She'd expected coming to visit Severa, Owain, and Inigo in their new home would bring back memories, but she hadn't even seen them yet and already her childhood was staring her in the face. Quite literally.
"Miss Cynthia! Selena said you were a hero in your own world!" chirped the boy. "My name's Percy. Sophie and I want to be heroes, too, will you train us?"
"Especially me," Sophie added. "Half the time my horse won't listen to me and I trip over everything. What good is being strong like my mother if I keep messing up? And Selena said you were better than anyone with animals!"
"Sev-er, Selena said all that? About me?" Last time they'd talked Severa had finally admitted she saw Cynthia as a hero, but claimed most people would remember her for being funny than being a true lady of war like either of their mothers.
"She sure did!" Percy said. "At first I thought she just meant you were graceful compared to both my parents, but then she told us all about the time you rushed in and saved her from being eaten by a bunch of Risen, whatever those things are. She also said you kept everyone smiling when things got bad."
"So we want to be heroes just like you," Sophie said. "Ever since my horse and his wyvern became friends we started training together, but we needed the perfect teacher. You're it!"
They reminded her so much of herself and Owain as kids it was both cool and scary at the same time. Percy wasn't as dramatic as Owain had been and still was, and Sophie didn't seem very interested in making a grand entrance, but still.
"Then consider yourselves Cynthia's Squires!" she declared. "Training begins bright and early tomorrow morning in the fields!" It was a bit late by now, and she needed to get all the supplies ready. "So get plenty of sleep, and that goes for your noble steeds, too."
When she arrived at the field the next morning, her two new protegés were waiting for her with big smiles and well-behaved mounts. Or quiet ones, anyway. Avel looked grumpy, and Sophie was patting his nose in hopes of keeping him still. Don't worry! By the time we're done today he'll be eating out of your hand!
"First things first," she said. "What weapons are your preferred ones?"
"Lances!" Sophie said. "Er, sorry, Percy, I should've-"
"No, it's okay. I've actually been using axes most of my life, but I wanna get good with a lance, too. It's just that they're not as powerful as axes, and I'm not very good at forging yet so I don't know how to make it stronger." He held out a cheap-looking bronze one, like Cynthia's very first practice lance. The one Sophie had was stronger-looking, reminding Cynthia of the lance she and her mother were going to make together.
Mother was one of the best teachers I ever had. I wanna be just as good as her for these two!
"My mother bought me this one," Sophie said. "But even if it hits hard, I miss with it a lot and it's kinda heavy." Cynthia, too, remembered the first time she tried to use a Killer Lance. Luckily no one had been around when it flew from her hand, but Father had lamented those broken dishes for days. Are you sure you haven't been training with milord Chrom on the side?
"Lucky for you, lances happen to be my specialty," she said. "And I made lots of mistakes with them when I was learning. But those mistakes made me into the hero I am today, so don't worry about making any of your own! You've gotta trip and fall a few times to grow, after all! Now, let's get started!"
Throughout the day, she tried to take notes in her head. Avel was a wild card, sometimes he listened and other times he went out of his way to make Sophie look bad. Ace was a good boy when he wasn't trying to eat every deer that wandered past. Florina tried to be motherly and keep them in line, but half the time she got a wing in the face or a headbutt for her troubles.
Percy was graceful, the total opposite of his father, but it was clear he was more used to the axe. Sophie tripped forty-three times total. But she also noticed Percy constantly helping her up when she did, or Sophie moving his hands on the lance's shaft when he had trouble.
By their second break, it was clear these two were going to need a lot of practice. Cynthia felt a bit silly for thinking it would be so easy. After all, she'd had to break a lot more dishes and Owain's sword hand had to twitch at lots more wrong times before they could truly live up to the Justice Cabal's ideals.
But they've got guts and heart, and they make a great team.
"You two did great for your first day," she told them when it was time to stop for the evening. Inigo's partner was on cooking duty that night and she could already smell something tasty. "You really have what it takes to be heroes." Sophie's eyes lit up, and Percy smiled brightly.
"We couldn't have done it without you, Miss Cynthia!" they said at the same time, then laughed, both of them blushing a little.
"So how long are you going to be here for?" Sophie asked. Cynthia grinned.
"About a month, but I could make it longer! Now, let's get dinner before everyone else eats it all!" They hurried back to camp, following the smell of savory surf and turf the whole way.