Lacey trained for the next two weeks with Percy, the long hours and grueling tasks took a toll on her small body. Through all the bruises and scratches she was a diligent student, never once complaining. Having grown up on a farm, Lacey knew a fair amount of necessities to survive; Percy took that knowledge and nurtured it.
Pausing for a break, Lacey finally got up the nerve to ask, “May I ask what your role is in all of this, other than my trainer and guardian that is?” She tried to slip a peek sideways at him. He was so kind to her, she knew nothing about him, but didn’t want to risk upsetting him with the constant questions that bubbled to the top of her brain.
Percy stiffened slightly, he knew the question would come, it always did. He really liked Lacey a lot, she did her clan proud. He knew she was incredibly strong and intelligent, and that she would take whatever was thrown at her and adapt the best way she could. She had proven that before the night she finally met her mother and received the amulet.
“Over the centuries I have been guardian of the Rose clan. I have served all of the Rose women from training and education down to overseer and protector.” Percy shook his head, not feeling right giving her the same speech he had given so many before her. He vowed she would never know the true depth of the things he had done and been required to do for all the women before her. To him, Lacey was different; she was special, delicate, and vulnerable. She was the most pure Rose to come from her family for longer than he could remember. No, he decided, he would not lose Lacey to the dark curse like he had the others.
“It has been my duty to protect and train each new daughter when the time came for her to come into her powers. To help them understand their gift and what it means to be a Rose clan descendant.” His chest grew heavy having to hide from her the truth, but her spirit had been through enough turmoil, he had to save her from her fate. He looked at her and her eyes were wide with curiosity, “Just how old are you Percy?”
He laughed at that question, he couldn’t remember the last time he had laughed like that and it was deep and hearty. “I am old as time itself, the Gods and Goddesses created me to be what you see before you.” He reached out and caught her as she stumbled over her feet with that information. Laughing as she peered up at him trying to see some sign of old age, “Don’t be deceived by looks Lacey, many of the things you will fight are just as old as I am, and just as strong as you are.”
Taking the opportunity at his vulnerability with her, she spun around with light speed and swept his feet from under him. Landing with a loud grunt, he looked at her surprised. “Don’t underestimate me Percy, just because I am tiny doesn’t mean I cannot hold my own,” she said triumphantly. She caught the flash of movement of his feet as he went to bring her down with him and the amulet got warm to the touch, her body seemed to fly as she jumped up and over his foot to tumble down in a neat summersault, coming back up on her feet on the other side of him.
“Very good!” Percy said with pride. “I think it is time to take you out tonight for your first battle.” The warmth radiated through her body and she felt strong, looking down, the amulet pulsed with a deep crimson glow against her pale flesh. The strength of what she felt was centuries of warrior ancestors flowed through her body, and she knew her purpose. Percy hid his eyes and prayed to those that made him that he would be able to keep her from the curse that haunted him in every fighter since the dawn of time. Please, this one is special.