I have a feeling that this has something to do with the stuff they put me on to take out my wisdom teeth yesterday...I've never written a chapter to a new story this fast, not one that I like so much. Besides, anything that knocks me out that quickly has to be good...
Don't ask me why, I just felt like writing up a Saint Seiya version of this lovely Greek fairytale…Okay, so it's actually a myth, I just felt like telling it as a fairytale. Just a cute little fic I did for fun, lots of romance and action…All mythological references are accurate (mostly), as are most Saint Seiya, save Perseus, since I am very much not fond of Argol. (Besides, who in their right mind would pair him and Shun? Ick!) And there is a lack of both an equivalent and of vain female saints, so Cassiopeia is simply…Cassiopeia. Bleh.
P.S. - If I got anyone's names wrong…oops. Especially Cepheus Albior,…I don't know how to spell it. So…Oops.
Shonen-ai warning, Hyoga/Shun pairing. I think they're cute.
Disclaimer:I don't own Saint Seiya, I just like Greek Myths, fairytales, and some kinds of shonen-ai.
The Story of Andromeda(A Saint Seiya Fairytale)
Chapter 1: Cassiopeia's Vanity
Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called Ethiopia. Lush and prosperous as most kingdoms of fairytales are, this land was ruled quite happily by their King, Cepheus Albior, and his Queen, Cassiopeia. The king and queen were also quite content with their two sons who, though being almost as different as night and day, were both precious to their kingdom.
The eldest of the two, Ikki, was clearly handsome and strong and everything the kingdom could want in an heir. His hair was dark, as were his eyes, and he was a powerful fighter, trained by one of the strongest masters the kingdom had to offer. He was so powerful that many referred to him as the ever-lasting Phoenix, as he rose from every battle stronger than before.
The youngest son was quite different from his brother. His name was Shun, and he was so fair he was, more often than not, confused for a Princess by visitors to the kingdom. His hair was long and silken-fine, his skin was pale as alabaster, and his blue-green eyes sparkled as though the seas themselves were contained inside. His beauty of face was matched, if not overshadowed, by his kind and peaceful spirit. As a result, much of the kingdom called him Andromeda…a name meant for true beauty.
He was almost delicate, a gentle soul who truly hated to fight if it could be helped. And it usually could be helped, but for the sake of his own self-defense, he still required at least a little bit of combat training.
However, his older brother was a tad bit over-protective of him and refused to allow the sweet boy to train under the samemaster. He insisted that his master was much too hard on his students, and that Shun would only be harmed if he tried to train with such a vicious person. As such, it was Cepheus himself who taught dear Andromeda, in a much calmer and more subdued form of the art.
As we approach this story, it is the younger prince's thirteenth year, and the kingdom's problems are just about to begin…
. . . . . .
The waves crashed heavily upon the rocky shore, sending a spray of foam several feet into the air. The wind rushed by in great gales, blowing the seawater further inland and carrying the salty scent into the rocks.
He struggled to keep his eyes open against the spray, but found it neigh-impossible, especially since he could not move from the spot. He wasn't sure where he was, or what he was doing there, but he couldn't move…and he felt decidedly sick at his stomach.
"Help me…" he heard his own voice whisper to the waves. "Please, somebody… Help me…I can't…get…free…"
There was a screeching noise from amongst the waves. His head shot up, eyes widening in fear. Something was coming…something was COMING…
He struggled, harder this time, but couldn't break free from whatever was holding him. He wanted to scream, his voice was caught in his throat. A shadow loomed up in front of him, reaching out and pulling at him savagely, prying him bodily from the wall.
He cried out painfully, feeling his joints start to pop out of place. It hurt it hurt it hurt it HURT…
There was another kind of screech, more welcoming this time. The shadow looming before him recoiled with cries that could have been pain, pulling away and slipping back into the ocean's violent waves.
A fleeting glimpse of a snow-white bird was the only thing he saw of his savior…
Shun woke rather blurrily, blinking at the sunlight coming through the white linen curtains. He yawned, but didn't sit up, snuggling back against silken pillows, pulling the soft sheets up to his chin as he tried to recall the last part of his dream…The same dream he'd been having for weeks.
He tried sleepily to recall what kind of bird had rescued him at the very end, but once again the concise thought eluded him. He could only assume that it was Phoenix, his brother, coming to his rescue as he always had since their childhood. But what was the danger he'd been in? Was the dream trying to warn him about something…?
He sat up, pushing the curtains open with a yawn. Bare feet touched the cool stone floor, slowly easing their way down to enjoy the first contact of the morning.
