First Steps.

Gwendal was just close enough to drone out his teacher's voice – and thus his lessons – out. The air was warm, the day was quiet, Anissina had gone to visit her parents, his brothers were over the rose garden and his teacher was teaching him about the 14th Maou who might have been a great ruler but, in Gwendal's opinion, he had also been completely and absolutely boring, even for him, and he enjoyed learning history.

"Brother! Brother Gwendal, come here!"

Even before the second call of 'brother' had been through, Gwendal had bolted out of his chair, hand reaching to his sword and running as fast as he could, trying not to think of all the things that might have caused Conrad to call him out like that. Human assassins? A mob? Something wrong with Wolfram?

"Conrad!" He called, running to his brother's side and halting on his run when he noticed that the boy was beaming in a way he had rarely seen since Dan Hiri had left him and their mother.

"Brother! Look!" Conrad beamed at him and then motioned a few steps to the front, where their baby brother, Wolfram, was fighting to stand up on his own with a determined expression over his face. After a few tries he balanced himself over his feet. Gwendal kneeled by Conrad's side, barely holding his breath as Conrad gently coaxed Wolfram towards them.

Then, the toddler gave a wobbly step towards them, and then another, and a third one. He tripped by the fourth one, but he had his and Conrad's arms to hold unto him before he fell. The baby giggled and gurgled in glee as both Conrad and Gwendal congratulated him on giving his first few steps and then went to tell their mother.

Gwendal was sure that the 14th Maou could wait a few more minutes after all.