Part 1: White Clouds
The Leicester Alliance
"I have to say, I'm quite impressed with your progress so far, Sothis!"
On King Kai's planet, Sothis was currently sitting under a tree meditating. She managed to secure her place as his pupil by telling a very bad joke to him. But at least he laughed so, points to her… she guessed. She also had to repair his house which took a good amount of time to do, since she wasn't that good at carpentry to begin with. But she quickly found out King Kai was no slouch as a mentor and pushed her to her limits with the gravity on his planet alone. As the days and months rolled on however, she felt herself getting stronger in not only body, but in her mind too as her time abilities were getting better by the months.
"Yeah, I'm gonna be honest with you, I thought you wouldn't survive the training." King Kai admitted and nodded over to Bubbles who was jumping around. "But hey, you managed to catch Bubbles and got used to the gravity, so props to ya, kid."
King Kai then stood next to her and looked across the distance before continuing. "Now, I know you mainly came here to work on your time powers. But I think there's an opportunity to learn more. You never know when you need a good offence, you know what I mean?"
Sothis finally opened her eyes and looked up at the blue creature. "What do you propose I learn?"
King Kai shrugged and continued to stare at into the distance, not looking at his student. "Well, the choice is up to you. I have two techniques that I can pass down to you. You can either learn one or both. Though if you want a personal opinion, I quite like the Kaioken technique."
"Kaioken! It's a technique that boosts your Ki and power and amplifies your strength! Though it is quite a difficult technique to pull off as using it too much might put you six feet into the ground."
"Hmmm…" Sothis mused, folding her arms and thinking. She would much rather prefer to just focus on honing her skills at managing time. But on the other hand, it would probably be wise to broaden her horizons and learn offensive techniques too. Especially when she wasn't that strong physically despite the workout she got from this place. Why not?
Sothis stood up and nodded to King Kai with a determined look. "I'll do it."
"Splendid! Let's get to work then, I'm sure you KaioCAN do it!"
King Kai started sniggering to himself as Sothis sighed, while following him to their usual training spot. Maybe this was a mistake. Maybe she could try going to Chronoa again, and just drink tea for all eternity.
…Oh, who was she kidding? She chose to do this, she may as well reap the benefits. "So, what do I do first, King Kai?"
"Already eager to learn after doing so much? I like your tenacity! Okay, we'll start with the basics."
"You ready for this, Teach?"
"As ready as I'll ever be…"
Byleth was outside the gates of the Monastery, standing next to Claude and the rest of the Golden Deer who were currently loading various goods and weaponry into carriages and wagons for their trip to the Alliance. On top of their mission to help defend against the Almyrans, they had to bring supplies over as well.
"You would think Professor Hanneman would have shown up by now." Byleth said to herself, looking around for any sight of the Golden Deer Professor as Claude just pat her on the shoulder with a grin.
"Don't worry about it Teach, he always shows up in the nick of time. He'll be here."
But then he looked towards the road they would be taking with a frown and rubbed his chin. "Have you ever been to the Alliance before, Teach?"
Byleth was a little surprised at this change in mood for Claude. She hardly ever saw him be as serious as he was right now. But then again, the fact that they were going to be defending the land he would one day lead, it's probably something he will take personally.
"I can say that I have been there at least once in my life." Byleth replied, looking in the direction Claude was. "When we went to Leonie's village. From what little I remember, it was a beautiful place."
"Yeah, the Alliance has a little bit of history." Claude said, not bothering to look away from where he was staring. "I'm not sure how much you know about it, but it is very fascinating. You see, back then, it was only the Adrestian Empire that was part of Fódlan. Though as time went on, more and more people wanted to separate from the Empire. That's how the Kingdom of Faerghus was created. But then in the Leicester region of Fódlan, they started to rebel too. And well, Faerghus saw that as an opportunity to get more power and invaded them, and took control."
Finally, he turned towards Byleth and continued to explain the origins of the Alliance. "Eventually, the King of Faerghus passed away and his three sons divided the Kingdom into separate territories. One of them ruled Leicester as an Archduke. But when he died, a lot of the nobles weren't too keen on his heir and so tried again for independence, only this time from the Kingdom. The leader of that movement was the Duke of Riegan."
"Your ancestor?" Byleth asked and Claude nodded, sporting that smile again.
"Exactly. There was a big war, called the Crescent Moon War. But eventually it ended in our favour and we gained independence from the Kingdom. And just like that, the Leicester Alliance was born."
"I am glad to see that you are keeping up to date on your history Claude."
