新たなる紡いだ星の光の誕生 (Birth of the Light of a Newly-Crafted Star)

- "Mommy! Daddy! I want to introduce someone to you!" – said Gerardo to his parents as they were eating lunch in the castle's dining hall.

A couple days had passed after the time he met Mihoka in the forest, and it was now a bright spring day with no clouds on the sky. The royal family was spending it enjoying their time together, as all the paperwork and duties the king and the queen had to do had been taken care of while Gerardo was up to date with his homework and studies.

- "Oh? Did you make a new friend, dear?" – asked the queen putting her hands over the table while her dragon looked with wide eyes at Gerardo.

- "Yup!" – said Gerardo smiling while he placed his hands on the table and Iadla let out a musical growl – "It's a girl who lives in Seliart Village, and we met while we were playing in the forest after I finished my combat training with the knights!" –

- "Ah, yes! That time a couple days ago when you went out to the forest without permission or escorts, and we had to punish you by grounding you in your room for a day, with no access to the Draglimnt or TV for its entire duration, only allowing you to leave for going to school and using the bathroom" – said the king with a severe face while his dragon shook his head no.

- "Hehe… Well, you know getting cooped up in the castle when I'm not training or in school is boring…" – said Gerardo looking downward as Iadla nodded at his side.

- "You could have also taken a stroll through the city or gone to meet the friends you've made in school" – said the queen letting a small sigh as she put a hand on her forehead while her dragon looked in an unimpressed way at them both.

- "It's not the same… I prefer a lot to be walking through the forests or around the mountains instead of just being around the city…" – said Gerardo as he shook his head no while Iadla started flying around the dining hall, making them all laugh. He then continued – "And the friends I have only treat me as normal while I'm at school… The rest of the time, if we happen to meet while we're out in the city, they start with that annoying "Prince Gerardo" or "Your Royal Highness" spiel…" –

- "Well, that comes with being a member of the royal family, son" – said the king looking bemused at him while his dragon grinned at Gerardo – "But… is there any particular reason why you wish to introduce this girl you met to us?" –

- "Ah, yeah… She's really cute, she's about my same age… And she seems like a really gentle person" – said Gerardo as he started playing with is fingers and started blushing. Iadla smiled at him in a knowing way, but Gerardo just returned an irritated gaze at her. As for the queen and the king, they were just looking at each other smiling.

- "Ehehe, looking at him is bringing me back to the days of our youth, huh? Giova?" – asked the king smiling while his dragon started laughing to the point it rolled off his shoulder and fell to the ground.

- "Indeed, dearest" – said the queen closing her eyes in a satisfied smile as her dragon nodded a few times. She then reopened her eyes and looked at her son – "Anyway, since you have gained such fondness for her, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to meet her. After all, looks like you consider her to be the first real friend you've made" –

- "Great! I was planning to go play with her again in a few more days, so I'll tell her you want to meet her!" – said Gerardo as he leaned over the table with his eyes shining. Iadla just kept herself flying next to him.

- "That said, may she be a villager or not, she is still a young lady. Therefore, make sure to treat her with proper respect" – said the queen as her smile suddenly turned a bit more severe and she put her hands in front of herself. Her dragon also narrowed her eyes as she looked at Gerardo and Iadla.

- "I'll do, mommy! I'd never do something to treat her rudely!" – said Gerardo nodding.

- "In that case, do you think you could ask her to come here the day after tomorrow?" – asked the king feeling how the joy his only son was emanating seemed to be spreading to him. His dragon had taken flight and was now hovering next to his head.

- "Yay, I'll do that! Thanks, daddy! But does that mean… I've got permission to go to the forest on my own?" – said Gerardo blinking a few times in awe. Iadla reacted in a similar way, but the surprise made her to forget about keeping her wings in movement and made her fall to the floor. She screeched annoyed after she landed.

- "Hmm, according to reports, there have been no suspicious activities in the area these last few days. I suppose we could send an escort with you up to the forest's area and allow you to go on your own into the forest itself" – said the king as he put a hand on his chin before smiling at his son.

- "Great! I can't wait for tomorrow to come then!" – said Gerardo as he opened his mouth and his eyes widened in a large smile. He then finished eating and helped the maids with picking up the platters and putting them into the trays, making the monarchs just smile pleased at his behavior.

- "I know he might act a bit spoiled sometimes, dear…" – said the queen as she saw how Gerardo was leaving for the kitchen with the maids – "But there's no denying he's a really gentle boy" –

- "Indeed" – said the king nodding – "Hopefully he'll continue being like this when he grows up and the time comes for him to ascend to the throne" –

- "Hehe, you're thinking too far ahead" – said the queen as she softly stroked her voluminous belly – "Shouldn't you worry first about seeing how he'll take the new family member?" –

- "Considering he has been asking for a sister ever since he had the use of reason, I can't think of a reason to worry about him rejecting her" – said the king smiling.

- "In that case, I think we can count on him to be a good older brother to her" – said the queen closing her eyes pleased. The king then stood up from his seat and went to hug his wife. He then followed by softly stroking their yet-to-be-born daughter.

A few days later, in the forest…

- "And so, I told my parents about you, and looks like they really want to meet you!" – said Gerardo as he and Mihoka were sitting under a tree located at the border of a glade covered with flowers.

- "Huh!? R-Really…?" – asked Mihoka as she hugged her knees with her arms – "But to think Their Majesties'd like to meet me… A mere little kid from an agricultural village…" –

- "Don't sell yourself short, please" – said Gerardo patting her on the shoulder as Iadla kept herself flying next to Mihoka. She looked at the girl as she tilted her head – "You're an apprentice priestess after all, and most likely, we'd be starving in Soleila if it weren't for the crops produced by your village" –

- "I know, but still…" – said Mihoka looking downward and blushing – "You could've just made friends with someone from Soleila, or even from Seleila…" –

- "Seleila isn't really that close, and in Soleila, everybody knows me" – said Gerardo shaking his head – "They treat me as one of them while I'm in school, but once we're out in the street, they start doing that..." –

- "That…?" – asked Mihoka as she raised her face to look at him.

