**Author's Note:
Blah blah blah, boring author stuff goes here. All characters here do not belong to me less they seem like they don't belong in that story, in which case they're likely original characters created for plot purposes and belong to my brain. No stealy neat ideas. You have permission to salivate, love, and otherwise enjoy said writing, but no stealy. It is here for your enjoyment. If you want to share, lead said interested parties here so I can hear from them too! I appreciate any and all comments.

Be forewarned, I'm infamous for my laziness. I apologize in advance for said laziness which affects me uploading work pretty much anywhere---or doing such work to be uploaded. Fanfiction is my hobby. I have other original stories which I also work on for my livelihood. Even so, this is all for fans of the series which I too adore. So, to end all this, I hope you all enjoy and be sure to leave a review to let me know what you thought, what you liked that you saw, or even what you'd like to see! **

I : The Other Demon Lord

"Lord Raenef? You are not focusing on our practices today."

Eclipse looked over his young master with curious, dark black eyes. It was a wonder that those same black eyes, matching the silken sea of his dark, black hair had been the very things that had intrigued the boy in a time that seemed so long ago. In that time, the blond-haired, blue-eyed boy was nothing more than a member of a guild of thieves. How strange to think that now, he was no longer looking upon a youth fascinated by his dark traits foreign to the south, but the demon lord who ruled over his realm. His Lord Raenef.

Really, how many times had he disarmed the young demon lord of his sword? Maybe it had been too rash to start such training, no matter how eager the blond was in learning the art of swordsmanship. Even if Raenef was indeed complete, perhaps toting around a sword and waving it about menacingly was not to be his strong point. "You do not need to know of such skills as these, as a demon lord. You are already infinitely powerful with your dark magic alone. Why not let this one yearning go?"

Slender brows contorted distastefully upon that smooth forehead, tainted in sweat. Soft pants left through his parted lips as he struggled to regain his breath. "I couldn't do that, Eclipse! I promised Erutis that I would learn!" His hands fumbled for his sword. He could have sworn it had fallen near him this time. However, his gaze soon caught the glint of the metal presented towards him. A rather bashful smile was offered towards the demon. "Eclipse.."

Once his master's sword had been returned to his hand, did the great demon offer a tired sigh and a shake of his head. Quite a few of his ebon strands had freed themselves from the tight ribbon securing them back, at the back of his head. He had not even broken a sweat in what simple maneuvers it took to render Raenef harmless again and again.

"Maybe that is so, but, as I remember it correctly… I believe that raccoon of a woman said you could not possibly learn to become a sword master. You did not need to make that promise. I really doubt she expects you to keep it. If it were any other knight, I would say that you must hold your word, but… " Those dark eyes looked down, sympathetically towards his young master as he stood, sore and tired, though seeming ready to try again. "I would suggest that it is for the best to forget this one."

Raenef immediately shook his head to and fro. "Never!" came his stubborn battle-cry as he charged after Eclipse again. Maybe it was possible to take the demon by surprise?

Their swords clashed only briefly before the same blade fell to the earth again, along with the weight of its owner, caught off-balance. Raenef cringed as he landed right back where he had started seconds ago. "I'm becoming well acquainted with the ground, at least."

"I suppose that could be noted as some sort of progress, Sire."

Raenef nodded his head up and down in curt agreement as he shut his eyes. "Nothing wrong with being consistent."

A rather absent smile formed upon Eclipse's face. A time ago, this would have been a hopeless cause. To see his master unable to learn something would have made him furious and, most of all, ashamed. However, it did not bother him now. He knew, with all of his being, that his master was very much the powerful demon lord he was meant to serve and devoted his very existence to.

The sword previously wielded by the demon was thrust into the ground where they had been practicing within the castle's courtyard. A pale hand was reached out, open, in offering towards the defeated demon lord. "Let us rest for now. You can practice more another time."

