Raphael Sorel's seven years war


-Papa… Reste avec moi… Je t'aime… Papa…

Raphael woke up in his room, remembering the dream he had; well, not exactly a dream… mostly a dream without images; all was black. But he remembered Amy was talking to him and he felt her holding his hand… Was it a dream or had Amy really been here just some time ago?

A gentle breeze was coming from the window and the sun was shining through it. Raphael wondered why nobody closed the window and went up to close it. He didn't like to sleep with the window open since the sun was not very welcome even if his bed was far from the window. His head was still hurting and he was still dizzy as he got up from his bed. He wondered what happened. He didn't really remember. Only that they were fighting invaders… Where was Amy? They were in their castle… He was comfortably lying down in bed, in his room… He had clean bandages on his head and stomach wound… Had they chased the invaders away? This part was really filled with a blank… He got dressed and walked to his mirror to wash his face in front of it before he would go out to see Amy. He washed his face with water before he looked at himself in the mirror. His blue eyes suddenly surprised him, they flashed at him as they were so blue, like before… He was not used anymore to see them like that and their sight truly jumped at him. He put a hand on his cheeks; color was staining them, making him look alive and human again.

-Am I dreaming?

He really didn't remember. He opened his mouth and looked at his teeth.

-Human teeth… How come? I have completely human teeth…

He looked at himself for a while and wondered again if he was dreaming.

-I may be delirious… I cannot have been purified and left here like this…

He looked carefully to see if he was still transparent. Unfortunately, he was…

-I seem to be human but still miss some part of my soul… How strange… But… what happened?

He only remembered he had fought in the salon against Princess Hildegard. Even then, it was vague memories.

-My head wound must be responsible for this…

Still wondering, he went toward the door.

-I really have to see Amy… She will explain to me. She must be in her room…

When he opened the door, two Wolfkrone guards were there. They quickly turned toward him while looking a little surprised to see him just like he was surprised to see them and then told him he could not get out.

-What? What is going on here? Where is my daughter? Am I still dreaming?

Raphael didn't know how he should react: Was he a prisoner? Should he obey? Should he attack them? He had no weapon…

-You're not dreaming. Answered one of the guards while the other went away.

-Where is my daughter? Asked Raphael again.

-Princess Hildegard will explain all to you. Stay where you are.

The guard slightly pointed his halberd at him.

-Is my daughter alright? Inquired Raphael, worried that he could not see her.

-Yes, the guard answered and Raphael sighed in relief but was still worried.

-Then, why can't I see her? Do you know what happened to me?

-Yes… Well, mostly. But the princess will explain it to you.

-How is Amy? Am I a prisoner?

-The princess will tell you.

A little frustrated by the lack of answer from the guard, Raphael went inside again and sat on his bed to wait for the princess. Apparently, he had lost the fight. He wondered if he would stand trial and be punished for what he did. Slowly the last events were coming back to his memory… the fights… the attempted escape… the ritual… all those people around him… and Amy was there too…

He now wondered what punishment he would receive… If he was alone, he wouldn't care if he was to be executed, he knew he deserved it but he mostly worried about Amy. She probably won't get punished, she was just a child… but she will be alone… But if he was to die, at least she was probably human again… She will be able to go among humans… But she was so shy… His sweet butterfly would be left alone… without any money… Raphael didn't want her to go back on the streets alone. Memories of Amy when she was still seven years old, dressed in rags and seemingly starving were now tormenting him. He won't be able to leave her anything as inheritance. They will probably take all his possessions and leave Amy with nothing… She will be left alone with nothing at all in the world… except her knowledge, what he taught her through all these years; intellectual knowledge and fighting knowledge. At least, she will have that… But she will have so much troubles…

If he can defend himself in a trial, he will do his best to remain with Amy or mostly, to assure her defence in case they decided to put her on trial too… He really hoped she wouldn't stand trial… She was a child… She didn't do any crime, she just killed one commander… and some soldiers, but in defence of the castle… And nobody knew she was the one who killed the commander… and Raphael would never denounce her… But the minions could denounce her by saying she went outside that day… It will be pretty obvious then, what happened… But Amy did all that to protect him… Raphael swore he would do anything to assure Amy's defence. It was his entire fault, not hers.

