Luttre Contre l'Incendie
By: Manna


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019: Proper Etiquette

"So," Lyn began as she pointed to various silverware pieces spread out across the table, "this one is for…meat, and this for desserts, and this for greens—"

"Salad," Kent interrupted. He shifted in his position beside her. The last few days had mostly consisted of him trying to teach her etiquette.

She was not a fast learner.

"Sal-add?" she tried saying. "What kind of a word is that?" When he didn't refute her, she shrugged and shook her head. "Fine. Meat, dessert, sal-add…" She stared at the next one. It was a fork like all the others, and as far as she was concerned, they all looked the same. "Bread?" she guessed.

"Fish," he corrected.

Her hand fisted in annoyance. "But I thought this one was for meat!" she said, eyes flashing as she pointed to the first fork in the lineup.

"It is. There is a separate one for fish." He felt a little sorry for her. She had gone from using no silverware to having to learn multiple types. He felt lucky that he (and the other knights in the barracks) didn't have to use more than one kind of each utensil.

She breathed in through her mouth, and out through her nose. Very slowly. She wasn't upset with Kent—she had stolen him from his duties for the third day in a row, after all, and he was most helpful—but the process of learning so much useless information was enough to make her want to stomp her foot. At least.

She refused to resort to such childish antics.

The last thing she wanted was Kent thinking her even more dimwitted than he likely already did.

"Let's try the spoons," he offered, and unwrapped them from the silk napkin that held them. He laid them across the table in a random order.

"Okay, this one is for soup," she said, feeling relatively certain. When he nodded, she smiled a little to herself and pointed to another. "Uhm." She realized she had no idea what it was. When she could hear the servants murmuring in the silence of her pause, she laid her forehead on the edge of the oak table in frustration.

Kent, sensing as much, touched her hand for a moment. "Lady Lyndis, if you'd prefer, we can continue this tomorrow?"

She picked her head up and blinked at him. She looked so very tired. "I don't know what it is," she said. "Please tell me."

His answer was automatic. "Custard."

Her head hit the stump again, this time with an accompanying thud. "I don't even know what that is!"

He opened his mouth to explain, but decided against it. "Lady Lyndis…"

"You're right, we should stop for today." She sighed and after a moment, stretched. "Thank you for putting up with me," she said. "I know you have better things to be doing."

He wondered at her choice of words, and then chose his carefully. "I wish to be nowhere else." He felt his face burn just the smallest bit, and hope it did not show. "If…milady wishes it, perhaps…"

"Perhaps what?" She tilted her head to the side just the slightest bit.

"Do you think you might prefer to study outside tomorrow?" He almost added weather permitting onto the end of the sentence, but realized any escape from the dull interior of the castle would do her some bit of good.

She smiled at him brightly. "I would like that very much," she said, her fingers reaching out to squeeze his before she spotted her grandfather entering the dining room, and left to greet him.


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Author Notes:

A little long, but whatever. Qieru gave me this cute idea.