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Let's Get Physical [Florence]

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Let's Get Physical [Florence] Empty on Thu Dec 15, 2016 11:59 pm

Florence Haddock
I told 'em I wouldn't be particularly interested in this job, but they set me up on it anyway!

Walking into the bright park, Florence was the last person to be optimistic on this day, which was dedicated to training aspiring lesser knights. This man of blue aura didn't even consider himself to be a proper knight despite being a member of the primary fighting force for the government. How could he look mere children in the eye and tell them they're on a similar level even to someone like him?

Nevertheless, there he was. Completing his walk in the chilly morning air, grasping at his cloak for further warmth from the breeze, he eventually stood before the five brats who aspired to ascend to knighthood.

The kids looked him up and down, before one of them with snot half dripping out of his left nostril smiled and spoke up.

"Hey, are you our substitute?" he spoke in a congested voice still going through puberty.

Leaning on a nearby tree and shrouding himself in his cloak, attempting to make his best first impression, he looked up at the five with cold eyes.

"Yeah, that's me." he stated with an unconcerned monotone that sent chills down the snot-nosed one's spine.

The kids seemed to respect his demeanor, which made Florence giddy inside - not even stopping to care upon realizing he was happy he managed to impress naive children. From the outside looking inward he would consider such a person pathetic, but there was no such thought in his mind now. He was on a roll!

"We begin with a jog around the park! Three laps for each of you, and the last one to finish will suffer severe punishment!"

The children snapped to it at the sound of his commanding voice. They began to move at varying paces around the park, working themselves up over the potential punishment.

Florence sat back with pen and paper, and began to jot down notes in his notebook. Most consisted of the various strengths and weaknesses of each of their running techniques as well as how they reacted to the pressure of failure while doing so. He especially made sure to note that snot-nose was consistently falling behind in larger and larger gaps.

Ceasing his scribbles, Florence put the pen to his bottom lip and pondered, tapping it against the bottom of his chin.

I wonder. Could he be...?

When everyone had finished their laps, Florence pulled snot-nose aside who was visibly out of breath; having finished dead last regardless of his determination. The other children looked at him as if this wasn't the first time it had happened.

"Hey. How you holdin' up, kid?"

Snot-nose had tried with hand gestures in between breaths to reassure Florence, and shook his head.

"I'm fine. You don't n-need to worry about it..." he puffed out, trying to regain his breathing rhythm.

Shit, he really is...

Carrying the wheezing child to a nearby bench, he sat him down and then sat next to him.

"So. How long have you had asthma, kid?"

The child, beginning to calm down, slumped into the bench more.

"I was... born with it."

Florence nodded, gesturing to the other four to pick up their wooden swords and begin their drills. He had hoped the regular teacher had some regular techniques for them to practice, and was relieved to see that they did - he wasn't one for coming up with those kinds of things, after all.

"Born with it, huh? Sheesh."

"Yeah..."

"So, why this? What reason would a kid like you with a drawback that could prove fatal, have to gain from joining the Rune Knights?"

Snot-nose twiddled his thumbs, and then looked at Florence.

"Well, I just really like them and admire them. One of my cousins is a Rune Knight, and they're one of the bravest people I know! I don't see him much anymore, though..."

"I see."

They sat there in silence, watching the other four kids deliver swings back and forth, clashing wooden blades.

Florence got the impulse that he wasn't good for this sort of thing. Which was most likely correct after the next bomb the child next to him dropped.

"Hey... Mr. Substitute, can I be a cool Rune Knight like my cousin? Like the Kingsguard, eventually?"

Florence went silent, and there was a pit in his stomach.

"Well..."

His eyes became more focused, and despite wanting to say something positive to potentially brighten up this child's day, he couldn't find the words. After all, he himself came across those thoughts daily. He didn't know if he was good enough, he just had to be.

"I..."

Snot-nose looked at him with the eyes of one whose future relied upon his answer.

"...Let's get you back to training with the others. I can be your sparring partner."

The disappointment was almost physical and in the air, but snot-nose gave an acknowledging look and they both rose to join the other children.

The rest of the day's practice went without a hitch, aside from snot-nose and his need for breaks due to a need to catch his breath.

They did push-ups, sit-ups, weight training, cardio, sparring, and marching drills. Eventually, it came time to pack things up and send the kids home. Snot-nose was the last to leave, and Florence could tell the child was hesitant about whether to ask him the question he had asked earlier.

With his back turned to the kid loading equipment into his backpack, there was dead silence between the two. Florence at one point felt the need to speak up, but decided against it.

Empty words will only get that kid killed. He doesn't need that kind of thing, right? Right.


Snot-nose eventually left of his own accord, without another word. The weight Florence had felt eventually withered, and as he lit a cigarette and made the trip to Armin's house, he pondered over how he could improve his role as a mentor in the future.

In the end, he came to no conclusion in particular by the time he reached the door of the true mentor. He knocked, and saw Armin open it around a minute later, pale and feeble. As expected when one is ill, however, so Florence understood. They didn't exchange much other than the money Florence was to receive. With that, the sickly man closed the door after a quick "thank you" and they parted ways.

"...You have it rough. More rough than me, Armin." were the last words Florence muttered lowly before walking away into the setting sunlight.

But that doesn't make my struggle any less invalid.

[Exit]




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