There were two undeniable truths Lucius knew: First of all, no soulmate mark would influence him when it came to his friends and family. He wouldn’t let it choose who he was supposed to love. The second truth was that the universe had chosen pretty well when he got paired with Ray. He would’ve hated the last one if he didn’t love it so much.
They managed to understand each other through all odds, impressing even other people who knew Ray almost as long as he did. They came to very similar conclusions, his lead by rational thinking and Ray’s mostly by an incredible gut feeling that not many people would be able to replicate. (Ray wasn’t dumb, far from it, but his reflexes and actions were too incredible to be credited to thought alone.)
For some reason, it didn’t really surprise Lucius that Shu was very… protective of Ray. He guessed that was the closest thing to the truth, because while he let Ray grow on his own, burning down a whole forest just because he was a bit miffed that someone had given his brother the Death Penalty was a bit… yeah… Family gatherings must be fun.
He appreciated the sentiment very much, however. Ray’s can-do-mentality needed to be protected from all the goddamn threats the world threw at him, especially considering his steadily growing list of admirers and stalkers.
(He was still pretty angry with Hugo. And Babi needed to shut up about how jealousy doesn’t suit him because he wasn’t jealous, he was angry for Ray’s sake, ok?)
Anyway, he was glad that Shu accepted him and didn’t consider him a threat, or unworthy of Ray’s presence. He even took him on as an apprentice, and if that didn’t mean he liked him, Rook didn’t know the definition of “like”.
The thing is: Ray’s incredible intuition seemed to run in the family. The Mukudori Intuition. A creepy little thing that could pick up on the smallest of signs and communicate feelings without putting words to them.
Meaning that Shu knew. Somehow, while training him, he picked up on… something and ever since tended to just stare at him wordlessly before getting back to the next set. He searched for signs. Some little movements, gestures, that proved his hunch right. And Lucius didn’t know if he got it, but down the road, Shu also made sure to give him some survival training.
A telltale sign that he knew that Ray was his soulmate. Shu just wanted to spare his brother the pain of losing him…
That was why Lucius felt sympathy as Shu made the difficult decision to leave them behind at the peace talk. He knew that most of them, if not all, wouldn’t make it out alive. Death for them, of course, was only temporary, but still… if you were as protective of your kin as Shu was, it had to hurt like a real death.
However, they were determined to see this through. This would end with a victory for the Kingdom of Altar, or it wouldn’t end at all. The princesses had suffered enough.
(He chose to put the little spark of jealousy aside that ignited whenever Princess Altimia looked at Ray like he hung up the moon. This wasn’t the time and place to let puberty get the best of him.)
So as soon as the princess had left the room to fight the imperator’s sister, they started to fight. They gave it their all from the first second, trying their hardest to stay ahead of the Superior. And they did well, considering their overall odds.
It hurt to use Ray as a shield, though. The Counter Absorption could always fail, and it took a lot out of both Ray and Nemesis to withstand an attack like this. Once Behemot’s attack hit Lucius instead of Ray, he felt immense gratification. His last scheme had worked out and saved his soulmate. That was something worth dying for.
He was a little sad, too. After all, he wouldn’t be able to witness the first time Ray grew wings.
He ignored the pain that enveloped his right wrist, the feeling of ripping muscles and a burning sensation much worse than anything he had ever experienced before. Somewhere, deep inside of him, a calm and collected part wondered how it could hurt this much when he didn’t have the pain setting enabled. But that part was just a tiny whisper considering his current situation.
He called out Rook’s name, watching the little bits of light vanish into the sky, while the little tickle on his wrist turned into an almost agonizing pain.
He ignored it, as he activated his fourth skill, not letting a second of Rook’s sacrifice go to waste. He ignored it while he used it on Behemot, while he took his swords and swung at the creature. And he ignored it as he continued to fight far beyond what was humanly possible.
He knew what it meant. Of course he knew. He’d come across the blogs and forum entries describing what losing your soulmate in Dendro felt like. He knew the counter would be all over the place once they died.
It didn’t come as a surprise to him when it happened, though. Ever since he met Rook and they became friends, he knew there wasn’t anyone out there who could be a better match for him. The universe would’ve made a huge mistake if they hadn’t connected him to Rook.
And if there was… they could only be platonic. Rook would always hold that special place in his heart no one up until now had managed to grasp. No soulmate would’ve been able to come between them.
Feeling that pain… it motivated him, for lack of better words. He refused to lose to Behemot. Sure, he was hacking up blood by the end of the fight, and only a few moments left until he, too, would get the death penalty.
But he refused to give up until he felt like he’d avenged Rook’s death.
That’s the least he could do.
So in the end, both of them knew. Despite the odds of knowing who would be your soulmate before they died, they found out anyway.
However, both of them weren’t really good at talking it out. Both of them would help clean the city from the surprise attack and the end of the world that almost happened, too. (And how about that? Both of them died on the same day and then the world decided to almost end with them. It was kinda funny.)
They would meet up, talk and banter like they used to, and once all was done, they’d go on some adventures together. But they never talked about that day other than the normal post battle talk.
Because both of them thought they were content with how things were.
It wouldn’t take too long for that to change, but that was a story for a different time.