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Severa raised her head tiredly when the noise came closer. She was barely coherent enough to note the dawn sky, and felt like she hadn’t slept longer than a few minutes. Around her, Inigo was snoring on the warm, grassy soil with his face three inches from Lucina’s. The drained princess was tossing about and mumbling in her sleep, as she had for the past three nights. Grumbling to herself at the inconvenience, Severa looked around for the source of the warning sound, hastily scrunching her hair into ponytails.

The sound of horse’s hooves enunciated. That could signify an ally as likely as an enemy, which awakened Severa more. Nervously, she ensured she had a sword handy before rousing her sleeping partners.

“Inigo, Lucy!” she called sharply. Yelling was a natural talent of hers. “Get up!”

Lucina hastily opened her eyes and was sitting up within a minute, but Inigo was slower. Annoyed, Severa stood over his body and gave him a slap to awaken him. Reluctantly, the orchid-haired young man shook his head and uttered something as feedback.

“…Are we… under attack?”

Yawning after he spoke, Inigo pushed his mussed hair into a neater arrangement. Severa hurriedly answered him, throwing her gaze into the shadowy patch of trees surrounding them.

“I hope not… But it looks like just one kid. We should be fine.”

Inigo was stretching succinctly, while Lucina rubbed at her eyes in an effort to abolish her drowsiness. She felt stifled by the summer heat and hadn’t achieved more than a few hours of rest, but that would have to do if a fight was inevitable.

The stranger was indeed just one person, but they were not a kid. This became obvious as she made her way into the light of the campfire. She was still young, but too heavily built for a child, with cramped eyes and a bushy mane of hair. A slender band cut across her forehead, and she breathed so emphatically that her horse’s snorting seemed milder in comparison as she dismounted him.

“Who’re you?” Severa interrogated at once. Inigo was clumsily pulling on a boot as he looked upwards, but was (predictably) on the spot enamoured with this new female. It was no secret that Inigo was infamous for his flirtatious behavior towards anything with long hair and noticeable breasts.

“The name’s Mira.” The girl’s voice was deep and rumbling, and when she spoke, her uneven teeth stood out unpleasantly.

“We don’t know you, then.” Lucina spoke up. “What are you doing here? Are you part of the Grimleal?”

“Oh, hell yes. Dammit, I’m pretty damn close to Master Grima himself, kid.” Mira affirmed, her grin expanding as if this were a boast.

“Then you’re a threat!” Severa shot back, pre-emptively unsheathing the sword on her back. Her fatigue was forgotten when she could yell again. “You’re outnumbered, so you’d better shove off!”

Unbothered by Severa’s bravado, Mira only glared. Lucina, meanwhile, was attempting a more peaceful proposition: “Severa’s right. Leave us now, we can easily defeat you.”

“You sure of that?” challenged the strange Mira. Severa was about to swing her sword in impatience until Inigo got to his feet and waved her away. He had a routine, confident expression on his face that made all three girls cringe in annoyance.

“My, my, there’s no need to get violent.” Inigo reasoned, narrowing his eyes and grinning. “Miss, why not consider crossing over with us? There will be… benefits.”

“Don’t be a half-wit, Inigo!” Lucina retaliated hotly, although she didn’t feel exhilarated at the prospect of a fight. Mira surveyed Inigo with definite amusement for a few long seconds, as if she knew he was a chronic philanderer. Eventually she gave her reply.

“’…Awful foolish of you to try that one, sir.” she rumbled, her voice dropping in pitch. With ominous hesitancy, she withdrew a long silver dagger from her belt.

“What are you-“Inigo started, his eyes barely having time to widen. His sentence was never finished. With a brutish air, Mira drove the sharp metal into Inigo’s broad chest, piercing his heart like a stake. His dumfounded face froze as his breathing floundered. Inigo was already dead on his feet. A full five seconds after the stabbing, he collapsed ungracefully in a dark puddle, to an ashen-faced stare from Lucina and a piercing scream from Severa.

“…DAMN YOU!!” howled Severa, shattering the silence with the two words. Falling to Inigo’s side, her copper eyes fixed open, another pained moan escaped her. The equally stunned Lucina was about to unsheathe the Parallel Falchion for a reprisal, but Mira sensed that. Without hesitation she laid her now-bloody knife against the princess’ throat, her perverse smile wide as it was disgusting.

