Fire Emblem: Dawn of Darkness

Chapter 1: A Broken Love

"Thank you…Ike…" she said. Just then, the two continued to gaze at each other, realizing how close their faces were. Ike's expression gradually grew nervous, but Elincia could see why it was so. He'd probably never been this close to a girl before in his young life. Ike couldn't help but smile at the beautiful young queen standing before him and in the next few seconds, his cheeks turned a rosy red. Elincia noticed it right away.

"Hee hee. You're blushing," she pointed out, causing Ike to go red even more. "Whatever is the matter?"

"Well, I…I…" he stammered, having trouble finding words."Shhh," Elincia interrupted, pressing a finger to Ike's mouth. Her face slowly moved closer to Ike's with every second, and moments later, her lips were suddenly pressed against his. Ike, whose eyes bulged wide at first, found himself returning the passionate kiss and let his hands curl around Elincia's waist, pulling her close. Elincia's arms wrapped themselves tightly around his neck.

The moment felt like it would last forever as Ike and Elincia remained in their embracing kiss. In her heart, Elincia knew she loved Ike and no one else. Besides the fact that he was very handsome and they had shared a grand adventure together, Ike had taught and shown Elincia many great things about life that she had not thought existed before, things that not even her closest friends might've been able to show her. They also shared many things in common and shared similar dreams. And Ike had endlessly showed his passion for her and how much he had grown to care for her by defending her at any cost. He had even been willing to give his life up to ensure her dreams would come true. The two let go moments later, both with small smiles on their faces.

"I love you," Ike finally managed to say. Elincia knew he meant it too. She had suspected that he'd fallen for her quite some time ago and hadn't known it. Thus, she knew she had to let him know how much she loved him. Elincia smiled and rested her head and hands upon Ike's chest. Ike responded by keeping one arm around her waist.

"Oh, Ike…You have stolen my heart as well," Elincia admitted. "I will admit it. I've been in love with you since Gallia."

"That long, eh?" Ike replied, a bit of embarrassment in his voice.

"Hee hee…" she giggled again. "At first, I was impressed by how handsome you are."

This statement caused Ike to blush again, and Elincia to giggle even more.

"Then, I could only love you more after seeing your strength and courage in battle and your burning desire to fulfill my dream of a liberated Crimea," Elincia went on. "You even spoke up whenever you thought someone was bullying me! I was forever grateful for everything you'd done and still am. And when you held my hand in the castle as we walked onto the balcony, I felt like the luckiest princess in the world."

Ike remained silent for a moment, his cheeks going even pinker again.

"…Sorry, it's times like this that I have no clue what to say," he admitted, scratching the back of his head.

"Oh, that's alright," Elincia replied with a smile. "I'd probably feel the same way, actually."

"Heh. Although, I will say that the reason I chose to do so much for you," Ike continued. "Is that I was falling in love with you too. I just wish I'd realized it sooner."

Elincia wrapped her arms around Ike's neck and kissed his cheek again before replying.

"But you do now, and that's all that matters to me," she assured, not letting go.

"I'm certainly glad of that," Ike replied lovingly, putting a hand to her chin. Within the next second, he'd locked lips with her once more. They stayed embraced for moments on in once again. After parting and noticing how late it had become, they headed for the castle door, holding hands while doing so. The last time they had done this was the very same balcony scene Elincia described, making it a crucial moment for both. After exchanging a good night kiss, Ike departed back into the castle while Elincia stood at the doorway, many new thoughts probing her mind.

