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Hubert’s self-imposed isolation on Earth was not something he regretted all those years ago.

In an act of rebellion against Rhea, the tyrannical ruler of the heavens and her ever-growing madness, Hubert left the sanctity of Olympus and decided to reside in a forest grove near the lake shore of his birth place. His last memory of Olympus was his counterpart, Seteth, attempting to “reason” with him and make him change his mind. To this day, he remains both relieved (and mildly paranoid) that Rhea never sent one of her hounds to fetch him. Surely the Mad Queen of the Heavens wouldn’t allow such a slight to happen under her watch, would she?

Yet somehow, nearly three-hundred years since that day, Hubert has been allowed to live in relative peace in his own cultivated sanctuary. He rarely has to interact with the mortals living nearby, for they’re too cautious to tread on sacred grounds and too scared of the rumors Hubert spread about himself to ever step foot near his home.

Needless to say, he doesn’t miss the overly perfumed goddesses and arrogant gods that roamed the halls of Olympus. Their narcissistic, vapid, and arrogant behavior was a chore to deal with everyday and Hubert has never been more thankful to escape their empty-headedness and blind loyalty to a mad woman determined to bring back the dead at any cost. As long as the moon continued to show its many faces and rise and set with the days, it continued to prove that Hubert’s presence wasn’t as necessary as Seteth kept insisting all those years ago.

Perhaps that’s why Hubert is, admittedly, quite surprised to see a copper haired man trying not to bleed out in front of his house.

While Ferdinand has always held great respect for Edelgard, a small part of him still bristles at the memory of her suggestion (order, really, just worded as a suggestion) that he retreat from Olympus for his own safety. It felt more like he was running away and hiding from their mysterious foe than being part of some strategic plan, and Ferdinand wasn’t the type to run away from a battle like a coward.

Edelgard, however, was still his liege and he was obligated to follow her orders. He fought alongside her many hundred of years ago and watched as she brought back a long-missing light to Olympus in the wake of her ascension. He trusted her with his life and would follow her until the end of his days, hoping to guide her down a righteous path for the betterment of all the humans living on Earth.

Their mysterious enemy, however, seemed to hold a grudge against Ferdinand for whatever reason. They had sent an assassin to Olympus in the middle of the night--when Ferdinand was at his weakest and most vulnerable after spending much of his energy guiding the sun across the sky--in retribution for “killing their most beloved god.”

Ferdinand had no recollection of killing any god, unless this was in retaliation for helping Edelgard overthrow Rhea and her cohorts. Even then, Ferdinand doesn’t remember killing any specific god that would warrant this type of reaction from their devout followers. Whoever this god was, their followers were quite the… creepy group. They slithered in the darkness like a snake, waiting to strike at the opportune moment. If it wasn’t for Ferdinand speaking to Petra at that moment, those fiends could have succeeded in their goal of “ridding” the world of him and his “pesky” light.

“Maybe someone is upset that Ferdie here took Seteth’s place.” Dorothea suggested, lounging back in her chaise.

Ferdinand shook his head, recalling how polite Lord Seteth had been before he took his daughter and disappeared from Olympus. He had passed on his title and lance to Ferdinand, promising to never step foot in Olympus again, and Ferdinand allowed them.

“Doubtful,” Linhardt drawled. “That assassin looked like he belonged in the Underworld, not some angry follower of a long-gone Sun god.”

“Oh! Maybe they’re on of Byleth’s follower!” Caspar yelled, turning to look at the ruler of the Underworld. The stoic man shook his head in response. “Wait really? Huh, I would’ve thought for sure those creepy guys were with you- Hey! Linhardt don’t look at me like that!”

Linhardt sighed, turning to look at Byleth. “What I think Caspar is trying to say is that it’s rather hard to try and figure out who else would have such nightmarish followers. I’m sure he meant no offense.”

Byleth waved his hand dismissively, clearly unbothered by Caspar’s statement.

“Regardless, we cannot allow our foe to slip in undetected again,” Edelgard said, eyes burning with fury. “General Ladislava and Captain Randolph will look over our defenses and fix any weak points,” Ladislava and Randolph both nodded in response. “In the meantime, our enemy seems to have a personal grudge against Ferdinand, therefore I believe it would be best if you remain hidden elsewhere.”

