Chapter 103: Slight miscalculation

He barely registered the journey.

His mind was still a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings, all of them varying somewhere between self-loathing at his own foolery in overlooking something such as this until now and the other half of his thoughts being making an effort to comprehend the full gravity of the situation.

"You're still holding my arm-"

The comment of Byleth was barely registered and subsequently ignored.

Giving no reply, he swung the doors open with his mind and strode through them.

It was clear to him that there was far more to Sothis nature than he could have ever considered, except for the fact the clues were there right from the very beginning. Between the physical presence of a Divine Core, the similarities in the Greek language and the sheer magnitude of her strength if one considered the fact that she alone ousted an entire pantheon of Gods.

Sothis was not just a local divinity that had wandered into Fodlan.

His teeth grit inside his jaw as he marched up the steps, brushing past whomever happened to be in his way at the time, not making a single effort to commit their faces to memory nor apologise to them for what he was doing. This took precedence over everything.

"Ah, Goetia! Professor! How are-waaaaah!"

The obstacle was levitated over his head, there was a brief instant where he noted the appearance if only because of the voice they screamed with. He only spared a single glance to deduce that it was Flayn and that he would probably face some manner of reprimand for that later, but that was for his future self to worry about at the moment.

Moving underneath the flailing girl, he dragged Byleth along with him until he was in line of sight with the doors to the Archbishops meeting hall.

Carrying himself forwards, he narrowed his eyes and called forth with a flick of the mind.

Uncaring as to what position she would be in or who she would be meeting with, Goetia swung open the doors to the assembly hall and marched into the room with Byleth close behind. Sweeping his eyes left and right as he tried to locate Seiros in the room, his lips curled down when she failed to immediately materialise herself.

His eyes swung about, narrowing upon her bedroom.

Then he moved forwards once again, feeling only a little bit of resistance from Byleth but he quickly overwhelmed her strength and dragged her along, the sound of her heels scraping against the polished floors was a minor annoyance to him but little else.

Seiros door swung open, he registered only a shocked grunt from inside the room as he marched inside.

"What the-Goetia!"

Ignoring the scandalised voice of Seiros, he swung his single arm forwards and sent Byleth stumbling into the room, shutting the door behind him with a flick of the wrist and a loud thudding sound. He chanted a spell over the surface of the door, he would not allow for any manner of interruption.

"What is the meaning of this now?!"

That was odd.

She sounded much more agitated than usual.

Turning his head back around, he quickly figured out the reason for that, namely that she was midway through getting dressed into her night clothes and was glaring at him with a mixture of fury and embarrassment.

That was most unfortunate for her.

"Sorry." Byleth broke the silence in the immediate aftermath, turning her gaze to the ceiling and placing her hands on her hips.

Sothis just glared at him as though he had done something wrong, he ignored her entirely.

"The meaning of this is that I have made a slight error-"

"Slight error?!" Seiros snapped back at him, awkwardly shuffling into a state where she was covering herself once more and doing a remarkably accurate impression of a tomato. He only thought as much because the shade of crimson that her face was turning was rather similar to the soup he was so fond of.

How curious.

"This is a completely unacceptable situation!" Her howling continued, "You cannot just march into my room without waiting for me to be ready! I would have thought you would have been raised with the basic decency to knock first! How are you planning to explain this!?"

"An urgent meeting."

If it was at all possible, the glare from Seiros managed to intensify to a level further than what it was already at. From how things were playing out, he would consider it only a matter of time before she tried to physically assault him for his transgressions.

"Then wait for the morning when I will actually be prepared to see you! What could be so urgent that you would risk such severe punishment for-"

"I told you. I made an error - a rather grievous one - and the repercussions are far reaching."

Seiros jaw clenched, the sound of her teeth gritting echoed through the room as veins visibly bulged on the side of her head. "That sounds like a deeply troubling issue for one as confident as you, I'm sure. But the proper cause of action after realising you are in the wrong is not to immediately compound this by doing yet another act of grievous error!"

She whirled a hand up, pointing towards Byleth. "And what in all that is sacred could have possibly possessed you to drag the Professor along with this!? It looks like she came here neither willingly nor-"

"I did not have time to explain my motivations to her and even if I did, I would need to explain them all over again once I arrived here. I would much prefer to save myself the burden of needing to explain myself twice over in such a short period of time."

"That is not the-" Cutting herself short, the Archbishop slapped her hands over her face, a deep growl echoed out from behind her palms after a single moment. Slowly but surely, she dragged her hands down and then regarded him with a perfectly blank expression. "Get. Out."

