Take a Chance.

The Shinou and lord von Bielefelt were bloodied and muddied and quite possibly exhausted and, yet, they were sitting side by side, drinking from the same alcohol bottle, laughing and telling stories to the equally injured and tired soldiers. It worked, too: the men that were hearing about how once Shinou and Ruffas had convinced a whole pub that lord von Bielefelt was a woman were just about to roll over the floor with laughter. Even lord von Wincott seemed to be trying to keep from laughing out loud.

By his side, lord von Voltaire snorted, wiping his face with a partially clean rag.

"I won't ever understand how they can be so energetic, and then, at the next second, drop sleeping at the wink of a bearbee." The tall man muttered, tying his still wet hair again.

Daikenja smiled, even though he was also looking towards the two blond men who were still distracting the soldiers from their fears and pain.

"I suppose its just part of their charm."

"Or of the fact that they're probably missing a couple of brain cells," von Voltaire muttered, before giving him an almost mischievous smile. "With all due respect, of course, Highness."

He smiled, a silent laughter shaking his shoulders in mirth. "Of course."

"We probably wouldn't love them as much without that, right?"

Daikenja turned to look at the other man, but he had turned once again to look towards their king and one of his nobleman, eyes full of tender care and something more. Daikenja closed his eyes for a moment before he too darted his eyes towards them.

"Perhaps." Was all his answer.

Von Voltaire gave a loft sigh but didn't comment. He was too respectful to say what he thought. Lord von Bielefelt wasn't: he had said to him quite clearly what he felt for the Shinou and what he should do before he decided that Great Sage or not, he was an idiot.

He knew then, without a doubt, that von Voltaire was aware of Ruffas feelings, even if the other lord wasn't aware of his.

The tall warrior yawned and bowed his head towards him. "If you'll excuse me, Highness, I think I'm going to send Ruffas to sleep, or he'll be biting off the heads of everybody tomorrow."

He didn't expect for his answer, already walking towards the – by now – probably drunk lords and hauled sir Ruffas over his shoulder, bowing his head towards the king and walking towards the tents. Shinou laughed him and Ruffas off, and then turned his clear eyes towards him.

Daikenja saw the silent question there, clearer than he could read the change of the wind and maryoku in the world, and he bowed his head and turned around.


It was an extremely old envelope. Very well preserved thanks to maryoku, especially if you considered that it was almost four thousand years old, but it showed the way time had went through in it's yellowed parchment, the ancient letters in which it was written, and, especially, over the name it displayed as the author of it and the unbroken wax seal that held it closed.

Murata wondered, out of possibly-not-healthy curiosity, just how many people in the universe were able to receive a letter from themselves that was dated 3, 562 years before you had been born. He could perhaps write a sci-fi book on the subject, now that he thought about it. It'd be a good movie, too.

"What do you mean, you don't remember?" Yuuri asked, a confused frown on his face. By the looks of it, he wasn't the only one, and that wasn't a very common situation.

For once, Murata felt exactly the same way Shibuya did. He didn't enjoy the feeling in the least, and he made a mental note to try and terrorize him soon.

"I…" Murata shook his head, still holding the fragile envelope as if it could explode. For all he knew, for all he remembered, it might. "I don't know. I've no recollection of writing that letter."

"How's that possible?" Wolfram asked, frowning. Murata turned to look towards the blond prince and then towards the letter again and refrained from shrugging.

"If the former Great Sage thought that the knowledge might've been dangerous, or that the even he was fortelling ought to happen, he might have blocked the memory, and then sent a warning or…"

"Wait," Yuuri interrupted him, a faint troubled and panicked look on his face. Murata couldn't quite blame him. "You mean there could be something else happening?"

"I… I'm not sure." Murata conceded, turning again to look at the envelope, as if, without opening it, it could provide some answers.

Gwendal's frown deepened. "Then it needs to be opened immediately."

Murata gave a slow nod. Since he really didn't remember what the letter might have written, there could be a threat to Shin Makoku, something he truly didn't remember. And still, there was a mild apprehensive feeling over the whole situation. Murata was aware that he didn't know everything in the world; he had never wanted that kind of knowledge. However, not being able to know something of his previous life made him extremely wary.

