"What do you mean no?!" Monstroth snapped. "Aren't you the Sovereign, who defends the people and gives wisdom? Sands! It's like you're more concerned about your own survival? Are you that selfish?"
The Sovereign didn't retort, like Monstroth thought he would. Instead, he spoke solemnly and calmly. It was the first time Monstroth had ever seen him do so. "Being a Sovereign does not mean you are a protector, Monstroth," he said, looking almost sorrowful, "It is about learning to displace yourself from all the other people in this world and focus on spreading wisdom. There is only one way we use our powerful Mystics, and that is neither to protect nor save."
"I... don't understand," Monstroth said, suddenly feeling bad for yelling. This man was a Sovereign. Saying he didn't do his job was probably the worst thing one could say to him. But, still... "I am not a Sovereign, so I am not bound by your principals yet." Monstroth looked toward the direction his master had been facing. "I'm still free of responsibility for now."
"Foolish boy, you are training to become the next Sovereign! That means you have an obligation to follow these 'principals' even more than me!" The Sovereign pulled sand in vines from the ground. "Don't make me stop you again. You have my power because you are the next, but you still lack my skill."
Monstroth gritted his teeth. The sandreaver of a man was right. Sands! What was he supposed to do then.... "Well, I'll just do something Sovereign-like." He took off towards the direction of the bandits.
And tripped face-first into the sand.
Nearby, a Seeker and another man eyed him like he was a fool. Of course, they also might be eyeing his size along with that. Sands... What had..? Well, it was sands.
"I won't let you go off like a wolf to the lion's home, trying to prove it's worth," the Sovereign said. That was a bandit saying, wasn't it? "You may be bigger than me, but I can still hold you down easily."
Monstroth tried to shove the sand that snaked over his legs with his own Mineral Mystic, but found it wouldn't budge. Scarred Father, this man was good! Usually, physical strength was proportional to the strength of your Mineral Mystic, but skill also helped. Since Monstroth was obviously more muscled than nearly everyone outside his family, he had thought himself a good challenge for even the Sovereign in Mineral. That was obviously not the case.
"I was just going to threaten them by letting them know that men guarded this area!" Monstroth said, defending himself. "That wouldn't violate your rules or whatever, would it?"
The Sovereign sighed angrily. "Foolish boy, you need to learn some codes! The first I'll teach you is from the Prophets in the northern forests; Past influences future!"
"What about it? That doesn't change my wanting to save these people!"
Around them, a few Seekers had moved in. "Um... Sovereign?" They had heard he was the Sovereign, then. "Is there truly something coming to harm us?" The Seekers looked worried more than amazed at seeing a Sovereign. Monstroth decided he was no longer amazed by Sovereigns. He just had to see a Great Lizard and he would be able to stop being surprised by anything.
The Sovereign nodded. "Yes. I was just about to tell you when this fool apprentice of mine tried to run off and fight them all on his own."
Monstroth stopped struggling. Tell them? He had planned to warn them? Why hadn't he said so in the first place? "Master, I'm-"
The sand around Monstroth's legs tightened and threw him across the ground. Pain erupted from his arm as he felt it pop out of place. He had to force himself to not cry in pain as he stopped just before hitting a tree. That stupid Sovereign! Monstroth just saw him in a better light and he threw him across the damn desert!
Monstroth stood up and popped his arm back in place. It hurt like damnation itself, but he gritted his teeth and refused to curse. In all the mornings he had undertaken, this had to be the worst yet!
The Sovereign nodded to the Seekers he was talking to - who glanced at where Monstroth was walking back, his anger visible - and started walking to meet Monstroth. He seemed to have an even worse scowl than his usual one, too. Monstroth thought up several insults about the man's bald head before they were close.
"Boy," the Sovereign snapped before Monstroth could speak, "If you value your life then you will not disobey me again." He waited a moment to see if Monstroth would say anything. This man was nothing like Rhazin's master, who had been nice and treated Rhazin like a son. He was a beast trying to turn Monstroth into a Great Lizard!
But, Monstroth had to become Sovereign. It was the only way he knew that had a chance of saving Rhazin. He hoped his friend stayed hidden in the months to come. "Yes, Master."
"Good, now as I was saying, I will need to teach you about the Prophet's code about Past." He started walking toward toward the oasis' edge, obviously planning on filling up the canteens Monstroth was having to carry, which almost annoyed him more. He held it off, deciding he was in the wrong. Rhazin said that was the secret to getting through training.
They soon had refilled the canteens and headed off, leaving a now-empty oasis. The Seekers had gathered the people and tents rather quickly. They had left before the Sovereign had finished filling the Canteens. It was like this wasn't surprising.
"Master, are those people used to bandits?"
The Sovereign nodded. "I have come here before, so I know they have precautions for the bandits." Oddly enough, the man didn't sound angry or annoyed anymore. "They had all their flames produced by Mystic's above the ground and their tents are made to be able to easily fold and carry. It is all so they may leave should bandits or an incoming army enters." The Sovereign paused and looked back. "Though, it is odd to have bandits this early in the morning."
Monstroth decided not to let his anger get the better of him by saying something rude. "So, I know you are from Tav and I have guessed you weren't a noble-" though that was just based on the Sovereign's way of speaking "-but I have yet to know your name."
"So, you finally asked."
"I thought it would be rude to ask without you telling me, but it has been over a week since I met you. I figured it was past time I knew." In truth, Monstroth hadn't cared. He had been caught up between learning what it meant to be Sovereign and praying to the Unscarred Creator that Rhazin stayed hidden while he came up with a plan to prove his innocence.
"My name is Phillip."
Monstroth stopped. Phillip? That was an uncommon name. In fact, the only one he had heard of was the Bandit that his father had been outmaneuvered by back when he was a general that patrolled the deserts. That Phillip had organized a group he called his Web and had been a skilled Mineral user. If Monstroth remembered correctly, he had come from the slums of...
"Were you a bandit?"
The Sovereign smiled widely. "Now that you mention it, I believe I was about fifteen years ago." He looked over at Monstroth, his face holding on to that cruel smile he seemed to like. "Why? Did you remember something your father once said?"
Monstroth didn't know what to think. He was no longer angry, honestly, despite his arm still throbbing some from the dislocating. Instead, he was curious. Why had his father, who personally knew Phillip of the Web's face, let the Sovereign even enter the kingdom?
How did one call a former bandit leader 'master?'