Disclaimer: I still don't own KKM
I'm back! Yes it has been awhile and I'm sorry about that but University is taking up most of my time at the moment. Don't expect too many updates from me in a row. My final exams are in 3 months so I need to work hard.
Important: This is a sequel to Kyo Kara Maoh: The Next Generation, if you have not read that story first you will not know what is going on in this story. This story contains male/male love and mpreg, if you don't like it please stop reading now. This is a re-write of Kyo Kara Maoh: New Beginning and I hope all that have read that story will enjoy the re-write.
This is rated an M just to be safe, most of the chapters will only be a T rating.
Kyo Kara Maoh: Rise of the White Tiger
Chapter one: Dream
Ryan stood before the ten nobles with sweat dripping down his neck. His parents were sitting directly in front of him with four nobles on their left and five on their right. Ryan wondered why they were still known as the ten nobles when only nine of them ever appeared for occasions such as this. Lord Grantz had not appeared in court for years. Ryan hadn't even met the guy.
"Ryan Shibuya Von Bielefeld," Lord Wincott, Julia's younger brother, stood up and Ryan felt his heart rate kick up a notch. "You have been tried with high treason against the Maoh, how do you plead?"
"Not guilty." Ryan forced out between his lips. His mouth was so dry he could barely speak and his hands wouldn't stop shaking.
"You attacked the city of Shinmakoku and tried to kill the Maoh who happens to be your own father!" Stoffel Von Spitzweg, Cecilie's older brother, exclaimed loudly. Ryan's eyes darted to him before glancing back at his father. Yuri looked uncomfortable, as if he would rather be anywhere else than where he was now. Wolfram sat on Yuri's left, his face was a blank mask but Ryan could see the turmoil in his eyes.
"I was possessed, I could not stop myself." Ryan licked his lips. His throat was so dry he couldn't even swallow. The ten nobles all frowned at him.
"Possessed by what exactly?" Lady Von Rochefort asked eyeing Ryan with heavy suspicion.
"It is called an underworld spirit." Ryan replied and the nobles exchanged glances and mumbled to each other. Ryan tried to remain calm but it was becoming more and more difficult to breathe. It was as if the oxygen was being sucked out of the room.
"What is an underworld spirit?" Lord Von Radford asked staring at Ryan through his glasses. Ryan glanced around the room as the nobles continued to mutter amongst themselves. None of them looked convinced.
"It is an entity that lives in another world." Ryan said his voice shaking.
"Do you seriously expect us to believe that an entity from another world possessed you to lead a human attack on Shinmakoku?" Waltorana Von Bielefeld sneered at Ryan. Ryan flinched under his cold green eyes.
"Uncle, let us hear what Ryan has to say." Wolfram said quietly. Ryan glanced at his dad but Wolfram wouldn't meet his gaze. Waltorana huffed and crossed his arms.
"Ryan if you knew you were being possessed then why didn't you fight off the effects?" Lord Wincott asked gazing sadly at Ryan out of his blue eyes.
"I tried!" Ryan exclaimed, "I was trapped inside my own body I couldn't do anything to stop myself."
"What do you say Alviss?" Stoffel asked. Ryan turned in surprise to see Alviss standing next to him. When did he get here? Ryan wondered. Alviss ignored Ryan and directed his gaze towards Stoffel.
"When I saw Ryan at the human castle he was not under guard nor did he attempt to escape capture." Alviss spoke his voice flat and emotionless.
"I had no memory of who I was!" Ryan protested.
"Silence!" Gwendal barked making Ryan flinch. Ryan glanced at Alviss but the blue haired mazoku still wouldn't meet his eyes. Ryan felt his gaze move to Alviss's shoulder where he stabbed him on the day of the attack on Shinmakoku. Bile rose in Ryan's throat as he remembered the feeling of pushing steel through flesh.
"Alviss, you where attacked by Ryan while you were trying to protect Shinmakoku correct?" Densham Von Karbelnikoff, Anissina's older brother asked. He was unusually sombre and looked almost tired as if a great weight was pressing down on him.
"Yes." Alviss said and glanced at Ryan. Ryan felt horror fill him as he saw the hatred in Alviss's blue eyes.
"Alviss…" Ryan whispered and reached out to touch his best friend. Suddenly chains were attached to his wrists yanking him backwards. Ryan stared at the cold metal in confusion. A metal clasp encircled each wrist and a chain ran between each clasp. The chain was attached to another chain which was tied to a ring on the floor. Ryan looked up but Alviss was gone he turned his gaze to the ten nobles who now all wore black gowns.
"It would seem that you attacked the castle of your own free will." Gwendal said with barely hidden anger.