The memory of the man she loved kept ringing through Queen Elincia's head as she sat in her bedchambers within Castle Crimea. That had been her first kiss, in the moonlit castle gardens under the stars. It had been, admittedly, clumsy and awkward at first. This didn't bother Elincia overmuch; if anything, she enjoyed the underlying revelation that she was his first love as much and he was her first. Their time together had been scarce, brief moments of joy stolen from the business of ruling Crimea and leading the war effort, but they were always worth the wait. After having lost so much, her parents and his, and enduring so much, two wars against unspeakable evil and seeing so much misery and death, their time together had allowed them to get something back and a shred of happiness that lightened their burdens and gladdened their hearts. But, even that was now denied. This train of thought reminded Elincia of a poem Bastian had been reading lately. She couldn't remember the poet's name, nor the exact quote, but it was about how there was no greater misery than to remember, with bitter regret, a time of pure happiness. Since her lover's departure, Elincia felt the truth of this every day.

It had been several months since she had last seen him, though it felt like years, and she continued to terribly miss him. Prior to his departure, a rumor had begun to spread about Elincia and Geoffrey, the commander of Crimea's Royal Knights, that they were sharing a secret romance. Many people had jumped to such a conclusion because Elincia had to have several private war meetings with him that were focused on major conflicts involving their nation, as well as Crimea's internal security so that a repeat of the debacle with Duke Ludveck might be averted. When the news of her lover's departure reached her ears, she could only weep in sadness, for she knew why he left. He must have heard the rumors as well and, wounded as she was, departed in grief. In truth, Elincia had no choice but to accept it and wed Geoffrey as her lord uncle, Renning, proposed soon after and there was no way the man she loved could have ever known that.

As she often did, Elincia regretted that she and her lover had never made their love public. It began roughly three years prior to the events that led to the present during another conflict known as the Mad King's War. The man had been given the title of Lord and made a general in order to liberate Crimea from Daein's grasp. Since then, only a few of the Crimea nobility and a mercenary company known as the Greil Mercenaries had any knowledge of it. Neither group had spread the word at the request of Elincia and her lover, due to the life this man led. They feared there would be uproar of questions and even possible protest among the Crimean common folk as well as the remaining nobility if the truth leaked out. After all, this man was but a commoner himself who rescued Elincia in her time of need. Even his title of Lord had only so much merit since bestowing it was an act of necessity, one which he had objected to. It was not known if their relationship would be accepted, not to mention it even had to be put on hold after the man renounced his peerage to live as a mercenary. More than once, Elincia had considered discreetly reinstating him as a Lord but her fledging monarchy was soon mired in a series of crises that demanded her full attention and more.

Even after everything that had occurred, Elincia still regretted having to marry Geoffrey, despite that she had little say in the matter. Geoffrey had been her next best choice in possible suitors and she would eventually need to produce an heir if she were to remain Queen. The truth was, however, that the two only saw one other as close friends with a bond as close as that of siblings. The only thing Elincia had left to remember the man she truly loved was a long, worn headband he once wore. Elincia now had it tightly gripped in her trembling hands. She'd gotten it from Oscar, one of Crimea's knights, who found it in the fort that once belonged to the Greil Mercenaries.

As tears began to fall down Elincia's cheeks, she began to think of how other people she knew had stayed with the ones they loved. Sothe and Micaiah, the new rulers of Daein, were the foremost example in her mind. If Queen Micaiah could marry Sothe, a lowly thief of all things, why should Elincia be denied marrying a common mercenary? The more she thought about it, the more upset it made her. Why did she have to be the only one without satisfaction in the end? Her thoughts were lost when there was a knock at the door and Geoffrey walked in. He noticed the tears trailing down Elincia's cheeks, easily sensing the reason why.

"You miss him, don't you?" Geoffrey guessed, already knowing the answer. Elincia quickly turned around to face him and wiped her tears.

"Yes… Oh, Geoffrey, I'm sorry! I miss him so very much…" Elincia admitted.

"Don't worry, I completely understand," Geoffrey replied. "You and Ike loved one another and you should not have had to hide anything." Elincia was speechless for a few seconds, blinking bemusedly as guarded hope welled up in her chest.

"R-really? You don't mind that it wasn't you I fell in love with?" Elincia asked, wanting to be sure.

