((Greetings, true believers and fellow fanfic writers/readers! I apologize for once again disappearing on you, but things have been kid of rocky since school restarted and even before then my computer broke! BUT, now I am back and here to dish out more awesomeness for you all! So sit back and enjoy the newest chapter...cause it is the start of my comeback from a long absence!))
"Come on, Rock! Let's grab some pastries for dessert tonight!"
Roll made a beeline towards a nearby pastry shop, a child-like enthusiasm seeming to overtake her as she almost dragged Prince X towards the store. Stopping at the window, she pressed her face against it and barely resisted the urge to drool.
"Oh wow...look at that cake! And that strudel! Oh, and that sticky bun!"
As Roll occupied herself with the sights and smells of the tasty treats, the prince giggled softly at her display. It was hard to believe that a few minutes earlier, this girl was lecturing him like Dr. Cain would often do when he wasn't paying attention to his studies.
But she was nothing like Dr. Cain; while the doctor scolded him like a disobedient child for not remembering the capital of a forgotten city that no one would regularly bring into conversation, Roll lectured him because she thought he was her brother. And she lectured her brother because she cared so much about him.
Staring past Roll and the sweets in front of her, his gaze fell on to his own reflection in the window. Since he had been outside of the castle, his armor was already getting dirty and his usually groomed hair was a total mess. From the rate he was going, he looked like the little pauper every second!
A sudden gust of wind made the prince shiver a bit and he realized for the first time since he was out of the castle how cold it really was. And if it was cold now, he didn't even want to think about how cold it would be during the night hours. Perhaps Roll had some E-tank tea and some energy biscuits at their residence for later...
"Hey Roll, let's go inside and choose something. It's kind of cold out and I don't want you to get a fever or something."
Roll looked up from the window and nodded, "That sounds good, I could probably choose something faster inside anyways." With a giggle, she quickly walked past X and skipped into the store. As he was about to step inside to accompany Roll, he noticed a group of children and young Reploids snapping icicles off of store windows and awnings. One of them, a young blonde wearing a Russian hat and a red dress, was jumping as high as she could to reach the icicle above her. After a few jumps, she frowned and hung her head sadly as she gave up trying to reach it.
"Hey, what's wrong?"
The girl looked up at the prince as he knelt down and she sniffed, wiping one of her eyes as she spoke in a Russian accent. "I-I can't reach the icicle..."
Prince X smiled softly and lifted the girl off the ground, placing her on his shoulders and walked to the nearest icicle. Giggling, the girl grabbed it and tugged as hard as she could until it yanked free. The force of her tugs made the two of them fall backwards, laughing in the snow. As X got up out of the snow, he was about to say something to the little girl when a huge pile of snow from the awning fell on him.
"You look like a big snowman, comrade!"
X blushed lightly as he looked down at himself and found himself laughing at his dilemma. By now, the other kids and young Reploids had come by and they all began to help try to dig him out of the snow. After he was free, the prince bowed dramatically and laughed with them until Roll came out of the store with a bag of treats and tapped him on the shoulder.
"Hey bro, have fun while I was gone?"
X rubbed the back of his head sheepishly and blushed, "S-sorry Roll, they were pulling icicles off the awnings and it looked fun..."
Roll simply shook her head and chuckled, looking down at the little girl that X had assisted. "Rock didn't mess up your hat, did he Kalinka*?"
Kalinka giggled and adjusted her hat so it was firmly placed on her head, "Nope, my hat is fine. Thank you again for the assistance, Rock! Don't forget about the picnic next week!"
X simply nodded with a smile as the girl curtsied and ran back to the group of children and young Reploids, who were now starting to make snow angels.
Back at the castle, Rock was standing in the courtyard with a purple, eagle-like Reploid named Storm Eagle**. On his right arm sat a robotic bird with a hood over its head, sitting as still as a statue.
"Alright my liege, today we shall begin learning the art of falconry. Unfortunately, Dr. Cain was busy with a prior engagement, so I decided to take over in his place."
Rock nodded and listened to what Storm Eagle was teaching about the history and methods of falconry, trying to look like he understood what he was talking about.
"Now, before we begin having your falcon hunt sire," Storm Eagle explained, "he must first become used to your presence."
