Eugene had to start keeping track of how he got himself into these situations.
As the rain pounded against the grass, he slicked back his bangs with his hands, trying to see through the storm. Across the field, he noticed Rapunzel, excited as always, standing dryly under a small tent. Sitting behind her on a small table were two empty jars, next to blue and red pebbles. Perched on her shoulder was Pascal, who smirked arrogantly at Eugene's misfortune.
Not that he could blame him, it was a pretty sucky situation to be in.
Suddenly the air was knocked from Eugene as a leather ball flew into his gut. He caught it with ease, but coughed nonetheless. As the figure of his opponent appeared through the rain, he frowned suddenly remembering the day before, when the weather was actually sunny and Eugene was roped into this mess.
It had started when Eugene had joined Rapunzel for one of her strolls through the village. Wading through numerous shops and stands. She had stopped to inspect some stained glass, pointing to him which she liked best when he had felt something hit his foot.
Looking down, he had noticed a leather kickball, and a group of young children run towards them.
"Hey mister," one of the boys had yelled, obviously not noticing who he was, and that he was kind of sort of famous and next in line to be the Princess of Corona. That or the kid didn't care. "Can you kick us back our ball?"
"Sure," he said, and with a swift motion had managed to kick it upwards into the air, and dibbled it on his knee, impressively.
"Woah," the kids managed, their tiny mouths hung open in awe.
Smirking, he had graduated from bouncing the ball on his knee to on top of his head skillfully. It was at this moment that he noticed Rapunzel had turned to face him, and that the kids were more impressed to see the Princess than his awesome ball tricks.
Whatever. Kids were stupid.
"Princess," the only girl in the group had asked sweetly. "Can you ask that annoying man to stop showing off give us back our ball?"
"Eugene!" Rapunzel scolded playfully as he sent the ball back at the kids with a swift head-butt, smacking it into the face of one of the boys. While the boy had sent him a rude gesture in return, from the corner of his eye Eugene caught the boy trying to mimic his knee bouncing only to send the ball flying into a nearby fruit cart instead.
"That was impressive, Rider," he heard from behind him and turned to see the Captain of the guards approach them. "Didn't know you were capable of using your athleticism for anything besides thievery."
"Always the tone of surprise," Eugene tsked, shaking his head. "You'd think after everything we've been through together you'd have a little more trust in me."
"I trust you enough to be within ten feet of the Princess, so shut up," the Captain huffed, turning to Rapunzel with a softer tone and bow. "How are you this afternoon, Princess?"
"Very well, thank you," she smiled, taking Eugene's hand. "Were you finishing your rounds of the village?"
"Yes, I was," he had nodded, before turning his attention back to Eugene. "Listen Rider, maybe I have been short changing you. How about tomorrow we have ourselves a little day of sportsmanship? It would be all in good fun, of course."
Eugene had raised his eyebrow at the Captain, as "all in good fun" was not a phrase he would use describe to his relationship with the Captain. It as more like "all in terrible fun" and the fun usually involved kicking (and not a ball, mind you), screaming, and him running away as the Captain threatened to kill him.
"That sounds like a wonderful idea!" Rapunzel had squealed, squeezing his hand tightly.
Eugene couldn't disagree more.
"Excellent," the Captain smirked. "You play soccer, don't you Rider?"
And that's how he ended up at one of the palace's fields, in the pouring rain, with a guy who hated his guts to play a game he had never even heard of before.
"You ready, Rider?" the Captain snickered.
"Yeah," he answered, trying to hide uneasy tone with a cough. "It's just one-on-one soccer match, right? No problem."
"You're not scared are you?"
"Me? Scared?" he screeched, laughing obnoxiously. "Of course not! What makes you think that, Capt?"
"For one thing, you hugging that ball like it's a damn teddy bear."
Unamused, Eugene dropped the ball between them, calling the Captain of the Guards a rude name under his breath.
"All right, on your word, Your Majesty," the Captain called, turning to Rapunzel who happily stood from her seat under the tarp.
"Okay," she grinned. "First to score 5 goals wins the match, are you ready?"
The Captain and Eugene turned to each other, then the Princess, nodding.
Before Eugene could process what had happened, the Captain had rushed past him, knocking him back into the mud, taking the ball halfway down the field.
Yeah, this was going to be great.
"C'mon Eugene!" he heard Rapunzel call from the sidelines. He jumped to his feet slipping slightly. If he as going to get his ass kicked, the least he could do was try to look good doing it.
Eugene had managed to block the Captain's shot, stealing the ball and heading back to his goal which seemed to be farer than ever. With the Captain hot on his tail, he attempted to kick the ball towards his goal but had, however, overestimated the kick and landed back in the mud. From the sidelines he had heard Rapunzel's voice again.
"Goal made by the Captain," she called, as Pascal placed a red pebble in a jar labeled Captain. "The score is 1-0."
As the game progressed it became apparent to Eugene that there was no way in hell he had a chance of winning against the Captain. While he had agility and speed, the Captain had strength and strategy. The mud on the field was becoming downright unbearable.
Eugene looked at the jars under Rapunzel's tent, seeing the four red pebbles happily sitting in the Captain's jar while his only had one, which was a goal he was sure the Captain had allowed out of pure pity. He frowned, sprinting at the Captain with newfound determination.
"Well, look who it is," the Captain smirked, dribbling the ball down the field leisurely. "I had almost forgotten you were here."
Eugene opened his mouth to respond when suddenly his foot slipped spraying the Captain with mud, temporarily blinding him.
"Hey!" he groaned, stopping the whip the mud from his face. "Watch it!"
