Filolial Training

"Watch it fatty!"

"Shut up, dummy!"

Kiryu and Naofumi watched over the two bickering children that were once their Filolial companions. After the revelation of Nugget's change, the group had quickly taken the now young boy over to the tailor. Kiryu was thankful that he had provided her with more materials for magical clothing as it made dressing Nugget quite easy. Though, to his surprise, Nugget had taken to dressing much like Kiryu.

When they had left the seamstress, they came out with several small suits, Nugget dressed in a dark gray suit with an orange dress shirt under it and brown loafers to go along with the look. Nugget wasn't fond of the shoes, as Filolial liked to go barefoot apparently, but preferred to keep them on when looking in the mirror. "Barefoot didn't quite match the look", he said.

Now that he was all dressed up and that things had settled down… Filo and Nugget were back to arguing as if he had never transformed.

"Calm down you two! I swear…" Raphtalia sighed, rubbing her head tiredly.

"... So, I'm guessing his transformation has something to do with you." Kiryu finally said, looking over at Naofumi.

"You… think so?" Naofumi's nose wrinkled as he tried to figure it out, looking at his shield. "I figured he'd get an EXP boost, but I didn't… see that coming."

"It must be some sort of innate ability of the Shield Saint. I wonder if the previous wielders also had Filolial party members." Raphtalia put a finger to her chin in thought.

"Maybe… still, it's not like he was added as a permanent member of the party like you or Filo." Naofumi scratched his head.

"I guess it doesn't matter." Kiryu sighed, crossing his arms. "If anything, we'll benefit from his change. Filo seemed to get much stronger from it. I expect Nugget will too."

"True. But still…" The three looked back at Nugget and Filo, the two now grappling against one another, as if testing their strength. "Those kids are going to be a pain in the ass."

"Yeah…" Kiryu and Raphtalia sighed, Kiryu walked forward, stepping between the two and separating them.

"Hey! We're still fighting!" Nugget whined, swinging his arms wildly.

"Let Filo go so she can wallop this dummy!" Filo mirrored his actions, the two trying to fight against Kiryu's grip.

"If you both calm down, we can get something to eat." Filo and Nugget immediately took a seat, hands on their knees as their mouths shut.

"Good call." Naofumi chuckled. " Let's head to the tavern."

As promised, the 5 headed to the tavern, Filo and Nugget transforming back into their bird forms. Kiryu noted that he'd have to get a new saddle for Nugget similar to his clothing.

"Here." Naofumi and Kiryu brought them feed from the tavern and put it in the troughs, Nugget and Filo gleaming with hunger.

"Thank you for the meal!" Both birds dove beak first into the feed, too distracted to pay mind to their owners heading inside the tavern.

"How long did it take you to adjust to Filo's new form?" Kiryu asked curiously, the three taking a seat at the bar and ordering several drinks.

"A bit. Can't say I'm fully adjusted either. She still causes trouble by shifting all the time." Naofumi admitted, grabbing his mug and taking a swig. "Trying to be a dad to her and Raphtalia at the same time is difficult."

"Y-You're not my father, stop that!" Raphtalia complained, causing Kiryu to chuckle.

"It's not easy, but… when you get used to being a parent, there's nothing better." Kiryu smirked, swishing the whiskey in his cup back and forth.

"Were you a father, Mister Kiryu?" Raphtalia wondered, her and Naofumi looking at him in wonder.

"I didn't have kids of my own, but I did run an orphanage, as well as raised a young girl like my daughter." Kiryu nodded, his eyes staring into the amber liquid.

"... Are you trying to get back to them?" Naofumi ventured, but was surprised when Kiryu shook his head.

"No. My life as a yakuza brought too much trouble to them all." Kiryu frowned, taking a sip of his drink before continuing, "They're better off with me gone. Even before I came here… they thought I was dead."

"Yeesh. I figured you had an exciting life at least, but it sounds a lot more complicated than that," Naofumi raised a brow, curious. "So you've had no plans on going back?"

"No. There's nothing left for me back there. That's why I decided to make protecting Lute my priority." Kiryu explained, his eyes trailing to Naofumi and smirking. "Well, that was one goal. I suppose now it's changed a bit."

"It has?"

"Yeah. I figured I might as well help others see that the Shield Hero isn't what they think." Naofumi blinked, scratching his cheek sheepishly as he looked away. Raphtalia giggled next to him as she gave Kiryu a look of appreciation.

