Takes place just after Weider ends. Having made his decision, Naoji has some work getting Ludwig to see what it does and doesn’t mean.
“I will go back,” Naoji said softly. “I don’t know exactly when; I only know that I will. But until then,” he turned to face Lui. “Until then, I will go with you.”
Many years after the series ends, Naoji returns to Kuchen.
He remembered the scent of this air; it struck him far more deeply than the clothes or colors or sound of the language. The scent of large, fallen leaves and cool, slow water—he remembered this.
Ludwig and Orpheus argue politics in bed. Perhaps three years post-canon.
Long, cool hands slid up the bare curve of Orphe’s back and he sighed. "Bienenstitch was being an absolute idiot today. We need the women to take on all the jobs they can, now."
In bed with Ludwig, Naoji considers the effect Ludwig has on him.
Naoji didn’t realize how much he had relaxed until Lui plucked loose his hair tie and drew it free, and long fingers slid under the fall of his hair to stroke his neck. That pulled him taut, flushed with sudden awareness.
As the new Strahl are inaugurated Nicholas watches the upsets among his fellows.
Nicholas had seen a younger student thrown from his horse, earlier that year. The boy’s leg had been broken. He’d sat and stared at it, face perfectly blank while everyone else ran around shouting.
He hadn’t screamed until they’d moved him.
Nicholas didn’t think Lui would ever scream. He respected that. But he didn’t like the way both Helmut and Camus were watching Lui lately.
Nicholas has been appointed to a post he likes, with a uniform he doesn’t.
"I don’t care what our historical ties to the Magyar are. I don’t care how symbolically significant it is. I am not wearing that lavender velvet top hat!"
Nicholas corners Lui about his trust issues.
"Orpheus knows what to do with loyalty," Nicholas growled. "You could learn a few more things from him."
Lui looked away. "I doubt that."
"Hah! The problem isn’t even arrogance, or wanting all the control is it? Loyalty is the one thing that scares you, is what it is," Nicholas threw at him.