Get out?


Not until he got what he came here for.

"I do not believe you comprehend the magnitude of what I mean when I tell you that I have made an oversight-"

"No, but right now I do not care." Seiros hissed back at him, pulling at her nightgown and tying it up with a sudden jerked movement. Her green eyes bore into his own with rather violent intentions bubbling away behind them. "It has been a long day for me and I wish to end it early. I have much I needed to do this day and right now, having you storming into my bed chambers in the early hours of the evening is not what I wish to entertain."

With a wave of her hand, she turned from him and moved for the bed. "So if you would be so kind as to leave before I stop being so polite. Then I would rather deeply appreciate that-"

"Sothis is a Machine."

Seiros froze.

That was it.

That was the final confirmation that he needed, just to see what manner of reaction his words would have upon her. If she knew nothing about what he spoke, then she would have looked at him only with confusion in response to his words.

Her reaction was telling.

As much as it was troubling.

"I'm a what?" Sothis, meanwhile, looked at him as though he had spoken in an entirely different language. Which was somewhat ironic, given the nature of the topic related directly to her. "What are you speaking about now?"

Seiros head turned slowly in his direction, her eyes wide and her lips slightly parted.

Visibly gulping, she stepped back from the bed and turned to face him, thinning her lips but losing none of the shock that had been on her expression in the first place. When she did eventually speak, it was in a slow and subdued tone of voice. "How…did you come to this conclusion?"

"...Only recently, but it is one that I should have come to much swifter."

Clenching his hand into a fist, the reminder of where his indolence had brought him was worthy enough of a reprimand unto itself. It was stupidity of the highest order that had made him overlook something as utterly impactful as this. It brought about the question of what else had escaped his sight because he was not truly looking for it.

No, it could not be worth thinking about at this moment.

Other subjects took precedence.

"The nature of Sothis directly should have been my first clue, though I thought nothing of it at the time. However, your familiarity with Greek Language and the nature of the Golems was another matter, it was shocking to see anything of their technological prowess here in Fodlan…though the most defining feature was this."

His hand came up, space rippled and shifted.

A blob of the metallic liquid hovered in the air above his palm, immediately it attracted the eyes of Seiros, moving swiftly between that and himself.

"This is a very specific creation, one that I have only ever seen in one civilisation before. Lost to time it might be, I was still aware of it. Though perhaps it was because I assumed that they had all perished, or my mistake in assuming there were not more that remained hidden or lost…no, it is not worth considering now."

Taking a deep breath, he shifted the mixture in the air.

"The golems called this Evlogía." A moment of silence, his eyes narrowed at Seiros and measured her reaction, or the complete lack of it. Her surprise had vanished and was replaced with a mask of an expression. "But you know what that truly means, don't you?"

"...Blessing. It was the Goddess blessing upon those she deemed worthy. The humans who were elevated to the highest levels of her personal council were granted it…though the true nature was that it could be used for so much more."

"I would assume so, the nanomachines of an Olympian are potent, regardless of what place they held in the fleet."

Something clicked in his mind, his face turned wry.

"Sothis descended from the heavens unto Fodlan? A rather literal interpretation of events, is it not?"

"It is the truth."

And it was, from a certain point of view that was truly the most honest thing about it.

"...When did she arrive?"

Seiros rolled her jaw, then glanced away. "It was many thousands of years ago, before I was born…long before I was born. I never saw what she looked like, not truly, I was only ever there when she walked the world as an avatar, altering her form to stride amongst the humans and her other children."

An exhale.

"The first of us knew what she looked like, they spoke of her…they spoke of her in such a way that you could feel the sheer power that she held, even if you had never seen it, you knew in your heart that it must have been such a sight."

He imagined that it would be, any Olympian God would certainly have been an awesome sight regardless of what they were. He knew full well what those things were capable of at the height of their power, given that they did not have the same weakness as the traditional deities, they would never be fully reliant on faith as a means of retaining power.

And it made a great deal of sense now, how Sothis was truly killed.

Or rather, how she had been crippled.

"This is not the first human civilisation of Fodlan." He inclined his head slightly, the slight flinch of Seiros and the flicker of fear that shot through her eyes was swiftly followed by a bitter disgust, with a scoff she turned her head from him and marched to the other side of the room.

"No. It is not."

He saw her trembling shoulders, as well he heard it in her voice, he would assume that something happened which brought an end to that civilisation and if the nature of her voice was any indication, it was not something that she considered to be good.

