The ringing sounds of swords clashing together overtook Acacia’s ears. She took a deep breath, and flashed a quick look at her opponent; messy, golden hair and striking, electric-blue eyes. He smirked, panting slightly as he took a better grip on the sword he was holding.

‘Still think I’m just an idiot, Ace?’ he asked, before leaping at the girl in front of him. Ace pareed the sword, pushing it to the side to attack her opponent. She swung her weapon at him, gritting her teeth together as the boy jumped aside with that everlasting, cocky grin plastered on his face.

‘Am I too much for you, sissy?’ he mocked her, and before he could say another word, Acacia threw her sword aside, and with a raw yell, she charged at him, pulling him to the ground with her.

She delivered a good punch to his cheek as she pinned him underneath her, and raised her fist to finish him.

Suddenly, her wrist was taken into a tight hold.

‘Acacia, get up,’ a deep voice said, something like disappointment leaking through the words. Acacia turned around, and looked right into the face of a man in his early forties. He had dark-green hair, like her own, just as green eyes, and a tanned skin.

General Audace of the Silver Rose.

The girl took a deep breath, and got up, but not before glaring in her opponent’s direction. The boy rolled his eyes, before rolling back a little to jump to his feet. As he stood next to Acacia, General Audace sighed deeply.

‘This isn’t what we thought you,’ he said, crossing his arms in front of his chest. ‘Acacia, Altair, you both know that, don’t you?’

In quiet unison, the two replied. ‘Yes.’

In the background, Acacia could hear the mocking snickers of the other students, and she had to clench her hands into tight fists not to grab her sword and show them what she was made of, or even better, show the world what they were made of.

Next to her, Altair crossed his arms and sighed as he looked the other way. Acacia’s gaze had shifted to the ground – everything so she wouldn’t have to look the disappointed man in front of her in the eye.

‘I’ll talk to the both of you later,’ Audace said, before turning around to face the other half of the group. ‘Class dismissed. Enjoy your summer-day, don’t forget to study for your upcoming exams.’

As his students walked through the doors of the training-room, Audace turned back to the two remaining teens. ‘C’mon, guys,’ he said, with a deep sigh. ‘Fighting in class?’

‘Ace started,’ Altair quickly replied, and Acacia threw him a dirty look.

Audace shook his head, shifting his gaze between the two. ‘I don’t care who started it, son. I just wanna know what the two of you were thinking when you did it, nothing more.’

‘He was annoying me,’ Acacia mumbled, and the General pulled up an eyebrow. ‘That’s no excuse, Ace.’

‘It can be, if you-’

Quickly, Audace interrupted her words, and he placed his hands on the girl’s shoulders. ‘Listen, Ace, I know it’s hard for you, but you’ve gotta clean up your act a little. People from all over the world will soon be counting on you to protect them, but how can I know if you’re really gonna be able to protect them, if you can’t even keep up a fight against your teasing brother?’

Ace didn’t answer, and the General took a deep breath. ‘I just want you to think about it, Ace. And Al, you too.’

‘Okay, Dad,’ Acacia mumbled, before turning around to walk to where she flung her sword aside. She heard Altair bid his goodbye to their father, and aggressively tried to pull her sword out of the wooden pole it got stuck him.

When it released with a loud “thud”, the girl fell backwards.

‘Ace, you alright?’ Audace asked from the other side of the room. Ace got back to her feet again, no answer needed. Her father didn’t ask another question, and as soon as she had put her sword in the holster on her back, she ran towards the door, only to slam it closed as hard as she could.

Screw her father, she would do this whole “knight thing” her own way.

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