Disclaimer: I do not own KKM or any of its characters

Claimer: I, Chop4tess, own this story, its plot, and any and all original characters

Warning this story contains the following: male/male love; male/female love; lemons; pregnancy; mpreg; original characters; kidnapping, mild torture and mild violence. If any of this disturbs you please leave now, thank you.

Hello and welcome to all to my Kyo Kara Maoh story 'Moving On'.

While in Big Shimaron on a secret mission Yuri and his party are attacked by bandits. In order to protect Yuri, Wolfram stays behind to give Yuri, Conrad and Yosak a chance to escape. When Wolfram goes missing everyone believes him to be dead. With Wolfram gone Yuri finally realises how much Wolfram meant to him. But is it too late for second thoughts? With their paths divided, will Yuri and Wolfram find someone new to love?

This story is not connected in any way to my other KKM stories.

I would like to dedicate this story to arte0135 for thinking outside the box :)

Enjoy!

Moving on

Chapter one: The Beginning

Man my butt hurts, Yuri sighed to himself as he sat on his horse. His butt was sore after weeks of riding and he was looking forward to getting back to Shinmakoku even if it meant having to sit at his desk for hours signing papers. Yuri was now in his fourth year as the demon King of Shinmakoku and he felt he was finally comfortable with his role. Almost every month a new country was asking to join the Mazoku-human alliance and while most countries joined for political reasons, Yuri hoped that one day they would be able to walk side-by-side as equals.

"What are you sighing about wimp?" Wolfram's voice cut into Yuri's thoughts. Yuri glanced at the blond Mazoku who was riding beside him wearing the usual green and blue outfit he wore when in the human kingdoms. Yuri may have grown comfortable and confident as the demon King but his engagement to Wolfram was an entirely different story. Yuri was certain that he didn't want to marry a man but Wolfram's presence was starting to have strange effects on Yuri which he couldn't ignore. Yuri didn't understand it but suddenly he felt that being separated from Wolfram was a bad thing instead of a good thing. Yuri signed again. Life with Wolfram was far too complicated.

"It doesn't matter Wolf," Yuri said and Wolfram narrowed his eyes and opened his mouth to retort when Conrad cut in.

"We should keep talking to a minimum here; there are bandits in this area." Yuri sat up a little straighter and looked around. Wolfram nodded and his hand slipped down to his sword.

"Relax they wouldn't attack a group this large." Josak grinned over his shoulder from his place at the head of their small procession. Yuri relaxed again and Wolfram glanced side ways at him before letting go of his sword. Yuri, Wolfram, Conrad and Josak were currently in Big Shimaron checking on the progress of the rebellion against King Lanzil the Second that Conrad himself had started a few months ago. Lanzil was currently in hiding and the men still loyal to him were few and far between. Lanzil's advisors had set up a government of sorts to run the country until a suitable successor could be found.

It had been Murata who suggested this little trip. He said that if a power hungry king came to the throne then Shinmakoku would be trouble once again. At first it was only Conrad and Josak who were going to infiltrate Big Shimaron and sneak about in secret but Yuri had demanded to go too, so naturally, Wolfram came along as well. Yuri had dyed his hair red and put in coloured contacts to disguise himself.

The party had been in Big Shimaron for almost two weeks and they felt they had gathered enough information. It appeared that Lanzil was not making a come back any time soon and his old advisors wanted someone who was not going to oppose Shinmakoku to sit on the throne. The people were sick of war and wanted to live in peace even if that meant allying with their old enemies, the Mazoku. Yuri was very happy to hear this news. He still hoped to form an alliance with Big Shimaron despite all that had happened to him over the years. Wolfram thought that Yuri's forgiving nature was going to get him into serious trouble one day. People would take advantage of him and the wimp wouldn't even notice it. Wolfram sighed heavily. It was because of Yuri's nature that the Mazoku-human alliance happened in the first place. Wolfram never would have dreamed that he could call a human his friend but that was what he considered Lady Flurin Gilbert of Caloria to be. Even if Yuri wouldn't stop flirting with her, the damn cheater.

Wolfram wasn't sure when his feelings for Yuri developed. He knew that at first he followed Yuri because he believed that it was his 'duty' whether he liked it or not. But now things had changed. Yuri was growing into a fine King and Wolfram respected him in ways he never thought he would. Wolfram eyed his fiancé as he rode beside him. Yuri was always so cheerful and supportive and he always thought of others first and himself second. Wolfram knew he was nothing like that but he was trying. He was trying to understand other people's feelings and be more like Yuri. Despite what people may think, Wolfram did want people to like him but he didn't know how to interact with others. Wolfram was a very insecure person who was terrified of being left alone. Yuri was always surrounded by people with a big smile on his face and Wolfram felt jealous. He wanted to share in the glow that Yuri gave off but Yuri refused to see him as anything more than a friend.

Wolfram looked away from Yuri and stared at the trail ahead. Wolfram knew he had his share of flaws but he also knew that he would make a good husband if only Yuri would give him a chance. He would always be faithful to Yuri and he would protect the wimp from any and all dangers that presented themselves. Wolfram had never lost faith in Yuri and he never would. He knew that Yuri was the one who would end the wars between the humans and Mazoku and he wanted to share that future with Yuri. Heck they had been engaged for four years and Yuri had never even kissed him! Wolfram closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Maybe he should talk to Yuri about their engagement? Wolfram shook his head. He didn't want to ask Yuri that question because he was terrified of the answer.

"Wolf, are you ok?" Wolfram looked at Yuri who was peering closely at him with a light frown. Wolfram was about to tell Yuri that he was fine when the undergrowth exploded. All four horses reared in panic as at least twenty heavily armed men on horseback appeared from nowhere waving their swords over their heads and shouting. The noise created a whirl of confusion that left Wolfram frozen before his military training kicked in. Wolfram grabbed his sword transferring the reins to his left hand as he moved closer to Yuri to protect him.

"This way," Josak shouted and kicked his horse towards a narrow trail leading off to the right. Conrad and Yuri followed with Wolfram right behind them. Josak drew his sword and killed one of the bandits who tried to stop them. The bandit's horse reared and fled after its rider was killed making the other horses scatter giving Yuri and the others a chance to escape.

The trail was narrow and Wolfram had to keep ducking under low hanging branches which threatened to knock him off his horse. Fortunately Yuri seemed to be holding on for the moment but if the trail got any worse Wolfram wasn't sure that Yuri would be able to stay on his horse. Josak seemed to be thinking the same thing because he suddenly turned off the trail heading back to the original wider one. Conrad pulled his horse back to allow Yuri to pass him so he was behind Josak and Conrad was next to Wolfram. The bandits knew the land however and were soon right behind them.

Wolfram glanced over his shoulder and cursed at the bandits as they began to catch up to them. Their horses were tried from their long trip but the bandits' horses were fresh and willing. Wolfram knew they couldn't outrun them for long. There was a boat waiting for them just a few miles ahead and if they could reach it in time they could get away. Wolfram glanced over his shoulder again. There were still several bandits following them and they looked tough and well trained. They might even have been in the army at one point. Many soldiers had become bandits or bounty hunters in order to feed their families since they were no longer being paid to be in the army.

