Chapter 31:

What Now?

Aether: Sin

How far is one willing to go to protect what they love?

That is a question I heard a long time ago.

At first, the answer meant nothing to me.

But then, I found refuge.

I then associated the answer with that of my friends.

I rode with them. I fought with them. I argued with them.

Sounds familiar, right?


The same answer then.

Is the same answer now.

The Flare Aids begin to shower Aurelia with white flower petals and white confetti as she walks through the temple alongside her closest friends. Aurelia smiles awkwardly, trying to please the bright cheers of the same women wrought with jealousy.

“The next princess of Floritian!”

“Princess of mankind!”

“Congratulations, Aurelia!”

Aurelia walks up to the center platform in the main entrance of the temple, and looks up to her faery godmother. Daradriel looks down to Aurelia, and holds her cheeks in her hands.

Daradriel: “My beautiful Aid. Oh, how I wish we had more time than a month with you here in the temple.”

Aurelia smiles awkwardly: “Right…thank you, my lady. For bringing me here, and for caring for me during my stay here.”

Daradriel tilts her head and leans in: “Is everything alright? You have been given one of the highest possible honors in the land, you will never have to worry for anything ever again as a princess of our civilization.”

Aurelia whispers: “I am grateful to be given such an honor, of course. I just don’t think I’m the right person for the position, my lady.”

Daradriel pauses.

Aurelia: “I…I don’t think I am cut out to be a princess. It’s too much to ask for,”

Daradriel: “...does this have to do with Mr. Kato Izana, perhaps?”

Aurelia blushes, before shaking her head aggressively.

Daradriel pauses, before sighing.

“Unfortunately, my dear…that is never to be. You must align your feelings according to your newfound role. That is the will of the gods.”

“...I know that, but-”

Daradriel holds Aurelia’s hands, and places a ball of light in her hands once more.

“Eat this for me before you take your leave. This way, I will always be a part of you, and you with me. Remember, you are a light unto this world. One in which I refuse to become tainted with sin.”

Aurelia stares at the ball of light in her hands, as Daradriel gracefully walks away towards her sacred room. As Aurelia continues to stare at the ball of light, she reminisces about the night where Kato was led into that trap, but still managed to save her.

Aurelia whispers to herself: “...what now?”

As the next day arrives, Kato sits outside on the stairs leading to the temple's entrance, inspecting one of his daggers. His mind is still in heat after the previous night.

Kato: “Aurelia…will now be Princess Aurelia. The third most powerful woman in the land, behind the first and second queens. Never imagined a woman as irritating as her would ever be fit for the role, but here we are anyways.”

Kato throws his dagger into the air.

The question is…”

He catches the dagger between two of his fingers.

“...what now?”

“There you are!”

Kato feels two hands softly clasp onto his shoulders, and looks up to see Aurelia jumping over him like a game of leapfrog. His mind races as he stares at her bright smile in front of him once more.

Kato: “Con…Congratulations, my princess,”

Aurelia pauses, and then pouts. “Just call me Aurelia. I’m not married yet, am I?”

Kato: “Look at your finger.”

Aurelia looks at the ring on her finger, and then sharply glares at Kato.

“I said I’m not married yet!”

“Close enough.”

“Jeez. You can be so insensitive, you know?”

“Insensitive? About an observation? That makes no sense.”

“It’s not like I asked for any of this.”

“I’m sure you didn’t. But I’m sure you are happy about your situation.”

“Huh? What makes you think I’m happy about this?”

“ are a princess now, Aurelia.”

“...and what makes you think I ever wanted to be a princess?”

Kato stares at Aurelia, and says nothing. He then places his daggers back in their holds, and stands up to walk away.

“Any woman would be more than happy to be in your position. It was a simple assumptio-”

Kato stops in his tracks as Aurelia grabs onto his hand.

Aurelia: “ you want me to be happy about this?”

Kato says nothing.

Aurelia lets go: “...right…sorry for asking.”

Kato doesn’t move. Aurelia’s eyes darken.

“You know…I have this habit of saying ‘right’ before I speak. It seems you’re also starting to copy the same habit.”

Aurelia’s eyes open widely in realization. Kato turns around and smiles as he looks towards Aurelia.

“Truth be told, that makes me want to smile. I’m grateful that I was able to leave you with something before we part ways.”

Aurelia looks at Kato in confusion: “...part ways? The wedding isn’t scheduled for another month! I’m sure…I will need a lot of protection until then. In fact, I’d say even more so now!”

Kato: “Right…you’re a princess now, Aurelia. The Royal Guards will now be at your side. Safe to say, I have officially been relieved of my duties.”

Aurelia’s throat dries.


Kato: “I will also be receiving a promotion. Positions for the Alphas need to be filled out after their gruesome retreat, and it seems that after my reputation has now been built up, my father managed to secure me a spot in the Alpha Division. Looks like I will soon be instated as the head of a new clan after all.”

Kato’s hands shake.


Kato turns around. His eyes darken. Aurelia’s eyes darken.

“I wish you all the best, my princess. I will be sure to serve your majesty to the best of my abilities on the front lines.”


Kato walks away.

“Now…and forever.”