Now with finals over, it is time to get back to writing this story. I greatly appreciate all the continuous support coming from you guys and girls, so I feel it's only right to give you guys what you were asking for. On with the show as they say in show business.
Three days. Three days on the road and the agitation was beginning to show among ranks of the Shepherds. One soldier in particular was looking a little more ragged than he usually did.
Stahl's bed head was worse than usual. Sitting at the controls of one of the many wagons used by the Ylissean army to transport the convoys. Swords, spears and other weapons typically sat in them. The one Stahl was driving? Clothing many of the women had prepared to bring to the parties. Nearly half the wagon itself was filled with Maribelle's very own wardrobe.
A loud yawn left the throat of Stahl as he began rubbing his eyes with a free hand. Suddenly the quiet and still early morning was disrupted by a loud and boisterous voice. None other than Vaike, who had been walking with an axe draped over his shoulder as usual, caught up to Stahl's wagon.
"Hey there! How are you holding up there Stahl?" Vaike asked with a smile on his face as Stahl returned the gesture, albeit very halfheartedly.
"Just tired Vaike. I would really like to take a longer nap but this whole wagon thing is taking away my sleeping schedule. Naga knows I need a good amount of it," Stahl said as the two shared a laugh. "So what about you? Tharja and Noire nearby?"
The big and muscular warrior shrugged as he took a look behind him. "Well I know Tharja is by the tome wagon. She put a lot of her hexing stuff in there so she wants to make sure the stuff stays safe I guess. Noire though is somewhere up ahead. I get the feeling she is walking with Owain or something." Vaike said as he threw his hand forward and waved it around aimlessly. The two of those kids had been hanging out a lot lately and Vaike was making sure to take notice.
Stahl laughed as he went back to checking the horses, making sure the wagon wasn't leaning one way or the other on the trail. "Who knows Vaike, you and Gaius might end up being in-laws before too long. I think that would be fun." The knight said as a yawn again escaped his mouth and out into the open and thick morning air. Clouds had been gathering and it appeared some rain would hit the capital for the first day of the festival, which many prayed would pass over quickly.
Vaike looked as Stahl let out a loud yawn and gave an agitated look. "You've been driving this damn wagon for the last three days Stahl. Why not get that sneaky little thief Gaius to take the reins for a while?" Yelled Vaike as he suddenly heard movement from inside the wagon itself. Looking back he saw a head appear from out of the flaps.
"Because that sneaky thief is the one making sure all the girls' perfumes don't go crashing and making a horrible smell even worse!" An agitated Gaius proclaimed as he let his frustration show on his face. His lollipop stick had been nearly chewed through, something only seen when the man was extremely mad or hurt. Vaike realized this must have been just mad, considering perfume wasn't known to be a deadly weapon.
Vaike then let out a chuckle towards the sugar filled fool in the wagon. "That's a great look for you there Gaius! Just your head popping in and out like that. The Vaike approves!" The warrior laughed as Stahl tried to stymie a laugh he caught but to no avail.
Gaius gave a frustrated look to both of the men surrounding him. "Yeah laugh it up jerks. I probably have the worst job in this entire caravan! I shouldn't be doing this crap! Give this to one of the girls or something." The man complained as he headed back into the wagon. Bottles upon bottles were stacked in crates that were shaking with the movement of the wagon. Luckily for him Stahl seemed to be a pretty steady driver.
The smell in the small vehicle was unbearable. So many scents mixed into one it was becoming nauseating. No amount of washing was gonna get these smells out of his clothes. Luckily for him Lissa had prepared him an outfit so he wouldn't have to worry about that problem. However, considering the fact he had yet to see said outfit in person, his mind had been wandering. What if it was some kind of royal garb that would make him look ridiculous? Gaius shuddered at the though.
Suddenly Gaius heard another conversation start up outside the wagon. The sugar filled man popped his head out and saw Robin chatting with Stahl on the opposite side of the wagon from where Vaike was still walking on. Gaius smiled and gave a quick nod of the head. "How are ya hanging there Bubbles?"
