Seliph stared into the small mirror in his room. Tugged on a lock of his hair. Pulled at his bangs. Compared the color with a scrap of cloth.
His hair was positively purple. The purple of young lilacs. The purple of the taro roots that the Hoshidans enjoyed. The purple of his mother’s dress, of her eyes, and of her hair.
“Leif,” the young prince called, “LEIF!”
The roommate in question shifted in his bed, mumbling something incoherent. Seliph started over, then came to a screeching stop. Quite literally. His feet stopped moving and he couldn’t help but let out an undignified squawk.
His cousin’s hair was, without question, pink.
Leif poked his head fully from of his blanket burrito, yelping as Seliph suddenly yanked him out and shuffled him over to the mirror. “Seliph—wha—oh Njörun what the HECK—!” He yanked on a fistful of his pink hair, the blood draining from his face as he stared into the mirror. “What is—what the—”
“I don’t know,” Seliph said helplessly, shaking his head, his locks of lilac falling around his face. “I woke up like this.”
A snarling noise alerted them, and the two princes turned to their third roommate, who was slowly sitting up. Ares had never been a morning person, and the young lion glared at his roommates, his murderous expression shifting to pure confusion at the sight before him. Then he looked down, to his own locks of shimmering brown .
“Ah!” Kiran stretched comfortably outside the door of their room. “Finally, I woke up on time all on my own! Surely this means that today will be good, with no problems outside the usual conflicts!”
“I spoke too soon,” they murmured darkly, before spinning around with a grand smile. “Boys, what can I do for you and in the names of the 12 Holy Crusaders WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH YOUR HAIR!?!!?”
“Kiran,” Seliph skidded to a stop, panting, “I would tell you if I could. But we don’t know. We woke up like this.”
Kiran stared in horror at the young warriors, at the way their new hair colors clashed horribly with their outfits and at the way the three of them shifted uncomfortably, like they didn’t know their own bodies anymore. “Well,” they began slowly, “let’s get down to the roots of this situation, but let’s not split hairs trying to find the specifics.”
They knew the slap from Ares was totally deserved, but Kiran honestly didn’t have any regrets.
“So nothing outside of the ordinary happened yesterday? Absolutely nothing?” Kiran questioned after they had gathered the boys in a private conference room.
Leif nodded. “We spent the day together yesterday, like usual, but nothing suspicious happened. We trained, visited the library, spent time with our families… Yeah, nothing.”
Kiran tapped their pen against their lips, thinking. “Perhaps… Hm, well maybe some mages were messing around with a spell and accidentally did this. I mean, it’s happened with Nino before…”
Seliph traded glances with his friends. “But switching hair color?”
Kiran shrugged. “I don’t know. This needs investigation… While I sort this out, how about you three go get something to eat, talk with your families, and get some sense of normalcy. Try not to get too separated, though. I’ll check up on you later.”
“Seliph… Your hair…!” Deirdre gasped, reaching out to grasp her son’s face. “What happened?”
Seliph chuckled. “Nothing too serious, I hope. I don’t quite know myself, but it just seems like my hair color was switched to yours…”
“Hmm…” Deirdre hummed, inspecting him. “Well, I always wondered what you would look like with my hair color…”
Sigurd sighed. “Gods, now I know how Ethlyn feels…”
“D-Dont worry, Father! It’ll go back to normal… Soon. I hope. I’m not really sure, but I hope it does. Otherwise I’ll look even worse in my clothes…”
“Beauty is only skin deep, dear,” Deirdre scolded lightly.
“Or hair deep as it seems now,” Sigurd muttered.
Ethlyn shrieked when she saw Leif, rushing over to seize his shoulders. “Your hair! It’s like mine now! Quan, dear! Come over and look at this!”
“I see him,” Quan said, smoothly walking over to where Ethlyn pulled Leif’s head down to inspect the pink strands. “What happened? Did you dye it?”
“No… I woke up like this in the morning,” Leif pouted. “Mother… Ow, that hurts.”
“I’m sorry, but it’s just… Finally! One of our children has my hair color!” Ethlyn sighed in happiness. “I thought it would only be a dream of mine, but now it’s a reality!”
“Mother, I think this is only temporary…”
“Don’t ruin this for me!”
