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It wasn't against Crusader regulations.

The cadet's outfit was more practical than those bare-assed blitzball uniforms worn by some Kilikans when they enlisted. Those were adequate enough for infantry: any knight knew that speed and agility were another kind of armor. But blitzers would be chapped and whimpering after a day in the saddle.

The girl wore bright red that a rutting dual-horn could spot a league off, plus a starry-eyed "Pick me, Captain!" grin that Lucil would be sorry to dampen. Her headband's blue beads meant Elma came from a noble family, although she didn't boast of it. The kilt was unusual, but the girl brought chaps and a good riding seat. She handled the obstacle courses well and without complaint.

Lucil found herself masking a smile whenever the cadet came by, winded but eager long after the other recruits were grumbling that they'd signed up to fight fiends, not coddle chocobos.

"Next, ma'am?"

"The same, but ride backwards. A needed skill in retreat."

"Retreat, ma'am?" It was the first plaintive note in the cadet's voice all day.

"Yes, Elma. When Sin comes, our job becomes survival. Else there would be none to kill the spawn it leaves."

"Right, Captain!" Another breathless salute.

The other cadets tittered when Elma reversed her seat. The mocking began in earnest after the first blitzball sent her flying face down in the turf. But she only laughed, hopped up, whistled the chocobo back, remounted and charged off again, gaining a few paces before her next tumble.

Red. Lucil would have to speak to her about its effect on dual-horns later. But for now, it helped her spot the girl on the field and mark her progress.

The trials for Djose were rigorous, but Lucil was looking forward to one new addition to the Djose Chocobo Knights.