Not our war
Pelleas opened the door for his guests. "Micaiah, Sothe..." He bowed tiredly.
"Your majesty? You look awful!" Micaiah exclaimed.
Pelleas gave a weak chuckle. "It reflects how I feel then."
Sothe shook his head. "She's right though. What's wrong?"
Pelleas took a moment to compose himself. He got a strong feeling Sothe was going to hurt him for this. "We are going to aid Begnion against the Laguz Alliance."
Micaiah took a sharp breath in surprise, and Sothe...Sothe had hoisted Pelleas up by the collar of his shirt, and barely stopped short of slamming him into the hard stone wall.
"What! ? !" Sothe exclaimed. Pelleas wheezed slightly.
"Sothe, put him down." Micaiah told him. Sothe turned back to her. "Let him explain."
Sothe didn't lower him, he just let go. Pelleas crumpled to the ground, before picking himself up and dusting off.
"Izuka was a Begnion spy. The form I filled out to reign the country, in fact bound me to Begnion's will." Pelleas observed Sothe carefully during this, as he was pivotal to any plan he may have.
Sothe narrowed his eyes at the mention of Izuka being a spy, then looked down slightly, obviously angry.
"What would you have us do, your majesty?" Micaiah interrupted the small silence.
Pelleas blinked, having momentarily forgotten about her. "I need you and Sothe to buy me some time. Micaiah, you will lead Daein's armies once more. Sothe, I..." Pelleas took a deep breath. Something about Sothe made it really difficult to talk to him. "...I sympathise with the Laguz Alliance. If Micaiah is unable to continue, or it becomes dangerous to stay, I want you to make an excuse to take command, preferably one that means people won't approach Micaiah. You will be the one to withdraw our forces, because you, officially, know nothing about my contract with Begnion. Understood?"
Sothe's hard face softened for a moment, before hardening again as he nodded.
Micaiah had one last question. "When do you want us to leave?"
Pelleas looked troubled. "As soon as possible. I would also like to have a word with Edward, Nolan, Leonardo, and Naruto."
"Understood, your majesty." Micaiah bowed, and both she and Sothe left Pelleas' meeting room.
"So, what do you think the prince wants from us?" Naruto asked as he walked toward the castle.
"King, Naruto." Leo reprimanded him. "He signed the form, remember?"
"Still, he's been hard to approach lately." Nolan sounded thoughtful. "Whatever it is, it won't be all good news."
"Gee, thanks for putting a downer on our hopes..." Edward sighed.
Leo rolled his eyes. "It's better to have a truthful perspective. False hopes only get broken."
Edward shot him a dirty look. Naruto spoke with a hint of venom. "Don't I know that one..."
Nolan stepped in. "How about we just let the king tell us? He has the answer, after all."
The group had to concede this point, and a much more solemn group walked towards the castle.
Pelleas had laid the items he'd gathered for the Dawn Brigade. He'd easily found things for everyone but Naruto, but he felt as if it was a suitable, admittedly expensive gift.
The men entered, sure that the news was going to be bad. They weren't exactly wrong, either.
"Thank you for coming. I have gifts for your hard service to Daein." Pelleas did his best to outwardly appear pleased, more than adequately enough to fool those present.
Their reactions were varied. Edward was ecstatic, barely able to keep to keep himself still. Leo blinked, completely unprepared for this turn of events. Nolan raised an eyebrow and hummed thoughtfully, appreciating the sight of the gifts. And Naruto wore the stupid grin he thought he'd left in his childhood, his efforts finally being realised for what they were.
Pelleas saw that Edward was the most energetic, and decided to give him his first, if only to occupy him. "Edward, from Daein's vault comes Caladbolg, a sword as sharp as it is durable." Pelleas picked it up from the table, and handed it to him delicately. "Use it carefully, as it cannot distinguish friend, from foe."
Edward hesitated at the last words, a rare moment of seriousness coming over him. "What do you mean?"
Pelleas looked at him carefully. "That blade is possessed. It thirsts for blood, and draws its wielder towards combat, actively honing their skills, and is quickly lost to battle rage."
Edward stared at the weapon. "Then why would you give it to me?"
Pelleas rested his hand on Edward's shoulder to emphasize his next words. "You had the will to stand up to Begnion, even as a small group. I think you can control Caladbolg."
The words returned Edward to his sunny disposition, who admired his sword while the other weapons were being given out. "Leonardo, again from Daein's vault, comes Lugnasadh, a bow without equal." Pelleas once again handed the weapon carefully to its new owner.
Leo was quick on the uptake. "What does it do?"
Pelleas smirked. "It has many niches, and they will eliminate the error in aligning the arrow, without any loss in speed."
Leo relaxed, glad that his weapon was not also cursed.
Pelleas turned to Nolan, and gestured for him to take the axe himself. "Nolan, from Daein's vault comes Tarvos, an axe that...uh..." Pelleas faltered in his speech, looking slightly sheepish.
Nolan frowned, worried that his axe had a terrible secret, like Caladbolg. "What is it?"
Pelleas scratched his head, grimacing. "Actually, it just looks cool. I thought you'd appreciate it around the...er, new recruits."
Nolan blinked, looking down at the heavy axe, wondering how Pelleas had even gotten it in here.
"That means I got the fancy blue stuff, right?" Naruto looked at the remaining item on the table.
"Ah, yes. Naruto, I present you with the Elreste potion, a very powerful concoction. If fully consumed, it should heal all your wounds and make you extremely resistant to magic." Pelleas nodded, handing him the potion.
Naruto picked up on his wording. "Should?"
Pelleas looked slightly nervous. "It's been in the vault for a very long time, I'm unsure if the effects remain as they're written."
Naruto looked at the potion, as if observing it would let him know its effectiveness.
"...You're not drinking that."
Eh, it's not like it'll hurt me, right?
"This is NOT up for negotiation. I don't trust it."
Tch...Fine. "Thanks for the gift." Naruto smiled.
"Why?" Leo asked suddenly.
Pelleas blinked. "Why what, Leonardo?"
"Why have you given us weapons in a time of peace? Something's going on, and I want to know what it is." Leo gave him a cold look.
Pelleas sighed. "We're going to war against the Laguz Alliance."
Edward jerked his head back to the king. "What? ! ? But we can't go to war now!"
"If even he can see it, we shouldn't go." Leo pinned his gaze on him. Was this what Sothe saw in him?
Pelleas looked down, like he was swallowing something bitter. "We can't not go, I'm afraid. That's...all I can tell you at the moment. Please, trust me."
Nolan closed his eyes, deep in thought. "We need a goal to work towards, and that has always been the restoration of Daein. This...this makes no sense at all, unless we are their next target." He looks at Pelleas questioningly.
"I do not know if that is the case, however for the sake of Daein right now, my motives must remain hidden. I'm sorry..." Pelleas sighed again.
Naruto growled quietly, and stormed out, Edward following him quickly as he shared the sentiment.
Leo sighed at his friends' actions, giving Pelleas one last look. "The reason had better be good." He followed them out. Nolan followed him, thoroughly confused by the king's actions.
The Daein army gathered outside the castle, and Micaiah rallied them, an act far too easy for her liking. Once it was obvious they were fighting laguz, they didn't need any more encouragement. The still remarkably organized mob marched towards Begnion, calling for blood.