Traces of Corruption
Cordelia joins the Lumiel Blitz, a military drill geared toward new recruits, as part of a praetor mission. Bridgette participates as well, but she expresses disappointment in herself upon sensing that she may not be up to the task. Seeing this, a rookie knight approaches her with the idea of joining another order where her efforts are more likely to be noticed.
It is the middle of the night. Cordelia has been discreetly called to the Holy Kingdom of Lumiel's assembly hall.
Speaking to her is the shrewd archpraetor, Sevastien.
Cordelia: You're asking me to take on the Lumiel Blitz?
Sevastien: Indeed, I am. The next one draws near.
The Lumiel Blitz happens twice a year.
It is the largest-scale military drill in the kingdom.
Cordelia: But I thought the Lumiel Blitz was geared toward new recruits?
Sevastien: While that is very much true, even seasoned knights can benefit from a review of the basics.
Sevastien: Which is why I always make sure to have plenty of veterans participate in the challenge each time.
Cordelia: I'm aware of that. But why choose me of all people...
Sevastien: Hm, I do realize praetors are never welcomed with open arms—no matter the occasion. As such, you may find the drill to be a bit of a challenge.
Cordelia: Just one thing: will this be a praetor mission?
Sevastien: But of course. Otherwise I wouldn't call for you specifically.
Cordelia peers into Sevastien's eyes but is unable to gauge his true intent.
His congenial expression is often but a facade, for he is the leader of the praetors, who work in the shadows for the good of Lumiel.
Cordelia: (This is Sevastien we're talking about here. I'm sure he has his reasons.)
Cordelia: Very well. I swear upon my sword, body, and soul to pursue all that is just...
Cordelia: Given these circumstances, (Captain), would you allow me some time away from the crew?
Vyrn: Erm... Is this Lumiel Blitz the thing that Miss Bowl Cut was talking about?
Bridgette: That's right! I'll use this opportunity to brush up on the basics and really get a jump start on my training.
Bridgette: Can you imagine my surprise when I found out dear Cordelia would be joining too?
Cordelia: Haha. With all the effort you put in, I have to stay in shape to make sure you don't edge me out.
Bridgette: Then let's do this together! We'll train day and night until our strength gives out!
Vyrn: So whaddya say, (Captain)? They seem really pumped up about this.
Choose: Not a problem.
- Not a problem.
- I look forward to seeing your progress.
Lyria: I think you two will be able to handle it!
Cordelia: I appreciate the kind words. Thank you.Choose: I look forward to seeing your progress.
Vyrn: It'll be all the better for the crew when you guys come back way stronger!
Bridgette: You can count on us! We'll be sure to return as new and improved versions of ourselves!Continue 1
Lyria: Please be careful, you two.
Bridgette: Thank you! I'll be off then!
Cordelia: Haha, as will I.
Cordelia and Bridgette make for the Holy Kingdom of Lumiel.
The pair take part in the Lumiel Blitz immediately upon their return.
The drill trains a wide variety of skills, ranging from basic core exercises to more practical activities such as weapon sparring.
The intense regimen pushes newcomers and veterans alike to their limits.
Many opt out after the first exercise alone: long-distance running in heavy plate armor.
Cordelia: Phew... This training never gets any easier...
Cordelia slows down to catch her breath, and takes a look back.
Bridgette: Pant... Wheeze...
Bridgette is struggling some distance behind, her steps unsteady.
She trips and falls.
Bridgette: So much sand in my mouth... What a pitiful display... Peh...
Bridgette: Ngh... But I can't give up here...
Cordelia: Bridgette! Don't overdo it!
Bridgette: I'm... not... I... Huff... I'll be okay...
Cordelia waits for Bridgette to catch up, and then adjusts her running speed to match the Harvin's.
Cordelia: You look like you could pass out any moment. Your face is all pale...
Bridgette: You, on the other hand, look perfectly fine. If you can do it, then so can I...
Cordelia: With such a big emphasis on physical stamina for this first exercise, you're naturally at a disadvantage...
Bridgette: Never mind that. I just have to try harder.
Bridgette: If I put in twice as much effort... I'll become twice as strong...
Bridgette: I want to catch up to you, dearest Cordelia!
Cordelia: (She used to give up so easily in our days as squires. She's certainly changed...)
Cordelia: Okay, Bridgette. If you're that determined, then I'm going to give the Lumiel Blitz my all. I hope you don't mind if I run ahead.