Robin turned to see Gaius' head sticking out of the wagon and let a smile show on his face. "Probably better than you are right now. Stahl was just telling me you've been stuck in the woman's wagon for almost the entire trip." The tactician joked as the two others let out a laugh. Gaius went from smiling to agitated again. The bandana wearing man threw himself back in the wagon to watch the bottles again very quickly.
Robin laughed again at the quick reaction and turned his attention to Stahl. "Do you think I said the wrong thing right there?" He asked as Stahl let out a laugh.
"Nah, I wouldn't worry about it. Gaius is just a little annoyed right now. I would be too if I was being forced to watch all the girls' stuff," The tired looking knight said as he let a yawn out and both Vaike and Robin began looking a bit worried. "I probably would be having the same attitude if I wasn't so tired. But hey, that's life right?" Stahl said with a tired look in his eyes.
Robin couldn't take it anymore. He quickly reached up and pulled back on the reins that were in Stahl's hands. Stahl quickly jerked forward and Gaius had his head and shoulders pop out as the sudden stop caught him by surprise. "Hey what's the deal Bubbles?!" Gaius screamed out in complete shock and fright.
Robin quickly jumped up onto the seat of the wagon and patted Stahl on the back. "You get in the back and take a nap there Stahl. I can take care of this for you for at least a little while. After what you did for me a few days ago I figure I should pay you back." Robin said with a strong smile on his face.
Stahl saw the look on Robin's face and knew he wouldn't be able to fight this one out. The green clad knight just nodded and gave Robin the reins to the horses. "Just watch the speed alright Robin, we can't go too fast with the cargo we have." He cautioned the tactician as he began turning and heading into the wagon. A few words were exchanged between him and Gaius but nothing was clear past the cloth to Robin.
Suddenly Robin felt the seat shift to his right and looked to see Vaike sitting right next to him. A booming grin showed on the warrior as he set his axe down next to him on the seat and gave a quick nudge to Robin. "You have no idea how to drive this thing, huh?" Vaike said with a hushed tone and a wink as the brown haired Shepherd ducked his head down.
Truth be told that was absolutely the case. Robin was always ahead of the group and walking side by side with Chrom and Sumia at times. Other occasions he would be chatting with a soldier who was going to be a focus of the battle plan. Driving a wagon was something he had never really done much of. While thinking of how to start the horses, suddenly the leather straps in his hands had been taken and were now in the hands of the shirtless warrior next to him.
"Don't you sweat it there buddy! Good ol' Teach has this one under control." Vaike said as suddenly with one quick whip of the reins the horses began their trot. However, the trot was a bit faster than what was needed.
The horses burst out of their stop and blazed right past many soldiers that had been walking past it. Dust picked up behind them and the wheels on the wagon began bouncing up and down as Vaike and Robin quickly began trying to pull back on the reins. Problem was that the straps had fallen out of Vaike's hands and were now moving in a similar fashion to the wheels beneath the four men, two in the seat and two in the wagon itself.
Gaius was holding down the perfume boxes as best he could. A few caps had fallen out of their spots and now as he was being splashed by the perfume, Gaius was yelling as loud as he could for the knight behind him to get up and help. Problem was he was already asleep somehow. Even with all the shaking and bouncing the fool was deep in a sleep. Shouldn't have been a surprise but with all the commotion Gaius would have thought he would have been awake and helping.
Robin and Vaike now had gathered control of the reins again but were just struggling to turn out of the way of other soldiers. Already they had nearly run over Sumia and Cynthia, both of which were looking out towards the image of Ylisstol showing itself over the horizon. The two men trying to take control of the wagon were not enjoying the sights so much.
As the turning became more drastic, Robin began losing his balance and nearly fell off of the seat before Vaike threw a hand out and grabbed the tactician by the collar of hood of his jacket and tried pulling him back onto the wagon seat. However, with all the weight of the wagon on the left, a sudden right turn spelled disaster for the wagon. With the hard turn and the two men flew off the wagon and watched as the caravan flipped onto its side and a large crashing sound was heard immediately. The two horses the wagon had been using ran back to the road and were quickly gathered by two soldiers.
