Disclaimer: This story is officially disclaimed

Summary: Terrible things happen to Wolfram when he is sent by his King to fetch his older brother in Dai Shimaron. He was only able to survive by transforming his worst flaw as a soldier: the lack of control on his emotions, into his greatest weapon. But he takes it too far. To what extent has Yuuri's ideals truly affected Wolfram? To what extent should Wolfram form his own code of morality?

Warnings: Dark Themes. Nothing over the top (maybe), so I'm keeping it T rated. :P

A/N: Post end of series. Wolfram-centric, with character development on Yuuri and Conrart in later chapters. Focus is on how Wolfram sees himself in relation to Yuuri and his older brothers. As the genre is suspense (and action!) not all answers are given within the first chapter, so please be patient if you are confused, but feel free to ask for clarification.

Italics are Thoughts and/or Memory. There is no clear distinction between the two.
Bold is emphasis
Terminology - is defined so they can be used interchangeably as synonyms throughout the story.


Terminology:

Maou- Demon King
Shin Makoku- (New Demon Country) as opposed to the human territory. A united demon country/territory.
Dai/Shou Shimaron - (Big/Small Cimarron) as opposed to the demon territory

mazoku- as opposed to humans. Refers to race of demons
maryoku- demon magical powers that enables them to use majutsu.
majutsu- as opposed to houjutsu. Like demon magical arts. Ex. Fire or Earth techniques

houjustu- as opposed to majutsu. Like human magical arts
Heika- Your Majesty. Refers to Yuuri or other Kings. Can be used as a suffix
Geika- Your Honor. Refers to the Great Sage, or Murata Ken
Nazukeoya – Lit. The one who gave name to. Refers to Sir Conrart, who named Yuuri when he was born.


Rage and Morality


Prologue


"Yuuri! There you are! Don't go running off on your own like- W-What are you doing!"

Standing before Wolfram was Yuuri, holding hands with a luscious red haired, red-eyed women. Or rather, she was using both of her hands to hold on to his right one, faced up, thumbs on his palm.

"I-it's not what you think! She's just reading my fortune is all!" Yuuricried out feebly, free hand scratching the back of his head.

Wolfram wasn't stupid, he knew exactly what he was doing. After all, the very, very womanly figure was cloaked in a purple cape, as were all tellers of the trade in Shin Makoku.

Wolfram scoffed, "Don't tell me you're actually into that stuff, you wimp! You just wanted an excuse to hold her hand didn't you, cheater!" Wolfram crossed his arms in disapproval. Something about the way her hood shadowed her eyes, red hair seeping out to the sides, shading her profile and setting him off ends. He had to get Yuuri away from her.

But Yuuri would have none of it, "Wolfram, You shouldn't underestimate the power of the supernatural! I saw this special on TV the other day where this guy foretold the death of this baby's father, and the next day the post man who came to the house everyday was found mysteriously dead on their porch! And then it turned out that the post man was actually the baby's real father! At least, I think that's what happened. It was all in English so I couldn't understand it very well..."

Wolfram scowled, mildly irritated and very confused. He had caught on that a 'TV' was that metal box that could be found in the common room of the honorable parent's home, but beyond that was beyond him. Well, whatever Yuuri was trying to say it wouldn't convince him. Hadn't he learn from the Demon Mirror already that the future is impossible to foretell? Besides, it was common sense that fortune tellers never told person in question's fortune, but-

"Young Man!" shouted the woman, suddenly, interrupting their bickering. "I sense that great misfortune shall befall your closest comrade in the near future. The evil that shall be done to this person will be forever irreversible. Beware!" She dropped his hand and held hers out to him, palm up.

Yuuri blinked in confusion "That's it?" He asked. He eyed her palm, held out in a similar fashion to his a moment ago. He took note of the impatient look on her face. Suddenly an expression of fearful understanding and nervousness fleeted over his features."Wait, don't tell me that it's a custom here that the one who had his fortune told must read the fortune of the fortune-teller too!"

The lady sweat dropped and Wolfram fell over. He got back up and shouted in his fiancé's face, veins popping on his forehead,"No you wimp! She wants you to pay her!"

"Don't call me a wimp." A look of great relief passed through his face as he reached for his little money purse given to him by Conrart.

