“No! Like this, Vendetta! You will never do anything right if you can’t learn to at least do this!”
A tear trickles down my cheek. Why is he yelling at me? Doesn’t he know how hard I try to please him?
Slap! “No tears! Do you think that our people cry? No! We are strong, Vendetta, strong! Tears do not exist when you step into this room. This room is your world until you are taught. Nothing exists outside of this room! Nothing!”
“I want to go home,” I say softly.
His shoulders relax, and he seems to realize he’s been too harsh on me. After all, I’m only three, the youngest trainee in history.
“Vendetta, do you know what your name means?”
I nod and sit like he does on the floor. “It means ‘revenge.’”
He nods. “Very good. Do you know why you’re named ‘revenge?’”
I shake my head.
“No? Then I shall tell you. Once, there was this very cruel man who was trained with your parents. He was almost as good as your father, but not as handsome. He and your father both liked your mother, but she chose your father. The other man got very mad. So mad, that after they were married and had you, he killed your mother, saying if he couldn’t have her, then no one could. While trying to protect you, your father was killed. The coward murderer then killed himself. Your uncle found you the next day, and named you Vendetta, saying that you would be the one to avenge your parents’ death. And then he brought you here, where we raised you, and are trying to teach you how to fight.”
He smiles. “It is rather late, Vendetta. Maybe you should go to bed, and we’ll continue this tomorrow.”
I stifle another yawn. “But I’m not tired yet, Alessandro.”
“Then do you want to try again?”
I nod and stand back up.
He hands me a small sharp knife. “Now throw, and hit the man over there in the heart.”
I look across the dark room where he’s pointing at the stuffed dummy and aim. The blade silently flies through the air and thuds into the fabric chest. Right in his heart.
Alessandro smiles. “Very good, Vendetta. Now it is time for you to go to bed.”
With another yawn, I decide not to protest and follow him out of the room and to my small bed.