Josak's horse thundered around a corner and Yuri followed with Conrad and Wolfram close behind. Wolfram's heart was pounding as adrenaline coursed through him. He knew that they were too far from the ship and the bandits were getting closer. An arrow whizzed past Wolfram's ear making him yelp in surprise. Conrad glanced at his younger brother in concern just as another arrow whizzed past his shoulder. Conrad glanced over his shoulder and frowned at the cross bows that three bandits were carrying. The third raised his cross bow and fired. Conrad ducked and the arrow flashed past him and almost hit Yuri. Yuri yelped in shock and Josak almost fell off his horse as he turned in the saddle to see what happened.

Wolfram felt a searing pain in his head and realised with a thrill of fear that the human bandits had brought Houseki stones with them. If it wasn't bad enough that the human lands drained his powers now he was weakened further by the stones. Wolfram was also painfully aware that he would be the only one of their group affected by the stones, which of course, made him the weakest. Wolfram jerked sideways as a bolt of purple coloured energy flew past them and a large smoldering burn mark appeared on a tree just in front of them. Wolfram glanced over his shoulder again. The men were catching up. If they captured Yuri…Wolfram turned back to face the track, there was no way he could allow that to happen.

Wolfram closed his eyes and made a decision. If this continued then someone was going to get hurt. Yuri had to be protected at all costs. He was the only one who could stop the wars and bring peace. If Yuri was killed or wounded by Big Shimaron troops, even ones no longer in the army, the consequences would be catastrophic. Wolfram used to think that as a soldier he would one day go to war and he had accepted that, but now Wolfram shared Yuri's desire for peace. If Wolfram had to die to make Yuri's dreams of a world without fighting come true, then so be it.

For a moment all Wolfram could hear was the pounding of his heart and the rush of blood in his ears. For a moment Wolfram allowed himself to think of all the things he would miss out on. He would never see Greta grow up into the beautiful lady he knew she would become one day. He would never watch Greta fall in love and maybe even start a family of her own. Wolfram closed his eyes feeling his horse's smooth gallop beneath him. Then again, if he didn't stop these men then what would happen? What would happen to Greta, his mother, everyone in Shinmakoku if Yuri did not return? What would happen to the Mazoku-human alliance if Yuri were to die? No, Wolfram could not allow his personal wishes to get in the way of the greater good. That was what it meant to be a solider.

"Wolfram," Wolfram glanced at his older half Mazoku brother. He knew Conrad could see his decision in his eyes.

"Conrad, take of Yuri for me." Wolfram said over the sound of pounding hooves. He saw Conrad's eyes go wide but before he could be talked out of it Wolfram sat back in the saddle and jerked the reins back. Wolfram's horse snorted in surprise before digging in its front legs and tucking its back legs underneath it to execute a perfect sliding stop. Wolfram twisted in the saddle pulling the reins around and drawing his sword. The bandits jerked their reins back their horses skidding in surprise as Wolfram charged at them with a war cry his green eyes flashing and his blond hair reflecting the sunlight. He looked like an avenging angel dealing out divine justice to the wicked. The bandit leader was the first to recover from the shock and he drew his sword and met Wolfram head on.

Yuri looked over his shoulder hearing Wolfram shout and he almost fell off his horse in shock. What did Wolf think he was doing? He was charging right at the enemy! Yuri sat up to pull his own horse to a stop to go back and help Wolfram but Conrad was suddenly beside him holding the reins forcing Yuri's horse to keep running.

"Conrad we have to go back Wolf is –" Yuri shouted over the noise of the horses but Conrad cut him off.

"I know Yuri, this is Wolfram's choice." Conrad said. Josak glanced over his shoulder and saw the pain in Conrad's eyes. Josak turned his sky blue eyes back to the trail his face worried.

"But Conrad –" Yuri began but Conrad shook his head.

"You must be protected Your Majesty. Wolfram is a soldier he can take care of himself." Conrad felt his heart twist at his own words. Wolfram was a talented swordsman that was true, but to face off against twenty men who were all at least twice his size? Conrad closed his eyes for a second then opened them. Wolfram didn't stand a chance.

"No! We have to help Wolf! Conrad we have to go back!" Yuri tried in vain to stop his horse but Conrad had the reins held tight under the horse's bit preventing Yuri from stopping the animal. Conrad shook his head and continued on ignoring Yuri's protests.

:-:

Wolfram was doing alright considering he was outnumbered twenty to one. Well, it was more like fifteen to one now. Wolfram had already killed three men and he was trying to keep track of the others. The bandits had underestimated his power and Wolfram took advantage of that. Now though they knew his skills with a blade and they were being more careful. Wolfram was currently directly in front of the remaining bandits to prevent them getting past him to chase Conrad and the others. The leader was directly opposite him and was watching him carefully. The leader was the biggest of them all with thick bulging muscles under his brown coat. The leader's hair was brown and streaked with grey but his hazel eyes were still sharp. The others were smaller but just as mean looking. Four men still had a cross bows and Wolfram eyed the arrows loaded in them before turning his attention back to the leader. Wolfram's horse was sweating and breathing hard, its eyes rolling back in fear to show the whites.

"You have talent with a sword," the leader commented tilting his head to look Wolfram up and down. "I could use someone like you on my team seeing as you have killed three of my men."

"Never," Wolfram spat keeping a tight hold on his horse's reins making the animal skip sideways.

"Very well," the leader motioned with his hand. The bandit on the far left kicked his horse forward his sword raised. Wolfram turned his horse to meet the attack just as another bandit with the cross bow raised the bow and pointed it at Wolfram. Wolfram realised his mistake a second too late. The arrow shot out of the bow and streaked towards Wolfram. Wolfram threw himself to the left to avoid the arrow but it struck him in his right side. Wolfram cried out in pain just as the bandit who had started towards him reached him. Wolfram kicked his horse making it jump away from the bandit who swore at Wolfram. Wolfram sat up as much as he could, trying to ignore the blinding pain in his side.

"There is nowhere for you to go." The bandit sneered. Wolfram looked over his shoulder to see that two bandits had snuck behind him and where now blocking his escape. Wolfram eyed them in distaste before raising his sword high above his head.

"Who said anything about leaving?" Wolfram snapped and turned his gaze to the leader who was once again in front of him. "And make sure all the wounds are on the front, I don't want people to think I ran away."

"My dear boy," the leader laughed, "Who said anything about killing you?" Wolfram charged but his wound made him slow. Wolfram's eyes went wide as the bandit closest to him raised his hand and hit Wolfram over the head with the hilt of his sword. Wolfram crumpled at once. The bandit took the horse's reins and tied them to his saddle.

"You seven follow the others!" The leader shouted and seven men turned their horses' heads and took off in the direction Yuri and the others had taken.

"They were heading to the coast maybe they must have a ship waiting for them?" One bandit asked keeping a tight hold of Wolfram's horse's reins. The animal snorted in fear and rolled its eyes.