"No!" Ryan exclaimed.
"I have no idea what an underworld spirit is." A smooth voice said on Ryan's right side. Ryan jumped and turned to see David standing there. What is going on? Ryan wondered, people kept just appearing and disappearing.
"So you did not create this spirit and use it to make Ryan do your bidding?" Lord Von Gyllenhaal asked sweeping his long, light blond hair over his shoulder.
"No I did not." David smiled.
"He's lying!" Ryan shouted turning back to face his father. "Father please I had no choice but to do what I did you have to believe me!" Ryan begged. Yuri gazed sadly at his son before glancing at Gunter who sat beside him.
"Was there someone else who wished to speak?" Yuri asked calmly and Gunter nodded and stood up.
"Your husband was killed in the human attack is that right?" Ryan blinked wondering what Gunter was talking about when a voice spoke up.
"Yes, I saw the Prince kill my husband with my own eyes." A young woman, heavily pregnant, was standing where David had been moments before. Tears poured down her face. "I have a 2 year old boy and another one the way, I don't know how I will be able to cope now he's gone." The woman turned towards Ryan her sadness melting into anger. "What right did you have to take away my husband? What am I supposed to do now he's gone? How can I look after my children?"
"I'm sorry, I –" Ryan began but the young woman cut him off.
"Sorry is not going to bring back my husband or feed my children is it?" Ryan bowed his head in shame. I did this; I ruined people's lives because I wasn't strong enough to stop the attack. I couldn't fight off the spirit's control. I am responsible. Ryan looked up at his father as tears blurred his vision.
"It is time my fellow noble's," Stoffel stood up, "We must pass judgement." Stoffel sat back down and each noble rose to give their judgment before sitting back down.
"Guilty," said Radford.
"Guilty," said Gyllenhaal.
"Guilty," said Rochefort.
"Guilty," Wincott sighed shaking his head sadly.
"Guilty," Densham said quietly.
"Guilty," said Waltorana with a smirk.
"Guilty," Gunter said not looking at Ryan.
"Guilty," Gwendal also said his voice rough. Ryan turned his gaze to Stoffel. He had always liked the loud brash man and even though nothing could save him now he hoped his great uncle would believe him. Stoffel stood up.
"Guilty," a whisper rose through the nobles like the wind whispering through the trees. Ryan closed his eyes and felt the tears fall. Guilty, they all think I'm guilty. "Your majesty you must decide the punishment." Stoffel said and Ryan opened his eyes and looked at his father. Yuri stood up and locked his black eyes with Ryan's green ones.
"Ryan, you have been found guilty of the crime of treason against your fellow demons. You attempted to kill myself during the battle." Yuri paused and took a breath. "By the laws of Shinmakoku, you are hereby sentenced to death." Ryan gasped.
"But father," Ryan cried out trying to step forward but the chains held him back. "I am your son!"
"You are no son of mine." Yuri said firmly. Ryan jerked back as if he had been slapped. Suddenly his legs could no longer hold him up and he collapsed on the floor.
"No, this can't be happening. It wasn't supposed to end like this." Ryan whispered shaking his head. He felt numb all over. This can't be real. Suddenly the air was full of shouting. Ryan looked up and realised he was outside the castle kneeing on a raised wooden platform, crowds of people both human and demon were shouting and jeering.
"You killed my husband!"
"You're getting what you deserve!" The shouts filled Ryan's ears. Ryan's heart rate increased as he began to struggle against the chains holding him down. He just wanted to get away from the noise, from the shouting.
"No I didn't do it!" Ryan screamed, "You have to believe me!"
"No one believes you." Ryan looked up to see David smirking at him. "You did this Ryan, you killed them all." Davis's voice was soft and almost musical. Ryan glanced at the crowd and he eyes went wide as he saw the bodies of men who had died in the attack step forward. Their uniforms were stained with blood and gore. One man was missing an arm. Ryan felt his stomach heave and he struggled not to be sick.
"You killed them," Ryan said glaring at David, "You are responsible." David shook his head and leaned down to whisper in Ryan's ear.
"You will die here and I will have my revenge. All demon kind shall die thanks to you." David's voice changed becoming deeper and it rasped as if David had not had a drink in months. "I will have my revenge on all of you!" Ryan looked up but David had gone.
"Wait! What do you mean revenge? Revenge for what?" Ryan called but no one answered him.
"Stop! Stop saying that!" Ryan shouted and tears threatened to fall once again.
"But that is what you are, isn't it?" Ryan's head snapped up and he looked into Alviss's blue eyes. "You are a traitor Ryan."
"No Alviss, you can't say that to me." Ryan begged.
