Feldspar did not need to ask him what he was going to do with it; his plan for it was obvious. Feldspar grinned with appreciation. He wished he'd thought of it.
However, it did give him an idea. When he discussed it with his brother, Gypsum was very appreciative and agreed that it was an excellent idea.
Feldspar offered again to go first but Gypsum declined. He was looking forward to blazing a new trail and doing something never done before.
The next morning only minutes after sunrise the concerned parties—both sets of twins plus the father of the girls and the head of the Council—met at the foot of that same hill. Gypsum was dressed in his armor. If the Riotori of New City thought he and Feldspar looked impressive without their armor, his appearance almost took the girls' breath away, and even the older men were more than impressed.
The shiny silvery metal covered his arms, shoulders, torso—front and back—and legs, with jointed and flexible plates. Dangerous sharp spikes rose threateningly from the shoulders and more extended from the forearm coverings; those coverings extended over the back of the hands. Along the upper arms and the chest, the armor was constructed to resemble monstrous skulls of fanged creatures never seen on Kylrock.
His handsome burgundy cloak was attached behind the armor's shoulders and also at the armor's hips and flared out behind him, almost to the ground.
Besides being worn simply as impressive décor, the cloak had the advantage of hiding the contours of the back from an enemy that approached from the rear. Also, it was stiff enough to provide some small protection from a small blade or a weak stroke.
The cloak's attachment on his left hip supported a scabbard and the sword within it.
Topaz and Beryl found his appearance captivating. Beryl, in fact, felt a bit envious of her sister, but comforted herself with the (correct) assumption that Feldspar would be similarly attired when his turn came.
Calcite and Pyrope were also impressed. They hesitated for a moment, for no other Riotori candidate had ever undertaken the challenge wearing armor. Such enhancement was unknown in the vicinity. But there was no rule against it and the two realized even without consultation that the young women would not tolerate any suddenly amended rules to prohibit the accouterments.
"What, Gypsum, do you intend to demonstrate your successful achievement of the trial?"
Gypsum surprised them by removing what looked like a second layering of his cloak. It was a burgundy piece of cloth that when unfolded was shown to be his height in length and half that in width. He refolded and reattached it to the cloak with closed hooks that grasped the holes in the armor intended to secure the cloak.
"I will fly this from one of the spires in the middle of The Old City. You will be able to see it even from here."
He pointed to The Old City's skyline, where the tops of the three tallest spikes could be seen.
"But if you watch from the hilltop you will see me climb to the pinnacle and attach the banner."
Calcite remarked, "Providing, of course, that you are able to overcome the hazards that wait for you between here and there."
Gypsum was the very picture of devil-may-care confidence. He placed his left hand casually upon the pommel of his sword.
"I do not doubt that that will be the case."
Then in a startling display of aggressive affection, he took Topaz's hand in his and brought it up to his mouth, and gently stroked one of his tusks with the furred back of her hand. It was a gesture of classic chivalry that all there appreciated and admired. Topaz was heart-flutteringly delighted.
Then with a wave of his hand he turned and trotted toward The Old City and whatever impediments might await.