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Humanity Struggles

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It had been only a few weeks since Nessarose Byleth Eisner's heart began to beat. They were still at the Monastery, since it was a good central location for now. Also it was a place safe from Those Who Slither, so they could plan their next phase of their secret war.

With Fódlan now united, things were beginning to stabilize, at least among their friends and their soldiers. The bulk of the fight was over, and Edelgard was working on creating order among her reunified Empire. Instead of battle, soldiers were sent to help build and repair infrastructure. Whatever aid and supplies could be sent to struggling areas in the Empire, it was sent. It was busy. But a different kind of busy. That wasn't the only thing different, though.

Since Nessa's heart began to beat, strange things began to happen to her. She would actually get tired at night. She liked sleep before her heart started beating, but now she needed it! Edelgard even commented that Nessa was cranky if she didn't sleep enough. That wasn't a change Nessa minded, though. She liked sleep. 

She also learned that she couldn't eat like Caspar anymore, since she almost choked that one time… having Caspar give her the anti-choking maneuver was not an experience she was eager to repeat. Nessa's ribs were still bruised from that experience. 

Some of the worst changes came about during her daily training with Felix. Sometimes, if they were really going at it, her lungs would burn when she tried to breathe. BURN ! She could always feel an incredible pounding in her chest during those moments. So much so, Nessa kept halting spars because she was convinced it was going to break open her sternum. No matter how many times everyone told her this was normal, Nessa refused to believe it. To add insult to injury, she would even be sore the next day after her training. It was entirely unfair and Nessa didn't like it, even if it was supposedly normal.

There were other things, of course. For one, pain was… well painful. Before pain was always more… fuzzy? No, perhaps muted. At the very least, an inconvenience. Back a few weeks ago, she would hardly notice certain things… now paper cuts were the bane of her existence.

Humanity was so fragile.

But as much as humanity had it glaringly obvious flaws. Nessa came to find that possessing things like emotions, and feelings were actually nice. As Petra would say, Nessa now had understanding. At least, understanding on how to truly be human.

Nessa now laughed at jokes! Of course, they were mostly her own jokes… and no one laughed aside from Alois, but Nessa still thought they were funny. When she thought of Jeralt, she found herself getting teary eyed and her heart would physically hurt at the thought of him. She thought that she was dying the first time that happened, but it too was normal. Oddly enough. 

Nessa learned that she feared spiders and on more than one occasion, would jump on a desk or a table, and make Edelgard kill them. They just had too many legs and too many beady little eyes for her to be able to handle. But the monastery cats made her happy, and they liked to catch spiders, so if Nessa put a cat close enough to one, it usually killed the damnitable arachnid for her. She rewarded them with many kitty cuddles and there were very few things better than kitty cuddles. 

There was one thing Nessa did notice, however. Usually when she thought of Edelgard, her heart would pound like she was in a very intense spar with Felix when they both were giving it their all. It was rather worrisome, since Nessa still feared that her heart may actually crack her sternum and explode out of her chest. Even with Manuela telling her that it was physically impossible for that to happen, Nessa knew they all had seen many things thought to be impossible. Ergo, Manuela could be very wrong and they just don't know it. Yet. 

Still. It put a damper on things because Nessa liked thinking about Edelgard. Even if it made her heart feel very funny. She trusted Edelgard with everything… even her fear of spiders and her fear of her heart exploding out of her chest. The Emperor was confused at first but she didn't make fun of Nessa's fear… well Nessa got teased for hating spiders, but Edelgard still would kill them for her so she accepted that.  

Nessa still wasn't quite sure what the difference between teasing and outright insulting was, but usually Edelgard would tell her when she was teasing, either by saying so, or by adding a wink after a joking or teasing statement. So that helped. She never teased about Nessa's fear of her heart exploding out of her chest. She just always told her it was normal and Nessa would get used to it. Nessa didn't believe her, but if ever they encountered a situation where Nessa thought her heart was going to explode, Edelgard was always there to help calm her down without saying anything other than nice calming things.