"Possibly," The leader walked his horse until it was standing alongside Wolfram's. He then leaned down and grabbed a fist full of Wolfram's blond locks and pulled his head up. "Even if they do escape, we've got ourselves a good catch here." The bandits laughed. "I recognise this one, he is the Maoh's fiancé, that means the red haired one was the demon King himself." The other bandits gasped in surprise.

"But I thought the demon king had black hair and eyes?" One bandit said in confusion and the leader nodded.

"He does but he uses his demonic powers to colour his hair and eyes when in the human kingdom. I've been in the army a long time and I've seen him before." The leader glanced down the track where Yuri and the others had gone then back at Wolfram. "I gather this one will fetch us a pretty penny, after he's told us everything he knows of course." The leader laughed and his men laughed with him.

:-:

The five sailors watching the small boat that had brought their King, his advisors and his fiancé to Big Shimaron turned as they heard the sound of approaching hooves. Their hands went to their short swords as they formed a protective ring around the boat. They were not trained fighters but they were willing to defend the only means of escape for their King. The boat was hidden from view but it was possible that someone had discovered them. When Josak galloped onto the beach the sailors relaxed. Conrad followed shortly after leading the King's horse. All three horses were sweating heavily and breathing hard.

"We are being followed, we must leave at once!" Conrad shouted as Josak jumped off his horse. The sailors saluted and hurried on board the ship to haul up the anchor and open the sails. Josak hurried on board as well to help them. Conrad jumped off his horse and reached up to help Yuri down.

"We can't leave, not until Wolfram gets here." Yuri said firmly as he landed on the ground. Conrad watched Yuri's face for a moment before sighing.

"We can't stay here any longer."

"No we wait all day if we have to, we are not leaving!" Yuri shouted and Conrad sighed and placed a hand on Yuri's shoulder.

"Yuri we have to leave if those men catch us –"

"But there are more of us now we can fight them off right?" Yuri sounded desperate as he clung to Conrad's jacket. "We can't leave Wolfram here alone!" Conrad watched Yuri's face for a moment then he sighed.

"I'm sorry Yuri," Conrad said quietly, "These sailors don't know how to fight they would all be killed. And I doubt Wolfram could have won against all those men. I don't think he's coming back." Conrad said the last part so quietly Yuri almost didn't hear him. Yuri's eyes went wide and he stumbled backwards.

"No, he can't be, no," Yuri shook his head, "Wolfram is the best fighter in Shinmakoku he could easily beat twenty men!" Yuri protested. Conrad smiled slightly at Yuri referring to Wolfram as the 'best fighter' but his smile soon faded away and he sighed.

"I'm sorry Yuri, Wolfram's powers are limited in the human countries and none of us have been sleeping much lately so he's not at the top of his game. Besides it seems they had houseki stones with them and you know how much they affect Wolfram." For the duration of their time in Big Shimaron they were constantly on alert so someone was always awake keeping watch. Yuri was the only one who didn't have to keep watch but he did so anyway. The result was that no one got enough sleep at night and they were often cranky and tired.

"But its Wolfram, he can't die!" Yuri said shaking his head. Conrad glanced at Yuri with pain filled eyes wishing that it was true.

"Everyone dies Yuri," Conrad said softly. Yuri suddenly turned and tried to get back on his horse but Conrad grabbed him and pulled him away. "Yuri what are you doing?"

"I have to help him, I can't let Wolf die!" Yuri struggled in Conrad's arms. "Let me go damn it!"

"Forgive me Your Majesty," Conrad said before lifting the struggling 17 year old into his arms and flipping him over his shoulder.

"Put me down Conrad! That is an order!" Yuri yelled beating on Conrad's back with his fists but Conrad ignored him as he climbed on to the boat.

"Set sail at once," Conrad said to the astonished sailors who nodded and ran to their posts. The boat was very small it only had three bedrooms and one main room for meals with a tiny kitchen. Yuri and Wolfram had shared one bedroom while Josak and Conrad used the second and the sailors slept together in the third room. Since they were going into Big Shimaron in secret Conrad and Josak thought it best to have the smallest ship possible to avoid detection or any unwanted attention.

Conrad now went below decks trying to make sure he didn't hit Yuri's head against the low ceiling. Yuri shouted and protested the whole way demanding that Conrad put him down. Conrad ignored his King and godson and opened the door where Yuri and Wolfram had been sleeping and dropped Yuri on the bed. The room was barely big enough for the double bed which was screwed to the floor and the chest of drawers opposite the bed attached to the wall. The room itself was painted white with a light coloured wooden floor. A porthole was situated in the middle of the wall opposite the door and let in the light. Yuri scrambled upright his face red from hanging upside down.

"How can you leave him here, Wolfram is your little brother!" Yuri shouted his eyes filling with tears. Conrad looked away from Yuri's accusing gaze. "Conrad, take of Yuri for me." This is what Wolfram wanted, Conrad thought as he turned to leave the tiny room. "Conrad, answer me!" Yuri shouted starting to get up off the bed.

"Wolfram did what he did so we could escape and you could get to safety." Conrad snapped his voice harsher than he intended. Yuri fell back against the blue coloured covers in shock. "He knew what he was doing and he would never forgive me if I let anything happen to you." Conrad shut the heavy wooden door and turned the key in the lock to stop Yuri from escaping.

Yuri couldn't believe that Wolfram would die for him. Sure the blond had said that he would die for him on several occasions but those had just been words right? Wolfram hadn't meant it had he? Yuri buried his face in his hands. He didn't want Wolfram to die for him. He didn't want anyone to die for him or because of him. Yuri wanted everyone to live happily and peacefully. He didn't want Wolfram to die. Yuri felt a sob rise in his throat and he couldn't stop it from escaping.

:-:

Conrad ran up on deck to see Josak shouting orders to set sail. Josak turned and nodded at Conrad as he walked up to him. Conrad nodded back and turned his gaze to the tree line desperate for Yuri's words to be true; desperate to see his little brother trotting out of the forest wondering what all the fuss was about.

Any other time Conrad would have believed as Yuri did that Wolfram could hold his own in any fight but this was different. Wolfram was tired from their long journey and the presence of houseki stones weakened him further. Why Wolfram had decided to attack the men when he knew the danger Conrad didn't know. No, Conrad did know why Wolfram did that. He understood it perfectly. Maybe that was why it hurt so much?

"Captain, are you alright?" Josak asked watching his friend in concern. Conrad pursed his lips but said nothing. Josak followed Conrad's gaze to the tree line. Their horses were still on the beach as there was nowhere to put them on the boat. Josak felt a momentary flash of pity for the creatures; he hoped someone would find them and take care of them. "I can go back for him you know." Josak said quietly. "All you have to do is ask me."

"Josak…" Conrad shook his head. "Why would you do that? You don't even like Wolfram." 'Little Lord Brat' was Josak's favourite nick-name for his blond brother. Conrad didn't think you called someone that if you liked them.

"Its true I like the kid more now than I used to. His Majesty has been a good influence on him but," Josak turned to look at Conrad, "I wouldn't be doing it for him." Conrad felt his heart skip in his chest at the implication behind Josak's words.

"Josak –" Conrad began only to be cut off by a sailor shouting from the top of the mast.

"Horses approaching sir!"

"Where?" Conrad ran to the prow of the boat grasping his sword.

