"Tom, Let’s go,” said Sally, “It looks like you haven’t done a thing in the last two days. Would you mind fencing against me?”

“Of course. After all, I have been doing nothing.”

They already moved away towards their rooms. Over the hallway, she said, “I mean fencing. Not sparring.”

After they got prepared, Tom said, “Where could we fence?”

“You’re right. Hey, Nicholas. Where could we fence?”

“I don’t know. There is a gym nearby. Also, thank you for accompanying me today. Sally, you were a big help.”
“Tom, I don’t think I have the time to go and sign up for the gym. Come on, Nick, tell you’ve got a bigger room somewhere down here.”

“No, but that’s certainly one thing I hadn’t thought about it. Hey, there might be a piste somewhere in the Royal Palace. You could sneak in and enjoy there.”

“Yes,” Tom said, “Go, could you take us there, Si- “.

“Like hell. I can’t do that because I happen to be a prince. Just go with me later and you can use it normally. If you really want to go there right now, do it yourselves where I can’t be caught.”

“Tom! Let’s go.”

“I’m not going to trespass. Could you perhaps tell me why, dear sister, that you want to fence right now. The training room isn’t big enough but it’s the next best thing.”

“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. Just sparring is good enough right now I guess.”

When they were out of earshot, she said, “Sorry for the theatrics. I just wanted to get across how entirely boring and frustrating being Nick’s aide is, without telling him. I had to do it for a day and I have no idea how Ella can manage.”
“Really, what did you have to do?”

“Nothing much, is just that everything has to be so official it hurts. In fact, I didn’t know why I was so stressed. Maybe it had something to do with the King.”

“Oh, he’s feeling better now, right?”

“Not a chance, Tom. Well, for one I didn’t get to meet him. Just see him. Apparently, Zero Squad is something that’s been a thing for a while. I guess, it was important to see his son’s allies.”

“Did you at least get to talk to him? Did he remember our name?”

“I hope he did, and it seems to be that way too, but I didn’t have the time to really ask him questions. I didn’t know that Nick was usually so busy. Me, on the other hand, I just wanted the day to end.”

“You really didn’t like it. It sounds interesting; I’ll go next time,” said Tom happily.

“No. I told Ella to stay in bed if she wasn’t feeling well. I hope it was only a one time thing and no one has to deal with that kind of boredom.”

“Well, hasn’t it come to mind that she might find it fun, or at the very least interesting.”

“Oh, brother. I don’t think she feels that way about, even if she likes to keep busy. Right, Tom, you haven’t gotten to know your teammates well. Perhaps, you don’t think you’ll stay here, hmm?”

“No, I don’t think I’d make a very good addition to special forces,” Tom looked down. Somewhere between relocating, it seemed that Sally’s wish to spar fizzled out. Instead, she just held her practice saber in her hands with an empty expression.”

“Right. I don’t think I’ll end up staying either. Thinking back, most of the Knight trainees we met have been Superhuman in some way. I think there is some martial technique we’re lacking, but I don’t think that is all.”

“Well,” Tom said, “We’ve already talked for a bit, there’s no shame in finishing your thought.”

“Oh. It was something I can’t put into words. Its just that when Luna, who’s not a swordfighter in the slightest, nor was she ever formally taught fencing, still beat me with sheer physical strength and speed. But, seeing the way we’re treated, I don’t think that having superhuman abilities is a prerequisite.”

“Remember, that memoir of sorts about Baroness Schwarz that I told you about. Maybe you should read it. There were other interesting things like war stories besides just the fear management techniques. In fact I wanted to get a hold on the book again.”

“I already do that for Luna.”


“Anyway dear brother,” she said in a silly voice, “I asked Nick today and I got a very good response. I guess in all the work he forgot to keep secrets from me. He might’ve thought I was Ella. So, when I asked him if he had ever heard of the Baroness, he asked me for more details since hers was a common last name. He said that he couldn’t say without her first name.”

“Oh, I had meant to ask him but I guess we really do need more information.”

“No, No Tom. The fact that he asked for the first name when he heard the Schwarz was because he wants to see if we know her before telling us. I personally don’t know why he would keep it from us but think about. The only people he’s likely to know are people close to the Emperor of Susanoo, his best friend, mentor, and ally, right? Despite the name being common, that means he must at least have met with her family.”

“So, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like we can just take a vacation to go meet with her.”

“You’re quite attached. It must’ve been hell of a book. Anyway, vacations are pivotal to knighthood, so we’ll just ask once he trusts us enough.”

“Hey, weren’t we just wondering about how we’re not good enough to stay in Zero Squad?” asked Sally.

“Anyway, it’s about time we get to practicing.”



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