"Of course. Our relationship has always been nothing more than platonic, has it not?" Geoffrey pointed out. "Those rumors merely started out of silly people jumping to conclusions. They should have realized that we would have to discuss what we were to do about Begnion and the Laguz Alliance bringing their conflict to Crimean soil. But no…they did not. It only tore you and Ike farther apart and it's clear that you two belong together."

"Oh, Geoffrey…" Elincia replied, sniffling with joy. "But how am I going to find Ike? What are we to do about our marriage?"

"You just leave that to me," Geoffrey replied with a smile. "I'll make sure you get out of here. Though, Lucia and I will miss you deeply, we understand." Elincia was unable to prevent the tears from rolling down her cheeks again. She couldn't restrain herself from getting up and throwing Geoffrey a hug for his efforts. As some of her sadness began to turn into excitement, Elincia thought of how Ike would react when she was finally in his arms again. She knew she couldn't live without the man she loved anymore and had to leave, no matter what anyone else thought.

"Oh, Geoffrey, I can't thank you enough!" Elincia cried. Geoffrey slipped his arms around her waist and returned her hug.

"Hey, I would do anything to make you happy," he assured with a smile. "Even if it means letting you leave Tellius."

"Thank you, but…we don't know where Ike is…" Elincia pointed out after she let go of Geoffrey.

"I have a pretty good idea," Geoffrey replied. "You know how Altarais was recently discovered, right?"

Elincia gasped with surprise at Geoffrey's response. Altarais, of course! The continent of Altarais had been discovered to exist west of Tellius just as the conflicts had ended. Ships bearing merchants and explorers alike had already begun plying the waters between the two continents.

"You mean he may have gone there?" she asked. "I must find a boat!"

"Now not so fast," Geoffrey said, smiling again. "Aren't you going to pack a few things first?"

"Oh, right, of course," Elincia replied, somewhat sheepishly. "I guess I'm just so eager to go."

Without a moment's hesitation, Elincia grabbed a knapsack and began stuffing the essentials inside, including Ike's old headband. It had been the very same head piece he'd worn during the Mad King's War. However, Ike's whereabouts were not the only thing on Elincia's mind at the moment. She wanted to feel the warmth of Ike's arms around her again and she wanted to be able to gaze once more at his handsome face, into his storm blue eyes. And, above all, she wanted to feel his lips on hers again. But what would everyone she knew in Crimea think of her suddenly leaving her nation behind to be with a mercenary? Of course, Ike's former companions, the Greil Mercenaries, would not have a problem with it, as they knew of the love between the hero of Tellius and the Queen of Crimea. Lucia, Geoffrey's sister, as well as Bastian, the count of Fayre, had also known.

However, there were also the other nobles and Crimean common folk who had long supported her as well as Geoffrey to consider. What would they think of such a decision made by their queen? What would Renning think? As Elincia worriedly contemplated this, she sighed with nervousness, wondering if she was really making a good choice at all. Upon seeing this, Geoffrey then approached her, having sensed her feelings.

"Elincia, do not worry about things here," he comforted. "I will see to it that no problems arise about what you have chosen to do. If Ike is the man you desire to be with, then it should be accepted."

"Are…are you sure?" Elincia wondered. "What about my lord uncle? Our friends from the Greil Mercenaries, Gallia, and Begnion? Even Daein?"

"Lord Renning would want you to be happy, no matter what. I assure you," Geoffrey replied. "I cannot speak for Daein, but everyone else has some well-found respect for Ike, as well as you. They would never refuse being happy for the both of you."

"Yeah, that's true. I guess that makes Daein the only oddball in this," Elincia mused.

"Well, strictly speaking, I'm not sure they would even care," Geoffrey admitted. "That Micaiah seemed to be so stuck up and stubborn that she probably wouldn't even notice Crimea's ruler changed for ages."

