Author's Note: I know, super short chapter. I just wanted to get something out there before someone threatened to kill my family. Fire Emblem has been eating up my life like whoa. My poor inner yaoi fangirl is begging for a chance to express herself.
Tear knew something was wrong the moment Natalia entered her cell.
The princess was making an effort to keep her distress hidden, but Tear had traveled with her long enough to learn to sense when she was upset. Her determined gaze held a hint of fear, and when she spoke, her voice was slightly higher than usual.
"Good morning, are you well?" Natalia asked cautiously, seeming unsure of how to say what she had come for.
"Well enough," Tear said somewhat curtly, not wanting to waste time by explaining the nightmares that had been plaguing her. "Is something amiss?"
Natalia paused for a single moment before speaking, a temporary loss of composure that would not have been noticed by a less trained individual. "When Luke came to visit you yesterday, did he mention anything about going somewhere?"
It would have to be about Luke. Tear followed Natalia's example, biting back her emotions and answering as calmly as possible. "He mentioned trying to find a way to prove I was innocent, but he didn't mention specifically what he was planning. Why do you ask?"
Natalia seemed to consider her options for a moment. Apparently she decided to drop the facade; her calm expression gave way to concern, and her voice took on a worried, almost sympathetic tone. "Luke did not return home last night. I went to the manor to speak with him, but his parents informed me that they had not seen him since yesterday. The guards have not heard from him either."
Tear suddenly felt immensely sick, and she sat down on the cot in an attempt to stop her head from spinning. I swear, if that idiot went and got himself killed...
"Tear?" Natalia came forward and knelt in front of her, placing a hand over hers in an attempt to comfort her. "I am sure he is fine. I will have the guards search for him, and let you know the moment they learn anything."
Tear stood up suddenly, causing Natalia to step back in surprise and the world to spin in a most unpleasant manner. Ignoring the awful sensation, Tear met Natalia's gaze with a look of sheer determination. "I'm going out to look for him."
Natalia's look of surprise softened to gentle understanding. "I know how you feel, but I am afraid you cannot leave. I know you would not flee, but I cannot show you favoritism simply because we are family. It would set a poor example for the people of Baticul."
Tear understood of course, but at the moment she could care less about such details. "You can't expect me to simply sit here and wonder? I'm sure I could find him, if I were only allowed to look..."
"I truly am sorry," Natalia said, and though her tone was sincere, Tear could not help feeling a pang of resentment. "I promise to make sure every effort is made to find him, and I will inform you as soon as anything is found."
The princess turned to leave, knowing that if she stayed longer it could easily lead to an argument with the melodist. Tear watched her leave, silently apologizing for what she would have to do.
A pounding headache, a cold floor, and no memory of the night before. What a way to wake up.
Damn, how much did I drink last night? was the first thought to pass through Luke's head as he sat up and blinked a few times, attempting to see in the stifling darkness that surrounded him.
But the pain that resulted from this movement was unlike any headache he had experienced before, and he quickly realized it was no hangover he was suffering from. With a groan, he reached up and felt the back of his head, locating the sizable lump that was no doubt the source of his discomfort.
As if the pain were not enough, Luke noticed that for some mysterious reason, he was completely, soaking wet. This would not have been a problem if wherever he was had not been so damn cold. He could still see nothing, but the floor appeared to be stone, and whatever building he was in must have had terrible insulation.
It took more effort than it should have, but Luke managed to push himself upright onto shaky legs. He felt around in the dark for a moment, and before long managed to locate a wall, also stone, and also cold.
Not knowing what else to do, he slowly made his way along the wall. He remembered hearing once that if you just stuck to one wall, you could eventually make it out of anywhere. Or was that just in mazes? Regardless, he had little else to do but continue forward and hope there was nothing around to trip on.
Tear's cell was guarded, but not very well so. A single guard stood watch nearby, but did not take his job particularly seriously; most of the castle inhabitants were familiar with Tear, and knew she was far from a dangerous prisoner. Tear felt rather guilty for taking advantage of this fact, but she had more important matters to worry about.
Her plan was incredibly simple; after all, there was no point in coming up with something complicated when something easier would suffice. The guard opened her cell to deliver her dinner, and she sang him to sleep. Her spells were not as effective without her staff, but her powers were plenty strong enough to put to sleep a single guard directly in front of her.
Carefully stepping over the fallen guard, she quietly made her way down the castle corridors, not wanting to have to use her magic more than necessary. She snuck past the guards that should could, and sang quiet hymns for the ones that she could not, eventually making her way outside with little conflict.
Now she faced two bigger problems than sneaking out of the castle: deciding where to go next, and avoiding the guards that were presumably still scouring the town in search of Luke. She did not have the time or energy to cast Nightmare on everyone she encountered; it would not be long before the castle guards awakened, and a search would be started for her as well.
Tear took a deep breath; it was going to be a long night.