Tournament of Princes

by Iryl

Summary: All fighters are invited to compete for the hand of the beautiful and wealthy Princess Sakura. When a young Chinese lord decides to try his luck, he finds himself wanting to win the princess' green-eyed champion more than the princess -- whom he has yet to meet.

Chapter 1: Announcement

The news of the tournament was received with a mixture of emotions by the people. They were ready for their princess to marry, but, in passing her inheritance to her husband immediately after the tournament, they worried that King Kinomoto was getting ready too early for his children to govern after him – earlier than the people wanted to be reminded that he was advancing in years as quickly as his children were advancing in beauty and skill.

"Tournament of Princes," a young man read off the pole. He was traveling through Japan on some family business and was allowed several days for leisure after his affairs were taken care of. "Young or old, royal or peasant, all may compete for the hand of the Princess Sakura Kinomoto," he continued on to read the day and place and realized that he was only several hours ride away from the capital and that his business would be finished in plenty of time to go and watch a few of the fights. A warrior at heart, he wondered how good the local Japanese fighters were and made up his mind to find out.

In his head as he walked away, he began to pen a letter to his mother that would let him stay in Japan another two weeks.