Chapter 1: Mystery Cake
Ingredients: 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup sugar, 1 can condensed tomato soup, 1 cup nuts (personal preference), 1 cup raisins
Preheat to 350C, and mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
Beat butter and sugar, then alternate beating in flour (3x) and tomato soup (2x). Add nuts and raisins. Spread the batter (should be lumpy) into baking pan and bake 45 minutes, then remove to cool. Cake can be sprinkled with powdered sugar or frosting (as below).
Optional frosting: combine cream cheese, 6 tbsp butter, 2 tsp vanilla and 3 cups sugar and mix well (until smooth). Cover finished cake with frosting.
"Ugh," Lysithea slammed her hands over her ears. The typical racket of the Golden Deer classroom had become something she had grown accustomed to as a student at the Monastery, but today was...even worse. Her eyes sought out Marianne; wherever the poor girl stood was most likely to be the least aurally irritating spot in the classroom.
Relatively, of course.
She found Marianne standing in a corner, staring intently at a wall, and hurriedly grabbed her book bag to move there.
"Marianne! There you are," she said cheerfully.
"L-Lysithea? What's the commotion?" The blue-haired girl clutched her hands to her chest nervously. "It's something I did, isn't it? I made something happen and that's why everyone's so loud today..."
"Huh? Marianne, what are you talking about? They're just noisy because they're gossiping about that new professor; apparently he's subbing for our magic class today."
"O-oh..b-but-" Marianne was interrupted by the sound of the door opening, and the aforementioned professor striding in.
"Good morning, students. As I'm sure you've heard, I'm subbing for your magic class today. Please take a seat and quiet down so we can get started."
Lysithea scooted to make space for Marianne to sit. There was something...off...about the professor; the way he talked. She had heard from the Black Eagle students that the professor was stoic, but this...this was beyond stoicism. Lysithea wondered if he was alexithymic; his voice showed no emotion and his face was blank. He didn't even move an inch, standing there like a talking statue.
Byleth proceeded to call out their names, handing out their tests carefully folded downwards so as to not reveal their scores. Lysithea was quite sure she'd scored full marks; she'd finished in less than half the allotted time without breaking a sweat. A quick glance at her test confirmed her suspicions.
"Now, since the average on this exam was...well below what Professor Hanneman expected, today's class will be a review session. The core tenets of magic are of supreme importance for all of you to learn, regardless of whether or not you actually use magic in battle."
Lysithea let out a small groan, causing Marianne to release an "eep" of surprise next to her.
Great, another class spent reviewing things I already know.
She reached into her bag and fished out the book she'd borrowed from the library, Intermediate Dark Magic for the Experienced Mage, and tuned out the discussion.
An hour later, the bell rang, dismissing the class for break. Lysithea carefully inserted her bookmark before tossing the book into her bag and standing up to leave.
"Lysithea. A moment?" Byleth was staring at her.
"Um...ok." Lysithea sighed and walked to the professor. "Yes, Professor?"
"I noticed you weren't paying attention through the whole review."
"Yes, professor, I wasn't paying attention because I already knew all the concepts. I understand that you have to teach every student and not just me, so I studied on my own so that I wouldn't be a bother."
"I know. I saw your score when I was reviewing the exams before class. Now, since you have a gift-"
"It is not a gift, I study my butt off, Professor!" Lysithea stomped the ground in protest. "It's not like I just waltz in and ace the tests, you know."
Byleth held up a hand to stop her.
"If you had let me finish, you would have heard me say that you have the gift of work ethic. I have seen you practicing your spells and studying in the library at the crack of dawn. That dedication is why you are so far ahead of your peers, not some false notion of talent."
Lysithea crossed her arms.
"And nothing. I just wanted to tell you to keep up the good work."
"Oh. Um, t-thank you, Professor." She nodded and turned to leave the classroom, surprised by the wide smile and warm feeling throughout her body. It was so rare for her to receive a real, honest compliment from a professor or even a peer without a backhanded comment regarding either her age or her talent. In fact, she wasn't quite sure it had ever happened.
So this is what Edelgard meant when she said that the new professor had a knack for knowing just what she needed; a compliment, sharp criticism, or gentle reassurance, sometimes before she herself even knew.
Lysithea really hoped that she would get a chance to learn more from him. But she had never seen him fight with anything other than his sword. It wasn't enough that he was a good professor, if he didn't have the requisite knowledge base, he would have little to offer her in the way of actual teaching.
