Summary: In the imperial capital of Konoha, it was the norm for men to reign supreme while wives and concubines lived in seclusion like elegant flowers inside a locked garden. However, everything changed when one pink-haired medic entered the capital. Ancient Chinese AU SakuraxMulti

Chapter 27: The Second Banquet

Madara secretly sighed at the weight of the hat on his head. If the other emperors hadn't bugged him so much, he wouldn't have worn it at all. In fact, Yagura that brat had already taken his off and left it hanging on his chair. Madara silently tsked at the actions of the youngest emperor. What a stupid country, with that custom of electing their Mizukage based on strength instead of bloodline. Now they have a new brat barely out of his mother's womb ruling their pitiful island nation. While thinking that, Madara conveniently ignored the fact that he himself had started reign at an age even younger than Yagura.

But even so, the other emperors had considered Yagura's presence more acceptable than Madara's decision to give away the title of Hokage. Stupid fools. He wasn't dumb enough to give away the hat for no reason. As Madara glanced down at the nobles milling into the banquet hall, he spotted a certain blonde man with embroidered flames in his robes, and couldn't help but think of their first meeting together.

"Greetings to the emperor, may the emperor live for tens of thousands of years!"

And with those ceremonial words, Minato knelt in front of the young boy – no king – many years his junior sitting on the golden throne in front of him. Of all the people that have graced the front hall of the emperor in his first years of reign, they were either blessed with power and position… Or cursed with the death of poisoned wine. And Minato didn't know which he would get.

As he felt the sweat trickle down his nose that was pressed against the floor in kowtow, Minato prayed to the gods above that he wouldn't get the wine. After all, his son was still young and the last thing he wanted was for his wife to become a widow. And for the Uzumaki clan… He dreaded the possibility for the clan he married into to fall just like the Haruno clan did recently.

"Rise… Minato." The timbre of the young king rang across the empty hall.

As Minato slowly raised his head up, he didn't dare to even look at the emperor, only lifting his head high enough to see a pair of black boots.

"Do you know why this king has called upon you?"

"This servant…" Minato choked on his words, "This servant does not know…"

"Pein," Madara beckoned, "State this man's history."

"Yes, your majesty." The new Prime Minister stepped forward and unrolled a scroll. Minato raised his head to look at the young minister that had replaced Danzo with trepidation.

"Minato Namikaze. Born of a small nomatic clan in the northern countryside of the Land of Fire. Joined the army at the age of 12 and showed great progress in both fighting ability and leadership. Became the disciple of the currently retired General Jiraiya – one of the legendary Sannin – and is now famed as Konoha's Yellow Flash. Leads a small troupe of elites that specialize in enemy infiltration and disruption. Married into the Uzumaki clan due to the leader not having a son and currently rules the clan jointly with his wife Kushina Uzumaki. Has a son who is now the heir of the Uzumaki clan named Naruto Uzumaki."

Minato couldn't help but shiver at the information that the current emperor managed to dig up from before he became famous. Was he here because of his commoner background? While it wasn't unheard of for a man to marry into a clan, it was still pretty rare. Perhaps the emperor Madara was angry at the introduction of someone unpure? Minato knew that the Uchihas were sticklers to bloodline purity and looked down on anyone of mixed blood. But the Uzumaki's were lax. After all, they did not have any kekkei genkai that required passing down through the bloodline like how the Uchiha's did.

As Minato head was swirling with thoughts, Madara broke the silence, "Minato Namikaze… You've climbed up very far in your life."

"This servant thanks the emperor for his compliments," Minato once again bowed. At least he hopes they were compliments…

Soft footsteps echoed the hall as Minato heard the emperor walk towards him. Minato mustered up the courage and looked up at the man who held the life and death of everyone in this country.

"We're quite different… You and I." Madara spoke softly, "You are the hero of the nation who's made many contributions towards protecting the country. While I am the devil who has killed many of my own people to climb onto this throne…"

Minato couldn't help but gulp at those words. Considering how high ranked he was, he knew that Madara's first actions as emperor was the cleanse the government of the many who took advantage of their power and position. But to the common people, Madara was a tyrant king who killed left and right, throwing the city and officials into chaos and disorder. It would take years for things to settle down. But until then, Madara was commonly referred to as the bringer of death, a king of bones.

"Your Majesty… You are the dragon king, your words and actions are all noble, wise, and brave."

"Enough," Madara interrupted, "This king doesn't appreciate the flattery that my late father enjoyed."

Madara then walked away to where Pein was holding a tray carrying something. Before Minato could get his thoughts straight, a large object flew towards him and he instinctively caught it.

Minato stared at the item in his hands, "The Hokage hat?"

"Minato" Madara barked in a commanding tone, and Minato immediately straightened his head, ignoring the hat in his hands.

"What is the Will of Fire."