"Ah, Shield Hero! Mister Kiryu!" The three turned from their conversation to see Marco and his knights approaching, the young blond giving them a spirited smile. "We were hoping to find you here! Would you all like to go over battle strategies with us? We could adapt Sir Shield Hero to our usual formations!"

"Sure. Guess now's better than later. Maybe we can do some drills later on too." Naofumi turned to them, leaning on his knees. "Raphtalia, can you bring the birds in?"

"Sure!" Rapthalia hopped out of her seat, heading outside to get them.

"Alright, so maybe we should go with some of the battle strategies we use during the Claim Jump game." Kiryu started, looking at Naofumi. "You should-"

"Kiryu! Master Naofumi!" Raphtalia rushed back inside, her face full of concern. "Nugget and Filo! They're gone!"


"Hey, that was mine, you dummy!" Filo hissed as she stormed behind Nugget, both in their bird forms as they raced across the open field outside of Lute Village.

"I'm just helpin' you! You don't need the extra pounds, fatty!" Nugget crowed back in amusement, a large turkey leg hanging from the corner of his mouth.

"Gimme before I eat you instead!" Filo snarled as she leapt through the air, attempting to stomp on Nugget's back and catch him.

"Like you ever could!" Nugget cackled as he dodged just to the right, avoiding her thudding stomp as Filo landed. As Filo turned to face him, Nugget did the unthinkable: He looked up and let the leg drop into his mouth, eating it whole.

"NO~!" Filo whined, tears threatening at the edge of her eyes. "That's my favorite part!"

"It's mine too!" Nugget chuckled, deviously giving her a cocky glare. Filo's entire body shook, her feathers floofing up as she glared daggers back at him.

"I'll eat you instead you big dummy!" Filo charged at Nugget with her beak pointed to kill. Nugget stuck his tongue out and instead of charging back, he transformed into his human form, hopping off the ground and stepping on her head, catapulting up into the air to avoid her.

"Only if you can catch me, fatty~!"

"I'll show you!" Filo transformed as well, rocketing after him. She had flown faster than he expected his way, slamming a hard fist into Nugget's back. The recently changed filolial coughed as Filo sent him rocketing toward the ground. Filo landed on the ground some ways away, shadow boxing and blowing air out of her nose. "Serves you right!"

"Tch! Fine, you asked for it!" Nugget hopped back to his feet, dusting off his clothes before dashing at her. Filo dashed to meet him, giving a swing of her fist to catch him as he came in. But Nugget was quick to react, instead stopping short and making a quickstep backward, much like what Kiryu would do. Filo had overcommitted to the punch, gritting her teeth as she started to stagger forward. Nugget then met her with a hard straight kick to her stomach, causing Filo to lift off the ground and fly back a few feet to fall flat on her back.

"Hah! How'd that feel!"" Nugget flicked his nose with his thumb triumphantly.

"Weak!" Filo hopped to her feet, lips pursed as she held back the groan of pain that wanted to escape her. "I'll hit you ten times harder!"

"Bring it on!"

Filo and Nugget proceeded to go into an exchange of blows, Filo with her fists and Nugget with his legs. Neither would admit it, but their strength was comparable. Filo was more used to her human form, but Nugget was older than her with more experience overall. Yet their exchanges were often equal.

Nugget broke their slugfest to hop back and pounce up into the air, using his wings and arms to create a spinning motion like a wheel cutting through the air toward her. Filo reacted by throwing a flurry of punches his way, intending to meet him head on and pound him to the ground. This of course went as expected, with Filo punching his stomach with her flurry and with Nugget slamming his heel on top of her head. Both grunted in pain as their eyes rolled over, falling to the ground flat on their backs, breathing heavily as they lay there.



"Hmph!" They huffed defiantly, neither conceding in the battle of wills.

"Well, well, well… look what little lost birds we've got here."

Nugget and Filo blinked, slowly sitting up to see a group of men approach. They were ratty leather and rag wearing thugs, chains and clubs in hand as they walked around the two.

"Huh? Who are you mister?" Filo tilted her head in question.

"Just some random passersby. We're not allowed in Lute after certain scuffles. But gotta keep our trade goin' don't we?" The man at the front said, spreading his arms out. "Some fancy little wings you kids got. Nothin' I've seen before. Any of you lads seen that?"