Bridgette: Of course not. I just need another minute to rest up, then I'll catch up to you in a flash.
Cordelia: Wait, who's that?
Rookie Knight 1: ...
A knight running alongside his peers is watching the pair from a little way off.
But he quickly turns away when Cordelia casts a glance in his direction.
Cordelia: Hm, I wonder if it's me or Bridgette he's interested in...
Sword sparring is the next exercise.
Holy Knight 1: Wide open!
Holy Knight 2: Rgh... Why, you...
Since they are coming into this immediately after the intense run, the rookies are having an especially difficult time swinging their swords.
Cordelia and Bridgette, too, face off with their weapons.
Bridgette: All right... Here I go, dear Cordelia!
Cordelia: Ready whenever you are!
Cordelia effortlessly parries Bridgette's thrust.
Bridgette: I thought this might be too easy for you, but I've only just begun!
Bridgette: Taah! Yaaah!
Cordelia: Hrgh! Ngh!
Bridgette lunges at Cordelia again and again, but every strike is easily evaded.
Bridgette: Huff... Huff... Nothing is working...
Cordelia: You're able to keep up with your swordplay even after such a long sprint... That requires an exceptional amount of stamina.
Bridgette: But I'm still not at your level...
Cordelia: It's best not to push yourself too hard. That's what you, yourself, always used to say.
Bridgette: But... But if I don't push myself, I'll never become stronger!
Seeing her Harvin companion bite her lip in frustration, Cordelia is at a loss for words.
The bell signaling the end of the sparring session sounds.
Bridgette: Dearest Cordelia... Would it be possible for you to give me a private training session after this?
Bridgette: I really, really want to become stronger. I want to see real improvement, more than ever before...
Cordelia: Hm... Very well then. I see you've made up your mind; I'll do what I can to help.
Training continues, with Bridgette taking intermittent breaks to avoid collapsing from exhaustion.
As the sun sets, Bridgette finally falls to her knees.
Cordelia: Endurance can only take you so far! Why exactly are you in such a hurry to get stronger anyway?
Bridgette: Just watching you today makes me want to work doubly hard...
Bridgette: Your performance has been fantastic ever since you joined the order.
Bridgette: I, on the other hand, have hardly improved since those days, nor am I performing all that well today.
Cordelia: That's not true. Back in the day, it took everything you had just to unsheathe your sword.
Cordelia: You trained hard to finally be able to swing a sword. And now you can swing it up to eleven times in rapid succession. I'd call that a marked improvement.
Bridgette: That just means I'm set up to fail if I ever have to swing my sword twelve times...
Bridgette: In traveling with (Captain)'s crew, I know better than ever now that you really have to pull out all the stops to do good in this world.
Cordelia: Well, knights and skyfarers can work in tandem to make up for each other's weaknesses. That's why—
Bridgette: But I want to become strong enough to fight by your side, dear Cordelia.
Having known her now for years, Cordelia can see well enough how the despondent Bridgette feels.
Cordelia: (I didn't realize she was tormenting herself so much. How should I handle this...)
Cordelia: (There must be a way I can help her remain positive while accepting the reality of the situation...)
Rookie Knight 1: Sorry... Would you happen to be Bridgette?
Bridgette: Yes, that's me... And you are?
Rookie Knight 1: I'm just a new recruit to the order...
Cordelia: (This is the man who was watching us earlier...)
Cordelia: A rookie, I see... What business do you have with Bridgette?
Rookie Knight 1: I just wanted to say I have the utmost respect for Bridgette.
Bridgette: Huh? Me?
Rookie Knight 1: Yes. Truth is, you're the talk of all the new recruits.
Rookie Knight 1: If I may be so bold... Would it be all right if a few of us watched you train for the remainder of the Lumiel Blitz?
Bridgette: Er... Well, I guess I wouldn't mind...
Rookie Knight 1: Hooray! I'll go tell my friends right away!
The elated rookie knight runs off with a spring in his step.
Bridgette: I can't believe that just happened...
Cordelia: Bridgette, how do you plan on handling this?
Bridgette: I'm not really at the level where I can be teaching people.
Bridgette: But to the order, nurturing less experienced knights is an important task in itself.
Bridgette: I'm not certain that I'm up to the job, but if they're looking up to me as a role model, then I'll do my part.
Bridgette: Besides, it makes me so happy just to know that I'm serving as an example to others. I don't think I've ever felt more inspired!
