Word Count: 498
Game: Seima no Kouseki (Sacred Stones)
Warnings: Spoilers if you haven't reached 5x.
Ephraim will survive.
He's a wonderful tactician. I wouldn't worry about him.
There's no way he can be defeated. He knows what he's getting himself into. He wouldn't even try if he knew there was no winning the fight.
The words spoken by the many civilians of Renais rang in his ears as Renvall disappeared into a tiny dot on the horizon as he, Forde, and Kyle, fled. He was never one to sit and state that he was superior, or that he had no flaws into his tactical skills - but he had almost taken himself, and rode his two ever faithful knights, into death, by being blind to the slow decline Orson's mental health had taken.
He had almost lost all hope for Renais by being so foolish. Death would have certainly claimed him in the end, and there would have been no coming back from that. And Eirika... even if… she was still alive, then... he knew his twin would mourn with grief for the rest of her days.
Cursing as he tripped over a tree root, Ephraim kept his head to the ground. How could he have not had noticed? Was there a detail that he had missed? Never mind his own life - Forde and Kyle could have been killed then and there, unlike him, who would probably have been kept due to the blood that ran in his veins until he was useful.
Maybe he was just a foolish tactician, afterall, not the un-defeatable, brilliant strategising prince that his people had always claimed him to be.
Startled, he looked up, to see Forde leaning over from the side of his horse, giving him a quizzical look. "Why the long face?"
Ephraim's face remained grim. "You know why the long face. I - You - Us - We could have been killed by my inability to strategise. Never mind me. You put your life in my hands and I didn't even--"
"My lord, it's not your doing," Kyle said, subdued, eyes peeled for any oncoming danger. "How would we know that Orson would betray us all? Your plan was sound."
"Exactly," Forde encouraged. "Besides, we've already pledged loyalty. We said we're in this to the end."
Ephraim stalled. "Even if that's true, I--"
"You didn't fail," Forde sighed. "We got out. We're alive now. What are we going to do if you give up? Wander round aimlessly in the woods? If there's anyone to get us out of this alive, it's you. Now... where to, my lord?"
Ephraim looked at him, long and hard, thinking. But there was nothing to think about. He knew, deep down, that Forde and Kyle were right.
Yes... he had to be strong. He had to learn from a mistake that wasn't his fault; and make full use of the blessing that had somehow left him alive with those he could trust.
He had to get them home.
He had to see Renais again.