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Unexpected Bloom

Chapter Text

[3rd of the Great Tree Moon, 22:00. Imperial Year of 1185]

 

 

Once more, the goddess Seiros remains in solitude, as the doors to the chamber she is chained in closes shut, and her visitors (well, more perpetrators to her imprisonment than actual visitors, really) have left the room. The emperor, her trusted adviser, and the guards that came in the room all left first, with the green-haired mercenary following soon after. With no means of escape, and little to do, Rhea decided to once more sit on the floor and shut her eyes. She wasn't necessarily asleep. Rather, she performed a sort of meditation to keep herself tranquil, even for just a moment.

 

Meanwhile, Byleth is seen wandering the corridors, seemingly aimless at where she is to go. As her departure from the chamber was delayed by her own pause, Byleth did not quite see where both Edelgard and Hubert were headed. Of course, she knows for a fact that those two were together, as she had a hunch that the two would have a sort of discussion about the events that has transpired, and the events that have yet to. Amidst her stroll, on a hallway seemingly devoid of human life, a pair of voices could be heard from a distance. 

 

"Must we truly go through such lengths to ensure the survival of the goddess? Though I do not wish to question you, I believe there are more. . .'practical' ways of using her power for our benefit. I also fear that our plans may go awry should 'they' discover about all this."

 

"I already told you Hubert, we need her alive. She is a key element to our plot against those fiends and we must ensure that she cooperates, if we wish to succeed. Beyond that, both the Professor and I have questions for her, and I wish to hear what she has to say for herself."

 

"Well, I suppose it is impossible to pry the dead for answers. But if I may ask, Lady Edelgard, how are we to be certain that we will be able to conceal all truths from Arundel and his ilk? Surely that man is not to be underestimated"

 

Those voices were none other than those of Hubert's and Edelgard's. While their voice is audible enough to be heard around the hallway, there were none besides the professor who would be able to receive these voices through their ears. Not only that, but while there were voices, the dialogue itself wasn't quite comprehensible from where she's standing. Having her attention caught, Byleth took a gander around her surroundings to find the sources of the dialogue, only to immediately spot them standing at a balcony. 

 

As her eyes darted towards the direction of her two former students talking, Hubert immediately took noticed of the mercenary, somewhat eyeing Edelgard to notify her as well. El then paused the exchange of words, in a moment, and turned around to see her mentor behind, having a somewhat surprised expression. Despite their discussion being that of private matters, Byleth is far from an individual that the two were planning to keep all these concealed from. If anything, the expression plastered onto Edelgard's face was less of a wary facial expression, and more of a confounded expression as to why Byleth was late to the party. 

 

Upon being noticed, Byleth simply nodded. She would then walk towards both El and Hubert in a more urgent matter, understanding that she had inadvertently kept them waiting. Byleth took a short glance around her surroundings once more, both to admire the view that the balcony they're on had blessed them with, but to ensure that no one else would eavesdrop, as well. 

 

"I'm surprised you took a while, Professor."

 

"I wasn't sure where you two went. Have I missed anything?"

 

While Byleth tends to remain silent for most of her life, she is far from incapable of speech. Of course, her words are often simple and kept to a minimum, not making an attempt to replicate the prose or the rather lengthy soliloquies that some of her students would often utter, such as that of Ferdinand. In any case, Byleth went on and tried to catch up with their little meeting, closely paying attention to what they have to say next.

 

"I am simply reminding Hubert as to why we have kept the former archbishop alive. We require not only her strength, but also answers to our questions. And I believe that there are truths you wish to find out from her, no?"

 

". . .Mhm."

 

"If I may interject, how is it that we conceal all information regarding the survival and current whereabouts of the goddess, from the likes of Arundel and those who slither in the dark?"

