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Dark Age

Chapter Text

At the end of the month, the three classes met at Gronder Field. Beth and Dimitri (despite him not being the House Leader) leaded the Blue Lions, Edelgard and Byleth stood at the front of the Black Eagles and Lorenz and Professor Manuela leaded the last group.

On the top of a hill, Archbishop Rhea was overseeing the battle, feeling extremely proud of both Beth and Byleth. Seteth, on the other hand, desperately wanted Flayn to win.

Before they headed to battle, each Professor spoke to their class.

“We are going to win this battle because we have strength, we have intelligence and we have worked hard for this. Do not give up now, my dear classmates, because we will show everyone how much effort we put into becoming great warriors, the best version of ourselves and capable people that will lead our nation.” Edelgard gave a speech while everyone listened. “Everyone is here so we have to show them how much we work!”

Edelgard had seen her parents briefly before heading to the battlefield, as well as some of her siblings. She was very excited at the prospect of showing them how much she had learned under Professor Byleth’s wing.

“Our parents are here!?” Bernadetta started cowering. “Can I go back to the monastery!?”

“Don’t be scared, Bern, surely they’ll be happy when they see how good you are with the bow!” Dorothea tried to reassure her, but Bernadetta chose a hiding place behind Professor Byleth.

In fact, most of them had seen their parents. Caspar and Lindhardt had been called by them and they had taken at least ten minutes to talk about the monastery and how the two of them were doing. Ferdinand had met up with his father, carrying a long face all the time. Lysithea had also met her parents and she had hugged them excitedly while people around wondered how much Lysithea had to love her parents to do that so effusively.

“Do you really believe we can win this battle? Not to be pessimistic, but yesterday I saw Dedue doing push-ups with Ashe on him.” Lindhardt commented, looking at the Blue Lions. “I think it’ll be hard to beat such a strong team.”

“Hey, that’s a nice idea of a training regime!” Caspar beamed. “Lindhardt, maybe you could help me...”

“Don’t even think about it.” The taller boy cut him off.

“The fact that they have brute force should not matter to us. We have something much more valuable and useful than that, we have strategy and we have a plan fleshed out to be able to counter any ridiculous idea they come up with. They are quite lacking in the strategy department, both the Golden Deer and the Blue Lions.”

“I don’t know about that, Hubert.” Edelgard said. “We should not be too presumptuous. They have Professor Beleth leading them. We should not underestimate our enemies. Now, that should not mean that it has to undermine our confidence in the possibilities we have of emerging victorious in this battle.”

“Well said! Approaching this is with a positive attitude is everything we need! You shouldn’t be so pessimistic, Lin!” Lysithea said happily.

“I am not being pessimistic, I only said...”

“No more crying!” Petra stopped him before he justified himself. “The victory is coming to us!”

“That’s the attitude, Petra!” Edelgard praises her. “Now, on my mark!”

“We should wait to Professor Byleth’s Mark.” Leonie pointed out. “He’s our commander... right?”

“I think Edelgard can handle this.” Getting a smile from the brunette, she stepped forward and led the team on to the field.

 

At the Blue Lions, things were much tenser. Ashe wouldn’t just look at Dimitri’s eyes and Dimitri was stiffer than a wooden post. He had met up with his father and King Lambert had wished him luck, but the weight of expectations was making him want to puke.

However, there was someone who wanted to puke more than him. Sothis had followed them all the way to Gronder Field and when Rhea was distracted, she had run away from Rhea’s side and practically attacked King Lambert. Sothis had introduced herself as Dimitri’s professor’s mother and Lambert had been quite courteous with her, but Sothis was pulled away from the King when her adoptive daughter had finally realized what she was doing.

Annette’s parents had also made their way to Gronder Field. Annette had caused a ruckus as she ran to meet them, with Mercedes trailing behind her because Annette’s mother wanted to meet her. In the end, Annette’s mother was glad that her daughter had much more peaceful friends than her rambunctious daughter.

Ingrid’s fiancée had made a long travel to see her participating in the battle. He was there with Ingrid’s parents and his own father, the Duke of Fraldarius, Rodrigue. Rodrigue left his son’s side to talk for a little while to see both Lambert and Dimitri, who greeted him with different expressions. Lambert was joyous to see him, while Dimitri seemed scared.

The real tension had come when Ashe had seen King Lambert, which made him immediately turn away and be on his own while all his other classmates talked to their relatives. To his surprise, Dedue noticed he was alone and dragged him all the way to where his parents were so he wouldn’t be alone. Still, Ashe was moody and angry.

“Do you believe we can win, Professor?” Ingrid asked the teacher, who was still livid after having to fight Sothis to get her away from Lambert.

“Of course.” Beth thought that it was mostly because she had been able to restrain Sothis, and if she was capable of doing that, she was capable of doing anything.