Some times later, Princess Hildegard came. She was wearing a beautiful pale blue long gown slit on one side and laced at the front of her corsage and her hair were down on her back. Gerhilde and another bodyguard, Waltraute, were accompanying her. Raphael got up from his bed to kneel before the princess. He was really eager to know what happened to Amy and what would happen to him but he knew he had to wait for the princess to address him first as etiquette required. So he stood in front of her, waiting for her to speak. After what seemed an eternity to Raphael even if it was not very long in fact, Hilde spoke:

-Raphael Sorel, you are now awake. I am glad. It has been a week that you were unconscious.

-A week?

Raphael had difficulties believing it; he really thought it had only been some hours… A week?

-Indeed, a week. Your injuries were bad. And to perform a ritual on you while you were that weak, did not really help. It exhausted you even more. But it had to be done. And as you may notice, you are now human again. You are now free from the evil influence of Soul Edge.

Hilde smiled to him before she took a serious expression again.

-But Kilik and Talim did have to visit you some more times to… do some more purification.

-Ah bon? Why?

-To make certain you were healed, I think… They feared something may remain…

-And I am healed now, non? And my daughter? How is she? Is she well?

-I think you are healed indeed. Yes, your daughter is well. She is also human again. You shall be able to see her, do not worry.

Knowing he would be able to see Amy, Raphael relaxed a bit.

-So… you got us to be purified… I am extremely grateful for this, Votre Majesté… Where are the ones who have healed us?

-Kilik and Talim are gone. They had to go to do something… a really hard task… purify Ostrheinsburg. So they left two days ago.

-I would have wished to thank them…

-They both said they will pray for your recovery and for the healing of your soul. Talim said that the wind will watch over you and your daughter.

-… And now, what do you intend to do with us? Are we prisoners?

-Yes. You, Raphael Sorel, are my prisoner. I shall hand you to the duke of Walachia who asked me to capture you.

Raphael's face suddenly changed. His expression didn't but his face looked paler while his eyes widened slightly. To be handed to the duke of Walachia meant to be condemned to death. He was the public enemy number one here… Even if he already guessed what awaited him, he asked, in case the answer would have been different from expected.

-… And… what does the duke intend to do with me?

Raphael was confirmed in his fear when Hilde looked at him with a sad expression and sighed. It was unfortunately as expected.

-He intends to put you to death in a public execution.

-I see.

Somehow, Raphael always had the feeling he would end up executed like a criminal one day since he killed monsieur de Savoie seven years ago. He just delayed the moment. And now, the moment had come. Even if he expected this conclusion, the announcement still proved quite a shock for him. Hilde continued:

-But the Duke didn't mention your daughter. She has no charges against her. She is free and shall not be punished.

Raphael was relieved of some of his worries. He sighed in relief but he was kind of angry at Hilde for the way she said it. Of course Amy shouldn't be punished! He knew she had made some crimes but to him, she was always his innocent little child.

-Punished for what? She is totally innocent from any crime. It is only fair that she is not accused of anything. I was the guilty one.

Hilde noticed his restrained aggressively but continued:

-She did kill some of my soldiers… during your attempted escape…

Raphael stayed mute for a while.

-But it was to protect me… she would not do it out of maliciousness. My Amy is a good girl…

-That, I am willing to believe. Anyway, about your execution…

Raphael listened without a word as Hilde spoke.

-… since you got purified and with the deed you have done at Ostrheinsburg… destroying Nightmare, it would be unfair to let you go to the stake like this.

Raphael was surprised.

-So… you know it was me?