"The definition?" Minato was confused, "The Fire is the flames of our nation and the fan of the Uchihas are what keeps the flames burning brightly."

That was what was taught in all schools, and why all people believed in the Uchiha dynasty.

"This king doesn't need the textbook answer. Say what you personally believe in."

Minato hesitated before finally replying, "The Will of Fire… For me, it is that love is the key to peace. In order to protect our nation, we must fight our enemies and defend for the future generations. That is my Will of Fire."

"Love… You believe in the words of Asura Otsusuki." Madara chuckled, "Do I look like the type that believes in love?"

Minato was silent.

"From today onwards, you will be Hokage. You shall be the one to defend the nation when the time comes, and I hope your Will of Fire is the same as it is now."

"But your majesty!" Minato objected, "The title of Hokage has always been the emperor's! This lowly one can't accept something like this!"

Madara dismissed the objection with a wave of his hand, "This king is already busy catching the rats that have infected the government. Your job will be to do the same within the military. Unless…" Madara's eyes glinted with the faint hint of Sharingan, "You wish to leave this hall the same way many others have left before you? In a silken bag for burial."

Minato immediately shook his head.

"Very well, you'd better not make this king disappointed."

Brushing the cumbersome hat off and letting it drop to the floor, Madara ignored Onoki's look of anger that was directed at him. While Madara didn't always agree with that muscle-head A, he privately approved what A said about Onoki needing to retire already and pick an heir. Most likely it will be that granddaughter of his, whatever her name is. Kuro-something or the other.

As the guests continued to mill in, Madara's eyes strayed towards a certain princess that was seated a many feet away from his right.

Her robes were of a light blue with silver thread that sparkled in the candle-light. The pattern of the thread looked like water as pink lotus flowers were decorated on the dress. The hue of the flowers perfectly matched the young girl's hair that was pinned up into a bun with a simple jade pin.

Madara studied the young girl's appearance and couldn't find anything unique. Her looks were delicate and her figure was good, but there were plenty of jaw-dropping beauties that would easily surpass her in appearance. So why was it that there were so many people chasing after her? And why did he seem to find her interesting?

She wasn't much, but…

He thought of the time he first met her. The flames in her emerald eyes as she daringly looked at him straight at his Sharingan, even knowing how dangerous they were. Other women were too scared to look at his Sharingan, even the women of his own clan. So when their eyes first met, he was a bit surprised.

The second time he saw those flames was when he amused himself to spar with her that time in the woods, she foolishly continued to get up after multiple losses and he ended up spending more time than he thought with her.

Her fighting ability was like her looks. Not that great, but… interesting.

Almost sensing his stare, Sakura turned her head and looked at him.

Seeing those emerald eyes that burned with a passion, Madara couldn't help to admit that she too, must believe in the Will of Fire that Minato believes in.

What Madara himself lacks.

Sakura was enjoying this banquet much more than the one that had been hosted in her honor. This time, she was less unique and was instead one of the many guests on the side. And she felt much more relaxed with being mainly ignored.

The banquet was organized in a conservative style where the Kages were seated in a high up platform while the men and women were separated into halves on each side of the long hall. The middle empty space would be where the dancers and other entertainers would perform while servants would bring the food for each of the guests. Each person sat based on rank, and the Konoha princess was situated between the Suna princess Temari, and the Iwa princess Kurotsuchi.

As she chatted politely with them, she suddenly felt a prickling stare and subconsciously looked towards it.

Her eyes met the dark eyes of the emperor and her breath seemed to hitch. The onyx eyes were pitch black yet seemed to have a red undercurrent behind them. They say that the eyes are the windows of the soul, but Sakura had not an inkling on the thoughts that went through the emperor's head. His face however, was blank and apathetic.

"Sakura? Are you listening?"

Sakura forcefully broke the eye lock between her and the emperor to turn back towards the Suna princess, giving an embarrassed smile in apology, "Sorry, I got a little distracted. What was it that you were saying Temari?"

Yagura was once again bored with the banquet that was going on. Next to him were all a bunch of stiff old men that talked about nothing but politics.

After eating the food that had been served, all he did was pick at the dessert while watching the musicians play their stringed instruments to accompany the female singer. Seriously, banquets like this shouldn't be allowed. The people below seemed to be enjoying themselves and chatting around while he was stuck at the top with the dry old fools. Madara was the closest to him in age but talking to him was like talking to a wall that only gave you looks of disdain.

Konoha is full of boring people except… Yagura's eyes strayed towards the princess that had accompanied him earlier that afternoon. She looked much better now, wearing the silken kimono of Konoha than that stupid grey Kumo dress. Bright colors suited her much better.

As his gaze shifted towards her hair, he immediately stiffened with exasperation. She wasn't wearing his hairpin!

Yagura quickly got up and started walking down, surprising the Kages and many of the other guests nearby that saw him. As he walked towards the women's section, he disregarded Ao's hurried whispers trying to stop him.

