art of combat using a full, half and quarter staffs. Angus has mixing feelings about this group. He sees half of the recruits performing well in the mock battles while the other half go at it halfheartedly. Those slackers will certainly not move on unless they straighten up. The last class that seems to do well above the others is swordsmanship. It is the easiest class in two ways. The first is that the techniques aren’t as difficult to learn as say for archery or the heavy weapons. Recruits in this class seem to excel here. However, it is also the easiest class to weed out the slackers and the complacent. Both types tend to not give the training their best from either lack of confidence or over confidence. This batch of recruits seems to harbor both.
Angus watches a group of young men partake in a mock duel. They clearly are not into it, swinging their dulled swords lazily about and making a game out the training session. Angus snorts with contempt. This lot will not join the ranks of knighthood. He then looks over at a group of recruits whom he refers to as over confident. These recruits are raised in high society and trained to use a sword before they learn to crawl. However, that type of sword art is for fancy show, not combat. These recruits are here simply because their parents want them out of the way so they can handle personal matters, namely attending social gatherings and high class galas more so than spending time with their children. Angus shakes his head pitifully and grumbles. They will be assigned to something different as well. He then walks over to the last group and smiles brightly. Now this lot has what it takes, he thought. The members of this group are partaking in mock duels and putting their hearts into it. He watches a pair of young men who are not afraid to be a little rough as one of them is tossed to the ground and disarmed. His opponent helps him up and they prepare to engage each other again. Off to Angus’ left, a young girl engages two of her male peers. She fends them off using fencing techniques but attacks with aggressive sword skills. She knocks one of the young men’s weapon aside, whirls around and locks sword with the other. She holds him back briefly before disarming him with a flick of her wrist. The girl takes out his ankles with sweep of her leg, positions herself to catch the sword she flipped into the air, and crosses them to block the incoming strike of her other opponent.
The male recruit is twice the girl’s size. He presses his attack, locking her swords. However, the female recruit waits for the right moment and lets her male peer shove her blades down, causing him to stumble forward. She capitalizes on his mistake and sends his sword flying out his hand with a powerful strike. She then lays a blade next to his throat. Beaten, the male recruit raises his hands in surrender. They share a laugh and the female recruit lets him up.
“Damn Tiph, that’s three times you’ve beaten us,” said the larger male recruit.
“Yeah, though you could’ve tried to take it easy. My hand still stings a little,” the smaller male recruit said, rubbing his right hand.
Tiph laughs. “Sorry Gus, I just got into the moment,” she says, rubbing the back of her neck.
“Bah, don’t worry about that pansy. He just wants you to rub it out for him,” the large male recruit teased.
“Hey, shut up, Barlot,” Gus shot back. Tiph and Barlot laugh.
It is then that Tiph noticed Angus looking at them proudly with his burly arms crossed over his expansive chest. His wide grin parted the flames of his beard. “Hey guys, it looks like someone was enjoying our little bout,” she tells Gus and Barlot. They turn to see Angus walking towards them. The three recruits straighten themselves up and stand in attention. Angus towers over the recruits even Barlot who is the tallest of them.
“Sir Angus,” Tiph said properly.
Angus laughs heartily and says, “No need to waste the formalities on me. Just Angus will do yae fine.” Angus was never one for formal titles, especially from recruits who impress him. He felt that it helped the new knights relax a little bit if they were on a first name basis with him. This rule did not apply to those recruits who disappoint him or are not worthy of joining the Arcana knighthood. Tiph, Barlot and Gus, who has met Angus earlier, loosen up their tension.
“Alright, Angus,” Gus said with a slight stumble.
“I have been watching the three of you and was impressed by what I saw, especially you lassie,” Angus said to them.
“Thank you, Angus,” said Tiph. “At first, we thought we had done something wrong when you came over.”
“No, no, yae three are the best I’ve seen thus far. Unlike that lot o’er there,” Angus says, curling his lips in disgust after finishing his sentence. Gus, Tiph, and Barlot look towards the group Angus indicated. Instead of polishing their swordplay, they are standing around socializing. Tiph turns away and scoffs with contempt. Angus and the two young men notice Tiph’s reaction. “You know them, lass?” asked Angus.
“Unfortunately,” answered Tiph. “We all attended the same fencing class back in Cypress Gallows. The girl with the guys, her name is Amaria Coulter and the three chuckle heads with her are also from Cypress. The one with brown hair is Xavier Stevens. His buddy next to him with short red hair is Conwell Lexington and the last guy with the flowing blonde locks is Quentin Atlas. They always had their heads stuck up their asses. Figured they wouldn’t change once they got here.”
“Atlas, that name sounds familiar,” Angus said, stroking his beard.
“It should, Quentin’s father is Braxton Atlas,” said Tiph.
“Braxton Atlas? The Head of Cypress Gallows Regal District?” said Barlot. He and Gus are shocked that there is a Regal amongst them.
“Man, talk about being born on a silver platter,” Gus commented.
Angus crosses his arms with and huffs. “Bah, that don’t make a difference to me. They probably think their wealth is going to carry them through the ranks. Aye, they kin forget that. Only hard work and perseverance matter to me,” he says.
“Try getting that through their heads,” said Tiph.