“B-But Edelgard! You would have me hide away like a coward while these strangers-”

“I understand where your objection may come from Ferdinand, but I cannot allow this mysterious enemy to take your life. You’re a dear friend to me and if it wasn’t for Petra, you wouldn’t be sitting before me now.” Edelgard explained. Despite the calm and composed expression she adopted, Ferdinand could see in her eyes that she was genuinely worried for him.

“Very well…” Ferdinand sighed, backing down for the moment. “I remember Delos being quite lovely this time of year. My mother has been quite insistent that I visit her and my sisters soon-”

“Out of the question,” Edelgard interrupted. “Ferdinand, it’s common knowledge that you were born on Delos. Apart from Olympus, that’s the first place the enemy would send assassins! No, you’re going somewhere more secluded and remote. I highly doubt these strange beings would ever think of looking for you there…”

The meeting had concluded then, Edelgard sweeping out of the old war room with Ladislava and Randolph following. Dorothea trailed after the trio, shooting Ferdinand a worried look as she left the room. The others had dispersed, going about their duties while a group of nymphs helped him pack some of his belongings for his “trip” away from Olympus. His lance was an obvious choice to bring, as well as his lyre, his pendant, and a change of clothes.

Ferdinand saddled his most loyal steed, Aurélie, and prepared to take off. Edelgard, Dorothea, and Bernadetta had appeared then. Edelgard handed him a map showing him where he needed to go, as well as remind him to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

“A difficult task, but one that I’m willing to try!” Ferdinand answered, trying to keep the mood light. It seemed to have work given the exasperated, but fond, look Edelgard gave him. Dorothea laughed in response and his remark prompted a shy smile from Bernadetta.

“Have a safe journey, Ferdie.” Dorothea said, coming up to give him a small peck on the cheek. Bernadetta echoed her sentiments, but gave a quick hug before backing up quickly.

“Worry not my friends, I’ll return to you in wonderful health!” Sitting atop Aurélie, Ferdinand took off, waving goodbye to his friends and home as he flew across the afternoon sky.

Of course, Ferdinand wasn’t expecting to be ambushed so soon.

It was evening when he and Aurélie managed to make it to their destination. Ferdinand had asked his steed to hide her wings for the time being and they rode through the dark woods. He could see the town of Nemi off in the distance and Ferdinand hoped there would be some lodging available for him and Aurélie. The woods were at least quiet and gave off a certain tranquility that Ferdinand didn’t know existed outside of Olympus and Delos.

It seems, however, that luck wasn’t on his side. Aurélie gave a sudden lurch as another one of those mysterious attackers tried coming for him straight on. Grabbing his lance while trying to maintain control over her was difficult, but Ferdinand still managed to find a way. His attacker, however, remained quite determined to see his task through. Pulling out a couple of knives, the assassin threw them at Ferdinand at an unexpected speed.

‘I suppose that proves they’re not entirely human.’ Ferdinand thought. No human would be able to attack this swiftly and readily unless they were assisted by some other force, and Ferdinand doubted that any of his comrades gave their blessings. He felt quite grateful for all his training sessions with Petra preparing him for dealing with opponents quicker than him.

Unfortunately, it seemed he underestimated his opponent. Seconds later, he felt a stinging sensation on his side. Touching the area, he felt blood leak out of the shallow cut. It wasn’t enough to kill him, but it still hurt to twist his torso around thanks to the injury.

Poor Aurélie seemed quite startled as well, either by the smell of her master’s blood or the constant sharp objects being close to her body. She was unfamiliar to battle and Ferdinand thought, briefly, that perhaps he should have taken Leopold with him instead. She gave one last violent lurch, throwing Ferdinand off her back and onto the ground (something Ferdinand hopes none of his friends find out about since the teasing would be relentless) before charging on ahead into the darkness of the surrounding trees.