Both of them turned around to see Edelgard and Dimitri walking up to them as Claude laughed. "Well, I am to be the leader of the Alliance one day, I can't always be joking around now, can I, Princess?"
"And just when I think I have you figured out, you surprise me yet again." Edelgard replied, with a small laugh of her own. "We just came to see you all off before we are to attend our own missions."
"Oh that's right, I forgot." Byleth said, turning to Dimitri. "A group of thieves stole a Relic, did they not?"
Dimitri's face turned dark as he nodded. "Indeed. Sylvain's brother to be exact. He was once the heir of his house, but was born without a Crest. As such, he was disowned by his family when Sylvain was born. He always resented his younger brother for that. And so he joined and eventually lead a group of bandits."
"A tragic way to lose everything." Edelgard said, shaking her head. She had various thoughts on the matter but elected to keep them to herself.
Byleth however, didn't have that filter. "Why did he get kicked out for not having a Crest?"
Dimitri was about to respond but that's when Edelgard stepped forward. "Perhaps we can discuss that after you return from your mission. For now, we only came to see you off."
"Where will you and dad be heading off to?" Byleth asked Edelgard.
"We are simply tasked with finding more of the Western Church and eliminate them."
Byleth's face just darkened and clenched her fists. "That's not right. Even if they did bad things, they still deserve to live."
"Unfortunately, the world isn't so black and white Professor." Edelgard, sighing and shaking her head. "Even if I don't like it, we have to follow what Lady Rhea asks of us."
"She is wrong."
"Professor, I may respect you, but please refrain from speaking about her in such a manner." Dimitri narrowed his eyes at his instructor and Claude quickly stepped in.
"Woah, woah, easy guys. Dimitri, remember that Teach never grew up with knowledge of the Church. She is just unfamiliar with the way things work."
Dimitri managed to gain control of his senses as he bowed his head in shame. "You're right… Professor, forgive me please."
"No, I'm sorry Dimitri." Byleth muttered. "I know how important the Church is to Faerghus. I shouldn't be disrespecting them in front of you."
Edelgard saw this as an opportunity to change the subject, though Byleth could see that the Princess wanted to say a lot on the matter.
"Though, I am curious to see that Bernadetta was taken away for extra curricular training."
"Oh? Who did that?" Byleth asked. But Edelgard just shrugged with a deep frown on her face.
"I'm not sure. All I know is that Professor Jeralt approved it so she won't be joining us on our mission. How curious…"
Suddenly, they heard the sound of footsteps fast approaching as Hanneman had managed to catch up. "Apologies for being late! I must've lost track of time…"
"I know that feeling." Byleth replied, as an inside joke to herself as Edelgard and Dimitri looked at each other. While Claude just chuckled. She was certainly a strange one. But then he looked to his friends before him.
"I suppose this is where we part ways. It's strange. This'll be the first time in a while where we are gone for long periods of time."
Dimitri walked over to Claude and shook his hand. "Be careful out there Claude."
Edelgard joined him and also shook his hand. "Try not to get yourself killed out there."
"Ah, come on guys, it's just a bunch of bandits, have faith!" Claude said with a grin, but then it evolved into a more sincere smile. "Good luck to both of you."
With that, the two Nobles walked away as Claude sighed. "Well. Now that Professor Hanneman is here, why don't we make our way over, Teach?"
Byleth nodded and followed Claude over to the various wagons and carriages that the students helped set up. They were all impressed with the results of the training program that Lysithea and Leonie had, as they even rivalled Raphael when carrying heavy loads.
"Impressive! I never thought I would see the day where Raphael is struggling to keep up!" Ignatz exclaimed while looking at Leonie who was loading bags of wheat onto a wagon. He then turned over to his friend who was carrying two boxes of vegetables. "Perhaps you could learn how to use this Ki?"
"Nah, I'm all good!" Raphael said, giving a big smile. "I'm not interested in using those attacks! As long as I have my muscles, I'll crush anyone in my way!"
"You know you could be stronger if you learned…" Lysithea muttered, as she walked past him with a box of her own.
"When are we leaving anyway?" Hilda asked, sitting on top of a bunch of crates with her hands on her chin. "We're going to take forever to get there!"
"It would be quicker if you actually stood up and helped, you know." Leonie said, deadpanning at the pink haired girl, who just gasped in shock.
"Who, me?! I can't do that, I'll end up dropping a crate! You saw what happened earlier!"
"Yeah, I'm willing to bet you dropped it on purpose." Leonie grumbled, hoisting another sack onto the wagon.
Byleth decided to change the subject by trying to understand their mission better. This was her first time going on a mission that didn't involve the students she was teaching, just merely assisting another house. It was strange not having Annette tripping over stuff or watching Caspar try to punch a tree in half.