“It’ll be worse for you if you don’t hitch along, pretty one.” growled Mira, in a voice dripping with satisfaction. “Master Grima asked me to bring along any kids I could catch, but I gotta keep your skin attached.”

Speechless, Lucina’s fingers slackened around her sword and she controlled a shiver. Severa was inexpertly to ambush Mira from behind- but the huge girl took notice, judging by how accurate her next strike was. Cringing away, her shoulder bloody and stinging, Severa unenthusiastically brought her sword back in its cover, although her eyes wouldn’t drift from Inigo’s creased body.

“Let’s get going.”

Mira gave a cursory jab to Lucina’s ribs to reinforce her message. The princess started to walk half-willingly, but Severa didn’t straggle from Inigo. Grumbling contemptuously, Mira took a few threatening steps towards the crouched mercenary, and she languidly followed, dragging her feet. Her face was dim with rage and dolor. With a disinterested air, the ruddy-haired fiend pointed towards the path where she had come.

The walk was not physically tiring thanks to the flat landscape. Mira’s bulky horse plodded along leisurely in the lead, although she wasn’t riding him. The girl walked behind her prisoners to ensure neither of them would try to step back, unfailingly holding onto her weapon. Severa was too aghast to speak or shed any tears, only a hushed whimper converging from her throat from time to time. Lucina would clasp her hand for support when this happened, although she too was thoroughly distressed.

Who was this horrible Mira, and was she truly taking them to Grima? If that was the truth, Lucina knew very well what presumably awaited herself and Severa. The anguish of failing her imperative mission would have been enough for her to cry, too, if she was not mandated to continue the walk. Furthermore, the incandescence from the sun was another unwelcome addition that sapped at her energy.

“Where are you taking us?”

Finally Lucina broke the muteness after a solid hour of movement. Mira looked like she was in a trance of apathy by this time, but explained after a lull.

“We’re going to a fancy little place. You’re in luck, it’s much more comfy than what you rats got back-“

“I’m going to kill you.” Severa abruptly rasped. Her voice was overweight with emotion. “I don’t care if you’ve got a hundred thousand Risen behind you… I will stab you in the back the moment it’s turned, just like you did Inigo.”

“Oh, I think you’ll ‘care’ very much.” Mira retaliated coolly. “This is Master Grima we’re talking about, you know, and his orders are the only reason you aren’t with your precious Inigo now. But he’s got quite a nice surprise for you.”

“He’ll leave her alone; she’s done nothing to Grima!” Lucina objected, unable to remain laconic anymore.

“Well, I am leaving her alone, miss. Only reason I haven’t sliced her miserable neck yet, you think I like hearing that whining?” Mira pointed out. She sounded careless about her threat of death; as if it was a subject she was comfortably accustomed to.

Severa opened her mouth to yell again, but Lucina stopped to give her a curt hug as a consolation attempt. Sighing dejectedly, the devastated mercenary kept her lips closed out, thanking her friend with just a grateful glance. The agitation about being cut again was constant, and the throbbing pain in her shoulder was the reminder.

A dwelling had become visible on the horizon some minutes ago. It grew larger as the tired group approached (Severa having to lean against Lucina twice), and took on the shape of a miniature castle with an individual tower. The surrounding landscape and climate seemed to be the prelude to desert- dusty and lifeless, with only rocks and weedy plants twisting their way out of the soil. As much as Lucina and Severa hated the unforgiving heat and weren’t rested, they had no desire to take any punishment from Grima.

Blocking the stumbling pair with her horse, Mira stopped the girls close to the door ahead and contacted the guard. Moments later both her and he retreated inside the broad entrance, leaving the captured units to wonder what was to happen to them now.

“…Severa…?”

