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“Checkmate!”

The golden arc of Robin’s Thoron soared across the beach, knocking the last of the Valmese cavalrymen clean off his horse. In the same motion she spun her Levin Sword into a reverse grip, parrying the lance of the knight advancing on her. He struck back, and as Robin backpedaled deeper into enemy territory her mind raced for a solution to end this, quickly

“Get back!” a blaze of blue roared, and the knight toppled to the ground. Lucina stood over him, panting heavily, Falchion bared like the dragon’s fang it was.

“Lucina,” Robin sighed in relief, laying a gloved hand on her daughter’s shoulder. Slowly, she eased her stance. “Thanks for the save, Little Light.”

“Of course,” she replied, nodding briskly. Then, in a softer, nearly-sheepish tone she added: “Mother.”

Robin smiled earnestly, squeezing Lucina’s shoulder before releasing her grip. From here, their next step was to reunite with Chrom’s half of their forces in Valm Harbor proper.

“You’re very much like him, you know,” Robin said as they crossed the beach, sheathing her blade.

“Father?”

Robin nodded. “When your father fights beside someone, he’s always by their side. I can’t count how many times he was between me and a stray sword during the Plegian War. Like…” Robin paused, mulling the words over. “Like the wind at my back.”

“He’s incredible,” Lucina admitted, a shy smile blooming across her face. “Seeing him fight like this, now. In my future, I only knew him for so long before—”

Robin paused abruptly mid-stride. A chill breeze billowed, and the hairs on the back of her neck stood straight up. She shivered.

“Lucina—”

Lucina met her gaze, eyes wide. “You feel it too.”

She did not wait for a response, and Robin didn’t offer one. She really was so much like her father. They understood each other, innately—like an invisible tie.

So it was that Robin and Lucina ran down the streets of Valm Harbor, their troops following in their wake. The air was unsettlingly calm, but still the occasional distant cries of battle led them on.

Spinning down another alleyway, Robin barreled head-first into another knight—a familiar one.

“Freddy Bear, am I glad to see you!”

“Lady Robin, Lady Lucina,” Frederick greeted with typical formality. “Milord’s forces are engaging the enemy commander on the next block—we were on our way to convene with you.”

“Sir Frederick, we must rejoin my father immediately,” Lucina panted, taking a moment to catch her breath. “I fear—”

A thundering BOOM echoed from somewhere behind Frederick, and even from here Robin could smell the sulfurous stench of fire magic. All three of them broke into a sprint, and in her mind she was drafting possibilities and solutions to a dozen scenarios while simultaneously chanting in time with the thundering of her heart please let it be nothing, please let him be okay, (but her instincts had never been wrong before)

They turned the corner of the next street as one, and there he was. Face blackened by soot, favoring one side to lean on Falchion, but he was there and he was alive.

“Robin! There you are, I was starting to— oof!”

She barrelled forward, pulling him down into an embrace that tasted of ash and Ylissean spring. Tints of red revealed themselves beneath the grime, and when Robin released him she noted the grin he wore was bright enough to blind Grima itself.

“Robin, I—”

“We are never splitting this army again,” Robin hissed. It had been her idea, and half the reason they’d seized this victory, but she was declaring a new rule here and now.

“It looks worse than it is,” Chrom reassured, gently wrapping her hands in his own. “It’ll take more than an Arcfire to the face to bring me down.”

“It’d better,” Robin grumbled. “We need you, Chrom. I need—”

Robin sniffed.

The air smelled of mana and sulfur.

A steady, piercing hum cut through her words like a knife.

“Father!”

Falchion cleaved through the air in a golden arc, diverting the spray of Arcfire into the ground. It was the Valmese commander—he was still alive, staggering to his feet, tome in hand, and as Robin reached for her own Lucina lunged forward, blade bared—

“You will not lay a SINGLE FINGER on him!”

He fired, and Falchion devoured the spell once more. Chrom made to rush forward but Robin held him back—she just needed to line up a shot…

The opportunity never came. A third burst of flame and Lucina simply charged through it, running Falchion clean through his neck.

The commander gurgled, the Conqueror’s name on his lips, and fell still.