Ferdinand groaned from his spot on the ground, the pain becoming very noticeable as he tried to regain his breath. He heard his assailant give a quiet chuckle (‘How rude!’) as the figure approached him, most likely to finish the job. While his lance may have landed somewhere else, Ferdinand reached down for the knife hidden in his boot--a trick he picked up from his years of fighting alongside Petra and Edelgard. Once his foe was close enough, Ferdinand stabbed the knife in the person's foot, which earned him enough time to quickly grab his lance nearby as the man howled in pain.

Thinking quickly, Ferdinand jabbed his lance through the enemy's chest, causing him to choke on blood rather than continue making pained noises. In a flash, Ferdinand pulled the lance out and swung it in the air, decapitating his foe in an instant. The only noise heard was the sound of his heavy breathing and the distant sound of nighttime animals roaming the woods.

As Ferdinand walked along the path, he faintly recalled his bleeding side and made a mental note to treat that when he wasn't so tired. For now though, he needed to…

Apparently, the young man he found in front of his home was named Ferdinand and he was attacked by some “tenacious” foe. He learned all of this once Ferdinand had awoken and explained his situation.

“My sincerest apologies! I hope my, er, fainting didn’t cause you any alarm!” A sheepish look crossed Ferdinand’s face then. Clearly he felt some embarrassment about the whole thing, which given how fit Ferdinand look, Hubert assumed he was the type that wasn’t used to falling unconscious from a simple knife wound.

“No, nothing like that.” Hubert responded. If anything, he was mildly annoyed that Ferdinand hadn’t woken up sooner. Despite his ever-present status as a god, Hubert still felt a little winded from trying to carry the young man inside. “Although, in the future, it would be best for you to learn what a poisoned blade looks like.”

An alarmed look graced Ferdinand’s face then, clearly surprised to hear that he was nicked by a poisoned blade. It was a fairly old type of poison as well, one Hubert hadn’t known was still in use. It wasn’t as potent as it’s more recent counterparts, but apparently it was enough to make the copper haired man before him faint. Hubert passed off a glass of wine, with some of the antidote mixed in to flush out any remaining poison, and sat down on a nearby chair.

“I cannot thank you enough for your help,” Ferdinand said, gratitude as clear as day in his eyes and tone. “Is there any way I can pay you back? Perhaps I can help you around your home for a while, at least until my problem is resolved? It seems like a lot of land for one person to try and maintain by themselves…”

Hubert paused, unsure of what to say. On one hand, Hubert didn’t want his routine interrupted by some stranger he found bleeding out in front of his house (or these strange assassins Ferdinand mentioned). Not to mention, he enjoyed the quiet life he managed to make for himself. On the other hand, it would be nice to have someone around that could handle a few things that Hubert wasn’t physically capable of doing. There were some trees behind his home that needed clearing away, as well as a few other things Hubert thought of.

After a long stretch of silence, Hubert sighed and nodded his head. “Very well then, I suppose you can stay and help me with a few tasks. Afterwards, I’ll consider the debt repaid.”

“Excellent!” Ferdinand beamed, usually pleased with Hubert’s decision. “I can get started tomorrow on whatever tasks you have for me. That should be enough time for this wound to heal itself.”

“While your enthusiasm is… appreciated, I don’t believe one night will completely heal that wound. Take this time to rest and heal properly, the tasks I have set for you aren’t in dire need of being done.”

“Nonsense! While I appreciate the sentiment, I can assure you that I will be fine by tomorrow morning!”

“Oh? How can you be so sure?”

“I, er, heal quickly, that is all.” Ferdinand answered, seeming quite evasive. Hubert felt mildly suspicious, but chose to ignore it for the time being.

“Very well then, follow me and I can show you where you’ll be sleeping at the moment.”

It became apparent to Hubert that his new house guest was different from most humans he has met. Ferdinand quickly made it clear that he had high expectations about certain things, such as how to prepare his drinks in the morning (“How can you like that muddy, disgusting brown liquid over tea?!”) . He was also a morning person, which fit his personality quite well. A shame that Hubert spends most of his time awake at night and resting during the day, otherwise Hubert wouldn’t find Ferdinand’s tendency to come into his bedroom to wake him annoying.