“Yeah, I know. Keep my mouth shut.” Severa ejected bitterly. “Not like it matters now, anyway…”

She was not about to concede it, but Lucina broadly agreed with Severa’s statement. Inigo had just been murdered, and Severa was the only remaining child whom Lucina knew for certain was still existent. The other ten children could be almost anywhere by now, including dead in the ground. Once her mind went to this area, Lucina hastily tried to convince herself otherwise- but what else could have befallen them, in this Risen-choked and barren world? Once again Lucina was reminded of her own mother being the first to die, and her father the second. Never had she dreamed that her gentle, compassionate husband could be an ancient dragon in his truest form, least of all the harbinger of death for most of the human race.

Abruptly Mira reappeared, an all-too-familiar figure following her. He was an elegant, young-looking man, dressed in dark robes despite the heat. As he got closer Lucina saw his well-groomed white hair, as well as the narrow eyes that were fixated on his captives. Severa’s face blanched in fearful anticipation, and Lucina felt her heart swell with the need for vengeance. Here was Grima, within arm’s reach…

“Disarm them.”

These words came from Grima’s mouth. Right away Lucina grabbed her precious sword, and Severa did the same, wincing from her bloodied shoulder. Mira predictably readied her knife and was aiming a swipe at Severa’s body when the mercenary let her sword drop, but Lucina was reluctant to do the same. A quick stab to the chest was probably better than whatever purpose she had been summoned her for. She let her palm cling to the Falchion as she stood stiffly in the oppressive heat, feeling hope drain from her.

“The princess as well, Mira.”

Lucina tried to resist. Mira held the blade in her sight for a few seconds before readying to stab her, and although Lucina dodged the first blow, the second was faster. The clumsy Mira might have been half the size of an ox, but she was of matching strength. She grabbed Lucina by her elbow and threw her to the dirt as easily as if she were a plucked fruit. Before the dazed princess could clear her face of dirt, Mira ripped away the sacred blade from her hands.

“Now, now…” interjected Grima, his disquieting voice hurting Lucina’s ears. “Don’t get her so dirty, Mira.”

The soldier complied, but did make a show of grabbing Lucina by her collar and dragging her a few painful feet up to her master. Now that she was closer, Lucina realized in revulsion that Mira was not actually wearing a headband, but rather had a blackened scar jutting across her forehead. Severa was clutching at her shoulder and breathing jerkily, moisture collecting at her forehead.

“Now, then…”

Grima approached the panting, dirty pair and his bloated assistant indifferently. He dragged his feet over the dry sand and appeared slothful, as if he had recently woken up, but his eyes were undeniably active and keen. His light lips were pulled up in a smile, which widened when his pale face focused on Lucina.

“Mira, I only wanted this one.” Grima started smoothly, reaching out and stroking Lucina’s jawbone gently. When she reflexed, he moved up to her hair and held it more firmly to stop her trying to move away.

“You said the scrawny brat’s mum’s still here?” drawled Mira, slapping the dust out of her hands. Apparently the scrawny brat was able to identify herself, because Severa struggled to her feet, the pain in her shoulder all but forgotten when she heard the word mother.

“…My mum? Cordelia?!”

“Yes, your mother is alive.” Grima finished. “I have kept her waiting for some time, I’m quite certain she would be pleased to see you.”

“Let me…!”

Severa couldn’t finish her demand, because Mira had seized her by the throat. With savage ease she choked the thin, bleeding girl, her pleasured smile transformed to an ugly grimace of disgust.

“You can’t take this one, Master.” Mira snarled softly. “Let me finish her right now. I didn’t get long enough with that stupid Inigo guy. All the Risen’ll just gut this brat and Cordelia anyway ‘moment you release ‘em.”

When Inigo was mentioned, both Severa and Lucina bristled involuntarily. Seeing this, Grima’s face softened in gentle amusement.

“Well, if you’ll allow me the luxury of speaking to my own prisoners?”

Hastily Mira released Severa, letting her drop unceremoniously to the hot ground. The impact left her coughing harshly, biting her tongue to stop a yelp of pain. Lucina’s concern for her friend vanished when Grima advanced towards her, looking somehow delighted. He might have been handsome if it wasn’t for the glimmer of unclear excitement in his expression.

“Now, then… allow me to explain.” he began. Lucina stayed warily silent, while Severa was too occupied with her noisy fight for breath to speak.