It was before Raenef could accept Eclipse's hand that a loud screech startled both their grasps away from one another. "Gyah!" If this had been a year ago, he would have been sent into hysterics at that sound and what it belonged to. It was one of the crusaders summoned by Eclipse to guard the castle. "I hate it when they do that," he mused out, trying to hide away his previous startle beneath the grumpy tone he now adopted.

Eclipse's gaze was altered from him. In fact, if Raenef did not know any better, it seemed like there was a very troubled expression on the demon's normally calm face.

"Eclipse?" he began, cautiously. He had quickly forgotten any worries of hiding away his fright before, or his concern now. "Is something wrong? What is it?" The crusader had cried from far away. Though, with such volume, it mistakenly seemed a lot closer. Those beings did not speak in words. At least, they did not speak in words he quite understood. Eclipse summoned them. He was their maker. Thus, it was Eclipse who could understand their strange cries.

The demon shook his head. "It is nothing, Sire." Even so, he continued to gaze off into the distance.

The sun was setting. It would have been a rather heart-warming sight, if that stupid crusader had not ruined it. Even so, Raenef supposed that even all that fear could not chase away the excitement that welled within his body at the sight. Eclipse was such a handsome guy. Even if he was a demon, he was quite a sight. The sun set a look of fire as the backdrop of the sky. The shadows which played across paled flesh, made his dark traits seem that much more pronounced. Was it possible that the flawless, tall, handsome man seemed even more beautiful than normal in such a setting? Even the way those dark eyes appeared as they now gazed back after him . . .

Never had Raenef's face turned so red, so quickly! He had been caught staring! He felt the heat attacking his face and a cold fear which embraced his entire being. "I'm going to clean up! Thank you for training me, Eclipse!" He scrambled to his feet so fast, he nearly tripped over his own sword in his sudden departure for the castle's doors.

What a nightmare! Raenef sighed as he finished relaxing and cleaning in the large tub filled with warm water. His hands reached up and gingerly rebound his hair. It had been such a mess, hardly any of it stayed in its tail after falling to the ground so many times. Already he could feel the soreness in his muscles. It was not like training to do magic. Extensive usage of mezraez was likely to make headaches, but he never felt so sore like this. Even during his says back in the guild did not hold memory of such pains as those that were now gripping to him.

However, even with all the aches, he did not want to venture to bed just yet. He did not feel tired. His mind was still plagued with that image. Eclipse was always so handsome, especially with that brooding expression. What was it that Eclipse did not tell him? He was not such a simple-minded idiot any more. He could see a look of trouble so clearly on the demon's face! Well, either that or Eclipse seriously had to go. His brows furrowed slightly in thought. No, that couldn't possibly be it.

Though, he grinned as he allowed his mind to wander, as well as his feet now that he had dressed himself in his gown. His arms folded behind his head and his eyes shut closed. He knew his own castle like the back of his hand, after all. Yet, he had to wonder what sort of things could have caused Eclipse to look away like that. Did demons daydream? Maybe he was lonely staying cooped up in the castle all the time. It had been a while since the last summons. There were hardly any conflicts between demons and humans these days. Maybe he was to blame for that.

Or was Eclipse really having tummy problems after all? His brows furrowed once more. Surely that was his idiotic portion offering such strange assumptions. Though, it was a rather amusing image. Eclipse, imminent and scary, running off urgently to the potty.

"I've finally found you!" called forth a voice from the dark.

Raenef felt rather stupid when he opened his eyes and came to the realization that he was not only not alone, but that he had ventured outside and right back to the courtyard. However, Eclipse was no longer standing there, looking handsome against the setting sun. Instead, there was someone quite different and foreign to his eyes.

The boy appeared his age. He dressed rather impressively, though it was obvious due to lack of armor that he was not a knight come to challenge him for his head nor a cleric come to curse him to death. This boy was likely a demon. However, there was something about him that seemed rather familiar. Didn't someone else have such foppishly curly strands of red hair? Didn't someone else he knew hold an air of such arrogance? "Do I know you?" he asked at long last of the curious, and seemingly hostile intruder.

