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Ordered Chaos

Chapter Text

"You'll never catch me alive, Marth!"

In the Askr courtyard, Marth was chasing Chrom, who managed to outrun him despite the latter carrying a massive sack of presents. The crime Chrom was committing? Refusing to wear more than one sleeve at a time. Maria, the Order's summoner, had placed Marth in charge of ensuring that every Hero was appropriately warm for winter. During this chase, Marth and Chrom accidentally knocked over Ike, who was on his way to chop some more firewood.

"Sorry about that, Ike," Marth said, helping his fellow Smash competitor up off the ground. "You are wearing two sleeves, right?"

" Don't worry about it, Marth. And yes, I'm wearing two sleeves," Ike answered. In the few seconds it took for Marth to check on Ike, Chrom had already disappeared back into Castle Askr.

Chapter Text

Hector, a skyscraper of a man clad in blue armor, ran toward Takumi with a gleeful look on his face. This particular look, the "I have a fun idea!" look, was a look the tiny Hoshidan prince learned to fear.

"Hector? What are you doing?" Takumi asked. A spark lit up in Hector's eyes.

"I learned about this thing where a small archer or mage hops onto a taller person's shoulders and fires from there. You'll be perfect for the firing part of this!" Hector answered. Before Takumi could protest, he found himself lifted off the ground and placed on Hector's shoulders.

"Wait! Are you sure this will work?!? How will you fight?" Takumi asked worriedly.

"Don't worry. I've got Armads! I'll crush anyone that gets too close to our tower!" Hector declared before brandishing his axe and running up the tower to the top floor. Despite his initial misgivings, Takumi found himself enjoying this (the fact that he finally felt tall for once in his life helped). The arrangement worked tremendously, with Takumi shooting foes with his bow and Hector hacking at anyone who got too close with his axe, until Hector tripped over Sigurd's horse and found both himself and his partner crashing into Selena.

Later that day, Priscilla was in the infirmary tending to their wounds.

"It's a good thing Nino and Sakura came back and told me as soon as they could. Honestly, that was a reckless move you two did! You should be lucky they were somehow able to escape with you two," Priscilla lectured as she continued to raise her staff to their injuries.

"Speaking of reckless moves, could you return this book to Robin?" Hector asked, handing Priscilla a blue book.

"That's Robin's tactical manual! Serra! Could you take over for a bit while I return this to its rightful owner?" Priscilla called.

"Don't be gone too long! You know I don't like being worked too hard!" Serra called back.

Chapter Text

"Micaiah, right? You're not very easy to track down," Roy said once he found the leader of the Dawn Brigade in the library reading a book and petting her bird Yune.

"You're... you're Roy, right? Do you need anything?" Micaiah asked.

"Sakura needs to see you. She would have come herself, but she's very shy," Roy explained. The two made their way to the garden, where the Hoshidan princess was waiting.

"Oh! Y-you're new here?" Sakura asked. Micaiah looked curiously at Sakura's ears and tails.

"Are you a half-shifted Laguz?" Micaiah asked, staring intently at the ears. Sakura giggled at her curiosity.

"These ears and tails aren't real. They're part of a costume! Would you like to try the ears on?" Sakura offered, removing the kitty ear headband she wore under her normal one.

"I don't see why not," Micaiah answered, accepting the offer and sliding the headband onto her head. She subconsciously rubbed at the ears.

"Congratulations, Micaiah. You are now a full member of the Order of Heroes!" Roy cheered. Micaiah looked flustered. Yune flapped her wings as if to warn away potential attackers.

"Wait... everyone else here wore these ears as well?" Micaiah asked, carefully sliding the headband off.

"Well, yes. Can you blame them, though? These ears are very cute!" Sakura answered as she gently took the headband back and slid it under her normal headband once more. "I think even the Black Knight looked a lot less scary with the ears on." At the mention of the Black Knight, Micaiah's eyes lit up. So, he made it here, too...

"Thank you for helping me become a full fledged member of this order, but I need to go now," Micaiah said before carefully scooping Yune into her hands and leaving to search for her friend in jet black armor.

Chapter Text

Joshua was making his way to the armory to do his routine maintenance on his weapon Audhulma when he saw Fjorm making her way toward him.

"Ah! If it isn't my favorite ice princess!" Joshua said.

"You should come to the main hall. Someone set up another betting pool," Fjorm told him. A spark lit up in Joshua's eyes as a huge grin spread across his face.

"Lead the way," Joshua said. And so, the two made their way to the main hall, where the rest of the Order was already gathered. Anna waved at Joshua while jumping up.

"You made it! Maria and I set up a betting pool! Come closer and make your bet," Anna told him. Once Joshua made it through the crowd, he noticed the sign above the silver bowl where a large amount of golden coins lay inside. The sign read:

How long will it be until Arvis attempts to burn someone with blue hair?

Never: The Whole Pool

Within the month: 1,000:1

Within the next week: 500:1

Within the next few days: 250:1

Within the hour: 50:1

Joshua reached into his pouch and dropped a handful of gold coins into the betting pool.

"Lady Luck, don't fail me now, but I'm going with whatever wins me the entire pool," Joshua said. The Order's attention, however, was directed to a chase scene. Namely, Soren was chasing Arvis, who had mistaken Ike for Sigurd and was attempting to burn him.

"I will burn you as many times as is necessary to create a world free from discrimination!" Arvis shouted.

"Arvis, if I so much as see an ember on Ike, I will douse it and then end your life myself," Soren warned. Hector and the Black Knight looked at each other.

"Shall we intervene or will this... pursuit prove entertaining?" the Black Knight asked. However, Hector had already charged onto the scene. Ike, Soren, and Arvis, all wanting to avoid getting crushed by over 200 pounds of metal and muscle, ceased their chase and ran.

"Well... that was a bit too much for my tastes," Serra commented after Hector returned to Maria's side.

