Kouen returned to the battlefield. It was his responsibility to make their dream come true. Even though it was four years on, and after he found his last djinn. He remembered their conversation when he had met her. Phenex had seen the sorrow in his heart.
“You miss them terribly, don’t you?” she asked. Kouen took a deep breath. His men were behind him. He had to stay strong.
“It’s okay to cry,” Phenex said. And Kouen cried. Tears slipped away from his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. Hakuyuu and Hakuren had been dead for four years, but every waking moment ached within him. They had fought together, laughed together, become great friends both on and off the battlefield. It had torn Kouen to find out they were dead.
And he cried.
“They were my best friends,” he said quietly, shaking. Phenex reached out and touched his cheek. She smiled at him so warmly, tears in her own eyes.
“Why do you cry?”
“I can feel your pain. I am a Djinn of Healing, and part of healing is sharing your pain. They were important to you. Parting is sorrowful, but it also means they made a positive impact on your life. Cherish the memories, and keep them close in your heart,” she said. She pulled him into a hug, and Kouen wept.
“I can also see into your heart, that every death you have caused also weighs on you. Your heart is great. Your compassion is great. Your love is great. For that, I choose you as my King’s Candidate. I shall lend my power to you, that you may lend it to others and help them stand again.”
“Thank you,” Kouen said. He felt better in her presence.
And then, it was time to go.
Now, Kouen stood at the edge of a new battlefield, one which he had chosen. His little brother, Koumei, had also obtained a djinn, and assisted him in planning this. They looked out on the field together.
“Such beautiful plains,” Koumei said.
“They’ll be covered in blood tomorrow. We should enjoy this sight, now.”
“Agreed.” They sat close together as the sun set.
“Koumei,” Kouen said.
“Do you miss them?”
“I do. Is this moving forward?”
“It may not be. But this was important to them. I don’t want to disappoint them,” Kouen said. Koumei merely nodded.
“I understand. We’ll unite everyone soon.”
The battle was long, and bloody. Kouen found himself sharpening his instincts. He turned and swiped at a soldier whom Hakuren would have killed with his spear. He stabbed through a man Hakuyuu would have been able to stab. He slashed through enemies with an ease almost as practiced as Hakutoku’s. Every death weighed heavily on his shoulders, and he could feel the holes where they should have been.
He hadn’t even realized they were there until he was fighting again.
Kouen used Phenex after the war was over, to heal the wounded of both sides. He helped soldiers off the battlefield and back to their tents. He got himself packed and ready to go, then went around and helped his men with the same.
When it came time for Kouha’s dungeon capturing, Kouen went with him and continued to fight and heal. He healed his siblings, he healed soldiers, he healed Hakuryuu.
He never healed himself of his wounds. It would have been too selfish of him.