Chapter 46: Serendipitous Encounter

Byleth slashed her sword through the mercs gut, the glowing blade easily rending through metal and flesh as the man doubled over. As he bent down, Byleth moved forwards and rolled over the top of him while unsheathing the dagger on her hip.

With a flick of her wrist, she launched the dagger across the room and buried it in the throat of her next target, the woman clasped at her bleeding jugular and dropped to her knees. Byleth spun around and kicked the wounded man over, raising her sword above her head and thrusting down into his body and silencing his wheezing cries of pain.

Her head snapped up at the sound of small explosions, the dissipating evidence of a Fireball crashing into the ground next to her greeted the woman before her eyes trailed along towards the direction it had come from. They narrowed slightly at the sight of an opposing mage gearing up for another spell.

His spell crafting was slower than she expected, thus giving her ample opportunity to act first. Swinging her left hand towards his direction. He flooded her body with magical energy as she worked up her own fireball, the burning orb launched itself forwards just as the mage had managed to bring his circle into existence. The projectile slammed into his face, incinerating it and causing him to fall back in a screaming fit of pain - though it was more muffled due to the mask melting away - either way, it took them out of commission.

"Hmph. That was faster than last time." Sothis voice echoed out in her head with a hint of intrigue followed by an exasperated click of the tongue "I have no doubt that he has noticed it as well…I suppose he'll say it was thanks to his training."

'Technically it is.' Byleth pointed out as she parried away a spear user, reversing her grip on her sword she dropped down to one knee while spinning her body and gutting the man as he stood before she righted her grip and swung upwards. Deftly removing his head from his shoulders and kicking him away from her before she could get any blood on her person.

"I know that he is technically responsible for-duck."

Byleth ducked down as an arrow whistled overhead, she didn't bother looking as Claude's voice echoed out across the room.

"My moment has arrived!" She heard another arrow whistle over her head from the opposite direction before the telltale sounds of flesh being struck and a man letting out a pained scream reached her ears. At least Claude was skilled with the bow and arrow.

She continued forwards as spells and arrows soared overhead, nothing too destructive as to jeopardize the structural integrity of the chamber they were in but strong enough to kill someone.

Sliding to a halt, she watched as Hilda shoulder barged an armoured man into the ground before she raised her axe above her head and swung it down into the groove between the helmet and the torso and buried it in stone. She then wrenched it free, spun around and slammed it into the gut of another merc attempting to sneak up on her before a swift elbow to the head sent him down and freed the axe from his body.

The girl ran off, now wielding a bloodied axe and steeled expression as she charged towards her next target. Edelgard followed behind her sporting a similarly blank expression and equally bloodied weapon.

"...I cannot shake the mixed feelings I have of witnessing ones so young engage in such brutal acts of violence." Sothis muttered with a disturbed voice "I understand the need to defend oneself and yet this display is no less horrific."

'...' Byleth wasn't sure how she was meant to respond to that. She had always been a mercenary so the act of killing wasn't something that really bothered her all that much. She was younger than them when she first started.

"That is not an encouraging statement to make." Sothis replied back swiftly "Nor is it proof of normalcy. Still…I have no real control over their lives so it is not my place to say."

Byleth merely hummed in response before another flash of light came from the corner of her eye. She watched as Goetia unleashed a bolt of light from his finger towards one of the heavily armoured mounted knights and punched a hole straight through his body with the attack. The merc made not a sound save the clattering of metal as they fell from their horse and onto the ground. His head turned in another direction as a high pitched scream broke through the air.

Byleth imagined that was another enemy attempting to escape through the tunnels. She was proven right when Goetia fired off another bolt of yellow magical energy and silenced the screams rather abruptly.

"...At least he's helping." Sothis muttered "I imagine he is still rather aggrieved by our attempt at trying to protect him."

Byleth pursed her lips as she stepped backwards, avoiding a slash at her neck before retaliating with a punch to the man's kidneys. His body jolted in pain from the blow before thrusting towards her. Byleth sidestepped the thrust and swung upwards, cleaving off the arm at the elbow before slashing down through the collarbone.

The sounds of battle continued to echo out around her as they moved clockwise through the room, it would be easy to say that the battle was undoubtedly going in their favour, primarily because it was the truth. Despite the mercenaries being better equipped than she was expecting - that and actually having a decent number of mages to their numbers - the students and Abyssians were still making rapid progress in dealing with them. Although she had been mindful to look out for any of those who might be important enough to question.

Unfortunately, none had met her criteria yet.

Harold ducked low to avoid the axe swipe at his head, thrusting his spear upwards he caught his attacker in the hip just between the plates of armour. The axe wielder let out a pained scream just before a blast of light slammed into his chest and silenced him while also sending him spiraling through the air.

Blinking in surprise, Harold looked over his shoulder to see Constance lower her hand before she moved away, flicking her reins and commanding her pegasus forwards.

