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Dark Age

Chapter Text

Yet good days were bound to bring darker ones.
The first indication that something was brewing in Fodlán, something worse than anyone could have ever fathomed, was the attack on Remire Village. That was the village where Sothis raised Beth and when the Knights of Seiros arrived with the news that the village had been attacked and there was a strange disease among the villagers, Rhea was deeply alarmed.

Before telling anyone else rather than Seteth, who was ordered to keep quiet about it, she held a secret reunion with Beth and Sothis.

“Wasn’t Remire Village the place you came from?” Rhea looked at Beth’s eyes with deep worry in her heart, feeling heavy and pained.
“Yes! It was...” Sothis sulked, remembering how the villagers had welcomed Beth warmly, making her feel at home although she had lived most of her life inside a temple. “Those poor people... Rhea... do you think that they knew we lived in there? Do you think they did it because of us?”
“It could have also been because Prince Dimitri was hiding in there. If they didn’t receive the news that he left, perhaps they thought he was still in there and their aim was to take his life. In either case, it means that you two have to stay here, because I’m not willing to risk either of your lives.”
The firmness in Rhea’s voice made Beth realize how it wouldn’t be possible for her to try to convince her of another idea.
“I am going to send Byleth to help the villagers. As far as we know, they shouldn’t be able to link him to us. I’m sure that Captain Jeralt will also be willing to help the village that provided a home to his daughter. Any of the Blue Lions are allowed to go to Remire Village. We are still investigating their links to the prince’s assassination attempt and although Sylvain has a clear connection, we do not know about the others. Watch your students carefully, Beth, for your own safety as well.”
Beth didn’t quite understand why Rhea seemed to care so much about her. Sothis was Rhea’s mother and Sothis had raised her, but that didn’t necessarily mean that Rhea had to be fond of her.

If she cared about Byleth, then that was understandable, because Byleth had lived with her for a long while. But her? They barely knew each other. They didn’t share any family ties, like Beth did with her father.

Beth knew something was off about Rhea and she wanted to know why Rhea was so interested in her.

 

Professor Byleth got called by Rhea and Seteth’s to receive the mission of saving Remire Village. He was to go with no more assistance than the Knights of Seiros, because Rhea wanted as less students as possible involved.

However, he wasn’t doing the most important inquiries in the Monastery. That his sister’s job, who was investigating every single detail, with Sothis’ assistance, to work out the mysteries that Rhea was hiding.
“We should split.” Sothis suggested. “I’ll go to talk to Dimitri and you go talk to everyone else.”
“Why?” Beth simply questioned, making Sothis chuckle.
“I have a few doubts I need to clear. Wait for me back in your room, Ok? It might be long. I promise I won’t harass him.”
Somehow, Beth felt that Sothis wasn’t being completely honest with her. She left to do what she said, she went to talk to the other Blue Lions, but halfway through her path to meet Mercedes, the closest person in the area, she decided she she would go and talk to her father instead.

When she opened the door to his office, he found him there, reading some papers on his table.

“What is that?” She asked him, as he quickly made an effort to hide all of them, but they were too many. Beth got close enough to see his father’s name in one of the letters and a signature that said Sitri.
“I’m still wondering where your mother is. I know that Sandra says that she found you, but what happened to her exactly? In her letters, she speaks as if nothing happened. As if she had raised you. Did she believe we wouldn’t ever find you?” Jeralt sighed, thinking about his missing wife and why she had continued writing letters and pretending their daughter was still with her.

“Maybe they’re false.” Beth suggested, since she had no idea of who her mother was.
“That’s impossible. It’s her handwriting. Curiously enough, the letters stopped coming when you arrived to the monastery... until now. I was checking the handwriting, to see if it matched. It’s the same. It’s her’s. Just... what happened to her?”
“What does the letter say?” Beth asked curiously.
“It says that she misses me.” Jeralt chuckled. “This time, there isn’t anything about you, kiddo. I thought your brother was jealous because she raised you, but.... it was Sandra, wasn’t it? I don’t know why your brother is being such a jerk, but I will try slap some sense into him. Maybe someday, the three of us can go and find where your mother is.”

“Does the letter have an address?”
“It comes from the Leicester Alliance. The exact place, it doesn’t say. My surprise was majuscule when Rhea told me they found you in Faerghus and I began to suspect something was wrong. I know that Sandra says she found you abandoned... but didn’t see Sitri?”
“No, father.” Beth sighed sadly.
“Do you like Sandra? Has she been nice to you?” Jeralt looked almost concerned, but his gruffy tone hid his emotions well.
Beth smiled softly at her father.

“She’s the best.” And Jeralt’s face reflected relief, even if it was just for a brief moment.
Then, when she was done, she headed over to talk to some of her students. the first student she found was Ingrid.
“Lady Rhea is very nice. I like her a lot! I met her when I was around five years old, when my father brought me to the monastery for the first time. She was very kind to me when F...” Ingrid stopped herself and sighed sadly. “I’m sorry, Professor. It’s very hard for me to speak about this.”

 

Then Mercedes and Annette voiced their opinions about her too.

“My younger brother, Jeritza, has been working under her wing for quite a while. I’m very grateful to Lady Rhea, more than one could imagine just looking at me. She’s done so much for my family and she’s been so nice to Jeritza...”
“I have never talked to her personally.” Annette said. “But if Mercie likes her, I’m sure she’s not bad!”

Hearing so many people speak so nicely about Rhea made Beth realize that Rhea was held in high-esteem by most of the students. However, there was one person that was harsh and critical about everyone, someone that would not hesitate to voice any suspicion about Lady Rhea.

And so, Beth went to the dungeon of the monastery, to talk to none other than Sylvain.

“What are you doing here?” Sylvain asked as soon as he saw her. “Have you lost anything here?”
“I want to know why you hate Dimitri so much.” Asking him directly about Lady Rhea was not the proper way to start talking because Beth didn’t want Lady Rhea to dislike her.
“Oh, so someone wants to hear my tragic story. Alright, if that is what you want. Though you probably must be wondering what kind of dark secrets Dimitri is keeping away from you, if he’s not willing to share the truth about what happened to Felix.” When Sylvain said that name, it looked like it caused physical pain to him.

“Who is Felix?” Beth was not exactly an expert on Faerghus nobility, although she knew about the royal line.

“Felix Hugo Fraldarius, Glenn Fraldarius’ younger brother, Ingrid’s fiancée. Does it ring a bell?” Beth knew it did, Ingrid frequently talked about her fiancée and Beth had seen together at Gronder field. “You must know about his tragic death. And if you don’t, I’ll tell you. The short story is that Dimitri killed Felix.”

Beth’s heart missed a beat as she felt it pulsing uncomfortable against her chest. She didn’t believe that Dimitri was capable of murdering someone, much less a friend of his.

“Believe or not. I will always remember how it felt to hold Felix’s dead body in my arms. How... even when he was dying, he asked me to not blame Dimitri. I will never be able to forget how I saw Dimitri slicing Felix in half with his Lance. He’s not a human, despite what it may seem. He’s a monster.”
Then Sylvain, before Beth could say anything, as per usual, cut her off by speaking.
“I promised to him we’d die together and I’ve trying to meet him for forever now, but I can’t die.” Sylvain seemed sad about it. “This world sucks. At least Felix escaped from it.”

Beth was at a loss. She had no idea of what to say.

“Crests is all that matters. Nothing else. People like Archbishop Rhea only continue spreading those ideals and making the world worse.”

In the end, Beth didn’t have enough courage to ask Sylvain what he knew about Rhea, but she had obtained some information about Felix and Dimitri’s past. Somehow, the next time she looked at Dimitri, she wouldn’t see him in the same light.

