He was like the moon.
The pale, almost ghostly skin glistened like cream under moonlight. His narrow black eyes shimmered in inky pools every time he smiled. And his hair cascaded over his thin shoulders like waterfalls. I was fond of running my hand through his hair and watching the long strands that nearly reached his waist slithering past my fingers. It was fascinating to watch his straight, glossy hair that had metallic quality to it, so different from my own fair curling hair, frame his small oval face. My beautiful, beautiful love—surely there is no one in this world who is as beautiful as you are.
But that's wrong. My love is not…
"It would be lovely if you can trouble yourself to put some clothing on," he gently chided. His soft voice almost never became loud, except perhaps when he was writhing underneath me in throes of passion. I leered at him and showed him what I thought of his scolding by throwing the blankets off of my nude figure. He sighed and lowered his eyes to his scrolls again. I felt indignant that he would choose to ignore me. I strode over to him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders, and he softly sighed again.
"I don't remember agreeing to marry such a big baby," he complained. I smirked as I reached down and patted his stomach. It was still flat, but nevertheless, I could feel the healthy baby growing inside. At his father's touch, he let out feeble sparks of magic, which made me grin wider. I was very proud of my partner, and our baby. My love, as usual, fretted about everything, starting from how we were too young to have a baby yet and ending with how this wasn't the right time to start a family. I knew that. I knew we shouldn't have a baby during such terrible, war-torn times, but I wanted him to myself so much; so much that I couldn't wait one more minute. So I begged, and pouted, and threw tantrums until he finally let me have my way.
Huh? What the hell is going on…?
"You should rest now, love. We have lots of ground to cover tomorrow. You may read those stuffy old scrolls to your heart's content once we approach the Carloria borders."
"But even as we reach territories more friendly to us magic-users, our battle is still not over," my partner said in his sweet voice, his beautiful black eyes clouding in his worry. "There is still the originator that you must defeat. I will do everything I can to…"
Help me survive the battle?
"…make the battle easier for you, dear. But we haven't much time."
"But if you're too tired to ride your horse properly, it will be even more dangerous for me. I will not be able to fend for myself if I knew that you were too sleepy to protect yourself and our unborn child. I want to find you asleep by the time I come back from discussing our route with Voltaire, sweetheart."
"Alright." He smiled and I lightly kissed his lips before I dressed and left our tent. While I prodded on to Voltaire's tent, I fondly thought about how he and our child could be safe in territory where they did not hate magic-users like ourselves. All his life, my poor love has been despised by magic-users and non magic-users alike, just because his hair and eyes were colors of midnight. As a matter of fact that's how I've first met him; by rescuing him from some psychotic people who were trying to burn a 67-years-old child alive, just because he had black hair and eyes. I found him exotic and beautiful even at that first meeting, and it did not take long for me to fall in love with him. Most happily he returned my feelings and we had been lovers for almost 10 years now.
And soon, I shall defeat the originator for once and for all. I will make this world a safe place for my child and partner for all eternity.
But I've already defeated the originator.;;;;;;; Wait, I'm…?
"Leonard," Siegbert Voltaire greeted me in his typical gruff voice. Rufus Bielefeld was also at his tent; from looks of it they were playing another heated round of cards. After I've greeted both, we sat down and opened the map to plan out tomorrow's route.
Wait wait wait!!! My name is not Leonardo Dica… I mean, Leonard!;; I'm Shibuya Yuuri Harajuku Furi!
I opened my mouth and what came out was, "I disagree. I'd rather not take a route that has no water source nearby."
…Oops. Forget about the Harajuku part.;; Before you make comments about my name, I recently started to think that it's not so bad since no one would confuse my name's spelling. When I introduce myself, I can just say, "Oh, yes, it's spelled as Shibuya is advantageous," so I'm no longer as upset about my parent's choice in my name. I guess I'm growing more mature, too… Wait, that's not the problem here;; So who are these people and who am I and where am I and what was I doing again?!;;;;;;;;
"But this one is twice as long, and it's open land, besides. How are we going to defend ourselves in emergencies?"
