It has been 3 days since Frederick has woken up and three days that Sophia has remained asleep. The color of her skin has return and the veins have faded away, but the woman was still asleep as if she entered a comatose state. Frederick could not help feel that it was his fault she entered such a state. The days were passing by as his wounds healed slowly thanks to the white magic Morgan was been using. Given the circumstances, the knight decided to take a chance and try to gather as much information as he could, considering he was bed-bound. The first questions he asked Morgan were simple, trying to get to know the boy. He learned that the boy was amnesiac, he had no memory of his life. Only snippets he remembers and one being that Sophia was a teacher of his. The woman had saved from nearly being sold as a slave and had taken him under her wing (again).
As for the past few days, Frederick also learned from the mage, Henry, that the Exalt was also imprisoned in the castle called The Garden. Henry spoke to him about why Sophia was with the Grimleal. He wasn't happy.
"They took the entire village hostage. If she didn't join them, they would have killed everyone." Henry muttered as he was adjusting the bandages on the knight's right hand, "Try flexing your fingers."
It was a bit painful but Frederick let go a sigh of relief when he was able to make his fingers move. Carefully, he opened and closed his hand, getting a feel of the movement.
"Aye, not bad!" Henry grins, "If you're able to move your hand properly, that means you should be cleared to start some training in a few days."
"That explains a bit." Frederick sighs a bit, "But I do not understand why she went so far to even send Lysithea to Ylisse. We hardly knew each other or any of The Shepherds. Why us?" He turned to him with furrowed eyebrows.
"I don't know." Henry shrugs, "Sophia usually doesn't speak about her plans and keeps things to herself the majority of the time. That was until she met the Exalt."
"...So she was speaking the truth that she owed Lady Emmeryn a favor," Frederick muttered and Henry just stared at him.
"You think it was a favor?" The mage muttered, "You really should get out and speak to people. Just because someone helps another person, doesn't mean they own them a favor." He finished changing his bandages.
"Sorry, that wasn't what I was implying. " Frederick spoke quickly to clear the misunderstanding, "I was under the impression that Sophia owed the Exalt a debt."
"That's Sophia. Emmyren didn't do anything like that. Sophia most likely feels she failed Emmeryn." Henry smiled as he turned to the table to open his tome.
"Why would she feel she failed the Exalt if she was part of the reason Lady Emmeryn was executed?" Frederick said coldly and Henry froze.
The temperature around the knight almost seemed to drop as the mage spoke suddenly in a frightening tone.
"You think Sophia is responsible?" Henry spoke coldly as the smile on him was becoming frightening, "I'm going to go before I turn you to slime."
The mage quickly left before he set the man on fire. Frederick groans as he lets himself slump back to the bed.
"You're making everyone hate you." The man suddenly snapped his head quickly to his left and nearly had a heart attack when he saw the said woman holding her head but very much alive.
Sophia let out a tired groan as she forced herself to sit and turn to him with a weak glare.
"You think I'm at fault? I did everything within my power to stop her execution and my plan went to hell because of Aversa..." Sophia muttered as she was struggling to stand.
Frederick, despite partly injured, can at least now walk a bit. He carefully stood up and walked around, catching her before she fell onto the floor.
"..." Her only response was silence as he helped her get on the bed, next to him, "How long was I out...?" She muttered.
"Counting today, four days." Frederick answered as he sat down next to her, "The fae and your two companions have been watching over us."
There was an awkward silence between the two.
Both looked at each other shocked and then looked away. Again, both tried to talk but unfortunately, failed miserably. Another awkward silence was made until Morgan burst through the door, in a panic. The two adults turned and Sophia knew that looked. Despite the state she was in, she stood up and quickly began to push Frederick to the wall on the right.
"You need to hide!" She growled and pushed him through it.
Behind the wall, was a secret room Sophia discovered that could only be accessed through magic. He could hear shouting and it seemed Morgan was trying to stall someone as Sophia ripped off the blankets on the bed and shoved them under. Quickly the woman kept running around, hiding her tools along with the medicine. Frederick could see what was going on but no one could see him. The room was made that way to spy on someone on the other side. Sophia found great use of it to create her plans and also where she did surgery on Frederick. The door to the bedroom slammed open and Morgan was thrown into the air. Sophia quickly caught him, nearly tumbling down with him.
The one to emerge from the door was Aversa, a furious look on her face.
"You!" The woman snarled as Sophia stood up yet had no emotions on her face as she stood in front of Morgan, "What have you done?!"
"I have no idea what you are talking about." Sophia narrowed her eyes as the woman walked up to her at a fast pace.
"Yes, you do! The entire army is in dismay!" Aversa roared, "Soldiers are leaving the army! They chant that name of the Exalt!" She growled, "They are putting down their weapons!"
"What?" Frederick whispered but no one could hear him.
Aversa paced back and forth, then pointed to her. Morgan flinched as the blue hair woman only smiled.
"That's good news in my book. It means Grimleal and Gangrel have lost." Sophia grins and Aversa nearly lunged at her.
"How dare you? Years of Lord Validar's works have crumbled and the ritual failed! You! All of this is your fault! If you haven't been brought here, none of this would happen!" Aversa's fingers twitched as if ready to claw her open alive, "Father did everything and you ruined it all!"
"Father?" Sophia scoffed, "Please if anything, the man only cared about power. We're all nothing but pawns to this chess game called life."
"Is that what you believe we are? Pawns? Ha!" Aversa laughed, "Clearly you do not understand Lord Validar's greatness. It is because of him that Grimleal stands where it is! Years of research and experiments have made Plegia and Grimleal what it is today! A land of advanced magic beyond what the other nations! To bring glory to Lord Grima. Lord Validar acknowledged my talent and took me in. Raising me as his child and taught me everything about the dark arts I know today. You, who knows nothing about what it is to rule, only granted the role of a leader in the shadows. You know nothing." She hissed.
"I know nothing..." every single emotion left Sophia's face as Aversa smirked.
The woman circled her with a predatory gleam on her eyes. She leaned a bit forward as she crooked a finger.
"Poor, poor, Sophia. Abandoned by your mother. Spat at and beaten. Stabbed and betrayed left and right." Sophia's eyes went wide suddenly as she felt her blood turn cold.
