Chapter 1: No No, A Manakete Wouldn't!
"Nngh..." Nowi rubbed her eyes with her inner elbow, yawning and slowly opening her eyes to not overload her vision with the morning sun. "Why does the day have to start so early in the morning?" Finally, the manakete found the energy to sit up from under her blanket, sliding out from the cover into the open, all alone in this tent out in a forest of Ylisse.
Not too long ago, Nowi had escaped capture and, in her escape, came across Prince Chrom and his merry band of Shepherds. Willing to take her in, she had joined the crusade against the neighboring Plegia, and they were on a march to fight their king now. That's why they had camped out for the night in the woods instead of the more comfortable barracks, though the hard ground hadn't negatively impacted her slumber.
"Are you finally awake, Nowi," asked a voice from outside the fabric walls. She recognized it, Chrom's trusted tactician, Robin. Apparently he was found without any memories in a field, and Chrom still recruited him and kept him close, a testament to the prince's trusting nature that Nowi had also experienced. If anything, the fact that the mage had made such a name for himself in such a short time was an inspiration to a lot of the troops, and made him one to watch.
And, though she had yet to admit it to anyone, Nowi had been keeping an eye on him for other reasons. In the limited conversations she'd had with him, the training he'd given her on killing snakes, she'd developed quite the large crush on Robin. She'd even given him one of her special possessions, a shiny rock she'd yet to find a replacement for. She'd confess some day, she just wanted confirmation he was interested in her too. She saw the way he looked at Chrom.
Lost in fantasizing, Nowi only noticed something happening outside when the entrance flap to the tent slowly began being lifted open. "You there, Nowi," Robin called, at a normal volume to not startle her.
Only then, right before she would have been seen, did she realize she wasn't very presentable. "Don't come in!" She was in the habit of half-undressing to sleep, nothing more than her black panties and dragon scale bra. It wasn't a problem to her, this was strictly a girls' tent, but her underwear was not going to be seen by a boy, especially not Robin.
"Sorry!" The tactician dropped the flap, letting Nowi take her time putting all her clothes on. Her pink short shorts and stockings, tall purple boots, gloves, and that purple cape that provided the most striking part of her attire. Okay, maybe only being partially dressed wasn't that bad, her top was unchanged, but all this felt like it made a difference.
Finally, she packed up her stuff and exited to the open circle they had settled down in. And it really was empty, every other tent was missing, all the supplies were packed up, and every other Shepherd was prepared and waiting around. "Why didn't you wake me up before?"
"Well...we tried," Robin explained. "You slept through every one of our attempts. Then we made the decision not to force a dragon awake. It wasn't worth the risk."
This wasn't the first time her late sleeping had held the team up, but she still felt bad about it. Didn't help that, through no action of her own, she apparently scared them enough that even the warriors wouldn't mess with her. "Sorry about that..." With her head down, she knelt down to pull the anchor pins from the tent's corners and folded up the canvas.
"Don't worry about it," Robin comforted, reaching down to pat her head but stopping just short. Nowi was small, cute, and technically an animal with her dragon transformation, he wasn't the first to instinctively try to treat her like a pet. Normally she'd get a little pouty at being seen like that, but Robin cuddling her like that...she could learn to enjoy that attention. "We still have enough time in the day." Looking around warily, he leaned in close to her large, pointed ears and whispered. "Just get ready to leave quickly. It would seem Frederick's growing impatient."
Like most, Nowi had a morning routine. Not a long or complex one, she didn't have the luxury of prim and proper hygiene, but manaketes shared basically all a human's needs. As such, one of her first priorities in the morning was relieving her bladder of the contents it always gathered during the night. It would only take a minute, everyone would understand if she excused herself behind some plants, but she had kept them waiting for however long already. "I'm good," she decided, taking no time to put herself under consideration.
"Then we march towards Plegia," Chrom called from the head of the party, prompting the team to begin moving south, with those on horseback and pegasi taking the lead. Chrom and Robin stayed near the head, deep in discussing strategy, most everyone else was talking with each other about fairly trivial matters. Nowi, meanwhile, had no one to help pass the time. She had endeared herself to most of the Shepherds, but she hadn't made friends with any of them. Even if they had escaped captivity together, she wasn't very fond of Gregor, and the only other one she could relate to, that could transform into their own creature, was the cold and distant Panne.
That was a big problem, the little dragon could really use the distraction. True, she didn't quite feel like she was on the verge of peeing herself just yet, but that didn't mean she was too far behind. All this walking was exerting her lower half, constant motion and bouncing making the pain more and more evident and pressing. She had yet to show any outward signs of desperation, but she was secretly praying someone like Lissa or Donnel would ask to stop first.
"I'll ask if it gets too bad," that's what she kept telling herself, but even that seemed unlikely. In all the time she had been part of the team, she had never made this need known. She'd never denied it, it had just never come up. Most of her days were spent playing, alone a lot of the time, she just took care of herself when she was on her own and everyone was none the wiser. Having now be the first time she expressed this basic need was...embarrassing. That would make her look like a little kid that couldn't hold herself like the adults.
There was a difference, in her mind at least, between acting like a child and being treated like one. Being energetic, cheerful, and playing around a lot was a choice, it's just how she was. But, despite appearance and personality, she was actually over a millennium old. She was capable, she could fight, she understood the world, she was dependable and wanted to be recognized as such. Everyone else seeing her as a kid would mean they didn't trust her with responsibility, making her nothing more than a burden. Nowi couldn't stand being looked at with pity.
So, until desperation progressed to total emergency, she would keep quiet. Easier said than done. She was by far the oldest Shepherd, but one of the smallest as well, and that limited stature did have its drawbacks. A manakete's bladder was no bigger or stronger than a human's of the same size, putting her capacity at a very limited volume, one that was rapidly running low on wiggle room, making Nowi tremble and shiver under the stress.
Her motions may not have been entirely subtle, which would fit in with everything else about her, because someone noticed. "Something the matter, Nowi? You're shaking." It'd be bad no matter who, but the fact that it was Robin breaking away from his part of the formation to check on her was bittersweet.
Most importantly, he was to be kept far away from her needs. "I-I'm fine, Robin! It's just...a little cold, yeah! There's a breeze!"
Robin looked around, jolting his head in multiple directions. "Odd, I hadn't noticed a draft. Well, I suppose I'm dressed warmer than you." Nowi squeaked in surprise and covered as much bare skin as her arms could manage. Having a guy make a comment about how much she showed in her attire was awkward, even if it was her choice of outfit. The way one of her legs pressed up against the other in the jump may have also had an ulterior motive. Somewhat distracted by her own movements, Nowi didn't notice Robin taking off his black robe until it was draped over her shoulders. "That should help."
Nowi was in an awed silence at the act of kindness, all she could do was gently rub the coat. It was surprisingly soft for a warrior's jacket, and very long. It almost reached Robin's feet, it dragged a lot behind the much shorter girl. The bottom would probably get ruined if she kept it like this, and she'd feel guilty about wearing it under false pretenses. "It's okay, I don't need it. Thanks, though." It also didn't help that, without his robe, Robin just looked wrong.
Shrugging, the tactician took his clothing back, slipping his arms through the sleeves. "If you insist. It's a shame though, I think you look good in it. It matches your hair well." That was it, the kind of compliment that could make any girl's heart skip a beat. Nowi herself forgot to breathe, instead blushing pretty hard and pulling her long, green hair into view. Maybe he had a point, it could be something to think about another time. She continued looking all bashful until she ran out of air, at which point she doubled down on herself and gasped. That was pretty obvious, and Robin rushed to keep her steady and upright. "Are you sure you're alright?"
She was in real pain now. Bending over was pressing her bladder against her stomach, giving her a sense of just how so very full she was. It was awful, the idea of how much pee she was keeping a grip on, and she needed to empty it out so bad. It almost took matters upon itself as a tiny bit trickled into her underwear, just a little. But if she didn't admit her little shame, it would get a whole lot worse before long. "Um, actually...I gotta-"
"Hold up, men," Chrom called from ahead. Everyone stopped walking dead in their tracks, without even the slightest hint of noise. They scanned their surroundings for threats, difficult with all the trees blocking out sunlight, until the prince finally made out the identity of his suspicions. "Risen! Draw your weapons, everyone!"
"We can't efficiently fight here," Robin stated. "There's too many blind spots, and the Risen blend into the darkness too well. We should run ahead into that open field." Just within sight, there was a light at the end of the darkness, a more promising proposition if they could reach it.
"Then we hurry to the meadow," Chrom shouted, running as fast as he could ahead, everyone else dashing or galloping when they had the second to react. None of them dared look, but they all heard the groans of Risen closing in behind them, it felt like they were escaping death's icy grip as they leapt from the shadows to someplace a lot more safe. Except for Nowi, who was no less scared, not with the other threat looming over her.
Still, they couldn't ask for a better arena. Visibility was high, but there were still a lot of shrubbery circles to slow down the enemy, small rivers to keep distance, things that were evoking really bad feelings inside a certain little dragon. But to a tactician, the varied environment was as good as candy, Nowi could see Robin's brown eyes shining. Soon enough, he was delegating orders to each Shepherd, where to move to, how to engage the enemy, no one had any clue how he could process all that so quickly, they just listened when their name was called. Nowi was no different, her attention was only brought back to the moment at hand when she was addressed. "I want you to pair up with me, Nowi."
This would ordinarily be a dream come true, if only it wasn't now. She didn't want anyone to witness her about to have an accident, let alone her crush. She couldn't accept his offer, she needed privacy. "T-that's okay, I can handle myself..."
"It's no trouble." Robin smiled at the manakete, and the team went their separate ways in the directions they were instructed, leaving him and Nowi alone. Once they were out of earshot, the tactician's face dropped into a blank, somewhat disappointed stare. "Alright, we're alone. Will you tell me what's bothering you?"
"I-I can't...not with you here..." Even at her limit, Nowi tried to be proud, like she had a choice. She really made her best effort to not let her need show, standing as rigidly straight as a wooden board, fists balled at her sides, but her true state was given away by her trembling. Robin inquisitively raised an eyebrow, he wasn't falling for her lies, and like magic, Nowi gave in. The fact that a little more urine further dampened her panties may have also prompted the impatience. "Oh, I need to pee so bad!" That blunt statement did no favors in affirming her maturity, same for her starting to cry about it, but she just accepted it and pressed against the front of her shorts as she wiggled her hips and bounced.
Robin wasn't surprised or disappointed, he just nodded. "I figured as much."
"Then why didn't you just leave me alone?!"
"Distracted like that, I'm worried how you'll fare on your own in a battle. What if you get attacked while you're...preoccupied? This way, I can at least cover you. I figured, if you don't have a choice, you'd at least want a friend in this position."
He had a point, though honestly she'd rather have another girl if she didn't have to ask for the help, this was better than nothing, just the two of them. "Fine, then you just turn around, and I can..."
"Wait, right here?! Are you sure that's wise?"
"It's either here or my shorts! Is that okay?!" She was already undoing her long belt, regardless of whether she was still being watched or not.
"We just escaped a dark forest filled with Risen, and have yet to meaningfully move away from its perimeter. All that area for an ambush, I can't promise I'll be able to protect you, not against something that potentially dangerous." Nowi whined at the thought, still just about to pull her pants down, looking at Robin with the most pleading, upset eyes. It could just have been remnants from her earlier tears, but that small watering under her eyes could be new, and that tugged at any man's heart. "I'll do what I can if you can look me in the eye and tell me you're out of time. If you've got a little left in you, please use it, it's not that far to some bushes."
The manakete looked into the field and, as she had noted earlier, there was a little bundle of flora for modesty she'd be more than happy to use. If only it wasn't halfway across the valley, along another stream's edge, whose sight and sound would nearly kill her if she got close. She wanted nothing more than to pee, let out a violent torrent that'd leave a visible mark in the dirt below, and all she had to do was tell Robin she was at her limit. Just look him in the eye and say two simple words: "I can't."
She couldn't. Robin was willing to face unknown danger for her sake, against his better judgment, that probably physically hurt a tactician. He was being more helpful than she deserved, she couldn't betray his trust now, even if it would have barely been a lie. "I...I'll try." That was the most she could promise, her panties already felt like she'd lost it, it was probably already on her shorts if her hands would move off the crotch to tell.
"That's all I'll ask." In true support fashion, Robin put an arm around Nowi's shoulder and placed his other hand on her back, gently pushing and guiding her in the direction of the bathroom brush. That was imperative, it gave Nowi the freedom to close her eyes and focus on keeping her bladder steady. She needed the nudge, to force her to keep going even when she tried to stop. She'd dance, they'd move again. He'd also occasionally whisper encouragement, things like "you can make it" or "we're almost there".
Nowi was grateful for the assistance, but it was starting to look like it would be wasted effort. The pressure in her abdomen was mounting, growing ever more painful, waves crashing over the wall of her defenses. She was holding herself with all her power, clutching painfully hard and keeping her thighs as close together as she could while still being able to move. "Merciful Naga," she prayed, "please give me strength." Divine intervention may have already been spent keeping the Risen away from them, but no harm in asking for more.
"You did it, Nowi," Robin praised, "we're there!" The dragon opened her eyes, and sure enough, the small cluster of bushes was immediately before them. They were gathered together to hide her should she get in the open spot in the middle, it was perfect.
She wasted no time hobbling into the center, scratching the exposed skin on her thighs, and whipped her belt off. It didn't matter that she was being watched, she just needed to pee right now, there was no hesitation as she undid the clasp of her shorts. Still, she was happy that Robin had the respect to turn around of his own volition, just before she had to expose her damp underwear, which were also slid down to the top of her stockings and boots. With nothing covering her lower parts, she squatted down into hiding, and used one hand to keep her cape behind her.
It took a second for her bladder to relax, be really convinced it didn't need to hold anymore, that denial of relief was the most painful part. But when it finally relented and emptied its contents, it was just as powerful as she had imagined. A pure golden color, crashing into the grass with a deafening roar fit for a dragon, spreading out in a bubbling puddle surrounding the soles of her boots. It was loud, with its own distinct odor, Robin was basically still privy to all the details without even looking.
Good thing Nowi had no shame right now, or this would be a mortifying situation. Instead, she was happy as could be with her nether regions becoming their own little waterfall. Yes, it was still somewhat uncomfortable, but completely drowned out by the pure bliss paired up with it. In her long lifespan, this was far from the first time she had found herself this ready to burst, but it always felt beautiful whenever she got to relieve herself of it. The whole time she was tinkling, she had a wide smile on her face.
But, as expected of her size, it didn't last very long, not even a minute despite being filled to the brim. Still, the volume was nothing to sneeze at, especially for her proportions, she was somewhat impressed with the damage she'd dealt to this poor patch of soil. "Ooh, that's amazing," she sighed, yanking a leaf off the bush in front of her to wipe. It didn't look poisonous.
That just left pulling her bottoms back up, her first chance to get a real look at the clothes. Just as she had felt, her panties were in bad shape. The dark color hadn't been stained in any sense, but any cursory glance could tell they were drenched. The idea occurred to her to leave them behind, but she decided against it. It'd be uncomfortable, but she didn't carry around much spare underwear, this pair was kind of important. In comparison, her shorts weren't too bad. The light pink color was a lot worse at hiding wetness, but the spot was comparatively small. Someone would have to be looking intently at her crotch to notice. She only winced a little feeling the damp fabric slip back to their proper spot.
To his credit, Robin didn't acknowledge Nowi's presence until she entered his sight again. "That was...something." He had a hard time looking right at her, his cheeks red as his gaze shifted rapidly.
Nowi had never seen him this unsure. She hadn't really stopped smiling since her restroom visit started, but it got even bigger at that thought, that she had flustered their tactician. It was adorable, and she'd be keen on replicating that reaction some time in the future. "It was close, no doubt."
"Can I ask something? Why didn't you use your Dragonstone at any point? Surely a bigger dragon would have an easier time."
Nowi pulled the dark green jewel out of her pocket, letting it shine in the sun. "This is my only means of defending myself, I can't waste its power on something this trivial. I know I was desperate, but I'm not stupid."
"That's...a very mature way of thinking." It wasn't total shock, but he did sound a little surprised.
