Edna stared up at the night sky from the northern plaza of Lastonbell. She had been walking and talking with Zaveid, reminiscing about everything that had happened that had led them to this point. The decision they’d come to about Eizen, the decision that Sorey would have to make, the lives everyone would have after the final battle—it was all a lot to think about now. Glancing back at Zaveid, who had stopped so that the terraced park was in view, she had to wonder…
“When the hell is Mikleo finally going to tell Sorey how he really feels about him?” she grumbled. She pointed her umbrella at the park with irritation because everyone knew that they pined for each other, Mikleo more than Sorey in all honesty. “It makes me sick just seeing them completely avoid the issue.”
She let out an exasperated sigh. Lailah had already tried once to get them to come out and say it, but she failed after it exploded into an argument between them. Rose had thought the crucibles would get them to confess, but that was a failure, too! It was up to Edna now to—
“Uh, Edna, why are you getting so upset about Sorey and Mikleo not macking on each other?” Zaveid asked with his hands on his hips as he leaned toward her. “You’re, like, the least inclined to romance on our little ragtag team.”
Gripping her umbrella by the handle so tightly that it cracked, Edna glared at Zaveid. So what if no one on the team really struck her fancy? She couldn’t stand that the obvious pair of lovebirds hadn’t made a move on each other yet. If it would bring her some peace of mind to at least get them to kiss, then she could at least be sated.
She turned to Zaveid, her usual look of mischief in her cerulean eyes. Zaveid, on the other hand, glanced back dubiously. “What are you thinking…?” he cautiously asked.
“We’re going to make them kiss.”
“That’s sexual harassment, Edna. Also, did you forget that Mikster and Sheps are both too pure for their own good? Those two won’t fall for whatever plan you have. Hell, as the guy who knows all about that kind of stuff, they won’t tell even me.”
“Plan? Zaveid, you idiot.”
Edna pointed the tip of her umbrella back up at the park where Sorey and Mikleo were again. She didn’t need a plan. She was an earth seraph, and Zaveid was a wind seraph.
Up at the park, Sorey and Mikleo star-gazed together. The air had gotten grim; Sorey had told Mikleo his decision and what it would entail. The water seraph, who loved his Shepherd so deeply but could never tell him his feelings, reluctantly accepted that this was the fate that awaited them. He couldn’t bear to look at his face—not when tears were welling up in his eyes.
“Mikleo, I know—” Sorey started before a rumbling shook him off-balance.
Mikleo grabbed onto him but not without realizing how close his face had gotten to Sorey’s. His normally porcelain-white cheek tinged pink. He was so close to him…! This wasn’t anything new, but in this moment, why was it so different?
“U-Uh, was that an earthquake?” he asked to distract him from the embarrassment on his face. After helping Sorey up, he recoiled. “Are you alright?”
“I think so,” Sorey smiled at him. He paused. “Hey, Mikleo…”
The earth shook again, this time more violently. As Mikleo rocked forward, Sorey grabbed him and fell backward toward the stone wall that bordered the terrace of the park. Mikleo pinned him again the wall in what would have been misconstrued as an attempt to convince him to kiss him. To any normal human around them, it would only look at if Sorey had thrown himself against the wall.
“S-Sorey…u-uh…!” Mikleo stammered. “I-I…”
He backed off again.
Edna stomped her foot. “God, Meebo, how can you be this dense?” she grumbled. “Zaveid, use your wind!”
Zavid let out a sigh. “Honestly, how bad do you want to see them kiss?” he asked her. Still, he conceded. It wasn’t very often that Edna got passionate about a goal, even if it was something as trivial as getting the Shepherd and his best friend to confess to each other. “If this doesn’t work, we call it a night, alright?” Edna harrumphed with no choice but to accept. After all, they were probably disturbing the citizens of Lastonbell as well.
Sorey and Mikleo stared at each other, confused by the random earthquakes and somewhat stirred by the wobbling that had caused them to fall on each other. But something had given them the idea that either one of them wanted to say something—it was just a matter of expressing it or leaving it to be left unspoken. Then Mikleo couldn’t take it.
A sudden gust of wind pushed Sorey into Mikleo toward the fencing at the edge of the plateau, cutting the latter off as the soft lips of the Shepherd pressed against his cool skin. Suddenly, his cheeks flushed, and his heart raced not from whatever burst of love that Edna had thought but out of embarrassment.
He kissed Mikleo…for the first time…!
The wind still blew against him, unrelenting and not permitting him to let him go. And all the while, he just thought about how awkward this was and how embarrassed Mikleo had to be! Sure, he liked him a lot and would do anything to stay by his side, but this was too much!
As the wind died away and Sorey could finally take a step back from his water seraph, he covered his mouth. “M-Mikleo, I’m so sorry!” he wanted to scream but instead whispered. “I-I didn’t mean to—it’s not—I-I…!”
Mikleo stared at Sorey, checks pink and eyes reflecting the same surprise. “S-Sorey…” he said just as quietly. Sorey started to reach out to him only for Mikleo to step up to him and kiss him of his own volition and not by an earthquake or gust. “Kiss me again…!” he said after the peck.
“I don’t know or care how that happened, but…I’m glad it did,” Mikleo said as he slowly started to smile. “You know, I’ve loved you for a long time, but I could never tell you.” He stepped back. “But just now…it felt nice.”
Now, Sorey’s heart hammered away in his chest. He should have known that Mikleo had felt the same way as him, but the sincerity in his voice wasn’t something he was expecting. He placed his hands on his shoulders, nearing his lips slowly as if to test it again. He knew that Mikleo was also particular about people being in his personal space, but…if this was how he had felt for a long time…perhaps it would be okay.
“There you are,” Edna gruffly said. She and Zaveid approached them, either not noticing or purposely ignoring the mood, but they couldn’t tell. “It’s getting late; shouldn’t head to bed, Sorey?” Lailah and Rose not long after joined them. Since then, the color in Sorey and Mikleo’s cheeks had dissipated to its normal hue. “We’ve got an early start tomorrow.”
“That’s true,” Sorey sheepishly said. “But it was really weird. Sudden earthquakes and gusts of wind…I didn’t think Lastonbell was so prone to natural disasters.” He raised a finger to his chin in thought. “I would have thought being in the center of the continent, it would be exempt from those.”
Mikleo shook his head. “Earthquakes, sure. But wind? Pretty sure everywhere is affected by wind.”
“But these walls should guard against them, no?”
Edna gripped her mascot on her umbrella. “How annoying!” she seethed.
Sorey turned to his friends. “Still, I want to set out under these stars tonight. After all, our lives have changed because of this journey.”
His friends agreed, and as they turned to head down from the park to the main street of Lastonbell, Sorey glanced at Mikleo and the way he gingerly touched his lips. It wasn’t intended, but they were glad they finally kissed. Even if what lie ahead of them would keep them apart for a long time, they knew that they shared not only the same dream but the same feelings as well.