"How does she know about my mother?!" The woman was silent as Aversa just smiled.
"You think we of Grimleal don't know?" Aversa grins, "It was only for a few minutes but Lord Validar and I saw a glimpse of your past before you were summoned here. My, my. Cold. Void. Soulless." She chuckled, "You have no one of your family alive except one person you will never meet again. You are alone. A mother who abandoned you and then killed the step-siblings you loved. Grandparents that passed away from sickness. Your father was killed in an accident. Spat at and criticize for saving lives. Even called a murderer." The woman now stood in front of her.
Sophia bit her lip hard, that it broke the skin a bit, blood dripping a bit. Morgan only looked at his teacher horrified. He knew none of this. All of this information was new to him. Her future self never spoke of her past and whenever the subject was brought up, she immediately shut it down.
"All alone." Aversa mused, "Not loved. Not cared for. Left to survive at a young age. Your family all gone at such a young age. Why not just..." she tapped her chin, "make the world burn?"
Aversa's smile morphed to scowl as Sophia was shaking, soft chuckles could be heard.
Pure rage and hatred Sophia felt like the darkness in her heart, the monster she made sure to keep tied on a leash, is coming out. Frederick was stunned as he listened and covered his mouth, thinking.
"Is what is the witch saying is true? Her family...truly is gone?" Even more than he has learned that her mother would beat her.
Sophia's eyes went dark, evil as her grin became feral like a best as she laughed. This side she detested more than anything in the world but no way was she letting Aversa go. She insulted her father. She insulted her grandmother and grandfather. She insulted her cousin. She insulted her siblings. How dare she praise her bitch of a mother?!
Sophia broke into a manic laugh as she was done hearing Aversa's pathetic speech. The woman laughed loudly that even Morgan was becoming scared. Sophia raised her arms as if presenting herself. Her eyes were cold, cruel, as she spoke. At this point, she did not care that she was dropping low. She was done. She is tired of this damn war. She was tired of everyone telling her what to do. She was tired of being the center of attention. The only reward she is now getting is being insulted. She didn't care right now if her perfect little image was destroyed. It didn't matter at this point. Her future self was also in ruins.
"Oh, Aversa. You think Validar cared about you?" She starts, "The only thing that man cared about was power and his child who he desires back. His "biological" child. Everything you have done, every order you have followed, you have only been manipulated like a marionette. After all...a marionette has strings that can be controlled and cut when they are no longer useful. Validar doesn't care about you. You're just the forgotten one who has temporarily taken the place of his golden child." Her grins became wicked as she saw how Aversa was suddenly hit with the hard truth.
"You're just adopted."
The knight's eyes went wide as Aversa's slap rang throughout the room. Even if he was hidden, he could see what was being spoken. Rage unlike anything was all over Aversa's face. The woman snarled and used enough force to split Sophia's lip upon impact with her palm. The blue hair woman just turned back at her with a wicked look of her own.
"Ah. So the bitch does have some bite to her bark?"
"I'LL KILL YOU!"
"Ahahahahahahaha!" Sophia laughed as if she went insane.
Morgan was terrified as Sophia threw her head back, the black fog that surrounded her only thickened as she crooked her finger at Aversa. She licked her lip, the cut healing itself as she grinned.
"Oh? Now you're angry? Why should an adopted child be happy when I just told you the truth? You're nothing but a replacement to his "golden" child. The minute Validar has the chance, he will drag that child back and you shall be knocked down from the throne you were placed on. You're nothing but a marionette that will be discarded. Nothing but a bitch who uses power for selfish behavior. Run back to your dead daddy and stupid blood king before I ripped your throat out." Sophia grins, "You don't know me. You don't know anything. Watch your back because I will make sure you are stabbed!"
Aversa snarled but turned around, storming outside the bedroom. The woman nearly bumped into Henry. The mage only watched as the white-haired woman left furiously towards the balcony. Morgan was shaking as Sophia had a wicked and satisfied smile as she turned to look at the boy.
"Are you scared?" Her smile became small and the boy nodded, "Figured." She closed her eyes and just felt drained.
All the anger she felt suddenly melted away as she slid down to her knees. Bryhildr hummed in bliss from feeding on the negative energy and smiled.
"Want to take care of the Grimleal mages that have returned to the capital?" She muttered and Sophia just gave her nod.
"Kill every last one of those insects."
The shadows moved and left to take care of the pest in the city. Henry was silent as he walked in and knelt to meet her eyes. The woman he sees before him is someone who is tried and has been through hell all her life. Her eyes were void, just when she first met him. As if the months of progress, all went away in an instant.
"I'll let him out," Henry muttered as Sophia nodded a bit.
The mage walked to the wall and stuck his hand through, helping the knight walkout. Henry was a bit surprised to see the knight was silent as Morgan helped Sophia stand up. The mage walked towards the window and looked out, seeing Aversa cursing like no tomorrow.
"Wow." Henry didn't know if he should be laughing or feel sorry for Aversa, "Umm...You really went there." He saw the Dark Flier take off from the balcony.
"Henry..." she looked at him with half-lidded eyes, a dry stare, "I'm tired. I'm sick of war. I just want to have a proper rest. I don't care anymore. I'm done. What I said was nothing to the even more detail tongue lashing I was going to unleash." She muttered.
"Just what exactly were you going to say?"
"The only reason she has power is that her biological parents are dead and she has daddy attention issues."
Frederick began to wish he never heard what she just said. He isn't one to feel pity for the enemy but right now, it was a rare moment he felt sorry for Aversa. Sophia sighs as she walks up to Frederick and gives him a small vow.
"I am sorry you had to witness all of that. That...is a side of me I am not proud of." She muttered and Frederick shook his head.
"While I am not a fan of hearing such things," he gave her a small smirk, "I admit, she had it coming. I almost feel sorry for her." He stared at her for a bit, "Almost."
"Pfft." Sophia laughed and quickly covered her mouth to hide it.
Somehow, seeing her laugh made Frederick smile a bit.
"Anyhow!" Sophia coughed, "You should be healed in three more days. You're allowed to walk around a bit but not too much."
Another three days passed and Frederick was having a quick recovery. The knight was surprised to see how quickly he was recovering. Sophia had a satisfied glint in her eyes as the knight swallowed his pride, holding her hands as she took a step backward as he took one forward.
