It was a late mid summer afternoon, and the sun was standing high upon the blue painted sky. The speck of glowing yellow radiating just enough heat for it to be comfortable, yet it was far from warm enough for bathing in the sea- which was rather unusual around this time of year. Here and there heavy clouds could be seen hanging in the sky, especially becoming many in number south of the castle. It was clear that before long, there would be rain. "To be honest, this whole summer has seemed colder than usual... although that could also just be me getting older," the elderly king murmured to himself in thought as he peacefully strode through the garden, almost as though he had all time in the world. This, of course, was all but true and he knew that very soon he would have no choice but to return to his duties. The king had as kind a face as his personality- and in all of the kingdom, he was loved and adored by his people. It was mostly due to his strong sense of judgement and caring nature. Yet, as it always is, not everyone cherished the king. Some considered him a fool, others due to greed and selfishness simply thought him to be too just. Nevertheless most treated him with outmost respect. His belief was that a kingdom should not be ruled by the hand of fear, but a good will and strong mind. A king should want to make their subjects happy and win their loyalty by his good deeds, not force it upon them with threats and despair. A king who did not serve his people, but used his authority to have them serve him, was not worthy of being called king- in his opinion. "Your highness? Your highness, may I have your attention for just a moment, please..." The aged king was pulled from his deep thoughts by the voice of a young servant girl, a note of urgency in her voice. He turned around to face her, his brows slightly furrowed as his lips curled into a slight but friendly smile. It was somewhat of an attempt to calm the maid, who seemed far too agitated for her own good. "You may. Is there anything I can do for you?" The young maid returned a nervous smile and gave a slight nod of her head. "Indeed. Your highness, there is a... young lord asking for an audience with you, preferably at once. I-I told him to wait b-but..." The king held up his hand and his smile widened. "Well, then. Take me too see this young lord and I shall listen to what he has to say, hmm?" "O-of course!" the servant girl replied, curtseying before turning on her heals and heading back into the castle, "I'll take you to him at once." The elderly king chuckled softly as he followed her, finding her nervous behavior quite endearing. Despite the fact that the servant girl had labeled the visitor 'young lord', what awaited him in the throne room was still not quite what the elderly king had expected. The boy was young, 11 or 12 at most; yet his icy blue eyes were not those of a child. They were the eyes of a man who had experienced decades of hardships and misery, witnessed things worse than any nightmare and yet never experienced even an ounce of love or warmth. They were they eyes of a killer, the eyes of a demon. Although his body was meek and his expression devoid of emotion, his eyes burned fiercely with determination and desire. Never before had the king seen such eyes, or experienced that he could not hold another's gaze for particularly long. Without doubt, the child sent shivers down his spine. The boy had come alone, as far as the king understood. In the throne room only his own servants and guards were present, and yet he had the feeling he was being watched by an unseen force, hostile, to be sure. Nevetheless, he refrained from showing any sign of fear by the beautiful child's presence, and forced a diplomatic smile while he gazed down at the boy from his throne. "And how might I aid you, my child?" he asked softly. "My request is simple," replied the boy, his voice as flat and emotionless as his expression, "Abdicate the throne at once, and surrender this kingdom to the Dark Isles." The kings eyes nearly popped out at the boys request and he noticed the guards closest to him tensed. One of them look furious. "What insolence! Who do you think you-" The guard never had time to finish before the king lifted his hand to silence him, a slightly nervous chuckle rumbling in his chest. "What a entertaining joke... though I suppose that was not the only reason you came here?" The dark isles? the king thought with a frown, Surely this must be a fabrication of a child playing a bad prank? Why would they send a mare child to do their conquering? The king had heard rumors of the dark isles. They were said to be a frightening place, devoid of all hope and love- and ruled by the curliest emperor of all time: the demon lord. The boys expression remained the same, almost as though it had been set in stone. The very look in his eyes as he gazed upon the king in silence made it quite clear that his words had been anything but a joke. As the boy did not reply, and simply continued to stare, the king settled in his throne and sighed, his smile faltering. A hint of uneasiness showed in his eyes and could be heard in his voice as he spoke again. "Who are you, child?" he asked slowly, narrowing his eyes. "I am known by many names, yet prefer to