The Exiled Prince — Chapter 7: Memory Sequence
[Accessing Memory Sequence 5819DC-1118-A]
“This is pointless!” The thirteen-year-old boy yelled and threw a fit. He hurled the sword he was carrying in his right hand to the ground just a few feet away from the middle-aged man approaching him. “Why do I have to learn how to fight, Uncle?”
“I don’t need to learn how to fight!” He started to reason resentfully. The newly-drafted trainee dropped to the ground out of sheer exhaustion, his hands and feet almost numb. “I’m smart enough to remove myself from any dangerous situation. You know that!”
“Besides, the royal family have you, Damien and the army!” His face appeared to be disgusted at his body that reeked of blood, sweat and soil. He looked up at his mother’s older brother, his eyes pleading for mercy. “Who would dare go against us, with you and Damien around?”
The boy moped, totally irked at his uncle’s annoyingly cheerful smile that seemed to mock his present predicament. He would always see exactly the same provoking grin every time he had to endure these gruesome exercises designed to improve his self discipline.
Ignoring his trainee’s painful ordeal, the man in the immaculate white robe, slightly waved his left hand. The man then disappeared as he approached the boy, along with the sword on the ground. The figure of the man, now holding the sword, suddenly blinked and reappeared right in front of his nephew.
The boy instinctively stiffened at his uncle’s unexpected reappearance. This creepy skill always gave him a fright.
“It’s not only what’s up here that is important, Dimitri!” The man replied in his usual deep, extremely authoritative voice. He kneeled in front of the pouting pubescent kid, his right hand pointing towards his nephew’s head. His left hand now held the wooden sword that the boy had dropped.
“You also need to toughen this, as well!” His uncle’s right hand pointed at the boy’s heart.
“That is the whole point of this training, see?” The man’s face turned serious, his cheerful smile now gone. He then rammed the sword’s handle towards Dimitri’s right hand. “Again,” he commanded, his aura quite intimidating.
The two sparring robots instantly sprung into action, swiftly taking their wooden swords out of their sheaths. They encircled the boy who was still on the ground. Without hesitation, both robots immediately launched their perfectly synchronized attack.
“But I’m already too tired to even lift a single muscle, Uncle!” Dimitri cried out with his eyes closed. Both his arms protected his head, leaving the sword on the ground. He considered being beaten by a pair of sparring robots a mockery of his lofty position as his older brother Damien’s spare heir to the crown. “Can’t you give me some slack?”
Seeing his nephew on the ground too tired to move, the man waved his left hand, stopping both machines’ fierce blows midway.
“No buts, Dimitri!” The prince’s uncle insisted firmly. The man had blinked himself back to his original position some distance away. He now positioned his left hand in the general direction of the boy who had been crouching on the ground. “Again!”
“Wait! This is pure torture!” Dimitri screamed as his uncle’s mysterious power lifted him and the sword up in the air. He tried to free himself, but his uncle’s invisible force ruthlessly restrained his limbs. “I’ll definitely tell Mother about this… abuse.”
“Do I have to remind you yet again that it was your Mother who put you up for this?” The man retorted, paying no mind to the boy squirming in midair. With a flick of the man’s fingers, the sword flew. It headed towards Dimitri, almost back on his feet now, and slammed itself into the boy’s right hand. “Again!”
“Stinking old fart!” Dimitri whispered while he rubbed his aching hand that still gripped the sword and glared at his uncle. Out of frustration, he brandished his sword yet again against the sparring robot nearest him, unwillingly resuming his suffering. “Wait until I’m old enough. I’ll absolutely put you in your place and shove this sword up your ass.”
“I can still hear you, Dimitri!” The man replied with indifference, watching the ongoing spar on his personal projection screen. His eyes focused solely on the sparring session’s real-time data and in-depth analysis.
“Good!” Dimitri veered to his left as he deflected one robot’s frontal assault. He turned around, wielding his sword against the second robot’s strike, still mumbling to himself. “You better watch your back then, old man.”
