Not Your Average Knights

© I copyright all of the characters in this story and the plot. Thanks.

Chapter One ~ The New Recruit

"Right this way sir." The young man followed the butler through the winding hallways of the castle, staring around in wonder. They approached a grand door which led into a massive chamber. There was a long oak table, and at the head, sat the king. The two men bowed and rose to their feet. "I brought him as you asked, King Maximus." the butler announced. "That'll be all Irvin, thank you." he replied. Once alone, the king glanced at the young man. "You're the new trainee? What's your name?" "My name's Jack. Sir, it's an honor to be here…" he began before the king put up a hand, laughing. "Slow down! Save your energy for training." Jack's eyes widened and he said, "I start today?" "Indeed you do!" answered a female voice. It belonged to a woman dressed in light armor and holding two swords. "Hazel will be your mentor." King Maximus claimed. Approaching Jack, Hazel held out one of the swords, hilt first. "Day one newbie. Let's get started."

"Being a knight's a full time job, 24/7. So far, so good?" Jack nodded in response. Hazel navigated the halls with little issue, currently serving as a tour guide. They stopped at the entrance to another hall, similar to the one they had just left. Everything was slightly smaller, considering it wasn't where grand feasts were held. To Jack's surprise, there was a group of people inside, who were in the middle of a very strange activity. "She's up to five! Wen, didn't you have money on six?" exclaimed a boy. "Yep, and I'm just about there!" she answered with a grin. "Is this a new record?" questioned another girl. The one they were focused on had her mouth wide open, attempting to fit another pastry in her mouth. "Are you guys seriously competing over how many doughnuts Brittney can shove in her mouth again?" Hazel cut in, shaking her head. "Yep, and I'm about to win the pot!" Wen yelled shamelessly, pointing to the meager pile of money on the floor. Brittney raised her hands joyfully, having successfully crammed the last sweet in. "And she wins again… Remind me to never make a bet with you again!" the boy said with a grimace, pushing the cash to his comrade. Laughing, Hazel gestured, "Jack, this is Tyrell, Brittney, Emily, and Wen. This is a common pastime for them, when things are a little slow." Looking the newcomer over, Emily commented, "This is the new trainee? Hazel, you've got your work cut out for you!" "Don't take anything she says to heart. That girl has no filter to what comes out her mouth, and she doesn't always have the best timing." the trainer whispered, lessening the blow. "You should take him to meet Bruno!" Brittney suggested, having finished chewing. A smirk appeared on their faces, as if they shared an inside joke. "Let's go. Time for you to meet the cook."

A door down, they entered the kitchen. Jack noticed right away that something seemed different about the place, although he couldn't quite put a finger on it. "For the last time, I will not make you anymore doughnuts!" someone yelled from out of sight. As soon as the owner of the voice stepped out of the shadows, it clicked. Everything was lower to the ground… "Who the heck is this?!" asked the chef, angrily wielding a wooden soup spoon. The trainee was caught off guard. Bruno was a… dwarf? "This is Jack, the-" "Oh great, another mouth to feed. Well get going. I have a dinner to make!" Bruno cut off, turning around and resuming his work. Jack glanced at Hazel, surprised at the cook's outburst, but she seemed unfazed. She shrugged and turned to leave, and he followed.

"Where to next?" the boy asked after they had walked for a while. "Not sure… We have a lot of knights here, and I want to make sure you meet them all." she responded matter-of-factly. Jack was surprised when they exited the building into the garden. Beautiful flowers blossomed everywhere, bright splashes of yellow, purple, and pink against the green grass. "Queen Serenity tends to the garden herself." Hazel commented. Jack took note of the strange tone of her voice upon mentioning the queen, but didn't mention it. They entered a clearing, where two knights were in the middle of a combat. Hazel led Jack to the side to join a few spectators. Judging by their clothing, they were knights as well. "Who's winning?" she asked casually. "Ryne." responded a kind looking girl. "Hi there! I'm Bree. This is Vanessa, and the two fighting are Ryne and Robyn." Bree explained, pointing to each person as she named them. "What's your name?" Vanessa asked, giving Jack an interested look. "Uh… Jack." he said nervously, taking an involuntary step back. The girl noticed and frowned, crossing her arms and turning her attention back to the brawl.

