Knights of Cydonia

Part three of a fanfiction by Velkyn Karma

And now at last, the conclusion of the story. Thank you very much to all of you who have been following along!

Disclaimer: I do not own, or pretend to own, the Fire Emblem game series or any of its subsequent characters, plots or other ideas. That right belongs solely to Nintendo and Intelligent Systems. The only thing here that's mine is the idea for the story.

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"No one's gonna take me alive

The time has come to make things right.

You and I must fight for our rights...

You and I must fight to survive!"

Muse, Knights of Cydonia

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Doomed. They were doomed. His tactical mind knew it instantly, as he glanced behind him, watching the flying lizards approach rapidly. Their mounts seemed fresh, while his were exhausted, and they had the advantage of the air. He couldn't wield a lance while securing Sain's limp form, only a sword...a pitiful weapon to use against the deadly lances of the wyvern knights.

Nevertheless he kicked his mounts into a dead run, the horses encouraged by the predatory shrieks behind them, and their hooves dug into the dirt for greater speeds. Sain's horse, not laden with two human forms, strained against the reins binding him to Kent's saddle, and with a quick flash he drew his sword and severed the restraints, slapping the creature's rump as it darted past. With luck it would reach the camp...it was only a slight chance, but it gave the blood-knight hope that their lives might still be salvaged.

Sain cried out as the horses accelerated, the mad rush grueling on his injury, and he gripped feebly at the wound with his hands. But it did little good, and as blood slipped past the bandages to his fingers he finally slipped completely under into the world of unawareness. His head fell, utterly limp, against his companion, head cracking painfully against the red armor—not that he was conscious to feel it, Kent had time to vaguely observe.

The redheaded knight's sword was still out, still at the ready, even as he darted towards the rapidly growing smudge. But he was not going to make it in time, he knew grimly. The wyvern were gaining too fast, two already within javelin distance, judging from the shafts that thudded on either side of him.

The first gave a great roar and lunged forward, its rider stabbing his lance towards the fleeing cavalier, and Kent twisted sharply to bat it aside with his sword, hoping to break the blade off. No such luck—the rider laughed and drew his lance back, snapping it sharply to bring down on Kent's wrist. His armor protected him from major injury, but the sword was forced from his hands, dropping to the grassy field below.

This was it, Kent realized, as he gazed up at the rider on the wyvern. The man leered at him, hoping to get some sort of reaction, but Kent, a Knight of Caelin, was determined to face his coming death with dignity, and--

He heard the warning whistle only seconds before he saw it flash over his head, and with a fearsome crack of bone and steel a ballista bolt seemed to erupt from the lead wyvern's chest, over its heart. It shrieked, spun in midair, and crashed onto its back in the fields behind Kent and his horse, crushing its rider beneath it. Had he had any strength or sympathy left, Kent would have grimaced at the gruesome end of the wyvern's master.

He twisted forward in his saddle again, leaning forward to gain more speed, adjusting Sain with his left arm as well as he was able, and urged his horse to move faster, though the beast was already giving everything it could. Ahead of him, the camp was beginning to take distinct shape, and he could see two silhouettes of horses ahead of him growing rapidly closer.

He identified their riders within moments as they approached. Rath sat astride one horse, the light bow of the Kutolah already notched and drawn, and as the blood-knight watched he fired rapidly into the approaching wyvern hoard. The bow was notched and fired almost immediately after the first arrow had left the safety of its string, the plainsman utterly calm as he targeted the moving creatures with speedy grace. Two figures sat on the other horse—Lowen guided his horse rapidly, golden-brown armor glinting in the fading sunlight, while Wil sat astride the creature in back (Kent reminded himself to sincerely thank Rath for teaching the boy how to ride at all). Wil's more powerful bow launched sturdier arrows straight into the bellies of the wyvern, while Rath's numerous arrows punched holes in the weak membranes of the creatures, and between the two of them they were dropping the flying lizards like flies.