Cordelia: Perhaps it was a wake-up call for them to see you giving everything you have.
Cordelia: (Although his behavior did strike me as a bit odd...)
The knights return to their barracks as the day's exercises come to an end.
The rookie knight from before approaches Bridgette when she is alone.
Rookie Knight 1: Hey there, Bridgette... How did training go for you today?
Bridgette: Well... I'm not exactly happy with my performance.
Rookie Knight 1: Hm, same here...
Rookie Knight 1: Anyhow, there's something I'd like to ask you!
Bridgette: What might that be?
Rookie Knight 1: It's just that if you stay here, I don't think you'll ever be valued for your true worth.
Bridgette: But that's not what I'm—
Rookie Knight 1: Even Cordelia was suggesting that you can't do it. In other words, she doesn't believe in you.
Bridgette keeps her rejoinder to herself to hear what the rookie knight has to say.
Rookie Knight 1: I have a proposal... Would you consider leaving the country with us?
What are you talking about?
Rookie Knight 1: I spoke with the other newcomers. We all figured we'll always be undervalued here—might as well enlist as soldiers in some other nation instead.
Rookie Knight 1: With my connections, we should be able to get our feet in the door. Please, come with us!
Bridgette: Do you seriously... Do you hear what you're saying?
Bridgette does not utter another word.
The rookie knight says he'll be back with the details at a later date, then runs off.
Front Line of Justice
Cordelia asks Bridgette why she's been acting strange, but the Harvin remains tight-lipped. Nevertheless, Cordelia discovers that Bridgette is trying to stop a group of rookie knights from poaching more experienced members away from Lumiel. When Cordelia steps in and the rookie knights realize she is a member of the praetors, they try to make a break for it.
The second day of the Lumiel Blitz has begun.
Cordelia and Bridgette resume their arduous training.
Cordelia: Bridgette! Tell me you're okay!
Bridgette: Yeah. I'm fine...
Or so she says. Bridgette stays down on the ground, making no effort to get up.
Cordelia: You certainly don't look fine... Are you hurt anywhere?
Bridgette: No. It's just the fatigue setting in...
Cordelia: Okay, it's important to know when to rest after all.
Deep down, Cordelia senses something off about Bridgette's attitude.
Cordelia: (What has gotten into her? She's a completely different person from yesterday. It seems like she's mentally, rather than physically, exhausted.)
Cordelia: Bridgette. Tell me what happened.
Bridgette: Ah! N-nothing happened at all!
Bridgette: Okay, break's over! Let's continue!
Bridgette stands back up to continue the run, but her movements seem unusually sluggish.
Bridgette: What is it? You're scaring me with that face.
Cordelia: It's obvious that your heart's not in it today. So I'll ask again: what happened?
Cordelia: You were so intent last night on becoming a fine role model for the fledgling knights.
Bridgette: N-no, they have absolutely nothing to do with this!
Cordelia: (So they're the culprits behind this...)
Cordelia: I am a praetor, Bridgette. If a problem is brewing between you and them, I'd like you to tell me.
Bridgette: If you could... If you could just give me a bit of time...
Bridgette remains tight-lipped. Cordelia is unable to draw any more information from her.
It is now afternoon recess. Cordelia searches for the rookie knight from the day prior.
But the enormous number of participants in the Lumiel Blitz makes that an impossible feat.
However, a familiar figure crosses her path.
Cordelia: Captain Charlotta!
Charlotta: Cordelia! I take it you're here as a participant?
Cordelia: Yes. I wished to revisit the fundamentals.
Charlotta: Ah! It's nice to know you try to remember where you came from despite how accomplished you are already.
Cordelia: You seemed lost in thought a moment ago, Captain.
Charlotta: Right... I heard a disturbing rumor that foreign nations are trying to poach from our ranks.
Cordelia: I never expected such a thing could happen in Lumiel... If that's the case, we cannot let this pass.
Charlotta: My thoughts exactly. The thing is, I haven't found anyone who's been plucked away yet...
Charlotta: Grr... I need concrete proof if I'm ever going to put this issue to rest. The mere thought of it disgusts me.
Cordelia is unable to find the rookie knight before the afternoon session gets underway.
Bridgette appears unfocused as she resumes her training with a heavy heart
As much as Cordelia tries to learn the truth of the matter, Bridgette doesn't budge. The day's exercises soon come to an end.
Cordelia: Bridgette... What exactly has gotten into you...
