Disclaimer/s: Art is from Ashleigh3070 from Zerochan. It’s an entry for Sailor Moon. All credits for this art goes to each respective owners.
Some parts of the narrative were written by my good friend, Parad1gm. Half of the credit is his. 🙂
Arcadian Royal Castle…
The Commander had begun rapping the knuckles of his steel gauntlet of the fine, oak doors to Princess Resha’s chambers. He heard voices stirring within, thus he knew this would be an appropriate time. One voice sounded like King Lucian’s, the other of Princess Resha obviously. This was good, he could relay his report to both and introduce Azrael. That is, assuming he hadn’t already tarnished his name with his own reputation. At least to the King. The Commander already knew of the past between Azrael and Resha. It was good for the Princess, for she had a sad past that many felt for. The Queen was an amazing woman, pure at heart. Just like Resha is today. Some, if not many, saw the late Queen in her.
“Now, Azrael. You have only seen the King but have not spoken to him. You will treat him with the utmost respect, or so help you, you will face my entire wrath. And the entire continent would not be able to save you. Am I clear?” Azrael began waving him off, but he was suddenly seized by the metal collar, brought face to face with a steel helm. The young man swallowed a lump in his throat, grinning sheepishly. “Do… I… make… myself… clear?”
“Yeah, yeah, I heard you the first time. Sheesh. Besides if Resha is in – yeah, sure, Princess, got it – if she’s in there, I won’t make an ass of myself. I’ve gotta be on my best behavior, y’know?” Azrael replied back, brushing the Commander’s steel grip off of his person. He almost could feel the man giving a narrowed gaze as he eyed Azrael firmly. He didn’t need to say anything as the rowdy Knight glared back and snapped. “No, nothin’ funny is goin’ on. You put that eyebrow back down, mister.” A scoff by the Commander, but he stood up straight as the door began to open.
The doors leading to Princess Resha’s chambers slowly opened as the knight captain made his way inside, followed by another that stayed out of their sight. As Princess Resha and King Lucian would be greeted by the Commander of their Knights, he bowed deeply, showing his utmost respects, Azrael still out of view as he stood beside the doorway.
“My Lord, my Lady. Good morning to you both, and I do hope you are both well. Today is a joyous day, and I am elated for it.” He said with reverence to them both. Resha and King Lucien nodded their heads in response to the knight captain’s salutations. “Before that, I would like to give my report and –” he continued, only to be suddenly shoved over to the side much to Resha’s surprise. Azrael appeared, waving with a toothy grin at Resha.
“Azzy?!” Resha gasped in surprise, recognizing the young, rowdy man before them.
“Heya, Resha! Long time no see! How ya -” He grunted heavily as he taken by the hair and forced to bow, growling at his leader. “Let go you damned ape!”
‘Azrael is here! I can’t believe it! After all these years of not seeing each other…’ Resha thought to herself before a smile escaped from her lips. King Lucian took a glance at his precious daughter, noting the smile and happiness from seeing one of her old friends.
Azrael’s outburst earned a shake of the head by Resha’s servant and disapproving silent remarks from the Royal Guard.
“Can you believe it? He is the one charged to be our Queen’s guard. I sincerely worry about Queen Resha,” whispered one of the servants to the other. Resha overheard this comment and quickly glanced at the servants that rendered them silent as they bowed their head in apology.
What was Azrael doing at the palace, Resha did not have the slightest idea. She had heard that a rookie was quickly making a round amongst their knights, but it never crossed her mind that the rookie may have been Azrael all along. The last time she saw him was back at Sol Academy when they were still kids, along with Yuhan.
When Resha was six years of age, she and her mother got into an accident when a group of mountain bandits attacked their royal entourage while on their way to Sol Academy. Resha’s mother, Queen Lenneth, was unfortunately killed in the attack and the young princess barely survived. Young Resha was brought to Sol Academy and was taken care of by their most excellent healers. The princess recovered in no time, but the trauma that was caused by the sudden death of her mother was too much to bear that it rendered her speechless and turned to isolation. Back then, nobody — not even the king — was able to pull the princess away from her sadness.