"You are going to die Ryan." Alviss said softly pulling his sword out of its sheath. Ryan felt his eyes go wide with fear. Ryan tugged at the chains around his wrists but they wouldn't budge.
"Father, please don't let them do this!" Ryan screamed in fear. Suddenly Yuri was standing before them looking down at his son. "Father you believe in justice, how can you do this to me?"
"This is justice." Yuri said before he vanished.
"No! I am innocent! I didn't attack my home willingly! Someone help me!" Ryan sobbed as Alviss raised the sword and pointed it at his heart.
"There is no one to help you now Ryan." Alviss stated as he gripped his sword.
"Wait, Alviss you l-love me right?" Ryan looked into Alviss's blue eyes in hope. Alviss seemed to hesitate for a moment.
"Not anymore." The sword plunged downwards.
"No!" Ryan jolted awake his hand outstretched. He was breathing heavily and covered in sweat and he could feel his heart thumping in his chest. Ryan's eyes darted around the room trying to see where he was. He was lying in a large double bed his legs and arms tangled in the bed sheets. Ryan sat up his body still shaking as he took in blue painted walls, a cream coloured carpet and a large picture window opposite the bed with heavy curtains drawn across it. Ryan exhaled a breath and dropped his head into his hands. It was just a dream; he was safe back in his room at Blood Pledge Castle. The ten nobles hadn't arrived yet and he hadn't been sentenced to death by his own father.
Ryan couldn't stop the sob from escaping his mouth. Even though it had only been a dream, at the time it had felt so real. It was Ryan's greatest fear that the trial in only a few days from now, he would be found guilty of treason and die for his crimes. Ryan knew in his heart that his father would never kill him, he would most likely be sent into exile.
Ryan stepped out of his bed and stumbled over to a pitcher of water on the bedside table. After pouring some water into a bowl he splashed his face hoping the cold water would chase the nightmare away. Ryan closed his eyes and listened to the silence. There was no one calling him a traitor, accusing him of killing a loved one or demanding he should die. Ryan licked his lips and tried to calm his still pounding heart. The dream could still become a reality and Ryan feared that more than anything. He had only been back a week and already he felt the anger and mistrust towards him growing stronger every day.
Ryan didn't blame the people really; he did attack his own home and kill many of his own people. No one had heard of an underworld spirit before and Ryan knew that many believed he was making it up to protect himself. Then there was that white light that people said took the form of a white tiger and spoke to them. Ryan didn't remember any of that and he feared the power that now slept inside of him. And there was another thing; his control over fire had been taken away.
Ryan stumbled towards the window and pulled the curtains back. The sun was just starting to rise casting a fiery red glow over the still sleeping town. Ryan sighed and turned away from the sight. He wasn't going to get anymore sleep today.
A fancy carriage was making its way down the main road to Shinmakoku the two white horses stepping out smartly. The carriage was made out of wood painted gold and sky blue and the horses' bridles and harness were made out of blue leather. Blue curtains were pulled across the windows hiding the occupants from view. A few farmers glanced up as the carriage rolled past the horses trotting in perfect time with each other. The farmers could tell that someone important must be residing inside the carriage. Maybe it was a foreign dignitary visiting the Maoh? The driver sat on a wooden seat in front of the carriage holding the reins content to let the horses have their head. They knew this road well and thanks to the Maoh there were very few bandits.
"Can't this thing go any faster?" A loud female voice shouted from the depths of the carriage making the horses snort. The driver gulped and snapped the reins raising the pace to a canter.
"We should be there within an hour My Lady." The driver called over the sound of the horses' hooves on the stone road.
"Good! We should have been there days ago!" The voice sounded angry and the driver snapped the reins again making the horses go faster. He did not want to be on the receiving end of this lady's anger.
"Really grandmother we've been delayed this long what are a few more minutes?" Another spoke, this one also female but softer and younger. "Let's not kill the poor horses."
"Oh fine but I just want to get home so badly." The first voice sounded sad and an elegant hand reached out to push the blue curtain back as green eyes watched the countryside flash past
Ryan sighed as he flicked through an old leather bound book. Ryan sat at an old wooden table worn from years of use under a large picture window. Sunlight streamed through the window and dust floated gently through the air. Ryan was sitting in the royal library surrounded by books trying to find any scrap of evidence to back up his story about the underworld spirits. Both Alviss and Elvira had agreed to tell the nobles what they knew about the riders in Ryan's defence. Apparently an old man called Kashikoi had sheltered Alviss and Elvira when Alviss was injured in the human Kingdom of Moob. Alviss had claimed that the old man had vast knowledge of the riders and spirits. Unfortunately the old man was dead. Yuri had sent a team to find Kashikoi to ask him to testify in the court but the team only found a body. The old man had since been buried outside of his house. Alviss suspected that the rider Yami, who was chasing them, had killed Kashikoi while the old man gave Alviss and Elvira time to escape on the dragon Sliver.