Yuuri paid and turned away, letting out a small sigh of disappointment, "Man and I thought she would tell me more. She didn't even tell me my fortune."

Wolfram fought the urge to roll his eyes. Did his King have no common sense? "Of course not you idiot. Fortune tellers don't posses the ability to read the fortune of the customer himself, but only their spiritual ties to those around them. You didn't even know that?"

Yuuri ignored his friend's gibe 'What was wrong with this world? I paid her, shouldn't I have my fortune read?' A more serious thought, though, quickly entered Yuuri's mind.

"Then what she said about my closest comrade...could it be true?" He mumbled in deep concern, eyes looking off into the far distance.

Wolfram caught his serious look. He knew where Yuuri's thoughts were concluding, for he had been thinking the same thing. There was a reason why fortune tellers were avoided in Shin Makoku. Not that his King could know that. It would be pointless to tell him now anyways.

So he settled for slapping his buddy roughly on the back, "You're so pathetic, worrying about needless things."

"Where am I being pathetic!" he shot back.

Wolfram rested his hand on his fiancé's shoulder before looking into his pool of black eyes.

"If it's him" he said, "He'll be okay".

Behind them, delicious red lips that matched her hair smiled mysteriously.


A few days later found Yuuri unable to focus clearly on his he was seriously fretting about the safety on his friend Conrart, even though he was not expected back from his mission for another month.

"Your Majesty! Please come back and concentrate on your studies!" Günter cried out, following Yuuri-heika down the hall as the boy went to double check with Gwendal for the nth time that all the reports concerning Conrart were okay.

Wolfram was just coming back from the training grounds when he saw Günter frantically following after Yuuri. There he goes worrying about Conrart again, he thought, It's only to be expected, Yuuri's not used to Conrad being gone for so long on a mission these days. He fought back a bit of jealously. Wolfram knew it was futile. He never could catch up with his brother in anything, even in admiration bestowed by their Majesty.

He tailed after the two to Gwendal's office.

"Your Majesty, I would appreciate it if you would show a little more faith in my brother. You know he is the one most familiar with Dai Shimaron, and most suited for this task. Moreover, reports say that even though there are several instances of in-fighting and clashes for the throne, King Saralegui of Shou Shimaron has been making every effort to ensure a peaceful transmission of power and unification in Dai Shimaron. Therefore I believe your over-dramaticism is unwarranted." Gwendal announced in that special way where it was professional, but still as though he were speaking to a child. In other words, which was natural given his line of work with their new King, he was professionally speaking to a child.

"I'm not being over-dramatic!" Yuuri cried out in frustration, slamming both his palms on the table. "It's just that the fortune-teller in town said that something bad would happen to the one closest to me, and from what I hear fortune predictions in this world usually come true. Conrad is out on a mission all alone in a foreign country. You tell me that I shouldn't be concerned!"

"Heika," Günter addressed his Majesty in a stern voice, "Conrart is not alone. He has Yozak and his troop accompanying him. And you should know better than all of us that we have many allies surrounding and within Dai Shimaron."

Murata, who had been discussing events with Gwendal before Yuuri entered with his tantrum, nodded his head. I wonder if Shibuya is meaning that Conrad is alone because he is not with him? Murata thought this was so like Shibuya to worry like Mama. Those two truly are close. Shibuya may not be unfounded in his worries. However...

"Shibuya, have you ever wondered why fortune predictions often turn out to be true?" he asked. Yuuri gave him his trademark look of confusion.

"Because it's their destined fate?"

Murata shook his head, "Because the actions of people after they hear the fortune make them true."

There was a moment of silence. "Indeed," Gwendal closed his eyes in contemplation of the Great Sages' words as they were meant to be. But Yuuri didn't really get it. He took a breath and tried a different approach.

"Look, all I'm trying to say is that I'm trying to learn from past experiences, like you're always trying to tell to me to, Gwendal, Günter. Instead of waiting for something bad to happen, why not act ahead of time to prevent it?"

The sage blinked. That actually sounded pretty logical for Yuuri, who didn't even need to be logical to be right. But Gwendal had still yet to be convinced.

"I'm not going to waste people, time, and resources sending troops out to foreign countries to please you're paranoia" He said. Then, as an after thought, "Your Majesty."

Yuuri let out a growl, exasperated. "I'm not being paranoid! I'm just-"

"Ahem!"

