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King in Disguise

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Somebody… Help me…

Yuuri’s desperate plea for help fell on deaf ears. He tried to shout once, but soon gave up after lethargy limited his actions. Confined in a dark, small space, he was trapped under a pile of rubble too heavy for his tiny 7 year-old body to move. Yuuri had been stuck there for hours, his eyes swollen from excessive crying and irritation from the debris. There was nothing he could do.

“Okaa-san…”

He was in a shopping mall with his mother, when he heard a thunderous sound followed by the feeling of flying, and then nothing. When Yuuri regained consciousness, he found himself buried in debris, ankle throbbing with pain, and dirt filling every crevice and pore of his body. He was terrified. He prayed for his life, his mother’s safety, too. He wasn’t ready to die.

Save me…

Yuuri’s hope had faded as a blinding white light flashed before his eyes, penetrating the cold, tiny space his body occupied. Surely , he thought, I must be dying . Except, he heard the crumbling of stone, the shrill of sirens in the distance, and felt the faintest warmth of sunlight on his cheek. He opened his eyes again, halfway expecting to find himself being carried off to heaven by an angel. Instead he saw a teenage boy effortlessly balancing the concrete slab that had once pinned Yuuri in place above his head with one hand. Yuuri gasped, amazed of the teen’s strength.

“Are you alright?” his savior asked.

The teen had long silver hair tied into a ponytail and eyes as blue as the sky if not more vibrant. He was the most beautiful person Yuuri had ever seen. Slowly, Yuuri began to recognize who his savior was, wearing the unmistakable, crisp white military uniform of the Holy Knights.

Victor Nikiforov, the youngest Holy Knight in history.

“You must’ve been scared. Here, come closer,” Victor said gently, extending a hand out to Yuuri.

Thanks to Victor’s magically-enabled superhuman hearing, Yuuri’s brief, strangled cry for help was heard. Victor knelt towards Yuuri to help him out of the rubble, but Yuuri suddenly started to cry. Panicked, the teen immediately pulled the child into his arms, trying to calm him down.

“Shh, it’s okay… You’re safe now, trust me.” Victor gently stroked Yuuri’s back, consoling him.

“Okaa-san…” Yuuri wailed in Victor’s arms, “I want Okaa-san…!”

He is the one last victim we were searching for, Victor thought. He wrapped his arms around Yuuri’s waist and picked him up like a toddler, carrying him away from the rubble to where the other victims of the terrorist attack were gathered. As he walked, he saw another Holy Knight attending to a distressed woman.

“Please, sir…! My son! My son is still somewhere inside there, he’s not dead yet!”

Recognizing her voice, Yuuri called out, “Okaa-san!”

“Yuuri?! Oh God, Yuuri!!!”

Victor held Yuuri out for his mother to scoop him up in her arms, finally reunited. Hiroko tightly hugged her child, crying tears of joy seeing him alive. Yuuri was equally happy, crying loudly into her chest. If it weren’t for Victor’s help, he would have died there.

“Thank you for saving me,” Yuuri called out to Victor; Hiroko thanked him as well with a small bow.

“No problem, I’m just doing my job.”

“You’re so cool!” Yuuri wholeheartedly praised. “I think I wanna be a Holy Knight just like you!”

“Really? Then go for it! It’s a really fun and satisfying job, you know!” Victor patted the child’s head in encouragement.

“Remember, always be there to save others no matter what happens. Okay?”

“Okay!”

Even though the day was traumatizing, Yuuri never wanted to forget. He grew to admire Victor more and more since that day, placing him as the role model for his newly acquired dream. Yuuri gleefully imagined himself wearing the same white uniform as Victor in the future.

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“Thousands of people could be Holy Knights, but only one, the strongest among us, shall be called King and rule us all .

Gwendall lamented to himself. He couldn’t help but wonder how long it had been since this country, Cervantes, had a king – probably almost a century. If the capital, Metropolis, was any indication of the health of the nation, the situation wasn’t ideal. But he had to wait. He was waiting for a special individual to make their appearance, a person worthy of the kingship.

“Is everybody here?” He said to the Holy Knights lining up behind him in his office.