It was then that Headmaster Triskelle’s son, Yuhan, came into the picture with a young Azrael in tow. It was the friendship that formed between the three of them that saved her from drowning in her sorrow and darkness. Although the times they spent together as kids were brief, the three of them made a special bond that she considered both of them as her dearest friends. She had not heard anything from them after she went back to Regalia and started her “princess’ duties” but she was glad to see him well.
“My sincerest apologies, my Lord and Lady. Knight Azrael Vulgate will be severely punished for such a random outburst, and for speaking out of turn,” spoke the Commander. This was followed by a string of curses against the Commander, who glared at Azrael with murderous intent. “If Knight Azrael Vulgate would like to continue this childish behavior, then I will personally drag you through town tied to a carriage. Learn your manners, boy.”
He released Azrael, who simply grumbled and stood there, glaring off to the side with a “Hmph!”, arms crossed. The Commander cleared his throat and carried on. “As I was saying, we have confirmed that the coronation preparations are in order and security for both you and Princess Resha are posted. You have nothing to fear so long as your loyal Knights are here. In addition…” The Commander further explained the state of affairs concerning the coronation, going over even the celebratory dinner afterward, the fanfare, everything that could be covered. It would seem that the coronation would be perfect.
“However, forgive me for failing to bring this young Knight to standards, but Knight Azrael appears to… disagree with the royal garments. Oh yes, please forgive me. But allow me to properly introduce him.”
Azrael finally gave a bow, though he stood proudly and confidently, taking over now.
“I’m Azrael Vulgate, my Lord. I will be charged from here on out as being the Royal Guard to soon to be Queen Resha. Your daughter is in good hands, I swear.” Azrael punched his own chest, unfazed by even the steel gauntlet that struck him. Although not the introduction he planned, the Commander supposed that would do. “Officially, I’m not really been made so yet, but per the Commander, I’ll be startin’ my duties at once.”
“So, you are the infamous Azrael Vulgate,” the king spoke with a stern voice as soon as Azrael finished his introduction. “I’ve heard many things about you.” He then took a couple steps forward, stopping a short gap away from Azrael and his captain, as he placed both hands on top of the cane he used for support.
Resha, on the other hand, seemed to be digesting the fact that Azrael would become her royal guard, a surprise that came to her.
King Lucian shot a quick glance on his daughter before glancing back at Azrael. “Many things, indeed. Though I’m afraid most are due to your rambunctiousness.” This statement from the king elicited a disgruntled grunt from his royal guards, followed by a slight shake of their heads, while muffled laughter came from some of Resha’s servants.
“Nonetheless, all of Arcadia entrusts her safety to you. I only ask that you protect your queen at all cost.”
Azrael confidently let out a grin. A happy thumbs up was sent in Resha’s direction as he beamed with a smile on his face. “Let me know if you need anythin’, Resha.”
“Ahem. He will be formally promoted after the coronation. And with that, that concludes my report. Knight Azrael will return before the coronation is to begin, we will simply confirm once more with the Knights of your security and safety. My Lord, my Lady.” Both men bowed respectfully. Azrael waved happily at both Resha and her father.
“Ah, Azzy….” Resha called out to the younger knight, though unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears as Azrael was yanked by the Commander away.
The soon to be the queen of Arcadia let out a sigh. She had wanted to talk more to Azrael: to ask him how he had been doing all those years, to catch up on a lot of things and to ask him about Yuhan. After all, those two were nigh inseparable back at the academy. If Azrael was in the capital, then there was a chance that Yuhan could be in the capital as well!
‘Yuhan…’ Another smile formed on the princess’ lips, the longing and hopeful look in her eyes.
“I’ve never seen you smile like that before, my dearest,” spoke the king that immediately snapped Resha back to her senses. Resha glanced at her father who was looking directly at her, a rather amused look on his face. A slight hue of red appeared on her face in embarrassment and she tilted her head down to conceal her reddish face. King Lucian let out a chuckle before one of his councilmen came in and informed them that there was only a couple of hours left to spare before the ceremony starts.
