Bluebells Are Forever

Hallway Revelations

The new ninjas had been around for a full two days, but they still had not come by to practice with us. It seemed strange to me, but I tried not to get hung up over it. After all, they did have different training schedules, I'd imagine.

Until, of course, they chose today to walk outside while we were in the middle of exercises. The lance slowly slipped from my hands as I stared at the two walked around the archways of the courtyard.

My line of sight went directly to Greninja, who wasn't even doing anything extraordinary. Something about him caught my eye, whether it was because of the prowess he demonstrated upon his initial arrival here, or if I still felt guilty after I had knocked him over from my lavatory run.

It didn't take him long to suddenly feel my gaze. Or at least, that's how I had interpreted it, since he would glance over to me not long after, as if he felt that I was looking at him. Our eyes connected, but he would turn away after a minute, same as before.

An abrupt smack on my head took my attention away from him. A heavy voice snapped, "If your lance was actually in your hands, you might have been able to guard that."

As I rubbed my head, I looked back around to meet the glare of an annoyed Samurott and his golden shell sword.

Slowly, I took the lance back up. "S-Sorry about that," I murmured.

"Don't be sorry," he demanded. "Be diligent. Your enemies will not show you the mercy that I give you." And Samurott strolled onward to the next knight.

He was a samurai from another land, but no one seemed to know where exactly, nor did they dare to ask him. It was a subject that was just left alone. Samurott could walk on four legs, but had a large tendency to stand upright, and was very disciplined. Though he was supposedly a similar rank to us knights, he was held higher in regards, perhaps since he outranked each of us in combat.

With a strong jab, I rammed the lance into a practice target. I pulled it back out to see that I had missed the center marker by a few rings. Exasperated, I sighed and readied the lance for another strike.

"Put more speed into it," came Bisharp's voice, and I halted myself. He walked up as I turned around. "Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. I just noticed that you could move a little faster with your strike." He slid his left hand along his right arm's blade. "I know something about balancing speed and power."

"That makes sense," I nodded. "Still, speed isn't my strong suit. Maybe I should try a different weapon."

"Oh, don't do that," he hastily contended. "Samurott will slice you to ribbons for that."

"True," I shuddered and glanced over to Samurott. The sea lion had just bopped Typhlosion over the head as well, but actually yelled at him. I turned back to Bisharp and forced a nervous smile. "So…how do I hit faster?"

"Try not thinking so hard about it," he suggested.

Not thinking? I shook my head. "Then I'll miss completely."

"I meant about the force behind it," he corrected himself. "Keep your focus on the target, but don't put too much thought about how hard you're hitting or if you have every step in the stance correct. Those need to be automatic. Just try to let the lance flow through you."

"You sound like Samurott," I deadpanned.

"He does have good advice," admitted Bisharp. "Or do you zone out like Typhlosion does?"

"N-Not most of the time," I defended.

"Well then," Bisharp extended his arm toward the target and waited.

My nose twitched as I sucked in some air and exhaled through my mouth. Eyes locked onto the target, I shot my arms forward and stabbed the lance into it.

As I pried it away, I gazed past the lance to see that I still hadn't hit the target dead on, but was much closer than before.

"Told you," Bisharp lightly chuckled.

"Thanks," I laughed with him.

He lifted up his short swords. "Mind watching me a bit too?"

I gave him a quizzical look; Bisharp excelled with smaller blades, and was able to use his arms as additional extensions. He wouldn't need any help with his form.

Still, I nodded, and imagined that he wanted my company for something else.

We strode over to a different target, and I dug my lance down to watch Bisharp strike at the target. His blows were swift, yet precise, and repeatedly sliced through the central parts of the practice dummy.

"What do you think of those ninjas?" he asked in between blows.

"They're really intriguing, if a little too reclusive," I admitted.

"Reclusive?" he questioned. "Greninja, maybe, but you just haven't had a chance with Accelgor. She gets loud, especially around her husband."

Loud? A ninja? The two didn't seem connected, but I couldn't argue it.

"Speaking of that, think it's a good idea to have Escavalier and his wife together?"

My hand came up and I scratched my chin. "I don't see a problem with it," I decided. "They both keep their wits about them during practice, or at least, Escavalier does. I haven't seen Accelgor interrupt him from anything."

"Oh, she does," chuckled Bisharp. "Nothing important, like combat practice, but if she can bother him while he's free, she'll do it."