"Haha, probably, yes," Elincia replied with a little laughter. "Speaking of the throne, I presume my lord uncle will take over?"

"Of course. He was originally supposed to anyway," Geoffrey pointed out.

"Ah yes, that is true too," Elincia remembered. Renning being named heir to the throne after Elincia's late father, King Ramon, was the very reason her existence had been kept secret from the public.

"But, if you can't restrain yourself from worrying too much, perhaps you should write a farewell letter to Lord Renning explaining everything," Geoffrey suggested. "That way, he'll be sure to understand."

"Oh, good idea," Elincia agreed. She instantly grabbed some parchment and a quill once she finished her light packing. With Geoffrey's guidance as well as her own thoughts, Elincia had little trouble getting the important details written down, from the Mad King's War to a battle with wolf laguz a mere month later to the more recent Laguz Alliance conflicts. After signing her name upon completion, Elincia asked that Geoffrey deliver it and prepared for her departure. She threw off whatever she thought might betray her royal origins. Jewelry, head pieces, the translucent cape she wore, anything of the sort would be left behind. She threw on an old dark brown cloak once she was finished to disguise herself. It had been the cloak she always used in such occasions, more than a few of which related to seeing Ike. With great reluctance, she decided not to use her Pegasus, Gwydion, to fly to the nearest port. Though Gwydion had served her, and her great-grandmother before her, admirably in the wars, Gwydion was growing old and Elincia knew flying into port would only attract unwanted attention. While it pained her to think of leaving behind another friend, when those were few to begin with, she knew she was willing to make such a sacrifice to see Ike again and that Gwydion would be well taken care of in his old age.

"Geoffrey…I'm going to miss you and everyone else," she whispered, her voice choked with emotion. "I mean it. I wish Ike never had to leave Tellius…"

"Believe me, so do I," Geoffrey agreed. "And I assure you that if he and you ever return, no one will interfere, not even me."

"Thank you…" Elincia replied. "So much, Geoffrey." With that, they put their arms around each other once more in a final hug.

"Good bye, Elincia. And good luck."

"Good bye…"

Although their last hug had gone for moments on in, Elincia immediately exited the room when they were finished, her last gesture towards him being a tear falling down her cheek.

Why? Why, Elincia…? Why did all of this have to happen? Ike kept asking himself the same question over many times as he stood on a high rock overlooking the vast sea bordering the continent of Altarais. It was late in the day when the sun was on the verge of setting. It shined upon the large, open waters ahead, painting them red and gold. Why did you have to marry Geoffrey? Why did we have to keep everything about us a secret? Unable to rid his mind of the thoughts of his true love back in Tellius, the events leading to the separation of him and Elincia replayed over and over. The Crimean Rebellion that attempted to dethrone Elincia, the Laguz Alliance between Gallia, Phoenicis, and Kilvas going to war with Begnion and for a previously unknown reason, Daein, all played some sort of role. The rumors about Geoffrey and Elincia had indeed reached Ike's ears, and when they had done so, he could not prevent himself from grieving and choosing to simply run away from the problem. His desire to explore, though truthful, had merely been an excuse and a vain hope that his wandering would staunch his heartbreak. Had Ike and Elincia not turned all their focus on the now-resolved conflicts and kept their relationship so obscure, Lord Renning and the Crimean common folk would have recognized that in truth, Elincia loved Ike.

As Ike continued to watch the beating waves in the sea before him, another thought came to his mind. He wished somehow he could go back to Tellius to see Elincia again, but with her married to Geoffrey, he knew he could not show his face. It would only make matters worse and possibly cause even more rumors to start spreading. No good would come out of Elincia secretly seeing Ike while she had already married either. Ike's shoulders sagged under the weight of heartbreak and his gaze turned downward as he realized there was no way for him to succeed without causing trouble. Either he'd find out Elincia had discarded him in favor of Geoffrey or, even if she hadn't, he'd be faced with the impossibility of pursing his love with her since she was already married. Just then, a pair of footsteps came up from behind him. It was Ranulf, Ike's laguz companion and close friend on his journey. He had left his home of Gallia to join Ike on the trip. Ike turned around to see the cat laguz standing there.