"So who is this Holst person?"
Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at the Mercenary as a giant sweat drop formed on her head. 'Okay Byleth, you're already failing at socialising. Oh, where's dad or Shamir when you need them?'
Luckily for her, Claude came to her rescue as he slung an arm around her shoulder. "Sorry guys, Teach had a very sheltered childhood, so it's no surprise that she wouldn't know about him. Why, she didn't even know about the Church growing up!"
Byleth then slowly turned to Claude and narrowed her eyes. "Yes. How exactly did you know that? You weren't in the room when that came up."
Claude shrugged his shoulders and gave her a grin. "I maaaay have done just a teeny, tiny, little bit of eavesdropping. But let's get you up to speed on who Holst is. Don't want to feel overwhelmed now, do we?"
Lorenz was standing next to a carriage and shook his head. "It's not very befitting of a Noble to eavesdrop on conversations Claude."
"So? You did it when you listened in on Hilda and I."
The Nobles face lit up like a bonfire as he stammered while trying to avoid Hilda's gaze. "T-That was different! I was merely making sure you weren't having intercourse!"
Before anyone else could talk, Hanneman piped up. "Alright students! We are ready to go!"
'Thank the goddess!' Lorenz screamed in his head, quickly going into a carriage to avoid further embarrassment. Everyone started filing into the other ones before Claude looked at Byleth.
"Care to come in Teach? I know you can fly, but Hilda and I will be more than happy to fill you in on the details."
"Uhh, you guys go on ahead, I'll catch up."
He just shrugged in response and saluted. "No problem. Don't get lost. Would hate to lose you so soon."
She nodded in return and watched the convoy start to move away and she released a breath she didn't realise she was holding.
'Certainly an energetic bunch, wouldn't you say?'
"So you're finally back?"
She turned to see Sothis floating next to her. It had been quite a while since she last heard from the spirit in her head. Not since that night.
'Yes, well I had to collect myself after that display. Forgive me, but the things I saw that night will stick with me for all of eternity.'
Sothis chose to ignore the blush on Byleth's face and continued. 'But right now, we are going off on a mission again so I must put that aside and focus on helping you out. By the way, you think there's more going on than just two territories fighting?'
"Yes. There's a pattern emerging. Every single time I've gone out on a mission, the same people show up. I don't want to leave things up to chance, so I'm bringing in secret help."
'Yes, well speaking of extra help, it appears she's coming.'
Byleth nodded to herself and turned towards the figure approaching her. "We are going to be putting what you've learned to the test. I know you don't like being near people so I figured this would suit you fine."
"I-I guess you are right… nobody can see me… can they?"
Byleth just shook her head in response. "No. They are long gone. But we will catch up. You will hide wherever you can and keep an eye out for anything that doesn't seem right. You protect the Golden Deer."
"Oh, but what if I miss? Or I sneeze?! Then everybody will know I'm here! Oh stupid, this was a bad idea! Stupid Ber-"
She quickly clasped a hand over the figures mouth to shut them up. "You came to me to learn how to use Ki. I made sure you could learn without being near anybody else. But soon you will have to train with others. Right now however, you'll be keeping watch. I've arranged another carriage for you, all you have to do is keep your distance and protect the Golden Deer."
"…O-Okay Professor… I will try my best."
Byleth smiled and ruffled the figures hair. Something her dad always did to her and she watched the figure run to a carriage that was set up.
'You really think she's ready?'
"She has to put it into practice soon. And she's a great sniper. Let's just hope her desire to be by herself will work in our favour."
'I hope so too…'
"Why did Miss Byleth stay behind?! It'll take her forever to catch up to us!" Hilda yelled, sitting in the same carriage as Claude who at the moment was just leaning back, with his trademark smirk.
"Ah, you underestimate Teach, my dear Hilda. Just you wait, she'll catch up." He said while waggling a finger at her.
Before Hilda could even mutter a response, they heard tapping coming from the door of the carriage. She looked at her house leader with a deadpan expression. "You can't be serious."
He opened the carriage door, but saw nobody there. Huh. That was strange. He could've sworn Byleth would've shown up.
Until a sea of blue overtook his vision as she popped her out from on top and her hair covered his face.
"Good to see you Teach." Claude greeted despite having hair covering him as Byleth slowly got inside the carriage and closed the door.
"Yeah… can you guys catch me up on who's who now? I don't want to be embarrassed."
Edelgard sighed. It did feel strange to just be by her own house instead of with 141. Don't get her wrong, she loved the Black Eagles, but it just felt strange to her.