Quickly, I checked on Samurott, who was busy helping Armaldo with his posture. I then looked at Escavalier, who was focused on stabbing his lances through several targets. Bisharp stopped for a moment to catch his breath.

"You're right though," he relented. "They don't seem to mess with each other's sparring, so they're good on that end."

He lifted the swords again and swiped at the next target. This time, he incorporated the blades on his arms as well, and spun about while he attacked.

"How about Greninja?" I jumped and nearly knocked over my lance.

"W-What about him?"

Bisharp paused his attacks and turned to face me. "Don't tell me you haven't noticed him," he teased and I tensed up. "That guy had everyone's attention when he first arrived. And it doesn't look like he can take his eyes off of us, either."

It took some effort to suppress myself. "So?"

"So, it's a little queer. In more ways than one," he added the next part with a little more thought.

"You think he's—?"

"Maybe. Only a few ways to find out," he chuckled. "Though, I'm not interested in trying them." Bisharp thought for a moment, and then clanged his swords together. "Oh, but we could drag him around General Rhydon more often."

"Why the General?" I inquired.

"Come on, he's the viceroy," he insisted. "He's so involved with the King that it's probably our castle's worst kept secret. We've had Captain Samurott the Samurai for the past two days. And where's the General now?"

Honestly, I hadn't paid much attention to these matters. "It does seem possible."

"You should do some digging and find out," suggested Bisharp.

"W-What?" I nervously questioned. "Why me?"

"Because Greninja keeps staring at you and Typhlosion," explained Bisharp. "And the General, when he's around, but that's less obvious. Anyway, Typhlosion's too much of a big mouth and would probably piss Rhydon off. You, on the other hand, are nicer and would probably have a smoother conversation with him."

A little bit of sweat trickled down the back of my head. "I…I don't know. None of this is really our business." It also seemed pretty juvenile.

"Nope, but I'm nosey," laughed Bisharp. "And from the absent mindedness that you showed earlier, I'd say you're looking to learn more about him." He eyed me with more than a hint of curiosity. "Interested?"

My lips pressed together. "I really don't think it's a good idea."

"Even if it's not, getting on Rhydon's good side is definitely a plus," offered Bisharp. "So, if Rhydon doesn't know much about Greninja, you still benefit. If he does, you benefit and can learn more. You win from both scenarios."

"Are you just hoping that I'll mess up and get myself into trouble?" My eyes lowered as I questioned Bisharp.

"Chesnaught, I'm not Typhlosion," persisted Bisharp. "You don't want to do this, don't. But, I think you do," he winked at me.

"…Are you implying that I'm—?"

"Slacking off?" interrupted a loud voice. Bisharp and I winced as we turned to find Samurott standing behind us. "Because if you're not, I certainly am." He glared at my stationary lance.

"Uh, n-no, s-sir," I stuttered. "W-We were j-just…Bisharp was demonstrating—"

"I wanted his, um, opinion on my technique," Bisharp forced out. "Chesnaught has some really useful pointers."

"Is that so? Because I can see one very useless pointer on his part," thundered Samurott. "And four useless blades on yours, Bisharp."

"We were training, honest," I continued, and exaggerated the honesty in my tone.

Samurott gave me a long glower. "You better keep it up then," he warned. "Your life depends on it."

"Yes, sir, we understand," I nodded.

"Truly," added Bisharp.

"Well then," huffed Samurott. "Get back to it!"

Snatching my lance from the ground, I did just that.

Afterwards, I found myself upstairs and just outside of the General's chambers. My arm was outstretched to knock at the door, but I couldn't actually hit it.

How would this even go? Hi there, General Rhydon, sir. You don't happen to have a less than secret relationship with our King, do you? If so, would you happen to let me know if our new ninja recruit is also gay? Why? Well…

Well, what? Why did I even bother coming this far? What did I want out of this? Bisharp is the curious one. Yet, here I am, and I'll be the one asking questions about matters that don't even concern me.

…Do they?

"It's Sir Chesnaught, right?" asked a more dignified voice than the General's.

I pivoted to my right and found the Grass Fields King himself right beside me.

"L-L…My Grace! Y-Your Grace! Lord N-Nidoking! Sir!" I stammered out.

He laughed. "If you're waiting for me to tell you which of those is correct, I don't think even I know," he confessed.

My head shook and I stiffened my body at attention. "Apologies sire!" I saluted.