The fair prince crossed to the window across the room, pushing back the heavy curtains to fully allow in the light of the new day. There were soft cushions on the window seat, which he sat down on and took a deep breath of clean spring air.
The kingdom of Ethiopia opened before him, the market spreading from just below his window, people bustling in to set up shop in the palace square. From the edge of the stone walls, the fine houses and streets of the capitol city stretched around them from all sides, ending just short of a beautiful white-sand beach. Said beach ended in a series of steep cliffs, on which sat an oracle of the Gods, and below it the spray of the ocean could be seen.
Shun sighed, enjoying the smell of saltwater carried from over the cliffs, mixed with the spices being sold at the market and the hanging lilies growing just outside his window. He pulled his legs up and hugged his knees, pulling the long linen robe down around his ankles and placing his head on a pillow.
There was the sound of hoof beats from the paved road below. His head shot up excitedly and he leaned out the window, looking down the main road out of the city. Half a dozen horses galloped up into the walls, a very familiar rider at their head.
"Ikki!" he cried excitedly, then took to his heels out of his royal chambers and down into the main palace.
. . . . . .
King Cepheus Albior stood on the grand steps of the palace, wearing dark blue robes and a warm smile on his face. Beside him, Queen Cassiopeia was dressed in her own fine green robes, a separate blue shawl around one shoulder, her dark hair bound up in large braids.
The small caravan of horses galloped up through the marketplace, rearing around to stop in front of the great steps. The lead rider nearly jumped off, his brown mare taken in by two stable boys.
Said rider was tall and burly, shaking out his dark hair from his deep blue eyes. He was dressed in a shorted robe, made for traveling, with heavy sandals tied securely up to his knees.
"Prince Ikki…the Phoenix of Ethiopia." announced the guard standing by the door, although the introduction was unnecessary. Everyone in the kingdom could recognize the great warrior.
Cepheus smiled, spending his arms. "Welcome back, Ikki." he greeted his son. "I take it the journey from Athens was favorable."
"Quite." a cocky grin spread across the younger man's face.
Cassiopeia came forward, putting her arms around her son's neck. "Welcome home, my dear Phoenix." she said warmly, patting his hair. "It seams like so long since we've seen you."
"It is good to be home, mother." the prince said stiffly, releasing and straightening. "But I wonder, where is…?"
Quite suddenly, the younger prince appeared at the door, running hurriedly down the palace steps in his bare feet. He was still dressed in the loose white robe he slept in, his hair hanging freely around his shoulders, his neck, arms and legs bare.
He dashed forward excitedly, throwing his arms around his brother's neck in a joyous greeting. "Oh, Ikki, I'm so glad you're back!" he cheered. "I missed you so much!"
"And I you, little brother." Ikki squeezed Shun around the waist, lifting him a few inches off the ground before setting him back on his feet. "I brought something for you. The priests in Athens sent it."
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a round, flat gold pendant, dangling from a golden chain. Shun took the ornament in his hand, running his fingers over the etching of a wide-eyed owl. "It's pretty…"
Ikki brushed his little brother's hair back, slipping the chain over his head. "The priest said that, if you wear this, Athena will grant you her protection." he said gently, letting the pendant dangle around his neck. A slight smile graced his lips. "It looks good on you, as always. I swear, every time I come back, you get more beautiful."
Shun blushed a slight cherry pink at the complement, his fingers brushing over the gift. "Thank you, Ikki."
Cassiopeia cleared her throat, putting a hand on the younger prince's shoulder. "My little Andromeda, you know better than to come out in your nightclothes like this." she chastised. "Come inside, and let me get you fixed up."
Shun sighed, looking back over his shoulder at her. "Yes, mother." he said obligingly, and began to follow her into the palace. He turned back after a moment, looking at his brother. "You're gonna tell me everything, right?"
Ikki grinned. "Of course."
Shun smiled even wider, then turned to follow their mother back into the grand palace.
. . . . . .
Cassiopeia took great pride in her own looks, and even more than her own, in those of her precious younger son. There was no doubt to why the kingdom called him Andromeda, their name of beauty. Even at his young age, he'd had most of the ladies in the kingdom, as well as the surrounding ones, enraptured with him. This also applied to a rather lot of unfortunate visiting lords, who quickly suffered the embarrassment of asking for the hand of another man.
She twined a piece of silken hair around her fingers, running a brush through the body of it. "Do you know how many of the women in this kingdom would kill to have hair such as yours, my dear?" she sighed. "It really is remarkable…"
He shifted a bit, anxious to get out. "As you say, mother."