If Hubert had to guess, he would have assumed Ferdinand was some runaway princeling or something along those lines. He was far, far too accustomed to getting his way and was clearly educated enough to differentiate him from the villagers in Nemi. Not to mention his clothes were rather flashy, involving a great number of patterns and colors that spoke of coming from a high enough social standing. It was mildly annoying to deal with and made Ferdinand come across as an obnoxious dandy, but Ferdinand proved he was a hard worker since the first day of living under Hubert’s roof and never showed any sign of being annoyed with the work Hubert asked him to do.

In some ways, it was admirable how much energy Ferdinand put into everything he did. Hubert greatly appreciated it too since he absolutely despised it when something wasn’t done completely right the first time. It seemed Ferdinand shared this sentiment, citing his time with his comrades as one reason why he could be so particular about certain things.

Overall, Hubert found that he didn’t mind Ferdinand’s presence as much as he thought he would. It felt almost natural interacting with him, something Hubert hadn’t experienced in many hundreds of years. The last time he felt in-sync with someone was in the earlier days of his and Seteth’s partnership as the gods of the Sun and Moon. While Hubert wasn’t the type to entertain feelings of nostalgia, he couldn’t help but feel a slight bit of nostalgia for his old life when speaking to Ferdinand over a mid-day break or during dinner.

Perhaps that’s why their time together was brought to an end so soon. Hubert supposed that whatever goddess was responsible for creating them all had a vendetta against Hubert for abandoning his post and denouncing her eldest child.

It started with Hubert being awoken by the sound of a horse’s cry early in the morning. Hubert had finally decided to sleep earlier than usual, only for his effort to be so rudely interrupted by the sound of some obnoxious beast giving a startled cry.

Once Hubert managed to dress himself in something decent and head to the front of his house, he saw Ferdinand already standing there trying to soothe the beast. As Hubert got closer, he could hear Ferdinand whispering endearments to the horse and stroke its nose in a soothing manner.

“There, there Aurélie, there’s no need to be so anxious now,” Ferdinand said, trying to reassure the horse. “As you can see, I’m well thanks to- Ah Hubert! Good morning! You’re just in time to meet Aurélie!”

“Aurélie?” Hubert asked, forgoing a greeting back. He felt far too tired to deal with… whatever it was Ferdinand had caused now.

“Yes Aurélie, she’s my horse!” Ferdinand said, as if it explained everything. Apparently, Ferdinand noticed the confused look on Hubert’s face before he continued to say, “She was the steed I was riding when I originally came to these woods. Unfortunately, she got startled off by that assassin I told you about and I never got the chance to go after her before I, well, fainted. I’m quite happy to see she’s well though! I feared something happened to her when we got separated.”

“I see,” Hubert said, unsure of how to respond. Yet somehow Ferdinand owning an obnoxious, loud horse with no care for who she was waking in the morning seemed like a good fit. “I expect she’ll be living with us from now on?”

“Of course! I have to return home with her, otherwise I fear her other half will be quite cross with me for a very long time.” Ferdinand’s tone made it seem like it was the most obvious thing in the world, which Hubert chose to ignore.

“You seem to know a lot about horses.” Hubert observed, watching as Ferdinand continued to soothe the loud beast. His own Pegasai back on Olympus had a complicated relationship with him on account of Hubert’s dislike of heights and his “inability to get along with animals” as he remembered Seteth putting it.

“Indeed! They’re such majestic creatures, especially when they’re flying,” Ferdinand answered, suddenly stiffening. “T-That is to say, flying through the battlefield! Although Aurélie here isn’t quite used to fighting, hence why she fled.”

Hubert gave a hum in response, making a mental note of Ferdinand’s strange behavior. His behavior seemed suspicious all of the sudden, much like those early weeks of their living arrangements when Ferdinand tried his best to avoid speaking about his personal life.

“Just try to make sure that beast doesn’t wake me up again,” Hubert said, turning away from the two. He could hear Ferdinand make some noise of surprise while loudly telling him how Aurélie wasn’t a beast and it’s not her fault Hubert had a strange sleeping schedule.

Ferdinand was hiding something and Hubert’s own curiosity was peaked once again.

(Briefly, he thought he saw white feathers scattered along the path leading to his door. Hubert made a mental note of that as well, but for the most part believed it was nothing more than a vision of his sleep-addled mind when they were gone by mid-afternoon.)

