There was a difference between 'will' and 'duty'.
One's duty could bring about the end of the world, whereas one's will can bring about hope for the future. All Rue had been doing was following his will. Moving forwards, unaware of his duties. The reasons he was alive in the first place...
The foundation of his existence involved waking up in a strange place surrounded by stones and water out in the middle of a snowdrift. He wandered around for a while, trying to clear the muddled mass of thoughts and corrupted orders in his mind, until he fell unconscious in the snow outside a wonderfully peaceful log cabin which happened to be the home of the first person he ever met, the kindest woman on the face of the planet; her name was Claire.
Claire lived alone in that same quaint cottage with a stable full of animals to attend to, so she took Rue in since he had no memories. She was older than him, and already he looked up to her as he would a sister. He loved her like family, and for about five years, they were a family. Rue managed to live quite contently with Claire in the snow on their little farm. He worked hard for her, no matter what. His loyalty was unbreakable.
One winter night, a man with a terribly misshapen hand came to the house, engaged in a battle with Rue and, during the process of the fighting, managed to kill Claire. Rue then grabbed his main weapon -the Arc Edge- and began his personal adventure to find the relic and bring her back. Rue's journey lasted for three, what one can only imagine to be absolute hellish years, before he found himself in Carona.
During this time period, the teenage boy was more than well aware that he was, rather obviously, not human; anybody with a pretty blue stone stuck on their forehead didn't seem to classify among the rest of the human population. Of course, he was equally as unaware as to what he was, but in all honesty he was perfectly fine with this arrangement, so long as Claire was around. This perfect set up --an underlying twinge of mystery that was always drowned out by the sisterly love he felt for Claire-- was shattered into pieces on the night of her death. And although one could only speculate there was a decent chance that he became quieter and more brooding than he previously was, now not only able to freely theorize as to his own mysterious origins, but also mingle that with the simple and pure grief of her passing.
It took a rather long journey -which lasted for three years to be exact- until it ended on Rue's arrival to Carona, a small and quaint town that the wind had carried him to. Deciding to stay there, he made his way through the forest and found a pink-haired girl by the name of Elena being held hostage at knifepoint by two thugs. He saved her from the rogue pirates, and he helped her locate her parents. He later learned that her father, Klaus, was searching for the thing Rue was looking for. A relic.
While Rue was busy exploring an atelier that was deep in the forest, an aggressive and adventurous fifteen-year-old princess named Mint crossed his path, threatening him to hand over everything he found in the magician's workshop. At the same time when Rue had lost Claire, Mint had been stripped of her title as crown princess of the East Heaven Kingdom two years ago by her younger sister Princess Maya due to her elder sister's unprincess-like behaviour.
Mint was unable to compete with the powerful magic of the relic her sister possessed, so she had left her homeland on a journey to find a relic more powerful then Maya's and fulfil her ultimate goal -to become ruler of the world. Along the way, she crossed paths with Rue who was also in search for the relic.
Aeons created relics a thousand years ago, but they were too powerful -they were sealed, locked behind layers of mystery. Rue was caught within that mystery, and he moved forward in an attempt to find it. Gathering materials, creating Prima Doll and giving him life. Prima Doll had the ability to unlock the seal on the relic that Rue, Mint, and Klaus has been working towards. Valen's [relic].
But Valen wasn't a peaceful Aeon.
Though Aeons were powerful and lived much longer than any human, they were not immortal. Valen wanted to make that impossible immortality a reality. He sought to use the [relic] that he created to come back. So many years ago, before he locked his spirit away in another dimension, he created many powerful and organic dolls who could all wake up and work together to bring their creator back.
That was their duty.
A duty that Rue didn't want any part in.
Even though he learned the shocking truth that he really was Doll of Valen created all those years ago, Rue was not driven by that goal to resurrect Valen like the others were. Like Doll Master was. Doll Master was a failed doll who was, in a way, his older brother.
With the help of Klaus and his family, Rue moved ahead with his search in the weeks that followed. He spent that time looking inward to find the strength to carry on; the [relic] had the power to destroy the world if not handled carefully and he couldn't bear the thought of letting that happen. He headed up to Valen's Fortress (with the borrowed wings of a dragon), risking his life to save Claire. Wylef wished him luck as he left, ready to keep going.
