Well, dear readers, this is the epilogue, then end, the finish. Thank you so much for reading, and for your reviews, too! I am very grateful and feel very humble that so many of you stayed until the end. Arigatou.
The wedding of the twenty-seventh Maou of Shin Makoku was an affair destined to be long remembered in the annals of history. Of course, the bridegrooms were universally acknowledged to be the most handsome men in the world, and privately, not a few of the guests were heartbroken that the two eligible bachelors were not only happily united, and bachelors no more, but it was clear that there would be no concubines, lovers, or salacious scandals arising from this particular marriage. These two men had eyes only for each other.
Of course, it seemed like a fairytale to some—the beautiful young king falling in love with his handsome, loyal knight. Much talk was made of how Weller-kyo had saved the Maou's life on numerous occasions, and how he had overcome social convention in order to rise to the enviable position of the King's consort. If some of the older, more conservative mazoku had something to say about a mere half-breed marrying the most powerful man in the country…well, one look at the bridegrooms' older brothers was enough to convince them to keep their opinions to themselves.
The wedding reception was an event rivaled only by the celebration of the Original King's defeat of the dark power. There were endless tables covered over with towers of delicacies from all Shin Makoku's allies and it was said, in years to come, that the wine flowed like a river rushing from the mountains to the ocean. There had never been a finer company assembled, and as later portraits would show, Yuri-Heika, Conrad Weller and their assorted family and friends were tastefully dressed, subdued, and harmonious. It was, in fact, the most elegant wedding in Shin Makoku's history.
In the great hall at Blood Pledge Castle, many years later, a painting was hung depicting the two men, united, at the top of the main staircase. Flanking the royal couple, descending the stairs in two rows were the principle groomsmen, Gwendal Von Voltaire (just below Conrad) and Shibuya Shiori (just below Yuri). Continuing in that fashion were Wolfram Von Bielefeld and Murata Ken, the Great Sage. The legendary spy, Yozak Gurrier and Anna Von Voltaire (in matching formal gowns) came next. Gunter Von Kleist, was painted, holding the Maou's first child, his adopted daughter Greta, in his arms. It was the beginning of The Great Peace, all thanks to the love of the Maou.
Yes, that was what history would record. Then, of course, there's what really happened…
Conrad surveyed the room, making note of any potential threats to his present happiness. He had, of course, committed each face to memory, made note of every entrance and exit. Even if he was one of the men of the hour, and enjoying his own party, Yuri's safety and happiness would always come first.
"It was a beautiful ceremony, wasn't it?" Gunter said wistfully.
Gwendal took another long drink, the level of amber liquid in his glass decreased by another inch. "Yes, very."
"What are you drinking?"
"Anna calls it bourbon. She brought it with her from earth. It's…nice—a little lighter than I'm used to."
"Is that your first?"
"Second…bottle. Hope she brings back more next time."
"That's strong stuff, Gwendal, better be careful." Yuri said as he snuggled into the curve of Conrad's arm. Gunter smiled beatifically at the couple.
"Your trousers are mish-mish-mis-buttoned, Heika," Gwendal slurred slightly. "And you forgot to put your vest back on Conrad—better be careful yourself."
Gunter hid his blush behind his hand, but Conrad merely leaned closer to his husband and laughed, sharing loving kisses with the man who meant everything to him.
"They make a charming couple," Yozak said, as he came to stand at Conrad's other shoulder. The spy was smiling, and not an ounce of spite or jealousy could be heard in his voice.
"Indeed, they do," he replied, following his best friend's gaze to where it landed on his youngest brother and the Great Sage. Wolfram and Ken were dancing together, very close, though Conrad thought he noticed the Sage surreptitiously dancing them toward the door.
"And I don't think Yuri could look happier on his wedding day. Congratulations to you both."
Conrad shivered slightly.
"Anything wrong, my love?" Yuri whispered, looking up into the knight's eyes.
He smiled, then leaned down to kiss Yuri soundly. "Nothing at all, Heika. For a moment, I just thought I remembered a bit of a dream."
"Heika? Conrad! Do you think you could use my name now—if it wouldn't be too much trouble?" The king was so pretty when he pouted.
"How about I just call you husband—would you mind that?"