"Not bad." She hummed, "Your movement with your left leg is getting better and thankfully the muscles have healed enough. How's your vision?" She referred to his remaining eye.
The man now wore an eye patch over where his left eye would be. Frederick let go of a sigh as he took another step.
"I am adjusting." The man sighs, "I can move my right arm now and also my fingers, however..." he glared at his left leg, "my left leg has different ideas."
"It's weak. Give at least another two days of physical therapy and you should be able to start training. Stretching and basic push-ups. No ridiculous trading regiment till next month." Sophia chastises and he let go of a frustrated sigh.
"How are you fairing?" He suddenly asked and Sophia blinked.
"What do you mean?" She asked.
"I know Aversa's words affected you greatly. The anger I saw in your eyes, I have seen it before...from someone I know." He muttered and Sophia sighs.
It was a topic she did not want to talk about, especially with him. But...she looked back to him, her eyes searching for some form of deception.
"You do not trust me," Frederick stated the obvious.
"Of course I don't." She muttered and subconsciously touched her right shoulder.
Frederick cringed, remembering that he is the one that inflicted the wound.
"...Frederick," Sophia muttered and his eye went wide since it was the first time she was saying his name.
It's either you, him, they but she never once has addressed him by his name. It was a surprise but for some reason, it was a welcomed one.
"What...is it like to be loved?" She asked and the man looked at her surprised.
"Can you clarify?" He asked with a hint of amusement in his tone.
Sophia let go of a small huff but nodded as she was still helping him walk.
"What is it like to be surrounded by people that genuinely care about you? That asks\ you if you are alright? To have friends? To be surrounded by people you trust?" She muttered shyly and the man chuckled a bit.
"I'm not laughing at you." Frederick reassured her, "I am just surprised to be asked such questions. How do I explain this..?" The man muttered as she let go of his hands, "To be surrounded by loved ones. They are people who make you laugh, smile. Sometimes even cause shenanigans or...sigh...annoy you." He suddenly had a flashback when Lissa put frogs in his boots.
"As for trust..." he smiled a bit, "that is built through time. Through actions and words trust is built." He said.
"Hard to believe I am hearing that from you. You are known as Frederick the Wary." Sophia comments and he sighs.
"I have my reasons. I'm sure you also have your own. I take my job seriously. I'm sure you understand that many would like the head of the heads of the royal family." Frederick states clearly and she nodded.
"I do. I learned the life of a noble...the hard way. So I understand what it is like to live constantly watching your back." She muttered as he looked at her a bit worried.
"Tell me." He muttered as she looked up to him, "Why did you truly choose to allow the Grimleal to force you into the role of a ruler? As well as why did you warp Lysithea to Ylisse." He asked.
Sophia was silent. That's right. She never did say why. She had already made the decision long ago.
"The reason I chose to warp Lysithea to Ylisse because I knew she would be safe." Sophia began as she looked down to her hands, they were shaking, "I knew...there was a chance that Grimleal could get their hands on me once I heard rumors of me were born. Even worse...when I learned those like the Exalt, Khans, and...Gangrel, heard the rumors of a traveler healing people with...unknown methods. To the people of Regna Ferox, Ylisse, and Plegia, my methods and knowledge of medicine, are considered miraculous. One example..." she bit her lip as she looked up to him, "is how I saved you."
Frederick looked at her shocked. Sophia took a deep breath as she continued to speak.
"I'm not from Archanea. I wasn't born in any of the three nations or Valm. I'm...not here by choice...I...was taken away from my homeland." Sophia bit her lip, "I...don't know the details but from what I was able to learn from the Grimleal, a ritual was performed to summon a person of a lost bloodline. I...don't know what bloodline I come from. It shouldn't even be possible." She bit her lip.
"Why?" He asked and Sophia was not going to say that this world was a video game in hers. Archanea is a fictional world. It should have been that. It should be that. The people she has met are fictional yet, here she stands. Fiction is now a reality, whether she likes it or not. And it should in no way be possible that she a descendent of someone with Archanea blood. Blood of Archaneas should not run on her veins. It should not. She doesn't understand how it's even possible. The very thought that someone from this world crossed over to her world, made her shiver.
"But...the ritual was a success and not only summoned me but also someone else. However...it seems there was an error in the ritual. I was summoned near the seaside of Plegia and whoever the other person is, ended up in Valm. They are also called "Saint''. Frederick...I'm no Saint. I never will be. I'm...just a doctor who has been taken away from her home. And...I can never return to my homeland, because...the path to it...does not exist at all in Archanea." Her lip quivered a bit.
"The original plan was for me to be summoned before Validar and have my memories erased. They were planning to groom me...into a priestess that would serve Grima. In a way..." she wanted to vomit when she was about to speak the next sentence.
Sophia looked at Frederick shocked and the knight quickly covered his mouth, also in shock.
"You were supposed to be presented as a sacrifice along with the other person that was summoned." The man suddenly felt disgusted.
To think the Grimleal would go so far. He didn't know how to exactly feel. If the Grimleal had succeeded...right now their conversation wouldn't even be possible. If they were on the battlefield, she would have been standing beside the Grimleal. What type of enemy would she have been? He recalls giving the reports of the rumors about the saint performing miraculous healings. The man let go of a shuttered breath and he saw her shift a bit nervously.
"...Do...answer my question. Why did you allow the Grimleal to force you into a ruling position even after discovering that they took you away from your homeland?" The man said and Sophia nodded.
"Information." Sophia muttered, "But also...because I would never forgive myself if I turned my back on the people of Plegia. When I first arrived, I learned from Henry that I washed ashore with a few of my belongings. He is the one that found me and took me to Faezah Village to heal. The people of Plegia, while I wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms, I eventually earned my place. I grew to love the land and culture. But even more...I couldn't turn my back on the people that were suffering. I saw the state villages were in. People dying from starvation. Children were malnourished. Famine ravaged the lands and the king would not do anything. I'm a doctor. I made an oath to save lives." Sophia states, "No way in my good conscience could I abandon the people that took me in."