 

However, parallel to her chat with Sylvain, someone had started to talk to Byleth. Byleth supposed it was his sister, but he didn’t quite understand why she was wearing the students’ uniform.
“Please, let me come with you!” The girl cried, with a softer voice than Beth’s. Beth’s was quite raspier, quite graver than her voice.
“Why don’t you ask Archbishop Rhea?” Byleth grunted.
“She said that students are not allowed to go. But I’m your sister.” She seemed to hesitate while saying those words. “I think I’ll be great help.”
Byleth chuckled for a second. Well, if Beth wanted to come along, he was nobody to oppose her will. At least, he could use some help.
‘Beth’ walked out of the cathedral and bumped into Edelgard, who was coming inside.
“Oh, Au... Princess Edelgard, I’m sorry.” She apologized, and left running.
The confused brunette walked over to Byleth and started telling him about a new tea she’d found, while Byleth listened to her with a soft smile on his face.

 

The trip to Remire Village was long. Beth was unusually quiet, rigid, intent on not speaking to anybody. No one called her out, but many had noticed her strange behavior. Jeralt was the first one, and he headed over to talk to her.

“Are you alright, kiddo?” Jeralt blinked once or twice, thinking that Beth’s skin was paler than the tone he was seeing. “You seem... very lonely. Why don’t you talk to your brother or some of the other kids? There must be someone, aside from your students, that you’ll like.”

“No, thanks.” She replied quietly and Jeralt, despite not knowing his daughter for long, knew something was terribly wrong with that girl, who definitely wasn’t his daughter.
There were many differences that only a keen eye would notice. That girl’s hair was greener than Beth’s and her eyes were greener as well. Her skin was slightly darker, as if she had been more time under the sun and the shape of her face didn’t quite resemble Sitri’s as much as Beth’s did.

He didn’t want to raise the alarm, but if she noticed anything strange, he would say it aloud for everyone to hear.

Meanwhile, Dorothea was busy theorizing about Beth’s presence and her unusual behavior.

“I think she’s coming because she feels guilty, she’s quite adorable, isn’t she? I mean, the professor’s cool, he’s got this cool charm to him but Beth is just so cute.” Dorothea kept on rambling on Bernadetta’s and Leonie’s ears.

“I think I know someone you consider cuter than Beth.” Leonie smirked smugly, as Dorothea sharply turned around and glared at her.
“Who, if I may know?”
“Oh please, Dorothea, you’re always following Brigid’s princess like a lost puppy.” Dorothea’s ears blushed red as she tried to come up with reasons to justify why she was so fond of Petra, hoping Petra wasn’t hearing them.

Luckily for her, Petra was too busy talking about Brigid cuisine with Edelgard and Byleth.

“Caspar, drop Lindhardt, what the hell are you even doing?” Catherine approached Caspar and tried to lift Lindhardt off his shoulders, but Caspar was holding the sleeping boy tightly.
“I’m training, like Dedue.”
“Dedue is roughly two meters tall, you are not even half of his height and lack the muscular mass he possesses, how on Fodlan do you plan to carry out the same training regime he does, with a heavier subject?” Hubert scowled. “Pathetic.”

Catherine leaned over to where Shamir was standing and whispered quite loudly to her ear how rude Hubert was being.

“I think that is very nice that you want to give a gift to Bernie, but you should take into consideration that carnivore plants are dangerous and you could lose a finger if you’re not careful.” Lysithea was saying, but then they arrived to the village and she clasped a hand over her mouth to keep a cry from escaping.

The village was on fire and the villagers were acting like undead people.

“Come on, kid, let’s save your sister’s village.” Jeralt said to Byleth, who nodded to him and ran ahead into battle.
The perpetrator of the attack was none other than the Emperor of the Night himself, standing in the village with a phantasmagoric horse, next to his ally, the Wyvern Knight. They were standing over the village like they were its leaders or something, making the Knights of Seiros grimace at how horrifying the scene was.

To everyone’s surprise, ‘Beth’ ran ahead of them and directly to the Night Emperor’s position. Jeralt knew it was dangerous, specially because there were many enemies in the area and they would all launch themselves at ‘Beth’ if they weren’t stopped.

“She’s going to die if we don’t intervene!” Catherine voiced Jeralt’s thoughts. “We should hurry!”
“Alright, kid.” Jeralt looked at his son. “You call the shots.”
Byleth nodded and entered the battlefield. His main mission was saving his sister and preventing the enemies around her from slaying her. He directed the students dutifully as to prevent them from getting in danger and to sweep off as many enemies as they could.

As Beth advanced, Byleth noticed how she was relying mostly on reason to fight. She was quicker than normal, dodging the hits with ease as she was constantly surrounded by enemies. Edelgard and Dorothea were always running after her as to stop the enemies from cornering her, while Lysithea was taking care of flanking. Leonie and Petra were trying to save as many villagers as possible and although Ferdinand had been ordered to help take out enemies with his higher mobility, he was also trying to save the villagers.

Byleth was most of the time ignorant to how the girl that was with them was different to his sister, but when she shot a beam of light to an enemy, he saw a crest that he was unable to recognize, that definitely wasn’t the crest of Flames. He thought it could be the crest of Seiros, since their father had it, but somehow that didn’t feel right either.

The crest that flashed in the air looked like a new moon. Byleth only saw the shape briefly and he was unable to understand how it was possible for Beth to have to two crests. As far he knew, she only had the crest of flames. Hanneman had never said anything and the only subject that was confirmed to have two crests in the monastery was Sylvain.

Beth eventually reached the Night Emperor, bypassing the Wyvern Knight, who tried to attack her but was stopped by Byleth and Jeralt. Once ‘Beth’ stood in front of the mysterious subject that was so interested in bringing chaos to Fodlan, she channeled the strongest spell she knew, but the Night Emperor survived the hit without major difficulties and simply laughed at her face of confusion.

“You are not the one I’m looking for.” The Emperor said, and ‘Beth’ tightened her fists, because she knew she wasn’t. “Who are you?”

‘Beth’ did not reply and just stood still, digging her heels to the ground and biting her lip until it started bleeding.
“That does not matter. I will kill you anyway.” The Night Emperor lightened up his fist and the hit was sure to struck ‘Beth’, but before it did, someone stood in the way.

It was a figure clad in red, with a flamboyant mask to cover whoever’s face was hiding under the armor.
“I will deal with him.” Byleth sucked a breath in, because he recognized that voice, but he looked at his students and knew it was impossible for a person to be at two places at the same time. “Go and catch the Wyvern Knight.”
As the two armored subjects, one in red and the other in black, fought each other, the group of the Knights of Seiros and the students of the academy concentrated in reducing the Wyvern Knight and trying to capture whoever it was.

 

When the fight was over, the Night Emperor managed to get away, while the person that was in a red armor talked to Beth and then left as well. They were able to capture the Wyvern Knight and the first they did once they were sure that there was no threat, they took off the mask.

None other than Hilda was behind the mask.

“Hah! I called it!” Leonie shouted. “It was Hilda since the very beginning! Now, give me a round of applause everyone.”

Impressed, Dorothea, a Edelgard, Petra, Ferdinand and Lysithea clapped, because Leonie was absolutely right. Hubert just snickered under his breath while Bernadetta was freaking out because she had figured out something but didn’t want to say it. Lindhardt was sleeping and Caspar was talking to the villagers, so he wasn’t present during the reveal.

“It is relieving that we finally were able to capture Hilda.” Catherine said. “Though it is a shame she was able to cause so much damage before we did.”
“We should head back to the monastery now, before they call in reinforcements. This village shouldn’t suffer anymore.” Jeralt said wisely. “Byleth. Are you alright, son?”
“Beth...” Byleth simply mumbled, lost in his thoughts.
“I noticed as well. We should speak about that privately, where no one can hear us.”

