So... I was PLANNING on updating my two fics, starting a new multi-chaptered one, and posting one or two one-shots, all in one day. But then I figured that that would be a bit overwhelming... and it'd be SO cruel to keep them all from you for so long! XD
One question... is Pent the count of Reglay or the marquess of Reglay? Is there even a difference? I'm using Count Reglay in this fic, but if it's wrong, tell me and I'll change it. :D I kinda think that I've messed up on Erk's personality, but I was trying to go for the same personality he has when he's talking to Pent and Louise... Please tell me if it's off. :) And I have to admit that I have no idea what I'm talking about in the magic parts so... XD
All right... This fic is based on that one event that's in the Louise+Erk supports and the Erk/Nino supports. I just found what Pent and Louise did for Erk really sweet so... yeah... XD And then I expanded on it a bit (because you can't have a fic with both Pent and Louise and not have sweet moments! XD), but I hope you like the result! Oh, and I've gone for another "new style" in this where I do a lot of sudden changes in setting (that are all marked). XD
Ah and... I know that Louise says "Castle Wrigley," but a very nice person tells me that it's more likely to be "Castle Reglay" with Wrigley just being a translation error... And because Reglay sounds better than Wrigley... XD
So... without any further ado... the fic!
Disclaimer: Don't own Fire Emblem. Wish I could own Pent, but I don't. T-T
To Commune With a Spirit (One-shot)
"Lord Pent! Lord Pent! Oh, why have you come home so late? And in such horrible weather! I've been so worried! I'll go and fetch you some dry clothes and some-"
"It's all right, Louise. I wasn't out there long. Though, some dry clothes do sound nice, but you'll have to get two sets..."
"Two sets? Why- Oh! And who might you be?"
"I-I'm Erk, Lady Louise."
"Why, you have such lovely eyes! And such nice hair! Are you... one of the maids' child?"
"Ha ha. There's no need to be uncomfortable, Erk. This, Louise, is my student."
Dinner at Castle Reglay was normally a quiet and subdued affair, even when Pent was there to partake in it, and it was no different this night. The long dining table, though it hadn't been fully occupied for quite some time as Pent was always busy either attending to his duties as mage general or his studies as Archsage Athos' only student, was smooth and completely free of dust thanks to Louise's care. The sounds of maids and chefs bustling in and out of the kitchen with platters full of steaming hot foods were absent as well, partly because there was no great feast going on in the castle, partly because Pent had decided to keep only the older and more diligent servants under his employment, reasoning that having thirty servants to serve three people, two of which were almost always either away or embroiled in study, was much too great a ratio.
The dining room was largely dark, with only one of the three chandeliers brightly lit, the flames atop its candles dancing about merrily. The count of Reglay sat at the head of the table, every now and then placing a piece of food into his mouth, while Louise, her plate practically empty, looked worriedly at Erk, his plate practically full and his nose practically part of the book he was reading.
"Erk, dear," Louise finally said, breaking the rather awkward silence, "you really ought to eat your food! It's getting cold, and that wouldn't be very healthy for you."
At that, the purple-haired mage-in-training quickly placed the scrap of parchment he used as a bookmark between the pages, shut the book, placed it aside, and began to dig into the food on his plate with as much grace and table manners as he could muster for one wolfing down a pile of peas. Both Pent and Louise gave him strange glances, and Pent heaved a slight sigh which went unnoticed by his student. Once Erk was finished, he quickly asked to be excused, politely of course, and, with book in tow, retreated to his room where he promptly shut himself in.
A moment passed, interrupted only by the scraping of fork on plate as Pent resumed his meal.
Louise sighed. "Lord Pent, you really must talk to Erk about that! He hardly comes out of his room, even to eat! I'm afraid that all this will do horrible things to his health..."
Pent only smiled. "I'll be sure to do that; I promise. Though, I am quite proud of Erk. He's truly a good student, always so studious and willing to learn." After a moment's hesitation, he added with a hint of delight, "And he has such a love for books."
"I'm proud of him too, Lord Pent. However, I'm sure he would be an even better student if he would eat a bit of food everyday! Oh, he worries me sometimes! Why, haven't you noticed how pale and thin he's getting?"