Ryan groaned and sat back in the wooden chair which creaked loudly. Ryan rubbed his hands over his eyes and sighed heavily. All this reading was giving him a headache and making him feel tired. Ryan dropped his hands and tilted his head back to stare at the ceiling. Ryan had doubted that he would find anything to validate his claims but there had always been a faint hope. A week of searching had turned up nothing however and that faint hope was fading rapidly and being replaced by a sense of failure. Ryan knew that Lord Eric of the Kingdom of Moob or his son Henry could back up his story but Lord Eric had refused to travel to the demon Kingdom or to allow his son to travel. Yuri was currently wrapped up in trying to diplomatically persuade Lord Eric to reconsider but he wasn't getting anywhere quickly. The trial was in 3 days. The ten nobles would be arriving in Shinmakoku the day after tomorrow.
Ryan stood up walked to the window and leaned against the wall staring out of the window. He could see officers drilling their men in the courtyard below. The sun was warm and the sky a picture perfect blue. Ryan groaned and pressed his head against the warm glass of the window. The weather could not have been more different than his mood.
"No luck?" A voice said making Ryan jump. Ryan turned to see Gunter standing behind him with a gentle smile. "Sorry I didn't mean to startle you." Gunter placed a book down on the table were Ryan had been reading.
"That's ok Gunter I was just thinking." Ryan sighed and pushed himself away from the wall and picked up the book Gunter had just put down. "What is this?"
"That is the only book I know of that talks about other worlds but only in theory." Gunter paused and Ryan raised his eyebrows in silent question. "Look Ryan, I don't think you are going to find anything about underworld spirits or beings from other worlds."
"You don't believe my story either do you?" Ryan said quietly putting the books down on the table. Gunter shook his head.
"I believe that you wouldn't attack Shinmakoku of your own free will but other creatures from other worlds?" Gunter shook his head again.
"Didn't my father come from another world?" Ryan asked quietly and Gunter sighed.
"Yes but everyone knew that that world existed before your father came to us." Gunter explained gently. "We have never found any other worlds besides your father's world."
"But if there is one world besides ours then how do we know there aren't more?" Ryan asked his voice pleading. Ryan looked up at Gunter who looked thoughtful.
"It is possible but I don't think you will find the answers in here." Gunter swept his arm to indicate the whole library. Ryan slumped in his chair and buried his face in his hands. Gunter's right, Ryan thought sadly. The thought was enough to make Ryan want to just give up.
"What should I do?" Ryan whispered softly. A hand touched his shoulder gently and Ryan looked up at Gunter. Gunter looked at Ryan with a gentle face that spoke of the great wisdom he hid behind his often childish personality.
"I don't know."
The guards looked up as a carriage cantered up the slope to the castle the white horses panting and sweating. A guard was sent to fetch Yuri and Wolfram as the carriage slowed down at the gate. The driver leaned over and spoke briefly with the guard on duty and the guard glanced back at the carriage in shock before opening the door to check that the driver was telling the truth. A pair of green eyes met his.
"Oh for goodness sake, are we there yet? We really must employ a better method of travel."
"My Lady welcome back to Shinmakoku." The guard stammered with a bow.
"Yes, yes are my sons around?"
"They will be here soon My Lady." The guard shut the door and waved the carriage through the entrance and the tired horses walked into the courtyard just as Yuri and Wolfram walked out of the castle doors. The carriage came to a stop and the door was flung open and one of the occupants climbed out in a whirl of skirts and blond curls.
"Mother!" Wolfram exclaimed in surprise and Cecilie Von Spitzburg former Queen of the demon kingdom turned and ran up to her youngest son and drew him into a tight hug.
"Wolfe darling I came as soon as I could!"
"It's been over a month." Wolfram felt inclined to point out as he was almost suffocated by his mother's rather large bosom. Cecilie sighed heavily and stepped back from her hug to look at her son.
"I know but our boat was under repairs and we were stuck for weeks!" Cecilie wailed throwing her arms around Wolfram again much to the blonde's dislike.
"Who is with you?" Yuri asked and another female climbed out of the carriage with more grace than her travel partner.
"Hello father." Greta smiled and Yuri walked up to her with a big smile.
"Greta I have missed you!" Greta hugged her adoptive father before stepping back.
"So what happened? Is Ryan still kidnapped?"
