Fate is an elegant, cold-hearted whore

She loves salting my wounds, yes,

She enjoys nothing more

I bleed confidence

From deep within my guts now

I'm the king of this pity party

with my jewel encrusted crown

-Polygraph, Right Now! by The Spill Canvas

"Prince!" Wilheim called, rapping on Ludwig's door with the back of his hand. "Prince, the festivities have started!"

The manservant heard a loud moan. "I'm coming out, Wil. Just give me a moment."

His voice sounded heavy, and slightly slurred. He had either been asleep or had been drinking, which Wilheim doubted, as Ludwig seldom found any joy in alcohol.

A moment later, the prince appeared, long hair cascading down his back, eyes shining mischievously, as usual. His shirt was half-unbuttoned, and a golden chain hung carelessly out of his pocket, but for once, he didn't seem to mind.

Wil couldn't help glancing around his master, searching for a bottle of brandy. Prince Ludwig never left the room without spending at least an hour on his hair, his eyes, his lips, grooming everything into perfection. Tonight, he wore no makeup, and his eyes sported slight gray bags. The smile on his face seemed less and less genuine the longer Wil studied it.

But the servant tore himself away. "Let's go down, then, Prince," he offered.

Ludwig nodded slightly. "Let's."

The palace's courtyard was alight with fireworks, Roman Candles, and regular ones, melted wax sliding down the sides like multicolored tears. There were jesters juggling colored balls, and fat bakers and butchers offering sausages and pies, girls with their bosoms spilling out of their dresses serving pints of ale…

"Let's go to the flower seller," Ludwig suggested, breaking off Wil's train of thought.

"O…okay," Wilheim replied, a little surprised. Flowers? Since when has Lui been sentimental?

"If you don't mind me asking, m'lord, who might these be for?" A list of girls' names, princesses, maids, tavern-girls, and peasants, ran through his head. The list of girls his master had deflowered (no pun intended) was endless.

"Mmmm," rumbled the prince, not listening. He was pondering over a display of purple flowers. At last, with great panache, he scooped up a small bouquet of heather blooms. "These will do nicely."

He paid the flower seller and left the booth, puzzled manservant trailing behind him. The people of the kingdom mulled about, laughing and running and dancing to the music of golden flutes. Ludwig reached down to touch the golden chain hanging from his trouser pocket, fingers trembling as they stroked the cold, unforgiving metal. His hand pushed its way into his pocket and scooped out a scratched pocket watch, gleaming dully against the luminous sparks of the Roman Candles. He brought the watch to his nose and inhaled the sweet, flowery scent–her scent.

For a moment, it all disappeared: his nagging servant, the joyous cries of the townfolk, the thick smell of roasting chicken in the air. All that was left was him, clutching the watch, smelling the flowers, as a million fireworks exploded…in his heart.

He held the clock for who knows how long, and let his eyes drift close. His mind began mapping out every memory he had of her: eyes gleaming a furious lavender in the sunlight, hands on her narrow hips, short, silver hair rustling in the wind. Her lips, stained red, tasting sweet and sour at the same time against his. The light feather-brush of her hair falling across his chest as he pulled her close…

A moan resounded in his throat as he squeezed the watch. "Frederike," he sighed. "Idike."

With the other hand, he clutched the bouquet as though for dear life and his knees gave out. His body smacked against the ground, hard, and it all came back: people rushing towards him, cries of, "Prince! Prince Ludwig!" and the inevitable whoosh and zing of Roman Candles.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Yes, I know Ludwig Kakumei is a fairly obscure manga. Well, maybe not. But please review!