Short Story: Are You Saying I’m Not Prettier Than Robin Hood?

(Sequel to: Personally I Don’t Want That Kind Of Responsibility)

Julchen glanced up at the heavy footfall. Wilhelm stood just inside the doorway of the living room. His eyebrows drawn together, he somehow seemed even taller than usual.

“So,” his voice was soft “I’ve just seen your wardrobe…”

Julchen closed her book “hmm?” she raised her eyebrows. Her eyes flicked to the sword in Wilhelm’s hand then back to his face.

“Why do you have the Hero Sword?” Wilhelm asked

Julchen sat up and put her book down on the table and her feet on the floor. “From where I’m sitting it looks like you have the Hero Sword”

Wilhelm huffed and looked down at the sword in his hand. It seemed to be glowing. “And everything else?” he asked, presumably referring to the stash of jewels, gold, and money behind the fake back in Julchen’s wardrobe

“I… found it?” she offered

Wilhelm said nothing but raised one eyebrow

“I borrowed it?” she tried

Wilhelm’s other eyebrow rose and Julchen’s eyes travelled again to the sword in his hand as he adjusted his grip. She swallowed. Wilhelm looked down at the sword again and then set it on the table next to Julchen’s book.

“How exactly did you ‘find’ the Hero Sword?” Wilhelm sounded outraged, but the anger was mostly gone. Possibly an interesting side effect of the Hero Sword, altering his emotions, she would have to mention it to Benedict.

“Okay” she stood and began to pace “so I found out that you weren’t The Chosen One, right? And I got pretty annoyed, because it was obviously meant to be you” she gestured at the sword on their table and then at Wilhelm “So I went and I … took it…”

“It was supposed to be in a secure vault guarded by Suits, how did you just take it?”

“Well first I -” she stopped, laughed and shook her head “I don’t know what the protocol is for revealing your secret identity so, hi? Surprise?”

“Your secret identity…”

“Yup. Shadow Vixen, surprise!”

“You’re Shadow Vixen? The SuperVillain?”

“Surprise?”

“Stop saying surprise!” he ran a hand through his shoulder length hair, let down from its ponytail. Fairly anomalous, Julchen vaguely wondered if that was part of the effect of the Hero Sword too. “Gott Julchen” he continued “I knew you were into some bad stuff but I thought you were just a minion!”

Julchen recoiled and folded her arms “Who are you calling a minion?” she huffed

“How did you even end up in this situation!?” Wilhelm ran his hand through his hair again, Julchen could see him tugging at it, his knuckles whitening.

“I only steal from people who have too much,” she offered “or when I’m annoyed” she gestured at the sword again. “I’m like Robin Hood, only prettier”

“No you’re not”

“Are you saying I’m not prettier than Robin Hood?”

“I’m saying you’re not Robin Hood Julchen! The stuff is all sat in your wardrobe! It’s not like you’re giving it out to the poor!”

“That’s just the really hot stuff – and the stuff I really like. What? Did you think that was all I had stolen? Just enough to fill a fake back in a wardrobe? You don’t get a name like Shadow Vixen by that much!”

Wilhelm covered his face and groaned “Julchen. I’ve been accepted by the sword! You can’t tell me this stuff!”

“You asked!” Julchen found herself edging toward the window, watching the tension grow in Wilhelm’s muscles.

He picked up the sword.

Julchen groped behind her for the latch to the window

“How am I supposed to protect the land if one of my roommates is a master criminal?”

Julchen’s fingers found the latch. Probably best not to mention Benedict to Wilhelm right now.

“That’s my job now, you know” his voice was getting angrier again. His eyes began to glow like the sword, turning from their normal brown to a golden colour. This wasn’t Wilhelm, that much was clear. This was The Chosen One being faced by A Villain, by a threat to the land. A threat to their territory.

Wilhelm’s hair fell in his face. Wilhelm hated when his hair fell in his face, thus his ubiquitous ponytail. Usually if his hair was down and fell into his face he was calling on Julchen or Benedict to pull it back for him, or wedging himself into a doorway to do it alone. Now, however, he ignored the hair and stepped toward Julchen.

Julchen pushed at the window, quietly, gently, hoping against hope that he wouldn’t notice, that he would wait. He lunged. Julchen dived out of the window.

Idiot.

She thought. She usually used the trellis. It was a nice metal trellis, sturdy. The kind people planted roses at the bottom of. Nobody had ever planted anything. It was discouraged to be on the streets for long periods of time, which included gardens. Especially since no Chosen One had been around for the last two years.

Julchen landed heavily in the bushes below the window. She heard a snap and felt pain in her arm. She swore under her breath but got to her feet and started walking. She decided it was probably best to not use her own hideout and wondered if she could come up with a plausible story for the broken arm other than falling out of a window or whether she needed to find an underground doctor.

One of the Suits – the Land’s security – spotted Julchen cradling her arm. She dropped it instantly, trying not to wince as the pain flared. The Suit paused, watching her as she looked for somewhere to turn. His eyes flicked up over her head and he nodded once and walked away. Julchen winced and turned to face her newest obstacle.

Wilhelm stood with Hero Sword in hand.

“Hello” she tried for calm

“Robin Hood” his voice was snarky, almost a snarl, almost not himself.

“If you were yourself right now, you wouldn’t have lunged at me with a sword Wilhelm” she sighed “You were on our side before” She winced and cradled her arm again “Don’t make me run from you”

Wilhelm blinked, the gold leeching from his eyes, the glow dimming from the sword. His shoulders drooped. He shifted the sword from his hand to his arm, pinning it to his side as he ran his hand through his hair again. He grabbed a spring clip from his pocket and pulled his hair back haphazardly.

Julchen smiled. He looked like Wilhelm again.

“This is going to take some getting used to” he muttered, looking down at the sword and then at Julchen. “I’m sorry I -”

He transferred the sword to his hand again “I really need a scabbard for this thing” he muttered

“There’s one in the wardrobe” Julchen said before she noticed the glow returning to Wilhelm’s eyes and the sword. He lunged again and Julchen ran.

She snuck into the base and looked at her hair. That was a sharp sword. She grumbled at the state of herself. Hair sliced, wrist broken, slightly stabbed. She grabbed her phone to contact Benedict. The cut wasn’t too bad, she shouldn’t bleed out before he got there… probably…

Clearly that was not the protocol for revealing your secret identity.

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