The knights quickly turned all their attention towards the striking man. He was young with long white hair and apple green eyes. He was usually seen wearing exquisite silk robes straight out of the middle ages. Despite his youthful appearance, his antiquated choice in attire was a subtle reminder that he was, in fact, centuries old. He served as an aid to the country’s kings for almost 2000 years and founded the Holy Knights after the death of the recent king left the position empty.

Yakov saluted, “Only some of us, Sir. The rest are still in maintenance.”

“It’s fine,” the Gwendall gently smiled.

“So… about this recent terrorist attack,” Gwendall’s eyes shifted to the briefing, “do you mind reporting the details?”

Victor stepped forward, “A bomb was planted in the building, Sir. There were various injuries, but no lives lost.”

“That’s good to hear, Victor,” Gwendall praised. “You’re doing a good job despite your age.” Victor blushed in response.

Some of the veteran Holy Knights frowned, uneasy of Victor’s presence. He was much younger than them but was making more progress than they could have managed. While this jealous group saw him as a threat, they were outnumbered by the seniors who treated Victor respectfully.

“Please be prepared for tomorrow’s missions. We have several more planned. I’m afraid these next few days will be more tiring than usual. More of you will be required to report in tomorrow.” Gwendall casually flipped through the stack of briefings one by one as the Holy Knights obediently nodded.

“Now,” his eyes flicked upward, “meeting dismissed.”

All of them saluted before leaving the office. “Yes, Sir!”

“Sir, here are some more applications,” Lilia gracefully swept in behind the exiting Knights and placed some more documents on the table.

“Thank you, Lilia. I will look at them later.”

The number of people applying to be a Holy Knight increased every day. Of course, applicants had to sit through several exams and best many trials before being fully approved for the job. The daunting stack of applications, full of young hopefuls, would dwindle by the end of the “interview” period. Gwendall was tired. More so, he was afraid that this cycle would never end.

“This wasn’t supposed to be my job. It’s gone on too long.” Gwendall muttered to himself, alone in his office.

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“And that’s how I met Victor!”

Yuuri couldn’t contain how proud he was, as Yuuko and Takeshi listened. At some point the two wondered if Yuuri was telling the truth, but he rarely lied. After that incident, Yuuri became Victor’s undying fan and everybody knew it. He was eager to discover his Ability, so he could fight alongside his idol sooner. Yuuko and Takeshi had just discovered theirs, prompting the trio’s get together for the day.

He saw Yuuko using her Ability to instantly grow flowers from a bed of grass, Manipulation type. Multiple flowers of different species magically emerged and bloomed. Yuuri clapped his hands in amazement towards his crush. A sweet scent from those fresh flowers filled Yuuri’s nostrils, as he deeply inhaled.

“Amazing, Yuu-chan!”

Abilities were categorized into three types – Enhancement, Psychic and Manipulation. The Enhancement type will improve or change physical conditions or capabilities - one of the most popular examples was Victor’s enhanced strength and five senses. The Psychic type consisted of mind-based Abilities. Takeshi’s Ability to understand animals fell in this category. Finally, the Manipulation type enabled the user to control or create specific things, just like Yuuko’s flower growing Ability.

“I wonder when will I know what my Ability is?” Yuuri sadly sighed.

“Umm, maybe your Ability is something that doesn’t seem to be a superpower at all?” Takeshi shrugged. “But doesn’t mean it will be bad. I know this person who has a photographic memory, B-class, Psychic type. He’s always acing in tests and now he’s a renowned surgeon.”

Yuuri pouted. “But I want to be a Holy Knight…”

“You don’t have to be a Holy Knight to become a hero, Yuuri-kun. There’s a lot of other ways.” Yuuko felt bad, but she couldn’t help being realistic. A Holy Knight was one of the most challenging jobs in the country. Naturally, it was highly competitive to obtain a position. The vast majority of people wouldn’t make the cut due to its strict terms for eligibility, the most important criterion being a decent Ability.

“It’s not about being a hero…” Yuuri shook his head. “I just want to follow Victor’s footsteps.”

Takeshi also tried to cheer Yuuri up, “Why don’t you learn some martial arts, then? Even if you don’t have a combat-specific Ability doesn’t mean you can’t fight at all. Besides, Abilities drain stamina, so you can’t rely on it completely during battles.”

“But I would need to figure out their weaknesses first then,” Yuuri lowered his eyelids, “or find a way to defend against their Abilities all the time.”