“You two are, to my knowledge, all that remains of your pathetic force. You have decimated my Risen, but you must be forgetting they are endless… I had them surround and destroy the others as they split up again and again, fighting to their last drop of blood. And all that time, I did not have to lift a finger. It was- shall I say- child’s play to rid myself of your pitiful interference.”

“Shut your mouth…!” burst out Severa, rubbing what were likely tears out of her squinted eyes. Grima paused for a moment, anger suggested by his tensed hands.

“…Don’t interrupt me, child. I was just about to make my offer.”

The villain paused, looking more pleased than ever. Lucina could feel his stare, and it made her cringe. The wheezing Mira was listening with interest, never straying more than a few inches from Severa as her master continued.

“I only wanted one. But as you know, Mira was smart enough to bring back two… Now, I find myself with a proposition-”

“I refuse.” Lucina rasped reflexively, her confused stare gone. All three of her company looked shocked, but she plowed on without restraint. “I will do nothing for you, and neither will Severa… You may as well fight me, here and now!”

“Silence, Lucina.” Grima didn’t raise his voice, for his one-step advance was enough to silence anyone. “Listen before you speak; surely, your mother or father has told you that?”

The Fell Dragon took a moment to speak again. “…As I’ve said, I need only one of you. Therefore, the other shall be free to go as they please. I have no more need of Risen or guards to defend myself. And… my dear Lucina… surely you wish to return this Severa to her mother?”

“Wait, this isn’t some joke…?!” Severa burst out, precipitous hope flickering in her face.

“Why, yes, it’s the truth.” Grima acknowledged. “I kept her alive for this very purpose, Severa. Therefore, it’s fair to assume that you are choosing to go free, and leave Lucina with me.”

Severa’s abrupt happiness dissolved. She looked at Lucina , searching for words. It didn’t even need to be said that Grima would kill Lucina, his most persistent opposition, as soon as Severa was gone- and most likely not in a merciful way, either. The Fell Dragon and the princess of Ylisse had long yearned to each destroy the other.

But Severa’s grim predictions were shattered when a hand pushed her. It wasn’t Mira’s- it was Lucina’s, and Severa twisted in horror.

“No way! I’m not letting him do anything to you…”

Severa’s voice faltered when she saw the sorrow in Lucina’s eyes. It was not directed out of despair for what awaited her, and she exhaled loudly in preparation.

“Severa… Go back with your mother. You’ll be safe with her.”

“I don’t trust him for a second!!” snapped Severa angrily. “You honestly believe that?! He wants both of us dead, and don’t you dare deny it! I’m not going to let you into his claws…”

“No!” Lucina’s voice grew altogether more firm as she stood over Severa. “Listen to me!! My mother… Both Mother and Father are dead! The Fell Dragon has returned, and I have failed in my mission to save this world! I have no purpose remaining anymore! If it were not for you, I would have thrown my worthless life at Grima’s forces weeks before…!”

“I’m not… letting you!” Severa protested irresolutely. Her eyes blinked over and over. “He’s just going to…”

Instead of answering her friend, Lucina trudged towards the waiting Grima. Her feet lifted calmly and steadily, but Severa knew her well enough to know she was camouflaging despair. Without speaking, Grima gave an unhurried nod that was topped off with a confirmation.

“Mira, the decision has been made. Take Severa to the chambers, and release her mother. They may go where they please.”

“NO-!!” Severa wailed, trying to careen away from the looming Mira with her hand blocking her escaping blood. “Not if he’s going to hurt you…!”

“I’ve never seen someone so eager to become worm food.” commented Mira obtusely. Again she slashed Severa’s flesh, this time across her cheek. When Severa flinched and squealed shrilly, but stayed subservient, the servant casually grabbed her scruff and started to drag her towards the open door. Motivated by pain, Severa squirmed her feet onto the ground and shambled along with her hands hanging at her sides. She caught Lucina’s gaze for a moment, but the princess returned a glance that had a clear meaning: I’ll be fine.

“…Lucina, thank you…” Severa began, but Mira shoved her along before she could speak any more. Soon Lucina and Grima were the only ones standing in the morning sunlight. The sweltering warmth didn’t distress them, by virtue of their distracting imaginations.

“Well, now…” Grima whispered, his nose bordering upon Lucina’s by now. He was so close that she could detect his breath on her cheek.