"Yes what happened to my little grandson, where is he?" Cecilie had finally let go of Wolfram much too said person's relief.
"Ok we have a lot of talking to do." Yuri smiled. An hour later Yuri, Wolfram, Cecilie and Greta were sitting outside with a large pot of tea and Yuri had brought his mother-in-law and daughter up to speed with the latest events since they had been gone.
"Wow poor Ryan is he ok?" Greta asked her big brown eyes worried for her younger brother. Although she had been jealous of Ryan at first since he was Yuri and Wolfram's blood son and she feared she would be replaced, she had fallen in love with the tiny baby boy the moment she held him in her arms. She loved Ryan as if he were her real little brother and when she heard that he had been kidnapped she had wanted to swim back to Shinmakoku to help look for him. Cecilie had talked her out of it though.
"Physically he's fine but the kidnapping and the attack has had a bad effect on him mentally." Yuri sighed, his black eyes worried. "He is helping to rebuild the town and I know he feels very guilty about what happened even though I have told him that it isn't his fault. I don't think anyone blames him for what happened."
"How could they?" Wolfram demanded his green eyes flashing, "There is no way Ryan would attack his own home of his own will. Anyone who knew anything about him would know that."
"So he was possessed by an underworld spirit?" Cecilie asked and Yuri nodded while Wolfram fumed beside him.
"It hasn't been confirmed that such creatures exist but if they do exist and could be used to take control of someone that is a threat to be taken seriously." Yuri said his voice sombre and Cecilie nodded.
"But you have the man responsible, David, locked up right?"
"Yes but he's not saying anything to us right now." Yuri sighed and Wolfram glared at the wall.
"Give me five minutes with him and he'll talk." Wolfram threatened a flame appearing on his palm.
"Wolf, remember Gisela said that stress was bad for the baby." Wolfram sighed and the flame vanished but Cecilie and Greta both sat up suddenly alert.
"What baby?" They asked at the same time looking between Yuri and Wolfram. The couple exchanged glances.
"Well that cat is out of the bag." Wolfram said weakly and smiled at his mother and adopted daughter. "I'm six weeks pregnant with Ryan's little brother."
"Oh Wolf, that is wonderful news!" Cecilie squealed clapping her hands together.
"Congratulations dad." Greta smiled but inside of her she couldn't help the little flame of jealously that burned. Once again her parents were having a baby of their own and she would be pushed to the outside once again. As much as she loved Ryan she had felt left out and lonely with all the attention Yuri and Wolfram gave their first born. It was only natural she guessed so she had left with Cecilie on a journey of 'true love' to find herself and her place. Now they were having another baby.
"How did Ryan react to the news?" Cecilie asked but Yuri's shoulders slumped and Wolfram sighed heavily.
"We haven't told him yet."
"What do you mean?" Greta asked and Wolfram gave Yuri a sharp look.
"I thought Yuri told him last week but he hasn't yet."
"You haven't told him either." Yuri pointed out and Wolfram had the grace to look embarrassed.
"When are you going to tell him?" Cecilie asked glancing at Yuri who rubbed his face.
"We are going to tell him soon so don't say anything." Yuri gave Cecilie a sharp look and she giggled waving a hand.
"Oh don't be silly I can keep a secret." Somehow Yuri didn't feel comforted at all.
Ryan was walking down a corridor heading towards the kitchen to get himself a midday snack hoping that it would wake him up a bit. Gunter had managed to convince Ryan that giving up never solved anything so Ryan was going to keep fighting to prove his innocence. It didn't help that Ryan wasn't entirely convinced that he was innocent. The fact that he couldn't find any evidence of underworld spirits or other worlds made it hard even for Ryan to believe that what happened really happened. How could he convince others that he was innocent if he didn't believe it himself? Ryan sighed and paused to stare out of a window. The window looked over the flower gardens his grandmother was so proud of. Ryan was so absorbed in watching the multi-coloured flowers sway gently in the light breeze he didn't notice someone walking up behind him.
"Ryan," A male voice said and Ryan looked over his shoulder and felt his heart skip in his chest. Alviss stood before him his dark blue hair curling gently over his face and the sunlight in his blue eyes making them shine a clear deep blue. Ryan looked away as flashes from his dream that night came back to him. He saw Alviss standing over him holding a sword ready to end his life. "You've been avoiding me." Alviss said quietly and Ryan looked back at the boy who saved him from killing everyone he loved.
"Sorry," Ryan said just as quietly.
"I'm sorry if I forced my feelings on you," Alviss said, "but I want you to know that –"
"Ryan!" A female voice exclaimed making both boys jump in surprise. Alviss turned to see Cecilie running towards them with her arms open.
