Breakfast had been extremely quiet as everyone went about their daily routine but somehow, red seemed to be the main theme of the day: the red hand print that was clearly printed on Agrias's left cheek accompanied by a beat red Alma who had been silent in the presence of the knight followed by the bright red faces of Alicia and Lavian from vain attempts of concealing their laughter and finally, Ophion's red forehead, which had been attacked by a well aimed piece of soap when a naked Alicia realized the male priest's presence. However, despite the redness of the day, life must still go on which also included literature class.
Ovelia allowed the lesson to flow in without acknowledgment as Alma drifted between the state of sleep and semi-consciousness behind the thick text of "Remeo and Guliet" by William Shokesphere.
Ovelia signed in both relief and disbelief but mentally thankful that she had only thought the Holy Knight as being handsome and nothing more. The idea seemed right and logical. After the incident concerning Recon, sending a female bodyguard would be the most sensible alternative. Also, she too have witnessed Agrias's capabilities which was indisputably better then Recon's. However, she couldn't help feel a little disappointed. Just very little though.
The princess looked up from her text for something more interesting and her bodyguard, standing just beside her, happened to catch her attention. How he...no, she was able to keep that straight face was amazing. She herself can barely keep her heavy eyelids from drooping, battling vigorously with sleep while Alma...a slight smile touched her lips at the sight of a terrible victim of slumber's seduction.
"ah...I can't eat anymore..."
The faint sound tickled out of the snoozing Beoulve as Ophion's writing on the board promptly stopped. Now was not the best time to be sleep talking but the random words stirred a giggling fit inside Ovelia's stomach as she tried to hide her smile behind her book. The priest walked up in front of the sleeping form, and rudely poked the girl's head, a vein threatening to pop.
"...Stop stuffing me..." was the infuriating response.
Ophion now had his ruler high above his head and with a swift move, brought the weapon hard onto the desk. A sharp smacking blast brought his student back into consciousness as she reflexively stood up.
"To be or not to be, that is the dilemma." Blurted Alma, trying to prove that she had been listening.
There was an obvious wet spot on the desk which indicated her length of dreaming but most importantly, Ovelia was certain she saw the corner of Agrias's lips slightly curl up as her bodyguard brought up a gloved hand to steady the expression.
There was a sheepish grin across Alma's face, who was now wide awake and wiping away the embarrassing drool off the corner of her mouth.
Ophion responded to the pathetic apology, which he had heard all too many times, with a snort.
"I've had just about enough! Every time, it's either hide and seek or a little trip to dreamland. How do you expect to become a true lady if you don't ever pay attention in class?"
"Part of being a refined lady requires the knowledge of literature to fine tune your speech and writing. It also enhances your appreciation for the art of writing."
"How could you possibly manage to fall asleep in the presence of such art and beauty."
"Can't you for once try and sit through my class and pay attention? I try my best to make this class as interesting as possible and the least you could do is listen and learn something from it. Or is that too much to ask for?"
"Yes, Ophion...I mean no. Well...partly yes and partly no but mostly yes but at the same time there's some no, just a little boring but not too much..."
The priest's teeth were tightly grinding while his entire body shook with anger at such an implicating answer.
"What Alma meant was literature did not have enough...practical applications to life and the chances of us writing something so sophisticated and thought provoking is quite slim. It has nothing to do with your teaching methods." Intercepted Ovelia. The last thing they needed was to offend their teacher.
"That is exactly what I meant!" exclaimed Alma at the save. "We should do something...like white and black magic. That way, not only could we protect ourselves it could also lighten Agrias's burden and protect you!"
'Smooth, Alma, smooth.'
The blond teenager gave herself a mental praise as she held low a confident 'ok' sign for her friend to see. Now would only be a matter of time before magic class starts! Goodbye literature and suicidal lovebirds. Ick! The story was sweet and romantic but the old Ivalician language just spoiled the fun. She had been reading the dictionary more then the book itself and with ol' Ophion making them constantly do weird, meaningless reflection essays, literature class plainly...sucked.
'So they think they could get away with this. We'll see about that!'