"Oh, hey Ranulf…" he greeted in a depressed tone.

"I figured I'd find you up here. You're not sulking about the rumor incident again, are you?" Ranulf asked. "I told you it wasn't your fault."

"I know, but I still feel I could have made things come out differently," Ike replied. "I wish I could just turn back time."

"Well, I don't know, but listen, I know how you feel," Ranulf replied. "You know, about Elincia and all."

"What? Ranulf, I love her. I could have had a life with her, had all these problems not happened. Sure, she's of a royal bloodline, but I don't care. Love takes priority over my distaste for the life of nobles and royals," Ike stated. "Since when have you ever been involved in anything to do with love?" Ranulf heaved a sigh of nervousness before answering Ike's question.

"Well…I never told anyone this, but I…for the longest time I was stuck between Lethe and Lyre," Ranulf admitted. "I couldn't choose between either of them. Being twins, they were similar to one another and if you loved one, you can't help but love the other."

"Oh, I see where you're going with this. You chose to leave both so you didn't have to make a choice."

"Exactly. I never even knew who I loved, let alone could I be with her."

"I see. Perhaps I'm not solely to blame, but then I can't help but think Geoffrey is responsible too," Ike replied. "I actually once thought he did love Elincia, but I never said anything."

"Well, I really don't know about that either, but I can tell you that the rumors were definitely no one's fault," Ranulf assured Ike. "It was a gigantic misunderstanding."

"Yeah, you're right," Ike agreed. "I can't pout about it forever, so I may as well set it aside for now. Let's get going, it's starting to get late."

As the days went by, thoughts of being with Ike again never left Elincia's mind. After nearly missing last boat of the day to Altarais when she was leaving Crimea, she stood on the deck and looked out at the sea before her. Hopefully Altarais wouldn't be too long of a journey, at least not any longer than the ocean voyage from Crimea to Begnion during the Mad King's War, which was roughly two months. However, to her pleasure, the journey from Tellius to Altarais was said to be only a few weeks, due to the calm waters and the fact that this boat moved faster than the one Elincia and Ike had been on. As she remained on the deck, never taking Ike out of her mind while watching the sunlight sparking off the bay and relished the salty spray of the sea, Elincia wondered how Geoffrey was doing on the matter of meeting with Renning and ending the marriage, as well as her uncle's thoughts about the letter. She hoped that he would understand everything that had happened was a mistake. She felt that Geoffrey was right that he would, but Elincia simply couldn't bring herself to tell him in person.

Deciding to keep her identity of former queen to herself, Elincia, spent two more weeks aboard the ship in relative solitude until one night, when she returned below decks to turn in for the evening. The halls of the inside of the boat were full of people going to Altarais, either returning from exploring Tellius or having disembarked from Tellius to explore the newly discovered continent and having general conversation. As Elincia approached her cabin, a dark red-haired woman who appeared be no older than her had turned a corner into the hall. While in a run, she mistakenly bumped into Elincia, causing her to stumble. The woman swiftly caught her before she could fall.

"Oh! I beg your pardon! I'm so sorry!" the woman apologized. Elincia simply smiled as the woman helped her up.

"It's alright, it was just an accident," she replied. "I've…never seen you before. Are you from Altarais?"

Before answering, the woman looked Elincia over as if the former queen was someone she knew, but hadn't seen in years.

"Why, yes, I am," the woman replied, smiling back. "I'm Azura. What brings you here?"

"Oh, I'm looking for someone," Elincia explained. "That's why I'm going to Altarais."

"You don't say? You wouldn't happen to be looking for a man named Ike, would you?" Azura guessed. Elincia's eyes widened in surprise.