"Thank you!" Harold remembered to at least offer as much while he was still certain she could hear him before turning his attention to the attackers in front of him and picking up the pace once again. He made sure to stay close enough to Lady Nuvelle so he could provide aid in the event someone managed to get close enough.

Rushing forwards, Harold slid to a halt in the face of a swordsman, the man in leather armour turned towards him and blinked in surprise as he recognised the getup of the Gatekeeper almost immediately.

"S-Seiros Knight!" He cried out in alarm as he scrambled backwards to get some distance between himself and the Gatekeeper, Harold was left momentarily dumbfounded by the exclamation before he shook his head and moved towards. Thrusting his spear upwards, the man quickly swung his sword into the underside of the weapon and managed to force it skywards. Harold moved in, sliding his hands down the length of the polearm towards the bottom of the spear to give himself greater control as he swung the butt of the weapon upwards.

The spear handle smashed into the man's cheek and staggered him away. Pulling the spear backwards, Harold then followed it up with a shoulder barge which sent the merc down into the ground. Returning his spear to its original grip, he finished off the merc with a simple thrust to the head before pulling the spear out and moving on.

He internally winced. If word of this ever got back to his superiors he'd probably be facing some serious drills and maybe a pay deduction.

Thoughts of that were momentarily snapped from his mind as he caught sight of an archer in the far distance already taking aim towards Constance pegasus. Thinking as fast as he could, Harold reversed his grip on the spear, pulled his arm back and hurled the weapon like a Javelin across the length of the room.

The archer managed to hear the whistle of the flying weapon and turned in its direction just in time for the spear to strike him dead in the chest, the man let out a pained wheezing scream as he fell backwards.

Constance remained oblivious to the save as she continued to hurl spells towards the cowering opponents as the melee combatants closed in on them.

Harold then blinked as he realised he had tossed away his only weapon, soon cringing and looking around for a replacement he could use.

"Nice throw!" He jolted at the compliment, turning around and seeing the large form of Balthus deliver a savage punch to the face of an attacker, the armoured fists either knocking the man out or flat out killing him - Harold wasn't sure which - as the large man grabbed ahold of an axe and tossed it handle first towards Knight.

Harold released a small gasp as he caught the unfamiliar weapon in his arms and stared at it for a few moments before looking back at Balthus.

"Don't look at me, there's still more fools that need a beating!" Balthus punctuated the sentence with a grin and slamming his fists together "Let's get to it!" he roared, breaking into a sprint and rushing past him like a mad man. Harold watched with wide eyes as he charged the nearest merc.

The man turned towards him and slashed downwards, Balthus raised his right glove to block the attack before he delivered an uppercut with his left and snapping the head of his attacker back. Moving forwards, he then proceeded to deliver several body shots which actually looked as though they dented the circular disk of armour on the chest area before he ducked low and wrapped his arms around the waist of his victim and hoisted them into the air before slamming them back into the ground and delivering another several punches to the head before swiftly rising to his feet and finding another target.

Harold blinked once, suddenly very grateful that even if the Abys-the people living here didn't like the Church all that much they at least tolerated his presence.

He'd rather not end up like that guy.

Linhardt thrust his hand forwards, unleashing another gale spell towards the target. The blade of wind struck the man and barreled him over as a result although he was far enough away that much of the spells lethality had dissipated making it just a rather powerful gust of wind.

Not to be deterred, Linhardt worked up another spell and took aim towards the man. This time focusing on a more lethal spell-

A bolt of black light flew over his shoulder and struck the man, completely obliterating his head in the process.

"Ensure your spell kills the target on the first attack if that is your intent." Goetia's voice remarked behind him in a disinterested tone of voice, he heard several more high pitched whistles as the man unleashed several more bolts of light across the room and nailing a target each time. "Unless your intent is to draw out the battle, that is. I leave that up to your discretion."

Linhardt released a hum in response as he focused on a closer target, although this time an arrow struck the man. Inwardly, Linhardt was rather relieved that he hadn't actually killed that many people thus far. Violence ill-suited him and he despised the sight of blood. Quite frankly, he would rather have just remained in the library and read some of those books.

"Sparkles, they're moving along the left and trying to flank around." Claude informed them, drawing an arrow from the quiver on his back and nocking it "Ashe, see if you can try and deter them."

"On it." Ashe nodded back in affirmation as he moved across the length of the small fort and took cover behind the wall next to Claude. Exhaling, he nocked an arrow in his bow and took aim towards the lead attacker, one wearing full plate armour. Drawing the bow back, Ashe loosened the arrow towards the man's knee. The arrow smacked against the thigh armour and bounced off.

However, it still was able to earn the mercs attention, the armoured man swinging his large kite shield in Ashe's direction and ducking his head behind it as he started to move sideways.

"Where do these guys even get that sort of armour?" Claude asked aloud as he stared at the plate merc "Isn't that really expensive or something?"