 

Yet back at the monastery, Beth was having tea with Marianne, Ingrid and Sothis. Marianne shyly sipped on her tea as Ingrid kept talking about Glenn, motivated because Sothis had asked about him. Sothis listened attentively to Ingrid, while shooting side-glances at Beth.

The Knights and the Black Eagles arrived at the monastery and they were greeted by Lady Rhea. Professor Byleth and Jeralt advanced slowly towards her, to report the result of the mission. Hilda was being restrained by Alois and Catherine, who had her face bare for everyone to see.

Marianne’s heart clenched inside her chest as she saw Hilda’s pink eyes looking at her with sadness. Hilda was probably going to be questioned, because she had done a long list of questionable actions, and possibly the executed. Marianne still remembered her first encounter with the Wyvern Knight and knew that she’d been risking her life then, but still felt pity and sympathy for her friend.

But before Hilda was questioned, Byleth and Jeralt needed to tell Rhea about the mysterious girl that had impersonated Beth.

“There is someone here that looks strangely similar to my daughter.” Jeralt was saying. “But she came with us to help us capture the Wyvern Knight. As it seems, she was more interested in the Night Emperor, but she wasn’t able to defeat him.”
“So I see.” Rhea sucked a breath in. “I explicitly told Beth to not join the mission and I know for a fact that she stayed in the monastery. I will now ask you to find the student that resembles Beth and bring her to me so I can speak with her.”
Seteth was not present in the scene, that conversation was too private for anyone else to hear. There was only Rhea, Jeralt and Byleth. As soon as Byleth left the room to search for the student, Rhea and Jeralt were left alone.
“You have some explaining to do, Lady Rhea. Why did you forbid my daughter from joining the mission?” Rhea tensed, but she straightened herself up rigidly.
“I thought she might be in danger. I simply wished to not put her in danger.”
“You seem oddly concerned for my children. Both of them. Not to mention, your close relationship with that ‘Sandra’. Did you know her, already?”
“In fact, I did. But that is no reason for accusing me of anything. Sandra is simply a follower of the church, which is why I knew her. Excuse me for worrying about a child that I practically raised and for a devoted worker like Beth.”
“I just think that it is very strange that your friend winds up with my daughter in tow, while my wife is gone and there are no news of her...”

“How dare you accuse me of causing any harm on Sitri? I would never, never in the world willingly cause any harm to someone as dear to me as Sitri! A nun of the Church, nothing less! Seteth and I are still investigating what happened to her, but I assure you, we’ll get to the bottom of it.”

“I’ve been tying things together. This student comes from Leicester, where the letters of my wife came from, and she looks exactly like her, this cannot be a coincidence...”

“What are you implying? Do you think that Beth is not your daughter? I assure you that it’s her. No other subject in the monastery has ever possessed the crest of flames but Sitri and Byleth, there is no way that could have substituted Byleth’s twin sister, not when I didn’t even know something happened to Sitri...” Rhea’s words were filled with rage, as her green eyes furiously looked at Jeralt.
“Fine... I see that you are right. I apologize for being so inconsiderate. I know how much Sitri mattered to you. She held you in high esteem as well.”

“Captain Jeralt, I’ve trying for long to keep this a secret, as to protect Sitri’s identity, but you have only shown devotion for her. I think I can reveal the true nature of my relationship with Sitri. She was... my daughter. I know it might seem strange for me to be so watchful over Byleth and Beth, but the truth is that they’re blood of my blood and I must protect them. I felt my soul crushing the day I had to send Sitri away, but I thought I would keep her safe... I was wrong. The only thing I have left to do is find where Sitri is, and you can either help me or get out of my way.” Rhea’s last words, though she had been previously speaking with softness and sweetness, were punctuated by anger.

“There is nothing I want more than seeing Sitri again.” Jeralt sighed. “By whatever means.”
“It seems we share this sentiment.” Rhea nodded, pleased with the outcome of the conversation, as a little smile worked its way up to her mouth.

 

Byleth was hurrying to find Blanche, but he couldn’t seem to find her. On his way there, he encountered many students that offered to help him, while some were asking why he wanted to find Blanche.

“Professor!” Edelgard seemingly did not notice he was in the middle of a mission. “I cannot seem to find Dimitri anywhere. Do you have any idea of where he could be?”
“No.” Byleth noticed how distressed Edelgard looked like, as she breathed in deeply and sighed.

“If you see him, please tell me. I’m very concerned about him. He was supposed to be in his quarters but he just left a note.”

Edelgard gave Byleth the note so he could see it. The note was very brief, and it simply said: I’ll be back. And then it was signed with the crest of Blaiddyd. Byleth sighed in desperation, thinking how someone could be so utterly stupid (or secretive) to write a note like that. Without further information like where to find him.

“I have to look for Blanche right now. But I’ll help you look for Dimitri later.” Byleth promised.
“Wait! What if they’re together? What if Blanche plans to hurt Dimitri?” Edelgard was making you scenarios in her head that looked each more horrible than the last. “Or worse, what if Blanche has pretended to be Beth so she could lure Dimitri somewhere dangerous and kill him?”
“Calm down, Edelgard.” Byleth sighed.
“I must get to it immediately. Where is Hubert when you need him? I need someone to hold me or I will faint! Goddess, why is Hubert always around but never when he’s necessary?” Edelgard continued panicking and speaking stupid things, much to Byleth’s amusement. “Where could be possibly be? I think my heart won’t be capable of handling this anymore, I need, to do, something!”

 

Meanwhile, Hubert was in Rhea’s secret working room, with the Reading Association. The reading association was in reality a group of people that went to Rhea’s working room to read the books that she hid in there. Bernadetta was cross-referencing them with the stories she wrote herself, diligently working on a table while Lysithea wiped her sweat.

“I need another tissue!” Lysithea turned to Ferdinand, who gave her a tissue. Ferdinand was reading a book with two tissues up his nose, both soaked in blood. For some reason, Ferdinand had started bleeding randomly. He told Hubert he was reading some old lore stories from Rhea’s secret archive, but the name of the book he was reading did not suggest that. The book he was supposed to be contrasting with the one he was reading was upside down, implying he wasn’t really using it.

Also, if Ferdinand had paper tissues instead of the tissues with his initials was because a single tissue could not contain all the blood.
“Look, Mercie, there is a dragon in here!” Annette pointed at the dragon in the book, as Caspar tried to lean over and see, but Annette was holding the book out for only Mercedes to see, who was herself busy with another book.
“What is that?” Mercedes questioned, perplex.
“I don’t know but it is amazing!” Annette kept skipping pages without reading, only to see the drawings. Her father had taught her to do that.
“Annette, let me see that...” Mercedes tried to grab the book and she was able to because Annette released her grasp on it, so Mercedes started reading the lore.
Meanwhile, Annette took her book and read a few words. She put the book down and stared at Mercedes judgmentally, while Mercedes read about the white dragon in the book Annette was reading.

 

But on the surface, Edelgard and Byleth were looking for Blanche and Dimitri like crazy. They left no stone unturned, but they were unable to find the place they were hiding in.
The thing was, Blanche and Dimitri were not hiding. They had left the monastery and were heading to Fhirdiad.

The only person that saw them leave was Ashe, who was casually strolling around the monastery with Dedue, but did not bother to say anything because he was not asked. Luckily, Dedue was more level-headed and he went to report what he’d seen to Beth, his professor, while Ashe followed him and voiced very convincing threats.

