Rating: PG - M
Pairing: Gwendal x Günter mainly, but there are other pairings in the background (Yozak x Conrart, Yuuri x Wolfram, etc.)
Genre: Survival, fluff, angst, romance
Summary: After the King's ship is attacked and lost, Gwendal finds himself ship-wrecked on an unknown island with Günter. As they help each other survive on the island, Gwendal tries to find a way to handle his suddenly known feelings towards his colleague and fellow castaway.
Notes: First, I would like to say thank you to the amazing puck_the_elf for being my beta and support on this fic! ♥
Second, I took some liberties with Gwendal and Günter's abilities (since the manga and the anime are lacking in more scenes with Gwen/Gün kicking ass with their maryoku) and their personal histories with a slight bend with some canon events. Enjoy!!!
“When you get married, I’ll be your flower-girl!” Greta proclaimed; her head bobbed just out of his peripheral vision from where she was playing on the floor.
Gwendal looked up from the document he had been reading over at his “niece”, perplexed at her statement. “I am not getting married anytime soon...” He stared harder at the document...it made absolutely no sense. The words were garbled, jumbled across the page in some sort of foreign language.
“But when you do, I’ll be your flower-girl, okay?” the little girl said as she rounded the desk to stare at him. “Daddy and Wolfram-papa are taking too long. By the time they get married, I’ll be their bridesmaid or maid of honor...”
“...Or already married...” he groused, ignoring the little girl’s simple chatter.
Greta laughed, and then, “So you or Uncle Conrart better get married soon...” There were more words, but suddenly there was a roar and ringing in his ears.
He looked up at her smiling face. “What did you-”, but the crashing noise was drowning Greta’s words out, not that she seemed to notice. Her sweet face continued smiling and chattering at him, and now the sunlight from the window she was standing in front of was becoming too bright....
The smell of ocean and surf filled his nostrils...
He knew his face had been burned by the sun before he opened his eyes. Then he grimaced at the uncomfortable feeling of a sun burn but regretted even that involuntary movement as it caused pain to his overexposed skin.
He was alive then. His body was too sore and pained for it to have been imagined.
Eyes still closed, Gwendal shifted his body and eased himself onto his hands and knees. So far, so good; with the exception of being incredibly sore, nothing so far seemed to be broken. He could feel that his hair was plastered to his face; stiff and uncomfortable, just like his uniform which was pressed to his body, the material scratchy and saturated with sand and salt.
At last he opened his eyes. A white beach lay around him, its sand extending from the ocean and stretching a good distance behind him to end in a lush jungle.
As his eyes adjusted to the bright reflection of the sun, he saw the tale-tell signs of wreckage from the ship.
The memories came flooding back to him. He had accompanied His Majesty, Conrart, Wolfram, and Günter on a ship to visit Lord Heathcliff when they had been attacked by a Cimaron fleet. Overwhelmed by the number of soldiers that had been sent for the king’s capture, Gwendal and Günter had done their best to support the few Shin Makoku guards that had been left standing during the assault while Conrart and Wolfram secured Yuuri’s safety.
However, the young king had lost control of his powers- a major set back considering that Yuuri had been doing so well at controlling The Maou’s deadly and often erratic power. In the ensuing lecture (and chaos) that had followed, the carved and burning symbol of “Justice” had caused the boat to become unstable.
Conrart and Wolfram had grabbed Yuuri’s unconscious form, carrying it to where Yozak had been waiting with a life boat while he and Günter had acted as cover against the few foolish soldiers who had continued their fight against the Demon King.
That was when it had happened. Gwendal shuddered at the memory of the awful sound the ship had made as it split directly from prow to stern. The last thing he remembered was seeing the equally shocked expression on the soldier he had engaged in combat as they both plummeted into the angry tempest that had been caused by his sovereign.
And now, he thought, by some miracle he was still alive. Wrecked on Shinou-knows-where, but alive.
Gwendal got to his feet, testing to see that his body was in order. His legs felt wobbly, and whether it was from being on the boat and tossed about in the sea or possibly from being dehydrated, he wasn’t sure, but at least his legs could carry him into the shade of the jungle without pain.
He removed his sodden uniform jacket and shirt. His clothing was in surprisingly good condition, although they smelled (and probably so did he) like fish left too long in the sun. Gwendal knew that he should keep his clothing on as much as possible to prevent his skin from being too exposed to the elements, but the uniform was heavy upon him, and the heat from the sun was making him uncomfortably hot.
Perhaps when he found water he could spare a bit of it to rinse out his clothing and remove the salt and sand that was crusted within the fibers.
Gwendal unconsciously swallowed and grimaced again. His mouth was so dry, and his throat felt so parched now that the gravity of his situation began to set in.
He was a soldier. He had been trained to survive in the elements, but still, his situation hinged upon what this island could supply him. If there was no source of clean drinking water, he was doomed.
“Keep calm. You know how to survive. You are the General of Shin Makoku, the Advisor to the King, and the Lord of Voltaire,” he said aloud. “You will survive this. You have to, or else the Kingdom will be weakened....and your castle overrun and ruined by Anissina.”