"I traveled all over Plegia healing as much as I could. I met Tharja, I met Lysithea. The more people I met through my travels, the more I...began to care. And that's...when Grimleal struck...where it hurts the most. The village that took me in...they took everyone hostage. If I did not join Grimleal...Validar would have ordered his mages to massacre the entire village, not even the children would be spared. Lysithea...they wanted her also because she is a refugee from Valm who escaped the war. As for me...I learned the real reason they made me a Shadow Ruler. Not only to spread the influence of Grimleal but strengthen Plegia itself. My body...my magic, can directly synchronize with the Earth Vein. I took advantage of the position they gave me to save as many as I could. Winter was coming and I knew the people would not make it through. I was taught the magic arts of Grimleal. I used my influence to gather information but also to distribute medicine and knowledge to help the people. I used my power to build orphanages to help war orphans. I used the money that was given, in the black market to free fae and slaves as I could. I forbade the Grimleal mages from kidnapping women and children from the villages. I...I did what I could to also sabotage Gangrel's war efforts. I had spies pass information to Ylisse and Ferox to help turn the ties of war...but most of all..." she grit her teeth.
"I...wanted to prevent the execution of the Exalt. But...my plan did not work...because..." she let go of a shuttered breath, "The Grimleal...used me as a sacrifice to summon a DeadLord. However..." her smile became bitter.
"It backfired." Frederick muttered and she nodded, "However...I somehow have a feeling you are responsible for summoning the Risen Queen."
"What?!" Sophia looked at him shocked, "I had no idea such a Risen Lord existed. And from what I also learned from Henry, not even the Grimleal or Gangrel were expecting such a thing! The only DeadLord I am responsible for summoning is..." he raised his hand a bit and she stopped.
"The one of purple and black mist...correct?" He muttered and she nodded, "I heard from Morgan that the two DeadLords fought each other."
"They did..." Sophia sighs, "Bryhildr...managed to stop the Risen Queen from killing the Khans, Prince Chrom and Robin. Wait..." she raised an eyebrow at him, " how do you know about Bryhildr?"
"She threatened to kill me if I made a move on you along with the fae. Based on the way you spoke, not even you know her true appearance." Frederick said and Sophia turned to look over to the four giggling fae on her bed.
"We care~" All four sang and Claude gave a hoot of approval and Sophia dragged her hand down her face.
"I...apologize on their behalf. Brynhildr...is difficult. The only reason she obeys my orders is that we have a symbiotic relationship. She's bound to me by some form of a contract. She's..an ally of sorts." She could hear Bryhildr huff at the back of her mind, "As for Aqua, Ariel, Sidi, and Wendy, I'll make sure to take away their favorite fruit snacks for a week."
All four fae cried out and Frederick chuckled a bit.
"I...thank you for the explanation." Frederick nodded to her and she nodded back.
"If I may ask, what will you do after the war?" His question caught her off guard.
Sophia was silent.
"I...the..thought never crossed my mind." She gulps.
It never once occurred to her what she will do after the war. The first thing she had planned was to go to Regna Ferox and locate a village where Emmyren could live peacefully after doing at least 3 months of therapy with her. But after that...she...
"God, I don't know." Sophia let out a startled gasp as she looked at him frantically, "I...never once thought that ahead. I think I may have thought just to dip."
"To dip?" Frederick raised an eyebrow.
"It's another way of saying to just go wherever the road takes me." Sophia clarified.
In reality, it means to run. She is a war criminal. They all are. They pretty much committed horrible acts during this war. The woman let go of a sigh.
"Anyhow, now you know how and why I ended up in the position I am." She points to the bed, "Go back and rest. I'm going to go cook dinner for us."
"You're having fun." Henry smiled as he had his elbows propped on the table while he watched Sophia cut meat into pieces.
"If you mean helping the man recover and me making him swallow his pride...hmm..maybe." she shrugs as she puts the meat in the pot along with vegetables.
"I overheard the conversation between you two." He smiled and Sophia gave him a small glare, "You left some details."
"No way in hell I'm telling him that I was tortured to summon Bryhildr," Sophia said as she turned back to stir the stew.
"True. But...seriously...I was a little hurt when you talked about trust." He says and Sophia turned to him a bit ashamed.
"I'm sorry if it sounded like I don't trust. Henry, " she looked at him seriously, "I trust you, Tharja, Derrick, and Morgan with my life. I admit we didn't start on the right foot, but through these past months, you and everyone have done so much for me. You all helped and were there for me in my darkest times. You all helped me learn what it's like to feel emotions again as well as learn more about this world. To me...you're all...I can't believe I'm about to use this word..." her face was becoming redder by the second as she struggled, "f-f-fa...fa..."
Henry was becoming a snickering mess as he was witnessing his friend struggle to say the most basic word the describe a group of people closest to you.
"Fa...Fa..FAMILY!" And she slammed her face on the table.
"AHAHAHAHAHAHA!" Henry held his stomach as the woman covered her face in embarrassment.
He reached across the table and patted her head. She gave him a peak. His grin was infectious as he looked at her.
"Don't worry, big brother Henry will look out for you!" He grins and Sophia couldn't help but laugh along with him.
"Wait, isn't it little brother?"
"Let me have my moment!"
There was a tense silence at the dinner table as both Morgan and Henry were desperately trying not to burst out laughing as they watched the scene play before them. Sophia cooked dinner today. She made a nice stew with vegetables and some chocolate pastries for dessert. However, the meat she used is what is making the knight make a face as he stared at the piece of meat she held up to him to eat.
"This bear meat," Frederick said in a blunt tone as Sophia just held the fork up to him.
It had a piece of meat covered with herbs a bit of butter. Sophia just had a blank face.
"It is." She made the fork go a bit closer to him.
"You're doing this on purpose!" Frederick glared at her, "You are enjoying seeing me suffer right now, aren't you?!"
"I would be lying if I said I didn't." Sophia's eye held a wicked glint in them, "But you need to eat. We ran out of chicken and this was the only meat left. Just eat it." Sophia made the fork get closer and he leaned away quickly.
"I would eat bread instead." He growled.
"Just eat this!" She snapped, "Besides, bear meat ain't that bad. I used to eat bear meat all the time growing up when I would hunt with my father. Also, bear meat tends to taste after the last meal the animal ate. In this case, the bear's last meal was berries " Sophia glared.