"Eh, just be glad lord Hector dealt with it before anyone got hurt," Matthew told Serra. "Now, let's see who won money, eh?"

Chapter Text

"Oh, Feh! I have a little surprise for you!" Maria called out to the Order's messenger, who looked sad as she sat on her perch. Behind the summoner, Oscar held a covered tray.

"Oh, that's very nice of you, but I can always wait until next year," Feh said sadly. At this, Maria patted the owl's head.

"Nonsense, Feh! You work so hard to make sure the Order of Heroes is always well informed. You deserve a reward. Oscar, lift the tray cover!" Maria said. Oscar lifted the tray cover to reveal a beautifully decorated cake with a single candle burning on it.

"Maria and I spent all day on this cake. Since it's your birthday, you get the first slice," Oscar told the owl. After Maria and Oscar wheeled the cake next to Feh's perch, the rest of the Order of Heroes popped out of their hiding places.

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FEH!" the entire order, including Maria and Oscar, shouted. Alfonse and Sharena walked to Feh with very guilty looks on their faces.

"Feh, we're really sorry about your cake," Sharena said. "We should have let you have a slice."

"We take full responsibility for the cake," Alfonse added. Anna reached over to try to eat the cake, but a glare from Fjorm and a crack of the knuckles from Effie stopped the commander in her tracks.

"I don't blame you guys for the cake. Oscar's a really good cook!" Feh said before Maria put the party hat back on Feh's head.

"Here's to a long life for the best owl the Order had ever known," Maria said as Feh ate her cake.

Chapter Text

The morning after the cake debacle, Maria again visited Feh’s perch to find that she was sitting rather uncomfortably.

“What happened, girl?” Maria asked. Despite her current discomfort, Feh seemed happy.

“I have a huge present for you!” Feh exclaimed before flying off her perch and pulling a rope with her beak. A trapdoor in the ceiling opened, and many orbs spilled forth from the resulting hole. The two dodged the avalanche before it could crush them.

“Whoa! There has to be at least 50 orbs in that pile!” Maria exclaimed.

“They’re all yours! Consider it a thank you gift for everything you do for the Order of Heroes,” Feh told the summoner, who quickly pulled her hood over her head in an attempt to hide her face.

“Eh… thank you, Feh,” Maria managed to say before shoveling the large pile of orbs into a large white sack.

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“Argh!” Maria shouted after several failed summoning attempts. Seliph and Hector looked on in concern.

“Maria, don’t kick the stone again. You’re not made of tough enough stuff,” Hector warned. His warning, however, came too late as a pained cry followed a cracking noise.

“Where’s the infirmary?” Seliph asked as Hector scooped Maria up into his arms.

“Follow me, kid. You’ll need to meet the healers, anyway,” Hector said while the three were descending the stairs leading to the altar.

Chapter Text

“I scraped the orbs together… there’s a single blue orb on the altar… let’s pray to every deity that it’s Lyn!”

Maria followed the ritual that had become as familiar to her as breathing at this point. The ground smoked and glowed as she averted her eyes. When everything cleared up, she turned around to see Lyn standing at the altar in a dress suited for the Day of Devotion.

“Ha… ha… finally… you’re reunited with all your friends… they missed you a lot,” Maria said, her voice cracking more with each word said. Lyn looked at her in concern.

“Do you need water? Or perhaps you’re sleepy,” Lyn offered, clearly worried about her summoner.

“Don’t tell anyone I did this very late at night, Lyn,” Maria said.

“Okay, you’re definitely tired. Off to bed with you!” Lyn said as she slung Maria across her shoulder and made her way back to Castle Askr.

Chapter Text

One night, Maria was on a late night patrol when Delthea approached her in the main hall.

“Hello, Delthea! What brings you here?” Maria asked.

“ARGH! Ever since you put Chrom and Ephraim on the same team, it’s been endless bro talk!” Delthea began. “‘Hey, bro! How are you today, bro?’ ‘I’m doing bro-tastic, bro! Thanks for asking, bro!’ ‘You know, bro, you are so bro!’ ‘Bro!’ ‘Bro!’”

“We don’t talk like that!” Ephraim and Chrom yelled in unison.

“In all honesty, though, I’m glad you put Ephraim and I on a team together. Thanks, Maria,” Chrom said.

“No problem, Chrom. As for you, Delthea, I’ll pair you up with someone else. Would Mist be okay with you?” Maria offered.

“Finally! I thought I’d be stuck with Ephraim forever! Don’t get me wrong. He’s a nice guy and all, but I need to spend time with girls, too,” Delthea said, accepting Maria’s offer before leaving.

“Hmm… Ephraim?” Maria asked, beckoning the prince of Renais over.

“What is it, Maria?” Ephraim asked.

“You helped bring Lyon back from the brink of completely losing himself. I need you to keep an eye on him so that never happens again,” Maria told him. Ephraim nodded and walked away with a stronger sense of determination. He had already lost Lyon once, and he didn't want to endure the loss a second time.

Chapter Text

“Now… now I shall offer your soul to Lord Duma!” the possessed Celica yelled as she raised her sword high in the air. Takumi looked around frantically for the Fujin Yumi, desperate to fight back despite his injuries. He spotted the bow next to one of the statues. Takumi started staggering toward the statue, but he only made it halfway down the hallway to the statue before Celica caught up to him.

“I can’t give up… I won’t give up!” Takumi said, clutching just below his ribs as more blood spilled onto the floor. A set of armored footsteps sounded closer and closer as Celica slashed him with her sword twice more.

“I’ve had enough,” Hector said, swinging Armads toward Celica. The sight of Hector being a welcome relief, Takumi staggered his way toward him while Celica took the opportunity to flee.

“Remember… none can escape the might of Lord Duma,” Celica warned before leaving. Takumi leaned against Hector, breathing heavily.

