Lucina, Robin, and Chrom were all gathered around a small wooden table, with a pair of guards positioned by the door. Despite it being years since last seeing combat, as well as being royalty, the Exalt and his queen were in the clothing that they had always worn. Chrom wore his blue shirt and trousers, the former which had the right sleeve torn off, revealing the Brand of the Exalt on the edge of his shoulder. Robin wore her white striped shirt and white pants, which were covered by a black cloak with purple accents. As they were told of what had transpired, Chrom was focused on only one thing
Chrom: So this child... He has the Mark of Grima?
Lucina: Yes. It covers his entire back. He seemed quite nervous when I brought it up to him, to the point where he scurried into the bath and locked the door.
Robin: I could understand why he would be nervous in general, considering he was being pursued.
Lucina: Do you think... Do you think his assailants were members of the Grimleal?
Chrom: That would make sense. Why they would want him so badly is unclear, however.
Robin: Hm... I think I know why. However, we will need to ask that child.
As soon as she finished, the doors behind them opened, revealing a small figure dressed in a fresh set of clothes colored a bright blue. The one feature that made him stand out was his silver hair, which even after a bath was still wild and untamed. Seeing the child enter, the trio all gave him warm smiles
Chrom: Ah, I'm glad you made it. We were just talking about you. Come, sit.
Initially hesitant to do so, Nash did eventually sit. As he did, a group of servants entered, each carrying a silver platter in hand. Soon, the table was filled with various dishes, such as chicken, different kinds of soups, potatoes, and a couple of pies. The air in the room was now filled with the combination of different delicious aromas as the three adult prepared their plates
Robin: Go on, help yourself! I'm sure you're hungry.
Nash: N-No thank you...
Despite saying this, he soon heard a loud grumble, placing one hand on his stomach before reaching for some chicken with the other
Nash: Well, I guess I can eat some.
That "some" would soon turn into about half of the meal, with the three adults watching the young boy devour what remained of the chicken, slurp up several bowls of soup, and cram entire slices of pie down his throat before he finally finished, patting his stomach in delight. After a moment of satisfaction, he could notice the surprised expressions of those around him, causing him to tense up slightly
Nash: I-I'm sorry if I was being rude!
Robin: That's...quite alright... My, you WERE hungry, weren't you?
Nash: Well, it was the first big meal that I've had in forever. Thank you for that, it was delicious.
Chrom: I'm glad you liked it, Nash. That is your name, yes?
Nash: Um... Y-Yeah?
Chrom: Well, name is Chrom, and this is my wife, Robin.
Robin: It's wonderful to meet you!
Chrom: And I'm sure you know Lucina by now.
Nash: Yeah, she was the one who saved me.
Chrom: So I've heard. She filled us in while you were cleaning up. I actually want to talk about what happened earlier, among other things. First, would you like to tell me where you're from?
Nash: Where I'm from? Um... I lived in a little village, with sand all over the place.
Robin: A desert.
Nash: Yeah, a desert. I think my daddy called where we're from... Plegia?
Robin: You're from Plegia? Hm... What are you doing here in Ylisse?
Nash: Me and my daddy were coming to live in this pretty city.
Chrom: And what about your mother?
Nash: From what daddy said, after I was born she...fell asleep. And never woke up...
Chrom: Where is your father?
Lucina: Are you okay?
Nash: We... We were near the gate, but... He got hurt. An arrow hit him in the back and he made me go... Before long, these two scary men were chasing me... It... It was scary... I was so scared...
Chrom: I understand, but I want to know something. WHY exactly were they after you?
The young boy hesitated, but soon felt a hand gently land on his shoulder. He looked up to see Lucina, who gave him a reassuring smile
Lucina: It's alright. You can place your trust in him.
Nash: W-Well... They were after me and daddy because I escaped.
Chrom: Escaped from what?
Nash: Well, one day, I was playing in my village with some of my friends, when these people in hoods came. My daddy was trying to talk to them, but they wouldn't listen to him. They... They took me away...
Those last four words caught the attention of the three adults, who all now paid close attention as he spoke further
Nash: They took me to this place, it looked like an old building... It was big, and messy, and a little scary.
Nash: I don't know what it was called, but it was a very bad place. There were all these big scary men, and other children just like me.
Robin, who now seemed extra shocked, leaned over and whispered into Chrom's ear
Robin: Is he saying what I think he's saying?
Chrom: Seems like it. Gods...
Nash: The scary people made all of the children work really hard. I remember always working from before the sun came up until after it went back down with almost no breaks. If someone didn't do what they were told, the people would hit them, over and over again. I've seen some get hit and hit and hit even more, and then never get back up again...
Robin: I can't believe what I'm hearing...
Chrom: Neither can I... That's absolutely horrendous.
Nash: Yeah, and it was very bad, too. We hardly got any food or water, and when we needed to go, they made us go in corners...
Chrom: How did you escape?
Nash: It was after we were put in our cells for the night, and I had been hit quite a bit that day. As I tried to go to sleep, I saw someone open my door. Turns out, it was my daddy, who came to take me away from that bad place. We left just like that, and soon came here.
Chrom suddenly stood up, walking towards the door, with Robin right behind him. Both had uneasy looks o their faces as Lucina spoke up
Lucina: Father? Mother? Where are you going?
Chrom: We're simply stepping out for a moment, we need to take this all in. We will be right back.