"I will n-!" And took the opportunity to shove it into his mouth.
Frederick turned blue and his run reached out towards the ceiling.
"The light...I see..the light.." Sophia just rolled her eyes.
"Stop being so dramatic!"
At this point, the two mages had burst out laughing like madmen as they watched the two fight like a married couple.
"If you don't eat this, I will make you." Sophia glared at him.
"And how will you do that?" He gave her a small smirk and Sophia just smiled.
"It's not the first time I have fed someone medicine mouth," she tapped her lips and then pointed to his, "to mouth."
Oh, Sophia was enjoying seeing the knight turn crimson. This was her way of making him suffer after he made her unleash her rage on the roof. Morgan began stuttering because of what he just heard and Henry was going to tell Derrick and Tharja about this when the war was over.
"Y-You...you wouldn't dare." He stuttered and Sophia chuckled darkly as she stood up to lean a bit more towards him.
"Try me if you dare." She smiled and the knight began leaning back.
At this rate...
The trio began hollering when the chair fell back from him trying to lean away. Sophia took the opportunity to shove another piece of meat into his mouth.
"Beggars can't be choosers ~" She sang as she looked down at him with her hands on her hips, "Now shut up and eat."
The man let out a groan as she helped him back up and fixed the chair. Frederick hates bear meat, that was a fact. The man began eating but he noticed something.
"It's...not gammy." He muttered and Sophia smiled.
"That's because I know how to prepare it properly." She grins, "My grandfather would hunt the bear, my father would gut it, my grandmother prepared the meat for a feast. And I would be taught how to cook it. It's the same with alligator meat too." She took a bite of her food.
"Oh, storytime?" Henry grins and Sophia thought for a moment.
"...hmm...You know what, yes." She hummed and Morgan grins, "When I was around 7 years old, my grandparents and father would take me hunting with them to the woods in the land we lived in. In my country, certain animals are illegal to hunt or ones that you are allowed to hunt but they have to be a specific height, age, and size. Also, you're allowed a certain amount." She explains.
"Why are specific animals illegal to hunt or only a certain amount?" Morgan asked as he took a sip of his drink.
"Well, unfortunately in my country many animals were hunted down to the point of extinction. As a way to help those animals repopulate as well as protect them, they are branded by the government as endangered species. This to protect them from poachers. And, if the law is broke and those animals are killed, the person that did it could be sent to prison for years or life." Sophia said and pointed to the stew.
"One example, bears. They are allowed to be hunted, ONLY if you have permission from the government." She says and Frederick held his chin.
"Interesting...if I may ask, what is your country like?" Frederick asked and Sophia frowned a bit.
"It's...decent. We don't have wyverns or pegasi. Not even fae or magic. Those are things of fairy tales, legends, and myths. I knew about magic but only because I grew up reading stories about it. As for...Archanea...I grew hearing stories about it because it's a myth. At least...that's what I thought till...I was brought here." She sighs and they give her a concerned look.
"Anyhow," she shook her head, "the country is run by the common folk. There are rich people but they are known as the one percent. Very few. Hmm...for me...It took me...7 years to reach my level of knowledge. Years of studying paid off." She sighs, "You know...I might cook a few dishes from my homeland just so you all can try them."
"I call dibs on the sweets." Morgan quickly declared.
"I don't remember teaching you that."
"You did." (A.k.a your future self did.)
Three more days passed and Frederick has recovered and could move properly again. However, his left knee unfortunately is not as strong as before. Sophia made him a knee brace that could be strapped on. This will allow him to run and also do his ridiculous training regiment. Poor Morgan got dragged into it by Henry. Sophia let go of a sigh as she was currently in the bathroom of Emmyren's former room. She's been letting Frederick stay in her room. She carefully removes her bandages and cringes at the scars all over her body. It looked like she was made of glass. The scars looked like cracks all over her. She looked at her hands, the scars also there but most of all, her left hand. The bandage wrapped around it had some sort of seal to prevent her from taking it off. She walked into the shower, washing herself off and making sure she was clean. The past few days for her have been interesting. While yes, she and the knight do not trust each other, they have come more to civil terms. She's still annoyed by his way of personality but at least he has relaxed a bit. He now knows that Henry and Morgan aren't dangerous. Frederick gets along well with Morgan. The boy did tell her that in the future, Frederick is like an uncle to him, thus, why he calls him "Uncle Frederick." Of course, he doesn't call him now because apparently, Frederick has commented about his hair. It's the same colors as Chrom's. Frederick isn't dumb. It's only a matter of time till he connects the dots.
"Ughhhhhh...Why?" Sophia let out a groan as she walked out of the shower to dry herself.
She grabbed the Warlock dress that she modified to be able to move around easily. The sides were slit, her chakarms on her waist along with the dagger. She put on her boots along with tights, and lastly, her cloak.
Leaving the garden and walking into the capital only took a few minutes. First off, she was going to go pick of Frederick's armor. It was heavily damaged from the explosion and needed to be repaired. While normally she doesn't pay for other people's things, she paid a hefty amount to get the damn thing repaired. She let go of a sigh as she entered the shop and saw the blacksmiths working away.
"Helios!" She yelled out and a man peaked up from his work.
"Aye Sophia! I told you a hundred times already not to suddenly just come in!" The man, Helios, yelled out from his table as he was working on blueprints.
"Sorry, but it's serious. Is the armor I paid you to repair ready? Along with the one for the horses and wyverns?" She asked as the man walked up.
He was covered in a bit of soot but his face held concern as she placed another small bag of gold coins.
"You are heading to the war?" He muttered and Sophia paused her movements.
Many in the shop also stopped working to listen to her answer, yet she let go of a sigh as she looked up to them. Her smile was full of grief but her eyes said that it was time for a chapter to end. The man nodded to her and smiled a bit bitterly as he waved to one of his workers to go get the armors.
"Just make sure you live." He says and Sophia nodded.
"I don't think I'll ever be able to come back after this. There is a high possibility Gangrel or Aversa will put a bounty on me." She mutters and Helios nods in understanding.
"Be safe out there. And, you're welcome to Plegia, no matter what."
"And that's the last one!" Morgan and Sophia stood proudly in the now empty library of the Garden.