His majesty was interrupted by the loud sound of clearing throat. The occupants in the room turned to see Wolfram standing with his arms crossed, looking peeved as per usual.

"You're so pathetic, Yuuri. But if you're so worried about Conrad then I guess there's no other way.

Since we are not currently engaged in any significant activity at the moment any way," with this he shot a pointed glare at Gwendal, hinting that they had discussed this very topic recently, "I'll go with mytroops to Dai Shimaron just to make sure that this wimp can rest at ease and get back to his studies."

Wincing at the studies part, Yuuri regarded Wolfram. "You just want to go because you're also worried about him aren't you?" he teased.

Wolfram walked over and roughly grabbed Yuuri's collar in a display of anger, "Just who is worried about that guy! He simply can't be trusted to take care of himself is all!"

Yuuri sweat dropped and put up two hands in an 'I surrender' action, "Okay okay whatever you say".

Wolfram let him go and put his hands on his hips stubbornly, "Besides, its my duty as your fiancé to do for you only what others can not."

"Uh, riiight" Yuuri turned to Gwendal, "So is it settled? Can we go to Dai Shimaron to look for Conrad?"

"You're not going." Everyone in the room said simultaneously. They did not even give the poor boy the time to open his mouth in protest.

"You need to continue your studies, Heika," said Günter, holding out a textbook.

"You can't abandon your responsibilities as Maou of Shin Makoku" Gwendal gestured to the large pile of unsigned documents.

"You'd just get in the way and slow us down," proclaimed Wolfram, flipping his bangs.

"Eh heh heh heh," Yuuri scratched the back of his head sheepishly, sweat-dropping. At that moment Murata came up to put a hand on Yuuri's shoulder.

"Shibuya," He began with a conniving grin, eyes hidden by his shining glasses, "Since both your beloved fiancé and Nazukeoya will be gone for a good while, don't you think that this would be an opportune moment to eat Mama's curry tonight?"

Gwendal started, "Absolutely n-"

"Absolutely right!" Yuuri proclaimed in an obnoxiously loud voice, "Right Gwendal? Right. You're absolutely right. Let's go NOW Murata!" He grabbed his friends' arm and the two sprinted out the door followed closely by a distressed Günter and pissed Wolfram.

Gwendal massaged his temples as he sighed hopelessly. Just this once he would be lenient to His Majesty's wishes, if not merely for his own peace of mind.

"Geika! How couldyou!" Günter cried out, running down the halls after them, "Heika, please come back!"

"Yuuri!" shouted Wolfram, "Are you trying to run away without even thanking me? You cheater! Wimp!"

They all rounded the corner to the baths as Yuuri shouted without looking back, "Sorry Günter! Thanks Wolf! And I'm not a wimp!"


Chapter One

Rage


Burn

Burn

Burn

His stolen sword entered the abdomen of it's former master, slicing upward in between his ribs. He kicked the corpse off of the blade and turned to the three others rushing forward for the attack.

Burn

Never mind that he was in human territory which rendered his majutsu useless. Never mind that the walls and floors of this dungeon room were embedded in houseki, that had rendered the blonde in a sickly, deadly daze for the last week or so. Never mind that he was defending a human and fighting against mazoku and some other filthy human creatures.

These people will die. They would taste the cold flame of his sword, burning brightly for their blood.

He sliced horizontally toward the three men. It caught on to two of them bestowing light wounds. Good, Wolfram smirked, glad his strike didn't miraculous kill all three with one blow. This means I can draw out their deaths slowly and painfully He lunged his weakened body forward at the two wounded men, paying no mind to the third who had decided that the best course of action was to run out of the room and call for back up.

Bring them all, he declared mentally.

His protectee, a brunette human female in her middle twenties, backed up against the wall of the dungeon room. She was in a state of fear and awe of the small boy in front of her, whom, only days ago was in need of her strength. The very thought was unthinkable as she had watched him break out of his bonds and began to massacre her assaulters in a rage. Who could have thought that someone so beautiful could be so deadly?

She blinked. And why was he covered in sparks?

Regardless this was their only chance to finally get out of this living hell hole. She wasted no time in searching one of the bodies for the keys to the cuffs. Unable to unlock her own by herself, she rushed over to the three other prisoners in the room, all men. One was another beautiful mazoku boy, though not nearly to the level of Blondie with the bloody sword, and considerably more timid. The other two were human: a big man nearing his fifties and a younger man around her own age. The five of them were the only ones with the courage enough to have attempted an escape from this dungeon hellhole. Their endeavors had ended in failure.

