Feh…You don't know how hard it is to start these chapters…Sometimes I get a good rhythm and they just flow out. Other times I get distracted, and that causes…*sigh*… delays.
Part of the point of this story is that it's supposed to be unrealistic. It's kinda hard to explain…but any place with evil demons kidnapping young girls is defiantly not normal. And, according to my Inu-Yasha obsession, the daughters of local lords could be called princesses, but not like the king type or anything…
Disclaimer:I don't own Digimon. Nor do I own any hinting of Japanese folklore that may pop up here. It's just my weird little brain.
A Feudal Fairy Tale
Scroll 3: Meetings
Takeru sighed, brushing himself off as he walked down the hall of the Lord's castle. It was their usual free time, and each was doing their own thing. Daisuke was currently snoring away in the bunkhouse, catching up on some much-needed sleep. Ken had snuck away on some 'pressing business'. By Takeru's guess, that meant he was sneaking off to see that pretty young serving maid.
And Takeru? Well, he didn't really have anything planned, so he wandered the castle and grounds around it for something to keep him busy. Mostly, he was lost in his own thoughts.
The door behind him slid open silently. Princess Hikari peaked out quietly. "I knew I heard someone…" she thought happily. "It's him! And with nobody around… Now's my chance!"
She took a deep breath, composing herself, and brushed her skirt off. Then she stepped out, as dignified and ladylike as she could. "Excuse me, young man."
Takeru turned, locking eyes with her for the first time. His heart skipped about three beats. This girl was beautiful. Her hair was shoulder-length, auburn brown like a red wood tree. Her eyes were brown as well, and her face was as gentle and perfect as a china doll.
"Oh, yes?" he turned, "How may…I help you?"
Hikari smiled. He obviously didn't know that she was the princess, he wasn't treating her stuffy or anything. Just formal, gentlemanly. "I need a certain yarn for my weaving, but it's so high up I just can't reach it." she said shyly, waving her hand loftily to the door. "Could you please get it down for me?"
"Of course." Takeru followed her into the room, looking around. "Where is it?"
Hikari motioned upwards. There was a spool of red yarn sitting at the top of her cabinet. Takeru didn't know that she'd actually put it up there herself a little earlier, standing on a chair she'd pushed back outside so she really couldn't reach it.
"Up there." she said quietly, then sat back down at her weaving.
Takeru stretched up, reaching full-length, trying to grab it, although he could hardly see it. Hikari looked up at him as he stretched. "You're one of the samurais here, aren't you?"
"Yeah." he muttered, grinning. "Just came in last month."
Hikari brushed her bangs back, turning a bit pink. "And may I know your name, young samurai?" she asked quietly.
"Takeru." the boy sighed, pulling the yarn down and handing it to her with a smile. "My name is Takeru."
"Takeru." the girl tried it on her lips. It left a pleasant, giddy feeling in her heart. "I like that."
Takeru smiled, then cleared his throat. "And…Your name, my lady?"
"Hikari." she smiled up at him, putting the yarn down. "I'm Hikari."
"Hikari." Takeru whispered, then shook himself. "Oh…is that all?"
"Yes…" Hikari sounded a little reluctant. "I suppose you must…" An idea sparked in her mind, and she looked up at the tall boy hopefully. "Please, won't you let me give you just a little-bitty kiss? To thank you?"
Takeru blushed. "A…A kiss?" he asked quietly. "Oh gee, I really don't know…"
"Pretty please?" she asked, giving him big puppy-dog eyes.
Takeru swallowed, but then he nodded. Hikari stood so she could face him, and they grew so close…
"Princess!" a voice rang out suddenly. The two froze, and Hikari sighed, upset. "Princess Hikari!"
Takeru gaped at her, leaping back. "Princess?!" he gasped. "You never told me you were the Princess!!"
"You didn't ask." Hikari said shyly, blushing.