"I am over a thousand years old, remember? I know the responsibilities of being a manakete. Can I ask you something, too? Why did you go so far out of your way to help me?"
"I said before, something bad could have happened to you going into a battle like that. As a tactician, it's my job to ensure everyone's safety."
It might have been a reasonable explanation, but Nowi wasn't convinced. "Would you have gone so far for someone like, say, Miriel?"
Robin had to think about that, which gave away the essence of his answer before he could say it. "Okay, maybe I was a little more inclined to help you in particular. I know you're an adult, but it's hard to watch someone that looks like a kid suffer like that."
"Aww...you'd make a good dad, Robin." Nowi didn't realize until after she said it that one could glean an alternate meaning, but she felt no need to retract it either. "Thanks so much, things would have gone a lot worse without-" She stopped talking in an instant as her ears twitched. "Something's coming, I hear it."
The two scanned the environment around them, looking for something that could have caused the noise, even as innocuous as an animal. Neither had any luck until a Risen began rising from the ground, only then did they see the moving puddle it spawned from. "Good ears, Nowi," Robin praised, unsheathing his bronze sword for their first battle in this skirmish. Likewise, Nowi gripped the Dragonstone she still had in her hand, activating its power and transforming into a radiant green dragon. The pair looked at each other, nodded, and charged together to confront the Risen.
Chapter 2: Morgan, Having an Accident? Nah.
Exploring the streets of Ylisstol in early September was a pleasant experience, it was cool enough that many of its citizens were out and about, giving the capital a sense of life. All these people reminded Robin why he was so adamant about fighting with the Shepherds, to protect this way of life. However, his duty as a tactician was not on his mind right now, this was leisure, even though he was on a mission of his own.
"So, Father, why did you insist we accompany you into town? I had training planned that you're interrupting me from." In this journey, Robin was accompanied by two younger girls, in a weird age gap where there wasn't a suitable explanation for their identity. They were too young to be his sisters or girlfriends, but too old to be his children. Except, they were his daughters, from the future. It was a lot less unusual among the ranks of the Shepherds than one might think. As soon as he married Nowi and guaranteed their eventual birth, the two appeared in his life and nestled their place in firmly.
In particular, the one complaining was Nah. Though it was difficult to tell, with manakete genes hiding age so well that the thousand-year old Nowi looked ten, Nah was the younger of the sisters. And she was a responsible little girl, dedicating her time to combat training and controlling her dragon transformation. She took her worth as a soldier very seriously, even going out with her family was unwelcome.
"Sorry, I couldn't tell you while we were still in the barracks," Robin explained. "I didn't want anyone to overhear and tell your mother. See, her birthday is on the 21st, and I figured you'd like to look for a present." He scratched the back of his neck nervously. "And, if I'm being honest, I'm not very good at picking out gifts. I was also hoping you might help me, and we can make it a gift from all three of us."
"Well...I don't think I'll be much help. I don't remember anything about Mother." The other girl was Morgan, and much like her father, she awoke in a field missing memories. She vaguely remembered Robin from her future, but Nowi was a total blank, and had in turn followed his tactician example.
"Don't worry about it." Robin reached down and rubbed Morgan's green hair. "You're a lot like your mother, Morgan. Think about the kinds of things you like that aren't studying battle strategies."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not against getting her a birthday present," Nah interjected, "but I don't think it's smart to keep treating her like a kid. She can't just keep playing around forever."
Frustrated, Robin put his face in his hand. This was far from the first time he'd had to listen to this. "That's just the kind of girl she is, Nah. And that kind of thing is important to an army too."
"I disagree. What functional use does someone who goofs around all day serve?"
Robin sighed. "You'll understand when you're older. Listen, I'm still lacking in parenting skill, so can I ask you to go easy on me? Just behave for the day, and I'll do something with each of you when we return to the barracks."
"I doubt a good tactician needs to bargain with the enemy to attain victory," Morgan observed.
"True, but a great tactician knows how to control the field in their favor. The Shepherds have never been above bribery, Chrom recruited Gaius by giving him candy."
"I can believe it. Alright, does mother like jewelry? She likes that ring you gave her." It was enough of a treasured possession that she passed it on to Nah in the future, after all.
"Well, I know she's collected shiny rocks, but I don't think she cares much for jewelry. I think she only cares about that ring so much for the sentimental value."
"Hmm...perhaps a pouch to hold her items? As it stands now, she can only hold her Dragonstone in her pockets."
"Can we just figure something out quickly," Nah interrupted. She had just been listening to the two going back and forth, and she didn't want to wait any more.
Robin threw his arms up in defeat. "Alright, alright, we'll look around. You're being really impatient today, Nah, and I don't care for it." Nah pouted, but didn't respond to the reprimand. She just stayed quiet as the family started walking to look through the windows of some of the shops on the street. A little slower, she stayed a few paces behind, which allowed her the quick bit of needed privacy to press against the front of her white dress.
The braided manakete was having her share of trouble keeping her bladder in check. Likely to avoid any witnesses that would spread the word, Robin had insisted they leave for town quickly. So, needless to say, that left Nah in an uncomfortable position where she had to go and she wouldn't say anything, she couldn't say anything. A dragon couldn't show weakness of any kind. She just took a deep breath to brace herself for the impending sting, resigning herself to the fate of quietly holding it for a while longer.
"Mmpf!" Looking at various leather pouches from a street vendor, Morgan's distraction served to hide a small threat sneaking up on her, until it made itself known with a spike she couldn't ignore. The tactician in training could really use a bathroom right about now. It was tugging at her attention just enough to be annoying, it might be prudent to start looking for relief soon.
Problem was, her duty wasn't finished yet. Dad had made his need for help clear, and they still hadn't found a gift. They were close, this seemed like a good lead, but they still needed to pick an exact bag. And with all the various colors, patterns, decorations, this could take a while. Looking at her family, it looked like Robin was having no better luck making a decision. And Nah was barely looking, seemingly focusing on something else.
For a second, Morgan was going to scold Nah for not taking this seriously, but looking closer, discomfort was splayed across her face. Maybe it was just because Morgan was thinking of it, but she had an idea what may have been ailing her sister. "So, it's bothering both of us," she whispered, looking more intently at the wares. Now, the course of action was clear: pick something soon, finish the job, and they'd return to the barracks before things got bad.
Still, she wasn't going to make that an excuse. It was no reason to put no thought into a choice in purse, it was just on a timer now. Grateful that the robe she wore covered her lower half somewhat, she shuffled her feet on the cobblestone road, and began more seriously weighing the handful of options she had the best opinion of. "Father, does the jewel on this one look like a Dragonstone to you?"
Robin looked over the bag, or the gem more specifically. "Hm, a little bit. Maybe she could use it as a decoy Dragonstone?"
"I can't imagine any situation where she'd need that, but a tactician should plan for every possibility." Morgan smiled amidst her aching, picking this specific item up from the rest of the wares. "I think it looks nice."
Robin nodded. "I'm not the best with fashion, but it matches you. It'll look good on Nowi." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a few gold coins, handing them to the vendor.
"Well, I doubt you're any worse than Lucina. I think Mother will appreciate this." Morgan breathed a sigh of relief, she'd make it back to the barracks relatively comfortably, and Nah would probably be fine as well.
Robin looked up at the sky, covering his eyes with his hand to look towards the sun. "We've got plenty of time, we can do some extra shopping. Maybe a stop in the book store?"
That was tempting, they didn't get the chance to add new books to the personal library often. Yes, Morgan still needed to pee, but if she abandoned this chance, it could be a while before she'd get another. She could manage a little longer. "That sounds wonderful. We'll just need you to lead the way there."
"It's this way, we're not far." He took point, so the two sisters trailed behind. Morgan looked alright, but one look at Nah revealed she was much more concerned. Maybe not so much panicked, but she definitely didn't look happy. The elder sibling, honestly, didn't consider that in her planning. Maybe she had made a mistake going along so readily.
Or, she could make this work. Trying to look inconspicuous, she shuffled next to Nah, whose scowl only grew deeper. "Thanks for wasting more of my time, Morgan. I just wanted to go back to the barracks, but you're insistent on keeping me away."
"You really don't need to be so rude. I get that you need to use the bathroom, but I'm trying to help you. There's a chance that the bookstore will have our solution."
A bright blush illuminated Nah's cheeks upon hearing that. "You noticed? I'm that obvious?" Her spirits, what little there were, fell even further knowing her fragility was so plain to see.
"I know I don't remember you, but we are still sisters. Besides, I need to go too, so I've got it on the mind."
"Oh...I'm sorry for being mean, it's just-"
"You're frustrated and you need to pee, I get it, I get it. I'm not going to leave you to suffer with no way out." During their conversation, they reached the entrance to the shop her and Robin visited when they had the chance, and it appeared their dad had gone missing in the meantime in a lucky break for them. "I'll even ask the clerk for you."
"Th-thanks, Morgan." She attempted to stand straight with her hands at her side and look nonchalant, she succeeded at that part, but she still looked upset. Morgan couldn't blame her, it was probably feeling a lot worse than her own soreness, and she was already a little on the uncomfortable side. It would definitely be smart to relieve herself right after Nah finished off.
At least it didn't take much effort to find someone who worked there, not with them planted right behind a sales counter. "Excuse me, do you have a ladies' room we can use?"
The saleswoman, who looked scarily the same as Anna, shook her head. "Sorry, miss, we don't have anything like that. You may need to look somewhere else."
"Oh..." Morgan had put her chips on there being a bathroom here, she was expecting it and planning for it without considering the possibility it might not be the case. That was a huge failure for an aspiring tactician. "Thank you anyway." And how would she break the news to Nah? She had gotten her sister's hopes up, assured her she wouldn't need to wait much longer.
She had already made a promise without being able to back it up, she couldn't lie this time. Bracing herself for the worst, Morgan found Nah lazily looking over some history books. Her ears perked up as she heard the approach, and she faced her sister, smiling. "Did you find out where the bathroom is?"
Just looking at that, Morgan suddenly felt awful. It was so hard, it took a few failed attempts, but she managed to choke it out. "They...they don't have one." She closed her eyes, waiting for the punishment she deserved. Nah groaned, looking around at the mostly empty store to check if any of its few patrons were close. When she saw they weren't, she once again put her hands on the front of her dress, that became the image Morgan was met with when she opened her eyes. And just seeing it was prompting her to mimic, now that she needed to go bad enough to justify it.
Nah took a few deep breaths for stability. "It's fine, it's fine, I'm used to disappointment. Guess it was stupid of me to get my hopes up."
"Listen, I feel bad enough about it as is. You don't need to guilt me."
"So, do you have another idea now?"
"Well..." She hadn't planned any contingencies, yet another tactician's sin. The only good thing was that she was now thinking on her feet, improvising a new plot very quickly. "Alright, I've got one. You tell Father that I'm not feeling well and you're escorting me back to the barracks. Either we make it back or we find something on the way."
"Why do I have to ask?"
"Because the person who's sick can't be the one to ask, it needs to be a cover. And if Father sees you training later, he'd know we were lying. Meanwhile, I can lay in bed and read, and no one will suspect. Or you can tell him the truth-"
"No," Nah nearly shouted before Morgan could fully finish. "I'm not a little kid anymore, I don't need to ask my dad for help to make it to the bathroom! Alright, fine, I'll find him!" She stomped off in some direction to look for their father, wherever he was.
With no one to talk to, Morgan was starting to feel even more uncomfortable. She was already able to feel the mass of her bladder, and keeping her mind solely on it was doing her no favors. "Maybe I underestimated," she whined, especially bad to make that mistake two times today. She hurriedly picked up the book Nah had been glancing at, just to do something while she waited.
Perhaps a touch too long after she had left, the young manakete returned. "Okay, I told him. Let's leave now." Her teeth were clenched, the message was clear; she didn't want a second wasted. And her green-haired older sibling completely agreed, as she put the tome back on the shelf and hurried out the store.
Back in the public view, Morgan and Nah once again stood up straight to not appear distressed. However, they had tried this tactic too many times, and it was starting to fail. Not only for the first time in this bout of desperation, but for the first time in years, both girls had a simultaneous little accident. Nothing major, but both now had to deal with drops of urine in their panties, acting as a harbinger of doom soon to arrive. Both jolted in shock at the sudden dampness, moved their legs a little closer together, and whined. Neither would admit that they had just lost something, but they were both a little worried for themselves.
The real problem was how long it was going to take to get back. The town was built around the Ylisstol castle, so it wasn't really far, but it still might have been asking too much. With each step closer, their strength drained even further, every once in a while marking its countdown with another leak. Not that they had been comfortable in quite some time, but that wetness in their most private areas was only making it more distressing.
Nah tugged on her sister's coat sleeve when they were about halfway to their destination. "Morgan...I can't hold it anymore. We need to stop." She sounded blank, like she was still in control despite the situation claiming otherwise, but there was an unshakable feeling that she was about to cry.
Problem was, Morgan didn't have a solution. It would take too long to go into every building and ask if they had a bathroom, unless they got lucky with the first pick. Even untrained, she could tell, that was not a high possibility, and it'd be much more embarrassing for Nah if she had an accident in a store with focus on her. Basically, there were no good options if time was up, that initial choice of building would be imperative. "So, which store are you banking on?"
That wasn't the reply Nah was expecting to hear. "I...I was just going to ask for cover in an alley. I don't want to ask a million strangers."
Admittedly, that same idea had occurred to Morgan as a total possibility, but she had shot it down due to the population density right now. "Have you noticed how many people are walking around? It's literally impossible that you won't be seen."
"You're giving up before we even try? Just act as a good distraction until I can finish, that's all I'm asking! Come on, I promise I'll do the same for you!" She could no longer keep appearances, she was bouncing in place and her hands were shaking, pleading to be allowed to grab her crotch with all her strength.
"Okay, get in the alley! I'll let you know when it's safe." The promise of getting to relieve herself soon was enough to convince her, and Morgan shuffled her sister into one of the dark passages, turned away and covering the entrance with her body. She just needed to find a break to alert Nah things were clear, but her own annoyance was keeping her from working at peak efficiency. It was all too obvious with the way her heel was twisting into the pavement.
The younger dragon couldn't even be that patient. She had yet to receive a signal that it was safe, but she was already lifting up her dress and uncharacteristically exposing her white panties. Even if had been perfectly dry, she would never even think of putting them out in the open if her bladder wasn't trying to kill her. She got her thumbs hooked over the waistband of the underwear, a finicky process with her stiff gloves, but had just enough shame to not yank them down quite yet. "How are things looking, Morgan?!"
Morgan wished she could say it was all good, but the penalty for lying would be the end of the world for Nah. There were still so many people, and some of them were already suspicious about the way she was standing around, blocking the view of the alley. Her body wasn't big enough to fully cover what was happening behind her, Nah would still be seen if she were to act hastily. She could spread out her coat, like prey attempting to look larger to scare off predators, but that'd only draw more attention. With her clothing beneath the robe matching her mother's, in that it was equally revealing, it'd probably look like she was performing a street-side strip show.
Receiving no response, Nah groaned and removed her hands, letting her dress fall back into place. Having been denied relief that close, she was too far gone to look anywhere close to normal any longer, she needed to lean against the wall behind her and stamp her feet to stand a chance at not soaking herself. Why should she have to suffer like this? It couldn't be possible that she needed to wait this far. "You're telling me there's really no opening?!"
"Yes, that's what I'm saying. And drawing attention by yelling isn't doing you any favors. I promise, I'll tell you when it's good."
"I don't need you being a lookout, you're supposed to be a distraction! Get them not looking over here!"
"And what do you suggest I do to draw their attention? Waste some Dragonstone energy and turn into a dragon in the middle of town? Or maybe take my top off?" The expectations being thrown upon Morgan were starting to make her a little testy, a state of mind her desperation was doing no favors. "How about I go first and you show me how distractions are supposed to be done?!"
"Yeah, I've got just the thing! A young girl wetting herself right out in the open! Everyone will stare at that!" Nah was grinding her teeth in pure anger, she'd be getting right up in her sister's face about this argument...if she could move. "Why is it so hard to pull your weight or help your sisAGH!" She may have put too much energy into the argument instead of her tired bladder, now she realized that mistake as her muscles could no longer hold back the flood.