"What are you talking about?"

Byleth turned her head to him, confusion shining in her eyes.

He turned on her and thinned his lips. "Sothis is not simply a Goddess. She is what would be referred to as an Olympian, in any other setting. Or rather…that is what her fellow Machine Gods were named when they descended into Greece and established a pantheon of their own."

The confusion remained.

"In simple terms…Sothis was a God that was created by an even more powerful being, her ultimate goal being to seek out planets such as Fodlan and then reshape them into a world that could sustain life."

A beat, his eyes flickered towards Sothis herself.

"Although, that would have been the purpose of the Olympian Gods, I am unsure as to what manner of directive you would have had, given that you ended up here and not with them…it is disconcerting but not unexplainable, their location was beyond the veil of the universe through the sea of stars…no, the Titans all managed to break through first."

Why was it that Sothis would have ended up here?

"Wait a moment…" Sothis held up her hands, drawing his eyes to her as she twisted her expression, groaning and moving her hands to cover her head. "What are you…are you saying that something…made me?"

"...The Greeks called it Primordial Chaos. It was…the void that existed between the texture of the world, or so they believed. It is not something that I am wholly aware of either, whether Chaos is a real entity or not, there is no denying that there is something that existed in the space between dimensions and it…hurtled the Machine Gods from one universe to another. In their mythology, it was among the first of the Primordial Gods, the very first beings that existed in the nothing before creation."

"That is…those are just-" Sothis stumbled for a moment, then threw her hands up. "Those are just words. Give me a straight answer."

"...You were created but do not be mistaken. All Gods are created from something, they inhabit a concept or authority that defines them. Your origins are merely more tangible than the metaphysical birth of another type of divine being. In many rights, you are an order of magnitude greater than them."

Sothis frowned.

"Or you were…when you were in your prime…"

Which begged the question, what happened to Sothis before she came to Fodlan?

"You…so there truly were others."

He turned, Seiros was now staring towards him with a mixture of emotions, both worry and a touch of hope in her gaze. Stepping around the bed, she took a hesitant step towards him as she spoke further.

"There…there were others like Mother? Then does that mean-"

"They are not relevant to the conversation at the current moment." Seiros expression flared at his words, not just her but Sothis as well, looking as though they took a great issue with his remark. Prompting him to elaborate further. "If only because they were subject to a greater tragedy which currently renders them incapable of assuming domain in the mortal world. To that extent, they experienced a similar state to Sothis in that their material bodies were destroyed."

Seiros expression remained frozen for a brief instant, then it shifted into a perfectly blank gaze.

"...And how did this happen?"

"In much the same way that all the Gods from my land were wiped out, their creation of a civilisation and dependence on the worship of mankind proved their ultimately folly. Faced with a being which exploited those weaknesses, they were totally incapable of mounting sufficient resistance. By the time they could properly understand the threat, the power difference was vast enough that they were destroyed."

"Then…they are…?"

Goetia exhaled. "They are not accessible from this world, no. Which is why they are irrelevant for the time being. What truly matters is their origins and what they would all have been capable of." bringing a hand up, he gestured towards Sothis. "You know as well as I what the Evlogia of the golems truly is."

A beat, Seiros expression tightened and then nodded once. "I do…but then you mean to suggest-?" her eyes widened at the implication of where he was going with this, only for her brows to furrow, gaze darting to the side and hand moving to cup her chin. "That is…entirely possible. It would make a great deal more sense than a successful infusion of one of Mothers Crest Stones…but how-?"

"No, Miklan could not possibly have stumbled upon the blessing of a Machine God while slumming in the woods." He agreed, "Even if he had, the chances of him actually achieving anything with that through pure luck would have been astronomically slim. Which means that he was granted it by someone who had experience with such things-"

Mana flared through the room.

The eyes of Seiros burned a brilliant green, her hair started to rise up as a strong breeze buffeted around her body.

"It was them. Vermin of the highest order. Swines." Their hands clenched into fists, he idly noted the face her gritted teeth were starting to become more jagged and patches of their skin were cracking like scales. "I should have uprooted every trace of them until-"

"Control your murderous impulses for one moment." He ordered, drawing a sharp look from her for a brief instant. Her gaze remained hard upon him for only a short time, then the presence started to fade away, their hair dropped down and eyes lost their glow. Skin healed back into its previously pristine nature. "Good. Now, the civilisation that came before the current one, you believe they had survivors?"

"...They are the only ones who knew how to use the gifts that mother granted them."

