Greetings all you lovely people. People seemed to like the first one shot I did, so I came up with a couple more. eventually, I realised I probably should just compile them into a loosely linked story of interactions, all based around Lysithea and Byleth. Therefore, this was born. Also, when is the Lysithea character tag going to be an option, ? Anyway, let's go!
Summary: In a class made out of the eccentric, their professor was usually the only source of normality. As Lysithea would quickly learn, that was not to be this year. But perhaps that's not such a bad thing...
Lysithea gave a sigh as she entered the Golden Deer classroom, met with the incredible noise of her fellow classmates. While they certainly weren't bad people, the sheer amount of chaos they could cause was incredibly distracting for the white haired girl.
She hadn't even made it through the door before the loud complaining of Hilda assaulted her ears, no doubt the result of the spoiled noble being forced to do actual work. It was fortunate that Claude was actually willing to at least humour the girl's complaints before finding some mysterious way to somewhat motivate her, otherwise they'd be forced to listen to the racket endlessly. How such a person even managed to make it into the Officer's Academy, Lysithea didn't know.
On the other side of the classroom, Raphael and Leonie were wrapped up in some sort of fight discussion, a relatively normal situation if it weren't for the fact that they were two of the most boisterous students in the class. Even then, it might have been an acceptable noise level had Lorenz not inserted himself into the conversation to try and show the common people some manners 'as a noble should.'
Then again, there was nothing Lysithea could do about the situation. After all, the Golden Deer were composed entirely of those who belonged to the Leicester Alliance and with House Ordelia territory just north of the Airmid River, it was automatically decided for her. At first, the white haired girl hadn't seen an issue with it, but now that she was forced to try and concentrate with all of the chaos her classmates made? It sometimes drove Lysithea mad.
The only thought that consoled her was the fact that the other classes weren't exactly that much better, or at least, that was what was Lyisthea had assumed from what little interaction she had seen between the other houses. While she typically kept to herself during the breaks and meal times, the Black Eagles and Blue Lions certainly weren't lacking in… colourful characters. Making the hypothesis was simply logical.
Shaking her head in a fruitless attempt to block the noise, Lysithea moved to her desk, one that she had purposely chosen to be next to the quietest person she knew at all, let alone just in the classroom.
"Oh, Lysithea… hello…" Marianne hesitantly spoke before awkwardly returning to staring at the desk. Anyone else would've considered it quite rude, but having gotten to know the almost depressingly shy bluenette, Lysithea wasn't so effected.
"Hey Marianne. How's Dorte?"
"He's been well. He's been getting more exercise."
Sometimes, Lyisthea couldn't help but pity Marianne. She wasn't entirely sure what had happened in her past, but it had practically murdered Marianne's self-confidence and she struggled to interact with anyone beyond a few short sentences. The fact that she was even able to speak that much with Lysithea, considering that she wasn't an animal, was something special.
Lysithea had originally stuck around Marianne (much to the quiet confusion and concern of Marianne) simply because she was the quietest and easiest to work around. Now though, it had evolved into quite the curious friendship as Lysithea tried to improve Marianne's confidence and learn more about her.
To be honest, Marianne was the only one that Lysithea really could call a proper friend. She was certainly acquainted with the other members of the Golden Deer, but there simply wasn't any sort of connection between them. They were classmates, but nothing more; their polar opposite personalities made sure of that.
"Settle down." An imposing voice brought silence to the classroom, a strange man marching to the front of the room with an expression better suited for the battlefield than an academy. "Claude. A pleasure."
Clad in such strange black armour and an overcoat, it was clearly not a professor Lysithea recognised and from the looks of things, neither did any of the other students. It was only Claude who seemed to know who the stranger was, his face immediately brightening as he caught the attention of the room with his greeting.
"Nice to see ya! Let me guess, this means you're teaching us Golden Deer?" Claude cried out, the man giving a stiff nod in return. "Don't tell me, you chose this class just to get to know me better, am I right? I'm flattered, really. Well, maybe I shouldn't be so informal. You're the teach now after all."