“I don’t care what you do with me-”

“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” forced in Grima again. “If you think I’m intent on killing you, that’s a wrong assumption. Why would I waste your life?”

This was a very odd remark from Grima. Lucina hadn’t the energy to ponder it, however, for Grima was already encouraging her to move. She trudged listlessly, defeated already, and Grima didn’t have to force her like he did with Severa.

What were his plans? If he wasn’t going to kill her straightaway, then what else could happen? Lucina’s breath tensed at the thought of torture. The rumors of whether or not Grima employed sadistic methods of execution were about to be substantiated. But, she rationalized internally, at least Severa wouldn’t have to suffer that- if the Fell Dragon was telling the truth.

Beyond the massive wooden door was a wide path of worn stones. Many footsteps had traced it, and patches of greenery decorated the inhospitable soil for a few meters. Mira and Severa had already disappeared somewhere within the stronghold. When Lucina took a moment to look up, she could see that the fortress looked more like an overlarge, stone cottage. To her surprise, she saw a transformed Manakete drowsing close to the doorway, and she had to look twice before recognizing who it was.

“Marc?”

Obviously, the dragon heard her name called. She snorted through her yellowish nose and lifted her head slowly off the ground, squinting open bright eyes.

“Daughter, why are you out here?” Grima asked the creature. There was an air of affection in his voice as he bent to stroke Marc’s head like one would a dog.

“I’m getting some sun, Father.” the dragon answered. She lowered her head back to the warm stone, but smirked at Lucina out of the corner of her thin lips. Lucina distanced herself as much as was possible. She hated Marc a great deal. When the Manakete was in her human form, Marc had often dressed provocatively and flirted with many of the army’s men- and along with that, her cocky disposition made for an unpromising soldier. Lucina had never understood why Robin took such pride in his child.

Grima continued to escort Lucina to his unknown destination. The interior of the building was another thing unexpected for Lucina- it was well-furnished and even ornate, despite the homely exterior. A foyer decorated with numerous paintings, an intricate carpet, and a single chair greeted the pair, but Grima walked too quickly to let Lucina admire it. She timidly followed him at a close distance, not willing to uncover what consequences there might be if she stalled.

There seemed to be no one else inside the building. Mira and Severa- and hopefully, Cordelia- had to be somewhere far, because Lucina could hear no voices in the hallways. They were wide and sweeping, carpeted in the same scarlet and gold all throughout. But oddly, there were only six or seven doors and a singular window, which was spread wide to allow a breeze to enter. The hallway was still very warm, which didn’t help Lucina’s dwindling stamina.

“We’re nearly there, my princess.”

Grima assured Lucina of this when her footsteps lagged. Instead of relief, Nauseating fear swilled within Lucina’s perception and caused a tightening in her gut. At this point she was seriously hoping that her nemesis was just going to execute her. At least by doing that, he would be sparing her the pain of living in a future in which all of her loved ones were vanquished.

Finally, the pair came to a gilded door. This one was taller than its others and prouder-looking as well. Lucina’s escort turned the golden knob and pulled it open without hurry, as if he was relishing the dread in her eyes.

“Now, princess… Let me give you a warning.” Grima warned, before Lucina could enter. “I do not intend to kill you, not yet. But if you prove too belligerent, I may have to reconsider that generosity.”

Unable to find words, Lucina took a few steps into the strange room, scrutinizing it thoroughly for any weapons. There was nothing to inspire terror in most- simply a curtained window, several shelves, a grand-looking wardrobe, and a canopied bed spread with an opulent quilt. But the sight of the bed immediately enlightened Lucina to Grima’s intentions.

“No… Not this…!” she cried, trying in vain to inject force into her plea. “Please…. Don’t do this to me!”

Grima didn’t answer Lucina. He dragged her patiently by the hands until she was helplessly inside and promptly sealed the door. It locked with a soft click, and Lucina sensed her urge to regurgitate with terror. There was no way she could tolerate the kind of depravity she was anticipating.