He was planning on saving his 'secret weapon' until next week for fine-tuning's sake but with Alma's rude actions, it provoked him to bring it out earlier.
"Well, well, it seems that literature is not your cup of tea, is it now?" replied Ophion with a fake smile plastered on his face.
Alma nodded enthusiastically with a wide smile while Ovelia was slightly unsure about the situation. It was simply...too easy.
"And the both of you would like something that is more...practical, is that right?"
Another big nod by the young Beoulve.
"Well then, I'm sure that can be arranged. At first, I planned for this to be an additional class to your schedule but for your pleasure, arithmetic class shall now begin and take the place of literature." He announced proudly.
"What?! How-How about magic class?"
"Oh. That's for soldiers and uncivilized commoners. You've requested for something more useful so here it is. Math can highly improve logic and problem solving skills. It will prove to be of great importance in both your lives; Lady Alma will need to look after an entire household after marriage which includes keeping track of family spending while Princess Ovelia will most certainly encounter accountant and other problems which will require the help of arithmetic."
A wry smile danced on Alma's trembling lips, mumbling something indecipherable while the princess let out a sigh.
"Now that that's settled. Class is dismissed and I expect 'I will not ran away or fall asleep during class again.' 1000 times on my desk tomorrow morning. As for the princess... 'I will not daydream or stare out the window during class again.' On a separate note, I want 'I will pay attention in class and learn to become a proper lady/princess from now on' from the each of you, 500 times."
The announcement left the girls in complete silence.
"And I almost forgot. Since we've ran out of time and I'm sure you're both eager to begin the assignment, this, ladies, is today's math lesson."
Two piles of paper landed in front of them with a loud thud to indicate and emphasize their size.
"I want questions 1-50 by tomorrow so you could get a head start in arithmetic. Good day, Princess, Lady Alma."
With a polite and casual bow, Ophion stacked his books and lightheartedly left the room, leaving the two friends to drone in doom and despair. 1500 each, equaling an impossible 3000 sentences of nonsense plus 'practical' math questions. Alma banged her head on the desk just to ensure that this was truly reality while Ovelia messaged her temples to ease the ache that started to bother her.
"Yep, it's reality." Confirmed the blonde.
Her wrist was already ringing with sour exhaustion while her mind was spinning with boredom but the task was nowhere near done.
'56...infinity more to go...and 50 questions of I don't know what.' Thought Alma with misery.
She had switched constantly between the math and the assignment only to accomplish little and choosing between monotony and total incomprehension. She threw her quill down then started to shuffle the scattered paper around her desk. She could always forget about this and arrive with nothing in hand but Ophion was serious this time. Any more tricks will only feed his anger and probably result in more severe consequences. A chill ran down her spine at something worst then this.
"May I come in, Alma?" came Ovelia's polite voice from behind the door.
Alma gave her muffled approval and the princess entered the room.
"Are you done yet?"
A low drained groan was the only response the petite blonde could offer after a good amount of droning in a sea of repetition.
"I'll take that as a no."
"He did that one purpose! He was planning 'math class' all along! That that that...person, even had a lesson ready and planned! We're doomed!!!" yelled Alma in desperation.
"Well...I've been thinking...do you think we could--"
"No! Absolutely not!"
"Do you even know what I was about to say?" refuted Ovelia.
"Yes and I can guarantee you that it wouldn't work!"
Alma quickly got up from her chair then kneeled in front of Ovelia with her hands clasp together with fake tears and sadness shimmering in her eyes.
"Oh brave, courageous Captain Agrias, save us! We are damsels in distress in need of you to save the day!"
With a mocking and deeper tone, the sardonic teenager stood up with a dull face and continued her mimic.
"That would be highly inappropriate, Lady Alma."
She then reverted back into the stressed damsel, clasped hands and all.
"Oh, please, Agrias!"
Up on her feet as the knight again.
"Alright, if you insist. However, under one condition. You, Alma Beoulve, the dumb blond who had thought that I was a man, which in reality is not true, since I'm only a cross dresser, must bow down to my arrogance and beg my forgiveness and be my eternal slave so I may humiliate you and take revenge to further feed my already big ego Mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha."