- "You know what I mean" – said Gerardo sighing in a lonesome way – "That whole kneel on the ground, prostrate and call me Prince or Royal Highness routine… Even though I've told them like a thousand times already I hate being treated that way…" –

- "Ah, yeah!" – said Mihoka as she started giggling – "Hehe, looks like I'm not the only one who does it!" –

- "Though it's not like anybody in the royal family likes it when it's done outside a formal audience or ceremony…" – said Gerardo sighing once again – "I know we've got an important position in this world and all that, but it's still so annoying…" –

- "Well, maybe it's because they don't want to appear disrespectful?" – suggested Mihoka as she closed her eyes and smiled – "I mean, that's why I acted that way too when we first met" –

- "That's true" – said Gerardo smiling – "Anyway, like I first said, I came to invite you to the castle so my parents would meet you" –

- "Yeah" – said Mihoka as she fixed her eyes on a small green bird that flew on the trees over them – "I still can't believe it, though…" –

- "Don't start debasing yourself again, please" – said Gerardo as he raised a hand on her direction. Mihoka looked a bit startled, but then, she saw how he had taken out a white envelope from his shouf's inner pockets: it was decorated with a border resembling ivy, it had the elemental seal printed over its front, and it was sealed with a wax seal that showed the Dragonian royal crest on it. Below the seal, it had written Paf Mihoka in neat calligraphy – "And well, to save us problems down the road, my parents decided to send you this official invitation" –

- "Huh!?" – said Mihoka as she stood up instantly and looked with wide eyes at the envelope – "An official invitation… from Their Majesties… to me!?" –

- "Pfft… Ahahaha...!" – said Gerardo as he and Iadla started laughing. Mihoka blinked a few times and then stomped her feet on the grass as she started pouting.

- "Hey, that's not funny!" – said her.

- "Sorry, sorry! It's just neither Iadla or me could avoid laughing upon seeing your reaction!" – said Gerardo as he tried to get his laughter under control, though Mihoka kept sulking – "Ha… Anyway, yeah, it's official. They really seemed interested in meeting you" –

- "Ah, I see…" – said Mihoka as she clasped her hands in front of herself and looked downward – "Since it's official and all, that means I can't refuse… right?" –

- "Nope, you can actually refuse it" – said Gerardo tilting his head while he looked at her puzzled. He then lowered his gaze – "I see no reason why'd you do that though…" –

- "Don't worry, I accept it!" – said Mihoka taking the envelope from his hands as she smiled.

- "Great! In that case, we'll be waiting for you in the castle tomorrow!" – said Gerardo as he smiled at her.

- "Hehe… it'll be an honor to meet Their Majesties… and I wanna see what kinda people they're in person too!" – said Mihoka nodding as she kept smiling. She stored the invitation in one of her skirt's pockets – "But for now, let's go play!" –

- "Ah, yeah! Let's take the chance to go play some hide-and-seek!" – said Gerardo as he turned to a tree, covered his eyes and started counting while Mihoka ran off. They kept playing until it got late, and they were forced to go back to their homes before night fell.

The following day…

Gerardo had been pretty restless waiting for Mihoka to come the whole morning. While he had tried to read some of the books he had in his room or to play some games in his computer to distract himself, he couldn't continue bearing it and went down to the castle's foyer to make sure she arrived.

- "Hehe, you seem quite anxious, Your Highness" – said one of the maids as she was cleaning the floor of the foyer. She was in her thirties, had short brown hair rolled up in a bun, brown eyes and wore a yellow shouf.

- "Yeah, Lise…" – said Gerardo sighing as he paced back and forth over the carpet that led from the entrance to the main stairway – "It's just… I'm nervous… My parents seemed to be interested in meeting her, but I can't help feeling worried about how their first encounter will be…" –

- "You shouldn't worry that much," – said Lise as she stopped cleaning for a moment to look at him – "Their Majesties are accustomed to dealing with the people, so I don't think they will give her a bad treatment, no matter if she's a child of the Seliart villagers" –

- "Well, she seemed pretty self-conscious about it all" – replied Gerardo crossing his arms as he stood still – "I told her we regard the village highly because of how their crops play an important role in the sustenance of both our city and Seleila, but she didn't seem to be convinced about it" –

- "You spoke with the truth in any case" – said Lise as she smiled at him – "It's up to her whether to believe it or not. By the way, this might be kind of disrespectful for me to say, but… May I ask you to head to the dining room or the gardens in the meanwhile?" –

- "Ah, I apologize for intruding in your work" – said Gerardo bowing his head slightly.

- "Don't mind it please" – said Lise with a smile. She then returned to her duties as Gerardo walked out of the foyer.

While Gerardo had seen it from the windows of his room, he noticed as he got out how Soleia was shining every bit as strongly as the past few days over him in the sky, and he covered his eyes slightly to shield them from the increase in brightness. He then paced around the fountain that was placed in front of the entrance, looking at the flowers that were sprouting in the bushes.

- "Hehe, looks like mommy's favorite Faleas are fully blooming" – said him as he smiled at the bright star-shaped red flowers he had before him – "I know we normally leave this sort of things to the gardeners, but mommy insisted on planting, applying fertilizer and watering them herself. Maybe it's because she plans to dedicate them to my future sister?" –

- "Looks like Her Majesty is pretty skilled with plants, huh?" – said a voice that was getting close to him. When he Gerardo turned in the direction the voice was coming from, he was pleasantly surprised to see Mihoka walking from the direction where the gateway separating the castle from Soleila was located.

- "Ah, Mihoka! Welcome!" – said Gerardo as he ran up to her – "Whoa, you look really pretty today!" –

Instead of the simpler blue and white shouf she had worn the two previous times they met, that day Mihoka was wearing an elegant jacket decorated with water droplets over a more fine-looking version of the upper part of her shouf, while her skirt was now double-layered, with the outer part of it opening up in the center to reveal another skirt underneath, which had a small part right before the hem made of fine transparent blue fabric. She also had two blue ribbons shaped after butterflies on her hair right above her ears and wore delicate-looking blue slipper-style shoes with white pantyhose on her feet.