The second odd occurrence happened when Hubert managed to find a moment to rummage through Ferdinand’s belongings.

After the incident with that blasted horse, Hubert couldn’t stop wondering if Ferdinand was hiding something from him. His theories of Ferdinand being some runaway princeling were quickly dashed when Ferdinand explained that he was, if anything, beholden to his “eternal rival” and queen, a young woman he called Edelgard.

Hubert hadn’t heard of any queens named Edelgard anywhere within the Mediterranean, which was highly suspicious. Was Ferdinand lying to him? Or was he using a false name for his liege lady? Not to mention, he hadn’t heard any news about an on-going conflict happening anywhere as of late, which didn’t add up with Ferdinand’s story of needing to flee to this region to find sanctuary.

Hubert didn’t want to believe that Ferdinand was lying to him, but his behavior was suspicious as of late. Their time spent together felt more stlitled than normal and Hubert wasn’t sure of what the cause was.

Now, looking through Ferdinand’s things, he can’t find any sort of clue that could shed light on Ferdinand’s origins. All he managed to find was a map leading to Niem (with immaculately written annotations about how to traverse the area), a dagger made of an unknown material, a well-taken care of lyre (because of course Ferdinand knew how to play an instrument), and a sun-shaped pendant with an orange topaz in the center.

‘How unsurprising,’ Hubert thought, examining the pendant further. Ferdinand seemed like the type to worship Seteth, his followers tended to be the pleasant, optimistic type.

Placing the pendant back in its pouch, Hubert saw something glimmer from underneath the bed. It was long and wrapped up in some sort of cloth. Something about the shape, however, seemed familiar-

“Hubert! I finished chopping the wood!” Ferdinand called from the front. Acting quickly, Hubert left the room quietly and appeared in time to see Ferdinand wipe his face with a nearby cloth. “Now then, shall we have some tea? … And I suppose some coffee as well.”

“Feeling adventurous today?” Hubert asked, sarcasm clear. “Perhaps today will be the day you realize how delicious coffee actually tastes.”

“If that happens, please do me the favor of checking to see if I have been poisoned again,” Ferdinand said cheerfully. “Clearly I must be feeling ill if that day comes.”

Hubert chuckled, “I’ll be sure to do so.”

(He needed to get a closer look at that lance later. If Hubert’s suspicions are right, then he’ll need to have a chat with ‘Ferdinand.’)

Ferdinand supposed that his first mistake was believing that everything was fine, which led to him letting his guard down.

It had been weeks since his last encounter with his mysterious foes and Ferdinand had settled into a comfortable routine in Hubert’s home. It was surprisingly domestic, something Ferdinand never quite pictured for himself. Perhaps there was a time before he joined Edelgard in her crusade against Rhea that he could have pictured this for himself, but Ferdinand had let those expectations go when he took on his duties.

When he returned to Olympus, Ferdinand wanted to keep this time with Hubert locked in his memories forever. It was an experience Ferdinand greatly cherished and he felt some sadness knowing it would have to end eventually.

So yes, he wasn’t expecting an orange haired woman in strange garbs to appear before him while he was busy tending to the garden behind Hubert’s home. Behind her was a bald man with a… very large forehead and unsettling stare. They looked just like the two assassins sent previously with their pale skin and dark aura, but somehow the older man seemed angrier than anyone Ferdinand had ever met before.

“I take it this is our target, Solon?” the woman asked, a large grin spreading across her face. Ferdinand could see the madness in her eyes and instantly felt unsettled by it.

(The last time he saw a look like that in someone’s eyes was Rhea in her final moments, when she tried attacking both Edelgard and Byleth with her final breathes. The encounter had, admittedly, scarred him for the following weeks after. He felt some closure, however, remembering how shaken Edelgard had seemed afterwards as well, even if she tried hiding it behind her queenly mask.)

“Indeed Kronya,” the man, Solon, answered. “This is the fledgling god that killed our most revered deity.” Solon clenched the top of his cane, fury clear in his eyes. “And now he has the audacity to live here on these sacred grounds!”