Until now.

Cuffs unlocked, the younger human man rubbed at his wrist, gritting his teeth as he watched the angel of death standing before them, panting. Despite the fact that his body was almost glowing, the boy's eyes were darkly shadowed by his bangs. Was this demon really the same as the weak, selfish prick that came in a few weeks ago? Who is this kid, really?

He was brought out of his wary thoughts by the Brunette handing him a sword from one of the fallen ruffians.

"Come on" she said as the footsteps of enemy back up drew nearer, "We're fighting our way out of here."

Wolfram didn't wait for a cue, nor did he give time for the enemy guards to approach the room. He let out a holler in rage, his well of strength, and dashed out of the room with sword brandished high in the air, seeking new victims to burn.


"Why didn't you kill him?" The brunette woman would later asked Wolfram.

They were sitting on a grassy hill. They were the last two of the rebels who had yet to leave for whatever place they may call home.

It was a few days after their second raid. They ended up only escaping the first time with the help of Baba, a very much elderly lady that was taken and exploited for her practices in ancient houjutsu arts. Right after the escape, they decided to combined the elder's intelligence, Colossal (the big human male) and Wolfram's military expertise, as well as Brunette's own long experience there, to immediately infiltrate the slave market, freeing others and destroying the business.

In the middle of it all, Wolfram, caught up in his rage encountered the merchant head who funded the slave market in Dai Shimaron that had captured and destroyed the lives of thousands, indiscriminate of country borders. For the first time, at the moment it counted most, Wolfram's blood lusted mind had begun to doubt.

Wolfram stood in the center of the well lavished room on the top floor of the mansion. Around him lied the body of the guards he had triumphantly massacred.

Before him, on his bottom backed as far as he could against the wall in his own office, was a rich man with shoulder-length wavy brown hair, trimmed mustache, wearing a sunny coat and brown trousers. Wide eyes and hyperventilating, the middle-aged man was more likely to die from a heart attack before the the vindictive blond got to him.

Wolfram's clenched fist, the one not holding the stolen sword of his own attacker, was slick with sweat and blood. This man, unlike all the others, was unarmed. He took a few steps forward, ready to make a reality of what he had dreamed of ever since he woke up in this hell.

But just as he raised his sword to the object of his vengeance's throat, instead of picturing the pleasure he would receive by ramming it through this...this thing's body, Wolfram could only see a black haired, black-eyed boy that he recognized from what seemed like years ago. He looked about the same age as he was and wore a disappointed frown.

'You shouldn't kill others, Wolfram, no matter what the circumstance.'

Wolfram protested, "You don't understand what he's done to them! To me! Yuuri!"

The man sprawled on the floor looked in shock at the boy holding the blade to his throat, apparently yelling at an unseen person.

'We should save everyone. He deserves a second chance.'

"He deserves to die. I'm a soldier. I have the right to kill him."

'He can redeem himself. Killing won't change anything, Wolfram'

Wolfram's mental Yuuri changed his expression from one of disappointed to disgust.

The blonde gasped with the horrid realization. Killing this man wouldn't change anything. It wouldn't purify him, or take back what had been done to the others in the dungeon. They were incurable, contaminated.

And he said as much.

"I'm already contaminated with his evil, Yuuri, so it wouldn't make a difference if I do kill him."

That's right, the man cowering before him was just one more worthless soul in this hellhole. Why stop now? He had already taken the lives of so many nameless faces, not knowing if they had committed the same sins as the guards in the dungeons did. Wolfram blinked, as though waking up from Shinou's trance. He dropped his sword.

How many had he kil- No. Ruthlessly murdered? Tens? Hundreds? He brought his trembling, bloody hands to his face as his victim made for his life out the door.

"What have I done...?"

"Blondie," Wolfram looked up to find Brunette looking at him expectantly, "I asked you why you let that bastard live?" Brunette asked again.

Goofy black eyes blinked at him in a cute, confused expression, the epitome of innocence and naivety. How was he supposed to answer that question?

That I have a stupid friend who believes that no matter how corrupt or bad someone is they should be saved. He's a wimp, but he would be sad if he knew that I...