"Lawrie is coming," Rufus suddenly interrupted, pulling out his sword. Siegbert and I stood up, pulling out our swords as well. I felt uneasiness settle at my stomach as my heart stated to beat faster. The fact that Lawrence Weller, who was on the watch, was running towards us with his sword drawn was not good news at all.
"Leo," Lawrence said in a low voice as he got near enough for us to hear him, "I saw some suspicious movements. I haven't noticed until they were right under my nose; I don't think they're just normal soldiers. I think we'd better…"
"Shit, Weide!" I spat out before I started to run, back to our tent. I should've never left his side. Only this morning I noticed that some men were looking at him funny as we passed by, but I thought he was hidden well enough under the cloak. I should've kept in mind that we were still at hostile territory!
Sudden explosion shook the ground. The force knocked me to a kneeling position, and my eyes hurt from the blinding flash. What kind of accursed magic is this? I thought to myself as I forced myself to stand and run again. Please, please let Weide not be hurt…
My breath caught on my throat when I finally arrived at our tent. The surrounding foliages were completely burned off, and most of the tent was gone, too. My little Weide was curled into a ball at the corner of the burned frame of the tent. Stench of charred flesh and blood, a smell we were all so used to, made me nauseous and dizzy. I saw what remained of one leg and half of an arm.
"Weide… Weide, love, please," I said. I meant to shout, but it came out more as a hoarse whisper. I stumbled towards him. When I finally reached him, I put my hands on his shoulders and tried to pull him into my arms.
"No! No! Don't, please, my baby," Weide screamed as he pushed me away from him. His blank eyes were staring at something beyond me; he was violently trembling and the smell of blood was chokingly strong. I noticed blood staining his light green robe at his stomach area. I also noticed that I could no longer sense my unborn child.
He was dead.
Everything after that was a whirl of colors and sounds that I couldn't register well. I heard Rufus screaming and crying, and when I looked down, I was holding mutilated corpse in my bloodied hands. After that I blanked out some more, and someone had to speak to me several times before I finally understood what they were trying to say.
"Leo, did you understand what I was saying?" Christel Wincott asked, concern deep in his ocean-colored eyes. "You must let go of him. He needs to rest, all right?"
"Let go?" I didn't understand. Why was Chris making me let go of my love? Our baby died because I let go of Weide's hand. It was all my fault. I left him alone while he was protecting our child from murderers who had tried to kill them both and sell them to people who believed that you would gain eternal life if you ate the flesh of pregnant double-black and the child in double-black's womb. I promised him that I would always protect him. And I failed.
"Died," I finally said. I hadn't realized that I was crying until I felt Chris wiping my tears away.
"You need to rest, too… You won't be able to protect him if you're tired, right?"
"That's what I said," I said. "Weide… Told him… He needs to sleep, because, we need to… Tomorrow, and, I… Can't protect him and our baby if he's tired, and I…"
"I know." Chris was crying, too. "I know, Leo… We all failed."
Who will acknowledge your good intentions if you had no power behind your words?
Last few hundred years, there was an increase of children born with special powers. I, myself, was able to control the power of thunder and light. Normal humans who had no magical powers shunned and abused us, even while we were growing more numerous every year. Humans used us when they needed us, such as mercenaries during wars, but they quickly threw us out of their territory when we ceased being useful to them. It was only too easy to gather other magic users who were willing to fight on our side.
It was such an easy victory that it almost seemed silly. With Weide and Siegbert on our side, carefully planning out every strategy, it was mere child's game to conquer one country after another. I, who had the strongest magic in the recorded history, headed all the battles and easily won every one of them. We no longer wanted to be accepted by humans; to be part of their society. We formed our own country and called ourselves the Demon Race, for it was only right that we should be feared and hated by humans. I would continue to fight until I kill off every last one of them from the face of this land.