“I see you believe in us. Well, that makes me happy.” Dimitri smiled at her, which made Ashe groan. Oh well, another person that believed Dimitri had a crush on his teacher.

“We will beat them AGAIN!” Annette cried “and this time, it’s going to be because of me entirely! You will regret leaving me out of the mock battle!”

“Annie, you shouldn’t hold a grudge against them, it’s not their fault, Sylvain was the one in charge of strategic planning...” Mercedes tried to explain, but Annette was too furious.

“I don’t care! My revenge will be ejected with its outmost power!”

“Don’t be surprised when they say we are all brute force and no strategy.” Ashe sighed, making Annette turn and glare at him like a possessed woman.

“Ha! As if it were for me! It’s all Dedue’s fault! Which is your fault, because it’s been you who’s been training Dedue all this time.”

“Annette, I kindly ask you to not blame anyone about my physical conditional, because that holds no relationship with our strategic planning. In fact, I would say that Professor Beth is in charge of strategy, because she is our professor.”

“Damn right.” Professor Beth intervened. “Having physical bulk is an advantage, not a disadvantage.”

“Physical bulk? The only physically strong members we have are Dedue and Annie.” Mercedes pointed out.

“Anyway, it doesn’t matter. We will win and that’s it.” Ashe said dismissively.
However, on the battlefield, everyone was trembling and stuttering. The battle officially began. Everyone had a clear strategy, but in a real battle, it all boiled down to acting correctly in response to enemy advances.

The offensive Blue Lion units (aka Ashe, Annette and Ingrid) launched themselves to danger, despite their smaller number. As a result, Dedue, Dimitri and Mercedes made their best to follow after them quickly, but Ingrid with a pegasus was just too fast.

Ingrid was confronted with both Lysithea and Bernadetta in the front lines, each carrying their bows. Lysithea’s bloodlust look made Ingrid cower so much that she dismounted her Pegasus and waited for Annette to reach her, which didn’t take long.

In a lower part of the field, Caspar was advancing towards Dedue with the sole intention of beating him with his fists, followed by Lindhardt and Leonie, who were desperately trying to prevent having Caspar knocked down quickly.

Caspar didn’t manage to break through the enemy lines, because he was attacked by a magic spell before. He thought it would be Annette’s or Mercedes’, forgetting Ashe knew reason, and thus he was taken out after a second blow reached him.

“We are going to die.” Lindhardt said in the most pessimist way, peering at Leonie, who effectivley recognized Ashe’s weak defense and used a bow technique to take him out.

Lindhardt was impressed by Leonie’s power, but she was almost tackled by Dedue, managing to escape his attack range with a very low health. Lindhardt healed her but they had to continue moving upwards, where their allies needed them.

Annette was destroying their archers, and she didn’t even need magic to do it.

“I am inevitable!” Annette was screaming as she broke through the enemy’s army, followed by a distressed Mercedes and a confused Dimitri. She had effectively taken down both Bernadetta and Lysithea, while Ingrid was a simple bystander that was locked into another fight with Petra, whose skill, speed and strength matched Ingrid’s.

Annette headed to the Golden Deer’s area next. She effortlessly swung her axe and destroyed both Ignatz and Raphael, following Lorenz as he tried to escape. She was alone, since Mercedes and Dimitri recognized that she didn’t need help, and they were dealing with Dorothea instead.

“Stop moving, damnit!” Dorothea cried in confusion, as Petra finally emerged victorious from her battle with Ingrid and joined her side to help her. Lindhardt had healed her, so she was back to full health and about to go on a rampage.

Mercedes recognized the threat and called for Annette, but Annette was too busy slaughtering the Golden Deer on her own. Dedue reached them in time and thanks to him, they were able to hold Petra and Dorothea off until Annette came back from her rampage.

However, Annette encountered an unexpected foe that impeded her total win like she was expecting. A single lighting struck her and she was left to a single health point. She looked around, wondering who had done it, but found to no culprit. She ran away to Mercedes, who was able to heal her, but Annette had already lost her confidence and was acting more consciously.

Dedue was taken down by Dorothea, who managed to get a hit on him with reason, and Petra kept trying to get their weakest member, Mercedes, but she was ferociously defended by Annette.
Flayn joined the group and started healing both Petra and Dorothea, making it harder for Annette to take them out. She landed a critical hit on Dorothea, the only way she managed to get her out and Dimitri landed a double hit on Petra, which finally beat the two girls.

The Blue Lions had only three members, the Golden Deer had one and the Black Eagles had five. Their superiority in number should grant them victory, but when Hubert used his dark magic to eliminate Mercedes from the game, Annette just seemed to get angrier, causing her to plunge through the Black Eagles, beating Lindhardt, Leonie and Flayn single-handed.

Then she reached for Hubert and took her revenge while the older male wondered how it was possible that such a monster was part of the monastery.

