In 1777, during the American Revolutionary War, Prussian military commander, Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben, arrived in the American colonies. He would eventually become a Major General of the continental army. However, von Steuben first service would be as the Inspector General to the American troops.
"So Prussia, thanks a lot for helping me out!"
Prussia looked over at the excited teenager coming towards him. So this was America? The colonies who had the guts to rebel against England. Prussia had heard of him, but had never met him until today.
At first, Prussia had not been that interested in America's war. Like all the other countries in Europe, he had thought the rebellion would be easily crushed by England in no time, but the war was lasting a lot longer than everyone had expected. Even though America was losing the war, he still refused to give up. Back home, Prussia had begun to enjoy hearing news about this guy's idiotic, but inspiring, determination. It had not been long before curiosity had gotten the better of the old Prussian. When he had heard that one of his own fighting men had decided to assist the American continental army in battle, Prussia had figured that he couldn't turn down the chance to check out the amusing new nation! So he had hitched a ride with his soldier.
Now, the two countries were getting a chance to talk alone as Prussia's man was meeting privately with the American commanders. Only a few moments ago, Prussia had finally been able to meet America face to face. The albino had almost been a little disappointed by the first encounter. The meeting had not been anything special. Just a quick, formal introduction. And America, it had turned out, wasn't much to look at, either. He seemed to be nothing more than an average, dirty, teenaged peasant. He was a little on the tall side, but other than that, the young American seemed harmless. The only thing distinguishing the boy from any other human to Prussia, was the vague sensation of kinship Prussia could feel coming from him. All personified nations had a kind of sixth sense which clued them in whenever they were near a fellow personification. Yet, even America's vibes had seemed dull.
But the experienced military nation had quickly reminded himself that he shouldn't be so swift to judge a book by its cover. This was the lad that was holding his own against England, after all. There was probably more to him than meets the eye. Still, America was obviously an amateur at defending himself as his own nation. Prussia was certain that would change soon. With his awesome, capable solider in control, it wouldn't be long before England wouldn't be able to stand a chance against his former colony.
"No problem," Prussia replied importantly; feeling prideful to think that the boy was already thanking him. "I'm always ready for a fight!"
The young man smiled back. Earlier, America had clearly been on his toes around Prussia and his man. He had been a very stiff and polite when greeting them. Prussia had been in a good mood at the time and had decided to see if he could catch the colonist off guard with a little "polite" act of his own. Now, America was obviously loosening up, probably thinking that the Prussian nation was a pretty nice guy, after all. Prussia had to grin at the kid's naiveté. Simpleton.
"Great!" America exclaimed, "That's at least one thing I'm not short on, here," he tried to joke.
Prussia quickly surveyed the camp America had been staying in. It was filthy, torn, depressing, and had soldiers that matched its style perfectly. Most of America's men looked tired, injured, hungry, or a mix of all three. Prussia looked back at America. He didn't look much different from his men. Yet, America was very cheerful for someone in his position. Prussia had to give the kid credit for keeping his spirits up.
"So I see," Prussia remarked as he studied the surroundings some more.
"I have to warn you, though," America continued, looking a little embarrassed, "most of my men are farmers, so I don't really know much about fighting."
Prussia smirked at this.
"Yes, well not everyone can be as awesome as I am in battle," he bragged to the newbie nation, "Just show me what you got, and I'll see what I can do."
"Really? Ok!" America seemed more than eager to learn from Prussia.
"Attention!" Prussia commanded.
America struggled a bit get himself together and stand at attention. When he was finished, Prussia put his hand on his own chin as he inspected the young soldier. He was taking mental notes.
Hmm…a little sloppy, but we can work on that...
He eyed America's torn clothes.
He really should be wearing his proper uniform…
America's eyes were starting to wander. Prussia made a note of that.
His attention span could use some work too…
His gaze moved to examine the rifle America held at his side.
Wait, something's not right.
"Hey, where is your bayonet?" he asked America.
"My what now?" America appeared confused. Prussia figured he had just not been listening.
"Your Bayonet," he repeated with slight annoyance.
America still looked confused.
"You know!" Prussia persisted.
America shrugged. He stared at Prussia as if he was speaking a foreign language. Prussia was dumbfounded. Did this kid really have no idea what he was talking about? He sighed and tried wording his question differently.
"The long, pointy thing that goes at the end of your gun…"
"Oh yeah, that!" America lit up like a school kid who had finally mastered a difficult equation, "We don't really use those for fighting. We mostly use them to dig trenches."
Prussia was too stunned to say anything for a moment.
"You mean to tell me that you're using crucial weapons for nothing more than uprooting DIRT?" He finally shouted in disgust.
"Of course not!" America replied as if he was insulted, "I said 'mostly.'"
Prussia felt a bit relieved…until America continued.
"They also make the best backscratchers, and they're great for roasting marshmallows, and for picking teeth…"
America held his fingers out as he went down the list, while Prussia listened in shock. America was honestly acting like roasting marshmallows with his bayonet was the most normal thing in the world! Prussia found himself wondering, as he noticed the boy's sloppy appearance again, if America even cleaned the bayonet between its various "uses." As America went on talking, not taking notice of the older nation's bewilderment, Prussia slapped his forehead in frustration.
No wonder he's losing this war!
Prussia thought to himself. He was surprised that the teenager had made it this far.
"Oh, by the way," America interrupted Prussia's thoughts, "did you bring anything to eat?" America good-naturedly put his arm on Prussia's shoulders, "I'm starving!"