"How…how'd you know that?!" she gasped. Azura smiled again and pushed back her long red hair, part of which had been set back into a ponytail. Her chest, arms, shoulders, and legs were covered with light blue armor, undecorated and clearly designed for mobility, and a sword was sheathed at her side. The sword caught Elincia by surprise, as it looked remarkably like one Ike used to use. Its red grip and silver hilt were all too familiar. Elincia had little doubt that it was a Regal Sword. Had Ike given it to Azura or did more than one of those blades exist? Whatever the reason, Elincia's main thought was how Azura knew Ike at all.

"Ah, you see, he is indeed there. I met him at the harbor we're now heading for when he first arrived," Azura explained. "He's quite the acquaintance. At first, he wouldn't tell me why he'd left home, but when I convinced him that he could trust me, he gave me his story. It was quite a tale. I had wondered why he didn't seem happy when I first spotted him on the boat's plank."

Azura went on to say that Ike had told her tales of his heroism in the Mad King's War as well as a sword he once used, a blessed golden blade called Ragnell, and conflict between the Begnion Empire and the Laguz Alliance. Elincia finished off these stories by mentioning a few things Ike hadn't told her, such as his duels against his former arch nemesis, the Black Knight and the Crimean Rebellion. It led her to begin talking of Ike's noble heroism, his strength and skill, his kindness, his courage, and how he would have secret meetings with her which no one else knew of. She even spoke of his looks, describing him as handsome beyond all reasoning.

"Heh, you really have it bad for Ike, don't you…Elincia?" Azura asked with a smile.

"How…how do you know who I am?!" Elincia wondered with a gasp.

"Oh, Ike has talked about you more than anything else," Azura replied with a chuckle. "He misses you an awful lot." With that, Elincia turned her head and let her cheeks become a rosy pink color.

"That's my Ike alright," she confirmed. "How have he and Ranulf been? I mean…assuming you met Ranulf as well."

"Oh yeah, we all know one another. Ranulf is just his catty self, sometimes playfully teasing us," Azura replied. "Ike's great, except when he mopes about leaving you."

"Ah, well this is exactly why I'm traveling all this way," Elincia commented. "I've ensured that my people are in good hands. It was a very hard decision, but I just…can't function without the man I love by my side. In fact, I don't ever wish to speak of my royal blood again."

A few more days went by as Elincia grew to know Azura a little better each time they spoke. Ike had apparently talked with her a lot as well, as she knew more than Elincia had expected. She knew a little bit about the Greil Mercenaries, the aiding of the Laguz Alliance, and about the laguz themselves. Now reminded of another story, Elincia told her of the incident that had occurred with a new tribe, the wolves, just a month after the Mad King's War ended. Ike was almost killed in the battle when he dueled the wolf king one on one, despite how strong he is even without Ragnell. Two of the few remaining wolves that had inhabited a country called Hatari had then been seen in Tellius during the aiding of the Laguz Alliance.

"Wow. That must have been some battle," Azura commented one early morning. "And a strong king too. Ike mentioned something about a skill he uses and trains with called…Aether was it?"

"That's right. Everyone likes to call it his signature move. He used it against the wolf king, but the king still had a lot of energy, despite how badly wounded the move left him," Elincia finished. "Ike only barely brought him down, thanks to a lightning strike sending a boulder falling towards him."

Elincia continued by mentioning the incident where Ike was shoved to the ground and buried in falling pieces of rock from a cliff above, but his superior physical strength enabled him to lift the biggest rock off the top of the pile and throw it a short distance. The wolf king, along with a lot of his comrades, were bowled over and killed by the boulder's impact. The wolf queen, Nailah, never indicated that she had any knowledge of the battle for an unknown reason.

"Wow, seriously?!" Azura gasped with surprise. "I noticed Ike had quite the set of muscles, but I never pictured him doing something like that!"

