Breidablik's Secret Power
"Magvel? You mean Loki did throw us into another world entirely?!" Ike gasped, stupefied.
"I'm afraid so," Frederick replied. "This means we're going to have to find a way to open a portal in this world that will lead us back to Askr."
"...Well, that's just terrific."
Ike grumbled for a moment before continuing.
"Now that I think about it though, didn't that one dragon girl, Myrrh, mention that the Darkling Woods were her home? I don't get how she could stand to live here!"
"Well, these woods weren't always like this," Frederick explained. "At one point, it became a dark and dangerous place full of terrifying monsters. It was due to a being in this world known as the Demon King. He was originally sealed away in a temple here. But he had escaped and was later defeated by the efforts of Prince Ephraim and Princess Eirika of Renais. We must've been transported to a period where that hadn't happened yet."
"I see... Well, in any case, we'll have to find a way out of here and look for someone that might know anything about how to open that portal we need," Ike replied.
"Yes. Now that I know where we're at, however, I think I can guide us out. From what I know, due to both tales in my world as well as things I've also heard from Prince Ephraim and Myrrh, the only easy way to leave is to go east. The west, north, and south are very hilly and mountainous."
"Ah, so that means we check the sun or look for mountains, and if the sun is setting in the west, we travel in the opposite direction of both!"
"I just hope we can reach a good place to sleep before it gets too dark. But care to explain the reasoning behind your behavior now?"
"Ah...yes, of course."
Frederick cringed a bit before speaking again.
"Shall we start traveling again as well though? I don't hear or see any monsters out there."
"Oh, yeah, sure."
With that, the two quietly made for the cave entrance again. To be on the safe side, both took quick peeks around the area outside. No monsters were in view. It wasn't quite sundown yet, but the sun was near the position that it would be in during that time. So Ike and Frederick began moving in the opposite direction, being careful not to step on twigs that could alert unwanted guests. Frederick began trembling again as they did so, hugging his seashell to his chest. His eyes kept darting in all directions as well. Eventually, Ike let out a groan.
"For goddess's sake, calm down!" he quietly spat. "I don't see anything, and if we do run into something, we can surely outrun it or defeat it."
"Y-Yes, but...these creatures are still terrifying!"
"Well, get a grip, because there's still a chance we'll have to fight! Also, you still owe me an explanation for this."
"Ah, r-right..." Frederick replied. "Apologies. Well, you see... This...this is something I haven't even told Chrom, Lissa, or the other Shepherds. There are things I don't tell them because... Well, strangely, I do feel comfortable telling you. I feel like you're someone that wouldn't...judge. And I'm unsure if anyone in the Shepherds wouldn't since I am their lieutenant. I don't want there to be any reason they should look down upon me."
"Hm. Well, you're right. I don't judge," Ike confirmed. "Never saw a reason to. And I won't judge you either, of course."
"Thank you... I haven't even told them how afraid I can be of wild animals. Monsters are like them, only even more frightening. It took some willpower to even properly face the Risen in my world. If you don't remember, those were undead soldiers. They resemble people, only with darkness surrounding their bodies and their eyes glow a beady red."
"Yeah, Chrom told me about them. We've become pretty good friends. I was surprised to learn that he's a prince. He's nothing like the royals I know in my world. And the Shepherds remind me more of my own mercenary group than a royal army."
"I can see how he would be different. He needs more guidance at times, and maybe even more education. But that is why I am there. To keep him going in the right direction."
"It sounds like you do a good job of it, all things considered."
"I...guess that's a good compliment. Anyway..."
"Yeah, why exactly are you so afraid of wild animals?"
"Well..." Frederick continued with a sigh. "Truth be told, I was most frightened of that wolf creature we saw. Wolves are the animals I fear most. I always dread being even within a few feet of one."
Huh, I wonder how he'd react to the wolf laguz in Tellius then, Ike thought, vainly preventing himself from chuckling at the hypothetical scenario.
"I thought you might've been a little more scared of that one," he said.