"I don't know." Ashe replied as he nocked another arrow and took aim towards one of the lesser armoured mercenaries, loosening it and catching them just in the side of the head. Their helmet saving their life and causing the arrow to ping upwards but still had them clutch the side of their head with a pained expression as they stumbled forwards.

Claude took advantage of the dazed state and loosened an arrow into their left leg. The arrow striking just above their knee and causing them to drop down with a scream.

A fireball flew in and struck the man dead, Linhardt slowly moving his arm away from the man and in search of the other targets.

"What possible reason do they have to persist in this nonsense?" Goetia muttered aloud with clear irritation as he stomped towards the edge of the cover. Red eyes glared down in disgust at the sellswords as they followed the lead of the heavily armoured individual. "Will they not learn no matter how many of them just fling themselves into an early grave?"

It was obvious he was speaking to himself, therefore no one bothered to make a reply, save one.

"Well…it's not like they can really retreat." Claude pointed out, then released a wry chuckle "And these Abyss guys don't strike me as the…um…forgiving sort."

"Hmph." Goetia grunted in response, raising his left hand and pointing his open palm towards the full plate mercenary "No. They do not." purple light crackled in between his fingers before it coalesced into an orb just out of reach of his fingers, the purple light grew in size until it was a little larger than an apple. "Turn to ash."

A purple beam of light as thick as Claude's forearm erupted from the orb, shooting across the length of the room and striking the mercenary dead in the centre of the shield. Which it promptly melted through in less than a second before striking armour and melting through that as well. Burning a clear hole through both layers of protection and then out of the back of the man before scorching the stone ground and then cutting out.

The merc grumbled to the ground with a crash of metal, causing several others to slide to a halt. Most however just took it as an incentive to run faster and break off into different points of cover behind statues or bits of rock.

Goetia threw his left hand wide, spreading the purple like across the air like paint in front of him before the smearing broke off into multiple marble sized orbs of purple light.

"Burn." Goetia intoned, the orbs of light broke off into thin arrow like projectiles which shot across towards the mercenaries without any discernible aim to them. Goetia instead just opted to carpet strike the entire area in the belief that the attack would hit something. The arrows of light ripped through those who had been dumb enough to remain standing while breaking away parts of the cover.

Several arrows of light shattered the base of one of the statues, the large shape of the knight collapsed under its own weight and fell atop the mercenary hiding behind it in shower of rubble. Eventually - and after a dust cloud had been kicked up which made seeing the targets impossible - Goetia waved his hand and cut off the barrage. Allowing the orbs to dissipate into nothing before he lowered his left hand back to his side and scanned the dust.

His eyes flashed before a transparent layer of golden light covered his eyes and they narrowed slightly. He remained silent for several seconds as he stared at the cloud before he dismissed the light and looked down at Claude.

"Five remain alive." He informed them, then turned away and walked off earning a widening of the eyes from Hapi.

"Wh-what!?" She snapped, looking at him in shock "Aren't you gonna get them too?"

"No." He replied casually as he came to a stop and directed his attention back to the advancing group of students and teachers alike. "It no longer interests me."


"That's Sparkles for you." Claude sighed, shaking his head and looking at the cloud of dust as it gradually died down. Squinting his eyes, he could just about make out the shadows of people moving as well as hear muffled groans of pain. "Linhardt? Think you can cast a gale spell and do something about that dust?"

"I suppose." The boy lazily answered as he swiftly formed the magical circle in front of him and thrust his hand through it. The blade of wind whipped through the air and directly into the dust cloud as it moved through it, the force behind the attack dragging the dust with it and rapidly exposing the rubble and wounded mercenaries to them.

"Should we offer them the chance to surrender?" Ashe asked aloud as he stared at the wounded, Claude frowned in thought for a few moments, then directed his attention towards Hapi.

"What if they surrender?"

Hapi blinked at the sudden question before she raised an eyebrow "What do you expect us to do about it?" she gestured around "It's not like Abyss has any sort of prison and even if it did, I doubt anyone would be inclined to give up their food for them."

"Couldn't we hand them over to the Church?" Ashe suggested, earning a dismissive snort from Hapi.

"Not likely…I'm still half convinced the Church is the one who sent them." She shrugged "Even if the Church did take them, they'd probably have them killed to keep quiet."

Claude remained silent for a few moments, an unreadable emotion passing through his eyes before he slowly turned back to the wounded mercs as they tried to pick themselves out of the rubble.

"Well…" He muttered quietly to himself as he drew back an arrow "It can't be helped." he loosened it, striking one of the wounded in the head and causing them to go limp. Ashe winced at the noise before he begrudgingly nodded his head as well and turned in the same direction as Claude.

Noticeably slower on the draw than his Golden Deer counterpart, Linhardt was perfectly content to sit back and watch, utterly to involve himself within the 'fight'. Hapi merely raised her hand and loosened several spells in their direction to finish them off.

Goetia meanwhile was utterly unconcerned with what occurred behind him, instead opting to focus on the remaining mercenaries being put down by the combined forces of the Academy and the denizens of Abyss.