“I’m afraid I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Ferdinand said, looking back and forth between the two. Kronya was clearly the more dangerous one between the two, but Ferdinand didn’t get to where he was in life by underestimating his foes. It was clear that Solon was the one in charge between the two, meant to stand by and watch to make sure his comrade finished her job. “Forgive me for my ignorance, but who exactly is your ‘most revered deity’ you claim I killed?”

“Who cares!” Kronya interrupted, impatiently twirling her knife. “Let’s just get this over with already.”

“Such impatience.” Solon stated, exasperation clear in his tone. “Very well, but do remember to keep the blood spilled to a minimum. Thales believes that his blood might have the answer to eternal life given his position as the new Sun god.”

With that, Solon disappeared in a flash of dark magic. Kronya took that moment to charge forward, knife in hand, and Ferdinand cursed the fact that he didn’t think of bringing something with him. This small shovel would only go so far as a weapon-

Dodging out of the way of her attempt at a swipe, Ferdinand moved away from Hubert’s home, hoping that the other man would be wise enough to stay away from the conflict. These people were clearly some level above human and he didn’t want Hubert to get hurt because of his association with Ferdinand.

“You know, we’ve been watching you for the last couple of days,” Kronya casually said, trying to distract him. “It’s disgustingly cute watching a god play ‘House’ with some little mortal or whatever the hell your friend there is.”

“Excuse me-”

“But don’t worry, once I’m done with you, you’ll get to meet your little friend in the afterlife.” Kronya sneered. “If Solon’s right, you’re both going to get divine punishment or whatever for living in these woods or whatever. Did you know our god was born in these woods? I didn’t, but Solon was in an annoyed mood and decided to give me a little history lesson or whatever.”

‘Born in these woods?’ Ferdinand tried thinking back to who that could possibly be, but couldn’t think of a clear answer. None of the gods he encountered in Edelgard’s bid for the throne were born anywhere near here. All of them, if he remembered correctly, were born from their mother goddess in the chaotic aftermath of the universe being shaped.

Unless… there was someone Ferdinand was forgetting? Impossible, Petra did a reconosis of Olympus before Edelgard declared her war against Rhea. All the gods were accounted for, even the minor deities that were granted immortality by Rhea in her mad quest to revive her mother. As far as Ferdinand knew, they didn’t miss anyone, otherwise Ladislava would’ve thrown a fit over how “precarious their situation is” or how “someone could sneak in the middle of the night to kill Lady Edelgard.”

(“I was actually born in these woods,” Hubert said one night over wine and good game. Despite the man’s physical appearance, he was a surprisingly good archer and managed to fell their target before Ferdinand needed to use a lance. “That is why I know them so well.”

Ferdinand nodded, remembering the island of Delos clearly despite the wine doing things to his brain (like trying to convince him that Hubert had very kissable lips). “I understand the feeling, I happen to know Delos like the back of my hand.”

“Delos you say? Quite a ways away from here.”

“Ah, well I left when I was a boy, you see. My mother and sisters constantly ask me to come visit them.” He hoped that they were fine, or perhaps that Edelgard was kind enough to send them some of his battalion to defend them. His sisters weren’t the fighting type and his mother only knew the bare minimum of wielding a lance. “I do visit them whenever I can. Being away from them for so long can be quite painful sometimes.”

“Such a dutiful son. I’m sure my mother would have appreciated the sentiment when she was alive, but our relationship wasn’t the best, same with my own father.”

“Oh… I’m sorry to hear Hubert,” Ferdinand took a sip of his wine then. “If it makes you feel any better, my own father and I never got along either. I did mourn his passing, but we were practically strangers for most of my life.”

“Another thing we have in common, it seems.” Hubert mumbled, letting the quiet atmosphere settle comfortably.)

Jolted out of his thoughts by a sudden sting across his chest, Ferdinand hissed at the pain. He hoped the blade wasn’t poisoned again. It seemed like a lot of unnecessary hassle for Hubert later, especially since the raven haired man admitted that the antidote was usually hard to come by.

Just before Kronya tried taking another swing with her dagger, however, an arrow whizzed through the air and managed to hit the orange haired woman in the shoulder, causing her to cry out in pain. Ferdinand looked to see Hubert standing there, bow in hand with another arrow notched in and ready to fire.