"Teaching us?" Lysithea parroted to herself, folding her arms. She hadn't heard anything about there being any new staff joining Garreg Mach; surely the news of a new professor wouldn't be kept under wraps until such short notice? And if the man was being kept secret, why did Claude know about him? Sure, he was the house leader, but that meant little in practicality save for a little more authority over the others. There was something Lysithea was missing from the puzzle. "How strange…"
"Guys, meet Byleth. He was one of the mercenaries who helped me and the other house leaders out with a little bandit trouble. Looks like he's chosen to be our professor as well." Claude said, throwing an arm around the blue haired man's shoulders. Byleth didn't show any response at all, merely glancing to the arm before returning to surveying the students with a keen eye. "He's pretty close to our age, but he's the real deal. I don't think we would've made it out of the forest without this guy's help."
"Our age? What a rather… exceptional appointment." Lorenz drawled, a hand held dramatically to his face. "Becoming a teacher to students nearly the same age as yourself, one can marvel at the idea. It's somewhat discomforting in my opinion, regardless of supposed talent."
"You really that strong? Your arms are like noodles." Raphael added in his own jovial way, grabbing Byleth's arm and waving it about like a toy. Indeed, compared to Raphael, the professor was woefully lacking in the muscle department. Then again, most anyone was lacking in comparison to Raphael.
"I wouldn't' judge him solely on that. Apparently, he has the recommendation of Alois, one of the Knights of Seiros." Ignatz interrupted, the green haired boy pushing his glasses back into place. "Surely a recommendation wouldn't come on foul information."
"Who cares? I saw his skill with my own eyes." Claude said, leaning back against the nearby pillar with an easy smile. "Besides, Byleth here's the son of the most renowned former captain of the knights. Gotta mean something, right?"
"I heard! There's no way the son of the captain himself isn't worthy. It's impossible!" Leonie added, practically buzzing in place with energy. "When you have the Bladebreaker, one of the greatest captains and mercenaries out there, teaching you, you have to be great."
"Perhaps you're exaggerating somewhat." Byleth remarked, unaware that he would be awakening a beast in Leonie. After all, she was one of Bladebreaker Jeralt's greatest fans; to hear someone speak so casually of him was bound to bring forth a reaction.
"Well it doesn't matter what you think! He deserves as much respect as you can give!"
Lysithea tuned out the rest of the conversation as it devolved into aimless chatter about messing about and bickering, content with observing the man stuck in the middle of it all.
There was something… wrong about Byleth, something that Lysithea couldn't put her finger on. It was almost as if there was something artificial about the blue haired man, inhumane. He didn't seem to show anything at all on his face or in his voice, nor did he seem to react with to any of the jibes or jokes that were made to him.
One would be forgiven for thinking the man simply stoic as you'd expect of a mercenary, but Lysithea prided herself on her observational ability; there was a difference between supressing your emotions and having nothing there at all, something that Lysithea had never seen before. Either he was someone who was the most skilled at disguising their thoughts or there was something they didn't know about their newest professor.
For Lysithea, it might as well be an open challenge to find out the answer and Lysithea always found the answer.
"Marianne. What do you think about the new professor?" Lysithea offhandedly questioned, watching as the blue haired girl twitched in her seat before she answered.
"Well, he seems nice… Kind of scary though." Marianne admitted, shrinking back with a small blush of embarrassment on her cheeks. "What about you?"
"He's… interesting. Very interesting. This year might turn out to be more fun than I thought."
"The lesson has begun. Silence." Lysithea perked up as the man called those words; finally, she would get to see what Byleth was actually capable of. While a mercenary might not exactly be the most capable of teaching someone more magic-oriented such as herself, there had to be some evidence behind his reputation. "Apologies if this lesson appears less than planned. As I have no prior teaching experience, I shall be using the techniques taught to me by my father and the other mercenaries. Question: which is better? Strength or magical ability?"
"It's gotta be strength! Can't do a thing if you don't have the muscles for it." Raphael answered proudly from his seat, Lysithea rolling her eyes.
Friendly as he was, Raphael had no care for the subtle nuances of battle. He could make somewhat reasonable strategies but otherwise, the muscular boy was far more likely to simply charge the enemy than try and abuse weaknesses. It worked well enough for him, most of the time, but not everyone could be so brazen in the way they fought.
"I see. Then what if I were to do this?" Byleth questioned, his eyes suddenly glaring at the opposite side of the classroom. "Ignatz!"
"Y-yes, Professor!?" but the green haired boy wouldn't get a reply, for a wicked sounding splash echoing through the classroom drew the attention away.
There was silence as the sponge slowly slid off Hilda's face, the pink haired girl struggling to hold back her rage as the wet object dripped all over her specially customised uniform. It would take a second before anyone truly registered what had happened; the moment that Byleth had called Ignatz's name, he had launched a water filled sponge directly at one of his students, no doubt assisted by wind based magic.