-Siegfried told me and Marienbard, Auguste and Jacqueline confirmed it. Your ancient minions also told me that you and they have lowered the drawbridge in Ostrheinsburg, allowing us to receive well needed reinforcement. Another good deed in your defence. I am grateful to you, Raphael Sorel. You saved my life and the life of my remaining soldiers, among them my loyal bodyguards, Gerhilde and Waltraute. She showed her two bodyguards who seemed surprised of what Raphael did, not knowing it before. Their harsh expression had softened a little now as Hilde continued to speak:

-Without this, we would be dead… We lost… so many people… friends… to this horrible place…

Then Hilde began to look sad but quickly regained her composure. Raphael tried to take advantage of his deed.

-So… will you free me?

Hilde looked at him a little embarrassed.

-… I promised the duke that on my honour, I would bring you to him. I must hold on to my word. I waited for your waking to take you to him.

Raphael was upset; he had hoped she would change her mind. Hilde continued.

-…But I shall plead your cause to the duke. And with what you did, he will have no choice but to free you.

-You think he will free me? I am sorry to be that rude, Votre Altesse, but I know that this Walachian prince is actually going through quite some troubles with his people who are unhappy with his high taxes… And you may be aware that rules don't last very long around here… So what better way to gain back their obedience and trust and have a reason to keep getting their money which he will then claim he has earned the right to with this deed, than to execute the public enemy number one in a public execution? That I am purified, that I beat Nightmare or even saved your life has no impact, no impact on the people here and nobody saw it but to execute the Vampire would be a really good deed in front of the people… So, Votre Altesse, I believe if you hand me over to the duke, you send me to my death. Now it depends what you really want. Maybe you wish that also… I would understand that you wish my death after what I was about to do to you, after what I did to so many people… But if you really believed I would be spared by the duke, I just told you what would really happen. You are quite young, you still have ideals of good and forgiveness left with you but the duke is not like that, the world is not like that. And since you are in charge of a kingdom, you shall have to learn it.

Hilde looked at him a little shocked.

-You are quite cynical about life… Sometimes, rulers can spare prisoners and show forgiveness… Sometimes, people cheers over those demonstrations of clemency…

-Yes, when it gives the rulers something… But people will not cheer if the duke frees the Vampire! I will die at his hands… Only you can decide if you want me to live… So, you want my death or not?

Hilde looked at Raphael without a word. Raphael tried to look less bitter then continued on a softer tone.

-… So, what will you do? Will you hand me over to the duke?

-The justice of this country is not mine to decide…

Raphael lowered his head.

-So, you want my death… I understand… I do deserve it…

-No. said Hilde sadly. I owe you my life, but I swore I would hand you over to the duke… You must abide by his justice… I will do my best to convince him to spare you. I'm sorry, now I have to go.

Hilde went to the door and before she got out, she told Raphael:

-Please, do not try to get out of the bedroom. The guards at the door are not only to keep you from getting out; they are also there for your protection. Since the castle is now the place where we heal the wounded from the previous battle, many purified people are still in the castle and some may want to get revenge on you. So stay here for you safety.

-And Amy? Is she safe?

-Yes. She is also well guarded. Do not worry.

And before Raphael could speak again, Hilde left with her bodyguards.

Raphael was a little frustrated to not have been able to be granted his release. Of course, politically speaking, it was the best thing for the duke and for Hilde as well if she wanted to keep good relations with the duke. It was the best thing for both of them. What were the lives of a man and his child in the balance? Especially if the man did countless crimes… To spare him would be futile and stupid. Justice was also on their side… He knew the duke already understood that and he had hoped that Hilde would understand the duke would kill him and that she would have free him as gratitude for the fact he saved her life before she hands him over to the duke. But maybe she wished his death also… but covered it under lies and false affectation like her aristocratic upbringing must have taught her to. Raphael could understand that she wished his death after what he was about to do to her, after what he did to so many people, but he had enough of aristocratic hypocrisy. If Hilde wanted his death, she should have told him directly, not pretend she wished to spare him as she handed him to justice… And Amy? She may not be punished, but what will happen to her after she becomes orphan for the second time? Will she be left alone in the streets? She was only fourteen! Raphael didn't want her to be left to fend by herself! Even if not expressly for the princess, he saved Hilde's life. If she does not save his, at least, she should save his daughter's…

But suddenly, not long after Hilde's departure, somebody knocked at the door.