Nessa didn't miss the small smile that usually appeared on Edelgard's face when that happened. She wasn't quite sure what it meant, but if Edelgard was smiling, it couldn't be that bad. It wasn't enough to convince Nessa that she was not, in fact, dying.

Still, it annoyed Nessa when her heart would seem to pound at the worst possible moments. Like kissing. Or sometimes hugging for a long time. Or cuddling together at night. Or when they finally got to take another bath together. The first time they took a bath together. After Nessa had practically come back from the dead, she found it nice and relaxing. Nessa even got to kiss her then, so that sealed the deal of Nessa's enjoyment of nice hot baths. But the last time she did it, her heart started pounding like when she was fighting. Edelgard had tried to calm her by pressing herself against Nessa's back, and gently pressing her hand over Nessa's heart to calm her. Like they usually did! Except this time it just made everything infinitely worse and she practically threw herself out of the tub, slipped on the floor because it was wet, and fell right onto the floors and it was horrible! Edelgard even jumped out after her to make sure she was alright, but that only made things worse and Nessa's heart started pounding harder than it had ever pounded before and she had to run and hide under the blankets on Edelgard's bed (which was formerly the Archbishop's bed) until she could calm down.

Easily the second worst experience of her life. Even if she and Edelgard got to cuddle afterwards.

Still. Never again. 

Though, as she looked down at her bedsheets, Nessa thought the bath incident was about to be replaced with this new found discovery. Also known as Nessarose Byleth Eisner's 74th reason on why she was absolutely about to die right now.

There was blood everywhere!  

Her bedsheets looked like a battlefield! Where did it come from!? What did she do?! Is this why her insides felt like they were eating themselves over the last two days? WAS THIS THE REMNANTS OF HER INSIDES AFTER THEY FINISHED EATING THEMSELVES?! WHERE WAS THIS EVEN COMING FROM?? HAD HER INSIDES EATEN A HOLE INTO HER BODY WHERE THEY COULD LEAK THE ROTTED DEAD FLESH OUT OF HER BODY? THIS WAS HORRIBLE!

Oh no! She was going to die! There was too much blood around her to be considered safe! She had fought enough battles to know how dangerous blood loss could be, and she had already lost a lot of blood! Nessa only had so much time and she only knew two things to be certain right now.

The first was that she was absolutely, one hundred percent sure she was about to die. There was absolutely no possible way that this was normal!

And the second was that she needed to tell Edelgard that she loved her.

In their confessions after the fall of Rhea, Nessa never even said she loved Edelgard. Granted, she didn't quite know what feelings she felt were, but she knew Edelgard was important to her. Just as important as her father… but different.

Dorothea said that was love. Petra confirmed it. Nessa trusted Dorothea and Petra. Maybe if she had time after telling Edelgard she loved her, she would tell Dorothea and Petra that Nessa always trusted them completely and the two women were important to her. Just not like Edelgard. A different important. Dorothea was very wise in the ways of translating what Nessa and Petra are thinking, that Nessa figured Dorothea would understand what Nessa was trying to say… and hopefully translate for Petra.

Nessa wouldn't be able to do any of that if she didn't get out of bed! First things first, the best way to stop the flow of blood was putting pressure on the wound. Nessa learned that in her mercenary days. Given the awkward positioning of her, erm… injury, Nessa decided that is was likely best to stop the flow of blood as best she could. The former Professor ripped part of her already bloodstained bedsheet and did her best to stem the blood flow before sliding on her underwear to hold the fabric in place. She slid out of bed so she could get a good look at herself in the mirror… all while silently grumbling about her sore muscles from training the day before. And something about how ripping a bedsheet shouldn't have been as difficult as it just was.

