By the time Laharl and Barbara had returned to the castle, things were beginning to get chaotic, all thanks to a fusion of one of the Prinnies tripping down the stairs and causing a massive explosion and Raven seeming to harass Etna some more on her love life and whether or not she had a lover. Laharl had simply sighed before going to deal with the Saint and Demon Lord, leaving his Knight vassal to search for something to do.

Yet, even as Barbara walked around the castle, helping out any vassal who asked for her help, she couldn't help but think about Laharl. For the first time, she had truly caught herself thinking about him, about his deep red eyes and blue hair, his well-toned body and skill with a sword, and about how bea-

"Oh, Barbara," a voice called out, ripping her from her thoughts. Flonne ran up to her, a smile on her face. "There you are. I've been looking for you."

"What is it, Flonne?" the Knight asked. "Do you require me to do something for you?"

"Well, kind of. Could you help me and Zaeon prepare dinner?"

This was actually what she was hoping for. A chance to talk to Flonne and ask her about what was bothering her. "Of course," she replied, following the Archangel. It had been a while since she had visited the castle, and the first time she had arrived without her guard. "May I ask where Jennifer is?"

"Oh, back in Celestia. I gave her the day off." Which was Flonne for "I ordered her to remain behind and not harass me over being in the Netherworld". Barbara couldn't help but giggle internally at that. The young Angel was supposed to be Flonne's assistant/bodyguard, but was more of a nuisance, one who more than once vocalized her thoughts about demons. "So, I heard Laharl took you on a training session."

"He did, but..."

"But? What is it, Barbara?" The Archangel turned and looked at the Knight, her face looking curious.

"But... um..." Oh, it was hard to say. "I-it seemed like... t-there was... m-more to it than... t-training..."

Flonne cocked her head, wondering what she meant, when something came to her attention, aside from the strange stuttering. "Barbara... you're blushing."

Was she? She felt her face, feeling the warmth of her cheeks. The thought of Laharl made her cheeks heat up, her heart speed, made the world dizzy.

"Could it be...? Barbara, do you feel different around Laharl lately?"


"How so? What do you feel?"

Barbara told her, explaining the weird feelings she got whenever she was around the King, of how her heart felt like it was going to burst from her chest some days and of how she felt lightheaded other days. Flonne nodded, listening even as she helped out anyone they came across on the way to the kitchen. By the time they reached it, Barbara had finished up.

"And that's everything," the Knight said as they entered. "I-is that... strange?"

Flonne shook her head, smiling. "No, not at all, Barbara. In fact, it's wonderful."

"What's wonderful?" Zaeon inquired, already busy with cooking dinner. The smell of fresh herbs and spices filled the air as the Archer moved from pot to pan.

"Well, it seems our dear Barbara here has feelings for Laharl." Flonne clapped her hands together, looking absolutely pleased by this statement. It had been years since anyone had seen her react this... well, the best way to describe it was she was truly a Love Freak.

Barbara didn't know how to react, only walking up to the counter and beginning to help Zaeon with dinner. Hearing it being said aloud was... embarrassing, to say the least. "L-Lady Flonne, please, don't say it like that."

Zaeon simply giggled over the entire situation. "Well, I'm not surprised, especially given how our Lord has been acting lately. I'm sure you've noticed something, Barbara."

"What do you...?" But even before she finished, she knew what the Archer was implying. She might have denied it before, but now...

"What do you mean, Zaeon?" Flonne asked, curious as to what she implied.

Zaeon smiled slightly, taking off one of the pots and putting on a new one. "Well, it would seem our dear King has been spending more and more time with you, Barbara, excusing it as training and such." She giggled softly, moving on to a frying pan full of vegetables. "He has been putting off his work just to be near you. Everyone can see-, okay, maybe not EVERYONE, because I think Ayesha is still denying that Laharl isn't in love with her, but you get the idea. Plus, didn't he walk in on you in the shower that one time?"

Crimson colored her face. "W-w-w-well, y-y-yes, h-he did. B-but... it w-was an a-a-accident..."

Flonne stared at them, completely shocked. "When did this happen!?"

"Oh, that was what? Two centuries ago? One and a half?" Zaeon waved her hand slightly, as though waving it aside. "But did he not stare at you instead of panicking like usual and running away?"

"Um... where is this going?" Flonne asked, visibly embarrassed by the subject.

"Well, we all know it was about two centuries ago before our King was over his fear of women. And every time prior that he shown signs of overcoming it, it always involved Barbara." The Archer smiled, giggling softly. "And now he seems to be doing everything he can to be near her."

Barbara hadn't thought of it that way. She had merely put it as he wanted to better see to her training and growth as one of his top vassals, but now... Maybe Zaeon was right. The way he seemed to always smile at her. The way he seemed to go from being just her master to always being on her mind over the centuries... "S-so, w-what does it all mean?"

"Well, it seems Laharl might be interested in you," Flonne suggested, smiling brightly. Zaeon nodded in agreement, a serene smile on her face. "He's finally opening up fully to love, and it seems the one who held the key was you."

"T-t-t-t-t-the k-k-k-key w-was m-m-m-m..." Barbara was completely speechless, her face burning brightly, her heart threatening to burst from her chest. To think, Laharl had feelings for her... No, that... Could it be? "B-but, I'm just a vassal."

"And?" Flonne asked, quickly tending to a bubbling pot. "That has nothing to do with it. I mean, Priere married Damian and he was nothing but one of her vassals. Fenrich has even begun to open up to Rose. Being a master and servant means nothing when it comes to true love. So, do you truly feel the same?"

Did she? She thought about all she felt when around the King, all the moments her heart raced, her face flushed. Of how he seemed to become more and more handsome with every coming morning she went to wake him up. And, based on how she had reacted this morning... "I... I... I think..." She took a breath. "Yes, I love him."

Flonne nearly squealed over Barbara's answer, suddenly hugging the Knight. "Oh, Barbara, I'm so glad to hear that~"

"So, do you want to be with him?" Zaeon asked as she tended to more pots and pans. "Not as a servant, but to be by his side, always?"

"Um... W-well..."

Flonne smiled at Barbara. "Don't answer. I'm sure he feels the same way. Just prove it to him."

"Prove it? How?"

Flonne shook her head, all the while smiling. "That's up to you to decide. Do whatever your heart desires most to prove your love to him."

With that, the Archangel focused her attention on preparing dinner, Barbara doing the same after a few seconds. Do whatever her heart desired most. What DID she desire most, aside from being with Laharl? As she helped with dinner and began to set the table afterwards and place the food down, ideas took hold.

And by the time dinner itself finished up, she already had her idea set.

FINALLY! Sorry for the wait, everyone. Writer's block kicked in nasty D:
So, I know this chapter is like half the size of the others, but the reason is I was debating whether to wrap our tale up now or left the final part as the final chapter. Take a guess at what I chose lol :P
And KappeZ, sorry AGAIN if Zaeon is OOC. Even with the time difference and all, she might be a tad TOO OOC