Orbsen heaved a sigh as he was disarmed for the third time. He shook out his aching hands and cast a glance behind him. His father was at the window, watching him train. He’d seen the whole embarrassing exchange.

“I’m no good at this,” the young prince protested. “Why must we keep working at it. I have guards and oni all around me on the rare occasions that I leave the palace grounds. Why keep torturing me like this?”

“I’m not torturing you, highness,” Collin said patiently. “You actually lasted longer that time. You’re getting better. Besides, you won’t always have a guard within screaming distance. Ready to go again?”

Orbsen sighed and picked up his sword to get himself ready. The fox-fey was right but Orbsen was sure that his father didn’t see any of the improvement the other warrior did. He saw only the disappointing second son who had become his heir almost by default.