He’s still sweet. The thought idly crossed her mind as she watched him enjoy the dining hall’s offerings. The sweet buns were a treat from Faerghus, if she recalled correctly. Not that she’d really know, but she imagined having a favorite piece of your childhood back in your life probably felt… comforting. And it could probably put even someone grumpy like Felix into a good mood.
Byleth inched two fingers closer to the plate and plucked up one of the sweet buns before they were all gone, her eyes just a touch mischievous as she caught his gaze. “The berry one is my favorite.”
“Hmm...” He ponders, “Those weren’t bad when summer came and the berries were ripening. Though, I was always partial to the brown sugar buns. They went well with some cinnamon tea when I was young.” It was nice, strolling though happier times when he was just a boy living in the castle and idling his time between his tutors and just being a boy. “....the smell takes me right back...”
He had quite a point, she had to admit. “It warms you from the inside.” There were few things in life more comforting than a hot bowl of your favorite soup on a chilly day where the vestiges of winter held on to spring like a promise. The smile reached the corners of her eyes. Time had changed a lot of things, for everyone… including, apparently, the way he ate. Almost reminded her of the band of mercenaries she and her father had travelled with for some time a few years ago. Well, more than a few, but the five years still didn’t feel real to her. “I think they’ve got those sweet buns you like, too.”
That certainly piqued his interest, “I would love some.” It was quite a treat for him to steal away a handful of sweet buns fresh out of the ovens while he was playing about the castle. Of course that was many, many years ago. He was a grown man, soon to be king.
But, manners be dammed.
He scurries over to get a plate piled with them, popping one into his mouth eagerly. “It’s so... so... mmm.”
“I suppose it would be … sparse,” she mused aloud. Jeralt had gone to great lengths to keep her away from the Church of Seiros – and everything else – growing up. Even information about himself. She didn’t even know how old he’d been, or that he was a former Captain of the Knights of Seiros until she’d come here to the monastery. “He never … talked about his past.”
Glancing down at her bowl of soup, she realized she was halfway through. “Maybe one day I’ll see it. Are you enjoying your soup?”
“The bread is great as always... and that smell... Can’t miss fresh herbs for nothing.” He said between bites, that delicate and polite way he used to eat was long ago; more thrown out the window. Talking with his mouth full and slurping straight from the bowl. If one didn’t know his past history, one would think he was just another mercenary, “And... the soup is so warm and comforting... for a day like today.”
Byleth kept one hand on the outside of her bowl, tapping her fingers on it each time the surface became a little too hot. Watching him now, it was like he’d come to life anew, and it brought a little curve of a smile to her face. “I’ve been to the kingdom before. Before here, I mean. My father came from there.” It was the first time she’d truly talked about Jeralt since his death so many years ago. “We always seemed to miss the snow.”
“I remember him saying some such.” He said as he continued to listen to her, “But looking at some of the records here at the Church, it was pretty sparse, far as I found.”
He lets out a small sigh at the mention of snow, a fond smile growing on his lips, “Faerghus always looks so peaceful with a blanket of fresh snow.”
It was good to see him out of the cathedral again, talking, engaging with the world around him, instead of just staring, as if lost in another world, at the rubble, and telling her and everyone else to go away. She’d checked in on Felix, too, for the loss of Rodrigue. Too many people had died at Gronder. But those who were still alive now were important, too : a lesson everyone had learned recently. “I remember that you used to like it…” The academy days felt only a few months ago for her, before she’d woken up being pulled from the river at the bottom of the monastery. But for him and everyone else, five whole years had passed. “I hope it still tastes as good now.”
He’s happily digging right in, even though he knows it’ll taste the same as everything else- bland and muted in flavor. But there were other things to enjoy. The toast added some different textures in his mouth and the aroma itself was enticing to his nose, “Indeed it has. It was something that was always served on a snowy day in Fhirdiad...”
The conversational din in the background of the dining hall felt louder than usual today as Byleth thanked the kitchen staff for her meal – onion gratin soup – and took a seat closer to the windows. It was still cold at the monastery this time of year, and she held her hands on either side of the bowl to warm them up. The tip of her nose still carried the chill, but as she breathed in the steam coming off the soup, she could feel herself beginning to defrost. A shadow passed over the bowl and she looked up, the corners of her eyes crinkling in a small smile. “Dimitri,” she greeted. “Thank you for joining me.”
“And I must thank you for the invitation, professor.” He offers a small smile back in turn. For once, he lacked his armor, something he wore day in and out for years, in exchange for a spare school uniform. His clothing he left behind in his academy days was ill fitting, as he quickly came to find out. He shifted his royal blue cape draped over his shoulders a bit more as he sat down to a bowl set out for him, “It’s been a long while since I had this dish...”
#a beast punished ~ postskip verse #mercyburned #[works great for me!]
“I see your habit of breaking things,are still with you but at least you fixed the barn so that’s a good thing.How have you been lately Dimitri?”
“The door was my fault. But since I had the hammer and some wood out, I went ahead and checked for some other spots in need of repair.” He said, “But... other than my usual missteps, things have been going well enough, I suppose.”
“Then lets sneak off,” she said, holding her hand out for his. “Come on, at this point, no one will notice if we’re gone,” she promised. “And if they do, well, that’s not our problem once we’re out of the room,” she said, a grin curling her lips. “I don’t really want to be here anyways, I’ve never been much for crowds.”
