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01 Adventure

 

He heard someone climbing up the stairs from below and stopping in front of the door to his room. Orso's hand reached for his sword under the table when the door finally opened. Three, two, one...

"Never expected that an Aduan pleasure house would offer such service."

A husky chuckle. Orso let out a long breath, dropped his sword, and turned around. "I thought Hildi had introduced where we would meet."

"Hildi? The papergirl at the port, with a face too sweet for a spy?" Jappo closed the door and leaned against the wall. "I'm not so depraved as to hire a little girl as my royal pimp. No, I came here on my own."

Orso was stunned, as if he had not realized where they were and who he was disguised as until this very moment. His girdle suddenly felt awfully tight. "Are you saying that..."

Jappo cocked his head and surveyed Orso's dress, expression full of feigned innocence. "Your Majesty... In exchange for my rescue, you are surely performing your... patriotic duties..."

 

 

 

 

 

02 Angst

 

"Orso, Orso..." Jappo shook his head ruefully. "What will we do without him?"

"I'll think of something." Savine condescended to reply in her accented Styrian.

"Is that all?" As the music quieted down he held out one hand. "I was expecting more. Don't you dance again with me, Citizeness?"

 

 

 

 

 

03 Crackfic

 

Orso: Don't! Don't touch me! I—I am a sinner who commits incest!

Jappo: d(・∀・*)♪゚Actually my mom too

Σ(゚д゚lll) Σ(゚д゚lll) Σ(゚д゚lll)

 

 

 

 

 

04 Crime

 

... The term "Sister Revolutions" was coined as the Styrian revolution occurred merely three years after its Union counterpart. Nevertheless, their endings were notably different due to Styria's deep-rooted commerce tradition, larger middle class... and the monarch challenged.

In his long and legendary life, Jappo I was imprisoned five times. Most of them happened on the battlefield, against which he turned the tide with his famed Eagle Musketry. Only the first time—and indeed the direst occasion—he was a defendant standing charges with only his tongue as his weapon. Somehow, he managed to win over the revolution court, even bringing some people's representatives to tears. Some of the accusations brought during the three-day trial were true, such as that he raised the brewing tax in Ospria thrice in a year, to which he proposed generous remedies (as he typically did when making "harmless" compromises, see Chapter 14, "The Transition to the Republic, the Murcatto Civil Code, and Other Political Legacies"). Others were more comical, the most absurd of which was that Jappo had been so extravagant that he had ordered a thousand parrots from Kanta and stuffed them into a pie alive, to enjoy the sight of them fluttering out when he cut it open (this anecdote was in fact transposed from the wedding between Savine I and Leo dan Brock, according to Professor Cathil Harrowsen of the University of Adua).

Curiously, the more intimate the accusation was, the more inspirational Jappo's statement became. When the notorious opportunist Representative Ramio Diallo accused him of carnal knowledge with the executed King Orso I of the Union, who was deemed a degenerate tyrant by his contemporaries unlike now, to the boos of the audience, Jappo smiled his famous enigmatic smile that had fascinated historians ever since (see Figure 16, a courtroom sketch by Alexandro mon Raphalio).

Jappo's classic monologue begins with: "I know what you demand, Representative Diallo. What I am afraid of is not the eternal sleep in the dust. After all, I come from the dust, from the people—I come from you. My mother was a commoner. I was named after a commoner. I have mercenary's blood in my vein, and the Fates my teachers. No, I am not afraid of death."

"What I am afraid of is the excuse you believe legitimate to sentence a man to death. I am afraid of what Styria will become, after my death. Surely Styria is not becoming another Union, or I shall say Disunion, of usurpers of the Fates who judge mortals by whoever the Fates weave them towards... ?"

It is unnecessary to quote more: after all, three hundred years later, the Styrians still celebrate "Judgment of the Eagle" as one of their most significant cultural heritage. Even the Styrian children can recite the king's speech that turned around his wheel of fortune, and the rainbow flags that fly at Styrian Harvest Parade always bear his closing words: "—Prove to me Styria's pride!"

 

 

 

 

 

05 Crossover

 

(Fate Franchise AU because of the Fates and that Orso's first TTWP chapter is titled "The World's Wrongs")

 

"Your Servant, Saber... You want everyone to think he is Stolicus, the unparalleled general emperor," The magus' magic-infused voice echoed among the abandoned buildings. "But that's only your strategy. A trick. Isn't it?"

