My shirt is soaked from the rain, and my hair is weighed
down by water, hanging in front of my eyes like a curtain. Later,
when I get back, Merle will make a fuss over me, get me out of my
wet clothes and in front of a warm fire. Merle is a constant, my
always-little-sister.

When I was a child, I had a trick of focusing on bodily
discomfort or something equally trivial when I was upset to block
out the bad thoughts. Bad memories. I do it now unconsciously,
even though I know I have to be aware and vigilant. If you're not
paying attention, you're asking to get hurt. Balgus taught me that,
although he never came out and said it.

Balgus is another memory I can't afford to have right now,
and I stare at the cobblestones at my feet as I walk in a
compromise. Later, I'll practice with my sword, and that will help
too.

They looked so... so comfortable together. Hitomi fit in his
curves like Hahuae used to fit into Chichuae's. Like Anuae used to
hold me. But Folken's my enemy now, not my Anuae, and Hitomi
never was... never was...

Hitomi is a girl I found when I was transported to the
Mystic Moon. She has powers I don't understand and which she
doesn't seem to like. She has saved my life and I have saved hers in
return. She has always liked Allen, and finally kissed him today.
That is all.

Allen can protect her better than I, anyway. With my duties
as a king and a warrior I don't have the time to look after some girl.
It would be wrong of me to even think of it. Allen is a wiser fighter
and can take care of her. If he doesn't, I'll probably have to kill
him. His own code of chivalry would probably demand it. Hitomi
deserves to be kept safe.

She talked to me. Not to a king or a soldier or a little boy,
but to me. Hitomi is interested in who I am, not who I should be.
She doesn't even know what I should be. Innocent, foolish girl.
I didn't recognize that at first. I think I realized it when she
complemented my wings; complemented my greatest flaw, my sign
of ancient sin and inherent worthlessness. She called them angel
wings. I asked her later what an angel was, and she blushed and
stammered in that way of hers but finally told me they were holy
beings from the Mystic Moon who lived in the sky.
The idea that my wings connote holiness, that Hahuae and Anuae
and I are good, not...

But angels aren't real. Hitomi told me that too, although I
knew it anyway.

There was something in the way she looked at me before I
walked off. Confused and embarrassed and maybe... regretful? Was
she going after me before Allen put his hand on her shoulder? And
earlier in the windmill when I almost told her... something, she
looked nervous but something else too. What something else?

There's no use in speculating and no reason for it. I am a
king of a dying country. It is weak and selfish of me to think of
anything but winning this war and being able to rebuild Fanelia. My
purpose burns within me like lightning, destroying all other reasons
to exist. Hitomi is only a weapon to my cause.

No, she doesn't want to be anyone's weapon. Hitomi is
gentle, innately soft. But it's a deceptive softness, disguising a will
as strong as any warrior's. She is a symbol of what I am fighting to
keep alive.

I don't think she would like that either. Hitomi is just a girl.
A strange, shy, girl, with an empathy and kindness I forgot people
could possess. A girl with weird clothes and weird hair that looks
almost gold when the light catches it right. A girl you think is plain
until she looks at you like she does and the breath catches in your
throat and you lose your train of thought. Just a girl...

I'm shivering. I pull my shirt closer around my chest.
Although its wet, it can still keep body heat in. I will practice with
my sword when I get back. Then, I'll eat dinner at the palace,
surrounded by the chatter about Millerna and Dryden's wedding.
Tonight, Allen and Hitomi will be alone. Much later, Hitomi will
marry Allen or return to the Mystic Moon. She's been missing it
horribly.

Why did I ever think, even for a moment, that she would
stay with me?

I brush my wet hair out of my eyes and walk faster. Merle's
waiting.