Fandom: The Legend of Sun Knight
Summary: The vice-captains of the Twelve Holy Knights never thought that their jobs would differ so vastly from their expectations. Tyler has really been missing out.
Notes: While I was working on this chapter, I quite suddenly found a litter of kittens. What a coincidence. XD (They're adorable)
Suggestion #8: Speak Your Mind
Suggestion #9: Prepare Small Gifts
The kitten was a small, tiny thing, mewling nonstop until it was picked up. The Stone Knight Platoon were truly experts at taking care of small animals. They knew exactly what could be fed to the kitten and what couldn't be fed to it. But whether or not our leftover food was good for the kitten, it kept pawing at us, wanting to be fed.
"That kitten is a girl," said Vice-Captain Stone. Before I could even ask him how he knew, he went on to ramble way more details about feline genitals than I ever wanted to know. First, lift the tail, then...
Now, I too could determine the gender of a cat if the need ever arose. It was true that one could never be overly prepared. If I wanted to become a skilled vice-captain, I could only keep training and adding to my skill set. Including how to identify the gender of a cat.
In any case, the kitten was now at the Holy Temple, and I volunteered to look for a permanent home for it. Er, her.
Why had I volunteered? Well, pretty much everyone in the Stone Knight Platoon already had pets, multiple pets even, and if they didn't, that was because they had allergic reactions to the small creatures. None of them could take in the kitten, despite their devotion to their captain and their willingness to take in all of the injured and lost small animals he seemed to attract and find.
Because of Vice-Captain Stone's ramblings, I now knew that his captain had nursed a bird back to health and taken care of a fox with an injured leg, among many of his other achievements that I was supposed to forget about. Saving small animals seemed to be a common occurrence in the life of a stone knight.
As I trained that day, the kitten occupied most of my thoughts. Therefore, when Vice-Captain Earth approached me at the training grounds, I took the opportunity to ask him, "Would you like a kitten to keep you company?"
He froze, confusion all over his face.
I decided to explain more to persuade him. "She's quite, how should I say this, endearing with large, bright blue eyes and soft..." I trailed off when I noticed how startling red Vice-Captain Earth was becoming. "Are you okay?"
"V-Vice-Captain Hell," he squeezed out, "I-I never took you to be such a flirt."
"Flirt? Me? Whatever put that notion in your head?" I asked. For some reason, he looked utterly disappointed in me. Now, it was my turn to be confused.
"Kitten... large, bright blue eyes... soft..."
"Yes, that's what I said." I hesitated and added, "Adorable, right? She's small and may be needy, but if you give her attention, I'm sure she'll love you right back. She might even cuddle with you in bed—"
Perhaps Vice-Captain Earth had been red earlier because of feeling embarrassed or under the weather, but currently, he was definitely furious.
"Vice-Captain Hell, I will have to decline. I am not here for such matters," he said with a steely voice.
Such matters? What matters?
I frowned but said, "I apologize if I have offended you. I was merely trying to find the kitten a home."
He frowned too, confusion slowly replacing his fury. "Wait, a pet kitten?"
"Don't tell me you're talking about an actual kitten?" he asked.
"What else could I have been talking about?"
"A g-gir—" he stuttered and planted his face in his hands. "S-sorry Tyler, I thought you were making fun of me."
Why in the world would I want to do that? While I still didn't understand how he could have misunderstood me so terribly, at least I had cleared up the misunderstanding. That brought me back to my original mission.
"So, how about it? Do you want a kitten?" I asked.
I carried the kitten out of my room to show Vice-Captain Earth. She was currently very docile, curling up in my hands and blinking up at us sleepily, occasionally reaching out with a paw to place it against me. Anyone would melt at that. What a little devil! She sure hadn't been like this earlier.
"Vice-Captain Stone says that she's already weaned off milk, so she shouldn't be as difficult to care for as a newborn kitten," I said, trying to convince him to keep her.
"Why can't you keep her? Or, how about someone from your platoon? Why ask me?" Vice-Captain Earth questioned.
"I'm not good at raising small animals."
I had thought to ask my platoon, but it hadn't taken long for me to discard that idea. I had only left the kitten alone for a few minutes, and it had somehow managed to drag the leotard that Vice-Captain Moon had given me out into the open. That wasn't the end of it, either. She had even sunk her tiny claws into the stretchy fabric, leaving puncture holes in it.