- "Hehe… Thanks!" – said Mihoka smiling while she blushed – "My parents got pretty fussy about appearing as elegant as I could before Their Majesties, so…" –

- "Still, that combination of your ornaments, clothes and shoes really looks cute!" – said Gerardo fawning over her. But the next instant, he remembered something, which caused his joyful expression to change into a worried one – "But… what about your parents? Aren't they coming in too?" –

Mihoka just shook her head "no".

- "No," – said her as she looked downward and rolled a hand into a fist – "The invitation was only for me, so they weren't allowed to come with me…" –

- "Even though the castle is supposed to be open to everybody…" – said Gerardo gritting his teeth.

- "The guards told us they've had to increase the security recently, so they won't allow anybody who isn't coming for official business in during the next few days…" – said Mihoka saddened.

- "So, what are your parents going to do while you have the audience with mine?" – asked Gerardo raising an eyebrow.

- "Oh, nothing much!" – said Mihoka smiling, though some sadness and nervousness was still apparent in her eyes – "They said they're just going to be walking around Soleila and going to buy some things in the meantime. They told me to call them using the Dragtemn once I'm done" –

- "Ah, okay. It's kind of unfortunate your parents won't be able to come too," – said Gerardo grabbing her by one hand – "But since you're here already and all, how about I introduce you to my parents now?" –

- "Huh!? O-Okay…" – said Mihoka as she got a bit surprised, but she then smiled and blushed. She then followed Gerardo's lead as he took her into the castle.

- "Whoa… So big and beautiful…" – said her as her eyes widened and she looked around the foyer, staring at the carpets, the large stairway in the center, the tapestries hung on the walls, and the doors leading to other parts of the castle.

- "Yeah. To say the castle isn't magnificent and well-decorated would be a big fat lie" – said Gerardo nodding and smiling upon seeing her reaction – "But if you like this, maybe someday we could go take a walk through the Royal Museum?" –

- "Oh, the place where they've got exhibits, paintings, and all other sorts of art?" – said Mihoka as her eyes started shining – "Yeah! I'd like to see it too!" –

- "It's a promise then! I'll someday take you on a visit through the Museum!" – said Gerardo as they started climbing up the stairs and stopped before the large double door that led to the throne room. He knocked on it three times.

- "Who is there?" – asked a male voice from the inside. Gerardo first coughed to clear out his throat, and then…

- "Prince Gerardo Iadlase Drackma reporting" – said he shifting his voice to sound more courteous and severe, which prompted Mihoka to blink at him – "I have brought with me the guest whose arrival Their Majesties, the King and Queen have been awaiting today. Her name is Mihoka Iadlayusa" –

- "Oh, Your Royal Highness!" – said the voice sounding embarrassed – "I shall open the door in a moment! Please hold on!" –

The doors then opened inwardly, revealing the throne room to both children: a large rectangular room that had several windows letting sunlight into them, which was covered in a red carpet with golden borders that had the Elemental Seal and the royal Dragonian crest engraved next to each other in the center of the room. There were also chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, several columns strewn throughout the room, tapestries hanging from several of the walls, and at the other end from the door, there was a slightly raised section where there were three thrones, all upholstered in red velvet and made from gold, the two larger ones being already occupied by the king and the queen. Additionally, behind the thrones, there was a large painting that showed Gerardo smiling with his parents.

- "Your Royal Highness and esteemed guest, please proceed!" – said the guard who had opened the door, who was a man in his late twenties that had red hair and green eyes and was wearing a purple dragon armor.

Gerardo just nodded and continued leading Mihoka into the throne room, while the girl kept staring in awe at all the decorations the throne room was furnished with. Then, when they finally stopped before the area with the thrones…

- "I hate to be following protocol, but I have to go to my throne for the audience…" – he whispered to Mihoka, who just looked at him scared – "Don't be nervous. My parents won't really mind it much if you drop the formal tone" –

He gave her a reassuring smile and a wink. He then walked up the stairs and sat on the last remaining throne, which was located at the queen's left.

- "Y-Your Majesties…" – said Mihoka after breathing in and out a few times – "I wish… to thank you from the bottom of my heart for… having invited me… to your magnificent castle today… My name is… Mihoka Iadlayusa… I'm pleased to make your acquaintance!" –

She finished her introduction by doing a curtsy and bowing her head as she placed both of her hands over chest.

- "Mihoka, correct?" – asked the queen in a gentle voice, so Mihoka straightened herself up instantly when she heard her name – "It is a pleasure for us to meet you as well. Gerardo has told us much about you" –

- "R-Really, Your Majesty…?" – asked Mihoka trying to not start shivering.

- "Indeed. He has told us about you being a gentle girl and that you are the first person he considers a real friend" – said the king leaning a bit forward.

- "I'm… I feel honored to hear such words from you, Your Majesty…" – said Mihoka blushing as she looked downward.

- "I would like to take this chance to thank you for being a friend to our son" – said the queen – "And similarly, I would like to invite you to have lunch with us today" –

- "Ah…" – said Mihoka as her eyes widened to the max – "Y-Your Majesty… It's such a great honor… I don't really know how to respond to your offer…" –

- "Hehe, just accept it! Mommy and daddy really want you to eat with us!" – said Gerardo laughing.

- "Gerardo, please do not coerce our guest" – said the queen in a severe voice – "Similarly, you must refrain from employing such an informal tone during an official audience, understood?" –

- "Ugh… I understand, mother. I shall pay more mind to my way of speech in the future" – said Gerardo as he looked downward and blushed.

- "Hehe…" – giggled Mihoka upon seeing how the queen had scolded him, which also gave her a boost in confidence. She then knelt in front of the thrones and raised her face to smile to the monarchs and Gerardo – "Your Majesties, Your Highness, I will humbly accept the honor you have bestowed upon me. I shall gladly accompany you in the lunch you have so graciously invited me for" –

- "Very well. With this, we can consider this audience as finalized" – said the king as the three of them rose from the thrones and Gerardo knelt at her side whispering "you did great!" – "Now, shall we all go to the dining hall for lunch?" –

Mihoka just looked at them all and blinked a couple times, not believing this. A few minutes later, they were all sitting at the dining hall while the maids and butlers served them the dishes and drinks.