All that was said in one big breath, in a monotonous tone accompanied by slow movements to further emphasize her act of the Captain.
"Agrias would not do that! Besides, whose fault was that in the first place! "
"Are you saying that it's my fault?!"
"You're the one who slapped her!"
"It was all because of that stupid rat!!"
"You could have asked!"
"Oh yea! I could have asked! How smart! Just waltz up to her and ask!! 'Hey Agrias, are you a cross dresser, a sissy man or simply an IT?' " demonstrated Alma, sarcastically.
"That's not what I meant!! It was obvious that Agrias was a girl if you looked a little more closely!"
"How convincing. You thought she was a HE too...and who was the one who had a sweet innocent little c-r-u-s-h --"
Now blushing bright red, Ovelia shook Alma desperately by the shoulder to stop the weird rush along her heart and the embarrassing memory from coming back.
"I did not have a crush on Agrias! You're the one who made that all up!"
Alma escaped the vice grip with a tickle attack then rushed to her bed for a pillow shield. This was a lot more fun then writing 'I will not ran away or fall asleep during class again' a thousand times.
"Denial, eh? Then why was a certain princess staring at HIM at lunch yesterday, and the day before during class and the day before that at breakfast and--"
"I did not!"
Ovelia chased after Alma, taking up a pillow of her own and the battle began.
"Oh you so did! I saw you!"
"I so did not!" yelled Ovelia, stressing every syllable with a strong whack.
"Wah! Is there a war going on in here?"
The battling duel looked up from their death match to the door where Alicia stood with interest. Lavian, however, looked a bit peeved and unnerved at the mess. An idea struck the mischievous Beoulve and she threw two more pillows at the apprentices, one which hit Lavian square in the face and another promptly in the capable hands of Alicia. After all, the more the merrier.
"Yea! And you're all in it!"
Alicia was more then willing to join while Lavian decided to take a corner for protection. Violence was never her thing, especially when she always ended up being the main victim. Besides, a pillow fight was not their main reason here. She opened her mouth to state their true motive but her voice was entirely droned out by loud giggling and softly floating feathers.
"Umm...I thought we came here to do something..."
"Come on, Lavian! Join in!"
Her fellow knight cut off her defense with a large swing. Lavian held her pillow tightly in front of her face, squealing as Alicia struck again.
"Alicia! Stop it!"
"Come on, fight back!"
"But the assignment!!"
The words struck a strong recognition and all movements were ceased.
"Oh yea!" they yelled in unison.
"The assignment of doom." Recalled Alma.
"You forgot arithmetic." Added Ovelia.
Her face was in a deep frown, any sort of energy immediately fleeing her body. Ovelia shared a similar expression. Alicia on the other still held her smile.
"Have no worries, ladies, for Alicia is here to save the day!" proclaimed the red head assertively.
Hope and light flowed back into their eyes of despair.
"Lavian." Signaled Alicia. Her auburn partner brought out a weird looking gadget that neither Ovelia nor Alma have seen before. Nevertheless, they crowded around the knight, excited about the possible usage of this piece of work.
It had a long wooden frame, with five thin small round ringlets attached in the front, separated by a good amount of distance.
"That thing...looks familiar." Observed Alma.
"This, my friends, is the Copy Master: Mime Mammon, modified from the standard music score line writer! All you need to do is put one quill in each of the little holes in the front and you're set! Writing one word would now equal to five and with the four of us at the job, this so-called 'assignment of doom' is nothing. This thing had saved us many of times back at the academy, ain't that right, Lavian?"
"You're talking to the experts with great experience!" her partner quipped.
"What did you two have to write?" asked the blonde out of curiosity.
"I will neither slack nor sleep during practice and pay attention."
"Sounds familiar." Commented the princess. The sentence ironically suited the knights well.
"And that's why we're here. We share your pain." Added Alicia as she distributed the Mime Mammon to each of the ladies.
"Now we won't need the help of that cross dresser." Whispered Alma proudly to Ovelia but only to earn a quick whack behind the head for the rude comment.
"Alright! Let's get to work! Me and Lavian will be working on the copying while Ovelia and Alma can work on the math." bellowed Alicia.