Lysithea had to hold back her snickers as an enraged screech escaped Hilda. Yes, their new professor really was going to be interesting.
"The issue with physical strength is that one must telegraph what they intend to do. You must swing a weapon that can be seen; if you want to attack, you enemy will know." Byleth intoned, blank eyes crossing over every student as if he hadn't just assaulted one of their own with a cleaning implement. "Magic has no such requirements. The moment that your opponent can tell what you're doing, you already have fired the spell in their direction. Another lesson – do not be distracted. In a battle, Hilda just died."
"This is… this is absolutely ridiculous!" Lorenz spluttered, the blue haired boy slamming his hands onto the desk before him. "This is hardly behaviour suited for a professor!"
The response was yet another sponge flying at incredible speeds through the air, Lorenz letting out an undignified noise as it nearly knocked him out of his seat.
Lysithea openly laughed that time.
"I have been tasked to teach you how to fight. So long as the lesson is learnt, any method is to be used." Byleth declared, his tone so definite that any other arguments died upon the students' tongues. Even if any others wanted to object, they probably wouldn't be able to after such an authoritative statement. "Another lesson – if your enemy has used an attack, prepare for it."
"S-so you're saying that magic is superior to physical fighting, Professor?" Ignatz questioned, trying his best to hide his distress. The moment that he finished his statement, the green haired boy threw his arms before his face, trembling with a whimper as the sponge splashed against them.
"Everyone, be like Ignatz. Ignatz learns." Byleth said before he pulled a bucket onto the table, now bereft of the ammunition it had been carrying before. "Answer: no. Magic has strengths, but also weaknesses like physical power. Watch."
Lysithea's laughter was immediately cut short when Byleth seemingly teleported directly behind her and Marianne, leaning against the pillar behind their desks with a resolute frown. If it weren't for the fact that she restrained herself at the last second, the white haired girl was pretty sure she would've thrown a fireball into Byleth's face.
"You two, punch me. In the gut." Byleth ordered, completely uncaring for the way that the two girls gawped at him. "No hesitation. In a battle, you two just died."
With a wary look to Marianne that was answered with uncertain hesitancy, Lysithea eventually gave a shrug of her shoulders before the two reeled back and punched with all of their might. She wasn't going to lie; the fact that Byleth didn't even flinch, let alone be hurt by the punches, was a little disheartening.
"Magic users are physically weak – low stamina and muscle. Get into close quarters and they will fall." Byleth explained, the professor returning to the front of the classroom before pulling out several different sheets in four neat piles, far more than any of the students had ever seen. "Physical power: good at close range, bad at long. Magical power; good at long range, bad at short. Magic moves slower than arrows, but can be cast faster. Each have strengths and weaknesses, so I shall prepare you for both. Disregard one and face injury or death. Some of you are better at one than the other; I have prepared advanced and simpler material for both magic and physical combat application."
And with a flick of the man's hands, the many sheets of paper upon his desk went flying through the air, landing perfectly on each student's desk. Lysithea only had to pick up her own work to realise just how much of an impressive move it was; each person had been given a specific combination of work tailored to their abilities, all organised simply through the use of wind magic. If one or two had been right, then it could be a fluke, but everyone had received the appropriate difficulty for their current skillset.
There was only one problem.
"Professor. I apologise, but I have already completed this level of magic work." Lysithea pointed out with her hand raised, Byleth's eyebrow rising for barely a second before his face settled back into neutrality. That was perhaps the only reaction she had seen out of the man.
"…I see." Was all he spoke before diving down beneath his desk once more, a rolled scroll held beneath his arms as he gave a cough. "I shall be working with Lysithea. If you need assistance, ask your classmates. If that fails, then ask me."
Turns out, the scroll was actually a map, rolled out before Lysithea as Byleth diligently set down various figures and symbols upon what appeared to be Gronder Fields. While it was certainly an interesting thing to look at, she wasn't exactly sure how it connected to magical ability.
"You are in command of five men. Three magic users, swordsman, lancer. The enemy is ten, unknown affinities. Only visual information is four men in heavy armour, two carrying bows. You are restricted to magic only – lack of weapons." Byleth ordered, her soldiers coloured blue while the enemy was a sickly red upon the map. "Tell me how you use magic and your men to rout the enemy."