“Hector… you made it,” Takumi said shortly before losing consciousness. Hector caught him before he could hit the floor and carefully lifted him into his arms.

“You crushed your inner demons… you did the best you could. We’re all proud of you,” Hector said as he left the Voting Gauntlet arena with an unconscious Takumi and made his way to the infirmary.

Chapter Text

Raven, a mercenary with a long standing reputation as a hardened loner, had a secret that he managed to keep under wraps for the longest time. However, one day, the secret came out by total accident.

Raven had always wanted to fly.

Valter had left his wyvern Moonstone unattended while he went out to attempt to stalk Ephraim and Eirika again. Raven looked around to make sure nobody else was nearby before climbing onto its back.

“Now, how do we get off the ground?” Raven asked. His secret dream was so close he could practically feel the wind as he soared through the sky. Luckily for the mercenary, Moonstone was as much of a hunter as her master, and a mouse scurried right in front of her. Though she pursued the tiny rodent on foot at first, once it took to more open fields, she took to the skies while unknowingly carrying Raven on her back.

“Wait… I’m flying?” Raven asked himself once he noticed the ground getting more distant with each passing second. “I’m flying!” Raven’s joy quickly turned to worry, however, as Lucius was in Moonstone’s war path.

“Raymond? What’s Moonstone doing here?” Lucius asked, realization dawning on him that he might end up becoming the wyvern’s mid-flight snack. Before he could start taking evasive action, Raven grabbed his hand and pulled him onto his lap. He couldn’t bring himself to lie to him even now, when they were mercenaries no longer bound to a noble house.

“I climbed on Moonstone’s back and she started chasing a mouse,” Raven told Lucius. Lucius nodded in understanding even as the horror remained.

“I trust you. I have another question,” Lucius began, looking behind them to find Valter was chasing them on Michalis’s wyvern and swiftly closing the distance. “How are we not dead yet?”

“We were very, very lucky before,” Raven said, noticing the terrifying wyvern rider closing the distance as well. “Our luck ran out, didn’t it?”

“You stole my precious Moonstone… you two aren’t Eirika and Ephraim, but I suppose you’ll sate my bloodlust for now,” Valter said, raising his lance. Before Lucius could explain that it was an accident, he found himself impaled on Valter’s lance.

“Now you’ve done it,” Raven said, swinging Basilikos as he prepared to do battle. “You’ve made me really mad.”

“Your lady friend isn’t very satisfying prey at all. She begged for your life like a pathetic little-”

“Don’t you dare insult Lucius,” Raven said, cleaving his axe into Valter’s armor. “He’s innocent in this. Leave him alone!” He again cleaved into Valter even as he jabbed both him and Lucius again and again.

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“Oh, no…” Mist said, shaking her head as she raised her staff to everyone’s injuries. “What happened here? I heard from Caeda that there was a fight over the field just below this castle.”

“Those two stole my Moonstone!” Valter yelled. Raven turned to Lucius to the best of his ability.

“Sorry I dragged you into this, Lucius,” Raven said. “You’ve known that I wanted to fly since we were kids. And even if it was all an accident, I still got you hurt. That was the one thing I never really wanted.”

“You’re forgiven, Raven,” Lucius said.

“Whatever the truth is, I just want you all to be more careful from now on,” Mist said.

Chapter Text

“Never did I expect to see you in such a ridiculous outfit,” Grima said to Chrom, who was still wearing his Winter’s Envoy outfit despite it being very out of season.

“Morgan… Robin… Lucina… I’ll avenge you all!” Chrom said, glaring down at the fiend currently using Robin’s body as a puppet. He felt a dark, scorching cloud envelop him. When Chrom heard a breaking noise and metal clattering onto the ground, he realized it was now or rely on Ike.

“Soon… soon, you’ll join your family in Hell,” Grima said. Chrom lifted his trusty sack of gifts above his head and smacked him in the head five times with it, causing him to once again dissolve into a black dust. A little to the left, Lucina began to stir.

“Father? Is it over?” Lucina asked, picking up the pieces of her broken mask.

“It’s over for now, Lucina,” Chrom answered, flopping onto the ground from exhaustion. “Let’s wait for your sister and other father to wake up before getting out of here.”

Chapter Text

Anna had returned from the castle town’s Spring Festival to find Alfonse cowering behind one of the pillars in the main hall.

“Alfonse! Did Muspell attack Askr Castle?!?” Anna asked, trying to shake the young prince.

“No… It’s worse, Commander Anna,” Alfonse answered, clinging more tightly to the pillar.

“What could possibly be worse than our home base being under attack?” Anna shouted.

“It’s Maria… she has bunny fever,” Alfonse said. At this moment, four bunnies hopped past Alfonse and Anna, who picked one of the bunnies up and inspected it.

“How could something so profitable be so bad?” Anna asked.

“She’s trying to get all the heroes to dress up as bunnies,” Alfonse said. With a devious smirk, Anna grabbed her trusty snapshot tome.

“Where you see fear, I see enough gold to fill a swimming pool. Let’s see our wise summoner!” Anna told Alfonse, who gulped and reluctantly followed her.

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“Get back here, Lyon!” Maria shouted while chasing him down the hallway with a fuzzy pink headband with bunny ears on it. She herself has swapped her usual gold and white robes for a fuzzy yellow bunny ear headband and a white, green, and gold dress. “You’ll look even cuter as a bunny!”

“Maria, you know as well as I do that I'm not cute. I'll wear the bunny ears for you if you'd like, though,” Lyon said. While Maria was squealing with joy, Anna and Alfonse took care to remain hidden from the participants of this particular pursuit.

“Alfonse, why don’t you wear a bunny outfit?” Anna suggested.

“No thanks, Commander Anna. I’ve already seen myself in a bunny outfit and I look ridiculous,” Alfonse answered. “My deepest sympathies go out to the Heroes she’s roped into being a bunny with her.”