A scowl formed on the lips of the Archbishop, her eyes danced to Byleth and softened ever so slightly.

"I…I doubt that you would know this, Professor, but the land of Fodlan was very different when Mother was alive. Truly alive, the advances…humans wanted for nothing, their every need was met by mother. There was neither disease nor illness…not even the reaches of death affected humans. It was truly a utopia…"

He was aware of how it would look.

Based off his own knowledge of Atlantis and the ancient civilisation, he could understand why she would believe as such and - in truth - of all the human civilisations he had seen over his long years, stretching back to before even his own creation, Atlantis was far from the most offensive.

…It was tolerable only because they did not fear death, they placed their belief in the Gods.

But that was what made it all the more pitiful when it fell.

A puzzled tilt of the head from Byleth. "If it was so good, where did it go?"

Seiros froze for half a second, then drew their lips thin. "...We were too trusting of the humans. Mother had too much faith in them…granting them all her gifts, but it was never enough for them. They took and took and took until she had nothing left to give and then they turned on her."

Her head sharply turned to the side. "They turned on us. All of us. Declaring that they no longer need Mother, blasphemers that they were, and waged war with our own tools. It dragged on for years, decades…perhaps even centuries…I cannot tell you for certain, time lost meaning when killing the other became a challenge."

Yes, he supposed that it would have proved a long and gruelling war.

Quantity against quality, whatever strength that Seiros and her people had, Goetia very much doubted they would have outnumbered the entire population of Fodlan.

"...I assume Sothis remained stationary during this conflict?"

The eyes of the Archbishop closed. "Yes…she did. Mother could have won the war on the first day, but she knew what that would be. All humanity was united against us and she believed, truly believed, that they would come to see the error of their ways and beg forgiveness for their transgressions."

"They didn't?"

"...No. They did not." Seiros rolled her lips, biting the lower one and glancing to the floor. "But more than that, there was a greater threat…long had the false Gods envied Mother and her gifts, but her strength kept them at bay-"

He let out a scoff, turning his head and shaking it. "The instant that her followers turned on her, Sothis was besieged by the original Gods of the land, the ones that I suppose she had ousted when she first arrived?"

The silence of Seiros was evidence enough of what happened.

"I see. It must have been easy to convince the humans who the better God was when they were lavished with such wondrous gifts. The reduction of their worshippers must have savaged the strength of the original Gods, allowed only to remain in this texture through the mere existence of Sothis keeping the concept of a present God alive."

That must have been rather humiliating for them.

He imagined that they would have just been waiting for the opportunity to fight Sothis in an effort to reclaim their domain, naturally with or without worshippers, Sothis would have proven to be a force equal to their highest divines. But it explained why it was such a long war, especially if the Gods of the land were trying to fight.

"Given the level that Fodlan is at now, I assume that your faction proved victorious?"

"...If you could call this a victory." Seiros glanced once more at the Professor and then grimaced, looking back at him and rolling her jaw. "She is here at the moment, isn't she? Listening to everything I say."

He nodded his head once.

Another flash of hesitance shot through Seiros features before her eyes dropped to the ground once more, she stepped backwards and lowered herself onto the bed, resting her hands upon her lap.

The breath that came next was long and slow, one that released years of untold exhaustion within it.

"Mother had taken great pains to avoid damaging the world during her battle with the other Gods, but it was proving to be a…long process. She admitted that she had been stronger before she came to Fodlan, claiming that this world was only hundreds that she had seeded in the past-"



His brows furrowed. "Hundreds? That is…they were capable of terraforming, true, but I knew nothing of the Machine Gods of the Olympian Fleets being capable of travelling across the galaxy in such a manner. No, more than that, Sothis would have followed her directive and settled on the first planet that met the criteria for colonisation…For what reason would she…?"

No, that wasn't important right now.

He could guess what Seiros was going to say next.

"I shall assume that Sothis enacted a final solution to end the war in a single swift stroke?"

"...Yes." A slow nod of the head. "She had already catalogued samples of the humans from before her arrival, of them and the fauna of the world. Thus she deemed it better to simply start all over again."

A clean way of phrasing it, he supposed.

Not that he had room to speak on the subject.

His eyes wandered to the space above Byleth's head, Sothis gazing down at Seiros with a gaze that spoke volumes for a lack of comprehension. It was a subject that she would have been hearing about for the first time, and given what her personality was, he doubted that she would respond well to it.

