Chapter 75

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That evening, the apprentice knights invited Fii to come along as they left the castle.

"Sure. Sounds good," she answered with a smile, before going to invite Doug as well.

"Doug, let's go~"

"Yes."

Fii beckoned with her hand, and Doug trotted along from behind.
Everyone was already used to the sight. That's why nobody even commented. In fact, when they wanted to invite either of them, it was already natural to ask Fii for permission instead.

The meeting place was the northern castle gate. When she arrived, Fii spotted some familiar faces.

Gorms, Slad, and Remié were there too.
Gheith had injured his leg recently which was why he wasn't going out too often.

"Looks like we're all here."

Altogether, it was a huge group of eleven.

"Well then, shall we go?" prompted Slad.

At that moment, a band of knights passed through the gate.
Crow and Orbull were amongst them.

"Are you guys heading for town?"

"Yes!"

"We're heading to Lowtown!"

Since Crow asked so amiably, the apprentice knights replied happily.
Crow was just well-known. He was originally an apprentice knight, so before he entered the 18th Division, he had been making waves in the 1st.
He still helped out in various places, so pretty much everyone in the order knew him.
Since their senpais knew Crow, naturally the apprentice knights would get chances to speak to him too.

Not only that, but Fii was in the Northern Dorm.
Since Crow often came to speak to Fii, the other apprentices spoke to him too.

"Come back before it gets too late. Also, please look after our Heath! Take care that he doesn't get lost somewhere."

"Please don't speak like I'm a little kid."

Fii glared at him with narrowed eyes for treating her like some kid that was tagging along.

As for Doug, who was standing next to her, he looked excited and happy to see Crow.
York was the knight he admired the most, but apparently he admired Crow too.

(What a fickle bastard...) thought Fii.

But Crow was the idol of pretty much all the apprentice knights, so all the boys were happy as well.
He had the one flaw of being a playboy, but he was strong and talented, his looks were good, his personality was great, and he was good at looking after others too. It would be stranger if they didn't admire him.
And also, even though Crow's talks about women made them blush, the boys all listened attentively.
To the boys, being a playboy wasn't a bad thing perhaps, Fii mused.

After talking a little to the other knights too, Fii's group finally decided to head out.

"See ya then."

Crow and the knights smiled as they watched their kouhai head off, so the apprentices waved goodbye.
Orbull wrote "Have fun." on his signboard too.

"Kuh! Crow-san really is so cool," exclaimed Slad, still thinking about the encounter.

Doug's tanned cheeks flushed a little red, and he nodded along as well.
Since they were all closer now they knew, but Doug was a taciturn type. He would talk when it counted―――for example, when he first entered the Northern Dorm―――but otherwise, he would usually just listen and give small comments.
Apparently he was the type who couldn't speak unless he planned out what to say in advance.
But even though he didn't talk much, his face did all his talking for him. Since you could immediately tell what he was thinking, he never had trouble communicating.
Nobody was sure whether that was a good or bad thing for Doug though.

"I wanna get strong and popular like Crow-san too."

"It's impossible for you."

The boys all began to talk about Crow.

"I wanna be strong like Orbull-san," said Gorms alone.

"Oh? So you admire Orbull-san then," commented Fii.

Everyone had lots of knights that they admired, but Fii loved Orbull too, so her ears had perked up.

"Yeah. He's amazing. In terms of power, he's probably without equal. But despite that, he's fast too, and he has good technique. He's great with using all kinds of equipment, so if I had to follow in someone's footsteps, it's his."

Admittedly, Gorms' figure was similar to Orbull's. Although Orbull was still a size bigger, and unlike Gorms, who had the face of a villain, Orbull-san's was visibly kind.
Everyone had their own goals and idols.

Fii's was the Captain... Or so she wanted to say, but she knew that it was impossible to become like him.
That's why she set a more realistic goal.

"I guess I'd pick Kain-san."

"Kain-san?"

"Who the heck is that?"

Fii replied.

"You know, he's the one that's always hiding in the treetops, and who for some reason always hides his mouth. He's really kind."

"Hidings in the treetops?"

"He hides his face?"

"Is that really a knight...?"

Apparently nobody knew about him. Even though Captain York, Crow-san, Orbull-san, and Palwick-san were so famous...

"Muu, he's so really cool though..."

Fii puffed her cheeks unhappily and swore that she would one day make Kain-san known to them.

While the the boys chatted about this and that, they headed towards the lower parts of town.
It wasn't rare for them to wander about here, and some of the familiar shopkeepers waved to them.

About thirty percent of the apprentice knights were from noble families while the other seventy percent consisted of commoners. Well, commoners and people with dubious backgrounds like Fii.
Out of the people Fii was close to, it was Doug and Remié that were nobles. Gorms, Slad, and Gheith were from Lowtown.
Perhaps because commoners formed the majority, the apprentice knights most frequented Lowtown. It was most appropriate for their salary as well, so even the apprentices from noble backgrounds became used to it.

But well, once they got a little older like Crow-san and their salaries increased a little, many would start going to more mature stores though.

Anyway, although they were heading to Lowtown today, their destination was a little different this time.
Fii suddenly realized that she hadn't asked where they were going.
She had thought for sure that they'd be shopping or something, but they were headed in a different direction to the shopping district.

"Hey, where are we going by the way?"

The boys replied.

"Aah, did we not mention? Today we're all going to the sauna."

"It's a bit lonely just bathing everyday, yanno?"

"Recently this cheap place appeared, so we all decided to go."

Sauna...
In other words, taking off your clothes, entering a room filled with steam, and sweating your body clean...
And, very obviously, something that everyone entered together...

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