- "Wow, the food looks so great…!" – said Mihoka after they had finished serving themselves.

- "I'm glad it's to your liking," – said the king with a smile – "We asked the cooks to make dishes typical from Seliart so you would feel right at home" -

- "So, Mihoka…" – said the queen in a gentle voice as they were cutting their dishes with the cutlery before taking it to their mouths – "May I ask you what do you do? I guess you must be studying at school like all other children your age, but is there anything else you like doing?" –

- "Ah… yes, Your Majesty…" – said Mihoka smiling at the queen – "I'm currently a priestess apprentice under the tutelage of the High Priestess of Seliart, Her Sanctity Alfiela" –

- "Oh? Gerar had told us you were training to be a priestess, but we didn't know you were under the tutelage of the village's High Priestess" – said the king in an impressed voice, while Gerardo looked at her with his mouth agape. He hurried up to close it before anyone noticed – "That must mean you have quite the potential" –

This caused Mihoka to blush and start playing with her fingers.

- "Hehe, I thought you'd have looked up on information about her prior to today's meal, daddy!" – said Gerardo grinning.

- "That'd be the case if we were requesting a meeting with an employed person or a member of the clergy from another city" – said the queen as she stopped eating for a moment to drink a bit from her glass – "However, as she's your friend and a young girl, there was no need to perform such an investigation, don't you think?" –

- "That said, we have done our research on your parents" – said the king nodding – "From the official registers, I see your mother is a seamstress, while your father is a merchant" –

- "Yes, that's correct…" – said Mihoka smiling at the king – "My dad is the owner of one of the village's general stores, while my mom is the master seamstress of the village. In fact, the clothes I'm wearing now were all made by my mom" –

- "Oh? The double-layered shouf you are wearing is quite exquisite in its appearance and quality" – said the queen admiring the parts she could see of it – "Your mother must be quite skilled in her craft" –

- "Though they were so scared when I got the official invitation for today…" – said Mihoka as she frowned.

- "That was a mistake on our part, and we wish to extend our apologies for it" – said the queen as she looked sad for a moment, before shooting a glare to her husband – "We should have also sent a message to them so they would be aware about your summons, and also that they would be invited to lunch with us" –

- "I assume my responsibility for it" – said the king sighing.

- "Hehe, we can invite them another day! It isn't the end of the world!" – said Gerardo laughing.

- "That's definitively true. And since you will be coming to the castle pretty often from now on, I see no reason to not tell your parents that they can schedule a date for us all to eat together" – said the queen smiling sweetly at the girl.

- "Coming here… often?" – repeated Mihoka incredulously.

- "We're going to be playing a lot when we're not in the forest or in school, right?" – said Gerardo tilting his head – "Though I'd like to take a walk with you around your village too sometimes" -

- "Since you're Gerar's friend now, you have permission to come to the castle whenever you want" – said the king smiling – "So don't be shy and just come by whenever you feel like it!" –

- "Yay! That's great!" – said Gerardo pumping both his fists.

- "Really!? Thank you, Your Majesties!" – said Mihoka as she nodded vigorously upon hearing it.

- "Similarly, if you make good progress in your priestess training, we might ask Her Sanctity Selfaia to supervise you, and even recommend you as a candidate she could give private lessons to" – said the queen as she served herself a bit from another dish. This caused Mihoka to drop her cutlery, which made a loud rumble as it felt on the platter.

- "H-H-Her Sanctity S-S-S-Selfaia!? The High Priestess of Soleila!?" – said Mihoka as she looked at the queen with a shocked expression.

- "Indeed. Priestess Selfaia takes under her wing young priestesses all over from Dragonia that have demonstrated to have a great aptitude for the role" – said the king smiling at her.

- "I-In that case… I'll do my best at my training!" – said Mihoka pumping herself up – "I want to be the best priestess that Seliart ever had!" –

- "As the current Priestess of the Dragon, I feel you're destined for great things, little Mihoka" – said the queen as she looked at the younger girl with affection – "Therefore, please do your best in exploiting your own potential to its fullest" –

- "You don't have to worry about it, mom!" – said Gerardo as he smiled at his mother and at Mihoka – "I'm sure Mihoka'll be the best priestess we've ever seen, excepting for you of course!" –

- "Hehe, don't forget that your sister will succeed me as Priestess of the Dragon when she is born" – said the queen giggling – "You don't want to say your sister will be inferior to any other priestess, right?" –

- "I w-would never dare to say I'm superior to the Priestess of the Dragon, Your Majesty!" – said Mihoka blushing – "But still, I wish to be the best from all normal priestesses! To help heal the souls of the people, to bring them peace through the singing of songs, to help the medics in treating the sick… These are all the things I want to do!" –

- "As long as you keep having that drive, I'm sure you will achieve your dreams" – said the king looking at her with satisfaction – "So please, keep working your hardest" –

Mihoka and Gerardo then looked at each, and after smiling, they all returned to their dishes. The four all just kept eating and drinking, and Gerardo and Mihoka spent the afternoon playing around in the gardens, until twilight started setting in and the time came for Mihoka to call her parents and leave.

- "So, you'll be coming back soon, right?" – asked Gerardo with a sad face.

- "Yeah. I've got permission from your parents to be here, so while I won't be able to come every day…" – said Mihoka smiling at him – "I'll try to do so whenever I don't have my priestess training or school" –

- "Okay! I'll be looking forward to the next time!" – said Gerardo waving her hand at her. Mihoka just shyly waved her hand and turned around to leave the gardens and go back to Soleila, where her parents were waiting for her.

After a couple months had gone by…

- "So, did the lessons go well for you today?" – asked Gerardo to Mihoka.

