Coming of Age
A/N: My first multi-part Demon Diary fic. Post series. Has spoilers for Vol. 07
Summary: When Raenef comes of age it is his duty as a demon lord to choose a bride. But what is considered an event to be celebrated only seems to bring heartache to the young demon lord. And why does the situation leave Eclipse in turmoil?
Not many things bothered Eclipse. Not even Raenef's sometimes less than Demon-Lord-like behavior. After a few years he was pretty much used to it. But this? This bothered and annoyed him to no end. The council meeting had been lagging on more than necessary – three hours to be exact. He had promised Raenef that he would be back at the castle after nightfall, and that had been two hours ago. Knowing his little lord, Raenef was probably climbing the walls or organizing a search party right about now. No…using 'little' as an adjective for Raenef now was wrong. Not when he had had his twenty first birthday just a few months earlier. Raenef was no child anymore, not in Eclipse's eyes or in the eyes of those around him.
For his birthday he had given Raenef a new pair of formal robes to wear in case he had to attend a council meeting. Something which, Eclipse now realized, had been a mistake since Raenef insisted on wearing the robes practically everyday, making the garment useless for council meetings now. All this in addition to the constant dilemma of Raenef's growing magical power. His lord certainly had him busy lately, his powers now reaching astonishing levels at still such a young age for a demon.
Eclipse jumped, scrambling to grab his pencil that had gone flying upwards. He caught it in mid-air and straightened in his seat, only to be faced by a pair of very angry eyes.
"Is my report so boring that you have to go off daydreaming?" The head of the Demon council asked with a deep frown on his face.
Eclipse kept his face calm and his eyes blank. "My apologies, Lord Aureleid. It wasn't my intention to appear disrespectful."
"Are you concerned about your master? Is that why your mind wanders?"
"I am my Lord, my apologies once more."
Lord Aureleid nodded once and muttered something that sounded like a hmph! "Interesting as we were just talking about him." Eclipse blinked, his attention now fully on the lord before him. "It has come to our attention that your master has come of age has he not?"
"He recently had his twenty first birthday." Eclipse responded.
"Then why haven't you hosted the union ball, as our customs decreed?"
Eclipse closed his eyes briefly. This issue was bound to come up eventually. "I fear my master is not ready for such a transition." he replied softly.
"Nonsense, he's twenty one and a demon lord."
"No buts, Eclipse!" Aureleid screamed. "You will prepare the event and make the union."
There was a moment of silence, then, "…As you command, Lord Aureleid."
Raenef closed his eyes. Filling his lungs with a deep sharp breath and releasing the air in a slow pace. He felt the mezraez surging through his body and tried concentrating it on the base of his palms. His mouth opened and closed discreetly as he chanted an incantation. The energy on his palms doubled and he opened his eyes fully to stare at the target that sat almost a hundred feet away; a rock the size of a large two story building.
A green light shot from Raenef's palms and towards the rock, hitting it dead center and turning it into a thousand small pieces. He sighed loudly then pulled back the few golden bangs that had fallen across his face. Sometimes having long hair was a bother – like right after practice when he was sweaty and tired. But most of the time he liked his long hair. Eclipse liked it too, the older demon had said so once.
Someone laughed and Raenef turned, smiling at his 'audience'.
"Awesome, Raenef! Great show." Erutis grinned as the surge of wind from the spell blew her long hair away from her face. She had decided to grow it out after someone she liked confused her for a boy; it almost reached the middle of her back now. It was slightly longer than Raenef's and it was Chris's recurring joke that Raenef and Erutis had decided to grow their hair long for the same reason. The young cleric had received a clueless look from Raenef and a punch in the face from Erutis for the comment. Only one person seemed not to like Erutis's new hairstyle, and that was someone who tended to get on Erutis nerves constantly: Krayon.
The much older demon had been persistent in his pursuit of Erutis over the last couple of years. So much in fact that it was even considered normal seeing him roaming around the castle. Erutis avoided the demon lord like the plague and had hoarded a nice collection of flowers and chocolates that she gladly gave away. It was Krayon's comment that he loved her short hair the final straw at her decision to grow it out.
That was Erutis's biggest change. She still insisted on wearing her knight armor and she still trained with her sword every day. After leaving Raenef's castle for a few months she realized she missed it (Krayon disrupting her every attempt to get a job didn't help either). The way she saw it she still owed her life to Raenef for sparing her that night years before and whatever she did she was going to repay that debt. She couldn't call herself a demon hunter anymore, at least not in the 'killing off demon lords' type of way. Now she protected one; she was the leader of the knights sworn to protect Raenef at any cost. It was a job she gladly undertook. Now if Krayon would just halt his advances life would be perfect.
Someone clapped beside her. "Yeah my friend, I never get tired of that particular spell." Chris said with a big smile on his face. The years had been kind to the heir of the clerics, he had grown taller, taller than Raenef (though not that much), taller than Erutis, but not taller than Eclipse. God forbid if someone grew taller than the dark haired demon. He also had developed some muscle, marking him as no longer a boy, but clearly a man. Chris was also very close in inheriting his place as the of the clerics…again. After his two-minute hold on the title was removed Chris had returned to Raenef's castle in order to prepare himself more for the position. When last he had asked Hejem; the man who had raised him; he said soon.