The king couldn’t help but smile, feeling like a schoolboy playing hooky from his lessons, “Beloved, be sure to bring a bottle of vintage with you. I need to tell Dedue to not worry about us for the night. It’ll be just a moment or two.”
“Ancient artifacts..” Well considering the items he was searching for were anything but ‘ancient’ in a sense so it served him well to take this deal. Sinbad nodded his head agreeing that the blond would be able to keep the ancient artifacts they were to find. “It seems like we’ll both find some sort of benefit from this expedition. You let me know exactly when you’d like to leave.” Sinbad said with a smile. “You’ll just be going down there with me, that way you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping too many people safe.” The young man said, taking up his pitcher filled with his drink and took a few sips.
“Though Celestia found me worthy of having a vision, I’m really not much of a fighter, basics are one thing I know but the weapon’s mostly all for show.” A blatant lie, but it at least explained the electro vision that hung on one side of his belt and the sheathed sword that occupies the opposite side of his frame. “So, I’m curious, what would be your drive? What made you decide to join the knights of Favonius. Was it through altruistic reasons or maybe you just wanted the glory.”
This question was also in no shape or form a manner in disrespecting his guide, but Sinbad often loved to listen to people that spoke of their passion. Then again there were others that do join organizations such as the knights in order to gain a name for themselves to ensure them a rather comfortable life once they’ve lived long enough to retire.
The blonde let out a small chortle, undoing a strap on his belt that secured a pouch for supplies. Attached to the front was a vision of his own, golden wings framing a Cryo vision, “The gods must enjoy the irony in mine. Ever since I’ve had it, the bitter winds of Dragonspine never bothered me. They feel no different than the breeze that comes through the city most days. And being a trained expert with polearms here is a rarity it seems nowadays...” He muttered the last bit, which was just an observation he’s made in the many months he’s lived in the current present. Many sword, bow and catalyst users...
“Regarding those artifacts... Specifically those of the ancient kingdom that once lived there, that would suffice for compensation.” He said as he combed a few stray locks out of his good eye.
“As far as the knights... Grand Master Varka found me one time, and without another word, sent me to find Master Jean here in the city. She took his word and I was instated like I am now.” He pointed to the insignia of the knights on his Royal Blue cape, adorned with his company’s emblem as well.
Sinbad was surprised, shocked even to hear that the male did not require any mora. Hmm this must be an honorable soul, for as far as he’s known for the years he’s been transported to this world, he came to find that Mora made the world progress and it gets you what you want. But to hear this person wanting nothing more than a meal..hmm perhaps it had something to do with being a knight of Favonius. Sinbad figured because he was already a knight for the people that he did not take mora from those that requested his help and should that be the case then this taller man was someone to look up to.
“That’s nice of you, well if it’s only drinks and food you’d want then Sindria would be happy to pay the bill for you. I’d promise you a grand evening one day after the expedition. I have an associate that would love to explore the region, hearing about its frigid temperature reminded him of home.” A false statement, but he had some ‘business’ in dragonspine and for the blond’s safety Sinbad figured it would be in his best interest if he knew not the real reason that he was there. That very reason was to examine the heart of the corrupted Dragon Durin.
“You certainly don’t have to put on a grand feast just for a trip up and around the mountain. I know the area like the back of my hand. It’s a simple and easy task. That said, I did say if we happened across any ancient artifacts, I’d like to keep them if they’re of worth. There’s much history behind some of those items, and to be frank, that history should be shared...”
Of course Dimitri had his stipend from the knights, which included his housing and basic needs, though he was used to living off the land. Foraging and hunting to get enough for the winter months of the northern nation. Although Mondstadt was far more balmy than it once was, the dead of winter still had it’s bite. And for the ex-prince, he still had that air about him, one being brought up in all the etiquette. Although, nowadays, he was far more relaxed than back then.
Hurt flashed in her eyes before she gave a nod, what was she supposed to do? Force him? He had no trust in her as it was, reacting would … only make that worse. If there was a worse. If there could be a worse. “As you wish, Your Grace,” she said, before she turned away from him and headed for the stairs.
He let out an annoyed huff and left. Over and over again, he told himself that same lie- it’s better off this way. Yet this time when she reacted like that, he faltered in his convictions a little. Reason told him his beloved professor from years back was alive and well, though the ghosts haunting him berated him for hoping like a doe-eyed schoolboy that she was about as real as they were. Just apparitions of his mind. And that genuine reaction... made him believe his own reasoning. It was all the better to keep a distance from her. After all, who could care about a murderous beast?
Byleth glanced up and over at him, before she smiled, the party was getting more than a little rowdy she would admit it. “Do you want me to pour you another drink then?” she asked, her sea green eyes glinting playfully. “Or maybe you’d prefer we sneak off?”
“Both sound delightful if I had to be perfectly honest...” He sighed, “Though letting loose a bit in private seems more appropriate. I am still their king and I’ve got an image to uphold with them.” Not to mention the fact his tolerance was next to nothing when it came to beverages of the hard variety.
Byleth reached for him and then paused, “Dimitri, please,” she said, “You’re injured, at least let me take a look at them, let me heal them,” she said, she paused. How little he seemed to care. “We can’t beat the Empire if you’re dead, so please, let me make sure they’re healed.”
“Don’t touch me.” He snaps with a cold glare and colder tone, recoiling away from her on reflex. His armor protected him for how many years, yet taking it off when he himself doesn’t feel safe was a fever dream at best. “I will manage on my own. As I have been. Leave my presence. Now.”