Jappo maintained his composure. Although he had heard rumors that Orso's Magic Circuit was suspiciously weak, perhaps because his father was merely an illegitimate son to the Founding Family, he probably could still take down Jappo in a combat magus-to-magus. After all, Orso's family boasted six hundred years of pursuing the True Magic, while Jappo's power came from his mother who had snatched Command Spells, and latter all the Magic Circuit, from her employer in a Holy Grail War merely ten years ago. Even regarded as the weakest participant, by summoning Rider, Orso had forced Jappo to summon a lesser heroic spirit instead of Stolicus... If this Butcher of Valbeck decided to repeat the tragedy here and now...

Jappo curved his finger around the trigger of his Walther WA2000.

"Of strategy," he replied, observing the blond figure through the night vision scope of his sniper rifle. "You are a mastermind as well. Most impressive, the way your Rider defeated Miss Glokta's Caster. But we both know that your Servant is actually—"

"A Rider and Assassin?" The voice sounded surprisingly pleased. "Wonderful! I was about to confess it all, but you have deducted the truth on your own—must have guessed it from his flag of a white horse. As expected from the son of the Magus Killer. I imagine that at this very moment, you have your rifle pointed at my head, correct?"

"Told you," Saber, General Ganmark, said idly from behind him, reading a discounted paperback of contemporary history.

"Mr. Murcatto, Jappo," the Butcher of Valbeck continued his pleasantries. "In fact, I'm here today with an offer of cooperation."

 

 

 

 

 

 

06 Death

 

Here it comes, here it comes... Jezal I the Weak, the Old Stick, and Young Lion who died too early but not early enough to Jappo's taste... Passing the lines of statues, they walked along the Kingsway, feeling each other's momentary tightness as the pathway came to an end. Long before he received Savine's invitation to visit the Union, he knew he would ask her that question, and she knew he knew. Now asking it aloud was but an inevitability.

So Jappo pointed to those statues rather curiously.

"Queen Savine, Your Majesty, why do these statues seem to be missing one? You know, the one before you. The one guillotined. Orso I."

 

 

 

 

 

07 Episode Related

 

The train departed from the station with an ovation and thank the Fates without casualties. Half of the cheers, Orso thought, were perhaps for Jappo. Styria played a crucial role in restoring peace and later proved a favorable alternative to the Valint and Balk. Not to mention that today, here, royal cookies with Talinese marzipan were given out for free. Strange, how distant bloodsheds were never comparable to cookies at hand.

So Orso picked up a macaron and glanced at Jappo, who was licking the cream from his index finger, eyes dancing around the elegant decoration of their compartment. This was, finally, something novel for Orso's worldly friend. The Union needed money, but Styria coveted the Union's technology, which was one of the reasons why Jappo agreed to be a guest on Orso's tour around the Union...

"Before the revolution, my mother used to urge me to get married," he said as he chewed the pastry. "I told her to wait until I finished my grand tour."

"I imagine she would not have let you go off her hook so easily."

"She insisted that I tour with my wife," Orso brushed away the crumbs from his hand. "'So you could introduce her to the people and get started on producing an heir at the same time,' was her insightful instruction."

"What, actually simultaneously?" Jappo grinned.

"Actually simultaneously," Orso smiled back and moved over to kiss him on the lips.

 

 

 

 

 

08 Fantasy

 

"Jappo! What a rare guest."

"... You are my father."

"You have not visited here since the time you questioned why you had not been sorted into Slytherin like I was. Which was, what, more than a decade ago? You were just a little boy then, alas, and so cute—"

"... Now I am very grateful that I studied in Ravenclaw instead."

"So eager to step out from my shadow. So, what brings you to my room today? New troubles? Need career mentorship? The belated coming-of-age exploration of young boys—"

"Actually, I am here to ask for your blessings."

And Jappo waved his hand at the portrait of a winking man with a cup of wine, "Orso, this is my father, the late Mr. Rogont. Father, this is Mr. Orso Luthar. A reporter of the Daily Prophet, and my fiancé."

 

 

 

 

 

09 Fetish

 

"The God of War, Stolicus," Orso gently touched the statue's lucite base, eyes twinkling with the familiar excitement whenever he encountered a masterpiece. "Has it been restored? Looks more complete than I thought! These cracks are barely visible—"

"Ah, so you are aware that at this very garden, my mother once dueled with a fencing master with questionable preferences for lovers. Poor general ended up stabbed in the back by the fallen statue," Jappo mused. "Do you know that Stolicus' sword was all over my teenage fantasies?"

