Her eyes focused momentarily on the young girl, much shorter than the man - than Richard - yet no less filled to the brim with resolve. Pride swelled in her bossom, a feeling she'd finally gotten used to.
Despite how quick on her feet the child was, Nicci merely smiled when Richard ended the sword play. He'd been withholding himself, prolonging the younger's lungs and pushing them towards their sloppiest point.
Clapping her hands together, eyes crinkling at the corners and shining with mirth, Nicci approached the two with towels on her forearms. She watched as Richard held a hand down for the girl to take, his own smile reaching his eyes.
"Well done, Persephone. You're improving every day." his compliments were met with a vibrant grin.
"Thanks, but it's still not enough." Persephone sighed with a shake of her head. She peered up at the previous Seeker as she sheathed the Sword of Truth at her hip. "I'm still not good enough to beat you."
Nicci flashed Richard a knowing smile before handing each a towel for the sweat on their brow. "Now now, what have I told you about pouting?" Nicci's brow rose as she stared at the young girl, every bit a blonde as Nicci herself.
"I know, mother." came the indignant huff, muffled by the towel as Persephone pushed her face into it and contemplated screaming. She and Richard had been practicing for years, and not once had she even come close to breaking through his guard. There were days when she thought she could read his mind, when she thought that even for a second she could see through his attacks - but alas, the instant those thoughts would consume her and boost her confidence, he did something unexpected.
She grumbled inwardly at that. The number one thing Richard had always taught her was to expect as much. But when it came to him, he was just so unconventional.
"You're barely fourteen, Seph. Trust me, by the time you're of age it'll be me whose pouting." Richard grinned crookedly, prompting one of similar charm from Persephone.
"You're just saying that to make me feel better." she blushed, dipping her head when his large hand settled at her crown to ruffle the dishelved strands of hair jutting from her braid. It did help to know that she was the youngest to have been named as the Seeker of Truth. Yet, it wasn't of much comfort when she could hardly hold her own against the previous wielder on the sword at her side. She had to do better, she had to prove herself. To be worthy of the power beneath her fingertips. "I'd better get going before I miss my lesson with Grandpa. I don't want to be turned into a toad again."
Laughter resonated from both Richard and Nicci.
"She reminds me more and more of you," his words were quiet, drawing her eyes from their daughter's retreating form so that they could look upon the man who had sired such quality of life.
"I was thinking the same thing, only I believe she's turning into you. Which is all we need,"
"Hey," appearing offended, he tossed the towel she'd given him back at her, enjoying the laugh that came as a result. "I resent that."