Winter finally arrived at Eisenkrone, and as classes began to ease down, there ended up being more time for Special~u Training~u!
Hildegard who was still stationed at the barracks outside of Eisenkrone continued her training sessions with Cecil and The principal continued to help Lloyd with his bending after he had recovered from the duel.
One common theme during Hildegard’s lessons with Cecil was to try and minimize any useless movements in Cecil’s very acrobatic style of fighting, and to prepare him for one day donning armor. On one such day, they moved their sessions on top of the barrack’s roof, where Cecil had to maintain his balance and movement while being strapped with wooden logs across his chest. The training progressed well until due to the icy surface of the roof, Cecil finally lost his balance, falling straight towards a large mound of snow!
However, thanks to her quick wit and even quicker reflexes, Hildegard managed to save Cecil from what could very well otherwise have ended up as a nasty case of the Nipponese cold, by pulling him up close to her. Mikhail, meanwhile saw this from afar and immediately got to work.
No sooner had Cecil’s training session ended before he began getting strange looks from his fellow students. As he entered the school building he saw why. Mikhail had printed large posters across the hallways of a drawing depicting Hildegard holding Cecil in a right embrace. To go along with the pictures were various headlines and questions along the lines of “Forbidden Love?” and “An Officer and a Gentlewoman”.
Cecil didn’t really care what people thought of him, and after notifying Hildegard of it, she found the notion too ridiculous to even get upset over. Someone who did care however was Mashiro. Due to Kain’s slander about her being “easy”, the fact that she and Cecil were dating was still a secret. So with the knowledge of Cecil being single and the already somewhat murky rumours of Cecil knowing Hildegard from his time in Durmstrang, the rumours caught on quite quickly.
Cecil had no trouble explaining what happened to Mashiro, but she still felt uneasy since she never really got to spend time with him as his girlfriend. Both Hildegard and Amanda got to spend far more alone time with him than she did… And so she asked Cecil what he was doing over the holiday. Cecil hadn’t thought much about it, he preferred not having to go back to Durmstrang and he wasn’t sure if he was allowed to stay at the school either.
Mashiro then suggested that he would come back to Nipponia with her. She knew how interested he was in Nipponese culture and that way, finally, they could be together without having to worry. Cecil readily agreed and they began making plans.
Lloyd meanwhile had made enough progress with his airbending that The Principal feared he didn’t have much left to teach him. For Lloyd to make further progress, he had to be taught by a real sturmmeister. He told Lloyd that he had made arrangements for him to travel to Nipponia and train under a mysterious sturmmeister from Hindusia named Master Fei, should Lloyd accept. Lloyd readily agreed, not really wanting to spend his winter holiday inside the empty house back in Dorfstadt.
Lloyd soon met up with Cecil and they were both amazed at the coincidence that they were both heading for Nipponia for their holiday. They spoke with Ryoko and she invited them all to spend the holiday at her place. They all happily agreed. Even Cecil and Mashiro, since Mashiro was hesitant to bringing Cecil to her parents place for some reason. Ryu sadly couldn’t join due to him already having made plans for the holiday but as soon as Rei heard that Lloyd was going, she immediately invited herself along instead. Unfortunately her mother had already arranged for her trip home, but she promised Lloyd that she would join him shortly. Lloyd was happy to see how eager Rei were to spend time with her friends.
Poor Amanda meanwhile invited Cecil soon afterwards to spend the holiday with her. After Cecil brought her to Ryder and thus saved her again, she had been far more open about her feelings towards Cecil and made very sure that the rumours about him and Hildegard and her own suspicions about him and Mashiro were untrue. So as to not hurt her, Cecil humored her for the most part while not saying either yes or no, until finally one day pointing out that he was going to Nipponia with Mashiro and the gang. He assured her that Mashiro was totally not his girlfriend and she was only paying for his trip there because she was his friend. Amanda was sad.
Everyone else however was happy, and soon the day came where they all gathered on the courtyard in front of Eisenkrone, with a storm coach ready. Off to a nice long relaxing holiday.