Eugene wasn't stupid enough to pass up an opportunity when it presented itself, and instantly took the ball in his possession, and sprinting down the field as fast as he could, slipping and sliding all the way.
He heard the Captain curse as he barreled behind him, but Eugene had gained enough of a lead that by the time the Captain was even close enough to steal the ball back, Eugene had kicked it into the goal.
"GOAL!" Rapunzel jumped to her feet, sending Pascal flying to the roof of the tent, only to fall back on her head with a THUMP! "That's 4-2!"
Dizzily Pascal crawled from Rapunzel's head to the jars, dropping a blue pebble into Eugene's.
"That was a cheap shot, Rider," the Captain hissed. "Though, should've expected it from you."
The answer was so obvious Eugene nearly smacked himself at his own stupidity. Of course he couldn't beat the Captain fair and square, but when did he ever actually win by playing fair?
It was time to take this game seriously enough to cheat his ass off.
"Y'know, Capt," he said, conversely as the ball was sent back into play. "You never told me your real name, have you?"
"What?" he asked, turning to the younger man as he kicked the ball down the field. "Do you seriously believe this is the best time to discuss my name?"
"We don't get to bond that much," he said with a shrug. He slanted as they ran, unbeknownst to the Captain who was too busy glaring at Eugene, and kicking the ball forward. "So what is it? Can you give me a hint?"
"Rider," he growled, and Eugene shook his head dramatically, now running straight, making sure to be the one leading their path, distracting his opponent.
"No, that's my name," he correctly, stopping suddenly. "Actually, it's not. My real name is Eugene Fitzherbert, but you probably already know that."
"I don't care what the hell your name is," the Captain snapped, noticing the goal was in sight and kicking the ball inside. Rapunzel cheered again, but he ignored her call of the score to turn back to Eugene, "What makes you think I give a damn?"
"Well for one thing," Eugene grinned, thumbing the goal. "It was my goal you just scored in."
"What?" the Captain turned to see Pascal placing a blue pebble in Eugene's jar, before turning to see that he was right; he had ran around his own goal and right towards Eugene's. "DAMN YOU, RIDER! YOU TRICKED ME!"
"Moi?" Eugene pointed to his chest, pouting. "Well, that's just bad sportsmanship, Captain! I hope you don't teach your men that it's okay to be rude to their opponents!"
The rain began to lighten up as the ball was put into play again, again taken by the Captain before Eugene could think twice. Nevertheless, Eugene was hot on his tail.
"CAPT, WATCH OUT FOR THAT ROCK!"
"YOU'RE FULL OF IT."
Swiftly, Eugene kicked a large rock in front of the Captain, causing him to lose his footing and land face-first into the mud with a loud SPLAT!
"I tried to warn ya," Eugene shrugged as he scored another goal, evening the score.
"4-4!" Rapunzel cheered, as Pascal bobbed on her head nauseously before slowly adding the blue pebble to the jar. "The last goal wins the game!"
"Rider," the Captain hissed. "Enough of the circus act, it's time for you to play like a big boy now."
"I could say the same to you, since you seem to get off on blaming other people for your own mistakes."
"So am I."
The Captain growled, as Eugene slicked back his hair from his face. He usually didn't give a damn about sports, but now that he had a chance of winning this thing he suddenly cared.
The ball was back in play and this time Eugene managed to snatch it, running at full speed towards his own goal. From his side, he heard the Captain grunt and huff, but Eugene would not let up, sidestepping the burly man's offenses.
Eugene's goal was within his reach, and he lined up to make his shot, when he suddenly felt the ground lift from under him. Before he knew what hit him, the ground did, as he crashed face first into the mud. Lifting his head quickly, he saw the Captain smirk from over his shoulder, his mustache drenched and droopy, but somehow still victorious.
Not only had he stolen the ball, the Captain had also managed to flip him over in the process.
"Damn it!" Eugene swore, punching the sloppy ground as he flew to his feet and raced after his opponent. His efforts appeared futile as even though he was within arms reach, he couldn't catch up.
They were nearing the Captain's goal, and Eugene knew he only had a matter of seconds before he scored the game ending goal.
With nothing else to lose, Eugene lunged himself forward, propelling himself on his momentum, in an attempt to grab the Captain from behind and drag him into the mud. He had miscalculated his distance, however, and instead of grabbing onto his torso, he had latched onto his trousers instead.
"RIDER!" the Captain bellowed, looking behind him to see Eugene's face planted into the mud, "GET THE HELL OFF MY PANTS! YOU GOOD FOR NOTHING THIEVING LEECH!"
The Captain was answered by Eugene's barely audible refusal, as he was dragged slowly behind the Captain by the leg of his pants.
Another muffled answer as his grip tightened and trekked forward.
"I'M GIVING YOU UNTIL THE COUNT OF THREE TO LET THE HELL GO OF MY PANTS!" The Captain bellowed, trying in vain to move both the ball and Eugene behind him while going towards his goal. "ONE...TWO...THR-"
There was a deafening ripping noise heard, as the Captain tugged forward with all his strength while Eugene planted his feet firmly in the ground. Noticing his tugging had stopped, Eugene's mud covered face looked up to see that not only had he stopped the Captain, he also held a sizable amount of fabric in his hands. Putting the two together, he looked up even higher to see a very red faced Captain trying to cover his newly exposed rear with his hands.
Throwing the fabric aside, Eugene took off like a rocket, taking the ball from the mortified guard and hurrying back to his side to score the winning goal. He didn't stay to celebrate his victory, however, as after he scored he continued running for a different reason - the furious (and bottomless) Captain.
From under the tent, Rapunzel and Pascal stared at each other dumbstruck, not entirely sure if this was how all soccer games were supposed to end.