Halt and Gilan rode through the portcullis of Castle Caraway, Gilan's home. They were at Caraway for Gilan's usual sword training and for his father's assessment of Gilan; but this was their first time at the castle since the unfortunate "incident" with red hair dye.
To Halt's horror, Gilan had quickly overcome his hatred of the new 'do, and actually seemed to like it. Something about it being "dangerous" and "edgy" and "rebellious". When Halt asked why Gilan considered rebellion a good thing, Gilan replied cheekily:
"I'm only learning from you Halt," he said, opening his eyes wide and batting his eyelashes in a way he figured was "innocent".
Of course, Gilan had three extra hours of practice in gratitude for the compliment.
What was worse, Gilan got the absurd notion to stick his hair up in ridiculous spikes using egg whites. But, he only did it once before Halt hurled him into a passing moat to wash it out.
Knowing strict Battlemaster David, Halt would have to play it cool to pass off the hair as "necessary for Gilan's training".
And that was why Halt was glaring more terrifyingly than usual at Gilan as they rode into the courtyard, cowls up.
Grinning deviously, Gilan stood in front of the burnished metal mirror in his quarters, fixing his fierce red hair. Everyone was waiting for him at the dinner table, because he had come up to clean himself off after the rigorous training. As Halt had ordered, Gilan made sure no-one saw his hair when he took off his cloak and put on the leather hood for training that covered his head and neck- a precaution common among swordsmen in training. So, nobody knew about his hair yet.
He would only humor Halt for so long however; both knew his parents would find out at dinner, but Halt would surely pass it off as 1. Gilan's fault, and 2. "necessary for training."
But that was about to change.
"Time for the egg whites."
Talking easily with Battlemaster David and his wife in the private dining room, Halt was starting to get suspicious over how long Gilan was taking.
If that kid tries anything funny, I'll show him what "edgy" means, cuz he'll be on the edge of his life, thought the Ranger darkly.
All three turned around at the familiar voice- and Halt mentally face-palmed.
In the doorway stood Gilan: he was wearing black breeches, and a matching tunic with red boarders. Behind him flowed a long black cape with a heavy chain fastening it in the front. Gilan's boots weren't his normal Ranger boots, but his old knight boots with steel guards strapped on. Her had scarlet half gloves on either hand, and spiked cuffs. A heavily studded leather belt slouched across his narrow hips, and Gilan's posture was equally slouched. But that was nothing in comparison with-
"Your hair! Gilan, what is the meaning of this?" said David angrily. Gilan's mother buried her face in her hands, moaning about "his lovely hair! Oh, his hair!" And if looks could kill, well, Halt would've murdered his apprentice.
Gilan's flaming red hair now had a black streak in it, over his right temple, and the long hair was spiked into a gigantic flame; it twisted above his head, a few strands hanging over his forehead and the fringes separated by the egg whites spiked around his head.
Lazily, Gilan's eyes flicked over each viewer briefly. He yawned boredly. Determined not to let Gilan get to him, Halt raised an eyebrow, viewing the boy as if he was an amusing wild animal. But it still annoyed the heck out of him!
David stood up abruptly, and strode over to his son.
"Gilan, answer me! What the heck are you wearing? And what is that?" he asked, gesturing disgustedly at Gilan's hair.
"What, don't know what hair is pops?" snorted Gilan. David grabbed a fistful of Gilan's collar, roaring into his face as Gilan hung slackly in complete indifference.
"SILENCE CHEEK! YOU WILL ADDRESS ME RESPECTFULLY!"
"Yeah, whatever. This is necessary; I'm just following my training pops," he drawled with a smirk. David looked like he might hit Gilan for a minute, but caught the last part and frowned in confusion. Mr. Rebel took the chance to jerk out of his father's grip, straightening his cape with an important gesture. David turned to Halt with a querying expression.
"What is he talking about Halt? Training?"
Halt rolled his eyes. "He's being stupid. I don't know what got into his head to do that." He addressed Gilan. "And you! I don't care how smart you think you're being, but boy are you in for it Gilan. I want an explanation. Now." His voice was low and dangerous.
Gilan straightened up, a puzzled look on his face.
"Master Halt, you instructed me to dress thus. For are you not the magician Arratez?" Gilan went down on one knee to Halt, bowing. Baffled, David rounded on Halt.
"What are you teaching him? I thought Ranger's weren't involved in those things!"
Angrily, Halt stood. "We aren't! That fool of a boy is either insane or really wants to get killed!" he growled.
"Well then what is he talking about? He didn't used to dress this way!" David fairly yelled.
"Master Halt, you yourself dyed my hair. It was part of my initiation rite," intoned Gilan mystically, addressing the last remark to his enraged father.
"Is that true?" snarled David.
"Of course not!" bellowed halt. "Gilan is making that up to annoy me. Bad move boy!" he started towards Gilan.
Even though he was internally terrified, Gilan rose imperiously, bowed to Halt, and said:
"Master Halt, you know that you dyed my hair." Halt was about to do who knows what when David's voice halted him.
"Wait! He keeps insisting that you dyed his hair?"
"So what if I did? The boy deserved it. It was a punishment that he took to unfortunately well. My mistake," Halt growled.
"Why on earth would you dye his hair? That's not part of his training!"
"It was necessary; he tried to prank me."
"So you pranked him back? Lovely Halt. Just lovely."
Gilan was hard put not to grin. This was going too well to be true!
"He needed to be taught a lesson! It's not like I had anything to do with the rest of that!" Halt waved a hand at Gilan's attire.
They both looked at Gilan as David was about to retort, but he stopped short when he caught the look on Gilan's face.
He was grinning maniacally.
Suddenly, Battlemaster David knew what was going on.
"Gilan…" he said slowly. Halt looked like a rabid wolf at this point. His hair was fairly standing on end.
Gilan couldn't resist.
"Just look at Halt's hair! You see I was telling the truth about copying him."
Halt snapped. In an instant, he had Gilan's flamboyant collar in his fist, lifting him higher than his head. Without looking away from Gilan's terrified face, he bellowed a question to David.
"Is the moat in reach of this window?"
The guards on the parapet leaned over the edge at the sound of a yell. They were just in time to see a powerful arm hurl a flash of red and black out the window, and into the muddy moat.
Spluttering, Gilan finally managed to climb up the muddy walls of the moat and rolled over the edge onto the grass in exhaustion. When he opened his eyes, he saw Halt scowling down at him.
"Not so fun being 'edgy' is it now Gilan."
A/N Hmmz, not sure how that turned out, but I sure had fun dressing up Gilan! XD He's so funny! Lemme know what you think in a review. :3