Raenef returned the smiles with a pleasant one of his own. "I'm getting better at it too," he mentioned.
Erutis nodded, "The first time you tried it you almost blew up the castle. Eclipse was so mad at you,"
"Don't remind me," Raenef huffed, pressing his fingertips against his forehead wishing he could erase the event from his memory. "What time is it?"
"Ten minutes past ten." Erutis answered rather quickly, earning a raised brow from Raenef. "How do you know without even looking at a watch?"
"Because you asked the same question ten minutes ago," she answered swiftly. "Eclipse is fine, Raenef. Stop fretting."
Raenef frowned at the comment. To his understanding he was not fretting. Fretting was on the border with panic and Raenef certainly wasn't panicking about Eclipse's lateness. He was just a little worried. It was normal to worry about the people you care about after all. Especially when they had told you they would be home three hours ago. "I'm going to bed," Raenef huffed, leaving Erutis and Chris behind as he stomped towards the castle, completely forgetting that he could just teleport to his room.
Chris and Erutis stayed behind watching as their old friend disappeared from their view. "Poll says?" Chris asked lightly.
"That Raenef won't be able to sleep until Eclipse goes to his room to report he came back safely." Erutis chirped in.
Chris nodded in agreement. "Those two need to wake up and smell the coffee."
Raenef started unbuttoning the cuffs from his shirt as he walked down the halls that lead to his room. He ignored the mass of servants that crossed his path every few seconds, ignoring their inquiries and apparently physical need to ask if Raenef was in need of something.
At first they had come as reinforcement since there was always more people in the castle than just Raenef, as it was custom for demon servants to prepare and serve their Master's food. But the task had become almost unbearable for Eclipse after Erutis's and Chris's introduction to the 'family'. So the original reason for there to be employees (or servants, as Eclipse always reminded him) had been to feed those that weren't the Demon Lord. That particular task belonged to Eclipse and Eclipse alone. But recently that had changed too as Eclipse was ordered to attend more and more council meetings. Which left Raenef with more free time that he knew what to do with and with a sense of longing that he couldn't explain. Raenef had taken hiring people as an almost hobby. Most of the time they were pleasant to have around, the castle was always kept sparkling clean, meals were always on time, the gardens were perfect. But tonight, at least just for once Raenef would like to arrive to his bedchamber without encountering them.
He removed the shirt once in the comfort and privacy of his room and picked out a night robe, a black one that made his pale skin and golden hair seem to shine. Eclipse had given it to him too and Raenef loved it. The robes silky texture clinging to his skin like someone's gentle touch. He threw himself on the bed and pulled a pillow to himself, hugging it close. He hated whenever Eclipse had to go to those stupid meetings and the fact that he couldn't attend them; something about it being disgraceful for a Demon Lord to attend such meetings unless he was called for. Nonsense if Raenef said so himself. Not that he was ungrateful for the time Erutis and Chris spent with him, he loved Erutis's and Chris's company, he loved them. They were his best friends, they were his family. But there was a void that only Eclipse could fill. Eclipse had been the one to find him, to rescue him, to give him a home. There was something missing whenever Eclipse was gone.
Raenef opened his eyes and straightened himself on the bed. "Eclipse!" he yelled happily, throwing his legs to the side and walking towards the older demon. Eclipse eyes seem to widen slightly, but quickly recovered his composure. "How was the meeting?"
Eclipse frowned. "Master Raenef, what did I tell you about wearing such garments?"
"That they look nice on me?" Raenef offered with a grin as he stopped in front of Eclipse. Raenef had his grow spurt when he was nineteen, reaching up at the level where his eyes met Eclipse's mouth.
Eclipse just rolled his eyes at his liege and asked if they could sit down. They sat on the bed and Raenef's cheerful mood quickly dissipated when he saw the look on Eclipse's eyes. "We need to talk, Master Raenef."
"I told you not to call me Mas…" Raenef's words were cut off by Eclipse's finger on his lips.
"Raenef," the older demon said. The young demon lord froze for a second, then he blinked slowly and met Eclipse's crimson eyes. Eclipse relaxed as he parted his finger from Raenef's lips. He had done this before, reminded a Master of their duty and place as a demon lord, but none of his other masters had let Eclipse get so close, so attached. Not even Raenef the 4th. Why was it so difficult to say the damn words? He could be wrong after all, maybe Raenef was ready for this change, this new step. It certainly wouldn't be the first time his liege surprised him in such matters. "You are twenty one now, Raenef, you are no longer a child, and as a demon lord there are things you must do, even if those things don't seem to be fair."
"Like being evil?" Raenef offered with a hint of sorrow.
"Yes," Eclipse answered softly. "I can't say I approve of your 'no-killing' vow, but I respect it. But this is different."
"Spill it," Raenef ordered.
Eclipse blinked in surprised, he should be used to Raenef's true personality by now, but the innocence that Raenef had shown when they had first met just seemed to be imprinted on the older demon. He sat up straight and took a deep breath. Before he knew it he had clasped both of Raenef hands with his own, settling a surprised look in his young lord's sapphire eyes.
"Master Raenef…you have to choose a bride."