He continued while ignoring the whispered gossip that were suddenly occurring due to his strange actions, and stopped behind the pink-haired princess that was talking animatedly with the two next to her.

"Little girl." Yagura called out rudely.

"Eh?" Sakura turned so fast that she almost got whiplash, "Mizukage-sama!"

Sakura and the other two princesses immediately bowed in greeting, but Yagura ignored the other two. With her head still down, it was the convenient position for him to confiscate the offending object. Pulling at the jade hairpin, he removed it and the long pink hair cascaded down Sakura's back. The surrounding women gasped at the daring actions of the Mizukage while an embarrassed Sakura quickly braided her hair to look more presentable. After all, it was only in private when a woman should have her hair fully down. During any other situation would make a woman look loose and ungraceful.

The poor Konoha princess was shocked at Yagura's sudden actions. Furiously blushing, she tried to make a sense of the situation, "Mizuk-"

"Where's the hairpin that I gave you?" Yagura interrupted.

Sakura froze. This man! He really expected her to wear that hairpin?!

"Mizukage-sama, this is too precious. This princess will humbly return it." Sakura pulled out a small silk bag and presented it to the Mizukage. After getting the hairpin, Sakura and Tenten had asked around to finally realize the true importance of the hairpin. As one of the treasures of the Land of Water, the Pearls of Mist, it was definitely too precious for her!

Yagura opened the silk bag and pulled out the hairpin. The many strings of pearls hanging from the pin glittered in the light and the surrounding women immediately sighed at the beauty.

"I gave this to you, so there's no returning." Yagura tossed the jade hairpin that Sakura initially had onto the floor, breaking it, and reached for Sakura's hair.

"Mizukage-sama! This princess can do it herself!" Sakura freaked and tried to protect her hair.

Yagura ignored her feeble protests and continued with his manipulations, "Geez little girl, you have too much hair!"

"There's no need to put it on personally!"

"Hold still!"

After a short while, the long braid was twined into a bun with the Pearls of Mist keeping it in place. The hairstyle was rough and uneven, and in the end both parties were panting from the struggle.

The Mizukage used both hands to lift up the Konoha's Princess face and twisted it back and forth, admiring his handiwork. It was his first time pinning up a woman's hair, and he was quite proud of his accomplishment.

"You're too stubborn little girl. You should have worn the hairpin in the first place, and I wouldn't have had to do this."

'You shouldn't have given me that hairpin in the first place!' Sakura secretly retorted in her mind. She wanted to cry but no tears could come out.

Pleased with his creation, Yagura nodded in self approval, "You have to leave this on for the rest of the banquet. Or else…" Yagura leaned forward until his mouth was at her ear, "Or else I'll have to fix it again for you, Onee-chan~"

Letting go of Sakura's furiously blushing face, Yagura sauntered back towards his seat while the other emperors looking at him with mixed reactions.

As he grabbed a cup of sake to sip, he purposely looked towards the currently known suitors to see their reactions.

Madara's eyes were penetrating towards him, and Yagura sent back a cheeky grin in response. The two Uchiha princes were much more interesting… They were both looking at the flummoxed princess who was trying her best to hide her face, but couldn't hide the pearls glittering brightly on her hair.

Yagura's eyes traced the reactions of the others around until he felt the faint trace of bloodlust.

Oh? He found the source.

It seems as if the Suna prince was also affected by his previous display.

A chuckle escaped from the Mizukage's mouth.

This game is going to be quite fun to play.

Hello my dear readers~

What's this? A double update!? Yes, it is! Yagura is super fun to write~

I hope you all enjoyed this chapter :3 I found it interesting to write part of it in Madara's POV he's so mysterious but I hope this added a bit more personality to him. And I know lots of people want to know the different reactions, so I added a bit more. (I originally thought to stop it at the Onee-chan part)

For those who get confused on when they refer to themselves in third person or first person, think about the context of the conversation. I've copied this from many Chinese novels that I read and third person is when the conversation is formal, between master/servant or king/official. First person is a very informal way of talking, usually between commoners or friends. So since Madara is the emperor, most of his words are in third person because everyone in the country is below him in rank. While Yagura tends to be more casual. I'm sure some find it confusing, but I'm not changing it. I feel like it adds to the serious mood.

Next chapter will be the start of the Martial Arts Tournament! I have a question for my dear readers. Do you all want the setup similar to the gennin exams? And how detailed should I go? Personally, I've read some of those AUs where they do a play-by-play of what happened in the manga/anime and I always end up breezing through them since it gets a bit tedious. I planned on being pretty vague and not typing the specific details. Focusing on the more important parts. Does that work for everyone?

Next chapter might be a few weeks from now so that I have time to get everyone's opinion on the tournament.

And for those that want Kabuto/Kimimaru as suitors... Might not happen. I feel like they work better as brother figures. I might change things if more people request them.