"HO!" came the animated reply.
*****Not even 5 minutes later*****
"I can't...write...anymore..." moaned Alicia.
She leaned completely backwards, landing on her partner's back, who was lying flat on her stomach over the carpet. Lavian let out a grunt. Her Mime Mammon was loosing scribbling a piece of paper but no legible words were being produced.
"My head...can't think..." mumbled Alma, her hands tightly tugging her hair. The thick booklet made no sense at all and she had yet to finish one question that actually matched the answers.
"Come on, just a little more. We're almost done." Encouraged Ovelia, though the truth was far from it.
"...ugg...I give up..."
"Who just said they were the experts!" challenged the Beoulve.
"Alma, have mercy! We just had practice and our arms are aching with pain already!" replied the red head.
"The Captain's a merciless slave driver." Added Lavian.
"I could imagine." Agreed the blonde.
She stared the tip of her quill that was now crested and dry and reached unwillingly to the bottle. With a rough jab, the end plopped hard into the black liquid and a flick of a wrist caused a couple of loose drops to fly into the air on onto Ovelia's face.
"Opps, sorry." Smiled the culprit.
The princess ran a white sleeve over the black markings but only to have it smudged across her cheeks. Alma immediately burst into a laughing fit, joined by both Alicia and Lavian. Ovelia retaliated with a flick of her own to have the droplets land right between Alma's eyes. The instant reaction to remove the ink left a large horizontal mark, uniting her eyebrows with the odd black between fine blonde lines.
"Unibrow!!!" exploded Lavian.
"Fashion statement of the year!"
Ovelia laughed hard at her own masterpiece with approval. The need for revenge filled her friend immediately and she immediately released the bottle of ink towards the princess. Unfortunately, Ovelia dodged in time and the content split on Lavian's face and armour. The little accident soon erupted into all out war fare, the assignment all forgotten.
Though her face betrayed nothing, annoyance was churning within her. Her apprentices were supposed to have switched watch with her a good hour ago but neither of them showed up and she disliked tardiness very much. Agrias let loose a short sigh. If one were to look up 'idiot' in the dictionary, Alicia and Lavian's names were bound to show up. How they ever managed to get through the academy surprised her. They were irresponsible, inattentive, absentminded and immature. Nothing she ever said in practice was remembered the next day and if another large assassination were to turn up, it would be over.
This would be a problem and something needs to be done fast but sending a request to the Konoe regiment would do nothing. They were too caught up in the possibility of war to worry themselves over such trifle matters. Besides, it would only reflect her as being an incapable leader.
Now at the door of her charges, loud rackets came from behind the large wooden doors. Her bodyguard instincts immediately kicked in and she drew her sword. With a swift powerful kick, she broke through the entrance and surveyed the area for enemies. However, instead of being welcomed by shurikens like the last time, loose feathers, pillows, stained papers and four interestingly decorated black spotted figures struck her sight, which became silent the moment she stepped in.
Aside from the unibrow, Alma also earned a pair of bloated lips that added to width and length like sausages to her mouth. Alicia had panda black eyes while most of Lavian's face and auburn hair was now jet black, rendering her almost unrecognizable. As for Ovelia, she grew a deep mustache just beneath her nose.
The spectacle displayed before her tickled her facial muscles into a smile while a slow rhythmic throb starting to vibrate within her abdomen. Agrias looked away with the back of her hand over her smile but that did nothing to lessen the increasing flutter. To avoid those silly feelings from surfacing, the knight immediately left, closing the door.
"The least she could have done was laugh properly." Commented Alma.
Alicia and Lavian shrugged but at least the captain's appearance brought them all back to task which ended almost immediately after short moments. With fun's temptation against work, fun was having a serious advantage and Ovelia was beginning to doubt their previous determination was going to prevail.
To be continued...
Though Alicia and Lavian are currently air heads unlike the injured Lavian (?) in the beginning of the story, but no worries. I must say, the current chapters are lot more jovial then I expected and this part of Illica is taking much longer then my previous expectations but there's just so much I want to write in! Anyways, I guarantee more fighting, plot and yuri in about 3 more chapters.