"Yes. You see, seeing them triggers some...trauma I suffered as a child," Frederick explained. "I grew up in a village in a hilly area. I wandered into the woods one day, looking for my closest friend at the time... I thought he had been pressured by other children into going in himself. I wanted to stop him. And...a wolf attacked me. My injuries were so grave, my friend, parents, and the other villagers thought my chances of survival were slim..."
Ike blinked, surprised at the anecdote he had just heard.
"Wow... I had no idea. Now I understand. I might have felt the same way had I been in your position... Though, I always assumed you were a noble, given the way you dress, speak, and also your high level of education... You know so many things I don't..."
"Heh. Well, truth be told again, I actually am of noble birth. But my family history is...rather complicated. I'd rather tell you when we're not in the middle of risking our lives."
"Ah. Good point then."
Still explains why he acts the way he does sometimes. That manner of speaking, going annoyingly overboard with chores and tasks... Ike mused in his mind.
Silence then ensued as the two walked on, not sure of anything else to say. Though it only lasted a few moments, as Frederick later suggested that one of them climb a tree and see if they could tell which way was east or if there was a village or town not far from the exit. Ike thought it a good enough idea. Now it only came down to who had to do the climbing.
"I don't really know how to climb, so how about you do it?" Frederick suggested.
"Are you just trying to get out of possibly spotting a lot of monsters?" Ike wondered very bluntly.
"No, no, honest! I really have never climbed much other than into my horse's saddle."
Ike then sighed in slight annoyance.
"Alright, fine. My father taught me a lot of outdoor skills, so I can do it. But you stay around the bottom. I need someone to break my fall if I somehow slip off a branch or the branch beneath me breaks."
Frederick cringed a bit before replying.
"...Alright, I suppose that's fair then."
With that, Ike sheathed Ragnell and hopped onto a nearby, sturdy tree that wouldn't prove difficult to climb. He was heavy, so he obviously couldn't go to the very top, but he was able to go high enough to see a fair distance away. And luckily, he could spot mountains in the distance to the left. Which means they weren't exactly going the wrong way, but not entirely the right way either. As Ike was about to make his way down, he heard Frederick call up to him. And he wasn't wondering what Ike saw.
"S-SIR IKE! GET DOWN HERE! NOW!" Frederick shouted, clear terror in his voice. "H-HURRY!"
"Great, now what?!" Ike called back. "More monsters?"
"YES!" Frederick confirmed. "And this one is very terrifying!"
"Just one? And you said all of them were terrifying!"
"Yes, b-but this one is especially so!"
"...Is it another one of those wolves?"
"No, WORSE! And it's coming towards us!"
Ike blinked and then paused for a moment. Wow, what could be worse to him than--
Before he could finish his thought, Ike spotted what Frederick was so terrified of. And his eyes widened. Coming towards both was what appeared to be a massive horse, but in place of a horse's head, it had the torso, head, and arms of a monstrous-looking man. The creature was carrying a huge battle axe that had to be bigger than even Urvan, the axe Ike's father once used and was also being used by another version of Ike back in Askr.
"Oh crud..." Ike mumbled in shock and hastened his descent. ...And then he had a idea that Frederick was probably going to call him fantastically crazy for, but just might work.
"I'm coming! I have an idea! Lead that thing here and distract it for a little bit!"
"What?! Why in all the worlds would I do that?!"
"Just trust me!"
"Oh no..." Frederick uttered. "Very well, but if whatever you're thinking lands us in an infirmary or worse, it's all on you!"
"Yeah, yeah, just go bring that thing over here!"
Frederick obliged and waved his arms at the horse-man creature. It soon began galloping towards him, and with such force that it felt as though the ground trembled beneath his feet. He then looked up to see Ike had settled himself onto one of the lower branches of the tree he had climbed, waiting for something. Oh, he is NOT going to do what I think he is! Frederick nervously wondered in thought.
Before Frederick could object though, the creature had come close enough for Ike to make a daring leap off of his branch...and land right on the monster's back. He then grabbed hold of the mane on its back with one hand and used the other to reach for Frederick. Frederick was then yanked up onto the creature's back behind Ike.