Yuri hurled the throwing knife from his hip, the blade buried itself into the last mercs neck, the man dropping to the ground and falling over as he clutched feebly at his wound before going limp. The boy gave a final nod to himself before he directed his attention around.

Seeing the others finish off the remaining mercenaries with frightful efficiency.

"That everyone then?" He called out for confirmation, the students and Byleth looked around for a few moments before giving a nod of the head.

Yuri allowed himself a sigh of relief before he turned back around, then watched as one of the final mercs pulled himself from the ground, the right side of his face caked in blood as he shakily looked around before levelled a hateful snarl onto Yuri.

"I ain't going down without a fight!" The man screamed out, raising his right arm - as his left hung limply at his side - and pointing his sword towards Yuri "I'm taking you with me you brat!" he sneered out, breaking into a desperate charge as he rushed towards Yuri. The boy merely regarded him with a raised eyebrow as he closed in.

A pillar of light flashed down from above, the shape of a man with long hair and in dark monk robes appeared in front of Yuri sporting a stern frown.

"I will not allow it." He announced, pointing his hand towards the wounded man and unleashing a gust of wind from his hand. The blast impacted the attacker's chest and sent him flipping through the air before roughly landing on his front with a deep wheezing groan.

"Aelfric, you're here!" Yuri chuckled with clear relief "Well, shall we capture this fool?" he voiced out, pointing towards the man as he tried to push himself onto his back.

"Quite so." Aelfric replied back with the frown still present upon his face "I wish to know just who exactly is behind such a brazen attack." Yuri raised an eyebrow at the heat in the man's voice before dismissing it.

Byleth meanwhile was staring at the new arrival with clear surprise.

"Aelfric?" Sothis voiced aloud, flashing into existence next to the Professor and gazing at him with wide eyes "To think that we would meet him again so soon and in such an odd place."

Byleth could do nothing more than give a single hum in response as she watched the monk close in on the wounded man and stare down at him.

"Aelfric!" Balthus let out a booming laugh "Talk about an entrance, always knew you had it in you!"

"Balthus." Aelfric sighed, already turning to the voice with a knowing tone before he paused and widened his eyes at the sight of the students, Byleth and a single Church Knight also present as well "...It would appear that much else has occurred in my absence." Alefric voiced out, then locked onto Byleth and gained a light smile "And Byleth, it would appear we met sooner than expected." he voiced out as he walked towards her with his arms behind his back and smile still on his face.

"...Yes." Byleth nodded her head in response, earning looks of surprise from the other Abyssians.

"Aelfric?" Constance looked down at him with surprise "You know of the Professor?"

"I suppose that is an accurate description of it, yes." Aelfric admitted with a wry smile as he came to a stop in front of the Professor before he looked around and steeling his features "However, perhaps this is not the best location for us to discuss matters. Not to mention we must make ready preparations to interrogate this one." he gestured behind himself to the still wheezing man.

"However, before all that…" He slowly turned towards Harold with a slightly critical gaze "I find myself surprised to see a Knight of the Church down here of all places." they narrowed slightly "Especially since I was not informed ahead of time that there was a presence here."

Harold froze for a few moments before he snapped to attention "Apologies, Minister Aelfric." Harold quickly replied "I was not ordered to Abyss specifically. I am under orders to remain by Assistant Goetia's side at all times to ensure he remains underwatch within the Monastery grounds." he hurriedly explained before nodding towards the direction Goetia was in.

Aelfric was giving him a thousand yard stare "...Goetia?" he muttered out, then slowly turned towards the direction the man had nodded to as he watched Linhardt, Claude, Hapi, Ashe and finally Goetia descend down the steps from the centre of the room towards them.

Aelfric and Goetia locked eyes, the two staring at each other in silence.

For a brief infinitesimal second, Aelfric's eyes displayed nothing but pure disgust as he stared at Goetia's face before they quickly reverted back to their usual countenance. So fast that none could have noticed it. None save Sothis, who squinted her eyes at the man in suspicion before she looked between him and Goetia.

"Greetings." Aelfric voiced out "This might be our first meeting but the Archbishop has already told me a great deal about you."

"I am certain her opinion of me is marred with her own personal bias." Goetia blandly replied as he walked down the steps.

Aelfric's smile turned slightly strained "Yes…well…there are some topics that I personally disagree with the Archbishop about although-" his expression turned intrigued "-I am curious as to why you are here."

"I was petitioned for assistance by the students." Goetia nodded towards them "And while already aware of the ruins of Abyss, I was not aware the Church had allowed an entire culture to flourish beneath it."

"Flourish, ha!" Yuri let out an ugly laugh "That's certainly a word for it."

Aelfric gave Yuri a half-lidded stare for a second before returning his attention to Goetia "While his words are certainly mocking, Yuri is not incorrect and I have had to struggle greatly to achieve even this level of housing for the people living here."

