Since the matter seemed to make Lissa incredibly sad, Robin decided not to ask questions about her father. Sure, the fact that the owner of the circus was so threatening, not even his daughter could predict his behavior, did not put him at ease; but he cleared his throat, and murmured a simple “It's gonna be alright”. She nodded with little conviction, but she looked at him with gratitude, and he thought how peculiar it was that he was the one comforting her – she at least knew everything about herself, she did have a future and a past and a family and friends, even though there were problems.
They spent some minutes in silence, only with the breeze rustling through the grass and the leaves of the tree above them. It wasn't that kind of silence filled with embarrassment, though; it was more like their thoughts were... heavy and empty at the same time, while they quietly ran by, leaving no trace behind them and heading nowhere.
A circus. Chrom's look – “ I'm not leaving you here. It's a promise. ”. Those glimmers of memories he had thought he had seen floating in front of him, just to watch them disappear right after; when he tried to seek them out, a painful headache circled his forehead, and he gave up. There was so much to think about, so much he didn't know, that attempting to put the facts in some kind of order sounded like a complete waste of time. Eventually, he chose to focus on the concept of magic, which, at the moment, was actually the most interesting among all the mysteries, second only to his amnesia.
“Lissa, can I ask you a question?” he wondered, trying to break the silence in the least brusque way possible. Since she raised her head with a faint smile, he could think he had succeeded.
“Anything you want, Robin,” she answered, her blond pigtails swinging as she settled down more comfortably. “I'm sorry if sometimes I go saddening... but, you know...”
“Don't you worry for a moment longer,” he interrupted her, with a kind and reassuring voice, he hoped. “Actually, I'm the one who should apologize. But, I was thinking... if every magician has a gift, it means that you have one as well. Is it what you used on me?”
“Right!” she exclaimed, her lively eyes shining. “I've got this thing to calm down people. It works with fear and panic, mostly. For anger and sadness I need to focus a lot, and I should train, but it's not easy, you know? When people are mad or down, they don't really feel like being Guinea pigs...”
Her speech was frisky, and Robin smiled, amused.
He took more than a couple of seconds to realize that was his first smile since the moment of his awakening. Lissa didn't seem to notice, since she was busy chuckling, but Robin's heart sank a little in his chest – in all of his confusion, fear, uncertainty, his spirit had managed to lift itself just enough to curve his lips in an expression he hadn't expected himself to have for a while longer. It was in that moment that he understood that, magic or not, Lissa and Chrom must have something innately good within them – and he was so, so glad for it.
“By the way, actually there is another little thing that you haven't caught yet,” she was saying, almost impertinent. “I've got another gift too, you know?”
Robin went serious again – or, better said, he blinked in a moment of confusion.
“Is it possible to have two gifts?” he asked, more curious than ever. The answer to that was quite obvious, by then, but he wanted to be sure he hadn't misunderstood.
“Magic in unpredictable,” Lissa answered, with levity. “I'm not the only one who has two. We noticed that who has the most powerful and precise abilities has only one gift, while weaker skills may go together. Maribelle can cure light wounds if she touches them, but sometimes she can also perceive what's on your mind. Awesome, isn't it?”
“Reading minds and healing?” Robin repeated, surprised and perplex. “They seem considerable skills, although you said the wounds must be light...”
“And she can sometimes read minds,” Lissa said again, nodding. “When people think... what does she say? “Rudely aloud”. Practically, you really have to be obsessed with something, I think, for her to be able to feel it... I'm sure that someone with only this gift could read everybody's minds and at any moment, instead. See the difference?”
“I do,” Robin nodded, quite convinced. “And you don't know anyone with that power, do you?”
“Sadly I don't, we don't have anyone like that in our circus! They would help us gaining some more money, for sure. But we do have a more powerful healer than Maribelle, his name is Libra. You should hear him singing and playing his chitara!”
“But... you still haven't told me your second gift,” Robin noticed, almost joking. “Avoiding the point?”
“Very funny, giggly!” she said, sticking her tongue out at him while pretending to be offended. “You're asking too many questions! And, anyway, I already told you, you know? You could guess again.”