Once the hissing sound of a flowing river took hold, it only took a scant few seconds for it to be visible. Yes, there was the stream pouring out from beneath the short skirt to the ground below, there was also however much was running down her legs into her stockings. But the most damning of all was the mark it was leaving on her white dress, it was no stretch to say everything below the front's waist was slowly becoming ruined.
Realizing what she had done, and would be doing for the next minute, Nah's fighting spirit left her. All that remained in its place was a chilling hollowness, a sensation as empty as her bladder would soon be. There was no longer any fire in this dragon as her face turned pale, the only color on her besides her red cape was the growing splotch of yellow on her clothes.
Despite all her earlier concerns, nothing beyond herself mattered once she started peeing. This couldn't be happening. Nah wasn't helpless, something she had been affirming for years, she was a half-breed manakete that had been through hardship, and come out of it one of the strongest fighters in the Shepherds. Even ignoring her personal circumstances, she wasn't a baby, an accident like this was inexcusable. She hated holding all this in, but this was an even worse fate.
It didn't take long for her small frame to run out of urine to give, but that was even more embarrassing. There wasn't much of a puddle, and she couldn't hold even that. The thought made her feel almost sick, like some kind of cruel karma. She felt awful, even keeping this to herself would haunt her. At least she could keep it secret and not have to deal with teasing...unless someone saw her.
That was the first time the thought occurred to her, that she couldn't wait until no one was watching. Scared, she jolted to look at the entrance back to the street, expecting a crowd to witness her shame. She couldn't see very well past Morgan, but suddenly that didn't matter either. Not when she saw her own sister watching and snickering. Now her emotions came running back, and she shouted, "what are you laughing at?!"
"S-sorry," Morgan apologized between giggles, "it's just funny to see you getting humbled. You were acting so rude, it's hard not to think you deserved this."
Nah blushed, but not in the bashful way. She bared her fangs and marched right up in Morgan's face, propping herself up on her toes to match height. "You get a kick out of this, you sadist?! Then how hilarious would it be if I tell everyone about how you had a nightmare last week and needed to sleep with Father?!"
Morgan backed up with her personal space being invaded by a pee-soaked girl, her cheeks turning pink. "Y-you were awake to see that?!" She gulped, a nervous bead of sweat falling off her forehead, unable to make eye contact until she came up with a retort. "You say anything about that, I'll tell everyone about the time Mother left you for a few minutes during training, and I found you crying about being lonely!"
"You wouldn't..." Nah clenched her fist, prompting Morgan to take a step back and ready her own hands. Neither were reaching for their Dragonstones, but it was still looking like a familial fight was about to break loose.
"There you two are!" Whatever the two were planning, it stopped in a heartbeat as they heard that voice. That was definitely Robin, so now their highest priority was finding him. Only then did the realize the magnitude of the crowd they had been working to avoid gathering, a whole slew of people were watching the dispute. Still, it took no time to find the tactician, and as they guessed from his voice, he was angry. "What were you thinking, going off on your own without telling me?!"
The sisters stood side-by-side and faced their father, standing at attention. Morgan didn't even look at Nah to confront her. "You said you told him we were leaving."
"I...I lied, I couldn't do it. It was too embarrassing."
Robin marched over to the two, not even giving Nah's clothing a glance. "Do you have any idea how scared I was when I couldn't find you? I thought you got kidnapped or something!"
"We're not little kids," Nah argued through a mumble, "we could fight off any attackers."
"I should think you know better than I what kinds of evils lurk in this world. Can you honestly tell me you'd be fine if any of them came for you?" Neither of the girls could offer a rebuttal, just a cough and foot shuffling. Robin sighed, and his face finally dropped the fury it had been carrying. "You're alright, I'm thankful for that, just...don't run off again. Don't you think you've been through enough without your parents to protect you?"
"Well, we're not completely alright." Morgan nodded her head towards Nah.
"That's another thing," Robin reverted back to his parental ranting without any warning. "That's what you were so ashamed to tell me? You thought I wouldn't be able to help you if you said you needed to use the bathroom?"
"That's not it," Nah shouted, like she was comforting her dad. "It was just...we're manaketes. Don't you think it's just a little bit demeaning to need help on something that stupid?"
"Being a manakete doesn't put you on any higher level than a human. Even when your mother was embarrassed in this same situation, that was never the reason she had a hard time saying it."
"Mother's been through this with you? What happened there?" Nah had a curious streak about her parents' romantic life, and was eager to learn all the details to anything of their time dating. Though her wavering voice seemed to indicate she wasn't quite up to absorbing a story at the moment.
"I'll tell you later." Robin knelt down to better match his children's heights. "Point is, there's nothing wrong with wanting to be stronger women, but you're my daughters first and foremost. You can ask me for help on anything, and I won't think any less of you no matter the question." He wrapped his arms around both of their bodies, holding them tightly in a warm embrace.
This display of affection, coupled with his explicit permission to not act so tough, sent Nah over the edge for the second time. It was too much to handle now, she buried her face in her dad's shoulder and cried loudly. Tears flowed as freely as a different bodily fluid she had experience with today, and she kept choking out wails. It wasn't entirely rare to see the young dragon's sobs, but when she always tried to deny that part of her emotions, this display felt like an important moment. She was at the mercy of Robin petting her head, gently stroking her hair.
Morgan was feeling emotional too, getting a little misty-eyed, but a sudden pain pulled her back into the moment of reality. "Not that I don't appreciate this, but Nah wasn't the only one that needed to go. I'm about out of time here."
He didn't mind hugging one wet girl, but the potential of a second was not welcomed, as he reeled back and kept some distance. "Any chance you could make it back to the castle?" Morgan shook her head, and Robin looked at the nearby buildings as his children had done not long before. "If you resorted to what you did, I'll assume none of the buildings had anything you could use. I really don't want to walk back with two wet daughters, so...do what you will."
Checking the surroundings outside the immediate family, Morgan did notice the crowd had dispersed. Apparently a touching personal moment wasn't very interesting, and for the current objective, that was a very good development. The green-haired girl, realizing what needed to be done, ran back into the alley she had previously guarded, throwing her coat onto the ground somewhere, hopefully not into Nah's puddle. She trusted her father to protect her privacy, she didn't even need to check before pulling down her shorts and squatting close to the ground.
Considering how she was already in a near-emergency state much earlier, it was almost miraculous how she had lasted up to this moment. Granted, it had come with so many leaks in her white panties that she had stopped noticing long ago, but it wasn't noticeable from the outside and that's all she could ask for. She relaxed and let the flow of urine rush out.
If Morgan had been focusing on her bladder's pain all this time, she probably would have realized she was about to burst, so the volume shooting out wasn't surprising. It was a pure golden color, spreading quickly, with the force of more splashing down causing ripples to glide outwards and the point of impact producing numerous tiny bubbles on the liquid's surface. And of course, it was loud, enough that the worry occurred to her about someone outside noticing. Good thing she had someone dependable covering her.
It was safe, she could relax, she sighed heartily in total relief as she had the chance to empty out. Admittedly, she felt a little bad about the way Nah had to wet herself, but it wasn't her fault, just the way things unfolded. Despite their argument before, Morgan had no intention of telling any of the other Shepherds what her sister had done, at least not anymore.
Eventually, her own pulsing flood had no more reserves left, and the pee stopped gushing. It trickled for a short time afterwards, but it wasn't long before it was nothing more than stray drops. "Wow, that's a lot," she gasped out as she pulled her shorts back up. It wasn't an impossible amount, but it was a lot more than she usually managed before finding a bush out on the field. But at least plants had leaves she could use to wipe, not that it would matter right now, with her underwear drenched enough to ensure she'd stay wet.
Either way, it didn't bother her, she'd survive long enough to change out of the wet clothes. Given everything that could have gone horribly wrong, she could live with the mild discomfort if it meant she hadn't humiliated herself in front of a swarm of people she didn't know, or worse yet, people she did. Family could pull her through what would otherwise be a mortifying situation, and probably was for her sister. Once she ran out and the three began walking back, she made that sympathy known. "I'm sorry for the way I acted. I was angry, but that's no excuse. I promise, I'll make sure to help you better next time this happens."
Nah sighed in her own frustration, but it didn't sound angry. "Don't phrase it like that, like you know it's going to happen again. It won't if I have any say in it. Listen, I'm not lastingly mad at you, I don't think I could be. Too many memories of what we've been through, what you've done for me."
That one statement, nice as it may have been, made Morgan feel worse than anything earlier. "All the things I can't remember..."
And touching that sore spot made Nah feel awful too. "Well, that's why this moment is important. I'm more than happy to make new memories with you." It was something she'd said before, and she truly believed it, but this was the first time she realized everything that came with that declaration, and her smile fell into fear. "You're going to remember this forever, aren't you?"
"Yes! I don't remember a lot of things you've done, I need something to tease you with!" Morgan laughed, Nah whined, Robin didn't hear the whole conversation but something about the tone made him sigh, that was the essence of the family dynamic. It may have been a horrible experience, but someday, it'd be a funny memory. It just might be a very long time from now. Two manakete sisters could outlive that.
Chapter 3: Futures That Can't Be Changed
The land of Valm was weird to Lucina. Not because of the terrain, it was just a sparse forest, the trees were the same you'd find anywhere else, even the temperature was comparable to Ylisse. It was just inexplicably...off. Perhaps she wasn't the best to judge, considering she felt the same way about Ylisse when she arrived, the country she had spent her entire life in. Her Ylisse was destroyed, dragon-torn, dark and terrifying, that was just the world she knew, and the less devastated world of the past was alien.
It didn't matter, this was the world she wanted to preserve, one without the fell dragon Grima's terror. Both her and her father's Falchions were there to ensure it. Chrom also placed his tactician, Robin, in the same heroic role, but Lucina wasn't so sure of him. She hadn't seen him do anything wrong, so no point in acting, but she was wary, watching the two talk at the head of a march. It was kind of impressive how they could talk so nonchalantly, considering they had been advancing north for hours now, and everyone else was tired.
Like daughter, like father, because Chrom seemed to be thinking the same thing and stopped suddenly to face his platoon. "Let's break, troops!" That could have a number of interpretations, but spend enough time in the army, everyone's priorities of how to use resting periods were all in the same place, it didn't need to be said. That's why the prince was able to just continue, holding his right arm out to his side. "Men to my right, women to my left." Riders dismounted their steeds, the genders split, dispersed into the trees and wandered far away until the other was lost behind all the natural barriers.
The limited number of obstacles meant they had to wander quite a while to reach that point, though some of the girls were starting to get impatient the farther they needed to hike. "Phew, I was starting to think we'd never stop," Nowi happily exclaimed, unhooking the clasp of her belt. "I was starting to get worried I wouldn't make it!"
"I know," Lissa concurred, slipping out of her dress to get the cage crinoline off and out of the way. "I was minutes away from asking my brother if we could rest." A few more observations of desperation were thrown around as the girls gradually came to their stops. Some of them had a lot more things to remove, especially the unfortunate souls in full armor that needed a partner to remove, but soon enough, everyone was squatting and doing their business.
That was simply the reality of being in an army, there was rarely the time, space, or cover for everyone to have privacy when they answered nature's call in the wild. It was necessary to accept that the only consideration you'd get was gender division, so leave all other modesty or shame behind. Surprisingly, most had very little problem adjusting to this indecency, even someone as proper as Maribelle was going like it was the most ordinary thing to do.
There was a lot of variance in this scattered bathroom circle. Some girls kept their legs close together to avoid showing too much, like Sumia, while someone like Anna spread them for the world to see. Most peed at a reasonable pace, not urgently but worth stopping for, while others were clearly seconds away from an accident with their powerful streams, the manaketes in particular. And finally, while everyone else was watering the grass, Lucina was simply standing around, averting her eyes from the majority of the nudity, trying not to think about what was happening around her.
The time-traveling lord had a bit of an embarrassing problem, one totally unexpected for someone in her position: Lucina had a shy bladder. It had never caused issue in the past, or the future technically, where she had a party small enough to allow the team to spread out to a distance she could relax at without having to admit anything. Now, something that simple seemed like such a luxury, and her usual solution was just wandering further away until she was out of sight.
Problem was, that wasn't much of an option this time, and she knew that as soon as the time-out was called. The trees were too sparse, she'd need to go a lot farther away to get the required isolation, far enough that someone would call her out or at least be curious, or she could get separated in a worst-case scenario. Even if she could slink away unseen, if she lost sight of the Shepherds and got turned around somewhere along the way, she'd have to call out to be found, explain what she was thinking, and look all-around incompetent. Her reputation would be ruined in an instant, and for the sake of something bigger than herself, she couldn't let that happen.
"You're not going to pee, Lucina?" Busy continuously turning down her own ideas, the blue-haired swordswoman didn't realize someone had approached her. Most of the team was still relieving themselves, some had managed to finish already and were scrambling for the few dry leaves on the ground to wipe, and then there was her poor sister Kjelle, still fully suited in her bulky armor, who had only just maneuvered the terrain and arrived.
"O-oh, no, I'm fine. I really don't need to go." It was only a half-lie, in that she was only half-full, in that state where she'd certainly like to relieve herself but it wasn't imperative she did so.
"Really? After all this time? Agh, you're so lucky! I wish my bladder was as good as yours, it's such a pain to take this off every time I need to whiz. Speaking of, you mind helping me?" Kjelle turned her back to Lucina and pointed behind herself with her thumb.
"Of course." She began unbuckling the clamps keeping the plates on her sister, laying each piece gently on the ground behind them as they fell off. The problem became, the more Kjelle was undressed, the less she was able to stand still. Her legs were shaking and stomping, making it incredibly difficult for Lucina to continue. "You need to stand still, Kjelle," she informed, with a hint of frustration.
"Sorry, I just need to leak really bad." She tried to not move, soon resorting to shivering, and snapped once her crotch plate had been removed. "Okay, that's enough! Step back a little!" Lucina, not wanting to be caught up in this, obeyed and gained respectable distance while Kjelle hurriedly pulled her pants down and squatted down the best she could in armor, into a sitting position. She leaned her upper body forward to point her butt away from her boots, and let loose.
Lucina couldn't even bear to look at this one. The knight's pee was ridiculous in its power, she really wasn't kidding about how little time she had left, even the second of flow her sister saw before looking away was more than she could match in five. However, a lack of direct sight did nothing to help the lord ignore this turning her bladder discomfort into something much more painful, because she couldn't do anything to stop hearing it. Nothing could drown out the sound of a serious waterfall, crashing into cascading, raging rapids. Even without hyperbole, that was the most apt description Lucina could come up with.
She wasn't the only one with attention on the female river, but she may have been the only one with a negative reaction to it. "By the gods, Kjelle! How much can one girl hold?!"
"I don't know, you tell me," Kjelle laughed. "I get it from you!" The woman making the initial remark was Sully, her and Lucina's mother, the Shepherds' resident tough girl, and just finishing off no slouch of a pee of her own. It was no secret that Kjelle took more after mom, and it just seemed natural they'd both take this kind of pride in bodily functions, a literal pissing contest with the two as the clear winners. Lucina rolled her eyes, she wasn't disgusted at her family, she just saw no reason to humor this crude form of bonding. Though, if the subject was how much she could pee, she was worried she could measure up if she went now.
Eventually, by the point most of the girls were beginning to suspect it would indeed be infinite, Kjelle's water spout sputtered and slowed, dripping a healthy amount before nothing remained. "Wow," she gasped, panting heavily from the relief, until she caught her breath and promptly laughed at the situation again. "Well, when you gotta go, right?" Lucina knew that feeling all too well, and everyone else's attention and awed silence at her sister was not helping the anxiety.
"Come on, it's no surprise a daughter of mine is that hearty!" Sully slapped Kjelle on the back and began reassembling the armor, with Lucina joining in to get it done faster. And with that tedious work completed, all of the girls were clothed and presentable once more, or at least would be once they stepped away from the watery mess they all left in the dirt. They'd go back to their supplies and animals, probably eat and rehydrate for the next stop's release, and move on.
Lucina, however, wasn't moving on quite yet. She couldn't get away while everyone else was going, but hanging behind while absolutely facing the correct direction, the branded warrior could pee in peace. She'd wait until the women reached a minimum distance, yank her clothes off, and take care of matters here. She was already reaching up under her blue leather gown and gripping the waist of her dark leggings, confident that relief was no more than a minute away.