"The humans forced the matter with their own war, didn't they?" He turned his eyes to Seiros, the woman jerked at his sudden tone, bringing her gaze up to meet his own. "Am I to understand that their offensives had ravaged the planet to a point where it would have taken aeons to recover under its own power?"

Combined with the Gods themselves, he was surprised that there was even a continent left to fight.

No, if this was a planetary conflict, then he was baffled there was even something resembling a world for him to stand on in the first place. He would have expected something more consistent with a bleached land and boiled oceans.

"...When they failed to make victories as they wished, they started to attack the Goddess directly with the weapons she created…I still remember the day that Thinis was set ablaze. The country melted into the ocean…It burned for years, the heat was felt no matter where you went and the smog…it blotted out the sun."

Another deep breath.

"...Malaum was the Kingdom where the finest minds had gathered, they lured our forces there in the hope of capturing their leadership and finally ending the war…a country heralded for its scholars turned into a citadel…They shattered the crust when we attacked, the entire land just…dropped into the ocean, sinking beneath the waves and claiming a fifth of my brothers and sisters."


Pointless barbarism as well, but he doubted Seiros was giving him an unbiased account.

Though it was the only information he had to go off at the moment.

"This…this does not make sense."

Not that Seiros could hear, but the despair and confusion in the voice of Sothis made her sound akin to a child.

"For what reason…why would it be worth dying for this?! Slaughtering so many - destroying whole kingdoms - and for what? What did this win them? What did they think they would gain from a ruined landscape?"

They pulled at their hair, dragging their hands across their face, breathing heavily while muttering to themselves. "Why would they do something like that…why?"

Because they were human and clearly didn't want to live under the yoke of Sothis anymore.

Perhaps they had merely grown tired of their world or maybe they had elected their own equivalent of Gilgamesh to lead them, a man who decided that the Gods were useless if they could use this technology without them.

Though it did not matter anymore.

None of it mattered anymore.

"...Where is her body?"

His single question was met with silence.

His eyes narrowed upon Serios at her lack of a response to his query. "The body of Sothis, the Machine Body she came to this land in, where is it?"

"...I do not know."

She what?

"You…" He took a step backwards, the absurdity of what he was hearing was akin to a punch in the gut.

Twisting his face in disbelief, he stared down at the woman.

She did not change her answer, there was no moment where she announced it was a joke.

"You lost her body."

Seiros remained utterly still.

"You. Lost. Her. Body."

Raising her head, the Archbishop met his gaze with a blank stare. "Mother used every ounce of her strength to rejuvenate the world. It took everything she had left within her and forced her into a long slumber…she discarded her original form and wholly devoted herself to her…avatar."

"Discarded." The word tasted like rusted copper to him, though that might have been him splitting his gums from how hard he was clenching his jaw. "I shall assume you do not mean that she cast it away into the void of space…but rather tossed it to the side like trash and then was somehow lost."

It was worth repeating.

Because he could not understand how it was possible to do something so…

"...I do not have the words to convey how incredibly stupid that sounds."

Any semblance of appearance was forgone.

"Even if she could no longer manage it, to merely cast aside something with the power to manipulate an entire planet? And then not only that, but you and your remaining brethren managed to lose track of where it went?"

Seiros glared at him. "It might seem simple for you to pass judgement on now. But during the time, it was a very different tale. We were scattered, the world was healing and all we were concerned about was ensuring that there was something that could be moulded into a human race."

Sharply rising from the bed, she stalked towards him until they were nearly nose to nose.

"So yes. When mother cast aside her body, I did not make an effort to track it down because all I cared for was whether we would live or die within the next century. No, I cared about whether my mother would even survive the next century…drained as she was, unable to wake. We were without a leader, most of our highest order had been killed during the War and there was no telling if the false Gods might return."

No, she was correct.

Arguing it was pointless now.

He could not change what happened in the past, instead he turned away from her and marched for the door, briefly pausing as he reached out for it.

"...Whether you lost the body or not is irrelevant, clearly another group found it. Or something that came from Sothis during that 'golden age' of her reign on this world."


"More than likely a mere test subject to see whether the process could be done." He turned around, clenching his jaw and narrowing his gaze. "A single individual with the power of Evlogia was capable of battling Byleth to a standstill, an army of individuals blessed with that power? A thought worth dreading…More so if these 'vermin' hate you as much as you hate them."

He turned on the door once more, willing it open with his mind and stepping through it, pausing only briefly to give a final parting word.

"Tell Seteth to double his efforts and that I shall aid you in conducting the search for the body of Sothis. Whether it is being occupied or not, I refuse to leave it up to chance that humans might stumble across the remains of an Olympian level divine being."