Angus laughs at the girl’s remark. Her attitude reminds him of Beatrice, who also believes that there is no substitute for hard work. “You remind me of someone lass. You’re a lot like her,” he says. Tiph gives him a smile. “You know, I never did get your name,” he realized.
“Tiphanee Ann Knoxville,” she tells Angus.
The name sounded familiar to Angus. He takes a moment to think about where he heard or who he knows by that name. Then it comes to him. “Knoxville, any relation to Fourth Lieutenant Tamirei Knoxville,” he asks.
“Yes, she’s my sister. Wait, she’s a lieutenant?” said Tiph.
“Aye, she is,” said Angus.
“I wonder who she had to screw to get that position,” Tiph remarked cynically.
Gus and Barlot react, surprised at Tiphanee’s boldness about her sister. In the short time they have gotten to know her, they figured she could be bold especially when it came to sparring but not this forward. Angus is not as surprised, however. He has dealt with many personalities during his years of training recruits. He knows that several Knights have siblings serving in the ranks as well. And just as siblings do, they talk about one another to their peers without the other being around. The only aspect of this that gets him is how different Tiphanee is from Tamirei. Tamirei is extremely shy and quiet whereas Tiphanee seems to be more outgoing and not afraid to speak her mind. Angus did wonder though why Tiphanee would say such a thing about her sister.
“That’s a bold thing to say. From what I’ve seen, your sister Tamirei doesn’t seem like the type to be like that,” Angus said, subtly calling her out.
“Let me guess, she’s acting all shy and quiet. Well don’t let that timidity fool you. Tamirei’s a total prude,” says Tiph.
“Uh, isn’t that a little harsh?” asked Gus. “I mean she is your sister after all.”
“That’s right and I know her best. You’ll see eventually once you meet her. And when you do, don’t coming crying to me when she grabs your butts,” Tiph told Gus.
Barlot laughs. “Your sister sounds like fun, Tiph. I sure can’t wait to meet her,” he teased and then he laughs again.
“Shut up, Barlot! Or do you want me to kick your ass for real this time,” Tiphanee shot back stabbing a finger at him.
“Easy, easy,” Barlot said, holding his hands up in surrender. Gus laughs as well.
Angus laughs as well.
While Angus spoke with the recruits, Amanda has returned to the castle. She runs past the merchant carts, past the front gate, up the stairs and down the hall to their room. She swings the door open hard. Beatrice, who was looking her dress over, turned her eyes to Amanda. Amanda stood in the doorway, wheezing heavily. It took what remained of her strength to keep from passing out from exhaustion. She had run the whole length to Syrus and back, stopping only to learn that the dress was already delivered to the castle. Amanda was angry and ran back faster fueled by that anger. Now, she is too worn out to even be the slightest upset.
“Oh, you made it back,” Beatrice said plainly.
“Why didn’t you tell me it was being delivered?” Amanda managed to get out while she struggled to catch her breath.
“It’s an honest mistake. I forgot. But you did make it back with some time to spare. So how about you rest up before we go, okay?”
“Thank you, Milady,” said Amanda. She is too tired from running so hard to even bother arguing with her superior. Fatigue takes hold of her and she passes out.
(Check out my first novel Defenders!! CLICK HERE!! Get your copy of Defenders Volumes 1 and 2 through the links in the J1 Studios Bookstore for your Kindle and eBook device!! And check out my new fantasy novel Arcana X and the adventure continues in Arcana X: 2nd Assignment!! And see the witch dance with the devil in my fan fiction Dante vs. Bayonetta and it’s the angriest vs. the furious in “Kratos vs. Asura!!”)
And check out my latest fan fiction Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade!!
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.1
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.2
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.3
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.4
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.1 Pt.5
Yu-Gi-Oh X Beyblade Ch.2
Dante vs. Bayonetta Linx
The Witch dances with the Devil 1
The Witch dances with the Devil 2
The Witch dances with the Devil 3
The Witch dances with the Devil 4
The Witch dances with the Devil 5
The Witch dances with the Devil 6
The Witch dances with the Devil 7
The Witch dances with the Devil 8
The Witch dances with the Devil 9
The Witch dances with the Devil 10
The Witch dances with the Devil 11
The Witch dances with the Devil 12
The Witch dances with the Devil 13
The Witch dances with the Devil 14
The Witch dances with the Devil 15
The Witch dances with the Devil 16
The Witch dances with the Devil 17
The Witch dances with the Devil 18
The Witch dances with the Devil 19
The Witch dances with the Devil 20
The Witch dances with the Devil 21
The Witch dances with the Devil 22
The Witch dances with the Devil 23
The Witch dances with the Devil 24
The Witch dances with the Devil 25
The Witch dances with the Devil 26
The Witch dances with the Devil 27
The Witch dances with the Devil 28
The Witch dances with the Devil 29
The Witch dances with the Devil 30
The Witch dances with the Devil 31
The Witch dances with the Devil 32
The Witch dances with the Devil 33
The Witch dances with the Devil Epilogue
Arcana X: Succubus
Want to know how their second assignment started?! Click the links below!!
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.1
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 1 Pt.3
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 2
Arcana X: 2nd Assignment Chapter 3 Pt.1