"Off the port bows!" The sailor called back.

"How many horses can you see?" Josak called up.

"Looks like ten or more Sir!" The sailor called back. Conrad felt any tiny spark of hope he had for his little brother die. Wolfram must have fallen in battle. Conrad pushed his feelings aside and squared his shoulders. There would be time to grieve later.

"Men, get this boat out of here now!" Conrad called and the busy ship turned into a hive of chaos as the sails were unfurled. The wind was on their side, pushing them out to sea and off the shore. There was a crunching sound as the boat slipped off the sand and into the water. The helmsman turned the wheel right around and the ship began to turn to face out of the bay.

The boat was broadside to the beach when the bandits burst out of the forest and galloped down the beach shouting madly. The sailors threw insults back until the Captain shouted at them to shut up and continue working. The bandits reined in their horses at the water's edge. A few loaded bolts into their crossbows and raised their weapons.

"Hit the deck!" Conrad hollered and ducked behind the boat's side. A cross bolt flew over his head and buried itself into the main mast. Conrad heard a yell and saw one sailor go down with a bolt in his chest. The man was dead before he hit the deck. Josak shouted something that Conrad couldn't make out to the bandits shaking his fist.

By now the boat had finished her turn and was facing out to sea. The sails filled with wind and the little ship took off out to sea. A few more cross bolts followed them but they were already out of range. Conrad sighed as he eyed the dead sailor. Other sailors were already wrapping their fallen comrade up in old sheets and taking the body away.

"Looks like its bandits two and us none." Conrad muttered without humour. Josak's reply was unrepeatable.

:-:

Yuri jumped as he felt the boat suddenly shift and slid backwards. Yuri stood up and looked out of the porthole and saw that they were moving. The wind was on their side, filling the sails and pushing them away from the shore line. Pushing them away from Wolfram. Yuri ran to the door and rattled the handle but it was locked. Yuri banged on the door and shouted for Conrad but he was ignored. Yuri gave up after a few minutes and slumped on the bed in despair. How could Conrad just leave Wolfram like that? How could he? Just because Wolfram attacked the bandits giving them time to escape didn't mean that Wolfram wanted to be left behind. Maybe he thought he would be able to catch up later?

Yuri could hear feet pounding on the deck above him as sailors ran to and fro. He heard yelling and he couldn't help but be shocked at some of the language. Yuri felt the boat turn 90 degrees before it began to rise and fall as they left the protection of the inlet and moved into open water. If Wolfram was with them he would already be turning green from sea-sickness.

Yuri closed his eyes as his mind was plagued by images of Wolfram appearing on the beach waving his arms and shouting for them to come back. Yuri shook his head. The images changed and Yuri saw Wolfram laying on the trail his green eyes turning dull as his life blood soaked the ground below him. 'You left me Yuri I never thought you would do such a thing.' Wolfram's voice echoed in Yuri's head. Wolfram's voice wasn't strong or commanding like it usually was, instead it was soft and full of pain. 'I thought you would save me, but you didn't.' Yuri slipped off the bed onto the floor as tears slipped down his face.

"Wolfram…."

-:-

It took three days to sail back to Shinmakoku and Yuri refused to talk to Conrad the whole way back. Josak had watched unable to help as Yuri turned his back on his godfather not knowing that Conrad was in just as much pain as Yuri was. Josak had tried his best to comfort Conrad, he tried to tell the half Mazoku that he had done the right thing but Conrad hadn't listened to him. Josak knew that Conrad blamed himself for Wolfram's actions. He believed that he should have sacrificed himself to protect Yuri, not Wolfram.

Josak sighed as he leaned on the railing on the upper deck watching the main port of Shinmakoku come into view. Josak never thought he would miss the little Lord brat but he did. Even though Wolfram had spent most of the trip complaining and throwing up Josak still missed his presence. Yuri was the worst affected by Wolfram's disappearance. Josak had gone into Yuri's room the morning of the second day to see Yuri curled up under the covers holding Wolfram's pink nightgown in his arms his face streaked with recently dried tears.

The wind tugged on Josak's orange hair and not for the first time Josak wondered if he should have stayed in Big Shimaron while Conrad took Yuri to safety. At the time Josak believed that they would never see Wolfram again so there wasn't any point in sticking around but now he wondered if that was the right thing to do. Josak was confident he could have avoided any bandits if he was alone and maybe Conrad and Yuri wouldn't be so upset if they knew he was out there looking for Wolfram.

Gwendal was waiting for them at the port with Yuri's carriage and a collection of guards. Gwendal's face gave nothing away but Josak knew he must be hurting inside. He had sent a letter tied to a pigeon on ahead to tell Gwendal what had happened to Wolfram and Gwendal must have read it by now.

The boat docked with practised ease and the sailors threw down ropes to the dock workers who tied the boat firmly to the dock. Josak helped put the ramp down and waited for Conrad and Yuri to appear. Yuri walked out of the inside of the boat his face pale and drawn. He had already washed the red colour from his hair and taken his contact lenses out. Conrad followed him looking just as depressed. Josak felt his heart pull as he saw the look on his Captain's face. When Josak had first heard about this trip he had thought he could finally confess his love to Conrad in peace but then Yuri and Wolfram tagged along and his plan was shot down. Josak was still determined to tell the kind hearted man about his feelings but the opportunity never presented itself. This was a bad time however, so Josak pushed his feelings away and gave Conrad a small smile. Conrad smiled back but it didn't reach his eyes.

The ride back to the Castle was made in total silence. Yuri and Gwendal sat next to each other and Conrad and Josak sat opposite them in one carriage. The six guards rode beside the carriage on horseback. Josak shifted feeling uncomfortable. He didn't usually ride in the royal carriage but no one had brought along a spare horse for him to ride. Conrad glanced at Josak and smiled slightly noticing that he was uncomfortable. Josak felt a pair of eyes on him and glanced up to meet Conrad's gentle gaze. For a second they did one of their silent talks that no one else understood before Josak nodded and relaxed slightly. Josak glanced at Yuri but the kid was staring out of the carriage window and ignoring everyone. Gwendal had his arms crossed, his eyes closed and he looked grumpier than usual.

The carriage rattled into the courtyard and came to a halt. One of the guards opened the door and Yuri got out as if he were sleep walking. Cecile, Greta, Murata and Gunter were waiting for them at the castle entrance. Greta ran to Yuri as soon as Yuri got out of the carriage making Yuri blink in surprise.

"Papa Yuri what happened where's papa Wolfram?" Greta looked up at Yuri her eyes shining with unshed tears. The sight of his daughter seemed to wake Yuri up. Yuri's eyes were suddenly clear and strong again as he knelt down pulling Greta into his arms.

"We were attacked and Wolf fought off the bad men so Conrad, Josak and I could escape." Yuri said softly and Greta looked up at her adoptive father her little face creased with worry and sadness.

"Is papa Wolfram ok?"

"I don't know," Yuri answered honestly, "But I intend to find out." Greta blinked then a small hesitant smile crossed her face.

"You mean you're going to look for him?" Greta asked hope shining in her eyes.

"Yes I am," Yuri answered and Greta grinned before burying herself in Yuri's arms.