"Ah, Edelgard. Do you have a moment?"
She turned around to see Seteth approaching her. That's strange, they didn't have a session booked for this week. As if sensing her thoughts, he very quickly shook his head.
"We do not have a counselling session today. I was wondering if you could entertain me with a little question, before you go?"
Edelgard tilted her head in confusion at this. She really didn't want to be near him, but she didn't want to appear rude. So she nodded in response.
"Very good. My question is this. Would you allow ten people to die to save one person?"
Ah, so it was a philosophical question he had asked. She had to admit, she wasn't expecting something like this. But then again, Seteth did seem like the type to study philosophy. Edelgard decided to indulge and answered.
"It depends on the context. Who is the person I'm trying to save? Who are the ten people who's lives I have in my hands? Various factors can impact my answer."
Seteth nodded with a warm smile, letting himself enjoy this occasion. It was fun to do this, and Edelgard's viewpoints would be fascinating to explore. "You are correct. I would know that if I had to kill ten people in order to save Flayn, I would do so in a heartbeat."
"Well, that is a surprise to hear." Edelgard replied, with sarcasm lacing her voice. "A member of the church talking of killing."
"I can detect your sarcasm, Edelgard. Yes, it seems hypocritical that we use the Goddess as an excuse to kill. But such things are necessary. Though that doesn't mean to say that I enjoy them. Let me rephrase it then. If you had to kill ten strangers in order to save Ms Dorothea, would you do it?"
"Well, of course I would." Edelgard said, without missing a beat. "She is a dear friend to me, and her life means a lot to me."
"Ah, but what of the ten strangers? They are individuals with their own lives. Some could have families of their own, and with their deaths, their children would never see them again."
Edelgard had to fight back the urge to gag at the thought of that. A baby girl wondering when her parents would be coming back… but they wouldn't… because of her…
She quickly shook her head and her head high. "It does not matter. I would still save Dorothea."
"But would she want you to?" Seteth asked, folding his arms behind his back as he watched Edelgard freeze up again. Clearly she never considered that.
"I know for a fact that while I would kill a lot if people in order to ensure Flayn's safety, she would not feel the same way. She would feel that one life isn't worth killing ten over. She would hate me if I did that. Perhaps never speak to me ever again. Do you think Dorothea would feel the same?"
"I… I do not know…"
"There you are!"
Both Seteth and Edelgard looked up to see Jeralt approaching them. "I've been looking all over for you, kid. We're leaving soon."
"My apologies, Professor Jeralt." Seteth said, nodding to him. "I was merely having a debate with Edelgard on the subject of life. I thoroughly enjoyed it Edelgard. Perhaps we are not so different, you and I."
She wanted to say differently. That she was nothing like those that had enslaved humanity and prevented them from evolving further. But… he was right.
He had a similar mindset to her when it came to the questions… but he understood the consequences of his actions.
"I hope to have another debate like this Edelgard." Seteth smiled, nodding to her before walking away as Edelgard just stared ahead.
"Yes… me too…"
"…And finally there's Holst Goneril, the head of House Goneril. The one we will be helping."
Byleth nodded, while listening to Claude and Hilda try their best to teach her about the important names she should know on her visit.
"Goneril… so he's related to Hilda?"
"Yup, that's my big brother!" Hilda chirped, kicking her feet back and forth while looking out the window. "He's a big softie, so you don't need to worry too much about him. If anything, Claude should be more scared."
"Me? Why? I think we got along quite well in the times we spoke." Claude replied, confused on why Holst wouldn't take a liking to him.
"Oh, but you've been near his baby sister for months now." Hilda giggled, giving a wink. "He wouldn't appreciate you trying to take advantage of a sweet innocent girl and tempting her to corruption."
"Is that so?" Claude said as he crossed his hands behind his neck and winked back. "You mind pointing me towards this girl? Because all I'm seeing right now is a little troublemaker in front of me."
Hilda gasped in shock and punched him in the arm. "Rude!"
Byleth looked back and forth between the bantering of the two. She knew how close they were with one another, the question was how close though… Hilda almost always showed up when Claude was training and he happily accepted her company. And she always cheered him on in fights too. Perhaps she was looking too deep into it, but it was nice to see such a close friendship.
"Oh, look at that! We're here Teach!"
She blinked out of her thoughts and saw Claude reach for the door handle. "Allow me. After all, what sort of host would I be if I didn't let our esteemed guest see the Alliance for herself?"