Her legs were covered in dried blood, and she knew if she ran around the Monastery looking like she just came off the battlefield, it would worry everyone. So, she quickly found a water basin, still full of water from where Edelgard likely washed her face this morning before the day. Using part of her bloodstained and now ripped sheet (that she had now pulled off the bed, just leaving her blankets bunched up at the foot of the bed and a rather large blood spatter on the mattress), Nessa hastily wiped off as much of the dried blood as she could, discarding the stained tattered sheet on the floor when she finished. After all, she didn't have much time left to tell Edelgard she loved her.

With her legs clean, Nessa inspected herself in a mirror, checking to see if there was any other indication that she was dying. Only her underwear told that story, but that would quickly be covered by a pair of baggy loose fitting trousers that tightened around her ankles, and had a tie at her waist. Claude sent them to her as a thank you for not killing him, his people, and for being willing to talk to Edelgard about allowing him to pop up to say hello to old friends, and maybe help take out Those Who Slither. They were Nessa's favorite trousers and she had already written asking where she can buy more. Unfortunately, since she was going to die today, she would never get to see all the other styles and designs Claude wrote about.

Nessa pulled on her favorite pair of trousers, tying them off at her waist with practiced ease. They weren't very form fitting, but Edelgard didn't seem to mind. Nessa quickly followed with a bandeau to contain her breasts and one of her many black high collar shirts, with the hole cut for her cleavage (which Edelgard definitely didn't mind). A pair of slip on canvas shoes followed the shirt and with one lass once over, Nessa ran her fingers through her unruly bedhead as she raced out the door and down the steps of the monastery to where Edelgard kept her office.

The way Nessa moved was an awkward sort of shuffle and some strange walk-run mixed together. She was trying to make haste while trying not to promote the flow of blood OUT of her body. She knew that the forced that be were really working against her, but she hoped she stemmed the flow of blood with part of her sheet well enough.

"Edelgard I need to speak with you," Nessa said in a slightly louder than usual voice, typically indicating something was the matter.

"Can this wait, Professor?" Hubert asked.

He, Dimitri, and Edelgard were hunched over documents and a map, likely strategizing their next move over Those Who Slither. Edelgard in her massive padded chair with her chin resting on her hands. Her head was cocked to the side ever so slightly, thinking about whatever conversation the three seemed to be wrapped in. Hubert was looking over the Emperor's left shoulder, gesturing to a spot on the small map and his other hand holding a piece of paper, likely scout reports. Dimitri was on Edelgard's other side, looking at a spot where Hubert was pointing. His brow furrowed in frustration as his gaze darted back and forth between a few figurines placed on the maps indicating soldiers or members of various strike teams they had.

After somehow managing to get through to a feral Dimitri in the Battle of Tailtean Plains, he and Dedue ended up joining their cause. In exchange, Dimitri was brought into all meetings about Those Who Slither, and he, for the most part, would be leading their forces to clear out known hiding places of their enemies. He mostly was to lead the Blue Lions Strike Force (named courtesy of Edelgard, who was having entirely too much fun naming things), but at times he took command of the Golden Deer Strike Force (also courtesy of Edelgard) when Lorenz would be unable to lead for whatever reason. The Black Eagles Strike Force was solely Edelgard's, and only she would lead it. Edelgard would provide troops to Dimitri as he needed, even offering her own assistance in battle. They both had a bone to pick with Those Who Slither, and it was one of the few times they got along, and they were eager to destroy every last one of them.

"We are almost finished with our plan," Dimitri added, looking rather eager to start weeding out Those Who Slither.

"Unfortunately not," Nessa informed them. "I have reason to believe that I am to die at some point in the immediate future. Of profuse bloodloss, if you care to know and I needed to speak with Edelgard before I died because I did not wish for–"

At the words, 'I am to die', Edelgard had roughly shoved Hubert out of the way and instantly made her way to Nessa's side.

"Hubert, Dimitri, get Manuela," the Emperor ordered.

Hubert didn't even reply as he had already raced out the door to find the physician, with him going one way and Dimitri running the other way as to cover more ground.