The havoc that they could wreak with such a thing…he almost shuddered at the thought of mixing human stupidity with advanced technological prowess.

Especially when Seiros spoke of the war against the first humans.

He carried on forwards, pausing rather briefly as he considered something.

…That new nun who replaced him as assistant librarian, the one who was the same as Tomas.

…They were decidedly older and their similarities to the Crest Stones were…

If he was correct, then that was truly pathetic.

No, perhaps he was being overzealous with his assessment.

If they were part of a group that had made mortal enemies of Seiros and her people and also had access to a level of technology akin to the old Greeks, then he did not doubt they had methods of hiding themselves from the Church…Except he had determined there was something different about them within a single meeting?

That did not speak of Olympian prowess.

Perhaps they had not found the remnants of Sothis corpse? Possible, but he knew for a fact it would doubtless be in this world somewhere. If the 'Agarthans' were the ones who had been involved in this, then perhaps they had been working on gathering enough magical energy to make use of the technology?


It was all dependent on what level of damage Sothis had suffered and how great the destruction had been, Seiros spoke of a planetary annihilation but doing such a thing was…exceedingly difficult, even for a Machine God, especially if the worshippers of the other Gods were uniting against her.

And there was little doubt that the other continents on the globe would have stood idly by as their lives were threatened.

There was too much he needed to calculate all at once.

He needed more information and he knew exactly where to get it-

"Wait a moment."

He stopped walking, making a half turn towards the speaker and regarding them with a blank expression.

Flayn stood in the corridor, a smile on her face and her eyes shut tight.

"I believe that there is something you and I need to speak about for a moment."

…What a curious sense of foreboding, she approached him with such a cordial expression and yet it was clear her intentions were the exact opposite.

"Whatever it is can be spoken about later." Brushing aside her words, he turned back around and made it all of a single step before Flayn all but flung herself into his path. Keeping his expression even at her attempts at being an obstacle. "...While I am sure you do not understand the sheer depths of my-"

"I do not know and, right now, I am not quite sure that I care." Taking a single step forwards, she angled her head up and locked eyes with him, opening her own and revealing a depth of irritation in her gaze which he had not thought possible for her to achieve. "And I do believe you lost the right to do your own business when you levitated me above your head."

He supposed that would have been what she took issue with.

"If you are seeking some measure of compensation for a perceived insult-"


"Do not interrupt me while I am speaking." He sternly reminded her. "And I will explain that you were simply in the way and that time was of the essence and, need I remind you, still is for me. There are matters which must be attended to. Now, if you will excuse me."

He stepped around her and moved forwards.

She was back in front of her again.

"...Do you want an apology?"

"It would be a pleasant start."

"...I extend my commiserations that you were subject to such treatment, but you were in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"Goetia…" With an exasperated sigh, Flayn pinched the bridge of her nose and then paused, raising her head up at something and then widened her eyes. "Professor! I did not get the chance to greet you earlier because someone was rather rude in having me step aside."

"...Has he apologised yet?"

With a frown, he turned around and levelled a dull stare in the direction of the approaching Professor.

"He has not." Flayn replied in a tone that sounded smug, a brief look revealed that it was smug with a hint of anticipation, clearly expecting something to come of this-

"Goetia. Apologise."

His eyes closed. "Having been party to the conversation itself, do you not admit that it was highly important to-"

"Just apologise for floating her up. It was rude."

This was going to continue until he did as they demanded, wasn't it?

"...I apologise that I did not find a method of moving you aside that you would approve of." His words came out after a moment of thought, glancing to the smaller phantasmal and regarding her with a raised brow. "If you have any suggestions for how you wish to be brushed aside in the future, please do not hesitate to inform me of them and I will be sure to use them in the future."

Flayn narrowed her eyes, frowning with tight lips. "Is there some manner of trouble that is afflicting you, Goetia? You are remarkably more confrontational than usual…does it relate to the sudden meeting that I assume you and the Professor just had with the Archbishop."


"...I see." A troubled look appeared on the face of the girl. "How dire is the situation that it has caused you such upset? Surely it does not relate to the matter of the Demonic Beasts from earlier. Ah, father informed me of some manner of possible trouble."

The Demonic Beast…which conveniently ate the body of Miklan before he could confirm his findings and now had nanomachines in its body which would doubtless proliferate through it and increase its abilities a dozen times over and, if he believed his calculations, would make it perhaps the single most deadly predator on the continent, barring the inclusion of himself and the dragons.