They were now sitting on the floor of his room: a large room with two windows that allowed to see some of the mountains to the east of Soleila, and it was completely painted in blue, excepting for the ceiling that was decorated with water motifs and had several phosphorescent stars stuck throughout it. The room also had a desk over which a device consisting of two light rods was placed next to a depression that had a transparent keyboard, and there also was a small plastic gray box next to them. The room also had two larger light rods placed in a stand near one of the windows, at whose feet there was a device similar to a bluish cube with buttons that had a controller resting next to it, and a bit more to the right, there were two shelves filled with books, stuffed dolls and toys. To the left, facing away from the window, there was a large bed that had a canopy and whose curtains, pillow cases, sheets and covers were all of a soft sky-blue, and which had a small table with a small crystal lamp above it. Both children had a book about fairytales open on their lap and they were reading it together.

- "Yup! I've actually finished the basic training level, and I'm now about to start the intermediate one!" – said Mihoka beaming with delight. She was once again wearing her typical outfit, while Gerardo was dressed like always – "Her Sanctity Selfaia is a pretty strict teacher, but she's always looking out for me and giving me advice on how to focus my feelings and improve my songs!" –

- "I see you've also become a bit more outgoing" – said Gerardo smiling at her.

- "Hehe, though I still feel kind of shy when I'm around strangers or when I'm tasked with something important…" – said Mihoka blushing – "There's also… that today's the first time I got permission to come over and stay here for the night…" –

- "Right. I was pretty surprised to hear both of our parents agreed to the idea, and while I'd have liked to have a sleepover here with you…" – said Gerardo as he started blushing – "Maybe it's for the best you'll stay in the guests' room…" –

- "Huh? Why is that?" – asked Mihoka tilting her head – "I'd like to sleep here with you too" –

- "I don't know either. Adults get all weird when a boy and a girl sleep together if they're not siblings" – said Gerardo sighing – "I mean…" –

- "Yeah, we both know how babies are made" – nodded Mihoka – "After all, that's of the first things they teach us at school, but…" –

- "There's no way we'd even think of trying to do THAT until we're older anyway" – said Gerardo shaking his head strongly, making his hazel hair fly about – "I mean, it seems so weird and gross…" –

- "Agreed. Maybe once we grow up, we'll understand why adults are so weird about it all" – said Mihoka as she frowned.

- "But still, I'm really glad you accepted to be my friend" – said Gerardo to shift away the conversation from such an awkward topic – "To be honest, at first, I thought you were pretty cute, but when I heard the song you were practicing…" –

- "Hehe, does that mean… you like me?" – asked Mihoka as she clasped her hands

- "Agh… It's kind of hard for me to say…" – started Gerardo as he looked downward and blushed from his neck to the tip of his ears – "But… M-M-Mika l-luhah…" – Mihoka widened her eyes and covered her mouth with her hands upon hearing the Corbials Gerardo started the sentence with – "…felaretes tast ika…" –

- "Y-Y-You really used the Corbial combination I think you did!? I didn't mishear it!?" – asked Mihoka as she started blushing.

- "Y-Yeah, it's definitively it… I know we're still kids and our feelings might change when we grow older, but… I really like you…" – said Gerardo as he looked straight at her in the eyes – "If it were in my power, I'd like to be with you forever!" –

- "G-Gerar…" – said Mihoka as she started shedding tears. Gerardo then started getting flustered.

- "N-No, don't cry! Agh, what do I do now!? I didn't mean to make you cry! I'm sorry!" – said Gerardo as he jumped around her.

- "No… It's not because I'm sad… I'm really happy you told me your feelings…" – said Mihoka as she wiped her eyes although her tears didn't stop.

- "But… what about you…?" – asked Gerardo as he gulped down, fearing the answer – "What… do you think of me…?" –

- "I… M-M-M-Mi-k-ka…" – started Mihoka as she kept on stuttering – "L-lu-hah… felartes tast ika alt… felarra liall tast ika…!" –

She shouted the second sentence as hard as she could. Gerardo stood there looking shocked at her, and then his eyes started tearing up and he ran and hugged her.

- "*sob*… *hic*… I'm so… glad…" – said he as they hugged each other – "I was so afraid… *sob* I thought you wouldn't feel the same way about me… *hic* That you wouldn't love me too…" –

- "I thought the same thing…" – said Mihoka as she kept crying too – "I was… so afraid that telling you how I felt… I'd cause our friendship to break apart…" –

- "That'll never happen… I want to be with you forever…" – said Gerardo as they hugged each other more tightly.

- "Me too... I never want to leave your side…" – said Mihoka.

After their feelings had calmed down and they stopped crying, they stood sitting next to each other on the room's floor for a little while.

- "Umm, we both know we like each other a lot now, but… This is kind of awkward, huh?" – said Gerardo blushing.

- "Yeah… Hey, how about we start playing one of these RPG videogames you like so much?" – suggested Mihoka with a slightly embarrassed smile.

- "Ah… One from the "Mondour Denzale" series? Sounds good to me! Since it's for multiple players, we could help each other out to go through the story!" – said Gerardo as he smiled at her.

- "Okay, let's get to it!" – said Mihoka as they both started laughing and rushed to the front of the light rods and the cube-like device.

- "Looks like they both understood the feelings they hold for each other quite quickly" – said the queen as she saw them. The king and her were about to enter the room to tell Mihoka it was time to go to the guests' room so they'd both go to sleep, but the little love confession caused them to scrap these plans and just watch over them from the small crevice they had opened in the door.

- "Indeed. It's quite cute to see our son has found himself a girlfriend" – said the king still moved from everything they had said to each other.

- "So, let's let them play together a little more before we call Mihoka to go to sleep" – suggested the queen, but then she made a gesture of pain and fell to her knees as she put a hand over her belly.

- "Dear! What is the matter!?" – asked the king shocked as he ran to his wife's side.

- "Dearest… Looks like it's almost time…" – said the queen feeling the baby stirring inside her – "Our baby… our dear daughter… is about to be born…" –

- "By Illyusea!" – said the king as he immediately pulled out his Dragtemn and dialed a number – "Is this the Soleila Central Clinic!? Please set us an appointment for a Biukiarfe at tomorrow dawn! My wife is about to give birth!" –

- "Is this… Agh, Your Majesty!? Understood, we shall give you an appointment for tomorrow at 6:00 am on the double and contact Dr. Arnauld immediately! Please stay at your wife's side until you can bring her here!" – said the receptionist over the Dragtemn.