Prussia felt his eye twitch.
"That's it!" Prussia exploded without warning. He roughly knocked America's arm off of him.
"Ow!" America rubbed his arm, "What was that for?"
"Silence!" Prussia cut the boy off. He began to throw orders at his new apprentice, "Attention! Stand up straight! Chest out! Suck in your gut. Heals together! Head up!"
America was trying his best to keep up with all the commands. He tried to ask Prussia to slow down once, but Prussia would not allow him to get one syllable out.
"Mouth closed!" Prussia had threatened America with a look of pure murderous intent when had seen America's lips part. America was afraid to oppose him. Prussia's commands went on:
"Hands to yourself! Ears open! And eyes on ME!" Prussia forcefully pointed to himself to illustrate his final command. He got in the boys face for added intimidation.
"Alright, listen up you little…little…"
America waited. Nothing happened. Prussia just stood there, with his finger frozen in place, scowling at him. Prussia looked as if he had wanted to say something, but had blanked out. As America continued to wait for Prussia to unfreeze, he noticed Prussia's eyes for the first time…they were red. Not red with anger. They were seriously red-like that was their actual color. RED! What kind of person has red eyes? That freaked out America more than anything else while he waited for whatever Prussia was struggling to say. After Prussia had stared at America for a few seconds, he finally turned away and threw up his hands with a loud exhale as if he had given up. America heard him grumbling something in German as he stomped a few feet away. America didn't know what was going on in this crazy guy's head, but he thought this might be a good opportunity to give him some "alone time." Unfortunately, as soon as America started to back away, the Prussian turned around and pointed his finger at him again in warning.
America stood at attention once more. What else was he supposed to do? He watched Prussia look back and forth around the camp.
"You!" Prussia called out to a passing soldier, "Can you speak German?"
The poor soldier was taken off guard. He had no idea who Prussia was, but the albino sure did look and act like he was really important. On top of that, he also seemed extremely angry and impatient, so the soldier decided it would be best to submit to him.
"Uh…no. I-I can't," he hastily stammered, "But I think there's someone in the camp who can speak French."
America heard Prussia groan loudly as he put his hand on his face.
"Fine!" he spat out. "Go get him immediately, and bring him here! I need someone to translate curse words into English for me!"
America snickered loudly. Was that why Prussia had frozen up?
Prussia glared daggers at America. America took the hint and held his breath to try to keep from laughing out loud. Prussia turned back to the man he had put on the spot.
"Why are you still here? MOVE!"
The frightened man ran off the moment he had been dismissed.
"Lucky dog," America said under his breath as he enviously watched the soldier escape. Then he quickly straightened up when Prussia turned back to him. Prussia glared at America. America hoped Prussia had not heard him. Suddenly, Prussia smiled. (It was actually more of a sneer than a smile)
Prussia put his arms behind his back and calmly strolled up to America while grinning out of the side of his mouth. This was going to be fun.
"Now hear this!" Prussia began when he was in front of America, "From this moment on, you will no longer be 'America the Farmer.' Today, you begin your transformation into 'America the Warrior!'"
Prussia began to circle America as he spoke. America felt as if he was a wounded animal being surveyed by a vulture. He stood tall and tried not to let on that he was a little unnerved.
"It will not be easy," Prussia went on, "You will train night and day. You will cry and beg me for mercy. You will hate me. But when this war is all over, you will thank me-and MEAN IT!"
He paused as he stood in front of America once again.
"Do you know why?"
America could only shake his head. Prussia smirked and leaned into America's face as he gave America the answer.
There was something about the way Prussia answered his own question that made America forget his hunger. He forgot his aching feet and his throbbing wounds. America couldn't really explain it, but there was just something about the way Prussia had spoken that last statement that made America feel…excited. He could feel his energy coming back. The red-eyed Prussian still made him kind of nervous, but America found himself actually looking forward to his training, no matter how challenging it might be. America now felt he couldn't wait to get back out in battle and take on the entire world for his freedom if he had too. What Prussia had said, was this:
"Because I am going to teach you…how to be AWESOME!"
Dedicated to von Steuben: The Prussian Commander who taught American troops how to be AWESOME!
EDIT: I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS IS NOW CANON! YAY! I changed the beginning up, just a little, so that it goes with the Hima's comic he did of this during the Christmas 2011 Event.
Short History Lesson on VS:
Von Steuben did a lot to help out the troops in America during the Revolution. He created training regimens that would also teach the trainees how to instruct other troops in the ways of army awesomeness. He insisted that the troops wear their full uniforms in training and in battle. He wrote the "Revolutionary War Drill Manual" that became the STANDARD drill manual for the US until 1812!
He could not speak much English, but he could speak French, so he had French translators give out many of his orders. (He was famous for swearing and cursing at the troops in both French and German. Apparently he would often yell to his translator, "Here! Come swear for me!") Still, the men he trained really liked him. He had a presence that could really get the soldiers fired up.
He also taught the troops some lessons in camp (ahem) sanitation. Before he came along, conditions in the camps were pretty disgusting. I don't care to go into details. Just trust me…or look it up if you dare.
He is most famous for teaching the troops how to use the bayonets. Of course, us Americans thought that just shooting our guns would be good enough. The bayonets were being used as tools, shovels, and as skewers for roasting meat (or marshmallows ; ) ). But then Ol' Steuben came along and said, "Nein!" His bayonet training was so good, that we went into the Battle of Stony Point with NO AMO and we still won!
Thanks Prussia, for sharing von Steuben with us!