That is, until Sully realized the head count was short one child. "Lucina! Hurry up, we're leaving!"
That was it, the worst development that could have unfolded, Lucina just wanted to be alone and she couldn't have even that. She would have cried out in anguish at how much destiny was conspiring against her, but this didn't spell doom quite yet. "I'll be there in a minute!" Either Sully would listen and she'd be alone, or she'd stay. One girl, her mother no less, the young swordswoman could still drop trou under those circumstances, maybe.
Unfortunately, Sully was not one to follow the most obvious paths. Instead, she marched over to her daughter and firmly grabbed her upper arm. "Alright, we need to talk. Come on." The red-haired rider dragged Lucina away, who was trying to protest, just very weakly. She wasn't the type of girl that would talk back to her parents, not when having them at all was a blessing.
Not trying to fight back, she recognized how simple this was, just tell her mom she needed to pee, Sully had just proven to be open on that subject. She'd need to explain herself afterwards, why she waited, but telling one person about her "deficiency" couldn't be that unbearable. Lucina would make her need known, would be allowed to answer it, and this whole worry is left behind her.
The Shepherds gathered around their makeshift camp, eating a quick meal and enjoying each other's company. And Lucina still had to pee, even worse now that she had drank more water. She couldn't bring herself to admit her shameful handicap, both for fear of making herself seem unsuited for her future-changing position, and her natural stubbornness. A characteristic she knew came from one specific side of the family, with her mother eating close to her, and the two sitting a small distance from the pack.
Despite being told there was a conversation inbound, Sully hadn't said anything since they rejoined the team. That kind of quiet was ominous, and Lucina felt her chest filling with a heavy dread, eating away at her appetite. She wasn't finishing her portion, so she asked first to get it over with. "What did you want to talk about, Mother?"
Slowly, Sully put down the food in her hand and sighed. "I won't beat around the bush, Lucina. I've noticed you sneaking off whenever we stop to leak to be alone. And I get it, you're at a difficult time in your life, sometimes you need that privacy."
Lucina had no idea what her mother was talking about, all she knew was that this wasn't the subject she was expecting. "What?"
"But as difficult as it may be, you need to control those urges. It's not always possible to answer that call in such a short time frame, and there's nothing worse than getting interrupted when you're that turned on, right at the edge of-"
"Ew!" Lucina had since caught on to the matter being breached, which gave her the confidence to say, without a doubt, she didn't want to hear another word of it. "You don't need to tell me, I'm..." She started that sentence without really thinking, and now had to see it through, regardless of the way she was blushing and couldn't look at her mom anymore. "...already well familiar with that topic."
"Oh, thank the gods!" Sully wiped her brow with the back of her hand, chuckling at the awkward silence. "I wanted to have that conversation even less than you did!"
"Well, I thank you for worrying about me, but I know all about my...body." Especially that one particular part still causing her distress. She knew all about it, and it was her duty to herself to ensure no one else did. She had one mind to admit it to Sully at least, but it was pretty clear the two weren't the closest mother-daughter pair, and the lance-wielding rider had just proven herself not too sensitive. Lucina found herself more comfortable around Chrom, if only he was female, that'd make a confession a little easier to swallow.
Still, she had to concede, time was running short. Lucina needed to pee, and soon. Tortured by watching literally every other girl get the relief she was denying herself, and her own mother unknowingly taking away her chance, just psychologically increasing the pain she was already feeling. There wasn't any sharp pains, or at least none that a woman who'd dealt with weapon-based injuries couldn't cope with, but that constant, omnipresent, throbbing and wavering ache was starting to drive the lord insane.
With no one paying attention, she subtly touched her thighs together and slid them up and down each other for that fleeting comfort. But she wasn't ignoring the present reality, experience had taught her that when her desperation turned physical, she'd be embarrassing herself soon. Whether it be an accident or violent holding to prevent one, they were both places Lucina didn't want to go. It might be awkward, but she needed an excuse to run out of sight. A blunt statement of her need wouldn't work, if that's how she left everyone, she'd be anxious and unable to relax. Then she'd take longer, someone would come looking, and she'd still be on square one.
Try as she might, she was not very good at lying. Even in her head, every pretext she could come up with sounded stupid, no way any of them would work on the savvier Shepherds. The truth was, alone, Lucina stood no chance at a plausible escape. It was critical she have someone else cover for her, and the choices were slim. She wouldn't dare trust this sensitive information to anyone other than family, and telling the prince was out of the question. She couldn't see Kjelle judging her for it, but she was on the other side of the camp. She couldn't just sheepishly walk past everyone and whisper a request to her sister, that would put all eyes firmly on her.
Why was this suddenly bothering her so much? Lucina was not a timid girl, she was strong, iron-willed, capable and determined. Why did her personal matters have to break her down? She'd gotten too used to life in the future, where importance was placed in surviving rather than individuality. And if that couldn't cure her of a shy bladder, what good would this present do? At this present moment, the only one she could rely on was her mother, conveniently sitting right next to her. She swallowed her pride, and turned to ask for help.
That's when she noticed Sully was preoccupied, looking up at the sky. Before Lucina could question why, a huge gust of wind blew past them, sending her long hair flying wild and almost pushing her off the fallen log she was sitting on. And the jolt almost caused her first leak, but her bladder barely handled the stress. Angry that someone nearly caused her first slip towards an accident, she frantically searched for the dastard responsible, and now noticed Cherche flying upwards on her wyvern, Minerva. "What's Cherche doing?"
"We noticed something far off in the distance, so she's taking a quick look over the treetops," Chrom explained.
"I-I could have gone to check!" Damn, a perfect excuse to leave was practically gift-wrapped, and she was too zoned out to realize.
"No, we didn't need anyone going out that far, just a peek above the branches. It's not reconnaissance, just curious." And now her dad was looking at her funny for being so eager to get away, forcing Lucina to shrink back down and be quiet. Once again, her thinking needed to change gears, that constant shifting was not helping her focus when it was just as likely she'd need to throw a plan out rather than execute it. Depending on what Cherche found, the Shepherds could be leaving immediately, and she'd be ruined. Now was not the time to hesitate, she needed to act fast.
Unfortunately, even with that determination, she couldn't do anything to slow the wyvern rider down, and she was already descending. "We were seeing the top of a giant tree, not too far from here."
Admittedly, she was ashamed to admit, Lucina's first thought was how good a giant tree would be for cover. Her rational side, however, knew this meant basically the opposite. Say'ri still explained it. "It's the Mila Tree, no question. The Voice lives at the top."
"Then we're close," Chrom announced, leaping to his feet, unsheathing his Falchion and holding the sword skyward. "Shepherds, we've got an oracle to meet! We can't carry the supplies up the tree, so we'll come back for them later!"
That was it, Lucina's final chance, gone. Without taking the time to pack up supplies, a chaos she could take advantage of, they'd start marching immediately. The more serious Shepherds would not be pleased with her if she held them up once they started moving, or fell behind. And waiting until they reached the tree? With the gods as her witnesses, for as long as her strength won out, she would not desecrate the grounds of the Divine Dragon Naga.
Loathe as she was to admit it, Lucina's only recourse was to really buckle down and hold it. To be fair, maybe she wasn't as desperate as her frantic worrying would suggest, but it certainly didn't mean she was in a position she was comfortable with. Maybe it was unfounded, but she was afraid they'd getting into a battle in the very near future, and the battlefield was the worst place to need to pee. It was not possible to keep a hold on a full bladder while engaged in combat, this entire ordeal would be over in the worst way if she needed to draw her weapon.
The time traveler spent the march praying that her instinct was wrong, that the path up the tree wouldn't take long and be entirely uneventful, that Naga's oracle wasn't long-winded, and that she'd make it back to this forest. It was a lot to ask for, but there was still the chance it would all work out, and Lucina clung to that hope, as she always had.
As the troops cleared the treeline and entered the clearing populated by the Mila Tree's gigantic roots, it became perfectly clear that desire was nothing more than wishful thinking. The path up the trunk to the staircase was blocked by no simple number of Valmese soldiers, and their commander Cervantes at the back. Say'ri wasn't exaggerating in her explanations of his men. Or his facial hair. The impending conflict, and the lake the tree drew nutrients from, made Lucina whine in the back of her throat. No one else seemed concerned, though, and Robin turned to their swordmaster. "What do we need to know about him, Say'ri?"
"He's a blowhard and a fool, but no less competent in battle. I don't expect it to be a difficult encounter, but it'll be no simple stroll, either."
"I trust you, Shepherds, I don't think I'll need to formulate a complex plan for this. Just stay on your guard." Certainly unusual to see Robin leave it to the men, but it did have one advantage that Lucina picked up on immediately: no one needed to be near her for a grand strategy to work. She waited behind as every other troop charged forward towards opponents, and took the one elevated root path untraveled.
Now, the lord had privacy to do whatever she needed to do. Well, aside from not being behind anything, so anyone could see her if they turned to look. And the enemy soldiers warily approaching her, so she'd be forced into battle soon enough. Also, even this desperate, she wouldn't dare pee on these holy grounds, that wasn't even a remote option. Her bladder hurt like an arrow wound now, that meant time before the flood was short. But at least she could comfortably cross her legs with no allies to see, if just a touch.
"Oh no..." She must have subconsciously known, but this was the first time Lucina truly realized: she wasn't going to make it, she couldn't. Even if she didn't have to fight, this was just going to take too long, And she had purposefully placed herself away from any of her comrades, so no matter how open she was willing to be now, on the verge of an emergency, she could no longer ask for help. "I've made a terrible mistake."
With that newfound scale of the plight she had caused for herself, she regretted many of her actions earlier. She couldn't have done anything about her shy bladder, but she could have been braver in staying behind when everyone else was returning to the group, or told her mom what was troubling her, or left of her own will when she needed to. "Why do I have to be so weak," she cried, hearing the sound of metal clanging.
That was not a noise she was expecting, and it pulled her from her despair to find the source. Apparently, she had pulled out the Falchion and held it up to block an opponent's sword swing, all without thinking. Well, at least she was a respectable warrior on the field, and some might claim that was all that mattered. Lucina didn't believe it, but it was one aspect she could take pride in, especially now, when all else seemed dark. Even with her muscles stiff and reflexes slowed, she still recovered from the defense and swung her weapon straight through the opponent's chest. It hit her that she was already tainting the waters with blood, but that would excuse nothing. Blood wasn't her fault.
Surprisingly, even to her, Lucina was able to slice through a number of Valmese soldiers. Her movements were no longer graceful, they were certainly not acrobatic, which resulted in the hits being much less clean and lethal. They were still damaging, but it gave her enemies the chance to retaliate. They'd yet to hit her, but the interceptions and near misses were damaging her constitution. With her teeth gritted, sweat forming, hair matting, and every ounce of her body pleading for the inevitable not to happen, she finally dribbled urine into her underwear.
A chill ran up her spine at the sudden warmth, and she didn't have the strength to resist grabbing at the wet spot with her left hand. Without any enemy units around, she could get away with it. "No! Nonononononono NO!" She began trotting on her toes where she stood, the pace rapidly increasing as the leaks just wouldn't stop. By this point, the liquid was seeping through into her leggings, becoming barely visible in thin rivulets snaking down her thighs.
One could be forgiven for thinking Lucina had her accident already, but that wasn't quite the case. She was still holding on, if only by a hair's breadth. And it looked as urgent, her chest heaving even through her clothing and her eyes closed to better concentrate on herself. No doubt she was trying her best, but some futures are fixed, and she'd been destined to lose control for quite some time now. She went down fighting, struggling until the very end, when she finally burst, and had to come to terms with that. Lucina, proud warrior of a destroyed future, with the blood of the Exalt, peed herself.
No surprise considering her long trial up to now, but this would not be over quickly. Golden liquid poured from between her legs, most in a broken splatter straight down onto the tree root she was traversing, but plenty sliding down her leggings, dying the dark fabric a shade deeper. The stains sunk all the way down to her boots, not a far distance, but then began the point she could feel it pressing and squishing against her skin.
She had to relent. She had lost this fight spectacularly and needed to accept that. She fell to her knees hard enough to hurt, reducing the distance pee had to fall and muffling its noise. Her thighs were pointed inward and her feet spread out behind her, a position that did nothing beyond further soak her butt. Pressing it against the wooden floor with an open palm, her trembling hand finally gripped Falchion and sheathed it before the blade was profaned with her bodily fluids. She found the will to partially open her eyes, the world reduced to a blurry mess of color through her forming tears. "Naga...forgive me."
"Lucina!" Busy crying, and miraculously not being attacked, Lucina was unaware that Chrom was running towards her, until he called to her, panicked. In no time, he reached his daughter, and knelt before her, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her out of her daze. "Where are you hurt? How bad is the injury?"
She tried to look her father in the eyes, but even with watery vision obscuring his features, she couldn't bear to equal his gaze. "I...I...I..."
Another loud pair of footsteps bolted near the two, but the most Lucina could make out was the color red. That is, until they spoke. "Chrom, you may want to look down." Of course it was Sully.
Heeding his wife's advice, the prince looked down to his daughter's lower half. While the result of her accident had dripped down the curved platform into the pond below, the path it took through her leggings was unmistakable. "Oh, Lucina...what happened?" His tone, previously scared, was now quiet and sorry.
Lucina's shivering grew in intensity, until her sobbing snapped into a roaring wail, and she fell into her father's chest for his embrace. "I couldn't do it! We all stopped to use the bathroom, but I couldn't go because my body's stupid, and then I couldn't say anything because I'm stupid, and then...then..."
"Shhh," Chrom soothed, stroking her cape, and her back through it. "It's not your fault. It could have happened to anyone."
"No, it couldn't! When was the last time any of the Shepherds peed their pants? Any of your good, capable Shepherds worth the weapons they wield?"
"Yes, well..." It wasn't even bringing up a story from long ago, Chrom had literally never seen this happen with any of his troops. Unless he wanted to dig up a tale of Lissa when she was extremely young, which didn't match Lucina's demand and would only make her feel worse, if a kid was the only thing he could equate her to.
"The point is, from the moment I first laid eyes on you, the real you, I had no doubt you were worthy to have that sword," Sully interjected, before Lucina could take Chrom's silence as justification for more crying. "And we all still believe that. Take it from me, you're an amazing fighter, and this hasn't changed my mind a bit! It's one simple mistake stacked up next to countless victories."
"Exactly," Chrom agreed. "Regardless of a little accident like this, we're all still very proud of you. You've faced so many difficult challenges, and maybe you've stumbled, but you came out of it all a true leader."
"But even the best leader knows to ask for help when they need it, right? Did you think we couldn't help you, or were you just too ashamed to say anything?"
"The l-latter," Lucina choked and admitted. "Everyone else has no problem, why am I the only one falling behind, when I should have experience by now?"
"And I'm guessing Kjelle's 'performance' today wasn't easing your anxiety?" Lucina nodded, and Sully scratched the back of her neck. "Then I'm sorry for putting so much attention on it, but I can make it up to you. Your problem is a shy bladder? I'm sure I can get you comfortable around the other women, and until then, I can accommodate you."
"T-thanks, Mother." Even if her parents were here now to make it feel better, this whole experience was something she never wanted to happen again. She sniffled and wiped her eyes clear with her forearm sleeve.
Since the root was too small for all three in one place, Chrom helped Lucina to her feet and stepped back so the girls could hug. "Come on, I'll take you back to the camp," Sully whispered into her daughter's ear.
"No. This is the tree blessed by the voice of the Divine Dragon, and I've disgraced it. I need to apologize for my mistake in person." Lucina's sudden shift to regal dialect meant she was serious, and her parents, against their better wishes to let their daughter suffer, had to let her.
The climb up the Mila Tree was awful. Besides being a very long and very tiring expedition, it gave all the Shepherds the chance to see Lucina's failings. None said anything, at least not to her or where she could hear it, but they were all suddenly looking at her differently. "Humiliating" was too light a word to describe it.
Somehow, she survived the ascent without fainting from either taxing force, and at least the scenery up here was tranquil and put her heart at ease. It looked like a shrine for the gods...which it really was. Lucina suddenly felt dumb, she just kept back as Say'ri stepped forth. "Lady Tiki! Are you here?"