 

"We need not to worry about that, Hubert. I suspect that they are plotting something against the Empire as we speak. So long as we keep this information private, they will be completely oblivious of our actions. We've limited the amount of people aware of our plot to ourselves, and a select few troops, and we must continue doing so. No one must find out about this, not our former classmates, not the other nobles, and especially not the public"

 

"Hm, I suppose you're right. As for any potential spies or proxies hiding among our ranks, I sense that you shall place both the Professor and I in charge of dealing with those rats?"

 

"Indeed. Make sure that none of my uncle's troops have infiltrated the castle. Should you discover any of them within the Imperial walls, see to it that they shall be dealt with. I trust that you would also make sure to gather any form of information from them."

 

"Understood, Your Highness."

 

Slowly, but surely, Byleth is processing their words and taking note of them. Deal with spies, keep the information hidden, make sure that Arundel does not find out. All of these seem rather simple instructions, yet she could not help but worry at how effective all this would be. Those who slither in the dark are quite crafty and well-equipped, she thought to herself. If they have enough power to summon a 'javelin of light' and bring destruction on an entire city in one fell swoop, then they may even be capable of listening in to their conversation, as they speak. Such a notion may be absurd even for Byleth herself, who carries the heart of the progenitor god within her. Yet, she could not help but be wary of what the Agartheans are planning, especially since they have not seen them in quite a while. . .

 

"Good. As much as I'd love to stay and chat longer, I unfortunately must tend to some paperwork. I shall leave the rest to the both of you."

 

With not much else to say, and a rather busy schedule laid before the emperor, Edelgard nodded towards Hubert and Byleth, as a way of gesturing her leave. As promised, Edelgard slowly left the scene, heading back to her quarters as she left the shadowy figure and the mercenary to themselves. With just Byleth and Hubert alone on the balcony, the latter senses Byleth's concern for this ordeal.

 

"I see that you are worried as well. . ."

 

"I cannot help it. Those working for Arundel. . .those who slither. . .they are powerful foes. And crafty ones too."

 

"They are quite crafty, indeed. As for power, I suggest you avoid overestimating their capabilities. For your sake."

 

"But. . .what if they decide to summon the javelins—"

 

"They won't. That I can assure you."

 

Somehow, his words calmed Byleth's worries. Despite that, she cannot help but wonder what makes Hubert confident about that. She knows that he is far from the type of person to make baseless assumptions, or to say something for the sake of comforting someone.

 

"The very source of their power is at the center of their base. The 'javelins of light' are no exception to that. However, I theorize that they cannot unleash several javelins onto different coordinates at once, as it takes up a lot of their magic. Even if they are capable of such, they would choose not to, and for good reason."

 

"Hm?"

 

"Firing even a single one of those weapons would allow us the opportunity to deduce the exact locations of their current whereabouts. An opportunity, which I have seized the moment they launched an attack onto Arianrhod."

 

"So you know where they are. . .!?"

 

"Not quite. Though I've yet to uncover the location of their base of operations, I am one step closer to achieving that goal."

 

Though not being the expressive type, Byleth was somewhat elated to hear those words from Hubert. Her eyes glimmered with a sense of hope. Finally the war can truly end, the land will be closer to attaining true peace. At the same time, Byleth is not only excited for the idea of a true era of peace for Fodlan, she was somewhat looking forward to put an end to those who slither, to put them to justice and to achieve retribution. 

 

Without warning, Hubert slowly closed in towards the professor, gently placing one hand onto her shoulder whilst the other was busy stroking her hair. This somewhat caught Byleth by surprise. She knew not how to react to this, only tilting her head slightly upwards to meet her eyes with his. Her face was slightly glowing a pinkish hue.

 

"Soon, all this shall be put to an end. We shall ensure that the land shall finally see peace, and that Lady Edelgard's desires shall come true. And perhaps, when that time comes, we may finally make your dreams happen as well, my love."

 

"I'd like that. Whether it's serving El, or maybe going fishing, I'd like to do it with you, Hubert."

 

"Heh. I've never been one to indulge in such past times, but perhaps I shall give it a try. Just as I've mentioned in the Goddess Tower, I shall try my earnest to be a good husband."

