Breathe

Training

Everyone turned and looked at Frederick. Frederick asked, "What? What are all of you looking at me for?"

Caspian asked as a matter of fact, "Why does King Demeterius want you Frederick?"

Frederick pulled his eyebrows together and asked, "What do you mean? Why would the King want me? I'm just a commoner. He was going to kill me off anyway."

Everyone stopped staring at him, and Lucy asked, "Is your family important to the kingdom?"

Frederick shook his head and said, "No, my family are tailors."

Susan threw her hands in the hair in frustration. "It doesn't matter if Demeterius wants him or me or any of you because we will win this war together, and Demeterius won't get what he wants."

Edmund asked with a small smile tracing his lips, "Where did that come from Susan?"

Susan shrugged her shoulders and said, "I just want him to stop messing with my family. I don't want to have that feeling of any of you gone again."

Susan felt a lump in her throat and tried to swallow it. Edmund hugged Susan and said, "We're not going anywhere."

Caspian nodded with his arms crossed. "Then we are going to war."

Susan said "I'll be the head archer." She bit her lip and felt like she was being too pushy. Caspian smiled and said "Of course…..you're the best archer in all of Narnia." Susan blushed and smiled at the ground.

Edmund sighed and said, "And we put all of those tents away for nothing." Everyone laughed at him.

Before dinner, Caspian read the war proclamation to his army that Demeterius sent to them. After he read it, Caspian said, "Archenland may have a bigger army than us, but we have something they don't have." He paused and looked at Susan who was standing in the army crowd. She had a proud smile on her face. He felt worthy looking at her.

He continued looking out into the crowd. "We have strength, hope, and love. No army can beat one like ours."

The army whooped and hollered at Caspian's words. Caspian said enthusiastically, "Then who's with me?" The crowd screamed and cheered. Susan smiled at Caspian and thought he was meant to be King.

During supper, Lucy and Frederick were the only two at the table. Susan, Edmund, Peter, and Caspian were all getting preparations ready. For supper was chicken and rice. There was an awkward silence at the table. Lucy was uncomfortable, she didn't like quiet, and she needed something to say.

Lucy asked "So Frederick?...Do you know how strong or how large Demeterius's army is?"

Frederick looked up from his plate and said unsure, "I guess they're strong…I don't really know since I live in the marketplace. I do know that the army is bigger than Narnia's."

Lucy nodded her head while still looking at him. She asked, "So what are you good at? Swords? Archery? Knives?"

Frederick shook his head. "Well I don't really know. I think I might try some type of training, and if I like it, I guess I'll stay in that area."

Lucy said with a smile, "I'm sure you'll great at any of the training stations."

Frederick asked, "Can we not talk about his right now? I want to know more about this London, England where you come from."

Lucy smiled. She was excited that he wanted to know more about her and her life. "Ok. I'll tell you all you want to know." They talked for the rest of Supper. Mostly about London and Lucy explained to him but Frederick talked about himself as well.

That night, Susan was having reoccurring nightmares about Demeterius. She woke up about four times from the nightmares. She would wake up to a pitch black room. Her neck and head would have sweat on them. The fourth time she woke up, she saw sunlight peeking behind the ocean and decided to stay awake.

She got dressed into a dress ready to practice archery in. She French braided her hair and looked into the mirror in her room. There were purplish bags underneath her eyes from the lack of sleep. She walked out of her room and into the dining room. She wasn't the only one awake this early; Frederick was sitting at the table.

Frederick looked at her shocked to see her awake. He asked, "What are you doing up so early?"

Susan had a serious look on her face and said, "I could ask you the same question."

Frederick smiled in a mocking way and said, "I asked you first."

Susan sighed and crossed her arms. "I couldn't sleep that's all. Why are you up so early?" Frederick said, "Basically the same reason Susan."

Susan turned her back on him and said, "Fine don't tell me…keep your secrets."

Frederick said, "And you keep your secrets."

Susan rolled her eyes and noticed Frederick was about as stubborn as her. Before she walked out of the dining halls, she turned to look at Fredrick and said, "You should come to my archery training today…you look like an archer."

Frederick smiled and said, "I'll consider it,"

Susan walked out of the room and went into the castle gardens. She sat on the bench with the roses surrounding it. She thought to herself who would Demeterius really want? She considered the options everyone had. Peter was strong and a head King to Narnia. Edmund is strong and was with Susan and Rabadash. Lucy has her cordial. Caspian is King of Narnia and war would break out; she saw what happened with Calormen. Frederick; Susan didn't know that much about Frederick.

