His eyes followed the movement of the pink-haired girl as she strolled down the forest, humming.
In his eyes, she was the personification of a goddess of the rainforest where he lives. Where she walks, he swore he could see the flowers blossoming underneath her feet.
That was how golden the Lady Haruno Sakura was in his eyes.
He longed to walk towards her, to introduce himself, and to let her know how much he venerated her.
But the only thing that would come out of him whenever he opens his mouth was not the most coherent thing to say to a human.
The Frog and the Princess
This fairy tale is dedicated to Mendori-chan, TK-san, WormKaizer, GoddessLD (who constantly reads whatever fandom this authoress manages to trespass ) and Xoni Newcomer. Thanks for the read and the reviews!
Once upon a time, in a far, far away kingdom—as in really, REALLY far that it was totally inaccessible through aircraft, bullet trains, cruise ships and Mars space probes—there lived a dashing young man who incidentally was also the newly crowned prince and ruler of the said inaccessible kingdom. This was Uchiha Sasuke, a young man who carried an aura of enigma around him. He never spoke much, even when destructive rumors involving him circulated in the whole kingdom—rumors saying that he apparently killed his entire clan to obtain the throne.
He didn't say anything to deny or affirm the gossips. He just stayed silent, and his constituents –mostly the female population—stayed loyal to His Majesty.
Among these women was a certain daughter of one of the court earls. Beautiful, sassy, schizophrenic Lady Haruno Sakura, who had already been living in the court even before she knew how to speak, had already made up her mind that she was the rightful queen that would sit beside the Lord Sasuke and rule over the kingdom.
Now if only she could have her way. For in the court, too, lived her former-best-friend-now-rival-for-love, Ino Yamanaka. The blonde was not lagging too far behind the rose-haired girl in terms of beauty, intelligence, and combat skills.
Well, at least that was what Ino's personal attendant as well as her father's personal political strategist, Nara Shikamaru, thought. Thought, because he would never, EVER allow himself the liberty to voice his, uh, immensely favorable opinion regarding his blonde mistress. It was simply too troublesome to deal with its consequences.
Fortunately, his secret was safe from the food-saddled mind of his fellow attendant, Akimichi Chouji. It would never do to have complications arise from guarding the woman who may take the vacant seat next to the crown prince someday.
Chouji here was always cheerful and laidback; just don't vex him regarding his horizontal proportion. And yes, if you were one of those damn ants that couldn't keep out of his beloved meals, then stay away. STAY FAR AWAY. You wouldn't want to see him mad. AND hungry.
Needless to say, the mysterious insect-loving Aburame Shino was not in good terms with him. But come to think of it, no one was ever in good terms with this vocally undemonstrative character. He had always shown preference for insects for company rather than men.
He was not the lone pet lover though. Inuzuka Kiba, the head of the Royal Ranch in the kingdom, adored his puppy, Akamaru, strengthening the cliché: dogs make a better man's best friend than man himself. However, he still had eyes for human beings too. In his opinion, one of the few humans who were worth their biological nomenclature was Hinata-chan.
Hinata arrived in the kingdom months ago, applying as a maid. She was received as an assistant to the head of the Royal Ranch, but later on, she was also awarded the job of looking after the Lady Haruno. She was perpetually reserved and shy, but she had ready smiles for anyone—smiles that could make even the Prince Sasuke or the distant Shino pause.
Yet her smile fails when it comes to the proxy earl of the Hyuuga court, Hyuuga Neji. The indifferent young man has always considered Prince Sasuke as his main enemy and rival, and not bothered to hide this. He would always challenge the prince when it comes to court decisions and proclamations.
He was not alone in wanting to test the prince. Rock Lee, the most persistent of Lady Haruno's suitors, had made it his personal crusade to win one over the crown prince—may it be in combat skills, debates, or fashion flair. He was very, very proud of his hair—painstakingly styled according to the Way of Sir Gai.
Sir Gai, the flashy mentor of Rock Lee, Neji, and Tenten the wise mage, was one of the many men and women who comprise the independent council of the kingdom, advising the crown prince on his decisions and actions. The grand council, known collectively as the Hidden Leaf Starlets (yes, it was the great Sir Gai who baptized the council), boasted of its most dynamic member and premier team mascot, Hatake Kakashi.
The 26-year-old worshipper of Come, Come Paradise novels, however, mustn't be taken lightly. Having mastered the mimicked art of 1000 techniques, he had been a member of the Starlets since he was six. Among the councilmen, it was only he whom Sasuke would consider earnestly a suggestion from.
This, more or less, makes up the Uchiha Court. They were the fibers that shape the excitement, intrigue, and affairs of the Hidden Leaf kingdom.