“If you’re smart, you will move away from my companion.” Hubert called out, never raising his voice. The fury was apparent in his eyes, however, and Ferdinand realized in that moment that all the moments Hubert seemed angry with him weren’t out of real anger. The vicious look in his eyes was true anger and Ferdinand felt both grateful and frightened for his interruption.

Ferdinand took that moment to move closer to Hubert’s position. Once he was close enough, he breathed a sigh of relief seeing a familiarly wrapped lance strapped to Hubert’s back. Grabbing ahold of it, Ferdinand began unwrapping it, showing the Spear of Assal in its full glory. He heard Kronya gasp in surprise and Hubert in-take a sudden breath, a curious reaction since Ferdinand was sure that no one but the residents of Olympus have ever seen this lance.

‘So much for remaining inconspicuous.’ Ferdinand thought, hoping that Edelgard wouldn’t be angry at him for this later.

Seeing the Spear of Assal caused a sudden chill to crawl down Hubert’s spine. He never thought he would see Seteth’s famed lance ever again, but apparently today was shaping to prove that the last few weeks of Hubert’s life were nothing more than some sort of lie concocted by his former allies.

‘Curious that Flayn isn’t with him,’ Hubert thought. He couldn’t recall Seteth ever allowing himself to be separated from his daughter, unless the girl was disguising herself as ‘Ferdinand’s’ horse. ‘Although, I suppose this proves that the horse isn’t actually a horse, a pegasus most likely.’

“If you handle keeping Kronya on her toe with your arrows, I can focus on trying to immobilize her with my lance,” ‘Ferdinand’ whispered, “I don’t tend to use this lance in battle, but I suppose I’m willing to make an exception.”

Hubert nodded in response, not trusting his voice to properly answer.

(Curious thing to say though, Hubert realized as he watched Ferdinand clash with Kronya. He definitely remembers Seteth crushing any enemies in his wake with the Spear of Assal many times. That lance isn’t a stranger to violence or the blood spilled by enemies, no matter how much Seteth tried portraying himself as otherwise to his daughter and followers.)

Firing his arrows when needed, Hubert watched the way Ferdinand moved, hoping to see an echo of his old counterpart in the way he handled his lance. Instead, he watched as Ferdinand moved gracefully in his attacks and dodging, something that he never saw when Seteth fought. Unless Seteth taught himself a completely new way to fight, then the person in front of him wasn’t (thankfully, mercifully) the elder god in disguise.

It was at that moment one of his arrows managed to hit Kronya again, distracting her long enough for Ferdinand to piece his lance through her stomach. The resulting scream was enough to cause the duo to wince at the pitch, as well as make her ghastly partner appear again.

“How disappointing, Kronya,” the man said, walking over to the woman as she collapsed on the floor. “Thankfully, your usefulness hasn’t ended yet.”

Dark chanting filled the area, causing Hubert to feel a shiver run down his spine. This incantation was something he hasn’t heard in many, many years. In fact, he was fairly sure he forbade his followers from continuing with the practice-

Oh. Oh.

Well, he supposes he needs to apologize to Ferdinand once this is all over. Hubert never thought Thales' obsession with immortality would escalate to this scale, but he supposed it seemed rather in-character of the dark and sickly mage.

There was once a time, when Hubert was young and angry at the world, that he would have allied himself with Thales if it meant watching Rhea burn. Now though, the man was targeting someone he cared deeply about and Hubert couldn't let that offense slide without a proper punishment. As soon as he and Ferdinand finished Solon off, Thales was going to regret many, many things.

For now though, Hubert began chanting in earnest as well, earning a startled look from Ferdinand in response. His magic was quicker, one of the perks of being born a god, and he fired off a Mire spell. His efforts caught Solon off guard, for the man stopped his incantation to grab his injury.

"Now Ferdinand!" Hubert yelled. Ferdinand charged forward, lance held high as he brought it down on Solon, causing the man to collapse to the ground near Kronya's body.

