While the Maou is Away

What really happens at Blood Pledge Castle when the Maou is Away? The story of Gwendal and Anissina.

The repetitive clicks of a pair of knitting needles were the only sound disturbing the silence in the large chamber room. Anissina looked up from the plans she was drawing out on the other side of the room and glared at her childhood friend.

"Gwendal?" She called out sweetly as she paused in her newest invention's designs. A pair of cerulean blue eyes peaked out of the dark hair that fell across Gwendal's forehead. He didn't pause in his needle work much to the annoyance of his friend. "What are you doing?"

He looked down at his latest project and then glanced back towards her as if she just asked what color the sky was. "I'm making a dolphin for his majesty's daughter."

Anissina left her plans unfinished and made the short journey across the chamber room. She leaned over his desk, noting the piles of correspondence he had answered in the Maou's stead. "It looks more like a disfigured fish."

The ugly frown marks marred the spot between his eyebrows at the perceived insult. "It is a dolphin," he answered defensively.

Sighing, Anissina sat on the edge of the desk and took the needle work from his hands and began to work on the 'dolphin' to correct where his large fingers fumbled. "What will people say when they learn I am the one that taught you to knit such poor work?"

Gwendal crossed his arms firmly over his chest in annoyance as he watched with appreciation the way Anissina's long, slender fingers worked flawlessly. "It is unnecessary for you to be here."

Anissina met his irritated blue eyes with her electric blue ones while she didn't pause for a moment in her skillful work. "No, it is unnecessary for you to be at Blood Pledge Castle. Everything was going wonderfully while I was running the place in your absence."

"You have those creepy machines everywhere, and they only work half of the time anyway!" He shouted as he yanked his dolphin out of her hands. He leaned back far in his chair to avoid whatever abuse she might show him with her suddenly empty fists.

He was surprised, however, by the total blank look she gave him. It was odd to see her passionate eyes suddenly empty of all emotion. "Anissina, I didn't mean it like that," he told her softly.

The red haired noble woman stood up slowly and took a deep breath. "I guess I could thank you for being honest," she told him softly. It would have been different if he had teased her about her inventions. But she knew that the way he said it, he meant it. Gwendal, the man she trusted most for his opinions, had just insulted and belittled of what she was so proud. "Your knitting is good, I was only teasing," she told him quietly.

She turned away from him to gather up her drawings for her inventions. If they wouldn't even work or were just creepy perhaps she shouldn't even bother completing them and wasting everyone's time. She was a firm believer that scientific advancement was built upon the trials of failed experiments. Perhaps, she was wrong and they simply meant more failures.

"Anissina, wait." Gwendal stood up behind his desk and set the knitting down on the table top. He couldn't let her walk out with such a sad expression. It pained him to see his dearest friend so upset by his careless words.

"You don't have to apologize for saying the truth," Anissina paused at the door with her hand on the knob and her other hand holding the rolled up design plans. She turned to look at him over her shoulder with a sad smile.

"Where are you going?" He asked; stepping towards her but stopping just out of arm's reach.

"I'll go to the gym and try to do something useful like working out," she answered turning her back to him and leaving him alone in the chamber room with his knitting, answered correspondence, and guilty conscience.

Hidden in the shadows of the hallway, stood three palace maids making rapid notes in their journal of gossip. Never before had Gwendal and Anissina argued! And on top of that the idea of Anissina practicing her fighting skills was unheard of! The red haired noble woman never revealed her strength! Well, except for her battle against the zombie Gunter.

"Do you think that perhaps Lady von Khrennikov is in love with Sir von Walde?" The short haired maid asked her two companions in a stage whisper.

The tallest of the maids shrugged as she watched the retreating figure of the red haired woman down the hall. "Maybe, she's lucky Sir von Walde isn't in love with the Maou like his brothers."

The other two maids nodded vigorously at the comment. "What if he's secretly in love with Gunter von Kleist?" The shortest of the maids asked.

The other two shook their heads at the idea. "Gunter is too obsessed with his majesty. His Excellency would surely have his heart broken if that were the case. It would be better if he were to love Lady von Khrennikov."

"We should help them get together!" The short haired maid decided with enthusiasm as her two friends cheered their agreement. Before they could make any scheming plans the door to the chamber room was slammed open and Gwendal rushed out with brisk, purposeful steps towards the gym.

"He's going to chase after her! How romantic!" The tallest of the maids sighed.