Shaking his head, the man turned to the others "And I see some of the officer students here as well…" he muttered, cupping his chin before pursing his lips "Regardless, you can all inform me once we have returned to Abyss in full order and during the interrogation if it reveals anything."

"You think it will not?" Dimitri asked with a slight frown, Aelfric remained silent before he slowly shook his head.

"I am not fully certain." He admitted "These attacks have been occurring for some time with no true objective we have discovered." he sighed "I would be more than gratified if the culprit behind this was suddenly revealed however it could just as likely be the case they were hired anonymously."

"That is something to consider." Edelgard muttered out, crossing her arms "And if they have been repeatedly hiring multiple mercenary groups then perhaps there is some intelligence behind these attacks."

"I fear as much-"

"Umm…" Hilda raised her hand, her expression slightly scrunched up "Not to interrupt your thinking but can we go back to Abyss now? As bad as that place smells, I get the feeling all the bodies here are going to make this place smell a whole lot worse." she then paused before giving them a disarming smile "No offence."

Balthus let out a choked laughter before he covered his mouth "No, no…the smell is quite bad at times."

"Indeed." Constance affirmed "In all the years I have been here, I have yet to grow used to such a pungent odor and fear the day that it no longer offends my-"

"Alright, Abyss is a stinky place and we all know it." Yuri raised his hands to quiet everyone down while holding a tired expression "As much as I agree with you, twin-tails over there makes a good point. We should get this clown-" he gestured to the man still in pain "-back to Abyss and get all we can out of him." he gestured around the room "I'll assemble a group to take all the other bodies away…probably take their weapons and armour too."

"You're going to loot them?" Dimitri asked with a raised eyebrow.

Yuri gave an unashamed nod "Yeah. Clean up some of the gear and grab some of the weapons and we can sell them off for food money or use for the little militia we have here. We're not really in a position to waste anything."

"...Fair enough." Claude shrugged "I suppose if you're desperate enough, you have to make do with anything you can get your hands on." shouldering his bow, he slowly made his way towards the exit "...Also can you guys go on ahead? I forgot the route we took to get here."

That earned a light chuckle from Aelfric "Yes, Abyss is quite the maze for the unaccustomed. It took me years before I finally managed to learn all the twists and turns and I still find moments where I am unsure if I might get lost walking down a specific path." The man slowly started to walk in the direction of the exit.

"I'd rather you didn't Elfie." Hapi remarked with a faint smile as she walked behind him "We'd have half of Abyss out looking for you and that might end up earning a sigh from me."

"I suppose that is enough incentive for me to not get lost then."

"Take him to one of the cleaner areas." Yuri informed the pair as they picked up the wounded merc "And patch him up just enough that he won't die within the next few hours." he paused "At least not of his own injuries anyway."

The two man nodded with grim expressions before they roughly carried the man down the hallway, pained groans emanating from him at each step.

"What will happen with him?" Dimitri asked, looking down the hallway and then back to Aelfric. The monk paused before turning to the Prince.

"That will depend on his information." He replied "If he is fully willing to cooperate I will show leniency and at the very least have him imprisoned within the Monastery along with all other criminals before he would be sent off to a dungeon in whichever Kingdom he originated." the man frowned. "However, if he is adamant in remaining silent then I have no reason not to give him the same measure of mercy he was inclined to give to those who dwelt here."

Dimitri remained silent for a few moments before he slowly nodded his head "That is more fair than I was expecting."

Aelfric smiled "We are not savages down here and while some of the more volatile citizens would be more inclined for a much more bloody justice, I believe that there is an obligation to show that even if they are outcasts from the rest of Fodlan, that is no reason to abandon civility."

"I suppose we need only wait until he has been healed enough." Edelgard remarked before slowly turning to Linhardt "You are aware of healing spells, are you not?"

Linhardt rubbed his eyes as he just finished a yawn, the boy sitting down on one of the wooden chairs before he slowly nodded "I know some, yes. You want me to go and heal him?"

"If you would." Edelgard replied "The sooner he is healed, the faster we can learn exactly who is behind this."

"I'm…surprised you're willing to say that." Yuri spoke with slightly widened eyes "I thought you'd have all disappeared above ground now that your work is done."

"And leave all you guys alone?" Claude raised an eyebrow and gave a teasing smirk "Not a chance…also this place is waaaay too interesting for me to just up and leave before I learn all I can about it. I mean…this is the sort of stuff the Church purposefully hides from us."

"I don't know about purposefully." Harold quietly replied as he scratched his cheek, a faint frown "I mean…I didn't know about it."

"Yeah…but no offence, you're not that high up on the ladder of importance." Claude replied with a shrug and a more casual smile.

Harold remained silent before he slowly nodded his head "You're not wrong. I am just the Gatekeeper…" he paused before he snickered "Well…I suppose you might call me the Goetiakeeper at the moment." he got out inbetween a muffled laugh as he managed to prevent himself from fully bursting into mirth.