"Go on!" Lowen shouted to Kent as they passed, and the blood-red knight did just that, streaming like the wind towards the camp while the others dealt with the wyvern attack. He darted past Hector, Bartre and Dorcas as well, rushing with axes drawn to take on the lance-wielding warriors once they were separated from their mounts, heard the whistle of another ballista bolt over him, and took strength from the reassurance the armored protection brought.

And suddenly, just as before, he was there in the middle of the camp, only a few paces from the healer's tent itself, his horse skittering wildly from the rush of people suddenly about it. To Kent it felt like a whirlwind; there was Lyn, grasping at his horse's reins to calm the beast, and there was Fiora further down, already tending to Sain's winded horse—apparently she was here after all, now wouldn't Sain be pleased to hear that?

Sain! He glanced down worriedly at the unconscious man, afraid that the mad flight from the wyvern had finally been his undoing. He had heard the cry of pain when the chase had began, but had been too preoccupied with their escape to look into his friend's health, but now...

"A healer," he rasped to Lyn, breathing heavily, exhausted from the crazed run. "Sain. Hurt badly. Now." he tried to catch his breath, too winded to speak in anything more than broken sentences, but Lyn seemed to understand and called for help immediately.

He was amazed at the speed at which they moved—it seemed his exhaustion was kicking in faster than he thought. Within moments Serra was erupting from the healer's tent, and both Eliwood and Marcus were by the horse's side. "Hand him down to us," the Lord was saying, repeatedly Kent realized a bit late, now that his adrenaline was running down. But he obediently shifted the unconscious emerald knight down to the two of them, and they hurried him over to the healer's tent, Serra already running alongside and chanting her clerical prayers rapidly through her focus item—a stave—to begin the healing process.

Kent sat rather dumbly on his horse for a few minutes, desperately trying to regain his breath, and from the steed's head Lyn watched her loyal knight with concern. "Are you going to be alright?" she asked, worried, after several moments. "You're not hurt as well, are you?"

The red-headed knight regained his focus and blinked. "No, I'm fine, Lady Lyndis," he murmured, only barely remembering to treat his Lady with the polite, formal title through his exhaustion. "Just...just a little tired is all."

"We saw Sain's horse come tearing into the camp riderless," Lyn said, by way of explanation. "I thought something might be wrong, and then Matthew spotted the wyvern out there—you know how sharp Mat's eyes are." She gave him a look, as if to ask 'what happened?,' but Kent did not answer, simply swung down off his horse and half stumbled towards the healer's tent.

Lyn grabbed his arm. "You should rest, Kent," she said, her voice again full of concern. "You look half dead."

He shook her arm off distractedly, continued in the direction of the tent, and she followed him hastily. "My Lady," he responded simply, aware that she trailed after him, "I have not gone through all the trouble to keep Sain alive, to be relegated to waiting for news about whether he..." he paused, shook his head wearily, and sighed. "I need to be there until this is finished, regardless...regardless of the outcome."

She watched him with concerned eyes for a few moments more, but then nodded. "I understand," she responded quietly. "I'll look after your horse for you."

She turned away as he stepped into the tent, past Eliwood and Marcus, both of whom were just exiting. They gave him concerned looks as well, but let him be, and he took a seat quietly in the corner of the tent, but in full view of the proceedings.

Sain had since been stretched out on a cot, his shivering uncontrollable, eyes closed and breathing shallow. His black shirt had been removed to expose the ghastly wound, and Serra was now bent over it, chanting softly and prodding the injury with her fingertips as she worked. Lucius, Kent noted, had joined her as well, his own prayers to St. Elimine aiding with the healing process, but from what he could tell the entire procedure was moving extraordinarily slowly.

In the end, the healing took hours, lasting well into the night, and was rather incompletely finished. The wound itself was difficult to knit closed, for it had been left unattended by clerical magics for days—normally Serra or Priscilla healed the battle injuries of their camp within hours, while they were still fairly clean. And once the gash itself was closed, there was still the roaring infection and dangerous fever to be dealt with, something that the healing magics of both Serra and Lucius could little affect. Priscilla was more skilled with such ailments, but she was over the mountain with their other camp to act as the sole healer there, and would not be able to reach them in time.

