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Dark Age

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Irked, specially since her house had been defeated, Dorothea decided to actually listen to Leonie for once and see what the suspicious people were up to. Not only Blanche, but also the whole Blue Lions House. Sure, Mercedes and Annette were more accessible than the other four, but they still behaved weirdly, as if they were scared.

But why, Dorothea wondered. She decided to do some snooping, but she didn’t feel well doing it in her own, so she picked someone who knew what they were fighting against, but at the same time, someone whose presence wouldn’t be easily noticed (like Edelgard) and someone who didn’t know about the Conspiracy group.

So she chose Petra.

“I need your help for a mission.” She said in Petra’s ear. “Help me, please.”

“A mission?” Petra lifted her head from the table happily, her attention caught by the flamboyant word that promised great things. “Is this Professor’s assignment?”

“No, it’s just a thing, the two of us, don’t tell anyone.” Petra blushed lightly. “No, no! D-don’t get me wrong! I meant... I meant that only us will be in the mission because it’s a secret. It’s not a d-date.”

“Oh.” Petra said, though she looked like she was a bit crestfallen. Her mood lightened up immediately after however. “OK! I will help Dorothea with the mission.”

“Aw, thanks, Petra! You’re the best!”

Petra got up from her seat and helped Dorothea sneak out of the dining hall.

“You saw the Blue Lions, right? They’re totally weird! What kind of magic were they even using?” Dorothea liked reason particularly and she had never seen the spells that had been used during the mock battle.

“I never seen magic like that before.” Petra confirmed, remembering how it had hurt the fire ball that someone had shot at her. “It was very powerful.”

“See? I think that there is something wrong with the Blue Lions. So that is why we are following them. are you with me?”

“I think something is wrong too.” Petra would have never snooped on other people’s business, but it was indeed a strange situation. “I will come with you.”

 

The Blue Lions weren’t in their classroom, like it could have been expected. They weren’t around the dorms either. Petra and Dorothea walked around the garden, hoping to find clues about their whereabouts. Petra, who was used to hunting, had an eye for details and she spotted an open door to the private quarters of one of the knights.

When she stood there, looking at the door, Dorothea noticed and saw the door was open as well.

“There is literally no other place they could be, right...?” Dorothea hesitantly asked, searching an answer in Petra, a confirmation to sneak into the quarters. “We have to... we have to go in there.”

Petra just nodded. They had a big purpose, said purpose being to find out what the Blue Lions were doing. Dorothea took the leap of faith and went into the quarters. They were dusty and it seemed that there was nothing out of the ordinary, but if they were abandoned, why was the door open?

Then Petra leaned against the wall and it turned around.

“Oh no.” Petra gasped, not wanting to know what hid behind the wall. “I think I found secret passage.”

Dorothea stopped pulling books from the shelves and pushed the wall lightly, until the passage was big enough for the two of them to go through.

They arrived at a large, cryptic room. They started hearing voices as soon as they stepped in, so they hid consciously as to not be seen.

“We can’t declare for certain that Dimitri is dead.” Sylvain was saying, as if Dimitri’s name was poison on his tongue. “We should send someone to check if the deed was done.”

“That is a good idea.” Ashe answered. “After all... my old man knows nothing yet.”

“Why would King Lambert know before us?” Ingrid interjected, sounding hesitant. “Shouldn’t we be told as well?”

“Dear Ingrid, you have no idea of how nobility works, do you? Lambert will always know before I do, because he’s who he is and I’m a nobody. As to the upper charges in Faerghus, none of us means anything to them. We are just walking crests. Gold mines to be exploited.”

“Are we really going to talk about that?” Ingrid swallowed saliva hesitantly. “I thought we were over that. No discussing Crests anymore.”

“Well, I thought it was relevant to this situation.” Ashe shrugged, he didn’t seem to care about the touchiness of the subject. “Anyway. Who are we sending to check on Dimitri?”