That I killed under his reign. I killed and killed and killed and I enjoyed it.

Wolfram swallowed harshly and said simply, "I don't lower myself to killing weaklings who don't even know how to hold a sword."

Brunette frowned and opened her mouth to contradict him when Blondie continued, bitter-sweetly, "and I – I have a friend who would be disappointed in me if I did."

Confused and irritated, the woman was about to speak again, before closing her mouth for a moment in thought. She changed her question, "Is that the person you were searching for before..."all of this?

He shook his head. "No, the person I was searching for was my older brother. I was supposed to be bringing him home."

"I see..." A moment of silence lapsed.

"What will you do?" Wolfram asked.

Brunette's expression changed to one of hope and concern. "I want to go home to my little sister. She's the only family I have left. And I... want to see my fiancé again."

Wolfram looked up in surprise, "You're fiancé? Even though..."

"I know. I know," Brunette hugged her knees tightly, "I mean, I don't know if he will still want me, after...everything. And I cant blame him if he doesn't. I mean, who would want to marry someone who has been...defiled," She spat out the word in bitterness. She coughed, most likely trying to cover up for a light sob.

Blondie looked like he wanted to offer an idea, an escape, but wasn't sure if it would be acceptable or not. Brunette could guess what it was, though, as she had contemplated the alternative herself several times already.

"I have to tell him." she told Blondie, "I couldn't possibly marry him otherwise." She clenched her fist, "It would be like lying everyday to the one you love most. I just cant! But even still. if he doesn't marry me afterward, but just accepts me nearby...that will be enough."

Wolfram looked away, trying to suppress the invoked emotions; the memories that her words awoke painfully in his chest. He was finally beginning to understand the words of his King.

"I want to protect the people."

Yuuri would say this time and time again, set determination in his eyes. Not just the leaders, not just his family or friends, but the people. Thousands and thousands of people -his subjects- that he didn't even know.

Or did he know them?

Did Yuuri know the people the way Wolfram had now gotten to know them? Is that why he always said those words?

Is that why the Maou was so powerful?

For the tenth time that day Wolfram eyed the black and white bracelet gracing his left wrist. It was a gift from the witch Baba, before she left, soon after the second raid.

"Here, take this, boy" the women ordered causally in her haughty, no-compromise tone. Wolfram found her ancient oak-like face hideous, yet could stare at it for time on end in wonder. In the beautiful demon-populated Makoku there were very few elderly as they all aged so slowly, allowing plenty of time to be killed off in their lifespan by something other than old age. It was hard to imagine that he was, in actuality, very close in age with this withering woman (could she even be called human with that crooked body and those deep long lines of wrinkles on her face!), but as mazoku aged much slower, they mentally matured so much slower as well. Therefore the wisdom and insight a human elder could hold had begun to strike him as fascinating.

So with no regard to her appalling features, Wolfram unhesitatingly reached out for the strange piece of jewelry, and was shocked to the point of almost dropping it upon contact.

"What is the meaning of this!" He demanded. The bracelet had a white metallic chain and was embedded with numerous coin-sized obsidian-like gems. It was strange. Normally houseki were red in color.

The woman snorted, "You were the one who said you wanted to get stronger, to never again succumb to the powers of houseki. So live it up, child," she smiled nastily. "Every time you look at it, remember what it was like to be weak and vulnerable before your enemies, to be used and humiliated every day like a common whore, and renew your vows to get stronger."

Wolfram clenched the bracelet forcibly in his palm, already fighting back a wave of nausea. It was not as bad as he would have imagined it to be; most likely a side effect of being exposed to the gem constantly for the past eighteen days, and even then being able to at last stand up and fight under its influence.

"There are ten stones on that band. Right now two of them are activated. As your body grows stronger, another stone will start to emit its power. Knowing you it will be only a matter of time before that little charm becomes just another dainty trinket. The houseki should also help cool you down a bit, if you know what I mean," Baba explained, the wrinkles on her face folded into an expression of cat-like self-praise.

For a brief moment, a dose of optimism fluttered in Wolfram's chest, the first since the adrenaline of the battle (or massacre, on his part) had died down. Was it possible? Could Wolfram be able to overcome the effects of the houseki, despite his pure mazoku blood and maryoku powers? But the hope disappeared as quickly as it came, and he held the pretty piece back to the witch.