Cordelia: Hm? What the...
While taking some time to contemplate, appreciating the night breeze on her face, Cordelia catches a glimpse of Bridgette passing by.
Cordelia: Bridgette? Where could she be going at this hour? Whatever it is, I smell trouble...
Cordelia chases after her Harvin friend.
When Bridgette comes to a halt, they are at the training grounds.
Since they are on the outskirts of town late at night, no one else is visible in the vicinity.
Cordelia: What could possibly be here...
Cordelia takes a wait-and-see approach. Just as she grows tired of waiting and is about to call out to Bridgette, the unexpected happens.
Rookie Knight 1: Bridgette! Hope you didn't wait long.
Cordelia: Isn't that...
Bridgette: So you brought your friends along?
The two other rookie knights step forward and nod to Bridgette.
Bridgette: So it's three of you... What's the next step?
Rookie Knight 1: A merchant will be coming soon. Just leave it to him, and you'll soon be the proud knight of another nation.
Cordelia: What heresy!
Cordelia is careful to keep her anger and volume in check. She continues listening in on the conversation.
Bridgette: So you three are calling out members of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights to enlist in the armies of foreign nations?
Rookie Knight 1: That's right. We're inviting those with potential.
Cordelia: (So this is why I was assigned to join the Lumiel Blitz...)
Bridgette: Are you being rewarded properly?
Rookie Knight 1: Yes, no worries there. You'll receive fair compensation as well.
Bridgette: I see... Understood.
Cordelia: Rgh! Bridgette, no!
Rookie Knight 1: Great! Thank you for agreeing to this! The merchant will be here soon enough. He'll have more details—
Bridgette: Bear in mind that I haven't agreed to coming with you.
Rookie Knight 1: Hm? What do you mean?
Bridgette: I simply meant to say that I understand what you three are up to—nothing more, nothing less.
Bridgette: I would advise you stop this dirty business and live righteously. You can start by focusing on your training.
Rookie Knight 1: Heh... Is that supposed to be a joke?
Cordelia: You're the ones who are speaking folly.
Rookie Knight 1: Hm? You were the one with her yesterday...
Cordelia: Right, I haven't introduced myself yet. I am Cordelia Garnet, last resort of the praetors of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights.
Rookie Knight 1: What! P-praetors?
The rookie knights begin panicking at the revelation.
Rookie Knight 2: Aren't they the group that—
Rookie Knight 3: Aiiee! I've heard of them before. They're a fearsome group that murders in cold blood!
Rookie Knight 1: Rgh... Word is it's over for you if you're caught... You're tortured and then killed!
Cordelia: Sigh... Sounds like some rather overblown rumors are being spread about my unit.
Cordelia: But you're right that I'm not so softhearted as to laugh off treason.
Rookie Knight 1: No, please! Don't take us away!
Cordelia: Give it up already!
The rookie knights get on all fours to grovel, desperately pleading for their lives. When this fails, they roll about on the ground in a last-ditch effort to resist arrest.
This only serves to further incense Cordelia.
Cordelia: For goodness' sake...
Bridgette: Cordelia, wait! What do you intend to do with them?
Cordelia: I'm going to round them up and interrogate them to learn how this plot of theirs came about.
Cordelia: Depending on how things turn out, they will either be drummed out of the order or thrown into prison.
Rookie Knight 1: Damn it...
One of the more desperate knights, fearful of what may come to pass, picks up Bridgette and chucks her at Cordelia.
Cordelia: Ngh! Bridgette, are you okay!
Rookie Knight 1: Now's our chance! We hightail it outta here!
Cordelia: Oh, no you don't!
Bridgette: Wait, Cordelia!
Cordelia takes off at full speed to capture the rookie knights.
Though the knights have a lead, Cordelia never loses sight of them and gradually closes the distance.
Front Line of Justice: Scene 2
After catching up with the rookie knights, Cordelia is ready to send them to the authorities at once, but Bridgette intervenes. Touched by the Harvin's kindness, the rookie knights explain that they're following the orders of a merchant they owe a monetary debt to. Bridgette and Cordelia try to capture this merchant.
The unscrupulous knights try to make their getaway in the pitch-black night while Cordelia and Bridgette give chase.
Cordelia: Enough! Give it up already!
Rookie Knight 1: Aaiiee!
Cordelia circles around in front of them and extends both arms, cutting off their escape route.
They turn around to see that Bridgette has already caught up.