“No more Duscurian food for a week! I’m serious! I will talk to the chefs and since I’m the ‘Prince of Faerghus’ sister’ they will listen to me!” There was a very mocking intonation to the part of being the Prince of Faerghus’ sister. Ashe had just hurt himself instead of threatening Dedue.
“You don’t care? Fine. Then I’ll tell everyone your feet smell! Hah! How do you like that? No one will ever look at your feet the same way!”
“Ashe, I do not care about my feet.” Dedue sighed.
“Then I’ll tell them you’re afraid of ghosts and everyone will believe you’re a coward! A big man like you scared of ghosts? Hahahaha, it will be ridiculous!”
“Ashe, it’s you the one who’s afraid of ghosts.” Dedue once again did not even turn to look at Ashe, but with his smaller, more agile legs, Ashe ran past him and stood in front of him, trying to be a human shield to stop him, but Dedue easily lifted him and was about to put him in the ground, but Ashe shouted “WAIT!”
Then Dedue expectantly looked at him. “Is there anyway I can change your mind?” He said, in what tried to sound like a seductive tone, but ended up sounding like a mixture of hopeful, desperate and worried.
To his chagrin, Dedue gently left him in the floor and continued advancing. In one last attempt to stop him, Ashe tried to tackle Dedue but failed miserably as he was unable to overcome his weight and simply hanged off his waist.
Dedue turned around, so he could see Ashe’s eyes of puppy under the rain.
“Why do you want me to not tell Beth?”
“Tell me what?” Beth seemed unimpressed by the scene in front of her, Ashe hugging Dedue’s waist with his face in a place anyone would question and Dedue completely unaffected by it.
“I saw Dimitri and Blanche leaving the Monastery.” Dedue’s said.
Beth’s eyes grew wide as she panicked and ran to tell Lady Rhea, while Ashe just fell to the floor with a solid puff.

“You are the worst b...” Ashe was in the middle of saying, when suddenly Petra appeared in the hall as well.
She saw Ashe’s face on Dedue’s shoes as his body was sprawled on the ground. Dedue bent over to pick Ashe up, as the younger boy protested and tossed him over his shoulder.
“Oh-oh! I say apologies for intruding!” Petra screamed, as Dedue marched down the hall.

 

Beth practically tore the door down when she arrived at Rhea’s office. Her father was there too, sipping on a beverage that the Archbishop had prepared for the two of them.

“Two students have left the monastery unreported.” Beth collapsed from the effort of running so quick and so much in such a short time.
As for Rhea, she felt a shiver up her spine.
“Who were those students?”
“Dimitri and Blanche.” Beth had never seen Blanche, but she figured it would be someone from the Golden Deer class.
Rhea dropped her teacup and got up immediately. She started shouting Seteth’s name as the Knights in the area and the professors sprang up. Manuela asked Beth what had gotten Rhea so shaken up, while Catherine ran after her.

 

“Lady Rhea, the preparations for the White Heron cup...” Seteth was climbing the stairs with a stack of papers on his arms.
“I don’t care about the White Heron cup!” Rhea’s angry voice boomed in all the room. “The prince of the Kingdom of Faerghus and the impersonator of one our professors have left the monastery unnoticed. Who was guarding the door?”

“If I’m not wrong, it was the usual Gatekeeper...” Seteth trailed off as Rhea’s green eyes narrowed dangerously.

“Send the execution order immediately. We must prepare a search party right now and find the prince.” Rhea only grew more and more angry as she mouthed the words. “Catherine!”

“Lady Rhea?” Catherine asked.

“Tell Professor Byleth that he does not need to look for Blanche any longer.” As Catherine took her leave, Archbishop Rhea turned to Seteth. “We need the flying patrol to locate Dimitri and Blanche. Who was patrolling this week?”

Seteth said the names of some students from Golden Deer as Rhea’s fists tightened so much that her nails dig into her skin and drew blood. The situation was dire, Rhea had no idea of who Blanche was, but if she posed any threat to her family and everything she’d been building for over a thousand years, she would obliterate her in a second.

“Lady Rhea.” Shamir arrived, followed by Alois. “We have successfully put Goneril in her cell. Is everything ready for the interrogation?”

“I’m sorry, Shamir.” Rhea said, her voice deep and that of a maniac. “The interrogations have to wait for now.”

Professor Byleth was ordered to help as much as he could locating the missing students and Rhea had given him permission let some students of his choice participate in the search mission as long as the students promised secrecy.

Professor Byleth chose some of his students to help him search from the skies the nearby locations of the monastery. Meanwhile, Hubert and some of the other students (Lindhardt, Lysithea, Bernadetta and Ferdinand) had stayed behind to assess the situation and come up with possible routes Dimitri could have followed.

The two main suggestions were that Dimitri and Blanche had either fled to Faerghus or Leicester. Leicester, because Blanche was from there, and Faerghus because Dimitri wouldn’t have easily accepted leaving with a stranger unless he knew where he was going. Lysithea and Lindhardt were in charge of reconstructing a route from The Monastery to locations in Leicester while Bernadetta and Ferdinand were studying possible locations in Faerghus.

Since Ingrid and Professor Beth were leading some of the search teams in Faerghus, Annette, Mercedes, Dedue and Ashe were allowed to participate in the route constructions and deconstruction. Annette was specially useful because she knew Faerghus very well, while Mercedes kept her grounded and preventing her sharp tongue from angering those around her.

Ferdinand interrogated Dedue to get all the details from the scene he’d seen while Hubert intimidated Ashe into helping them, which surprisingly worked.

“And what color was that flag that they passed by?” Ferdinand was asking.
“Why would that be relevant? It doesn’t show any information as to....”
“DID I STUTTER?” Ferdinand shouted, as he willed Dedue to carry on saying what he’d seen. “The color of the flag could be crucial for this investigation.”

“I doubt it.”
“How dare you? I am the detective in charge of this...”
“You’re not a detective.”
“That’s right, I’m Ferdinand von Aegir...!” Ferdinand said proudly, completely ignoring Dedue’s scornful look.

“Your partner is having a seizure, Mr. von Aegir.” Dedue pointed all calmly, gesturing at Bernadetta, who was dragging the figurines over the map on the table, as she shook because she was uncomfortable being surrounded by so many people.

If Bernadetta was so uncomfortable, it was because she didn’t know Ashe and she didn’t know Dedue other. Having them suddenly in the classroom had tipped her off considerably, but she was still trying to do her work.

When she figured out something, she screamed it loudly and Ferdinand almost fell off his chair. “I KNOW WHERE THEY WENT.”

Then she ran away while shaking like crazy. Annette got up from her seat to chase her, claiming that she had found it and if Bernadetta stole the credit she would pluck her hairs one by one and feed them to the horses. It wasn’t a death threat, like some students were used to. It was a bald threat, softened because Bernadetta was sensitive and deep down, Annette knew and she cared.
Dedue looked at Mercedes.
“You are doing a really bad job restraining her. Professor Beth said that...”
“I know what Professor Beth said, Dedue, don’t remind me.” Mercedes sighed, closing her eyes “She’s too uncontrollable, I doubt that even Seteth would be able to make her see reason. Back in the magical academy, Annette would usually got into trouble because the kids picked on her because of how much she spoke of Gustave...”

When Mercedes opened her eyes Hubert and Dedue were fighting while Ferdinand was looking at her as if what she was saying was the most interesting thing in the world.

 

Bernadetta reached Byleth’s office and went inside before Annette could get to her. When Bernadetta was inside, she sighed in relief, but the strong knocks on the door said otherwise.

Byleth shot a questioning look at Bernadetta as Bernadetta stuck herself to the wall, cringing in fear. When Byleth opened the door, he saw Annette standing in front of it holding an axe.