The damage wasn't severe, but it sent shivers down my back just imagining what could have happened if I had left her unsupervised for just a moment longer. I made sure to lock away the leotard after that, but the damage was already done. For the same reason, I couldn't give her to anyone in the Hell Knight Platoon. If I did so, how could I ever give that person a leotard without fretting over whether or not it would get destroyed by tiny claws? That would be a complete waste, and we couldn't possibly harm Captain's reputation with torn leotards. The fabric of a leotard was already thin enough. If holes were introduced, we might as well not wear anything.
As for why I had asked Vice-Captain Earth, truth to be told, I had the feeling that I would get interrupted during training, if the recent pattern was anything to go by. He just so happened to be the first person doing the interrupting.
As we were vice-captains of opposing factions, I didn't know him very well at all. However, earth knights were known to be honest and dependable. Surely, I couldn't go wrong with asking one of them to raise a kitten.
"Also, you seem dependable," I decided to say in the end.
"Really?" He perked up.
However, he deflated very quickly after that. "But my captain always says otherwise."
Is Knight-Captain Earth actually a difficult captain to please? I tried to recall what I knew of him based on the meetings I used to attend as the Hell Knight substitute. Knight-Captain Earth had always stuttered a lot and blushed easily, and he often rubbed the back of his neck in embarrassment. He didn't seem like the kind of person to be so harsh. However, in the end, he was still a knight-captain and must have his standards. I understood Vice-Captain Earth's concern. I too should work hard so that my captain would approve of me.
Vice-Captain Earth let me place the kitten in his hands. He rubbed her head, his eyes lighting up when she leaned into his touch and pawed at his hand. "She is cute, but I don't know... Let me ask my captain."
Why do you need your captain's approval to raise a pet? He's not your mother!
Despite my thoughts, I followed him without a word to seek out his captain.
"So," he suddenly asked me, "how have you been lately?" As he spoke, he continued petting the kitten. I didn't know how Knight-Captain Earth would respond, but if it were up to his vice-captain alone, I was fairly sure the kitten already had a home. He'd really taken a liking to her.
"How have I been? The usual..." I paused, thinking of how my training kept getting interrupted lately, and how I didn't have enough money to buy matching outfits for everyone in the Hell Knight Platoon. Not exactly usual, actually. Should I make something to sell like what the Leaf Knight Platoon does? But what could I make?
As we turned the corner, I finished my thought by saying, "The usual, but... just in need of a bit more money."
"Oh. Uh, d-do you want to borrow some?" Vice-Captain Earth asked and petted the kitten again. The kitten bit his hand, not letting go even when he lifted his hand up to try to shake her off. She even clung on with her tiny paws and thus ended up partially lifted into the air. Even then, she still wouldn't let go. Vice-Captain Earth merely gave a pained smile and shook his hand back and forth to no avail.
Hey, play nice, kitten. Do you want a new home or not?
I watched the kitten and said absentmindedly, "Really? I'd hate to trouble you, but that would be very help—"
Suddenly, a looming shadow invaded my personal space, and I could feel my hair stand on end. However, when I turned, all I saw was Knight-Captain Earth smiling behind me. I gulped, unsure of the unsettling feeling that had come over me. It was only Knight-Captain Earth, and he was even smiling, even though his arms were folded across his chest.
"Has t-the Sun Knight P-Platoon come to..." Suddenly, Knight-Captain Earth stopped and looked me up and down. His next words were slow but clear. "You're not a sun knight."
I blinked. Is it just my imagination, or did Knight-Captain Earth's demeanor change at the end there? I shook my head. "No, I'm not a sun knight."
He seemed to grumble something about dratted sun knights cheating his vice-captain out of his money, so he really didn't need other platoons butting in as well, but surely I was hearing things. He peered at me again and finally said, "Ah, you're... ahem, y-you're Hell."
"Vice-Captain Hell, sir," I answered.
After all, I had a captain now. To the side, Vice-Captain Earth suddenly had a beaming smile on his face despite the kitten dangling from his hand, and he shot me a knowing gaze. Unfortunately, we did not have the understanding that the Ice Knight Platoon members had with each other and thus could not communicate with just a glance. I could only make a guess. Is he that happy to get bitten by a kitten?
Knight-Captain Earth nodded to acknowledge and dismiss me at the same time. He turned toward his own vice-captain. "Have you... ahem, h-have you gotten w-what I asked for?"
Vice-Captain Earth, with the kitten still dangling from his hand, abruptly froze. "U-Um..."
Oh no, have I sidetracked Vice-Captain Earth from his task? But he had come to find me at the training grounds, so does that mean his task had something to do with me?