"All these puns," Orso sighed. "You surely are into swords."

Jappo took away a cherry blossom that had fallen in Orso's hair and reached out with both hands to draw the swords at Orso's waist as if taking him into an embrace. "One long steel, another short. The Union style. Very well. As my gambit, I will use my left hand. Now fence with me, Orso!"

 

 

 

 

 

10 First Time

 

He kissed Orso's fingertips calloused from all these days of labor and Orso thought, in a daze, by the Fate, I am at Valbeck, I am back to Valbeck. Jappo is the prince rushing to rescue, and I am the damsel in distress trapped in an uprising that shall destroy us all. This is my punishment for loving Savine, my punishment for standing by the hangings, and I would never be able to break free of these ropes for the rest of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

11 Fluff

 

"Master Shenkt."

"Good evening, Victarine. You are as beautiful as ever! A drink?"

"As usual."

"Naturally. Then I won't beat around the bush... What did your king say about Jappo recently?"

"He misses Murcatto's eyes."

"That's it? Even that kitten of Jappo's will not spare him a glance. I need details, Victarine."

"... He compared Murcatto's eyes with the sea."

"Lame. Try harder if he wants to get into Jappo's bed."

"... Well, fine. I remembered Orso originally wrote that the smoky sea in your king's eyes would be his undoing or something. But he burned all those poems afterward, and what I read was only the remnants from the ashes. Maybe he will refine the phrases later."

"Oh, he surely is an unconfident little darling."

"Don't talk about His Majesty as if he were your spoiled monkey! How about your side, Shenkt. Tell me all at once before I snort out my drink."

"Nothing particular, just scolding his cat: 'You're going to be as plump as Orso if you keep stealing my dessert.'"

"... Maybe I should snort out my drink, but I find myself numbed after their feat in the Throne Room."

"Don't forget the time with Suljik ambassador. Poor Tee now vomits at the sight of chopsticks."

"Thanks for reminding me. Speaking of which, the Revolution has settled down for almost three years. I wonder why we are still exchanging this kind of... information."

"Because we are patriots, Victarine. We are patriots. Peace is hard-won, and the people need gossip to keep their love for the current kings... In that we still have much to learn from Master Pike..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Future Fic

 

"Who would have thought, when I watched you fence with my brother, all those years ago, that I would one day wear your ring?"

But this ring marked the reunification of Styria. Talins, Westport, and finally Sipani. A day of great joy. So Carlot closed her eyes and allowed Jappo to kiss the lips of his lover's sister. Let herself kiss back the lips of her lover's murderer.

 

 

 

 

 

13 Horror

 

Monza heard her son moaning the name of her ghost.

 

 

 

 

 

14 Humor

 

"Leo dan Brock," Rikke smirked mysteriously as she raised her pale eyes from her tarot spread. "I saw, a year from now, you and Jappo Murcatto will become the sweetest lovebirds who cannot even bear a minute of separation."

Jurand wasn't here, thank goodness. She would hate to break his heart with her false prophecy. But the other boys reacted exactly as she had expected. The Angland rowdies started to clap and whistle, with a reluctant Jin shoving a twenty-pound note to a grinning Antaup. Stour, busy devouring his McSpicy, vigorously booed: "Why waiting for one year? Get a room fucking right now!" Leo himself was at a sorry loss for words, seemingly torn between smashing her table and begging for more insights from his friend aka the Instagram influencer @LongEyeMuchLovedBytheMoon. And Jappo, who probably had seen through her "I'm going to drag my dumb friend out of his closet by pushing him to reflect his orientation with the craziest prompt possible" scheme, just smiled like a cat toying at his dying prey.

Surprisingly, Orso, who had been drowning himself with beer for the whole night, put down his Kindle and came over from the other end of the common room. He stood between Jappo and Leo, studying thoughtfully the newly revealed card in the center of the spread. Major Arcana, the Lovers, the blessed union, or a cursed escape from reality.

"Rikke, can you perhaps read my future as well after Leo is done?" The good-natured senior student asked.

 

 

 

 

 

15 Hurt/Comfort

 

“My eye. He took my eye.”

Standing in front of the ajar door, for the first time since Jappo's coronation, she felt fear.

“He took my eye.”