No…it might approach those, depending on how potent the nanomachines of Sothis were.

If they were anything at all like those that belonged to Zeus during his prime…

"...Your reminder of the Demonic Beast has made this all the more troublesome. This is why it was simpler to have others, I could delegate to them and trust them to carry my tasks out without fail…for the most part."

He pinched his expression as he remembered Flauros.

Their failures were as numerous as they were catastrophic.

At least his latest familiar would not be prone to such failings.

…A designation for the finch?

…It appealed to him, the familiarity would be small comfort for his current condition.

No, not right now.

"It relates to the Goddess herself and the potential of those who might…" He trailed off, glancing around as he realised they were far from being in a secure place to make such a discussion. A frown came upon him, he leaned closer to Flayn and dropped his words into a low whisper. Subtly shifting the air around them to contain his speech further. "Both Seteth and Seiros are concerned about a group known as the Agarthans due to the surprising strength of Miklan and his similarities to Nemesis."

Flayn made a hacking noise, stepping away from him with a haunted look on her face. "W-what? Bu-but that cannot-...surely they could not still be…i-if they were still around they surely would have done more than…" her eyes fell away from him, lowering to the ground, their body tightened and their arms came up, hugging themselves closer.

"...How certain are they?" When she eventually mustered up the strength to speak again, it was in a deathly silent tone of voice.

"Seteth is making efforts to track down any leads, though my concern lies with what they are capable of…given that I have been made aware of several details regarding Sothis that I was previously ignorant of. Suffice to say that I am now personally invested in rooting out the full truth of what has transpired here."

"I…I see." Taking in a long breath, the girl brought her gaze back up to meet his own, a faint smile came upon his lips. "Then, if that is true…I am glad that we shall have your support…Thank you, truly."

Her eyes darted from him to Byleth, then past them. "I…I believe I need to speak with my father about this. If you will excuse me."

With that said, she hurried past them and through the doors, gently closing them the moment she passed beyond the threshold.

His eyes returned to Byleth, now supported with a stern faced Sothis.

He suppose this would not be the quick discussion he would have preferred.

"Speak quickly." He stated the moment the door closed of Byleth's office, stepping across the room and turning back. "I would prefer to get this begun quickly. There is much for me to do."

"I would like you to start by answering some questions." Sothis began, albeit more cordial than he would have expected, but it was hardly worth noting. "The first item would be why it took you so long to figure this out…you said I wasn't normal from the moment that we met but you…did you never once look?"

Contrary to her words, she did not sound accusing.

It was a more pitiful tone of voice and expression, as though she herself was disappointed.

"While I shall admit that your unique existence was something that should have piqued my curiosity further than it did, I had no reason to believe that you were one of the Machine Gods, or related to them in any capacity. The similarities between yourself and them were few and far between. Naming conventions were also limited, Rhea was a name shared within the pantheon belonging to the Titans. The beings who preceded the Gods."

Sothis jerked for a moment "Preceded the-you mean there were even more?"

"Were." He exhaled. "The matter of your extended family is something that I can discuss with you at another time, if you are so interested, and I can assure you that it is both long winded and rather disturbing at points. Your relation in convention to them is difficult to pinpoint. Without knowing your rank and power…no, perhaps that is already known?"

He muttered, moving his hand to his chin.

Seeding thousands of worlds through the universe, waging a planetary war…

…She would have to have been an equal to Zeus, perhaps.

Or another of the Chief Greek Gods, certainly one who could wield power above that of the lesser Olympians.

If he believed Seiros assertions as to the nature of Sothis before coming here, it would imply that she had existed for a great deal longer than the twelve Olympians. Not to mention coming here all by herself without any mention of any of the other Machine Gods…it implied that she might possibly have predated even them.

…Of the same generation as Gaia and Uranus?

Troubling to consider, the Titans were decidedly stronger than the Olympians with the exception of Zeus, to even think of Sothis being a rank higher than them would be beyond disturbing. It was rather fortunate that he arrived here when she was in her current state, else he doubted his time would have been so pleasant.

And it was pleasant, the alternative was being under the marked thumb of a being which could have ranked with a higher saint graph than even himself at his prime.

"You're scared."

He paused at the words, glancing up to Sothis and meeting her gaze.

But they had not come from her.

His eyes lowered, meeting the pointed gaze of Byleth as she wet her lips. "You're scared of what it means, aren't you?"