“Here’s Ann- Oh, hello professor!” Annette said, switching from terrific to sweet and happy in a second. Luckily, Professor Byleth did not notice.
“Do you carry an axe everywhere?” Byleth asked, surprised.
“Uh. Well, my father recommended me to take one, you see, it is a simple measure of protection. I hang a lot with Mercie and men like her very much, so it’s impossible to know when things are going to become dangerous...” Annette explained, as if it was usual.

“And where do you hide it?” Byleth asked curiously.
“Oh, I have a strap in the inside of my jacket, it’s quite useful...”
“I should think of something similar.”
“Right? The surprise factor is really important, no one knows what could be hidden inside a jacket! Hahaha!”

Byleth let her in and walked to where Bernadetta was standing, hugging her knees.

“Bernie, what did you want to say?”
“Annette and I” Annette smiled. “Found where Dimtri might be. We think that sending troops to Fhirdiad might be a good idea.”
“Why Fhirdiad?” Byleth asked.
“Maybe Dimitri just wanted to go home. Sometimes, I wanted to go home too, I was very scared. Maybe Dimitri is scared too, with all that happened with Sylvain and all...”
“That makes sense.” Byleth agreed.

 

The next step consisted of asking Ingrid about Fhirdiad, since she was the closest person to Dimitri and the person that had been there more times. Edelgard had met Dimitri outside Faerghus many times so she wasn’t as familiar with the Kingdom’s Capital.

To Ingrid, it was a bit strange that Dimitri would decide to head for Fhirdiad with a stranger like Blanche. Perhaps Dimitri thought Blanche was Beth, but that was unlikely, because Dimitri knew Beth better than anyone, second to Jeralt and Sandra perhaps.

However, Ingrid thought that they wasted nothing going to Fhirdiad. If Fhirdiad wasn’t where Dimitri went, then they were out of ideas. The Leicester Alliance was too big for them to pin point any spot where Blanche would want to drag Dimitri. Unless it was somehow related to Sitri, which was the theory Rhea and Sothis had been elaborating with Jeralt’s help.

Still, they dispatched a team leaded by Professor Byleth, accompanied by the Knights, Professor Beth, some students from the Black Eagles and the Blue Lions. Ingrid was the second-in-command because she had to pinpoint specific locations where Dimitri could have gone to.

The obvious places were a no-go. The were full of people and eventually someone would have reported seeing Dimitri. The team of scouters and fighters (Petra, Bernadetta, Hubert, Edelgard, Annette, Mercedes, Dedue and Ashe) were trying to pinpoint specific locations.

Then Ingrid had a flash of inspiration. There was only one place left and she felt her skin tingle with anticipation. There was the place where Felix died...

Sylvain, Dimitri, Felix and her had gone to do an exploration with Miklan and Glenn. They had heard that there was a rumor of an underground city, under Fhirdiad. The tunnel that led there was supposed to be in a cavern, the Cavern of the Undead. It was a place where, in times of war, the armies buried their dead. Many people had reported seeing moment around the cavern, even though it was desert, leading to the rumors of people that were buried alive were still there, lurking.

Ingrid did not see how Felix died, but she had trusted Sylvain’s words. Glenn, on the contrary, trusted Dimitri and decided to not blame him, while Miklan did the same just to piss Sylvain off. By that time, Miklan was alive and Sylvain’s hair was a fiery red.

“It is a dangerous place.” Ingrid began. “But I think that I know where Dimitri might be.”

The girl was still trying to figure out why Dimitri would want to go there.

“Well? Speak up.” Edelgard was clearly worried and wanted to know where Dimitri was.

“There is the place where Felix... where Felix died. I’ve tried to think of other places but they are too public... I think... maybe Blanche lead him there because she wants to... Or maybe it’s just... to get over his past or something like that.”

“What are we waiting for?” Catherine asked. “Come on, let’s go.”

 

On their way there, Dedue and Hubert started fighting again, Bernadetta accepted Annette as her personal bodyguard because Annette had good references from other clients (Mercedes) and Petra shared Brigid jokes with Edelgard, who didn’t understand half of them but laughed anyway.

Then they arrived at the cavern and the cheerful atmosphere they had been trying to build suddenly died down. It was a dark place and it was fairly obvious that no one wanted to go there, ever.

However, bravely, Edelgard stepped inside, followed by Hubert. The professors and the knights marched in, as some students were a tad bit more hesitant to go inside.

 

However, once they were inside, they noticed rocks gleaming in the darkness. Ingrid frowned, because she didn’t remember that. She had carried torches the last time she’d been there.

Everyone was quiet. They were trying to listen, in case there was someone inside. As it turned out, there were living beings inside, but they weren’t Dimitri or Blanche. They were wolves, ridiculously sized wolves.

The professors pulled out their swords and tried to advance, but teamwork was required as to reach as far as possible. Worryingly, Beth realized that Dimitri could have been hurt in case the wolves had appeared.

It seemed that the cavern had no bottom. The wolves kept on appearing, but there was no sign of Dimitri. Ingrid started to worry, thinking that she had needlessly leaded her classmates to danger.

However, a while after the flock stopped and the battlefield seemed calm, a last wolf came. It was white, unlike the others, and it had blue fur. There two figures next to it, that were not easily seen in the dark.

Byleth raised the sword in a fighting stance, but one of the figures stepped forward.

“Don’t attack!” It was Blanche, wearing an armor that wasn’t either Beth’s or the academy’s. “Please.”

Everyone dropped their weapons in confusion as they saw the wolf and Dimitri coming forward, Dimitri’s hand intertwined with the wolf’s fur.

“What is that wolf?” Annette wondered why it was so different to the other wolves.

Ingrid, however, realized exactly who it was. She dismounted her Pegasus and walked to the wolf’s side, as it started wagging its tail.

“We don’t have much time. We should leave before another horde comes.” Dimitri said, looking at Ingrid.

She nodded and left to the entrance with everyone else. Catherine kept turning around to see if the wolf would attack them, but it was being pacific. Byleth kept an eye on Blanche, trying to make sure she wouldn’t do anything strange.

“Explanations, Dimitri, now.” Beth demanded as soon as they were in a relatively safe place.
Dimitri cowered in fear and took a deep breath, as to prepare what he was going to say.
“This is Felix.” The wolf seemed to flinch at his own name. “He’s been trapped here since we found a false version of his body. Felix never died and Felix had been here all this time.”
“Wait!” Catherine cried. “How could this... thing... be Felix?”
“Of that, I’m not sure.” Dimitri admitted. “But I know for a fact that it is him.”
“Are you playing us for fools, your Highness?” Shamir asked.
“No. It-It really is Felix.” Ingrid came closer to the wolf and petted it. “I don’t know how to explain it, but... I know it’s him.”

“He has the Crest of Fraldarius too.” Dimitri pointed out, as if suddenly he knew everything. “No other animal has been ever able to naturally present any crest. When Blanche and I were attacked by the horde he belonged to, he used it.”
“How did you know he was here?” Byleth asked, frankly impressed by the outcome of the rescue mission.
“I’m afraid I cannot disclose that information.” Dimitri said cryptically.
“Why not?” Beth seemed annoyed.
“It’s all on me.” Blanche stepped in his defense. “Don’t harass him. I’m sure you want to interrogate me, after what happened in Remire Village, so I will answer your questions, if you allow us to bring Felix along.”
“You want to take... that thing?” Catherine asked in amusement.
“Yes.” Blanche answered simply.
“Please, we have to!” Ingrid insisted. “It’s really Felix! We can’t abandon him. Not again.”

Just like that, Blanche promised to allow them to interrogate her and cooperate. They went back to the monastery, everyone in one piece, much to Rhea’s relief, who had been waiting for them.