The healing became so complicated that even Pent and Erk were summoned to volunteer what energies and knowledge they could, and Canas' scholarly knowledge of herbs and other natural remedies was drawn upon to combat the fever. But even then, the process was slow going, and by the time they had expended all their energies Sain still lay in a deep sleep, his forehead hot but no longer burning with illness, buried in a mass of blankets to keep him safely warm.

And then there was nothing left to do but wait, Serra murmured to Kent, who started from his reverie rather suddenly. He had fallen into a half doze in his chair, physically there and watching should something go wrong with the procedure, but not completely aware anymore from his exhaustion.

"It's pointless to sit around here waiting," Serra continued, her normally cheerful-to-annoying personality subdued by the near death she had just prevented. "You're exhausted as well. Get some rest—you need it, and badly."

"And Sain?" he managed to ask through a parched throat, dry from the harsh breathing of the mad dash that seemed so long ago, even now.

"Sleeping, and still sick," she stated bluntly, "but we'll look after him. As long as he takes it easy, he should recover. Now go sleep," she ordered firmly, in a voice that clearly stated she expected to be obeyed.

He was too tired to argue, and so he stumbled from the healer's tent towards his own, which had been hastily re-erected for him upon his return by members of the Legion willing to help in any way possible. Lyn met him halfway, still watching with concern, and asked softly, "how is he?"

"Recovering, Lady," Kent murmured softly, attempting to unbuckle his armor with clumsy, tired fingers as he made his way to the tent.

"Good," Lyn exhaled, sounding relieved. "I was so worried...I feel responsible, for sending the two of you on that mission. I cannot believe what happened...if I had known, I never would have sent you!"

"It is alright, Lady Lyndis," he murmured tiredly in response. "None of us could have predicted the attack." His fingers slipped on the buckles of his armor, and Lyn, pitying him in his fatigued state, helped him peel the red-and-gold trimmed plates off.

"Just rest," she ordered firmly, setting the armor inside his tent gently. "We'll take care of everything now."

"Thank you, My Lady," he managed tiredly, before collapsing to his bedroll. Darkness and sweet, sweet unawareness took him within minutes.

-----

Kent woke from his heavy sleep slowly, groggily dragging himself to his senses as he became aware of his consciousness once more. He did not know how long he had been sleeping, but his entire body ached from the events of the past three days, and he still felt tired and unrested.

Slowly the memories of the mountain journey and the mad rush across the plains drifted back to him, and he groaned again as they flitted through his mind. But they were enough to stir his tired body into action, and with a heavy sigh he lifted himself to his feet, dressed quickly in a new pair of breeches and shirt, and swept out of his tent.

The sky was burning with golds and oranges, and Kent thought for a moment that it might be sunrise, the beginning of a new day. But he soon realized that it was growing darker, and that the camp's fire pits were flickering to life faster and faster around him. That meant he had slept for nearly a full day—why hadn't anyone woken him?

As he passed one of the larger campfires, Lowen hailed him and waved him over to sit by the massive log to one side of the flame. Frowning slightly at the distraction—he wanted to check on Sain's condition, draw whatever news he could about his injured friend—the blood-knight slipped over, sitting quietly. "Yes?"

"Lyndis asked me to prepare some food for you," the young cavalier explained, as he stirred a pot settled neatly over the flame. "You need something nourishing after the past day's events. I thought you'd be waking soon, so I got something ready for you." He brushed his light, greenish hair from his face—little good it did him, settling right back over his eyes as soon as his hand had moved—and then ladled some thick, hearty stew from the pot.

"I really would prefer to--" Kent began, but found the wooden bowl shoved unceremoniously into his hands.

"Check up on Sir Sain?" Lowen finished, with a sympathetic smile. "Not much of a change really—he's still sleeping, though I heard from Serra that his fever's gone down a little." He glanced at the red-headed knight across from him thoughtfully. "It'll do you little good to starve yourself waiting for an answer, so eat! Sain won't notice the difference if you show up in ten minutes instead of now."

