After a year of the academy being established, interests in arts and craftsmanship flourished all over Fódlan. The first batch of students greatly contributed by producing high-quality works that boosted trade with the foreign lands, something that Byleth commended Hilda for. The success had urged her to consider establishing more academies all over the land as well as to train those with potential to be instructors, but she realized how much work that would mean. . .

"I mean, there is also the manpower to consider! Perhaps we can schedule a visit to the capital, or maybe to the slums? Gustave told me that he knows a hard-working guy from there; maybe it'd be good to train him? That would provide him with employment too. . . Oh, how about the location of the academies? It would be nice to strategically spread them out, one at Faerghus, another at the Adrestrian region—"

"Hilda," Dimitri said, waving his hand in an attempt to calm her down as she paced around the room. "Relax."

Somehow, his words had been effective, and it made her plop down on a nearby chair.

"Okay, wait," she said, "It's funny hearing that coming from you. Who knew a day would come with you telling that to me?"

He let out a chuckle, passing by a row of accessories with varying charms lined up on the desk. Even without any particular labels, Hilda had the ability to tell when each one of them were made based on the preserved petals contained inside the resin. He thought it was really impressive as he let his fingertips briefly brush on each of them.

"Dimitri, don't you sometimes wish we could just go back to the cabin and relax all day?"

He smiled. "Perhaps sometimes I do. It is rather funny to think that after aspiring to reach the heights we are now standing on, we now wish to go back to the comforts of where everything started."

She shook her head, thinking how right he was.

"Always nice to have a goal in mind, I guess?"

They shared a laugh, with Hilda eventually ending hers with a sigh.

"It is nice to think of the future, isn't it, but let us go back to the present for now." Dimitri reached out a hand towards her. "I heard there were some great deals on the shop that you frequent. Would you like to take a brief stroll at the marketplace?"

"Ugh, right, I could use a break," she stood, straightening her dress. "Wouldn't really want to have any wrinkles on our wedding day a few moons from now."

The gem on the ring of her finger glistened from the sunshine leaking through the windows as she accepted his hand, letting him take the lead as they walked to the outside.



A Gathering at Goneril

(A few moons ago)

"I'll be honest. When my sister began to have interest in governing our lands and I asked why, and then she said, 'who knows if I'll be queen someday!' I wasn't expecting her to be serious."

A sheepish smile appeared on Hilda's face as she looked at her brother sitting across from them, holding a pack of ice to his cheek. Beside her, Dimitri was sitting with such upright posture, hands on his lap. From her periphery, she sensed he had a similar smile as well.

It took Holst several questions asked repeatedly for him to completely process that his sister was going to be the future Queen of Faerghus, that no, the two of them weren't really that close during the academy days, that yes, he had actually lived with her for almost half a year at the cabin. Hilda was only thankful how patient Dimitri was in answering each of his questions—her brother was obviously in disbelief how he did not see it coming.

Eventually, Holst gave them his blessings; after all, Dimitri did win against him in their little duel.