He had to survive. There was no other option for him. He had to get off this island and get home some how.
But before he could even think of getting off this supposed island, he needed to assess the situation, see what tools were available to him.
With renewed determination, he raised his hand and focused his will to manipulate the element he had made a pact with many years ago. After a few stubborn moments the pieces of the earth shot up into his hand.
Good, he thought. This was very good. He was still in the demon kingdom. His earth magic would prove useful in creating a shelter or perhaps a pit to house a fire or trap game so he wouldn’t exert himself digging...providing that he found a means to sustain himself nutritionally first.
He took note of his surroundings. The beach in front of him terminated into a now passive sea. To his left and his right it seemed to stretch for miles, spattered occasionally with what he assumed was more of the ship’s wreckage.
Behind him was the jungle...or was it a forest? It had to be the oddest jungle Gwendal had ever encountered...not that he had much experience with jungles in the first place, but he was certain that the trees he was currently sitting under would be more accustomed to the forests of home than the lush sprawling plants that lay beyond where he sat.
Home. For the first time since he had wakened, he thought of his family and companion’s fates.
I hope the others made it to the boats alright... But then he wondered that if he had been washed ashore, perhaps others too shared his current situation. Perhaps they had already made camp or found supplies.
Although his head pounded miserably, and his legs protested having to carry his large frame, Gwendal rose to his feet again and began to walk towards the nearest piles of wreckage.
When he did not find anyone in his immediate area (although he found lengths of rope and pulled the good pieces of wood out of the way of the tide to be dried for fire wood), he began to walk east of the area he had awakened in.
After an hour, he came across a large crate that was in surprisingly good condition. He inspected it, hoping that perchance the contents were something useful and had not been ruined by the ocean water. However, the crate was nailed thoroughly shut, and he suspected that it was possibly lined with pitch and other materials to prevent water or pests from getting inside.
He first thought that he could conjure the earth to form a large mass so that he could smash the crate open, but his attempt was thwarted when a wave of nausea assailed him. He was becoming too weak to use his powers so frivolously. He would have to conserve his energy. So he left the crate, using it as a landmark in case he had to make his way back.
He forced his body to keep moving no matter how much his stomach growled or his head and throat ached from dehydration. After an undetermined amount of time, he noticed that the beach was on an incline, and soon after that the sand began to thin, and rock could be seen beneath his feet. Gwendal stumbled up the craggy scree to see that he was now on the top of a cliff that over looked and surrounded a small cove.
There was a large wreckage on the beach -parts of what he recognized to be ship’s aftcastle tangled in what appeared to be a sail- but it did not seem like there was anything worth attempting a climb down to the cove’s beach in his current state for, until he saw something thin and gleaming stuck in the sand. He squinted at the winking light, wondering what on earth it could possibly be...and then he realised:
He had to have it. It was too useful of a tool to pass up, even though he felt that he was about to pass out.
But how was he to get down there? There was no way he could climb down in his state, and there didn’t seem to be any path that led down to the beach. The only way he could think of was to use his maryouku to either move the rock about to form a path or push the earth from underneath him downwards, riding the earth beneath his feet like a platform until it merged with the sand below...which would require a lot of his already dwindling energy.
But the need to have the sword was almost as maddening as his need for water, food, and rest. He had not come across the former two yet though, and the sword was the first real bit of luck he had received all day. With it, he could go into the jungle/forest more confident that he could fend off any threat and forge his way through the dense foliage.
Despite his weakened state, Gwendal was willing to gamble his survival on acquiring that sword. He stood up, fully erect in his posture and forced his whole being into channeling his limited reserves of power to manipulate the rock beneath his feet to move downwards as if in a shaft to the beach below.
The going was tough, slower than it probably would have been had he been at his full strength, and at times he felt like his body was going to be ripped apart from duress of forcing his magic. When he finally met the beach below, he collapsed, almost entirely spent.
Gwendal forced himself to his knees and painfully began to crawl to where the sword was embedded in the sand.
The wreckage was larger than he realised, as he crawled past. It was a mangled mess of piled wood, cables, and other debris, wrapped in a cocoon of sail. How it managed to wash up in the cove and not sink was a wonder.
The sword, Gwendal found, was sharp despite having been loosed from its sheath and miraculously in good condition. Upon further inspection he realised that he knew this particular sword. He was a fool to have not noticed it before. How many times had he seen this sword drawn to instruct its master’s pupils or drawn on rare occasion beside Gwendal’s own to even the odds that were against them?
“This is Günter’s...” he breathed, then winced. Wonderful. He had probably done internal damage to his body due to forcing his magic.
He stared at the sword, wondering about its owner. Was the beautiful demon also here on this island? Or had he escaped the ship with his “beloved majesty”? Gwendal stopped himself from considering the more terrible (and sadly the most realistic) option, the one that he had been forcing from his thoughts since the moment he had begun his journey -that his brothers, king, and comrades had not survived.
