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Little Chalphy

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At the table by the entrance of the Mean Mug, the Coffee Shop right outside BIAX’s main entrance, sits a slightly anxious youth watching a basketball game on his phone while drinking iced tea. The uneven beat he taps with both his left foot and right hand paint an all-too-common occurrence on this young fellow’s life.

“Come on, Jansen! Get it in that damn net worth something! Do it, dammit!” His foul-mouthed whispers left many people nearby feeling uneasy. Including the girl sitting to his left.

“Um… shouldn’t we go to in to the airport an--”

“Listen Powerpuff, give me a few seconds and then we can go pick up your new roomie” He replied without even looking away from his phone. “Tell you what, if this beautiful motherfucker you see here makes a successful jumper before the game ends, I’ll be a few thousand gold pieces richer and I can buy you those donuts you’ve been jonesing since we got here, capisce?” He added, while briefly showing the girl the game he was watching.

“Fine” Her cantankerous answer could’ve left anyone else frozen dead on their tracks. Unfortunately for her, she was dealing with the rowdier of the McFadden twins

“Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeoncomeondoitdoitdoitdoit--!” When Ephraim seemed at his most agitated, Kwan Jansen scored a three-pointer, just as the time on the clock had run out. The usually carefree McFadden gasped for a fraction of a second before—

“FUCK YEEEEEAAAAAAAAH!” Ephraim’s merriment could no longer be contained. “Let’s go, Cory! Baked goods are on me!”

“My name is Corrin” She answered without a hint of amiability.

“Not with that attitude” Ephraim replied while picking some food between his teeth.

“Bu—that’s my birth name!”

“Holy smokes, tiny. I’m trying to build rapport with you here, and you just keep pushing me away”

“Rapport” Corrin took a deep breath. She wasn’t having any of this. Not anymore. Not with that crappy attitude. “You mean after picking me up on the bus station, then leaving me in the car to go and try to get inside some girl’s pants, get rejected, then you misplace my bags and then we waste like one hour on this… this… super overpriced coffee shop, all just so that you can leech off the Wi-Fi to watch some stupid game while I wonder what’s going to happen to all my stuff, chief among them my autographed t-shirts since I DON’T HAVE MY BAGS? You’re like the worst first impression of Belhalla ever”


At this point, most of the customers were looking at them both, unsure as to what to make of the situation, given the ash-white-haired girl’s protests she let out just now.

“Jeez. Do you want some of that calm-down juice, too?” At this response, she gave him the stink-eye; not that he noticed in the first place. “Plus, I think the only Belhallan is the Bo—no, wait. He’s from a state at the south, furth— G’ah!”


Before he could continue, his cellphone started ringing. Corrin felt she was about to have an aneurysm from just having to deal with the way this Ephraim guy acted and talked.

“Hey Boss, what’s up” A familiar voice could sort of be identified even without the speakerphone. Even Corrin was able to recognize that gentle baritone over the phone. “Yeah, waiting on the Zofian kiddos. Their flight should be here in a few minutes. Also totally found those Jehannan coffee beans you like so much, so—”

“What” Something she couldn’t quite hear took Ephraim off-guard. “She WHAT!?”

Corrin observed as her brand-new housemate’s shoulders slumped a few centimeters as he kept hearing what the Boss was saying. After a long-silence, Ephraim let out a long groan.

“Oh, fuck my life” He whispered. After a few seconds of silence in which he massaged his forehead... “You know that? Don’t worry Boss, I got your back. Lemme dial the two 3rd years we’re getting to see if we can get help from those guys. You call Mister Man’s sweet, wide-eyed blueberry baby, tell her to chill, she’s gonna be fine, and we’ll see what we get happenin’, alright?”

Now the suspense was killing her.

“Right on, talk to you later, Boss” A playful, almost coquettish smile quickly took residence in Ephraim McFadden’s mouth. She would come to rue the instances of this happening down the road, but right now it made her hopeful. Without skipping a further beat in his step right after he hung up, Ephraim placed his right arm around Corrin’s shoulders. “OK, Corrin Krakenberg, crunch time here: One of the peeps coming from outta-town—not unlike you— just got lost in transit so we need to be awesome to make this happen” Corrin was left reeling from the verbal salad that came tumbling out from this guy she just met a couple of hours ago.

Now he was using his cellphone while still not letting go of her. Nevermind that, he was actually showing her his handiwork! “Right now, and as you can see with both of your cute little eyes, I’m messaging the two boys coming by car from Velthomer right now, hopefully they can help us. Your stuff’s already in the dorm. How? My little sister took care of that because she’s Renais’ gift to this world. Now I need you to accompany me as we go and pick up your two seniors coming from Zofia. Afterwards, I solemnly swear to buy you a sextet of donuts, a gift card for ThyTunes or Moody Play and we’ll be bestest friendsest foreverest, mmmkay?”

A little surprised at Ephraim’s sudden outburst of competence, Corrin simply nodded in approval. Agreement. She’s not really sure at this point.

“Now, the kids we’re picking up right now are the only ones I haven’t gotten a lot of intel from, but here’s what I know: The girl, Anthiese Lima, is a well-respected lady from Zofian high society. The kiddo, Alm… Fallon? Flowers? Anyway, he's s’posed to be her boy-toy and apparently he’s sorta feral. Or something. I think they’re childhood friends? Whatever, we still have to treat him like a person, capisce?” Corrin tilted her head for a moment. Never before did she feel like she needed to know both more and less of a group of people. “Now, tell me: Who do you know out here?” He added an additional line of query, further throwing her for a loop.