The students headed to the dorms while Beth, Byleth and Blanche went to Lady Rhea’s office. The Knights were going to look for a place to leave Felix in.

Sothis and Seteth were inside Rhea’s office when the siblings and the mysterious girl came inside. Sothis asked Seteth to leave because she’d seen Flayn being harassed by a boy. Seteth left immediately.
“Just... who are you?” Archbishop Rhea first asked, as she came to stand toe to toe with Blanche. “Why are you similar to Beth? Are you a daughter that Sitri had without telling anyone?”
“No. It’s quite harder to explain than that. According to the academy files, my residence is Derdriu, which is technically true because I was born there. However, the place I’m from is the same as it is now. I... I am from the future.”
“Oh dear!” Sothis exclaimed. “Does the Divine Pulse have so much power to do something like that? Wait. You came using the Divine Pulse, didn’t you?”
“Or a derived mechanism, but the same essentially.” Blanche chuckled.
“Wait. You said you were born in Derdriu. That means that there it is not possible for you to be Beleth from the future.”

“That is true. My real name is Blanche and I’m not even a bearer of the Crest of Flames. I’m... Beleth’s daughter from the future.” She revealed, quite meekly. “And I’m here because I want to stop the war that will fall upon Fodlan.”
“A war!” Rhea screeched. “But you could have told us. Why did you go to Remire village without saying anything? And why did you leave with Dimitri?”
“I’ve been trying to fix the future discreetly.” Blanche explained. “Tried to kill the Night Emperor before he even started the war. In my timeline, the Wyvern Knight was captured much later, so I believe we are on the right path. We also saved Felix, so that is another problem less for us!”
“How does saving Felix change anything?” Rhea asked, in amusement.
“Sylvain was bribed into joining the enemy army because they had Felix. If we tell him that Felix is alive, I’m sure he’ll agree to help us.”
“Isn’t that too far-fetched? Sylvain is an enemy of the church, a criminal and he tried to killed Prince Dimitri. Will he really swear loyalty to us and fight on our side if we give him Felix?”
“Yes. Because the enemy army does not know how to turn Felix back into a human, but we do.” Blanche explained. “In fact, that is how we got Sylvain to help us. If we managed to save the Empire’s capital it was thanks to him...”
“I... will consider your idea.” Rhea said, wondering what kind of relationship her future self had with Blanche. “Yet this matter does not fail to impress me. Did we help you come here, to solve everything before it even began?”
“You and the Goddess, indeed.” Blanche nodded, eyeing Sothis discreetly. “Is Grandfather alright?”

“You mean Captain Jeralt? He... he should be. He’s in his office right now.” Rhea answered, quite surprised. “Did something happen to him?”

“Yes. In my timeline, he was killed after the ball. By an enemy spy, called Kronya, who disguised as a student. Luckily, I already disposed of her, but I fear they might try to send another assassin to kill him.”
“Hm. I will look into the issue. As for now, we have the Wyvern Knight to tend to. The interrogation is still pendent and it will be crucial as to reveal what the Night Emperor’s plans are.”
“I only know about the attack in a few months... but the Wyvern Knight might know something else.”

 

Somehow, Sothis and Rhea completely believed Blanche. Sothis perhaps had a heightened sense of institution because of her divine powers, while Rhea’s reason for knowing was unclear, perhaps it could simply because she trusted her mother.

But the twins had a harder time coming to terms with it. Byleth was scared she was just an impostor, since she carried an unknown crest, while Beth hadn’t quite assimilated the fact she had a daughter. She had no idea of who she had it with, and that made her a tad bit suspicious, but Blanche did look a lot like her, except for the minor characteristics that possibly came from her father, whoever it was.

The news she carried were worrying as well. A war was a very concerning matter, specially since the enemy they had had acted with a little group. Where would his troops come from? Was he really that powerful to start a war on his own? Blanche seemed to know that the Night Emperor was a male, but as to who he was, Blanche might know or might know. She hadn’t said anything and Beth did not want to pressure her, neither did Rhea or Sothis.

 

In the prison of the monastery, there was Marianne looking at Hilda, with a sad look in her eyes. Hilda wasn’t looking at her, staring at the floor instead.

“What are you doing here, Marianne?” Beth asked, not angry because Marianne was not supposed to be there, but worried because she knew how attached Marianne was to Hilda.

“I-I’m very Sorry, Professor. Lysithea told me s-she was here, but I couldn’t believe it was really her the one who....” Marianne stuttered out, as tears formed in her eyes and she cried her heart out.

“I’m sorry as well, but we have to ask you to leave. We have important matters to tend to.” Archbishop Rhea intervened, with a hint of compassion in her voice and in her eyes.

“You’re not going to punish me?” Marianne was surprised.
“I don’t believe there is any need to do that. Also, It’s a matter for your professors to decide.” Rhea said, looking at Beth and Byleth.
“It’s alright.” Byleth nodded dismissively.
“Take care, please.” Beth seemed worried.

 

Then Marianne left, making the big family turn to Hilda. Hilda wasn’t looking at them, her eyes were solely focused on the ground, as she didn’t move an inch despite the people mumbling about her.

“Miss Hilda Valentine Goneril.” Archbishop Rhea commenced. “If you do not wish to meet your early end, you will cooperate with us. Do you accept your terms or do you refuse?”
“I accept.” Hilda said in a squeaky voice, full of resentment.
“Very well. We know who the King of Night is.” Rhea discretely eyed Blanche. “However, to test your trust, you have to state his name, region of origin and ancestry.”

“You can’t possibly know who it is.” Hilda seemed frankly astonished.
“But we do.” Rhea affirmed. It was merely a bluff, but Hilda seemed scared, so it was a smart way to learn who their enemy was.
“You don’t know it.” Hilda said firmly, as she insisted. “You can’t know it.”
“Miss Goneril, this is a test and I’m afraid I must inform you that you are not doing precisely well at it.”
“I don’t even know who the King of Night is!” Hilda cried, frankly distressed. “I was never told... my brother... he knew but I...”
“What happened to you brother?” Archbishop Rhea was doing well leading the conversation.
“My family, my brother...” Hilda’s voice was expressing so many emotions that it was hard to identify all of them: grief, pain, panic, anger... “I have two crests, just like Sylvain. They implanted a crest on me... The Crest of Blaiddyd... and now I... will die. Like my siblings. My elder brother Holst... they tried to implant a crest on him but he couldn’t bear it and he just... died.”

Blanche was watching Hilda come unhinged with compassion in her eyes, perhaps kindness. Sothis wondered if she knew Hilda back in her time, since the others were too absorbed in Hilda to pay attention to their youngest member. Beth was tense, gripping her sword tightly, while Byleth looked at her with an unreadable expression. Rhea’s eyes showed no mercy.

“Who did that, Hilda?” Rhea tried a more understanding tone.
“I’m not sure yet. But the King of Night saved me. He’s not bad, I swear. I only allied with him because I... felt grateful, because he saved me. I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I’ve been having nightmares since I was kidnapped and experimented with. Now I also hear the people screaming and I can’t stand it, but I swore loyalty to the King of Night.”

“Was Sylvain allied with the King of Night as well? Were you allied with him?”

“No. Sylvain had his own goals, but I was asked to try to get him to collaborate with us. He refused. He just wanted to kill Dimitri.”
Somehow, no one was surprised when they heard those statements.
“What does the King of Night pretend to achieve?”
“A unified Fódlan. Where one’s precedence does not matter, where there are no barriers between people because of what race they belong to. Where the differences between the people in Almyra, Brigid, Dagda and Fodlan are forgotten...”
“That sounds very nice but how does he exactly plan to achieve it?” Archbishop Rhea seemed skeptic about it.
“Overthrowing the Church.” Hilda responded. “The Church is an old system, he says. Crests create social inequality and people are considered inferior because they do not carry crests...”