The red-head's temper seemed to only flare up at such a question. His brilliant green eyes narrowed, causing the dark, girly lashes to line them heavily. "You should! I'm your rival! I am the future demon lord, Krayon!"

Raenef stared, bewildered, towards the boy. Come to think of it, he did look a lot like that foppish demon lord that gave Erutis so much trouble. Though.. He was quite a bit smaller--er--younger. "Krayon? That Krayon?" For a moment, he processed it as his older half might have. "You've gotten tiny.. I mean! Where is your father? I didn't know Lord Krayon had a son!" A slight pout formed upon his lips. "You'd think he'd tell me if he had a son my age. But being as old as he is, I guess he forgets things like that when he gets into games throwing innocent bystanders into dreams and stuff."

A friendly smile was bestowed upon Raenef's face and beamed towards the other boy. "I'm demon lord Raenef! I guess you got lost and found your way here. You can stay here if you want!" That could be fun! Maybe then Eclipse wouldn't look so gloomy at sunset. Maybe all the training was bothering him. If Mini-Krayon stayed, then he would have someone to train with! The boy looked tough, especially with the way he was wielding Eclipse's sword!

The naïve demon lord's blue eyes blinked and he jumped back just in time to avoid the swing aimed unmistakably for his hand. "Hey! That's dangerous Mini-Kray---I mean.. Krayon!" Eclipse's sword was sharp and meant for decapitating and other gruesome things. At least, that was the story Erutis and Chris fed into his mind.

"That's the point! I'm going to prove myself better than you by killing you!" Another swing, aimed for Raenef's startled head, was given at full strength.

Raenef had barely enough time to grab hold of his sword that had been left forgotten on the ground. He raised it up, just in time to repel the blade aimed to cleave off his pretty head. "Wait. I don't understand. Why do you want to kill me? I didn't do anything to you!" But was that entirely true? He could still remember Krayon's anger over Eclipse's choice of servitude. But what did that matter to this boy? And hadn't Krayon forgotten about Eclipse by now? Wasn't he off chasing after Erutis and making her life as a guild master difficult? "Just calm down and tell me what your problem is!"

Besides, how much longer could he really hold out? He had only just started his training in swordsmanship! The most he knew how to do with a sword was being knocked down onto the ground and he was already pinned there. That was it! Maybe, if he could reverse that logic…

Raenef's lithe legs kicked up from beneath the other boy, pushing back against his body. It was a daring move, what with the boy's weight centered on baring the blades down towards the blond's neck and all. Luckily, with the reflexes of a veteran thief and the luck of the gods, he managed to throw Mini-Krayon off from him.

Krayon cringed as he fell onto his back on the ground. The sword had been lost from his grasp, but luckily it landed just at his side. However, before he could retrieve it, he was forced to still as cold steel touched to his heaving chest. Those vibrant green eyes gazed back towards Raenef regrettably. "Are you.. Going to kill me now?"

That blue gaze seemed severe at first, but soon did it soften. That same, friendly expression blanketed over his face. "No. Why would I do that? Although, you really did look like you wanted to kill me a second ago. You are a very fierce fighter! I'd like it if you stayed here a while, even if you aren't lost. I bet someone like you could teach me how to really use a sword like this."

Confusion spread across the young boy's face. "I don't understand. By rules of conduct of a demon lord… I am an intruder. I tried to kill you. You are supposed to kill me."

Raenef lowered the sword. Such talk.. He didn't like it. Why would the boy remind him of those rules when he did not want to follow them? Everyone in the world practically knew how much unlike a demon lord he was. Still.. His eyes closed. "But you didn't. And even if I did want to follow those stupid rules… Why would I want to kill you before I could understand why you did this?"

When his gaze was returned back down towards Krayon, he frowned. The boy had fallen unconscious. It must have been a long, difficult journey, from Lord Krayon's realm. He came a long way, intent on killing him. Or had Mini-Krayon traveled so far to challenge him, expecting to lose? Did Krayon really want to kill him? Or was it that he wanted to die? "Why..? I don't understand.."