Tom had a little time before the tourney would continue, so he decided to return the book he borrowed from the library. The first thing he did was find Sally.

“Sal, I'm going to take care of some business, you should probably get ready too. If they gave us an intermission now, they won’t give us one between the men’s and women’s tourneys.”

There was nothing for her to say, her joy shown on her face. First Tom went by his dorm and checked on his armor. There were no scratches to worry about. Underneath his sleeves, though, he noticed painful red marks where he suffered sword blows.

He briefly thought about the imperial guardsmen. Would the gunshots cause excessive pain? He asked himself.
No, the only pain he felt was that of humiliation.

Tom took his book. To his surprise, he ran into Stein on the way to the library.

“Hey, you were amazing out there. Good luck,” Stein said numbly.

Tom felt a little ashamed. It was blank that produced the finishing move, and it was blank that kept him from giving up when he was in disadvantage. He got the notion that all of his success was due to blank. He wasn’t sure how right he was.

When he turned in the book he found a newspaper lying on a table. No one was around, so Tom took a look. It seemed like an editorial.

What really happened that day?

Should King Kevin really take all the glory? How do you know that he really descents from the Elodian Royal Family? I mean really, this guy is rumored to be a dark swordsman. How much did he really contribute to the crisis in Susanoo? Let’s get the facts straight right now. There were 40 terrorists in Elodia, and 20 in Discordia. That already is suspicious. They seemed to target both Her Majesty Catherine and that boy prince. Instead of attacking bystanders they seemed to actively hunt knights and soldiers. True, his supporters claim that if he hadn’t intervened, the causalities would’ve been higher. What I think: the authorities would’ve gotten it under control without too many more injured. Elodian field reports say that the assailants had “extremely high magic capabilities” but I doubt we haven’t invented some secret anti-magic weapon yet. If anything, we should at least point out that he’s one of the two kings who actually hold some power. The thing is, in this day and age, there’s no need for one. In fact, the Parliament of Susanoo should just take over.   

Tom decided that the article was convoluted and biased and was too appalled to read on. He briefly wondered what on earth a ‘dark swordsman’ was and why the writer liked Catherine so much. Tom was just turning ten when the whole incident happened, and he didn’t even remember Catherine’s rule. He vaguely remembered how she looked like, though.
She was around Tom’s age when she assumed the throne. Such a shame, he thought, without her, the Royal Family of Elodia ceased to exist.

Tom suddenly remembered something. He had to find out who wrote that book, maybe so he could find more knowledge over blank.

Exactly as he though, the book was too decrepit to find a full author’s name. He was able to find ‘Schwarz’. It was a rather common last name and it wouldn’t help at all.

In desperation he looked through the book for a lead. To his surprise, the actual name of the technique was indeed the ‘blank method’.

He found a ruined page that told him a little, though; the author was formerly part of the Discordian military. He noted that she was a battlefield medic. Although he didn’t get a name, that would surely help him greatly, he thought.
 He decided to ask the librarian for help. She was only able to give a first initial: ‘A’. He left the library with mixed feelings.


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