Chapter Text

"What's our peerless Summoner doing today?" Anna asked. Sharena started to giggle.

"Maria and Alfonse found the costume trunk! I thought father had it hidden away forever," Sharena answered. "I have to say, nothing escapes her notice." The two watched as Maria gave the male Robin a replica of Lucina's mask.

"Am I cool now?" Robin asked as he adjusted the mask resting on his face.

"I don't know, Robin. Your husband Chrom and younger daughter Morgan already think you're cool, but you'll have to ask your older daughter Lucina," Maria answered before digging into the trunk and pulling a golden domino mask out. She then made her way to the female Morgan.

"Now, Morgan, your father's already wearing a replica of your sister's mask, but I got you the next best thing," Maria explained before giving the mask to Morgan, who happily placed it on her face.

"Thank you so much, Maria! Luci and I will be the coolest sister team ever now!" Morgan cheered before running off to join her sister. Maria dug out a plush Feh and motioned for Ike to come to her.

"Need something, Maria?" Ike asked.

"Ike, can you lean down for a bit? I need to do something with your head but I'm too short," Maria explained. Ike was confused by this request but complied nonetheless. After he leaned down, he felt something soft being placed on his head. "There! She's a very good girl," Maria continued before grabbing a pair of bunny ears from the chest and walking toward Lyon.

"What's going on?" Lyon asked. Maria adjusted the yellow flowers on the bunny ears before gently placing them on his head.

"There you go. You look even cuter now," Maria said before leaving a very confused Lyon behind to process what just happened. With a golden Askr hairpin in hand, she carefully crept up behind Soren and slipped it into his hair.

"Is there a point to this or are you just being more childish than usual?" Soren asked.

"There is a point to this, Soren. You'll see," Maria answered before slipping away from the tactician/wind mage. With a seashell hairpin in hand, Maria quickly made her way to Lucius. "Why, hello there, Lucius. May I borrow you for a moment?"

"How may I help?" Lucius asked. His question was soon answered as Maria clipped the seashell into his long blond hair.

"Thank you for your time. You may now return to your normal activities," Maria said before pulling a snorkel out of her coat and making her way to Inigo, who was now glum because he lacked a mask like his friends Lucina, Gerome, and Morgan. "I think I have something that might cheer you up a little," she told him before placing the snorkel on his face. "Think of this as a mask with a purpose. You want to impress people in the summer, right?"

"Oh, yes! I can learn new dances from the sea life! Thank you so much!" Inigo exclaimed before happily running off. Maria returned to the now empty costume trunk and looked sadly at it.

"I wish I could find more accessories for you..." Maria said, patting the costume trunk.

Chapter Text

"Does this gauntlet honestly expect me to pick between you and Lyon?" Maria asked as she looked again at the bulletin with Sigurd, her new right-hand man.

"I, for one, would gladly take my revenge upon Arvis for betraying me," Sigurd said, further studying the bracket. Marth against Hardin, Sigurd against Arvis, Ephraim against Lyon, and Ike against Zelgius. "I only pray that I actually win against him this time."

"So do I, Sigurd... so do I," Maria said. Sigurd placed an understanding hand on her shoulder and leaned down.

"By the way... I'll understand no matter who you support. The decision is yours alone," Sigurd told Maria, who wrapped her arms tightly around him.

"You deserved so much better," Maria said as tears began to fall.

Chapter Text

Lyon gently pushed the armory door open and peeked in, hoping to see Ephraim inside. Once a glance confirmed that Ephraim was indeed in the armory, Lyon opened the door wider and stepped into the armory, taking care to keep his cape or bunny ears from getting snagged in the process.

"Ephraim? May I talk to you about something?" Lyon asked. Ephraim looked up at him and signaled for him to sit on a nearby crate.

"Lyon, you can talk to me about anything. I'm always willing to listen," Ephraim answered as he sat down on another nearby crate.

"It's... about the upcoming gauntlet," Lyon started, rubbing his bunny ears in an attempt to calm his worries. "We have to fight each other in the first round. Do you think we'll still be friends afterward?"

"If the Demon King himself couldn't break our friendship despite his best efforts, then a fun match wouldn't be able to, either," Ephraim said, wrapping an arm around Lyon's shoulders as carefully as possible. "Just promise you won't go easy on me, okay?"

"I won't, and I expect the same from you," Lyon answered, extending his hand for Ephraim to shake. To his surprise, however, the other prince instead wrapped a pinkie finger around his own.

"Lyon, no matter who wins or loses in our match, let's support each other through the rest of the tournament," Ephraim said shortly before suddenly embracing Lyon, who returned the hug.

Chapter Text

"And the winner of the Fated Battles Voting Gauntlet is... someone nobody expected to make it past the first round!" Matthew began. The crowd watched nervously, perhaps none more so than Ephraim and Eirika.

"Please let it be Lyon. Please let it be Lyon," Ephraim chanted even as he made his way down to the battlefield, with his twin sister Eirika following close behind. For once, she understood the reasoning behind her brother's shenanigans; he simply wanted to support their old friend.

"The winner is... Lyon, the Shadow Prince of Grado!" Matthew announced. Ephraim and Eirika quickly moved to either side of Lyon to support him once his knees gave out.

"It's finally over... no more fighting," Lyon said, his voice very clearly sounding exhausted.

"Lyon, you did it! You won!" Eirika cheered, wrapping an arm around his shoulders and laughing. Meanwhile, Ephraim wrapped an arm around Lyon's waist.

"Congratulations, Lyon! You really earned your victory," Ephraim added. "Hardin, Ike, and I were not very easy opponents."

"I only won because a lot of people believed in me, including you two. Thank you for supporting me despite everything," Lyon said.

"We're still your friends! Friends support each other no matter what," Eirika told him. "Just looking at you, I can tell you need a cleric just as badly as Hardin." At that statement, the last remains of Lyon's adrenaline drained away as he started feeling the long battle's effects.

