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"Your Majesty, when will you ever take a wife?" One of his court ministers asked him in a worried tone.


"Wife?" He envisioned her in the kitchen, cooking another one of her delicious meals. She would be scowling at him, with a knife in her hand as a weapon, but he still thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever known.

"Who will be next in line to the throne?" The minister asked anxiously. "The crown prince has stepped down, and so did his mother. You are now the sole emperor in this kingdom for thirty years, yet you still have not taken a wife. How will this empire survive without heirs?"

Taren looked up at the embellished ceiling of his palace and realized how gaudy everything was. What beauty was there in gold when he could not use it to make himself happy?

"After I die, I will abolish the monarchy," the Emperor Taren suddenly announced, leaving the whole court stunned by this unanticipated declaration. "Shouldn't the king or the person in charge of a country be elected by his citizens?"

The court still could not utter a word. What was their king thinking?! To abolish the monarchy, after many generations on the throne, how could he give up everything so easily?!

"If perhaps one day, one of my descendants is a pile of trash, would not the people feel obliged to follow him, just because he is sitting on the throne? Just because his father was the king?" Taren said, remembering his father and how useless he had been in the country. He loved his father for being his father, but matters of the court and of the family were separated in his heart. Unless of course, it mattered too much. Such as, killing the only one he had loved.

The court did not make a sound, as the ministers stared at each other with bafflement.

"After I die, I will let my people chose their leader wisely, for their own sake," Taren said. He turned to the minister at his side. "Well, does that perhaps answer your question about my heir?"

"Ah...Ah..." The minister was nonplussed. "Y-Yes...Your Majesty..."



The Moonlight Sect's main building was a huge building in one of the biggest territories in the Country of Ku. In the front of the building was a shrine which held graves of both sect masters: Juju and Jin. Many of the sect members paid their respects in the shrine before taking their leave in the morning and also upon arrival in the evening. It was one of the busiest places in the building, as many of the sect members still held the memories of both their sect masters in their hearts.

Taren would often disguise himself in order to visit this shrine, as it was the only way he could be with Juju, even after her death.

"So, you're here again," Zixin remarked from the side, as he saw a brown cloaked person, tufts of golden hair appearing behind his ears, despite the attempts to tie it neatly behind his head with a string.

"Disguising myself doesn't make a difference, does it?" Taren shook his head as he pulled the hood closer over his face.

"Unless you dye your hair black and gouge your green eyes out," Zixin said calmly.

"Well...I don't think I can do that," Taren replied, standing timidly at the corner while a few sect members bowed before the tombs. "Oh, congratulations on becoming the next sect master, by the way."

"Thanks," Zixin replied as he took a step closer to Taren. "You know, in a way, I still hate you for killing our sect master Juju."

Taren gulped the boulders in his throat. "Yeah...that's why I'm in disguise..."

"But still, it's a good thing you've changed. I've heard a lot about your cavorting ways when I was younger, and if you had married our sect master, many of us Moonlight Sect members would sneak up on your bed at night. And not for sexual intentions, I tell you."

"Ah, okay..." Taren wiped the sweat off his brow. He always was agitated in this enemy territory, as most of the members were quite hostile to him, as they all knew he had been the one to inadvertently cause their first sect master's death. "Indeed I had been much of a good for nothing son, but it would be a lie to say that I did not change for her. She had stolen my heart like an agile fox."

"I don't particularly want to hear of your sappy heart," Zixin said humorlessly. "How's your nose?"

Taren touched his crooked nose. He recalled the time that Juju had punched him right in the open field of snow, and he chuckled to himself. "Still broken, like my heart."

"I would comfort you, but...I don't want to," Zixin replied with a smile.

"Yes, I did deserve it," Taren said as he sighed.

"Good you know," Zixin replied as he patted Taren on the shoulder. "Run along now, Your Majesty. My new disciples keep wondering about this blonde haired man who keeps visiting the sacred shrine, and if they knew it was indeed the Emperor, they would go crazy. Not in a good way."

"...noted..."



Sometimes, when he was feeling nostalgic and sentimental, he would visit a certain house that held much memories for him. Ever since Juju and Jin died, Taren bought the whole lot, including the bookstore, which he still kept running, as he knew that Juju loved books.

He would sit at the dining table, remembering her shocked and angry face, remembering how she would threaten him, how she would look up at him with defiant eyes that were limpid pools of integrity. Her eyes were her best feature. He loved her eyes.

He smiled bitterly as he tasted something salty on his lips. Ah, he was never going to see her again. It was all his fault. He had been too hasty with his past decisions, and now he held the brunt of it.

Ah, if only he could see her once more.

If only.
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About the author

kerbasi

Bio: First and foremost, I am a neko who loves to write. I'm a cat lady~ and also a medical student in the throes of insanity lol. I'll probably only write one story on here before I completely vanish into thin air, so all I can say is:

Thank you very much for reading! *bows*

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