The young man melted against him. "I love you."
"I love you, too—my Yuri."
"However," Yozak continued, as though the intimate moment had never happened. "She is, for now and evermore, my hero!"
Suddenly, the air split with strange noises, causing everyone to jump in surprise. All except for the guests from earth, from whom a collective chorus of happy shouts were heard.
"What the hell is that?" Gwendal growled.
"Music!" Yuri was laughing. "I should have known Anna would figure a way to work out a sound system. I can't believe it—she really did it!"
Conrad tried, but failed, to keep his expression neutral. The look on Gunter's face was priceless. Anna had been making the rounds, of course, but only Conrad and Yuri had chanced to meet her when she was returning to the party as they were coming out of their chamber. She had changed from the elegant gown into a pair of trousers that Yuri later explained to him were made of leather and a sort of top that tied around her neck, leaving her shoulders bare, didn't reach her navel, and was only affixed around her back by a tied cord. Her feet were bare, as usual. Gunter, however, was staring at her like she'd just shown up naked and wearing a chicken beak.
"Who…WHO is that with her?" The adjutant growled.
"One of her dates," Yuri replied, cheerfully.
"One?! One of her dates? You mean she has more than one escort?" Gunter's voice was reaching a dangerous pitch.
Conrad almost choked on his laugh when Yozak heaved a dramatic sigh. "She came with triplets. Can you imagine, three of those delicious treats. I'm soooooooo jealous. And she's so greedy. I bet she won't even share."
"Look," Gwendal said, smirking. "There they are now."
"What…what does that song mean, Yuri-heika?" Gunter asked. "It's in English, and I remember the language."
"I'm sorry, Gunter. I'm not good with English. What are the words?"
"Something about…If the spirit moves you, let me groove you good, let your love come down, oh, get it on…what does it mean? Is it some kind of clothing?"
"Ah! I know what that means," Yozak said, grinning. "Getting it on is slang for having sex, your Excellency. It is here, too, you know."
"I assure you, I know nothing about that!" The pretty man sniffed. Conrad watched Gunter's face begin to glow a brilliant red. "That is…that is…Gwendal make her stop!"
"What?" Gwendal replied, pouring another drink. "She's a grown woman, and if she wants to dance with three grown men in what appears to be a reenactment of the eighteenth Maou's famous orgy, well, who am I to say no?"
Conrad put his arms around Yuri's shoulders and the boy laughed happily. "That's a very common dancing style on earth, Gunter. She's not doing anything wrong. She's really, really good in fact. Did you know that before she became a doctor she used to be a dancer in one of earth's ballet companies? She showed me a picture."
"She also had an affair, I hear, with the lead dancer," Murata Ken said, appearing as if from nowhere, Wolfram at his side. Apparently, the blonde was playing a little harder to get than usual, Conrad noted.
"That's nothing," Yuri continued. "Did you see, on TV last year, when she attended that big movie awards thing with that guy from that movie…what was it…you know, the one with all the big monsters and stuff?"
"Yeah, I saw that," The Sage said, a hint of jealousy in his voice. "He is so incredibly gorgeous."
"Better looking than me?" Wolfram interrupted suddenly.
"No one's better looking than you, Wolfie." The sage replied, rubbing the blonde's neck.
"And then there was the prime minister," Yuri supplied conversationally. "Oh and that Rock God! Wow!"
"She…she escorted a deity, your majesty? Some kind of earth magic user?" Gunter's voice sounded faint.
"No, No, not like that Gunter," the king hastened to explain. "On earth a Rock God is a musician."
"Think of someone with the beauty of Shibuya-Weller and Shinou put together, the charm of Cheri-sama, shoulders like Gwendal's and…"
"Hung like a horse?" Yozak interjected, his expression hopeful.
Everyone laughed, except Gunter.
"Are you all right?" Conrad asked the now white-faced adjutant.
The man's eye was twitching, in time to the beat of the music. "Which one," he whispered softly, dangerously, "is she dancing with?"
The king looked at the bodies currently moving on the impromptu dance floor. "Um, all of them, I think."
"Gwendal…I won't ask your forgiveness for this later," the beautiful man said, clearing a path for himself using only a malicious stare.
