Chapter 66 – The Storyteller and Knights-in-Training (2)
“Madam, he’s not just outstanding!” The boy looked back at her as if she were describing Riftan with the most austere terms. He then launched to a tirade of Riftan’s outstanding achievements that led to his reputation:
“Lord Calypse is the greatest knight in the continent. There’s a reason why he is called the wise man of Uigru! Across the continent, there are only five knights that are revered as Rossem Uigru! Two out of the five knights were bested by Sir Calypse. It was only six years ago that he beat Libadon’s top knight, Sejour Aren, but he also beat the holy sword of Osiria, Kuahl Leon at the Western Union swordsmanship competition!”
Max only smiled vaguely in return. She had heard about the commander of the Paladin Division many times, a man commended for his excellent swordsmanship—yet, it never dawned on her that her husband could far surpass a man considered to be an elite knight in the continent.
“I decided to be a knight after seeing Sir Calypse performance during that sword competition. I have admired him ever since,” the boy finally ended his impassioned speech with his devotion to Riftan.
“I, I see….”
Max replied at a loss for words. This, in turn, prompted a stern look on the boy’s cheery face.
“Madam,” he somberly started, “You have no idea how incredible Lord Calpyse is, do you?”
She hurriedly countered with her little knowledge on Riftan, “I, I know…. a-about the d-dragon….”
“Even if he did not participate in the expedition, Sir Calypse is still a great knight. Have you never seen him swing a sword before?”
“I, I have!” She interjected immediately, feeling quite defensive. “I saw him fi-fighting a mo-monster….”
Her words trailed to a quiet whisper. She was not sure if her disclosure of the fiasco on their travel had counted as seeing. It was the first time Riftan had wielded his blade in front of her, yet she had passed out, unable to see the spectacle. And on the second time it happened, the fight was over before she even knew it. But Max couldn’t stomach the boys finding out her lack of familiarity with her husband’s feats.
Therefore, she began to spin an exaggerated tale…
“I-I also know,” she started, straightening up her spine, and her nervousness, as she recounted a profligate version of the fight. “I-I saw Riftan cu-cut a gi-giant a-as bi-big as this fo-fort in ha-half! The-there was a to-total of te-ten gi-giants, bu-but he de-defeated them a-all i-in the b-blink of an e-eye.”
She was describing the event shamelessly, even though, in reality, she could not remember how many of the fearsome beasts had appeared. She presumed, at the very least, there would have been ten. Her bluff proved successful, as the boy looked at her with renewed enthusiasm on his naïve face.
“For real? Ten giant ogres…!? What a story! Can you tell us more?”
Max flinched at his enthusiasm. The boy’s incredible excitement for the story caught Max off guard. However, at this point, she could not tell him the mortifying truth that she could not remember because she had fainted. She quickly remembered a tale she heard from a minstrel and made up an outrageous story, her stutters increasingly becoming evident with the deepening lie.
“Whi-while we we-were on a ca-carriage, we-we su-suddenly he-heard a loud s-screech! I-it was s-so lo-loud tha-that I thought th-the s-sky wa-was te-tearing a-apart. M-my entire bo-body froze be-because I wa-was s-so scared; I-I di-didn’t even re-realize th-that Ri-riftan to-took out hi-his sw-sword. And b-by the ti-time I no-noticed, Ri-riftan had already go-gone o-out t-to fi-fight.”
“Sir Calypse’s swordsmanship is the fastest in the world! His enemies always end up with their head decapitated and their bodies split in half bleeding all over the ground before they even notice him taking out his sword!”
The boy yelled with delight. Although she found it disconcerting how the boys enjoyed hearing such a morbid tale, she continued on regardless.
“O-outside, th-there we-were ten gi-giants as bi-big as a fo-fort…! A-all the knights d-drew their s-swords! Ri-riftan we-went ahead of th-them and s-swang hi-his s-sword at the bi-biggest gi-giant! Th-then the gi-giant…”
Max looked up, trying to recall what the boy said had said earlier. Trying to intertwine some semblance of reality in her story.
“Th-the gi-giant’s he-head was decapitated, and its to-torso cut in half a-and b-blood sprouted li-like a fo-fountain! Th-then it d-dropped to the g-ground.”
“Sir Calypse’s sword had even split through the dragon’s breath!” He nodded, convinced, “Hmph! An ogre is only a piece of cake for him!”
Max evoked exhilaration on the boys with her tale. Despite her bothersome stuttering, the boys showed no sign of annoyance and patiently waited, eyes sparkling, as she went on with the story. Their reactions that of pure astonishment served to fuel Max further, her tale increasingly becoming animated as she started to mimic the giant.
“A-another gi-giant sa-saw what ha-happened a-and shouted s-so loud th-that m-my e-ears popped a-and it s-swang a huge ba-bat with a sw-swoosh! Ri-riftan ju-jumped up hi-high like a flying swallow… and do-dodged like it wa-was ch-child’s play.”
She smiled, quite liking her description of him as a sprightly ‘flying swallow.’
“T-the gi-giant was so du-dull that… it co-couldn’t keep up wi-with Ri-riftan’s mo-movement and ke-kept slamming t-the g-ground with its ba-bat! Boom! Bam! So s-strong th-that it fe-felt li-like the e-earth wa-was sh-shaking…!”
She imitated the giant slamming the ground with its weapon of destruction. The boys’ shoulders also shook as if they were dying to know what happened next. Max, too, began to feel uncontrollably excited as it was the first time someone had been so engaged in her story.
“Th-then! Ri-riftan swang his s-sword. Th-there was a su-sudden f-flash and then I sa-saw th-the giant’s bi-big arm cu-cut off li-like a sa-sausage! Th-then it d-dropped to th-the ground wi-with a loud th-thud and blood….”
She noticed that whenever something gory was mentioned, the twinkle in the boys’ eyes became even more dazzling. She raised her arms and yelled.
“B-blood rained li-like a shower! Every ti-time the giant sho-shook its half cu-cut a-arm, black b-blood poured do-down ev-everywhere like he-heavy r, rain…! I had to ba-bathe for half a-a day just to wa-wash out the blood o-on me.”
Max, who was swinging her arm, trying to mimic the giant with a decapitated limb, suddenly froze.