A few hours later, Tom was up and roaming the outer fringes of the school ground. He looked over the horizon and found that the amount of guards was reduced since the tourney. That meant on the off-shoot chance he met a darkling, he would have to deal with it himself, or else.

Something else bothered him while he marched. Yoh Yang knew extensive amounts of martial arts, even more so than swordsmanship. That could only mean that either he was a trainee for a black knight, which was perfectly acceptable considering his level of expertise.

Tom liked this explanation better, because since black knights were trained for anti-personnel purposes too. However, it could also mean that Yoh knew of a way to disable or even damage darklings with his fists. The idea seemed scary since Tom had asked him some questions before they parted. How poor! They were so interesting to each other but who knew when they would meet again.

Yoh had destroyed a darkling. Cooperating in a squad that consisted of him, Katy and a few others, he was able to take on an entire pack of them. Yoh said patrols became a part of curriculum during the fourth and last year of training, so it was no surprise, but one story he shared was about him killing one alone.

Tom grimaced and was in a foul mood when he couldn’t find a target. Stein was able to sense it and trying his best, he oozed out flattery. Stein didn’t say a word he didn’t mean in its entirety, “Tom, I thought you were amazing last night. There’s no way I could have done anything if I was in your position.”

Tom huffed, but he knew that Stein wasn’t to blame in the slightest. It wasn’t fair to be jealous over someone who spent more time learning. It was like getting angry that the teacher knew more than you. He calmed himself down, or more precisely he suppressed his feelings.

Stein suggested they have some lunch, and then they can go look for Sally. They both stuffed food down in nicest restaurant on campus, and Tom begun to speak, “I feel so bitter. It’s perfectly okay to see other people who’re stronger than me, but he was out of my league. Nothing good came out of that tourney.”

Stein looked him at him straight and said timidly, “How can you say that? Are you talking about the Discordian guy? You already saw so much, and I may not be the right person to say so, but you weren’t out of you league.”

“That’s wrong. You don’t know. He wasn’t even hurt by me.”

The other patrons looked at Tom. It was clear some of them recognized him from yesterday. Even though his voice was still at a normal level, he wore a frown that that would’ve scared even Sally.

“You didn’t notice because you were focused on his movements, but he was clearly hurt, and even incapacitated. Firstly, when he was dodging he didn’t try to counter. That means he was legitimately scared of your attacks. Secondly, the reason why he didn’t flinch was because that’d show weakness. Rather, he consciously stopped that reflex and avoided showing you how much in pain he was. You couldn’t tell, but he was using exclusively his left arm, even though I’m certain his right hand is dominant. He used it to hit you on the head, and make you stagger, but he also used it for the last punch, which you also couldn’t see. The bastard.”

Tom tried and raked through his memory; it was true he couldn’t remember if Yoh used his right after Tom thrusted at it. Also, his pistol shot landed on his right shoulder.

“No, I think it was fine. Just like it would be wrong if he didn’t use his full force, so it would be if he didn’t use every tactic allowed.”

“That’s not all, Tom. I think something else is bothering you.”

Tom sipped from his lemonade, feeling better, “Anyway, that guy was actually quite kind to me. I even got some information from him.”

Not only was he strong in combat, but Yoh was strong enough to warm up to a complete stranger, even if they shared some goals. And they probably wouldn’t meet again.

Stein wasn’t a genius. He wasn’t even smart enough to decide what was best for his own sake. But he knew when something was absolutely wrong, “Don’t dwell on it.”

Tom paid for the meal. It was so expensive he could’ve eaten three meals somewhere else. They were at a loss of what to do next. They hadn’t seen Sally since when she fainted, nor had they a clue of where she might be. Did she even want to spent time with them or was she too hurt?

Tom had some things in the capital and at home he had to take care of, like paperwork Sally had overlooked, like payment for Watson. If he took the driver without her, because knowing her she would’ve loved to go with them, it would be disastrous. He and Stein just couldn’t stay bored either.

It seemed that this predicament was more dangerous than anything they had done yesterday. Suddenly, Tom had a clue to wherever Sally was. She was kinda lazy, and she probably wouldn’t do anything until lunchtime. It was time for them to pick up their graduation necessities, so she would probably be their right now. Unfortunately, Tom wasn’t lazy but he lacked the motivation to deal with chores as soon he could, so he didn’t know where the gowns and caps would be distributed.

After half an hour of pointless, he asked Stein, and with his answer and plan explained they ran to the commons. They got their stuff but no Sal. She had picked it up hours ago. It was nearly sundown when the irritated boys decided to go to the capital. Since Stein was from the city, he guiltily decided it would be the best things to show Tom all the tourist spots, without Sally.


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