That's a relief. Ruby is on good behavior. I continue with my meal.
We take some time eating until everyone is ready. Captain Albius has each of us formally introduce ourselves and write down our name and rank on a piece of paper for his records.
"I'll announce the first two groups for the mock battle. The first group, Sergeant Kai from Sigma 4, Corporal Marin from Sigma 4, Soldier Laud from Sigma 4, and Corporal Ada from Sigma 3."
Figured he would put me with Ada. But that's good. She doesn't know how we're really scored. I glance over at Ada and smile. She returns a frown and glare.
Captain Albius continues, "Their opponents will be Sergeant Aisha from Sigma 3, Corporal Deniz from Sigma 3, Soldier Powell from Sigma 3, and Soldier Garen from Sigma 4. I've reserved one of the large rooms on the third floor of the training grounds. We'll do the mock battle there. My men will bring the necessary items."
"Before that, I'd like to sweep any hostility between the platoons under the rug. I'm aware that Sergeant Kai and Corporal Ada have a history. Why don't you shake hands since you'll be workin' together for the next two weeks?" Captain Albius asks and then glances over at me with a slight smile.
"Of course," I answer, stand up, and then walk over to Ada. With a smile, I say, "I don't know if I've ever rubbed you the wrong way, but I hope we can overcome our differences and win."
I extend an open palm out in front of me. She stands up and grabs my hand. She smiles and says, "I'm sure you know what you did, exactly. It would be shitty if you didn't."
She's referring to that day. I remember it clearly, but don't let it show on my face. If I'm not allowed to talk about it, she shouldn't be able to either. I tighten my grip on her hand. She does the same to me. My smile stretches wider. "Last time I checked, you were attacking me with slander."
"I remember something different."
"Well, whatever happened…" I say. I really want to sock her in the face, though. Or even better. Subject her to the same thing I went through. If she's continuously hostile throughout the Rising Champions, and I suck up to General Nero to get on his good side... Maybe my wish will come true. "I'm ready to move on from it. I'll forgive all the times you stepped on me, even though I haven't done anything to you, so we can restart from a blank slate."
"I stepped on you because you asked for it. If I remember correctly, you liked it. With the overwhelming evidence that the Castalia kid was a conspirator, you still defended him. Maybe you just wanted to be abused. I'll let Hina know that's how you get off."
"Hina has nothing to do with this. Can we restart from zero or not?"
"Fine. Only until the battle's over," she says and then releases her hand from mine. She wipes her hand on her pants. I try not to laugh as I return to my previous seat. She doesn't realize that she's digging her grave.
"Very good. We'll be headin'
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