"Let's get out of the arena," Ephraim suggested as the three made their way out of the Voting Gauntlet arena and to the infirmary.

Chapter Text

They were the first to spot the rift.

Raven and Lucius spotted the rift while patrolling Castle Askr. At first, the two had simply wanted to leave the rift alone, figuring someone like Soren or one of the Robins could look into it. However, they were curious about this rift, so they decided to investigate it themselves. Carefully, they crept closer to the rift, hoping it wasn't dangerous.

"Lucius, stay back! I don't want to lose you," Raven ordered, moving a bit closer to his partner. Even so, he cautiously peered into the rift...

"Lord Raym- I mean Raven? Are you sure you should be doing this?" Lucius asked. "How are you feeling? Do you require healing?"

"Power's surging through me, or rather, my potential for more power is rising. It's really hard to explain this feeling, even harder than it was to really explain my love for you," Raven answered before backing away from the rift. "This begs the question; do we try to seal this thing or exploit it?"

"If this rift can truly help someone gain access to more power, we would be fools to seal it immediately. After all, some other members of our group need this more than us," Lucius answered, much to Raven's surprise.

"You never stop surprising me, Lucius," Raven said. "I thought you'd be all for trying to seal this thing. Come to think of it, I was more surprised than necessary, given your history of putting others first."

"We should head back to the castle and let Maria know. She always knows what to do in these situations," Lucius suggested. And so, the two made their way back to Castle Askr to inform the summoner.

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"This is interesting... I never learned about anything quite like this," Maria said. Once Raven and Lucius had told Maria about the rift, she had them lead her to it. "In order to test it, I'll have to send the female Robin into it. You two will be on standby in case things get too hairy."

"And how exactly do we get her out?" Raven asked. Maria handed the mercenary a long rope.

"I'll need you to throw one end of this rope into the rift. Once you pull her out, Lucius can mend any injuries she may be suffering," Maria answered.

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"It's like the report Raven and Lucius gave you. I feel like I can take on anything!" the female Robin said cheerfully. "Thank you very much, Maria! I'll go tell some of the others." Before the female Robin could make her way back to Castle Askr, Maria stopped her.

"Hey, Robin? Can we agree to keep this a secret from King Gustav? I'm not sure how he'd react and I'd rather not take my chances," Maria requested.

"It's a promise, from one tactician to another," the female Robin said, shaking the summoner's hand. "And you can be sure that I'll expect the others to make that promise as well."

"Thank you, Robin. I need you to bring me everyone on this list," Maria said before handing the female Robin a scroll.

Chapter Text

"What's going on here?" Maria asked, realization dawning upon her. She was tied to a chair in the storage room. Nearby, Soren held a pair of orbs.

"Maria, I'm holding all the orbs this group currently possesses," Soren began before tossing the orbs to Sigurd. "Each time you accumulate five orbs, you run straight to the summoning stone, which usually results in one of the healers having to fix a broken foot. I can't lie to you, so I'll tell you this: your orb spending is out of control." Maria started lunging at Soren with the chair only for Ike to hold her back.

"Soren's right. He only told you that because he cares in his own way, so I'd appreciate it if you apologized to him and stopped trying to attack him," Ike calmly said. He then held up one finger while looking at Sigurd, who nodded in understanding and threw the orbs to Raven, who hid the orbs in his long coat.

"Now that you have the orbs, I suggest you run like Serra's confronting you with one of her romance novels," Sigurd told Raven, who darted away as if the crusader was actually the pink-haired cleric holding an overly sappy romance novel.

"Which way did Raven run off to? I need those orbs!" Maria asked as she struggled to free herself from the ropes binding her to the wooden chair. Before the chair tipped over, however, Lucius caught it and managed to sit it back upright with help from Ike.

"I cannot answer your question, for that would require me to break Raven's trust. Besides, this intervention was agreed upon by Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna," Lucius explained. Maria noticed her movements slowing to a crawl; belatedly, she realized that Lucius was casting Slow on her.

"Why do you betray me?" Maria asked, finding that the words came out at a normal pace despite Lucius having slowed the rest of her down. It was then that Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna entered the storage room.

"Thank you for helping keep Maria in place," Alfonse said to the four heroes in the storage room. "Raven should be hiding the orbs by now."

"We'll take care of the rest from here, guys," Sharena added.

Chapter Text

"Are Hector and Ephraim fighting again?" Maria asked, looking at the two men staring each other down intensely. Something was off about this scene, however; while Ephraim was tightly gripping Armads, Hector had a death grip on Siegmund.

 

"Oho, so we're using each other's preferred weapon types? Let's see how well you do with my friend Armads," Hector began, pointing the lance at Ephraim.

 

"I hope you can handle Siegmund well enough, friend," Ephraim replied before hefting the heavy axe. In an uncharacteristic flash, the two were charging at each other, weapons in hand. Ephraim blocked Hector's blow with Armads. Hector jabbed at Ephraim's left side. Ephraim tried to sidestep, but Armads was too heavy, and he felt a sharp pain in his side.

 

"Armads doesn't lead itself to evasion. You have to stand your ground with an axe," Hector explained before briefly planting Siegmund into the hard stone floor. Seeing an opening and fueled by adrenaline, Ephraim rushed toward Hector. He swung Armads toward Hector's stomach, knocking him down to the floor.

 

"With a lance, you can't afford to leave yourself open. It's a death-or-glory sort of weapon," Ephraim told Hector before lifting Armads over his head. Now fueled by the promise of a worthy opponent, Hector rose from the floor. Maria looked away from the sparring session/crash course in each other's weapons.

 

"I'm really glad Veronica's Brave form uses a staff," Maria said before turning back to the battle between Hector and Ephraim.

Chapter Text

Two days after learning that the trio of Muspell generals could be summoned after all, Maria persuaded Chrom to allow her to borrow his gift sack.