He frowned, puzzled. While Lissa was smiling mischievously, he started thinking; and, actually, he didn't take long to remember a very weird statement, even though he hadn't asked questions right after hearing it.
“Perhaps,” he risked it. “Can you understand if someone's lying?”
Her big blue eyes went wide, before she burst in a delighted chuckle.
“Dang, Robin, you're really smart!”
“I have a good memory, it seems, when I don't fall into a mysterious sleep that makes me forget everything about myself.”
At his slight sarcasm, Lissa smiled with more caution and tenderness.
“You'll see, we'll find a solution for that too,” she reassured him, and once again she showed her ability to change topics swiftly. “Anyhoo, when someone tells a lie I suddenly feel cold, here, on my nape... just under my skin. That's why I trust you and I stay with you, alone, knowing that you're not a brigand that wants to kidnap me.”
A corner of Robin's mouth raised again.
“I'm glad I have you as a guarantor.”
“Chrom is, too,” she snickered, but then she was serious again. “Listen, before I let you down... if I'd ask you some random questions in a row and you'd answer me even more randomly, I wouldn't understand the truth, okay? Because I can only feel when people are lying on purpose. This one time, Vaike solemnly swore he hadn't touched some equipment we needed and we couldn't find, and no cold on me. But later he remembered that he had actually taken the tools... but he had no bad intentions, you see? So I can't help you remember this way, sorry.”
Honestly, Robin hadn't even thought of that solution. He found it a smart idea, but since Lissa had already said it was useless, he was forced to set it aside.
“Too bad. But it makes sense.”
There was a brief pause, at the end of which Robin couldn't handle his curiosity any longer.
“And... what about Chrom? What's his gift?”
Since Lissa had told him that magic was a matter of blood and the two of them were siblings, he could legitimately presume Chrom had a gift too. But, instead of answering with her usual brightness, this time the girl hesitated, biting her lower lip. Had he gone too far?
“Chrom...” she began, wavering, but then she seemed to decide to go on. “Chrom is a whole 'other story, you know? We couldn't understand until Tharja joined the circus and explained some of it. I guess there's nothing bad in me telling you... Chrom isn't too ashamed of it, you know...”
“If you think he'd prefer me not to know, don't feel obliged,” Robin clarified quickly, while the idea of having nosed around where he shouldn't have became stronger.
“No, don't worry,” Lissa replied, a little more confident. “Actually, maybe it's better this way, so you won't ask awkward questions in the future, right? So, er... did you see that mark on his arm?”
Robin remembered the dark patterns he had caught a glimpse of on Chrom's pale skin; he had mistaken them for a tattoo. He hadn't had the chance to figure out what they represented exactly, but he nodded.
“He's got it from the day he was born, or so does our father say,” she continued then, a little grimace at the mention of her parent, but she managed to overlook it. “Tharja is sure it's a seal. Blocking the magic within him.”
Robin's eyes went wide.
“So he... he can't use it?”
“I think he's not allowed to use it, more than anything,” Lissa answered, shrugging. “We should break the seal, but Tharja has not managed it yet, not to talk about anyone else who tried. It seems like it needs something very peculiar. When she has some free time, Tharja does her best to study a solution for my brother, but neither her spells or her sight of the future are helping. So... if my brother has a gift, that's bottled up, too. For now, he's just a boy like any other, really. It's not even such a bad thing, you know, is it? It's just...”
Her little face tensed, as she was trying to repress any sadness creeping in her voice.
“It's just our father, he gives him hell about it. Otherwise, Chrom wouldn't care much.”
“But then...” it slipped past Robin's lips before he could actually think about it. When Lissa stared at him, he found himself forced to go on, trying his best not to be inappropriate. “I mean... he's old enough to live his own life. Couldn't he... leave?”
Somehow, it seemed to him like the most obvious solution. If he wasn't really a mage and he didn't care about it, Chrom could live among common folks without being feared nor alienated. It was way better than to bear the abuses of a violent father...
For his surprise, Lissa gave him a little smile.
“You wouldn't be the first one to tell him, I can assure you. But, as I said, it's difficult to leave the circus without its fame sticking onto you. And anyway... Chrom would never do something like that. You don't know him much, but... he just wouldn't.”
