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: Watch me continue to write at the speed of a snail, but hey, we have finally arrived at the final chapter of this story! (Sort of. There's still a "short" epilogue and extra after this.) Thanks for sticking around~. As a reminder, I am no longer doing previous/next chapter links. Please use the tags to navigate to different parts of the story!
Suggestion #12: Always Stay True
Is there really nothing else I can do for my captain?
While he did value swordsmanship and I trained as often as I could, training with a sword was expected of a knight. It wasn't like I was putting in any extra effort. Perhaps he would appreciate it if I put the rest of the Hell Knight Platoon through more training as well? After all, we had a lot more to do before we could even hope to possess a portion of Captain's strength.
Faterlin especially could use a lot more training to live up to his potential. He possessed the skills, but he was just too lazy! I bet Adair doesn't have this problem with his platoon members.
While I devised training menus, I continued with my basic swinging practice, making sure my form was correct. The sun had dipped low by now, the last rays of the day about to disappear with it. Servants scurried from wall to wall, lighting the torches along them.
The flames cast flickering shadows, of which my captain blended right in with. He approached with silent steps, neatly moving aside to avoid a servant from crashing into him. The servant must not have seen my captain. He nearly tripped over himself to apologize.
If not for the servant's fumbling, I would not have turned and noticed my captain's approach myself.
"Apologies for being late," Captain said as he walked over. "Gri... Sun only retired to his room just now."
Ever since Knight-Captain Sun returned from the Kingdom of Moon Orchid, my captain turned into his second shadow, following him at every step. It was only in the evenings, when Knight-Captain Sun returned to his room, that my captain would even step aside for a moment.
I sheathed my sword and saluted him. "Not at all, Captain! Thank you for making time for me this evening."
It was truly an honor, as my captain did not seem to even have much time to himself. To have him choose to spend what little free time he had to meet me was a greater honor than I deserved. I was such a lucky vice-captain. After all, what other captain out there would meet his vice-captain night after night to spar with him?
At first, our meetings had been for the purpose of dueling for the position of captain. Eventually, our arrangement evolved into daily sparring sessions instead, though they were often still brought to a conclusion with a duel.
When they had still been considered "duels" to acknowledge his captaincy, we had had a sizable audience watching my failures, but now that there was more sparring involved than dueling, our audience dwindled down. Now, more often than not, I had my captain all to myself.
Captain shook his head. "It is no trouble. Shall we begin?"
I nodded and readied myself. Thus began our sparring for the night.
As we crossed swords, Captain commented on my form, giving me pointers. Tonight, he even praised me on the fluidity of my swings.
Daily swinging practice paid off!
Our sparring continued through the night. When only the light from the torches was left to illuminate our surroundings, I decided to ask, as I asked each night Captain graced me with his presence, "Captain, would you grant me the privilege of dueling with you tonight?"
"Of course," he answered without any hesitation.
We took the appropriate steps apart. He appraised me and said, as he said each night without fail, "If you win, I will concede the position of captain to you. That aspect of our duel has not changed."
I nodded, even though I no longer sought the captaincy. It was only under that condition that he agreed to continue our duels.
At first, I thought it was because he was that sure of himself, that he was certain he would never lose in swordsmanship, especially not to someone like me. While my swordsmanship was not bad and even ranked highly among the vice-captains, it was nothing compared to my captain's strength. He was unrivaled. In fact, out of everyone at the Holy Temple, I thought that maybe only Knight-Captain Judgment was anywhere close to a difficult opponent for him.
But, that wasn't the reason he agreed night after night to duel with me. This, I was fairly certain about. I may not have been a true vice-captain for long, but it was certainly the duty of a vice-captain to understand his captain.
And this was what I was sure of—he was the most confident in himself when swordplay was involved. Other times? Not so much. Despite the difference in our strengths, he truly did enjoy our bouts.
As the flames flickered, I could only catch a glimpse of my captain's serious gaze. He was every bit a part of the night, a solemn figure, one who I had almost thought didn't exist. But here he was, proving his existence.
He wasn't going easy on me, but he definitely wasn't going all out either. If he had, the duel would have ended with a single swing. Instead, he let me test out my new strategy. There was no possible way I'd be able to win in a head on clash, so I decided to strike from the side. However, Captain was Captain, and he easily avoided the strike, but not by moving out of range. He closed in, knocking my sword out of my grasp.
I dropped my hands and tried to catch my breath.
"Thank you for the guidance," I said.
He gave me a nod and sheathed his sword. Our duel for the night had come to an end, and he would soon depart.
"Captain—" I called out before I even knew what I wanted to say. I curled my fingers together. They were a bit numb. Captain's strength was truly great.
"Yes?" he answered.
Just like I had told Adair, none of the other vice-captains' suggestions truly suited my captain. He never looked at women and he didn't spend much money at all. Although he didn't have much free time, I had never heard him complain about it or appear tired. He was always very serious about his duties, and completing them would make his eyes fill with satisfaction, so he didn't need a vacation either.
What does he need then? What can I do for him?
I decided I should ask him.
"Captain, is there anything I could do for you?" I asked.
"What do you mean?"
"Supporting you is my duty," I said. "So if there's anything I can help you with, please let me know."
He paused and looked me over. I stood straighter at the attention, but he did not say anything for the longest time. I forced myself not to fidget. In the end, after much consideration, when he finally said something, it was actually to ask a question. "Tyler, how long do people take to eat a meal?"
