32 Chapter 32 Guard Town
2 hours in the morning and 2 hours late at night. That was all the practice Joseph was able to squeeze in for training that day. He would have felt a little bummed about it, except his dad had surprised him.
Because this town was the town most of his father's guards are trained at, all the kids he got that wanted to become guards, ended up here. Which meant, there were lots of kids his age, for Joseph to spar with. They usually started sparring about the age of five, so those who were his age, had already had two years on him. He lost. A lot.
A couple of the kids were too nervous to fight him, because he was his dad's son but two years of serious training, versus his two hours a day training, for less than a month, was not a fair fight. Still it was helpful fighting someone his size, especially since Stella, his only sparring partner, fought nothing like a traditional swordsman.
As he climbed into bed, he was tired. He was bruised. Once more he was reminded that he would need competent people under him as a King. The world was too wide for him to do everything. Magic and ruling a kingdom would be plenty.
Stella still hadn't told him her goal, but it was obvious she had taken one. Her training was very much more physical than his was. And even with all of his memories from his previous lives, he wasn't sure where she would fit in his kingdom. He had tried to guess, but getting her to talk, was like teaching a pig without wings to fly. Everything between head of the kingdom's assassins, to head maid, to head chef, had popped into his head, but none seemed to fit.
He was pretty sure she was the one who had taken over cooking his food, and washing his laundry. The quality had improved greatly. At first, he had thought she finally allowed some of his father's slaves to do it, but it turned out to be the opposite. She was taking pride in her position as his personal servant, and he was thrilled. Not that he wanted her to think of herself as a servant, but that she was no longer as fearful and timid as she had been. Maybe the system had really been a good idea for her.
Wondering what her past memories may have taught her, he wondered what she had been. She could have been an engineer, or something, but whatever she had been, this life was still a struggle for her. It was the opposite of his problem. His past was so horrid, he really appreciated a mom who doted on him and a dad who supported him so much more, ever since the dreams started.
Anyway, of the kids his age, that were able to follow orders today and beat the crap out of him, Sam and Todd were the best. Though, the healer was a little weirded out healing him, it was pretty cool to see HEAL again. The mage's mana was a light purple. The other kids weren't impressed with his sword skills but a few did respect him for not crying out when he got hit. High willpower is good for something apparently. AH, he was so tired, his thoughts were wandering again. It's different when it's a physical tired instead of a mental tired! He knew he needed to go to sleep, even if his mind didn't feel as used today compared to normal days.
The next day, he was ready for some sparring, but instead, ended up following his dad around. He informed him that they would be leaving at lunch that day instead of the next day. Apparently, all of their plans needed to be changed. The crown's auditors would be arriving later that evening. If they were there when they arrived, it could take at least a week out of the schedule, and he wanted to avoid them possibly discovering him. He promised treats to the men who would be staying, for dumping the auditors on them. He had left him with the sword instructor the day before, because he had been so busy updating all the books. He normally kept everything in his head and wrote it down during his visit home every 6 months.
While everyone was rushing to get things ready for them to leave, Joseph pulled his father to the side and asked if he could have two of his slaves as personal guards.
"I'm not sure that's a good idea, Joseph." His father was very confused. "The boys you want, Sam and Todd, have years of training ahead of them. They're some of the best I have in that age group, which means I should be able to get a very high price for them, when they reach an age to be sold."
"You have the guards practicing every night, when we stop, and I don't mind if they practice during the day when we are traveling. I want to have some guards who are loyal to me, not just to you. After practice yesterday, I've come to realize I really suck at fighting."
His dad thought it over, looking over his slaves as they scurried around like busy ants. Joseph saw his eyes focus on Stella as she hurried as well. He worried about the mask that slid over his face.
"How about I send two fully trained guards as well? They can work at training the two when they aren't working to protect you, and that way, if something does happen, I won't have to worry about them being overwhelmed because of their inexperience."
Joseph nodded happily, and hurried to let Stella know.
"Stella! Father is going to let me keep some of the boys I sparred with yesterday as guards! Isn't that great? I'm also getting some fully trained guards as my very own, so they can help finish training the two."
"Who will you be getting?" she asked, a little breathless as she held the curtain that separated their sleeping areas. She must have just finished washing it.
"Sam and Todd. They seemed to be the two that were the best of all of them. I'm not sure who the adult guards will be."
"That's good, Master Joseph. As a future king, you need to have some loyal guards." She seemed happy, but at the same time, she looked a little unhappy with the news.
"Is something wrong? You seem a little unhappy."
"I just have a lot to get done before we can leave in the next hour. I don't want to hold up your father's caravan because I'm not ready."
"Do I need to find someone to help you?" he asked, looking around. There wasn't a slave that wasn't already working hard. Even some of the guards had stopped what they normally do, to help out.
"No, Master, I have it."
"Alright." He watched as she hurried off, a nagging feeling lay in the pit of his stomach. He was pretty sure there was more to her unhappiness, but his father called him away just then.
That night, as he settled down to sleep, he was very relieved. He managed to get eight hours of training in, after they departed, to finish missile emission.
Stella watched the new guards as they talked excitedly between themselves. The two boys had cornered her when they had first arrived, a few days ago, and she hadn't liked fighting them off at the time. They had noticed she was not dressed like one of the slaves under William, so they believed she was open to be bullied, or raped.
Even at the age of seven, they were willing to give it a try, and she had made it very clear to them, that she belonged to Joseph, William's son. When they didn't believe her, she had to escape. She would have beaten them down, but she didn't want William to get mad at her. She still wasn't sure why he didn't like her.
Stella knew that the only reason they had beaten her Joseph so bad, was because they were trying to get back at her. But she didn't want to cause more trouble, by telling Joseph. He was so excited at getting his own guards, because she knew, it made him feel as if he was one step closer to his goal of being a king.
The older guards, twin men named Logan and Dylan, shushed the boys and got them settled for the evening, in the carriage that followed behind Joseph's new one. She watched, perched on the roof of Joseph's carriage, through a window near the roof line of the guards' carriage, as they goofed off, and finally settled in to sleep. The two older guards finally left, to patrol along the sides of Joseph's carriage for a bit.
The drivers of both carriages were used to Stella jumping onto the horses by now, as were the horses. She had given the horses enough treats by this point, that they hardly flinched when she landed on their backs. Nodding to the driver, who nodded back, she handed him an apple, his favorite, and swung around the side of the carriage towards the door, noticing the wide grin on his face.
It was time these boys understood the importance of their new job.