Rookie Knight 1: This is it for us...
Finally realizing that there's no way out of this, the knights sink to the ground in resignation.
Cordelia: Ugh, you certainly didn't make that easy for me. We're going! Get up already!
Cordelia extends a hand to the spooked knights.
Bridgette: Cordelia, wait! We should hear their side of the story. I'm sure they had their reasons for doing what they did!
Cordelia: It's not my job to sympathize. They can make all the excuses they want in front of the archpraetor.
Bridgette: There must be something we can do before it even gets to that stage!
Bridgette: Simply terrorizing the perpetrators rarely leads to a true solution.
Bridgette: Forcing the truth out of them makes it that much harder for them to reform...
Cordelia: (Perhaps Bridgette remained silent on the matter because she believed in the goodness of their hearts. Sigh. This is just like her...)
Cordelia: (I guess there's only one thing I can do here.)
Cordelia: You make a fair point, but I cannot concede. I cannot accept on blind faith what others might say; my mission comes first.
Cordelia: Bridgette. Get in my way, and you may very well be charged with obstructing justice. Are you sure you'd want that?
Bridgette: None of that matters to me!
Cordelia: You could end up being dishonorably discharged along with them.
Bridgette: If it comes to that, then I'll deal with it!
Bridgette is firm in her conviction. She fixes Cordelia with a confident gaze.
As bold as the Harvin may appear, the rookie knights take note of her trembling fists.
Rookie Knight 1: Um... Bridgette? Why would you go so far for us?
Bridgette: As a knight of Lumiel, I see it as my duty to lead newer members onto the right path.
Bridgette: I'm only trying to do what's just! Even if I have to go up against you, dear Cordelia, I won't budge!
Cordelia: You call this justice?
Bridgette: This is my brand of justice!
Cordelia can sense the hearts of the rookie knights being swayed by Bridgette's words.
Cordelia: Very well. If you're that committed, then let's settle this once and for all.
Cordelia: I, Cordelia Garnet of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights' praetors, challenge you to a duel in the name of justice!
Bridgette: I accept!
Cordelia reaches for her sword.
Rookie Knight 1: Please stop this! I'll tell you everything...
Ready to turn over a new leaf, the rookie knights begin explaining how the situation began.
Rookie Knight 1: You see, soon after joining up, all this training really put us through the wringer... And we couldn't keep up; it was soul-crushingly depressing.
Rookie Knight 1: That's when that merchant appeared. He said he had something for us. It turned out to be some top-secret swordsmanship training manual.
Bridgette: Hm? Does such a thing even exist?
Rookie Knight 1: He claimed it was an invaluable tome compiled by his acquaintance, the Sanguine Hellhound.
Cordelia: Sanguine Hellhound?
Bridgette: You know this person, Cordelia?
Cordelia: It's been a long time since I last heard of him. They say he was one of our ace members in the Lumiel Holy Knights.
Rookie Knight 1: Yes, we heard the same... The merchant said we'd be able to advance fast if we used the Sanguine Bloodhound's training techniques...
Rookie Knight 3: And that everyone who's read through the tome went on to do great things.
Cordelia: What a farce. You actually believed him?
Rookie Knight 2: Well... He also mentioned how Brigadier Orestes single-handedly subdued numerous war zones, commanding great respect for his distinguished service...
Rookie Knight 2: And then there was Lieutenant Lenard, who excelled at his duties so well that many joked about monster-slaying being one of his hobbies...
Cordelia: Brigadier Orestes and Lieutenant Lenard? I've never heard such tales surrounding them.
Bridgette: Same here. The only talk I hear of them is how commendable and hardworking they are.
Rookie Knight 1: Yes... The merchant's stories turned out to be tall tales.
Rookie Knight 1: But we had no idea at the time... And he even promised that we could pay later, when we'd had a chance to try the techniques.
Rookie Knight 3: Of course, the book was a fake, and we didn't get any stronger at all.
Rookie Knight 2: But then he ended up pressuring us for the money, even charged interest on top...
Bridgette: Now that's just repulsive... There's no need to pay scum like that!
Rookie Knight 1: Agreed. We stood our ground at first, but he threatened to accuse us of theft...
Rookie Knight 2: Said that if anyone in the order, especially the praetors, found out, we'd be done for...
Rookie Knight 3: We had no choice but to give in and see what he had to say.
Cordelia: I'm guessing he's the one who asked you to poach members from our order?