"Good," Greta said her voice muffled as Yuri smiled and hugged her back.

"Your Majesty we need to talk." Gwendal said his voice as emotionless as his face. Yuri stood up and nodded.

"Greta, go and find the maids and play for a while ok? I'll come back later and we'll talk more." Greta nodded wiping away her tears before turning and heading into the castle. Gwendal led the way to Yuri's study and Yuri, Conrad, Gunter, Josak, Murata and Cecile followed him. Once they were all inside Yuri sat down in his chair and rested his chin on his hands in deep thought.

"What happened in Big Shimaron?" Gwendal asked getting right to the point. Conrad proceeded to tell everyone what they had found out while in Big Shimaron with Josak adding bits in every now and again. Yuri listened and nodded as the two men spoke but he said nothing. Conrad saw Yuri flinch when he said how Wolfram stopped to attack the bandits to give them time to escape. Conrad had to pause to compose himself before he told everyone how he decided to set sail without Wolfram. Cecile sniffed as she pressed her hands together in worry. Conrad glanced at his mother and felt guilt fill him when he saw the tears in her eyes.

"So, Wolfie is gone?" Cecile asked her voice shaking.

"We don't know that yet," Yuri said before Conrad could say anything. "I think we should send someone to search for him."

"It seems to me that if Wolfram had been able to defeat the men he would have joined you on the boat before you left." Gwendal said his voice giving nothing away about how he felt about his youngest brother's disappearance.

"No it is entirely possible that Wolfram missed us and is stuck in Big Shimaron." Yuri said firmly refusing to believe that Wolfram was dead.

"I will go," Cecile announced making everyone look at her in surprise. "I have contacts in Big Shimaron who could help me search for Wolfram."

"Mother, with the political situation the way it is it would be far too dangerous for you –" Gwendal began but Cecile held up a hand to stop him.

"I understand Gwendal but I will be perfectly safe."

"I should go to," Yuri began but Gwendal interrupted him.

"No, it is because you demanded to go in the first place that we got into this mess." Yuri jerked back as if Gwendal had reached across the table and slapped him. The whole room went quiet in shock at Gwendal's outburst.

"I hardly think that is fair Lord Voltaire," Murata said quietly and everyone glanced at the Great Sage. "Yuri could not have possibly foreseen this development."

"No Murata, Gwendal is correct this is my fault." Yuri looked down at the table his hand balled into fists. "If I hadn't have gone then Wolfram would have stayed here too. If I had stayed then Wolfram would be safe." Yuri looked up his eyes bright with that inner fire that drove him. "But it is because it's my fault that I should be the one to fix this. I should be the one to save Wolfram because it is my fault he is gone."

"Yuri…" Cecile smiled and walked forward and placed a hand on Yuri's shoulder. "This is not your fault Yuri, I can understand why Wolfram did what he did and I understand you wanting to make things right. However, I can slip in and out of Big Shimaron far easier than you can."

"Cecile is right Yuri," Murata said smiling at his friend, "You should stay here." Yuri sat back down in his chair defeated. He wanted nothing more than to charge into Big Shimaron to save his lost friend but no one was going to let him. Sometimes Yuri hated being King. If he was just another boy he could do whatever he wanted.

"Don't worry Your Majesty, I promise to bring Wolfie home." Cecile smiled and turned to face Conrad. Cecile walked up to him and hugged him tightly. "Do not blame yourself my son." Cecile whispered so no one else would hear and Conrad nodded and hugged her back. Cecile nodded at Gwendal who nodded back. Cecile then swept out of the room to prepare for her trip her green eyes determined.

"Murata," Yuri stood up, "Can you take me to see Shinou?" Murata looked surprised for a moment then he nodded.

"Sure, come with me." The two double blacks walked out of Yuri's office side by side.

"Conrad," Conrad looked at Gwendal who stared intently at him. "Do you really think that Wolfram could still be alive?" Conrad paused and glanced at Josak. Josak looked away from Conrad's gaze. Conrad turned back to Gwendal his eyes troubled.

:-:

Yuri stood in Shinou's temple gazing intently at the Great One as he concentrated. Yuri had explained the situation to Shinou who had been surprised to learn that Wolfram was missing. After pleading with Shinou to help locate his missing friend Shinou had agreed to do what he could. Ulrike was adding her power to Shinou to help him locate Wolfram. Yuri watched as the gold light that represented Shinou's maryoku danced around Shinou's body making him glow. Shinou sighed and opened his eyes and the gold light faded away.

"I'm sorry Yuri but I can't sense his presence anywhere." Yuri felt his shoulders slump.

"I can not locate him either Your Majesty," Ulrike said her voice sad and full of regret. "Forgive me."

"There is nothing to forgive," Yuri said his voice shaking slightly. "This is my fault."

"I am sorry for your loss Yuri," Shinou spoke gently, "but people die."

"But not Wolfram!" Yuri shouted making everyone flinch. "He wasn't supposed to…" Yuri stopped talking as he felt his throat close up. Shinou stepped up to Yuri and laid a hand on Yuri's shoulder. Yuri was still surprised that Shinou could touch things considering that he was a ghost after all.

"I understand your pain Yuri." Shinou said and Murata glanced at Shinou before looking away the candlelight reflecting off his glasses. "But you may need to accept that Wolfram is gone and move on." Yuri looked into Shinou's blue eyes.

"Never," with that said Yuri turned and left the temple. Murata let Yuri walk away so neither Ulrike or Shinou made any attempt to stop the Maoh. Once Yuri walked out of the room Murata turned to Shinou.

"Do you believe that Bielefeld is dead?" Shinou glanced at Murata then back at the door through which Yuri had just left.

"I can not sense Wolfram at all, that in it self is a bad sign." Shinou turned to Ulrike. "You couldn't sense him either could you?"

"No, I'm afraid could not," Ulrike sighed, "I would have thought sensing someone with such strong maryoku in a human kingdom would be easier."

"Is it possible that Bielefeld has been taken captive and imprisoned in a room lined with Houseki stones? Would that not make it harder for you to sense him?" Murata asked his glasses hiding his eyes from view. Shinou thought about that for a moment before nodding.

"That is possible but why would the bandits have kept Wolfram alive? He is of no use to them." Shinou shook his head sadly. "I think we might need to accept the fact that Wolfram is not coming back."

-:-

(Big Shimaron)

Wolfram shivered as he lay on the cold stone floor. He had no idea how long he had been held captive but it felt like years. The room he was currently held in was made entirely from solid rock and there were no windows of any kind. Flame torches were bolted into metal brackets set at intervals on the walls and provided the only source of light. Houseki stones had been attached to the walls and they glowed dimly as their power drained Wolfram's maryoku. Wolfram had never felt so sick and weak in his entire life and he hated the feeling. Part of him was hoping someone would rescue him but the prideful part of him didn't want anyone to see him so weak. The bandits had barely fed him which increased Wolfram's weakened state.