Yuuko placed a flower crown she made on top of Takeshi’s head just to annoy him. “Yuuri-kun, it’s really rare for people to have strong Abilities like Victor does! Gosh, you’re reading too many comic books, I guess.”

Yuuko was right, Yuuri resigned. His sister’s and his parents’ Abilities have no combative purposes. Come to think of it, his entire family’s’ Abilities were Psychic type. Did that mean his Ability would be, too? He didn’t want it. Psychic type was always regarded as the weakest among the three categories.

“Yuuri-kun, can you fetch me an apple?” Yuuko asked, snapping him out of his focused stupor.

Yuuko pointed to the bag of apples she just bought. Yuuri took one freshly-picked, bright red apples out. Hungry, he thought about asking Yuuko for one as he briefly observed it before handing it over. She took a bite, then gagged and spat it out unceremoniously.

“Eww! What is this?!” Yuuko shrieked at the bitten apple.

The apple was clearly bright red when she bought it, now it was wrinkly and brown. The apple was clearly rotten. Only in mere hours?

“How could this be?!” Yuuko threw the rotten apple into a nearby trash bin. “I checked them first before buying!”

“That’s weird…” Takeshi muttered.

Yuuri took another apple to replace Yuuko’s, but he noticed something weird happening in his hands. The fresh apple was slowly morphing before his eyes – until the trio saw a rotten apple in Yuuri’s hands. They sat agape for a moment, not having fully processed the event.

“Yuuri… Is that your Ability…?”

Takeshi raised an eyebrow in surprise as he diagnosed Yuuri’s ability, “Enhancement type. Obviously a C class. Hmm, ‘Food Spoiling’, I guess?”

C class was the lowest rank. “Useless” Abilities were classified here. B class Abilities were not considered magical but were still very useful in one’s profession – for example, high creativity, strong empathy, photo memorization. The elite rank, A class, had rare and desirable Abilities found in comic books and fairytales. This is where the ranking scale effectively ended.

Yuuri tried touching Takeshi, but nothing happened. Nothing when he tried touching other things too. But when he touched the remaining apples, they turned rotten in an instant. Yuuri stared at his hands in horror, unable to accept his discovery. Was that his Ability?

“No, no no .”

“I’m a C class? How am I supposed to catch up to Victor when I’m so useless? Victor is definitely an A class!”   Yuuri thought to himself, clearly upset by the implications of his discovery.

Yuuri didn’t want this at all.

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Hiroko could hear sobbing from Yuuri’s room.

“Yuuri… are you okay dear?” she nervously asked outside his door.

She poked her head in to find her son’s face buried in a pillow, feebly curled up in bed. Hiroko managed to get him sitting upright. His eyes were bloodshot, his nose was running, and his cheeks streaked with tears. She pulled him into a hug and rocked him back and forth.

“What’s wrong, Yuuri?”

“Okaa-san…” Yuuri croaked, “my Ability…I discovered my Ability.”

Hiroko beamed to hear it. “Really? What type is it??”

“It’s Enhancement type, but…”

“Oh God, Yuuri! You should be happy!” Hiroko wiped Yuuri’s tears with her thumbs. “Enhancement type? That’s really good!”

“But it’s C-class… the Ability to make food rot faster…” Yuuri continued to sob like this was all some cruel joke.

“Eh…”

Hiroko took some time to process what did she just heard. “S-show me, then.”

She took Yuuri to the kitchen. Hiroko placed a plate containing a slice of white bread on the table for Yuuri to demonstrate his Ability. Yuuri hovered his hand over the bread, focusing his energy onto it – black mold started to appear on the bread.

“Wow,” Mari blankly spouted, startling Yuuri who hadn’t realized she had followed him. She wasn’t helping.

“W-why don’t you try reversing it, Yuuri?” Hiroko suggested, still visibly shocked.

Yuuri touched the moldy bread, then suddenly it was pure white again.

“It’s not that bad, Yuuri! You can keep food fresh like this!” Hiroko clapped her hands.

Yuuri’s Ability may have been the respected Enhancement type. But of course, Yuuri was not happy. This was not the kind of Ability he wanted to have.

“But I can’t be a Holy Knight like this…” he whispered, still frowning.

Mari prodded his back, “but this is good for our family’s business!”

Yuuri’s parents nodded in agreement. But hearing it only made him more upset. He grew quiet, staring metaphorical holes through the bread as tears welled in his eyes.