"Yeah, Ike is an amazing warrior," Elincia replied, blushing and smiling at the same time. "That battle took a lot out of him though, he passed out from his wounds and losing a lot of blood. Rhys, one of the healers, managed to heal him but we feared he'd die from the blood loss. It was a miracle he lived."

"Well, thank goodness. It sounds like Ike had it real rough," Azura interpreted. Elincia nodded in agreement as the two headed onto the deck that morning. The sun was shining brightly with few clouds soaring over head in the blue sky. A light, cool breeze blew across the boat as it continued its journey to its destination. Elincia peered over the front of the boat and could faintly see hills, trees, and mountains in the far distance. A smile formed on her face as she pointed to the sight of land.

"Hey, is that Altarais?" Elincia asked, turning to Azura.

"Yep! We're almost there," she replied.

"Oh, finally! Soon I'll see Ike again for the first time in months…" Elincia gushed happily, tears of joy building up in her eyes. Perhaps Ike was still right there in town on the harbor, thinking of her at that very moment. She imagined how happy he'd be when she was in his arms again. Around a half an hour later, the boat finally began to pull into the dock. Elincia grabbed her bag from her boat cabin and bolted through the exit once it was opened. Azura followed behind, seemingly happy to be in her homeland again. The two came to a halt on a road in the little town called Galden at the coast of the nation of Talgria.

"Okay, I've seen Ranulf around here in town a lot, so if we're going to find Ike, we should look for him first," Azura said, breaking the silence. "I know they have a camp somewhere, but… Ugh, I've been gone so long that I've forgotten where it is."

"It's alright, we'll find them," Elincia assured. "But wait, Ranulf is a laguz… The beorc here get along with them?"

"Yeah, we do. The beorc and laguz of Altarais have been at peace with one another for a long time," Azura explained as the two young women began their search in town for Ranulf, going down each road and alley way they could find. Despite searching for over an hour, however, the laguz was nowhere to be found. They even inquired if anyone had seen a blue-haired beast laguz wandering about in town, but no one could give them the answer they hoped for. Still, they kept up the search, hoping Ranulf would at least come into town sooner or later and tell them where they could find Ike. Almost suddenly, just as Azura and Elincia reached the outskirts of town, a group of what appeared to be bandits jumped out of nowhere from the woods ahead. The ring-leader cackled with delight when he set eyes upon the two women.

"Well, well! Looks like we got ourselves a couple o' girls askin' fer some trouble, mates!" he glowered, noticing both were armed. "Let's show 'em what happens when someone gets'n our way!"

Azura, betraying no more than irritation, glared at them and drew her sword.

"I don't think so, wise guy!" she retorted and charged at the leader. Since the he was wielding an axe, Azura had the upper hand with her sword due to better range and mobility, but it was unknown how strong the bandits actually were.

"Elincia! I'll hold these ruffians off! Keep looking for Ranulf!" Azura called back. However, Elincia had other ideas.

"But what if you're not strong enough by yourself?" Elincia asked worriedly, all too aware that the bandits had Azura outnumbered.

"Don't worry, I've handled guys like these a lot in the past!" Azura replied as she dodged the blade of an axe and drove her sword into the flesh of the bandit next to her. "Just go!"

"Al-Alright."

Unfortunately, one of the bandits spotted Elincia as she began to flee.

"Oh no ya don't!" he shouted and ran after her. "Yer not goin' anywhere!"

"Elincia, behind you!" Azura warned, taking note of the situation. Elincia turned around, having heard what the bandit said.

"Oh yeah? My blade says otherwise!" she retorted and stabbed the bandit right in his gut with her own blade, Amiti. He immediately fell from the fatal blow. Elincia then continued running as fast as she could back through town before any other bandits could try to stop her. Scrambling through the roads as fast as she could, Elincia frantically sought out Ranulf, hoping to find him or even Ike before getting totally lost, and lost in a town all by herself was the last thing she wanted to be at the moment.