Well, we've made it. I've finally reached the magical 30! I'm excited to share a part of my story with you guys. This is the beginning of the first chapter. Please, let me know your thoughts (especially on the punctuations!), if anything weird/strange stands out to you, or if something doesn't feel right. I'm thick-skinned, so be as gentle or as harsh as you please. ALL critique/feedback will be much appreciated
"Damn you, Ethan!" I hissed when my sword was being knocked out of my hands with such force that it almost twisted my wrists.
"Come on, Squeak," the young man chuckled while lowering his own sword and grinning at me contently. "Were you not the one begging me for a rematch?"
"Seriously—" I snarled as I picked up my sword from the ground, pointing it at the man in front of me. "Stop... Calling.... Me... Squeak!" I lunged at him and swung the blade at his legs, but he deflected my attack with such ease that it made him laugh even harder.
"Grace, just give up already." Ethaniel kicked at my legs and gave a firm push at my shoulder, making me fall back hard on the damp grass. "You
are no match for me."
I lifted my gaze to meet Ethaniel's grey eyes and I could see the confidence glistering in them. He was way too confident for his own bloody good...
I quickly rolled to the side and jumped back to my feet, lifting my sword, and pointing it at him once again. "I will not let you get away with it — not this time."
Ethaniel simply laughed at my words and took a step closer to me, holding his own sword casually in the palm of his right hand. "Well, what are you waiting for then?"
I narrowed my eyes and tightened my grip on the hilt of my sword, trying hard to hold up the heavy blade as steady as I could. This particular sword was too long and too heavy for my tiny posture, but right now all I could think of was wanting to see Ethaniel’s smug face buried in the dirt beneath our feet.
I took a quick step towards him and swung my blade at his right flank. He simply deflected my attack and a triumphant smile grew upon his face. I took another step and swung it at his left flank. He deflected again, his smirk growing even wider. I took a third step and punched him right in the face.
"Shrew!" Ethaniel exclaimed while dropping his sword and lifting his hands to his nose, his smug expression finally gone. "That is cheating!"
"How is that cheating?!" I spat back at him. I couldn't help myself from feeling quite proud of my little achievement. It was rare for me to beat Ethaniel when it came to duelling, but whenever I did, I would feel incredibly pleased with myself, for I knew how much he hated to lose. Especially to me...
"This is fencing," Ethaniel growled at me, letting go of his nose and staring down at my face in anger. "You are supposed to use your sword!"
I simply shrugged my shoulders. "I didn't know it mattered how one wins a fight," I responded while turning around and walking to the side of the training field where I placed the sword back in one of the wooden racks.
"There is no honour in winning a fight by punching one in the face," the young man huffed as he followed me, placing his own sword in the weapons rack.
"You only say that because you were caught off guard," I chuckled while looking up at his pale face. I smiled when I noticed the annoyed expression on it. "Are you upset with me?"
Ethaniel instantly hooked his grey eyes with mine. "Of course not. How could I ever?" A warm and genuine smile suddenly covered his young face, and I could see dimples form in his cheeks. I quietly admired them.
Ethaniel was a tall young man with a face that the ladies here at the castle seemed to quite fancy: His dark hair was rough and untamed, barely reaching his shoulders. His complexion was overall pale, but tiny freckles would cover his high and straight nose whenever he would spend too much time training in the sun. He had a strong jawline, high cheekbones, and a thin but wide mouth. He didn't have much of a beard, which left him looking quite youthful.
"A grimace does not suit you, Dimples."
Ethaniel chuckled at his new nickname, turning his warm smile into a mischievous grin. "You think I'm handsome, do you not?" He placed his hand on the wooden rack beside him, leaning against it in the most casual but ravishing way that only he could. He was right.... he was indeed annoyingly well favoured. "I knew you'd come to fall for me someday."
"Oh please," I murmured, rolling my eyes at him and turning myself towards the weapons rack again, suddenly having lost the urge to admire his face. "As if I'd ever fall for a doxy like yourself."
"I'm not a doxy!" he defended.
I raised my eyebrows at him. "You honestly ought me to believe that you've never slept with a woman in your life?"
Ethaniel pressed his lips together.
"See— you are a doxy."
"And you're a prude!"
I stopped organizing the swords and turned to face him. Ethaniel was much taller than I was, which made me have to tilt back my head as far as I possibly could so I could look him in the eye. "Some of us actually intend to wait for marriage," I said, not exactly hurt by his choice of words.
He scrunched his face at this. "Sometimes you're such an elf."
Okay, this actually did hurt me.
"Because I am an elf!" I spat back, furrowing my eyebrows.
This made him grin. "Half-elf," he corrected me, and this time I was the one pressing my lips together.
Being called an elf wasn't an insult per se, but the fact that Ethaniel had used it in this particular situation, left me feeling bad about it. I knew how much he despised Elves, like most Men did, for their history wasn't a very pleasant one and they didn't particularly see eye to eye anymore.
He rarely ever brought up my elven-blood, and whenever he did, he always used it in a negative context. He probably didn't do it on purpose, for he would never intentionally hurt my feelings, but I guess he never truly understood how hard it must have been for me to be torn between the hatred the two races held for one another. And even though I should've hated Men more than anyone else — I simply couldn't bring myself to do so. How could someone like Ethaniel be blamed for something his ancestors had done?
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