*Disclaimer note: This is merely a translation of the original Chinese version. I do not claim any part in the creation of the original story.
Jacques pounded desperately on the walls holding him in, but as the walls were made of solid rock, his fists were helpless against them.
He knew how pointless it was, but how could he not do anything? The darkness swallowing him was suffocating, slowly eroding away at his mind. It felt as if, were he to stop trying, to stop making even the slightest effort, he would be swallowed whole, never to emerge from it again……
Suddenly, the only door to this dark prison – the trapdoor above – opened.
The sudden influx of light from outside blinded him, but he squinted against the light, trying to see what was happening. A head of gleaming golden hair appeared in the opening above. Despite the person peering into the dark cellar, the surrounding light from the outside threw the person's face into shadows whilst casting a soft glow around the person, as if the person was glowing with light himself.
The person reached in with a hand, smiling as he said, "Found ya."
During sword practice, the fencing instructor, Neo, walked amongst the twelve little holy knights, watching each of them carefully for mistakes and correcting them. He felt rather satisfied as he watched their progress. The little holy knights' sword skills had exceeded his expectations, and there were certainly quite a few who have even achieved a professional swordsman's level.
Take the little Judge Knight for example. He had already heard the praises for the boy's sword skills even during the selections, so he already knew what to expect, but he never expected the little Frost Knight's skills to be this good either. And look at the little Leaf Knight. Even though he looked all shy and innocent, his sword skills were surprisingly good too.
"Eh? Where'd the sword go this time?"
Neo blinked at that. This voice…… he turned around, and just as he thought, it was his student – Creus. The latter was standing there looking at his empty hands with a befuddled look.
Jacques, who was standing near him, suddenly cried out whilst quickly stepping forward to knock the incoming sword away from its oblivious victim with his own sword.
Ceo had looked up at the warning to see the fallen sword lying on the ground not too far from him…… and its pointy blade pointed at him!!
'Thank goodness it was knocked away,' he sighed with relief before hurrying to thank Jacques.
But Jacques had turned to glare at the culprit and was shouting at him. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!"
"I'm really sorr--" Before Creus could finish his apology, he was suddenly lifted into the air by the back of his shirt. He turned around to see his own teacher smiling at him.
But even though Neo's face was graced with a gentle smile, the chilling look in his eyes did not escape Creus' notice. "Apologise," Neo said coldly.
Creus immediately smiled back a sunny smile before turning back around to bow apologetically at Ceo……Despite being lifted in the air by the back of his shirt, his bearing was still flawlessly elegant and graceful. How impressive!
However before Creus could open his mouth to speak, Ceo immediately paled as he said hurriedly, "No, no, there's no need to apologise at all……"
Unfortunately, Creus had already started. "My dearly beloved Brother Ceo, whilst the sun shines as bright as ever, it's light can sometimes become too much and pierce through to the deepest and darkest corners of a person's heart. This Creus was unable to withstand such glorious light, and for a moment, lost his hold of the blade. I pray that, as one of the God of Light's children yourself, you will be able to forgive this Creus' error. This Creus dares swear to the God of Light presiding over us in the sky above us that he would not repeat such an inexcusable mistake again! "
He endured the long spiel with a long face, and at the end, Ceo sighed lightly and said wryly, "I forgive you, and I won't mind if it happens again. Just don't apologise to me again. Ever. I feel tired just listening to you speak……"
Neo didn't know whether to laugh or cry when he heard this. He had to admit– other than his horrible sword skills – there wasn't a thing he could complain about Creus…… His skill in affecting elegance and his bullshitting ability were extremely good. Looks like they can skip the personality-moulding lessons from now on.
Neo clapped his hands and addressed the rest, "Alright, swords practice ends here. Take a short break before reporting to you own teachers for your next lesson."
At that announcement, the little holy knights dispersed. More than a few of them had let out a sigh of relief. The Sun Knight might always have a smile on his face, but no one was stupid enough to think that that smile was real.
'How boring!' thought Jacques as he jogged to catch up with the rest ahead of him. "Hey, hold on, Aivis! Spar with me tonight?"
Aivis paused to look around, making sure that the Sun Knight had left, before rolling his eyes and answering Jacques in an impatient tone. "Why don't you ask those from your own faction? I am the little Stone Knight, one of the Judge Knight's. We're rivals with those on the Sun Knight's side!"
"So?" snorted Jacques. He then stretched out his hand, palms up, and said, "If we're not friends, then pay me back the money you owe me! You haven't forgotten how much you still owe me, have you?"
"Er……" Aivis tried to change the topic. "Didn't you say you wanted to spar tonight? Why don't you bring someone along from your side, and I'll bring Ecilan. We can fight against one another, or even two against two."
Jacques disapproved of this idea. "Who would want to bring them! They're all a bunch of sissies!"
'You're too loud, Creus is still here!' thought Aivis as he snuck a look at Creus. The latter happened to be walking past them at that moment, and he even smiled at him friendlily.
After Creus had passed them, Aivis smiled helplessly at Jacques as he replied, "Really? Then, at least, what about that… erm……"
Aivis slowed at that. Ceo? Hmm, he's pretty shy and probably included in Jacques' definition of 'sissy'; and Elmairy is definitely out of the question; Creus…… er, forget about him being sissy, no one would go to him for sparring, full stop.
In the end, he sighed and said, "I think I'll just get Ecilan, and the three of us can fight against each other……"
Jacques snorted imperiously, his point made.
"You don't have to bother with the personality-moulding lessons anymore," said the Blaze Knight to his student. He looked at his student: the boy was always doing something and could never sit still for even a moment; his knight uniform was always messy and the stains on his clothes seem to be ever increasing; and when he spoke, the entire Holy Temple could hear him.
He was even more like the original Blaze Knight of the legends than he himself despite having held the title for over ten years. What else is left that needs moulding?
Jacques snorted rudely at his teacher's announcement. He'd always held these so-called personality-moulding lessons in scorn. Personality moulding? What bullshit!
"Is that all? Then I'm going out to play now!"
'Playing during lesson hours?' The Blaze Knight hurriedly called him back. "Hold on!"
"What now?" Jacques turned back, his arms crossed and his voice impatient as he asked crossly, "If you've got something to say then spit it out!"
'Just look at him! Is this the attitude a student should be showing to his teacher?!' thought the Blaze Knight, incensed.
But just as quickly, the Blaze Knight remembered that this rude attitude was precisely the Blaze Knight's well-known characteristic, and the boy did it even better than he did! The Blaze Knight didn't know whether to be proud or depressed at this realisation.
Even if anyone were to reprimand him on letting out his student during lessons hours, he need only show them Jacques' attitude, and they'd probably agree with him that the boy didn't need any more lessons on personality-moulding!
He sighed and said exasperatedly, "Oh, forget it. Go ahead and play, just don't make too much of a ruckus."
"Calling me back for nothing, weirdo… got nothing to do……" complain Jacques as he stomped out the room.
The Blaze Knight could only smile wryly at the empty room.