Rue battled though many trials, fighting dangerous monsters, and the minions of Doll Master who were blocking his path until he found himself face to face with Valen himself. His spirit hanging on the edge, Rue's 'father' Valen told him about the [relic] the teenage boy had been seeking all this time. The [relic] was known as Dewprism.
Crafted out of the purist crystal, its power was unmatched. It was simply a microcosm of the universe, meaning to have the Dewprism was to have the universe. And Rue had a fragment of the Dewprism on his forehead; a life stone.
Valen encouraged Rue to pray to Dewprism, to ask it to bring Claire back. Instead, Rue was fooled; the natural, perfect body of Claire that was created, made from all the good things in life, was cheated from him once more. Valen took over her body and tried to use it against Rue.
Removing Valen from Claire's body was no easy task, and in the end Rue needed help from his brother, Doll Master -whose real name was Ruecian. After he defeated Vaven and sent him back into his eternal sleep, the fortress the [relic] was held in began to collapse. So, grabbing Claire, he made for the exit, running into Mint along the way.
Together, the two of them tried to get out...
Trapped inside, he sat with Claire and prepared, this time, to follow her into death. It was that moment when Psycho Master appeared as the fortress began to fall and crumble from the sky, giving up the last of his powers to allow Rue and Claire to make it out safely.
Rue was in a coma for three days and when he awoke, the first thing he wanted to do was see Claire. But he couldn't. Not yet. After he spent some time talking to the other residents of the town, the moment came. The first time he could speak to Claire, his sister, in three years.
Claire's soft voice sounded so nervous; she feared that maybe Rue had changed. He too had worried that things would be different… but they weren't. And after breaking through their worry, Rue was finally able to touch her again.
Knowing she was real in his embrace, alive again, brought him peace.
Through all that happened, Rue managed to prove himself to be a very caring, sweet person; if going through all of Hell just to revive his surrogate older sister wasn't enough proof, then to look back on the full sympathy he managed to share with Prima Doll (who seemed to have identity problems that were bad enough to rival Rue's in a different format) as well as never seeming to get the notion to slap the cheerful and optimistic Elena every time she referred to him as 'Polly' for days on end.
'Polly' was a shortened name abbreviation for the monster transformation he used to save her from the bandits on the day they first met; the Pollywog --a little, docile floating yellow ball with a big tail and sharp teeth... This was how he gained the nickname 'Polly' by Elena.
Although Rue was rather quiet and shy at first, he did manage to open up more to the people who got to know him, but for those who dared to pry into his past would most likely try and attempt to strangle him to get him to talk, since he sounded more less then proud about his origins.
Mint went through a simular change of behaviour; she expressed a certain degree of care for Rue during the aftermath of their battle with Valen, and they stayed friends ever since.
Everything soon returned to peace and the two companions parted and went their separate ways; Mint returned to East Heaven Kingdom under her sister's instructions and Rue travelled back to the mountains of Futari with his fully-resurrected sister alive and well at his side.
A month later, Princess Maya -Mint's little sister- sent a request to Rue to help her out. She had found another one of Valen's dolls, named Ruenis, and he was awakened by his power. Instead of allowing the doll to carry on with his 'duty', the reason he was created, Rue invited Ruenis to come live with him and Claire at her house.
In another part of the world, Mint had received a letter from Klaus that he found a lead to a relic that was rumoured to be hidden in the desert ruins of Esplesia City. Remembering that Rue still owed her, Mint went straight to his place and demanded that he help her in their next relic hunt in the Western Desert. Her dream of 'world domination' that she thought about constantly was apparently still something she wanted to achieve.
Rue was reluctant about going on another relic hunt... but he wanted to see everyone again. With some reassurance from Claire he set out to go exploring the mysterious desert ruins with Mint. While they were on their adventure in the desert, the older teens both realised and came to terms with the developing feelings they had for one another. And they swore to live, breathe, fight and survive for the sake of the partner they loved deeply. Because of that love, together with Rue's help, Mint was able to find and gain control of the relic she had been seeking.
Ten years passed. Within that time Rue tried to occupy himself by training his younger brother Ruenis how to look after the farm, how to hunt, and how to sell meat and pelt at the little booth Claire owned in the village.
For the past few weeks Claire noticed something.... not quite right with Rue. Each time she asked him if he was feeling alright, he would cover it up by saying he was fine. One night she passed by his bedroom and happened to eavesdrop on him mumbling "Mint" in his sleep. On his desk she found letters all written to Rue from the girl with the red hair.