While Lucina, and most of the Shepherds, expected a light befitting of a god's messenger to blind them, they instead got a green-haired woman in a red dress sitting up from behind some piece of decoration and yawning. Despite her tidy appearance, that kind of introduction did suggest she was just a homeless woman, if Say'ri didn't smile at her arrival. "Ah, my lady, I'm relieved to see you're all right."
Yawning again, Tiki rubbed her eyes until she could open them and see the large party welcoming her to the world of the awake. Still, despite so many new faces, her attention locked onto Lucina. "Marth? Is that you, Marth?" The oracle smiled very happily, until her sight shifted downwards and she saw a stunned Lucina's wet clothes. "Oh, Mar-Mar, did you have an accident?"
"Um, m-my name's Lucina, milady." She was locked up for a second, unable to process this chain of events, until it hit her why she came all the way up here. Jumping with that shock, she quickly bowed. "I have perverted these sacred grounds with my own mistakes, and I have no excuse for my unacceptable actions! Punish me however you like, but please hear my father out regardless!"
Tiki considered the apology, staying quiet long enough to make Lucina very scared what she would say when she broke the silence. Her mind racing with all the possibilities, she still never considered that Tiki would cover her mouth and giggle. "That's all? It's truly nothing you need concern yourself with. I've lived at the top of this tree for millenia, do you believe I took the long voyage to those surrounding woods every time I needed to relieve myself? Very well, I'll keep this discussion brief, I do not wish to hold you up in those clothes."
Lucina was, to put it mildly, floored by the candid details being willingly provided by a divine figure. None of the other Shepherds could believe what they had heard either, but Chrom still found the strength to look her in the eye and talk serious matters, concerning the Fire Emblem, the fell dragon Grima, and the fate of humanity. It was certainly not the path of events Lucina was expecting to be taken on today, every step of the way was unusual and unpredictable. It was an adventure she'd never get in her future, just perhaps one she didn't need to embark on.
Chapter 4: Liquid Gold
Every time the Shepherds stopped and set up camp, within minutes, there would be a melodic humming that was heard all throughout the clearing. Consistently, the sound was Anna, engaging in one of her favorite pastimes: setting up shop. No one knew how the trickster did it, but she managed to cart around a stall and wares with her wherever the team went. On one hand, it was convenient to always have weapons and items available wherever they were from a trustworthy merchant, but at the same time, Anna didn't believe in a team discount.
Still, she was a shopkeep there to serve whenever needed, and was a force on the battlefield as well, so they humored her entrepreneurial tendencies. And at the moment, Robin was approaching her store. Despite having her back turned arranging the shelves, Anna's sixth sense always told her when a customer was nearby, and she faced the tactician with a smile. "What can I do ya for, Robin?"
He unsheathed a weapon from the scabbard on his back, laying it flat on the wooden board before him. "My sword's starting to crack again. I love the power of silver, but the durability goes downhill fast."
"I think you'd do better with a Levin Sword, and it just so happens I have one in stock!" She reached under the counter and pulled out the jagged blade.
"Hm, maybe...I've used one before when an enemy dropped it, but it didn't impress me. I've already got magic for range, the sword is pretty strictly for close-range combat. Then again, it was pretty powerful..." His mumbling grew quieter as he began considering "magic stats" and "growth potential", until he hit something in his rambling that broke him out of it, and he looked at the broker again, suspiciously. "If you're suggesting it, I can assume it's markedly more expensive?"
Anna winked and put her index finger on the edge of her mouth, a trademark pose she always pulled whenever someone questioned her methods. "Of course! I'm trying to make a living here!"
"Alright, I've got a question for you. The Shepherds are working to save the world, the very same world you live in, how can you morally justify charging us for your services at all? What if we fall in battle because we weren't able to arm ourselves with proper weapons?"
Anna rolled her eyes, with the number of teammates she had, this was not the first time she had heard this line of reasoning. "Then I've got a question for you too, smarty. Say I suddenly make everything free of charge for you heroes, what force is there to stop you from taking all my wares, besides 'honor'? Without any profits, I'm paying for restocks out of pocket, and selling out immediately after receiving. Afterwards, you win and the world is saved. I'm now out of product and without money. Whether you succeed or fail, I lose."
"But is that so bad? Money isn't the only thing that matters in this world."
"What?!" The red-haired vendor reeled back in pure offense. "How is money not the driving force of the world? It buys food, housing, clothing, and, for the right price with the right people, life, death, and sex. Every one of humanity's necessities is locked behind gold, which makes it the most important factor to survival."
"I feel like one of those doesn't match your point. Very well, but nothing stops those capable from living off the land, feeding off game and wild fruit, drinking from rivers, and building shelter from branches and moss. It's no natural law that everything has monetary cost."
"Only because we haven't found a way to charge for it yet. I guarantee you, once we can put a price on air, we will."
"If I'm being honest, you're scaring me. The idea that life will only belong to the rich one day? I don't want to believe it, if only for my own sanity. I choose to think the essentials will always be free to those willing to work for it."
Anna laid her elbow on the wooden bar that separated the two, and bent over to place her chin in her outstretched palm. "Aw, that's nice. Guess what? Your sword isn't an 'essential'. 800 gold."
Robin sighed, exasperatingly reaching into his pocket and pulling out his money pouch. "Fine. But don't think I'm finished attempting to change your mind." He placed a handful of coins in front of her, and walked away.
Counting the gold, the satisfied merchant called back to her customer. "Better men have tried!"
Frankly, that conversation gave Robin a lot to think about. Mostly about the nature of human morality, whether they as a species were corrupt enough to truly attempt monetizing bodily needs just because they could. But that was a thesis for later, his current concern was much smaller in scope. "There has to be a way to convince Anna her materialistic outlook is naive."
Anna was the kind of girl that believed in nothing more than gold and actions. Despite how handily he would win, a wordy debate would do nothing to convince her of anything. She needed some event to impart a moral. Somehow, Robin doubted a suitable circumstance would occur naturally, which meant he needed to set it up somehow. He racked his brain coming up with a proper scenario, but fell short, with every plan missing a few steps.
That is, until his aimless wandering halfway across the camp put him in front of the Shepherds' master of hexes and curses, Tharja. Suddenly, the final piece of the puzzle was in place. Robin's face contorted into a sinister grin as he approached the dark mage, not realizing his new expression matched her crazy demeanor. "Tharja, can you do me a favor?"
Upon hearing the tactician's voice, the sorceress stopped everything she was doing to place all her attention on him. "I will do anything you ask of me, Robin, my love."
"...I'll just ignore that last part. I know you can place hexes on people, but can you do the same to inanimate objects?"
"The only reason I don't do inanimate curses is because they're too easy. And it's much more fun to watch a person suffer."
"I'll ignore that last part again," Robin offered, starting to be a little creeped out by Tharja, as most usually were. "I've got a specific plan in mind, and I need your help to make it work."
The day was coming to a close, and of course Anna was still manning the store. Though, with nothing to do, she was passing the time by polishing her personal sword. Despite making no noise, the merchant still looked up as Tharja approached the stand. "Sorry, I don't have much in terms of dark magic tomes, and it'd take more than you're worth to afford my services as test subject."
"Robin's busy, he asked me to pick up his sword."
Ordinarily, Anna's policy was that only the customer could retrieve their goods, but she was aware that Tharja and Robin knew each other. "Alright, give me a second." She knelt to the ground, digging through various items, until she pulled the silver sword out and placed it on the counter. True to her reputation, the weapon was shining, it looked new.
With her typical sinister eyes, Tharja reached for the sword, with Anna still touching the smooth metal. As soon as the mage's fingers brushed against the silver, the shopkeeper felt a shock go up her arm, as she recoiled back in surprise with a yelp. Static electricity, perhaps? It was a plausible explanation, but one could never be too careful when this woman was involved, she was scary holding up the weapon now. Maybe it was good she didn't wield blades, she always looked like she'd stab you in the back when she held one. As she walked away, Anna couldn't help but feel there'd be a few less Shepherds by the time Tharja gave up the sword.
"What did she do to me," she wondered aloud. There was no question that she had been cursed with something, the concern was what the effect would be. So far, she didn't feel any different, same as always.
Okay, maybe there was some feeling less than ideal in her body. "Man, I should really close the shop every once in a while. I need to take a leak." It was unlikely this was the grand curse, she had been running the stand long enough that it was perfectly reasonable she'd need to pee now.
Well, it wasn't getting any better sitting around, so she hung a small sign over the counter reading "closed". It pained her to step away and lose potential sales, but she was only human. But she wasn't going to abandon her goods for long, with some of the Shepherds' being notoriously "less than honest". With the wide back wall, her place of business also doubled as excellent cover to do her business. With no one looking, not that she considered this such a private action, she took the chance and ducked behind the barrier.
In the shade, Anna was more than ready to provide some precipitation to the soil. She pulled the pin on her belt out of the hole keeping it tight around her waist, the two ends flapping against the fronts of her legs. She gripped the handle to her zipper between her thumb and index fingers, and gently pushed to bring the connector down to the bottom of its track. Unfortunately, the force accomplished nothing, as the grip didn't budge.
"Hate when this happens," she mumbled. This wasn't the first time her pants had refused to come down, though they never stayed stuck for long. She doubled down, pressed her fingers closed until the zipper was leaving an indentation in her skin, and thrust her hand down with all her strength. Once again, she had nothing to show for it, aside from hurting her shoulder when her hand slipped off and flew down, almost to her feet.
"Crap!" No zipper had ever resisted Anna's full-force pull before, and repeated, frantic tugs were doing no more good. She started crossing her legs, a bad sign if she had no way to undress. Her pants were specifically tight and form-fitting, in order to show off more of her "assets" and entice customers to return to her in the future. Therefore, there was no chance they would come off unless they were loosened, something she had no idea how to do now, and not much time to figure it out before her body did what it needed to, without her consent.
Wiggling her butt violently, with nothing else she could do, Anna finally realized what had happened. This was Tharja's curse, making her zipper immovable. Noticeably tamer than her usual work, granted, but it was hard to look on the bright side with a bladder so full, it hurt. "I am going to make her pay! And I'm not talking about collecting a tab!" While it was difficult to accept that she had entered nature's bathroom and was leaving without accomplishing anything, she took a deep breath, sucked it up, and marched off to find the mage that blighted her.
Nothing would stop her anger, but there was one elusive question eating away at her. "Why would Tharja do this?" Yes, she'd test her spells on unsuspecting comrades, but she never even toyed with spells this simple. She had to have a plan in mind or this would just be a waste. Anna could figure this out, Tharja was predictable, not like Robin.
"Robin..." That's right, Tharja had outright said she was on a task from the tactician. It was still possible she had taken the request to kill two wyverns with one Elwind, but the pieces were fitting together much better with the assumption Robin was the mastermind. After all, the last they had seen of each other was an argument, a jesting one to be sure, but still some kind of bad terms. Perhaps this was Robin's way of teaching a lesson. She had to hope this wasn't the way he treated his children.
Regardless, Anna wasn't going to let this slide. She was going to find the one that put her in such a painful predicament, tell him off, and get her money's worth out of it. And it just so happened, the man himself passed right in front of her. "Hey!" Hearing the call, Robin correctly assumed it was for him, and he faced the woman he had wronged, who was not letting up on the accusation. "I'll give you a chance to explain what you did to me, but watch your words carefully!"
Despite her hard adherence to personal code, Anna was usually quite affable, so this boiling frustration was a stark contrast. He knew he was facing his due comeuppance, but Robin wasn't done with his scheme. He shrugged and shook his head. "I'm just putting what you said into practice. You need to pay to pee." He held out a palm and gestured his fingers towards himself. "20 gold."
"Fine." She reached into her pocket and pulled out exact change, holding the coins out in front of her. "Here you go."
Robin had no idea how to respond to that. He didn't take the money, just stared at Anna, confused. "You're...really going to pay me? Over something this stupid?"
"I know what I said earlier, and I'm not a hypocrite. If you want to be brave enough to take this gamble, make every one of the Shepherds your enemy, charging for something that used to be free, I'll respect your capitalistic endeavor. It's up to you to decide whether you can afford to take that plunge."
"Whether I can afford it? What about you? You're the one that has to pay."
"And your rate is 20 gold. That's chump change. All I have to do is make more than 60 gold per day, and I'm still turning a profit."
"But..." Robin was dumbfounded, he wasn't expecting this plan to go so...right. "That's not how this is supposed to work! You're supposed to realize what you were claiming before was wrong, apologize, and I dispel the curse now that you've learned your lesson!"
"Maybe in those fairy tale stories you read to your kids at bedtime..."
"How young do you think my children are?"
"...but that's not how real business works. Speaking of, I've got your fee, so hurry up and let me take my pants off, before I'll have wasted my money." Either to accentuate the point or just coincidentally, Anna began stepping rapidly in place, repeatedly balling her hands into fists at her sides and stretching them out, carefully keeping all twenty coins in her palm.
The tactician had no idea if his plan had worked or failed, a nearly impossible conundrum, it could very well be either depending on how deep one wished to look. He had no intention of taking any money from Anna, but she wouldn't learn anything if she got away scot-free, so he closed the distance between the two and let her drop the metal coins into his grasp. It was really the only way to salvage anything out of this. "Very well. Tharja!"
Tharja poked her head out from behind a nearby tree, it would have looked perfectly staged if Robin didn't jump in surprise at her presence. He only regained his composure as Tharja sulked over to the two of them. "Will you please remove the curse?"
"You never said anything about removing it manually."
"I'm sure I did. Does it matter anyway?"
"I set up this hex to only dispel on its own, after a few hours."
"What?!" Just hearing that created another spike in Anna's bladder, one that forced her trembling legs together, and her wrists to press hard against the zipper causing her current agony. "I can't hold it that long!"
Robin turned to Tharja, with a concerned look on his face. "There's really nothing you can do?" Tharja looked at him blankly, and he sighed. "I'm so sorry, Anna. This is my fault." He held his hand out and open, offering the gold coins. "You can have this back."
"Really? You offer refunds?" She was in pain, angry and not in a good mood, but that action somehow still made her giggle. An action she soon regretted, as the laughter shook her body in ways she really didn't want, it was enough stress to temporarily overpower her, and a tiny bit of urine found its way into her underwear. "Eep!" With that unpleasant feeling, she gripped between her legs as hard as she could, tapping one of her feet rapidly.
"So, what are you going to do," Robin asked.
"Well, it's looking pretty impossible, but I'm not just giving up. Who knows, maybe the delivery will arrive just in time." She gave a coy smile, but the rest of her face was on the verge of tears. She wasn't fooling anyone, she had no faith in her own ability anymore. But if she was going to put on a brave face, that was her business. The question was, how long could her stone wall facade last?
As it turned out, not very long at all. Once the conversation had ended, and Anna collected her gold, the merchant hobbled back to her shop, thankfully without anyone around to see her. She was no longer in the right state of mind to run the store, she couldn't even properly distract herself without seriously risking cutting her remaining time. Instead of climbing back behind the counter, she simply leaned on the wall behind the shack, doing everything in her power to hold herself. It wasn't helping much, each passing moment making her feel closer to bursting.
Very few would have the fortitude to even last this long, most would rather wet their pants by now instead of deal with this pain. Anna was waiting it out, if only because she had nothing else to do, but also because of the small glimmer that she could actually hold it out. There was no clear idea of exactly how long before the curse wore off, so maybe she had endured for hours now and it was only a few more minutes. Doing nothing also masked the time she had already spent suffering, it felt far longer than reality. The fact that her panties were incredibly wet also didn't help, not just because it was uncomfortable, but because it meant she was leaking at a frequency not possible unless she was right on the brink, a possibility she didn't want to believe.
She'd need to accept it soon, however, because it was happening. And she had only lasted fifteen minutes, not that she knew. The constant poundings of her bladder were like the drums of war, signaling the onslaught her pants were about to receive, and she no longer had the strength to resist. The constant dribbles elevated into a steady stream that soaked through her underwear in a second, spreading across the crotch and down the legs of her dark red pants. In the blink of an eye, her lower half was drenched.