"Waaah!" Frederick yelped as he found himself being swung upwards. He almost lost his grip the bag he carried and one of the seashells inside fell out as a result.
"Hang on!" Ike shouted as the creature attempted to throw them off like a bucking bronco.
"Are you jesting?!" Frederick retorted, clinging to Ike's torso. "You're insane! And I lost a seashell!"
"Forget the damn seashell, I saw where the mountains are, so this is how we're getting out of here quickly!" Ike replied, swinging Ragnell around the creature's arms and forcing it to drop its axe.
"You do realize that's my weapon, don't you?!"
"You have more!"
"A limited stock until I pick up more, yes!"
"You'll find another one before you run out, just worry about staying with me here and getting out of these woods!"
"Oh fine! But I should hope you know what you're doing!"
"Honestly? I hope so too!"
"...Argh!" was all Frederick could say to that.
With that, Ike forced the creature in the opposite direction of the mountains, hoping the two wouldn't have to ride atop this wild monstrosity for long...and that it didn't have some other secret weapon that they didn't know about.
Meanwhile, the Askr royals, Anna, Kels, Ephraim, and the other Frederick and Ike were busy looking through the royal library for any possible clues to rescuing their missing comrades. The latter three were allowed to help to fasten the search. Plus Ike and Ephraim felt it was right for them to help since the missing Ike and Frederick disappeared while they were present. They looked at books on magic spells, the terrain on which they had been fighting, and all sorts of other things. Even books that mentioned Ike and Frederick themselves. Turned out that Frederick was somewhat of a legendary knight, though perhaps not to the point to where he could've been considered an actual legendary hero. Surely Chrom, Lucina, and even Robin, their own tactician, would be in that category first and foremost.
They also ascended library ladders and checked books on high shelves. They were spending hours searching, but nothing seemed to give them any possible answers.
"Ugh, isn't there anything in here that will help?" Kels said nervously. She was beginning to wonder if they'd ever find their comrades.
"There has to be, I'm sure of it," Alfonse replied. "Though it would probably help speed things along if Sharena could search more than one section."
"Hey, there's a lot of information to go over here!" Sharena protested. "It's also rather interesting!"
"Just focus on searching, we'll get there eventually," Anna insisted. "We have to believe we will."
"Right..." Alfonse agreed. "But wait, Sharena, isn't that section just a bunch of old journal accounts of Askr history? How would that help us?"
"Hey, you never know!" Sharena replied. "...And...hold on! I think I found something!"
"Yeah! Kels especially should see this! It's about Breidablik!"
"Huh? And again, how is that supposed to help?"
"Just read it and see!"
"Well, it wouldn't hurt to take a look," Anna agreed. Kels nodded as well.
"Yeah, why not," she said.
With that, the entire group huddled around Sharena and the book she'd been looking at and began to read the passage she was referring to.
"Breidablik's most hidden ability..." Alfonse began. "Wait, everyone knows about that rumor, Sharena. But it was never proven. I knew this wasn't worth it."
"Alfonse! Wait a second and keep reading," Sharena insisted.
"What rumor?" Kels wondered.
"Oh, there's been a rumor floating around for awhile regarding Breidablik that no one knows for sure is true," Anna explained. "Some people believe it has a secret power that's never been seen before, and the reason no one can prove this is true is because this power requires certain circumstances to be used."
"And I believe it's nonsense," Alfonse added. "What circumstances could possibly be required for that kind of thing? And we've seen for awhile now all Kels can do with Breidablik."
"Will you just keep reading?!" Sharena insisted. "Sheesh, Alfonse! You're so thick sometimes! It says here that this power involves being able to locate heroes that it summoned, but have gone missing! That's why it was never used, because there was never a case where it was needed. Heroes didn't go missing! Until now."
"...Seriously? Heroes never went missing until now? I find that hard to believe."
"Maybe it has happened, but they were found without the need of Breidablik's power," Anna suggested.