"Princess Hikari, where are you?" the voice rang out again. It was a woman named Takenuchi. She was the head of the household, in charge of keeping everything orderly. The younger girls, like Hikari and Yolei, called her Ms. Sora.
"Quick, you have to get out of here!" Hikari whispered, pushing Takeru out the back way.
"What's going on now?" Takeru gasped as he was pushed out onto the porch.
"Those annoying suitors are coming again." Hikari growled. "Not to mention, I'm not allowed to talk to the 'hired male help'."
The door slide shut. Takeru sat there a moment, then sighed and tuned to leave. And ran head-first into Yamato.
"Well well well." the captain snickered. Takeru jumped back, surprised. "Coming out of the Princess's room, are you? You know you shouldn't…"
"I was just helping her with something." Takeru muttered, blushing as he looked down.
"'Just helping' huh?" Yamato gave his brother a very stern look. "Uh-huh. Belief is with more than your ears, Takeru."
"Oh, back off!" Takeru snapped, again turning a bit red and forgetting to show the proper respect to the Captain. "What does it matter to you what I do in my spare time, or what the Princess cares to do with hers?"
He turned sharply around and began to return to the bunkhouse. Yamato stared after him a moment. "You should be careful, brother." he muttered under his breath. "Don't bite off more than you can chew."
Takeru stopped, turning back to look at him. He put up one finger, a serious glare in his eyes. "Don't." he warned. "call me brother."
Then he turned and left Yamato standing there, eyes downcast.
~ * ~ * ~
"Takeru." Daisuke leaned over from his bunk, snapping his fingers in front of his friend's eyes. "Hey Takeru, wake up!"
"Huh?" his blonde-haired friend opened his eyes. "I'm sorry, what were you saying?"
"You were daydreaming again." Daisuke rolled his eyes. "It's been three days, Takeru. Three days!" the brown-haired boy sighed, leaning back on his pillow. "You and Ken, I swear. The love-bug's gotten you both."
Takeru was quiet, but his friend continued. "At least his is plausible." he muttered, hanging his legs over the edge of the bed. "A servant girl is fine at our level, but the princess…? You might as well forget it, there's no way you can…"
Ken suddenly entered, cutting Daisuke off. He had that same look in his eyes that he always did when he came back from courting his own woman. "Speak of the devil." Dai sighed. "Hey Ken."
"Hey guys." Ken sat down on his bunk.
"How'd it go?" Takeru muttered, not really paying attention.
"Oh, you know…" there was silence a moment, then Ken piped up again, pulling a piece of paper out of his pocket. "By the way, Takeru, Yolei gave me a message."
"So?" the other boy muttered, eyes closed.
"It's for you." Ken waved it under his nose. "From the princess."
Takeru's eyes flew open, he sat straight up and grabbed the note, not even noticing when he almost hit his head on the bottom of Daisuke's bed. "Woah! Easy there, tiger." Ken snickered, letting him unfold it.
Takeru read the beautiful writing excitedly:
My Young Samurai,
I do long to see you again. If you can get away, I beg you to meet me at the bridge which divides our grounds from the village, tonight. I await you eagerly.
Takeru read it over again to make sure he hadn't seen it wrong. Then he leapt to his feet, scrambled for his shoes, and made a beeline out the door before anyone could ask about it.
When he reached the bridge, she was already waiting for him. She'd obviously borrowed one of the other girl's kimonos, for it was much shabbier than a princess disserved.
Takeru had the sudden urge to rush to her, and to hold her close, but he restrained out of pure courtesy. When she saw him, however, she rushed forward and threw her arms around his neck. "Takeru!" she sighed happily in his ear. "It's so wonderful to see you!"
"P-Princess…" Takeru gulped, and his arms automatically wrapped around her waist. "I…I…I don't know what to say…"
"Don't worry." she whispered, brushing a small kiss on his cheek. "Let's just enjoy ourselves…A nice, long walk in the moonlight…It'll be good for us…"
Takeru loved the idea, and together they walked along the bank. It was so perfect, neither one wanted it to ever, ever end.