On Zennardi, most classes start at eight in the morning, some are even earlier than that. That is why the Academy starts serving breakfast at the Dining Hall from six-thirty, to accommodate the hundreds of students that are onboard the ship. And compared to the foods they served for dinner, for breakfast time the kitchen is cooking lighter and easier-to-digest food so that the students will have a better time for their morning classes.
Those who are having their breakfast for their morning class are the Year 1 Bea students, who this time are having their breakfast in a larger group than the dinner before. In addition to the twelve of the night before, there are eight more of their classmates joining them. To accommodate this group’s size they even have to commandeer a whole long table just for their group.
“This a rather loud group,” comments the Redoran Horatio Brabant, still wearing his beret inside the Dining Hall.
“Come now, don’t be like that. Meals are best to be had together with friends and families right? The more the prettier.” Replies the Redoran girl Robin Dogberry.
“Merrier, Robin, it’s merrier.” Horatio corrects her.
On the other side of the table…
“Joanna, Joanna,” says Yui rather loudly.
“What is it…”
“I want desserts…”
“No, finish your meal first.”
“Joanna, Joanna,” this time it’s the brother Yan.
“What is it?”
“I’m done with mine.”
“...you still have some vegetables left, finish all of them.”
“I’m surprised that you can be this kind to others, Joanna.” says a classmate, Rodrik Morgan. Both he and Joanna know each other for a long time, like childhood friends, after all, they come from the same small town in Northern Redora.
“Shut up Rodrik.”
“I’m sure Grandma Sarah will be happy to know that you’ve grown out of your violent self, Joanna.”
“Rodrik, shut up…”
On even another side of the table…
“Here’s the book that you asked for, Elizabeth Morant. It just arrived last night.” says a student from Verruni, Peter “The Weasel” Wezzel, handing a book to the girl with glasses. He says he received that nickname from his name, though he does have a face that reminded people of a weasel.
“Thanks, I already paid you, right?”
“Indeed you have.”
“Heee…What’s that El, you never told me what kind of books you’re reading. Is it a fun one?”
“Even if you know what book it is, your weak mind cannot possibly understand the full intricacies and beauty of it.”
“Well, that’s the El I know…” she turns to the person who brought the book, “So what’s that book, Peter?”
“Hey!” objects Elizabeth.
But the male student shakes his head.
“Sorry Rebecca Deshler, but the trust and satisfaction of my clients are of the utmost of my priorities after profit. I can’t just tell you so easily like that.”
“So if I pay you some money, will you tell me what the book is?”
“That can be arranged.”
“Hey!!!” Elizabeth objects again.
“Oh my, this is indeed a very interesting recipe. I didn’t know you could cook clams this way.”
“Yeah, I’m already salivating imagining the taste.”
The girl of whom the recipes are being commented on by Diana and Enna is Viola Roselli, whose Zerlian shellfish soup is being read by the two Redoran girls.
“T-Thank you, for your..kind words. My Redoran is not very good, so I asked Fia to write it down for me.”
This Fia she’s talking about is Fia Rendou, another student from Zerlia that is currently sitting beside her eating an egg and ham sandwich. She glances at Viola, making a faint smile, before continuing with her meal.
A part of the table, however, is not as peaceful as the others.
“Dasni! There’s no way the Storm Jaguars can win this year’s cup. You must be imagining, Frankie.”
Frankie is the nickname for the student from Inarzia, Francisca Diaz.
“There’s just no way. Their defense is trash, their offense is trash, they don't even have any clear direction for the last decades. There’s just no way.”
Hearing her Orlenian classmate’s words, the Inarzian laughs.
“Sure, but this year will be different. The Jaguars just signed great Shielder and Lancer players, they’re going to win this year.”
“Good players mean nothing if you don’t have good strategy and tactics! Marcus, help me explain it to her.”
But the boy from Verruni shakes his head.
“Nah, I know nothing about Rumbleball. You’re on your own here Jean.”
“Personally,” interrupts another student from Zerlia, Adrian Argento, “I believe neither the Jaguars nor Eagles are going to win this year. It’s going to be the Rock Bears instead.”
““Now that’s even more impossible!!!”” Both Jean and Frankie finally agree on something.
All in all, it’s a very normal sight of students living their peaceful life in a boarding school.
Yet, at the same time…
“You okay Kayrus?”
Kayrus is like someone who is just shaken out of their daydream, back to reality.
“You look…off today,” says Ilias with a look of concern on his face.
“Yeah, what’s the matter Kayrus? Didn’t sleep well last night?” asks Rebecca.
“What? No, no, I’m fine, I’m fine. Just a little…tired.”
Kayrus is not exactly lying. After that strange dream again, he feels something has changed inside of his body, but he doesn’t know yet what it actually is. It’s like his body is trying to…adapt to something, and his energy is drained for that purpose.
But he should have been fine if that’s the only thing in his mind. Of course, that’s not the case here since his mind is still busy trying to decipher the meaning of his second meeting with that mysterious girl and the giant sphere of colors. And who is the person that he's supposed to find? All those combined with the stress of everything in his “student life” so far already exhausted so much of his energy even on this one fine morning.
“You look kind of pale, you know?” comments Rebecca. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah, really, I’m fine, I’m fine.” Kayrus puts more sugar in his half-empty cup of coffee.
“Kayrus…that’s salt, not sugar.”