All he managed to earn was flat looks from everyone in the room - save Dimitri who has mysteriously decided to hold his hand in front of his mouth as if to hide something - and slightly furrowed brows from Goetia himself.

"...Sorry." Harold apologised soon after he stopped laughing.

Hapi was staring at Harold with a look that bordered somewhere between disgust and disappointment "...You don't happen to know a knight who laughs stupidly loudly and tells bad jokes?"

"Bad jokes?" Harold frowned "The only Knight I know who laughs loudly is Captain Alois but all his jokes are pretty funny. At least I think so."

"...Another million piece puzzle has fallen beautifully into place." Claude remarked with a smirk before shaking his head.

Linhardt decided upon that moment to walk out and after the men who carried off the wounded mercenary, the boy doing so in dead silence as well.

"I must thank you for your help." Aelfric turned to Byleth and bowed his head slightly "I am grateful beyond words that you have decided to lend aid to us…and there is another thing I feel I must ask of you."

Byleth tilted her head "A favour?"

"Of a sort." Aelfric replied "I would be most grateful if you could take up the role of part time tutor to the Ashen Wolf house." his request came at the visible surprise of the Ashen wolves themselves, all staring at the man with wide surprised eyes "As I feel they are in need of-"

"Aelfric?" Yuri stood up straight "What's this nonsense and where is it coming from?"

"I second that question." Constance exclaimed "We have no need of a professor when we have you-"

Aelfric raised his hand to cut off further arguments, turning to the Ashen Wolves with a patient smile "I understand your reservations as I have been with you all for many years but I am ill-suited to act as a tutor for you. I might have the power to protect you from the Church but I lack the power to enrich your minds in the same way an accredited teacher might be able to." he lowered the hand and gestured to them "In the beginning the Ashen Wolves as a house are - rather unfortunately - little more than a gathering of young ones rather than students."

He slowly turned to Byleth "With the opportunity that Byleth presents, there is now the chance that you might be able to truly enrich your minds, with her permission of course." he turned back to them "And given my relation with her parents, I can say that I am certain of her character."

"But…" Constance made to speak before Yuri cut her off with a sigh.

"It's fine, not like we're strangers anymore either." He admitted with a shrug as he turned to Byleth "Well?"

"...Alright." Byleth replied after a few moments, giving a single nod of her head then looked at Dimitri "Acceptable?"

"You are the Professor here." Dimitri replied with a chuckle "It is not my permission you need ask for, as long as you do not abandon the Blue Lions entirely, it is perfectly acceptable for you to take on as many students as you feel comfortable with."

"Wonderful." Aelfric gave a warm smile "And I realise that we did not have much time to speak before we parted ways but if there is anything you wish to ask me, I would be more than willing to answer." he chuckled "There are several stories I could tell you in regards to your mother's excursions with Jeralt."

"You knew my mother?" Byleth asked, tilting her head slightly.

Aelfric nodded in response "I did indeed. Jeralt, Sitri and I-"

"Sitri?" A puzzled voice cut through the conversation, Goetia staring at Aelfric with wide and rather confused eyes "Her name was Sitri?"

"It was…" Aelfric replied with a raised eyebrow "Is that unusual to you?"

Goetia was still staring at Aelfric, although now it looked as though he was staring through the man rather than at him. Eventually his gaze turned on Byleth and seemingly widened in understanding "Beleth…" he muttered to himself, earning a brief blink from the girl in response before he shook his head.

"No, it is nothing." He rather quickly dismissed, turning away from the pair and walking out of the room. Harold swiftly followed behind him.

"Huh…wonder what had him in such a hurry." Yuri muttered before he shrugged "Anyway, Professor…what now?"

"Now." Aelfric sighed "Now I wait until the young student has healed the mercenary and then myself and Yuri will interrogate them for information. I do invite you all to return come the evening tomorrow." he looked to the others "If you are still willing to help."

"If you'd still have us." Claude offered "More than happy to lend a hand to our downstairs neighbours, right Hilda?"

"I suppose it would give me something interesting to tell Holst about in a letter." Hilda muttered in reply, although still looking rather unwilling to be there in the first place. Balthus started to sweat slightly at the mention of Hilda's older brother.

"That's the spirit."

"Now then." Aelfric moved past them "If you will excuse me, and I believe it would be best for you all to return and get some rest."

"True enough." Dimitri chuckled as he rubbed his eyes "This night has been quite tiring indeed."

"Hmmm." Edelgard merely hummed in agreement.

"Quickly, before we leave." Sothis whispered to Byleth "Ask him the name of the Goddess, he's some manner of monk so it is likely he will know."

"Why?" Byleth asked back in her head.

"Because at the very least it might explain some manner of question." Sothis replied "That and it has been a curiosity of mine."

Byleth remained silent before she soon followed after Aelfric, moving down the hallway after him. The man paused after a few steps at the sound of footsteps behind him before he turned around, blinking as Byleth approached him.

