Title: Kaede; the Warrior Princess?!!

Chapter One: New Suitor?

Gender: Non-Yaoi…SURPRISE! SURPRISE! SURPRISE!

Pairings: SenRu and MakiFuji

Rate: PG-13…I suppose!

Warning: Rukawa and Fujima, in this fic, are girls…as you may have guessed!! Aside from that, there is major OOCness and some swearing, but nothing serious!

Special Notes: Well, this is my every first attempt to write a fic…I wrote some if and then I decided not to continue it but my friend, Alkateera, saw it and convinced me to complete it with her help! So we are co-writing it! And Kim is kindly beta-ing it!

Hope you like it!

Disclaimer: Slam Dunk cute boys, sadly, aren't mine!

"Dialogue"

/Thoughts/

-Places and time-

Flashbacks

-The Royal palace-

Great King of Shohoku, King Toru Hanagata, stood in front of a wall-sized window, observing (or seemed to be) the beauty of the palace gardens one beautiful sunny day. A deep sigh escaped from him as he continued looking absently outside.

"Your Majesty," A deep voice cut off his train of thought. "Is something brothering you?"

Toru sighed and looked at his trusted adviser, Maki Shinichi with sad eyes. "I was thinking about the Princess," he said sadly. "I'm worried about her."

Maki raised his eyebrow. "Why, your Majesty? Is anything bothering her highness?"

"No, nothing..." Toru turned his face to the window. "Tell me Maki, what do you think of Prince Sendoh Akira?"

"Prince Sendoh Akira of Ryonan?" Maki asked in surprise. "Well…I've heard that he's the bravest and kindest Prince in the whole region. Any King would be proud to have him as a son."

"Yes…he is," Toru sighed again. "But that won't convince her either." He mumbled to himself.

Maki blinked in confusion. He looked at his King with puzzled eyes. "I beg your pardon Sire, but I don't think I'm following you. Convince whom? About what? And what does Prince Sendoh Akira have to do with your worries about the Princess?"

Toru turned his gaze again to Maki and showed him a letter he was holding in his hand. "I have received this letter from King Sendoh Shirayuki." Maki took the letter and opened it as Toru continued, "He said that his son, Prince Akira, and his cousin Lord Koshino are on their way to pay us a friendly visit for a couple of weeks."

"And for what occasion, your Majesty?" Maki looked up at Toru.

"I'm not sure, but I think that it has something to do with my daughter."

"You mean that Prince Akira is coming to propose to her highness, your Majesty?"

"Well…not proposing I guess, but to see her…I'm sure you've heard the rumors about Prince Akira's intentions to marry a royal Princess."

Maki nodded in agreement. He had heard rumors about Prince Akira traveling to many Kingdoms with the intention to find his future wife.

"But if that so, then why worry, your Majesty?" Maki asked, trying to convince himself before his King that there was nothing to worry about. "I'm sure that Prince Akira won't find anyone braver, smarter or more beautiful than her highness even if he searches the whole world."

Toru gave his adviser a 'who-are-you-fooling-here?' look and said, "Maki, I'm not worried about that. I'm just anxious that Prince Akira might change his mind in choosing the Princess as his wife because of her behavior." He sighed. "The moment she knows that he wants to marry her; she might show him the same courtesy she did to Prince Sakuragi. The poor boy! She humiliated him deeply when she dragged him by the legs with her horse...or maybe she would do what she did to Prince Kogure, and nearly run the poor Prince with her sword in a duel – or, heaven forbid, she would hang Prince Akira upside down as she did with Prince Mitsui...or she would possibly…"

"Your Majesty!" Maki interrupted his King before he went any further. "Please, take it easy, Sire. I assure you with my life that everything 'WILL' be fine." /HOPEFULLY!/

Toru sighed and shook his head. "I can't stop myself from worrying, Maki. And whenever I look at it, I know it was my fault. I had always treated her as if she was a boy. I've always wanted a son…an heir for my throne and when my wife gave birth to a girl and passed away, I was so sad, desperate and in some way disappointed. I don't know what I was thinking that time; I tried to get the son I've always wanted by raising her as one. I've forgotten totally what she was. And now, for it, I feel regret eating my heart."

Maki placed a comforting hand on Toru's shoulder and said softly. "What happened had happened Sire, and regret won't fix anything…besides as I said there is no need to worry. All we have to do is to call her highness and inform her about Prince Akira's arrival so she'd be ready to meet him."

"And what if she humiliates him as she did with the others?"

"Well…there would be no need to tell her that he came to propose, besides we're not really sure if that was the actual reason for his visit…so we'd just tell her that he came for peace-keeping purposes."

"What if she suspects something?"

"Leave it to me, Sire. I'll make sure she won't." /Again HOPEFULLY!/

"OK then…let's call the Princess," Toru finally sat on his throne and clapped his hands.

A guard entered the room and bowed. "Yes, your Majesty?"

"Call Princess Kaede and her governess Ayako at once."

"Yes, your Majesty." With that, the guard bowed respectfully and went out.

A few minutes later, he came back with only one girl in tow.

"Good morning, Sire." Ayako bowed respectfully.

"Ayako, where is my dear daughter?" Toru asked. "I've ordered her to come here with you."

"I think she went to the woods, your Majesty," She replied in defeat, Toru and Maki sweat-dropped. "When I went to her chambers…I didn't find her there nor did I find her sword or her broadax," she sighed. "I think she went exploring again."

"I think I'll have heart-attack before I reach forty." Toru sighed in disbelief; his daughter was very unpredictable and unstoppable too. "Now what shall we do, Maki?" he looked at Maki helplessly.

