radiance gown

iv. heart (part one)

Robin did not envy the newly-crowned queen of Ylisse when the latter stepped out into the balcony in the radiance of a white gown and soft smiles. She has never possessed any ill will towards the gentle pegasus knight, nor has she wished any misfortune upon her – not even now as their new exalt proclaimed her his wife in a vow of matrimony.

Robin understood, of course. Sumia has always cared for their captain (in ways that not even most people can misinterpret). She was the one who constantly showered him with affection and comfort. She was the one who held him up when Robin herself failed. (Emmeryn. Emmeryn. Emmeryn.)

The Ylissean strategist saw the logic in it all too well. She saw the how and the why and all the words, secrets and promises in between. She did not begrudge Sumia – because why would there be any reason for Chrom (the prince, the captain, the exalt) to choose her (the stranger, the amnesiac, the tactician)?

She understood. She had prepared herself for this very event – this very moment – and she had already braced herself for what was to come.

But as Chrom lifted the veil and stared lovingly into Sumia’s eyes, she couldn’t help but let out a pained gasp. There was the unmistakable feeling of her heart being wrenched and torn apart, and she staggered back from the weight of the situation crashing down on her.

I owe my life to him, she thought as she quietly watched the joyous cheers and celebration of the royal wedding from a shadowy nook in the corners of the town square.

She felt the sobs threatening to erupt from deep within her. She felt the cold empty loneliness chilling her to the bone. She felt the bittersweetness of it all – of that first day when he had picked her up from the field, of his trust in her in all those strategies and battles before Emmeryn, of the harsh unrelenting pain of unrequited love.

Never had the cheers of the crowds felt so loud and overbearing and happy. Never had she felt that she didn’t belong as much as she did now. The war is over, she reminded herself. They do not need you anymore.

And as she turned to face the happy couple one last time, she bowed her head down in acceptance. Breathing deeply, she gripped her cloak tightly around her and adjusted her pack.

After all, she had a long journey ahead of her.