Hm..how can I figure out just how much he knows about magic?
The candlelight flickered, beginning to dim ever so slightly. Lysithea covered her mouth as she felt a yawn overcome her. The rest of the students had long since filed out, either to sleep or to return to their own quarters and relax for the night. Lysithea sighed. Try as she might, fatigue was beginning to win the battle.
"Alright, time to head back to the dorms." She packed her books carefully and drew her cloak around her shoulders. Nighttime at the Monastery was always chilly, even during the summer months. Lysithea guessed it had to do with the Monastery's location, between the junction of the mountain ranges separating the Kingdom of Faerghus, the Leicester Alliance, and the Adrestian Empire.
She pushed open the classroom door into the night, smiling as she took in the nighttime scenery. The Monastery itself was built in the style of Gothic architecture, giant stone structures topped with tall, sharp spires reaching high into the sky. Pillars arched smoothly from the floors to the structures they supported, forming elegant covered walkways that led from one building to another. Ornate stained-glass windows adorned the cathedral, and the soft white moonglow gave the panes an almost pastel hue, in contrast to the sharp, vivid reflections Lysithea was used to during the daytime. Between the cement paths, well-kept lawns, flowers and other numerous shrubbery added yet more hues for the eyes to behold.
A scratching sound behind her snapped her out of her reverie, and she quickened her pace from a leisurely stroll to a brisk walk.
Then again, the Monastery is really pretty during the daytime, too, when there aren't ghosts possibly around.
When she reached her dorm, she quickly pushed the door open, letting herself in and locking the door behind her. She dropped her bookbag on the floor and slumped onto her bed opposite the doorway.
The dorm itself was a simple, four-walled room built with stone gray brick, which seemed to enhance the gray moonlight as it poured in through the window. Her four-poster bed, neatly made and with sheets bearing the House Ordelia symbol, nestled against the wall opposite the door. To the right of the doorway, underneath the lone window in the room, sat a wooden desk and chair. Piles of notes and library books were stacked neatly on top of or next to each other, with slips of paper identifying the categories that each fell into.
I really hope Leonie is doing a trash run soon; that old note pile isn't getting any smaller…
To the left of the doorway stood her bookshelf, crammed full of books that she had either brought from home or borrowed from the library. She checked her bottom shelf for her most important one: An Encyclopedia of Sweets. She happily took it out and flipped to her marker. It had been a tradition for her and her parents to read about a treat at the end of each week, and spend the following week trying to perfect it. Though she had few opportunities to bake at the Monastery, she maintained the weekly tradition of reading an entry from the Encyclopedia. The armored bear stuffy that her father had bought her, and the princess doll her mother had sewn for her, would make do as company. She reached into her bag for the two…
And only found one. She furiously searched her room, but to no avail. One of the two memorabilia was missing.
Gods...did I leave the bear stuffy somewhere? She snapped her fingers. She'd taken it out at the dining hall and left it there most likely...
She rolled her eyes in annoyance; she was going to have to make the trek to the dining hall and back again. She pulled her cloak back on stepped back through the doorway, walking as fast as she could back towards the dining hall.
About halfway to the dining hall,, she heard footsteps and saw a shadowy figure approaching.
"AH! G-g-g-g-ghost," she yelled, leaping back in fright. As her eyes focused, she placed a hand over her pounding heart, trying to will it to calm down. A familiar face, with dark viridian green hair, looked at her quizzically. "Oh, Professor Byleth! Is that you? Well, good evening! Ha…," Lysithea's voice was overly cheery and she knew it, looking down as she tailed off awkwardly.
"Where are you headed at this time of night, Lysithea?"
"Oh, I left something in the dining hall, so I'm on my way to fetch it. B-but you don't need to come with me! I'll be fine on my own."
"Um...right. I wasn't planning on it…" His eyebrows raised.
"You weren't?" Lysithea was surprised. "Well, my apologies for the assumption. Claude has been spreading rumors that I'm scared of ghosts and whatnot and can't walk around at night alone. What a boor! I'm perfectly capable of defending myself."
"Of course. I don't doubt that you are. Good evening, then." He turned to walk away, leaving a flustered Lysithea behind.
"Um-good evening? Wait!" Lysithea suddenly remembered something she had wanted to ask earlier. "Professor Byleth? I…um…thought it would be nice to have some company while I walked. The Monastery does get awful quiet at night, you know. To be abundantly clear, this has nothing to do with my nonexistent fear of ghosts."