The silence of the grove was their only companion for a moment before a squad of people magically appeared. They were led by a short, white haired woman in red armor, her amethyst eyes examining the area before falling upon Ferdinand. The recognition became clear and Hubert saw her shoulders relax for a moment.

"Ferdinand," she called from her spot. "I see you're well."

"Indeed I am Edelgard, thanks to Hubert here." Ferdinand answered, gesturing to Hubert. Hubert saw the apologetic look in Ferdinand's eyes when their gazes met. "He sheltered me these last few weeks. If it wasn't for him, I would have been dead."

"I see, then I must thank you Hubert for taking care of our dear Ferdinand here," Edelgard said, a teasing smile crossing her lips. "He's quite the handful isn't he?"

"Indeed he is." Hubert answered, causing Edelgard to smile and Ferdinand to playfully huff in annoyance. "Forgive me, I haven't introduced myself. I am Hubert… God of the Moon under Rhea's command." A surprised noise escaped Ferdinand then and Hubert saw Edelgard's eyes widen momentarily. "Judging by that crown, you succeeded her?"

"Yes I did, but through bloodshed." Edelgard answered, meeting his gaze head on. "It was the only way to save humanity from her madness, no matter how…"

"I understand completely, my Lady." Hubert interrupted. He felt quite pleased to learn what happened to Rhea and, likely, the others. "I hope this doesn't seem too forward, but would you be willing to take me into your service? That is, unless my position has been filled-"

"Hubert, I would be happy to. We haven't managed to find someone to take over the position and it felt quite unfair to make Ferdinand handle both the Sun and Moon, no matter how many times he claimed it wouldn't be an issue."

"I thank you, my Lady, for allowing me this opportunity." Hubert bowed, earning a nod from Edelgard before she walked away to speak to a stern looking woman.

"So… you're a god?" Ferdinand asked. "Not a mortal?!"

"Yes," Hubert answered plainly. "I suppose the same can be said for you as well. That explains your fast healing and the sun pendant you own."

"How do you-? Never mind, yes I am the same as you, although considerably younger if you're a contemporary of Lord Seteth."

"Hardly, I was but a fledgling god when I first came to Olympus. I'm much closer in age than you think."

"That's good…" Ferdinand said. "I want to apologize though, for deceiving you this whole time. Edelgard ordered discretion and I would be remiss to go against that order."

"Water under the bridge," Hubert said, waving his hand dismissively at the apology. He understood what it meant to keep his identity a secret. He had been doing so since he left Olympus. "I should apologize as well, I suppose. Those people were part of my cult of worshippers and nearly skilled you over a misunderstanding and misconception about immortality."

"There's no need to apologize Hubert! Unfortunately, we can't control our followers. I don't blame you for any of this." Ferdinand assured, causing a small smile to slip on Hubert's face. "Although I am curious about this 'misconception' as you put it."

"They, Thales specifically, believe that feasting off the light of the Sun will grant immortality. Another option is feasting on your blood, but they would likely die before seeing any positive effects of your blood. Thales and his followers are rather weak to sunlight, hence why you're their 'enemy' as the Sun is your dominion."

Ferdinand nodded, thinking the information over. If anything, Hubert doubted that Ferdinand's blood was the key. Seteth was the original Sun god, so his blood would have better results. Killing Ferdinand would make it easier for Thales and his followers to roam the Earth again, but Hubert didn't think the topic would be appreciated at the moment.

"So, you will be accompanying us back to Olympus?" Ferdinand asked, a hopeful tilt to his voice.

"Indeed," Hubert answered. "I only left before because of Rhea. Now that she is no longer around, I would very much like to return."

Ferdinand laughed, eyes twinkling. "You and Edelgard will get along swimmingly if you tell her that! In the meantime, I'm willing to show you around Olympus? It has changed quite a bit since you were last there."

Ferdinand's cheeks were tinted a lovely shade of pink and Hubert felt a sudden sense of relief. "I would appreciate it greatly, Ferdinand."

'Brave new world.' Hubert thought as he watched Edelgard command her forces. Yes, she was a ruler he could see himself following. Watching from the corner of his eye, he saw Ferdinand standing beside him with a relaxed smile and an easy posture.

Hubert could understand completely, it felt nice being with your other half after so long.