“Yuuri, when we have enough money, we will send you to Terra Stellata to learn more about your Ability. Okay? It may have more uses than this.” Hiroko wanted to support her son with whatever route he wanted to pursue in life.

“Eh?!” Yuuri snapped his head around to meet her eyes, “but that school is expensive!”

Yuuri’s brain whirred. He would have a bigger shot at becoming a Holy Knight if he graduated from there. It was a school for the elites.

“Money doesn’t matter, dear. We will find a way.” Hiroko cupped Yuuri’s puffy cheeks with her hands. “As long as you’re happy then we’re going to be happy too.”

She pulled her son into a hug.

“I believe that you will be the best Holy Knight out there. I’m sure of it.”

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“Okaa-san? Otou-san?”

Yuuri roused from bed, woken by a loud sound. Still in his pajamas, he walked out from his room and searched for his family. He smelled burning.

“Mari-neechan?”

He began to sweat as the house grew hotter. Yuuri’s field of vision darkened when he stepped into the hallways, still searching for his family. Where was everyone? He stepped into the living room and discovered the source of the foul smell. It was engulfed in flames.

”Okaa-san! Mari-neechan!!”

Smoke inhalation sent Yuuri into a coughing fit. Through his watering eyes Yuuri saw his family lying on the floor awkwardly. Hiroko was face down in a pool of blood. Mari’s eyes were wide-open and small holes in her chest were dribbling blood between her stiff fingers. Toshiya wheezed shallowly gripping two gunshot wounds on his stomach and chest.

“Otou-san!!!”

Yuuri rushed to fading father on the floor. Toshiya limply mouthed, “Yuuri, run away…” as his eyes rolled back into his head.

“Hm? There’s still one left?”

Yuuri turned to face the source of the foreign voice. Two grown men stood before him. One had a gold tooth, while the other wore a tattered cowboy hat and donned rifle. He pointed the gun between Yuuri’s eyes.

“You’re next, kid.”

Yuuri screamed.

Toshiya and Hiroko, shaken by the sound of their son’s blood curdling cry, quickly rushed to his room. Yuuri was fitfully asleep in bed hysterically screaming and crying. Hiroko violently shook Yuuri to wake him up from the nightmare.

“Yuuri! Yuuri wake up!” she pleaded.

Yuuri’s eyes shot open, to see his parents hovering over him, quite alive. Relieved, he stopped screaming, but the tears continued to fall.

“You had a nightmare.” Hiroko stroked Yuuri’s hair. “What did you dream about?”

“I dreamed t-that our hou-house was burning… T-Then I you and Mari-neechan were k-k-killed by robbers… And they were going to k-k-kill me too…” Yuuri stuttered between his uncontrolled sobs.

Toshiya hugged Yuuri securely. Yuuri’s crying calmed, muffled by his father’s shoulder.

“It’s just a dream,” he whispered gently, “we’re all alive, Yuuri. I’m so sorry you had to experience that. You can sleep in our room if you want to.”

“I want to sleep with Otou-san and Okaa-san…” Yuuri said between sobs.

Yuuri was too young for such a vivid, violent dream. His parents were disturbed. Without breaking the embrace, Toshiya picked Yuuri up as Hiroko switched off the lights in Yuuri’s room. The child was carried to his parents’ bedroom as promised. With Toshiya and Hiroko on either side, Yuuri felt safe again.

He finally fell asleep, exhausted from the ordeal, only to have the same dream again. It carried on for three days.

Except for Yuuri’s nightmares, his days carried on with relative normalcy. He still hadn’t recovered from the shock of discovering his Ability. Some of his classmates found out their Abilities as well. Much to his embarrassment, their Abilities were much cooler than his own. But, he already knew that, everyone’s would be. When his friends asked about his Ability, Yuuri dodged the question.

But, Yuuri was too young to understand the extent to which his parents were secretly very grateful for his Ability. Yuuri’s powers helped their family’s business save a lot of money on food waste. They, unfortunately, never expected Yuuri to become a Holy Knight – this was more than enough for them.

Keeping up with his routine like nothing happened, Yuuri continued to attend school and feign ignorance about his Ability. After school one day, he ran to his house as fast as his little legs would allow him. He wasn’t sure why, but he had a bad feeling, the same kind of gut wrenching feeling he got from his nightmares. Upon arrival, much to his relief, the house was not engulfed in flames. But he overheard a heated conversation taking place in front of the door.