- "Very well! Thank you very much!" – said the king as the call got cut off and he helped his wife stand up again – "By the Gods! I didn't expect she'd come so soon! We had an appointment for next week because that's when the physician predicted she'd be born!" –

- "Indeed, but you know you can't argue against a baby when she wants to be born, right?" – said the queen with a weak smile.

- "Daddy, mommy! What's up with all the noise here?" – asked Gerardo as he ran to the door with Mihoka following him. They still hadn't even pressed "New Game" to start playing.

- "Did something bad happen?" – asked Mihoka tilting her head with a worried face.

- "Gerar…" – said the queen as she gave them an affectionate smile – "Tomorrow you'll be a big brother…" –

- "…Huh? WHAAAAAAT!?" – said Gerardo jumping back in recoil – "But I thought she wouldn't be born until next week at least!" –

- "Like mommy said, it's not our place to decide when the baby wants to be born" – sighed the king as he shook his head.

- "In any case, you two better go to sleep. Tomorrow we'll be heading for the clinic at dawn" – said the queen smiling.

- "Uhm… Your Majesties… How about me?" – asked Mihoka fidgeting as she looked downward.

- "Well, since you're our precious guest… We were wondering… Would you like to come too…?" – asked the queen as she patted her head.

- "WHAT!?" – shouted both Mihoka and Gerardo at the same time.

The next morning, as soon as dawn had broken, the king, the queen, Gerardo and Mihoka each rode a dragon and headed to the clinic, which was located in the northeastern Iadlast District of Soleila. The king took his wife on his dragon, while Mihoka rode on the queen's dragon and Gerardo rode Iadla.

The king was wearing a normal green and red shouf, while Mihoka and Gerardo were wearing their ordinary clothes. As for the queen, she wore a long and loose blue and white sleep gown with a tall neck and a long hem decorated with patterns resembling the flowers Gerardo had seen in the garden two months ago and wore white sandals.

After a couple of minutes, they landed in front of the clinic and dismounted from the dragons, which returned to their compact size after a couple minutes. The king then took his wife by the hand and entered the lobby followed by both children, while the dragons flew to a terrace that was located higher in the clinic. The lobby was a large circular room painted in yellow that was illuminated by white lamps and that had a reception counter behind a pane of glass with several openings for the booths.

- "Good morning! I have an appointment for a Biukiarfe at around this time!" – said the king gasping for breath.

- "Ah, Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness! We were expecting you! Please head as soon as possible to room 106 in the first floor so you might commence preparations for the surgery!" – said the receptionist, who was wearing a white and light green shouf – "We will call a nurse to escort you there immediately!" –

She then pressed a button that was behind the counter, and after a minute, a nurse dressed in a white shouf and that wore a mob-cap with a blue hexagon on it came to them. She was pushing a vacant wheelchair.

- "Good morning, Your Majesties, Your Royal Highness! Please follow me so Her Majesty may get ready to receive a new life!" – said the nurse as she motioned the queen to sit down on the wheelchair.

- "Very well" – said the queen as she sat down on it.

- "Please lead the way!" – said the king as the nurse put herself on the front and marched in front of them as she pushed the wheelchair with the queen on it. He and the children followed them, prompting the surprised and curious stares of all the other patients and physicians they came across. They finally reached the elevator and rode it to the first floor.

Once they reached the room they had been assigned, the queen, the nurse and the king entered, but when Mihoka and Gerardo tried going in, the king stopped them.

- "I'm sorry Gerar, Mihoka, but I'm afraid you can't go past this point. What'll happen now is something children like yourselves shouldn't see yet" – said the king with a serious face as he raised a hand in front of them.

- "But daddy…!" – tried to protest Gerardo, but the king just shook his head.

- "It's time to be patient. The doctor that's going to be doing the surgery on mommy to bring your sister into the world is an old friend of mine, so I'll be entering the operation room too to make sure everything goes well" – said the king smiling in a confident way to him.

- "But Your Majesty, what should we do meanwhile…?" – asked Mihoka a bit worried.

- "For now, you must sit down at the waiting room and wait. Giova will be prepared for the surgery first, and then I calculate the surgery will take about 3 hours to be done" – said the king at both, but he then looked at Gerardo again – "At least, that's how it was for you too, Gerar" –

- "It was such a large ruckus when I was born too?" – asked Gerardo widening his eyes while Mihoka giggled.

- "Indeed. In any case, I see you brought here your Elserstemns too, so I think you both can use them to pass the time meanwhile" – said the king – "For now, wish that the Dragon Gods grant us their blessing and that they both come back safe from the surgery" –

- "Okay… Daddy, I promise we'll wait for the surgery to be done!" – said Gerardo placing his hand on his chest.

- "And I promise I'll make sure that he keeps that promise!" – said Mihoka smiling. Gerardo just smiled at her before blushing.

- "Very well, I count on you two to keep your word!" – said the king smiling. He then entered the room and closed the door behind himself. With nothing left to do but wait, both Mihoka and Gerardo walked to the waiting room, which they had passed on the way, and sat down on two of the vacant chairs.

- "I hope mommy and my sis will be both okay…" – said Gerardo looking worried.

- "I'm sure they'll be okay" – said Mihoka patting him on the shoulder – "Your mom's really strong, and I think your sis really wants to be born too, to see the great big brother she has" –

- "Thanks, Miho" – said Gerardo – "Okay, shall we get our Elserstemns out and start playing "Almie Zoufas"? I've been itching to beat the final bosses for a while, and I wanna see what monsters you've caught so we can trade them!" –

- "Yeah! And see if we can discover how we can make some of them evolve too!" – said Mihoka as she took a square-shaped device with a directional pad and a few buttons out from her Dragtemn, which Gerardo also did. They then started playing through the holographic screens they projected, but after a few minutes…

- "Ah, Gerar! Good to see you here!" – said a boy that ran up to him. He was slightly chubby, had short black hair and brown eyes, looked to be about two years younger than Gerardo and Mihoka, and wore a green and violet shouf with green shoes.