go by my title, Arashi Shuriken: Emperor of the Dark Isles." Just for a moment, the hint of a smile flickered across his features. It was a cold, bloodthirsty and frightening smile. The boy named turned on his heals began to stride towards the doors, though halted right before he was about to exit, casting the king a sideways glance. Every last bit of color had drained from the kings features as he realized who the child before him was. Had anyone else made such a statement and looked like the child, perhaps he wouldn't have believed them. Something about the eerie boy told the king that he was speaking the truth. Never had the king imagined that the feared Emperor of Darkness who Swallows Countries was merely a young child; a boy... and a beautiful boy to that. "We shall give you one month to consider your options. If you have not made a decision by the time the red moon rises, we will take your kingdom by force. Think carefully: Should you reject our favor, the fate of your kingdom will be a unpleasant one." The young Emperor didn't have time to take more than one step before the king shouted the order that would be the end of his highness. "C-capture the brat! Alive, though! Make sure he is alive!" the king barked, pointing a shaky hand at the boy. Small beads of sweat had were glistering on his forehead, a look of fear completely having overcome him. Arashi merely turned back around, an expression of utter boredom crossing his features. "What a den of utter fools and cowards," he murmured as the doors to the throne room slammed shut behind him, cutting off his only escape route. *** The servant girl from earlier was sweeping the floor of one of the hallways when she heard a commotion coming from the throne room. For a moment she considered just assuming that everything would be alright and carrying on with her duties, but with each passing second the commotion became noisier and noisier... until suddenly there was total silence.Her eyes were wide, her hands clasped clasped around her broom as she hesitantly edged towards the doors leading to the throne room. Just as she was about to knock, they slammed open. A terrified shriek escaped her lips, her hands trembling. The broom clattered to the floor, and she took a step back in shock. The scene she was met her eyes was all but pleasant. The floor of the throne room was covered in blood and corpses- some complete, while others were completely disfigured with several limbs severed. Clearly a fierce battle had taken place. In the middle of it all stood the same boy she had spoken to earlier, covered in blood and a sword clasped in his pale hand. Fighting all those men on his own must have had its strain, even on the demon. While this might be the case, he seemed to have come to little harm himself- not even a scratch visible upon his porcelain skin. The maid froze as the boy lifted his chilling gaze, focusing those pale blue eyes on her. His hand moved, and before long he was pointing the bloodied sword directly at her. "And you..." he said, his chest still heaving and falling heavily, "you have neither family nor a master to serve, do you? I recognize an orphan when I see one. Truth to be told, now when the king dead, you have nowhere else to go and no one to serve... from this day onwards, you will be my servant." The young emperor staggered over to her and grasped hold of her sleeve in order to steady himself; he looked as though he was ready to collapse any moment, and for just the blink of an eye... he actually appeared like the child he was; meek and shattered. That was the only time Rosalie would ever see him cry. As the red moon rose over the island, the 11th devision of the black army marched into Regalia, a kingdom which had fallen into chaos after their king and his guards were brutally murdered by a still I identified culprit. When morning arrived, Regalia, renamed Crimson Island, officially became part of the dark isles and was put under the supervisory rule of Lord Astoroth- the Crimson General. This was the third kingdom the young Emperor had claimed in more or less such a manner, and it would definitely not be the last. Arashi was seated by a window in his sleeping chamber, cold blue eyes focused on the barren world outside. From this view, it appeared to be a truly dark and lifeless thing. This was only half the truth about his empire. Surly it was dark, but for the most part it was all but lifeless. One just needed to know where to look for something to happen. Several years had passed and his empire had grown drastically. With the empire, the emperor also grew and what had once been a meager looking but beautiful child, was now a tall and handsome man, appearing to be somewhere around his late twenties. Of course, being a demon he didn't physically age like a human. There was no way to tell how old he really was. No matter how much he had physically changed, his eyes remained the same as they had been back then. Cold, calculating, fear inducing. Arashi glanced up as he heard a knock on the door, knowing full and well who it was even before she spoke. "Come on in, Rosalie..." he said, his expression remaining bored and his voice as flat and lifeless as always. She opened the door and slipped inside, shutting it behind herself