Prince Olivert groaned into his arms. "It's over. I spilled my heart and alas it's been torn away and trodden upon."

"Come on." Scherazard patted his shoulder and pushed a glass at him. "It's not the end of the world. Have another drink. It'll all look better through the bottom of the glass. Works for me!" That was the theory anyway. She started to worry it was going to backfire; he seemed to be getting worse as the night progressed. Olivert groaned again. Save her from sad drunks.

"I'm not spending one of my last few drinking nights in Erebonia with your maudlin gloom. Chin up, bottoms up, I say!"

"He thought I was joking," Olivert moaned. "My most serious of confessions and he thought I was joking… Again."

Scherazard rested her chin in hand. Aidios help her she was here for drinks and a good time, not to play counsellor, but the idiot did look rather more forlorn than usual. "So try again," she said. "Since when did you ever let a 'no' stop you?"

"Joking!" Olivert said again, his voice coming in a strained near squeak.

Scherazard took a substantial gulp of her beer with a larger eye-roll. "Then it's not even a no. Go to him seriously, if you're capable of such a thing, and try again. In the meantime…" she nudged the glass at him again. Anything to get him to shut up.

Olivert took a drink with a long suffering sigh. "I suppose you're right as ever, dear Schera. Naught to do but try again though I don't know how much more this battered heart can take."

"If there's a limit I would love to see it," she muttered. At least it looked like this night wouldn't be a lost cause and she ordered another beer with more gusto.

Olivert smoothed out his clothing and sat on the bench tucked away in a quiet corner of Mater Park. His hand slipped into his pocket where his fingers brushed against the small box within. It was a shame to forgo his grander plans and part of him wished he hadn't left the roses, but such things were too often lost on the man. There was grace in simplicity and this time he would not fail.

Just in time, as punctual as ever, he spotted Mueller's approach.

"What is this about?" Mueller asked when he reached him.

Olivert smiled. "I had something I wished to speak to you about and such peaceful environs seems the perfect place."

"If this has anything to do with your latest plans for the Duchess's party I think I'd prefer not to hear them."

"And you shall be spared!" His face grew more serious. "No, it is of a matter far more important that I must speak with you."

Mueller frowned. "Has something happened?"

"Not yet, but I hope to change that. Spare me a moment and I'll say it plainly. You know I hold much love for all the beauty in this world, but it pales in comparison to that which I hold for you."

"Olivier…" Mueller said warningly. Any further words were cut off when Olivert knelt in front of him.

"So I must ask you a simple question, yet one that holds more importance to me than any other. Mueller Vander, will you marry me?"

Mueller sighed. "I thought you said something important…" he trailed off as he absorbed his words and took in the sincerity in Olivert's expression and voice. He stared at the ring in his hand. "You're… serious."

"More than I've ever been," he replied simply.

"You're the Prince."

Olivert laughed. "And when have I ever let my standing stop me in what I truly want?"

"I'm sworn to protect you."

"And what better protection than the man I love at my side?"

"Neither family will approve."

"Love conquers all!" Olivert sobered and stared up at Mueller. "I can promise you I will not allow any barriers to stand in our way if your heart matches mine. I only ask for an answer, whatever it may be, and I'll not ask again."

"I can't… deny that I…" Mueller held out a hand and pulled Olivert to his feet. He searched his face then set his shoulders.

Olivert found his gaze sliding away from him as much as he wished to keep it there. Alas, it was worth the attempt and they would still be at each other's side regardless. It wouldn't be so bad, would it?

"Olivier…" Mueller's voice was low but soft. "Yes."

Olivert's eyes snapped back to Mueller. A broad smile spread across his face before he flung himself at Mueller in a large hug.

"Mmph! Olivier!"

When he released him it was only to take his hand and slip the ring on. "For you my love! Let us move onward into that brightest dawn of a new life!"

What had he gotten himself into?

"And whatever is marring that handsome face with such a scowl?" Olivert asked as he practically bounded into the room.

Mueller waved a hand across the table where the Imperial Chronicle among other news sources and magazines lay. "Have you seen these?"

"Let them have their fun. They need something to occupy themselves with and it's far better news than it could be."

Mueller grimaced. "'Shock Rolls Across Erebonia: Prince Olivert Reise Arnor Announces Marriage'," he read off the newspaper. He picked up another. "'Royal Romance or Royal Scandal?' There's more. 'A Union like No Other.'"

"Ha ha! But it's true! Don't worry," he added soothingly. "It will pass like the quiet spring breeze as we move on into the heated romance of summer."

Mueller gave him a look. "That is not helpful."

He only waved him off. "Let it be. We have far more important matters to worry about."

"And those are?"

Olivert surveyed Mueller critically from top to bottom and beamed. "Why, a wedding to plan and prepare for! We can't deny the tailors this glorious opportunity any longer.

Come my dearest Mueller!"