The Exalt and his queen then disappeared behind the wooden doors, where they both leaned up against the wall, taking a much needed deep breath after what had just transpired
Robin: My gods... How horrible...
Chrom: I don't know how such a child is able to relive all of that with how calm he was. He was only slightly uncomfortable...
Robin: Yes, he was. Such hardship would break most at his age. And yet...
Chrom: So he was being held in some sort ruins within the deserts of Plegia, that all is certain. We just need to know where exactly it is. Once we do, we can properly bring these people to justice.
Robin: Did you get everything that you needed from him?
Chrom: Almost. I still have a couple of questions for him.
Robin: I feel horrible for putting him through this, reliving such traumatizing times without getting an opportunity to recover, whether physically, mentally, or emotionally. Even if he seems calm, I'm sure this all taking a toll on him.
Chrom: Don't worry, dear. Once this is over, he'll have more than enough time to heal all of his scars, tangible or otherwise. Come.
The two reentered the room. When Chrom returned to his seat, he noticed that Nash was already giving his undivided attention, making the Exalt even more uneasy as he spoke
Chrom: Thank you for cooperating with us so far, I only have about one or two more questions to ask you. This question concerns something that Lucina brought to my attention just before you came down. She noticed a peculiar symbol on your back right before you went to bathe.
Chrom: Would you mind...removing your shirt, so I may see this symbol?
Nash: ... No... I... I don't wanna...
Nash: I don't wanna show you. I don't wanna show this to anyone!
Robin: Chrom! What are you doing? Lucina told us about it already.
Chrom: I had to be sure for myself. Okay Nash, why won't you show us your back?
Nash: Be-Because... You'll think that I-I'm some sort of m-m-monster...
Nash: Y-Yeah... A lot of the other kids there... They avoided me... They were scared of me... All because of this thing on my back...
Robin: ... Nash, can I show you something?
Nash: Hm? Show me what?
The white haired tactician held her left hand up, which was concealed by a black glove. She knelt beside the young boy and removed the glove, revealing a purple marking on the back of the hand. When he saw the symbol, his eyes widened with shock
Robin: Does the symbol on your back look something like this?
Nash: Y-Yeah! You have it too?!
Robin: Yes. Now, I've shown you mine. In return, may we please see yours?
The young boy stood up and began to unbutton his shirt. Once all of the buttons were undone, he threw the shirt aside to reveal his bare torso. He turned around, allowing all three to see the symbol that covered his back, each one letting out a quiet gasp in response
Robin: You were born with this?
Nash: No... People put this on me.
Chrom: What do you mean?
Nash: W-When they first brought me to that place, they took me into this dark room and chained me up. This weird guy in robes then starts saying words that I didn't understand to this purple fire. The fire then floats by itself towards my back, and it started hurting really bad.
Robin: In other words, they used magic.
Nash: I guess that was what it was called... It really hurt, and soon I saw this on my back.
Chrom: I've never heard of anything like this, have you Robin?
Robin: No. Perhaps I should consult with Tharja or Henry, since my knowledge of dark magic is rather lacking.
Chrom: That would help greatly, thank you. And thank you, Nash.
Nash: W-What for?
Chrom: For being so brave and telling us everything that you told us. Someone your age usually doesn't have the strength that you did. I hope that one day, you can be an inspiration to others with your bravery. We're gonna send people to Plegia to locate wherever this child labor camp is located. Once we do, we'll bring the people responsible for all of this pain that you've had to endure to justice. I promise.
Nash: Promise? Like a pinky promise?
Chrom: A pinky promise?
Nash: Yeah... Instead of shaking hands, you wrap your pinkies together.
The Exalt could not help but smile at the young boy's innocence, soon standing up and approaching him, the pinky finger of his right hand sticking out
Chrom: I pinkie promise that we will bring these villains to justice.
The two pinkies were chasms apart in terms of size, yet they were able to wrap around each other to complete the verbal pact. Once they separated hands, Nash looked around, a puzzled look on his face
Nash: Well, now what do I do?
Chrom: Haha, why, you can stay here!
Chrom: Of course! We will have to leave once we learn where this camp is at, but you can spend that time here and act like a little prince if you want to!
Nash: Wow... I can stay here... But... I don't know how to act like a prince...
Robin: Lucina, why don't you take him to one of the empty rooms near you? That way he can get settled in while Chrom and I finish up some important work.
Lucina: Very well, mother. Come on, Nash.
The two of them began to walk through the large expanse that was the castle, making their way up the stairwells once again. Once they made it to the right floor, Nash finally broke the silence
Nash: Um... Ms. Lucina?
Lucina: Yes? What is it, Nash?
Nash: Mr. Chrom and Ms. Robin... Are they your parents?
Lucina: Yes they are. What brings this up?
Nash: Well... You look like you're as old as they are. Why is that?
The young woman was clearly caught off guard by this question, as she became slightly flustered, which was now evident in her voice as she spoke
Lucina: Um... Well... It's...complicated...
They soon came to a stop in front of a wooden door, which Lucina slowly opened. Inside, the room's decoration was fairly basic as far as rooms in a castle could be, everything looking nearly identical to Lucina's subtracting the color. The color was of a dull silver, almost matching the child's hair
Lucina: This will be your room for the foreseeable future. Just know that my room is right across the hall if you need me for anything.
Nash: Okay... Thank you. Thank you for everything today.
Lucina smiled as she began to close the door
Lucina: You're welcome. Try and get some rest.
The door closed
To be continued