She picked a rose from one of the rose bushes and picked the petals off. She said the names of everyone Demeterius wanted, and it ended up being Lucy. She did it again with another rose, and it was Edmund. She put her head in her hands and then looked up she noticed the sun was rising. The sky was a beautiful orange and blue she knew it was going to be a beautiful day.

Susan walked around the gardens trying to have an empty mind. She tried to look at every flower, tree, and bush for its beauty and just admire everything. She noticed the professor walking across the hallway that opens to the gardens. She ran up to him and said, "I never said thank you for everything you did for me Professor. I want to thank you."

The Professor smiled and said, "You're very welcome, Queen Susan."

Susan went back into the garden and laid down on the grass. At first, she was blinded by the sun that was almost at the top of the sky. She closed her eyes and thought back to when she was younger. She thought about her family going to a meadow having picnics. Lucy was only a tiny baby, and Edmund was a toddler. Peter and her would play tag and fly kites.

After a few minutes of laying down on the grass, Susan felt her skin burn up from the heat of the sun. She felt someone playing with her hair lightly and smiled. She asked, "Let me guess is that Caspian?"

She heard no answer and opened her eyes. No one was behind her and she thought it was the wind. She laid back down and closed her eyes. To her surprise, she felt someone touch her nose. She opened her eyes terrified and noticed Caspian sitting behind her smiling. Susan glared at him and said, "I didn't find that funny."

Caspian laughed and asked, "You didn't? Because the look on your face was priceless," Susan sighed and said, "I still don't find it amusing."

Caspian smirked and asked, "Would you find this funny?" He picked her up and threw her over his shoulder.

She started laughing and kept yelling put me down. Susan said between breaks of laughter, "Okay I'm laughing."

Caspian put her down and said happily, "Finally, you have been acting rather stiff lately. I want to see you in a good mood."

Susan sighed looking up at the sky. "It looks like the storms have passed, and it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day."

Caspian smiled and said, "A good day to train archers. Also a good day to train swordsmanship,"

Susan asked looking back at him, "What time is it?"

"Almost nine. Why?"

Susan sighed and said "My training starts at ten. I just want to stay here with you and not worry. I'm tired of worrying."

Caspian smiled at her touched by her words. He wanted to be with her too. "I know, but first we have to win this war. Then we can stay here together for a long time." He changed the subject, "You should be getting ready then." Caspian pulled her to her feet and they walked back to the dining hall holding hands.

Susan, Caspian, and Frederick were the only three up. Peter walked into the dining room with messy hair and sleep still in his eyes. Susan laughed at him. "It's about time sleepy head." Peter nodded his head sleepily and sat next to Susan.

A few minutes later, Edmund and Lucy came down together dressed and ready to go. Peter eyed Lucy and asked, "Where do you think you're going today Lucy?"

Lucy smirked at him and said as matter of factly "I'm going to knife throwing training today."

Susan eyed Lucy seriously and said, "You're not fighting in this war Lucy."

Lucy looked down with a sad look on her face and said, "I know I just want to go to training Susan."

Susan stared at Lucy. She knew Lucy wanted to fight alongside her family, but she just wasn't ready. "I'm sorry Luce I just don't want you to get hurt…you would stay in the healing tent and help the wounded."

Lucy had a fake smile and said, "I know."

Everyone watched Lucy as she took her seat next to Peter. Caspian tried to cheer her up saying, "You know Lucy you are one of the most important people in this war." Lucy looked at him and her lips curled up a little. Caspian continued saying, "Without you, people would be hurt worse and die from injuries…Lucy you save lives. All of us, we just take them."

Caspian grabbed Susan's hand and squeezed it, as he said his last words. Susan didn't like how Caspian said they all take lives. But she knew that it was to keep Lucy safe. She would do anything to keep her family safe.

Caspian was having training for swordsmanship at ten thirty. Peter and Edmund were going to that training. Caspian was going to go to Susan's archery training for twenty minutes so he could practice with his cross bow.

Susan was setting up for her archery and felt arms wrap around her waist from behind. She flinched, and Caspian released his arms. He kissed the top of her head and went to the line where arrows were set up. He asked, "May I begin oh wise teacher?"