"Damn." That was the only word she could say, not just because it easily described her disdain in one simple word, but it was the only coherent sentence she was able to manage. Every other thought was taken up by pure, unfettered relief. Everything she had contained up until now, that had caused her so much misery, was flooding out in a concentrated surge. No way around it, to a girl not so easily ashamed, this felt amazing.
Well, it was a little embarrassing, that's why she had even bothered holding off this long. Of course Anna would have been happier if she could get her pants off in time and squat, very few wanted to pee themselves, this was still a failure in a sense. It was just that she was a woman without any high standards to hold herself to. She had an accident, nothing could change that, but it didn't diminish her self-worth in any way. Besides the physical unpleasantness, the mental worry was only enough to break a blush on her cheeks.
Just enjoying the good of the moment, and further proving her inability to recognize time passing, it felt near instantaneous before she emptied, when it was over a minute in reality. In her perception, she spent longer gasping for breath after it was over, her first full thought in quite some time only came out following that. "Wow...wow, I was really bursting." Reaffirming something she knew, she had experienced it, but the giant puddle that had yet to seep into the dirt beneath her boots was fantastic visual proof.
Anna tried pulling her zipper again, just out of curiosity, she'd feel awful if it turned out it was freed once more. Thankfully, in a sense, it was still unmovable, she had done the best she could. "Yeah, I wasn't making that. It was worth peeing myself." The afterglow of intense desperation ending was sublime, the merchant felt nothing but happiness despite a totally drenched ass, crotch, and legs, basically all her lady advantages were tainted.
That's right, she was supposed to be angry at Robin, for putting her in a situation where she had no choice but to wet her pants, that was humiliating. Still, Anna was not a high-strung girl, it hadn't cost her anything besides some now-gone bladder pain and some mildly inconvenient soaking. She could wash her clothes and all this would be behind her, no real loss. Of course, that meant no gain either, so it was a waste of time, and time is money. She could be frustrated by that, unless it turned out there was a way to repackage this into something positive. "That's it!"
Hours had passed, nighttime had fallen, and while most of the Shepherds were hanging around the campfire, Robin was looking for Anna. He had something he wanted to say to her for a while now, get it off his chest, but he had no idea how to approach her now. He had only just worked up the courage to confront her, though the fact that she was still in the home territory of her shop was a little intimidating, with only a lantern to illuminate her in the darkness. It was only enough light to see that she had discovered the hex's dissipation, and had changed pants. "Listen, Anna...I don't know how to properly apologize for what I've done. I only hope you can find it in you to forgive me, but I understand if you can't. I'll do whatever I need to make it up to you."
The fact that Anna hadn't acknowledged Robin was worrying, to say the least, but she responded while poking around in her stall. "I'm not mad, Robin. Though I hope you learned a lesson from all this."
"Yeah. Don't try and charge for human needs." It took him too long to realize what his point was, with the only excuse being he was distracted, he only objected a few seconds later. "Wait, that's what my point already was! I just proved myself right!"
"Eh, it didn't mean anything anyway," she dismissed. "Besides, I got a good new product out of it!" She reached below the counter and pulled out the aforementioned item. It took a second for Robin to identify it, probably because he didn't want to believe it, but there was no doubt: they were Anna's panties, stretched out to full view with her thumbs pulling on the waistbands. They were red and black, frilly, low-cut, and most strikingly, soaking wet. "Thanks for the idea."
"Don't be crediting me for this. What in Naga's name is your drenched underwear supposed to accomplish?"
"Once word spreads, this'll be a hot commodity! The panties used by a woman as attractive as me? And since you inspired it, I'll give you a deal. Half off. 10,000 gold."
"Ten-thousand is half off?! How can you expect to sell anything with a price that ludicrous?!"
"You were pretty celibate before getting married, so I don't blame you for not knowing, but sexual items like this are worth a whole lot. There are a lot of rich men with no means of release that'll pay prices like that. Or those with less money that will save up for this. That's why it's important they're wet, it makes them more special. Kinky stuff like this is harder to find." She winked and stuck her tongue out a little to the side of her mouth.
"So you admit you're trying to sell me something inherently sexual? Tiki's already threatened to eat you, do you want a second dragon on that list?"
"Don't forget, I'm not angry, but you still owe me. 'I'll do whatever I need to make it up to you', I believe were your exact words."
Robin threw his arms up in defeat. "I give up. There's no point bargaining with you. Forget I said anything about being sorry." He walked away, dejected and a little unclean, but nothing was dampening Anna's spirits. All she needed to do was make this item known in shadier markets, and she'd be positively swimming in gold.
Chapter 5: Manakete Pee
The middle of the night, under the dim light of the barely-present moon, a time when no one should be awake. This applied to the Shepherds as well, the whole army was deep in slumber, resting to reserve energy for tomorrow's march, and probable battles. That is, except for one girl, stirring in her tent. She was Morgan, the half-manakete child of the Shepherd's tactician and his wife, back from the future. Somehow, neither the presence of a dragon nor a time-traveler was unusual here. And, most prominently at the moment, she was not awake by choice.
Morgan tossed and turned in her sleeping bag, eyes forced shut and trying her hardest to fall back asleep. It wasn't working, however, and she had to declare what was bothering her, no one conscious to listen. "Nn, I really can't hold it any longer..." Maybe she had an extra drink or two before turning in for the night, or just neglected to duck out during the evening, whatever the reason, she had to pee, and soon.
Problem was, it was some insanely early hour of the morning, it was really dark out. Going out alone in those conditions, even if she wouldn't be wandering far, was not a smart thing to do. And...maybe she was a little afraid, just a bit. Of the girls she shared a tent with, she wasn't comfortable asking any of them to do a midnight potty run with her. That's where she was now, building up the courage to run to one of the other tents, since she couldn't ignore this need.
"Ah, I don't have the time!" If she didn't go for it, she'd be cleaning up a big puddle. Sliding out of her sleeping bag, one hand firmly gripping her crotch, Morgan dashed through the flaps into the cool open air, chilling her mostly exposed skin. Ordinarily, she would never go out in the open at her level of undress, just a shirt and panties, but now, she was on too much of a mission to really notice. At least she knew right where she needed to go, one specific tent locked in her mind. Unfortunately, she couldn't run to it, she couldn't see it in the dark. She needed to wait for her eyesight to adjust, taking from the very few minutes she had. All the while, she made various grunting noises, dancing in place as she cradled her right hand between her thighs rubbing together.
Eventually, she could see well enough to at least make out the outline of her destination, and that's all she needed to bolt for it, bending over to crawl through the opening flaps, into the canvas coverings. It was still a little difficult to see, but despite her amnesia, Morgan couldn't mistake the woman she was looking for, with her small stature and messy, long green hair, that was Nowi. "Mother! Mother," she called in hushed whispers, getting on her knees and shaking the sleeping little manakete. Morgan counted her lucky stars that her mother was actually here, instead of in a private tent with her father that she would dare not disturb.
"Uuu, Morgan," she slurred, eyes straining to open, her daughter pleading her to hurry up. It took almost a full minute for Nowi's purple eyes to look Morgan in the face, still glassed over and dim. "What is it, sweetie? Did you have a bad dream too?"
"No! I need you to come with me so I can use the bathroom! Please!" Her prodding grew fiercer, practically pulling her mother from beneath her blanket.
"A-alright, alright." Nowi slowly sat up, rubbing her eyes and yawning. "Can you give me a minute to get dressed?"
"I can't wait that long! I promise, no one else will see you!"
"That urgent? Okay, I get it." Nowi slid out into the open, dressed in nothing but the bare minimums to cover her essentials, stumbling to her feet. No sense putting everything on just to take it all off. "Let's go," she pointed with her outstretched thumb, Morgan practically leaping at the direction.
But, the universe just had to hold her up, because she was fated to have an accident or something. The girl sleeping next to Nowi started getting up, stretching her arms and loudly yawning. That was Nah, Nowi's other daughter, and Morgan's older sister, despite appearances. "Are you two going to the bathroom," she asked, a surprising amount of energy for someone just woken up. "Guess I might as well g-go, too."
"Sure, that's okay," Nowi approved. "Just hurry, for Morgan's sake." With her mother's permission, Nah got up, much less lethargic than the rest of her family. She had no need to put any extra clothes on, she went to sleep in her normal dress, just missing the cape and stockings. With all three up and ready, Morgan in particular unable to wait, the manakete girls left the tent, into nature's wilds.
The clearing the Shepherds were using as their campgrounds was surrounded by dense forest on all sides, so there was no question about which direction the three needed to head, the only concern was distance, just common courtesy. And, Morgan was having a hard enough time handling just that. She was a tough girl, even if she didn't always act like it, she didn't just get up to pee because she didn't feel like holding it any longer. She needed to go incredibly bad, and her composure was failing fast. A patch of warmth was rapidly growing between her legs, and it wasn't stopping. "Okay, we're far enough!"
"I don't know, we're still pretty close," Nowi observed. "We should probably move a little...oh, I get it. Yeah, here's fine." Those were the words Morgan was begging to hear, though she would have proceeded regardless. She threw her white panties to the ground and kicked them away, not that there was much point anymore, they couldn't get much wetter. In a single second, she was squatting close to the ground, unleashing a gushing flood of pee, forcing the loose dirt at the point of impact away.
"Guuuh, mmmm," she moaned, along with various other incomprehensible sighs. All that agony, the torture of waiting far too long, washing away in a torrent, with a little splashing back onto her ankles. "Amazing" wasn't even strong enough vocabulary to describe the sensation, and she was not in a position to carefully consider appropriate wording. Between her own utterances, and the waterfall crashing only a couple feet from her ears, it was safe to say her world would not stretch beyond her tiny radius until she finished.
"Agh!" Well, that's what she thought, but that one didn't come from her. That shout was Nah, a good distance from her, still audible amidst the din of Morgan's leak. It must have been serious for her to be that loud. Were they being attacked, and was it bandits, animals, or Risen? She trusted her mother and sister to be able to handle whatever it was, but it was still a worrying situation.
Turns out, there was nothing to be scared of. Following her sister's outburst, the only sound coming from that direction was the frantic rustling of clothing, and the crash of running water. Right, Nah did say she was going to go, and she got right on that. But, her exact words were "might as well go", and that roaring spray begged to differ. Morgan knew, for a fact, her sister could not comfortably hold something that strong, this was the typical noise for "Nah dying to go".
And what a noise it was, somehow audible over Morgan's desperate pee, an amazing feat considering the volume the junior sibling was pushing. It simply wasn't possible that Nah wasn't about to have her own giant accident, unless she was forcing this pee out so she could return to bed faster.
That would have been an acceptable explanation, if she wasn't still going by the time Morgan reached her tail end. Now she was sure, it wasn't possible that Nah didn't almost burst. If anything, given her slightly smaller stature, she should have been more desperate than her little sister, who already half peed herself. "What...what is she doing," Morgan asked to herself, in between lingering pants of her own pleasure that still hadn't faded.
Only when her raging rapids started to calm did that hazy sense diminish, leaving her one final sigh. "I'm never waiting that long again," she moaned, feeling around for a leaf to wipe herself with.
"Ooh, that just sounded bad. You know, it's unhealthy to hold in that much when you don't need to," Nowi advised, reminding Morgan that her mother was here with them, having been too preoccupied thinking about her sister, in the limited room for thought she had for a solid minute. At least that was over, both her and Nah's reserves had dried up from the sounds of it.
Yet, somehow, there was still the echoing sound of running water. That couldn't be Nah still going...could it? "Mm, that's nice." Oh yeah, Nowi could also be going, though she didn't really need to. In comparison to her daughters' handiwork, Nowi was only letting out a light little tinkle. Didn't mean it wasn't relaxing, but it was nothing to be amazed by.
Either way, finished and clean, Morgan stood up as a cold wind blew past, ruffling the girls' hair and clothes, as well as the areas lacking clothes. Feeling the chill against her unprotected private parts, she covered her nether regions and began frantically looking for the underwear she so thoughtlessly tossed away. With a little memory of how she threw it earlier, and a lot of fantastic luck, she found the white garment swiftly, picking them up and feeling the crotch in the process. "Ew...I think I really ruined these."
Taking nowhere near as long as her kids, Nowi's trickle came to an unceremonious end, she shook the few straggling drops off and pulled her panties back up to their snug resting place. "It'll be fine, Morgan. We're not far from the river, you can wash them in the morning. But for now, let's go back to bed, before we catch a cold. Don't step in the puddles on your way back!" She waited for her girls to catch up before walking back herself, taking the chance to lean in towards Morgan and whisper. "I won't tell anyone how close that was for you."
"T-thank you, Mother." Though she didn't remember Nowi from her future, their interactions in the present had convinced Morgan that her mother was a woman of her word. She was a goof-off, but very reliable and trustworthy. She couldn't resist giving a quick hug to mom before they split to their respective tents before anyone could see them half-nude, Morgan especially.
In the darkness, Nah was able to stay behind without detection, sliding her fingers against the crotch of her own, very wet underwear. "I really can't believe I managed that," she shuddered, from the gross sensation of the touch, and from the sensitive area she was stroking beneath. Morgan's secret suspicions were correct, Nah was filled to the brim with urine. She was suffering with the same predicament before her sister came in, desperate and unable to sleep, but she couldn't ask for Nowi's assistance either.
There was no room for embarrassment about needing to pee in an army, not when the women all gathered to do their business multiple times a day, Nah wasn't shy about that. It was simply a fear of inadequacy. She was one of the smallest girls in the Shepherds, a size that had a noticeable impact on her holding capacity. But even then, the girls she was close in size to still managed better than her. Every time they stopped marching for a break, Nah was the only one that barely made it, usually leaking no small amount before she got that far. Someone must have noticed her routinely yellowed panties, she swore they were becoming permanently stained, and started talking about how weak her bladder was.
If there was one thing Nah would not stand for, it was the assumption that she was weak. That thought made her legitimately angry; if she was acting weak, it would be doing a huge disservice to the manakete heritage she held onto through discrimination and abuse. If she couldn't be a proper manakete now, she didn't deserve that privilege, and as one of only a handful of manaketes left, she had to live up to the status. Peeing herself was not something a dragon should do, something she had already failed at once, and recently.
"Nah? Where are you," Nowi called, peeking her head out from the tent. She wouldn't even dream of feeling this way just a short while ago, but Nowi really was the image of a manakete that Nah wanted to someday reach: strong, kind, mature, intelligent (even if only when the situation really called for it), and loved.
"I-I'm coming, Mother!" That's right, she would continue to be tough, and make her race proud. If she wasn't strong yet, she'd become strong. If she couldn't hold in pee now, she'd build up to that. That was her resolve, as she joined her mom in their tent for the rest of the night.
Mornings were a busy time. People were preparing and eating breakfast, packing up their supplies and collapsing the tents, escaping into the woods to answer morning's call, Robin was poking his head into Nowi's tent to wake her up, and Morgan had successfully snuck to the nearby brook to rinse out her undergarments.
Meanwhile, Nah had been awake for some time now, long enough to get her chores finished. She was fully dressed, her minimal belongings were packed away, though not before heading to the river to wash out her own panties before anyone else could see her. Without anything to do while she waited for everyone else to catch up, she was sitting on a fallen tree trunk, reading a strategy book she borrowed from Morgan, though the copious handwriting in the margins certainly weren't hers. She was just one in the line to read this book, all within the family.
"I almost didn't recognize you with your hair down like that, Nah." With her focus on the pages, Nah didn't see someone approach her, but she recognized the voice. It was enough to make her put down the book to look at the one attempting to hold a conversation with her. It was the last manakete of the team, and the oldest by far, Tiki, smiling down at her. "I think it looks rather fetching."
That's right, Nah did have braiding her hair on the to-do list for the morning, but she pushed off until the sun rose, when she could see what she was doing. After that, she just...forgot, leaving its length hanging behind her. "I'm more concerned with it getting in my way like this. Braids make it much easier to manage."
"If that's the case, would you like me to prepare it for you?"
"You know how to braid hair?"
"When you've been around for as many millenia as I, you get curious about your appearance. I've experimented with many different hair styles in my past."
So, when was the last time she'd done braids? Some two thousand years ago? "I can handle it myself, thanks." Nah put the book down next to her, split the long back of her hair into halves, working the left side first, tying two strands around each other to keep them ordered and proper.