But Orso I of the Union only held the wounded young man tighter.

She had trained Jappo. Three-hour fencing lesson, every single morning, since he was old enough to hold a sword. Jappo could have broken free of his arms. Could have punched this bane in the face. Could have leaned close enough to whisper venom into Orso's ear. To accuse him. To kill his heart.

Orso kissed the top of his hair without saying a word.

She saw a ruby ring glittering on Orso's ring finger. Like a drop of blood. Like an eyeball freshly plucked out by the Northern Witch's Named Man in the Circle.

It was at thas moment that Monza Murcatto reconciled with her history.

 

 

 

 

 

16 Kinky

 

"Oops. Spill it."

Orso stared at Jappo while Jappo stared at the half-open little box, eyes innocently blinking. The pearl dust sprinkled all over Jappo's skin, indistinguishable from his pale complexion, as Jappo brushed the white powder across his lower abdomen, into his pubic hair, and slowly licked off the remnants from his fingertips.

"Sorry about that," He cooed. "You'll just have to find another—Shhhh careful!"

 

 

 

 

 

17 Parody

 

“Honestly, I’d rather put it all behind me. What’s the point in having new generations if all we do is pick up the feuds of the old one?”

For a moment, memories that do not exist emerged in Jappo's mind.

—False memories, which are sometimes sweeter than the truth...

 

 

 

(I can't believe I am inserting Jujutsu Kaisen references... It's all Leo-the-shounen-manga-protagonist-stray-to-a-grimdark-fantasy's fault... When in doubt blame Leo)

 

 

 

 

 

18 Poetry

 

(Um so I can't write poems at all so the only thing I can think of is Orso/Savine/Jappo as the song "The Servant of Evil/悪ノ召使" but I don't know how to translate the tweaked lyric while keeping all the references so let skip this one cough cough)

 

 

 

 

 

19 Romance

 

Orso's fingertips casually brushed against the little Visserine glass statue insides the niche. It must have been years since anyone lived here. This figurine was delicate, though. "A house reserved for your mistress?"

"Mistress? Who, you? I'd gladly lock you away if your Council doesn't bristle," He led Orso through the empty hall and up the stairs. "But perhaps this is exactly how my mother used this house. When we visited Visserine, I followed her here. In a night. Never thought the most formidable general could be tracked down so easily by a twelve-year-old boy."

Orso remained silent for Jappo to finish the riddle.

"And I found this monster," His secret lover pushed open the bedroom door with a flourish, looking back at him, eyes oddly shining. "Built before Visserine was walled, full of ghosts and memories. It was empty then, as it is now. What do you think of here?"

Wooden floor. Double bed. Every piece of furniture in an outdated style from more than twenty years ago. Orso could recognized it because his own mother hadn't changed the decoration in her bedroom since Countess Shalere had left. Mother and the Countess... For a transient moment, he seemed to glimpse the secret that Jappo hesitated to share, but longed for someone to see through. "The floor is quite squeaky," He digressed.

"I was told the bed is even more so," Orso watched the king of Styria collapsed onto the bed with a creaking protest from its board. "Perhaps it can produce sounds loud enough to awaken the Fates..."

 

 

 

 

 

20 Sci-Fi

 

"Ah... the brave new world," Amidst the orgasmic pleasure of Soma, Orso heard his mysterious partner whisper. "Feeling inferior over your stature, Alpha? I was natural-born! I came from outside the World State in a Savage Reservation called Uffrith..."

 

 

 

 

 

21 Smut

 

He slammed the phone screen down onto the table.

"Mr. Tunny," he managed, trying his best to calm his tone. "Tell me something that is not at all sexy."

Across the dressing room, Tunny glared at him from a pile of suits.

"Luthar, you know I could sue you for workplace sexual harassment, right?"

"..."

"Not to mention the fact that you are having an interview on stage pretty soon."

"... That's why your... wisdom... will be much appreciated."

"Fine, fine," Tunny rolled his eyes. "Not at all sexy... sexy... sex... Hey, how about your two arch-nemeses fucking each other senseless? Brock and Murcatto, squirming together, dicks ball-deep into each other so they literally become some major pain-in-the-ass! Ugh, this sounds even weirder when put this way..."

Orso couldn't laugh along. The photos Jappo just sent to him were eating away his sanity like the sweetest poison. The clock on the wall pointed to five minutes to eight, and he let out a desperate groan.