Not that he was doing much better where personal survival was concerned. He grimaced as he allowed himself to lie down on the soft sand and give his body a well deserved rest. He had the sword...but now what? He was too weak to get up the side of the cliff. His body would definitely give out this time.
A cool breeze brushed across his forehead. Gwendal twitched, noting that it was not coming from the direction of the water. He was about to dismiss it as a errant cross-wind, but the wind was coming consistently from the left of him...which was impossible considering that there was a cliff face in that direction. Unless...
He turned and saw an opening that was half concealed by the rocks that he had moved. A cave...
His body moved on its own accord towards it. It was funny, he thought, how much he was willing to gamble with his survival when usually he never moved without weighing all his options. But, he supposed, he had already hit bottom, and if his body was still able to move, he would not be so picky on any avenues that now presented themselves to him.
When he had reached the mouth of the cave, he listened to see if there was any life inside. He hoped that there wasn’t anything too dangerous in there as he doubted he could even lift the sword to defend himself. But he was rewarded with something else, the faint trickling sound that could only be water.
Gwendal could feel himself perk up at this, despite that his body was shaking now from duress. Just a little longer, please, he begged his exhausted body as he stumbled his way into the narrow, wet confines of the small cavern.
It was cool inside, and Gwendal was thankful to finally be out of the sun. The cavern, despite being dark, seemed to welcome him as it finally became wider and more comfortable for him to maneuver without brushing his burned back against the jutting rock wall.
He followed the sound, reliant upon his ears and sense of touch as the sunlight from the mouth of the cave was extinguished the further he moved in. He could feel that the ground beneath his feet become softer, and it soon transitioned into soft earth. After a few more minutes, his feet found water with a loud splash.
Gwendal backed up then and knelt in the darkness close to the water he had discovered. He scooped some of the liquid into his shaking hands and sniffed at it. It smelled sweet, not salty, and he noted that when he had placed his hands in the water there had been a slight current.
He took an experimental sip and was rewarded with a refreshing drink. And then another and another until he found himself almost waist deep in the cold water.
This is an underground stream, he thought as he continued to drink. It makes sense...the jungle and plants on this island seemed lush and healthy. There must be a source elsewhere.
The effects on his body were almost instantaneous. His headache was beginning to recede, and the dizziness he had been experiencing had ebbed now that he was out of the sun. He continued to drink beyond replenishing his dehydrated body to fill his empty stomach. It wouldn’t keep him full for long, but it would be enough to last him until he found food.
After he had drunk his fill, Gwendal waded out of the water and sat on the narrow bank, content to rest in the cool darkness for a while. Sleep came easy to him, due to his exhausted state, but it was only for so long that he was able stand being in the drafty cave without something to keep him warm or protect his burned shoulders when his skin brushed against the craggy wall whenever he shifted in his sleep.
It was time to make a camp anyway. Tomorrow he would forage for food, explore the island further and if it came down to it, create a shelter to be used (although he hoped not) for a longer term.
Using the rock wall to guide him back to the front of the cave,Gwendal was glad to find that he had left the cave at a good time, as when he found the cave’s opening, the sun was beginning to set, and he noticed that high tide had come in, stopping a few feet from the edge of the wreckage.
The wreckage was now bobbing, rocking gently with the ebb and flow of the waves.
He readjusted Günter's sword where he had slid it between his belt and uniform then stepped out from the cave’s mouth to asses if the incoming tide was a threat to his water source and if he needed to get to higher ground before nightfall. Ideally, staying in the cove would be safe as he did not have to worry about potential predators from the jungle venturing down here. But if the cove flooded entirely, he would either drown or be swept out to sea.
Considering that the water in the cave had been uncontaminated by seawater, perhaps the ocean water did not wash up this far or was carried away somewhere by the underground stream.
He shivered suddenly. It was becoming colder now that the sun was setting, Gwendal frowned. He really would have to go back to where he had woken up, as the ground and the wood from the wreckage were too wet for making a fire. Hopefully, the wood he had found earlier had dried enough that it could used.
Too bad Wolfram was not here with him. His brother’s ability with fire would be immensely useful now, he thought as he waded through the incoming water to the rocks he had shifted earlier, intent on using them as a means to hitch a ride back up the cliff side as well as restoring them to their original formation.
Gwendal had always been considerate of the environments he shifted when he used his magic. It was too easy to create more long-term damage with his ability, so he always attempted to put things back in their proper place. Just because he was currently stranded on an island, he was not about to let that personal practice fall by the wayside.
It was then that he heard a noise.
Gwendal turned, looking around for the source, but he heard only the sound of the ocean lapping at the beach.
He crouched, ready to use his power, when the noise happened again. It was longer this time, but wavering... and definitely made by another person.
He wandered up to the only possible source: the wreckage.
As if it sensed his presence, the noise grew more discernible as a pained moan as Gwendal peered through an opening in the jumble of debris.
“Hello?” he called, looking for the source in the dying daylight. “Whoever you are, can you speak?”
“Gwendal?” The voice was faint and unsure, but Gwendal knew the trembling voice even though he could not locate his colleague amidst the wreckage.
It was Günter.