Crossed feelings

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Matilda's gaze remained as cold as the iciest mountain peak. But that didn't disarm Ferry.

"Matt, what's going on?" he said in a low voice, aware that all the eyes around were on them.

"Nothing's going on," she said loudly, in the same cold tone. "I came here to train."

"I see that," Ferry said, trying to keep his voice down. "But why--"

"Prince Garrett," interrupted Leomh, who had kept some distance, "personal matters or of any other sort are discussed outside of training," he said in human language.

Ferry had no choice but to retire and continue to prepare for a new round of training. Leomh stepped closer. "Prince Garrett, why don't you show your human friend what you've learned so far? I'm sure she will find your fighting technique very interesting, " he added with a grin in the corner of his mouth. "For a start, your young lady friend will sit and watch."

He then nodded briefly at one of his subordinate elves who went toward Ferry, taking his sword out of its scabbard as he approached.

Ferry swallowed the knot in his throat. He had little choice. But he was glad Matilda was not forced to make a fight demonstration in front of everyone. He was sure that none of his comrades-in-arms would treat her gently. On the contrary.

Before beginning, Ferry looked for Matilda's gaze, but she looked away. Instead, he saw Sage approaching and whispering something in her ear. Ferry clasped the hilt of his sword harder, then took his position and greeted his opponent by bringing his sword closer to his face, then lowering it with a short movement of his arm. It was called the salute of honor because the soldiers of the Amalghams Army fought with honor before anything else.

As never before, Ferry was the first to engage in combat. With a shout worthy of a true warrior, he darted at the elf who took a few steps back, amazed at his ferocity. But that didn't last long. When the others surrounded him, eager to witness such a fight in which Ferry seemed to put so much passion, courage left him. All he could think of was Matilda watching her every move and Sage with her, explaining how many mistakes she was making and how she should actually fight. And soon, his knees began to tremble and his blows were less confident. He took a few steps back, which gave the elf an advantage. The young warrior came forward, and his blows became more precise and stronger. Ferry began to retreat. But the blows intensified and Ferry could no longer fight back. He took several steps back under the shower of blows until he stumbled and fell. He heard murmurs and muffled laughter around him. Again. He wanted the ground to swallow him then and there.

Raghnall hurried to reach out and help him to his feet. Ferry dusted off and walked away from the middle of the Cave, where his pathetic sword-wielding demonstration had taken place, and retreated to one of the cold walls. It was enough that he had to endure humiliation in front of his comrades-in-arms. Now he was being put to his knees in front of her.

Raghnall tried to make it look like nothing had happened, pulling on some cotton strips to protect his hands for the next fight. And Ferry spent the rest of the day hitting the straw-filled sack until his knuckles began to bleed. He didn't even notice that he was the only one left with Ragnall, the others enjoying a nice meal, walks or baths in the nearby lake, or some well-deserved rest.

Ferry leaned against the cold wall, then slid along it, exhausted from the blows. Raghnall joined him, sitting down next to him. "If you want, I can help you with training," he said.

Ferry said nothing, staring at a stone in front of him.

"I think you need special training," Ragh added.

Ferry shook his head. "I don't need special treatments."

"I was not talking about that. I mean, you need more training. Without being ... distracted by Leomh and his league. They can be intimidating at times. "

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