Susan smiled looking at him up and down. "Not with a stance like that." She walked over to him and said, "Feet shoulder width apart."

Caspian sighed and said, "Okay, okay." He moved his feet and released the arrow. It hit on the red area but not in the center.

Susan looked at the arrow on the target and nodded. "Not bad."

Caspian looked at Susan upset and asked, "What did I do wrong?"

Susan said, "Your elbows were too pressed inward and your shoulders weren't relaxed." She then whispered in his ear, "Think about us in the gardens and let your body relax to that moment."

He shot another arrow this time taking advice Susan gave him. This time the arrow went right through the middle. Caspian laughed and said excitedly, "Your advice worked. I hit the middle."

Susan smiled as she said, "Do you doubt me., oh wise King?" Caspian chuckled

A few minutes later, some men, fawns, and dwarfs came including: Trumpkin and Frederick. Susan smiled at all of them and said, "Thank you all for joining me today. First things first…..just because I am a female, I will not go easy on you. This is one of the few exceptions I don't have to be gentle." Everyone laughed. Susan continued, "I will train you all to be the best archers. Archenland won't know what hit them. I know with all of the courage and bravery everyone has here, we will be the best archers in Narnian history."

One of the men yelled, "So how good are you? I mean you're a girl and all."

Susan asked in a challenging way, "Do you want to see how good I really am? Give me a target…what's your name?"

The man said standing with pride, "Markell."

Susan eyed him. "Give me a target Markell."

Markell pointed to a tree that held pine cones. He said, "Hit one of those pine cones, and I'll be impressed."

Susan laughed and said, "That's too easy."

She took her stance in a fast swift moment. Before anyone knew what was going on, she released the arrow, and it hit the center of a pine cone. The pine cone fell to the ground and most of the archers had their mouths open. Caspian was laughing, and Trumpkin was smiling.

Susan had a smile on her face that said looking Markell straight in the eyes, "I win". She turned to the rest of the group and said, "If I train you correctly maybe all of you could do that."

She had each archer fire one at a time to see their stance and everything. Trumpkin hit the yellow right outside of the red. Susan smiled at him and said, "That was good. Next time try having your shoulders back more." He nodded and stepped back.

She got to Markell and said "Okay hot shot it's your turn." The infantry laughed and Markell stepped up to the line. He took his stance and released the arrow hit the circle in the red area. He had a satisfied look on his face.

Susan said, "I'm impressed. I bet next time you could hit the very center."

Caspian had to leave after Markell shot his arrow for his training. Caspian wanted to kiss Susan goodbye, but she pushed him away. She whispered in his ear, "We're in public."

He kissed her forehead and walked away. Her cheeks turned a flush of pink when the archers were staring at her as Caspian walked away.

Susan watched other archers, critiquing them, and got to Frederick. Frederick looked small compared to the others. Markell yelled, "Isn't he from Archenland? How can we trust him?"

Susan glared at him and said, "Yes he is from Archenland. We can trust him; we don't doubt him for a second." Susan walked up to Frederick and whispered, "Show them up. Don't let them get to your head. They're just jealous."

Frederick went to the line, and Susan moved behind him. Frederick was watching Susan critique the other archers and took the advice she gave. He also watched some of the archer's stances and how they shot the arrow. He took his stance and said the steps in his head. He pulled back the bowstring, inhaled, and exhaled. He released the arrow, and it hit the red area of the target.

Everyone was whispering to one another, and Susan smiled at Frederick. She said, "Good job, Frederick. I think yours has gotten closest to the center today." Frederick blushed a little and Susan asked, "Have you had experience?"

Frederick said, "Well this one time my father tried to teach me and got upset and…."

Susan interrupted him knowing what he would say. He was thankful for it. "Okay you can all start shooting at your targets getting some practice."

Everyone started shooting at different times, and Susan watched as they shot. Every few minutes an archer would call Susan over to help them or watch them.

Frederick continued shooting and had a feeling that someone was staring at him. He looked at Susan, but she was talking to another archer and noticed him looking at her. She smiled him and kept talking to the archer. Frederick looked around and noticed Markell and a few of his friends staring at him. Frederick waved to them, and he heard them chuckle to themselves. Frederick looked back at his bow and started shooting again.