She stroked his cheek lovingly, tracing it down the side of his neck. "Shun, sweetheart, don't be like this…You are beautiful, you know, even more so than the princesses that seek you…"
The boy shifted again. He didn't really like being floundered over like this…He just wanted to finish fixing his hair up the way she liked it and let him go back to hear his brother's traveling stories.
Cassiopeia smiled, weaving a few blossoms into the long tresses. "I have said it before…As I did today to the visitors your brother escorted from Athens. You are more beautiful than even the fair nymphs of the sea, who must hide their faces in masks to keep sailors from following them out into the waves. Perhaps it is not so…perhaps they hide their faces because they cannot compare…"
More blush painted the poor boy's cheeks. His mother gently stroked his hair once more, tying in one last ornament, then leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "There you are, my dear. All finished."
Shun could not get out of there fast enough.
. . . . . .
If there is one thing you must never, ever do in the world of Greek Myths, it's claim you have more power, skill, or especially, beauty, than any of the gods. Any of them. It causes you and those you care about nothing but a lot of heartache, and yet, people like Cassiopeia are constantly doing it anyway.
Now the Nereids, the nymphs that lived in the sea that made up one side of Ethiopia's border, weren't the highest gods in the pecking order to insult, but their lord and master, Poseidon, certainly was. He was also a rather easy god to insult, as he had a raging temper as bad as the sea storms he sent. So when the nymphs over heard Cassiopeia's conversations with the ambassadors of Athens, they knew exactly who to go to.
The first to enter his undersea palace, a green-haired minx called Shaina, was in a visible fit of rage, even with her mask firmly in place. "How DARE that…that mortal?!" she exclaimed loudly, almost instantly catching the sea god's attention.
Poseidon sat a bit straighter in his throne, gripping his trident in one hand. "Mortal? My dear Nereid, no mortal can compare to you. Is that not the very reason you must wear your masks, so that the mortal men do not drown in my ocean perusing you?"
Shaina turned her masked eyes up to him as more entered, angered even more. "There is one who believes she can compare!" she raged. "And worse, she presents her son as having more beauty in him than any of us!"
Poseidon straightened, going rigid with anger. "Is that true?!" he seethed, blood starting to boil. "And which mortal claims this, more beauty than even the fairest of gods can present?"
"Cassiopeia, Queen of Ethiopia." a calmer voice came. A red-haired Nereid, known as Marin, stepped forward to stand beside Shaina. "About her youngest son, the Prince Shun…whom some call Andromeda."
Poseidon narrowed his eyes in fury. "The woman shall pay dearly for her vanity." he said with a low growl. "And what of this…prince of hers?"
"He's very young…Barely thirteen." Marin continued. "But I've seen him turn away the fairest mortal women who come to him, the richest and the most powerful princesses of foreign lands. There are many who claim he believes they are not worthy… That his goal is no less than a demigoddess for himself."
Poseidon's rage sent the sea around him boiling. "I have heard ENOUGH." he proclaimed, standing. "The Queen of Ethiopia, AND her precious beauty of a son will both pay dearly for this offence! The Kraken will see to that!"
A cheer went up from all fifty of the Nereids that belonged to and had gathered in his court. Well…forty-nine of the fifty, as one of them slipped away unnoticed and disappeared back into the waves.
You see, this Nereid knew the young prince personally, having talked to him several times on the white-sand beach of the country's border. Her name was June, and she considered him to be a very close friend.
Now June realized that Cassiopeia's vanity would one day get the poor boy into trouble, but she had never dreamed that the outside observer would label him as a vain one. It was true that Shun had sent away every woman, rich and poor, who had come to him so far, but he hadn't done it rudely, and he hadn't done it for lack of quality either. He had no interest in the looks or riches or land they presented him, nor was he fond of the praise they showered upon him. They were simply…not what he was looking for.
He had once spoken to her on that very subject. It was just after his elder brother had declared his engagement to the fighting master's daughter, Esmerelda. She was poor, but kind and beautiful, and Ikki had fallen for her easily. As Shun had told June that day, wanted to the same as his brother and marry for love…pure love, and nothing else.
He wasn't vain or arrogant or anything along those lines…For a prince, he was simply a hopeless romantic.
But to voice those opinions in the court of Poseidon's rage, even as a nymph and therefore a goddess herself, would only put herself in trouble and bring her friend greater danger. There was only one place left to turn to…Another god.
More exactly, Poseidon's niece, the daughter of his younger brother Zeus. The guardian of Athens and Troy, goddess of wisdom and battle…The gray-eyed beauty, Athena.
She could only pray that this goddess would be gracious enough to assist.
To Be Continued…