 

 

 

 

 

22 Spiritual

 

"I brought you an egg."

“Well done. Lay it yourself, did you?” Rikke teased, sitting up from under the covers. "Your High—ahhh!"

"Eh what's wrong Rikke?"

"Wait, wait. There's a man next to you."

Orso frowned, but still glanced around cautiously. "Don't scare me."

"Naked! He's naked!"

"Pfft a naked man only you can see..."

Rikke leaned forwards squinting. Her Long Eye was throbbing, but she didn't feel the splitting headache or shit on this royal bed. Maybe what she saw wasn't a big deal prophetically. Or maybe she'd finally tamed the Long Eye (the secret of which was fucking Orso?). Or maybe, the beautiful and mysterious Northern Witch was blessed, or cursed, by the power of meeting her bedfellow's bedfellow. Orso sighed and put the breakfast tray aside, surveying Rikke worriedly as she narrowed her eyes at the illusional naked man.

To be fair, the naked man's body looked quite impressive, and the traces of dried semen on his ass were even more so. But it was something in the way he moved that intrigued her. His was a soldier's decisiveness, like those Named Men—those true Named Men—but not without a grace exclusive to those pampered southerners. She wondered how his face was like.

"I brought you an egg," An illusional Orso said, appearing from behind the naked man. Unlike the real Orso beside her, who was fully dressed, the illusional Orso wore a wide-open robe in a fabric Rikke had never seen before. Scratching and biting marks covered his chest, making him look having fought ten wild cats at once. His smile was as bright nevertheless, and when the naked man wandered over to rest his head on Orso's shoulder, he tilted his head towards the naked man's dark curls in such a gentle way that Rikke’s heart fluttered and ached at once.

The naked man was anything but gentle. "It's not worth the wait," He muttered, one hand slipping into the illusional Orso's robe, and let out a disgruntled "nay" as the illusional Orso pulled away to put the breakfast tray down. But he was soon soothed as Orso kneeled down, grabbed his thighs, and swallowed the length of his cock into his mouth like tasting a belated breakfast. In fact, Orso's movement was so smooth that Rikke wondered if she was destined to accidentally fuck men who were secretly into men.

And then.

Rikke saw it.

As the naked man arched his head, his thick curly hair fell back, revealing the handsome face underneath.

Handsome indeed.

But it was also a familiar face.

A very familiar face.

In fact.

He looked almost.

Like a younger version of Shivers.

Rikke covered her eyes and screamed.

"By the fucking dead! I'm going to gouge this stupid Long Eye one of these days!"

 

 

 

 

 

23 Suspense

 

(Modern AU, constitutional monarches!Orso & Jappo)

 

"Wait. Your hair is actually straight?"

Fuck, he forgot to close the bathroom door behind him, so Orso just strolled in as if expecting some promised rewards. Jappo stared at him deadpan with a hairdryer in one hand and a curling iron in the other.

"And I thought your hair is brown all along," Orso quizzically sniffed the bottles and jars around the sink one by one like a dutiful sniffer dog. "To think I never even noticed all this year..."

... He could be sharp, his boyfriend. Seemed to be insensible about everything, and yet so quick to discover the one secret he must not reveal.

"But I do think you as a child have brown curly hair, no?" Orso was still talking, checking the shelf life at the bottom of another bottle. "You looked like this in that famous speech all over TV back then. My mom made me watch its recording hundred of times to learn your—"

"—Don't you like it, though?" He walked over and stuck his fingers in Orso's hair. Such dazzling blonde, like some golden fleece, without a trace of impurity. He was born pure. Unlike him. "Straight black hair are inherited from my mother. Brown curls are from my father." He tossed his head, hair falling over his chest. A tempting posture. A strategic posture. "You have to be strategic, choosing what face to wear. And I..."

"—I like it! Either way," Orso hastily cut him off. Jappo smiled inwardly. He knew that Orso thought his family was tense, and would halt from whatever topic Jappo found slightly uncomfortable.

He also knew that Orso could not resist his invitation.

But he wanted Orso to resist his invitation.

He wanted Orso to be sharp with him like who he truly was.

Orso turned on the shower and the hot water poured down gently like a summertime rainstorm. "Happy anniversary," he whispered in Jappo's ear. "Thanks for staying tonight. I love you."

... But how he wished Orso could see through his secret.

