Xperia 3.3

Charles lifted his arm and swooped it down to his side again. “Begin!” he shouted. And the contestants were off.
As much as she resisted, Arellia, couldn’t help but feel her focus drawn to Alasdair. Did she want him to succeed? Her worry that he might be the same as all the others upset her. She noticed that unlike the others he didn’t glance her way, instead he kept his eyes on the targets.
Each course was designed to test different elements of becoming a guardian. Skill, strength, speed, tacticality, and loyalty. The loyalty is were they all failed in her eyes. She was curious how Alasdair would fair. They all passed the trials with flying colours, and then they were all faced with the loyalty test.
One by one they stepped forward looking eagerly at her for the chance to be picked. Each one did the exact same thing, they would save her and the people would be abandoned. She bit the inside of cheek when Alasdair stepped forward for his turn. He was told to go whenever he was ready, he didn’t sprint off straight away like the others do, instead he took a minute. Afterwards, he sprint for the civilian then her saving them both.
Arellia swallowed hard, her heart beating a thousand a second. He did it… She was about to announce her guardian when Charles opened his mouth first. His loud voice startling her back to the selection of men that knelt before her.
“Candidate number eight, failed in the last round! Only seven made it through, please your majesty select your champion!”, Charles bowed his head. For a moment Arellia wanted to smack him right up the back of his head, but clenched her fists to resist. How had Alasdair failed? He saved everyone, and he was the most focused… Her fury flared in her chest and her defiance clenched her jaw. She bit out every word she spoke next.
“Each one of you, showed great skill and promise, in my chamberlain’s eyes you have passed every course”, she waited for the seven candidates to smile. She noticed them all glance Alasdairs way, who was standing back with his face in a frown. “But you failed to impress me”. Each face dropped its jaw. She was cold and calculating in this moment and a little part of her enjoyed this small amount of power she had been given temporarily. “You all saved me without the people, but I am here for the people, my duty is to protect the people, if I am unable to then I expect my guardian to protect them in my stead, and if possible then they may save me”, she could feel Charles glaring at the side of her head. She took great pleasure in ignoring him while she spoke. “The only one who achieved this in the loyalty test was Candidate number eight”, she raised her hand, palm facing the sky. “Please step forward”.
Alasdair, wide eyed, took a nervous step forward and received numerous growls of contempt from his opponents. He knelt down like the others, allowing her to speak again. But Charles couldn’t hold his disapproval any longer.
“Are you a fool!?”, he hissed down her ear. He didn’t touch her, even though she could feel his rage emanating from his body, she imagined the urge to shake her was climbing closer to the surface.
“No, I am not, and you’d do well to step back and let me do this”, her threat was a bluff. She had never hurt Charles even at her angriest. But this had to be done or he would force a man upon her. She raised her voice to address the courtyard, “Candidate number eight, you will be my guardian, please join my side and we will proceed with the binding ceremony”.