Author: NicKriz PM
A romantic diversion takes place in Kimpa Palace between Youko and Keiki, while a turn of events brings in a quadrangular love web. How can Youko retain the delicate friendships and still pursue love?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 6 - Words: 19,655 - Reviews: 60 - Favs: 29 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 06-24-05 - Published: 12-27-04 - id: 2191884
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Genre& Ratings: Drama/Romance - Rated PG
Pairing/s: Youko & Keiki (main), Youko & Syouryuu, Youko& Rakushun
Written by: Nickriz
Disclaimers: Juuni Kokuki is the creation of Ono Fuyumi.
Summary: A romantic diversion takes place in Kimpa Palace between Youko and Keiki, while a turn of events brings in a quadrangular love web. How can Youko retain the delicate friendships and still pursue love?
Fragrance of Autumn
"Mid-Autumn breeze caresses the willows,
As the waxing moon spills her glow,
Love unspoken torments the soul,
By quiet springs its song unfolds."
The candlelight in the bedchamber flickered as the winds blew. Relishing in the quietness of the hour, the glow of the moon casts a shadow within the cold room. Soon winter approaches and the beautiful serene nights will turn brutal. Only the song of the winds could be heard, and the shadow of the flame flickered before it died moments later.
With a heavy heart, the silhouette of a woman moves slowly with heavy steps towards a well-furnished bed. Gathering the woolen coverings around her, she slowly fell into a restless sleep. Her soft tendrils of fiery-red hair shielded her eyes as the long tresses flowed behind her like a molten river.
The sun soon reached its peak, shining brightly over the palace. With a worried frown gracing his countenance, he briskly goes to look for her. It would have been easier had she come earlier and he would have saved a lot of time searching for her. Yet as the day grows, he senses a certain apprehension or unease whenever she is with him. Unable to come to a conclusion, he shelves the thought into his sub consciousness.
Finally, he stood at her door and asked,
"Your Highness, I would like to speak to you. May I enter?"
The beautifully carved wooden doors creaked open, and Keiki entered Youko's study chamber. Finally looking around at her when he closed the doors, he noticed her frown and attention directed at some scrolls on her table. Curious, he walked to her and stood before her.
"Your Highness, why the frown on your face? Has another threat surfaced?"
There was a silence in the room, until Youko finally felt that she was being observed and immediately raised her line of sight and saw Keiki. With a gracious smile, she acknowledged him and her frown ceased. Knowing that he was finally here gave her a certain sense of ease, yet she still finds it uncomfortable. Not realizing that he asked a question, she looked back to her scrolls and creased her brows and sighed.
"Is there anything wrong? Are you alright, your Highness?" Keiki repeated. Seeing her distraught state, his unease settled back into place, and he began to worry about her. Her eyes showed confusion and hesitance, and Keiki contemplated the cause. Unable to get an answer from her, he heaved a sigh.
Feeling apologetic, she glanced up at him and finally conceded. Knowing full well his concern for her as her Kirin, she understood that sign of defeat of his. As much as she wants, she just can't seem to truly be herself these days around him. Nervousness towards him seems to have seeped into her encounters with him and her heart would thump. Darting her eyes about in search for a reply, she finally spoke.
"Keiki, there's some things I can't understand about this map here. I've been trying to come to a solution about the dam construction of several provinces, but I've not arrived at any," Youko admitted.
"Is that what's troubling you? It would be best if I were to inform Enho about this since he would know the situation best. I trust his judgment and wisdom," Keiki persuaded gently as he moved beside Youko to examine the map. Descending gently for a closer look, he stopped as he neared Youko's shoulders, balancing himself on his left arm placed on the table. Fixing his eyes to the map, he tried to understand the geography of the states currently marked by his master with chess-like soldiers.
A gentle breeze blew into the chamber, and for the first time, he smelt a faint sweetness from her. It tastes like the cherry blossoms and a mix of jasmine, innocent yet feminine. Unable to get his mind back to work, his senses were enveloped by her sweet aroma. Only then did he realize his nearness to her and a soft blush caressed his cheeks. A new form of sensations tugged at his heart and started to hum to a new song. It was rapid, slowly accelerating.
Suddenly noticing his nearness to her, Youko felt like she was on a fainting spell. Slowly turning her gaze to him and finally looking at him up-close, she saw the hint of a blush on his cheeks. Realization dawned on her that he's equally embarrassed by her closeness, and a smile crept up on her face and her eyes softened as she gazed at him, still pondering over the map while she silently observes him. She remembered the countless times where they had been this near to each other. Even the first time she had met him, he had held her in a protective embrace as he protected her from the giant condor that came to assassinate her. Although that was different from this, it was still a first for the both of them.
Keiki noticed that the map in front of him no longer bothered Youko, and he decided to see what caught her attention. Turning to face her, he caught a glimpse of her eyes starring at him with softness in them, accompanied by a warm smile that made him weak all of a sudden. His heart thumped even more, and he was starting to get uneven breaths. He feared the same mistake happening to him again, but this time it was somehow different from the last empress. He couldn't put his finger on it, but he knew it was different and it's having an effect on him. Especially recently which their unusual encounters, he feels that the tip of the iceberg has just surfaced.
At being caught in her act of stealing glances without his knowing, Youko immediately blush a deep red and turned away from him in the opposite direction. Sensing her embarrassment, Keiki offered to relieve her of having to face him and spoke.
"Your Highness, maybe it is wise that I inform Enho now and request the maids to bring you some refreshments. You seem to have a lot on your mind recently."
"Thank you, Keiki,.. that would be very much appreciated. I hoped that I'll be able to get these problems solved as soon as possible," Youko gave an apologetic look and smiled shyly at him, knowing that she was referring more to her sudden situation with Keiki than the problem of the dams.
With that said, she continued to look down on her map, trying to gain her concentration back. Keiki gave her a last look before walking away reluctantly, and starting to miss her presence. Just then, the faint scent of her fragrance whisked past him as the winds blew. He grew more reluctant to leave, but at this moment, he needed to sort out his thoughts and to understand this new strange feeling he's getting whenever he's with her. As he opened the door and exited, he whispered softly, "If you need me, your Highness, just send for me."