Sophia got a portion of her magic with the help of Morgan and Henry to store (steal) all the books into her magic space closet along with whatever valuable item they could find. The inside of the garden looked barren. They packed up all the materials in the magic labs, food, tomes and books, and many other things.
"Morgan, you go rest. I still need to do one more thing." Sophia sighs and the boy looks at her confused.
And the question he had was answered when she pulled out the black tome. The boy instantly hid behind a shelf as he peeked out, taking deep breaths. Sophia looked at him shocked, he wasn't in pain.
"I'm...immune for some reason to that book. I don't know why. I don't feel any pain but...when I see it...for some reason, your future self comes to mind. I remember..." his eyes furrowed a bit, "you never let it go."
Sophia was silent as she looked at him shocked but then back to the tome. Ever since she became Brynhildr's master as well as that strange lamp going inside her, she has felt different.
"The lamp has chosen you as its master. It was created during the golden age of magic. It's creator lived in the outskirts of Archanea before she chose to live in Thabes. This lamp is created from the scales and bones of dragons that had to be killed because of degeneration and a shard from the fang of Naga. The lamp has responded to the blood in your veins but also, your soul. While I do not know what power it has, something about...feels...off."
The woman sighs as she opens it and sees the little sticky notes she has written along with what she was able to decipher. The tome, like before, was also a diary. This belongs to a woman. The contents in the book vary from speaking about life, marriage, even spells and formulas that Henry and Tharja expressed (from a safe distance) they have never seen. However, what was disturbing was finding transmutation circles in the pages. Alchemy. Sophia was able to translate a few formulas. One of them was summoning a familiar using a corpse corrupted by dark magic. She didn't know why but for some reason, she chose to go back to the Loptous temple. This, of course, was without telling anyone.
- Flashback to 2 days ago -
Despite the country being Plegai, the temperature in winter...is a fucken nightmare. Sophia sneezed loudly as the magic circle under her feet faded away. She used the outrealm gem to warp, and life has been so much easier for her. She groaned loudly as she began walking, shivering because it was early in the morning and the air was still very cold. Snow has just started falling and thankfully blizzards don't exist in Plegia. But the hellish cold still does. She wore her Warlock dress with a fluffy wool cloak. The woman let go of a puff of a breath, seeing it turn to fog because of how cold it is. The sun was just barely rising as it peaked out from the horizon. The former dessert was becoming filled with a life of green. The blue-haired woman was just glad she knitted herself gloved days ago for this. While the temple brought a feeling of unease to her, she needed to come back. Why did they want her to summon the deadlords? They weren't even able to be summoned properly and from the months she was trapped in Grimleal, she learned the attempted summons were never successful.
"So why me? Why is my blood special?" Sophia muttered as she took out her custom tome and made it float in front of her as she walked around. Now that the sun was up, she could see the temple properly. The stones in the center were set up in a circular formation, like Stonehenge. The next four corners were set up in a square formation with different markings and also text. The magic circles she saw turned out to be carved stone pedestals. A total of 13 of them. Each one had a different symbol that corresponded to the Zodiac animal. She found it a bit strange that astrology as well as alchemy circles were all around the place. When she was first brought, she couldn't get a good look at it because was dark. Not to also mention how angry she was seeing women and children on the verge of being sacrificed.
"Why have you brought us here?!"
Brynhildr's voice boomed furiously as the deadlord made her presence known. She appeared in a swirl of black and silver flames but just for a moment, Sophia saw the color of her hair. It was a beautiful shade of silver purple before it was engulfed again by the black and silver fog. The Deadlord's eyes were furious as her staff glowed with crimson energy, as if ready to turn her to ashes.
"Bryn." Sophia spoke carefully be that crimson glow was scaring her, "I know you hate this place because it's dedicated to...him (Loptous), but I want to find out why the Grimleal was dead set on me in summoning your kin. As well as why they kept mentioning my bloodline." She explained and the deadlord only glared.
The tension in the air was just becoming worse and Brynhildr glare was starting to worry Sophia that she was going to be turned to ashes at the rate it was going. Brynhildr let go of a snarl and pointed her staff at her.
"Five hours." Sophia blinked, "Five hours and then we leave. This place only brings feelings of rage and sorrow." The deadlord snarled.
Sophia nodded and began her exploration. She grimaced as she found the corpse of a fallen Risen general but some dark magic remained in it. The first one she walked to was to the pedestal. On it was carved a woman from the head to the waist. Her armor was ancient, a type she had never seen before but looking down to the floor, there were a few burnt marks.
"This I know was done by you." Sophia muttered as the living Deadlord only ket out an annoyed grunt, "Were they on the verge of being summoned?"
"Yes." Bryhildr growled, "Right when the magic circles were going to eat away those children and women. I used a combination of Thorn and Silence to cut off the magic flow and destroy their bodies." She explained.
"Who is this...?" Sophia muttered as she placed her hand on the moss-covered text.
She used a bit of water and fire magic to clean the stone. Yet when the text was cleaned, eyes went wide.
"What's wrong?" Bryhildr looked at her with a concerned gaze.
"I can read this..." Sophia whispered in a panic tone, "How...?! I shouldn't be able to read the ancient language of Archanea! I was never taught how."
"The lamp." Bryhildr sighs as her gaze turned to the stone statue, "I do not know its origins much but it is allowing you to break the language barrier. And that includes reading." She looked down at the text.
"The first one says...Canis. This is the Deadlord Canis. But...there is also a carving of her riding some sort of...dog. Makes sense...she is named after the dog in the Chinese Zodiac." Sophia muttered as she held her chin a bit.
"Chinese Zodiac? I do not understand. What is this nonsense you speak of?" Bryhildr glared.
"Sorry. Just...some knowledge from my world. Let's see..." Sophia stepped a bit closer, "The element of the dog is also the earth. Energy is yang and it also represents the season of autumn..." she wrote in her tome.
"Before she became a Deadlord." Bryhildr suddenly spoke, "She was a general who was loyal to...that cult." Her voice cold as she continued, "Fought till the end of her life. Loyal like a bloody dog. How fitting you meet your end by the Holy Blade." She spat.
Sophia glanced at her and then back to the text. She saw dates written next to names.
