The boy sighed as he reached a hand to drift a lock from his golden eyes. Sometimes, his long, blue hair was troublesome. Paired with his soft features, fluttering lashes, and thin figure, many had termed him effeminate.
He didn't care, however.
Because those who actually spoke it before him were few and far between.
"What are you doing back here, brother of mine?" He asked as he looked into the mirror. "And with the hero you stole from, no less? I thought I told you to only return if you wanted to die?"
He stared at himself for a moment, rolling the words again in his mind.
"Alright." He nodded with a soft smile as he released a breath and touched his chest. As if pushing past the weight that had settled there. "That should be it."
As clear as he always was of his goals, he was forever someone who found socializing troublesome. Practice before the actual event was needed unless he wanted to stammer about. It was an odd thing, he knew that much of a fact. After all. He was someone who had already killed many before.
"You still make me speechless, sometimes," A voice came from behind him, "Your hands have become dried in blood but you're still the same weak-willed social introvert as ever."
Lain Tross turned a glance at his butler. A male dressed in a suit that had and would never fit him. As always, he had the arms of the white shirt rolled up, the end of his pants folded, and his red tie dangling loosely. Spiky black hair. Dark eyes. And a body that any knight of the kingdom would be jealous of. He was a swordsman more than a caretaker. At his waist was a sheathed sword and he stood offhandedly, hands in his pockets, tall and forever proud.
"Hmm? Is that so?" Lain asked him, "Then why are you still following me?"
"I've said it a thousand times over now, I'll continue following the childhood friend I love so much," The butler replied with a grin, "Or did you decide to throw me away too? I'll tell you right now. I'll be sad. I won't give, even. I'll come crawling right back to clutch your leg."
Lain merely stared at the male for a moment. Rance Chrome, he was called. They had been friends since young. More specifically, master and slave as he had been picked up an orphan of war.
"I see. . ."
Lain turned and picked up the dark-blue cloak on the chair to his right. Putting it on as he stared at his feminine figure in the mirror—a body that looked like a fragile doll—he spoke.
". . .do as you wish," He said, "Continue by my side if you want to. I won't stop you."
As much as he had thrown a lot of people away, Rance was someone his heart couldn't get rid of. In fact, the mere thought was hard to imagine.
"But," His golden eyes moved as he turned around, hair fluttering, "I will surely kill you if you ever betray or leave me. Likewise, if you ever hold someone aside from myself in your heart, then they shall die as well."
Rance laughed, unperturbed by his cold glare. To him, he merely found those words and actions cute. There had yet to be a moment where the two clashed swords.
"Of course, master," He said, stretching his large hand forward, "May I escort you?"
Lain nodded. "You may."
They grasped each other's hands, both silently, and tacitly, understanding that their love was an odd one. In reality, it shouldn't exist, as a noble needed a heir, and no one had ever heard of the head to a family loathing the idea of being with a female.
As they walked the hallway of the quiet mansion, Rance asked a question.
"So, did you see anything else today?"
Lain was called the Hero of Light certainly because his weapon could blind or smite others, but—though known by few—he was also termed as such due to his golden eyes, like shining orbs, that could peer into the near future from his own perspective. Specifically, the events came sporadically through the viewpoint of his future sight, unaligned in time amidst a 30 day period, something that would happen in 17 days could come before something that would occur in 3—and he shifted through the darkness of the uncertain future, planning.
"I also saw myself fighting Claire Hill, the Fairy that appeared in that recent record against the Dragon Slayer," He said, "One reason or another, just as I wielded my final blade of light, there was eternal darkness and I could no longer see anything. I have no idea if events pass that point will come."
Rance raised a brow and looked down at his lord. "The person the world termed 'Ice Queen'? Did she kill you?"
"I do not know," Lain replied, "She might have killed me. Or she might have won and stolen my powers at that point. Maybe, perhaps, she did something else to blind my sight? I know naught of the result but, if I was simply blinded, then events past that point should still come as I would have likely been healed."
Rance nodded. "That's true."
That was an odd thing, Rance thought, he had never seen Lain lose a battle. He was, after all, someone who was almost impossible to catch off guard. He didn't think Lain would die or lose his powers, the only possibility he thought of was an unhealable attack that permanently blinded.
'Though that's just my wishful thinking. . .'
Rance heard the short hum of Lain and eyed him. As petite as he still was when compared to himself, the years had aged both of them into adults and the past seemed as distant as the future.
". . .are you smiling?" He asked, noticing the slight lift of his master's lips.
Lain released his hand and took a step past Rance's form as his hair floated behind him, reaching just above the back of his knees.
They were approaching sections of the mansion not cutoff to the rest of the workers.
"The mild possibility of death aside," He said, "It is the first time the future appeared entirely uncertain to me. Isn't that reason enough to be happy?"
"Now that is twisted."
"I hear myself called that quite frequently."
"So what now?" Rance changed the topic.
"Now? We wait. At the very least, I know my older brother comes before she does as I was still dressed as I am now."
Rance nodded, watching Lain's figure as he walked. As always, his high mana pool leaked out unconsciously and he appeared as if he was encased in a golden glow. To many, they said he sucked the light away from everything. To Rance. . .
He was the light.
The world speculated that a person's mana, its color and the way it behaved when simply released, was an insight into their true self. Those more driven by emotions such as anger or desire, most commonly for battle, wielded raging red. Those driven more so by the coldness of logic had the lightest of calm blue. A sharp need for calculation and manipulation of others called for a sizzling purple. Someone hazy in mind and spirit, unknown even to themselves, wielded the flickering of deep blue, like dancing flames. A person who easily changed to fit a situation had the green of a growing tree. Then, if completely lost to one goal, walking towards it with only yourself and nothing else, white was the mana of the individual.
Yet, only Rance knew why the person he loved, someone who had killed many with his own hands—someone termed 'Hero Killer'—wielded a mana as pure and blinding as the gold of light; that which was said to be held by those who sacrificed themselves for others.
"Please pick up your pace, Rance," Lain glanced back, "Our meetings won't await us for long. People with status and power are quite fickle with it, after all."
Rance increased his speed. He reached the door that blocked off this section of the castle first and pushed it wide open.
"Please, master," He said.
Lain Tross took in a breath and calmed his beating heart. As always, he hated social situations. Yet, a lord had work that must be done, and a hero never shied away from a challenge.
"Thank you," He spoke, expression frosting as he passed the doorway.