Marth looked over the sleeping campgrounds, still covered with thick morning dew from the night before and sighed. The air was still and quiet as the first rays of the morning sun peeked over the large hill on which the troops had pitched their tents. Though the blinding sunlight made it difficult for him to see, Marth was able to make out a single female showdown in the distance. Surprised that anyone else would be up this early, he cautiously made his way over the figure. Once close enough to actually see what was transpiring, Marth stopped walking, tilted his head to the side and stared at you with confused eyes. “What are you doing exactly?”
“Good morning to you as well, Lord Marth. You're up early aren't you?” With a huff, you swung your sword, much too heavy for your size and weight, against a thick wooden beam. Though the air around you was cold, you could already feel your cheeks getting hot from the unfamiliar exercise.“And to answer your question, I'm training, what does it look like?”
The corner of his mouth twitched upward, begging to become a wide, amused smile. As you continued to swing, Marth slowly circled you. After watching you almost throw your arm out a half dozen times, he stopped in front of the beam and slowly shook his head. “Quite honestly, it doesn't look at all like training. I take it you're new at swordplay?”
“No, of course not. I've been practicing swordplay since I was a small child. What in the world would give you that idea?” Though he was right, you weren't about to let him pick on you. Especially not first thing in the morning. “No disrespect meant, My Lord, but if you're not going to help me improve, would you mind terribly moving out of my way?” Your voice was laced in a thick, disrespectful sarcasm. Any time you addressed him as anything other than simply Marth, the tone of your voice changed completely. It was almost as if you used honoraries as insults.
“Ah, I was unaware that you wanted help. My apologies, I must not have heard you.” Combating your sarcasm with kindness, Marth grabbed your current sword from your blistered hands and placed its' blade into the soft ground. “I'm sure you're already aware, but that sword is better suited for a man twice your size. Why don't we get you something more fitting?”
“Of course.” Determined not to let your embarrassment show, you lifted your nose in the air and waltzed past him. “Now that you're awake that won't be a problem. I didn't want the others to suspect a thief bumbling about in the armory.”
Marth nodded, trying not to laugh under his breath. “Of course not.” Keeping his attitude as positive as he could, he walked into the drafty tent and quickly chose a sword much more suitable for you. “You are sure you'd rather have a sword and not an ax or a spear. Honestly, I think a spear would be a much better weapon choice for you.”
“I'm sure.” Eager to prove him wrong, you snatched the sword away from him and walked off. While you hated to admit it, this sword did feel much better in your hands than the one you'd chosen for yourself. But that was to be expected, Marth really had been training since he was young. Other than today, you'd never picked up a weapon unless it was to polish it.
Marth's kind, but powerful voice interrupted your thoughts and demanded your full attention. You didn't know when he'd gotten there, but he was now standing directly in front of you, blade in hand. “Are you ready? You look a bit distant. If you're tired, we can do this another time.”
Laughing bitterly, you dropped your sword into the earth, pulled your hair away from your face to insure it wouldn't get in your way, then once again held tightly to the hilt of the sword. “I'm not at all tired, My Lord. I'm completely ready to do this, if you're ready that is.”
“Good to know. I was hoping you wouldn't change your mind.” Showing off, just slightly, Marth spun his sword around by the guard, tossed it up in the air and then caught it without so much as batting an eye. “Now, where would you like to start?”
Unable to keep up your formal act any longer, you relaxed your shoulders and let out a long sigh. “You're a terrible show off Marth, and you're showing off to the wrong girl.”
Still doing his very best to retain his regal demeanor, Marth held back a snicker and cleared his throat. “Forgive me, but if my memory serves me correctly, that last statement of yours was a lie. The first, however, I suppose I will admit to.” He smiled down at you warmly. “Now again, where would you like to start? Judging by the way you were swinging earlier, I'd say it would be best to start with the basics. However, your poor swing could very well be due in part to the sheer weight of your first sword. In any case, it's up to you.”
Knowing you needed as much help in this particular subject as you could get, but being too prideful to admit that, you shrugged and attempted to be indifferent. “We can start where ever you'd like to start. You are the teacher in this instance after all.”
“Good point.” He nodded. “Then the basics it is.” Cheerful and glad to help, Marth led you through several quick, simple exercises that greatly helped your handling of the blade. It was amazing how quickly one could progress when instructions were present. The sun hadn't fully risen yet and you were already feeling much more confident, until Marth moved on to the next step. Try as you might, each and every time you swung at a target, you would either miss completely, or hurt your shoulder during the swing. Until now you'd been able to do everything he said with ease, but if you couldn't hit your enemy, none of what you'd already been taught would matter.
“Maybe we should stop for the day.” Feeling tired and disheartened, all before breakfast, you wiped a bead of sweat from your brow and lowered your sword to the ground. “I don't see myself getting any better, at least not with you as my instructor.”
“Hush, you've already improved plenty. The problem is, you're swinging with your arms, when you should be swinging with your hips. Here, maybe if I show you.” Too stubborn to let you give up, Marth walked up behind you and wrapped his arms around you. “Follow my lead. I'm hoping that if you feel the right motion, you'll be able to reproduce it.” He tightened his hands around yours, moved as close to you as possible and widened his stance. “Ready?” Glad he was behind you and unable to see your blush you nodded. After one more adjustment, Marth swung the sword with all his might. It sliced straight through the wooden beam, cutting it in half like it hadn't been there at all. With his hands still tightly wrapped around yours, Marth let out a pleased breath and grinned. “Did you feel it?”
Amazed at how easily he'd made firewood out of such a thick, sturdy beam, you nodded slowly. “Oh, I'm feeling something, that's for sure. I'm not really sure if it has anything to do with swordplay though.”
Blushing from your words, Marth released you from his hold and turned to walk away. “You're an impossible pervert. If you aren't going to take this seriously, I would prefer you tell me before I waste an hour of my time trying to help you.”
Chasing after him, you dropped your sword and clutched onto his cape. “It was just a little joke Marth. I was taking it seriously, but you really need to lighten up.
Marth turned around again and stared you straight in the eyes. “I've told you before, I'm constantly being watched by someone. While I'd like to lighten up, doing so might make me look weak or foolish. Even in the company of friends I have to stay on guard. Anything I say and do could get me into trouble.” He sighed, obviously just as frustrated with the situation as you were with him.
“Do you think helping me train will get you into trouble?” Once again your cheeks turned pink. Hoping he would chalk it up to the training, you didn't try to hide it. “I know you didn't mean anything by it, but your arms were around me, and your body was very, very close to mine. Others might take that the wrong way. I know I don't act like it, but I really don't want to cause you any more problems.”
“Ah, that's a good point. That thought hadn't crossed my mind to be honest. However, it is a very real possibility that some might think that way.” While Marth did want to help you, he couldn't risk any rumors that might start if he did so in public. “Though you really don't need it, if you still want my help, we're going to have to find ways to practice without raising suspicions. And since you're a rather cunning strategist, I'll leave that part to you.” An adorably crooked grin appeared on his face. “You do want my help, don't you?”
Refusing to admit the truth to him just yet, you gave him a bored shrug and started back towards camp. “I guess so. It'll give me something to do anyway. I can't stand being bored you know.”
Marth chuckled quietly as he followed behind you. “Yes. Trust me, I know.”