 

 

 

 

 

24 Time Travel

 

(It's not really time travel, but a LAOK AU. Jappo ≈ Terez, the closeted Talins prince married off to the Union; Orso/Savine ≈ roughly tweaked Jezal/Ardee.)

 

"... Please calm down." By the Fates, Orso himself was completely unable to calm down. Yet he forced himself to look at the Prince of Talins in the eyes, and spoke with the same inspiring tone he had used to promise false justice and equity to the people of Valbeck. "Lord Marshal Brock has arrived with his Angland reinforcements. They are fighting outside the city even now! Your mother has departed with the Styrian fleet as well, and according to reports, she will arrive by tomorrow at the latest. The Union will win. We will win. And after that, the wedding between you and Her Majesty will surely... surely..."

For a long time, Jappo Murcatto was just silent. Silent as the night, with only the sound of Gurkish fire echoing outside the window.

Just as Orso began to think the Prince of Talins would order him dragged out and executed, suddenly, Jappo Murcatto smiled. "I was right after all, Colonel Luthar! You do have bones! No wonder Queen Savine adores you that much!"

It was as if he slapped Orso in the face.

"Your—Your Highness! I am not sure what you are implying..."

But Murcatto just laughed and laughed and laughed, occasionally raising his hand to wipe away the tears at the corners of his eyes. He trembled so hard that he almost collapsed on top of Orso. And he leaned so closely, Orso almost felt burned by the Savine-styled feverish glow in his eyes.

"You think I care? If the Fates have mercy, which they don't, I'd even gladly play the violin besides your wedding bed. I play the violin far better than I play this, you know?" The prince grabbed the front of Orso's uniform, as if to roar at him, but he had smoked too much that his hand just rested feebly on his chest. "If only we could survive tonight, Colonel Luthar," He seemed to finally run out of his strength, and his smile cooled into a look that was half self-pity, half self-deprecation. "... If only we survive tonight..."

 

 

 

 

 

25 Tragedy

 

The sun was high when Orso got home, and his brain was still groggy from staying up all night. So he sat bolt upright on the couch, staring in turn at the fish tank, the guitar, and Cathil's exercise book. A good morning. Too good a morning. Carlot was playing a cheerful R&B, the diva's jolly voice wafting from upstairs. Ghostly, his hand went into his jeans pocket. He was strangely afraid that his pocket would turn out empty, that everything was just a hallucination of his own.

But it was still there, the pearl pendant Jappo had given him. Baroque, antique, somewhat worn, and seemingly not at all what the rock star of the university would choose for some sort of... token of  affection. Orso took a deep breath. He remembered the tender look on Jappo's face as he unhooked the pendant from his neck. "My mother gave it to me when I was a child. I wore it every day, for more than a decade." He explained, as if giving someone a vintage pearl pendant while wearing a gothic leather jacket after a rock show was the most natural thing in the world. And since he was Jappo Murcatto, it was indeed the most natural thing in the world. He had performed three encores earlier, his voice huskier than ever. Good for love talk. Better if staying quiet. So Orso kissed him.

And for the first time in three years, he felt his world came back to normal.

How can I thank Rikke for her help? A month's latte? Orso mused as his eyes inadvertently wandered to Carlot's dressing mirror. Damn it, he was grinning like a fool... even his cheeks were a little sore! "Idiot," He grunted, but the silly grin on his face had no intention to recede. He raised his hands to pat both cheeks

Something scraped his face.

He withdrew his hands and found that the pearl pendant had opened. Jappo had never mentioned that the pendant had any hidden mechanism. Orso noted that the inside of the pendant was almost new, in contrast to its outside. Perhaps Jappo himself had never discovered the pendant's secret. I'll tell him right away. It felt dizzy to be able to talk to him again so soon. He pulled out his phone, typed two lines, an emoji, and brought up the camera.

Then, through the magnified view of his phone's camera, he saw two lines that were barely visible.

"To Monza Murcatto,"

"With Love and Kisses, Terez of Talins"

 

 

 

 

 

26 Western

 

"Run away. Just me and you. To the Far Country."

"Pretty romantic, isn't it? I know you'll like it."

"You can compose songs. Play the violin at a wedding. The locals will love it. Your music, your stories, and you particularly. They will love you more than me. Hopefully, they will love you more than I do."

"After all, there's nothing more useless in the Far Country than a king."

"You don't count, though. You are more than a king! A musician and tactician and swordsman and lover and more. You cheat."

