The happiest demon in the world

ooo

A long, long time ago...

There once lived a demon duke. He stayed in a castle in the middle of the forest, him and his servants.

This demon is quite unremarkable, even boring, altogether.

See, demons live for a really long time, this one was old and wise, but had forgotten what it was like, to be happy or nice. Outwardly he looked like a handsome prince, but inside him was all shriveled and dry.

Daily he prayed-if demons could pray at all- to add interest to his existence, and daily he was met with nothing but silence from a god that he was never fond of.
One day, or rather, night, the demon duke decides to take a walk. Behold, the moment he steps out of his castle, a cradle rocked! Winter it was, all chilly and white, but in the cradle a secret hides. He poked at the blankets, determined not to get a fright. When suddenly a little face caught his sight.

What a frightening din the little one was making. Interest arose the moment he picked up the little girl, 'why, the noise might be good after all.'

Along with the girl was a little red rose, but the moment he touched it, the petals froze. Not a moment too soon it blackened and died, though the girl in his arms was still perfectly all right.

'How sad and short is this little rose's life, just like this human girl who has so little time.' So at a whim, the girl was named Flower, and the demon duke brought her back to his butler, to raise and to make fine.

Years passed by as Flower grew, from a little girl to a big girl to a teenage shrew. The little one was cute and sweet, the big one was yet a little more meek. The nightmare started when she approached fourteen, when girls start demanding everything they see. Yet, the demon found it all too comforting, to wake up to find what a new day will bring. Throughout the years two things never changed, the handsome demon duke and the daily new flower Flower will give. Though it shriveled and died each time he received, she went on giving, heedless of his pleas. With a smile on Flower's face each new morning, she would give him a new flower and call him by name.

'Old and grumpy you may be, but fair are you, now till eternity. Maybe it's better to behave like your looks, come out and see what beauty the world holds. See the roses blooming and the sun in the sky, what of creation is not wonderful to behold?'

Now, that may not mean much to you or me, but it almost made the demon duke jump in glee. Too many seasons had passed without something, and in Flower he had found his missing piece.

You see, the demon duke had a heart that would beat, but only when Flower was near or smiled at him. He used to ignore it as some random fling, but the feeling got so strong it was hard to miss. At times he started wondering, do humans all feel this curious thing? Why does he feel bliss when she smiles at him?

He confessed his feelings to his demon friends, but demons in love had no decent end. His folks called him stupid and told him to stop, 'Dear Duke, the little girl's life is much too short. Maybe it's time to wake up and be sober, for in the blink of the eye it will be over. What you thought was hope for the morrow, will only bring you eternal sorrow.'

The demon duke return to his castle, exceedingly grieved. Just happened it was the same day when the girl turned seventeen. With a heavy heart, he summoned her to him.

'It's time we part, my dear canary. You're all grown now, as beautiful as can be. Find yourself a man whom you can spend your life with. Be happy, find love and be merry. All that you need, I will provide, as much as you can carry.'

With that the smile faded from Flower's face, and slowly, tears welled up in her eyes. She looked at the flower in her hand, and pressed it into the duke's hands.

'Though my gift is small, I hope to buy a wish. If you love me, entreat me not to leave. Old and grumpy you may be, but I want you to know that you are all I need.'

Delighted and flabbergasted, the duke couldn't say a thing. But he plucked up courage, and took her hands in his.

In a soft voice, he said quietly, 'Old and grumpy I may be, but being with you fills my heart with blithe.'

Flower gazed at him in wonder, then suddenly she grinned. 'Unlike you, I won't stay pretty, I'll grow old one day and look wrinkly.'

'That's fine by me.' replied the duke coolly. 'Unlike those hypocrites and unkind beings. You'll always be beautiful to me.'

'I might get hurt or sometimes fall sick, will you then take care of me?'

'If I can't protect you from these, then that's the least I'll do, I promise...'

Flower touched his cheek. 'Eternity I do not have, all I have is yours, but dear duke...only if you want me.'

ooo

So the two of them got married and have children, and are as happy as can be. And daily a red rose, his wife would give him. But as the duke watch his wife whither and wane, he knew it will be no fairytale ending.

At last it came the time for them to part, where he sat by his wife's deathbed with a broken heart. With his hands, which were still polished and fine, he held on to hers, which was wrinkled and dry.

The old woman's smile was ancient and kind. 'Perhaps, dear duke, now is the time. These years I've lived in laughter and mirth. Indeed, I am the happiest person in the world!'

The duke tried to reply, but really he could not. His love was dying, his eyes felt hot.

'Dear duke, please don't cry, I think I have found a way not to die...'

Heart in throat, He asked. 'Really? What could it be?' For such a thing does not exist.

'I know a place where I'll continue to live, where I'll forever be young and free.'

'Where is this place which you have not mentioned sooner? Now, where is it? We depart immediately!'

'This place that I speak, you cannot be. Forever in your heart, that's where I'll live.'

With that, the demon duke could no longer speak. He could not deny this final promise.

So he nodded, tears rolling down his face. Little did he know, his wife still has an ace.

'Duke, old and grumpy you may be, but promises you'll always keep. I entreat you, find yourself a girl you can spend your life with, be happy, find love and be merry. I won't be there for you anymore, but I believe that you can do so much more. I love you till my dying breath, and I hope you too, until the end...'

With that, Flower died and was buried. But day by day, a red rose he would give. To represent his love, to give her immortality.

A long time later, when the hurt started to cease, he returned to her grave, fulfilling her wish.

'Flower, my dear, I know you hear me, I think I finally know what you really mean. These years you left had not been as empty as I think, what a fullness of life, just like you have been. You have taught a demon like me about love, and with that I know. That I'm the happiest demon in the world...'

ooo

That's that, I wrote this at a whim. Not quite my strong point to write prose, I don't even know whether it can be classified as such, but I hoped it was an enjoyable read. It's loosely based on the story of Hana to Akuma and eliminated almost every other character, and I am a Vivi fan! Lolz.

I cried so hard at the last chapter of Hana to Akuma, when Vivi stood by Flower's grave. Because he fell in love with a human girl, he will only be left with eternal solitude if not for the kids Flower left him. In essence, I think the plot is wonderful.

Thank you for reading!

Yours

Ming