By Gabi Minto
In this land, you can only be one of two things. Someone with power or nothing. That’s your option. I know. It sucks. People always try to be more than they are. That’s what humans do. Well, humans, elves, lizardmen, Halflings, etc. Look, the point is not to dream too big. Once you’re born, you get sorted. I guess I shouldn’t be complaining. I was born with the ability to use magic. Summoning magic, to be exact. I mainly use it to help around my family’s shop.
My name’s Ven. I live with my mother and little sister. Both of them are summoners too. My little sister, Ellie, can talk to lesser spirits. She keeps a few as pets. Mom tells her to dismiss them, but she keeps a few. I don’t mind having them around except when they knock over my potions. My mother’s specialty is summoning lesser familiars to help run the shop. Familiars are like dogs or cats on steroids. Depending on the caster, they can be dangerous.
My specialty? I can summon weapons. Well, spirits that become weapons. Which would be great if I could actually use it in a fight. I want to fight! Not just some low-level thug. I want to fight a monster! I know I could do it. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always watched the knights practice in the palace. I would summon a sword and mimicked them. Being a knight is my calling. Why else would the gods let me be able to summon weapons if they didn’t want me to use them to defend the realm?
“This sucks!” I say out loud. Several bar patrons look my way with raised eyebrows. “Oh, my bad,” I say, lowering my head.
“What sucks? Let me rephrase that; what sucks now?” Ellie asked, bring over some ale. “Don’t tell me you’re still going on about being a you know what.”
I grab a mug and chug the ale. “Why not? You know what I can do. I don’t want to make potions all my life.” I watch as a Neko spirit jumps on the table and starts nuzzling my arm. I run my hand down its back. She can’t feel it, but she appreciates it. “Hey, Izzy. You want me to be a kick-ass knight, right?”
Izzy stretches and jumps off the table and disappears. “Don’t use Izzy to help your point. What’s wrong with making potions? You’re really good at it.”
It’s true. Dad was a Druid, so making potions was in my blood. Along with my fast healing abilities, I’ve been busy healing the townspeople. “Still, Ellie, I want to do more. I want action, adventure, love. Come on; you want me to be happy, don’t you?”
Ellie rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. “Just be careful. If The Guard hears you, that could mean trouble.”
I scoff. “Guards. Those jokers? I’m as afraid of them as I am of butterflies. Who’s scared of them?”
Just as I say that, two guards walk up to us. Both clearly drunk. “What the **** did you just say, boy?”
Ellie says, “He didn’t say any-“
“I said you’re a joke. A disgrace to the kingdom and to that armor. A child with a stick is more intimidating than you guys.”
One of them grabs my shirt and pulls me towards him. I wince as his breath assaults my nose. “Say that again. I dare you.”
I open my palm, and a short sword starts to form. It’s aetherial, but it weighs the same as a real one. “I said, you…are…a…joke.” I punch the guard in the face, and he stumbles back into his friend. I ready myself for the oncoming fight. Closing my eyes, I listen to my surroundings. I can hear them unsheathing their swords. Their movement feels uneven. I can hear their armor rattling as they dash towards me.
“Ven!” Ellie screams. My eyes open.
I quickly grab a bar stool and throw it towards the closest guard. The second guard dodges his friend and brings down his sword. Aiming for my head. I smirk. He thinks he can end it with one blow. Amature. I sidestep him and slash at his armor. If he hadn’t had armor on, he would be dead. He’s stunned but tries again. I hear movement behind me and wait until the last moment to duck. When the guard tries to punch me, he ends up punching his fellow knight knocking him to the ground. A laugh escapes my mouth. They didn’t like that.
They were done playing around. The remaining guard charges me again. He’s going to aim for my heart. His word is positioned in a way that he will try and bait me into thinking he’s going to go for another head strike but will switch at the last moment. I swing my sword to the side as he tries to run me through. I aim for his hand, and hit’s his wrist. He howls in pain as he drops his sword. I take advantage of his sad state, tackle him to the ground, and put my sword to his neck. “Yield,” I say out of breath.
“You’ll regret this,” The guard hissed.
I smile as I let him go. He collects his friend and limps out of the tavern. I sat back down with Ellie.
“So, how was that?” I ask confidently. “Pretty great, right?”
Oh shit! I turn around cautiously and see my mother standing in the doorframe. I can see her power flow off of her, and two large trolls flank her. “Hi, mom.”
“Don’t “hi mom” me! What did you do?”
“He started a fight with the guard,” Ellie said, smiling.
“Traitor,” I say under my breath. “Mom, I was just saying that they are some of the saddest excuses of protection that we have. No big deal. They chose to get violent. I was defending myself. I won fair and square.”
“Since when is cheap shotting someone Fair and square?” Ellie asked.
“Home. Now,” Mom said in her You better get out of my sight right now voice.
I slap ten gold on the table and hurry out of the tavern. I was nearly out the door when a hand stopped me.
“Just a minute,” He said. “Where did you learn how to fight?”
“Taught myself. I watched the guards and copied them,” I say. My hand covers my mouth. “I didn’t mean to say that.”
The man smiles. “Apologies, that would be my doing. I used my magic to make you tell the truth. My name is Edward, and I think you have some talent.”
Edward didn’t look like much. He was a young guy with silver hair. He looked like he could be part elf. His ears were just as pointy but not quite. He was dressed in leather armor with a black hood. His eyes were a deep blue color, and his skin was white as snow. “You do?” I ask.
“Of course. I’ve never seen a wizard who can summon weapons and fight with the discipline of a knight. Come. I think we can help each other. You want to be a knight, right? I can help.” Edward snapped his fingers, and a glowing blue portal appeared in front of us.
“Um, my mom told me not to get into strange portals with strange people,” I say, getting ready to run.
“You are free to leave, but just know encounters like these don’t happen often. But, I do understand if you need the reassurance that I will not harm you.” Edward took off one of his black gloves, and the king’s crest was tattooed on the back of his hand. “My name is Edward Albert Mason III. Head Knight of King Baston. I came here for a good drink. I didn’t expect to find anything like you. I offer you this chance to train under me. What say you?”
“I say hell yeah! I-I mean yes, sir.”
Edward laughed. “Well then, let’s go.”
“But, what about my family?” I ask.
“They will be compensated for your absence.” Edward put one foot inside the portal. “Are you coming?” Edwards steps through.
I take a moment and a deep breath, then run straight into the portal.
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