 

"Just return the bag when you're done," Chrom told her before handing her the sack.

 

"Thank you very much, Chrom. You'll have the bag back once I'm finished up at the summoning altar," Maria answered him as she started shoveling orbs into the massive white sack. With a bit of help from Ike, Maria managed to haul the now very heavy bag to the summoning altar.

 

"Before we start, do you have anyone in mind?" Ike asked. Maria would never admit it, but ever since coming across Helbindi's burned corpse at the temple where the Rite of Flames would have taken place if he hadn't intervened, all she could think about was how she had failed to keep him safe from Surtr in the end. Her orders in the battle against the cruel king were swift, without any of her usual uncertainties about whether she was making the correct tactical decisions. With help from Sigurd and Veronica's Brave counterpart, Alfonse and Fjorm were able to strike the tyrant down in the end. Now she had a chance to make things right with him...

 

...if any green orbs showed up, that is. Maria decided to just roll with it and summon from all five orbs present. After multiple summoning sessions where no green orbs showed up, Laegjarn and an Eirika wielding the Grado Sacred Twin weapon Glepnir looked on in concern.

 

"I pray she's all right," Eirika said. "I have to ask a healer to help her. She seems rather frazzled."

 

"I doubt even the finest staff user in Zenith could heal her. It's frightening in a way," Laegjarn told Eirika, having been briefly reminded of her father. Once she saw that Maria's current state of anguish was a result of regret as opposed to an insatiable lust for power, her worries subsided. After Maria had fallen on her knees, the borrowed gift sack empty and looking defeated, it was her former enemy (to use the term lightly. Laegjarn never seemed to actually hate the Order of Heroes.) who decided to console her first.

 

"As long as Laevatein's safe in this world, that's all I care about. How is the Laevatein in this world?" Laegjarn asked.

 

"She recently became queen of Muspell. She looked really lonely for the first time in her life, though," Maria answered. Laegjarn nodded appreciatively at the news that her younger sister, her reason for rising above her father's influence, was safe despite everything and starting to reconnect with her emotions.

 

"Then I have to thank you and Fjorm," Laegjarn replied, stepping aside so Ike could help her up. Eirika carefully lifted the now empty white bag before walking to the summoner's side.

 

"Maria," Eirika began. "I understand how you feel. We both failed to save someone in the end, but when I learned that Lyon's alive in this world, I knew I had a chance to apologize to him at last. You'll have your chance to apologize to Helbindi someday." Maria wanted to ask how Eirika knew about Helbindi before realizing her body language and chanting gave away more than she had wanted and someone as attentive and studious as Eirika, hell, even someone like Ephraim or Hector, could easily pick up on the cues. Eirika gave the empty bag back to Maria. "I believe you may want to return this to its owner." Defeated and orbless, Maria walked away from the summoning altar with Ike, Laegjarn, and Eirika.

Chapter Text

"Is everyone ready to make a wish to the shrine?" Laegjarn asked. she, Fjorm, Gunnthra, Hrid, and Laevatein were gathered at a shrine to make a wish for the new year. However, Hrid raised his hand as if to ask a question.


"Wait one minute, Princess Laegjarn!" Hrid exclaimed. "Ylgr's not here!"


"Oh, you don't have to worry about that, Hrid," Gunnthra told him. "I already left Ylgr with a babysitter from Muspell. Don't worry, he's actually great with children."


"My sympathies go out to wherever the two are staying," Laevatein simply said. "If your babysitter's who I think he is, the place will be in ruins before you return for your sister."


"I wish for eternal peace between our kingdoms," Fjorm said, kneeling down to the shrine. "May we never have to know the cruelty of war again."


"May we gather merely in friendship and peace forevermore," Laegjarn added.


"Peace between our countries... I like the sound of that," Hrid commented. "I believe I shall make that wish as well."


"Laevatein, what do you wish for?" Gunnthra gently asked. Laevatein lowered her head, unused to having her opinion asked for by anyone other than Laegjarn. And yet, there was the eldest princess of Nifl, showing such kindness to her.


"I suppose I should wish for peace as well. I think it would be nice," Laevatein answered.


"Let us wish for eternal peace between Nifl and Muspell!" Gunnthra said cheerfully. The five royals gathered at the shrine raised their hands.


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


"Here's the last of the fireworks, Mr. Helbindi!" Ylgr said cheerfully as she dropped an armful of fireworks on the ground at his feet. He grabbed the sparklers from the pile before organizing the rest of the fireworks.


"You might want to step back a bit, kid. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near these when they blow," Helbindi told her before grabbing Byleistr from its resting spot leaning against a pillar. Ylgr stepped back a few feet as she watched Helbindi swing his axe down on the fuses, igniting them.


"I really hope we don't have to fight anymore. War's so boring," Ylgr remarked. She watched him ignite both the sparklers before handing one to her.


"Hold this for me, kid," Helbindi told Ylgr as the fireworks exploded in the sky. "It's like a mini firework or something. At least, that's what the summoner told me."


"It's like holding a spark in my hand..." Ylgr said in amazement. "I've never had so much fun at a New Year's festival before!" The fireworks continued exploding as the two laughed and chattered all the way back to the festival.

Chapter Text

"I must leave now. It was nice seeing Nino again," Jaffar simply said as he prepared to leave. Nino and Maria quickly caught up to him.


"Why do you have to go, Jaffar?" Nino asked. "I really want you to stay with me."


"As much as I'd like to stay with you as well, Crystal's returning to her Outrealm. I must depart before she returns," Jaffar answered before turning his attention to Maria. "You."


"Yes, Jaffar?" Maria asked, feeling a chill crawling up her back.


"If any harm befalls my ray of sunshine while I'm gone, your remains will have to be carefully pieced together before burial," Jaffar warned the summoner. "I hear horse hooves. Keep. Nino. Safe." Before Maria or Nino could ask any more questions, Jaffar had already disappeared.