“I… uh… both my oldest brother and older sister live here”

“Riiiiight yeah” Ephraim looked up for a moment to try and avoid further furrowing his brow while allowing a little bit of his soul to escape. “Well, whatever, I’ve met Xander in the past and he’s a reliable fellow, plus he’s probably gonna be super jazzed at the prospect of getting chummy with the big boys of Ylisse and the school council. Call him. If he wants in on the brownie points glory, he’s gotta do his part”

“Right!”

“Oh, and also c’mere. C’mon, don’t be shy now! We’re friends! C’mere” Ephraim lowered himself and whispered directly to her ear while she got her cellphone out. “I left you in the car because one of my childhood friends had a panic attack because she also just moved here, and for some folk, adjusting to life out of their element ain’t all that easy, so she needed someone to help her cope for a spell; she misses her brother like nobody’s business and was just so overwhelmed to meet me—ya’ boy— my sister AND my bro of bros Lyon after a few years. Now here’s the stumper: You can talk mad shit all you want about me, Cory, and hell I’d probably deserve it; you’ve met me, right? Hell, I’ve met me and I barely want to be me… but if I ever catch you talking shit about one of my friends from way-back-when and low-key saying she’s just a piece of ass I can’t wait to squeeze and pound, so help me, I’m ghosting your ass in about ten seconds and tossing said ass to the curb and forgetting it in the next five. ¿Comprende?”

“… Si”

“Succinct answers and quick comprehension! I like you already!” And just like that, Ephraim switched back to the devil-may-care attitude he had displayed so far by tussling her hair as they exited the coffee shop. It was at this moment that it hit her just how far she was from Nohr, and Corrin realized that she didn’t need a lifetime of knowing someone to figure out how first impressions can be incredibly deceptive.

**


Meanwhile, somewhere within the Grannvale Route 66...

Driving a rented Wyvern ’47, two guys were on-route from the so-called ‘City that Never Sleeps’ to the Country’s Capital. One of them—the co-pilot to be precise—appeared to have some misgivings concerning said choice.

“Don’t you think that, perhaps, renting a car in a different state was an awful idea in retrospect?”

“Ha! Oh Eli, you need to live a little!” The more imposing of the two, however, dismissed such a thought like it was nothing. “Did you know that your mother was the one who actually suggested I use that rental company in the first place?”

Eliwood Faeris was normally a very down-to-earth fellow, but to keep up with Hector Kormorane was to sometimes step outside your comfort zone rather abruptly. “Now that I don’t believe for a moment”

“I’m serious! Look” Hector shows Eliwood his cellphone with a chat thread on VerbApp. Not wanting Hector to take his eyes off the road, Eliwood grabbed his friend’s phone and proceeded to read the last part of said conversation.

After finish reading the conversation and finding out which of his parents used to be the ‘wild one’, Eliwood looked down in bemusement for a moment. “Huh. Well that is most peculiar. Mother never told me about that”

“Dude, not the point! The deal-sealer here is that when life gives you lemons, yo--”

“Please keep your eyes on the road” The scion to the Faeris family was not having any of it.

“Ugh, fine” Frustrated, Hector acquiesced. “Party-pooper”

“I’d rather perform such an act than end up spraying my skull across the pavement somewhere halfway between Velthomer and Belhalla”

“Sometimes, you can be a really goofy-ass fellow, Eli”

“Oh say it ain’t so, please”

Hector stared at Eliwood for a solid three seconds before letting out an uproarious chuckle at hearing his best friend express himself in such a manner. He patted Eliwood in the back with considerable gusto.

“Man, I don’t wanna get all sentimental this early in the game, but I’m glad that we’re doing this together, Eli”

“You and me both, Hec” Suddenly, Hector’s phone started vibrating. “Hold on; we’re not even there and apparently you’re already quite popular” Eliwood quickly read through the message. “What?”

His bafflement at the contents didn’t actually reach Hector’s ears, but the current driver still looked concerned because Eliwood’s face was super easy to read for him. “What’s the matter, Eli? You looks like you’ve seen them ghosts”

“Apparently, we have a Ylissean royal for a dorm-mate… and she’s gone missing on her way there”

“No friggin’ way!”

“Indeed! Ylisse’s Crown Princess, Lucina Lowell, is among our ranks, and…”

Suddenly, Hector hit the brakes without no warning whatsoever, which if he didn’t apply some last minute hand-cushioning, he would’ve hit his face rather messily against the co-pilot’s dashboard.


For a few seconds, they both sat silently. And while normally the Pheraenian youth would take Hector’s rasher actions in stride, this was not really the best moment.


“Hector Kormorane! What’s the matter with you?!”

“Uh, quick question Eli” Eliwood’s face showed some wariness, but still looked open for dialogue. “So, no betting and junk, but by any wild chance, does this Lucina have longish but kinda-sorta unruly hair, a small build, sorta boyish but cute facial features and looks like a dedicated non-giver of fucks?”

Eliwood’s right eyebrow arched at hearing that description. “I… uh, have yet to met her in person, so no comment on that last one, but otherwise that’s a pretty spot-on profile, Hec. Why is that?”

“Dude!” While normally such a situation would call for further words, Hector’s eyes prompted Eli to look over his shoulder. They both did as Hector suggested and found a certain princess struggling with a number of guys ganging up on her and trying to steal her belongings.

“Hec! You ready?”

“Damn straight!” Hector replied with no delay whatsoever and, after a quick fist-bump, they both got out of the car and quickly dashed to assist a certain rowdy-looking lady.