Chapter 16 – Seraphim
“Claude! Are you a fool, boy?” Judith did not want to believe her leader – or the vast armies approaching the Alliance in what she believed to be their last stand. “How do you know Prince Dimitri won’t abandon us?”
“Because of Teach. If anyone can make Dimitri listen, it’s Teach. Why don’t you have a little more faith in me, Judith?”
As Claude and his wyvern took off into the air – and as the Alliance leader shot an arrow immediately downwards – Dimitri was so close that he could see it all.
“There it is!” he cried. “The Leicester forces and Adrestian forces are already engaged in battle. Come, we need to-”
As the vast majority of the Kingdom army charged ahead, Dimitri would have done the same, had he not noticed an apathetic Sylvain. He thought a short while before speaking, “I’m worried about him, too. I’m sure Rodrigue would be worried, too. But remember, Sylvain, we can save so many people if we can save the Alliance this day.”
Knowing that Dimitri’s words were true – but feeling no less angry – Sylvain and his horse ran so far ahead, relentlessly cutting down his foes while barely avoiding his friends.
He even ignored the words of a concerned Ingrid. “Sylvain, are you okay?”
Arundel, around whom the bodies of many Leicester and Faerghus soldiers lay, noticed this ruthless display by Sylvain. “Hah! So, the playboy of Gautier does have some strength in him.”
Sylvain heard this haughty voice, but did not hear the words – not over screams of, “Aah! Stay back, you monsters!”
“Then give us the Failnaught and the Areadbhar, little lordlings!” a creepy voice taunted.
This continuous taunting temporarily broke Sylvain out of his rage. “That sounds like… Dimitri! Claude!”
He twirled the Lance of Ruin – and his horse – around, shouting, “Unhand my prince, or die!”
“Eh…?” The “leader” of this large group of attackers stopped his attacks, and the second he saw Sylvain, he exclaimed, “Oh… Goddess, it’s Sylvain Jose Gautier! Run, boys, run!”
“Uh… You got it, boss!” The “leader’s” underlings didn’t quite understand until they also saw Sylvain, frantically pushing past him on their way to the wilderness. And just like that, about a third of the opposing forces were gone.
“Heh…” Claude, who suffered a face laceration from the brawl, was obviously impressed. “Sylvain, was it? Just what I’d expect from the heir to House Gautier.”
“Um… Thanks.” Sylvain replies as he returned to the fight.
“By the way, where is Felix?” Claude asked as he effortlessly shot at an enemy from behind. “I didn’t see him after the Battle at Gronder, so I just assumed he returned to the Kingdom.”
“Claude… Sir, with all due respect, focus on the battle, unless you want to get overwhelmed again.”
“Yeah, yeah… By the way, thanks for fending of those weird soldiers, however you did it.”
I wonder about that, too… Sylvain thought as he finally locked eyes with Arundel. But before I worry about that, there’s something else of importance.
“Oh, so you’re my opponent, playboy?” Arundel cackled as a Thoron spell already began to form behind Sylvain, unbeknownst to him – or so Arundel thought. “Why, is ‘Your Highness’ too scared?”
“No, he just doesn’t have the time for slime like you.” Sylvain smirked before dispelling the incoming Thoron with a Bolganone spell. “Too bad, you’ll have to deal with me.”
“Hah!” Arundel ordered his horse down the stairs, skipping all steps at once. “If you think I’m going to end up like that worthless Cornelia, you are fooling yourself! I am far, far more adept at the magical arts than her. And you? You barely just started! Not to mention you look like a ragdoll upon that… that thing you call a horse!”
Annette had heard the entire conversation. “Yikes… Arundel is right.”
“Annie!” Mercedes flung a Nosferatu at an enemy behind Annette. “What are you saying?”
“I mean, didn’t you see that Bolganone? It was barely even a spell at all. Goddess… I hope Sylvain will be all right. Arundel is one of the finest magic users in the Empire.”
“Maybe he should just use the Lance of Ruin, then,” spoke Ashe, who by this point had proven adept with both the bow and with horsemanship.
“But look at Arundel…” Dimitri pointed towards some very faint shadows flying around Arundel. “Something’s not right… He’s definitely not how I remember.”
Sylvain knew, of course, how strong his opponent was, but did not let it – or Arundel’s taunts – get to him as he cast a Sagittae spell in his direction. “You may be right, but that doesn’t mean I’ll lose. Hell, you’re the perfect target practice!”
“That is if you can hit me.” Arundel dispelled this spell too. “Do you even know who I am, playboy?”
“A coward who bends to Edelgard’s will, that’s who.” Sylvain still was not scared, somehow deflecting the oncoming Thoron shot again.
Those words that incensed Arundel even more as the ground lightly shook from underneath Sylvain. “Me? Bend to the will of that girl, as her servant Hubert does? I am far greater than he – or she – will ever be… Let me show you how much better.”
It was then that the ground now began to fissure, and an immense shadow spouting from thence. But the shadows came not just from this fissure. Sylvain noticed, too, that Arundel himself suddenly appeared inhuman and engulfed in dark flames. – and by that point, it was too late. He had been thrown off his horse and into the fissure, but instead of falling in, the shadows enshrouded him and suspended him just above the abyss.