Kent sighed, but nodded. "Of course," he said simply, and began eating. Lowen watched for a moment, then returned to the contents of the pot, stirring it a little more before tapping the spoon on the side with a finishing flourish. "Help yourself to as much as you want," he said calmly, and then left to go tend to his horse.

The red knight did, taking seconds and then thirds of the stew, which was filling and revitalizing. He had not truly realized how hungry he was until now, but with his stomach rumbling plaintively he could not help but devour the meal.

When he had finally finished, he left the bowl by the fire and returned to his original course, heading in the direction of the healer's tent. Several fellow army members hailed him, asking about his condition or the events of the past few days, but he politely made excuses to continue with promises of an explanation later, and they let him pass with little argument.

The tent itself was quiet, nearly empty but for Serra and her single patient. She nodded to him when he entered but, unusually serious, returned her attentions to the still prone Sain on the cot, bending over him with the stave focus for her healing prayers. After a few more minutes, in which Sain was bathed in the healing light further, she finally nodded and turned away, heading outside the tent without so much as a word to Kent. Well, he decided, she wasn't a normal cleric, and everyone had long since come to accept her unusual nature.

He watched his unconscious friend for several minutes, his mind once again running over the journey the two had barely endured. He had to admit to himself, Sain looked far better than he had in the past two days, though his skin was still pale, and he showed no signs of awakening any time soon. And when Kent pressed his fingers gently to the other's forehead, the skin was not hot to the touch, only felt a little unnaturally warm—he was recovering from the fever as well. Provided he woke up, he would be fully recovered in a week, perhaps a little more.

Examination complete, the blood knight stood rather awkwardly next to the small cot and his unconscious friend, unsure what to do next. Such visits, he thought with a trace of irritation, were always uncomfortable, and more for the visitor than the patient. Sain was clearly unaware of his presence, and it seemed rather foolish to talk to an unconscious man who would not respond. Logically, his mind told him, there was little point in staying at all, yet he could not quite summon the energy to leave. Perhaps Sain would wake while he was here, and he certainly wanted to be present for that.

But after half an hour of standing in the healer's tent there was still no response from Sain, and his fellow cavalier was beginning to grow restless. It was almost a relief when Serra reappeared and told him, in her no-nonsense, princess-like tone, to leave, shooing him out the tent flap and following to make sure he did not double back.

It was dark out now, perhaps only an hour after sunset, and the camp was alight with fire pits and torches. Some of the camp's inhabitants were still at work, finishing chores or taking their duties on first watch, but most were gathered around the fires in groups, laughing and talking as they ate and relaxed after a day's work. Kent briefly considered joining one of these many fireside collections, but he felt too restless to sit with others, and at any rate he was certainly not interested in being questioned just yet about the trip on the mountains. He passed by the fires and kept as much to the shadows as he could.

He felt exhausted still, and knew he should return to his bedroll. But even as he closed on his tent, he realized he would be unable to sleep, and so turned away, wandering the camp for another few hours, trying to work off his restlessness. The knight watched, silent and observing, as the laughter and merriment within the camp dwindled slowly, soldiers and friends wandering off to their tents to rest for the next day. Those more nocturnal members of the small half-army stayed awake, drifting off to take their positions for the second and third night-watches, and Kent noted briefly a cloaked figure scurrying off through the shadows towards the northwest edge of camp, bordering the mountains—Matthew. Good, he thought to himself quietly; Mat's eyes, as he had proven only yesterday night, were extraordinarily keen, and he would be the most likely to spot more wyvern should they attack.

He wandered still further, stopping briefly where the horses were tethered to tend to his own mount, but the horse had clearly been well cared for in his absence. It nuzzled his head and arm fondly for attention when he arrived, and he stroked the creature's nose absently, but left soon after to allow it some much-needed rest.

Rest...yes, he could use it himself. The blood-knight considered briefly visiting the healer's tent one last time, but it was close to midnight now, and he did not want to disturb his friend's obviously needed recovery time. Feeling suddenly exhausted, he stumbled as quietly as he could to his tent and fell once more into a dreamless slumber.