Eldigan stared down at his son. “You know, like this, you really do look like your mother.”
Ares frowned. “I do not.”
“Really. The blond hair before made everyone compare you to me, but now I can see that most of your features belong to Grahnye. Your eyes, the shape of your mouth…”
Ares’ frown only deepened, but that might’ve been from Lene dancing around him, giggling. “I think you look adorable, Ares! More of a baby cub than an adolescent trying to become the leader of the pride!”
“Son, that isn’t how you should speak to a lady…”
“Stop telling me what to do!” Ares huffed crossly, although the sting of his words was erased by the softness of his hair and the pink scarf Lene wound around his shoulders.
Kiran crossed their arms, brow wrinkling. “So you’re telling me that there’s no reason for this? No spell, no accidental release of magic?”
Cecilia nodded. “Trust me, it’s not like the, ah… Incident.”
“Hair color doesn’t just decide to change on its own in the middle of the night though.”
“Hmm, well…” Cecilia tapped her chin, lost in thought. “Perhaps… When you summoned them…”
Kiran blanched. “Like… An error when I summoned them?”
“No, no, not at all… But we as mere Heroes are unused to the magic and ways of this world. It is possible that our bodies would behave differently when reacting to this new world.”
“Why now though?”
“You summoned Leif quite recently, no? Maybe that’s it.”
“But… Cecilia, I don’t get it. This doesn’t explain the hair.”
Cecilia smiled. “It’s a little confusing, even to me. Magic is fickle, and even though we mages are able to control it to some extent, we more channel magical force through our bodies than physically create it. Using magic is an inherent power—it is possible to learn it, but much harder, and requires extensive training. Non-mages usually require more specialized tomes and equipment to use magic, and even though, it won’t be very powerful. Take, for example, the Levin Sword—it’s a sword that is able to control magic, but it’s rare and quite specialized.”
Kiran nodded. “So… You’re saying that magic is like little particles that floats through the air, and mages control it.”
“Yes. There are contrary explanations that magic is known as mana and people generate it within their bodies, then release it, but I think that is just the magic in the air allowing people to use it.”
“So how does this explain the color of the boys’ hair?”
Cecilia laughed. “Oh, just because we mages control it doesn’t mean magic doesn’t have a… Well, a sense of its own. It does things, unexplainable things. My theory is that it just changed the Leif’s hair color for the fun of it, then went on to change his roommates’ hair colors as well. Perhaps it heard their parents’ wishes to see what they would look like, if just for a day.”
“This is temporary, then?”
“It shouldn’t last for more than a day, and incidents like this are rare and far between. Seliph, Leif, and Ares should be fine.”
“You sound like you have experience with this.”
Cecilia’s eyes twinkled. “It is quite hard to forget how Lord Eliwood and Lord Hector screamed when Roy and Lilina switched hair colors for a couple of hours.”
“It’s temporary…” Seliph repeated with a sigh of relief. “Thank the gods…”
“Yes, you three should be just fine,” Kiran smiled. “Did you have a good time today?”
The three groaned in unison.
“Mother couldn’t stop touching my hair,” Leif bemoaned. “It attracted so much attention. Reinhardt took one look and wouldn’t stop laughing.”
“No one would take me seriously!” Ares complained. “I loved Mother, but I like my original hair color more.”
“Arvis looked at me and almost fainted,” Seliph said quietly. “I guess I really do resemble Mother. Julia and Julius liked it, though. It was quite fun to go through the day with them. I hope my hair color goes back to normal, though.”
“Don’t worry, it should! Just sleep early tonight, and the magic should be reversed by morning! Ah, well, hopefully…”
“Well,” Ethlyn blinked. “It’s certainly… A change.” Quan nodded next to her, bringing his hand to pinch the bridge of his nose.
Deirdre giggled nervously, hand patting her husband’s arm as Sigurd groaned into his hands. “At… At least it’s not like yesterday?”
Eldigan simply sat down at the table, burying his head into his arms while Lene shook with stifled laughter next to him.
Seliph, with hair as brown as Quan’s, Leif, with hair as blond as Eldigan’s, and Ares, with hair as blue as Sigurd’s, all traded glances and groaned in unison.