"Come here, sit down. Be careful," Edelgard whispered to her as calmly as she could manage as she lead Nessa over to the nearest sofa. "Where did you get hurt? Have you bangaged it? Tell me how this happened!"

Nessa let herself be manhandled by the Emperor. She knew how the woman got when she was worried or tending to Nessa, and she found it best to let Edelgard fret a little bit. It was how she got her nerves out.

"I am unsure as to how I injured myself. I believe a few days ago in my spar with Felix, he landed an attack on my abdomen with his shield. Since then I felt this incredible pain, almost as if my insides were slowly being torn to shreds," Nessa explained quickly, making sure she said everything in a simple yet orderly fashion, while hopefully leaving time for her to tell Edelgard how she felt.

"I did not say anything, as I was under the impression that this pain was due to muscle soreness you have spoken about. Then, the next thing I knew, I woke up to the same pain in my abdomen, but the sheets were coated in blood! It was everywhere! I believe something in my abdomen also ate a hole through my body, somewhere… I have yet to discover where, and now I am bleeding profusely. I did what I could to slow the flow of blood, but I believe I will soon go into hypovolemic shock and die. But before I did I wished to tell you that–"

"Wait!" Edelgard said quickly, holding her hand up to silence Nessa. She moved to kneel next to Nessa, and tenderly ran her free hand over Nessa's sore abdomen. "Have you been having cramps these last few days?"

"I am unsure what a cramp is, Edelgard. You know I have never experienced such things before. But that is not what I am trying to tell you! I believe I am dying and–"

"Stop talking and answer my questions," Edelgard demanded using her Emperor tone of voice. It was rather terrifying. "A cramp can feel like many things. But for when I'm thinking, it's very sharp pain in your lower abdomen, and it also feels very tight. Maybe even like a stomach ache, like when you ate that bad fish?"

Eating bad fish was one of the worst life experiences that Nessa had to deal with. Before she had, what her father called, an iron stomach. But, now that Edelgard mentioned it, the abdomen pain felt rather similar to the time she ate bad fish.

"How did you know?" Nessa asked, leaning back against the arm of the sofa. 

Edelgard didn't answer her question, instead she followed up with another one. 

"Have you found yourself becoming increasingly irritated or overly emotional at the strangest of things?" 

"I am getting irritated now that you will not allow me to finish what I wish to say," Nessa grumbled, crossing her arms over her chest. The Emperor's eyes flickered up to the opening that displayed an ample amount of cleavage, for just a brief moment, but Nessa noticed all the same and silently judged her. "And that is a terrible question, I am not the best judge of my emotional state. I only recently discovered emotions!"

Edelgard nodded, conceding to Nessa. After all, she had a fair point. "Well, I have noticed that you have become increasingly irritable these last few days. Along with more easily fatigued. Have you eaten more these last few days, than usual?" 

Nessa shook her head.

"Cramping, coupled with mood swings, fatigue, and bloating?" Nessa nodded, though she didn't know what bloating was either… and at this point she didn't want to ask. "Well, you will be pleased to know, my teacher, that you are not dying."

"You jest!" Nessa almost yelled. She sat straight up and jabbed a finger into Edelgard's sternum (something she would likely be in trouble for, if other parties were present). "This is not normal! Bleeding profusely from unknown areas is never normal! I have seen many things Edelgard, many from my time as a mercenary, and nothing is as abnormal is this !"

Edelgard pinched the bridge of her nose. She had to be patient with Nessa, seeing that she was experiencing many new aspects of being human. Many of which were things that Edelgard had never even thought about until Nessa came with questions. Everyday she was just more and more horrified at what the church, no, what Rhea had done to poor Nessa. Poor sweet innocent Nessa who was just confused and trying to understand but she couldn't.

"When you were a mercenary, how many women were in your company?" Edelgard asked her, taking one of Nessa's hands in hers.