"Is there something else you need?" He asked, looking on with some small sense of worry.

Byleth came to a stop in front of him before she spoke "Does the Goddess have a name?"

Aelfric jolted "E-excuse me?" he blinked at her and gaped "Does the Goddess have a name?" Byleth nodded "Why do you ask?"

"...Never heard of Seiros Church until I started teaching." Byleth replied, earning a surprised blink from Aelfric.

"The Archbishop said you were ill-informed but I dared not believe this much…" He replied with clear shock before he shook his head. "Still, the Goddess's name is not one often spoken aloud and only for the grandest of religious gatherings is her name uttered so as not to risk misuse of the name." he replied before his eyes softened "Although I suppose I might alleviate some concern of yours."


"It is no problem." Aelfric assured her "The name of the Goddess is Sothis."

"W-wait up Goetia!" Harold called after him as the pair moved through the junctions back in the direction of the 'library'. Goetia not having slowed his pace down at all from a power walk. "What's wrong?"

"My oversight." Goetia bit back as he entered the library, looking around "That is what is wrong. I failed to notice it upon my first learning of the name." he growled "Overlooking such obvious displays…it seems as though that habit of Flauros remains within me even now."

"Who?" Harold blinked at the unfamiliar name.

"Irrelevant." Goeta snapped, looking around the room "I could ignore the initial spelling because it was incorrect and the pronunciation was different. However I cannot ignore this new discovery, nor can I ignore anything else. There is something strange here…some manner of odd coincidence that I have missed or some common ground." his eyes narrowed as they scanned the shelves "What information have you regarding Demons?"

"D-Demons?" Harold sputtered "Umm…I don't…um…you mean like Demonic Beasts?"


"W-well…they…they don't exist?" He guessed with a shrug, then flinched when Goetia's eyes fell upon him with obvious annoyance "Honest! When people say demons that's just what they imagine, you know like some non-existent thing like ghost-"

"Demons and Ghosts are real now tell me what you know." Goetia turned fully, Harold still reeling from the last sentence.

"T-they're what? But what-"

"Harold." Goetia cut him off "The books on Demons. Are there any?"

"A lot of the stuff about Dark Magic!" Harold blurted out "I-I don't remember it but one of the monks said it was the stuff of heretics and demon worshippers."

Goetia's lip curled slightly but he said nothing "...Then I need books on the origin of Dark Magic and those would not be kept within the library." his eyes turned towards the shelves "They would be kept here…" he muttered to himself "Very well. It would appear I have more reason to remain."

"U-um…you…" Harold gulped "You aren't a Demon worshipper, are you?"

Goetia turned to Harold with a half-raised eyebrow "...No. I do not worship Demons. My faith resides with the Heavenly Father."

"Oh…okay." Harold exhaled "So…why the interest?"

"Sudden revelations." Was all Goetia offered.

"You'd know all about sudden revelations." He paused at the heated voice, turning to the doorway and seeing Sothis floating next to Byleth with a substantial glare on her face. "Wouldn't you?"

AN: Yo. Little update after a bit over a week. Some small story turns and Goetia finally realises there is something wrong with Byleth's name.

And Sothis has found out she's a Goddess!

And understandably pissed Goetia didn't tell her.

Anyway…Omake time!

I suppose I should make it official though…

Welcome to the Munda!Mach

Where Goetia is a crazy scientist.

Rhea has a mommy kink.

Byleth is secretly super possessive over glittery man.

Claude is a trickster (So no difference)

Featuring Seteth as the only person with common sense!

And Sothis as 'The voice in my head claiming to be a Goddess can't be this cute!'

Omake: Personal Appeal

"Why do you always wear such tacky robes?"

"Excuse me?" Goetia looked back at Hilda with a raised eyebrow, the girl slumped over her table with both arms propping her head up.

Staring back at him with a raised eyebrow, she hummed "It's just whenever I see you, you're always wearing the same old brown robes. It's like you don't have any other clothes."

"...I don't have any other clothes." Goetia replied back, looking at her as if she was stupid "What reason do I have for-"

"What!?" Hilda exclaimed, gaping at him and pushing off the table "All you have are those and that's it?"

"Yes. Now what is the-"

"You're going clothes shopping with me and Dorothea."

"...I'm doing what now?"

"She is right." Dorothea remarked as she held the collar of Goetia's brown cloak inbetween her two fingers "You really do need more than this." she looked at Goetia with chiding expression as if he was a child "How do you expect to pick up a date if you always wear something like this?"

"...How does my clothing relate to my ability to read a calendar?"

Dorothea stared at him in silence, releasing her hold on his collar and turning to Hilda. The twin tailed girl looked back at Goetia and squinted her eyes at him.

"Are…are you serious?" She asked, Goetia raised an eyebrow back at her.

"About what?"

"...Oh dear." Dorothea sucked in air between her teeth "It looks as though we might end up needing some professional help with this one."

"You have yet to actually explain what I am in need of and how it relates to the passage of time."