Robin landed hard on his back and Vaike had rolled over twice, landing on his hip initially. The two quickly picked themselves up as other members of the Shepherds began running over to see the accident.
Vaike and Robin pushed the flap of the tent up and looked inside. Stahl had finally woken up, with a headache apparently as he rubbed the back of his head. Gaius didn't look hurt as much as ready to explode in rage. Robin and Vaike did their best not to laugh as they noticed that every single perfume bottle had crashed and all the contents had spilled onto his clothes, the clothes in the wagon and his face. There were tears coming from Gaius' eyes, mainly because of the fact some had spilled into them.
When Gaius saw the two looking into the wagon he grabbed a piece of clothing that didn't seem to be covered in the stuff and wiped his face. "You could drive the wagon huh? There was nothing to worry about huh?" Gaius said as he picked himself up trying to avoid the broken glass spread around the floor.
As the two men who were caught in the crash slowly walked out of the turmoil of glass and torn fabrics, two Shepherds walked up to assess the damage. Virion being one of them, with his son Brady beside him. The noble archer looking at the four with a worried look in his eyes.
"My my, what a catastrophe to say the least. Are all of you alright?" Virion asked as Brady began preparing his staff for any emergency healing. Stahl shook his head to drive the young priest away as Gaius threw a hand out as he continued to brush off the glass stuck on his pant leg.
The gray haired archer looked at the wreckage and then at Robin, who had a wide-eyed look about him. Needless to say the carnage was awful and Robin felt responsible. He took up the reins, and even though Vaike took them, he was still trusted with the wagon itself.
Virion gave a quick pat on the back and smiled. "Robin, there is no need for a look like that. The horses merely went wild on you and could hardly be contained. Anyone would have had that happen to them," He informed as Robin and Vaike gave quizzical looks to him. "Everyone knows that horses have a high fear of small rodents that run across their feet like that."
Suddenly everyone gave a puzzled look. Robin and Vaike didn't remember seeing a rat or anything that looked like a small rodent. Stahl and Gaius had never heard of this fear of horses. Then it became clear. Virion was giving them an excuse for the accident. He was looking out for the four of them. Just before they could thank him, more Shepherds arrived. This time lead by Chrom and followed by most of the women whose clothes had just been tarnished, Maribelle looking the most fumed.
"Are you all alright?! What happened here?" Chrom asked as Maribelle ran past the king of Ylisse and straight to the wreckage. The lady of high class suddenly looked like a small child frantically searching for a lost doll. She threw the tarp of the wagon away as she dove into the disaster that was mostly her and Lissa's clothing and perfumes.
Robin went from watching Maribelle act completely out of of her normal character to Chrom's also puzzled look. "Ugh...the horses got spooked by a rat or something that ran by their feet. Vaike and I tried to get control of the wagon but I lost my grip on the seat. At that point I think you can see what happened." Robin said as he pointed at the wreckage with a worried look on his face, hoping he sounded convincing using Virion's ruse.
Chrom's worried look turned to an amused grin. "Well I'm just glad none of you got hurt. Especially my dear brother-in-law. I'm not sure what my sister would do without her husband for the festival." Chrom joked as a sudden force of nature burst out of the wagon. Fear struck each man unlucky enough to be nearby.
Maribelle was steaming from her eyes as she carried a small crate with what remained of her perfumes under an arm. Each man lost their grins as nervous teeth chattering became loud and apparent from Robin, Stahl and even Maribelle's son Brady, who was now trying to calm his mother down. "Now ma, remember what you taught me. Nobility never shows agitation right?" The young and obviously uncomfortable man said as his mother blew right past him as she walked slowly towards Chrom. Each step would have crushed a small city with the amount of force used.
She shoved the crate into the chest of the king and began tightening her grip on her parasol. "Yes, how dreadfully worrying that Gaius would have been hurt in the accident. However, how do you expect your sister and I to even show our faces in Ylisstol without half of our supplies?! Now I expect to be fully reimbursed on all my lost dresses and scents before the festival begins," The woman said with a forked tongue appearing at times according to those who witnessed the event. "Now if you'll excuse me I have to inform the rest of the women of this horrible loss."