"I miss Jaffar already," Nino said sadly.


"I know," Maria replied, placing a sympathetic hand on Nino's shoulder. "I hope we meet him again someday."

Chapter Text

"Marth, Roy, take me to the most dragon-filled place in the Nine Worlds," Julia pleaded to the pair before her. "I need to be strong like you two. Maria needs me." Marth and Roy glanced at each other, then back at Julia.


"I'm not sure why your vendetta shifted from Reinhardt to dragons, but we'll do your best to help you," Roy began.


"Reinhardt is no longer my arch enemy," Julia answered. "I realized I had my priorities all wrong. I should be helping you two fight Hel's dragons instead."


"The maps should be in the war room if my memory's correct. Follow us," Marth added as he led the three to the war room. Before opening the door, he pressed an ear against it.


"Is there already a meeting going on?" Julia asked. Marth stood back up and turned to face her and Roy.


"We should be glad Soren scheduled the strategy meeting for tomorrow," Marth answered. "For today, we'll look at the maps of the Nine Worlds and find a nice training spot for you. Roy and I will be on standby in case you need our help."


"I can never repay you two enough for your kindness. If either of you ever need my help, all you have to do is ask," Julia said as the three looked over the map sprawled out on the large table.


----------


"How are you feeling now, Julia?" Roy asked her as the three descended the mountain later that day.


"I feel... strange... powerful... like Naga herself is stronger than ever," Julia answered. Before her knees gave out, Marth and Roy stood to either side of her and caught her.


"We should head home. Maria's probably worried sick about us," Marth suggested.


"Thank you two so much once again," Julia added.


"Don't worry about it, Julia. Any time you need our help, just ask us and we'll do our best," Roy replied. "Hmm... it's getting quite late. We should call our horses, Marth."


"Let's just hope they can hear our whistles no matter where they are," Marth added as the two blew on their whistles. After a few minutes of waiting, two white horses galloped to the base of the mountain. "Julia, you'll ride with me. Let's get going!" And the three rode back to Castle Askr, avoiding Hel's soldiers along the way.

Chapter Text

Eliwood was shocked when he felt a soft cloth over his eyes. He tried to look around, but the cloth completely blocked his vision.


"Who did this? Why is my vision gone?" Eliwood asked in a panic as he felt two arms loop around his elbows. Within a few seconds, he felt himself being pulled along.


"Hey, Eli! Lyn and I just wanted-"


"Shut up, Hector!" Lyn countered. Despite the fact that Eliwood was essentially being kidnapped from his patrol route, the fact that his kidnappers were Hector and Lyn eased his mind somewhat. He still had one important question on his mind, however: where were they taking him, anyway? Surely, Hector and Lyn would never harm him or deliberately lead him into danger. After a few minutes of worrying, Eliwood felt himself coming to a sudden stop.


"Hector? Lyn? Can you please remove my blindfold now? Where are we, anyway?" Eliwood asked.


"Sure thing, pal. We're already at your destination, anyhow," Hector answered as he removed the blindfold from Eliwood. Eliwood blinked as he looked around at his new surroundings: red and blue streamers and balloons adorned the room, and across the ceiling was a banner that said "Congratulations, Eliwood!".


"Surely, this was intended for Marth," Eliwood stammered as he prepared to leave. "You two got the wrong man!"


"Hmm," Lyn said, looking at a list in her hand again. "Last time I checked this list, you got second place while Marth finished in third, so... Hector and I grabbed the right guy."


"WOOOOOOOO! ELIWOOD!" Hector cheered. "You're a Brave Hero just like Lyn and myself now!" He clapped a hand on Eliwood's shoulder. While the Pheraean was bemused by his two companions' celebrations, he appreciated all of their support nonetheless.

Chapter Text

Maria's Order of Heroes was peering into a swirling vortex, which led to her original Outrealm. The vortex was blue and translucent, which allowed them to see what was happening on the other side.


"Shh... she's at the second Altar of the Brave again! Let's see who she summons this time," Sigurd whispered. Being Maria's second-in-command and exuding a fatherly aura, everyone listened to him. On the other side of the vortex, Maria swiftly lifted the green orb and socketed it into the summoning stone.


"Ephraim, take up Garm and answer my call!" Maria shouted. As the ground around her glowed and smoked, she could indeed make out the silhouette of an Ephraim clad in heavy armor while carrying Garm and an equally heavy shield.


"I am Prince Ephraim of Renais... have we met before?" Ephraim asked as he moved to take his place next to Ike's Brave form.


"Indeed we have, although you used Siegmund instead of Garm," Maria answered. Ephraim nodded and hummed.


"I'm not surprised at all. Siegmund fit me like a well-tailored glove," Ephraim added. "I wanted to expand my options in a fight, so I convinced Duessel to start training me in axes."
----------
"Is that Garm in my hand?" the Ephraim observing the vortex asked.


"Considering I ended up with Gleipnir, you wielding Garm isn't much of a surprise," Eirika answered before giggling. She then noticed Maria guiding the two Brave Heroes to the barracks before clearing her throat as if to speak.
----------
"Yes, it's true. After two years, I found my way back to this Outrealm," Maria explained in an attempt to reassure her original Order of Heroes that she was merely lost and hadn't abandoned them. In the meantime, a Chrom wearing bunny ears had rescued Fjorm, Ninian had plucked Lyon and the fallen Takumi out of the Heroic Grail, Lachesis fought Eir and won, and Lon'qu did the same to Legendary Ike. "Much has changed since I fell into that portal. I'd like to think I learned much from tactical geniuses such as Robin and Soren. However, I can't abandon the other Outrealm, either."


"How do you plan on jumping between Outrealms?" Sophia asked. Maria simply pulled Breidablik out of her coat before continuing.