True, Robin couldn't say he knew him. But he believed her, and with no hesitation.
Chrom had sworn to protect and help a perfect stranger, someone towards which he didn't have any obligations. It wasn't surprising to think that, considering the bonds he most certainly had within the circus, he could see leaving as a sort of betrayal, a matter of loyalty and honor. Sticking to his principles and to the people close to him must have been one of the most characterizing traits of his, together with his kind heart.
Robin had no idea how, shortly after, remembering such a thought would be unpleasant.
While he was pondering, in fact, he heard the steps of a couple of people approaching from the direction of the supposed circus. Turning his head, he saw Chrom, holding a bowl covered by a white cloth; and, beside him, a lanky boy a little taller than him, with ginger hair.
“Oh, look, that's Gaius!” Lissa smiled, all set to getting up and going towards them.
“Please, stay,” the voice of the new boy came instead, a little hoarse and drawled, but cheerful. “That shady little place of yours it's too pretty to be real.”
Robin stared at them, as they arrived under the tree. The unknown young man looked right at him, but without showing any sign of diffidence nor inquisitiveness.
“Hey there,” he exclaimed, reaching out. “You must be the foundling, Robin. I'm Gaius, nice to meet you.”
“My pleasure,” Robin answered politely, holding the hand he was offered and meeting the boy's eyes: they were light green, nice, clear and bright. He thought he had a calm, relaxed look, maybe a little elusive, but nothing malicious. And he had a nice smile, just a little crooked, but it suited him.
When their hands parted, Gaius stretched and sat down a couple of yards away, in front of him. He was approached by Chrom instead, with his bowl, which smelled not bad at all.
“I've got some leftover of today's Maribelle's stew,” the young man smiled, and Robin couldn't keep himself from mirroring his expression, grateful, and glad he was there. Not that Lissa hadn't been a pleasant company, not at all, but those intense blue eyes gave him a whole different kind of safety. “You'll have to drink the broth, for now, but when we go back down I'll get you some water.”
Robin nodded, since he had no reason to be picky. He accepted the bowl and put it on his knees; he lifted the cloth and found out there was a spoon there for him to use, to pick up the small pieces of meat and vegetables floating in a good-smelling broth. He gave his most sincere thanks, but Chrom shook his head, as for saying it was nothing.
He had expected the boy to sit next to him, but instead Chrom went to Gaius's side, a little closer than what would have been normal.
“Did you speak with Tharja?” Lissa was asking meanwhile, an apprehensive eagerness in her sparkling eyes.
“I did, even if she was a little standoffish. More than usual, I mean,” Chrom answered, with a serious half-smile. “She almost closed her door in my face right after I barely told her about Robin. She said something like, “Fine, just leave me alone now”, and that was it. I hope she'll be a little better when he's around.”
“She's been grumpy for a couple of days,” Gaius noticed, picking up a blade a little longer than the rest from the grass and beginning to fiddle with it with his tapered fingers. “I don't know if it's because I stole her honey, or...”
“And why did you steal her honey?” Lissa asked, laughing.
“Hey, she just uses it for her stupid concoctions, I use it the way it deserves!” the boy defended himself, and then he glanced at Robin, conspiratorially and amused. “I eat it until I've got nausea. That's what sweets are for!”
“Gaius has a real fixation for anything sugary,” Chrom explained, with an indulgent smile, and a warm light in his eyes.
“Well, yeah. Starting with you, Blue.”
And then, it happened: he slid two of his fingers under Chrom's chin, gently turning his head before Gaius placed a chaste kiss on his lips. To which Chrom just smiled, and kissed him back, long enough for Robin to be sure he had seen it and not just imagined it.
His eyes were probably wide, and he blushed: he quickly lowered his gaze and focused on what he was eating, although the meat wasn't suddenly all that tasty.
So, Chrom had a boyfriend, that boyfriend. It made sense. They probably loved each other a lot, if the picture he had of Chrom was accurate. And he, Robin, didn't have any right to be upset at that revelation: Chrom was very attractive, yes, and his looks, some of his words – “You know, I do like the way you make my name sound.” –, some of his behaviors were a little... misleading, but at the end of the day he barely knew him. And he did have much bigger problems to solve, among which finding his own true identity and surviving his meeting with an evil circus owner, or whatever. The slight attraction he may have felt towards Chrom must be crumpled and thrown away, and at that point he could do just that quite easily.