She could have sworn she saw Byleth's mouth twitch, just a little.
"Very well then. I'd be happy to," he replied. Lysithea clapped her hands.
"Really? Fantastic! Shall we, then?"
"Lead the way." He fell into step next to her, and an awkward silence settled between them. Lysithea fidgeted with her hands behind her back.
How do I tell him that I want to see how good he is with magic? Also...all this quiet...seems like the perfect time for a ghost to strike.
She shivered at the thought of a ghost.
"Er...Professor, would you mind, um, filling the void with some chatter? Some find silence a bit unsettling, that is all."
"What would you have me say?"
Gosh darn it, does he really have no emotion?
"Okay, I confess, I AM scared of ghosts! The Monastery gets so quiet at night, and it unnerves me and makes me think about the ghosts, so can we please talk about-"
"Shh." Byleth shushed her, and she planted her hands on her hips, miffed.
"Excuse me? Did you just shu-mfff!" Byleth's hand covered her mouth. She pounded her fists against him, but he didn't budge. Using his other hand, he pointed towards the greenhouse. Lysithea's eyes followed and widened at what she saw. A shadowy figure seemed to dart past the greenhouse, towards the faculty quarters. Byleth motioned for her to follow as he dashed off towards the figure.
What in the heck is going on?
I'm back from the dead! (Well, not the dead, but med school is basically being dead all the time). Anyways, I just finished my playthrough of Three Houses, and was honestly really disappointed with the Crimson Flower ending, mostly because it was 4-5 chapters shorter than all the other options and it seemed rushed. I'll try to avoid as many spoilers as I can. As I was fighting Rhea in the final battle I was waiting for the classic Fire Emblem plot twist of "wait, this is the ACTUAL big bad guy!"..it never came. All I got was a little snippet during the ending that said they eventually got rid of them, which was disappointing to say the least. I know that you do get to fight them in the other endings, but I thought that since choosing to support Edelgard is kind of breaking the mold (supporting the Church of Seiros/Dmitri/Claude are all more or less the same side, from what I've seen), I was really hoping that they would put more effort into it. Oh well.
I decided to name this after Lyisthea's book on sweets, just to have some fun with chapter names (which I don't usually do) and also because I love baking. Basically, each chapter will be named after a dessert that matches its mood or plot, and I'll type out a simple recipe entry so that anyone interested can try it out at home :) So for example, this chapter is named Mystery Cake because 1. Byleth is a mysterious dude and 2. Lysithea has no idea what's going on at the end. Hope this makes for a fun little addition, and if any of you want baking tips feel free to message me!
Lysithea has grown to become one of my favorite characters as I've played through the game. She's smart, witty, to the point, and honest about everything; she doesn't really put on a mask. Her nature is really seen during her supports; when she thinks something, she says it, regardless of what consequences may follow. With her, what you see is what you get, and that's refreshing in a world dominated by Photoshopped and Instgram filtered photos and autotuned/heavily edited music. (and bonus points since she hits like a truck in the game :D)
Also, her backstory really resonated with me for two big reasons.
It really is annoying when others attribute all your accomplishments to talent. I've been lucky enough to be successful in most things that I attempt, but as a result of that, almost everyone around me seems to diminish the amount of effort that I've put in. I haven't gotten to where I am in life because I slacked; I've gotten here because I spent the time studying, doing internships, volunteering, and doing all the things I thought I needed to do to get to med school, and sometimes, I really wish someone would just acknowledge that and say "hey, you're really smart, but I can also see that you work your butt off".
For the past two years, things have happened at home that have put more pressure on me: my mom got sick, and my dad was laid off. My mom has been forced to scale back her hours, and my dad now runs a restaurant. Since they live overseas, I only get to go home twice a year, and each time I go back, it scares me how much they have aged, and it makes me feel like my life is on a timer to do something for them before it's too late, similar to how Lysithea must feel with her conditions.
Anyhow, that's why as I read more of Lysithea's supports, she steadily became my favorite character. As for Byleth...he basically has zero personality in the game. Even though the game seems to imply that he gets better after spending time with the students, it was really hard for me to see any growth or even personality from him. Because of that, I'll probably just end up making Byleth's personality into what I imagine it would be for someone who has such a good connection with his students.
As always, please read and review, and enjoy!