before she headed over to his side. She too had aged, though so far more quickly than Arashi. Having been around fifteen when they first met, the maid was now old, her long hair white as snow and her once smooth skin marred with wrinkles. Yet, in a way she still retained the simplistic beauty of her young days. Especially her large dark eyes were still just as gentle and kind. Rosalie stood at his side silently for a while, following his gaze as she tried to figure out how to approach the subject troubling her for quite a while. "You've been very quiet lately- more so than usual, milord. Are you not feeling well? Is there something heavy weighing on your mind?" started carefully, watching him through those intense, brown orbs. Arashi kept his gaze trained on the dead landscape outside, his expression remaining emotionless as he said nothing for a while. "... grab my hairbrush," he ordered. His voice was surprisingly gentle, but somehow also appeared to be distant. Rosalie sighed and left, only to reappear a moment later with a hairbrush in hand. Quietly, she stood behind him and gently began brushing through his long black hair, again waiting for him to speak. If he wanted to answer her question, he would do so. Asking again could only end up in aggravating him. She had long since learned that upsetting the emperor was a very bad idea indeed. Finally, Arashi spoke. "Rosa, your husband used to be quite skilled at locating people at request, wasn't he? While he was still active in the trade, that is." Rosalie narrowed her eyes slightly in thought before hesitantly nodding her head. "Yes, I would suppose so... why?" "I am looking for a wife..." Rosalie nearly dropped the hairbrush in response to the direct but somewhat strange reply, grimacing slightly. "You already have seven, aren't they enough?" she asked wearily. "No," the emperor retorted calmly, tracing his fair fingers alongside the mosaic pattern of the window sill. "The seven wives I have are each from one of the dark isles I conquered. I cannot imagine any of them particularly like me, some even despising me with all they've got. They all look upon me with either fear or contempt. I do not hold it against them. Not everyone is like you and can forgive: especially unforgivable deeds," he paused and breathed a soft sigh, "Hm... honestly I don't care if they do. Their only reason for being here is for conceiving my children and then both they and their child will be sent back home, if they so wish. What I want is a wife that is truly my own..." It was a displeased frown that painted Rosalie's face, and she found herself boldly giving him a light smack in the head with her brush. "When will you learn, you young moron? You cannot own a person!" She was clearly aggravated by his request, scowling in dislike. Arashi turned his gaze away from her for the first time during that conversation, his expression blank. "... don't be silly, of course you can. Anyway, may I finish?" Rosalie arched an eyebrow before sighing and resuming with brushing his hair. "Yes, continue, milord... you should not have to ask for my permission," she smiled slightly, sadly. "I always feel like a caged bird in this palace. Everywhere I go I bring despair, I cause fear. Everything around me is impure, sullied, shattered and tainted. Even the things I touch. I want someone innocent, someone pure..." "You've been reading cheesy romance novels as of late, haven't you? Or perhaps you are taking one of my fairytales just a little bit too seriously..." Arashi grimaced. "Of course not..." he turned his gaze down, in a way indicating the exact opposite. "I'm just... bored." "You are bored and for that reason wish my husband to find a wife for you?" she questioned slowly. "I am glad that you understand, now get to work." he replied, a slight smirk tugging the corners of his lips. "Good grief... very well, I shall speak to my husband. You're a spoiled brat, you know that?" Three months passed, and Rosalie's husband did his best to locate a fitting wife for the Emperor. Eventually he found a young woman from a kingdom still untouched by the empire of darkness. The girl was from a poor family, which gladly had given away their daughters hand in marriage in return for generous payment. Not that the Emperor would need to know any of this. All that mattered was that she was pretty- looked pure and was a virgin. Surely the emperor would pass that off as being pure, would he not? His world view was skewed enough that it would have come as no surprise. Arashi was sitting at his desk, the only sound present being quill scraping against paper as black ink formed sentences. There was a knock on the door, causing Arashi to stop his hand and glance up. He'd almost expected Rosalie to be standing there, and was just about to give her the usual 'come on in', when he was reminded by the bitter truth that he had seen her off just a few weeks ago. Never again would that pleasant old lady brush his hair so gently. In a way it made him sad. She was the closest thing to a loving mother he'd ever had. "What do you want?" he asked, sounding uncharacteristically grumpy. "Your highness," the voice of his most trusted general sounded through the door, "Your bride... is waiting for you in the throne room."