“Robin, you alright?” Lissa's voice came from what seemed to be very afar, on the spot. But then he raised his eyes, back to reality, and nodded with his mouth full.
“Sure,” he managed to grumble right after he swallowed. “I was just... thinking. Your circus sounds like a fun place.”
Gaius burst out laughing, and Robin couldn't help but finding that sound very pleasant. And why wouldn't he? That boy possessed all the qualities to be a good friend, he told himself.
“You can say it's a freak-show,” he was explaining, shaking off his forehead a tuft of ginger hair and sliding an arm around Chrom's waist. “But if you don't make much of a fuss, you'll be fine. I'll find you the right friends.”
“Which are not Validar, Gangrel, or Aversa,” Lissa continued for him, serious. “They are our three supervisors. Aversa is our show-woman, too, and Validar is an illusionist, and Gangrel is just an ugly cripple wandering here and there, but he's the cruelest. Or he's just mad and he doesn't bother to hide it.”
“I doubt Robin would like them anyway,” Gaius said, shrugging, without looking at anyone in particular. “They ooze black magic from their freaking pores. Watch Aversa's charming skills, kid, she's the one to be afraid of.”
Chrom cleared his throat, softly, and for a moment silence fell. To Robin, for no specific reason, it seemed oppressing. Then the young man spoke.
“It's no use to scare him this soon,” he said quietly, before giving him a faint, but sincere smile. “Keep trusting me. There are some all-around guys who can be rude, but besides them you'll find a lot of other people willing to help you, like us.”
Robin nodded and kept on eating, even though he was almost finished with his – honestly small – bowl of stew. He heard them murmuring something about Tharja's really awful mood, or about a certain Henry who couldn't leave Gaius alone, and some other little news like those, then he wiped his mouth with the cloth. Hunger and thirst were long gone; he probably wasn't sated, but he could carry on for a little while without complaining, although he'd liked that glass of water that was mentioned before.
“You're done? You're almost a quicker eater than I am,” Gaius noticed, smirking.
“Who knows how many days went by since he passed out here,” Chrom answered instead, with a hint of pity, but then he was the first one getting up. “Let's go, now. If we wander around the fields for too long, someone's gonna notice.”
“Yeah. But if they see us coming back down with Robin, it's over!” Lissa exclaimed, fixing her little yellow skirt after standing up.
“I'll take care of that, little princess,” Gaius reassured her, nonchalantly. “I'll go on reconnaissance, and if it's all clear I'll give you a whistle. Most folks should be resting before we keep on traveling, though.”
The two siblings nodded, and Robin couldn't do anything but follow them, empty bowl in his hands, while they were going back to the summit of the hill, right where he had woken up. They went down the slope a little, but Robin had barely caught a glimpse of a row of carriages parked down there, when Gaius gestured them to stop. They let him go ahead, and Robin followed his lanky steps with his eyes, battling against some nerves.
“Don't be too worried,” Chrom murmured to him after a few minutes, putting a hand on his shoulder. “We'll make it work out.”
He raised his eyes and met his – they seem literally crafted so that people would drown in them, just like in the depths of an ocean. But Robin had better skim and stay safe and sound, as much as he found the touch of the boy on his shoulder comforting, and as much as he still felt that something, in Chrom, had to be extraordinary.
Eventually, a sharp but not too loud whistle came from the scrub of trees next to which the wagons had found shelter.
“It's Gaius,” Chrom announced, even though Robin had realized that. “Let's go.”
And so they kept going down that path, quickly, hoping that nobody decided to look just in their direction in that exact moment. The closer they got to the camp, the more details Robin could notice, despite the great job leaves and branches were doing at protecting it: the carriages were close to one another, but more scattered than what it seemed like in the distance. There were some horses grazing among them, even though many others preferred the open field at the bottom of the hill, from where Robin heard a couple of female voices shouting something. They must have been those two girls – two little dots, one with flaming read hair and one dressed in gray and pink –, who were playing with the animals and ran after them when they got too far away from the group.