"Nope." The others answered, chuckles and sneers coming from them.

"... Ah I recognize you idiots." Nugget's brow darkened, his eyes glaring up. "You're the slave traders who were mean to Keel."

"Huh? Oh, I get it. You must be one of the brats from the town. Tch." The slave trader hissed in irritation before grinning. "Well, maybe that works out, eh? We could get a bit of coin tradin' you two back to the townsfolk. Would be a good way to make them shove it for the trouble that lot gave us before.

"Mean to Keel?" Filo blinked before glaring up at them. "Keel is nice to me. Feeds me when I'm in town and plays with me. Why would you be mean to her?!"

"Huh? You mean that little shit that we lost in that town?!" The slave trader spat in disgust. "What a worthless trade that ended up being! Lost so much money, and now we always have trouble findin' a replacement animal! I'd strangle that brat if I saw her again!" He then grinned, holding the chains up as they got closer to Nugget and Filo. "But we'll be able to make up for it with you two. Now hold still and make it easy for us, eh?"

"... Hey dummy. We should beat these guys up."

"... Yeah. That sounds fun."

Smoke exploded around Filo and Nugget, the slave traders stepping back in shock. They now towered over their would-be captors like wolves over sheep, the men shivering as Nugget and Filo stared down at them with blank eyes.

"Don't get in my way, fatty."

"Same goes for you!"

"U-Uh…" the leader took a step back, realizing what they were now facing. "W-We were just jokin' around! Haha, no need to get your-"

Nugget completely disregarded his words as he smashed him in the chest with his foot, with the slave trader buckle over before flying into several of his men…

Kiryu, Naofumi and Raphtalia ran out onto the open field, both annoyed and concerned for their bird companions. They were thankful to hear from one of the villagers where they had run off to, but it certainly was a pain to get to them considering how fast both could cover distance.

"Those two troublemakers…" Naofumi clicked his tongue.

"They certainly match their new looks," Kiryu sighed, the three slowing down as they reached the Claim Jump field. "Do you see them?"

"Ah, right ahead!" Raphtalia pointed, pursing her lips in concern. "And… they're not alone."

Naofumi and Kiryu paled, indeed seeing Nugget and Filo. As well as the piled up bodies of men below them, both in their human forms as they sat on their backs.

"Great…" They groaned in unison, jogging over to the duo.

"I beat up more guys!"

"Shut up, dummy! You can't count!"

"And you can?!"


"Hey!" Naofumi shouted for them, Filo's hair lip turning back and forth happily.

"Ah, master!" Filo hopped off the bodies, running over to meet Naofumi. She was then met with a soft, yet firm, bonk on top of her head with his shield. "Ah, master~!"

"I told you not to run off on your own! And especially not to assault random people!" Naofumi scolded her, arms crossed over his chest.

"Are they alive?" Kiryu asked, looking at Nugget with a scolding glare of his own.

"Hey, I don't eat and kill random stuff like the dummy!" Nugget raised his hands in surrender, earning a glare from Filo. "These are the slave guys from before! The ones who had Keel!"

"What?" Kiryu and Raphtalia suddenly changed, the latter tensing up while Kiryu suddenly became intense, stomping forward and finding the leader.

"O-Oh shit, not you again…"

"You… I told you not to come near Lute again." Kiryu was quick to reach down and snatch the man by his neck, hoisting him up with one arm and holding him in the air.

"W-We weren't going to Lute! H-Honest! J-Just passing through!"

"They were gonna try and sell us to the town!" Nugget spat, kicking one of the guys in the head as he jumped down from the pile up.

"Yeah! And they talked badly about Keel!" Filo quickly added, her cheeks puffed up in anger.

"Did they now?" Raphtalia drawled with a furious glare, instantly pointing her drawn sword at the leader.

"W-Wait! Please spare me!" The leader cried, shaking in Kiryu's grasp.

"Why should she?" Kiryu asked, his grip tightening on his neck and making him choke. "The kingdom won't arrest you and you tried to enslave our filolials. Not to mention your abuse of Keel."

"PL-PLEASE! I-I'll do anythi-" His sniveling was cut off when Kiryu squeezed his throat again before looking at Raphtalia and Naofumi.

"Raphtalia…" Kiryu looked at her before his eyes trailed to Naofumi. The Shield Hero's lips thinned into a line, looking conflicted as his demi-human friend struggled with her own internal conflict. He sighed before putting a hand on her shoulder.