Rookie Knight 1: I'm so sorry... Lumiel knights are highly respected among other nations. He offered us money if we could find him suitable candidates.
Rookie Knight 2: We'd be able to pay off the debt immediately... We didn't have much of a choice...
Cordelia: Okay, I understand the situation now... So how has business been?
Rookie Knight 1: Rather poor, in fact. The knights of Lumiel place enormous value on loyalty. We were being ignored left and right...
Rookie Knight 3: So we started setting our sights on members who might be feeling discontent in the order.
Bridgette: Is that why you approached me?
Rookie Knight 2: Yes... You had trouble with all the exercises. We imagined frustration to be building up within you.
Cordelia: But you turned out to be wrong and ended up digging your own grave.
Cordelia: I guess I'll have to take you in after all.
Rookie Knight 3: Rgh...
Bridgette: Cordelia, haven't you heard a word they said? They were duped.
Cordelia: Yes, according to them. There's no proof that any of it is true.
Rookie Knight 1: You take us for liars? Ah, right, the merchant! If you just ask him...
Cordelia: Where is this so-called merchant?
Rookie Knight 2: Well... We did call him here tonight...
Merchant: Hmm... What situation have I just walked into?
Cordelia: You're the man trying to sell off Lumiel's holy knights to other nations?
Merchant: Why, that's an awfully rude way of putting it. I merely put skilled people looking for a new place to showcase their talents in contact with those in need of such personnel...
Merchant: I'm nothing more than a middleman. A humble merchant, if you will.
Merchant: Though I must say I'm surprised to find two of you here tonight... This is going to rake in a handsome profit.
Merchant: Or is that too bold of an assumption? Will it be both of you? Or just one?
Cordelia: We have no intention of dealing in your trade.
The merchant puts on a goofy, confused expression. But he quickly grasps the circumstances and breaks into a sardonic chuckle.
Merchant: Guess I might've slipped up here.
Bridgette: You're looking awfully composed.
Merchant: When you've been around long enough, you come across this sort of problem every now and then. I've gotten used to it.
The merchant raises a hand, calling for an armored man to come out from the brush. He is cloaked in a strange aura.
Cordelia: Who are you?
Merchant: He's an agent who's wandered the skies like a vagabond. Now he's my personal bodyguard.
Agent: Heheh... I once stood in your shoes.
Cordelia: Hm? Do you mean to say you previously fought as one of the Lumiel Holy Knights?
Agent: That's right. I was expelled for a crime my grandfather committed!
Rookie Knight 1: You're kidding... I heard that story from the leader of our unit...
Rookie Knight 2: So have I! Word is you didn't get to stay on for long, but your skills with a sword were exceptional...
Rookie Knight 3: And you went on to become such a ruthless bandit that the praetors hound your every step...
Agent: Tch, I've never forgiven Lumiel for what they did to me. And I never will.
One after another, the knights mutter rumors they've heard about this mysterious agent, quickly growing weak in the knees.
Merchant: Hahaha! This man's name is Corwell! And his skill with a blade is unmatched! Anger me, and you're going to regret it.
Rookie Knight 1: N-no, please! We'll pay up! Promise!
Merchant: Relax. No harm will come to you as long as you do as I say.
Merchant: How about the two of you? Are you in a mood to cooperate yet?
Bridgette: Cordelia, I've heard the stories as well...
Bridgette: Of a man possessed by evil after he was banished from the order. This is my first time hearing his name...
The story of the holy knight gone rogue rings a bell for Bridgette. A tinge of fear can be heard in her voice.
Cordelia, however, has learned of the incident from Sevastien himself.
Because she's already familiar with the details surrounding Corwell, she does not believe a word coming out of the agent's mouth.
Cordelia: I was not expecting this, but I can't afford to have you spreading such outrageous rumors.
Agent: Huh? If it's a fight you're looking for, bring it on! I'll show you what a real bloodbath looks like...
Rookie Knight 1: Eek! Bridgette, don't you think we should apologize?
Bridgette: Absolutely not.
Rookie Knight 2: ...!
Aren't you afraid of what he'll do to us?
Bridgette: I'm very afraid. But no matter how afraid I am...
Bridgette: I've sworn to live my life in accordance with the Lumiel creed: Forever Pure, Forever Righteous. And I'm not about to change that!
Cordelia: Bridgette... You never cease to amaze me...
Cordelia takes a look at Bridgette's trembling legs and cracks a smile, pleased with her Harvin companion's conviction.
