Chapter 1: Training

Noelle stretched as she woke up for the morning, her nightgown fluttering as she stepped out of bed. Looking outside she saw the sun shining and could already hear her comrades shouting at breakfast, minus one voice she was used to hearing. Unable to hear Asta from the dining hall. As she got dressed in her usual attire, she heard Asta from outside. "he's already starting this early?" she chuckled, knowing how hard he liked to push himself.

"No point staying in here then," she said with a smile as she affixed her robe. Stepping out of the room and heading down to get breakfast. Grabbing a few pieces of fruit, some toast and some hashbrowns she set to eating. Nothing unusual happened during breakfast, Magna and Luck fought over a dessert taken from the previous day, Vanessa was having water and muttering about how loud everything was. Gauche was staring at a picture of his sister, Charmy was devouring plates of food. Grey was towering over everyone in their transformed form with Gordon sitting drinking some tea.

"Noelle! Don't tell me that's all your having for breakfast!" Charmy shouted in between mouthfuls of food as her grimoire glowed. "Cotton creation magic: Sheep Chefs!" she said as three bipedal sheeps started cooking and piling more food on Noelle's plate.

"Charmy! I can't eat all of this! Make them stop!" Noelle shouted trying to keep her plate away from the sheep.

"You're still growing! You need to eat!"

"I'm taller than you!"

"And I'm older than you, what's your point," she said with a grin.

"Well, it's still going to be too much for me to eat! Have them make the rest for you instead!" Noelle said pushing away one of the sheep chefs with her foot. Her plate now covered in omelets, waffles, eggs, and sausages. "This will be fine! Stop them!"

"fine ~!" Charmy said as she made her sheep come over and start piling food back onto her plate. "I needed seconds anyways."

"How much can she eat?" Noelle thought to herself as she started on her, frankly absurd amount of food. Sneaking whatever she didn't want to eat onto Vanessa's plate, with her being too hungover to notice. "I heard Asta outside; I'm surprised he isn't here eating with everyone."

Magna landed on her table, trying to hit luck with a fireball "Nah he grabbed some bread and skipped out, GET BACK HERE, YOU'LL PAY FOR EATING MY DONUT" he said both at Noelle and Luck.

"Hmph, I'll bring him some then, it wouldn't be right to have him training on an empty stomach" Noelle said as she picked up her plate and started to walk outside. Before she could get too far, Finral opened the front door, followed by Captain Yami.

"All right everyone LISTEN UP!" Yami shouted causing everyone to stop moving. "Luck, Magna, Finral, a new dungeon has popped up nearby the Diamond kingdom border, and we're sending you three in too take care of it. Got it?"

"Yes sir!" all three of them said, Magna and Luck stopping their fighting, grabbed Finral and started going out the door. Captain Yami lit a cigarette and turned to Noelle "eating outside?"

"apparently Asta hasn't eaten yet, so I'm going to make sure he eats."

"oh he's been out all night, I think his yelling stopped around midnight," Yami said as he walked away.

"He's been out ALL NIGHT? and no one tried to get him back inside to sleep?" Noelle said as she hurried outside.

"heh, he's got to surpass his limits somehow, I'm not gonna stop him if he wants to train till he can't move anymore." Yami said, a smile on his face.

"Asta! Asta where are you!" Noelle said, running while being careful with her plate. Listening to his yelling, she wandered in the direction she thought he was; and found a familiar sight. Asta, laying on the ground panting in the middle of a very familiar clearing. His grimoire sitting roughly a foot from him, his swords next to him and a tired expression on his face.

"N-not finished yet!" he shouted as he started to try and stand up, his knees wobbling from exhaustion. Getting his balance thanks to his sword, he stretched upwards and got ready to move, aiming himself at a large tree with a weathered target on it. He entered a stance, took a step, and slipped on a loose patch of dirt.

"Asta!" Noelle shouted, putting the plate down on the ground and running over to her friend. "are you okay?"

"Yeah," he panted "I'm, I'm fine, Hey what smells so good?"

"it's breakfast. Apparently, you were out all night! Dorksta! you could get sick doing that!" Noelle said, kicking him in the ribs. "I'll bring the plate over, and you can start eating. THEN you're going right to bed to rest"

"I can still keep going!"

"you just about passed out into a hole I made weeks ago! What if I hadn't known to look here! You could've been asleep in the woods all day!"

"but-" Asta didn't get time to finish speaking before Noelle stormed back to the plate and brought it over to him.

"Eat!" she said holding a waffle in front of him "you're going to eat one way or another!"

"thanks for the meal," Asta said, his face stuffed with waffle, and his hands grabbing the plate from Noelle.

"good, eat until the plate is empty then we are going back to the base!" Noelle said standing up, hands on her hips. "But while I'm here. Why did you choose this place to train?"

"It's just what happened," Asta said, swallowing most of his food with a huge grin. "I just wound up here!"

