With a soft grunt, the aged clerk slid the stamped piece of paper across the wooden table, replacing the stamp on a velvet inkpad.
"There you are," he mumbled, already looking down at the next license application. "All taken care of."
Sieg blinked in surprise, his large ears twitching slightly as he looked down at the paper, his heart racing, "So... that's it?"
"Your application is approved. This is your final authorization certificate, as well as your mating and conception of offspring license."
Sieg felt Marien stiffen a little beside him, her tail twitching nervously and bumping up against his chair.
For a few moments the two simply sat there, Marien staring down at the table and Sieg nervously clenching and unclenched his hands against the rough cotton of his pants.
With a heavy sigh the clerk looked up at the two young Basitins sitting across from him, peering at them over the rims of his half moon spectacles, "Was there something else?"
"Well..." Sieg's throat was very dry as he turned and looked at Marien, his face burning with a mixture of excitement and nervousness, "I... suppose not."
" Again the clerk looked down at the next form in front of him, just one of a titanic stack upon his desk, "You have one week to complete your mating, and to confirm conception of offspring.
As this is your first mate, if no child is conceived within the allotted time, you may return here and fill out a special extension and exemption form.
" Leaning over his desk the clerk called out, "Next!"
For a moment, Sieg and Marien didn't move and simply looked to one another. As their eyes met, both began to blush.
With the law allowing for only one week per year for couples to live together and enjoy one another,
the normally deserted "Relations and Reproduction Authorization Bureau" application office was packed.
Sieg and Marien had joined the line just before sunrise, and now administrative aides were walking up and down the hallway, lighting torches as the sun began to slip below the horizon.
Before Sieg could ask anything more, there was a gentle, "Ahem" from behind him.
Another couple was standing a few paces away, their tails twitching in impatience at the sudden slowdown of the line.
The pair was several years older than Sieg and Marien, likely trying for their second or even third child.
Many many more couples stood in a line that snaked out of the small office and into the cavernous hallway of the Civilian Administration building.
Hurriedly getting up from their wooden chairs, both Marien and Sieg bowed in apology to the couple behind them.
"Best of luck, long live the king," the clerk said, his tone so dull and bored, Sieg found it unlikely that the old Basitin even knew or cared about what he was saying anymore.
Her face glowing with anxious embarrassment, Marien hurriedly exited the office. As Sieg started to leave as well, he felt a hand grip his shoulder.
"Hey, hold up a second."
Sieg turned to see the older male standing behind him, Sieg's license in his hand.
"You forgot this," the man said, waving the papers gently. "Wouldn't want to go ahead without the paperwork, would you?"
"O-of course not," Sieg stammered, taking the license from the man's hand and gently folding it into a pocket of his tunic. "Th-thank you sir."
Despite the immense indecency of such a question, Sieg nodded quickly, "Y-yes."
"Good for you." The male leaned forward and spoke quietly in Sieg's ear. "Forgive me, but may I offer a small piece of advice to you son?"
"Kent, leave the poor boy alone." the man's wife scoffed.
Judging by his stature and physique, Sieg could tell that the man was obviously a soldier, likely an officer judging by the quality of his clothes.
Swallowing hard, and not wishing to be rude, Sieg nodded, "I suppose so."
"You have the pamphlet I assume."
Again, Sieg's heart felt like it would leap from his chest.
He had, of course, been given the government issued pamphlet regarding mating when he and Marien had first started the process of applying to become mates.
Though the material within had been extremely light on details, and had been little more than suggestive text, Sieg had found the feelings it aroused in him to be distinctly uncomfortable.
Still... from time to time he had dug it out from under his mattress and flipped through it, his thoughts drifting to his beloved Marien as he did.
"Yes sir," he answered at last.
The male smiled warmly, patting Sieg on the shoulder as he whispered, "Good. Throw it out."
Sieg's eyes grew wide, "Throw it out?"
"You can focus on 'efficiency' later. Take the time to get to really know one another. It's your first time, you only get one of those in your entire life, so enjoy it. "
The male smiled and stepped away, "Just my advice young one, do with it as you will."
With a bewildered, slightly shell-shocked nod, Sieg turned and walked away.
"What was that about?" the female asked as Kent took his seat beside her, raising an eyebrow at the mischievous smile on her mate's face.
"Nothing dearest," he replied, taking her hand. "Just giving him the same advice your father gave me."
"Oh Kent... you didn't."
"Oh that poor girl... that poor boy..."
"They'll be fine," Kent replied, his face cracking into a grin. "Who knows, they might even have some fun."
By the time Sieg arrived back at his apartment, the sun had slipped below the horizon, and thick dark clouds had blown up from the sea and over the city.
As he stood at the doorway into his room, Sieg felt his knees wobble a little.
His apartment was small, but a single room with a fireplace against one wall, a small desk against another, and a tiny table and chair in the center.
What few personal items he possessed sat upon a few small shelves, and on a hook beside the door was his helmet.
What truly made him gulp was the sight of his bed.
With a deep breath to calm his nerves, Sieg stepped inside, hung up his cloak, and set to work.
Vibrating with nervous excitement he began rushing around, getting a fire lit and tidying things he had tidied many many times over the past few days.
He was a hurricane, sweeping and scrubbing, making certain that everything was perfectly straight and neat.
As he finished tucking in the sheets of his bed for the fourth time, Sieg paused. Slowly, he reached under his mattress and withdrew the dark blue pamphlet.
On the front, in small, unassuming letters, were written the words: "Procreation for the Continuation of the Basitin Species: An Overview."
"Procreation is a necessary act in order to facilitate the continuation of the Basitin Species.
" Sieg read to himself, flipping the pamphlet open and peering at the first page, "Unlike both humans and Keidran,
the Basitin Kingdom considers these carnal realities to be an essential part of service to the nation, rather than self indulgent pleasure. With this in mind...
a mating pair should strive for the greatest possible efficiency when..." Sieg gulped, "When conducting physical intercourse."
End of Part 1