"We should send someone to get her back before Prince Akira's arrival." Beads of sweat dotted his forehead as he prayed silently. /Please Princess…come back soon. Your father won't bear another failed chance of marriage…and, come to think of it, neither will I!/

-Near the woods of Shohoku-

Two handsome youths were riding their horses, and heading to the direction of the royal palace. 

"Wow…I can't wait to meet Princess Kaede," the taller of the two exclaimed in excitement.

The other laughed softly at his friend's childish behavior. "Hope you don't change your mind this time when you actually meet her, Akira."

"No way, Hiroaki." Akira smiled. "Haven't you heard the rumors describing Princess Kaede's beauty…man, they said that she has the palest skin no one ever had…with loooooooooooong midnight-black hair and sparkling blue eyes. Man, they even called her Venus on Earth. Yep, she's definitely the one."

Koshino shook his head in disapproval. "Akira, my beloved cousin…appearance isn't everything. If having a beautiful wife is all that you care about, then why bother search so extensively like this? Why not just settle a beauty contest for you to choose one? In my opinion, that is way easier."

Akira chuckled. "You see, Hiroaki, it's not only about beauty. Surely, I want my wife to be the most beautiful woman in the world, but I want her to have brains too. So in order to study her, I must visit and watch her in her own environment, you know, to know her better."

"Uh-huh, I see."

"Hiro, listen." Akira, suddenly, stopped his horse. He turned his face to the sides looking for something.

"What is it, Akira?" Koshino stood beside Akira.

"Don't you hear it?"

Koshino listened carefully at the wind, but he didn't hear anything. "Nope, nothing."

"It's coming from in there." Akira nudged his horse and headed to one corner of the forest, followed by Koshino.

"Ah…Ah…Ah," The sound of someone panting was getting clearer as they got closer. Upon reaching the source of the sound, they saw two young boys, around their age, were gathering wood. One of the boys was cutting a huge fallen tree trunk with his broadax, while the other was picking up the small branches that fell on the ground.

"Hey, you!" Akira called, gaining the boys' attention.

The one with the broadax looked up at him and Koshino with icy-blue eyes. They shivered slightly from the coldness coming from his eyes. The boy kept staring at them with an icy-cold gaze, unwilling to speak while his companion stood quietly behind him, frightened.

"What are you doing here?" Akira managed to say, after recovering from initial shock.

"Can't you see?" He shivered even more, as the equally cold voice hit his ears.

"Sure…I know that you're gathering wood, but isn't it a dangerous place to do such thing with just the two of you alone?"

The boy looked at Akira with anger in his eyes, his fists tightly clenching around the huge broadax.

"I can defend myself," He said coldly. "So go away and don't disturb us again."

"Take it easy, man." Akira raised his hands. "I was just trying to give you an advice…that's all…you know…it's too dangerous for a young boy to stay in this part of woods with a only one person to back him up."

"Young?!!" The blue-eyed boy glared at Akira angrily.

"Boy?!!!!!!" The other boy looked, puzzled. "But sh…"

"Aida!" He cut off his friend firmly before turning his attention back to Akira. "Don't you ever call me young…I could have your head for that. Understood?"

"Hey," Koshino yelled, "Don't talk to him that way, peasant boy. Don't you know who he is? He's Prince Sendoh Akira of Ryonan!"

The boy stared at them indifferently, while the other named Aida swallowed hard.

"Guys…guys," Akira smiled nervously, "Stop arguing. Nothing wrong happened…as I said we wanted to give you a warning of sorts…and you're free to heed it or not."

"Go away." With that, the boy returned to his work.

"Before we go, can you show us a short cut to the royal palace, please?" Akira asked.

The boy looked at Akira with questioning eyes. "The royal palace? Why?"

"None of your business, boy," Koshino replied sharply. "Just show us the way."

The boy glared daggers at Koshino and said, "Then it's none of my business to show you the way."

Akira groaned. "Hey, come on guys. We losing time here…please tell us the way."

"Why?"

Akira sighed in defeat. "Ok, I'll tell you. As my cousin said, I'm Prince Sendoh Akira and I came here to ask Princess Kaede to marry me, satisfied?"

Aida gasped in horror and the other boy looked at Akira as if he had grown another head, then snorted and returning to his work again.

"I advise you to return back to your Kingdom at once, before you lose your head," He said sarcastically.

Akira's face reddened, from anger this time. /That's it…who the hell does he think he is? Do all the people act this way? Oh, well…as soon as I arrive at the palace I'll make sure that he gets what he deserves./ "Will you tell us or not?" He said impatiently.

The boy looked at him and said, "So you're still going after all." He shrugged. "Well…don't say I didn't warn you. Aida, show them the way."

"Ye…es." Aida pointed at the direction, uncertainly. "This…w-way…m-make…y-you…reach the…p-palace…in…n-no time."

"Thank you, Aida." Akira nudged his horse and continued his way with Koshino ignoring the other boy, who was glaring at their disappearing figures, completely.

After the two were out of sight, Aida looked at his companion.

"Shall we continue what we were doing, your highness?" He asked, praying that the answer would be yes. But to his great fear and disappointed the cold reply hit his ears.

"And leave our guests waiting? No, Aida. We'll return to the palace…Sendoh Akira, just wait for me."

To be continued…

A/N: I know that I haven't updated since ages but my mind had really stopped! sighs all those flames about my LOTR fics made my brain stop functioning but don't worry I'll overcome it and continue writing!! I've finished another chpt of MOL and it's with the beta now!

So since I haven't updated, I've decided to give you all something to read while I continue writing…I'm going to take my baby (laptop) with me during the vacation, and there I'll continue them away from flamers!