“...Shit, you’re right.” He puts back the salt shaker in his hand. “I guess I’m a bit too tired today.”
“Are you sure? You’re not…you know, hurt or something? Or threatened, or something like that?” asks Ilias.
“Why are you asking that?’
“Well…” Rebecca shrugs her shoulders, “Last night, there’s that girl that confronted you. And uh…We are kind of worried about that. She didn’t strike me as a very friendly person.”
“Oh, that? You don’t need to worry about it. She just needed to…talk about something.” Kayrus makes a faint smile on his face, a liar’s smile. “She wants to talk about my sponsor, that’s all.”
“Yeah, that’s why we’re worried about that, Kayrus. Business with The Ten is never easy, or comfortable,” says Ilias. “Especially with the Augustus family.”
“I know, I know, but there’s really nothing to worry about. It’s all fine.”
“Well, if you insist on it..” Rebecca shrugs again. “Guess there’s nothing that we can object to, right, Ilias?”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
Kayrus smiles again, relieved that they’re buying his words
When he looks around the table, however, he finds someone is not buying his lies: Kara. The look on her face makes the young man feel guilty about lying to his classmates.
“Ah, looks like everyone is here. Can I join you all?” speaks a very familiar voice from behind Kayrus. That voice, of course, is unmistakably Edgar’s, who is just arriving at the Dining Hall.
“Ah, Edgar, there you are. I’ve been looking for you this morning.”
“Sorry Adrian, I kind of overslept.”
“Yeah…” the Nelgarian then turns to Kayrus. “Is this seat taken?” He smiles at him, standing over an empty chair beside the Redoran, while still holding a tray with a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice.
“...No, go ahead.” Kayrus tries to speak as normally as he can to him, hiding his suspicion and hostility behind those three words.
When the Nelgarian finally sits down and begins to eat his breakfast, he speaks in a very hushed voice to the former thief, all while keeping his smiling facade to the other Bea students near them.
“You must be still wondering about some stuff, right? I can see it in your eyes.”
Kayrus nods his head.
“First off, the girl,”
“Yeah, what happened to her?”
“She’s fine, like I said, she just exerted herself. If you look at a few tables behind you, you can actually see her glaring at you.”
And Edgar is right, when Kayrus turns to look behind him, sitting quite a distance from their table is Helena. She’s sitting alone at a table, eating her breakfast while still maintaining a constant sharp glare at Kayrus.
“She’s a real stubborn girl, both heart and body. She won’t call it quits with just that kind of injury.” Edgar takes a sip of his orange juice.
"And that means she's going to keep pestering me." Kayrus turns back to the table, trying his best to ignore Helena's stare.
"Doubt that," the Nelgarian boy takes another scoop of cereal, "now that she knows I'm keeping an eye on you, she won't dare do anything drastic like last night."
"Keeping an eye, you say…Was that the reason why you followed me meeting her?"
Edgar takes another sip of orange juice.
"You can say that."
"Why?" Asks Kayrus, "what's in it for you?"
"What's in it for me, you say? So you're that kind of person huh, Kayrus?" Edgar gives him a rather condescending smile, "Do you know The Ten, Kayrus?"
"...What of them?"
"My family is one of them, Kayrus, the House of Rath of Nelgar." He eats another spoonful of cereal before washing them down with orange juice. "We're rich, powerful, and have ambitions that reach beyond the sky. And as the heir for this family, I'm supposed to carry on this tradition and goal for the next generation and the generation beyond them."
"So your reason is all just for politics then? High elite politics?"
"Yes, in that I'm supposed to do that, to do everything I can to gain an advantage for my family against the other nine. Up to, but not limited to, getting any dirt about Charleone Augustus' Apprentice. But No, since I've decided to forgo that duty of mine and strike out on my own path." Edgar finishes his drink.
Kayrus, meanwhile, is just listening while playing with the spoon in his inedible coffee cup.
"Then how's that related to me? Why are you saving me then if you're not going to follow your duty?"
"Because, Kayrus Neumann, you have involved yourself in something greater than you can even imagine. I've said it before, didn't I, someone higher up in the food chains is also playing this game. And you, my dear classmate, might or might not be a pawn in it."
Frowning, Kayrus is trying to process what his classmate says to him. He is right, in that there are signs of machinations of something beyond what he first thought of. Even that girl in his dream is warning him of it. But what is it? And why?
Could it be?
"Eight affinities…" he mutters.
"Hm? Oh, nothing, forget that." Kayrus tries to dismiss that. He forgets that only he and Charleone know about that eight affinities of his.
That said, now he's suspicious if his Affinities is playing a part in everything that happened to him. He's going to ask that girl in his dream if he ever has a chance to meet her again.
"Well, to cut to the chase, my ultimate reason is that I want to help you in this game, Kayrus, from being used as nothing but a pawn. Consider it compassion as a fellow student, on top of it aligns with my personal interest." Edgar wipes his hand with a napkin. "That, and…honestly, I'm kind of curious about what is actually going on. You are in this same position, right?"
"Yeah, guess you can say that."
"Good." Edgar lets out his hand for Kayrus to shake. "Then let's make an alliance, I'll help you, you help me."
After a few seconds of consideration, Kayrus finally shakes his classmate's hand.
"Good…" Edgar smiles again, this time wider than ever before. "I have a feeling this will be the start of a beautiful friendship, Kayrus."