Conrad's soft voice interrupted his thoughts, then. "Perhaps your Highness would like some time to think?"

Once, when he had been Daikenja, he had thought that he ought to gift some kind of statue, land or formal acknowledgment to the Weller family. Murata seriously thought about it again as he gave a curt nod to the people reunited, ignored the questions that started and stood up and went out of the room to try and find somewhere to think, still carrying the letter.


Christine tried not to laugh at the way Jose was currently trying to make a toddler smile. The toddler in question was blinking ever so slowly at the strange man that was doing faces to him, and then turning to look at her. He was just about to cry, too, big black eyes wide and partially frightened. His mother, besides the examination table, was gushing worriedly that they were traveling the baby's father and that the baby had been crying every night, something that had been unusual because he was a very good baby. The woman was a new mother, and her worry was extremely sweet.

Christine finally moved silently towards Jose's desk and opened his drawer, taking out a lollipop and waving it a bit. The toddler squealed in delight and clapped his hands, making grabby hands towards her. She couldn't quite see Jose's triumphant expression, but she had to bite her lower lip as to not laugh as he quickly checked upon the toddler.

"Your baby's perfectly healthy." Jose told to the toddler's mother, carrying the boy that was now happily sucking on his candy, handing him to his mother. "He's just teething. Here's the name of a medicine that might help him if it gets too uncomfortable."

"Thank you so much, doctor!" The young woman sighed, relieved, giving a tender smile at the baby that made Christine, who was watching from the door, ache in bittersweet wanting of something that, in this lifetime, wasn't meant to happen. "I'm so sorry I bothered you."

"It's no bother at all." Jose grinned, patting the baby's head, who still was to immersed over his candy to do anything else other than gurgle. "It's nice to take care of such healthy babies! And cute, too!"

The woman beamed. "Thank you so much! We'll be going then, doctor."

"Of course, Mrs. Shibuya!" Jose smiled, waving the woman and her son goodbye. "Have a nice trip back home!"

Once Jose closed the door to his clinic, Christine walked towards him, wrapping her arms around his waist, leaning his face against his arm.

"That was sweet of you to do," she said kindly, and then she grinned. "Missing the movie you've wanted to see to check up on a crying baby."

Jose's face fell at that as he turned over her arms, a pout over his face that made him giggle. "Well… there's always tomorrow, I guess… I'll just have to try and see if I get some tickets."

Christine sighed, tiptoeing to brush her lips against his. "I still fail to see what's so amazing about this movie. 'Star Wars'. Don't we have enough wars already to have to go and see this one too?"

"That's not all!" Jose said. "There's also this whole exploring other worlds, and the other creatures that live in the universe."

She, who had memories of distant wars as present as everyday memories, and that would've been more than happy to stay at home and be happy, the part of her that was genuinely her, shook her head. "Other worlds might not be that amazing. They might be exactly like this one, or worse."

Jose looked at her, a slight frown over his face. He wasn't angry; Jose seldom was, he was just trying to understand her words. He knew there was something she wasn't telling him, knew her well enough to know that it was something important, but he didn't press, probably waiting for her to make up her mind on her own.

Everyday it hurt to think that she couldn't.

"Life's too short to think like that." Jose said finally, his face alight again with a smile. He reached to her face, tucking her hair behind her ear softly, leaning to kiss her softly. "If we keep on worrying about what might happen, we'll end up not doing anything."

She smiled at his words, snuggling close to him, and then muttered. "We're still going to see it, right?"

"Yeap." Jose was grinning now, she knew. She pretended to roll her eyes at first, and then smiled too.


Murata had been staring to the envelope so much that, if there had been any justice in the world, it would've burned to the ground instead of mocking him with its curly dedication in front of him.

"To my future incarnation; Daikenja."

Murata was very close to cursing his previous life, something that hadn't happened too often in the last few years. He had come to a realization that, even if he didn't like Daikenja's decisions, it was a little too late to change them and, also, as much as he had hated them, they had been necessary. Even more: cursing Daikenja pretty much meant cursing himself.

Right now, however, he wanted to know if the man had taken some kind of amusement from torturing his future reincarnations, or just why he hadn't been clever enough to leave some kind of clue as to what would the topic of the letter be about.

