Disclaimers: Breath of Fire IV and its characters belong to CAPCOM.
A/N: If you never read Breath of Fire IV manga, then I suggest you to read the manga first because this chapter contains spoiler!
The Emperor's New Plan
"Where am I?"
"…You are in my castle, little one!"
"In your…castle? Who are you?"
"You'll know me soon after you get well. Now, take a rest, little one!"
Mami opened her brown eyes slowly and blinked. She looked around but she found no one. Thanks to the burning candles on an antique wooden table she saw in the first time. The lights really help her to notice her surroundings. Mami felt very anxious when she saw wooden chairs surrounding the antique wooden table and a wooden wardrobe. Her anxiety was more intense after she found out that she was in a king size bed with purple canopies surrounded it and red blossom comforter covering the bed.
"Where am I? How can I be here?"
Mami bit her lower lip and unconsciously touched her cloth causing her to gasp in surprised.
"Why do I wear this cloth?"
Mami felt so nervous. She still remembered what cloth she wore before. Her cloth was dirty and was not proper to be put on. However, she was now wearing a white robe which seemed to be kimono. She had no idea where she was and was confused until finally she remembered the tragedy which had just harmed her.
"I…I had been brought back to life?"
Mami shuddered to have remembered her torment and the image of her executors- evokers, two armed executors, a malicious face of a priest and an ugly and fat person-appeared in her mind. She shook her head trying to get rid of the thought.
"If I am alive now, then who did save my life?"
Footsteps were heard as Mami managed to find out who her savior was. The footsteps were echoing in hallway near her chamber.
"Footsteps? What should I do now?"
Mami got off from the bed and managed to stand up. However, she fell on her knee. Apparently her body was still fragile. As a newly resurrected being she was weaker than she was used to. Realizing she could do nothing Mami only could wait to something which would come to her as she heard the footsteps were getting closer.
"Stay here, Bunyan!"
The door was opened and there was a golden hair young man. His face was serious and his red-purple eyes seemed so gentle.
The man said nothing. It seemed that he wanted to give the woman times to ensure herself of the man standing in front of her was the same man that she had ever met once in her life. For a moment Mami did not move. What she did was only observing him from face to toe. The woman bit her lower lip. She was nervous and was so afraid.
"Who is this man? Why does he resemble to Ryong?"
Having been urged by her curiosity, the ex-farmer came over the now-perfect- endless. After several steps finally she could see him in very short distance. Mami bit her lower lip. Her hands were trembling as she tried to reach him. She stepped on her toes and finally she could touch the emperor's face. Fou-Lu stood still but his red-purple eyes saw directly to Mami's causing the girl blushed and immediately looked away. Mami tried to control herself. She loved the emperor but she did want to be rude. After she could handle her nervousness, slowly the girl stretched her arms trying to touch Fou's face. She touched the emperor's golden hair slowly and saw his reaction. Mami saw that he did nothing causing her to continue her examination on him closely. After half hour passed Fou-Lu finally felt tired. He caught Mami's hands and held them in his palm making the girl looked at him.
"I think you should rest again," said the emperor as he led Mami to her bed. The peasant girl looked at Fou's gold eyes making the girl obeyed to what he said.
"Bunyan! You may come in!"
In one instant a half-century aged man came in. His brown bread was neater than before and his old, dirty and dull outfit was changed into a neat, elegant and formal one. Bunyan was a solider of Fou Empire but he decided to leave his job once he noticed that the Empire was changed. He spent his old days to become a wood cutter until he met the Emperor who wished him to be in his side.
"Bunyan, this is Mami. I wish you to be with her for a while. I have some business I must solve."
Fou-Lu walked to Bunyan's direction.
"Keep this girl in this room! You may tell her everything but my nature," he said in a low voice.
"Yes, Your Highness!" answered Bunyan almost whispering.
The Emperor left the room leaving Bunyan and Mami behind. For a while the two mortals spoke nothing. They only examined one another. Mami looked the ex-soldier intently trying to find out whether the old man would bring mischief to her or not. Bunyan, in another hand, was wondering whether Mami was Fou-Lu's immortal servant or not. Bunyan had many questions within his thought and wanted to talk to her. However, he did not need to wait long for Mami had an initiative to start a casual chat between them.
"Ah, Um… I want to go outside. Do you mind to go walkin' with me?"
"I don't think I can bring you outside."
"There are lots of hungry monsters in this castle."
"Really? But I think this place is safe."
"No, this place is not safe. Monsters and other mischief beings are all around."
"I see. Mm, what is your name and who are you? Are you Ryong's friend?"
"Ryong? Do you mean…" You may tell her everything but my nature…
Fou-Lu's words echoed in Bunyan's mind making the mid century man went silent.
"Ah, I'm sorry…My name is Bunyan and I am Ryong's friend. I am used to be a wood cutter. However, now I work under the em…I mean, Ryong's order," explained Bunyan uneasily. Bunyan never got nervous when he dealt with new people. Two things which made him uneasy were first, he had to keep Fou-Lu's true identity hidden from this girl and second, he had to call his emperor as "Ryong". He did not mind to call people by their names or their nickname but nicknaming or maybe addressing an emperor with a name which was not his was another thing! He never thought that anyone would dare nicknaming their ruler.
In another part of the castle the emperor was walking through dark corridors. He was heading to Emperor's Pagoda in where he ever once battled with his behalf's remaining party. In his thought he had many plans to take avenge towards humanity before he brought a complete destruction to all mortals in the world.
The stars and the moon were welcoming the Emperor with their pale lights when he arrived there. Fou-Lu did not find any traces of Ryu's remaining party when he arrived. Thus, he assumed that the party had been annihilated. Fou-Lu looked upon the sky and then raised his right hand. He closed his eyes and muttered a few words in an ancient language.
Less than a few minutes the color of the sky was totally black and there were five different small lights flying in the sky which grew bigger and bigger as they came nearer. The lights transformed into demi-dragon forms when they appeared in front of him. The Endless were speechless when they were in a face-to-face condition with Fou-Lu. They thought it was Ryu who summoned them but they were wrong because the one who summoned them was not Ryu but his behalf.
For a moment, there were silent between them until Fou-Lu spoke up:
No answer. All dragons were still in their own astonishment, or in their fear..or both...
"Why do not you answer mine? I think all of you already know that the summon in ancient time had been incomplete resulting an endless split into two and I think all of you know that one day the torn apart endless will reunite. I am Fou-Lu but I am still Ryu."
"We know of that," answer one of the Wind Dragon.
"So, what are your decisions now? Do you wish to be my allies or to be my opponents?"
For a moment, the dragons did not answer until the Wind Dragon gazed to his companion. Fou-Lu did not need to wait for a long times since the Wind Dragon gave his response immediately.
"Lord Fou-Lu, we know that you will return sooner or later and we know that the old promise shall be fulfilled."
"Very good. Now, I shall give you my command: Destroy all mortals in your region!"
The dragons nodded and dismissed themselves once Fou-Lu gave his command.
"The era of Mortals now can be counted by fingers because basically they are those who passed!" said Fou-Lu to himself as he left the Emperor's Pagoda.
To be continued….