Gwendal ignored the three maids standing outside of the chamber room. Perhaps, they didn't realize how loud their voices carried through the palace. He was standing just on the other side of the door and heard every word that passed through their gossiping lips.

There were two things he could do. He could ignore what they were saying, or he could find Anissina and they could laugh about it together. It was utterly ridiculous to think that she could be in love with him or that he could share such feelings with her!

He nodded absently to the palace guards that saluted him in the hallways. He shuddered as the three maids' words ran through his mind. The idea of him having feelings for Gunter was even more ridiculous than having them for Anissina.

The dark haired nobleman didn't knock on the door to the training gym and entered silently. He stood near the entrance for a long time watching his childhood friend practice, moving with such graceful fluidity. It had been decades since he had watched her train and he wasn't expecting the warmth of emotions that began to overwhelm him.

It was like watching a beautiful dance of raw power. He always knew that she was beautiful but something was different about how he was seeing her. Not since they were teenagers had she allowed anyone to watch, and she wasn't exactly allowing this showing.

It was as if that thought had alerted her to his presence. "Gwendal," Anissina spoke, pausing in her movements. She looked down at herself, noting her more revealing clothing. She was starting to regret having taken off her outer dressing to practice in the form fitting body suit she wore underneath. "What are you doing here?"

Gwendal took a deep breath and removed his long, green dress clothes until he stood wearing only his tan pants. "Would you like to spar?"

Anissina considered the offer. She was aware this was Gwendal's way of apologizing and she should accept the olive branch. "I wouldn't want to hurt you," she gave him a skeptical glance while secretly enjoying the broad expanse of his muscular chest. She enjoyed more the clenching of his jaw in aggravation for her insult. The slight twitching in that taunt muscle in his cheek made her heart lurch.

"I'm not concerned about a little pain," he answered calmly, struggling to keep his temper from flashing in his cerulean blue eyes. If anyone knew how to cause his temper to burn it was the woman standing in front of him so defiantly. It was hard to remember that a few minutes before she had looked at him with an expression of such sadness and hurt.

A charming smile was his answer as Anissina changed her stance to defense. She lifted her chin in invitation for him to come at her; something they once did as children. Gwendal stalked her like a predator stalks his prey and intercepted the kick she aimed at his chin.

He caught her ankle firmly in his hands and flipped her away so that she cart-wheeled out of his reach. "Not bad for an old man that spends his days pushing papers," Anissina provoked him seconds before she ducked under the fist aimed for her shoulder.

Neither of the nobles noticed the audience of three that had snuck into the training gymnasium and their rapid scribbling of notes on the progress of the fight. "I am only three years your senior," Gwendal told her calmly, enjoying the twitch in her eye.

"Are you calling me old!" Anissina cried as she rushed toward him in a rage, knocking him flat on his back with her on top. They skidded several feet, collapsing into laughter together.

Gwendal flipped their positions and held Anissina under his larger frame. He couldn't help but smile softly as she continued to laugh gleefully. This was his dear friend since childhood whom he loved to see happy. "Do you yield to my superior powers?"

Anissina stopped laughing. "Your powers are hardly superior." She narrowed her electric blue eyes. "First off, you can only manipulate the earth, while I am strong, brilliant, and a woman so therefore obviously superior…."she trailed off when his lips crushed down on hers.

The three maids simultaneously dropped their jaws at the unexpected event.

Gwendal kissed her until they were both breathless. He then lifted his face away from hers and grinned, ignoring the strange emotions he now was feeling. "I couldn't think of a more effective way to shut you up since I'm not getting any younger, as you have so kindly pointed out."

He stood up and then offered his hand to aid her to her feet. She was suddenly speechless as she raised her fingers to touch her now swollen lips and stare at him blankly. Words came back, but in a limited variety. "You kissed me."

Gwendal shrugged, suddenly uncomfortable to be so close to his best friend. He didn't like the way she was looking at him now, much less did he like the way he was starting to get light headed and his heart was beating faster. "So it seems. I must get back to important work now. The Maou should be returning soon."

Anissina watched as Gwendal left her alone in the gym, not counting the three eavesdropping palace maids in the census. He gathered his articles of clothing and scurried out like a cat found with his claws in the fish bowl. What was he thinking kissing her like that!

A/N: This is the first part of three in this little series. I hope you enjoyed this opening and I promise the next two installments get funnier and funnier! Special thanks to CharmedReality for all those episodes of KKM and inspiring this little tale.