The question stumped me, and I couldn't figure out why my captain had asked it in response to my query. But I tried to recall the eating habits of the Hell Knight Platoon and did my best to answer. Faterlin's food always vanished at a startling rate, while I took my meals at a much slower pace compared to him, though still faster than many of the others in the platoon. Could it be that he has need of knowing the platoon's eating habits to plan for a mission? "Captain, I believe anywhere from five minutes to half an hour to eat a meal such as lunch or dinner is normal. The time taken depends on the person, the food, and the circumstances."
"Five minutes to half an hour is a big difference," my captain commented.
Although I was still confused, I explained, "Some people just eat very fast, while some take longer to chew their food. I hear that it's actually a good idea to eat slower. You get to taste your food more, and it seems to help with digestion."
Maybe I should suggest it to the Ice Knight Platoon. It is worrying how often they sprint off to the bathroom. It can't always be food poisoning, right?
"I see," was all my captain said in response.
Was that all? Captain just needed me to answer a question of his? I ventured to say, "Captain, if you have any questions, I'm always happy to answer to the best of my ability."
He gave me a nod. "Thanks. You've been a great help."
And that was that.
It wasn't quite what I had meant when I asked him what I could help him with. Answering his questions was a simple matter. I did it often, and I certainly did not mind.
But maybe, this is exactly what my captain needs, for me to just be my usual self and carry on like usual.
I can definitely do that.
While I was thinking, my captain seemed to have been doing the same and had come to some sort of conclusion. Suddenly, he said, "Tyler, I have been considering that you should know what I look like beneath this mask. In fact, the entire platoon should know."
It was unsightly and unbefitting of a holy knight, but my mouth dropped open. I could not help but stare at him in shock, nearly causing my captain to change his mind.
"Do you think he might be disfigured?" someone asked.
"Maybe it's a skin condition?" another person said.
"Or his face is too scary without it being partially concealed?"
"I bet he has a scar across his lips!" Faterlin said, finger tracing his chin to the skin right above his lips to demonstrate his meaning. Several of the other hell knights made appreciative noises at how cool that would actually look.
Don't any of you think Captain wears a mask for stealth?!
I shushed them to put a stop to their rude speculations, especially since we were approaching the training grounds where Captain waited, but unfortunately, I could not stop myself from imagining the possibility of a scar concealed behind his mask. But would Captain really wear a mask for the sake of hiding a scar?
He didn't seem the type to do that.
"Captain, I have brought the platoon over," I announced and placed the box I held on the floor.
He turned and beckoned us over. I ordered the ones carrying torches to the front so we could see better. We formed a half circle around him like asked. If anyone else approached the training grounds, they'd have to stand on the tip of their toes to look over the wall that we formed. Captain's true face wasn't something we'd easily let other people see. Even we weren't getting to see it until now.
"Thank you for coming on such short notice," Captain said.
"Not at all, Captain! We wouldn't want to miss seeing what's beneath your—"
I jabbed Faterlin with my elbow, resulting in an "oof" and blessed silence after that. I hurried to reassure him, "It is no trouble at all, Captain."
After that, we all fell silent, waiting for Captain's next action.
He explained in a practical manner, getting right to the matter at hand, "I believe you should all know what I look like to prevent possible imposters."
Although he hadn't made a grand speech about trusting us enough to show us what was under his mask, I still felt deeply trusted. The fact that Captain was willing to show us and no one else meant a great deal to me.
I gulped. The moment of truth was here.
Captain raised his hand to reach for his mask. I glued my eyes to his face. So did the others. The moment he took the mask off—
"Where's the scar? What disfigurement? His skin is too flawless!" a bunch of people blurted.
"Captain!" Faterlin shouted. "Why in the world are you hiding such a handsome face?"
Captain touched his smooth, unblemished face. "Is this a handsome face?"
"Most definitely!" everyone yelled.
"Why hide it? You could totally win in popularity over all the other knight-captains if you showed your face!" Faterlin exclaimed.
"I have no need for popularity," Captain said simply, leaving us all in awe. Our captain was truly a humble man. I took in his appearance, trying my best to engrave it in my mind. Tonight was likely a once in a lifetime opportunity. There was no telling if I'd ever get to see my captain without his mask again.
"So, why does Captain wear a mask?" someone asked after our captain left.
"Does it matter?" I asked in return. It was true that I was still curious about it, and it was likely the same for everyone else, but nothing beat the curiosity over what Captain looked like under his mask, and that mystery was already solved.
"It definitely isn't because he looks ugly!" Faterlin said.
We all agreed. It definitely wasn't that.
"Maybe it's because he's too handsome!" Faterlin guffawed over his own conjecture.
"He looks kind of familiar..." someone said.
"Really? I definitely wouldn't forget a face like that!" Faterlin said, "By the way, I've been wondering about this. What's in the box, Cap?" He gestured at the box by our feet that I had brought the meeting.
"I told you to stop calling me that," I grumbled.
"He's Captain, you're Cap. I see no problem there."
I rolled my eyes but leaned down and opened the box. The others crowded around, peering into it.
"I got you all a gift," was all I said.
Captain had gone out of his way to show us what he looked like under his mask. There was no better time than now to make sure he didn't feel out of place among us!
The Twelfth Suggestion for Serving Your Captain: Always Stay True to Yourself. Sometimes, That's All Your Captain Needs.
to be continued
I like to imagine that someone else is standing guard outside Grisia's door while Roland meets up with his vice-captain, and the training grounds aren't all that far from their rooms. Let's just go with that. XD;
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