"Okay, sounds easy enough," Rock replied as he took the falcon from Storm Eagle and placed it on his own arm, mimicking what his teacher had done before. Finally, he removed the hood off of the falcon and released it to hunt.
"Very good, X. It seems the falcon was quicker to be comfortable with you then I thought." Storm Eagle clapped silently and smiled.
"Hey, your highness!"
The two of them turned and was greeted by Axl and Mattao as they walked up next to Storm Eagle, who bowed in respect at the servant and bodyguard.
"Good to see you, Axl. And you as well, Mattao."
"Same to you, Storm Eagle!" Mattao bowed and grinned. "So what is the lesson today, X? Swordplay? A mental game of wits?"
"Actually," Rock pointed up at the falcon above their heads. "I just learned how to train a falcon!"
"A falcon?! You get a falcon! Duuude, that's not fair!"
Axl smirked, "Mattao, you wouldn't know how to raise a falcon let alone train one."
The servant frowned and crossed his arms, "Oh yeah? Just watch me, tin can!"
As the three others watched, Mattao walked a few steps forward and raised his arm up in a typical trainer fashion as he looked upwards at the bird, his voice going deep and commanding in a "manly" fashion (almost sounding like Johnny Bravo).
"Falcon, return to thee!"
"...The heck happened to his voice...?" Axl face palmed.
At his command, the falcon circled before flying back towards the group, making Mattao grin in triumph as he looked away from the bird.
"Woah, he actually called it back!" Rock said in awe.
"See Axl? What did I tell ya? I'm a pro a-"
Before he could finish his sentence, the falcon screeched and swooped over his head, its talons slicing off a few hairs on poor Mattao's head as the servant ducked in the nick of time!
"Hey! The hell was that for, you overgrown chicken?!"
"Mattao, I do not think it is wise to anger it," Storm Eagle replied as he crossed his arms. "Birds are more intelligent and cunning then you think."
"Yeah," Axl snickered, "it probably is smarter then you anyways, shorty!"
"Oh yeah? Well let's see how mighty it is when I shove my foot up its robotic-"
As the falcon made another swoop, Mattao yelped and dived behind the nearest pot, peeking out behind it as he watched the skies carefully.
"Uh...your highness? Mind calling off your "pet" for me?"
Rock looked around the courtyard in confusion, "How do I do that?"
"I don't know! You are the one who let it fly around the friggen place, so you think of something!"
"You could pretend to be a mouse or something! That might help!" Axl called from his place next to Storm Eagle.
"How would that help in any way, Axle?!"
"Mattao," Storm Eagle sighed. "Just calm down and try to relax."
"The bird is trying to kill me! How the hell do I stay calm whe-"
His words were cut of as the falcon made another dive bomb towards his head, actually picking the young man up by the back of his shirt and carrying him with it a few feet off the ground. In his panic, Mattao flailed about and screamed like a girl as he tried to get free, desperately crying for help.
In response to the event taking place before him, Rock grabbed a net attachment from nearby and started running after the bird and its screaming captive, trying his best to capture the falcon without hurting Mattao. Axl, on the other hand, had begun to rolling the ground with laughter, tears of oil falling from his cheeks from laughing so hard. And Storm Eagle, still standing in the same place as before, shook his head and mumbled about how birds love shiny objects...just like Mattao's necklace.
*Kalinka Cossack – Named after the Russian song, "Kalinka", she is the nine year old daughter of Dr. Cossack from Megaman 4. In the game she was captured by Wily and held at ransom so her father could build robots and other machines for Wily, but was saved by Proto Man and was able to stop the fight between Dr. Cossack and Mega Man before any bloodshed. Though she has appeared in only a few games, her true claim to fame is many appearances in the Mega Man comic series by Archie and in the manga of Rockman 4, Rockman 8, Mega Man Megamix, and Mega Man Gigamix.
**Storm Eagle: One of the first bosses in the Megaman X series whose stage was set aboard an airship named the Death Rogumer. Leader of the 7th air squadron, his forte is lightning-quick dog fights and air battles. Always calm, cool and collected, he doesn't talk much and can be difficult to approach, though he is very popular with his men. When the Maverick rebellion broke out, he tried his best to stop Sigma, but was forced to bow to Sigma's immense power and work for him.)))