Chapter 12

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'You passed, yanno.'
For a moment Fii thought she was hearing voices.
But there was no mistake.
Crow had told her 'you passed'.

"Eh-, wha-, why...!?"

"Well, even if you ask that, nobody said that you'd fail if you lost, right?"

(N-, Now that he mentions it... But normally...)

"It's true that you'd have an advantage if you won, and those who make it as far as the semi-finals will be guaranteed a spot. But that's not all. Why do you think we knights were watching the matches? We do that so we can scout out skill sets and talents that our respective units need."

Crow turned to smile at Fii.

"And there's a captain that wants you as their apprentice knight. Congrats. You passed. Isn't that great, Heath?"

Fii stared in disbelief at the paper that he handed her.
But the name 'Heath' was definitely there. And that Heath now belonged to the 18th Knight Division.

(Huh...? Was there an eighteenth unit...?)

Fii tilted her head in puzzlement.
Of course she was confused. The Orstollian knight order was only supposed to have seventeen knight divisions.

"Aahh, so you do know about our knight order. Don't worry about it, the 18th really exists. There are some circumstances so it doesn't officially exist, but well, that's just on paper. We get treated as a proper knight division, and as long as you graduate from being an apprentice, you'll get your identification papers as a knight. I'm also with the 18th you see. We're kind of like special forces, or a secret unit. Are you not fine with that?"

"No! No such thing!" exclaimed Fii, as she shook her head.

As long as she could gain an identity as a knight, it didn't matter to her which unit she joined. She was actually happy about it because now she would be in the same knight division as Crow.

After those words came out of mouth, the fact that she had passed finally struck her.

"Wahhh... Crow-san..."

Now that the stress was leaving her, she began to cry even harder than before.

"Oi, oi, you're going to cry after you pass as well? Geez, a kid like you is..."

Giving another troubled smile, Crow pulled Heath's head in and patted it.

"This is the only time I'm going to console a guy, alright?"

After Fii cried for a while longer, the two of them decided to head to the 18th's gathering place.

"Time to greet everyone. Can you walk?"

"Yes! I can walk!"

Even though she was depressed just a moment ago, Fii was so cheerful now, that she was wagging her proverbial tail. Crow couldn't help but smile in amusement.

"Whoa, so energetic now that you know you've passed huh. What happened to the gloom from earlier? What a mercenary kid you are."

"That was because I thought I'd failed for sure..."

Fii reddened and turned away in a huff in response to the teasing.
But she quickly returned to a happy smile and looked back towards Crow.

"By the way, why did they want me! Could it be that they realised my hidden talent with the sword!?"

"Apparently it's because you're tiny and were good at scurrying about."

"Hahh!? What's that supposed to mean!"

She wasn't very happy. That hardly sounded knightly at all.

"Well, you had guts too. Apparently you're exactly what we need right now. You passed thanks to that, so don't complain," laughed Crow before ruffling Fii's hair.

(Well, that's true, but!)

If she was going to pass anyway, then she'd have preferred a cooler reason behind it. The girl had suddenly become quite greedy now that she was safe.

"Our unit is a gathering of specialists. Even if your swordsmanship isn't great, as long as you've got your talent, we'll take you."

"Isn't great, you say... So what are you good at, Crow-san?"

"Me? Well, lots of stuff. I suppose you could almost say that I'm too talented."

"Uh huh..."

Fii glared at him suspiciously as he posed, hand against chin.
Before long, something that looked like a storehouse came into view.

"Well, strictly speaking we're an unofficial knight division, you see. Naturally our unit can't get its own building, so we've borrowed a storehouse and remodelled it to use as our base."

So it was a storehouse.

"Well, the inside is surprisingly nice, so don't worry about it."

Passing through the sliding door, what came into view was a spacious room with sofas, tables, chairs, bookshelves and other furnishings arranged about.
On the shelves were weapons, and things that probably belonged to the other members.
Fii looked about. Pot plants with beautiful flowers. A make-up set- ...Why was there a make-up set here? Lots of bows and arrows. Hammers and other tools, as well as things that she really didn't recognise.

And finally, four men, each sitting somewhere in the room.

"So youuu're the rumoured newbie. Hmmm~ Nice to meetcha," winked a young man without any special features.

"..." waved another man. Although he was larger than even Gorms, and was sitting on an especially large chair, his greeting was light and didn't make Fii nervous.

"Let's get along from now on," said an eye-patched man, without any particular expression.

Finally, "I heard, but you really are a tiny fellow arentcha. Well, it's nice to meetcha," spoke a middle-aged man in work clothes as he waved to Fii with a smirk.

"Ah-, yes, please take care of me."

Fii bowed to them in return.

"The Captain is going to be here soon, so just relax until he gets here," said the plain-looking youth, as he produced some tea for her.
It was a fragrant herb tea.

(The Captain... What kind of person is he...?)

It was because this Captain said he needed her that Fii was able to become a knight apprentice.

After waiting for a while, the clunking of footsteps sounded from outside.
When the door opened, a single young man stepped into the room.

(Ah-... This person...)

With black hair and blue-grey eyes, the upper part of his face was concealed by a mask. But even beneath that mask, Fii could tell that this man had sharp and handsome features.

It was the masked man that had spoken to her when she collapsed.

The man took a slow look around the room, before speaking in a calm voice.

"It seems that everybody is here."

Then, standing in a place where the five knights and one apprentice knight could see him, he continued.

"Because we have a new member with us, let me introduce myself once again. I am the Captain of this unit. The Captain of the 18th Knight Division, York."

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