-----

The next few days passed relatively uneventfully, but for Kent they were nothing but a blur of uncertainty. Despite the passage of time Sain had still not woken up, remaining in a quiet slumber in the healer's tent, and although Serra assured in her usual bluster that the emerald knight would be fine, his fellow cavalier had his doubts. Had Sain lost too much blood in the journey back, forcing him to remain in this deep sleep? Had the infection of the wyvern attack overcome Sain's dwindling strength before they had reached the clerics? Such thoughts plagued the blood knight's mind constantly, and there was a growing fear in his heart that he had struggled for two and a half days on the mountainside only to return Sain to the camp so that he could die in his sleep there.

His worries gave birth to alternate bouts of restlessness and exhaustion, and Kent was amazed that he was so easily worn down when he had barely done any physical work at all in the past two days. While he contributed to the daily chores of the camp—gathering wood and water, tending to the horses, organizing supplies, and occasionally hunting for food—he had not participated in any military activities since he had returned to camp. His restlessness and inability to focus properly had forced him to abandon training until he could regain his composure, and the one night he had volunteered for a night watch he had found himself so unable to pay attention to his surroundings that Heath had been forced to relieve him partway through. Since then, their tactician was careful to avoid placing Kent in any battles, and the one skirmish they had had with a small group of plains bandits in the second day of waiting had found the knight far away and safely back at the camp.

And so, when not helping with the necessary tasks in the encampment, he spent most of his time thinking to himself rather grimly. Though little able to focus on the daily comings and goings of the army around him, he found his mind focusing as sharply on the hard mountain ride as the arrows of Wil or Rebecca on a tiny moving target. The knight replayed the situation constantly, wondering if he could have handled the situation differently, acted more quickly, prevented any tiny detail that had contributed to Sain's present state. Yet no matter how much he berated himself over the situation, he could find no alternative answer, and so he was left with nothing but the sheer hope that his best friend would manage to pull himself through, since Kent could do no more for him.

When the restlessness finally overcame his senses and the exhaustion was too much to bear, he slept. He had not slept so much in years, he mused to himself quietly one night, but he found the rest blissfully refreshing, hours when he did not have to think about the situation, fret over what could have been done, or worry for his best friend's livelihood. Yet even then, this release only lasted so long, and when he woke he often felt worse than when he had lain down to sleep as reality came crashing back in a torrent.

He had woken with a start some three days after their eventful return to the camp, blinking wearily as once again those memories of the present situation came flooding back to him. As before, he still felt tired, yet already the worry-induced restlessness was seizing him again, and with a sigh he untangled himself from his blankets and stood, dressing.

There was a movement outside his tent.

He froze for a moment, curious but wary, even as he was pulling on his boots. Now silent, he was suddenly aware of the hushed whisperings outside the heavy fabric of his tent, and he leaned forward slightly to hear them better.

"Is he awake yet?"
"I'm not sure. I thought I heard movement in there, but maybe he was just turning over. Think we should--"

"No, we shouldn't! Lyn told us to let him sleep, so we'll let him sleep. He'll know soon enough--"

"But you know he'd want to be woken, you've seen how he's been!"

"All the same, we should--"

There was a prickle of excitement that clicked at the back of his mind, and Kent, suddenly far more curious, chose that particular moment to step from the tent. "What did you need me for?" he asked quietly, his voice as composed as always very suddenly, though the glint of suspicion at the back of his mind continued to grow.

A sharp squeak of surprise met his ears, and the knight was just in time to see Rebecca's green braids whip around as she spun on the spot, and Wil beside her, his mouth open in surprise. Both stood in shock for several moments, clearly amazed that Kent had overheard them, but after a few moments Wil composed himself.

"We didn't wake you, did we?" he asked, looking a bit nervous as he glanced at the fellow Legion member's tired-looking face. "I mean, if we did than I'm sorry, I didn't mean to--"

"I was already awake," Kent said simply, a slight twinge of impatience forming alongside his suspicion, but he neatly held it back, just as he always did. "You did not disturb me at all. But what did you need?"