"I... would be a completely different story."

"The Far Country has no place for a king. So is the Union. So is my country."

"So..."

He placed a kiss on the forehead of the younger man in sleep.

"Time to grow up. Put our silly dreams aside."

"Farewell, Jappo Murcatto."

 

 

 

 

 

27 Gary Stu

 

All Tastes, No Judgments @The Trouble With Peace

 

 

 

 

 

28 Mary Sue

 

A Sea of Business @A Little Hatred

 

 

 

 

 

29 AU (Alternate Universe)

 

"... Young people now use Tinder for dating. I did my research on Facebook," His mother continued bombarding him with How to Find a Perfect Partner in Ten Days 101. "Hundreds of years ago, even a Crown Prince found spouses this way. His retainers would line up in the palace, each holding a portrait of a marriageable lady, for the Crown Prince to choose. If he took a fancy to someone, he would order the retainer to step right, and if he didn't, the retainer would step lef—Wait, do not keep swiping left! That means you dislike these profiles! How dare you still be so picky, being almost thirty—"

Orso sighed and casually swiped the next card towards the right side. He vaguely remembered that was a man, but his mother looked rather pleased with his compromise alone, which was enough for now.

At that moment he had never thought of what a beautiful disaster this random gesture would bring.

 

 

 

 

 

30 OOC (Out of Character)

 

"I don't believe him. but I trust him."

 

 

 

 

 

31 OFC (Original Female Character)

 

"Let's put it this way, Lady Savine. King Orso's reputation is truly not the best in the Circle of the World. Some in the Styrian court are worried that he might hurt the heart of King Jappo..."

"Master Shenkt, my little brother is indeed slightly unselective, but he is only unselective with desserts. A look at his soft belly and you can tell! But with people, he can be loyal to the point of naivety... In the meantime, I have never heard that people in Talins have hearts. Is King Jappo an exception?"

"His Majesty—in fact, I usually call him Jappo as I have watched him grow up like a chaperone—Jappo is a most kindhearted spirit. He even wept at a flower cruelly picked! I remember one summer we traveled to Ospria and he rolled around amidst a crowd of sheep..."

"I did hear him rolling around amidst a crowd of men at the Cardotti's House of Leisure."

"Wrestling, no doubt. Young Jappo practiced diligently, but the physical exercise only hardened him against the enemies on the battlefield. His heart remains soft and pure. How could he resist King Orso's evil temptations? Everyone in Styria has read that pamphlet King Orso Fucks Anything!"

"And everyone in the Union has read that pamphlet Best Served Hot! As his elder sister, I swear that had Orso truly summoned seven whores into his chamber, it must have been for charity, not for some roleplay orgy! I warn you, if King Jappo breaks my little brother's heart, I will wage a war. No funds, stocks, or futures in the whole Styria can escape the wrath of me, Savine!"

"The feeling is mutual! If King Orso makes Jappo frown once, he will be disemboweled by us the Shenkts, and all his organs would be roasted to a sizzling crisp for all Styrians to enjoy in the piazza of Fontezarmo Palace! With cumin! Cumin!"

 

 

 

(An AU where Savine grew up as Jezal's illegitimate daughter. In a sense, she is no longer Savine, so I classified it as OFC.)

 

 

 

 

 

32 OMC (Original Male Character)

 

Before he left, Orso asked the Eagle if he wanted to return to the Union with him. After all, Angland was his second home besides Uffrith. Orso promised to issue a royal decree pardoning the Eagle for his crime. If sleeping with a man was a crime. If Orso could defeat Leo dan Brock. Leo dan Brock was the Eagle's childhood friend and sworn brother, the man who had banished the Eagle from the Angland army, the man the Eagle had betrayed to Orso, and, if Orso's guess was correct, the man whom the Eagle loved.

And as Orso expected, the Eagle refused his offer. "But if you've memorized it all," he added. "Now burn that letter I wrote to you earlier."

Even though the Eagle had cut himself off from his past, he was still cautious. On that, he acted more like a Styrian than a Northerner. Stolicus would have appreciated this virtue. As the candle licked onto the paper, Orso asked the Eagle, somewhat curiously: "The day before yesterday, why did you insist that I take you to see Grand Duchess Murcatto? It is really not the done thing diplomacy-wise."

The Eagle smiled rather bitterly. "My father said... In Sipani, people are not like themselves. They do the most irrational things."

