12 Kingdoms © Fuyumi Ono, Kodansha/NHK, Media Blasters.

by Fushigi Kismet

He does not have to speak to ask his question. It is answered before it can be formed on his lips, though it has been echoing ceaselessly in his mind.

Rokuta simply shakes his head, his mane of hair tossing back and forth. That simple, unbearable, No.

He looks down in acceptance. He relies that Enki has searched high and low from this world to the next one over. Had there been anything to find, surely he would have found it - some trace. But he refuses to believe that he has suffered the same fate as Houki, regardless of the barrenness of the branch of that kingdom.

Perhaps it is only a kindness to himself.

But, he thinks painfully, it was you who taught me to be kind.