Rebecca and Wil exchanged glances, and then the female archer spoke. "Well, you see, it's Sain."

The blood-knight found himself suddenly intensely focused on the pair, straining for any inkling of news he could gain from them. "Yes?" he asked, his voice a little stiff with worry.

Now it was Wil who spoke up, looking slightly nervous, as if he was very intent on avoiding a bad response. "Well, he...he woke up a little while ago." He gave one his famed cheerful grins as he finished delivering the good news, but still watched the knight carefully.

Whatever response he had predicted, he was correct. Kent found himself positively elated at the news, and the two could read it on his normally composed face, but at the same time he spoke, his voice tinged in irritation and incredulity. "When?!"

"Uh...maybe six hours ago," Rebecca supplied, grimacing a little at the reaction both archers seemed to predict so well. "At first just for a few minutes, but he's been awake for maybe half an hour now from what I've heard."

"And nobody thought to wake me?" Kent responded sharply, still incredulous as he watched the two archers. Yet even as he spoke, he had already turned on his heel and started towards the healer's tent.

"I told them you'd want to be woken up!" Wil responded, as the two skipped forward a few paces to catch up to the knight. "I told them, but Lyn said you were exhausted and needed the rest, so we were told to let you sleep. 'Course, we weren't entirely sure that you were--"

"As I gathered," Kent responded crisply, but he was no longer angry now, only relieved.

The two followed him for a few more minutes, but broke off when in sight of the healer's tent with a cheerful wave, returning to the depths of the tents around him. The blood knight was rather relieved, for although he was grateful to them for delivering the news, he would rather not have them tagging around after him. Reaching the tent, he swept the door-flaps aside and entered without hesitation.

The tent was devoid of healers; apparently mid-afternoon meant chores and other duties for both Serra and Lucius. The cot was still occupied, however...except that its occupant was no longer trapped in a deep, fever-induced sleep, was instead lifting his head and turning it slightly to glance at the entrance, and--

"Ah, Kent, my friend!" Sain exclaimed delightedly, a genuinely pleased grin flitting to his face almost immediately. He still looked a little pale, and his voice was soft and slightly quavery from weakness and lack of use, but he was undoubtedly alive and soon to be well. "I was wondering when you would be coming to see me!"
"I would have been here sooner," the redhead responded, stating the facts simply as he always did, "except that no one thought to wake me."

"Sleeping in, Kent," Sain tsked, with a weak laugh. "How often have you lectured me for that?"

Kent ignored the jab, surveying his friend's condition quickly. "How do you feel?"

"Like a wyvern sat on me," the emerald knight responded with an annoyed grimace, "and my head hurts something terrible from that bloody armor of yours, Kent—why is your shoulder-plate so pointy anyway?--but Serra and Lucius assure me that I'll live." He gave a weak grin, and then added, "but alas, I've been confined to bed-rest for a week. A week, Kent! What is a knight to do?" He sighed, already with a touch of his dramatic tone returning.

"You don't look like you could do so much as sit up straight," Kent observed dryly, having noted Sain's quiet and weak—but failed--attempts to lift himself already, "and in case you haven't noticed, our armor is nearly of the same make." Yet despite his lecturing response, his relief for his best friend's safety was evident in his expression, and his fellow cavalier could read it all too well.

"Perhaps you're right," the emerald knight responded with another somewhat dramatic sigh. He looked a little tired now from the visit, Kent observed, not that he could blame his friend any—this was only his second time awake since the attack, and the strain was bound to exhaust him until he could build more strength. The redhead was just about to make excuses to leave—he could come back and visit when Sain was feeling a little more up to it—but even as he opened his mouth to speak, Sain beat him to it.

"Hey Kent?"

"Yes?" the blood-and-gold armored knight responded automatically, glancing down at his friend.

Sain looked unusually serious as he spoke. "Thank you. You saved my life out there. I'd be dead without you."

His fellow cavalier looked momentarily surprised, but composed his expression quickly. "You do not have to thank me, Sain. Were you in my position, I'm sure you would have done the same."