"I can't, I have to return to Shin Makoku. People will notice. They will begin to ask questions." Questions that I will never answer.

The woman huffed, "Do you take me for an old fool just because I'm human, demon boy? A small charm to hide its presence against any other mazoku , as long as they don't touch it directly, is well within my ability. Especially since there's only the two of you" she gestured casually to the other boy-mazoku: a commoner that they called Timid, for his nature. Timid bore a bracelet as well, from what Wolfram could see, though with much fewer stones embedded in it.

"Then-" he said all that was required to ask his next question.

"Of course, I gave one to each of them. Don't go thinking you're something special, Angel of Death." By 'them' the woman was referring to the original five rebels who began the Great Escape from the underground market: Brunette, Colossal, Timid, Pub, and himself, Blondie. He doubted that any of them really wanted a souvenir from their experiences (though one such as a bewitched bracelet was a sharp contrast to the emotional, mental, and physical ones they wold be bearing for the rest of their lives). He soon concluded that just as the mazoku members could use this opportunity to strengthen themselves against the houseki, the humans could be exposed to a chance to actually use the power for their defense one day, should the time come.

All the same Wolfram raised an eyebrow and allowed a small grin to mark his features, a faint resemblance to his old self, "If I'm not special, then why is it that mine has the most houseki stuck on it?" he accused.

"That's silly," She said, "It's obvious because you're the one who needs the most help,"

"What!" Wolfram said threateningly in a loud voice.

Unfazed, the witch laughed and gave a wink, "And with such a pretty face like yours, its only natural you steal all the attention."

Wolfram's playful energy immediately dissipated, though it had nothing to do with the houseki. He did not want to hear about how pretty he was.

Baba slapped him on the back, causing him to jump in a frenzied panic, though he tried not to show as much. "Shape up, boy," She said, " you'll get over it one day. We'll all have to in one way or another."

Gloomily, Wolfram snapped the trinket onto his wrist, wondering whether or not in the end this would really make him stronger. He had a lulling suspicion that his weakness was something deeper than his physical strength.

As Baba turned to leave, Wolfram called out with one more question tugging at his mind, "How did you get so many houseki anyways?" he asked, not remembering ones like these being raided from the black market lair. He didn't remembering much of anything being brought back from that hellhole, actually. After eliminating everyone they could set their sights on, the rebel group had torched the place, much to Wolfram's pleasure. Despite what it sounded like, it was not a hollow victory of vengeance for the former slaves. It was purification.

But instead of answering his question about the mysteriously acclaimed (and colored) gems, Baba just smiled secretively before turning her back and walking away. Perhaps to harass some other foolish youngster who tries to carry the world on his shoulders.


It took Wolfram another few days to locate Fabian and Clause, the two in his troop who had accompanied him on this journey, as Gwendal did not permit him leave with his full company. Wolfram had long lost track of the time that had pass since his capture, but to his surprise his men were still there in the village where he left him. They almost cried upon seeing him, proclaiming they had been unwilling to return without their commander. Wolfram smiled genuinely, but keep a few cold paces back from them. He asked if they had sent any news by pigeon to his brother in the castle.

"No sir," Fabian frowned, "You explicitly ordered us not to. To wait until you had dealt with the situation at hand yourself."

"And so I did," Wolfram conceded. He did not remember issuing the order, but it sounded like him. He was grateful for their loyalty, regardless of his long overdue return. The fact that no new of his...venture had been passed to his older brother gave him great relief, despite himself. All he had desired for the past few weeks was to go home. He hadn't thought ahead as to what he would do when he got there, or how he could live with himself afterwards.

Suddenly an impossible thought shot through his mind that sent his heart pounding against his will. He immediately shut it down. No, it's too much to hope for...But. In as much of a casual voice he could muster, Wolfram asked his soldiers what the day was. They answered him promptly, causing Wolfram to suck in a deep breath.

As unreal as it seemed in his mind, just under a month had passed since he had been separated from his men, which explained why they were still waiting for him in the village. Another week and they would have been forced to disobey orders and either report to Gwendal, or move on to find Lord Conrart themselves in order to begin the search for his brother.