As the blonde tornado stomped her way back to the road, the men gathered themselves as they thanked Naga their souls hadn't been devoured. Brady leaned against his staff and placed a hand on his father's shoulder, which Virion patted as he retained his smile throughout the event. Virion had seen these sides of Maribelle before and was far from intimidated from this event.
Chrom looked down at the perfumes now in his hands as he let out a sigh. "Well I suppose we could just carry these to the city. We'll salvage what we can but I doubt that they'll be used again. Sometimes I think Maribelle is a bad influence on my sister." Chrom joked in a low tone of voice, hoping it wouldn't carry far enough for the woman in question to hear him.
The other men nodded and Chrom took his leave with the other soldiers that had joined him on his escort. Robin and Vaike then shared a collective sigh as the blonde haired axe wielder let out a laugh. "Gotta say Virion, that was a great call on your part. I thought you noble-types didn't like the whole lying bit?" He asked as he began walking towards the wagon to start picking up what they could and bring it back to the rest of the crew.
Virion let out an amused scoff as he wagged his finger in front of his face. "A noble of my degree never ruses without reason. I knew my dear Maribelle would not take to kindly to the crashing of her possessions so I had to find something that would calm her rage." He said as Brady began getting his legs back under him and nodded to the group.
"Yeah, pops does that a lot I notice. He tends to stretch the truth when he knows ma is about to go off on somebody," Brady said as he walked over to the wagon and began cleaning up what mess he could with his staff still in hand. "Be glad we chased after you guys when that wagon went wild."
Robin smiled at the two and gave a nod in thanks. "Well we appreciate it. Though I have to say, if that was you calming Maribelle down I'd really hate to see how she gets when she's really angry." Robin joked as he picked up more clothes and turned to see a concerned Virion. The joke lost it's humor as Robin realized he probably didn't really want to know. The tactician's war game partner obviously was not about to go into detail but it was clear it was not a pretty sight.
The group gathered what they could from the wagon and began walking back to the road. Virion and Brady parted ways with the four who carried clothing and other fancy things only nobles would be caught wearing. Stahl let out a yawn as he continued walking forward on the road with Vaike, Gaius and Robin. The group could see the outline of the capitol coming up, which gave them the strength to continue on the trudge.
Ylisstol. The center of Ylisse itself. Robin had only been in the city a few times but each was an absolute treat to see. The tall buildings and many shops were always in their brightest in the sun. Now with all the streamers and decorations spread around the city it was even better. Of course also seeing them from one of the windows of the royal palace was a nice touch.
Once the Shepherds had reached the city, Chrom offered a room to the couples that were there and a suite for Robin. Seeing him as the reason the war effort was going so well he figured it was right. Plus there was a heavy push from three Shepherds and his own daughter to make sure that Robin was taken care of. The king had noticed that his friend was more than a bit ragged as of late. So a suite in the royal palace seemed a fair thing that Robin had due.
The now relaxed and seemingly exhausted tactician took a step away from the window and threw himself on the bed he was given. The room was luxurious and a joy to be in. Robin could swear that the very air he was breathing had a higher class to it. Letting out a sigh he placed his hands behind his head, planning to take a small nap before joining his friends on the streets.
Granted they had just arrived, and right on time as well, the festivities were already in full swing. The decorations Robin had been admiring had been up for days now and the shops were preparing to gather good crowds with the best goods. And tonight was supposed to have some kind of big play that showed the actions of Marth and his fellow fighters. Robin wanted to see the play, but for now just sleep was all he wanted.
As his eyes began closing, Robin could swear that someone was calling his name. He just accounted it to chance and continued his journey to the land of dreams. Suddenly that journey was stopped abruptly as a familiar child like voice boomed through his now, for some odd reason, open door.
