Chapter Twenty-Six

"Me, leader?" Ariel asked. "But that can't be right. Steven and Korbin are at least twenty years older than me, if not more--"

"Hey," Steven interrupted.

"I can't lead them!" Ariel continued.

"Of course you can. What does age have to do with anything?" Hardwin asked.

"Well, the older you are the smarter you are," Ariel replied.

"False," Hardwin said. "The older you are the more educated you are. I personally think you are smarter than both Steven and Korbin."

"Hey!" Steven interjected.

Ariel blushed slightly at this compliment. "Okay," she said. "I guess I don't really have a choice or anything."

"Correct," Hardwin said.

"What now?" Korbin asked. "Do we just sit around and wait for the other Protectors to show up?"

"Of course not," Hardwin replied. "You'll train. Just because something is your Strength doesn't mean you're good at it yet. For example," Hardwin unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Ariel. "En garde."

Ariel put up her sword and they began to duel. Within minutes Ariel's sword was out of her hand and she lay on the ground with Hardwin's sword pointed at her neck.

She gulped and looked at Steven and Korbin. "I think we need to practice."

The End

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