"This one...Year 761...Sara..." she turned to Bryhildr, "Does the name sound familiar?" She asked.
"She was the granddaughter of the Archbishop that bloody cult..." Bryhildr growls, "But from snippets...I recall...she defected from the church." She hums.
"However," her voice became grim, "she did not survive the war. She became one of my kin." And at that, Sophia looked back at the pedestal, horrified.
That meant that Sara became a...
"She became a vessel..." Sophia felt the pit in her stomach sink, "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Why are you surprised?" Bryhildr looked back to her, "The usage of vessels is not a new practice. It is something that has existed for ages. Why the most common example is Grima. He created a bloodline to ensure his survival. The usage of alchemy is also used to create artificial life to host souls that no longer have bodies. My body is a vessel. My will is created from fragments of this body's memories but also the revements of Grima's magic. But most importantly, you." The Deadlord explains.
"Can...Grima controls you if he wishes..?" Sophia whispered as they walked to the next pedestal.
"Surprisingly...he can not." Bryhildr muttered and Sophia looked at her surprised, "I may have been summoned using his magic but that connection was erased the moment the lamp chose you to be its new master. Thus, the magic components of mine are no longer Grima's but...someone else's. I do not know who, unfortunately." She glanced at the woman, "Perhaps it is because your soul is more ancient than you think."
"I better not be someone's reincarnation for I'm going to have a fit." Sophia huffed as they now stopped in front of the pedestal that was dedicated to the Deadlord, Bovis.
The statue was that of a bow knight and once more, she cleaned the text and saw names.
"Grima is using magic formulas that date back to the years Thabes still existed." Sophia muttered, "Necromancy with a touch of alchemy. Interesting."
She cringed reading "Year 761: Galzus" on the pedestal.
"What would you do if Grima chose to make you a Deadlord?" Bryhildr asked and Sophia shivered.
"To hell. I will make sure not even my bones are left for him to make use of my body." Sophia grimaced.
"Elaborate." The Deadlord raised an eyebrow at her.
"I would turn myself into a nuclear bomb to make sure not even my ashes remain," Sophia replies smoothly while the Deadlord lets out a bitter laugh.
"Don't jinx yourself."
"I'm just saying."
The woman let go of a sigh as she knelt, seeing some of the leftover black mud from a few weeks ago. She reached into her bag and pulled out her gloves. The fact she still had plenty of boxes of plastic gloves was huge save for her. She removed her wool ones and put on the plastic ones. She reached out and touched it.
"Ughhh..." she grimaced as she felt the substance was like slime and cold, but she could feel some magic left in it.
The tome next to her flips to a page. The letters glow a bit as the blank page now had spells and magic circles written on it.
"A summoning circle. Hmmm..." she looked back to the gunk and then to the Risen corpse a few minutes away, "I'm going to assume this a summoning ritual, correct?" She spoke as if the tome would answer her.
"Quuuii...Ruuu..." Sophia could have sworn Bryhildr jumped away when the tome made some sort of chirping sound.
At this point, Sophia isn't surprised. She stood up and smiled a bit.
"You want to help me?" She muttered and the tome circles around her, "Okay."
- Flashback over -
The magic circle was drawn along with the residues of the risen corpse and black mud she collected from the leftover of the failed Deadlord summoning. Add with a few drops of her blood and the scales of manakete (she bought them in the black market), the ritual was set. The tome floated around her again while Morgan was very worried.
"I'll be alright." Sophia gave him a reassuring smile as she stood in front of the magic circle.
Her hands spread out as black magic began to crackle in her hands. The tome floated in front of her, its pages flipping rapidly as she felt power surge. The feeling was different, almost as if she was going to sleep. Her veins on her fingers glowed a faint silver as her eyes glowed a bit of the same color. The magic circle lit up, the circles spinning as the contents in the center turned to dust. Gold colored words seemed to float out of the pages yet she could read them. It was as if her body had a mind of its own as she spoke.
The mgn'ghft ahor swallow nilgh'ri lw'nafh.
Y' wgah'n webs ng fabrics ot orr'e ng lloig.
Nog ya agent ng l' fm'latgh sunder orr'ee ahf' Y' mgvulgtlagln.
Nog, ya Aglas'thif!
The magic circle glowed brightly then turned silvers. The ancient text turned to dust, the center glowed as a form was created. The light faded slowly as Sophia gently made her hands go down. She walked towards the form in the center, the smoke clearing. The two mages blinked multiple times as a small figure walked towards them, however...
"A cat?" Morgan sounded disappointed but raised an eyebrow when he saw it had crimson eyes.
The black cat purred as it rubbed itself on Sophia's leg. Sophia knelt and stared at the cat for a bit. She knows damn well the language she chanted was similar to R'lyehian. The cat stared back at her as she gently scratched it under its chin. It purred but Sophia's eyes widened slightly when she felt it.
"I see..." she sighs as she closed her eyes and smiled softly, "You're a fragment from there, aren't you?"
They stared at her for more than a moment and almost seemed to nod.
"I'm very surprised that someone from this world was able to connect to that realm, even if for a moment." She continued to speak and the cat meows, "Can you speak?" It meowed again.
"That's no. But you can understand me." It purred, "I see. Shall I give you a name? Is that how I complete the contract?" She asked and the cat let out a long happy meow.
"Hmm..." she hummed, "I'll call you...Aglas."
She winced when she felt a sharp pain in her head but blinked when she heard a male voice ring in her head.
"I shall serve you well."
With her new familiar sitting on her shoulder, Sophia made her way to the training grounds behind the garden. She could hear yells and grunts as she got closer. The stables were near and she saw Frederick's horse sleeping peacefully next to Petra's stall. Petra was curled up like a cat with Asha. The knight thrust the training lance swiftly and then spun it. His strikes were deadly, with the intent to end his opponent. His vision was adjusting to one eye. Sophia was silent as she leaned onto the edge of the wall, watching him. He was wearing his armor but...
"God damn. Helios and his men did an amazing job of fixing the damn thing." Sophia hated to admit but she thought the knight looked amazing.
The armor had markings of gold and silver. Despite it looking a bit like his original armor, but with more bulk, he could move faster. It was lighter compared to the original he wore. Helios and his men were screaming curses when they tried to pick up the damn chest armor. Frederick let go of a sigh as he stopped, stabbing the training lance into the ground.