 

Hubert wasn't really the romantic type, but it is clear that he is trying his best to be such. Gently, he placed some of Byleth's green locks behind her ear, giving her a light peck on the forehead. Byleth stayed silent, barely uttering a sound, but her heart was symbolically racing. Being treated this way by Hubert felt odd, despite the two of them already being married. But at the same time, it felt nice.

 

After that, it was her turn to give Hubert a kiss, this time it was her lips against his. It wasn't a long, passionate meeting of their lips pressed onto one another. Instead it was merely a momentary 'smooch' onto his mouth. Both of them had errands to do, and with the fight against the Agartheans still ongoing, they unfortunately had little time for romance. However, they of course found ways to give one another some affection, no matter how little time they had, or how bad they both were at it. 

 

"Perhaps we should return indoors to rest. The sun is setting, after all."

 

Hubert uttered, his face somewhat radiating the same warmth that Byleth's was, which was odd but endearing at the same time. Both of them smiled at one another, their palms wrapping one another as they slowly head inside. The sun had all but vanished from the sky, and the moon shines upon the starry night once more. Tomorrow is a new day, and the both of them walked away from the balcony to head to their own quarters, about to take a rest and save their energy for their duties the following day. 

 


 

In contrast to the more peaceful nights that the previously mentioned individuals are indulging in, their prisoner seems to fare a different type of night. It was quiet, but a quiet place does not necessarily mean that it is a peaceful one. Sometimes the silence is to be feared, as the lack of sound or utterance allows for elusive, and at times malicious, beings to lurk around the area; ghosts, pests, thieves, all sorts of creatures that lurk within shadows. Other times, there are none dwelling within the shade, and it is you who is blanketed by the darkness, accompanied by nothing besides your own thoughts and, if you're lucky, a hint of moonlight shining through the window. For Rhea's case, it was the latter.

 

There was no one around her. No one to wrap her in their arms, no one to wish them a good night's rest, no one to hear their woes and anxieties. It was quiet, far more than the fields of battle that she herself have been the center of, months prior. And though there were no conflict or bloodshed within her chamber, there was still the presence of pain. It hurts, it hurts so badly. To be left alone in the world of the living, to have everyone you hold dear be taken away from you, to be pulled down, both by the shackles around your arm and the strings of your heart. It was truly a fate worse than death.

 

"In time's flow. . ."

 

"See the glow. . ."

 

"Of flames ever burning bright. . ."

 


. . .

 


"On the swift. . ."

 

"Rivers drift. . ."

 

"Broken memories—"

 


These were the lyrics to a lullaby, one which was sung to her as a child by Sothis. Softly, she sung these words into the night, her voice barely echoing the dark room. This song is one that is close to her heart, having heard this from her mother millennia ago, and occasionally singing the song herself, even having sung it once around the Monastery, and at Byleth, on one event. Though having sung the lullaby in a harmonious manner before, Rhea finds herself unable to properly sing, let alone finish, the piece. Instead of high notes gracefully flowing through the atmosphere, the song was instead sung with rather low notes, and a somewhat jagged voice. 

 

It was difficult, difficult for her to sing the song without choking at her own tears. Slowly, her eyes would begin to water as droplets would roll down her cheek, landing towards the floor as if it were drops of rain. Having been separated from her dear mother for quite some time, she would often sing this lullaby to relieve herself of any emotional strains. However, rather than put her heart and mind at ease, Rhea began silently wailing after singing the song. 

 

The wounds from her battles have slowly vanished from her being, but the scars on her heart not only remain, some of them would continue to grow. She lacks even the energy to be angry, to feel hatred, to think about giving her adversaries what she deems to be the punishment they deserve. She yearned for love, for peace, for company. She wanted to be able to feel those once more, and as each day passes, her sorrow would do nothing but continue to grow.

 

Eventually, she would tire herself out from crying and slowly succumb to slumber. Knowing the next day wouldn't get any better than the last, she had little else to do than that. . .