Metal chains were clasped to each of Wolfram's wrists and sunk into the floor preventing Wolfram from escaping. Surrounded by houseki stones and tied up as he was Wolfram couldn't hope to free himself. The bandits had taken his clothes as soon as Wolfram woke up and left him with a pair of brown coloured trousers and shirt that were made of itchy material that scratched Wolfram's skin. Wolfram shivered, the room was too big for the torches to heat up and the bandits hadn't given Wolfram a blanket of any kind so the room was freezing.

Wolfram sat with his back pressed against the wall behind him with his eyes open and staring at nothing. Several different bandits had been to see him and try to get him to talk but Wolfram refused to answer them. They must be getting impatient by now, Wolfram wondered as he watched the flames inside one of the torches flicker and sway in an almost hypnotic dance. Yuri, are you alright? Did you get out ok? Wolfram stared at the flickering flame and saw Yuri's bright smile and heard his laugh. Wolfram closed his eyes and turned his face to the side. He had always said he would do anything for Yuri and nothing had changed. He just hoped the stupid wimp hadn't come back for him. Yuri wouldn't stand a chance against these bandits. Yuri would get himself captured then all this suffering would have been for nothing.

"I wish…." Wolfram stopped when he realised he was speaking out loud and opened his eyes. What did he wish? In his mind's eye Wolfram saw Yuri smiling at him and telling him that he loved him. A tear ran down Wolfram's cheek only to be brushed away angrily. The metal chains clinked together at the movement. Now is not the time for that, keep it together Wolfram! Wolfram took a deep breath and tried to force images of Yuri out of his mind but the damn wimp's face wouldn't leave him.

Why did I have to fall in love with you? Why couldn't I have loved someone who loved me back? Wolfram rolled his head back to stare up at the ceiling. How many nights had he laid awake wishing to be loved in return? But considering his current circumstances, in a way Wolfram was glad Yuri had never returned his feelings. How much more would it hurt to be separated from someone who loved him compared to being separated from just a friend? Could he have turned his horse around and protected Yuri like he did if Yuri had loved him back?

The door opened with a loud groan and Wolfram glanced at the door. The only way in and out of the room was through a heavy wooden door set with nails. Wolfram could have blasted that door open with his fire powers but he couldn't even conjure up a spark at the moment. Wolfram raised his head and saw the leader of the bandits, whose name was Rick, walk into the room. Wolfram sat up and tried his best to look defiant although he wasn't sure if he pulled it off.

"Hello again," Rick smiled and he crouched down to Wolfram's level. The chains prevented Wolfram from standing up. "Are you in a talkative mood today?" Rick smirked at Wolfram who felt his stomach turn in response. Rick had been visiting him often and asking him questions about the Maoh and what his purpose in Big Shimaron was. Wolfram didn't know how Rick recognised Yuri but he wasn't about to tell him anything that could put Yuri in danger.

"Go to hell," Wolfram gasped out licking his dry lips. Rick smiled and nodded.

"I thought you would say that." Rick stood up and whistled. Wolfram looked at the door and felt a thrill of fear run through him. Four men walked into the room and one was holding what looked like a coiled whip in his hand. "So I decided to bring along a few friends to loosen that tongue of yours." The man holding the whip grinned evilly at Wolfram. The man was ugly with short thick dirty blond hair and tiny cruel hazel eyes. He was built like a tree trunk, all bulging muscles. Wolfram felt his whole body go cold as the man uncurled the whip and cracked it once. The sound echoed off the walls and inside Wolfram's ears. "Still don't feel like talking?" Rick asked a smirk on his lips.

Wolfram had never been so afraid in his life but he still shook his head. No matter the pain he had to endure, he would not tell these men anything. He would never betray Yuri no matter what. Wolfram raised his head and stared the man holding the whip in the eye. The man curled his lips in a twisted smile of excitement that made Wolfram's inside curl in disgust.

"Very well," Rick smiled and turned to the man holding the whip, "This is Eric I shall leave you in his capable hands." Rick walked up to Eric and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Don't kill him ok?"

"You got it boss," Eric laughed fingering his whip his eyes gleaming in the light. Wolfram felt bile rise in his throat but he forced it down. He would not show these men his fear. "You four, tie his hands to that hook." Eric pointed his whip at the hook hanging from the ceiling. Three men grabbed Wolfram while the fourth released Wolfram's shackles. Once the chains were off Wolfram shoved his body weight forward catching the men off guard.

"Hey!"

"What the –" The man cursed as Wolfram knocked him on his ass. Wolfram leapt forward dodging the hands trying to grab him. He might be weak but he wasn't going to sit back and let these men do whatever they wanted with him. Wolfram ran for the door his heart leaping as a rush of elation coursed through him. The door was open! Then a burning pain exploded across Wolfram's shoulder blades sending him screaming to the floor. Wolfram was dimly aware of the sound of the whip cracking but all he knew that the pain throbbing through him. It was as if someone that burned a line of acid onto his skin. Wolfram curled up his chest pressed against the cold stone floor as the pain filled him. Tears fell unchecked from his eyes and a sob rose in his throat.

"Well now that was a brave attempt, but a stupid one." Eric laughed. Wolfram made no further attempt to escape as hands dragged him to his feet. Wolfram's hands were tied together then lifted and tied to the hook hanging from the ceiling. Wolfram yelped as the action caused the whip mark across his shoulder blades to burn anew. The hook was just high enough off the floor to make Wolfram stand on his tip-toes to take his full weight off his arms. Already his legs were shaking with the effort and Wolfram knew he wouldn't be able to keep this up for long.

"I'll leave it you Eric," Rick smirked at Wolfram before turning and walking out of the room. Wolfram watched the heavy wooden door slowly close as if it was mocking him. The door shut with a bang that echoed inside Wolfram's head. He was trapped.

"Now, let's see if we can loosen that tongue of yours." Eric grinned as two of men ripped Wolfram's shirt off his back. Wolfram closed his eyes as Eric walked around behind him. Yuri…Wolfram whispered in his mind as Eric brought the whip down a second time. Wolfram screamed his body jerking forward as another red line appeared across his back. Time seemed to stand still as the air was filled with the sharp crack of a whip and the agonised screams of a young Mazoku.

-:-

(Shinmakoku)

"Wolfram!" Yuri jerked awake his hand outstretched. For a moment all he could hear was the pounding of his heart and the sound of his gasping breath. Yuri dropped his hand and pushed himself into a sitting position. He was covered in sweat and his heart was beating hard as if he had just run a marathon. Yuri closed his eyes and took deep breaths to calm down. He shivered as the sweat cooled his body as the adrenaline wore off.

He had dreamt that Wolfram had been killed. It had been so vivid, so real, that Yuri had believed it was really happening. He had seen Wolfram lying on a stone floor a sword impaled through his chest. He had seen the blood that soaked the ground and the smell had filled his nose. Wolfram's skin had been so cold and pale, his body unmoving as he lay in a pool of his own blood. The worst part of the dream was the accusing looks he received from everyone. The way Conrad and turned away, Cecile had cried over the body of her dead son, Gwendal had refused to look at him and even Murata wouldn't meet his gaze. And Yuri had known at that moment that all this was his fault. If he wasn't the King, if he hadn't gone to Big Shimaron then Wolfram wouldn't be dead.

