Tea Leaves and Sapphire Earrings


Match Fourteen: Diavolo:

Feliciano doesn’t know what to do. Ludwig was still in a catatonic state and Kiku was further down on his downward spiral. Everyone else was wrapped up in their drama, excitement, and secrecy. The younger Italian man couldn’t figure out what was going on. Nobody would tell him anything. It hurt to visit Ludwig like this.

“Still no change?” Feliciano asked the doctor. The doctor took off his glasses and shook his head.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. The Italian man held the flowers to his chest.

“Will he ever get better?” he asked.

“We don’t know,” the doctor said. It hurt to hear that. The doctors didn’t know what to do and they didn’t have any answers. Feliciano looked into Ludwig’s room. The nurses were giving the German man a sponge bath. He had nothing in his eyes. Seeing his dear friend like this tore Feliciano up inside. He couldn’t stay any longer. It might be time to abandon hope.

But his stubborn heart wouldn’t let the Italian man do that. What could he do? Feliciano wasn’t a doctor. Even the best at this hospital was useless. It looked like a bust.

Feliciano kept to himself for the rest of the day. He couldn’t bring himself to visit Gilbert. The Prussian man looked just as sad as the doctor in the hospital. What could Feliciano say to him? Nothing could do it justice.

That evening, Feliciano made it back to his home. He just wanted to have dinner, take a bath, and go to bed. The Italian man tried not to cry as he walked up to the front door.

“Good evening,” a voice spoke up. Feliciano jumped and turned around. At the end of a driveway, a man stood leaning on the gate. He was dressed in black with glasses. His dark hair was curly. His tie was crooked. He noticed the look on the Italian man’s face.

“I do apologize,” the man said. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.” He opened th gate and walked up the driveway. Feliciano looked so confused.

“Uh… Who are you?” he asked. The man tilted his hat.

“Just a stranger passing by,” he said. “May I come in?” Feliciano gave him a blank stare.

“I guess…” he said.

“Thank you,” the man said. He followed the Italian man into the house.

The living room was dim due to the sun setting outside. The gentleman in black sat down on the sofa. Feliciano sat down on the lounge chair.

“May I have some coffee?” he asked. The Italian man blinked.

“Sure,” he said. Feliciano got up and walked to the kitchen. He didn’t know why he was doing this. He had never had visitors over this late. Who was this guy? What was he doing here? Why did he come here? The Italian man fixed up the coffee and walked into the living room.

“Here you are,” he said. The gentleman bowed his head.

“Thank you,” he said. The man took his drink. “This is good.” Feliciano walked back to his seat.

“I don’t understand,” he said. “Who are you?” The man set down his cup.

“Oh, where are my manners?” he asked. The man stood up. “My name is Dr. Faust.”

“What?” the Italian man asked. Faust chuckled to himself.

“I get that a lot,” he said. He pushed up his glasses on the bridge of his nose. Feliciano looked just as confused.

“Okay… why are you here?” he asked. “Do you know me at all?”

“No,” Faust said.

“Then… why?” the Italian man asked. “Why did you come here?” Faust mentioned him to take a seat. As if in a trance, Feliciano walked over and sat down in his lounge chair. For the first time, the Italian man noticed that his impromptu guest’s face looked like a mask in the setting sun. He felt himself shivering. Dr. Faust smiled.

“What if I were to tell you that I could fix all of your little problems?” he asked. The Italian man gave him a weird look.

“What do you mean?” he asked. The doctor chuckled as he sipped his bitter coffee.

“I have heard about your friend’s little condition,” he said. Feliciano froze in his chair.

“What do you know about Ludwig?” he asked. “Can you save him? Why is he like that?”

“Have you heard a living soul trapped in Limbo?”

“I’m not following…”

“I will break in down in the simplest of terms.” Faust set his cup down on the coffee table. “When we die, there are four places that we go: Heaven, Purgatory, Hell, and Tartarus. Just before you get to hell, there is a little place called Limbo.” He moved his hands about as he spoke.

“Your friend is stuck in Limbo. Quite a hard place for a soul to get out of, really. How many months was your friend in a coma?”

Feliciano tried to count up on his fingers. “I don’t know.”

“Would you say about six to seven months?”

“I don’t know.”

“Let’s go with seven months. This is just for my point. Once a soul is stuck in Limbo while the body has been in a trauma like a coma, the chances of it escaping start to slip away at an alarming rate.” Faust paused.

“Are you keeping up so far?” He saw the confused look on Feliciano’s face. The Italian man looked rather dizzy from the doctor’s talking.

“Heh?” he asked. Faust rubbed his forehead.

“Anyway,” he said. “It’s a miracle that his soul was able to hold out that long. That might not be the case for long.” That was enough to snap Italy back into reality.

“What do you mean?” he asked. Faust broke into a serious tone.

“His soul is in danger,” he said. “It’s fading fast.” The color drained from the Italian man’s face.

“What?! What do you mean?! Why is it fading?!” he asked.

“He’s been down there for too long,” the doctor said in a calm tone. He took Feliciano by the hands. “If a soul doesn’t go anywhere, they will break down and disappear.”

“What will happen to Ludwig then?” he asked. Dr. Faust lowered his eyes.

“It won’t be good, I’m afraid,” he said. His eyes became more forlorn. “The doctors won’t be able to help. They won’t know what to look for.” Feliciano’s heart sank.

“But,” Dr. Faust said. “There is a way I can help him.” The Italian man’s eyes widened.

“How?” he asked.

“There is a way to get his soul out of Limbo,” the doctor said. “But there is a cost.”

“What cost?” Feliciano asked. Dr. Faust then asked him the question that would set the world further into the Wasteland.

“How far are you willing to go?” he asked.

“I would do anything to save Ludwig.”


The Italian man paused for a long moment. “Anything… legal?”

Dr. Faust shook his head. “I’m afraid that is not enough.”

Feliciano’s eyes widened. “What… What do you mean?”

The doctor smiled and shook his head. “I do not ask for money with my work. But I do not work for free.” Feliciano wanted to get up and run out of the house but he found himself transfixed. Who was this man?

“Who are you?” Feliciano asked. The doctor chuckled.

“It’s like I said before,” he said. “My name is Dr. Faust.” The Italian man shook his head.

“That can’t be,” he said. His voice dropped into a whisper. “You died centuries ago.”

“Yes,” the doctor said. Feliciano looked so confused.

“But how?” he asked. “How are you sitting here in my living room?” The Italian man narrowed his eyes. “Are you a ghost?” The doctor chuckled.

“Yes and no,” he said. Feliciano looked confused. Dr. Faust held up his hand.

“I don’t have time to answer your questions at the time being,” he said. “Do you want to save your dear friend or not?” The Italian man lowered his eyes. He couldn’t stand to see his dear friend in that state. If he could hear his voice at least once…

“Fine,” Feliciano mumbled. “What do I have to do?” Dr. Faust gave him a little smile. He put his hand on his.

“Come with me to work on the paperwork,” he said. Dr. Faust finished his coffee. “Thank you for the drink. You make very good coffee.”

“Thanks,” Feliciano said in a low voice. The doctor stood up.

“Follow me,” he said. Dr. Faust walked to the back of the house like he owned the place. The color drained from Feliciano’s face. What have I done?

“Are you coming?” Dr. Faust asked. The Italian man’s stomach dropped.

“Yes,” he said in a sad tone. The men walked to the back of the house.

Sabine sat in her room, smirking.

“When the innocent sells their soul, the first seal of Europe will be broken.”

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