Dear Readers,

Been doing a lot of thinking lately… well… you don't need to know that but let's continue onward! Finally volleyball started and I finally decided to take a conditioning class.

Found out that I hated it! At least the clinics and the camps are so much more fun! Martial arts are also coming along but I find that I'm bushed after all of this stuff.

Taiwan was fun too. Lots and lots and lots of fun! Too bad we couldn't go to China because of the typhoon. But now I'm back in school and man, does it drag on and on.

There just aren't enough hours in the day. At least in school, there are your friends and new friends :3 Well, here's your chapter. Enjoy and review!


Wolf Princess Aya

Lasting Memories

The prince lightly opened his eyes to the early dawn, his body heavy and somehow, he refused to move from its lazy position. Minutes later, he forced himself in an upright position, alone on the bed. Somehow he didn't mind being alone, without Hari. Who knew where she went, he thought.

He sat like that for hours, just sitting there. For some odd reason, he couldn't return to sleep. Frankly, he didn't want to.

That morning, he had found himself compelled to a certain young maid's quarters. He simply woke up that early, firmly deciding to go. Everything he thought there, everything he had mused upon there in that room, and everything he had said there to her sleeping figure rushed back to him in an instant.

Was he wrong to think of such things? He should have just ignored it all, instead of taking everything into account. Why couldn't he be more like her? More like Botan? She always knew her decision. She always stood by those decisions, no matter what anyone said.

No matter what happened to her, she always knew what she had to do.

And now he was here again, alone, in his own bed with his thoughts. Fingering his necklace in a slow manner, he narrowed his distant glare at the door, deep in ponder.

What was he going to do now? He weighed his options carefully… He could always avoid Botan, slink away from their ever-so-delicate predicament. The thought brought back the memory of when she had made the same decision.

It was that decision that brought them closer. He promised her he'd be there… for her, always.

Shaking his head disapprovingly, he knew better than to be a coward. There was always confronting her about the entire thing. And yet, he didn't have the courage to.

His future didn't look so bright.

Burying his head into his hands, the red mane male sighed heavily.

He was the biggest fool he could think of. And he bet Botan knew it.

Forcing a pleasant smile on her face, Botan slowly made her way through the palace halls after breakfast, to which the prince was strangely absent from. It was better that he wasn't there, she told herself. Things would be easier for her. The smile immediately faded.

Thankfully, Hinagashi had given her an ointment for her many fresh wounds. It did her wonders. Botan was also thankful that Hinagashi hadn't pressed the subject of how she had ever gotten such injuries because she simply wouldn't know what to say. It never occurred to Botan that maybe someone other than Kurama knew about Hari and her beatings.

Leaning against a nearby pillar, she winced and hissed for a mere moment from the pain in her legs, cursing how fragile she had become. Perhaps, the ointment didn't help as well as she thought it would. Sighing, the young maid regained her strength and continued onward to the palace gardens, her favorite place.

It was our place… our special place, she remembered wistfully. Now it was just her… again… Making her way towards a very familiar tree, she outstretched an arm, her palm touching its surface, hand running down the bark. So many memories, she mused with mixed emotions.

Lost in reminiscences and recollections, she failed to notice she had a guest. A heavy hand was placed on her shoulder, instantly awakening her into reality and spinning around, she hoped…

"Lord Yakumo!" she sputtered, trying to hide her thick disappointment. Somehow, she had hoped and at the same time did not hope that it was her prince… no… the prince…

Her plastered expression was met by his usual Cheshire grin and mysterious façade, and she remembered why she felt so uncomfortable under his boring gaze. It was like he wanted something… She was sure she could give nothing of the sort, not that she would give to it him even if in possession.

"Ah, Miss Botan was it?" he spoke slowly. She simply nodded, thinking of nothing else she could do. "It was such a shame I didn't see you after the prince stole you away at the party. I was hoping for a dance."

"My sincerest apologies, my lord," she replied, crossing her fingers behind her back. He didn't seem to notice her tone. After a moment's silence she could no longer take the tension.

"Well if you will excuse me, Lord Yakumo, I must go and attend to some business inside…" Botan managed an excuse, bowing slightly, ready to take her leave. She expected something out of him, something to counter hers.

And yet he smiled that… that nerving smile, that grin… And she found she hated it all over again.

"In such hurry, Miss Botan?" He inched closer to which she stepped back. "Was there something you desperately needed to see to?" Another step forward from him and another step back from her. His grin, if possible, curled up even more so. "Or was there someone you desperately need to see?" He took another bold step forward and when she tried to back up, she found she was corned, her back against the tree.

"I… I don't know what you're talking about…" Of course she knew what he was talking about. It was bold-faced lie. But she would never let the likes of him get through to her. She wouldn't lose.

She realized how nervous he was making her feel and that he only continued with the torture. Another step closer…

"I think you know exactly what I'm talking about…" The smirk never left his face and their proximity only increased until he towered over her shaking figure. She gulped visibly. "It's a high crime to seduce to prince… especially if he's about to be married, my dear…"

"What… what do you want from me?" she found herself saying, despite telling herself to be quiet and despite knowing her voice was only a whisper. Fear grasped her and held her hostage.

The clad-black robed figure put a single finger under her chin for a moment and then pulled back, eyes staring intently into her own fearful ones. Something inside of her pulsated. She thought it was her heart. The Lord knew it wasn't.

"You have something I intend to get. No matter what the cost."

High up, peering down in the gardens from Botan's maid chambers, the missing soon-to-be queen smirked, pleased at the sight below her. Taking one last glance, savoring the fear on her step sister's face and the sadistic grin on her partner's, she turned away without a shed of remorse.

Soon, she thought. Soon everything would be put into motion.

Saw War of the Worlds a few months back with my friends and was kind of creepy!

There were these aliens and man, were they weird! They actually took humans into their crazed machines, sucked out our blood and sprayed it back onto the Earth!

Anyways, I cried when Tom Cruise, the dad, had to let go of his son, Robbie, who was quite cute, and instead saved his daughter. Well, it was touching for me.

Thank god Steven Spielberg left Robbie alive in the end.

Did I mention school seems like forever?