Byleth nodded and got out of the carriage, and looked around at the scenery before her. Claude was right in one aspect. It certainly was a beautiful place to behold. Unlike the harsh winter climate of Faerghus, Leicester had plains of grass as far as the eye can see. And in the distance, she could make out a series of mountains, and on the plains were lush forests full of animal wildlife. She could see herself visiting here from time to time. She couldn't remember any other time being here, aside from Leonie's village. Perhaps she should start doing that more.
"It's been a while since you've been here, hasn't it, Professor?" Leonie piped up, walking next to her and stretching her arms. "I can see it in your eyes. It isn't much compared to the Adrestian Empire, but it's still home."
"I disagree." Byleth replied. "You have a beautiful land here. I was thinking of coming here from time to time."
Leonie smiled at her words, maybe Captain Jeralt could come too! But her smile quickly turned into a growl at the sound of a certain someone's voice.
"Ah, so our esteemed Mercenary has been captured by the beauty of our land." Lorenz chuckled to himself, looking over at Byleth. "Oh my, I don't believe we have been properly introduced."
He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. "I am Lorenz Hellman Gloucester. A pleasure to meet you , my lady."
Byleth honestly didn't know what to say and tried to form a smile. "Ummm… yes. The honour is in my… court?"
Though a certain someone was not happy one bit as Leonie growled at the Noble. "Could you kindly buzz off?!"
"Why Leonie! I'm simply greeting Ms Eisner here." Lorenz replied, after standing up and standing in his usual pose. That pompous pose Leonie hated. "Is there a sense of jealousy I am detecting? Would you like me to do the same to you?"
"In your dreams. You're making her uncomfortable!" Leonie yelled, as Byleth saw the others approaching and inwardly thanked the Goddess that a fight would be avoided.
But she saw something was immediately off now that she truly looked at her surroundings. There was no battlefield at all. In fact, they were in front of a settlement which was filled with people. "I'm… confused. Are those the bandits?"
Claude slapped his hand and cursed himself. "Oh damn, I forgot to tell you. We are in Daphnel right now. We're stopping here for the night to get some rest and deliver some of the goods we brought over with us. Also to pick up some company."
Byleth tilted her head in response. "Company?"
"He is referring to us."
Everybody turned around to see a woman walking up to them, as well as a man who was next to her. The students of the Golden Deer perked up when they saw the pair, but Hilda cheered loudly sprinting towards the man with her arms spread open for a wide.
"HOLSTYYYYYYY!" She squealed jumping into Holst's arms and giggling when he spun her around.
"I see my baby sister is doing wonderfully!" Holst laughed loudly before setting her down. "No boys have been going after you, have they?"
"Oh Holsty, you know you don't have to worry about little old me! I can handle myself!"
Byleth realised she was looking at General Holst, Hilda's older brother. Now that she really looked at him, she could see the resemblance between the two. The trademark pink hair for one, though Holst definitely had much shorter hair in contrast to his sister. Same pink eyes too. And from what she could gather from the weapon strapped to his back, both favoured the axe.
Though the real question is, why is he here rather than at the place where all the bandits were?
"It's good to see you again, boy." The woman smiled while walking up to Claude and giving him a tap on the shoulder. "You've definitely improved a lot since the last time I saw you. You've even gotten a little buffer. You must be a hit with the ladies."
"Oh, you know me Judith-" Claude started to say, but was interrupted by the woman.
"…Lady Judith. The only love I have is my mind."
The woman now known as Judith just gave a knowing smirk. "I think we both know you're lying."
As if suddenly realising Byleth was here, Judith gasped. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I got so caught up with Claude here that I didn't notice you. I'm Judith von Daphnel. You must be his Professor."
Byleth blinked and quickly shook her head, pointing to Hanneman who was talking to Holst. "No, he's the Professor of the Golden Deer."
Judith looked over at him and scrunched her nose. "Nah, definitely not. The boy mentioned you a lot in his letters. Apparently you're quite the enigma."
She then noticed the brown tail swishing about and blinked in shock. "You told me about her tail, but even seeing it now is hard to believe."
Byleth looked at her tail and decided to have it wrap round her waist for now to stop weirding out Judith. "I'm Byleth Eisner. Pleased to meet you."
"So give it to me straight, Byleth." Judith said, tilting her head towards Claude. "Has he been playing nice?"
"Of course I have-"
"Well, he likes to pull pranks on his classmates." Byleth started to list off the things she has to put up with. "He always scares Lysithea by pretending there's ghosts."
"Well that's harmless-" Claude tried to defend but was cut off again.
"And then he always makes Edelgard's training difficult by tickling her or teasing her."
"Okay that's a little unfair-"
"And then he uses his Ki to mess around with Lorenz."
"That one he had coming!"