"I know I don't have to thank you," Sain responded, sounding a touch exasperated, but still looking very serious. "and I know you'd help me out no matter what, and I'd do the same for you in a heartbeat, but still...I'd be dead without your help, Kent. So thank you. Besides," he added, and his serious look faded slightly as his famed grin slid onto his face, "that's exactly what--"

Kent held up his hand to forestall the comment. "Let me guess. 'Exactly what a noble knight of Caelin would do,' correct?"

Now it was Sain's turn to look surprised, but only for the barest fraction of a second, and then his grin split wider. "Exactly! Now you're really getting the hang of it, my friend! We'll make a dashing knight of you yet!"

"Wonderful," the redhead responded dryly.

Sain smiled at him, seemingly oblivious to the lack of enthusiasm in the statement, before his expression became more serious again.

"I have learned one thing in all of this, though," he murmured thoughtfully, shifting slightly on the cot as he spoke to reach a more comfortable position.

"That you should be more serious in enemy territory?" Kent asked, not daring to hope that his best friend could possibly be so insightful as that, but allowing himself to suggest it anyway.

The emerald knight waved the suggestion off—as Kent knew all too well he would—and answered seriously, "Oh no. A far more important matter than one such as that."

"And this would be...?"

Sain's roguish grin snapped into place almost immediately. "I must learn to take such dreadful injuries such as that far more often." His eyes glittered with delight as he added, "it draws the lovely lasses to me so favorably, Kent!"

The blood-knight's incredulous look seemed to go unnoticed, for his companion was already happily explaining his newest discovery. "They all came to visit me, you see, Kent, and the things they said about me! Truly, I am a heroic and noble knight of Caelin, for they all praised my bravery and strength through the journey, every one of them. The lovely Lyndis was beautifully concerned for her loyal knight, and that exquisite Fiora—she apologized for missing us on the mountain, Kent—but she knew that my skills were clearly unsurpassed to be able to win against the wyvern, and even that shy little lass Florina had such heroic things to say about me as she visited while I slept!"

Kent quirked an eyebrow, clearly to ask how Sain had become aware of such comments while sleeping, and the emerald knight, noticing the look, added rather sheepishly, "well, she thought I slept, but you know that lovely little lady would have fled if she thought I was awake, Kent, and I just couldn't risk it with someone such as her, I'm sure with a little work she..."

The redhead sighed quietly under his breath and pinched the bridge of his nose between his fingers, already beginning to tune his best friend out. Not a full week had passed since his near-death experience with the wyvern, and already Sain was back to his duty of utterly slaughtering the peace and quiet about him with a determination hitherto unforeseen.

But, he realized, as his best friend's quiet (for now) but excitable chatter provided the background noise for his thoughts, though his ceaseless prattle could be utterly annoying at the best of times, Kent would not have it any other way.

-----

And there we have it! The conclusion of this little fanfiction, which I hope you all enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing. Imagine, and this was initially supposed to be a one-shot...I think it evolved a little past that. Just a tiny bit.

For those interested, the inspiration for this fic largely came from some of my own Rekka no Ken experiences. While Kent's extraordinary ability to gain EXP and hitpoints reallyfast makes him a fantastic Tank of Doom (along with that amazing skill of getting-a-critical-when-all-hope-is-lost, thus-winning-some-back), Sain has this fantastic habit of dying or, more often, nearly dying (dramatically of course, ever as a noble and heroic Knight of Caelin should do), and nine times out of ten Kent has to go bail him out before he's utterly overwhelmed. I can only assume that this is one of Sain's more subtle ploys to gain attention from his numerous camp-mates, specifically those of the female variety.

This chapter title, as with the others, is once again the name of a Muse title (actually an album, as was the last chapter, technically).

I do have some more Fire Emblem related projects in the works, but as those are considerably more complex than this little once-a-one-shot, I can't say exactly when they'll be out. If you liked this fic, just keep an eye out for me occasionally.

Finally, if you leave a review, kindly list what you thought, what you liked, what you didn't like, what was written well, and what you would do to improve the story. I appreciate your constructive input, good and bad!

--Velkyn Karma