Which will make you think where the hell does the frog in the beginning of this chapter fit in.
Since you've asked, let's return to their scene.
The frog mustered his guts, and then carefully, he drew towards the princess of his froggy life.
He croaked out a 'Hi!'.
She whirled around, face pale, mouth open in utter horror. "Aiiiee! A frog, a FROG!"
He grinned. "Um, yeah, thank you for noticing what I am! So glad we're on the page! How do you do?"
He shouldn't have expected for a response; he was used to humans not understanding him anyway.
"Hinata! Get that icky dicky yucky dirty slimy warty froggy AWAY from meeeee!" Sakura screeched.
"Y-Yes, Lady Sakura…" A raven-haired girl appeared from out of nowhere, panicked. It wouldn't do that the Lord Haruno would know that she wasn't able to respond quickly to the needs of his apple of the eye.
"Well, excuse me, Princess! I may be icky, dicky, yucky, dirty, and slimy, but I'm pretty sure I don't have any warts," a male voice sulked, startling Hinata. She quickly turned around, looking for its source.
No one was around.
Then who did I hear?
"Byakugan!" She scanned the surroundings for any sign of life.
Negative. Save for the gloomy frog which was hopping away.
Suddenly, the frog turned around again to face them. "Someday, Lady Sakura, I hope you would look at this icky dicky yucky dirty slimy but definitely NOT warty froggy. I have so many things to tell you. Like, how my skin complements your red gowns like Christmas decors-"
"UGH! It's looking at me! Eew!" Sakura shivered, face contorted in disgust. "Hinata, I will not follow Lord Sasuke anymore in his hunt to the forest. I will just wait for him in the palace!" With that, she marched out of the woods, head held up high.
Hinata was left standing alone in the forest. She looked around, hoping to catch the frog who talked.
"Froggy! Froggy, if you can hear me…no, if you are listening to me…" She bowed down apologetically. "I-I'm sorry for what my lady said. She doesn't mean to hurt your feelings. She just isn't used to forest creatures."
From the bushes, the red-green frog hopped out cautiously, eyes glinting in curiosity.
"Y-You… you can understand me?" asked the amphibian, eyes wide.
"Of course!" She smiled gently. "You speak loud and clear"
"No, I mean, you're a human, and I'm a frog." You're just supposed to hear me say 'kokak, kokak'
"But your being a frog doesn't affect the tone of your voice—vibrant, strong, and firm. Few people speak that way, especially in the court where I work." She sat down in front of the animal and offered her hand. "My name is Hinata."
"Froggy's fine." The animal looked at her hand helplessly. "I can't shake yours with—" Before he could finish his sentence, the girl had scooped him up already with her hands and placed him directly in front of her face.
"Your eyes," she murmured, "oh, how they twinkle!"
"Eh?! How the heck did you see my eyes twinkle?" Naruto looked utterly puzzled.
"I just do." She put him back down. "Be careful on your journey now, Froggy."
"Grah, you shouldn't have touched me," said the amphibian ruefully, gazing at her hands. "Now you've got slime on you."
"Is that supposed to be a bad thing?" she asked smilingly.
"Of course not!" The frog grinned. He liked this girl already.
"Hinata!" Lady Sakura's voice rang from the distance.
"I better get going." The raven-haired girl gave her new friend a courteous bow. "Goodbye for now, Froggy."
"Bye for now, Hinata." Naruto watched her disappear back into the entrance of the woods.
Naruto glanced above him and saw Sir Iruka on the treetop, watching him. Obviously, his mentor had witnessed the whole exchange freely.
"Old men really like to gossip around, don't they?" he spat.
"I'm not THAT old!" The man jumped down. "But it's weird. Naruto, why didn't you transform? She touched you, didn't she?"
"Beats me." The frog groaned. "Life has never been easy for me ever since that weirdo with the pale skin placed that scary seal on me."
Orochimaru. Iruka clenched his fists. The all-powerful threat that everyone thought only existed in legends. It was unfortunate that it had to be his unwitting student, Uzumaki Naruto, who had to see the face of this evil incarnate. Now the only way to get his normal life back was if he could face the devil again.
He looked at the seal that the frog kept hidden on his stomach: a curse that turned him into this animal, and could only transform into his original persona if touched by the opposite sex.
"Oh well, it was getting late anyway. We better get started on dinner." Iruka started to walk away, followed by the hopping Naruto.
"Flies in the soup?" asked the man teasingly.
"Heeeey!" whined the frog-boy.
And from this, readers, we would start the fairy tale of the Princess and the Frog.
:: to be continued ::