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The Experience of Peace

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C rank

Edelgard: Halt! You! What do you think you are doing?

Hector: Uh… fighting?

Edelgard: So recklessly?! Your strikes are so wild! You could hurt one of your own allies if you keep—

Hector: Hahaha!

Edelgard: Y-You’re… laughing at me?

Hector: Haha… Sorry. You just sound exactly like someone else I know.

Edelgard: Perhaps you should more seriously consider this criticism if you keep hearing it.

Hector: Look, I might seem wild to you, but this is how I fight. I promise I’m being careful. And hey, I haven’t hurt anyone yet, right? At least, not anyone I wasn’t supposed to.

Edelgard: Hmph… I’ll keep an eye on you nonetheless. Still, I have to admit that your methods are effective. It’s rare that I see someone who can match me on the battlefield.

Hector: Ha! I could say the same to you! And you’re such a tiny thing. Where are you hiding all that muscle?

Edelgard: …I am not ‘tiny’.

Hector: Really, now? …Aw, blast, looks like they need me again. Listen, make sure you don’t overextend yourself, okay? I’ll keep an eye out and back you up if you need it, but remember you’ve got allies here. You don’t need to do everything yourself.

Edelgard: I assure you, I do not need— Too late, he’s gone. Hmm… Despite his rough manners, he seemed genuinely concerned… Maybe I judged him a little too hastily.

B rank

Hector: Edelgard, right? Well met!

Edelgard: Hello, Hector. We did not exchange proper greetings last time, did we?

Hector: No. I seem to recall that someone jumped straight to criticism instead.

Edelgard: Sigh… You’re right. I apologise for that. Your style is still incredibly reckless, but you’re more careful than I first thought. You watch out for everyone on the battlefield, don’t you?

Hector: Well, it only seems right. If a little too much is just enough for me, it’s only right that I take the pressure off everyone else, don’t you think?

Edelgard: A little too much… haha! I’ve never heard it said like that before, but you’re right.

Hector: So you do laugh sometimes. That’s good to know. Just don’t expect me to handle the strategy side of things, and we’ll get along just fine.

Edelgard: Hold a moment. About your fighting style… there’s something I wanted to ask. How did you come to fight this way? Did your tutors not correct you?

Hector: …Tutors, huh? I suppose that’s how you learned?

Edelgard: That’s right. Everyone in my family learns to handle weapons from a young age. It’s part of the duties of the Imperial line to defend the Adrestian Empire with our own hands, if necessary.

Hector: Huh. Well, that’s not how it works where I’m from. Or maybe it was just Uther… he tried to forbid me from learning how to fight. So I had to sneak out to the local arena. I didn’t have any tutors—I taught myself from watching the fighters there. And from joining in, eventually.

Edelgard: You mean to tell me that, despite being a noble, you’re entirely self-taught?!

Hector: You sound impressed.

Edelgard: It is impressive, although unexpected. I suppose that’s why your manners are so rough… If it weren’t for the quality of your armour, I wouldn’t have known that you were a noble at all!

Hector: This again?!

Edelgard: Hm?

Hector: Sigh… Never mind. Well, let me return the compliment, then. I admit, I was a bit worried about you at first, because you seem so small despite your strength. But from watching you, I quickly realised you didn’t need my help at all.

Edelgard: I see… Coming from you, that means a lot. Thank you. But in truth, my strength is not as impressive as your own.

Hector: Are you talking about those ‘Crests’ from your world?

Edelgard: That’s right. Crests can augment someone’s strength in a number of different ways. Your strength, which is all your own, is much more impressive, in my opinion.

Hector: Ha… well, if you were born with the Crest, isn’t it the same thing?

Edelgard: …

Hector: …They are something you’re born with, right?

Edelgard: Oh, yes… of course they are. In any case, the most important thing is that we use this strength to protect others, yes?

Hector: Right.

A rank

Edelgard: Hector!

Hector: Hngh… Thanks for the save. I’ll be all right in a moment.

Edelgard: You were nearly overwhelmed! How could you be so reckless?! You could have been seriously hurt, or even killed! Even you can’t throw yourself against so many enemies… it’s tantamount to throwing your life away.

Hector: It’s alright, Edelgard. I’m going to die in battle anyway.

Edelgard: You…

Hector: Don’t look so angry! I mean it literally. Any wielder of Armads is cursed… I won’t get to die a peaceful death.

Edelgard: I… I’m sorry, Hector. I didn’t know.

Hector: You don’t have to be sorry. I accepted the cost. I had to.

