"...Oh, man! Hard luck, buddy. How old are you? Fourteen?"
"Age isn't a factor. They award it based on merit. ...I'm fifteen."
"That's not very fair. You don't really have to accept it, do you?"
"Yes. I already did. I need the money. Family debts." My family estate, my mother's doctor bills, an airship, a guymelef, lands and servants, and all of it traditionally entailed, unsellable. Born to it, I must pay.
"Oh. Well... Uh...Well, maybe you'll like being a Caeli knight?"
I couldn't think of anything to say to that. I just looked at him.
"Uh....... You want a beer? You wanna go steal a couple from the refectory?" he asked.
"I don't drink."
The brown-haired boy grinned at me mischievously. "You do now," he said.
"I don't steal." ...Anymore. I'm an honourable Caeli knight now!
I'm not a bandit. No, really! I'm not! Really!
He shrugged. "Well, I'll do that part. ...You've gone all white. I suppose you don't eat, either. Did you have lunch today?"
"I don't remember." Which was a lie. The memories always come back after I have to fight, or whenever I'm too tired to push the memories away. Whenever I shut my eyes... Fighting at Balgus's side, hundreds of people dying at my feet, my hands are soaked in blood. ...I should wear gloves.
"No lunch? Sheeeeesh! Come on." The brown-haired boy herded me down the alley and I went.