Pent nodded thoughtfully, pushing his plate away. "That he would. And I must admit that I haven't really noticed, but I suppose that I must leave that to you, Louise."
"I'm not only worried about Erk, Lord Pent. I'm worried about you as well..." Louise replied, as she got up out of her seat, plate in hand. But just as she was about to take Pent's as well, a light touch on her hand stopped her.
"Stay, Louise; I'll have one of the maids take that for you. Now, why are you worried about me?" Pent asked, his smile never leaving his face as he dragged a chair closer and motioned for Louise to sit.
"Well, you're always so busy! I can't imagine that you've had a good rest for some time..." Louise confided.
Pent laughed. "All right, if you insist. Why don't we spend some time together in the library tonight then? I'll tell you all about the places I traveled and the people I met." With that, he reached over the table and gently held Louise's hand in his own.
"Lord Pent..." Louise blushed and looked at the table, feeling Pent's gaze on her face. "I... I'd like that very much."
"I think I would too," Pent agreed.
"But you must promise you'll talk to Erk first thing tomorrow. You will, won't you?"
"I will. I promise."
"Erk, dear? Is everything all right in there?"
Louise tapped the heavy oak door that barred the entrance to the mage-in-question's room. No answer. She tried again.
"Erk? You haven't eaten for days, and that's certainly not good for a boy your age!" She paused. "Perhaps if you ate a little, you could study with even better results! I have your favorite food all hot and ready for you!"
She tried knocking harder; maybe the boy was asleep. "Perhaps you'd like it if I brought it up to your room?"
"Erk? Erk?" A tinge of worry was beginning to grow in her voice. "Please open the door, Erk."
Still no answer. Louise gave the wooden panels a slight push. No good. The door was locked, just as she had suspected.
"This won't do..." Louise mumbled to herself, "Lord Pent does this often as well, but I don't think Erk should be following his example just yet! Oh, he's just a young boy! What if- what if something horrible has happened to him? Lord Pent? Where are you, Lord Pent?"
Pent scrutinized the old door, taking in its every detail down to the last miniscule scratch. Louise, behind him, wrung her hands nervously.
"What should we do, Lord Pent? Is there any way we can open it?"
The mage general shook his head. "It's barred from within. Once that metal rod is placed into position, there's no way to directly open the door from the outside without sheer force or an awful lot of time and patience."
"Stand back, Louise. We can't risk a fire so I'll just have to..."
Pent drew a thick blue magic tome from his bag as Louise backed away quietly. Quickly flipping it open, he closed his eyes, raised his right arm, palm facing the shut door, and began chanting.
A blast of cold wind filled the hallway, almost lifting a flower vase off a table, as large icicles suddenly formed on the wooden door. Almost as soon as they had appeared, they shattered with such force that the door was bent inwards, a large gap appearing between it and the frame, fragments of ice dotting the wood. The delicate carvings on its panels had been nearly obliterated, thanks to the scars left by the piercing icicles which were now quickly melting, streams of water trickling down the cratered oak.
Pent stepped forward, and, sticking his arm into the gap, shoved the metal bar to the side and kicked the door open. The room was empty, with no sign of a struggle. A single book lay open on the table, a smoldering candle next to it. And on the ground...
"Erk! Erk! Please wake up, Erk!"
Louise dashed over to the crumpled figure lying completely still on the ground next to the desk, gently cradling the boy's head in her lap. With a few strides, Pent covered the distance between the fractured door and the desk, and, crouching down, held a finger under the young mage's nose.
"He's still breathing. He must have collapsed, no doubt because of a combination of lack of food and sleep," he said, glancing at the misshapen candle on the desk.
Louise brushed her charge's cheek with her hand. "But he'll be all right?"
Pent stood up. "Yes, with a lot of care."
"Oh, Erk... Why must you always do this?"
Groggily opening his eyes to the songs of two birds outside his window, Erk could barely make out a figure sitting beside his bed.
"Good morning, Erk. How do you feel?"