“When will you pay-up, Katsuki?”

Toshiya shouted back, “Like I said, next month! I’m paid up through this month, so leave us alone!”

“Sorry man, but we’re short on money too. Don’t you think you should be a ‘lil bit more generous?”

The distinctive click of a rifle lever being pulled back was heard. Judging from Toshiya’s silence, Yuuri could tell his father was frozen in fear. He rushed into the yard to find his family cowering behind Toshiya. Their assailants were two adult men he completely recognized - one holding a rifle, wearing a tattered cowboy hat, and the other with a devilish gold-toothed grin.

“Hmm? You got a son, too?” The men commented on Yuuri’s dramatic entry.

Hiroko shrieked, “Yuuri!!”

“No! Yuuri! Run away!” Toshiya exclaimed, but it was too late.

The man with the rifle tightly clasped a hand around Yuuri’s neck. Holding him in midair while the family watched their youngest suffocate. He tried to pry at the man’s fingers with his hands, but he was no match for an adult. Toshiya fell to his knees and begged the man to release his son.

“Please! Let go of my son! I’ll pay! I’ll pay you however much you want, just don’t kill my son!”

Mari started to break down into tears at the sight of her brother turning purple. Hiroko raced into the house and reappeared with a rake in her hands.

“Let go of Yuuri! Or else I will…!”

Vicchan, Yuuri’s pet poodle could sniff the danger his owner was in. The toy poodle pounced onto the man, sinking his teeth firmly into the intruder’s leg. The man recoiled in pain, and he dropped Yuuri. His parents quickly pulled him away from the men.

“Why you little…!”

The man with rifle swatted Vicchan away with the butt of the gun. The poodle went flying with a loud “Crack!” and smashed into the side of the house. Yuuri pushed his parents aside, running to comfort his injured, whimpering dog. Yuuri couldn’t stop his tears from falling as he scooped his limp little friend into his arms.

“Vicchan… Please don’t die…!” Yuuri begged, his eyes shut tightly in desperate prayer. Please don’t take Vicchan away . The little ball of fluff began to glow in his arms.

“Yuuri…?” Hiroko was stunned, and so were the rest of the Katsukis.

“What the!?” The man with rifle yelled, as he was blinded by the glowing light emanating from Yuuri’s direction.

The light died down as quickly as it begun. Vicchan was breathing again. He licked Yuuri’s tears, and jumped out from his arms, showing no sign of injury. His family and the two men who watched the scene unfold, were both briefly paralyzed in surprise.

“So you got a healing Ability, huh? That’s some A-class Ability you have there.”

…Healing Ability? Yuuri’s brain short-circuited at the utterance of those two words which gave him hope. He was distracted just long enough not to notice the change in the atmosphere. Their attacker started to speak again.

“I’m curious, now. Can you revive your dead family?” he snickered as he pointed the barrel of the gun towards Toshiya.

There was nowhere to run. The man generated bullets with his Ability, Bullet Manipulation, and fired. He fired four times, each aimed at a different member of Yuuri’s family. They closed their eyes anticipating the end. Yuuri tearfully screamed, reaching towards his parents. In a split second, the tragedy of his family’s deaths flashed before his eyes.

No.

No…

NO!!!

“Stop it!!!”

The harsh ringing sound of the gunshots made the Katsukis cling to each other more tightly. They winced, bracing to feel the searing pain of a gunshot wound. Toshiya slowly opened his eyes after too many seconds had passed, not sure what to expect. The two men were uncontrollably trembling in front of him. And then, he saw the reason why.

The bullets were suspended in midair.

As the bullets were fired, Yuuri had been off to the side, clutching Vicchan, eyes shut tight in terror. When his parents turned to look at their child again, it was like a switch had flipped in the boy. Yuuri was exhibiting a side of himself that no one had ever seen. He was now standing, expressionless, with an arm raised as if commanding the bullets. He pried his eyes back open to reveal that his warm brown eyes had turned a glowing blood red. His glowing eyes indicated that he was utilizing his Ability to a high degree, and it was terrifying.

“Take it back,” Yuuri commanded in an icy monotone.