Nessa furrowed her brows, unsure of why Edelgard would ask such a question. "None, why do you ask?"

Edelgard closed her eyes, sighed, and then opened them. This was not a conversation she expected to have anytime soon. Maybe in fifteen years at the earliest, but not now. Especially with her lover and former Professor, who was clearly uneducated.

Good thing she called for Manuela…

"Professor… Nessa. My heart, I promise this is all completely normal. Cramping, bloating, irritability, and the bleeding is just another fact of life. It happens to me, and Dorothea, and Petra, and Bernadetta, and all of the other women that we know." Edelgard told her, one hand holding onto Nessa's hand, her other gently pressed against Nessa's heart, in an attempt to calm and slow the beating organ. 

"Even Rhea when she was alive?" Nessa asked with a small voice.

"Well I wouldn't go that far. And honestly I don't know… nor do I really want to," Edelgard said to her. "The point is, it's normal. And would hazard a guess that Jeralt never mentioned anything like this when you were a child."

Nessa leaned back on the sofa, letting her head rest upon the arm of it. Her eyes focused on the ceiling as she wracked her brain for any mention of extreme abdominal agony that prefaced profusely bleeding.

"I believe he may have tried to mention it," Nessa mumbled after a moment. "I was not yet a teenager when he said that should I ever notice strange developments when it came to my body, that I should not be afraid to speak to him about it. I did not understand what he meant at the time, but I believe I do now…"

Edelgard just sighed. Of course Jeralt would have been cryptic and vague to the one person in his life that needed everything spelled out for her.

At that moment, Manuela rushed into Edelgard's office, with Hubert and Dimitri trailing behind her.

"You look awfully fine for a person who is supposedly bleeding profusely," Manuela pointed out, her eyes flickering between the exasperated Emperor and the eternally confused professor.

"Please leave us, Hubert. You too, Dimitri The Professor deserves her privacy… and I highly doubt you want to know what is happening this time."

"Of course, your Majesty," Hubert replied. Her quickly bowed before hastily making his exit.

"I will take your word for it. But please, Professor, if you require anything to aid your recovery, please do not hesitate to call upon me if my sister is too busy." It was a subtle, and almost playful jab made by the former King of Faergus.

"Dimitri," Edelgard groaned loudly.

The former King laughed at his step-sister (or perhaps her misfortune for having to deal with Nessa and her constant belief that she's dying) before following Hubert out of the office again.

Once they were all sure he was gone, Edelgard looked at Manuela and spoke.

"The Professor has never had her cycle before," Edelgard stated simply. "And she was never adequately educated on the topic, which is why she thought she was about to die of blood loss this morning when she woke up."

The look on Manuela's face was a mix of shock (at Nessa going her entire life thus far without her cycle kicking in), amusement (because the poor dear thought she was about to die from another very normal situation), and a little bit of horror (just because of how woefully uneducated Nessa was). She probably shouldn't have found herself so surprised, yet here she was. Here they both were. Edelgard and Manuela, the two people in the monastery that had to deal with Nessa's frequent questions on the normalcy of certain bodily functions.

"Alright then, Professor. It looks like you and I are going to be spending the rest of today in the infirmary while I teach out about some things that you probably should have been taught years ago."

"So I am not dying?" Nessa asked in a meek sort of voice.

"Not this time, my heart," Edelgard answered in that same calm voice she always used when Nessa was panicking about some other normal bodily function she never experienced before.

Edelgard brought the hand resting on Nessa's chest up so she could run her fingers through Nessa's bedhead. Nessa offered a small grin and leaned into Edelgard's soft touches. It was a small but tender action, one of a few they willingly shared in front of others.

"Feeling better now that you aren't dying?" Edelgard said in a teasing tone, with a small grin on her face. She added a playful wink, indicating that she was teasing Nessa.

"My insides still feel like they are slowly being ripped to shreds," Nessa mumbled.