"Alfonse and Sharena taught me to create portals myself, while Veronica's teaching me how to close them," Maria answered. At the mention of Veronica, that Outrealm's Alfonse, Sharena, and Anna tensed up.


"Why would you take advice from Veronica? She's the reason we're at war right now!" Alfonse scolded.


"Because the Veronica I spoke to is from a different timeline from the Veronica we know," Maria countered.


"Regardless, she'll no doubt betray you the second it's convenient for her! That's the way of Embla!" Alfonse argued back.
----------
"Is the other me really that distrustful? I understand the merits of caution, especially when former enemies can be summoned, but not all Emblians are cruel and untrustworthy," the other Alfonse began. "I take it he never learned that Bruno and Zacharias are one and the same, or else he'd be more tolerant of some of Maria's odder choices."


"And how do you know this?" Anna asked.


"Because, Commander, the other Alfonse was me in the past," Alfonse answered. He noticed Maria handing a red orb with a musical note inside to the Ephraim wielding Garm before signaling the normal Takumi to grab his bow and follow them to the courtyard.
----------
"Takumi, I need to see how good your aim is. Ephraim here will throw the orb on the count of three," Maria told the prickly Hoshidan. "Your goal is to shoot the orb out of the air and shatter it." She them gave Ephraim and Takumi earmuffs before donning a pair herself.


"Wait... before he throws the orb, why are we wearing earmuffs?" Takumi asked.


"It's going to be very loud once the orb shatters," Maria answered. "One... Two... THREE!" As if on cue, Ephraim threw the orb into the air. Thinking quickly, Takumi nocked an arrow before firing it at the orb. As the orb shattered, a loud, somewhat discordant tune started playing.

Chapter Text

"Maria taught me something new today!" Roy exclaimed with glee as he approached Lilina, who was reading her Forblaze tome. Lilina quickly put the tome down, always eager to learn something new.


"All right, Roy! What is it?" Lilina asked eagerly. "Is it a way to ward off Hel if she ever comes for you?"


"Well..." Roy began. "It goes a little something like this: It's lit, fam! Dab, dab, dab! Dab, dab, dab, dab! Hashtag squad goals!" Lilina looked at Roy as if he had grown three extra heads.


"Uhh... I don't even know how to describe it," Lilina commented, tilting her head to the left in an attempt to make sense of Roy's oddity. "I can only assume it's something from Maria's world."

Chapter Text

"Ephraim! So the rumors are true... you have taken to using Garm in this Outrealm," Sigurd began, offering his hand for Ephraim to shake. Ephraim shook Sigurd's hand before nodding.


"I wanted to honor Lyon's memory and homeland, but I'm no good with magic like Eirika is. Luckily for me, Duessel was more than happy to let me use Garm," Ephraim replied. "I take it you are her right hand in the other Outrealm."


"You could say that," Sigurd answered. "And I assume you must be the right hand in this Outrealm?"


"That assumption would be correct, Sigurd," Ephraim continued before hefting Garm and a massive shield. "If it's okay with you, could we have a sparring match before you go back to your Outrealm?"


"Of course I'll spar with you a bit. A right hand can't afford to be lazy or out of practice, after all," Sigurd said, accepting Ephraim's request before raising Tyrfing into the air. "Just a fair warning before we begin, though. A well-forged blade can easily pierce through an axe's wide swings."


"Not to worry, my fellow right hand! This shield has taken quite a few blades for me!" Ephraim countered before slamming his shield into the ground. "Now, come at me with everything you've got!"

Chapter Text

Twas the first morning of April when Fae jumped on Maria's bed, awakening her.


"Maria! Maria!" Fae excitedly shouted. "We have some very big news! Come down to the main hall with me!"


"All right, little one," Maria said groggily, still half asleep yet allowing the tiny Divine Dragon to grab her hand and half-pull her. By the time Maria was fully awake, she found herself in a massive crowd in the main hall. Many Heroes were excitedly muttering about the news on the bulletin board.


Hector practically barreled into Maria as if he were an excited, seven foot tall puppy covered in heavy armor.


"They finally did it! See for yourself!" Hector exclaimed, practically dragging Maria through the crowd as if she were a ragdoll. Heroes quickly moved out of the way, not wanting to be flattened by the Ostian heir. Once the two reached the bulletin board, Hector finally released Maria from his grip. "Go on! Eirika's got the paper!"


"Here you go, Maria," Eirika said, handing a sheet of paper to Maria.


Maria started reading the sheet of paper.


"Today, something legendary joins the battle," Maria began, pacing back and forth in front of the bulletin board. "Feh, the Messenger Owl for the Order of Heroes, joins the battle... WHOA!"


"What's wrong, Maria?" Fae asked, having made her way to the front of the crowd.


"Fae, look at Feh's power! It's immense!" Maria answered as she watched the owl on the enchanted paper completely annihilate her foes. "And on top of that, she's also extremely fashionable! Aww... "Skills I Want When I'm 5 Stars"... that is just precious!"


"Do you think Feh herself created this sheet?" the male Morgan asked.


"Feh! Why didn't you tell me you wanted to fight? I would've had someone train you and everything," Maria continued. Her heart sank by the time she reached the fine print.


"There are no plans to make Feh available in any summoning events..." Maria said despondently.


Feh, who was watching the crowd from her perch, flew over to Maria.


"FEHpril Fools!" Feh shouted. "We really had you convinced there, huh, Maria?"


"I just wanted to cuddle you..." Maria said before making her way to the incredibly fluffy owl.


"You know, I'm open to cuddles from anyone. Just wait in a nice, orderly manner, okay?" Feh answered just before Maria hugged her.


Minutes passed before Sigurd spoke up.


"You know, Maria, it's for the best that it was just a simple April Fool's joke," Sigurd began. "After all, everyone here loves Feh, and it would cause mass heartbreak if anything bad happened to her."