"Grandmother!" Ryan said in surprise as he was enveloped in a tight hug.
"Oh my grandson I have missed you so much!" Cecilie exclaimed. Ryan turned his face away from his grandmother's large bosom to see Alviss walking away. Ryan felt his heart tug but he diverted his gaze. Alviss deserved better than him.
"How are you my darling?" Cecilie asked pulling back to look at her grandson. Ryan forced a smile onto his lips.
"I'm ok grandmother, really." Cecilie frowned but Ryan forced his smile not to waver under her strong gaze.
"Well I'm glad you are back and safe." Cecilie smiled gently, "It must have been awful being forced to do that horrid man's bidding."
"Yeah," Ryan said softly. Cecilie didn't seem to notice though and she ploughed on regardless.
"But don't worry Ryan you are safe now and David will pay for his crimes don't you worry about that!" Cecilie nodded firmly and Ryan gave her a watery smile.
"Yeah," He said again.
"Anyway, I think we should have a family dinner tonight!" Cecilie announced much to Ryan's surprise.
"Dinner?" Ryan echoed.
"Yes for the whole family, it's been so long since I've seen you all." Cecilie smiled. "I will go tell the kitchen. I will see you at seven sharp!" Cecilie hurried off in a wave of perfume and skirts leaving a shocked Ryan staring after her.
At seven in the evening the castle was lit by candle light making everything glow and deep shadows formed in corners. Ryan was standing in front of his mirror fixing his jacket before going out to eat with his family. He was wearing his usual purple military outfit but he felt like the clothes didn't belong to him. It was as if he was asleep and this was all some mixed up dream.
Ryan stared at the mirror and his reflection stared back at him. He barely recognised the boy staring back at him. Had it really only been six weeks since he was taken? How could such a short time change everything so greatly? His whole world had been turned upside down and inside out. Ryan didn't even know who he was anymore. And then there was Alviss.
Ryan didn't know what to do about Alviss and his new feelings towards him. He had never felt this way about a person before and it had come so suddenly. One day he and Alviss were friends then he was falling head over heels for him. But, did it really just happen after their first kiss? Ryan traced his lips with a finger and thought back to all the times Alviss had teased him making him blush or the many times Alviss's smile had made his heart jump. Had he really fallen in love with Alviss and not even noticed it?
Ryan shook himself out of his thoughts it was never going to happen so he should stop thinking about it. Alviss deserved someone better than him regardless of what Ryan may or may not be feeling. Ryan took one last look in the mirror before heading towards the dinning room. Ryan avoided eye contact with everyone he passed along the way but if they thought that his behaviour was strange they didn't say anything. Ryan entered the dinning room to see his family already seated at the table. The second largest rectangle wooden table had been brought out and Yuri sat at the head with Wolfram on his right opposite Cecilie who sat on Yuri's left. An empty chair was opposite Greta who sat next to Cecilie. Sitting next to Greta was Gwendal, then Gunter, then Gisela and then Honey. Opposite Honey was Josak and on his right was Conrad and next to him were Joey and Seth.
"Ah there you are Ryan!" Cecilie waved a huge smile on her face and Ryan felt his face heat up as everyone looked at him. Ryan ducked his head and made his way over to his chair and sat down. "Well now we're all here let's eat!" Cecilie said cheerfully clapping her hands and maids swept into the room handing out food. Conversation soon started up again and Ryan relaxed slightly as a dish of cold fish was placed in front of him. After the incident last week when Yuri was almost killed by poisoning all their food was prepared by a team of chefs and only certain maids were allowed to serve the food. Yuri and Wolfram's food was also tasted by a servant before they were allowed to eat although Yuri thought that that was unnecessary. He was poisoned last time to keep him out of the battle and that battle was long over.
"So Ryan how was your day?" Wolfram asked as his dish was placed in front of him after being checked.
"I have been trying to find any evidence of underworld spirits in demon text but so far I've been unlucky." Ryan said eating some of the white fish tasting the unique but nice taste on his tongue.
"How boring shouldn't you be recovering from your ordeal?" Cecilie asked looking worried but Ryan shook his head.
"I like to be kept busy." Yuri eyed his son but Ryan had become very good at masking his feelings this past week making him hard to read. Useful for dealing with negotiations but there was no need around family.
"Well we are all going to be busy these next few weeks." Gwendal said sombrely and Ryan nodded but didn't comment.
"Well shall we move onto another topic?" Yuri suggested lightly taking a bite of his fish. "Josak, how are the new troops coming along?" Josak looked up at Yuri and smiled at him.
"Very well so far we should have a good crop of soldiers from them."