"They're not worth it. Save that kind of choice for someone that is." He said, not completely disregarding the idea before looking at Kiryu. "Still, can't exactly let these guys go. What should we do with them?"

"... I have an idea." Kiryu smirked, looking back at the slave trader. "Your life as a slave trader is forfeit. From now on you and your goons are going to work at helping construct more defenses for Lute and defend it during the Waves."


"Oh, that's a good idea. Might as well make a use out of them," Naofumi smirked.

"I agree. Now they'll know what it's like to be worked to the bone so hard." Raphtalia smiled, sheathing her sword.

"F-For how long?" The trader asked.

"For as long as I feel." Kiryu narrowed his eyes. "It's either that or I can feed you to them."

"Oh, I'd love that!" Filo cried happily, drool dripping at the edge of her mouth.

"W-We'll do the work!" The slave trader, and the lackeys behind him that were conscious, nodded furiously.

"Smart move." Kiryu scoffed, tossing him to the ground.

"... I had another idea." Naofumi walked up next to Kiryu, an evil smile on his face. "We can't be sure these guys are gonna do everything we want. They might even try to run during the Wave for all we know."

"That's a good point. So what do you suggest?" Kiryu crossed his arms, staring down at the shivering slave traders.

"Well, they're pretty familiar with slave crests. Why don't we slap some on them to keep them in line?" Naofumi asked, causing Kiryu to raise a brow. "Best way to keep them in check, don't you think? And they won't be able to run if anything happens."

"... I suppose so." Kiryu rubbed his chin, having mixed feelings. "I'm not keen on the slave crests, but… if these men are going to be our prisoners, we do need something that will keep them in line."

"Exactly. I'll even call the trader to the village and have him whip up some crests. It's better than what these guys deserve, anyways." Naofumi offered.

Kiryu took a moment to think it over before nodding. "Alright. Bring him to Lute when you can."


"So did we do good, Master?" Filo asked, giving a hopeful smile.

"... Yeah, you did good." Naofumi sighed, patting her on the head. "Just no more running off on your own. Or picking fights with Nugget."

"He picked the fight with me!" Filo stuck her tongue out at said filolial.

"The same goes for you, Nugget. Stop acting up around her." Kiryu scolded. "You're supposed to be the older one."

"Yeah, yeah…" Nugget grumbled, crossing his arms in annoyance.

"What'll we do with you two…" Naofumi sighed. "Let's get back already."

"Hey, get your men up or carry them, I don't ." Kiryu ordered the former slave traders.

"Y-Yes sir!" He scrambled to his men, pushing and shaking them to wake up.

"Can we eat Master? Dummy stole my food and fighting made me hungry." Filo asked, tugging on Naofumi's cloak.

"Again? … fine." He relented, rubbing her on top of the head.

"Yeah, I want more too!" Nugget raised his hands eagerly, only to be chopped on top of the head by Kiryu. "Hey!"

"Apologize for stealing Filo's food."

"What?! But-"

"Or you're not eating for the rest of the night."

Nugget pursed his lips, grumbling as he looked at the blonde filolial girl and grit his teeth. "Fine… I'm sorry…"

"Serves you right!" Filo giggled triumphantly.

"Shut up, you!"

"Alright, that's enough." Raphtalia sighed, stepping between them. The group proceeded back to Lute village where their new 'workers' would be put to use and they could finally prepare for the oncoming Wave.

To be continued…

Hey everyone! Long time no see, eh? Sorry for the long layoff from this story and the others! As well as for the short length of this chapter. In truth I've… definitely lost some flare for a few of my fics. I've been getting into new things lately that have taken a lot of my attention and creativity. And truth be told, the dip in quality for some of the series involving my fics have also affected how much I want to write them.

But, I do want to keep going. As long as I can at least. So in an effort to do this, I'm reducing the lengths of chapters for The Shield's Dragon and The Gunslinger, which may or may not be next to get updated. This does not apply to Thieves Can Be Heroes. But regardless, I do hope you guys still enjoy the fic even with shorter bursts and longer pauses in updates. It's the best I can do right now.

Anyways, I still did enjoy writing this one somewhat and hope you all enjoyed reading it! Next one will likely be the start of the next wave, but I thought I'd do a bit of a showcase for our filolials together first! See you next time!