"I... suppose that makes sense," Noelle said, her face getting a light blush. "I was hoping it was because of me," she thought to herself.

"Anyways while you eat I might as well train," Noelle said, readying her magic wand and grimoire. Focusing her magic into her wand, her grimoire glowed bright blue as water surrounded her. "water creating magic: Naga's Water Cradle." then she started the next phase of her training. She focused all her energy on lifting her water barrier into the air and moving. It was slow, but she was able to float to the other side of the clearing with no issues. Lowering herself back to the ground, the spell ended and allowed her to walk in front the tree. Her grimoire glowed again as she prepared her ultimate attack spell, water flowing around her in the shape of a giant sea serpent. "Water creation magic: Sea Dragons Roar!" she yelled, the magic obliterating her old training target and rising high into the air.

Panting, she lowered herself to her knees, "I, I can still only use it once? Damn it!" she shouted, not hearing the applause from behind her at first. When she did notice it, she also saw Asta carrying a half-full plate of food next to her.

"that was awesome Noelle!" Asta said with a huge grin. "Your magic is so cool! I don't even think the captain could take that head on!"

"What good is it if I can't cast it more than once, If I miss you could, I mean, our team could get hurt, that almost happened with Fana!" Noelle said, her frustration tangible. "What if I miss and no one is there to protect me when my mana is gone! then i'll..."

"Noelle! Let's train together then!" Asta said a warm smile on his face, "but maybe you should eat something too, I think I can hear your stomach from here!"

"A royal stomach doesn't growl," Noelle said as her stomach audibly growled. "...okay, let's eat, you better have saved me a few sausages."

The pair ate, laughed and trained with each other hard, the day ending when Noelle was able to use her offensive magic a second time at sundown.

"I DID IT!" she shouted, running over and hugging Asta without thinking. "I did it!"

"Congrats Noelle!"Asta said, his body covered in dirt from training his muscles "but... why are you hugging me?"

Noelle paused, her face turning beet red before screaming and letting go of Asta "I, I got a little too excited! That's all!"

Asta grinned, and Noelle's face turned even redder. "d-did he figure out I have a crush... on him?" she thought.

"You acted just like I did when I was little! And could do my first set of 100 sit-ups! I got Sister Lily covered in dirt because of that!" he said with an oblivious grin.

Noelle exhaled as she started walking towards the base. "Anyway's let's go back. I meant to bring you in after breakfast, but we spent the entire day out here."

"oh. I guess we did" Asta said stifling a yawn "I Feel great..." as he fell to the ground, snoring slightly.

"Oh... Come on Dorksta! wake up!" Noelle said, "oh great; he's out like a light." She struggled to get him on her shoulders and started trudging towards the bases front door. Opening it slowly seeing only Captain Yami in the main hall smoking a cigarette and reading a book on how to be better at poker.

"Took you long enough," he said not raising his head to meet them. "done training?"

"Yes, Captain" Noelle panted "where's everyone else? I could use some help to get Dorkasta up to his room."

"They're out, Surpass your limits and carry him there yourself."

Noelle sighed "yes sir." knowing asking him to would get the same response, she carried Asta out of the room.

"Don't worry princess; you'll get stronger from it," Yami muttered when he was sure she was out of earshot. "All right Grey, you can dispel the illusion" he shouted revealing the entire squad piled disguised as chairs.

"Get off my head!"

"My picture of Marie better not be crumpled."

"I spilled my booze!"

"P-please don't look at me," Grey said, their form changing form without their illusion magic.

Gordon mumbled something that no one could hear but had a small smile.

Grey went and hid behind a table "d-did we need to be back there all day?

"Are you complaining grey?" Yami said menacingly, Grey shaking their head in response "listen, we all know that Noelle has a giant crush on Asta, I don't get it, but that girl deserves something good for her."

"Well obviously, but sneaking around like this doesn't seem like the best idea to get them together" Vanessa sighed as she went and poured another drink, "they're young and forcing this could hurt them more than help them."

"hehehe young love is mysterious; we never know how they'll react," Charmy said, pulling a chunk of meat from somewhere and beginning to eat.

Gordon went over to try and comfort Grey while Gauche focused on the picture of his sister "Hmph, I don't care, just tell me when I can go see Mary again."

"Well, we have to let them break their limits." Yami said standing up, "I'm going to bed, this whole plan has kept me awake more than I would like."

Noelle huffed as she slowly made it to Asta's room, her exhaustion catching up with her. Her eyes were growing heavy as she pushed open the door to Asta's room. She smiled a little when she got inside "he's been working on keeping this clean." she mumbled looking at his tiny room clean of all cobwebs, and the stones giving a shine from the evening light filtering in through the window. " I'm... tired all of a sudden "she yawned, as she set Asta down on his bed. "maybe... I'll rest my eyes.." she muttered as she fell asleep next to Asta, both of them snoring lightly.