Solid watched his student with a critical eye as he completed his mandated 50 laps across the lake. It had been a long three weeks, filled to the brim with gruesome tasks and tiresome events, however not once had Asta complained. Instead, the hick had shown great resolve, plowing through every task with a determination unlike any Solid had ever seen. It was remarkable. You know, for an insect.
The Silva prince leaned back on a tree, his legs stretched languidly as he read a mission file. God he missed taking missions. The last month had been filled with nobility training and etiquette lessons, allowing absolutely no time for Solid to partake in any missions or collect gold stars for their board. Really, for all intents and purposes Solid was nothing more than a glorified babysitter, not like anybody would ever say that to his face though.
Although he had to admit, there was a sense of accomplishment in tearing down all of the insects qualities, only to build them back up again. Asta, for all his countryside ways, proved to be a remarkable student, taking in all the information and establishing it into his daily routine.
Asta was still and idiot though.
Despite every piece of noble training that he seemed to understand, Asta still steadfastly held on to a ridiculous amount of commoner tendencies. Solid was just glad that the younger boy could at least hide some of his more hick like qualities until behind closed doors. The second Silva son had practically beaten into the boy the importance of keeping decorum in public, only tearing off the mask of nobility in private with those he trusted.
"AND 50!" Asta cried, leaping out of the lake enthusiastically and consequently splashing Solid.
The silver-haired noble felt his eye twitch as the droplets of water stuck to his cheek. "Asta…" He spoke slowly, predatory, "I'm going to kill you."
Asta sweat-dropped, nervously taking a few cautionary steps back as he held his palms in front of him in panic, "Now now Solid, it was an accident."
"An accident?" Solid asked incredulously, stalking towards his prey, "A noble doesn't have accidents, or have we forgotten that already?"
Asta shook his head quickly, the droplets flying everywhere once more, "No no sir! I meant… uh… well…"
"Asta…" Solid's eye gleamed evilly, "Run."
Asta didn't hesitate for a second as he sprinted as far away from the psychotic prince as physically possible.
Solid sighed as he lounged on his sisters bed, his eyes never straying from the ceiling as he recounted the day, "After that annoyance, it was time for the political course."
Nebra interrupted her brother mid-story, "And how is the insect doing with his politics and geography course? Has he begun to pick up the information?"
Solid nodded, "He's learned a lot compared to when we first started. His knowledge on our kingdoms political climate is miles ahead from where it first was. He is even getting a grip on other noble families and their influence on the world."
Nebra nodded, "Perfect. Do you think he will be prepared by the party at the end of next week?"
Solid sighed deeply, "I had forgotten that our Silver Eagles social gala was so soon."
"A mere week away. It would be the perfect time to introduce the commoner to our fellow brethren," Nebra spoke calmly, eyeing her younger brother cautiously.
"He will be ready," Solid nodded, "There is no doubt in my mind that he will be virtually unrecognizable to the rest of the group, brother especially."
"Ah yes, Nozel's attendance is mandatory that night. As our Captain, it would be remiss if he wasn't there."
"All of our attendance is mandatory. The social is one of the few times a year that all of the Silver Eagles are in the same room. Asta couldn't miss the dinner even if I wanted him too," Solid muttered.
"Asta?" Nebra questioned, "Since when have you been so friendly with the insect that you refer to him by name?"
Solid winced, "A mere slip of the tongue, sister. I assure you."
"Make sure that it does not happen again," Nebra commanded, "However I do look forward to meeting him. If he is to join my division, then we must become well aquatinted with one another."
"He will certainly be ready by the social. Once I'm through with him, you would never believe that he wasn't raised as a part of nobility."
Balancing a libraries worth of books on his head, Asta made sure to keep his posture straight as he waltzed throughout the ballroom with an imaginary partner, "Wait, a social?!"
Solid scowled, "Concentrate on your form! And yes, a social. The Silver Eagles make sure to have a social at least once a season. It gives us an opportunity to all come together and catch up on ongoing missions. And it is quite important for us to all know each other fairly well, after all the best teamwork come from those who are well acquainted with one another."
Asta hummed in agreement, "Okay, I guess that makes sense. So what should I be expecting?"
Solid withheld the urge to give a triumphant smile. Over the course of the last few weeks, he had beaten into the boy the importance of thinking things through, asking questions and formulating thoughts before acting. The Asta of three weeks ago would have given no thought to the social; not the dress code, nor the proper conversational topics.
"It is a large dinner held in the main dining room, where we sit in accordance to status," Solid explained, "We are served a five-course meal, ending with tea and various finger food, allowing us time to socialize without being distracted by the myriad of meals."
Asta tilted his head in thought, "So you will be sitting up front with Captain and your sister, while I'm probably going to be situated at the opposite end of the table since I have not made a single contribution to the team."
Solid grinned evilly, "That's right."
With a deep sigh, Asta continued, "Considering this is a seasonal social restricted to active members of the team, should I assume that most of the conversation will revolve around boasting nobles lamenting how many stars they have accumulated for our prestigious team?" The hicks tone was practically dripping with sarcasm.
Solid narrowed his eyes as he carefully watched Asta's graceful steps, "We are a prestigious team you backwater hick, so stop saying it sarcastically. As for the conversational topics, yes you are mostly correct."
"Then what could a poor commoner like me, who has never even been allowed outside the castle without strict supervision from you, contribute?" Asta questioned, his posture and waltz never once breaking despite the sweat that littered his brow.
