"Ooh! I feel it in my stomach! Ouch! My vitamins are being depleted!"
"My starvation rate is over 9000!"
The young girl was no more than eight. She looked like a cute doll but acted like a hooligan.
Kicking her short legs as she sat on the tall chair across the dining table, she shook her head back and forth, swaying her pigtails with her, all the while glaring at Samael.
"Bad bro! Bad! Bad!"
An elegant young woman, not pretty enough to be called world class but with a warm smile that none of the kingdom's best beauties could match, arrived in an apron and began serving breakfast.
Skyla's eyes lit up at her favorite dishes and without waiting for anyone, she began wolfing down the food.
"Little pig, if you eat that quick, you'll choke!" Samael admonished her but all he got in response was a cute roll of eyes.
"Let her be. She must be starving."
A middle-aged woman whose features were strikingly similar to Samael said with a gentle smile.
"Mom, you shouldn't spoil her so much. She has to be raised with discipline." Samael argued.
"Come on, dear. She's just eight." Lia wrapped her arms around his neck.
His little sister's capricious behavior was supported by his mother and wife. His efforts for iron-clad discipline proved futile against this gentle family.
"Are you leaving for the border today?" His mother, Tanya, asked. Even though she tried to hide it, the concern was visible.
As experienced as he was, no one could guarentee their survival in the battlefield. Samael was a genius but that's all the more reason he could die today.
"Nah, today is a holiday."
"I don't remember them giving any."
"I'm taking one." Samael said.
There was a sudden silence in the room.
Even the little girl stopped her muching and with puffed cheeks full of food, she looked at her brother with wide eyes, as if she was witnessing a ghost.
"Come on, let's go somewhere. Mom, you wanted to visit the museum, right? Lia, we'll watch that movie from last year. And Skyla…"
"Mhm?" Skyla swallowed the food and looked at him with expectant eyes.
Samael wanted to joke but looking at those shining eyes, he smiled. "We'll go to chocolate wonderland."
"Yaaay! Big bro is the bwest! Hehehehe!"
The little girl threw her hands in the air and started dancing on the chair.
The day proceeded as planned.
His mother teared up as she watched the displays of great art. Her lifelong wish was to be an artist.
If she had a normal family, she might've tried to pursue art. But she was selected to be a mother by the Emperor and bore him two children.
Not that she was a unique case. There were tens of millions of women like this in the Empire. Perhaps more.
"The painting of the capital…" Tanya looked at the portraits with emotional eyes.
In the depths of her heart, she wished her children to be recognized and treated well.
Not as one of the tens of millions of nameless royals but as a true prince and princess.
Yet she never told them these things. She wanted them to achieve great things, sure. But more than that, she wished for them to be safe.
The next thing was a movie.
It was a story about a man who would keep loving his woman even after she turned into an Undead Vampire, losing her sense of identity and turning into an entirely new person.
He'd try to bring her back into life and fail every single time.
In the end, he'd die to save her from the enemies and as a result, turn into an Undead Vampire himself.
The climax showed the two of these 'new' people getting together after death.
A poignant love story.
One that caused his wife Lia to sob even ten minutes after they left the theater.
And of course, she didn't stop muttering, in a broken voice. "S-Sam…if I ever become like that, p-please…move on, don't look for me. Be ha…ppy."
Samael's expression hardened at her words and his fists clenched. But he did not say anything.
By evening, Skyla ended her swims in the absolute choloate lake and returned home with a bright smile.
And she wouldn't stop praising him to the heavens.
The family of four reached their home by the time it turned dark.
Instead of opening the lock, Samael turned around and faced the three most important women of his life.
Mother. Wife. Sister.
They were all looking at him with a different kind of emotion.
But it was love.
A protective maternal love.
A sacrificing romantic love.
An innocent sibling love.
And he too loved them.
He loved them with all his heart.
And so, he did it.
Samael retrieved a sword and slashed.
The three couldn't even dream of such a thing. So, they didn't react until the cold blade plunged into their flesh and blood spilled out of their bodies.
As the sharp pain engulfed their bodies, Lia and Tanya looked at him with grief.
They didn't hate him. They were saddened that he did.
As the light in their eyes dimmed and their bodies helplessly collapsed onto the floor, Samael closed his eyes and held back the tears.
A few moments later, the lively planet filled with people turned lifeless and pristine—to the state it previously was when he just visited.
The bodies of Lia, Tanya and Skyla disappeared.
"I'm sorry…" The 7th Prince looked up at the sky.
The three of them died long back in the past.
His mother was gone with a disease. Ten years later, his sister was killed in her academy. Only a hundred years after, his wife died on the frontlines.
The three of them left him long ago.
And then, Samael Astreas, one of the many nameless royal children, turned into the 7th Prince.
After he massacred the kingdom, he was indeed called by the Emperor.
But it wasn't for a reprimand.
It was for a deal.
The God Emperor said.
"Work for my vision and I'll resurrect your lost family."
Sameal didn't believe those ridiculous words.
And so, the God Emperor showed him a glimpse of his power.
Whenever he wanted, Samael could go to his home planet.
And they would all come back to life. But it wasn't the real them. They were the echoes of the distant past, but they were as real as one might expect.
If it was someone else than Samael, they would've accepted these people as their real family and gave up everything to go back to a normal life.
But Samael didn't.
He didn't want to live a lie even if it mattered to be the truth.
No matter how hard and no matter how long, he wanted to bring them back to life.
So, he dedicated his everything for the cause. The means wouldn't matter. Nor would the sacrifices.
Everything was fair for the cause.
Sometimes, when he got a little time for himself, the Prince would retire to his home.
And he'd live a day with his family, if only to remind his dead heart why he's not killing himself.
But every single time, he'd kill them with his own hands. And witness their deaths.
The joy he would get from these days might not fuel his heart.
But the pain of losing them always did.