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Poisoned Flowers

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There was much to be concerned about as the “Rebel Army” of Corrin began their approach to the Bottomless Canyon. It was more than likely that the armies of both Hoshido and Nohr would be there waiting for them, and it was also possible that Ryoma and Xander, the High Princes of Hoshido and Nohr, would do battle against them. The camp was abuzz with fear and trepidation. While they had picked up many allies along the way here, they did not know if the forces they had gathered would be enough if they found themselves under attack from both Hoshido and Nohr. In fact, it likely would not be.

However, even among these disquieting whispers, rumors spread about one of the recruits they had stumbled upon by chance. She stayed in isolation from the others, out of her own preference. She never let anyone touch her, and so far no one had been able to. Somehow, she was even able to dodge the advances of people who thought they had caught her by surprise. The way she moved, seemingly hopping from shadow to shadow until she was suddenly upon you, being caught completely unaware of her advance. Of course, the most interesting thing about her was the fact that she was extremely pretty, but looked as if she came from neither Hoshido nor Nohr. Her dark, ashen skin color was never seen before.

“She’s got to be a spy! I swear, she moves as if she’s invisible, just like those other soldiers! She could be here to assassinate Corrin!” One of the men spoke loudly as he ate, not caring who was around to hear it except for the man next to him, who remained silent as he ate his food slowly. The two of them, one a loud and bulky man from one of the nearby villages, and the other a green-haired ninja whose aura was one of peace and calm, would probably have never spoken to each other if it wasn’t simply because of blind chance.

“We don’t know about that. I think its pointless to shout such accusations around without having any evidence. She’s done nothing to sabotage our army or make any attempts at Corrin’s life. It would not do any good spreading baseless rumors around about Serenity.” The ninja simply got up after he said this and left, the larger man staring into his bowl of soup before shouting and knocking the bowl away from him, spilling the contents onto the ground. To not only not be entertained in the slightest, but to also be chastised was inexcusable to him.

“Is there a problem?” A tough voice said behind the man. He turned around to see, instead of the green ninja, the red ninja staring at him: Saizo. He almost instinctively backed away from him as much as he could. Despite his size, there was no way he could get into a fight with Saizo and live. The scar on Saizo’s face, covering his left eye, was burning itself into his head.

“N-no! There’s no issue Saizo!” The man stumbled over his words as he tried to keep his head above the water, so to speak. There wasn’t any reaction from Saizo, who just continued glaring at him as if his anger was not only unabated, but had roared even stronger at the man’s world.

“I’m generally not fond of the idea that Kaze and I aren’t doing our jobs well. Serenity, at this point, poses no harm to the army or to Corrin. We have no evidence what so ever that she’s a spy, or a hired assassin. Trust me, we’re keeping a pretty tight watch on her, given her eccentricities. I’m going to suggest a lot more strongly than my brother that instead of spreading around these false rumors, you put yourself to better use.” The man didn’t reply, simply running away from Saizo as if he was running for his life.

“You were way too harsh on him, Saizo. We don’t need to have the entire army in fear of saying anything.” A young woman said as she walked up behind him, with dark purple hair cut very short, which gave her a boyish appearance. Her armor was the typical Nohrian wear, as she hadn’t be able to get a new set of armor since leaving on her own, although she never really needed to either.

“I apologize Corrin, but we can’t have people spreading around rumors like that. We already have people from both Nohr and Hoshido here, and if rumors get popular, you’re going to have a lot of dissent on both sides and things simply aren’t going to work out. If you’re too soft, all you’re inviting is a knife in your back.” Saizo retorted, but remained respectful to Corrin while speaking. Not as if to justify his own actions, but to give a little bit of insight and teaching.

“I understand that, but we can’t also keep these things in check by scaring people. We’ll need people to come to trust one another. If we act with the idea of scaring people, no peace between the two will ever come to last long. But, I have no intentions of going soft either. You don’t have to worry about that.” Saizo didn’t responded, but simply vanished, his way of saying that the conversation was over. Corrin sighed a bit, feeling as if she was unable to get her point across, when she noted that Serenity was walking towards her.

‘Shit, she must have heard us talking. How am I going to explain this to her’? Corrin thought to herself as Serenity got closer to her, before stopping a couple feet away from her and smiling. The one striking similarity between the two was their short, purple hair, although Serenity’s was somewhat longer and just barely reached her shoulders. Everything else about her otherwise was different though. She never wore any more, preferring her revealing outfit, and the only weapons she ever carried with her were three shining throwing knives. Despite the fact that Serenity used them with deadly accuracy, they never showed the signs of time or wear.