"Well, if you have no need of me, I have other matters I should attend to," Tiki excused, subtly shifting her weight from one foot to the other.
"Actually, I have a question I'd like to ask you. It's just a...little personal, if that's alright."
"You'll have to ask the question first before I can tell you if I'm able to answer."
Twiddling her locks between her fingers, without making any progress on her hairdressing, Nah's attention shifted to a caterpillar crawling through the grass by her boots. "So...when you were younger, and my size, how did you deal with...you know, having to relieve yourself all the time?"
"Ah, that's what's troubling you? It's not the easiest handicap to come to grips with, I'll admit, but the only times it ever caused me shame were due to my own stubbornness and foolishness."
"What do you mean?"
"I'd rather not go into detail, so as not to waste your time, but I had a particular incident during the time of legends that you've asked about."
"During the time of King Marth?"
"Yes, although he didn't carry that title in those days. On our travels, I would be too proud to admit when I needed to answer nature's call, which caused me much grief, as you can imagine. Once, it was much more severe."
"You...didn't make it?"
"Yes, and it such was a horrible feeling, knowing that I'd failed myself with all to see. I was so lucky that Mar-Mar was so understanding."
"Mar-Ma...er, King Marth sounds like he was a wonderful person, from all you've told me."
"It's true, he was, but he isn't the only one. I'm assuming you're asking about this topic because it concerns you as well."
A light blush spread across Nah's cheeks, bridged by the gap between her nose and mouth. "Y-yes. You've had the time to learn how to control yourself, so I was hoping you could give me advice."
"Unfortunately, good capacity is something that just happens when you grow up. But I still learned something from that incident, that I don't need to be humiliated by my own bodily functions, regardless of how lacking they may be in comparison to others. There's a special bond that those who fight alongside one another share, and as worrisome as it may seem now, I promise no one else sees it that way. They would think no less of you, should they witness an accident."
"But my father and sister already have! That's why I really don't want it to happen again!"
"And did they mock you for it?" Nah tried to say something, but couldn't think of a proper response, her head just fell. "I'm not your family, so I can't tell you what to do. How you conduct yourself is up to you, and I trust you to make a smart decision. I simply gave you insight to how I see things."
"I..." The young manakete tried to object, but once again had nothing to say. "Very well. Thank you for your time."
"You're free to talk to me anytime. However, if we're done for the moment, this conversation has only increased the urge I was on my way to relieve." Despite how she was skirting around saying it, Tiki showed little shame in pulling on her dress and dancing in a way rarely seen on adults.
Nah's eyes widened in surprise at how the eldest manakete was presenting herself, though she should have expected this lack of modesty from her. "O-oh! I won't delay you!" Attempting to escape this discussion quickly turned awkward, she hastily picked up her book and buried her face between its covers.
Not willing to wait around if there was no reason, Tiki hurried into the thicker woods behind the two, slipping into the blind spot afforded by one of the nearer trees. Nah breathed a sign of relief that this exchange was over, until she was cut off mid-breath by Tiki poking her head out from behind the trunk, her lower body still obviously squirming. "Oh! There's one more lesson you may find useful!"
"If you're that concerned about leaking and little accidents, you may want to rethink your choice in clothing! I suggest either pants to hide any spills, or having nothing to wet in the first place!"
Nah got what she was saying, though she wished she didn't. Her facial features disappeared in a sea of vibrant red. "T-that's the opposite of a solution! I'm not doing that, not ever! And not so loud!" She frantically looked around for whoever would be staring at their shouting match, only to find no eyes batted towards them. "I'm sure someone heard it," she muttered, wanting to forget the last ten seconds by going back to her book, whose words were now incomprehensible. She could still somewhat read them, but it didn't look right. "How long have I been holding this upside down?"
Meanwhile, out of view, Tiki had her back to the tree's wide girth as she squatted on her toes. The next part couldn't be any easier, she lifted the strips of cloth covering her crotch and rear, and with no other obstructions, she let her bladder relax. Immediately, a healthy, clouded stream of pee began falling from her nethers, settling in the grass between her legs. "Aaaahhhh..." Even a need such as this had a difficult time rousing the manakete from slumber, so whenever she awoke, a small tinkle break was always appreciated.
"Come on, Morgan! Don't hold back," Nah's echoing voice commanded. Another day had passed, another morning very nearly passed, and with the Shepherds in no hurry to move, the half-manakete children were training together, a very specific training. Nah was hovering above the ground in her dragon form, with her kid sister standing a fair distance away, brandishing a Wyrmsbane blade.
"I-I'm not so sure about this," Morgan objected. "I don't really have any practice with swords, I might slip and hurt you!"
"That's the point of this training, me learning how not to get hit! Just attack me already!"
"I'd think it would be a lot safer if you asked Father to take my position."
"He would never agree to attack me with a sword, he'd say it was 'too dangerous' and end the conversation there."
"Well then, perhaps you should consider that the adult has a point." That male voice was certainly not one of them, that was their dad, Robin. It didn't take long for the two to notice him, standing off to the side. At least he didn't look mad that one of his children almost could have killed the other. "Training to avoid Wyrmsbane?"
Lowering to the ground, a flash of light enveloped Nah, leaving only her human form behind when the flash subsided. "Yes. It's the biggest weakness we manaketes face on the battlefield, it only seems smart to learn how to mitigate that disadvantage."
"It makes sense to me, but your plan has a few holes in it. First off, Morgan is correct, it is much safer to have someone who knows how to wield a sword be your opponent. Second, in the event that a mishap should occur, you should have a healer on standby. Finally, while I understand the objective is to protect yourself from Wyrmsbane, actually using it during training is extremely unsafe." Robin was so busy lecturing planning that he forgot to be a father until afterwards, with proper father worries. "Who gave you that sword, anyway?"
"Lon'qu," Morgan answered. "He let us borrow it, in exchange for leaving him alone."
"Well then, maybe you should return it to him now." Holding the sword tightly, Morgan heeded her father's request and ran off towards the camp. "And don't run," he called, forcing her to slow to a walk, before she got too far away. Not wishing to be alone, Nah started walking away, until Robin put a hand on her shoulder to hold her in place. "Wait. There's something I need to talk to you about."
Jumping with a startle, Nah turned her head to face her father, a sad look in her eyes. "Am I in trouble?"
"Do you promise not to be so reckless with training again?" Nah didn't say anything, and she hesitated before answering, but she did nod her head to agree. "Good. Honestly, I'd rather not receive a guilt trip about how often you've been punished," he muttered.
"Nothing. Anyway, I understand you're concerned about your, er..." He had started the thought without any worry, but by the time he reached the sensitive subject halfway through, it suddenly got uncomfortable, and he had to struggle to finish. "Your restroom difficulties."
In an instant, the little manakete's face began radiating a blush as red as Cordelia's hair. "H-how did you know about that?!"
"Fathers always know when something is troubling their daughters. I'm not bringing it up because I want to embarrass you, I think I have a way to assist."
In an instant, Nah went from wanting no part of this conversation to practically hanging off his chest, eagerly awaiting his next sentence. "You have something? What is it?! What is it?!"
Smirking, Robin reached into his pocket, pulling out a small purple vial. "This is just a little potion, to help compress the fluids in your system so it takes longer to fill up. That sounds exactly like what you're looking for, does it not?"
Apparently, it was, as Nah started reaching up to grab the container for herself. However, as soon as her gloved fingertips brushed against the outer glass barrier, she froze. "Did Tharja have anything to do with making this? I heard the story about the last time she played a part in a bathroom-related incident."
"No, I've studied this sort of thing before and did it myself. Tharja doesn't have much interest in brewing," he stated, conveniently neglecting to mention how much of the aforementioned story was his fault. "Do you really think I'm the kind of father who would give his child something at all unsafe?"
True, despite only being together a few months, Robin had been a caring, doting father, though not always the wisest. He looked sincere, and frankly, Nah needed that promise to be true. Smiling, she took the vial, popped the cork keeping the contents contained, and took a sip before any of her other senses could analyze the substance. Probably for the best, as halfway through downing the thick liquid, her eyes widened, she gagged and pulled the flask away from her lips. "Blech! It tastes really salty!"
"Of course, salt dehydrates you. It's an important primary ingredient to produce the same effect down in your stomach. Think about it, if miracle potions tasted good, everyone would use them for everything."
Nah eyed the remaining potion suspiciously, swishing it around in a circle, creating a tiny whirlpool in the center. "It's pretty disgusting..." She would have been happy to stop right there, but she had to assume it wouldn't take effect unless she drank the whole thing, and she really needed that boost. Gulping, she pinched her nose shut and downed the rest in one fell swoop, choking as it slid down her throat.
Anticipating the reaction, Robin held out his water canteen to his daughter, who took it and chugged half of it to wash the foul taste from her mouth. "There, that wasn't so bad. Let me know tonight if it worked, I might need to make a few adjustments to the recipe."
"I can tell you now, you need to add some flavor. Pick some berries and mix them in."
The tactician laughed. "I'll see what I can do without compromising the formula. I have other matters I need to attend to, so I should leave. Have a good day, Nah." He rubbed her hair, ruffling the well-kept style, to the manakete's dismay. "Sorry, should I not do that?" She nodded slowly, and Robin attempted to fix his mistake, to no avail, only making it messier. At least the one lock always springing upwards had company. "Heh, h-heh...I-I'll just leave this to you. Stay safe," he bid, turning and walking away quite fast, practically jogging from the scene.
She sighed at the thought of needing to redo her hair, but the rest of the interaction was enough to keep her happy. "Finally, I'm not going to be just a little kid anymore. I'll be able to hold it in, like everyone else can. I can finally be an adult!"
"Shepherds," Chrom's voice called out from somewhere else in the gathering, "we need to move, posthaste! Gather your belongings quickly, and get ready to leave!" Looked like the time to rest had come to an end, it was clear there'd be challenges soon if the prince was this worried, but Nah was calm. She drank the gross potion, her one concern would no longer even be a spot on her mind, or her underwear. She was confident that things would be different today, she'd stay dry, easy.
Well, Nah was half right. Many hours had passed, the sun had circled near to the horizon to set, shining directly into the corner of everyone's eyes, forcing all to turn their heads eastward to avoid blinding themselves, especially with the intermittent shining through the forest trees. And while the little dragon girl had indeed kept her clothes bone-dry, it was only through immense effort on her part. At the moment, Nah needed to pee something fierce, she was feeling hot, sweating in response, and wincing, all for the sake of keeping her pee firmly inside her.
No one knew why Chrom had demanded they leave so suddenly, except for maybe Robin, the two had been talking between themselves. Everyone else was left in the dark and to their own devices, having to make their own entertainment without slowing down, becoming more and more challenging as the troops grew further exhausted from the long walk.
For whatever reason being kept from them, there was no time to stop, either. Lissa had already asked, and if he would deny his own sister, chances were slim anyone else could get through. While she had no proof, Nah had to imagine that all the other Shepherds were at least in similar boats as her. No way anyone could hold it that long and not feel it, she rationalized. Unless Chrom eased up soon, he'd have one hell of an accident on his forces. And after seeing his daughter go through this once, it was hard to believe he'd let it happen again.
Nah wasn't doubting anything, but it was nice to have confirmation that her worries were correct, when Nowi slowed down from further ahead to talk to her child. "Are you doing okay, Nah? Holding up alright?"
Despite her mother's audible concern, she was not about to undo her tough image, as she puffed out her chest and held her shoulders broad. "Of course, I'm perfectly fine! I'm great, in fact!"
Surprisingly, that declaration sounded pretty convincing considering the situation she was in, it probably would fool most who asked. Unfortunately, Nowi was not one of those people. Due to her old age, she had a phenomenal sense for emotions and empathy, especially with her own kin. No lie would sneak past her. Eyebrow raised, she stared straight into her daughter's soul, past the falsified facade. "Would you like if I asked to break for a minute?"
Nah's shell was tough, but thin. As soon as Nowi wormed her way past the outer barricade, she was defenseless, her guard dropped. After all, it was just her mother. "Y-yes. I could really use the stop." A pitiful sight, she realized how bad she looked a second later, and went back to her played-up persona. "Um, I mean...I-I guess I wouldn't mind. Not that I need it, but better to be prepared." Smiling with counterfeit certainty, her expression soon fell as reality set in. "But we can't stop. Chrom already said so."
"You're forgetting one thing, sweetheart," Nowi declared, very bouncy and bubbly. "Your dad is the tactician, and Chrom's best friend! I ask him nicely, so he asks Chrom, and it's a strong case! Pretty good plan, isn't it? Right up there with Robin's best!"
Morgan was the apprentice tactician of the siblings, but even Nah could see a prominent flaw. "What if he still says no?"
"Then he'll have a wet manakete to deal with, and no one wants that," Nowi assured, clutching at her crotch through her shorts. That's right, Nah didn't realize, of course Nowi had to go too. She stayed in control, far better than her daughters, but she was always needing that pee whenever they stopped. It was easy to forget how desperate she was when she never wet herself.
Or did she? Nah had never seen it, but that was only a few months out of a millenium-long lifetime. Something must have happened in the past that she hadn't heard, some tale not told to her. That's when she remembered, in the moment she was trying to repress, Robin mentioning something. "Actually, Mother, there is something I'm curious about. You see, Father said something about a time you had an accident. Would you mind sharing that story?"
"Oh, he talked about that?" She definitely sounded surprised, maybe a little disappointed, but it vanished pretty quickly. "Sure, I can tell you about it. Well, I guess it isn't much to tell. I slept in late and didn't have the chance to tinkle before we left. So we-"
"Why didn't you ask to stop," Nah interrupted. "You don't have any shame in admitting that kind of thing."
"Yeah, but it was different then. Before we got together, I just had a really big crush on Robin, and I didn't want to say anything in front of him, because then I'd look all sad and stuff. So, right when it was becoming really bad, we all got interrupted a horde of Risen and had to spread out in a clearing to fight. Since I was acting all weird, your dad stayed with me, and after I told him I was having an emergency, he helped me to the bushes and protected me." With her free hand, Nowi cradled her cheek and smiled warmly. "That was our first 'moment', and it was super cute and romantic," she swooned.
While she had been quite curious about her parents' history as a couple, Nah felt she would have been better off without knowing that their first date involved pee. Grimacing in disgust, she instead turned to what would surely become her own version of the tale, one without the same happy ending. The young girl part of her consciousness began wishing for a boy that would fill the same supportive role, but one problem at a time. "Mother, if you're going to ask to break, could you please do so now? It'll be too late in a minute or two!"
Her daughter's plea yanked Nowi from her nostalgic reminiscing. "Oh, of course! I won't keep you waiting, honey!" She hurried back towards her husband at the head of the pack, leaving Nah squirming and wiggling. No leaks yet, but she felt the tide rising higher, and whimpered at the dull pain radiating in her abdomen.
"Ugh, why is it still so bad? I drank the potion, and I'm still about to explode!" Hand firmly between her thighs, she halted her slow stride to bounce and shiver. Good thing her shorter legs and stiff walk kept her towards the back of the group, so she wasn't holding anyone up. Soon enough, the urge passed, leaving only an agonizing, hot, cramping pressure.
"No...no, of course it's working," she bounced back. "It's been close to six hours, and I haven't leaked a single drop! I can manage as long as I need to now!" She was smart enough not to tempt fate, so keeping her defenses up, she resumed marching while still holding on with the tenacity expected of a dragon. "Come on, Mother, hurry up..." Still didn't mean she wanted to wait, of course. "It can't be that hard to convince Father to listen to you..."
"Keep your wits about you," Chrom shouted from ahead. That didn't sound like declaring a pee break. Without any clarification, things went dead quiet, as all looked around for anything to explain why their leader was so on edge. One by one, they noticed the pair of glowing red eyes in the shadow of the forest, joined by another, and another, until there were at least a dozen. "Risen!"
"We can't efficiently fight here," Robin stated. "There's too many blind spots, and the Risen blend into the darkness too well. We should run ahead to that...hm. This feels familiar. A-anyway, that clearing up there would be better." True to his word, there was a brightness at the end of the tunnel of trees, signaling a clearing with much more maneuverability. Recognizing the advantage that arena afforded, every Shepherd began running, quick as their tired, pained bodies could, into the light.