Annette ran head-first to Edelgard, who was finally able to overcome her physical strength and her magic, and able to finally beat her. Just like that, the only two visible fighters in the field were Dimitri and Edelgard.

Byleth said that he liked to think that Edelgard won on her own, but he knew in reality that Dimitri had not put up a fight. Instead, he had just her won. As for why, Byleth did not completely understand, but his class won thanks to Edelgard and they all celebrated.

In fact, pumped up because of her victory, Edelgard proposed herself for all of them to have a meal together, similar to ones they’d shared in the past. She was blissfully unaware of the fact that they had left one member of the Golden Deer that had surrendered on her own, without doing any effort to fight and had simply left the battlefield as soon as Dimitri had been defeated.

They made their way back to the monastery and the bonds between the classes became clear. Lorenz and Edelgard chatted amicably about House Leader business while some of the members of their classes mingled together. Caspar insistently asked Dedue about his work out routine, who simply said that Ashe was the one that came up with it, but Ashe was no way interested in talking to Caspar and simply refused to leave Ingrid’s side, sheltering himself from the strange people.

Lysithea was impressed by Annette’s battle power and Annette was glad to have an admirer. They chatted amicably as Mercedes and Bernadetta joined them, the shyer girl feeling safe around a motherly presence like Mercedes.

Ingrid was not alone, because Dorothea reached out to her and complimented her on whatever she could find.

Ferdinand practically tripped over himself as he pulled himself and Petra to speak with Dimitri.

“I am Ferdinand von Aegir.” He introduced himself to the Prince of Faerghus, to then start saying how talented he was and how complete he was, while Petra asked him on tricks with the Lance, making the prince chat with them and feel less lonely than he did when he had just arrived and Sylvain was after his head.

However, before they left Gronder field, King Lambert made a last attempt to talk to Ashe, who had tried to ignore him since he had arrived. The King did not manage to reach him, so Glenn instead asked Ingrid to tell Ashe to go to talk to his father.

Ashe stopped walking, ending up at the end of the group, where the Professors were. Professor Byleth and Professor Manuela walked by, but Professor Beth, Ashe’s tutor, waited to see what was happening by to him.

“I heard what happened to Lord Lonato and I’m really sorry.” King Lambert was saying, and Beth was frankly impressed because he looked a lot like his son. “It was never a right choice for me to send you off to his domain, I’m not even certain about why I acted the way I did after I recognized you as my heiress, but Ashe, you are my child and I know I never did the right thing, but I wish for us to reconcile and be a happy family...”

“Shut up!” Ashe cut him off and Beth was very confused, but more thrown off when she saw the tears streaming down Ashe’s face. “You don’t know anything about me! You abandoned me! My parents died and you just left me behind! You’ve never been a father to me. I don’t care if he was a traitor to the church, but Lord Lonato was my real father, not you!”

Beth saw King Lambert sighing deeply, but Ashe lashed at him once more before he even got a chance to speak.

“You don’t even know who I am!”

“Of course I know, Ashe, you’re my daugh...” Beth didn’t hear him finish the sentence, because Ashe stopped him before he could get the words out.

“If I didn’t have a crest.” Ashe’s voice was shaking with anger. “You wouldn’t even recognize me as your son. Because that is what I am, whether you like it or not. You just care about crests. If I didn’t have the crest of Blaiddyd, I would just be another commoner. You have never wanted me to be part of your family. That is why you prevented the news from getting out for the whole kingdom to hear, and you sent me away to one of your servers... I am my own person now and you’re too late to be my father.”

Then Ashe walked away, leaving Beth speechless. She wondered the implications of the conversations she’d just heard. While Ashe just passed her by, glaring at her briefly, King Lambert noticed her presence and talked to her.

“You are Professor Beleth, are you not? Dimitri has talked a lot about you in the letters he’s sent me. I could never thank you enough for saving Dimitri’s life. I apologize profusely for the conversation you’ve just heard, and I have to ask you to not tell anyone about it. It is a family matter that I wish to resolve privately, without anyone else involved. Can I get your word that you won’t spread it around?”

“Yes.” Beth knew it was none’s business but Dimitri’s family. Still, both Ashe and Dimitri were her students and she was concerned about them.

A little part of her wanted them to get along, because as it seemed, they were the siblings. The mysterious noble house that Ashe belonged to was none other than the King’s himself. It seemed that he was illegitimate son, or daughter, judging on what King Lambert thought of him.

She would have to talk it out with Ashe later, when he was less angry and more willing to open up to her. Since he’d come to the monastery, he’d been around people he knew and felt comfortable with, but Beth knew it was time to change that.

 

Back in the monastery, the dining hall was a mess. Everyone sat together and they were all talking together as a huge group. Byleth, Catherine, Alois and Manuela were gleefully speaking about it, but Beth went to meet up with Sothis, Seteth and Rhea instead.

It was a good day, for everyone.