“It is time for me to go, my child. I will see you at the ceremony.” King Lucian then leaned forward and gave her precious daughter a kiss on her forehead.
The sounds of door closing were soon heard as the king and his guards took their leave, leaving Resha alone in her room with a couple of her own servants. The young princess then slowly walked towards the windowsill, lost in thoughts, before glancing outside her windows. She watched as their guests arrived one by one, escorted by their servants and knights to the ceremonial place. Aside from nobles, commoners were also allowed to watch the coronation. Just like Azrael, she hasn’t heard from Yuhan for a long time. Could it be possible that he would come to her coronation? Resha could only hope.
“It is probably better if I ask him myself…” she whispered to herself, before walking out of her room, her servants immediately followed behind her. She still had a couple of time to spare before the coronation starts. And she figured that if there was at least a slightest — even the tiniest — chance that she would get to see Yuhan, that would suffice. At least for the time being. The Arcadian princess then hurriedly went looking for her soon to be the royal guard, hoping that he could tell her what she wanted to know.
§ § § § § § § § § § §
The commander of the knights along with Azrael made yet another round, but they were soon met by the second-in-command, next to the Knight Commander, Sir Thomas.
“Sir Thomas, good day. Security affairs are in place, I presume?” The Commander asked.
Sir Thomas Merle Partelle, second-in-command within the ranks of Arcadia’s knight was tasked with security affairs not only for the coronation but mostly Arcadia’s security in general. He had been serving Arcadia since the days King Lucian’s father, the late King Tyrell, and his loyalty to Arcadia was unquestionable. In fact, many have expected that he will become the next commander of the knights, but he was surpassed by the current knight commander.
“Commander please, everything is just fine,” Sir Thomas responded with a hearty chuckle in response. “I’ve gone through this a hundred times and made sure things are perfect. Lest you get on my case, hah.”
Azrael hummed as he put his weight on one leg, tilting his head.
“Ah, you too, Azrael. I promise, things are in order. And to keep the men from grumbling too much, we had a small celebratory luncheon to appease their hunger. You both missed it, I’m afraid. Fine mead as well. Had it brought in from a fine wine merchant in Fortuna.” Sir Thomas gave another hearty chuckle, slapping Azrael on the back. “As for you, my good lad, you’ll be taking on some big shoes to feel. Don’t slip up. Plenty of men are lined up for that position.”
Azrael narrowed his eyes though as he felt steel fingers try to bite into his flesh, nodding in thanks before Sir Thomas pulled away.
“Sir Thomas, can we please go over the post shifts before – ” the commander insisted, only to be cut off his words by the councilman.
“My friend, please. You worry too much. It is not necessary.” Sir Thomas assured, patting the Commander upon the shoulder. “Leave absolutely everything to me. After all, I would absolutely hate for anything to go wrong after so much planning.”
Azrael looked over to the councilman, noting the small smirk he tried to hide. He was starting to get a bad feeling, trying to shake it off as he sighed.
“Gentlemen, if you will. I must meet both the King and the future queen. I’m so excited to see this go through and would very much like to wish her only the best in her future reign, hahaha!”
And with that Sir Thomas was walking off with the councilmen, both hunched over and whispering to each other, but neither Azrael nor the Commander would be able to discern anything.
“I suppose it should be fine. Come, we should get to work ourselves.” The Commander began, walking off towards a group of Knights that saluted him. Azrael took one last glance back, never once having liked Sir Thomas. And that Sir Thomas, he didn’t like him one bit. His gut was turning in knots for the moment, but Azrael couldn’t cause a ruckus now. Resha wouldn’t be happy in the slightest about it. So for now, Azrael returned to the Commander’s side.
“Sir Thomas?” asked by the knight that accompanied the councilman when the latter suddenly stopped on his tracks. “Is there something wrong, sire?”
The councilman didn’t respond and instead just shook his head. Shifting his body to the side without completely turning around, he watched the retreating backs of the knight commander and Azrael disappear from their sight. And as soon as both knights were gone, Thomas let out a scoff.