“It's Cordelia and Sumia,” Lissa informed him, noticing the direction of his gaze. “Both of them can communicate with animals, so they deal with the horses and the few little monkeys we carry around. They're very nice. The girls, I mean, not the monkeys. I mean, those are too, but...”
On that note, they arrived at the scrub, where Gaius was waiting for them.
“There's not a soul around here,” he informed them, with a sharp smile. “C'mon, Tharja's wagon is that way.”
Robin had every intention to follow them quietly, but curiosity won him over.
“You all have a wagon each?” he asked, noticing how some of them looked newer and more solid and others just old and ramshackle, small and big, made of dark or light wood, some even decorated with ribbons and writings, like “The Cage – Keep out”, “Roar!”, and other more or less serious messages.
“We wish, Robin,” Lissa replied, grimacing. “Most of these wagons are for our equipment. Most of us sleep together. But yeah, Tharja has her own wagon, because she's powerful enough... she's not the only one. There's also... well, someone else.”
She was very evasive in the last part of the sentence, and Robin didn't miss the glances Gaius and Chrom gave her when she started talking about someone else with a private wagon. Weird. At the moment, it didn't seem like they were hiding many things from him. What secret was that? But his considerations had barely begun, when he suddenly found himself in front of a carriage covered by a black cloth, tall and wide, and it cast a shadow on the ground all around them turning it from emerald green into a brown much darker than normal.
“The witch's cabin,” Gaius stated, solemnly, but Robin was glad to hear a playful shade in his voice. “Give me the bowl, I'll take it to Maribelle and I'll get you your glass of water. I'd better stay away from Tharja for a while, eh eh...”
“I'll go ahead,” Chrom said, strolling toward the wagon. “C'mon, Robin.”
They sounded like wise ideas – keeping the honey thief this Tharja was mad at away, and letting Chrom do the honors, since he was the chief's son and must have known her pretty well, her being the one who had to break his seal. But Robin felt a certain anxiety spreading all over his whole body anyway, when he saw the young man going up a few steps and then knocking at one of the wagon's doors.
“Let's hope the scales are tipped well...”.
“Tharja? It's me, Chrom. I've brought... that person.”
It was careful of him not to mention his name, but keeping it general. He was talking relatively aloud, and anyone in their surroundings could heard him, especially with the idle silence of early afternoon cradling everything. However, he must ensure that Tharja acknowledged their presence there.
A few seconds went by, and Chrom was ready to knock again, when the door was opened. Being behind the boy and Lissa too, Robin didn't get a good look at the person who was letting them in – just a dark shadow, not very tall, that disappeared at once to leave them room to enter. Inside, he could only see a very faint twinkle of greenish light, but otherwise there was only darkness.
The voice which arrived muffled at his ears was at the same time as soft as silk and as sharp as a blade. It sounded quite mature, and just a little annoyed, but his thoughts had to stop there: the other two were going in, and he followed them, certainly not willing to be left alone outside.
Once indoors, the first thing he noticed was the cauldron in the middle of the room: a shiny, emerald green liquid was boiling in it, above some light blue flames. There weren't unpleasant smells: just spices and herbs, for what he could say, but their blending together was an aroma abiding enough to make him wrinkle his nose.
He saw the shadow getting to the cauldron, but his eyes were captured by a glittering on the walls: despite the faint lighting, he saw a series of jars lined in perfect order on shelves, and the content of such vases was already more horrifying: was that a head?! And dead frogs, salamanders, a bat missing a wing, another little animal with scarlet scales and too many legs...
But then Lissa closed the door behind him, Chrom somehow moved out of the way, and finally Robin could observe Tharja's person. Which sight left him gaping for a good two seconds, before he regained the self-control necessary to behave appropriately.
To be honest, he hadn't expected anything in particular. He had not imagined her too ugly nor too beautiful, too young nor too old – he had managed to keep his brain far away from the usual stereotype of a hag with a crooked nose and warts hoovering at the back of his mind despite his amnesia. But he sure hadn't expected the girl in front of him to be around his age, and a complete knockout.