She had met Mint a couple of times when the princess stayed at her cabin before Rue left with her on their journey to Ephlesia City. Mint was a lively person, she was loud, and she had a hidden sweet side when she was alone with Rue. Claire often caught the little shy gleam in Rue's eyes when he looked at Mint. The two of them did look perfectly cute together.
Claire gently roused Rue from his dreams and asked him about his feelings towards Mint. Rue thought this through and answered that he really loved Mint... a lot. His sister had a
feeling he wanted to keep living under her roof with Ruenis.... but Rue was not an adolescent anymore; he was well grown into a gracious and dedicated gentleman. She suggested to him that maybe it was time he thought about building his future in Carona --since the town had become like a second home to him. Rue reflected on Claire's words, and in his heart he knew she was right.
They talked for hours until dawn, reminiscing on the past and planning ahead for his future. When Rue felt ready to let go of his doubts, they spent the next day packing his gear and getting him all ready "to leave the nest". All the while Ruenis teased his love-struck older brother with light-hearted comments.
Then, after exchanging hugs and goodbyes with his siblings, Rue boarded a ship to the port town of Carona; to seek out the crimson-haired girl with the wine-coloured eyes who gave him a reason to smile. He missed Mint so much.
In spite of finding a nice apartment, and focusing his attention on looking for work, Rue started to worry; Mint wasn’t going to be here no matter how much he wished to see her again. He kept in contact with Klaus, Mira, Elena, Prima Doll, Rod, Belle and Duke, and Fancy Mel... but the person he wanted to see most of all was her.
His hopes were answered when he was sitting alone by the town fountain one evening. A female voice broke his thoughts. The scent of cinnamon reached his nose. There was only one such person he knew who smelled of cinnamon. The girl with red hair who danced in his dreams at night. Mint. His heart began to pound as he looked up to see a pretty figure near him. A woman in an expensive blue dress, orange leggings and brown boots.
Rue could not believe that Mint was actually here in Carona! Everything he wanted to say to her flew out the window. Mint said she had been keeping up to date with his letters and wanted to come to the place where she felt the most happy; with him.
When he heard her words Rue finally found his. He brought out the little white box he carried with him --a gift Claire had slipped into his bags on the night before he left for Carona. It was already sealed with his older sister’s blessing, just in case he wanted to stay with Mint for the rest of his days.
He opened the box and showed the engagement ring to Mint. Looking into his soul mate's eyes he expressed his feelings for her, saying that if spend her life in Carona with him then he was happy for them to do that. Next thing he knew Mint launched herself into his arms, crying happily against his shirt.
The pair stayed in the tight embrace for what seemed like an eternity. Mint unburied her head from Rue’s chest and commented his marriage proposal was the stupidest thing she’d ever heard. But then again, Rue was the man she wanted to spend forever with. They sealed the moment with a long, passionate kiss under the infinite cosmos.
They passed by the hotel to pick up Mint's luggage and brought them back to his apartment, where the couple talked for the entire night. The next morning Rue called Claire and Ruenis and told them the news, then a wedding date was set.
The exciting news of the famed duo's engagement quickly spread. Between planning her wedding and side-stepping the tabloids, Mint got an unexpected letter from Maya. With a handwritten note there was a newspaper clipping stating that King Timothy Artemecia, ruler of East Heaven Kingdom, had stepped down from his throne and passed it on to his youngest daughter, Maya. After reading in the newpaper article that her little sister was now East Heaven's new sovereign, Mint threw the letter away and had a meltdown. She shared her frustrations to Rue, who listened and hugged her tight, reminding his fiancé that the least she can do was be happy for her sister. Mint soon calmed down, matured gradually, and sent her overseas relations a wedding invite.
The couple chose to have a private ceremony beneath the goddess statue inside Carona's church, surrounded by the good friends they had made on their hunt for the Dewprism. In a white silk gown with a skirt that flared at the waist, Mint walked down the aisle holding a bouquet of pink cherry blossoms and fluffy white irises in her lace-gloved hands, together with her dad to give her away. Decorating Mint's neck was a delicate gold chain---the same one her mother once wore decades ago, now passed down to her daughter. Behind the pair was Maya in a blue-and-white dress, who was chosen as Mint's maid-of-honour.