"...You do not know what the weakest Olympians were capable of. Without the conventional weakness of local divinities, there is nothing that one can do to truly defeat them except through sheer force of arms. The only being capable of such feats would need to rank in the highest tiers of the divine powers. Which means Gods of the Sun or of conflict. Everything else would pale in comparison."

He straightened. "Sothis is a Goddess of Time…This is undoubtedly the weakest she has ever been in her life and she can still influence the texture of this planet and reverse the linear flow of time as she wills it. Do you comprehend how much grander her skill would be if she was stronger?"

No answer came.

Not that Goetia was surprised, there wasn't an answer that came to him either.

"So yes, I am concerned about her. I will admit that without shame because I am not a fool. Even the corpse of an Olympian is still far an advance of whatever humanity could accomplish in the next ten-thousand years. The mere notion of something with that much influence over the very foundations of this world in the hands of mere humans without the foresight to wield it is a terrifying notion to consider."

Sothis glanced down, folding her arms and closing her eyes. "...How bad?"

"Time is not something that can be approached with a clumsy hand." He growled, though he was not angry at them specifically. It was the entire situation which set him on edge, that this had been happening under his nose this entire time. It was infuriating, beyond even that. Humiliating and pathetic. "The smallest altercations can have devastating consequences, cascading into turning history ablaze and wiping out humanity as a whole."

The panicked expressions that washed over their faces - as panicked as Byleth could get - was proof enough they were starting to understand the gravity of their situation.

"A single oaf swinging a spear is the very least of our problems if the corpse of a Machine God or any of their legacy is in the hands of old humans with a long grudge against Seiros and her cult. Your cult."

He stepped forwards.

"I know what humans are like, what they are akin to. If these humans are anything at all like the ones who I know, then we are in a far more precarious situation than I could ever possibly imagine."

Byleth frowned, glancing down and then back to him. "So…why has it taken them so long?"

Goetia glanced to her, then stepped backwards, his tight posture loosened. "The caveat to the situation we find ourselves in. A double edged blade, while it is true that the technology of the Olympians is advanced, it requires massive amounts of magical energy to operate. That single Holy Grail wouldn't even be close to enough…and if Sothis discarded her body, then it is a husk at best."

A wave of his hand. "None of which would truly matter, if they have been around for the last thousand years and have only managed to create Nemesis as their ultimate weapon, then that speaks volumes for their capabilities. More to the point, Sothis discarded her Machine body, which implies that it would be without a heart."

"Heart?" Raising a hand, she pushed a finger against her chest, right above her own heart.

Goetia nodded. "Yes, the crest stone. Though without something like that, the corpse would…remain…inert…"

He trailed off.

The Crest Stone.

Sothis eyes widened.

"...The Crest Stone from the Vault…"

"...The one that was stolen…" Goetia finished with a mute whisper, then rapidly shook his head. "No, it would have to have been dead. I could never have ignored such a potent magical presence. It would have put even the Holy Grail of Seiros to shame, even outside of an active host."

"But then why steal it if they cannot use it?"

"...Because they are clearly under the impression that they can." His jaw clenched, he glanced to the side, raising a single hand. "...I will look further into this myself. Seiros has been alerted to the dangers already but…no, we have time. A great deal of time, powering that core would doubtless require the draining of an entire Leyline, perhaps multiple ones, of all their magical energy. Nothing could hide that."

Yes, nothing would prevent him from noticing it.

A gradual drain would be more difficult to detect and if these individuals had proven anything, time was something they considered to be their ally.


This was manageable.

He exhaled, focusing his mind and calming his nerves. "...No, panic will solve nothing. Continue on with your work here but remain vigilant, I suspect Sothis would immediately notice something happening with her body. Whatever else, her mind would take priority over another individual. It is still her body."

Sothis frowned. "So…what? They get this new body and I just control it?"

"Yes. Your authority would be absolute. They would know this as well and consider you a priority target. It is entirely possible that Miklan was being raised to kill you, but with him dead…Hmmm. The Demonic Beast who consumed his body will likely inherit that mission, if it was one to begin with."

"...Then what?"

"...I will begin efforts to aid Seteth in finding them where I can. There is little you can do to assist me and I would prefer not to give away that we are looking for them. If these 'Agarthans' are the ones who are truly behind this and not merely another unknown faction."

He knew where to start.

The new assistant of the Library.


She was younger than Tomas, likely to be more easily put on edge by his displays of might.

Their first encounter, she all but bled fear from the moment he had outed her, looking for ways to kill him and then escape.

The way she acted when he cornered her, she was scared of death.

He understood that fear well…A fear he could use.