“The church is not to blame for the importance of crests in noble households. In fact, we are strongly against the idea of disinheriting offspring because they lack crests. It is a tradition that nobles installed themselves, not a tradition pushed by the church. We have no control over societal rules, we only want to share the message of the Goddess.” Archbishop Rhea’s brows gently furrowed, as her delicate face changed to one that reflected pure anger.

“I do not really understand the King of Night’s real motives and plans.” Hilda confessed. “But I did agree with his ideas.”
“There is no need to be violent when making changes. We think we have an idea of what the King of Night plans to do and we strongly disagree, but do you know what army will support him?”
“He didn’t share much information with me.” Hilda admitted.
“I see. Thank you for cooperation, Ms. Goneril.”

When they ended Hilda’s interrogation, Byleth and Beth were ordered to help Seteth organize the ball, while Rhea and Sothis had a discussion with Blanche in private. Rhea also ordered the knights to watch over Jeralt, so Alois, Catherine and Shamir were lingering in the corridor of his room almost all day long.

The students were all occupied with Felix. The search team that found him spread the news to their closest friends, so a big part of the students was speaking about it. Ingrid asked the Knights for permission to see him, so she was the first one that was allowed inside the room they put him in.

“Felix!” Ingrid cried, running to the big wolf and wrapping it in a hug. “I missed you so much! You have no idea of how hard it has been to live without you all these years!”
Ingrid was crying freely, like she had never been seen. Only Glenn had seen her crying like that, after Felix’s funeral.
“Have you taken good care of Glenn?” Ingrid thought she heard the wolf ask. She blinked in confusion and looked at him.
“You... can speak!? Why didn’t you speak before? Dimitri has surely been worried sick about you, and there you were silent. I don’t really appreciate this, Felix, I really don’t.”

“I talked to Dimitri before you arrived. You still haven’t answered my question.”
“Yes, I have. We are going to get married after I graduate. He came to see me at Gronder field and it was quite nice, it made feel less lonely. I’ve been actually feeling lonely at the academy, because of what happened with Sylvain...”
“Oh? What happened to that idiot?” There was no bite behind Felix’s scornful tone, it was his usual tone.
“Sylvain has changed, Felix. A lot. After you died, he started to blame Dimitri for it. Then one day, he came to visit us and he had... white hair instead of his red hair. I have no idea of why it became white, but Sylvain’s behavior changed.”
“So he’s not an incorrigible flirt anymore?” Felix did not allow his true emotions to show through that phrase, his voice just sounded serious.
“He lost all interest he had in flirting. At first, I thought it was because he was mourning you and too sad to do anything, but he really changed. He didn’t smile, unless it was to say violent, aggressive things and he just wanted to get revenge. He said it was against Dimitri, but I don’t think it really is that... There is something he never told us.”
“I want to see him.” Felix decided, not choosing to comment on the changes that Ingrid was speaking about.
“I don’t think you can. He tried to murder Dimitri... then he escaped and stole the Lance of Ruin... The Church gave the order to execute him, but...”
“But what? Is he dead?” Felix sounded a bit worried.
“No. They couldn’t kill him. Professor Byleth tried to execute him with the Holy Sword but... it was useless. He’s the monastery’s prison now.”
“Who is ‘Professor Byleth’?”
“Oh. The Black Eagles’ teacher. There’s Professor Beth too -that’s our Professor-, we had Professor Hanneman before her but Sylvain attacked him.”
“Goddess. What happened to Sylvain? He went from flirting with your grandma to becoming a homicidal maniac.”

“He’s been very weird. When I visited him in the prison, he was saying things like: ‘I don’t want to break the promise I made to Felix’, ‘Figure out a way to kill me, Ingrid, please’. ‘I would rather die in your hands than Archbishop Rhea’s...’”
“Our promise...” Felix sighed, feeling nostalgic. “Can I see him?”
“Maybe I can convince Professor Beth to let us bring him here.” Ingrid proposed. “Would you like that?”
“Alright. I just want him to tell me what’s up with him.”

 

Right after Ingrid exited the room, Ashe appeared in the door. He walked to where Felix was standing and sighed.

“I heard you talking to Ingrid. About Sylvain. I just wanted to tell you that it’s... not that bad. I mean, what he’s doing is justified, in my opinion. Dimitri... m-my... brother... he’s not ... he’s not fine, Ok, Felix? He’s... he’s sick.” Ashe stuttered when affirming it was his brother and his voice broke as he spoke, repeating words to make sure Felix was hearing alright. “Whatever Sylvain did, or tried to do, was justified.”
“So Dima is insane now, huh...?”
“Felix, I really mean it. This is not a joke. He might seem like he’s fine. He might stir some kind of compassion within you, because you haven’t been here for long and you have no idea of what Sylvain and I had to go through. Hell, even Ingrid feels sorry for him. I’m telling you because you are my friend, Felix. Dimitri has some... issues. There is something seriously wrong with him and I can’t quite tell you what, because it is hard to put it into words, but...”
“What has he done?”
“It is something only Sylvain and I know.” Ashe sighed. “Do you really want to know? Sylvain... tried to kill his teacher after.... what happened.”
“You mean something else happened aside from Dimitri ‘killing’ me?”
“Let’s just say his... our stepmother is not precisely the kindest woman in the world.” Ashe thought that anyone who knew her personally would immediately understand why he was saying that but Felix has not been around by the time King Lambert remarried.
Ashe himself had never interacted with Cornelia for more than a few minutes but getting called a bastard by her was denigrating enough to swear he’d never talk to her again. Nobody knew he was a bastard and even though King Lambert was trying to create some semblance of a family with them it was not working because no one but him was putting effort on it.
“If you want to know more, ask Sylvain about it. I can’t say more, it feels like I’m choking.”

With his big feline eyes Felix stared at Ashe and he could tell that the younger boy was struggling to keep himself together. He was trying to appear normal and collected, hadn’t said anything about Felix turning into a wolf or nothing about seeing him after so long, but he was just repressing his emotions. Felix knew that it was something Ashe tended to do since they were kids but it was more even heartbreaking to see it with an older, broken Ashe.

Ashe turned away as if he was going to leave but Felix decided to speak before he did. “It was nice seeing you after so long.”
Of course Felix would never allow himself to say anything further, because he was just not the type to do so. Living between wolves for such a long time had made him be more quiet and less emotional than before, but he still cared about all the people he knew in the past.
However, Ashe seemed to smile for a brief moment, as if he was happy that Felix showed that he still cared. “It was about time you came back.”

 

When Ingrid approached Seteth, Byleth and Beth to talk about letting Sylvain talk to Felix, she was a bit hesitant so she stayed by the doorway instead of walking inside the room. She spotted Flayn sitting nearby, excitedly coming up with ideas for the ball, but Archbishop Rhea was mysteriously absent. Ingrid could not even fathom why she was missing from a supposedly important reunion, until her head got out of the gutter and realized that she was most likely contacting the Fraldarius to tell them about Felix. Which meant that Glenn could potentially visit the monastery, which made her feel a bit giddy.