“The forests of Arcadia sure has changed…” he whispered, before continuing on his tracks, leaving his knight slightly confused by what the councilman said.
§ § § § § § § § § § §
Having split away from his leader and boss, Azrael sighed as he sat at a stone bench, arms crossed as he thought further about Resha. The butterflies in his stomach, his heartbeat throbbing faster. Yes, the young princess he knew back then during his time in Sol Academy was already a sight to behold but seeing her again after a long time? The princess had turned into a fine young lady, captivating enough to garner anyone’s attention.
He gave a sheepish grin, blushing slightly to himself before shaking his head. His gauntlet covered hands slapped at his cheeks, both now red due to the burning and stinging sensation of striking his own cheeks to stir him out of his love-struck grandeur. But she was happy to see him though! If it wasn’t for the Commander just so focused on his job, Azrael could’ve spent more time with her. Maybe… no. He bit his lip as he shook his head more, trying to be more serious about the coronation.
It was then that a couple of servants were struggling to carry a couple of ornate wrapped boxes, nearly toppling over a large stack before Azrael jumped in and captured the leaning tower.
“Whoa there, I’ve got ya. I got some of these.” The knight said as he easily hoisted a heavy stack with one arm, carrying it up as if he were a waiter passing out wine to guests. The servants thanked him gratefully before walking with both each holding a single box each. “It’s Resha’s big day, so I know everyone’s super busy. I don’t mind givin’ ya a hand, especially with nothin’ on my plate at the moment.” Azrael replied with a big smile, following them to a long table, more than ten feet wide.
He helped them both arrange the boxes, raising his eyebrow as he straightened the bow on several of them, seeing the sparkling paper shimmer under the sun as they were outside. Azrael hummed as he looked to the two servants.
“Hey, what are these anyway?”
“Oh forgive us, Sir Azrael. These are the many gifts that our soon to be Queen has received from royalty both within Arcadia and outside of it. She is so well loved and received. My, I can’t imagine how many…”
Azrael slowly tuned them out as they spoke further as he stared at one present in his hand.
Gift… for Resha… Gift … for Resha…
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no.” The gift was nearly slammed on the table, startling the two servants as he went bolting towards the front gates and towards town, leaving a dust trail in his wake.
One of the servants sighed as she tried to calm her nerves from the sudden outburst. And just as soon as Azrael left, Princess Resha came in in a rush startling the servants even more.
“Good morning, Princess.” chimed one of the servants as they tried to compose themselves in front of the Arcadian princess.
“Good day…” Resha gave them a nod. She looked around for any signs of Azrael after hearing what sounded to be his voice while she was on her way a few seconds earlier. However, she found no trace of Azrael but noticed the pile of gifts by the corner.
“Ah, those are gifts for you, your highness,” said another servant. “They were…–”
“Has anyone of you seen Azzy… –” Resha cut herself off her words, knowing that no one would know the Queen’s knight as “Azzy”. And sure enough, the servants looked at each other, throwing inquisitive glances at each other.
“I… I mean, Sir Vulgate?” she inquired, correcting herself on how she should address him. She couldn’t just address someone by their names, even if they were a friend of hers, as a sign of respect and of course, the formality. After all, not everyone knows that she was actually friends with such a rowdy knight.
“I thought I heard his voice here…”
“He was here a few moments ago, your highness,” one responded as she looked at the other servant as if to ask for affirmation. “Then he just bolted out without any word. We do not know where he went. Our apologies, your highness.”
“If you want, we can send someone to find him for you,” the other suggested. She attempted to leave so to fulfill what their princess wanted, only to be stopped by her.
“No, that is not necessary. I will look for him instead. If you see him, please let him know that I need to speak to him.”
And with that said, the princess took her leave once again despite the servants’ protests. She had to find Azrael and if she had to scour the Arcadian capital to find him, she would gladly do so. After all, if Azrael was here, Yuhan couldn’t be far as those two had been inseparable since Sol Academy.