Goetia stared at Manuela in silence.

Manuela stared back at him with a teasing smirk.

The glittery haired man looked down at Dorothea "I was under the impression you said we were acquiring professional help."

"Well if you're going to be rude about it." Manuela deadpanned at him before she huffed and crossed her arms "However, I can tell that perhaps I am superior to you in this field of expertise." her lips curved back into a sly smile "Rather strange, isn't it?"

"If I am not a master in it, then it is hardly worth mastering." Goetia fired back with a blank expression, Manuela's eyebrow twitched slightly before she turned to the two girls and tilted her head.

"So…you want him to wear more than just some tacky brown robes?"

"Well, if he's to get a date at least." Dorothea replied "He's already handsome enough but I feel as though he should just put in that extra mile to truly impress the ladies."

Manuela snorted "Considering who he's likely to end up with, I doubt she even cares." she paused, looking back at Goetia "Although I suppose at least one of them should put in the effort."

"Can I do his hair?" Hilda asked, holding up a lock of the hair in her hands and running her hands through it with wide eyes "Woah…it feels so soft and silky." she murmured before looking at Dorothea "You try holding some."

Goetia frowned "Unhand my-"

"Let me…oh my…" Dorothea widened her eyes as she ran her hand through a lock of his hair, feeling it thoroughly "It's so luxurious." she paused, then held it up to herself and sniffed it once "And it smells divine…"

Goetia scrunched his face up "What on earth-"

"Really?" Manuela was now running her hand through his hair "You're right." then gave a cursory sniff "And it does smell amazing! What shampoo do you use?"

"Shampoo?" Goetia blinked at her "What are-and get off me." he stepped out of their reach "I just use water."

"Natural scent?" Dorothea widened her eyes "...I'm jealous." she muttered before pouting.

"...What is wrong with all of you?" Goetia asked, looking between all of them with a disturbed expression. "Why do you insist on-stop touching my hair." he snapped at Hilda, taking a step further away from her and removing his glowing hair from her hands, earning a disappointed whine from the girl.

"But it's so soft…" She replied "...Can I just-"

"No." Goetia narrowed his eyes "Nor is there any issue with my clothes."

"Fine." Manuela sighed, raising her hands in surrender. "We will leave your hair alone but you will need more than one set of clothes."


Manuela raised an eyebrow at him "Personal appearance." she dryly replied "It actually matters a great deal." sighing, she moved past him "Now then, I suppose we actually should get you someplace where we can actually find clothes to match your…you." she gestured at him "And not robes."

Goetia frowned at her and looked down "...What is wrong with robes?"

"Nothing." Hilda replied "If you're a monk."

"More than that, they hide a lot of your figure." Dorothea added on, gesturing to them "They're so baggy that girls won't be able to tell quite how healthy you are." she reached out and gave his upper arm a squeeze "You could be well toned under-" she cut herself off, suddenly staring back at the arm with a critical eye "...Hmmmm." she let out a curious hum as she gave his arm another squeeze.

"...What are you doing?" Goetia asked, she released his arm and moved her hand down to his sleeve before she rolled it up and exposed his singular arm to the world.

"...Why are you so toned?" Dorothea asked with clear confusion before she narrowed her eyes and moved her gaze onto his chest. Raising her left hand, she moved it out and pressed it against his torso twice before her eyes widened. "Actually…you're more solidly built than I thought."

"Why are you touching me again?"

"Are you…actually toned?" She asked, looking at Goetia with puzzled eyes.

"...I am in an adequate physical condition." Goetia replied with a frown "Is this truly important?"

"Maybe…" Dorothea muttered out "...So what's your financial situation like?"

"My what-?"

Before Dorothea could press her hand onto his abs again, another arm shot out and stopped her dead. Dorothea paused and slowly turned to see Byleth looming over her. Empty violet eyes bore into her soul.

"...Student/staff relations are prohibited." She spoke in a dead tone of voice "Understood?"

Dorothea rapidly nodded her head, Byleth released her and she stepped out of range of the teacher.

Manuela gave a flirtatious smirk and stepped to Goetia's right sight and leaned into it "But what about Staff and Staff relations?"

Byleth turned onto her, then raised her arm upwards before bringing it down in an axe motion between the two of them. "...Risk of transmittable diseases."

"Risk of what!?"

"More names to discuss on the whiteboard of future relations." She spoke to Goetia as Manuela sputtered, before she could even try to counter the Professor, Byleth hooked her arm under Goetia's limb and dragged him away, the man still looking befuddled as to what had occurred. He was about to ask when he felt someone touch his hair and heard the telltale noise of a sniff.



"...Are you sniffing my hair?"


"I can hear you."



"...Smells nice."

The pair soon passed by a door, Seteth walked out and then found himself staring at Byleth and Goetia. The former had some of the latters hair firmly in her hand and pressed against her nose while looking at him dead in the eyes.

Seteth wordlessly turned around and closed the door behind him.