- "Ah, Mige! It's great you managed to get here!" – said Gerardo looking up from his game device to greet him.

- "Ah, hi Miguel!" – said Mihoka greeting him too.

- "Ah, nice! Looks like your friend is here too! Hi!" – said the boy as he waved to say hi at Mihoka. But then, his eyes shone from looking at their game devices – "Looks like we'll be able to get some trading and battling done then!" –

- "Yeah, but… And your parents?" – asked Gerardo seeing how he had come alone.

- "Oh, they had some work to do. My aunt giving birth today kinda caught us by surprise, so they said they'll come when they get some time off later today" – said him waving his hand as if he were shooing away something annoying.

- "I see. But yeah, let's kill time by playing together!" – said Gerardo as he saw how Miguel took out his own device.

- "It's kind of funny though, I've got the green version, while Gerar has the blue one and Mihoka has the white one" – said Miguel looking at which versions they were playing.

- "Well, we were kinda missing one to complete our collections…" – said Mihoka shrugging her shoulders as she smiled timidly.

- "That said, since it's the three of us, it'd have been more fun to play something like "Izea Rawa Naaraz". Since it's a fighting and platforming game that's so fun to play with other people, that's the kind of game that'd be perfect to play at a time like this" – said Miguel as he booted up his game file.

- "Yeah, but the Elserstemns can't run it, and it's not like we can bring a TV and the game console with us to play it whenever and wherever we wanted" – sighed Gerardo – "If only technology was a bit more advanced…" –

- "Not like it's not pretty advanced already though" – giggled Mihoka.

- "Yeah. So, for now, let's focus on training our monsters and kicking the final leaders' butts. It's time to be the Champions!" – said Miguel striking a triumphant pose, making the other two laugh. It was then that they saw the queen being carted off in a stretcher to the operating room.

- "Looks like they've finished getting everything ready…" – said Miguel as they saw how his uncle followed the nurses and physicians dressed in the same white overcoat and wearing the same cap and mask as them into the operating room, which was separated from the rest of the floor by a thick darkened glass wall. The physicians used magic to open the door through a silver and orange magic circle, and it promptly disappeared after it closed off behind them.

- "Yeah… Please Iadlast… Please Illyusea… Please Kiols… Please Pyrazsyec… Please Phinambrea… Please Tiarrashe…" – said Gerardo as he stopped playing and clasped his hands together to then put his forehead over them – "Protect my mommy and my to-be-born sister… May the surgery be successful and they come back to us happy and healthy…" –

Mihoka then stopped playing, clasped her hands to then place them over her chest, closed her eyes and lowered her head to the same height as her hands…

- "Oh Grand Six Voices… Creator Wills of our beloved planet of Dragonia, blessed children of Soleia, dear siblings of Seleila, distant descendants of the Stars, creatures blessed by the Will of Kiockse… Grant your divine protection over our dear queen and our future princess… May everything turn out well in the surgery, and may my dearest Gerar have his mommy and his sis with him before this day ends… Alt tok hilsec tas biosat ika…" – said Mihoka as she fervently put her feelings into every word of the prayer she was reciting.

- "Mihoka's really into it… But yeah… Please, make sure my new cousin is okay and that my aunt comes back safe and sound…" – said Miguel looking at them both to then raise his head at the sunny sky they could see before them. After a while more of praying, they resumed playing, though it was evident by their frowns and curved mouths they were worried.

They kept playing for a few more hours that seemed to be eternal, until…

- "Ah, looks like they're finished!" – said Mihoka when she saw they were carting the queen back to her room in a stretcher. She seemed kind of out of it, while her husband had already changed out of the medical uniform and was walking at their side. When they passed next to the waiting room, the king first stared at them… but he then smiled and steepled his fingers in their direction in the shape of a triangle without a base.

- "That means…!" – said Gerardo as he felt his heart jump to his throat.

- "The surgery was a success!" – said Miguel jumping up, though this caused his game device to fall from his lap – "Ah crap!" –

- "Oh, thank you Dragon Gods! Thank you so much for this blessing!" – said Mihoka as she looked upward at the sky and smiled while clasping her hands.

- So, what're waiting for! Let's go meet her already!" – said Gerardo as he jumped to his feet with his Elserstemn still in hand while Miguel and Mihoka followed him. However, when they knocked on the room's door, they heard the nurse's voice:

- "Ah, I apologize! Please wait a little more! The queen still hasn't awakened completely from the anesthesia, and the baby is still being bathed and prepared to be delivered to her mother!" –

- "Shucks… how much more I've gotta wait!?" – said Gerardo stomping his foot.

- "Gerar, calm down… I'm also pretty nervous, but we've got to be patient!" – said Mihoka grabbing him by a hand.

- "Yeah, we can't do anything but wait until they let us in" – said Miguel shrugging his shoulders as he shook his head. Gerardo let an anguished sigh out, knowing he couldn't do more but keep waiting.

While they paced a bit before the room's door, they soon noticed they were getting in the way of the physicians, nurses and patients that needed to use the corridor to go back and forth between the rooms and the other areas, so they had no choice but to go back to the waiting room. They couldn't settle themselves down though, so they just exited to an outdoor terrace located next to the waiting room. It was a clear day with Soleia shining above them, and the terrace granted them a view of a good part of the district, which was triangular in shape and was filled with buildings and houses. After waiting restlessly for over half an hour, the nurse came for them.

- "Ah, Prince Gerardo! We've been looking for you! I came to inform you that you and your friends can go see the queen now!" – said the nurse gasping. It was obvious she had come running to deliver this news.

- "Ah!? Okay, let's go now! Thanks!" – said Gerardo as he and the other two ran behind him, leaving the nurse flabbergasted at the terrace's door. They retraced their steps to the room where the queen was now resting and knocked the door once again. The door opened slightly, and they saw the king's face.

- "Ah, Gerar, Mihoka and Mige! Come, come in!" – said the king beaming in joy.