This kids tenacity is ridiculous, Solid couldn't help but think to himself as he watched Asta perform the same choreographed dance he had been running through for the last three hours.
"What should it matter to me?" Solid shrugged in response, "Just don't embarrass our team. It has already gone around our ranks that brother has recruited a commoner hick without a drop of magical ability. The only reason our team has kept decorum is due to our families heavy influence both within, and out of the team. If you were to not exceed every expectation, then it will all eventually fall onto brother and the great Silva name."
Asta rolled his eyes, "Yeah yeah yeah, I know this. I won't do anything to insult your precious nobles."
"Although," Solid began tentatively, "One of the most important factors in having a successful squad relies of great teamwork. This is heavily impacted by camaraderie, which, if one truly thinks about it, consists of a small degree of friendly jesting…"
The sheer shock that reverberated through Asta almost caused him to lose balance and fall flat on his face, before reflexively pivoting and continuing the dance with only the slightest bit of hesitation, "Did you just… give me permission to insult the fussy little nobles?"
Solid quickly sneered, "Watch who you're talking to insect."
"My apologies great and esteemed Prince Silva, my poor lowly self has yet to properly learn decorum," Asta couldn't have sounded more sarcastic if he tried, "But seriously, did you?"
Solid huffed, crossing his arms in irritation. The sheer nerve of this little fly, "I'm not giving you permission to insult nobles, I'm only highlighting the importance of making allies within your own squad."
"I thought nobles didn't need friends?" Asta taunted, throwing Solid's previous words back at him.
Solid pinched the bridge of his nose, this peasant was going to be the one to drive him to the brink of insanity, he just knew it, "They don't. What they need, however, are allies. Thus far, your only Magic Knight ally, aside from my esteemed self, is the hick from Golden Dawn."
"That's my brother Yuno! We were both raised in the church together-"
"I know," Solid interrupted before Asta could go on another rant on his life in Haga. That would only lead to him waxing poetry about the beautiful Sister Lilly and honestly Solid didn't know if he could contain his homicidal rage if he were to have to listen to another haiku regarding the splendor of her sheer majesty.
Asta narrowed his eyes, "If you know his name, then why don't you use it?"
Solid scoffed, "As if I would deign to refer to a mere hick by their name, I have more important things to remember."
"In accordance to your lessons, isn't it improper to fail to refer to a person by their given name, less you insult the opposing party?"
"Commoners don't count, that rule is in regards to nobles and other parties of import."
"Yet, in accordance to your lessons, aren't all Magic Knights automatically given titles of import for they hold a prestigious position within society? Especially for squads as esteemed as the Silver Eagles and the equally astonishing Golden Dawn?" Asta questioned innocently.
Solids eye ticked in absolute irritation. This. This the damn insect chose to actually pay attention to?! "Perhaps," Solid admitted through gritted teeth.
With a grin, Asta continued, "Then doesn't public decorum and your own pride as an esteemed noble compel you to refer to both Yuno and I by name?"
Once Solids anger had washed away, much further in the day, he would reflect on this exchange with no small amount of pride that his pupil had picked up his lessons so thoroughly as to outwit his own teacher. That was later in the day however. At this particular moment in time, it was with a heavy heart and a red face that Solid spat out, "Why of course… Asta."
Asta's blinding grin was answer enough. Damn cheeky insect.
On the other side of the Capital, a large, oddly shaped dark castle stood amidst a forest of high trees. At the very top of the irregular building was an expansive terrace, where a lone, silver haired figure stood in brooding contemplation. Noelle Silva had been reduced to this; a pathetic excuse of a Magic Knight on the worst squadron of them all.
In all honesty, the Black Bulls weren't too bad. Rowdy, certainly. Incredibly annoying, without a doubt. However they had no ill intent or malicious thoughts towards her, unlike a certain sibling of hers.
All three of her elder siblings despised her, the blame of their mothers death being deftly tossed onto her shoulders. While Nozel was outwardly cold and dismissive, Nebra menacing and viciously articulate with her insults, Solid was flat-out psychotic. He had tortured her endlessly throughout their entire childhood, his torment unyielding as he derived great joy from watching the stream of tears that eventually poured from her ice blue eyes.
If there were anyone in the world that Noelle truly feared in the world, it was Solid Silva.
Meanwhile, Solid was in the midst of assisting Asta translate the books in the library from Ancient Tongue to Common Tongue.
"Hey Solid," Asta hesitantly called out to the elder boy.
"Hmm?" Solid absentmindedly answered as he was reading a particularly interesting passage on foreign affairs.
"You know, you're not so bad."
Solid finally drew his eyes from his book to land his gaze on Asta's embarrassed form.
"When I first joined," Asta continued, "I was afraid you would be unbearable. But, you know, you're pretty nice deep down. Deep down. Like so far deep down you need to swim endlessly under the trenches to find it. But nice, nonetheless."
It took every bit of nobility training in his body for Solid to hide his sheer level of shock. Never in his eighteen years of life had he ever been refereed to as nice. Awful, yes. Powerful, granted. Evil, certainly. Psychotic, quite a few times. Never nice. The damn insect was more idiotic than he thought.
Instead, Solid placed his usual sneer across his features, "Oh? Then perhaps I've been too lenient on you. From now on we'll double your work load!"
There. That should teach the insect. Solid Silva was anything but nice.