Edelgard and Manuela laughed. At first, Nessa thought they were making fun of her, but after a wink from Edelgard, she realized they were not.

"Unfortunately for you, Professor, that is normal, and most people that have to deal with this can empathize with you," Manuela explained to her, now leaning on the door frame of Edelgard's office, letting one hand rest on the other arm of the couch, by Nessa's feet. "That's why I'm here, and I'll be able to give you something to help with that."

Nessa nodded but said nothing.

"Come on, dear heart," Edelgard told her with a kind smile, already sliding her arms under Nessa's back and legs, "let's get Professor Manuela to check you over. Then you can stay in bed and be miserable for the rest of the day."

That idea seemed to appeal to Nessa… until she remembered the state that she left Edelgard's room in.

"Erm... El?" The mercenary asked quietly as she leaned her head against Edelgard's shoulder. Nessa watched as Manuela ducked out of the office, heading back to the infirmary. Likely to prepare a bed for Nessa.  

"Yes?" The Emperor asked, slowly following Manuela down towards the infirmary.

"Well… you know how I believed that I was about to die when I awoke?"

"Yes…?" She had a hint of worry in her voice, or perhaps concern. Either way Nessa knew it was a cautious sort of tone.

"Well… the room may reflect my… erm… panic," Nessa informed her, rather awkwardly. She felt embarrassment in the past, but it was never like this. Before her heart began beating, it was a strange sort of awkward feeling, like she had missed an inside joke or another strange nuance about humanity. Now embarrassment felt like a burning shame that bubbled up in her gut. She she experienced more things about being truly human, the more of this shame she felt.

Edelgard sighed but said nothing to belittle Nessa. She understood that the woman was likely feeling incredibly frustrated with her current state. There were many sensations that Edelgard took for granted, having dealt with them her entire life, that Nessa never had. To experience ever little uncomfortable feeling and sensation all at once, after a lifetime of not knowing, it had to be torture. And so Edelgard understood why Nessa was constantly convinced she was going to die, and she did her best not to laugh at her for it.

"I'll make sure it gets taken care of… but perhaps you maybe lounging and miserable in the infirmary instead…" Edelgard informed her, mentally noting that she needed someone to clean her quarters as soon as she could find someone. 

Nessa simply nodded, and hid her face in the crook of Edelgard's shoulder.

The two made the rest of the way to the Infirmary in silence. Nessa doing her best to hide her shame after once again panicking over another human sensation. And Edelgard trying to take it all in and figure out what her dear teacher needed to help her feel better. 

When they arrived, Manuela gestured to a bed to Nessa, and Edelgard carefully placed her there.

"I'm going to go and give you some privacy so Professor Manuela can check you over and help you," Edelgard told Nessa once she was covered by the infirmary bedsheets.

"Wait," Nessa whispered to her, reaching out for the Emperor's hand. "I wanted to tell you something. Back when I believed I was dying… again." After all, it was a rather common occurrence as of late.

Edelgard looked down at her pitiful looking lover and offered a small smile.

"I know, my heart."

"Why would you not let me speak?"

Edelgard crouched down, so that she was at an equal level to the bedridden Professor. "I have my reasons." She answered, letting her fingers intertwine with Nessa's.

Nessa narrowed her eyes. And her eyebrows furrowed for a moment. Then they shot up. "You know what I wished to say!"

Edelgard smiled at her. "Yes, my heart. I think do."

"Then why not let me say anything?" Nessa inquired.

 "Because," Edelgard told her softly. "it's not the right time. Not yet."

"Then when is the right time?" 

"When you are no longer scared of your heart beating out of your chest."

"Why is that?" That was a particularly odd requirement to Nessa. And her quest for understanding how to be human made her question Edelgard on it.

Edelgard smirked at her. "Because I am going to make your heart beat faster and harder than it ever has." 

