Fuu had been agonising for weeks over two things.
The most pressing matter, really, at the moment – or rather, the one she’d most like to think about right now – was that a certain prince had his coronation coming up in a few days’ time, and it was apparently customary for foreign delegates to present a gift to the new sovereign. The Magic Knights had agreed between them that they were indeed the most foreign of the visitors to the New Cephiro castle, and that they should bring something from their home country.
“It’s okay for you, Umi-san, Hikaru-san,” Fuu had said, in a tone the other two considered more stressed than the situation warranted, “You’re Ferio’s friends. I’m his fiancée, so I have to give him the best gift. I can’t think of anything on Earth that could possibly be good enough for this situation.”
“Don’t worry so much, Fuu-chan!” Hikaru had replied, “I’m sure Ferio will be pleased with anything you give him!”
Umi and Hikaru had not said anything when they noticed that Fuu didn’t have anything of substance with her when she arrived late to the Tokyo Tower ticket line, flushed a bright red that normally only occurred in Ferio’s presence, and looking severely exhausted.
“Fuu, what’s wrong with you?” Umi asked, grabbing her friend’s arm as she leaned over to catch her breath. “Are you feeling okay?”
“I’m okay, Umi-san,” Fuu said with a fake smile, dropping her bag and throwing off her jacket, that had suddenly become too much in the cool April morning, “You’ll find out, but not right now.”
Umi and Hikaru exchanged glances, but they didn’t dare to ask anything more as Fuu arranged her jacket in her arms and stared stoically at the front of the queue.
They felt strange as they passed through from Tokyo to New Cephiro – not like something was missing, but like something more was there – something had changed.
Ferio wasn’t there to greet them in the atrium of the castle – they had arrived just slightly too late – but Clef and Presea ushered them to their old room down a large corridor to freshen up and change before the ceremony.
Fuu quietly asked her friends what they had bought for Ferio, and they scattered an array of gifts on their shared bed – gifts from Tokyo, the kinds tourists would buy for good friends on a high budget. Sweets, savoury treats, picture books, fans, little samples of kimono silk made into decorations, and scale models of the Tokyo Tower. Fuu smiled – he would love it.
Very shortly after Umi and Hikaru had managed to wrap everything, Presea came knocking at the door, startling the three of them, who were not changed into their ceremonial outfits. They promised to be ready as soon as possible and asked directions to the ceremony, which Presea informed them was being held on the front balcony over the square of New Cephiro Castle Town. Hikaru knew the way – Lantis had taught her – so they agreed to arrive on their own.
Their clothing appeared not so different from the armour they wore inside the Mashin – although perhaps a palace tailor had made them a little more conservative. Fuu remembered someone taking her measurements a fair few weeks ago – and she didn’t feel so comfortable now.
Still, she staggered behind Umi and Hikaru on the way to the front balcony. They didn’t notice her lagging behind – they were loudly wondering what the ceremony would be like, wondering about the placement of the other guests that would be present on the balcony, and what would be served at the following party.
They made it, with minutes to spare. They stood with Clef, in a position behind Ferio, who was doing his very best not to glance back at his fiancée and the other two Magic Knights to steady his nerves.
Clef, of course, stepped forward to conduct the ceremony. Some of it was spoken in an old language that none of the Magic Knights could understand, but Lantis and Lafarga, stood off to the other side, seemed to understand. As far as the Knights could tell, no particular object, like a crown, was passed to Ferio during the ceremony, but the people of New Cephiro cheered below when it was completed. The Magic Knights were none the wiser, but they applauded alongside their friends and allies.
Umi and Hikaru got to present their haul of souvenirs to Ferio after the ceremony, which he was more than delighted with, and assured them that he would find special places in his suite for the ornaments and models – after consuming every last morsel of the edible gifts. They’d known him so well to bring food.
Everyone around the ballroom was intrigued by what Fuu’s gift would be, but all they were able to witness was a quiet conversation in the corner, followed by the Crown Prince looking stunned, and then enveloping his soon-to-be Princess in a tight embrace – loosened after a smart tap on his back by her – laughing, and…was he even crying?
Umi and Hikaru didn’t manage to catch up with her for another few agonising hours after that, as Fuu clung dearly to Ferio to avoid talking to anyone about it. Finally, they collared her as Ferio was whisked off by Clef to fill in some documents, and they pulled her into the same quiet corner of the room she’d spoken to Ferio in earlier.
“What happened, Fuu?” Umi demanded, “You’ve given your present to Ferio, now what was it?”
“We tried so hard to mind our own business, Fuu-chan, but we just can’t, it seems too important!” Hikaru added, fidgeting like a child on Christmas morning.
Fuu smiled at both of them – serenely this time – and took both of their hands in hers. “My gift to Ferio is his first child, Umi-san and Hikaru-san. I’m three months pregnant today.”
The rest of the ballroom, of course, struggled that night to understand the immense amount of excited shrieking that erupted from Umi and Hikaru.