“Mercedes’ brother could help us.” Sylvain said quickly. “I propose him to go.”

“Alright, no objections here.” Ashe said and Dedue nodded.

“B-but, why Jeritza? Does he even trust us?”

“No.” Sylvain said simply but his serious face turned into a twisted grin. “But he trusts his sister. That is enough.”

“I like the way you’re thinking.” Ashe returned the evil grin.

 

Petra and Dorothea were livid by the time the two noble males were exchanging grins. They understood what the conversation they had just heard meant. Those four had planned an assassination, they intended to kill Prince Dimitri. And, by the looks of it, Ashe was somehow related to him.

“We need to tell Archbishop Rhea right now.” Dorothea mouthed to Petra, but Petra didn’t seem to understand.

Frustrated beyond belief, Dorothea pulled Petra’s arm and ran away from the scene. Petra followed Dorothea without asking questions, probably hoping to get to the Cathedral.

 

When they went outside, they were in a hurry to reach the Cathedral. On their way there, they bumped into Edelgard, who was worried and looking for them.

“Where were the two of you? I was worried sick!” Edelgard exclaimed, but Petra and Dorothea looked like they had seen a ghost.

Perhaps the ghost of Prince Dimitri if they didn’t hurry and tell Rhea as soon as possible. Dorothea wanted to tell Edelgard but she felt like she was running as risk and if the Blue Lions were going to hear her snitching on them, she thought it would be better in Rhea and Seteth’s presences.

“Come with us!” She told Edelgard in the end, taking her hand and urging her to run.

Edelgard hesitantly followed them.

 

Fortunately, they soon were in Archbishop Rhea’s room and she was there, exuding her calm aura. She looked concerned when she saw the three girls rushing into the room, panting because they needed more air to breathe.

“We know what happened to Prince Dimitri!” Dorothea cried out quickly. “Petra and I... we just heard... something terrible!”

“Calm down, Dorothea.” Seteth was even shaken by their panic. “What have you just heard?”

“They were talking about sending someone to check if Prince Dimitri is dead! They were talking about it as if they sent someone to kill him!” Dorothea shouted hurriedly, tripling over her words several times before being able to get out what she meant.

The statements were dropped like bombs. Archbishop Rhea’s calm face quickly dissolved into anger, confusion and panic. Seteth took a deep breath in with furrowed brows, not wanting to believe what Dorothea had just said to be truthful.

“Who was talking like that?” Rhea asked, trying to get answers midst the chaos.

“I-it was... the Blue Lions... Ashe, Sylvain, Ingrid... I think Dedue was there too, but... but... it was the four of them!” Dorothea shouted. “We didn’t want to snoop but... they were acting strange! Very strange! And looks like I was right. They are plotting to murder Prince Dimitri...!”

 

Seteth tried to help Dorothea calm down, but she cracked under the pressure and had a panic attack. Rhea soothingly stood by her side, not wanting to force her to say more. The news were worrying indeed and the matter had to be investigated, but there was still no evidence against or in favor of Dorothea’s claims.

 

That was why Seteth and Rhea decided to assign a mission to Byleth. He was to visit the last village that Prince Dimitri was seen at. The class would be sent to help get rid of the bandits in the way in, but if some serious fighting were to occur, Byleth and the Knights of Seiros would take care of it.

Byleth consciously prepared his students for the tryst. Since Petra had been able to tell Seteth and Rhea that the Blue Lions planned to send Jeritza, they kept an eye on him and made him stay.

At the end of the month, Byleth was ready and he trusted his students to be ready as well. Dorothea wanted nothing but to leave, fearing that the Blue Lions would know she snitched and would go after her. She felt safer in a village miles away from the Officers’ Academy, rather than in the monastery.

They reached The village finally. Some monsters tried to fend them off, but Byleth’s training allowed them to go through. Byleth started asking around about Dimitri to the villagers, while the students stayed with the knights.