Judith nodded to herself and smirked at Byleth. "I like you. You definitely have a lot on your plate."
"Thank you but… the reason we're here?"
"Oh yes, that's right." Judith said as Holst joined her and the students all gathered around. "Well, as I'm sure Claude told you, we will be setting off tomorrow morning. General Holst only came here to request my assistance which I gladly obliged to. Though it may be a little overkill to get you guys involved too. Ah, but that can wait until tomorrow. The townsfolk of Daphnel can take care of the supplies you brought to us, make yourselves at home, you must be tired!"
"Yes!" Hilda cheered, grabbing Mariannes hand. "Let's go shopping!"
"W-Who, me? Oh I'm not so good with fashion…"
But before Hilda could go running off, the collar of her shirt was grabbed as she was now suspended in the air with her legs flailing in place as she tried to run away. It was Byleth who looked at her with a stern glare. "We are going to get weapons first. Your axe is in terrible condition and you need a new one."
Hilda just gave up and bowed her head whining loudly. "Miss Byleeeeeeeeeeeeeth! You're a meanie…"
"Excellent idea, Miss Byleth!" Holst exclaimed as she dropped Hilda who just crumpled to the ground still whining. "You will make my dear little sister a fine warrior yet! Off to the blacksmiths Hilda! I spotted a fantastic axe this morning with your name on it!"
"Not you too…." Hilda whimpered as she was literally dragged to the town, with her heels creating tracks on the ground. It was quite a comedic sight to see.
"That girl is so much trouble…" Byleth sighed loudly. In all honesty, Byleth did not like Hilda at all.
It was just because she was so lazy! She was like the complete opposite of what Byleth strived to be. She always trained, and always wanted to help others.
But Hilda? From what she saw, she barely attended her own training classes. She saw her get others to do work for her, and mostly just spent her time chatting to Marianne. It was infuriating!
"Just you wait, Teach." Claude said as he noticed her looks. "You'll be seeing a whole different side of her tomorrow. Now come on, it's time you chilled out."
Byleth just nodded and followed Claude, before wondering how the others were getting on.
"You heretics! You would dare defy the Goddess?! Your lives are-"
The man's words were cut short when a mini axe made its way into his head, splitting it in two before dissipating.
Edelgard sighed as she summoned a Ki axe into her hands again and shook her head. "If I hear more screaming about the Goddess, I swear…"
But she looked at the axes in her hands and smiled. "But at least my training in producing Ki weapons has beared its fruits. I can now dual wield axes…"
"Yuck, did you have to be so brutal, Edie?"
Edelgard turned around and saw Dorothea walking up to her with her nose wrinkled in disgust. The Princess just shrugged and dissipated her weapons. "I had enough of his insane preachings. Is that the last of them?"
"Yup!" Dorothea chirped. "Thank goodness, I don't think I can stand the sight of the dead bodies any longer."
That's when Edelgard remembered her discussion with Seteth earlier and looked over to her friend who was tucking her spell book away into her belt. "Dorothea. Can I ask you a question?"
The Songstress blinked in surprise but gave her bright smile. "Of course Edie. What's on your mind? Is Ferdinand bothering you again? Because you let me know, and I'll set that boy straight."
Edelgard ended up laughing from that statement and shook her head. "No, no. But thank you for the offer. No, I wanted to ask… if you could save one person. But you would have to kill ten people, would you do it?"
"Oh, it's one of those questions…" Dorothea mused and placed a finger on her cheek and pursed her lips. "Hmmm… that's a tough one. But… I would try to find a way to save everybody."
She honestly expected that answer, and so Edelgard pressed on with a question of her own. "What if you wanted to save a country, but… you would have to go to war to do it?"
"Wow, that's a step up, isn't it? Well, I wouldn't do it."
"B-But what if it would benefit everyone?"
Dorothea shrugged and folded her arms. "You wouldn't know for sure if it would benefit everyone. Say here in Fódlan, there's many different cultures and jobs. I don't think they would appreciate it just because someone says it's for their own good that it would have to go away in the faces of war. You would try to find a compromise to make sure everybody gets something out of it at the end of the day."
Edelgard was staring at Dorothea with a look of mixed feelings, which Dorothea didn't notice and smiled, adjusting her hat. "Well, I have to say, that was fun Edie. I think we both managed to get our brains working full gear. Now come on, I'm sure Professor Jeralt is ready to go back."
"Y-You go ahead. I'll catch up."
"Oh? Well, no problem!"
She watched her classmate run off and just stood there… looking at the corpse of the Western Church member that she killed. The blood on her.
Was this necessary?