"Okay…" so essentially, it was a combat based chess game – Lysithea could handle that. She was quite fond of strategy, yet her age and appearance meant there were woefully few chances to test such things. Strong burly knights just weren't happy being led by a young girl. "Send the swordsman out first, flanked by the lancer. Use their distraction to move the magic users into a more advantageous position.
"Denied. Swordsman refuses to follow your orders due to age prejudice." Byleth stated harshly, Lysithea looking to her professor with what could only be described as pure outrage. "Next move."
"E-excuse me professor?"
"You haven't moved. Enemy has discovered you. Your men are preparing to move independently. Next move." Byleth continued relentlessly, staring at the map disturbingly intently. Lysithea was forced to shake her head and quickly reply, lest the professor essentially act out the simulation without her.
"Right, can't use the swordsman… utilise the lancer and myself as the distraction, focus the magic users on the bowmen. Use the lancer to draw the attention of the heavy armours and I'll use magic to dispose of them at a safe distance!"
"Magic users move, lancer moves. Two heavy armours defeated by your magic. Swordsman attacks two others independently, is killed by ambush. You failed."
"You can't just do that Professor! That's not fair!" Lysithea immediately protested with a pout. "You're the one making the personalities, you can't just do random stuff and fail me for it. If I knew he was going to do that-!"
"That is why you failed. You didn't learn their personalities. Another lesson – understand the quirks of your soldiers. Play to them. Had you asked, I would've explained."
When he phrased it like that, Lysithea had no voice to argue with. The attitudes and temperaments of your soldiers controlled the way they acted and if someone was too stubborn to listen to your commands, they risked ruining everything. It was even worse if they acted without regards to their life. To not know your men was a gamble too big to take on the battlefield.
The pout on Lysithea's face grew. The fact that he was right didn't mean she had to like it.
"Fine. Tell me everything you know about them." Lysithea ordered, her hands subconsciously curling into fists. She was one of the smartest people her age; she wouldn't let something as simple as a professor's first assignment defeat her!
"Lancer: Damien MacFair. Extremely shy and withdrawn. Anxious demeanour, easily startled. Comfortable around the more crude and loud. Fights better for others, wants to make people smile." Byleth listed off, the smallest hint of something coming to his face as he spoke. "Swordsman: Kyle Salieri. Cold, calm and aloof. Tendency to work alone and out of personal motivations. Won't harm women or children. Prideful in his skill, yet average in practicality. Values strength over personality. Mage one: Alice Ricke-."
"Those are some… rather random details." Lysithea noticed, placing her palm upon her cheek as she looked towards the map. "Did you really need to make up so much stuff about the soldiers for a school simulation?"
"I did not make them up. These are real people." Byleth explained, Lysithea starting slightly. "This battle has occurred, I was the one meant to lead them. You have made the same mistakes as me."
That last statement was what caught the white haired girl off guard. This was a battle that the professor was involved in? And she had made the same mistakes? But that meant…
"Professor, then the guy you called Kyle…!"
"I was eight at the time. Kyle would protect me, but he would not listen to my orders. I dug his grave."
Byleth's words sent a shiver down Lysithea's spine. They should've been sad, yet the man said them as if he were discussing the weather. Was that truly how Mercenaries saw each other's lives? Something normal? God, was he going to try and make them feel the same? The thought alone almost made Lysithea vomit. It was only his next line that made the girl's feelings change.
"I never forgave myself. I carry that burden to this day. I will not allow my students to be placed in that situation. You made the same mistakes here so you won't on the battlefield." Byleth said, almost towering over Lysithea as he leaned forward on the desk. "You have much potential, especially in magic. You will be able to keep your friends alive. I will make sure of it."
"…Of course Professor. I'll do my best." Lysithea replied, seating herself more comfortably as she stared at the board. Her professor had faith in her ability – she would show him that faith was not unfounded. "Let me try this again Professor! I know I can do it!"
The next hour would be spent with constant failures and retries, Byleth's harsh statements and advice interspersed with Lysithea's orders. They would not hear the bell, too engrossed in the simulation, nor would they realise that the rest of the class had devoted themselves to completing the work individually, the classroom empty save for the pair.
It was one of the most informative lessons Lysithea had ever experienced in her life.
And that's it for now. Tell me what you think. Lysithea, at least from the online leader boards, has really become a liked character. I wonder if that's because people also like her character, or because she can literally be deployed like a tactical nuke on every map. Either way, the alternative is killing Lysithea and nobody would do that, right?