Cordelia: Come, Bridgette! Let us mete out the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights' brand of justice together!
Following Cordelia's rallying call, the two now stand united, their swords at the ready.
Front Line of Justice: Scene 3
Bridgette and Cordelia make short work of the merchant and his agent. Noting that the rookie knights see the error of their ways, and with Bridgette's persuasion, Cordelia spares the knights from being expelled. She then reveals to Bridgette that she joined the Lumiel Blitz as part of her praetor mission. The two promise to be more upfront with each other in the future.
Cordelia and Bridgette fight off the agent hired by the merchant.
Upon his defeat, the agent immediately admits to being a complete outsider with no relation to the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights.
Bridgette: Why do you go around telling such a lie?
Agent: Tch... A good bluff helps us get around in this line of work. Surely a small fib never hurt anyone...
Merchant: Well, he surely seems remorseful enough. Now if you'll just turn a blind eye to—
Cordelia: What you've done is unforgivable. There'll be plenty of time for remorse later.
Cordelia and Bridgette hand over the merchant and his hired thug to the authorities.
The holy knight pair also has the rookies in custody but is unsure of what to do with them.
Cordelia: Now, as for the three of you...
Rookie Knight 1: Sorry for all the trouble... We're ready for whatever punishment you may have in mind.
Cordelia: Hm, you certainly changed your tune fast.
Rookie Knight 2: Yes, well... Seeing Bridgette's handling of the situation really opened up our eyes.
Bridgette: Huh? What did I do?
Rookie Knight 1: You sided with us the entire time.
Rookie Knight 3: Your firm conviction to your moral values was a shining example to all of us.
Bridgette: Ah! I-I only did what I felt was right as a senior knight...
Rookie Knight 1: Hm... I suppose it's because you think that way that you've been able to persevere in your training all this time.
Rookie Knight 2: Groan... If only we'd met you sooner, we wouldn't have fallen to such lows...
The rookie knights droop their shoulders in silent despondence.
Bridgette: Dear Cordelia, I hope you're not considering a punishment as harsh as dishonorable discharge.
Cordelia: They may have reformed, but that doesn't change the fact that they've betrayed us.
Cordelia fixes her eyes on the rookie knights, as if to gauge their level of remorse.
Bridgette: They regret what they've done and are willing to make amends. It wouldn't be right to deny them their chance to do so.
Cordelia: Mending one's ways is not as simple as it sounds.
Bridgette: I'll take responsibility and train together with them, forging a path that will be forever pure and forever righteous for all of us!
Cordelia: I see...
Cordelia: Tell me something, rookies. Suppose you are allowed to remain in the order. How would you go about things differently?
Rookie Knight 1: Huh?
Cordelia: Have you nothing to say for yourself?
Rookie Knight 1: For starters... I now see that there is no shortcut to improvement, so I shall make a commitment to steady progress!
Rookie Knight 2: Yes. No matter how hard the going gets, I won't let any obstacle get in my way!
Cordelia: There's no way I could turn you down after seeing your resolve, Bridgette.
Cordelia: You never faltered for a moment. I trust you're every bit as motivated to train them?
Bridgette: Cordelia... Thank you!
Bridgette beams with joy. The rookie knights behind them bow with reverence.
With the incident now behind them, Cordelia calls for Bridgette again.
Bridgette: Dearest Cordelia, did you want to talk?
Cordelia: Yes... There's something I need to apologize for.
Bridgette: And what might that be?
Cordelia: I was too harsh on you in front of the rookie knights.
Cordelia: I had every intention of siding with you from the beginning.
Cordelia: I figured that the harder I came down on you, the greater an impression your scruples would make on them.
Bridgette: Haha, I did think you probably had something like that in mind actually.
Cordelia: Hm? Really?
Bridgette: We've been together so long now, dear Cordelia.
Bridgette: I should've brought the matter to you to begin with.
Cordelia: Haha, just goes to show that we need to talk to each other more often.
The two realize that they share many veiled feelings for each other.
They promise to be more mutually honest and up-front in the days to come.
Yet pangs of guilt still weigh heavy on Cordelia's conscience.
Cordelia: Bridgette, I...
Bridgette: It's okay. I know there are things you can't tell me because of your position as a praetor.
The more forgiving Bridgette is, the more conflicted Cordelia feels.
Cordelia: (To think that I, who've led a life of subterfuge all along, would one day find it so painful to conceal my true self from someone...)