Edelgard insisted in accompanying Byleth. She considered Dimitri a brother to her (maybe it was because she had many siblings) and she wanted to find him as soon as possible. Byleth allowed her to tag along, because her discreet appearance didn’t stand out in a village of Faerghus. Anyone could have brown hair and purple eyes.

Asking around only let them know that Dimitri did stay there, but he had left. Byleth made sure to visit each and every house, but none of them provided enough leads as to the prince’s whereabouts.

So Byleth took the decision to start checking on the inns. It was unlikely, but it was the last thing they had left.

And Dimitri was there, having what seemed to be chamomile tea.

“Dima!” Edelgard cries in pure joy. “You are alive!”

Dimitri trembled as Edelgard’s hug, probably reminiscing the circumstances that led to Edelgard being afraid of him not being alive.

“What happened to you?” Byleth asked, sitting down with him.

“It is not a matter to discuss openly.” Dimitri said mysteriously. “I will tell you when we can leave.”

“Why can’t we leave right now?” Edelgard asked.

“Because I’m waiting for my companion.” Dimitri said, and if he said ‘parents’ instead of companion, it wouldn’t have changed much, it seemed that he was too scared to leave without whoever was going with him.

“A companion? Who? Someone from Faerghus?” Edelgard was then asking, impatiently. She clearly wanted to know who was traveling with Dimitri.

The answer to her question appeared in a matter of seconds. A woman arrived to the dining hall, clad in an armor, which had a gap in the stomach. She carried a jacket over her shoulders, with strange patterns drawn all over it. Her hair was blue and so were her eyes, making her look exactly like... Byleth.
“... oh Goddess.” Edelgard gasped first, noticing the obvious similarities between Byleth and the mysterious woman.

To further increase her surprise, the woman sat down next to Dimitri.

“Dimitri, who are these people?” She asked, glaring oddly at her look-alike.

“This is my old friend, Edelgard.” Dimitri pointed at the brunette. “And I’m assuming that’s Professor Byleth.”

With a nod of confirmation from the man, the woman’s frown only got deeper and bigger. She had a hard time piecing together who that man was, and she was just told he was a professor. That made him older than she was... right?

“Well.” She cleared her throat. “I am Ashen.”

“Wait, you just said...” Dimitri was punched in the gut by the strange woman, who turned and smiled at the newcomers. “Ow.” He winced in pain.

“I want to know what happened. Can we go somewhere else so you can tell me about it?” Edelgard’s eyes were directed toward Dimitri, who just nodded.

The group of four got to one of the rooms of the inn. That room apparently belonged to Dimitri and his strange companion, because ‘Dimitri was too scared to sleep on his own’. Understandably, he had just survived an assassination attempt.

As soon as it was ‘safe’, Dimitri told Edelgard and her teacher what had happened to him.

“I was in my carriage and it suddenly stopped. One of my vassals got outside to check what was going on, but they were shot with a fire ball. I was told to try to flee, but there were too many enemies and all my vassals just... sacrificed themselves for me. I was only saved because B... Ashen, appeared to save me. She was able to fight off the mages and she took me here. We’ve been hiding since then.”

“Do you have fighting expertise?” Professor Byleth asked the woman.

“Of course!” She scoffed. “I’m a mercenary.”

“I thank you for saving Dimitri, but if you want anything in exchange, I’m sure my father would be willing to afford your fee on Dimitri’s behalf.” Edelgard said slowly and shyly.

“Oh. No. I don’t want any payment. I saw this poor boy in trouble and I just decided to help him.” Ashen shrugged it off flippantly, but Dimitri blushed and looked down.

“That is very kind of you, Ashen.” Edelgard smiled brightly at the woman. “But I must ask: Are you aware of Dimitri’s real identity?”

“Uh... what identity?” Ashen rubbed her head in confusion. “Isn’t he just a noble?”