“Judging by your fear, you seem to know what’s expected of you.” noticed Grima. “But this is too great an opportunity to ignore! What greater privilege is there than taking the virginity of the princess of Ylisse? I can think of none…”

Too sickened to speak, Lucina cowered against the nearest wall. Her body was quavering from her head to her knees, and the desecration hadn’t even begun yet. In many previous times Lucina had managed to keep her panic under control, but it had always been death that threatened her, not this.

“Well, do you want to make this longer?” Grima’s hideously soft voice invaded Lucina’s wish. “Undress yourself, unless you wish me to do so for-“

“Sh-shut up…!!” Lucina blurted, not knowing what she was doing. Grima’s brown eyes narrowed, and he only lowered his threatening hands when Lucina’s grasped her boots. Her fingers were unreliable and it took many tries to remove the footwear. Satisfied, Grima relaxed atop his bed and began to unfasten his cloak, grinning with his white, perfect teeth.

It was toilsome Lucina to undress fully. She removed her tiara before hesitantly peeling off her tunic, revealing smallclothes that had concealed her meager breasts effectively. Stalling to take that off, she instead removed her leggings, trying to ignore Grima’s clear admiration of her slender thighs. He had to get up once more and even hold a knife against her bare back to persuade her into exposing her chest and groin. Being completely naked wasn’t something Lucina had done in memory, rendering it all the more disgracing.

“You’re more alluring than I expected.” Grima murmured, almost tenderly. Lucina couldn’t imagine what this would feel like and would rather wait her whole lifetime to find out. Avoiding the ingrained threat of the knife, she managed to reach the bed and lie on her back, praying to Naga that this would not be protracted. Grima was now fully undressed as well, and Lucina would not look at him. She had caught a glimpse of his ghostly-white, developed chest earlier, but had no desire to see anything else. The hellion now crouched on top of much of Lucina’s body, stroking the curves of her hips and smirking.

“I advise you not to struggle.” he breathed, chuckling delicately. “Remain still, and it shall not be painful.”

Lucina could already feel Grima intruding against her thighs and knew there was no escape now. A long, tense moment passed, during which he tested her virtually featureless chest with cold fingers. The weight of his form was far greater than Lucina’s, meaning she couldn’t push him off without extraordinary effort. Breathing shallowly, she closed her eyes, resolving not to visually witness the taking of her virginity.

After one more evil snigger, Grima pushed himself into Lucina’s body with speed and force. Immediate pain seared through her- she could feel herself stretching to accommodate Grima’s huge size, and this transition was not without discomfort. He was beginning to shove his hips against hers, repeatedly, immune to the tears in her eyes.

“Enjoying this…?” he mocked viciously, nearing Lucina’s face with a perverse grin. Lucina was quick to give her response.

“Curse you… to the hells…” she half-snarled, half-whimpered. Grima laughed once more, and began to push even harder, piercing the barrier that had been untouched in Lucina’s body. A scream of pain from the laceration rattled from her throat, hardly believing the sheer sting as Grima shifted inside her. Sweat was collecting on her forehead and neck, and all this time, she squeezed her eyes closed to block out the repulsive sight. Part of his body was now literally inside of her.

“You’re extremely… tight… I ought to loosen you!”

Again Grima’s voice permeated Lucina’s ears. She never imagined that sex could be such a painful act. Blood was starting to trickle out of her from her broken membrane, but Grima haughtily forced his hips against her own harder and harder.

“Work with me!!” he suddenly cried, finally forcing Lucina to open her eyes. “You’re getting me nowhere, woman!”

Determined to escape, Lucina forced every ounce of strength she had into aiding her tormentor to achieve the climax he wanted. The scant knowledge she possessed about sex and orgasms told her that she would have to work harder, so stifling nausea, she reluctantly began to shift her hips in sync with Grima. He was swiftly impressed with her effort and redoubled his own. By now, Lucina was in desperate torment from the thrusts, but repeatedly bit back her yelps of protest. There was not a hint of pleasure for her in this endeavour.

At long last, Grima’s tight clench on her hips faltered. A warm, fluid sensation came into Lucina’s midsection, and she would have thrown up if there was anything but emptiness in her stomach. Orgasm was impossible with the revulsion she was in. As they broke apart, both of the participants were breathing hard and sweating copiously. Lucina lay flat and almost lifeless on her back, tears running silently down her face, too enervated to move when Grima’s hands inspected her breasts again.