Just under a month. The timing was too perfect. A miracle. Keeping his men quiet was no problem. If he played his cards right then Gwendal would assume that he had found Conrart and decided to stay with him until the designated time to return home. It was plausible as their Majesty was expected to still be out of the world at the moment. He could then get Conrart to believe he had been sent near the end of his shift just to escort him home, in accord with his Majesty's worries.

Something akin to fear arose in his stomach, though Wolfram wasn't sure why. A perfect escape, given to him by fate. It could work. He could do it. He could pull it off and none would be the wiser for it.

It would be as though nothing had happened at all.


In lands far from the castle in Shin Makoku, there sat a man in the study room of his home. A man with shoulder length wavy brown hair and a neatly trimmed mustache, dazedly swirling the wine in his glass. In the comfort of his study, in the darkness of a room only lit by a dull fire, the man's relaxed mind was able to recall certain details he had been too...preoccupied to take note of before, though he did not fully understand it.

Yuuri. The devil child spoke the name Yuuri.

There was only one Yuuri in all of Shin Makoku, perhaps in all the world.

The man let escape a malicious grin.


Next Chapter: Due to his experiences that are revealed as the story unfolds, Wolfram finds it difficult to re-adjust to life back at the castle with his brothers and his King. Just when he seems to be getting a grip, something happens that propels him once more into a fiery rage.


Case for Wolfram: For me the biggest grievance when it comes to Wolfram is that he is so much physically weaker than his brothers, despite his passion. This makes it seem like all Wolfram has going for him is his passion. But I think that his weakness is mostly just physical, and that his character is no less than his brothers. That is, a loud and obnoxious character is no less than a quite and contemplative one. What fascinates me most about Wolfram is to think about how much different his inner struggly must be versus his older brother Conrart in their times of darkness.

For the series, I am sad that Wolfram's pride and lack of emotional control are labelled as selfish or ignorant (like when all the characters are gathered for a meeting, and Wolfram's comments are somehow always "wrong" or "irrelevant" yet Conrad's is usually insightful and "right." Even Yuuri gets more hits than Wolfram...). What is disappointing is that often for Wolfram to be considered "mature," he has to forsake the above, instead of being seen as a strength in their own right. For instance, his "insane jealous suspicion" of others could actually be considered a necessary quality for a retainer of the King. No matter how nice someone may seem who approaches the King, it is good for someone to always hold a certain level of skepticism.

For fanfiction, I love Wolfram, but I don't love him being overly-angsty or love sick all the time. I mean, how often in the series was he angsty? Anytime he was beating himself up or not feeling well he was, for the most part, quiet about it (though the puking on the ship was a dead give away, not that sea-sickness is angst). The most angsty character in the series by far is Conrart (though I love him too...what am I saying? I love everyone! Happy Joy Joy!). I don't see Wolfram as the love-sick type either. He's too proud for that. Yeah he loves his best friend and was very hurt when they thought Yuuri wasn't going to come back, but I don't see him being all self-pity like or depressed beyond reason about it. More than being love sick, wouldn't he just pretend that he didn't care? Also, I don't believe that the best way to bring out the best in a character is by down-playing another, nor should Yuuri and Wolf's relation be built off of guilt, albeit, unfortunetly, many relationships in the world are actually built that way.

That aside, I just think that Wolfram's gimmicks and fronts overshadow his maturity. He is serious and very capable when it counts. And also that sometimes when we focus too much on his jealously or Yuuri's reluctance that we miss out on so much more of what their relationship has to offer.

Well, Im not sure if any of this really makes sense, and we all of our own ways of breaking down Wolfram's character. That's the joy of fanfiction ^_^ and no opinion is better than the other. Just different. *Sigh* I think my reason for writing this fic was, ultimately, that I felt left out with all the great people out there who write awesome stories about our angry Wolfie ^^


Constructive Criticism: The parts I am especially concerned with are:

(1) do I use too much explaining versus showing/dialogue?
(2) does the story drag in places? is it too dark?
(3) sometimes I have difficulty writing the dialogue, as we are all used to hearing it in Japanese. So I tried to communicate what the characters would say in the series (Japanese) and the translated equivalent rather than making it as if the characters spoke English instead...does that even make sense? Anyhow, was there places that appeared choppy in the dialogue, or didn't feel "right" to English speakers, and do you think they should be changed?

(4) What are your thoughts on Wolfram's character in relation to Yuuri and/or his older brothers?