Susan noticed Markell and some of her fellow archers not practicing and walked over to them. She asked them in annoyance, "What are all of you doing? You should be shooting."

They all looked frightened and went back to shooting except for Markell. Susan glared at him and said, "Go back to shooting Markell or no lunch."

He rolled his eyes and asked gesturing to Frederick, "How can you trust that guy? He would be fighting against his home. His own kind."

Susan said angrily, "Go back to shooting. It is none of your concern anyway. If King Caspian trusts him, then you should too." She folded her arms over her chest and said, "Now start practicing, or I will embarrass you in front of everyone."

Markell sighed and said, "Yes your majesty."

Susan kept her stance as she said, "That's all you needed to say." She walked away from him and helped a fawn that broke his bow string. Markell glared at Frederick and went back to shooting.

At Caspian's training, he had a lot of men to handle. Edmund and Peter were there as helpers with Caspian. Caspian taught everyone moves they may not have known or have known. He then taught them how to use self-defense with a sword.

Next came the battles where Caspian picked two random soldiers, and they had to battle one another. They had to battle one another until one surrenders, or if Caspian thinks it's gone too far. Also if a solider has a sword pointed at the neck, heart, or stomach with the dull blades.

Caspian pulled two names first he read, "Kale." Kale was a man. There were some pats on the back for him and some hollers. Caspian pulled out the next name and read, "Leo." Leo was a fawn. The same thing happened for Leo that happened for Kale. They both stood across from each other and waited.

Caspian said, "On the count of three, you may start." They were both smiling at one another. Caspian continued saying, "The winner will go against the next person I draw. The loser will be eliminated from any other battles and will go to training with King Peter and King Edmund."

Kale and Leo took their stances ready to go at each other. Caspian yelled, "One….Two….Three!"

In a flash, they both took off. Leo went for Kale's sword at first to make it come out of his hand. Kale was using defensive moves, so Leo couldn't knock it out. Kale kicked Leo in the stomach and knocked him on the ground. Kale put his sword down towards Leo's throat. Leo defended himself by putting the sword in front of his face. Leo was strong and pushed Kale off of him. They both stood up and started fighting again. Kale made Leo's sword fly out of his hand and before Leo could do anything else, Kale kicked him to the ground again. Kale put his sword next to Leo's neck and smiled with triumph.

Caspian yelled, "Kale wins." There was cheering, and Caspian pulled the next name. Kale won the next four battles, and it was lunch time for the soldiers.

During lunch, Caspian patted Kale on the back and said, "You're strong Kale and talented with a sword in hand."

Kale smiled and said, "Thank you your highness….it really means a lot to me that you told me this."

Caspian said nodding, "Yes, and I want to ask you a question. Where did you learn to fight like that?"

Kale smiled thinking back to his past. "I read books on sword combat, and my father taught me things like that when I was little. He was in the army when your father and uncle were King." Kale looked down like he was sad, and Caspian knew why he was doing this.

Caspian broke Kale from his gaze saying, "Well I want to let you know that know you've shown everyone here what you have to offer. You are a leader. Also I want you to know, if you need anything just ask me."

Kale smiled again thankfully and said, "Thank you your highness, your kind words have made my day better."

Caspian had a grateful smile and said, "I'm glad."

Caspian walked over to Susan who was smiling at him. She asked, "So who's the handsome boy you were talking to?"

Caspian turned red in the face and questioned her saying, "What do you mean handsome?"

Susan sighed in a gawking manner and said, "That curly blonde hair and light blue eyes." Susan watched as Caspian's face got redder. She laughed and said shoving him lightly, "I'm only kidding Caspian."

Caspian glared at Susan and said, "That wasn't funny."

She laughed half-heartedly and said, "I found it to be."

Caspian sat next to Susan and kissed her cheek lightly. She smiled, and asked earnestly, "Seriously who was that soldier? You seemed proud of him. I hardly see that."

Caspian said with a serious tone, "Kale. A young soldier who beat everyone in the arena today….so far. I was proud because I barely see that happen. He reminds me of myself."

Susan smiled and said, "So he's like a mini you? That's so cute." She looked at Kale smiled and waved at him. His cheeks turned a rosy pink and waved back at her.

Caspian noticed Susan and asked, "What are you doing?" and tugged on her arm.

She looked at him and said, "Well if he's a lot like you I want to get know him."

Caspian laughed in a questionable way and said "Okay?"