Yuuri swung his hand. The bullets moved in accordance to the movement of his hand towards the attacker. The bullets penetrated him instead. He collapsed on the ground, gargling briefly before becoming lifeless on the ground. The man with gold tooth scrambled to pick up the gun. Trembling, he pointed it at Yuuri.

“D-Don’t come any closer…! O-Or I-I’ll s-shoot y-you…!”

Yuuri eerily turned his attention to the other guy, causing him to take a step back rather than make good on his promise. The remaining criminal’s pants were becoming wetter. He was face to face with a red-eyed demon. Yuuri approached and cornered the man against the fence. The Katsukis were terrified by their child. It was like he was indeed possessed. Yuuri opened his mouth to speak.

“Die.”

The man with gold tooth was alarmed to see the skin on his hands growing wrinkled and dark. His whole body began to sag, and his jet-black hair turned whiter and whiter. His teeth rotted out of his mouth and unruly facial hair rapidly grew on his face. He fell to the ground, a lifeless shriveled prune. He looked like a mummy a few centuries old.

Yuuri, who stood before his family, was not a murderer. Though he had taken the lives of two men in an inexplicable fashion, it was all in self-defense. Yuuri saved their lives… and was looking very pale.

He closed his eyes and collapsed.

“Yuuri!” Toshiya ran towards his son, his wife and daughter followed him.

Hiroko cradled her unconscious boy in her arms. She shook him, but he wouldn’t wake up. “Yuuri! Oh, my baby…! Wake up please!”

“Yuuri…” Mari held her brother’s hand, he was still warm. “What did you do?”

The Katsukis could only hope that he would wake soon. Hiroko wrapped her arms around her husband and son to hug them. Vicchan tried licking Yuuri’s face to wake him. They all cried with conflicted feelings, unable to process what just happened. The only two things they were sure of was that they were still alive and Yuuri would hopefully be okay, fainting after using what it seemed to be… his Ability.

Is that your true Ability, Yuuri…?

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Yuuri finally woke a few days later.

Once he regained enough of his strength, Toshiya and Hiroko brought Yuuri with them to the Headquarters of the Holy Knights. The clerk quickly gave them approval for a meeting after seeing the frazzled, terrified family barge in and try to explain what the problem was. Gwendall was sitting behind his desk working as the family was ushered in with a flurry of confusion. He calmed the room with a friendly smile.

“Hello there,” Gwendall invited them to step further inside his office. “Please have a seat.”

The Katsukis nervously bowed to him first before sitting on the chairs provided in front of the desk. “So, what brings you here to see me?”

“We are here about our son. This is Yuuri,” Hiroko said, introducing Yuuri to Gwendall.

“Hello, Yuuri.” He replied warmly. He always had a soft spot in his heart for children.

Toshiya deeply bowed his head, “I’m begging you. Please make my son a Holy Knight.”

“Pardon me?” said Gwendall. Surely, they knew of the application process.

“Please,” Hiroko bowed as well, “My son will be a good Holy Knight. He won’t disappoint you.”

“Well, he should fill out the application and sit for the exams like everyone else. He shouldn’t be here,” Gwendall tilted his head and raised an eyebrow. This was the first time in a long time someone barged into his office and brazenly made such request.

“Would you listen to our story first?” Hiroko asked.

“Sure… I can enjoy your company for the time being.” Gwendall placed the pen back on the table, deciding to humor them.

“Thank you, Master Gwendall.” Toshiya bowed again.

Yuuri’s father began to recant the events of the last two weeks. It started when Yuuri discovered his Ability to control the freshness of food.

“Interesting,” Gwendall remarked. Such an Ability did exist, and this was the first time he heard of it. He jotted it in his notes. “If you are unsure of your son’s true Ability, you can either send him to Stellata or consult a specialist. I don’t how I can help him.”

“What do you think of his Ability, Master?” Hiroko held Yuuri close to her, who was silent throughout the conversation.

Gwendall quickly replied, “Maybe concerns the freshness of food, Enhancement type. Or maybe, he can control food-borne bacteria, Manipulation type.”

“But he healed our dog back from the brink of death!” Toshiya interjected.

Gwendall’s expression changed as he began to process the new information. How did healing a dog relate keeping food fresh. He could smell something unusual here. His interest in Yuuri’s case was officially piqued.

“Go on.”

