Spoilers for Chapter 314.


Hakuryuu knows it's possible that his Netsumegusa seeds won't lead him to Judal.

It's been weighing heavy in the back of his mind since they returned from the Dark Continent, purposefully ignored for more important endeavors. But with Arba's power temporarily crippled and his friends happily reunited, Hakuryuu has nothing else to focus on, nothing to distract himself with, and he worries about the possibilities.

Judal has a skill for losing things only matched by his ability to destroy things effortlessly. After more than three years, Hakuryuu can only hope that the seeds are still with Judal, still viable and under his control, not dead or forgotten somewhere. He reaches out, magoi tingling in his veins-

and the tiniest whisper of power answers back

x・x・x

The journey isn't as important as the destination this time. It's rushed and desperate, with uncertainty still clawing at Hakuryuu's mind. He can't tell if his seeds are with Judal or lost, somewhere without him, and without any other way to end their separation.

Life magic is interesting and varied - Hakuryuu can reach out and feel the pulse of the tiny roots leading him, of the trees on his path, of every blade of grass, and the magnitude is dizzying. But it's nice, the overwhelmingness of it drowning out the toxic fear in his mind, and Hakuryuu grips his spear tighter. Djinn look after their masters, he's learned, and Zagan cares more than he deserves.

x・x・x

It's not like Hakuryuu imagined. Judal is less than gracefully pulling Netsumegusa vines off his arms, swearing in annoyance as they curl around him, holding tight, until their master has found him.

Judal looks the same as always, beautiful and obnoxious and powerful, and Hakuryuu's face twists to hold back tears.

Hakuryuu's footsteps alert Judal to his presence, and Judal makes soft, embarrassed noises when he realizes that Hakuryuu has seen him acting like a fool.

"Hey, Hakuryuu. Been awhile, huh?" he manages, attempting to look casual, with a lopsided grin replacing his embarrassment.

Hakuryuu takes the last few steps between them, sure and steady, and reaches out-

and not for the first time, he takes Judal's hand

"It's good to have you back."