- "Daddy! Are mommy and my sis…!?" – asked Gerardo who had his heart beating so fast he felt it was going to burst out from his chest.

- "Yes, they are fine. Come and see yourself" – said the king as he opened the door in full to let them pass – "But be careful to not speak too loudly or make too much ruckus. Your mom is still weak from the surgery and will need several days to recover" –

The three children nodded in silence and walked into the room. It was a small room painted in a soft blue that had a door to a bathroom, a turquoise bed-sofa with a small shelf next to it, a window that allowed a nice view of the lake surrounding Soleila, and in the center, there were a hospital bed placed over a magical circle with a bedside table to its side and in front of it, a small crib covered by a delicate silk veil. There also was a Dragonian TV that had its light rods stuck parallelly in a diagonal position that allowed the person on the bed to watch it, though it was turned off at that moment.

Gerardo instinctively went first to the crib, but noticed it was empty, so he sighed disappointed, but when he turned to see his mother…

(BGM: Light's Birth)

There she was: the queen looked exhausted in extreme, and still seemed to be half asleep, but in her arms, she held a little baby wrapped in small cotton garments, who had her hands covered in delicate knitted gloves, her feet in small socks and her head covered by a little beanie, all of which were a pearly white in color. Her eyes were still closed, and she only had peachy fuzz for hair that was vaguely colored in the same way as Gerardo's and the queen.

- "M-Mommy…" – said Gerardo as he looked wide-eyed at his mother and the baby – "I-Is she…?" –

The queen didn't seem able to respond yet with words, but she just made the effort to smile at her son and nodded her head slightly.

- "This is… this is my little sis…" – said Gerardo as he looked at the baby. He then extended a hand to her…

- "Gerar, make sure to not be too rough with her, and don't touch her head either" – said the king in a gentle voice – "As she has just been born, she's really delicate and frail" –

- "I know… I know daddy, but still…" – said Gerardo overcome by emotion.

- "She's so tiny…" – said Miguel looking in awe at his new cousin.

- "She's so cute though…" – said Mihoka showing a great smile.

- "My sis… My sis has finally come to the world… The star I've waited so long to be crafted is finally here…" – said Gerardo as he softly stroked one of her hands. The baby seemed to have felt it, and she closed her small fingers around one of Gerardo's own.

- "Daddy… What's her name…?" – asked Gerardo as he felt his heart shrink in his chest.

- "We've been thinking about it long and hard all this time… We know she's a natural Light-elemental, so her second name's going to be Illyusa, and naturally, her last name is Drackma" – said the king pondering – "But as for her first name…" –

- "Gabri… ela…" – said the queen in a weak voice – "Her name's… Gabriela…" –

- "Ceremonial Dragonian for "Shining Flower Petal". Yes, it's just perfect for her, my dear Giova" - said the king as he looked overjoyed at his daughter.

- "Gabriela… Gaby…" – said Gerardo as his eyes started filling with tears – "Gaby… my dear sis… Welcome to the world…" –

He said as he hugged her as delicately as he could muster.

- "Congratulations Gerar… Congratulations, King Yulius… Queen Giova…" – said Mihoka as she covered her face with her hands and started crying.

- "Welcome, new cousin! You better grow up healthy and fast so we can play together!" – said Miguel in an excited voice.

- "Mihoka… Can I ask you a favor…?" – said the queen mustering all her strength.

- "*sob* *hic*… Yes, anything…" – said Mihoka as she lowered her hands to look at the queen, who smiled kindly at her.

- "Please… Bless my daughter…" – said the queen.

- "Huh!? B-But… I'm not even a full-fledged priestess yet… To ask of me to bless the next Priestess of the Dragon… I couldn't… Her Sanctity Selfaia would be a far better fit for this than me…!" – said Mihoka taken aback and placing a hand over her chest.

- "No… Giova wants specifically you to bless our daughter… I think she'll be in good hands as long as you are the one who performs her first blessing" – said the king as his eyes started tearing up.

- "Miho, please…" – said Gerardo with tears still falling down from his eyes. Mihoka started crying even harder…

- "…I'll do it! For the sake of Gerar, for the sake of Gaby… I'll bless her to the best of my ability!" – said Mihoka trying to hold herself together.

She then extended a hand in front of the baby and closed her eyes…

- "Oh Grand Six Voices… Creator Wills that Sung us into existence… Dearest Mother who bestows upon us Her unconditional love and the melodies that shape our very beings… I beseech you… Please, confer the greatest of blessings upon the newest star that was crafted upon our planet… Please… To the Light of a Newly-Crafted Star that I have before me… Grant to Gabriela Illyusa Drackma the greatest of all blessings. Such is my request as a humble Priestess in your service… Ist alttyaok ealzet'ra thafz biousakatse ical…" – said Mihoka with tears still streaming from her eyes as a soft white and blue light coursed from her to the baby. The baby gurgled pleasantly, and they saw a small speck of white light pulsing in the area around her heart. After she finished, the light slowly faded out and Mihoka retracted her hand away from her and kept herself looking at the baby and the queen.

- "Thank you so much, Mihoka… Thank you…" – said the queen as she allowed herself to be claimed by the sleep. Mihoka then just fell to her knees and started crying loudly.

- "Gerar, it's time we let mommy rest. You can head back to the castle for today" – said the king as he wiped his eyes.

- "…Aren't you coming too, daddy…?" – asked Gerardo worried.

- "Not yet. Mommy and Gaby have to be under observation to make sure everything's okay with them, so I must stay with them for now" – said the king – "That'll take about two days, but once that's done, we'll be coming home too. Until then, I need you to be strong and wait for us" –

- "Okay, I'll try to do so" – said Gerardo nodding with a serious face – "But before that, there's one last thing I want to do…" –

The king wanted to ask what that was, but upon seeing how he was looking at the baby with a love-filled gaze, there was no need to do so. Gerardo walked up to his sister once again and grabbed one of her small hands. The baby just gurgled pleased again and showed a smile on her little face.

- "Gaby, little sis… Thank you so much for being born in this world and being my sister… " -