Erk shot up, his eyes wide. "M-Master Pent! H-Have I been out cold this whole time?"
Pent raised an eyebrow, a look of amusement creeping over his face despite his great relief at Erk finally awakening. "Somehow, I knew you would ask a question like that, but the answer is yes. And before you use up all your energy on apologizing and then asking how long you've been asleep, let me tell you that you've been out cold for around two days and that now you really must remain in bed if you want to regain your energy."
"But Master Pent! I haven't finished-"
"Erk," Pent admonished, cutting his student off with a stern look, "you would still think of your studies at a time like this? Louise and I never left your bedside for those entire two days. We would take turns watching over you, doing whatever we could to nurse you back to health. And now, you would go and make all our efforts for naught?"
"M-Master! I-I could never do that!" Erk finally managed to stammer out.
Pent sighed. "I know. Forgive me. I suppose I should follow Louise's example and get a bit of rest, just as you should be doing. But Erk, I do hope you've learned your lesson, and you'll never do something like this again."
Erk nodded enthusiastically. "Y-Yes, master! But..."
"What is it?"
"Do you mind if I ask for a novel to read? It would help me relax."
"Ha ha. That reminds me..." Bending down, the mage general picked up a book from the ground next to his chair. "This is for you, Erk."
Erk's eyes lit up. "Thank you, Lord Pent! It's so thin... What is it about?"
Laughing slightly and taking the book from his slightly bewildered student, Pent replied, "I'm very proud of you, Erk, for being able to read such deep and complex books as the "General Compositional Theory of Anima Magic" volumes at such a young age, but I'd be just as proud if you were to read books such as these once in a while."
Flipping the cover of the book open, he continued, "Look, Erk, this book is filled with pictures. There are fields of rolling, green grass, flowers that explode into color, and clouds that crawl across the seamless sky. Training to be a mage requires more than staying in your room studying all the time. You must go outside and commune with the spirits. When you get better, we'll go for walks everyday. Until then, look at these pictures and think of how it will be." With that, the mage general quietly stood up and left the room, leaving his student to deliberate over what he had just said.
"See, Erk? Walking around in the garden really isn't so bad after all, is it?"
Castle Reglay was well-known for its lush gardens, which came as no surprise as Pent found them refreshing places after long days of work. Of course, Louise loved the many flowers and birds just as much, if not more than her husband did, and she could often be found enjoying a quiet lunch on one of the marble benches scattered throughout the maze-like gardens whenever the mage general was not around. Currently, Pent was trying to introduce the outside world to his book-loving student, and it was going a little bit better than he had originally expected.
"No, I guess not..." Erk replied, taking a sideways glance at a sparrow that had alighted upon a low branch.
Pent laughed. "Ha ha. Still not completely convinced, Erk? There's much to be learned from nature. We students of anima magic should be most aware of that."
"Why, Lord Pent?" Erk asked, curious.
"To use anima magic at its full potential, we must commune with the spirits of nature," Pent responded, taking a small piece of bread from his bag and crumpling it into crumbs for the sparrow. He dropped a few next to the tree and motioned for Erk to sit on a nearby bench as he soon joined his student and continued, "We can not simply use them for our own interests; we must learn to understand them, to harness their powers."
Erk said nothing, only watching the sparrow fly from its perch on the branch to pick at the crumbs on the ground. It was soon joined by another, chirping loudly at its friend.
Pent leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. "You know, when you get older, I will have to insist that you take on various responsibilities where you will be able to practice your magic in a setting other than on the castle grounds. You'll be able to go to new places, meet new people."
"Master Pent, are people spirits too?"
"I suppose they are. But you should treat everyone with respect, even if you dislike them. Who knows? That person you dislike may be your special spirit, your special someone," the mage general answered without moving from his position.
"Just like you and Lady Louise, Master Pent?"
Pent laughed. "Yes, just like me and Louise. Maybe someday you'll find that special spirit too, Erk."
"That... special spirit..."
A/N: Yay for super-nice Pent and super-nice Erk! XD And sparrows. Haha... Well, how was it? Please review and tell me what you think. :D Especially of the "new style!" :)