Usually, Hubert would put her mind at ease and told her that what she is doing is for the good of Fódlan but… he wasn't here.
Which allowed her mind to run rampant. All these talks with Dimitri and Claude. The debates with Seteth. She got so much more insight than when she was always around Hubert.
Not that she resented him, far from it. But he didn't really give much thought to what if's and let her convince herself that what she was doing was right.
…But she didn't feel that way. She didn't want to ruin her friends lives.
She… didn't want a war.
She wanted to be happy.
"I hope I do not have to ask you all to stay alert." Gilbert said as the Blue Lions made their way to the hiding spot of Miklan's bandits, ready to take them on.
Dimitri was staring at the place in which the bandits were using as their base and clenched his fists. "Conand Tower…"
"This area was the site of a massive battle several hundred years ago. It's when invasions from the north were at their peak." Gilbert explained to the Blue Lions who all looked at him. "Back then, the tower was built for both surveillance and defence. It will be difficult to seize it."
That's when he directed his attention to Dimitri, Ashe, Felix and Annette. "But with your abilities, it shouldn't be too much of an issue. I've heard tales about this… Professor Byleth. How she completely destroyed a mountain near Gaspard. If that's the power she is teaching you, then I must ask you to keep yourself under control."
Dimitri noticed how he was specifically looking at him and bowed his head. "There is no need to be concerned about me."
"Did you all see the local villages when we came in?" Ingrid asked, holding her left arm with a sense of anxiety washing over her. "Those raids left them in bad shape. I don't think they will survive the winter."
"We can help them out after we are done." Ashe suggested with a smile towards his friend. "It won't be that hard to get them the supplies they need."
"If those bandits raided to survive, then I guess I could understand…" Annette muttered to herself with a sad look. "But they don't. They just do it for the fun of it."
That's when Sylvain piped up with an uncharacteristically serious look. "Don't bother trying to understand those lowlifes Annette. They're not worth it."
"Sylvain…" Mercedes said, placing a hand on his shoulder. "The leader… he is your older brother, is he not?"
"Don't worry about my well-being, Mercedes." Sylvain said, giving one of his usual smiles to her. "He's no longer of my house, or my brother. He's just a thief at the end of the day. And he stole something that has been in my house for generations. I'm here to get it back."
"We just… don't want you to have any regrets." Dimitri said, but just got a laugh in response.
"I'm sorry, your Highness. But I think we are well past the point of regret. Just you four do your stuff. We will help in any way we can." He pumped his fist and smirked at the group, to which Felix responded.
"Finally, something we can agree on. Are we going to keep standing around, or are we going to finish this?"
That's when Dimitri looked up to see dark clouds hovering over them and nodded. "Indeed. A storm approaches. We best do this now. Everyone, be on your guard. After what happened in Gaspard, I'm not taking any chances."
Gilbert hummed in response and saw Annette looking at him. "Is there something you wish to say?"
The red head opened her mouth but quickly closed it and stared at the tower. "No sir… let's go."
Dimitri then summoned a lance, while Felix summoned a sword. Ashe had his bow drawn but knew how to make arrows at this point while Annette held Ki in one hand and magic in the other.
"Yes. Let's go."
"Come on, why not have a drink?"
Byleth gently pushed away her mug of ale and shook her head. "Last time I drank, it ended with me in bed with staff members. The wound is too fresh."
Judith just stared at her with surprise written on her face and smirked. "Then maybe I should feed you more drinks~"
"Relax, I'm kidding. You don't have to drink if you don't want to."
"Then allow me to take it!"
Both women watched Holst pick up Byleth's drink and down it in one before slamming the mug on the table and sat next to the Mercenary. "So, Miss Byleth! How are you enjoying our fine land? It's not like the Empire, but it's home!"
"Yes, I remember Leonie saying the same thing to me." Byleth replied, as she watched the students all together. "You have a beautiful place to call home."
"Well now, strong AND a smooth talker? You and I will get on just fine."
Judith chuckled while drinking from her mug. "So, you confident in the Golden Deer to help?"
"Well, I can only speak for Claude, Leonie and Lysithea as Hanneman is their main teacher. Though if you ask me, I see one weak link in their group."
She looked specifically at Hilda who was squeezing Claude's muscles again and looking between his and Raphael's. Holst saw who she was referring to and shrugged.
"It's all an act for her. It's honestly a result of how she grew up."
"What, born with a silver spoon in her mouth?"
"In a way." Holst replied and stared at his sister showing off her own muscles, which to Byleth's surprise, she had quite the beefy arms. And she barely trained. "You see, I'm the head of our house. And I garnered a form of reputation amongst all of Fódlan."