Cordelia: Forgive me, Bridgette. How I wish I could tell you more...
Sevastien: Is that so? If that is truly how you feel, perhaps you can make an exception for her.
Bridgette: Eh... Sevastien?
Cordelia: Are you certain that would be all right?
Sevastien: Indeed, it would. We've solved this case in the most ideal manner possible thanks to Bridgette's efforts.
Sevastien: It hardly seems proper to leave someone who has contributed so greatly out in the cold.
Bridgette: Um, what's all this about? I don't understand any of it.
Cordelia: I participated in the Lumiel Blitz this time only because Sevastien requested it.
Bridgette: So that's what happened! But why would Sevastien ask you such a thing to begin with?
Sevastien: Because I believed a praetor of her skill would surely be able to get to the bottom of the unscrupulous rumors going about.
Cordelia: So you wanted me to take care of the poaching issue.
Sevastien: The only fact we were able to ascertain prior was that certain members within our ranks were working with outsiders.
Sevastien: And I'm not sure whether I can consider it fortunate, but because their attempts failed time and time again, we found it difficult to acquire any further proof.
Cordelia: So that's where I came in.
Sevastien: Yes, but I figured it would be difficult for you alone to catch them in the act.
Cordelia: Perhaps you're right. I doubt they would have opened up and revealed themselves to me.
Sevastien: Haha... You're much too cautious for them to even consider recruiting you.
Sevastien: And, well, I noted that Bridgette still had some ways to go in her training...
Bridgette: It's okay—I appreciate the honesty. I know full well that I'm still lacking as a knight.
Sevastien: You have definite potential, but to an outsider it might seem that you were simply suffering through it all.
Sevastien: And I also knew that you'd put in double the effort if Cordelia was by your side.
Bridgette: Hm, it's definitely true that I'm so much more motivated when dear Cordelia is around.
Sevastien: Which is precisely why you would stand out to those rookie knights, who were so anxious to finally show some results.
Cordelia: So I see you had this all planned out, Sevastien.
Sevastien: Yes, but that was the extent of it.
Sevastien: Haha... After they brought Bridgette into their circle, what ensued far surpassed my expectations.
Cordelia: Surely, Sevastien, you must have seen it all coming.
Sevastien: Less of a prediction than a hope—that you two would find the best possible solution to this problem.
Cordelia: So you say...
Sevastien: Others, if presented with the offer of joining another order, would simply turn it down.
Sevastien: But Bridgette heard them out and tried to extract them from the mess they'd fallen into.
Sevastien: As I said, the best possible solution. You have my thanks, Bridgette.
Bridgette: There's no need to thank me. Though there is something I'd like to ask...
Bridgette: Do you already have plans for the rookie knights?
Sevastien: Rest assured. We praetors will make sure that everyone, including the merchant and agent, are dealt with fairly.
Bridgette: What a relief. Thank you!
Bridgette: Wait... Did you just say "we praetors"?
Bridgette looks back and forth between Cordelia's and Sevastien's faces.
Sevastien: Oh, perhaps I forgot to mention that I am the archpraetor of the Lumiel Order of Holy Knights.
Bridgette: Oh-oh my Lumiel!
Bridgette's surprised interjection rings out across the solemn assembly hall.
A satisfied archpraetor saunters off.
The remainder of the Lumiel Blitz proceeds without a hitch and comes to its scheduled end.
Cordelia and Bridgette are walking side by side through town on their way to reunite with (Captain) and company.
Bridgette: A lot sure did happen during this whole training drill.
Bridgette: And I got to learn something about you, dear Cordelia...
Cordelia: It's easier on my conscience too this way. But bear in mind that what you've learned about the archpraetor must remain a secret at all costs.
Bridgette: Of course. You can count on me to keep a secret or two.
Bridgette: Just like how I've never said a word to anyone about how you're really a wonderfully cute maiden at heart.
Cordelia: B-Bridgette! Enough about that!
Bridgette: Hehe. Dearest Cordelia, your cheeks are turning redder than a fresh, ripe strawberry.
Cordelia: Sigh... I guess there's no hiding it from you...
Cordelia: Heh... Haha... Ahahaha...
Bridgette: Teehee... Ahahaha...
Cordelia and Bridgette laugh from the bottom of their hearts as they continue making their way toward the Grandcypher.
Having overcome the recent ordeal together, the emotional bond between this pair of knights is now stronger than ever.