At the beginning Weide had given me a strategy which made us circle around the village. When I asked him about it, Weide had softly replied, "We can't involve women and children in this."
"The same way that humans spared our child?" I coldly asked. Weide only looked at me before he ripped up the parchment and wrote me a new strategy.
Somehow, I could never forget the look that he gave me.
Few years later, I would attempt to get rid of the originator for once and for all. I would fail, and die in Weide's arms. But my one comfort was Weide who had bravely smiled even as he was crying. He held my rapidly cooling body in his arms as I reached up and touched his cheek for the last time.
"I'm sorry," I said. My vision was starting to fail me, but I could still hear his serene voice. "I failed you again."
"No, this time you protected everyone. I am very proud of you.. And so will our child be, once she is born and hears all about how her papa protected us all."
"Child…" I struggled to see Weide, but I couldn't move at all. "You're…"
"Yes, I'm with your child again. And… All I wanted, really, was… Give our child a world where humans and demons could live happily together." I felt him closing my unseeing eyes. "Rest, Leo… I will protect everyone now."
A world where humans and demons could live happily together…
I woke up crying. My heart was so crushed with sadness and despair that I could only cry, trying not to throw up. While I gasped for breath and continued to sob, our infant son woke up and started to wail with me. I felt soft fingers on my cheeks and my love murmuring, "Yuuri? Sweetheart, what's wrong?"
"Wolfram," I said, pulling Wolfram into my arms. Wolfram patted my back while I cried, softly soothing me while he also attempted to calm our crying baby.
The Original King knew that all the Great Philosopher wanted, really, was to live in a peaceful world where humans and demons co-existed. That's why at the last minute, when he could have sealed the originator in souls of hundreds of human beings and have them die instead, he chose to seal it within himself and died. That was also the main reason why he chose me as the demon king, over Wolfram. Wolfram held too much hatred and contempt for humans; he was too similar to the Original King. He didn't want repeat of his own mistakes…
"Yuuri," Wolfram softly called my name. Even though we fought so much last night, he was still so worried about me having a little nightmare. It had been a long time since we've hugged each other like this. He smelled sweet and milky, and he was even warmer and softer than I had remembered.
Last few days, we fought so much that even the maids were gossiping that our marriage was cursed after all; we were not meant to be as I had seen Wolfram's face earlier than three months before our marriage. I had started to believe in that ridiculous superstition and was seriously contemplating a divorce as we were fighting yesterday night. Wolfram was beautiful, and sweet, and I loved him very much. But his temper was too terrible. He had screamed at me as soon as he saw me yesterday night that I don't help him enough with the baby, and when I yelled back that I'm busy, too, and that he should just give the baby to the wet nurse, Wolfram had actually thrown a vase at me. He missed, but the very idea that Wolfram would resort to domestic violence made my heart cold.
But was I actually listening to Wolfram? I have never talked my feelings to him as honestly as I did the first week we met. Back then we were strangers, but we told each other everything. Now that we were married, we scarcely talked to each other. When we talked, we fought. Wolfram spent most of his seven months of pregnancy either throwing up or yelling at me. The more he yelled at me, the more I avoided him by supposedly doing my kingly duties. This made Wolfram cry and yell more.
Listen to my heart, Wolfram's eyes were begging me last night, the same way that Great Philosopher's eyes were begging the True King in my dreams. It's only now that I realized it. Please, listen to my voice. Doesn't my voice reach you at all? Don't you know what I really want?
I was hiccupping from crying too much, but I determinedly wiped my tears away and picked the baby up. My son was only two months old. He was still so tiny and fragile. If I had lost him when he was still in Wolfram's womb… The thought made fresh tears spring to my eyes, and the baby fussed when he sensed my unhappiness.
"Yuuri?" Wolfram uncertainly asked. He suddenly seemed afraid. "What… What's wrong? What are you thinking about?"