-You may enter. Said Raphael, not too enthusiastically.

Amy then entered the room. She had color to her cheeks and she had regained her true eye color too, which was a beautiful green. Raphael was surprised and happy to see her.


He got up from his bed where he had sit again and hugged his daughter. He then looked at her.

-You are beautiful… With your green eyes… So, you are human too? I am so glad!

Amy hugged her father back then quickly asked him:

-So? What… did she said? What did Princesse Hildegarde said? When I asked about you, if you would be punished, she told me nothing was decided but I'm certain she told you something…

Raphael looked at his daughter but could not look at her in the eyes. He didn't want to tell her what Hilde told him, he didn't know how to tell her. He sat back on the bed and Amy joined him.

-She also told me nothing was decided for me, but you are free. I am happy for this.

He smiled at her but Amy looked him in the eyes very seriously.

-You are lying, father. What did she told you?

-That is what she told me.

Raphael tried to avert her gaze. Even if he didn't like to lie, he could do it easily in front of anybody, except his daughter.

-Non. You do not look me in the eyes. You're lying! What did she told you?

Raphael looked at Amy. He supposed he should tell her. Anyway, she will know sooner or later… He sighed and told her:

-…The duke wants my execution. A public execution.

It was as Amy had expected. Since she heard the conversation in the coach she was travelling in with Setsuka, she had no doubts as to what awaited her father here. And mostly when she saw the welcome they received when they came back from the caves.

They had attached Raphael to a stretcher to bring him up from the caves and while Siegfried and a soldier were carrying him to his bedroom, they had to go through a gallery opening in the courtyard. But the recently healed people in the courtyard saw Raphael and some began to insult him and threaten him even if he was still unconscious. Some even became menacing for him, throwing things at him, so Hilde ordered the people to back away and her soldiers to keep these angry people at bay while Siegfried and the soldier hurried to bring Raphael to his bedroom but Amy was following and saw it all. It really traumatized her.

Kilik joined Hilde to try to calm the angry mob, telling them they should forgive, they had not been purified to be taken by hate this easily, that nothing will come out of hate and other appeasing speeches, while Amy was beginning to understand that it wasn't over and that she and her father were not free but now the princess' prisoners. There was no escape from justice and the angry mob.

Too distressed to go on, she quickly turned in a corner, hidden by some decorative statue and began to weep. Nobody noticed her slipping away except Talim who followed her. Once beside the statue, Talim saw that Amy was trying to muffle her crying and keep quiet in her hiding place. But her shoulders were shaking with her suppressed sobbing. Talim gently put a hand on Amy's shoulders, while trying not to cry too but she had teary eyes.

-Don't worry… They are angry now, but I'm sure they will understand and forgive…

-They won't forgive until they see my father's dead body… Even then… they didn't even know if he was alive and they… the things they said…! snif!

-… People are kinder than you think… They will understand… I'm certain…

-Ridiculous. Believe what you wish but you know nothing about the real world… Hope only brings disappointment. Each time I had hopes, something came to destroy it. I don't expect anything good from any of this.

Talim looked at Amy sadly. She wanted everything to be alright, so not knowing what to do, she began to pray the wind, asking it to calm the fury of the people they were still hearing and then, still trying to suppress her tears, addressed Amy again.

-Please, don't cry… I'll accompany you and then when you're safe inside the castle, I'll go try to talk to them too. They will understand if I explain to each what happened… A mob may be mean but alone, each member of it is good…

-Where have you been living…? Asked the completely down Amy suddenly looking at Talim with her green eyes looking even greener with her tears. She then got up and continued to run after her father while muttering:

-Humpf… Innocence…

Talim sighed and said nothing more.