"Come on Robin! You need to help me and my niece go shopping! And no amount of complaining is gonna get you off of the hook." The princess of Ylisse shouted as Robin shot out of his bed and fell forward in a very comedic fashion. At least that's what Robin thought as Lissa went into a torrent of giggles and another deep laugh joined in.
Robin picked himself up and looked at his door frame to see Lissa standing there next to her husband Gaius and even Lucina behind her aunt with a blush and hand over her face. Robin gave an annoyed sigh as he began walking over to the group with an agitated look on his face. "Care to explain how you got into my locked room?" The tactician asked, though he had an idea as to what happened.
Lissa, without breaking a beat, just pointed at her husband like a child trying to pass blame. Problem was this was warranted passing. "Gaius' handy work. Honestly, ever since I married him, getting things has become a lot easier." She joked as the thief in question raised an eyebrow.
"What, you just married me for my sticky fingers?" Gaius joked as he saw Lissa turn on her toes and flash that innocent grin and quick flutter of the eyes he had come to adore.
"No. I married you for your sweetness," The princess said as she gave him a quick peck on the cheek and the two shared a smile. Lissa then turned back to Robin and gave a pouting face. "Now are you going to get ready for a shopping spree or what?"
Robin gave a shocked look as he then turned to Gaius, begging him with his expression to get him off the hook. The sugar addict shrugged his shoulders and shook his head. "Sorry Robin, she got the truth out of me about the wagon business. Now we have to pay her back with a day at the shops. I gotta go to so you ain't alone." He said with a whisper, though Robin wasn't sure why. The two men then shared a tired sigh.
It was obvious that this was a fight Robin would never win. The young Ylissian royalty standing before him was going to be very difficult no matter what the problem was. She may have been a grown woman, but she still had a child's temper, and there was no way to beat it. Without even giving an answer the tactician went to pick up his boots and cloak. He could hear behind him the cheering of Lissa and the laughter of Lucina and Gaius.
Once he was finished Lissa began leading the group followed by Gaius and Lucina and Robin took up the tail end. Robin turned to the blue haired beauty next to him and felt like starting up a conversation. He figured they would be walking together for a while so it was best to break whatever silence there was going to be now. "So what all are you looking to get replaced from the accident there Lucina?" He asked as he scratched the back of his head nervously.
Lucina turned her head and blushed slightly. "Well, I was going to replace some perfume I lost in the crash. It was the only one I had and Aunt Lissa figured it was best to replace it now rather than wait until later. It is a very popular fragrance around this time apparently." She answered as the two continued following the couple in front of them.
"Oh really. Sorry about that whole mess. We didn't mean for it to go as badly as it did." Robin responded as he felt a pang of guilt take over him. Here he was wanting to just relax after he ruined a lot of stuff that the girls were looking forward to having for the festival. He came out of this worry though as a hand touched his shoulder.
Looking up he saw it was Lucina's hand and a smile was on her face. "You don't have to apologize. It was an obvious accident. I don't know why my aunt is so focused on getting you all to pay her back. You couldn't have seen that mouse from where you were." She said as the reason for Gaius' whisper became suddenly clear.
As the two continued talking behind him, Gaius flashed a grin to his wife next to him. "Gotta say that this was clever on your part there Princess. But what all are you intending to have happen on this little adventure?" The thief asked as the blonde royal gave a laugh. She looked up and flashed a smile.
Gaius raised an eyebrow and Lissa gave him a wink. "Let's just say I know the perfect place to go shopping for some girl time and for you boys to have a moment to yourselves. An aunt always has to keep her nieces in check after all," Lissa whispered as she turned her head forward. "Especially about matters of the heart." She said with a chuckle.
Gaius, not sure about what she meant, looked back at the two behind him and saw that they were talking, laughing and a flush was lightly covering Lucina's face. Suddenly it became clear and Gaius shook his head with a chuckle himself. "You can be pretty maniacal when you wanna be, you know that?" He asked as his wife gave him a playful shrug. The group walked out the front doors of the palace and towards the streets of Ylisstol, with the wheels of fate preparing to turn for two young people that were unaware of the potential adventure awaiting them.