I have this story already up on my homepage, but thought it might be better appreciated by people who are actually LOOKING for Hotohori fan fiction. So I'm adding it here. Hope you enjoy it!

"Hotohori's Deceit" is inspired by the English-dubbed version of the anime Fushigi Yugi, The Mysterious Play, produced by TV Tokyo and Pioneer Entertainment. Copyright 1995 by Yu Watase/Shogkukan. The events recounted in "Hotohori's Deceit" occur between episode 22 and the first summoning of Suzaku.

. . . The Plan is Made . . .

Yui was staring hard at Nakago. "You mean that Konan's side of the border is unguarded right now?"

"No, Priestess. The armies are still there. I was not suggesting an attack on the country of Konan itself." He gave her a measuring stare. "Nor will our Emperor support any raids until all our constellations are gathered and Seiryu is summoned. However, my spies inform me that Saihitei has left Konan and is visiting the Emperor of the northern country. He has taken only a small contingent of Imperial Guards and would be an easy target. You know that without all the Celestial Warriors, Suzaku cannot be summoned. And without its Emperor, Konan would fall easily."

Yui's grey eyes widened. Was he seriously suggesting assassinating the Emperor of Konan? How could he? The northern country wouldn't let the General anywhere near the border. Besides, even so far from his own god's shrine, the Emperor had Suzaku's protection, and presumably the other Suzaku warriors would be with him.

"Surely he's not traveling alone. What about the Priestess of Suzaku?" Her voice dropped slightly. "Or Tamahome?"

"She is with them." Nakago knew what Yui wanted, but Tamahome was his concern. Yui was welcome to assume whatever she wanted about Tamahome's whereabouts.

"I . . . I don't want Miaka hurt."

Nakago's stare burned into her eyes, until Yui bit her lip and dropped her gaze. He was irritated by her response. "Lady Yui. You seem to forget that she is your enemy."

"N-n-o. You misunderstand." Images circled in her mind. Of Tamahome running from her. Of bandits chasing her. How many times had Miaka abandoned or betrayed her? Suddenly Yui's head came up. Her demeanor changed and her voice gained intensity. "I want Miaka brought here. Alive. I want to be the one to deal with Suzaku's Priestess. Kill the Emperor if you like, but bring the Priestess to me."

Nakago saw the way she changed. She was so easily manipulated. He dropped to one knee before Yui and bowed his head to hide the wicked smile that crossed his lips. "Yes, Lady Yui."

. . .

Nakago turned on his heel and left the room. His smile vanished, and he wrapped his hand around his sword's hilt. He hated Yui for her hesitancy. Her loyalties were spread too far; her responses were too much based on emotion. Like a child's. His lips stretched into a sneer. It didn't matter. He had what he wanted from her. Permission. And he would bend it to his own ends.

She was correct about one thing, however; the Emperor of Kutou would be furious if war broke out with Konan over the murder of its Emperor. But Nakago had to take the chance. Saihitei was just too close to being able to summon Suzaku. He had to die now, before the spell that summoned Suzaku was spoken. But Kutou could not be blamed. It was better to have him assassinated on a foreign road and the murder blamed on bandits living in the northern country. Konan would be forced to send its army north, leaving the Kutou border virtually unprotected. The smile returned. Konan's military was just too small to be effective. And despite what he had told Yui, Nakago had plans to invade Konan, from the inside out.

He strode into his room, where he summoned his personal assassins. "The Emperor of Konan and the Priestess of Suzaku are beyond the borders of Konan. Go, find them. When you do, contact me." The assassins bowed and vanished. "I don't care what Lady Yui wants. She is too weak to order her friend's death. But Suzaku's Priestess will die. And through her, my enemy, Hotohori."