“I didn’t want to tell you, because I thought you would stop treating me like an equal. I am Dimitri Alexander Blayddid, crown prince of Faerghus.” Dimitri then pointed at Edelgard. “She is Edelgard von Hresvelg, heiress to the Adrestian Empire. We were both to attend to the Officers’ Academy, but I was unable to get there.”

“And it was no coincidence.” Edelgard’s eyebrows furrowed together. “It was planned by your own housemates. By your old childhood friends. I can’t believe it.”

“Well, I can. And in fact, I suspected it was them from the very beginning. In the last years they haven’t been precisely happy with me. I suppose this has to do with Felix’s death.”

“That’s definitely shitty friends.” Ashen commented, biting her lip, still processing what it meant to have saved the crown prince. Would she be named a knight? She didn’t want to be a knight? Would they drag her to the Academy to thank her?

As for Dimitri’s friends... did they hate him just because someone died? Knowing Dimitri, Ashen doubted it would be in him to kill somebody, so she just assumed it was an accident. If they were blaming him because of that, they were, as she said, shitty friends.

“Anyway.” Edelgard shook her head, shaking unpleasant thoughts away. “You should come back with us to the Officers’ Academy. I doubt they would dare to hurt you in there.”

“I agree.” Professor Byleth said. “You could even join our class if you don’t feel comfortable around them.”

“No.” Dimitri said, straightening his shoulders. “I won’t leave the Blue Lions House. I am meant to be there. But since I must to go to Garreg Mach, I insist that you accompany me, B... Ashen.”

“Me?” Ashen asked in pure surprise.

“Yes. I think you are very talented. Surely, Archbishop Rhea would be able to assign you a better paying-job than being a mercenary. I would like to have you close to me, because you really make me feel safer.”

That made Ashen think. It was true that being a mercenary was a very taxing job that barely got her any money, just enough to survive. She didn’t know who Archbishop Rhea was, but she seemed important. She liked Dimitri, so she wouldn’t mind to be around him, and he hadn’t explicitly said she would be a knight. Maybe she would have a tamer job, like singing in the chorus. She considered herself a good singer.

Also, there was that... Professor Byleth. He looked like her so much that it was scary. She had to look into that and if he worked at that place as a professor, there was no doubt she would be able to investigate him.

“Alright.” She accepted, which made Dimitri smile at her and Edelgard beam excitedly.

Since she had helped her friend, there was no way Edelgard wouldn’t like her, despite her rough mannerisms.

They got prepared to leave, and while Edelgard and Dimitri chatted happily, Professor Byleth noticed Ashen grabbing a strange sword. It was green and it had a golden handle with pink specks. Byleth had never seen a sword like that before, and he wondered where Ashen had gotten it from.

 

When the four of them joined the group, the Black Eagles were incredibly shocked to see Prince Dimitri and Ashen. She was too similar to Professor Byleth, there was no way to deny so.

“Professor! You’re back!” Bernadetta chirped happily. “W-Wait? Who’s that?”

“My fellow classmates, this is Prince Dimitri and Ashen. She helped Dimitri while he was in danger so you can trust her.”

“Wow! That sword is so cool!” Caspar’s eyes directly went to the sword in the woman’s hand, not even looking at her face.

“Caspar, why aren’t you noticing the obvious?” Lindhardt huffed, whining because he was scared no one else would see.

“This woman is truly a sight to behold.” Ferdinand said next to Lindhardt, which made Lindhardt hope he would notice the resemblance between Byleth and her. “I must introduce myself. I am Ferdinand von Aegir.”

“Are we introducing us? I am Petra!” Petra jumped. “I give you my thanks for helping Edelgard’s friend.”

“In that case, I am Dorothea, I must also thank you.” She blinked a few times. “Are you and Professor Byleth related?”

“No.” Professor Byleth quickly answered.

“That is weird.” Hubert mused under his breath, but he smiled at Edelgard when she looked at him, as if nothing was happening.