"It sounds like that would be the case!" Sharena said, reading further. "It also says here that should any heroes summoned by the divine weapon mysteriously disappear from this world and not by the hand of the summoner, there seems to be indication that Breidablik can show where they are at."
"...Wow!" Kels cried with a smile. "That would be perfect if it's true! I have to try it!"
"Wait, but how?" Alfonse wondered. "How are you supposed to trigger such a power?"
"I wish I knew..." Frederick said. "But if my other self and the legendary Sir Ike were somehow sent to another world, than that means..."
"Someone else surely had a hand in this," Ike finished. "Didn't you guys say things about being able to open and close other-worldly portals?"
"Indeed, we've had to temporarily visit other worlds for certain battles ourselves," Ephraim pointed out.
"Yes, but we can only open the portals. Embla is the one that closes them," Anna pointed out. "But obviously, we didn't open any in that battle and Embla can't open any, at least not under normal circumstances. Sharena, does it say anything about how to try using this power?"
"Just something about returning to the summoning altar and "raising it over the worlds," Sharena replied. "I have no idea what that means."
"Huh..." Ike wondered.
"Hmm..." Kels contemplated. "You know, one time when I was up there doing some summoning, I noticed something odd about the floor. It looked like...that wasn't all there was to it. Like it could open up."
"What? Our parents did once tell us that something is beneath the altar floor, but nobody knows what it is or what it was put there for," Alfonse replied.
"...Wait, then this could be indicating a large map of worlds is hidden there!" Frederick suggested. "That could be what that passage in the journal is referring to."
"Hmm, we do keep some records of every world Askr knows or learns of," Anna recalled. "It is worth a try."
Kels's eyes lit up at these words.
"Oh my gosh, Frederick, you're a genius!" she cried and threw her arms around his neck. "Thank you! Let's go try this!"
"Eh, heh, of course," Frederick replied, though slightly caught off guard by the gesture.
Kels then rushed out of the library, followed by the rest of the group.
"Wait for us!" Alfonse cried.
Kels didn't slow down much, however. She was too eager to try the idea Sharena and Frederick had come up with. She stopped to catch her breath for a moment up on reaching the altar upstairs.
"Okay," she began. The others soon arrived behind her.
"Well, let's do this," she said. "Though Frederick, if this doesn't work and I end up accidentally wasting some orbs instead, I'm blaming you."
"Yes, fair enough," Frederick agreed.
With that, Kels brandished Breidablik and leaped into the air above the circular area of the altar. She fired the divine weapon as quickly as she could in the center before landing.
A moment later, the altar itself trembled. Kels ran back to the outside of the summoning circle, and the group watched in awe as five sections did indeed move away to reveal a circular map featuring many different worlds, definitely over a dozen. Another moment later, two small blips appeared on one of them, and were slowly moving.
"Yes!" Kels happily shouted, leaping with joy.
"Hey, it really is a secret power!" Sharena cried, also smiling. "Eat your words, Alfonse!"
"...Yes, I suppose I must," Alfonse admitted rather embarrassingly. "I'm glad we could find out where the other Frederick and legendary Ike are though."
"I know that place!" Ephraim spoke up. "It's my world, Magvel! And...oh no. This may be very bad. It looks like they're moving through the Darkling Woods."
"Huh?" Sharena wondered.
"They're at mercy of many dangerous monsters if they were sent to a point before Eirika and I got rid of them," Ephraim explained.
"I learned about that once," Frederick added. "Those monsters sound so terrifying! I would never want to run into one of them... I fear for our comrades' safety!"
"Oh calm down. They're moving, so that means they should be alive," Ike pointed out.
"Yeah, we have to believe they'll be fine until we rescue them," Kels agreed. "The next step is finding out who did this and how to bring them back."
"Well, we know Embla surely didn't do it since they can't open portals," Anna reminded. "My money's on someone from Muspell!"
The others agreed, but now wondered what they were going to do to save the missing heroes. If Askr just used their normal abilities and opened a portal, they would not be able to close it and thus would be allowing Embla or Muspell into Magvel and obviously, they did not want to have to deal with them at the moment. It was a great conundrum indeed.