So giddy she didn’t realize Sothis was poking her from behind. Still tiny, with that gigantic green hair of hers, but still somehow unnoticeable to Ingrid. Blanche was beside her, wondering how Ingrid was so different from her future self.
“Are you alright, Ingrid?” Sothis asked, making Ingrid jump and clutch her heart as she turned to face Sothis. It was like a jumpscare and had it been a stranger, Ingrid would have collapsed.
“Y-yes! What are you two doing here?” Blanche’s face went pale as she thought that Ingrid would suspect something for sure while Sothis just played it off cooly.
“You know, we wanted to contribute in the ball! Now if you don’t mind me asking, why are you here?”
Blanche sighed in relief as Sothis controlled the situation and put Ingrid on the spot. She was quite a schemer herself, but she was completely caught off-guard by Ingrid. Luckily Sothis was devious enough to come up with a reason on her own.
Then Sothis kindly let Ingrid to talk to the professors and got all the attention off Blanche. Ingrid was probably too concerned about Felix to even question why Blanche was there, with Beth’s supposed mother and why she was so similar to them.

Due to Blanche’s quiet insistence, Byleth approved the petition to let Sylvain visit Felix, while Seteth just looked like he had heard the most ridiculous thing ever. Sothis glared at him from the distance which got him to not say anything and they all agreed that Lady Rhea would be alright with the proposition, which made Ingrid a tad bit suspicious yet happy because her plan was working.

She walked away quietly and went down the hall but grimaced when she heard a thud behind Captain Jeralt’s door. She nervously reflected on what that could possibly have meant when she suddenly saw an axe go through the door and screamed. Her scream alerted all the guards down the hall and soon Catherine, Shamir and Alois were standing there. Alois took the most direct approach and asked Ingrid directly, while Shamir stared at the axe and Catherine broke down the door.

Captain Jeralt was inside the room with a person that was wearing a golden armor and a face mask. The person was carrying a large shield too, which they were using to protect Jeralt, from a seemingly unknown threat. The guards immediately surrounded Jeralt and assessed the possibility of another attack, but the armored subject said that the danger was gone... for the time being. The knights asked Jeralt and that mysterious person about it but they just said that the attack came from a stranger that the armored person had followed.

Archbishop Rhea was told about what had transpired while the mysterious person and Blanche pleaded for her to not incarcerate the red armored person because they were only there to help. Rhea agreed to Blanche’s terms and allowed them to plot a plan to keep Jeralt safe without interfering too much in the course of history. Although they had to change it for sure, there some things that should remain as they would be.
Sylvain was surprised to receive a visit to his cell. He was isolated, even from Hilda, which made him wonder why Archbishop Rhea was letting people in. However, it was only Ingrid and Blanche accompanying the Archbishop. Sylvain gasped in surprise at seeing Ingrid, but said nothing.

“Due to novel developments, we have hereby decided to offer you a deal.” The archbishop’s voice rang in the walls and Sylvain just rolled his eyes at how serious she always was while speaking. “We believe that you might want to collaborate with us in exchange for a reunion with a person you hold close to your heart.”
Sylvain thought that he appreciated no one, except Ashe and Ingrid maybe, but neither of them were gone. He caught himself thinking about a certain boy that was gone, but that was impossible. Rhea could not bring back the dead.
“It’s true, Sylvain! I promise it’s true, we’ve found Felix!”

If it was all a cruel joke Sylvain didn’t know what he’d do. It was the first time he felt something akin to hope but it was just too painful to think that that little spark would die down. He wanted, he wished so dearly to believe in Ingrid but a part of him was holding him back.

“I want to see him first.”

 

All eyes were on him as he was escorted by Archbishop Rhea herself to see Felix. Blanche, Ingrid and a few guards were surrounding them as to make sure nothing could go wrong. Sylvain thought that if it was all a lie he’d just snap and all the dark magic he was holding in would just explode. The crests made him powerful, but those monsters had messed up with more than that.
Most of the students caught wind of what was happening and the Conspiracy Group banded together to see why Sylvain was out of his cell. Some of them started taking notes on scraps of papers and Caspar grabbed Lindhardt’s spell book to pretend he was contributing but he was just doodling. Lysithea snorted in disappointment when she glanced at that.
For some reason, Ashe was speaking with Flayn but they were not arguing. It was a calm conversation. He saw Sylvain, Sylvain looked back at him and Ashe felt so uncomfortable with the situation in general that he just asked Flayn to warp him to the kitchen.

 

When they finally arrived to the place where Felix was being kept, Ingrid got jittery and started sweating because she hoped that the reunion would be as beautiful as she was picturing it to be. Blanche was quite shocked to see Ingrid reacting like that because in her time, Ingrid was a very composed woman that was rarely ever fazed by anything.

Sylvain stepped inside the room and saw Felix immediately, but did not understand what was happening at first. Then he saw the crest of Fraldarius in the animal’s leg and his eyes suddenly became watery. Ingrid had never seen Sylvain cry and she thought he’d be the kind of person that cried beautifully but he was sobbing uglily and loudly, clearly having issues with his respiration.
Even though Felix was usually aloof and cool, he felt the need to console his friend and started curling himself around Sylvain as if beckoning him to stroke his fur. Sylvain did not say anything about being lied to or demanded Rhea to explain Felix’s state and instead sank his face inside the fur as he hugged Felix with all the strength he could muster.

“That hurts, you idiot!” Felix whined, but that wasn’t what started Sylvain.

“You can speak?” Sylvain’s voice was broken and he barely could utter words but he did anyway. “You have no idea of how much I’ve missed you, Felix...”

The hard glare in Felix’s eyes seemed to soften as he started purring and Ingrid’s eyes went wide, because she thought Felix was a wolf but after a second consideration she realized he was quite feline and looked like a big cat. Ingrid has not been as effusive as Sylvain, but she doubted that was why Felix was reacting differently.

“I was alone for years, so I think I can get a grasp of it.”
“I’m so sorry, this was all my fault, please forgive me, Felix... I wanted to keep our promise so bad and thinking that I failed was torturing me so much...”
“You remembered our promise...”
Sylvain sobbed even louder as he wiped his tears with Felix’s fur, dragging his face all over what seemed to be Felix’s mane. Felix tried to not say anything but deep down he was a bit concerned about getting drenched in Sylvain’s tears. A part of him was moved by how much Sylvain showed that he cared about him.
“This is getting very uncomfortable for me.” Blanche whispered in Rhea’s ear and Rhea wanted to agree but leaving a highly dangerous criminal alone seemed to be a stupid course of action, but then again hearing Sylvain speak so tenderly about how much he missed his best friend was both uncomfortable for everyone else and oddly endearing.

“Can you stop sniffing? My ears are very sensitive.”
“Geez, Sorry for crying, I’m just happy. The real question should be why you aren’t crying.” Sylvain realized he couldn’t see Felix’s face so he turned to see it. “Oh! Would you look at that!”
“You idiot, I haven’t seen any human in years....”
“But where’s my little Felix? The one that liked following me around and cried when he missed me! Deep down you’re still the same, come on, just admit it.”
“Well, yes, I missed you. You took the fact that I’m a monster better than the others.”
“Of course I want to know why you’re like this but I got too caught in the moment, you know. We can talk about that later or whatever, now let us thrive in this moment of happiness.” Felix started complaining about not being able to see what Sylvain was doing and therefore could not stop him from climbing on his back. “I’m sorry, it’s very fluffy! There, we can speak about everything.”

Rhea and Blanche listened to the story about Felix being captured by those who slither in the dark while Ingrid was just too emotionally distraught to focus. They were interested in Sylvain’s reaction to knowing Dimitri wasn’t responsible for what happened to Felix.

“I resented Dimitri because I blamed him for what happened to you, that’s true. I was wrong but... after Cornelia married King Lambert, he just changed. He said he heard voices and acted strange... Bad things... happened. No one could stand him... not Ashe, not Dedue and not me... he pushed all of us away...”
Blanche was quite surprised to learn that but Rhea just tightened her fists, worried about the voices Dimitri was hearing.