And then Percivale rides off to look for Launcelot, while Persides returns to Camelot and tells everyone about how Percivale rescued him. Percivale has a special message for Kay and Mordred, about how he remembers their saying he wasn’t going to be a good knight, and now he’s going to prove them wrong. Also Percivale wants Algavale to know that Percivale dumped him on purpose, not by accident.
Persides goes to Camelot and delivers all these messages. And when Sir Aglavale heard him speak of his brother Sir Percivale, he said “He departed from me unkindly.” So Persides has to defend Percivale, and go into the whole story about the rescue again, and Mordred and Kay are also annoyed at being called out, and point out that Percivale really looked like a poor prospect, and finally King Arthur has to step in and get them all to hush.
Meanwhile, Percivale rides a long time. Eventually he comes across another knight, one who is looking pretty rocky. Broken helmet, broken shield: this guy has been strange adventuring and strange adventuring hard. His identity is supposed to be a secret but I’ll tell you: it’s Sir Ector the Lesser, who’s been scouring the land looking for Launcelot, just like Sir Percivale has.
Naturally when these two Knights of the Round Table meet, they wordlessly attack one another, each assuming the other is a villain. Surprise! Sir Percivale gets dehorsed! I know, usually it’s the viewpoint-knight/main character of the story who does the dehorsing, but this time, no. Ector has him. Percivale doesn’t yield, so they draw swords and spend a day hitting each other with them, for hours and hours. Lots of little cuts, lots of blood lost, Malory says.
Eventually Percivale realizes that only another Knight of the Round Table could plausibly offer up this level of opposition, so he stops the fight and identifies himself, and so does Sir Ector, and then they have a laugh because Percivale is Launcelot’s cousin and Ector is Launcelot’s brother, and they were on the same team all along, and now they’ve sliced each other up pretty badly and will probably bleed to death together.
Kind of like Balin and Balan, back in Book II! This is not a comparison that occurs to Malory.
Anyway, they’re pretty bummed about how they’re both probably going to bleed to death, and Percivale prays, and then this happens:
Right so there came by the holy vessel of the Sangreal with all manner of sweetness and savour; but they could not readily see who that bare that vessel, but Sir Percivale had a glimmering of the vessel and of the maiden that bare it, for he was a perfect clean virgin, and forthwith they both were as whole of hide and limb as ever they were in their lifetimes.
“Wow!” says Percivale. “What the gosh-jimmy heck was that?”
“I know,” says Ector. “It was the Holy Grail, borne by a maiden, and it healed us! Pretty awesome. They say you have to be super holy to even see it.”
(Even though Bors and Launcelot both saw it earlier this same Book? Even though.)
“That was pretty amazing,” says Percivale. “I saw a girl, holding a cup! It was crazy.”
Then, in kind of an anticlimax, Percivale and Ector ride off looking for Launcelot and comparing strange adventure notes.