Hiroko cleared her throat. “Our dog nearly died after an… incident in our home with two violent invaders. They kicked our dog and shot at us. Yuuri saved Vicchan’s life and stopped the bullets from killing us.”

“The bullets were frozen in air!” Toshiya exclaimed, fear creeping into his voice as he relived the traumatic experience. “I saw them right before he swept his hand to the left and sent the bullets in the opposite direction.”

There was a pregnant pause in the conversation. “…He reversed the bullets, right?” Gwendall finally spoke up. His expression was a façade of perfect calm.

This was too complicated, even for Gwendall. He wondered if the Katsukis were stretching the truth.

“Master Gwendall, what is your Ability?” Yuuri asked out of curiosity.

“Me? I have Immortality, B class Enhancement type. I’m going to turn 2000 years old this summer.” Gwendall was amused with the child’s expression, shocked to find out how a man who deceptively appeared to be his twenties was actually ancient.

“Is there any more information you can give me?” Gwendall turned his attention back to the parents of the child.

“The final attacker died on Yuuri’s command. He fell to the ground and looked like he was 1000 years old. Then Yuuri collapsed and went into a coma for four days.” Toshiya ended the story.

Gwendall’s naturally gentle features stiffened. He was working through the puzzle in his mind, placing the pieces one by one. He sat, statuesque for some time as the family watched for any change in his expressions. His eyes narrowed the more he thought, and then they went wide in a look of disbelief. His lips slowly curled into a smile. He clearly found the solution.

“I think pinpointed your son’s true Ability.”

“My child,” Gwendall turned to Yuuri. His parents grew impatient to hear the verdict.

“Look at the clock up there,” he pointed to the wall where an antique clock was hanging on it. “What is the time now?”

Yuuri raised his chin to examine the clock. “It’s 12:30 PM.”

“Good. Now I want you to imagine it coming back to 12:00 PM.”

The child did exactly as was told. He slipped into a blank, expressionless state akin to that day . The minute hand of the clock began to fidget as it dialed itself back from 12:30 to noon. Like a spell that had just been broken, the moment was disrupted by the chiming of the noon bell.

CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO CUCKOO –

“Yuuri, my child. That is your true Ability – Time Control.”

Toshiya and Hiroko spontaneously checked their phones unconvinced. 12:00 PM was clearly displayed. It was simply unbelievable.

Gwendall couldn’t stop smiling. Certainly, the Katsuki couple made a right decision to bring their son here. Admittedly, he felt a bit guilty for giving them such a hard time early on.

With Gwendall’s judgement, it all became clear. Yuuri accelerated the shelf life of food, he reversed the time around his dog to a point before the injury occurred, he stopped and reversed the time surrounding the bullets thus giving them the appearance of changing directions, and, finally, Yuuri sped up the lifespan of the second attacker. Death by aging.

“I thought it was just a legend!” Hiroko exclaimed.

“Does that mean I have an A class Ability now!?” Yuuri asked excitedly.

“No.” Gwendall shook his head. “Your Ability… is S class.”

S class? Yuuri had never heard of it. His parents looked at him like he was a freak with their jaws on the floor after hearing Gwendall’s verdict. Was something wrong with him?

Yuuri started to cry. He didn’t understand what was happening. “What’s wrong with me,” he sniffed, clearly misreading his parents shock for disgust.

Yuuri was too young to have learned about the elusive S class just yet, how it didn’t fit the standard A-B-C Ability classification scale the rest of society used. He was too young to know how much of a big deal it was, the legendary S class. There have never been any instances of multiple S class users alive at the same time in recorded history. It was that rare.

“Nothing is wrong, Yuuri. You are incredibly gifted,” Gwendall said to calm the boy down. “S-class is described as an ability which fits all three categories at once. Control of food freshness is surely Enhancement. Bullet control and reversal is like telekinesis, so it’s Psychic. And what you did just now is Manipulation. Do you get it?” Gwendall explained further.

Yuuri couldn’t process the implications of his Ability. He had one thing on his mind, “Can I be a Holy Knight, now?”

“No, my child. Being a Holy Knight doesn’t suit you.”

Yuuri’s smile faded. All his hopes were crushed all over again. Gwendall saw defeat written all over his face and couldn’t help but ask, “Why do you want to be a Holy Knight?”

“There’s a Holy Knight I owe my life to. I’m very thankful that he saved me.”