“…Your beauty does indeed match your prowess.” the Fell Dragon panted, after much silence. “You’ve pleased me more than I expected.”

Lucina could not find the words- or strength- to respond, and wouldn’t move until she had the approval to do so. She wasn’t even embarrassed about her naked body anymore. The pain was persisting, but worse than that was the hypothetical prediction of pregnancy. Now that she had experienced intercourse, Lucina now had a chance of having to bear a child to this monster.

Grima was redressing himself, but slowly, watching the princess all the while and his face the paradigm of sadism. Eventually, he spoke up.

“I assume you’ll want to dress, Princess.”

Lucina didn’t know if she dared voice her request. “…I… n-need to wash…”

Unexpectedly, Grima’s voice remained mellow. Once his trousers and cloak had been replaced, he answered Lucina a nonchalantly as if he were having a typical conversation.

“Very well, then, you may.”

Promptly, the Fell Dragon produced a thick, white towel from his oaken cupboard and handed it to Lucina. She wrapped herself in it gratefully, gathering up her clothing. Seeming lightly nonplussed, Grima reopened his door and led his guest out of the doorway. They travelled down half of the grand hall, through another decorative door, and finally into a bathroom. It was unoccupied and clean-looking, though more humble than Grima’s quarters. To Lucina’s relief, there was a basin for bathing.

“Heh… perhaps, since I’m allowing this, you’ll allow me to wash you?”

Lucina felt she couldn’t protest. In silence, she got into the basin and hesitated to make herself comfortable. Next to her Grima warmed water, then filled the steep vessel slowly. The warmth was a little soothing to the princess, and soon she began to comb the grime from her hair, closing her eyes again.

“No… I can wash myself.” she answered, unaware that the answer was late. Grima looked a little taken aback, but he simply nodded, and closed the door behind him. Finally alone, Lucina straightaway gave her body a thorough wash, being slightly hasty in case Grima might return. Nevertheless, she felt a degree of relaxation now. After all, she was abundantly relieved at the feeling of cleanliness after weeks of being in the wilds with Severa and Inigo.

Inigo. Only then did Lucina realize her grief for his spur-of-the-moment death. As she scrubbed herself cleaner, Lucina’s brain raced. What had happened to his body? Did he suffer before death took him? Once her mind took her back to the events of the morning, Lucina was reminded of how she really couldn’t have stopped these events from happening. But despite that, she supposed she was just slightly lucky that she was still alive. At least she had that left.

Trying to calm her anxiety with that optimistic thought, Lucina reapplied her clothing. She was uncertain whether to leave this room or wait for Grima to return, but the latter would be tough. Her body smarted dimly in several areas from the rough treatment it had received, and only rest would alleviate that. Distracting herself, the princess combed her hair until it had become manageably dry, letting her thoughts stray to many topics. The feeling of shame, worry of what was going to come next, and lingering concern for Severa’s fate were all there.

Finally Lucina could no longer bear the suspense and quietly left the bathroom, knowing that the bedroom would have to suffice. Grima was nowhere in sight. She walked back into his bedroom and slumped on the bed where which she had recently been raped, closing her eyes before she was in a relaxed position. Sleep was no longer a privilege to be postponed and her body took no time to send her into a black void.

The room only got lighter as the day passed, but Lucina never moved. Even her limbs did not twitch. She was sprawled over, snoring faintly, her elbow-length blue hair tossed every which way on the blankets. In her brain danced visions of many things- the tiny patches of memory of Mary and Chrom, glowing red eyes, and the lingering visual of Inigo’s dead body. But through it all, she slept even more deeply, not beginning to rouse until the day was beginning to close.

Hunger pains gnawed at the walls of Lucina’s empty stomach. She sat up slowly, a huge yawn parting her jaws, half-tempted to sink back down into darkness again. Thoughts of what had become of Severa were starting to encroach on her desperate desire for food, and yet, stronger than anything, was the exhaustion. She had not slept long enough, and didn’t know when she might have to go without rest again. Unconsciously, the princess lie back down once more and let her breathing slow, unaware of the shadow standing silently in the doorway.



Written by Grizzly Bear