Then as Raphael was carried to his room to be taken care of his wounds, Amy calmed herself and asked the princess, who came after the mob was calmed, what she intended to do with them and got this vague answer: 'Nothing was decided'. Since then, she had worried for Raphael.

Now, having had confirmation by her father of what awaited him, she hugged him again.

-Papa… I don't want you to die…

Raphael looked sadly at her.

-I do not want to die either… Princesse Hildegarde told me she would do everything in her power to spare me since I saved her life in Ostrheinsburg…

-You saved her?

-Well, I lowered the drawbridge, allowing people to come in… She was inside so she had some reinforcements…

-Then she must save you! You saved her life!

-Though it wasn't my intention… I just wanted Nightmare's forces and the Imperial forces to be busy while I would take the sword… But indeed, I would have rather see the human side win… And Princesse Hildegarde told me she would try to save me…

Raphael embraced Amy and brought her closer to him even more before he continued:

-Let's not worry about this for the moment. Now, can you tell me what happened? I do not really remember everything in the caves… How did they heal us? So it has been a week?

-Well… yes, it has been a week. They allowed me to visit you each day but they didn't want me to stay with you. I could only come to visit. The rest of the time, I was in my room. And when I came, you were always unconscious… I held your hand all along and told you how I love you and that I wanted you to wake up and fell better… I was starting to worry…

Thinking about this, she began to have teary eyes.

-Amy… don't cry… I am fine now… You really have beautiful green eyes…

Amy looked at Raphael with her teary eyes and smiled weakly at him.

-I am so happy to see your blue eyes again… But… will I see them for long? …You say you are fine… for now… Papa, I don't want you to die…

-At least, I am glad you are human again. I know you will be able to have a normal life…

-Not without you…


Raphael tightened his embrace and kissed Amy on the forehead.

-Princesse Hildegarde said she would do everything to help me, so I may not die… and if I do… Please, you have to be strong. I know you can.

-Non, I cannot.

-Amy, you endured all that I put you through this last year without a word; you will be able to overcome my death…

-You were there with me this last year! That is what gave me the strength to go on… With you, I can face anything. But without you…

-Amy… Don't cry… It is not over yet… I shall do everything I can to be spared for you. The fact that they made an effort to heal me and that the princess didn't turn me over to the duke already and told me she would take my defence, may be good hints that they won't execute me.

Raphael told that to Amy to reassure her but Amy seemed as worried as before, so Raphael tried to change the subject.

-So, what happened? How did your purification went?

-Well, since I saw you completely purified, I submitted to it willingly, I accepted the treatment.

Amy remembered her own purification as she explained it to her father.

She remembered that as Kilik and Talim were preparing themselves for the ritual, she asked them:

-… Can I still hold my father's hand?

-Of course, said Talim while Kilik agreed.

Amy was afraid of this purification ritual, so she lowered her head, closed her eyes and held Raphael's hand very tightly. If her father was still conscious he would have sensed Amy hands were trembling as she prepared to get purified. But Amy tried to think very hard of what her father told her: …You don't have to fear… everything will be alright…

Kilik and Talim began praying and Amy suddenly sensed the pure energy invading her body but it didn't hurt; it was rather a warm, comfortable feeling and Amy felt good; a feeling of calm gradually invaded her. She was breathing so easily now! It made her realize that throughout all this year, she never breathed well, holding all these worry, fear and sadness inside. But all her worry, fears and sadness disappeared and Amy never felt so good before, tears of relief began to fall from her still closed eyes. After a while, Talim and Kilik had finished and Amy opened her eyes.

-There. It'll be okay now. Amy, you don't have to worry anymore. said Kilik with a smile while warmly putting his hand on her shoulder.

-So… it's over? Asked Amy slightly lifting her head, a bit of surprise in her voice.

-Yes, it is.

Amy could almost not believe it. She thought: Then why did my father suffered so much? He was really more deeply tainted… Amy bowed her head again; she was kind of embarrassed with all those people around her; she would have wished for her father to be awake so that he would handle the social part.

