The greatly anticipated match was casually turned down by Heath.
And then as though it was no concern of hers, Heath went to sit with Slad and the others and simply started eating.
Doug was frozen with his sword brandished for a whole minute before he could move again.
With an anxious expression, he rushed over to Heath to challenge her again.
“No way. Didn’t I just turn you down.”
“Why? What kind of merit would accepting even have for me?”
As everyone heard Heath’s reply, they all recalled her personality.
Because of her small and cute appearance, at first glance she seemed weak. But in contrast to that, she was strong-willed, wasn’t afraid of anyone, and said exactly whatever she pleased.
Although she normally acted like an idiot, at heart she was a realist.
Everybody had gotten caught up in the momentum, but now an odd bit of calm came back to them.
Thinking about it carefully, as long as Heath didn’t accept, none of this would be a problem.
And then considering Heath’s personality, the chances of her accepting were essentially zero.
But the boys all had a thought.
‘Couldn’t she have handled it in any other way…?’
Although they were all apprentices, they were still training to become knights.
Even though they would be hard pressed to concretely describe what a knight was to them, at the very least, they knew that knights were cool, probably.
When a knight was challenged by another knight, they would accept and engage in a passionate battle with all their strength. At least that was how the boys saw it.
That was what they envisioned when Doug first arrived.
Not fighting because there was no merit―――It made sense… It made sense, but…
(It’s kinda different to what we think of as a knight…)
Heath simply continued to eat, rejecting Doug in-between bites.
As these knights-in-the-making watched this unfold, they couldn’t help but hold their heads.
Since she told him she wouldn’t fight if it held no merits, Doug was frantically working his mind.
“Then… the dessert for tomorrow’s dinner…”
“Are you actually an idiot?”
“The saber my family keeps as an heirloom―――”
“What am I supposed to do with that?”
Doug suggested the merits that he had frantically come up with, but Heath wouldn’t budge even a single centimetre.
Doug’s eyes were starting to get a little moist.
But Heath’s reaction was cold nonetheless.
“E-Even if there’s no merits, when a knight is challenged, his pride should―――!”
“Hey. Listen. You say knight this, and knight that, but if I lose to you I’ll lose all chances of becoming one to begin with, you know? The only people who need me are the members of the 18th Division. If I lose that, then forget pride, I won’t even be able to eat. You really think I can afford to accept everyone’s duels? If you get it, then get lost already, because I can’t eat with you annoying me. Geez.”
With that, Heath cruelly waved her hands, as though shooing away a dog.
After that, she paid him no more heed and turned back to her food.
Although there had been no physical battle, it was Heath’s overwhelming victory in this battle of words. Speechless, Doug just stood there silently for a while, completely ignored by her.
That day, Doug left dejectedly. And yes, his eyes were a little teary.