At the same time, he cunningly glanced at the overhead projector screen, trying to cheat his way out of this cruel entrapment. What he saw appalled him! Instead of showing both robots’ present positions, the screen displayed a whole host of data, pointing out all of his mistakes, blatantly mocking his incompetence.
“Oh, I think it’s you who should be watching your back!” The man laughed at his nephew’s shrewdness. “Watch your back and not the projector screen!”
“Arghh!” Dimitri crashed to the ground in agony. He completely lost his balance after the robot’s wooden sword hit his back.
“Time out! I need a break!” He begged, feeling intense excruciating pain in his back. “Please!”
“There are no breaks in times of war, Dimitri!” The man sullenly looked straight into his nephew’s eyes. “Just bear with it!” His words revealed traces of anger at the boy’s halfheartedness. “Again!”
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” The prince sighed, still cowering on the ground from the agonizing blow. He closed his eyes as the two robots rushed towards him, bracing for impact. He waited for some time, but nothing hit him.
When he opened his eyes, he saw a black hooded figure kneeling in front of his uncle.
“Milord! The King, the Queen and Prince Damien are all dead.” Dimitri froze upon hearing the news. “The kingdom has fallen.”
[Memory Sequence Processed]
[Initializing Memory Sequence Integration]
[Accessing Memory Sequence 5819DC-1118-B]
“Get up, Dimitri!” The prince immediately sat up, roused wide-awake by his uncle’s urgent command. His uncle, already kneeling in front of him, gently tapped him on his shoulder. “We have to go now.”
Dimitri didn’t know how long he had zoned out from sheer shock. Looking up, he saw his uncle’s somber face. The man’s eyes reflected the grief in his own eyes. Tears started to stream down his face as the reality of losing his entire family set in.
“Why can’t we just go back and kill them all?” The prince lashed with anger, his vengeful eyes still wet with tears. He forced his already worn-out body to stand, grabbing the wooden sword on the ground with his right hand. “Why do we have to run?”
“Look at me, Dimitri!” The man stopped his nephew from moving any further, both his hands firmly grasping the boy’s shoulders. He tried to reason with his nephew, knowing that his efforts would be futile. The prince had always been hardheaded. “We’re powerless against these forces.”
“No, you’re just a coward!” Dimitri shouted at his uncle in anger, trying to free himself from the man’s grasp. But before he could free himself, the ground shook. They heard a loud explosion outside the castle gates.
“Get the prince out of here, Viktor!” Dimitri’s uncle hurriedly ordered the hooded man. He grabbed a golden circular token from the pocket of his robe and gave it to Viktor. “Make sure he’s safe!”
“What about you, Master?” The hooded man accepted the token with reluctance. He hesitantly looked at the boy then back to his master. The reluctance and hesitation in his movements clearly displayed his unwillingness to follow his master’s instructions.
“Someone has to stay here to welcome these intruders.” The man firmly held his stance. He knew fully well that the hooded figure would willingly fight to his death. “Now, go!”
“No, you must come with us!” Dimitri demanded as he wiped the tears from his face. He held on to his uncle’s robe, afraid to let go. “As you said, we’re powerless to fight them. What’s the point of you staying if you don’t even have the power to fight?”
“Listen to me, Dimitri,” the man insisted. “I will no longer be your teacher. You will need to do everything on your own from now on.”
“Viktor is your guide, not your servant!” He knew that his fate had already been sealed. “Learn from him and avoid any kind of trouble until you’re old enough to look after yourself. Promise me that.”
“But…” Dimitri stuttered, choking on his response, his lips trembling. “But you’re… the only one… I have left.” The boy pleaded with all his might.
“Now, go!” The man ignored his nephew’s pleas. He gazed back at Viktor, nodding meaningfully before blinking and making himself disappear. Only the echo of his voice lingered, “We don’t have that much time.”
[Warning: Usage Restriction Due To Limited Function Mode Activation]
[System Availability Duration: Reached]
[Rebooting in 3…2…1]