"Let's talk," I said, swallowing as I cradled Yuu. "I love you, Wolfram, and I love Yuu. I really want this marriage to work out. So let's talk."
"Talk about what?" Wolfram asked. He sounded angry, but this time I was looking into his eyes. And his eyes were filled with fear, not anger.
"First of all, why are you so against getting a wet nurse for Yuu? You're still weak from pregnancy, Wolf. And you wake up every two hours to nurse the baby."
"Are you calling me a weakling? Are you saying I'm not man enough to nurse my own son?" Wolfram asked, his voice in rapid crescendo with every word as his green eyes flashed. I held up my hand.
"We're not having another shouting match, Wolfram. Look at your dark circles. You need your sleep."
"Oh, so now I'm too ugly for you! I'm fat, and I have dark circles, and my skin is crap and my hair is all stringy and oily, and—"
"Don't be ridiculous. You're beautiful. Don't change the topic," I said, keeping my voice quiet but stern, just like how Murata talks sometimes. Wolfram blinked. The baby cooed. "There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it, Wolfram. And you do need help. You went through hell the last seven months to bring this beautiful child into the world, Wolf, and there was nothing I could do when you were pregnant except massage your ankles and belly, but now Yuu is born and I want to help, too."
There was a long silence. Yuu was asleep again, and I put him in the crib and covered him up with his baby blanket. The baby stuck a chubby fist into his mouth as he slept, and I patted his back while I waited for Wolfram to say something.
"When I was a baby," Wolfram finally started. I came back to the bed and sat next to him, holding his hand. Wolfram took a deep breath and continued. "I thought the wet nurse was my mama. I don't want… to give that experience, to, my son."
Wolfram bit into his lips, trying not to cry.
"But it's not like I'm asking you to leave Yuu solely to the wet nurse, Wolfram. Of course we'll both take care of Yuu, like we're doing with Greta. Just because Greta spent most of the day with Lady Cheri or Miss Anissina during your pregnancy, do you think Greta thinks they're her mother?"
Wolfram seemed to find that thought funny, because he started to laugh. I also laughed. I felt something melt in my heart. I loved this man so much. What the hell was I thinking, even imagining I could live without Wolfram by my side? I had worked so hard to marry him. We were so happy before the baby…
Thinking back, it was when Wolfram was pregnant that he started to be so angry. He was always tired and nauseous. He, who was a soldier, was locked up in the castle and could barely move because of his swollen belly and ankle. I wasn't around to hear his discomforts; I was studying and training myself so much, both physically and magically, that as soon as I reached the bed at night, I just fell asleep. Even now I barely helped with the baby, and when Wolfram said he was tired, all I said was to tell him to get a wet nurse. While Wolfram woke up at four in the morning and cried in tiredness while feeding the baby, I half-opened my eyes and then fell asleep again.
Come to think of it… I'm a human garbage… orz
"I just wanted to give Yuu the love and attention that I've never received as a baby," Wolfram quietly said. "Because Yuu is my precious baby that I had with the man I love the most."
"That's fine, as long as you'd let me help you, too," I said, holding Wolfram close. "I love you and the baby, too, you know. All I'm asking is that you let the wet nurse take care of Yuu during the night, so you can get some sleep. Okay?"
For first time in months, Wolfram's eyes sparkled when he smiled, and I remembered all over again exactly why I loved him so much.
"This Saturday… Let's ask Elder Brother if you can get a day off so all four of us can go on a picnic together. Greta learned how to make those little ham sandwiches, and Gisela said the weather's warm enough for Yuu to go outside, too."
"Okay." I laughed and said, "As a matter of fact, let's ask Gwen if I can take every Saturday and Sunday off. I think it's against the labor laws or whatever to make me work every day of the week, right?"
"No," Wolfram said. At my surprised look he said, "You have to make that law. You're the king, remember?"
And after that,
Despite what everybody said,
Wolfram and I were very happy together.