Rue stood at the altar in an off-white suit of simple design with an iris flower tucked into the breast pocket, his hair styled in a half-ponytail and tied back by a silk blue ribbon. Mint's father ceremoniously gave his daughter away, and her fiancé took her hand.
The priest began his speech on the couple’s never-ending love for each other and how that was all they needed. The bride and groom exchanged their own vows, slipping their rings on the other's fingers then Father Doyle pronounced them man and wife, making the marriage official.
Rue lifted the long veil on Mint’s head and smiled at her tenderly. Mint returned the look before they finished the ceremony with a kiss to seal their eternal promise.
The crowd cheered in applause, yelling and proclaiming their joy for the couple. When they ended the kiss, Mint placed her hand in Rue’s and he gave hers a gentle squeeze before they walked away from the altar to an outside reception where all those assembled celebrated with dinner; toasts of sparkling wine and speeches; the cutting and serving of the multi-layered wedding cake; the bridal bouquet toss and dancing.
As the festivities drew to a close, the newlyweds bade farewell to their nearest and dearest. Then the bride and groom retired to the hotel room they had reserved for them. Outside the inn, Fancy Mel smiled to herself and fondly waited for her wedding gift to work its magic.
Coming to their room, Mint told Rue to stay outside until she finished preparing her own wedding gift to give him, leaving a bewildered Rue to wonder what she was planning.
Once the door to the room was shut, Mint sat down on a stool, trying to calm her rapid breathing. This was something she really wanted to do for him, and for herself. She trusted him, with her very life, so why should this be so difficult? Standing up suddenly, she opened the bag Fancy Mel had given her during the reception, who told the adventurer with a wink that the contents were a special surprise to save for Rue when they finally have some time alone. Heat rushed into Mint’s cheeks when she saw what was inside and she looked in the mirror, stealing herself. She reached into the bag and started to prepare….
Meanwhile, Rue had started to get worried. What was she doing in there? Why was she taking so long? Her voice suddenly called out to him, asking if he was ready. Startled, he answered that he was, and opened the door when she told him to. He made his way inside and his breath caught in his throat. Standing before him in the dim light of the room was Mint. She was wearing a set of lingerie made to look like a sexier version of her travelling attire; a blue chiffon jacket with white cuffs at the ends of the long sleeves, a short skirt that parted outwards at the front, a wide brown leather belt, a white strapless bra and matching white lace panties.
Rue looked so stricken, it was almost funny. His face turned extremely red when he noticed the flimsy fabric made Mint look naked under it. Trying to find his voice, he asked her why she was in the revealing outfit, and Mint accidently blurted out that Fancy Mel had told her that the underwear was only the outer wrappings to her 'treasures'. Rue wondered if Mel had mischievously set the spoiled princess up just so she would hook up with him. Mint reluctantly confessed that it was really her idea, but didn't know how to follow through with Mel's plan. That was the last thing Rue expected to hear. Of course he loved Mint, and he enjoyed being in her company. He knew he wanted to make her feel special, not just because she was the ruler of his wanderer heart. But this...
The situation hit home to the couple, leaving both relic-hunters shaken and unsure, poised on the brink of something new and frightening. Throwing caution to the wind, Mint made the first move, kissing Rue briefly to make her feelings known. The heartfelt, surprise kiss left Rue understandably dumbfounded, but soon he found himself returning it. Kisses soon led to touch, touch led to bed...
And the rest of their night was spent teaching and learning. There were tears and laughter, teasing and kissing, perspiring and groaning. Inside their bodies, a new promise was formed; they belonged solely to one another, no one else. The biggest day of their lives was complete.
Shortly after the wedding day, the newlyweds began to enjoy their new state of matrimony. That was until they returned to Carona from their week-long honeymoon --a gift from Mint's wealthy family-- they started to notice the three-room apartment where they lived was starting to feel... small.
They saved up their money and set out to search for a proper place, except all the available houses they inspected did not seem right for them. Then one day, while Mint was walking home from a successful job interview, she came across a real estate advertisement featuring a wood-frame, two-story house with a picturesque front garden, a stone wall with front gate, a side porch and an upper balcony. Two words, printed in white capital letters, made her heart race: FOR SALE. She didn't mention the house to Rue then, preferring to wait for a more auspicious time in which to bring up the subject.
The next day, though, she made an appointment with the retailer to view the house...