I didn’t have enough time to practice with my sword,” Arthur said, looking with dejection at the flopping piece of cardboard in his hand. “When it came up against your awesome dragon costume, it had really zero chance.”
“It’s okay,” Millicent said, removing the cardboard from her head. “There is still time to fix it before the festival.”
“Why does the theme have to be Dragon Salying this year?” Arthur complained. “I liked the foreign invasion theme much better.”
“Yeah. Me too. It was much better when we both got to use swords.”
Arthur’s older brother Peter came slamming out the back door, shaking a handful of peanuts in one hand. “You kids still planning to attend that farce?” He shook his head. “Every year the town goes completely bonkers while everyone gears up for that ridiculous festival.”
“Of course,” Millicent said, tilting her chin up. “I come from a long line of Medieval re-enactors. I wouldn’t dream of missing it.”
“And I like it because it’s fun,” Arther added.
“Leave it to you to embrace all things ‘dork’,” Peter said, tossing back another peanut and laughing at his own joke. His hand went to his throat.
“Peter?” Arthur was concerned, considering the ramifications of his brother’s sudden intake of breath. “Peter, are you okay?”
Peter shook his head and looked, wide-eyed, at the other two children.
“He’s choking,” Millicent said, squirming vigorously in an attempt to shake the remainder of the dragon costume free. “Curse this blasted costume! I can’t get to him. Quick, Arthur, do you know what to do?”
Arthur was stunned to realize he had been just standing there, staring with a blank expression as his brother struggled. Brought out of his stupor, he sprung into action, running to stand behind his brother and encircling his body with his arms.
“He might be too big for me,” Arthur screamed at Millicent.
“Well then he’d be too big for me too,” she replied. “Do what you can. If he passes out we can try on the ground.”
Arthur made a fist and grabbed it with his other hand then pulled upward while also hugging his brother toward him. The two boys staggered backward, but Arthur managed to plant his feet again and repeat the maneuver.
Peter bent forward and emitted a stream of phlegmy vomit, then began coughing. Millicent smiled at Arthur. “Coughing’s a good sign,” she said. “You did it. You saved him.”
Arthur saw something in her expression that made him push his shoulders back and stand a bit taller. He knew that in those few moments he had become, in her eyes, a real life knight in shining armor.
And he hadn’t even needed to use his sword.