“Lucina!” Chrom shouted, running forward.

He was still hobbling, so Robin reached her first, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Are you hurt? He hit you dead-on, stay put, I’ll get Lissa—”

“I’m…” Lucina’s voice seemed almost detached for a moment, eyes shut, but she shook herself and the moment passed. “I’m fine, Mother.”

Getting a closer look at her, she really was unscathed—her armor wasn’t even singed. Or, wait, was that a wisp of flame? Robin blinked, and it was gone. Perhaps the chaos had taken more out of her than she’d realized—flames were flame-colored after all, not violet.

Chrom breathed a sigh of relief as he caught up to them. “Thank gods you’re okay. Don’t you ever do something that reckless again, alright?”

Lucina’s gaze bored into the ground. “Forgive me, Father. I—”

Robin grinned, her heart finally easing up as the adrenaline faded. “She gets it from you, you know.”

Chrom guffawed, looking vaguely offended. “As if you wouldn’t charge through fire to save one of us.”

Lucina snorted, then quickly covered her mouth. “That does sound like you, Mother,” she admitted, meeting her gaze.

Lucina had blue eyes. This was true of both her daughters—present and future. Beautiful blue eyes, her father’s brand glimmering in her left.

But as she met her daughter’s gaze, a violet, six-eyed mark stared back at her.

Robin’s breath hitched in her throat, and she wasn’t nearly quick enough to mask the ripple of shock from Lucina—frowning in confusion. Not that it would matter, because Chrom’s gasp echoed across the street.

“Lucina, your eye—”

“My eye?” she echoed. She looked around, gaze settling on a puddle nearby.

As she set off with hasty strides, Chrom hobbled after her. “Lucina, wait—”

Lucina stopped, staring into her reflection. Her quizzical expression froze.

Her mouth opened as if to shriek, but all that came out was a low whimper as she crumbled to her knees.

“I don’t understand,” she murmured. “I—”

“Lucina,” Robin breathed, skidding to a stop behind her. “Come on, get up. We’re going somewhere.”

Thankfully, Lucina wordlessly allowed her to help her to her feet. Chrom was still limping, so Robin slung an arm around her two, and the three started down the street.

Somewhere proved to be one of the abandoned buildings nearby, but it had four walls so it’d have to do. Lucina slipped into a chair, and Chrom regained the presence of mind to down a vulnerary.

“Does it hurt?” he said.

Lucina shook her head. “It burned,” she said. “When I killed the commander. Not painfully, but like—”

“Like power,” Robin said softly. “Power you controlled.”

It was the same thing she felt when she tapped into darker magics. It was the reason she preferred alternatives. Except for…

“You used Ignis.” Robin’s mind returned to Carrion Isle. “Aether’s equivalent for Plegian royal blood.”

Lucina nodded slowly. “Validar is my… grandfather.” She said the word as though it were a vile curse to be rid of, and Robin could not blame her.

The new (familiar) brand was in her right eye. Blue had been supplanted with a violet tint—heterochromia.

“...I’ll have to repair my mask,” she resolved after a long moment.”

“Lucina—” Chrom protested.

“I wear the brand of the Fell Dragon now. I can’t... I—”

Lucina was crying.

Robin marched across the room, ripping her glove off on the way. Lucina’s words were stifled with a gasp as she threw her arms around her.

“That brand does not decide who you are,” Robin hissed. “You are Lucina, you are kind and selfless and good, and you—” she loosened her grip, raising her branded hand, “—are my daughter. If anyone thinks ill of you, they’ll have to go through me.”

Lucina stared back, eyes wide, and Robin sighed in relief as a third pair of arms wrapped around them.

“The two of you are the greatest lights of my life,” Chrom said, his voice resolute. “It’s not about power, but how you wield it.” He reached out, rubbing Robin’s hand with his thumb. “Nobody deserves to have to hide who they are.”

“You’re my daughter, Lucina,” he said. “There’s not a thing on this earth that can change that.”

Lucina blinked. She was crying again—happy tears, thank the gods.

They stayed there for a long while.

For now, at least, everything would be alright.