Whatever it was, if I had gotten in the way of his duty, then I really needed to give him a helping hand.
Knight-Captain Earth waited.
Vice-Captain Earth lowered the kitten, holding her closer, almost cradling her, before he suddenly thrust her into the air like some kind of offering. "I-I did, actually. Here."
The kitten stared up at Knight-Captain Earth. He stared back.
"That's not a handkerchief," he said.
"Um, no," his vice-captain replied.
"That's not tea."
"That's not a snack."
"Then, whatever is it for?" Knight-Captain Earth demanded. This entire time, the kitten had been having a staring contest with him. At his question, she swiped her tiny claws at him. He batted her paws away.
Go on, ask him if you can keep her! I didn't know how anyone could mistake a kitten for handkerchiefs, tea, and snacks, but as long as Knight-Captain Earth would allow his vice-captain to keep the kitten, it really didn't matter.
"For you, Captain!"
"I mean, I'll definitely look after her, but you can borrow her whenever you want."
"That..." Knight-Captain Earth began. "You..." He looked back at the kitten who seemed to have gotten bored and was now washing her face in a cute fashion. He stared at her some more. Then, a slow grin appeared. "That's brilliant. This could work. I didn't know you had it in you!"
Vice-Captain Earth blinked and tilted his head, but he soon beamed. He deposited the kitten into his captain's waiting arms. "Um, so, should I keep her?"
"Yes, definitely yes!" his captain replied as he rubbed the kitten's head and scratched behind her ears. She purred, and his grin grew even wider. For some reason, the grin made me want to back away. Maybe, I should have kept the kitten.
Vice-Captain Earth turned to me happily and said, "Vice-Captain Hell! He said yes!"
You and your captain are both very, very strange.
"What was that?" I asked him after his captain left with the kitten.
"What was what?" he asked in return. He blinked at me and followed my gaze in the direction his captain had left in. "Oh, that?"
"T-That's actually what I wanted to speak with you about," he said.
"Um, if you're having any troubles, o-or if you want to express gratitude or appreciation... I find that small gifts are nice," he eventually said.
He scratched his face. "But I guess you already knew that. Um, at least, I think you're doing something similar. Or plan to. Since, you know, you said you're in need of money."
"I... yeah, I am." Small gifts, huh? I hadn't thought of the leotards as small gifts, but they could be considered that.
"Here," Vice-Captain Earth suddenly said. He rummaged around and handed me several tea bags. "This is a great, um, strong blend. If you're ever feeling tired, it'll wake you right up!"
He twiddled his thumbs. "I figured tea would be a better g-gift to you than a handkerchief—" he pulled several out, "—or some cookies." He pulled out two bags of what was probably cookies.
I blinked. Wasn't Knight-Captain Earth looking for those exact items? "Why didn't you give them to your captain?"
"Oh, um, I wanted to give you a gift. It always seems to work for my captain. And he only told me earlier to bring something gir—guests would appreciate. He wasn't exactly looking for those... items. Who can resist such a c-cute kitten? So, I actually have to thank you for helping me fulfill my captain's request. I mean, he even praised me just now!"
He beamed again.
For some reason, I felt a bit worried for the kitten.
But I forgot about my worries when Vice-Captain Earth actually agreed to lend me some money.
Later, when I passed by the courtyard that same week to head to the training grounds, I heard lots of giggling and cooing. I continued on, intending to walk past the crowd, when I heard a sudden purr that made me stop in my tracks.
"What an adorable sound!" a female voice exclaimed. Several twittered in agreement.
I turned my head. In the middle of the courtyard, a bunch of clerics were seated around something. Some even had their heads bent down. Over their heads, I could see a much taller figure that had brown hair.
It was Knight-Captain Earth.
He had a blush on his cheeks and was stuttering in reply to the female clerics around him. I moved closer and saw that there were several tea cups in front of them. In the middle of the tea party that was happening was the little white kitten I had given to Vice-Captain Earth.
She was a sociable little creature, not at all afraid of all the people around her. Whenever someone stopped petting her, she would actually meow in protest. She only stopped when the petting continued.
I smiled and went off on my way, lost in my own thoughts.
It hadn't escaped my notice that Knight-Captain Earth usually stuttered a lot, but he never seemed to stutter whenever he was speaking with his vice-captain. He must place great trust in him, and he was even willing to look after his vice-captain's kitten for him.
Goals, I told myself.
The Ninth Suggestion for Serving Your Captain: Prepare Small Gifts (For Your Captain to Use as Bribes)
to be continued
Suggestion #10: Take Daily Baths