Yuri shook himself out of his thoughts. They didn't know if Wolfram was dead or alive. Cecile would be leaving tomorrow for Big Shimaron to search for him. He couldn't lose hope that Wolfram would be ok. But the dream, nightmare, had been so real. Yuri buried his face in his hands his body shaking. It had only been four days since Wolfram had gone missing but it felt like so much longer. Yuri had gotten used to sleeping with someone else so his bed suddenly seemed so empty and cold now. He thought not being kicked and punched in his sleep would be wonderful but Yuri would willingly be kicked out of bed for the next 20 years if it meant seeing Wolfram again.

Yuri paused and raised his head. What did it mean? Why did he miss Wolfram so much? True it was his fault that Wolfram was gone and if Wolfram really was dead, then he would never forgive himself. But, this feeling, this emptiness inside his heart, it felt more powerful than guilt. Yuri didn't understand what he felt or where these feelings had come from. Yuri lay back down and glanced at the empty side of his bed. He had tried to sleep on Wolfram's side of the bed but it had felt too weird so he had rolled back to his side. What would he do if Wolfram was really gone? Yuri squeezed his eyes shut and sent a silent prayer up to whoever might be listening, begging for Wolfram to be ok.

:-:

Yuri sat in his office staring at the piece of paper in his hands. Yuri stood up and turned to stare out of his office window. The castle was suddenly too large and empty without his hot tempered friend in it. Yuri glanced down at the letter in his hand and read through its contents one last time. The letter was addressed to none other than King Saralegui of Small Shimaron begging for his help in locating Wolfram. Yuri had already written a letter to Lady Flurin also begging for her help. While Yuri was sure Lady Flurin would help out he wasn't so sure about Saralegui. While he and the blond had a good relationship at the moment, Yuri was never sure when or if Sara would turn around and change the rules. He wanted to trust the lonely boy King but right now Yuri wasn't in the mood for Sara's games. Yuri closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He would be putting his trust and Wolfram's life in Sara's hands. If Sara knew something he might well sit on it or feed him false information. No! Yuri shook his hand and tightened his empty hand into a fist opening his eyes. He had to believe that the young King would help him out. Wolfram's life depended on it. If Wolf is even still alive, the pessimistic voice in Yuri's head whispered to him. Yuri shivered as he remembered his nightmare last night before pushing the memory away.

Yuri closed his eyes and pressed his forehead to the glass of his window. The panes were warm from the direct sunlight and Yuri could hear the sounds from the courtyard drifting towards him. The scene of that day had played over and over in Yuri's mind all the way back from Big Shimaron. Yuri found his mind plagued by what if's and maybe's. What if he had stopped Wolfram from leaving? What if he had made Josak or Conrad stay behind to look for Wolfram? Would that have made things worse or better? He just didn't know!

"Damn it!" Yuri punched the glass in frustration making the window pane rattle. He was sick of people sacrificing themselves for him. He didn't want to loose any of his friends! A tear slipped down Yuri's cheek. Yuri scrubbed it away in annoyance. Crying would not save Wolfram. Yuri turned and folded the letter in his hands before putting it into a tube so it could be carried by messenger pigeon. The letter addressed to Flurin was ready to go as well so Yuri took both of them with him as he left the office.

It didn't take long to find Josak. The orange haired spy was sitting on the roof of Blood Pledge Castle staring over the city of Shinmakoku. Yuri climbed to the top of the battlements and cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled. Josak jerked in surprise and turned to fix bright blue eyes on Yuri. Josak stood and slid down the roof tiles to land beside Yuri.

"Your Majesty what are you doing out here?" Josak asked. Yuri held out the two letters his black eyes burning with determination.

"Josak I need you to send one of these letters to King Saralegui and the other to Lady Flurin of Caloria at once." Josak took the letters in shock to see the names of recipient printed neatly on the outside of the letter.

"But Your Majesty –" Josak begun only to be cut off by Yuri.

"This is an order Josak, go at once and do not allow yourself to be diverted from your task until it is complete." Yuri stared at Josak and the spy watched him carefully for a moment before a small smile tugged at his lips.

"You're not giving up on him are you?" It wasn't a question really but Yuri nodded anyway.

"Not yet," Yuri said softly and Josak reached out and placed a hand on Yuri's shoulder. He had no idea what to say right now but Yuri seemed to understand as he nodded with a sniff. "Go now Josak."

"Yes Your Majesty," Josak bowed then turned and hurried away. Yuri watched him go his heart heavy. He knew that no one else believed that Wolfram could still possibly be alive but Yuri would never forgive himself if he just gave up without trying. Even if all he got for his trouble was a body, at least he would know for sure. He had to know.

:-:

Yuri stood outside of his castle as the sun began to set painting the sky orange and pink. Cecile stood before him dressed in a wine red dress that was surprisingly modest for Cecile. The wind picked up Cecile's curls and tossed them around her face. Yuri felt a pang as he gazed into Cecile's bright green eyes, so much like Wolfram's. Behind Cecile a carriage stood waiting led by two white horses. Yuri ran his eyes over the men standing behind Cecile and felt his heart squeeze in his chest. Every single one of Wolfram's men had volunteered to go with Cecile to find Wolfram. Not all of them could go as they would attract too much attention, so Cecile had picked out five men to go with her. These five men were all dressed in plain clothes so not to attract attention while in Big Shimaron. Yuri couldn't help but wonder what Wolfram would say if he could see his men now, ready and willing to march into enemy territory to search for their missing commander. He would most likely snort and say something along the lines of; 'of course they are loyal to me they are my men after all!' But inside Wolfram would be blushing and secretly proud and humbled by the display of loyalty.

The horses tossed their heads ready to be off. A ship was waiting for them once they got to the docks to take them to Big Shimaron under the pretence of a merchant ship going to Big Shimaron for trade. Yuri sent a brief prayer to whoever might be listening that everything would go ok before stepping down the steps to shake Cecile's hand.

"Good luck Cecile, I know I speak for everyone when I say that I hope you find what you are looking for." Yuri smiled and Cecile smiled back before pulling Yuri into her arms for a hug. Yuri hugged the older woman back for a moment. "Please bring him home." Yuri whispered to Cecile. Gwendal had been worried about spies and had told Yuri not to say exactly what is was Cecile was looking for.

"I will," Cecile whispered back before letting go and stepping away from Yuri. "I will return soon Your Majesty." Cecile said and turned to her sons. Conrad stepped forward and hugged his mother. "Goodbye my son."

"Goodbye mother, be safe." Conrad said and Cecile nodded. When Cecile turned to Gwendal he produced a blue knitted animal that looked like a bear.

"This is a kitten, for good luck." Gwendal said his face slightly red. That's a kitten? Yuri thought but kept his thoughts to himself. Cecile smiled and hugged her oldest son.

"Thank you Gwendal," Cecile took the stuffed animal. Greta ran forward and hugged her grandmother. Cecile hugged the little girl back. "Come now Greta, you need to be a big girl now." Greta nodded wiping away her tears. Cecile stood and with one last look at Yuri she walked down the steps and got into her carriage. The driver snapped the reins and the horses set off at a brisk trot. The soldiers saluted Yuri as one before turning their horses and following Cecile's carriage. Greta stepped close to Yuri and grabbed a hold of his hand.