“May I know who it is?” he asked.

“Victor Nikiforov,” Yuuri stated it crystal clear.

“Oh…” Gwendall nodded. “And?”

“I think that it’s cool to save people’s lives. People would be happy if I could help them, just like how Victor saved me. He made me and my mother happy.”

“You don’t need to be a Holy Knight in order to be a hero, my child.” Gwendall assured him. “You saved your family, remember?”

Yuuri clenched his fists tighter. “I… just wanted to fight next to Victor.”

“I like your motivation, but I’m afraid I must refuse your request for a position with the Holy Knights. Like I said, I don’t think it suits you.”

Gwendall’s tone was kind, but each word was a needle stabbing into Yuuri’s heart. “Why it doesn’t suit me?” he sniffed.

The smile on Gwendall’s face curled just a little bit more. “Don’t worry, you can still become a hero and fight with Victor in the future – but in a different way.” Gwendall said cryptically. “Why it doesn’t suit you, you ask? …Because I think there’s a better position you can fill. If you become a Holy Knight, you can’t have this cooler one.”

Yuuri was caught off guard. “What is it?”

“A position which has been vacant for a long time.” Gwendall announced. “And for the time being, you’re the only acceptable candidate.”

Gwendall turned towards Toshiya and Hiroko. “The new Holy Knights will be trained by their retired seniors. I will be stepping down to take over his training personally.”

Toshiya and Hiroko, with mixed feelings, understood what was happening while Yuuri was still confused by Gwendall’s vagueness. The couple was reluctant at first to give up their son, but eventually relented, realizing the bright future ahead for their child.

Gwendall stood up. In front of Yuuri, he went on his knees placed a hand on his chest and bowed deeply. Yuuri was frozen awkwardly watching.

“From now on, I, Gwendall Aravyne, shall be under your service.”

“W-What are you doing??” The change in Gwendall’s behavior made Yuuri restless.

“I’ve been waiting for someone like you… Allow me to offer my loyalty to you to the fullest.” Gwendall said reverently as a look of nostalgia and relief crossed his face.

Gwendall took Yuuri’s fingers and kissed them. “Your Majesty.”

♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥.·:*:·.♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥ ♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥.·:*:·.♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥ ♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥.·:*:·.♥.·:*¨¨*:·.♥

Several years later

Yuuri lazed in his bedroom. The sheets slid off of his bed as he rolled to his side. His alarm was blaring annoyingly. He hit “snooze” and continued to sleep. He only slept 5 hours last night. After dealing with mountains of works, a packed schedule, and chronic sleep deprivation… he deserved 10 more minutes.

The curtains covering his bedroom windows were pulled away. Morning light abruptly scattered throughout the room, blinding him.

“Gwendall… Close the curtains… I want to sleep…”

“No, it’s time to wake up.” Gwendall tied the curtains to the side. “I have your bath prepared.”

“Gimme just five minutes then…” Yuuri murmured, drifting back off.

“You can’t, Your Majesty. You have an important guest today. She will be arriving in an hour.”

Yuuri sat on the edge of the bed, groggily rubbing his eyes as he stretched. “Don’t forget my coffee…”

“Never,” Gwendall bowed to him with a warm, fatherly smile.

Some maids entered Yuuri’s room to tidy his bed. They bowed in greeting, “Good morning, Your Majesty.”

The raven headed to the bath house. He took off his clothes and left them on the floor. Yuuri descended into a large marble soaking tub. The perfumed scent of the soap and steamy water was refreshing. After the bath, he got dressed, and made his way back to the castle dining hall for breakfast.

Yuuri sipped the piping hot coffee as his advisor Gwendall joined him by his side. “So, today’s schedule?” He asked unenthusiastically.

Yuuri only partially listened as Gwendall went over the important details for the day. It was in quiet mornings like this where he would briefly remember his past. Everything had changed when Gwendall began to foster him. His life was a lot busier now, but he didn’t usually mind. In a way, he was helping more people in a day than a Holy Knight could in their lifetime. He had far surpassed his initial dream, possessing a better option.

“Are you ready now, Your Majesty?”

Yuuri smirked, broken out of his reverie. “If it’s for the best of my people, I’m always ready.”

 

Since Yuuri discovered his Ability, the country of Cervantes celebrated the birth of its new King.