“Hello, Corrin! What were you and Saizo talking about?” Serenity said with a wistful smile on her face.

“It wasn’t anything major. Just some information that had come up. But its been settled.” Corrin said, trying not to give anything away. She didn’t want Serenity to know that there were rumors about her being disloyal or that she was an assassin. Simply put, she hadn’t tried anything of that nature the entire time she was in the army.

“Oh, okay then. Listen, I was out picking some flowers nearby, but I thought I heard some soldiers. They might have been Nohrian, but I’m not sure. Use this information as you will.” Serenity walked past Corrin, seemingly brushing against her, although Corrin knew that Serenity didn’t touch her, and walked towards her tent. She looked down to see a flower on the ground, and wondered if it had been one of the ones that Serenity had been picking. But as she went to grab it, the flower began to shrivel, and go from a deep, beautiful blue to an intense and sickly black. Corrin stepped away from the flower, wondering how it happened.

“Must have just been because it was picked. Some flowers are pretty delicate that way. I hope Serenity isn’t disappointed when she sees them die.” Corrin walked past the rotting flower, not worried about it since it was already dead. Little did Corrin know, however, was that she was being watched. The light-blue haired woman clad in armor fit for a wyvern rider, Beruka, watched as Corrin passed by before walking out and collecting the flower herself. She too had seen the flowers fast degeneration and was curious by it.

She noticed a faint, purple residue covering the flower. She didn’t know what it was, but she suspected that it might have been some sort of poison. If it was, then it was definitely an assassination attempt by Serenity. Leaving a poisoned flower though…that didn’t make any sense to Beruka. If Corrin hadn’t immediately tried to pick it up, the flower would have died, and a simple search for the flower would have turned up Serenity as the suspect.

“Unless she wasn’t really picking flowers at all. She may have been consorting with Nohrian troops. I must relay this information to Lady Camilla at once.” Beruka said as she walked towards Camilla’s tent, her face unmoving as she considered what she was going to say. She didn’t know if the residue covering the flower was poison, per say, so she was going to have to wait and see if she could identify it. But relaying her suspicions to Camilla was tantamount to that.

After she left, Serenity appeared back into the field, looking intently at the ground as if she was looking for something. She poured over the field, her eyes glued to the ground. Not that she wasn’t aware of Saizo watching her from one of the nearby trees, but she had since grown used to his company. Even attempted to offer him some tea a couple of times, although he never responded. When she couldn’t find what she was looking for, she broadened her search, hoping that she wouldn’t find a dead body anywhere.

“This doesn’t make any sense. The flower I dropped is gone, but no one is dead. Surely someone would have…” Serenity thought on it some more. The only one who knew of her special body was her living shadow, so she didn’t care if he heard. It’s not possible that someone knew and they picked it up with gloves.

“Someone here must have a pretty tough resistance to poison, huh. Interesting…maybe I should be on the lookout from now on.” Serenity walked back to her tent, just to make sure she had counter all the flowers correctly and wasn’t making any assumptions on the matter.

“Thank you for your report, Beruka. I’m pretty glad to her that my suspicions aren’t unjustified.” A tall, well-endowed woman with long purple hair said. Beruka remained silent, but could see the distress in her mistress’ eyes and face. The idea that her younger sister would be the target of an assassination attempt was something that Camilla was all too familiar with, and something that she had hoped she would be able to escape from.

“Are you going to do anything with this information, Lady Camilla? I am more than ready to get rid of Serenity if you order me to.” Beruka stoically asked this as if it was the most natural thing in the world, but Camilla shook her head.

“No, I don’t think that is a good idea just yet. All we have at this point are suspicions that she could be targeting Corrin’s life. If she is, trust me, I won’t tolerate it and I’ll make sure that she’s the one that ends up dead. But for right now, we could be wrong. So, Beruka, what I want you to do is to gather some more information on Serenity. I’m sure that you can follow her around, correct?” Camilla looked at Beruka with an overly serious look on her face.

“Yes, I can fulfill that. However, Saizo is also watching her. If I tail her as well, what should I do about him?” Beruka wasn’t overly concerned about Saizo himself, but that he could undermine what she was trying to do.

“Saizo is a hothead but I’m sure he’ll understand just fine. If not…maybe you can use some of your womanly charms to get him on your side,” Camilla giggled as she got up and moved to the entrance of the tent, “I’m going to go check on Corrin right now and make sure she’s okay. I trust you’ll do a good job, Beruka.” Camilla walked out of the tent, leaving Beruka alone inside there.

“…womanly charms?” Beruka said, not understanding what Camilla meant.