Chapter 6:

Chapter Six: Scarlet Thorn

Beyond the Borders Volume 1

Aryia and Ryliah walked down to the academy in silence. She wondered
what it was like for Ryliah to join the Black Knights and why she joined
it in the first place. Ryliah didn’t speak for a bit as she recalled the
time she was a Warrant Officer, training at the very academy they were
heading to.Bookmark here

Before they were able to get onto the academy base grounds the two of
them were stopped at the gate by one of the Military Police.Bookmark here

“Please state your business.”Bookmark here

“We were hoping to get onto the academy grounds to see a friend,” Aryia
said.Bookmark here

“You will need to file the proper paperwork and—”Bookmark here

“I don’t think so,” Ryliah said trying to walk past the guard.Bookmark here

The guard quickly stepped in front of her. Ryliah removed her jacket
revealing her rank on her shoulder. Without another word the soldier
quickly snapped to attention and saluted.Bookmark here

“I am sorry about that ma’am, you are free to go in.”Bookmark here

“Private Kozyki is with me as well.”Bookmark here

“Yes ma’am.”Bookmark here

Without another word the two of them continued on. Aryia noticed the
smirk on Ryliah’s face.Bookmark here

“It must be great to pull rank like that,” Aryia said with a coy smile.Bookmark here

“Heh. When you get to be an officer rank it is quite fun to pull rank on
those below you. Bet you are also glad I tagged along.”Bookmark here

“Yeah, if you weren’t here I would’ve had to sneak my way in here.”Bookmark here

“And just how would have you done that?”Bookmark here

“Easy, with a cardboard box.”Bookmark here

The two of them headed into the barrack as Aryia began to reminisce of
the time she spent with her platoon. Inside the barracks was a girl who
was busy mopping the floor. Looking up from her cleaning duty she
noticed Ryliah and Aryia.Bookmark here

“Oh, hey Aryia. What brings you by here?”Bookmark here

“I was hoping to talk to Mari.”Bookmark here

“She is out on the training field for sword combat.”Bookmark here

Aryia and Ryliah thanked the girl as they left the barracks and headed
for the training field. At the training field each of the squad members
were paired with each other practicing sword techniques. Aryia took note
of Mari and how her swordplay was improving quite a bit.Bookmark here

“Everyone line up!” the instructor shouted.Bookmark here

All of the privates lined up as whispers could be heard from some of
them.Bookmark here

“Hey, isn’t that Aryia?”Bookmark here

“I don’t think so.”Bookmark here

Ryliah buried her hands into her coat pockets as the instructor started
to speak.Bookmark here

“We will now commence with the sword sparing exam. The goal is to disarm
your opponent or land a fatal blow with the wooden sword. First up will
be…”Bookmark here

As the instructor looked to his clipboard and then around at the
students he noticed two girls that appeared to be out of place.Bookmark here

“Can I help the two of you?”Bookmark here

“No, carry on,” Ryliah said.Bookmark here

The first fight was between two guys. Both of them were slightly
muscular and appeared to know what they were doing — at least in Aryia’s
mind. Ryliah, however, noticed many flaws, from their battle stance, to
how they held their weapons.Bookmark here

“So who do you think is going to win?”Bookmark here

“In a true fight both of them would be dead,” Ryliah said.Bookmark here

“Five Yukaris says the red head wins.”Bookmark here

“Do you really want to bet money on a match that I already know the
outcome?”Bookmark here

Aryia nodded.Bookmark here

“Orange hair then.”Bookmark here

“Fight!” the instructor shouted.Bookmark here

With that word the two guys rushed at each other like two jousters,
locking swords. Both were evenly matched until the guy with orange hair
disarmed the weapon from the red hair student. Aryia was slightly upset
that she was now down five whole Yukaris. Ryliah simply smiled.Bookmark here

“Told you.”Bookmark here

Aryia handed the money to Ryliah as the instructor looked to his
clipboard.Bookmark here

“Private Kozun and Private O’Hara.”Bookmark here

Mari held the wooden sword with both hands. She appeared confident but
Ryliah could see through all of that. Izumi held the wooden sword with
one‑hand, like a rapier.Bookmark here

“I hope Mari will win.”Bookmark here

“Sad to say, but she won’t. Her stance is flawed and not
counter‑balanced at all.”Bookmark here

Aryia was a bit upset that Mari wouldn’t win.Bookmark here

“Want to bet on it again?” Ryliah asked jokingly.Bookmark here

“I would rather not this time.”Bookmark here

As Mari and Izumi fought the battle was pretty clear that Izumi would be
the winner. While Izumi did try to lessen her skill‑level to give Mari
an advantage, it did not help at all. The battle continued until Izumi
disarmed Mari and held the wooden sword against her throat. Izumi smiled
as she helped her up to her feet. Once the match was over Mari noticed
Aryia standing on the sidelines. Like a wispy child she ran over to her
and hugged Aryia tightly.Bookmark here

“Aryia, it has been too long. You look so different.”Bookmark here

“You still look the same.”Bookmark here

“Anyways, what are you two doing here?”Bookmark here

“I wanted to come by and see you.”Bookmark here

Mari simply smirked.Bookmark here

“Did you miss me too much?”Bookmark here

The two of them laughed until the sound of the instructor jarred them
from their time together. He ordered her to get back in line, however,
before Mari could move Ryliah revealed her rank.Bookmark here

“We need her for a few minutes, feel free to carry on.”Bookmark here

Realizing that Ryliah outranked him the sergeant gave a quick salute and
called the next two people for the exam.Bookmark here

“I wish I could have passed my exams. The tactics and written exams are
easy for me but the physical stuff is not my forte. It feels like I am
going to stay a Private forever.”Bookmark here

“Aww. Don’t say that Mari, you will become an Officer one day.”Bookmark here

“I could talk to the Major to see if she could recommend you for an
Officer track,” Ryliah said.Bookmark here

“W‑Would you really do that?”Bookmark here

Mari was quite shocked. Even Aryia was a bit shocked but she was happy
if Lylianna would even consider doing that.Bookmark here

“You would still have to know how to fight. So that means working on
your physical prowess but if I have free time I can try and help out
when possible.”Bookmark here

Ryliah looked at her watch, taking note of the time.Bookmark here

“I can help too,” Aryia said.Bookmark here

“We will have to do sword training another day though. Aryia we need to
go now.”Bookmark here

“That would be amazing, thank you.”Bookmark here

Aryia and Ryliah walked away as Mari headed back to the sidelines and
fell in‑line with the rest of the platoon.Bookmark here

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