"Any elemental users?" Yuri asked getting into the conversation, he already knew quite a lot about the soldiers from Wolfram but Ryan seemed to be relaxing and Yuri didn't want to talk about the upcoming trial at the dinner table.
"Not in this lot but we should be getting some water and fire users later on in the year." Josak understood where Yuri was going with the conversation. "Maybe Ryan could help Wolfram teach them a thing about using fire?"
"I no longer have control over the element fire." Ryan said poking at his fish. There was silence around the table as everyone looked at him.
"Really what happened?" Wolfram asked.
"I don't know they disappeared after I used the white tiger powers. I guess I can't have both."
"I've never heard of someone loosing an element power before," Gisela mused but Ryan just shrugged and stared at his food his appetite gone. Yuri noticed that Ryan was uncomfortable being the centre of attention so he glanced at Seth.
"Seth was have you been up to today?" At once the bubbly boy launched into a dramatic story about looking for a lost sock much to the amusement of everyone at the table. Ryan glanced at his father who winked at him making Ryan smile faintly. Yuri made a mental note to take Ryan aside and talk to him in private to see how he was coping. Seth was in the middle of telling everyone how the lost sock had been found under his bed when Cecilie spoke up.
"Don't push your beans around the plate Wolfram you need the protein now you're pregnant." Silence fell thick on the table and Ryan froze before glancing up at his grandmother who looked horrified her hand over her mouth.
"Pregnant?" Ryan echoed and glanced at his dad who had gone rather pale. Yuri didn't look very happy either. "Dad?"
"We were going to wait until everything had settled down before we told you about it." Wolfram said gently, "I am about six weeks along so you can expect to have a baby brother in a bit less than 8 months."
"I was the only one who didn't know?" Ryan couldn't seem to get his voice to work he couldn't even breathe right.
"Ryan, are you ok?" Yuri asked his voice gentle and Ryan stood up sharply making Seth, who was sitting beside him, jump.
"I'm not hungry, excuse me." Ryan turned and walked quickly out of the dinning room before anyone could stop him. Yuri half got out of his chair.
"Ryan wait a…" The dinning room door slammed shut behind Ryan. Yuri sighed heavily and sat back down and glared at Cecilie. Cecilie lowered her hand.
Ryan was sitting on the roof of Blood Pledge Castle gazing out over the town. It was a warm night with a light breeze and a clear sky. Ryan could see thousands of stars lighting up the sky and the small slice of moon that shone down. Ryan closed his eyes and let the sounds of the town drift towards him on the wind. He should have known his parents were keeping secrets from him. It just proved that not even his own family trusted him anymore.
"A little brother," Ryan said tilting his head back to look up at the stars. Any other time he would be excited to learn about a new sibling but right now he didn't know what he felt. Part of him realised that with a new baby on the way his parents no longer needed him. His father would still have an heir even if he, Ryan, was gone. Ryan pulled his knees up to his chest and laid his head down on his knees. Now his father could have him exiled or killed without the problem of finding someone to train to replace him when he stepped down from being the Maoh. Ryan knew that in the past Shin'oh had chosen the new Maoh but Shin'oh had given that power over to Yuri as a sign of trust in the new Maoh. Yuri could choose anyone he wanted but once Ryan was born everyone assumed that Ryan would be the logical choice.
Even though Yuri was part human Ryan was more demon than human so he could take over the kingdom without 'pure blood' demons becoming upset. Greta couldn't rule because it was highly likely that she would be dead before Yuri even came close to retirement due to the demon's slower aging rate. There were also demons that would rebel if a human was put on a demon throne. Ryan sighed heavily. His new brother, if it was indeed a boy, would be demon enough for everyone and he would not have been tried for treason. Ryan knew that it didn't matter if he was found innocent; the fact that he had a trial would forever stain his record and cause deep mistrust.
"Ryan, are you up here?" A voice called and Ryan glanced up at his father's voice.
"Over here," Ryan called not looking back. There was some scuffling and a muttered curse before Yuri appeared on his left.
"I thought you might be up here." Yuri smiled and sat beside Ryan with a smile.
"It was my idea actually." Wolfram said and Ryan looked up to see his dad walking towards him. Wolfram sat down on Ryan's right side and smiled at his son. "I remember that you always used to come up here when you were upset."
"Look Ryan, we're sorry we didn't tell you about the new baby but we thought you had enough to think about." Yuri said getting straight to the point. "A new baby is not going to change how much we love you."
"The new baby wouldn't have committed treason either." Ryan said before he could stop himself.
