Hoping some of the two boys' discussion involved school matters, Mr Socs let them be for the remainder of study hall. Roland could easily have spent the hour gabbing about his hero and all the pirate's exploits at sea, but curiosity got the better of him. “How'd you get stuck with a name like Percival? It's for pantywaists!”
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” corrected Perc'. “Much like your swashbuckler, Honos, my namesake was courageous, and cunning, and solid as granite. A gallant knight of highest repute who earned a seat among the notables at King Arthur's Round Table. Of all the valorous knights who quested after the Holy Grail, Sir Percival was deemed best, and most worthy to unearth that priceless chalice.” Roland's eyes bugged out wider and wider with each new earful. And when Perc' enhanced his tale with, “. . . legions of vanquished foe and loathsome dragons lay in Sir Percival's bloody wake,” the boy's jaw came unhinged.
The school bell's ring brought the Grail quest to an abrupt end, and Roland was left drooling for more. The two crawled down the hallway, squeezing as much time as possible between classes.
“That Percival was unreal!” said Roland. “No wonder you don't wanna change your name—it fits you . . . I mean you, uh, sorta stand out from the rest.”
“You too,” Perc' said, grinning.
“Yeah . . . guess I am kind of a bad apple around here. School bores the daylights out of me. Definitely not the best 'role model' for a new kid. Socs likes you though, he only paired us up thinking you might be a good influence on me. You must come from a good home, huh?”
Perc' dodged the home question by taking issue with Roland's low opinion of himself. "Nothing wrong with having a mind of your own. You were the only one offering a hand when your classmates ridiculed me. Not only are you independent, you're curious and eager to learn. That much is obvious by your interest in my name, and my home. You don't mind being told where to look, but you refuse to be told what to see."
Roland detected a twinkle behind Perk's spectacles. “You sure don't talk like a seventh grader . . . Just how old are you?"