-Are you alright? Inquired Talim.

Amy lifted her head toward her.

-…Yes… Merci…

But aside from answering people who addressed her with a simple yes or no, Amy didn't speak at all until her conversation with Talim near the statue, her question about her father's fate to Hilde and then after being taken to her bedroom, she locked herself in it, except when it was time for her visits to her father. She refused to talk to Talim who tried to comfort her again and to anyone else trying to come see her. She should have but… she could not yet. Now Talim and Kilik were gone and she did regret not having thanked them more than that. But she didn't really tell that part to her father. He already knew she had difficulties socializing, so she finished about the purification part.

-… So all went well for me. It was not painful. They told me not to resist like you did… You had resisted and tried to get away all the time so it was the reason it was painful for you…

She added after a while:

-… You were really acting like a possessed man. I suppose it's normal since you were kind of possessed, but at first, before you allowed them to heal you, you kept fighting and kicking and screaming and cursing everyone while they tried to hold you…

-Oh… That is embarrassing… I do not really remember but I must not have looked too dignified… I seem to have acted like an utterly enraged madman… I am totally embarrassed… making a fool of myself in front of everyone…

-You did not make a fool of yourself… You were only trying to save yourself and me… But after a while, you calmed yourself and asked for me by your side… So they allowed me to come and see you… I was worried for you and some tried to comfort me. They pretended then to care for me, but now they don't really care if I cry for you if you die…

-Well, they cannot do much… It is not that they do not care about you, but it is for la raison d'État … I am almost a political prisoner…

-La Princesse could free you! I hate her! You saved her life and she gives you to the duke!

-Amy, do not despair, it is not over yet… I think I shall be able to convince her next time… Do not worry…

He got up from his bed and went to his balcony, holding Amy by the hand. Once outside he asked her:

-Do you feel it? The sun on your skin? Isn't great?


Raphael looked at the mountains in the distance.

-I had a great view from here…

He then glanced at the roof of the stables; they were too far away for him to jump on it… He looked at the stone wall and tried to estimate if he could climb down when Amy told him:

-Father, escape is impossible from here…

Raphael turned toward his daughter and smiled weakly, embarrassed that she guessed his intentions because it may hint that he did not have much faith in his persuasion talents or in the princess' promise to save him. He didn't want to dishearten his daughter.

-You are right.

He hugged her again.

-I love you. Remember that always, Amy.

Amy felt her eyes become teary.

-You are speaking like if it was the last time… You will have the chance to tell me this again, papa. Don't act like if all was lost… You may not be able to escape from here but there must be a way to get out of this…

Raphael looked at his daughter tenderly; she was now the one encouraging him to not give up. He would not disappoint her.

-You are right. I won't let myself be put to death without any resistance. I will do everything I can to live! I will not leave you! I will convince and trust Princesse Hildegarde and I will do everything in my power to be forgiven and freed! If this doesn't work, I shall do… something else! Anything! But we will get out of here together!

Suddenly as they were on the balcony, Raphael and Amy heard shouting. It was the angry peasants cursing him and insulting him from the courtyard. One had spotted him and they gathered to insult him.

-He is there! Curse you, monster! Go to Hell, Vampire!

As other peasants joined the angry mob, Raphael thought that this may be normal retribution for what he did but yet… Raphael was sorry and angry at the same time.

Feeling hurt by the angry peasants, Raphael first looked at them with a surprised and sad gaze but quickly took a haughty and even arrogant stance and left the balcony, leading Amy inside. Maybe he should ask for forgiveness and tell them he was sorry like he said to Marienbard and Auguste but he felt incapable of doing it in front of so much people, he didn't know what to say… or how to act… so he acted like he always did to protect himself: haughtily and arrogantly. And he was also angry at the peasants for their insults. Maybe he didn't feel enough remorse? Yet, Raphael was really hurt of these virulent attacks toward him and he feared for Amy. The best thing to do now was to avoid confrontation.

