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I see that "his highness" is currently occupied bating someone, so I can actually steal a minute or two for myself. Though it doesn't really matter. Bass has never really bothered with my inner-most thoughts. I'm totally under his control in every other respect, so why worry? Besides, I think he gets a sadistic kick out of some of the things I remember. Like my days at the palace with Mother and Flute

You were what, ten, the last time I saw you? When Bass decided I'd make a good puppet. A marionette he could manipulate for his purposes.

You were always so shy. Painfully so. Smart too. Sometimes when you'd get excited and talk about some magical theory, I'd become completely lost. The most powerful mage in Sforzando, and I'd just sit there, pretending to understand what a boy six years my junior could comprehend without trying. But you never saw that. You never saw that you were so intelligent, much less that you left me in the dust on a regular basis. In the end, I suppose it's just as well. You would have become unbearable if you had figured it out. And then I'd have to love someone I couldn't stand.

Love...imagine my surprise when I found myself seeking you out on a regular basis to talk to because I wanted to hear what you had to say, rather than just humoring you. That I used to wander the halls looking for you, just to see you with those glasses, pouring over a book. My mother figured it out, or at least figured out that you had a modicum of control over me, because whenever I'd get in trouble and would be angry at her scolding, she'd send you after me.

I still remember the last thing I saw before Bass took me away to the north, after I had desecrated so much of the Magic Corps and Sforzando itself. It was you...well, you're face. You looked so utterly lost and betrayed, with a healthy tinge of despair. I remember Mother reaching out to you and drawing you to her, though you resisted. Then Bass, laughing at me the whole way, teleported me to the north. I'll never forget that expression on someone so very young.

You know, I'd sometimes forget just how much younger you were when you'd be around me. I'd say things that no other sixteen-year-old would get, much less someone who was only ten! And you'd understand, hell, you'd even look amused sometimes at the way I'd act. I could tell I was starting to fall hard. I think you noticed too, if the frequent blush you were sporting was any indication. I never did get a chance to apologize for making you so uncomfortable.

I was going to tell you at some point, you know. When you were a bit older and had a better chance of understanding—oh, who am I kidding? I was scared to death of you finding out and hating me for it. Or worse, saying that you returned the feelings only to realize that they were only brotherly later on. You were only ten! What was I supposed to say?!

And now you're 21, and I wish to God that I could tell you now. I've been able to watch you at different stages growing up, did you know that? Bass forces me to watch when he's confronting my mother. So at different periods of time over the years, when you've been by her side, I've seen you. You've let your hair grow long and you've stopped wearing your glasses. I miss the glasses; they made you look rather cute. But I suppose "cute" is not what you're aiming for when you're past the age of twelve. The hair's different. It's nice on you, but coupled with your figure, you look rather...feminine. You took after your mother, didn't you?

I also know that you took the magic route and are now one of the most powerful mages in the land. You're almost as powerful as I am, if that battle with Drum was any indication. Congratulations, by the way, for surviving that. I know how much it meant to you to vanquish the Mazoku responsible for destroying your parents...particularly your mother. I can only imagine the horrors you went through watching that. I wish I could've shielded you from that, little one.

You probably don't remember that time when you were sick—one of the few times you were sick, actually. It was the only time I had lost control of my feelings regarding you. You were so sick...I think even Mother had given up hope. I sat next to your bed, some tears leaking down my face, praying that you would wake again the next morning, and the next, and so on. You fell asleep, hand tightly clenched in mine and drew that hand towards you...towards your heart. I couldn't handle it. I leaned forward and kissed you. You didn't stir. The next morning, your fever had broken, and you recovered just fine...and never noticed how I always seemed more protective of you than normal.

It must be utter chaos there. I know about the search for the Box. I know about Sizer's redemption. And I also know it's just a matter of time now. Before we have to face each other on the battlefield—

Eh? Looks like Bass has someone that he's deciding to...oh God, that bastard!! He's got Flute here! That's it, I've bided my time here, waiting for him to drop his guard. It's as dropped as it's ever going to be. Oh, Lord, she's screaming now. Screaming for Mother. I can see a portal opening

So this is my fate after all, to fight you. Oh, God, Clari, I don't want this! Not for you! I wish...well, it really doesn't matter what I wish anymore, because it isn't about to come true. You'd better survive this, Clari, because if you don't, I'm going to kill you.

I love you.