Orso recalled the night when the Eagle asked him to take him to the Grand Duchess's, a hand inches from his sword, a gesture between threatening and begging. Of the numbing smell of smoke when Orso returned to his room, which the Eagle took temporary shelter from. Of his unconcealed contempt whenever he talked about the Young Lion. Of his unconcealable nostalgia. Of his look of a desperado when he first knocked on Orso's door. To this day, he still smelt like sex and death.

"There's something really wrong with this place." Orso nodded. "Maybe it was the mist."

The paper was almost burned out, so Orso let it go. The last scrap of paper floated down to the table, like a comma to an unfinished sentence.

"I wish you the best luck in Sipani, then."

Then Orso left the room to meet with his own destiny.

 

 

 

(An AU where Jappo grew up as the son of Shivers. In a sense, he is no longer Jappo, so I classified it as OMC.)

 

 

 

 

 

33 UST (Unresolved Sexual Tension)

 

For a second, he felt someone watching him from the peephole. In his mind he pictured Orso's colors: soft blonde hair, emerald eyes, everything the opposite of his. But Orso could never, and should never, be here... He should be on the first floor, playing dice and cards and whatever games safe for a legitimate king. The faithful old Friendly would masterfully manipulate his chance of winning. Nine losses, one victory: a rate just enough to keep anyone desperate yet hooked.

So he clenched his teeth and ordered the man on top of him, "Damn it, man. Try harder!" Then his voice softened into a plea as he fell back into his role. "Please, Orso..."

The gaze from the peephole darkened, but that might have just been a delusion after his excessive orgasms. Tee would make sure this floor was undisturbed. Tee, the Shenkts, and their one-of-a-kind... technique were Jappo's chastity belt, ensuring that he would never fall in love with anyone detrimental to Styria's interests. The male prostitute above him pinned him harder onto the bed and, as Jappo had ordered beforehand, hissed into his ear as he choked Jappo by the neck. "Hah, I've caught you, haven't I? Jappo Murcatto, you cheater, men's whore, a slut of a king?" Long blonde hair brushed against Jappo's face, and he took a deep breath like a drowning man finally giving up his struggle.

When the poor male prostitute left (after bowing deeply in the fear of being silenced for seeing his king's hidden side), Jappo checked his appearance, his voice, his clothes, and every detail in this room that might betray his mind. When convinced that the last traces of his nuisance of love had been erased, he snapped his fingers, notifying Tee to summon Orso upstairs to discuss the business of the night.

 

 

 

(Written on the hypothesis that because of Jappo's apparently non-Styrian look, while Orso felt an imposter to the throne, Jappo knew that he was an imposter to the throne and was tired of every war fought in his name.)

 

 

 

 

 

34 PWP (Plot, What Plot?)

 

"... Orso... Orso, I think Brock found us..."

"Really?" Orso stiffened and glanced around suspiciously. At the far end of the rose garden, there was a tall, thin silhouette with an exaggerated lion helmet... That was undoubtedly Brock, who dressed as a lion for the masquerade.

"Fuck..." His lover cursed under his breath, reluctantly pulling his cock out of Jappo's body. "Brock! It's Brock again. How come it's always him..."

Orso might be a decent swordsman, but Jappo had been trained for battles since he was a boy. So he braced himself from the wall and forced a few steps forward to push Orso down, not without wrapping an arm behind him to prevent him from hitting the ground too hard. Before Orso had the time to react, Jappo pinned both hands of the other man to the top of his head. The moonlight was gentle at this midsummer night, lighting Orso's long blonde hair spread on the lawn.

"Wait! Jappo, you—"

Jappo pressed a finger against Orso's lips.

"What are you afraid of? Afraid of losing to this... hero?"

His voice was not loud, but was perfectly clear. He was sure that Brock could hear it.

"You would not," He smiled. "I would see to it."

Then, in Orso's amazed gaze, facing Brock's direction, he slowly sank down on Orso's cock.

 

 

 

(Leo: *incoherent homophobic shriek*)

 

 

 

 

 

35 RPS (Real Person Slash)

 

Citizeness Savine delivered a passionate speech as the Styrian fleet approached Adua. Behold! That thief is planning to steal the victory by selling our territory to the enemy!

At the same time, pamphlets of Orso selling his ass to Jappo flew all over the assembly.

The honorable Citizen Leo seriously contemplated over a pamphlet.

He had too many dreams that night.