Amy turned toward him and saw that her father was keeping his usually haughty attitude but knowing him, she could guess he was hurt by the insults and the hostilities toward him. Even after a week, the peasants seemed really furious… They were still yelling insults at him as he was now inside. Amy was glad he was unconscious last time. She quickly went to the balcony's doors and brutally shut them close as peasants keep insulting her father while some soldiers were coming to warn them to stop, then she went back to her father and hugged him very tightly.

-Do not worry, papa, I will protect you.

-Merci Amy. But do not show yourself in front of them. I do not want them to insult you like they insult me. And don't worry about them: I do not care about their petty insults, they do not reach me. Humpf! What do I care about those fools' opinion?

Seeing his daughter's expression, Raphael wondered if Amy was more hurt than him. But before he had time to speak, Gerhilde opened the door and said:

-Alright little girl, it's time to go.

Amy looked at her with a sad look which only Raphael could also sense the anger in it. He knew her very well, and right now, even if she mostly looked sad, he knew she hated them all for what they did to him. If he died, she may well go to some extremities… Her anger, bitterness and grudge could push her to commit some mistakes… Raphael knew it. She won't be able to forgive. He took his daughter in his arms and worried for her future as Amy hugged him very tightly.

-Au revoir, papa. I shall come back as soon as I can.

-Merci Amy. Please, take care of yourself, do not put yourself in danger for me. Do not hurt yourself over me. I want you to be happy and well. Then I will be too.

And Amy left him after she gave him one last smile. Raphael sighed and sat back on his bed as he wondered what to do.

He was not the only one to wonder what to do: In one of his salons, Hilde was thinking about what Raphael said: Was it true that the duke would execute him even knowing what he did? And what he did under the influence of Soul Edge was not his fault… But indeed, the people wanted the Vampire's head… Raphael may be right… She knew he was right: He will die at the duke's hands… Hilde would forgive him but she could not let go of her word… even if she did owe her life to Raphael… She also had to keep good relations between their kingdoms… So she made up her mind:

-I must spare him the death penalty or any cruel and unnecessary punishment! I shall be his defender in front of the duke!

For Raphael's sake, she will repay him and satisfy Siegfried who tried all week to convince her to free Raphael…

Siegfried came at this instant in the salon. He immediately kneeled before Hilde.

-Your Highness… I just learned Raphael Sorel is awake now… So… huh… Have you changed your mind?

-No, Siegfried. I shall hold on to my word.

Siegfried seemed disappointed.

-But, Your Majesty, you have shown such magnanimity to me; you have forgiven me so easily… I believe you should forgive him too. And you know that I really am responsible for all this since I infected him… In fact, Soul Edge is the true responsible for everything… But if one should pay now… He has a daughter to take care of…

-You are not responsible, Siegfried… Like you say, it's Soul Edge… And I already forgave him… I owe him my life… It is just that I promised the duke to hand the Vampire over to him…

-Yes, the Vampire… Raphael Sorel is not a vampire anymore… Like I am not Nightmare anymore…

-I know… but still, I have to hand him over to the duke… I have to keep my word… for my honour and my kingdom's honour… But this argument can be used in his defence… The Vampire is already dead…

Suddenly a soldier came to Hilde.

-Your Highness! The duke… the duke of Walachia is coming!

-What? But… I was supposed to go to him, not… He was not supposed to come…

Hilde got up.

-Very well, I do not have much choice! I shall try to defend Raphael Sorel from the duke's wrath and try to save his life. For now, I have to welcome the duke…

Hilde began to leave to go meet the duke before she turned toward the still kneeling knight.

-… And I forbid you to tell anyone you were Nightmare! You are a valuable knight to me now, Siegfried, I do not want to lose you!

She then went out of the room to greet the Walachian prince, leaving Siegfried disappointed in his efforts to let Raphael go but moved by Hilde's words. When he was alone, Siegfried muttered:

-I do not want to lose you either, mein geliebt Prinzessin…

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