She had dark clothes, and at least he had got that right. A long, black, gold-rimmed cloak covered her from her shoulders to her feet, so from behind he could only see her ebony hair, straight and long to half of her back, some locks tied in two little ponytails at the sides of her head and of a thin headgear of black voile, gold-rimmed as well; but when she turned and showed him her profile, he could see just how white was the skin on her face, her features exotic and exquisite, both in the shape of her nose and in the shape of her lips, and the sharp glance of an eye as dark as an abyss pierced through him underneath thick and black eyelashes, locking him in place. Then Tharja turned all the way, an incomprehensible expression on her face, and Robin saw that her white skin went further down beyond that sort of collar she wore and stopped only at the generous curve of her breasts – where, in all fairness, his eyes lingered for a second too long. Two little black cups protected that chest from more intrusive glances than his own; a strip of black silk circled her waist and hid her groin, and hung softly among her legs. As for the rest, her thin arms, her slender thighs, her flat stomach and her slim hips where covered with what looked like a darkness veil, not thick enough to conceal details such as her belly-button, not thin enough not to turn the whiteness of her skin in a delicate and covering shade of black. Golden bracelets were at her wrists and ankles, and a hand with tapered and slender fingers, with long and sharp nails, held possessively onto a big, dusty book with a purplish cover.
She was beautiful, and most of all... well, she was sensual. Robin wondered if such a body was the result of a spell of some kind or just a natural gift, but soon the girl's deep and appraising gaze caught all of his attention.
“Interesting. So it is you.”
Tharja clenched her tome to her chest, hiding most of her torso from his eyes, but she didn't seem overwhelmed by shyness – she had talked almost with disdain, or like his presence there didn't matter at all for her. But even when she turned and stirred just once the liquid in her cauldron, with the corner of her eye she didn't stop looking at his face for one second.
“What do you mean, it is you?” Chrom asked, frowning. The girl shrugged, almost nonchalantly, but when she talked again she was more than serious, and more than sharp.
“I think he's the one that turned the future I used to see into fog. I can feel it.”
It was now Robin's turn to frown, while the meaning of those words planted its roots in his mind. He... clouded the future? So, neither his past nor his future had the slightest bit of sense?
Tharja got a step closer, her book still held tight to her chest, and her eyes now definitely locked to his face. Something in her radiated a power he couldn't comprehend, but it made him want to step back, for a moment; he managed to stand steadily on his feet, but that girl's gaze was an enigma.
“I can't see more than the immediate future, or unimportant things. Everything's been blurry for days, and when I try and force my sight a migraine comes and makes me nauseous with pain. You have traces of magic on yourself. Let me see.”
Her voice was soft and suffocating like velvet. It was low, but feminine, and sensual, and Robin swallowed when one of those hands, looking delicate yet lethal, reached out to his face. Her nails on his cheek were cool, and the scent of Tharja's body close to his was tenuous, like dew within the night. He felt himself blushing while he was forced to stare at that unusual yet beautiful face, the soft curve of her lips, the dark warmth in those eyes as black as carbon which didn't blink not even once while they were studying him.
Then, something he hadn't expected at all happened – on the perfect features of that face, the faint phantom of a smile appeared, a little sardonic, a little sincere, and definitely seductive.
“Mhm. You're awfully cute. It's gonna be fun to follow your every single step.”
Robin's eyes went wide, as he realized something in that sentence was wrong – every single step? What did she mean? But the blushing spread on his cheeks, maybe because of the compliment, or maybe because of the person it was coming from.
“Tharja, would you mind to explain yourself?” Chrom's voice arrived, and Robin preferred to blame the slight irritation he heard in it to his hurry to have some answers.
The girl scoffed softly, without pulling back her hand, nor herself. Actually, Robin felt her fingertips trying a caress on his skin, while Tharja's eyes filled with appreciation and amusement, and her body got a little closer.
“He's very lucky that I like him,” she murmured, answering Chrom. “Normally I'd already turned him to a roach. He's causing me problems. But I can see it's not his fault, someone did something to him. Somehow, I can even feel he's not from this world.”