"Having trouble adjusting?"
He turned as he recognized the voice and saw Sophia walking towards him with arms crossed. A strange cat was on her shoulder. The man was silent for a moment as he studied her. She was wearing a strange mage dress he had never seen before.
"It is...a bit difficult but I am adjusting. But..." he looked at his armor, "I can move swiftly in this. It feels light compared to my previous armor." He comments as Sophia chuckles a bit.
"It's still the same armor just modified." She smiled a bit, "Your armor gave Helios and his men a run for their money. They were yelling out curses by how heavy it was." She did a light tap on his chest with her knuckles, "The armor was badly damaged and I had Helios and his men make a few modifications to it. While the build is still the same as Ylisse Knights, its structure is similar to the armor of a Plegain Berserker. Plegai Amor is built so that the person wearing it could move swiftly and fast. Also, to help them stay cool because the heat here is a nightmare." She chuckles.
"The craftsmanship is incredible. If I ever get the chance, I would like to thank those men." He smiled a bit and Sophia nodded.
"Frederick, I'm going to ask you a serious question." Sophia sighs as she looks into his eye, "What...is your current opinion of Plegia?"
"..." He was silent for a moment as he looked at his lance then let go of a sigh as he turned back to her, "The people of Plegia...I think I now understand Lady Emmyren's words. While you were busy, Henry showed me around the capital." He saw her about to panic, "Do not worry. I wore a hood to hide my identity, but I think one of the former Plegain generals did recognize me but chose not to say anything." He explained.
"You have a lot of explaining to do to Mustafa." Bryhildr hummed.
"I'm screwed." Sophia thought as Frederick continued to speak.
"I admit, my opinion is not so easily swayed, however, I do understand that the war was caused by Gangrel's bloodlust. Sigh...also because he was after the Fire Emblem." He sighs and looks back at her, "I...I'm sorry."
"Why are you apologizing?" Sophia looked at him surprised and Algas chose to leave.
For a cat, he knew the direction this was heading to and he did not want to be present. Bryhildr also chose to leave.
"I accused you of being part of Lady Emmyren's execution as well as...a few other things I dare not voice." He closed his eye as he took a deep breath, "Walking through the capital, seeing for myself how much the people are working together to restore their home. Even in difficult times like this, they will do what they can to support each other. It's like Ylisse. I had a chance to speak with quite a few of the civilians and listen to their stories of how the war affected them and their families. Even a few of the elders who are war veterans from 15 years ago." He smiled a bit sadly, "Being able to learn what has happened on the enemies' end, our countries have many common things alike."
Sophia was silent and nodded.
"It's alright." She sighs, "I am also sorry. I shouldn't have lashed out at you a few days ago. I'm not going to lie...I do feel like I am responsible for many lives lost. I wish I could have done more but what is done is done. I can not go back in time to fix things." She looked at him, "You asked me what I plan to do after the war."
Again, there was a pregnant pause and she shook her head.
"I don't know. My only thoughts right now are that after this war leave Plegia and lay low for quite some time. Grimleal will label me as a criminal and Ylisse will want my head for being a member of Grimleal. So umm...yeah...um...laying low is my only option." Sophia gave him a crooked grin and the man shook his head.
"His Highness and the Shepherds are sure to understand the situation if you explain it to them," Frederick argued a bit and she shook her head.
"Frederick, I know...this is sudden but..." she held out her watch to him, "This...is better off with someone who needs it. Please give it to Lysithea. That is my favor to you." She smiled sadly.
Frederick was silent and gently pushed her hand back. His gaze was firm as he spoke.
"You give it to her." She looked at him shocked, "When this war is over..." he hesitated for a bit, "...I...you...sigh...I think you should speak to your friends. I'm sure they miss you." He muttered.
Sophia shook her head and smiled bitterly.
"After everything that has happened...I don't deserve to speak to them." She sighs.
"I beg to differ." Frederick stood up a bit straighter, "During my time here, I learned quite a bit. Especially about your personality."
"Oh?" Sophia smirked a bit as she crossed her arms, "Do tell. Do not hold back."
"You are blunt, rude, enjoyed seeing me struggle, and quite cold and irrational. You are also blunt and need to learn to control that sharp tongue of yours." Well, Frederick didn't hold back.
"I've been told all you just said, my entire life. Not anything new. I'm used to it." Sophia shrugs.
"I'm not finished." Frederick smirked, "You're disorganized. You are surprisingly quite forgetful unless the place is a mess. You have a strange habit of sleep talking." He saw her turn a bit pale, "But...despite the cold demeanor you put you...you're quite kind. I'm not one to usually do this but..." he bowed to her a bit, "Thank you for saving my life. I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for you. I know...this is sudden but when this war is over," he stood back up and smiled a bit, "why don't you come to Ylisse?"
"...You're kidding, right?" Sophia looked at him with a blank face.
"I'm serious." Frederick turned to her fully, "As I said before, Prince Chrom knows of your situation. Lysithea and Felix would also welcome you with open arms along with the Shepherds. You have helped me and my people many times and you expect nothing in return. At least…think about it." He gave her a small smile.
It was late at night and Sophia couldn't sleep. The conversation with Frederick still played in her mind. It was the most she had spoken with the knight other than giving him instructions on his recovery time and what not to do, it felt...
"Nice," Sophia whispered as she laid on the bed, then turned a bit.
She hugged her pillow, letting go of a sigh as she looked at the window. Next to it, Aglas slept peacefully. The conversation made her wary. She honestly had no clue what she would do after the war other than hiding. Living in Plegia was no longer an option because her presence would just put another target on Mustafa and his family. Ylisse, definitely not because of The Shepherds and the fact she is hiding Emmeryn away. She does not want to be caught up in the drama if they discover the Exalt is alive. Valm? Fuck no. Her other option was Ferox. It was the safest and she could also secure a place Emmyren could live peacefully in. But...what struck out most to her, was Frederick asking her to think about living in Ylisse.
"I don't think that's possible...I don't belong with them." She closed her eyes a bit, "Once this war is over, I'll disappear."
It was selfish but she has no place with any of them.
"I still need some growing up to do..."