Nidoking frowned. "At ease, please." Unsure of whether that was an order or not, I slowly loosened my body. He sighed. "Honestly, you boys will have enough of this crap come up if the war starts. I'd rather you have some time to feel at home while you're here."

"Permission to—?"

"Yes, just speak freely," groaned Nidoking as he pulled his hands over his face. This was my first one-on-one meeting with the King, and yet here he was, very informal about it all.

"Um, sir, there isn't a war right now," I clarified. "There hasn't been news of the prophet in almost a year now."

"And hopefully, there will be nothing more of it," he murmured. Then, as he picked up his voice, "But come now, none of this foreboding nonsense. You're looking for your General as well, yes?" I nodded. "Thought so. He should have been back by now, just made an errand run to town for me."

"Shouldn't one of us do that, sire?" I interrupted, and wanted to slam my head into the wall for doing so.

In the minute that passed, Nidoking gave me a quizzical look, and then laughed. "I suppose so!" He paused and his face fell again. "It's just easy to ask Rhydon. He's usually very on top of…well he's quick to catch up on these matters. My matters."

"Why is that, if I may, sire?" The words just tumbled from my mouth.

"To tell you the truth, I'm not certain," admitted Nidoking. "He's quick to remind me that it's his duty, but sometimes, I like to imagine that he genuinely likes me."

"Oh, I'm certain he likes you, sire," I suggested. "He's at your call whenever you need him and I don't think it's just for duty. The General gets involved with everything he works on, and he's really passionate about his work here." Where the hell did that come from?

His eyes lit up with a sense of delight. "Really?" His tone wavered a bit, as though he wanted to believe me, but wasn't sure.

"Certainly," I continued, "he always pushes us to our fullest potential, but he also wants to make sure that we're still breathing by the end of the day. I don't know all of the ways the General shows it, but he cares about us. And if he works so hard over his knights, he probably kills himself over getting everything right for you, sire."

My lips tightened up. Who was I to tell all of this to the King? This was the General's business, not mine.

Yet, seeing the King's grin unexpectedly light up his face was…oddly satisfying.

"Thank you, Sir Chesnaught," he grasped my hand and shook it. "It's nice to hear such a kind and straightforward appraisal." Slowly, he released my hand. "Honestly, I thought that I all did was run the poor General ragged since…well, you've been around long enough, right?"

Since the Queen passed, yes, I nodded. "I'm sorry, milord," I bowed my head.

Even if it happened three years ago, even if they weren't married for more than five months, the King still ached over her relentlessly. The only one who could bring him out of that was the General, who had been with the King for…well, even longer.

"Oh, don't, it's fine," he patted my shoulder. "I can't mourn her forever." I looked up to find him still smiling somehow. "You're a pretty honest fellow, you know that?"

"A knight should be so sincere, virtuous," I recited.

"Yes, yes, orderly fuss," he waved off. "Come now, I'm sure you'd like to do other things than spend your days in a castle, waiting for wars that may never come."

"Well, sometimes I visit a friend in the town," I told him. "She's a collector. Flowers." And then that hit me. "Oh, and I found one that I wanted to take to her today, I forgot!"

"You'd better get to it," laughed the King. "A knight must never keep a lady waiting."

"Most certainly not," I stumbled past him and made my way for the stairs.

"Sir Chesnaught—?"

"Sire," I had to interrupt. "If you want us to speak plainly, don't bother with my title."

Nidoking nodded. "Chesnaught then," he corrected himself. "Now, before you take off, what did you want to ask Rhydon?" I stopped and stared back blankly. "Your General? Remember him?"

What could I say? "I…it was about those ninjas," I started.

"Oho, don't happen to have an eye for the lady, do you?" he teased.

"No, of course not!" If anyone wanted a swift and unceremonious death, they need only prod at Escavalier's relationship. "But, the other one…"

"Ah, the eye catching Greninja, huh?" he asked and his grin shone broadly now. "Strike your fancy, does he?"

"F-Fancy? N-No, he…well," I stuttered. What did I say here? I nearly had him gushing over Rhydon, and…wait, is my face getting warmer?

"Oh, don't worry," chuckled Nidoking. "I won't tell a soul. Well, maybe Rhydon, but he won't have much over you, since you seem to have him pegged." I what? "Go, go, to your lady. I'll speak with the General for you."

While I nodded and shuffled away, I wasn't entirely certain of what happened, nor of what I felt.

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