"Will they find papa Wolfram?" Greta asked her voice so soft Yuri almost didn't hear her. Yuri paused before he answered her. He wanted to comfort Greta but he also didn't want to lie to her.

"I hope so." Yuri answered honestly and Greta buried her face in Yuri's jacket.

"I hope so too, I miss papa Wolfram." Greta whispered and Yuri nodded running his fingers through Greta's hair. So do I Greta, so do I.

-:-

(Small Shimaron – three days later)

King Saralegui of Small Shimaron didn't think that anything could surprise him anymore. He thought he knew everything and was prepared for any situation that might present itself. Because he believed this he also believed that life could be so dull. But when a letter from Yuri arrived by carrier pigeon asking for help in locating Wolfram, Saralegui was speechless. Berias watched his King and nephew's face as Saralegui stared at the letter before him.

"Well, it seems Yuri can still surprise me even after all this time." Saralegui smiled leaning his head on his hand as he re-read the contents of the letter before him.

"What does the King want?" Berias asked wondering what Saralegui was looking so happy about.

"It seems that Yuri's fiancé has gone missing after Yuri and his party were attacked in Big Shimaron by bandits." Saralegui grinned. He could sense an opportunity here. If he located Wolfram then Yuri would be in his debt and Saralegui was still fascinated by the demon King. Having Yuri indebted to him would put Saralegui in an advantageous position. The Lord Bielefeld would also owe him his life and since Saralegui knew that Wolfram didn't like him, he knew this could only work in his favour.

"Why is King Yuri telling us this?" Berias asked although he thought he could guess the answer.

"Yuri wants us to try and find his missing blond," Saralegui grinned as the sunlight reflecting off his glasses, "How interesting, wouldn't you agree?"

"Sir, you are not thinking of helping are you?" Berias sighed inwardly as Saralegui snorted. He just knew that his nephew would jump at the chance to help Yuri in the hopes of getting something in return. However, Big Shimaron was a dangerous place at the moment.

"We can't leave poor Wolfram Von Bielefeld to die now can we? That is, assuming he isn't dead already." Saralegui stood up sweeping his long blond hair over his shoulder.

"Your Majesty, if Small Shimaron troops go into Big Shimaron at this unstable time it could be seen as an act of war. I advise against it My Lord." Berias warned and Saralegui paused as if thinking Berias' advice over in his mind. "Besides, if you want to take the kingdom for yourself it would be best if you were here so you could be contacted." Berias added. He knew that Saralegui wanted to take over Big Shimaron and this recent uprising provided the perfect opportunity to do so. Saralegui was already getting cosy with Big Shimaron's current political leaders who were also the ex-Kings ex-advisors. Berias knew that with the right words and promises Saralegui could well find himself on the throne of Big Shimaron. It wouldn't take much effort to then unite Small and Big Shimaron under one crown.

"I never said I was going to go to Big Shimaron Berias." Saralegui tutted as if Berias had said something foolish. "I was in fact thinking of sending you there."

"Me, Your Majesty?"

"Yes, you have the best knowledge of tracking and I can trust you to not raise attention." Saralegui glanced at his uncle. "Do you have an objection?" There was something in Saralegui's voice that warned Berias not to object even if he did have objections. Berias bowed his head.

"No, Your Majesty, I do not."

"My best chance at the throne of Big Shimaron is to present myself as a Mazoku friendly King. Their people have had enough of war and the trouble it brings so if I can promise them peace, my crowing will be all but done. However, if Yuri or his meddling advisors were to get wind of this they might try to stop me." Saralegui twirled a lock of hair around his finger.

"Why would they do that?" Berias asked although he though he already knew the answer to that question.

"Because I would end up ruling over the largest country and the largest population in the whole world, the Mazoku might see me as a threat and intervene." Saralegui scowled as he released the lock of hair from his finger. "I can't have that. But if I return Yuri's precious fiancé then I can use that good deed as leverage against them interfering with my plans." Saralegui smirked.

"And if you don't locate Lord Bielefeld?" Berias asked arching an eyebrow.

"Well, you will just have to make sure you don't come home empty handed now won't you?" Saralegui hummed and Berias nodded. "Go in secret Berias and make sure no one recognises you. Do not take any insignia that could trace you back to me."

"Yes My Lord," Berias bowed again. "I shall leave at once."

-:-

(Caloria)

"Lady Flurin there is a letter for you," a female maid presented the blue haired ruler of Caloria with a sliver tray. On the tray was a letter addressed to Flurin in a slightly untidy handwriting that Flurin recognised at once. It's from King Yuri, Flurin thought thanking the maid as she took the letter. Flurin gazed at the crisp white envelope for a moment before opening it. She knew that Yuri had gone to Big Shimaron not that long ago and she had been wondering if he had been successful in his attempt to find out what exactly was going on in the country.

Yuri had stopped off at Caloria before heading to Big Shimaron wanting to know everything she knew about the current goings on in Big Shimaron. Flurin had not been able to tell them much more than what they already knew but she was glad she could help the kind hearted king in any way. Wolfram had become jealous as he always does when anyone shows Yuri any kind of affection. Flurin found this both irritating and rather cute. It was obvious that Wolfram liked Yuri but Yuri's feelings were not so clear. Last year Flurin would have said that Yuri didn't love Wolfram as a partner. But when they came to visit, something was different about the way Yuri looked at his blond fiancé. She couldn't put her finger on it but something was different. Maybe there was a chance of a royal wedding after all. Flurin giggled as she pictured Wolfram in the white dress she just knew his mother would force him into. She was glad though, she wanted Yuri and Wolfram to be happy. She had started to wonder if maybe they would be happier with someone else.

Lady Flurin sighed as she remembered asking Yuri not to go in person, fearing for his safety, but Yuri had told her everything would be fine. Of course Conrad, Josak and Wolfram had been with Yuri so Flurin had let Yuri go. She glanced down at the letter and let a smile spread across her face. If Yuri had written her a letter from Shinmakoku then everything must be alright. Flurin opened the letter using the small sliver letter opener that sat on her desk. She pulled the letter out of its envelope and read its contents.

"Oh this can't be true," Flurin whispered as she read how Wolfram had gone missing after saving Yuri from an attack from bandits. Flurin's eyes filled with tears as she read how Yuri had to leave without knowing what had happened to Wolfram. Yuri's letter pleaded with her to help him locate his missing friend. Yuri also mentioned in Flurin's letter that Cecile was on route to Big Shimaron although he didn't tell Saralegui that. Flurin stood up her green eyes flashing. Don't worry Yuri, I will help you. Flurin knew it would be dangerous to send her people into Big Shimaron at this time, but Yuri was her dear friend. Over time she had even come to respect and like Wolfram despite his short comings. She certainly didn't want the blond mazoku to die.

"I will help you Yuri although if what your letter says is true, I fear Lord Bielefeld may already be gone."

*End chapter*

So what do you think so far? Anonymous reviews are under moderation. I reserve the right to delete any guest review I wish to. I expect no different from any other author. *Sits back and waits for the hate mail to pour in*