Susan waved Kale to come over. He pointed at himself and mouthed "Me"? Susan nodded her head, and Kale maneuvered his way through the soldiers to get to the table Susan and Caspian were sitting at.

Kale stood next to them, and Susan said, "King Caspian tells me you're quite the swordsman."

He smiled and blushed and said, "I guess."

Caspian said, "Don't be too modest, Kale…please sit down." Kale sat down across from Caspian and Susan.

Caspian gave him a sorrowful look and asked, "What happened to your father Kale?...or is that too personal?"

Kale shook his head and said, "I'll tell you if you really want to know. My father fought in the war that both of you were in. He was on Caspian's uncle's side. He was apparently killed in battle by a fawn." He looked at the plate of food in front of Susan and had tears in the back of his eyes.

Susan said, "I…I'm sorry. Your father was fighting for what he believed in, and I'm sure he did a great job."

Kale shook his head and said, "No, that wasn't what he believed in he thought what you two were fighting for was the right thing. That's why I'm fighting with Narnia. I'm fighting in the army my father never could."

Caspian and Susan looked at each other and smiled and looked back at him. Caspian said with sympathetic eyes, "I'm sorry. You know how I lost my father as well." Kale nodded with hurt eyes and Caspian continued saying, "I just want to let you know for whatever reason you feel the need to talk to someone about your loss…I'm always here."

Kale had an emotion of grief and happiness on his face and asked, "Why are you being so nice to me?"

Susan smiled compassionately and said "No reason….Caspian and I want to learn more about you. You're a strong young man and we think you have great potential."

Kale said, "Well thank you for the invitation for lunch, but my friends are calling me."

Susan laughed and said, "Well we wouldn't want to keep them waiting." Kale got up and walked to the table and a few more men were sitting at. One of the men Susan noticed was Markell.

Caspian noticed Susan's stare and asked, "Who's the young man you're staring at?"

Susan sighed with anger on her face and said, "Just some bloody moron in my training."

Caspian laughed and asked, "Where did that come from? I saw him shoot an arrow, and he was good."

Susan snorted and was still staring at him and said, "Yes…good at not trusting me."

Caspian put his fore finger underneath her chin and pulled it to face him. He kept it there as he looked into her bright light blue eyes and said, "If this Markell is giving you any problems…or anyone….just tell me and they would never wished they messed with you."

As Susan smiled, she looked into his deep brown eyes and said, "Thanks but I can handle problems on my own."

Caspian put his hands on her face and pulled her lips to his own. To Caspian her lips tasted like roses. He loved the smell of roses. When they pulled away, Susan noticed lots of soldiers staring at them. She blushed a dark red, and Caspian laughed.

Markell yelled, "Get a room." This made most of the soldiers who were watching laughed. Susan covered her face by putting it on the table.

Caspian yelled back, "If you make any more comments Markell…they will probably be your last."

Susan just wanted to crawl into a hole and hide. She was happy Caspian was standing up for her. Sometimes the over-protective Caspian was what she needed. Right now she liked it.

Markell said to Caspian, "Sorry. I was just saying my opinion."

There was more laughter and Caspian stood up. Susan grabbed the hem of Caspian's shirt and tugged it down. Caspian didn't move and said, "You should be nicer to your King, Markell."

Markell sighed and said, "Okay I'm sorry, King Caspian." Caspian sat back down, and everyone went back to chatter at their tables.

Caspian rolled his eyes and said, "Well you've got a handful in the archery department." Susan sighed sarcastically and said, "You have no idea."

When lunch was over, Susan went back to her training and so did Caspian. Frederick was on his way back to Susan's training and tripped. He noticed he had tripped over Markell's boot. His face landed in some mud.

Markell pulled Frederick up by the collar of his shirt and said, "Let's make one thing clear you don't belong here. I was the best archer until you showed up."

Frederick smiled and said, "Queen Susan is a way better archer than you and me and she's a girl and she's been here before me….so that makes you second best before I came here."

Markell said angrily, "If there weren't as many people around I would punch you here right now."

Frederick smiled and said, "Whatever let's get to training."

Markell rolled his eyes and said, "You're such a freak you need to go back to Archenland."

He dropped Frederick back on the ground. He ran to Susan's training and left Frederick behind. Frederick walked over to Susan's training and knew he was going to show Markell up.


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