Edelgard: You had to?

Hector: Eliwood needed me. We needed to be powerful, to defeat… Well, I guess there’s no point giving you the whole story now that it’s over. Let’s just say that we were fighting someone stronger than either of us and we needed all the help we could get.

Edelgard: Eliwood – that is your friend, is it not? Very well, then. If this is a choice you made with open eyes, you do not deserve my pity. But… you do have my respect.

Hector: Haha… Thanks. It’s strange, you know? Some part of me thought you would understand.

Edelgard: I do understand. My curse is nothing so literal, but… Sigh. I suppose it can’t hurt to talk about it here. The world of Fódlan… is full of brutality. Brutality that was visited upon countless innocents… and me and my family. I was the only one who survived.

Hector: …

Edelgard: What I said before, about Crests… it’s true for most people. But not for me. I am a twisted experiment for which many lives were sacrificed. My strength… comes from a second, artificially implanted Crest. Like you, I intend to use this strength for the sake of others… I will make a world where no one need suffer through such things. I will make a world where your fortune is not decided by an accident of your birth. For the sake of all those who have lost their lives… I must change the world, whatever the cost.

Hector: …

Edelgard: …Hector?

Hector: That’s quite an ambition to carry on such narrow shoulders. But with your determination, I’m sure you can achieve it.

Edelgard: Must you always draw attention to my height? Still… thank you for believing in me.

S rank

Hector: Hey, Edelgard.

Edelgard: Hello, Hector. You look troubled. Is something wrong?

Hector: Something that you said before has been bothering me.

Edelgard: Oh?

Hector: You… called yourself a ‘twisted experiment’.

Edelgard: …Well, I… What I am is not natural. All of my siblings were sacrificed to make—

Hector: I know what you said. Losing all your family like that must be painful… I would say that I understand, but truly, I don’t. I lost my parents to illness before I could remember them. When my brother passed away… No one stole him from me. He simply got sick. I didn’t even know for a long time. It was like I came home and he was suddenly no longer there. I didn’t see him suffer.

Edelgard: How is that possible?

Hector: Ah, I said there was no point in telling you this, but here I am… When Uther got sick, I was already with Eliwood. We were tracking down his missing father—at first… but never mind that. Uther—

Edelgard: He didn’t want to make you choose.

Hector: He— Wait, that’s right. How did you know?

Edelgard: Haha. How did I know? Hector, I’ve met you. You threw away your future for your friend without a second thought. Even here, amongst people who aren’t your friends, who aren’t even of your world… you’re still willing to lay down your life to save any of them. It’s obvious that you care a great deal. If you were my brother… the last thing I would wish on you… would be to break your heart by making you choose.

Hector: …Blast. This was supposed to be about you. Let me finish what I was trying to say. Yes, I threw away my chance at a peaceful future.

Edelgard: And I—

Hector: —Still have that chance.

Edelgard: …

Hector: Listen, Edelgard… I can’t pretend to understand everything you’ve been through. But there’s one thing I do understand, and that’s how a brother feels. And I’m telling you that this isn’t what your siblings want. You’re not an experiment. You’re Edelgard. Whatever you have to sacrifice for this future of yours… remember that there’s still a place for you in it. After everything, you deserve peace. That’s what this brother wants for you.

Edelgard: …You deserve it too, Hector.

Hector: Well… Can you imagine me in peacetime? I’d drive my advisors mad by sneaking out of my own court.

Edelgard: Yes, you probably would.

Hector: Wait, that was a joke—

Edelgard: But you’d do it to walk amongst your people and see their needs… You would approach them as a friend. You would ask them honestly what they need. You would put their welfare ahead of petty politics or the ambitions of other nobles. Maybe you will need those advisors, but you will know you can trust them. …That’s the kind of peacetime ruler I think you would be.

Hector: From you, that means a great deal. Thank you. Doesn’t make much difference though, I suppose.

Edelgard: But your curse only says that you won’t die in peace, right? It doesn’t say you will NEVER experience peace.

Hector: I suppose not. Huh. I guess I never thought of that.

Edelgard: I hope you get to experience that peace, Hector. And if you agree to look forward to it, to act as though it will come… I will promise… to try to do the same.

Hector: Heh. You’re going to take to politics much better, than me, that’s for damn sure. Look what you’ve talked me into! But alright. I promise, Edelgard. And I can take a hint—I’ll be more careful.

Edelgard: Good. I’m satisfied with that. Don’t worry—I’ll watch your back.