Conrad's elder brother just smirked and took another drink.
"Anna Von Voltaire!" Gunter's voice split the room like thunder. Someone, somewhere, even turned down the music. Conrad tucked Yuri's head under his chin, and watched.
"Yes, Gunter-sama?" The young woman's blue eyes twinkled merrily.
There was a collective gasp as Lord Von Kleist reared back and slapped the girl hard across her left cheek. More surprised, Conrad thought, than injured, his childhood friend and niece fell back into the arms of one of her dates.
"There will be, from this day forth, NO dancers, NO rock gods, NO prime ministers and definitely, without exception, NO TRIPLETS! Your days of cavorting about the worlds living a life of intrigue and mystery are OVER! Have I made myself perfectly clear?"
"Yes, Gunter-sama," she said, softly, her smile softening to sweeten her entire expression.
"You are now, and evermore, forbidden from grinding your hips in such a scandalous fashion unless and until those aforementioned hips are in contact with mine. Am I understood?"
"Yes, Gunter-sama," she replied, not resisting when the lavender-haired man grabbed her wrist and yanked her flush against his chest. Sparing one meaningful glance for the men who thought to protest the action was enough to convince Anna's dates to move several feet away—leaving the couple alone in the middle of the room.
"You will cease tormenting me, invading my thoughts, sneaking into my dreams, and distracting me from my royal duties with that unholy beauty of yours. From now on you will turn to me when you want attention, your lips are for my kisses alone, the only bed you will sleep in is mine, and you will never, ever, from now until I die "get it on" with anyone other than me. You are going to marry me, Anna Von Voltaire. Is that not so?"
"Yes, Gunter-sama," she purred, nuzzling her cheek into the taller man's shoulder.
"And," Gunter said, giving his fiancée a smoldering look. "I am personally opposed to pre-marital sex, so you will refrain from kissing my neck, starting now."
"I'm afraid I can't do that, Gunter-sama. So I think you better see if Ulrike-sama has already returned to Shinou's temple. I know she was only here temporarily to officiate for the ceremony, but…you see…when we go upstairs tonight, I'm going to—" and at this point, the young woman leaned up and whispered something Conrad couldn't hear into the royal godfather's ear.
Gunter turned pale.
"…and then I'm going to…" she whispered in his ear again.
Gunter turned red.
"Finally, I'll use my…" she whispered one last time, then kissed the tip of the beautiful man's nose.
Gunter swayed on his feet for a moment, then tossed his head back and bellowed, "Ulrike-sama! I need you RIGHT now!"
Then blood gushed from his nose and he fell into the outstretched arms of his fiancée.
"It looks like love is in the air," Yuri exclaimed, happily, winding his arms around Conrad's neck.
"Actually, I think it's in my pants," Yozak quipped, shoving past the couple and moving to Anna's side.
"Oh, boys," Anna called, beckoning the triplets, as she slid her fiance's arm around her shoulders and winked at the gorgeous spy. "Thanks for tonight, you were brilliant. And, this is my dear friend Yozak—I was telling you about him—and he's going to show you a very good time."
"Why, Anna—all of them for me?" Her friend said, grinning and licking his lips.
"Don't say I never gave you anything, babe. Now…where's Ulrike-sama?"
Conrad looked around the room once more. Gwendal and Shiori were toasting each other and sharing stories about cute younger brothers. The Great Sage and Wolfram were standing, hand in hand, on the balcony. Yozak was dancing, still wearing the altered version of Wolfram's wedding dress, with the triplets. Anna and a now-conscious Gunter were speaking to Ulrike-sama, their happiness nearly palpable. And he had Yuri, in his arms.
"Yuri," he whispered into his husband's ear. "You know what the best part of my wedding day is?"
"What's that?" The young king turned in his arms, and leaned up to kiss him.
"Our wedding night."
Conrad nuzzled Yuri's nose, enjoying his sweet blush. Then the King and his Consort, the two most powerful men in Shin Makoku, slipped away to have a private celebration of their very own.
Really, truly, honestly and for sure…the end.
A lighter note for the end, I know...and just to answer my reviewer--Did Conrad and Yozak ever"ahem" get it on in this universe? I am not sure, but my gut tells me they are very very very close. ;-)