"... Oh… wait, do mean se–"

"Yes, that's that I mean," Edelgard whispered back hastily, noting how Manuela did her best to hide a snort behind a poorly faked cough. The woman did keep a respectable distance between the two of them, under the pretense of gathering supplies, but still, the room was cramped and their conversation was not that private. At least Manuela was able to keep things to herself. Only offering teasing comments when there were no other ears to listen.

"Oh." Nessa replied simply. 

"As long as that is alright with you," Edelgard said quickly. She didn't want to rush anything with their newfound relationship. Both she and Nessa were quite new in the ways of romance, and so Edelgard wanted to ensure Nessa was comfortable before they did anything more than cuddling and kissing.

(Things had gotten a little less innocent last night, but they stopped once again when Nessa felt her heart pounding.)

"Well I do not really know how to, um, do… that." Nessa admitted quietly. Before she started kissing Edelgard, she had not even thought about anything sexual. She knew very little about it, only that if someone tried to force her into it, she should beat them up and run to her father. Though she couldn't run to Jeralt now… she supposed if someone tried to force her into having sex, she should beat them up and run to Alois. But Nessa doubted that Edelgard would do something like that.

"Then we can learn. Together. If that is acceptable to you?" Edelgard was also quite sure that Manuela would give her sweet innocent professor a very detailed run down of how everything worked. 

"I think I would enjoy that very much." 

"Alright then. But only when you're ready. And not a second sooner."

Nessa nodded. 

Edelgard placed a soft kiss to Nessa's lips, before standing up and making her way out. But, before she could get too far, Nessa grabbed her hand again.

"El?" Nessa asked out.

"Yes?" Edelgard responded.

"I like you." Just because they may not be ready to say they loved each other, didn't mean Nessa couldn't tell Edelgard that she liked her. "Very much!" She added in a slightly more chipper tone than before.

That made Edelgard smile. "I like you too."

And once again, Nessa felt her heart begin to pound. Her face heated up as both of her hands came to her chest. Blue eyes met lilac for a brief moment before an incredibly loud and frustrated sound escaped Nessa's lips and she soon sought refuge under her bedsheets and blankets. Nessa could hear Edelgard's amused chuckle, followed by an equally amused giggle from Manuela.

"This is not funny!" Nessa whined.

"You're right," she could hear Edelgard say. She sounded a hint remorseful, but if Nessa had been looking, she would have seen Edelgard with her hand over her mouth, doing her damndest to not make a sound as she silently laughed.

"Of course," Manuela added, though she did not sound nearly as remorseful as Edelgard. In all reality, she sounded incredibly amused by the whole thing. 

Both women exchanged a look before Edelgard declared she was leaving.

"I shall return when Dimitri, Hubert, and I finish our meeting. Pay attention to Manuela, my heart, this is something you need to know since it happen every moon."

"What?!" Nessa practically hollered, throwing her sheet off, and sitting up. "Ow!" She groaned at the sudden movement, moving to lean back again the pillows instead of sitting straight up. "That is entirely unfair!"

"Welcome to your moon cycle," Manuela deadpanned.

"More like moon curse," Nessa mumbled, staring up at the ceiling with her angry eyebrows, as Jeralt called them all those years ago.

Both Edelgard and Manuet laughed in agreement.

"Don't torture her too much," the Emperor requested.

"I think she's being tortured enough," Manuela pointed out. "But we'll be fine. I can take care of things from here. Goddess knows I have had to explain this more than once. Though I doubt this will be like the time I had to explain this to Dorothea."

"I'll be back," Edelgard told Nessa.

"This is the second worst experience of my life," Nessa grumbled back, eyes still focused on the ceiling.

Edelgard smiled and rolled her eyes at Nessa. "I like you," she called out.

Nessa's head popped up, and despite suffering through the second worst experience of her life, she managed a small smile and said. "I like you too."

She would be fine, Edelgard decided as she made her way back to her office.

"Alright, dear, it's time to get you educated!" Edelgard heard Manuela say in a far to chipper voice.

This meeting better be over with quickly.