Metal clashed as the two fought, each of equal skill. Robyn had succeeded in evening the fight once more. Although it was just for fun and games, tension still hung in the air. Jack watched with fascination at the intensity with which each of the girls fought. Maybe one day that'll be me… "After I'm done training you!" Hazel replied. He blinked, not realizing he had thought out loud. With some cue unspoken, the dualers ceased, shaking hands good naturedly. Ryne nodded her head at the newbie, but didn't say a word. Robyn was a little more social and introduced herself. "Don't worry about Ryne," she explained, "She doesn't normally say much anyways. She came about a year ago from another kingdom." Jack nodded in understanding. "Have you taken him to the archery range? If not, you should!" Bree suggested. "We'll head over there right now. I want to make sure we get to the stables before dinner." Hazel responded, glancing at the sky. The trainee followed his "tour guide" as they walked away, right as Robyn and Ryne prepared for another showdown.

The archery range was a five minute walk from the field. Down the range there were multiple targets, and two were in use. Two girls stood, one wielding a crossbow and the other twirling a knife between her fingers. She shifted her weight forward and sent the dagger flying, spinning end over end before it buried itself into the bullseye. With a crazed light in her eye, she turned to face the observers and playfully bowed. "Who wants to go grab it? I need a new target…" she asked, pointing at Jack. By the tone of her voice, he wasn't sure if she was kidding. "Don't scare the newbie, Rowena. If he's going to get into harm's way, let him do it himself." the girl with the crossbow commented with a chuckle. The trainee laughed nervously. The crossbow wielding girl introduced herself as Panda. "I think you should show him the stables." she suggested. "Wonder if he's less awkward around animals…" Rowena added, crossing her arms and tilting her head. Jack bit down his cry of protest, fearing the knight's unpredictable attitude. "That was the plan. Besides, I bet that's where the rest of the crew is." Hazel responded, unable to contain a growing smile. Temporarily forgetting his silence, he asked excitedly, "Will I get a horse?" Her smirk grew larger, as if she knew something he didn't. "We'll see."

Considering the amount of knights, the stable was quite large. Horses of many colors lined the stalls, each with a placard stating their name. Hazel took a quick glance at the four empty stalls and headed to the field outside the wooden structure. The sound of galloping hooves quickly became audible. A crude line was sketched along the ground, and the downtrodden circular path springing from it signified a makeshift racetrack. As expected, four racers rushed around the track, kicking up dust. Jack watched curiously as Hazel rung a nearby bell. He watched with fascination as the other knights began to show up. "And here's another classic pastime: betting on our own personal horse racing." As money was soon passed between hands, Hazel whispered, "Always put money on Eva. She's the groom, so she's always with horses. Works every time." Sure enough, a grey horse crossed the line first, quickly followed by the rest. Hazel shouted triumphantly and cashed in her winnings, walking towards the winner. Unsure of what to do, Jack followed close behind.

"Yet another win!" Hazel greeted. "Yes indeed!" the racer laughed, accepting the wad of cash passed her way. The other riders approached them. "Jack, this is Kylie, Pharmarque, and-" "Hi there! So you're the newbie? Cool! I'm James." claimed one, vigorously shaking his hand. While introductions were made, Hazel and Eva whispered to each other. "Good news Jack!" the groom exclaimed, spreading her arms wide. "You're getting a ride of your own." Jack choked down a cry of excitement. Everyone followed Eva as she led the trainee back to the stable, tucking the money into her saddle bag. They came to a stop in front of a stall on the end. "And here he is!" she exclaimed, swinging the door open. And inside there was… Jack frowned in confusion. "I get a donkey?"

Hi!

This is a story I am writing for my friends, and decided to post it here! I have a couple more chapters already completed, so if you want me to continue please favorite and review!

- Hedgehogs4713