“Goddess, no…” Annette had killed sufficient adjacent enemies to look in Sylvain’s direction.
“Annette? What’s going on?” Dimitri hadn’t yet noticed just what was happening to Sylvain, especially with only one functional eye.
“That’s a Hades Ω spell. It’s the highest form of dark magic, and only a select few in the history of Fódlan have been able to use it. I know of a good spell or two against it, but-”
Shit… Sylvain instantly felt scared of his impending doom, feeling foolish from his bold display of behavior before. Am I… Am I done for…?
Then, a revelation came to him, and with no immediate options left, Sylvain quietly began to chant an incantation and draw a sigil with his index finger. No. I’m not going to die, not without Felix by my side.
“That’s… Sylvain’s trying to use a Seraphim spell!” Annette exclaimed.
“That fool…” Dimitri knew how far away Sylvain was, but didn’t care as he dashed to him anyway. “He hasn’t even tried to cast that spell yet. He can’t possibly use it against such a powerful enemy as Arundel!”
C-C’mon… Between being only able to move one finger and being relatively inexperienced in magic, Sylvain couldn’t even properly form a magic circle for Seraphim. He kept trying anyway, even when the shadows from the abyss touched his back. I’m… I’m not going to die…
“Sylvain!” Dimitri didn’t care that he, too, could get swallowed by Hades Ω. He jumped into the growing fissure anyway as Areadbhar grew black and red flames, tearing away at Sylvain’s bonds.
“Your Highness!” Annette had already incapacitated Arundel before Dimitri had fully freed Sylvain. “Finish him off!”
“Yaaaaah!” With a mighty shout and another Atrocity, Dimitri impaled Arundel in the chest, almost killing him instantly.
“Heh… heh…” Arundel lay motionless, and though he was dying, the shadows didn’t go completely away.
“Uncle…” Dimitri cast his spear aside. “Tell me what you know about the Tragedy of Duscur. You were involved… weren’t you?”
“Like I’m telling you that… I just hope that you… and that girl… kill each other…”
“…Tch.” Dimitri wasn’t impressed at Arundel’s reluctance to talk – and now that his uncle was dead, he decided to drop the subject for now. But he didn’t ignore the fact that Arundel’s passing was far from ordinary, as his corpse disappeared completely in the remaining shadows.
“What… What the heck?” Raphael, who had no knowledge of magic at all, didn’t understand what he just saw.
“So…” Dimitri retrieved his spear. “That wasn’t really Arundel at all. It was just some phantom in his image.”
“Your Highness, are you all right?” Dorothea asked. “I’m not very skilled at healing, but if there’s anything I can do-”
“You better save that healing for your comrade over there.” Dimitri pointed in Sylvain’s direction.
“Sylvain!” Annette helped Sylvain on his feet while Mercedes tended to him. “Thank the goddess you’re okay.”
“Hmph. I can’t even cast an easy spell correctly. Leave me alone!” Sylvain swatted his friends away as soon as he was healed, and immediately regretted it.
“Sylvain… If it’s about the Seraphim spell, just practice. I’m sure Professor can help! Just… Just don’t beat yourself up over this mistake.”
“But if you and Dimitri hadn’t saved me, I’d-”
“Then I’d have been a failure of a prince, that’s what,” Dimitri interrupted. “Goddess, you’ve dealt with women’s rejections so many times, yet you can’t accept the fact that you haven’t mastered a new spell on the first try? You can do better than that, man.”
“Yeah… So I ca-” Just as Sylvain began to regain his confidence, he noticed that his toy spear, which he nearly kept by his side, was missing. “Oh…”
Dimitri didn’t know about the toy lance – nobody other than Sylvain and Felix did – and Sylvain wanted to keep it that way. He didn’t see it in the vicinity, and so decided to give up on looking for it for now. “So, um… I’m okay for now, but what about Claude?”
“The Professor and I have spoken with him. It turns out that he has disbanded the Alliance and left Fódlan, not giving us a reason why.” Dimitri presented a golden bow. “But not without leaving us this.”
“Why on Earth would he entrust us with Failnaught? Even more that that, why are you giving it to me? I don’t know the first thing about bows! Why don’t you give it to Ashe?”
“Professor asked me to. And I don’t know why, but I feel it would be better in your hands.” Dimitri also gave Sylvain his horse – luckily unharmed – back to him.
“Gee, thanks a lot…” Ashe had overheard.
“Oh, come on, Ashe!” Caspar laughed. “You’ve got Yewfelle and Parthia, why complain?”
“Even though Yewfelle supposedly doesn’t exist in this world?”
“Haha… You guys…” Sylvain chuckled as he got back on his horse, and he could have a nice chat again as the army made way for the monastery.
Even if he did decide to look for the toy lance, it would have been a waste of time. Sylvain didn’t know that the surviving foes of the battle had taken it away to their leader, knowing full well the value of the gem imbedded inside it.