After the momentary blindness from the full brunt of the sun, the terrain of the open field became apparent. Which meant it was time for the tactician to take control, handing out orders of a grand plan too complicated for anyone to keep track of. As expected, Morgan was the only one who looked like she knew what was happening, but with how much distraction she was surely facing, maybe she was just adept at pretending to look smart. Or maybe that was selling her sister short, Nah couldn't say, especially not now.
Like all others, Nah was spaced out until her father called her name. "Nah, you'll be going in that direction," he directed, pointing far off in the distance. "Once you reach the valley wall, start clearing the outer edge. You should meet up with Libra somewhere along the way."
The little manakete tried to look where her father was referring to, but her eyes got caught on a detail on the opposite end of the valley. She saw only that one thing, that grabbed her attention and wouldn't let go: a small creek, its clear water slowly streaming away. Immediately, a similar feeling awakened in Nah, though she could guarantee her flow would not be so calm. Only problem was, Robin was still looking at her, not to mention all the Shepherds right next to her, following instinct and grabbing herself hard was not the right answer with witnesses around. With that handicap, she had to make do with merely pressing her legs together.
"A-ah," she squeaked, realizing that wasn't quite enough to stem the tide attempting once more to force its way out of her totally filled bladder. It was a long time coming, but finally, urine made its way into her underwear, just a dribble. It was still enough to send her into a panic, as she forced her thighs against each other even harder to keep the loss to just that little leak. It succeeded, for the time being at least, but the message was clear: it wouldn't work for long. "Why does this have to be so challenging?"
That's when it dawned on her. "Of course it's hard! Father's testing how I hold up under the most extreme circumstances! He wants to know how tough I am, and how well the potion works!" She didn't relax, that was a luxury she couldn't afford anymore, but the realization did give her peace of mind. So comforting, in fact, that she didn't realize everyone else had received their orders and moved out. "H-hey! Don't leave me behind," she cried out, hobbling down her set path.
Either despite or because of her slow stride, it wasn't long before Nah's journey was intercepted by a Risen soldier, in human swordsman form. At least his sword wasn't a Wymsbane. Reaching into the satchel hanging around her waist, she pulled out her Dragonstone, clutching it and activating its power. A radiant glow enveloped her, and when the light faded, a pink dragon had taken her place.
Shifted into her dragon form, Nah only felt one thing: bliss. Dragons were much bigger than their human counterparts, and all their internal organs were larger to match. As soon as her body changed, the pee she was holding was moved into a dragon bladder, where it was barely a concern. It was incredible, hours of holding, and she just suddenly didn't have to go anymore. Her pain washed away like an ocean's receding waves, it was beautiful.
Without any worry clouding her thoughts, Nah could concentrate on the battle. Baring her sharp teeth, she began forming a blast of fire in the back of her throat. If the Risen had emotion, he would certainly be terrified, seeing a dragon staring down at him, opening her mouth with only a glow in the void. It grew brighter and brighter, as the blast of flame exited her maw and flew into the monster, incinerating it in one quick burst.
Normally, Nah would roar in delight at her strength, but she was too aware of what was to come to feel joy. Theoretically, she could stay in dragon form, but it was a very dangerous proposition, the stress it would cause on a manakete, especially a young one such as herself, could do serious damage. She would have to turn back into human form, with all the disadvantages it brought. She briefly contemplated risking the harm, just to enjoy the sensation of an empty bladder a little longer.
It didn't happen, with a clear mind, she could weigh the consequences and decide it wasn't worth it. Another flash of light surrounded her, and her tiny body was back on the field. The torture was instantaneous, her bladder filled from near-zero to brimming all at once, she couldn't take it. "Aaaaahhhh!" She screamed in pain, falling to her knees while gripping her crotch for dear life, fingers trembling under the strain, barely registering the wetness on the fingertips growing warmer and more prominent as the small stain was expanded with more dribbles unable to stay contained. She was so close to yanking her panties down right there in the middle of the battle in order to go.
She resisted that temptation as well, something much more difficult this time. Through nothing short of a miracle, she found the strength to get back on her feet, though without enough to spare to remove her hands. No doubt in her mind, if she were to let go, her underwear would be flooded right then and there. Tears in her eyes, she had a hard time regaining her sense of direction, she was only pointed in a direction by another undefeated Risen to be drawn to.
Nah was never the kind of person whose response to an intense need to pee was "let a little out to ease the pressure", she just didn't see how it could work, and her current predicament was doing everything it could to prove that. Every time she would get into a skirmish, she would transform, enjoy the immense relief it brought, and proceed to suffer when she turned back. That taste of comfort only made the ensuing desperation more painful, worse and worse each and every time. After the fifth transformation, it was amazing that she hadn't wet herself yet. Or, rather, more than she already had. The tops of her stockings were looking a little damp.
After her latest cycle of agony, it really looked like she couldn't bounce back from this one. On her knees again, leaning forward, almost falling over with her butt raised high, the entire outside world was shut off to her. All her senses were blocked off by the incredible need to keep her overfilled, overstretched bladder in control, all she could feel was the pain, absolutely begging her to just have an accident already, with Nah ready to listen. "I...I can't do this...I gotta...I...gotta pee!"
"Nah? Are you okay, baby," a worried Nowi called out, rushing to her child's aid. "Are you hurt? Who hurt you? Did you already get them, or does mommy need to beat them up?" It appears Nah's shout wasn't as loud as she would have imagined, or Nowi was just oblivious.
"M-Mother? What are you doing here?" Nah was told she would be running into Libra, not that she didn't welcome this development. "Oh, forget it! I'm gonna wet myself!"
"Shhh shh shhhhhh," Nowi soothed, getting on her knees as well and hugging her daughter. "You just wandered off course a little, it's okay. Actually, it's great, because now I can help you!"
"I-I'm sorry, Mother, but it's too late for me. I'm not going to make it."
"Don't say that, nothing's over 'til it's over!" She pushed her palm against one of Nah's cheeks, forcing her head to the right. "Look, look! There's some bushes right over there! You're so close!"
The hardest struggle of her life, Nah opened her eyes just enough to confirm her mother was telling the truth. Even through her blurred, unfocused vision, a group of shrubs were still clear as day. They were large, covering, and most importantly, near. It took a second for all those pieces to sink in, but once they did, her eyes shot open with a burst of adrenaline, which also carried her to her feet to bolt for the plant's cover. She still couldn't let go of her crotch, the energy could only do so much.
It took only a few seconds for her to reach the circle of greenery, but it was still enough time for the river to flow. She didn't feel it at first, her underwear too wet for any more to cause a reaction, but she certainly realized when a hearty cascade slid down the small amount of bare thigh, soaking into her pink stockings and turning the inner half much darker.
Time was of the utmost essence, as she shamelessly lifted her dress's hem, ignoring the yellow-stain splattered on the front, though it had nothing on the drenched and stained originally-white panties beneath, which also flew down to just before her knees, further descent stopped by the rim of her boots. This was the most she could undress, and she hurried into a squat, spreading her legs as much as she could without ripping her underwear right down the middle.
There was no need for her to relax, her bladder had already given up. Off-yellow urine was gushing from her unmentionables, shooting between her feet and splattering in the hard dirt, forcing the grass down. The impact caused drops to splash upward, sticking to her ankles of her boots, waves in the pond ebbing outwards and expanding its reach, surrounding and engulfing the shoe's soles within seconds, before the fluid could soak into the soil. A tiny trickle without any force dropped straight down, forming a second, much smaller puddle, the main pool close to merging the two.
"Uhhh, ahhh, nnggh...mmmmm." That was the sound of a manakete being relieved from her pure physical limit, no room for a single extra drop. Even when she wet herself in Ylisstol, she wasn't this full. This was the result of pure tenacity and endurance, and all the torment that led up to it. It felt pretty good, though the relief was dulled by how many times she'd felt the emptiness already, and the pain still lingering and diminishing.
Pee was pouring out hard and fast, but it was still coming from a small girl, there was only so much to give. To her credit and amazement, it did stay at that rush for a long time, by her standards at least, before finally calming to what would be considered "a well-needed break" by most. Another ten seconds of that force, and the small reserves remaining exited in a small piddle. All in all, it took just shy of a minute to void her bladder.
"Haah...haaaaaaaahhhhhh," Nah moaned, trembling in ecstasy. She could not only feel no discomfort in her abdomen, but she knew it would last this time. It was...refreshing, to put it mildly. She had tried her best and didn't give up, at least not until the very end when anyone would relent, and was rewarded as such, despite fears that she'd disgrace herself again. "Yeah...soaked panties be damned, I made it!"
All that was left was to tidy up and redress. Reaching forward, she plucked a leaf from the bush to her side, wiping it against her privates. It was small, half the size of her palm, and its smooth texture made it a lackluster instrument for drying, but a half dozen of them got the job done. Once the little manakete was satisfied, she discarded the final leaf, letting the wind carry it down to float in the puddle, and pulled her underwear back up, instantly making the whole drying effort futile. "Ungh," she groaned in disgust at the chilling dampness, coming to terms with the fact that she'd be wearing these for at least a few hours longer. She considered leaving them behind, but then one stray wind would embarrass her far more than any accident could.
"There. Finished." She dropped her dress and stood up, taking one final look at the mess she caused. "Wow...I can hold that much? That potion really is a miracle. I'll have to thank Father for that." That's when she remembered, she had received help making it this far. "Right, Mother!" She had been there when all seemed lost to pick Nah up and give her the final push, she deserved thanks for that. "Mother? I'm done," she called, turning back to where she had last seen her mom.
"Nnnnghhh...haaaaa..." Nowi was still there, but her status had changed. Instead of standing casually, her legs were pressed together. Instead of looking happy, her eyes were closed and she was panting. And instead of being dry, the inner portion of her light pink shorts were a far darker and more reflective color, which carried down her thighs and into her stockings before descending past view inside her boots. Immediately after not wetting herself, Nah had to witness her mother failing that same trial.
That's right, Nowi did mention needing to go earlier, but Nah wouldn't have imagined it would end like this. She deserved comfort, and Nah would provide it. Slow, uncomfortable, and unsure, she approached her mother. "Are...are you okay?"
Not until she spoke did Nowi realize she was being watched, her eyes opened to see her daughter's sorry face. "Did you make it?"
Nah reeled back at the question."Y-yes, but I'm hardly the one to worry about now! Look at you! You're wetting yourself, and looking like a little kid, and, and..."
"I'm just happy not to hold all that anymore. That's all I needed." She smiled, it looked strained, but earnest. "This feels goooooooood." She sighed in relief as the stream died down, and she spread her feet to allow the drops loosely sticking to her to fall. "There, all better," she chirped, shaking her hips to dislodge as much as she could, of course remaining drenched.
The young manakete girl had no idea how to process what was unfolding before her eyes. Her mother, over a thousand years old, more than enough time to learn how to control herself, peed her pants. And she looked content with that outcome! "B-but you had an accident! That's only something little kids do, and you're supposed to be strong, and-"
"Nah." Just the way Nowi said her daughter's name was enough of an interruption. This wasn't her cheerful persona, this was her motherly wisdom speaking...while soaked from the waist down. "It's just like you said. It was just an accident. It happens from time to time, and it doesn't matter. Whether or not you always make it to the bathroom, or the bushes, it doesn't mean you aren't strong. Even if it did, it doesn't change that I love you. And your father loves you. And Morgan loves you. And everyone else likes you. And besides, you made it! I could hear it all the way from here, that was impressive regardless! Take pride in being able to hold even that!"
"M-Mother..." Nah always tried to stay strong, keep her emotions hidden and think logically. But whenever Nowi started talking right to her, bridging the gap and getting personal, she cried every time. "Moooooooootheeeeeeeeer!" She ran into Nowi's arms, who had to quickly outstretch them to allow for a hug. Nah nestled in her breast, what little there was, letting tears run down her cheeks as Nowi patted and rubbed her back.
"Hm? What are you doing over here, Nah?" Now there was a third voice neither saw coming, but it wasn't one that alarmed either of the two. It was just Robin, after all. "You're supposed to be over there."
Nah detached herself from her mother's bosom, wiping her tears on her gloves. "Oh, I...I got a little off-track."
"She just needed a little help making it to the bushes," Nowi elaborated, "nothing to worry about."
With the two girls separate, Robin got his first look at his wife, and her pants. "It looks like you needed the help a little more."
"I'm fine," Nowi waved off. "Nah did well, and that's all that matters."
"Right!" Nah just remembered what she wanted to say to her dad. "Thanks so much for that potion! I only made it this far because of it, I never would have lasted without it!"
Robin scratched the back of his neck, a nervous grin across his face. "Oh. I-I'm sorry, Nah, but I wasn't honest with you. You see...that potion was fabricated. Just a mixture of various ingredients."
"What?" Nothing about this added up, it wasn't believable. "No, that can't be true. It worked! It really worked!"
"Well, that's exactly it. Your mother and I were discussing it, and she suggested your root problem was lack of confidence. You get so worried about how much you can hold, you think you can't hold anything, and you keep making it worse and worse. So I figured, I come up with some way to make you think you can hold more, like, say, a fake potion, and the results would manifest. So, you're correct, it did work, exactly according to my design. You waited longer because you thought you could."
"See? I told you!" Nowi gave her daughter a hard slap on the back, almost causing the young manakete to lose balance. "You're already strong, you're just a worrywart! Happens to everyone! Don't put yourself down so much, you're a great manakete!"
"And, as a fruitful coincidence, it appears you learned a second aspect of the lesson today as well," Robin seamlessly continued. "Remember how Morgan tried to help you back in Ylisstol?"
"Yeah, for all the good she did," Nah grumbled.
"But look how much I helped," Nowi beamed. "All of us are willing to help you, but you have to tell us when something's bothering you! You can't just keep everything bottled up inside, or it's just going to linger and eat away at you! Better to just tell one of us!" She leaned in close to Nah. "That's a good lesson for everything."
Her parents had a point, she had to admit, but it didn't feel right. She had to be strong and steady, that's what an army needed, that's how to avoid pain, that's what she'd learned. "I don't know..."
"Take your time coming to terms with it. Just promise that you'll come to us with any questions or concerns." Robin held his arms out for a hug, with Nowi eagerly taking the invitation, leaving enough open room for a third member. And, after a little nonverbal prodding, Nah joined in. It was a silent, happy moment, until the embrace naturally dissolved ten seconds later. "I'm glad we had this talk, but this wasn't the only plan I had. It's pretty important that you go back to your position, Nah."
"Oh! Right, sorry!" She ran off back to the edge of the valley, to the approximate location she would have reached by now, had her little detour not taken place. But she didn't get far before stopping and turning back. "Wait, one more question! How come Chrom didn't allow any stops?"
"Well...I guess I can tell you, so long as you promise to keep quiet. See, he had received a report this morning that Gangrel was spotted not too far from here, growing closer to our camp. As you can imagine, hearing the news that a dead man was coming for him was pretty terrifying. We talked it over, and decided that we couldn't rule out the possibility that he had attained serious supernatural powers in resurrection, so engaging him would be dangerous. And Chrom also said he didn't want news to spread, it would cause either panic, or distrust of him for believing something so foolish. Again, we couldn't rule out a mutiny to make Shanty Pete proud, and a tactician has to prepare for all outcomes."
"I'm...not sure how to take that news."
"And that's exactly why we didn't risk it. Now, hurry along, before my battle strategy becomes totally undone without a way to redo it." Nah nodded, rotating back and running off. As soon as she was safely out of sight, Robin sighed. "This is all so confusing, I don't think I'm quite ready to be a father yet."
"It's not that hard, you just have to understand how kids think. For what it's worth, given how busy you've been and how they were just sprung on you, I think you've been doing a great job," Nowi reassured, holding her husband tight.
"Er, not that I don't enjoy the hug, but could you back off a little? You're getting my clothes damp through contact."
"Too bad." Realizing he couldn't convince her to ease off, Robin gave up the struggle, and just focused on looking over the horizon as a couple. It was tranquil and romantic, they would have been content staying like this for awhile, until Nowi made an observation of her own. "We should really get back to the battle now." Knowing she was right, they let go of each other, reaching for their respective weapons. Paired up, they charged forward on their original path, ready to face their obstacles, whether they be enemy or family.