He knew that the man wouldn't have left anything useless and that it was quite possibly something important, but he couldn't shake the feeling of doubts over it. If that was the idea of his previous self about warning, he wished someone would have given him proper lessons.

"Now, this is a surprise, Highness." Murata blinked away from the envelope in far too long, shielding his eyes of the sunset with a hand, answering Yozak's smile with one of his own, even if it was a little distracted. If Yozak noticed, the spy said nothing as he sat down next to him at the balcony he had taken shelter. "I would've thought that after giving Lord von Voltaire three new wrinkles, you'd be at the temple."

"Were you looking for me?" Murata asked, turning to look at Yozak, who just shrugged, but he was still smiling.

"Kinda. You've been gone an awfully long time without the proper escort, Highness." Murata couldn't help but grin at Yozak's words.

"And that proper escort are you?"

"Escort? Yes. Proper? Probably not. Your call, Highness." Yozak gave him a lazy grin and Murata chuckled, closing his eyes to let the warmth of the sunset to wash over him and try to relieve his doubts.

"You shouldn't worry so much, Highness." Yozak said. When he opened his eyes again, Yozak was grinning, but he could see the concern over blue eyes. "You'll wrinkle. We already have his Excellency sir von Voltaire for that. He might feel left out if you start too."

Murata chuckled again, unable to stop himself from picturing him wearing the same clothes Gwendal did. Apparently, Yozak had thought the same because he let out an extremely accidental snigger.

"I'll keep it in mind." Murata said after they both had calmed down somewhat, wiping his eyes. "Then, I'll give my verdict later."

"What about giving it over the town?" Yozak asked. Murata opened his eyes and turned to see him. The sun seemed to melt Yozak's hair, and his grin was infectious. "I know a great place where we could go. You know, for you to relax. Have some fun."

It was tempting, very tempting. He showed Yozak the letter, even if he was aware that, by now, Yozak knew everything about the fact. "I got this today."

Yozak spared a glance to the letter, noticing that the seal was still over it, and then looked at him, raising an eyebrow. "And you've not opened it because…" Yozak drawled, hoping for him to finish it. When he didn't, Yozak continued. "It has really unbecoming pictures? 'cause I gotta tell you, Highness, everybody has those. Or embarrassing secrets? Gossip? Daikenja's will?"

Murata smiled, even though he kept his eyes closed. "I've no idea. I'm not sure I want to open it."

"You're not curious?"

"I am." He agreed, turning the thing over his fingers.

"But you don't want to deal what it has written inside." Yozak translated. Sometimes, Murata was really grateful of the way Yozak seemed to understand him. Sometimes, however, it was mildly annoying to have someone that could read you so well. He hummed his agreement, tempted to make a paper plane out of the envelope. "Is it important?"

There was that, but he was also pretty certain that people wouldn't believe him that he had no idea about whatever the letter was talking about. He had been lucky enough to have them understand his reasons once. He wasn't sure he wanted to risk it twice.

And yet…

"Probably." He looked towards Yozak then, genuinely curious. "What would you do?"

Yozak looked at him, then at the letter, then at him again and he shrugged.

"I don't know, Highness." Yozak answered before he moved to stand up. He put his hand against his shoulder a moment, giving a comforting squeeze. "But I do believe you should take a chance."

"Take a chance…" for some reason, those words did seem to bring something almost close enough for him to remember. Yozak nodded and then gave him a wink.

"If you change your mind about going to town, Highness, do let me know." Yozak drawled before going back towards the castle. Murata watched him go for a few moments before he took a deep breath, snapped open the seal and then took out the letter Daikenja had left for him.

"When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars."

Murata read the verses twice, briefly wondered why Daikenja had decided to leave his advise in couplets, broke it into tiny pieces and threw them to the wind, giving his former self a quite hearty 'son-of-a-bitch' that wasn't as felt as before he had read it and was kind of more of a 'got the message, sheeze' and he turned inside the castle, going through the hall Yozak had gone by.

"Yozak!" Murata called when he saw the redhead man. Yozak turned to look over his shoulder, hands inside his pockets and Murata grinned. "I changed my mind."

The smile Yozak gave him at that was almost worth it the headache the letter had brought him.

Now, the fact that he conveniently forgot to tell the others that the letter had been inoffensive? Made it more than worth it.