“What?!” Robin snapped, backing away from her touch, too upset, now, to notice her charm. “And what world would I come from?”
“Quit yelling.” Tharja warned him, darkening, and clutching her book tighter to her chest with both of her hands. “Try not to think about it. This is your place, I think. Speaking of which...”
She turned to Chrom and Lissa, standing nearby.
“You can take him to your father. If you don't screw up, Robin will stay.”
“But you just said you have trouble in reading the future,” Lissa observed, with no bad intentions, just confused.
“I also said I catch glimpses of the immediate future,” Tharja replied, a little haughty. “And, anyway, I know this boy will stay. Or I wouldn't have problems to begin with. Robin's your name, right?”
He nodded slowly, still quite upset.
“And you've lost your memory. I'm not surprised. Fine, in these days you'll come back here and we'll see what I can do. I'll have to leave your seal alone for a while, Chrom.”
“I don't care,” the boy answered, serious. “But don't get in trouble with my father.”
“Trouble? Oh, he can try.”
He liked something of that mage's confidence. It was... magnetic. Somehow, from her and all the objects around him, Robin could feel power pulsating faintly – and he really didn't know a thing about magic.
Maybe she was trustworthy. Very weird, but she obviously knew what she was doing. And if she was his only hope to gain his memory back, then he did have to try.
“Tharja...” Lissa called, her voice small. “You don't think the circus is in danger, do you? I know Robin's not mean, but strange things are happening... just the fact that you cannot see anymore...”
“Robin may be very dangerous,” Tharja answered, laconic, getting to her cauldron. “Honestly, I don't care until he doesn't threaten me. If the day shall come, I will annihilate him... or I'll help him annihilate this circus. Depends on my mood.”
Robin searched for Chrom's gaze, and found out the other boy was looking at him too – only to be able to give him a reassuring nod, and to tell him with his eyes to leave it alone. Apparently, such remarks were common, coming from that mage, or Chrom would have taken her more seriously. Robin was still worried, though: maybe for Tharja the future of the circus didn't matter, but he didn't want to destroy something precious. For sure he didn't want to destroy Chrom, Lissa and Gaius. And what if his arrival there was going to bring some bad consequences? Guilt was eating him alive just then, he didn't dare to think of a scenario where the prophecy came true.
“Speaking of which, Chrom,” Tharja continued after a pause, and something of her slightly more menacing tone made Robin's hair on his nape stand up. “If I catch your little boyfriend, I'm not sure what I'll do to him. Warn him, if you please.”
For Robin's surprise, Chrom gave her a rather amused smile. It must have been true that Tharja didn't use to hurt anyone for real. Or maybe Chrom was just very naive.
“I will,” he answered her, with a carefree gesture. “Thank you very much for your help. Take care of yourself. I'm sure Libra has something to cure headaches with.”
“So do I, silly,” the mage replied, busy around her cauldron. “Now get out of here. I've got work to do. I'll see you, Robin.”
Lissa gently pushed him outside, and he barely managed to say a “See you”. Suddenly he was right in the sun again, and after all of that darkness his eyes hurt a lot.
After a couple minutes spent adapting to the clear air and the bright greens around him – shaking off that weird mark of darkness that Tharja had left on him, as persistent as it was and... fascinating, somehow –, Robin spoke.
“So... what do you think?” he asked, a little anxious, since he would have preferred a less gloomy answer about him staying with the circus.
Lissa and Chrom exchanged a look, but both shrugged.
“You haven't lied yet,” the little girl said, staring at him with her light blue eyes, so similar to the sky. “And you totally don't seem like a threat. Sure, Tharja's problems are weird...”
“But she can handle herself,” Chrom cut the long story short, even if not without kindness. “She did look a little better than earlier today already. And a mystery is not a valid reason to leave you without a place to stay.”
Someone could have objected that, but Robin kept quiet, in his best interest at least. He really had no idea regarding how to be dangerous, since he just wanted to find out where he was from and eat something while they headed towards civilization looking for answers. He was confused, but he could handle just to stay put while things went by.
He foresaw the new topic of the conversation at once given Chrom's mood, and Lissa looked a lot more worried.
“We need to take you to our father, now.”