"Well, you have two reputations. One of them involving mushrooms." Judith joked which prompted Holst to laugh.
"Do not worry my dear, I am staying away from those today." He then turned back to Byleth and continued.
"And when you have siblings, there's pressure that ends up coming down on them. And for Hilda, that pressure is very hard on her. It's why she pretends to be lazy, because she knows there's no point in trying because everybody will just compare her to me. Now, those are her words, not mine. I've seen her potential and she can blow me out of the water if she seriously tries. But she doesn't."
"I'm sorry General, but until I see her in battle, I am unable to believe that." Byleth replied whilst looking at Hilda being hoisted up by Claude and her shrieking with laughter. "They're quite close, wouldn't you say?"
Holst was about to make a retort, but Judith cut in to answer that one. "I'll speak for the big brother over there. Yeah, they met at one of the Noble's meetings a few months before he was declared heir to the Alliance. They hit it off immediately. Honestly, I think Claude was thankful because to my knowledge, he didn't really have much friends before her."
"Well, he better keep his hands to himself, that's all I'm saying!" Holst boomed. "I'm watching where his hands are at all times!"
"I think it's cute." Byleth commented, allowing herself to smile. "My opinion on Hilda aside, I think they would make a cute couple."
"Oh, we playing matchmaker are we? I like it!" Judith grinned and got closer. "What do you say, I know of a way to get them… closer."
"I will not allow it! My baby sister is to remain pure!" Holst shouted as he stood up but just got a laugh from Judith in response.
"I'm only kidding, you big lug! But you can't deny how close they are, and how happy Hilda is."
Holst looked over to the students to see Hilda hugging Claude from behind and laughing as Claude laughed with her. "….I suppose they are cute…."
"There you go, was that so hard?!"
Judith then decided to put her focus on Byleth and smirked. "What about you? You got anybody in your life?"
Byleth wasn't expecting that and just blinked in response. She honestly had no clue. Sure, she had friends and her students but… nobody she had feelings for. At least not yet.
Though she did like when Edelgard bounced in place when she gave her praise. It was really cute to see her act like that-
She fought the blush creeping up on her and shook her head. "Not at the moment, no."
"Eh, don't worry about it. Being single isn't too bad. Take it from me." Judith chuckled and downed the rest of her drink. "Another!"
"Woman, we have a battle tomorrow!"
Byleth just cracked another smile at the banter between the two but then looked out the window. She hoped it would all be fine tomorrow… but she felt like that wasn't meant to be…
"And you know your orders, so you not?" Thales said through a Scouter that Kronya was wearing as well as a hood to hide her appearance. She grinned evilly and nodded.
"Oh yes, and I know exactly on how to do it too. Trust me, Holst Goneril will be maggot food by the end of the day tomorrow, mark my words!"
"Excellent." Thales nodded and continued. "And you know where to apply our… experiment?"
"Of course, my liege!" She pulled out a satchel which held a dark crystal and observed it. "It's so pretty…"
"Do not fuse with it just yet. We are still working on them. You are to use one of those Almyran's as a test subject to see if there are any kinks to work out. Do you understand?"
Kronya just grinned again and looked into the distance. "I'll put on a show! And I know how to put everything in place."
"Excellent. Then you are dismissed."
The communication ended as Kronya just cackled from her hiding spot and took her Scouter off before placing a finger on the side of her head and black mist started to overtake her. It covered her entire body before slowly dissipating and revealed an Almyran woman in her place. She twirled in place and spun on her toes.
"The perfect disguise! And now we wait for the show to begin… I will make you proud, my liege!"
Kronya then ran off into the distance calling loudly, her cloak just on the ground, forgotten about.
Here we are, part one of the rewrite. Now, I feel like we've got a much better pace this time around. I also wanted to build up the relationship of Claude and Hilda because shocker, I love these two together.
Also Hilda is a really great unit. But I think this Byleth, who has her Saiyan pride built in, wouldn't like someone like Hilda. But she will be surprised.
So who liked the Philosophical debates with Socrates in Assassin's Creed: Odyssey? I sure did. And I'm sure Seteth will love them too. I'm also introducing Edelgard having doubt about her goals. Remember, this Edelgard spends a lot more time with the other House Leaders, and Hubert isn't around to keep her on the path. She's slowly turning away from the dark side. Though two instances will officially break her away from TWSITD.
One more thing. We're only focusing on the Golden Deer for the rest of this arc. Purely because the Blue Lions chapter 5 will play out like in canon and the Black Eagles have finished their mission already.
So yeah, stick around for part 2. Where the battles will officially begin.
Please review, favourite and follow.