"Is that what this is about?" Wolfram asked shaking his head. "Ryan you haven't been found guilty yet. I for one believe one hundred percent that you are innocent." Wolfram smiled at his son reaching out to run his fingers through Ryan's hair. "Don't start doubting your innocence my son or others will too." Ryan leaned into the touch without realising it and closed his eyes.
"Wolfram is right Ryan," Yuri said his voice gentle and loving, "I also believe you to be innocent but you have to believe it as well."
"I don't know what to believe anymore." Ryan said softly feeling a sense of hopelessness wash over him.
"There are many things out there in the world that haven't been discovered yet Ryan." Yuri said gently, "just because our books don't have anything written about them doesn't make them any less real." Ryan opened his eyes and looked at his father trying to keep the tears at bay.
"I had a dream last night." Ryan admitted softly looking down at the tiles on the roof. "It was about the trial."
"I see, what happened in your dream?" Yuri asked and Ryan licked his lips before answering.
"I was standing before the ten nobles and you and dad where there too. No one believed me when I said that I was under the control of a spirit so they all believed I was guilty." Ryan felt his voice catch. A hand rubbed his back gently and Ryan looked at his father and gave him a watery smile.
"What happened next?" Yuri asked gently still rubbing his son's back.
"You –" Ryan paused and bit his lip.
"If you tell me Ryan it will make you feel better." Yuri urged gently.
"You sentenced me to death," Ryan whispered and heard his dad suck in a breath. The hand rubbing Ryan's back stopped briefly before starting again. "You said that I wasn't your son anymore."
"I see, no wonder you were so upset." Yuri said his voice sombre. "Ryan, there are many things that I have no control over. But there are two things that I can promise you, one is that I would never sentence you to death no matter what you did and second, you will never stop being my son." Yuri smiled at Ryan who felt the tears starting to gather again. "Your dad and I will always love you no matter what."
"But why?" Ryan asked his voice choked.
"Because we are your parents," Wolfram said, "and parents never stop loving their children." Ryan sniffed as the tears began to fall. Wolfram pulled Ryan into his arms and hugged him tightly. Ryan buried his face into his dad's shoulder as he cried. Ryan could feel Yuri gently running a hand through his hair and he couldn't believe how lucky he was to have parents who loved him so much. For a moment Ryan was content to let his parents hold him but the tears soon dried and Ryan sat up feeling a bit foolish.
"Ok I feel better now." Ryan said wiping his face clean. Wolfram smiled at his son and touched his face.
"Remember we love you Ryan and we will always support you ok?" Ryan nodded and coughed to clear his throat.
"So have you picked out a name yet?" Ryan asked glancing at his dad's stomach. Wolfram placed a hand on his stomach with a smile.
"We were thinking that you should name him." Wolfram said. Ryan stared at his dad before looking at his father for confirmation. Yuri nodded with a grin.
"Wow, um, I have no idea. Are you sure it's a boy? You're only six weeks along right?"
"Wolfram says it's a boy, but I think it's going to be a girl." Yuri grinned and Wolfram rolled his eyes.
"That's what you said when I was pregnant with Ryan and look who was right."
"Well you never know." Yuri winked at Ryan who grinned.
"Ok in that case how about Kai if it is a boy and Miyoko if it is a girl?" Ryan suggested. Wolfram tilted his head thinking it over.
"Kai, yes I like the sound of that." Wolfram smiled at Ryan.
"I agree both the names you chose are wonderful." Yuri grinned at Ryan who blushed.
"I wonder what he or she will look like." Ryan mused.
"He will look like his father is my guess." Wolfram said grinning at Yuri.
"Ryan looks like you so maybe the next one will look like you as well." Yuri said but Wolfram frowned.
"Ryan looks like you."
"No I defiantly see a lot of you in him."
"Only in the eyes! He looks and acts much more like you than me!" Wolfram argued.
"No he defiantly takes after you." Yuri argued back. Here we go, Ryan thought with a smile. There really is no place like home.
Down in the dungeons under the castle things were not so cheerful. Three guards stood outside a locked cell the only light coming from flickering torches on the walls. The cell was located underground and the only entrance was via a spiral staircase. Four empty cells, two set into each wall, lined the short passage with the fifth and last cell located directly opposite the staircase. The place smelled damp and thick black shadows sprang up from every corner.
In the cell facing the staircase a figure lay curled up on its side facing the wall lying on top of a bed with a thin blanket. "They think they can keep me contained in this cell." The figure whispered to itself. "They are wrong, my master calls for me and I will go to him. To the Black Forest my loyal subjects. They will all suffer once my master is free." The figure started laughing and the guards shivered and exchanged glances. "He is coming." David whispered giggling gleefully. "He is coming."
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