Love Hina and Troy are the registered intellectual properties of their respective creators, and in neither case does 'creators' refer to me.
First off, sorryfor the punctuation/spacing/formatting errors. For some unimaginable reason, some things simply will not appear correctly no matter what I do. I've submitted the problem to the Bugs department of FF.N but until/unless a fix is found, there seems to be nothing I can do about these errors.
This fic will combine both anime and manga elements on the Love Hina side, as well as a few modifications of both necessary for this particular story. On the Troy side ... well, it's 100 from the movie "Troy." NOT any other retelling of the Iliad nor ANY OTHER interpretation/translation/depiction/etc. of the same story.
I am not abandoning It Is Our Nature. Too often now I have felt like writing but just could not get into the right mood for that story, so I am hoping that this will give me something to work on when I'm not in the right mood for IION
I am a history buff, but not a history major. I am writing this story just for fun, and as such I am not planning to get a PhD in history just to write this fic. In fact, I will make some deliberate falsifications/simplifications/etc., just for the sake of making this story more accessible to the non-history buffs out there. Keep that in mind ;)
This fic may seem a little light on the Love Hina elements at first. Things will start out much the same and there will be a lot of scenes and dialog taken little modified from it, but this story will NOT simply be a retelling of Troy with Love Hina characters in the place of the Greek cast. Artistic license will be exercised, I promise. Just bear with me for a little while!
Assumed ages of LH chars for this story: mid-to-late twenties - mid thirties, except for Shinobu and Nyamo (late teens), Sara (early teens) and Haruka, Seta and Tsuruko (late thirties - early forties). Kaolla Suu is her adult self, presumably in her early twenties as well.
After nearly a decade of warfare, Kentaro, King of Tokyo, the largest and most powerful of the Japanese city-states, has forced all the kingdoms of Japan into a loose alliance. Only Kyoto remains unconquered. Kanako Urashima, Queen of Kyoto, has vowed not to surrender the absolute sovereignty of her state without a fight, and is particularly resentful of the fact that her adoptive aunt, Haruka Urashima, Queen of Hinata, freely accepted Kentaro's initially peaceful invitation to join him in his pursuit of a unified Japan and now marches against her alongside him.
Naru Narusegawa, Queen of Nagoya and longtime friend to Kentaro, has grown weary of battle. Preparing to settle down with her new husband, Keitaro Urashima, nephew to Haruka, Naru seeks to make peace with the nation of Molmol, the most powerful rival to the emerging Japanese nation. All that remains of her obligations to Kentaro is to assist in the conquest of Kyoto.
Tsuruko Aoyama, widely considered to be the greatest warrior ever born, fights for the Japanese army. But her disdain for Kentaro's rule combined with her immense popularity amongst the Japanese troops means that there is considerable tension mounting between those loyal to Kentaro and those who are beginning to doubt his suitability to lead the united Japanese people. Jealousies, ambitions, old grudges and hidden agendas are all beginning to surface.
Through an impossibly small valley nestled in between high mountains, the massive army moved. The combined strength of all of Japan marched slowly and purposefully in the warm breeze of morning, all eyes fixed dead ahead. Opposite them, a much smaller but even more determined army stood steadfast in their path, blocking a narrow pass that led to the fortress city of Kyoto.
Kentaro smirked confidently as the two armies drew ever closer. This scene had played before his eyes many times in recent years, and every time the result had been the same. Only twice had his assimilation of a kingdom actually resulted in a large-scale battle. The ruler of every other kingdom had accepted his alternative to battle or surrender, and it was in for this alternative that he possessed an asset even more formidable than the size of his army. Well, perhaps not 'possessed,' but one way or another he'd always gotten what he wanted out of the asset thus far.
As his army drew to within 50 yards of the opposition, Kentaro ordered a halt. He had never seen the Kyoto Queen with his own eyes, but the descriptions he'd heard appeared quite accurate. Standing firm at the head of her army was a surprisingly small-framed and nondescript woman. She wore her full battle dress atop a horse that was also armored, and in addition to the katana and wakizashi slung through her belt she held a naginata upright in her right hand. Rumor had it she was a ferocious fighter all out of proportion to her rather diminutive figure, and indeed the fierce expression on her face was surprisingly unnerving when coming from a woman of her size. Kentaro nodded his head slightly and motioned with his hand for the other rulers who rode behind him to come forward, and when they were a horse's length behind him he himself again began to slowly trot forward.
Gritting her teeth, Kanako also motioned with her hand and four of her officers trotted forward, and then the five of them rode out to meet their enemy. That he had the audacity to bring his army into her territory without invitation angered her enough, but the sight of Haruka on Kentaro's side of the line cost her a great deal of self-control not to order her army to attack right then and there. But she bit her tongue and waited to see what Kentaro had in mind. Once within about 20 feet of one another, both sides stopped and dismounted, covering the remaining distance between them on foot.
Kentaro and Kanako stopped only when they were separated by a mere pace's distance. Kentaro was distinctly unmoved by Kanako's deadly, piercing gaze, and after meeting it for a few moments, he simply looked behind her at her lines of soldiers, and then back at his.
"Good day for the crows," he said, simply and matter-of-factly with a disappointed-looking shake of his head.
Kanako's temper crept a notch closer to breaking. "Either remove your army from my land, or be ready to bury them here," she said, anger thick in her voice.
Kentaro looked around Kanako to look at the mountains behind her. "I like your lands. Nice strategic location, excellent defensibility, good local resources ... and it's just pretty. I think we'll stay. And now that you mention in, I like your soldiers too ..."
"You might not like them so much when they're sending your arrogant ass back to where you came from," Kanako said contemptuously, making a clear gesture in Haruka's direction as she did so. "Now get the fu ..."
"Hold on there, Kanako," Kentaro interrupted. "I'm sure you'll agree that it's in both our best interests to resolve this as peacefully as possible. I won't ask you to disparage your honor by simply surrendering. Your reputation precedes you, I know you won't do that. On the other hand, believe it or not I would rather not trigger another massacre of perfectly good troops. So why don't we settle the issue in the old manner. Your best fighter against my best. My fighter wins, all I will ask of you is that you yourself lead your army as an integral part of my own to achieve a greater good. Your fighter wins, we'll leave Kyoto to its own business. What say you?"
Kanako smiled a very malicious smile, and her demeanor shifted from raw anger to near-amusement. "You do realize that you will lose much credibility even in the eyes of your sycophants here should you break your word, right?"
Kentaro raised his eyebrows and nodded. "Yes, of course I realize that. So do we have a deal?"
Kanako's grin widened. "Sure. It's a deal." She turned her head towards her troops and yelled, "KANAYE!"
A second later, Kanako's troops erupted into a rancorous roar of cheers and war-cries as a huge man stepped forward from Kanako's front line. He stood at least a head-and-shoulders taller than any other man within sight in the Kyotoian army, and must have been 3 times the mass of Kanako herself. The cheers and hoots continued from behind him until he had walked about 25 paces and then stopped, planting the two spears he carried in his right hand into the ground. He wore armor that looked heavy enough to drag a normal man to the ground, and his expression was one of someone who looked as though they must be the first born child of the War God himself.
Kentaro nodded and raised an eyebrow again in a small gesture of impressment. Turning his head towards his own forces, he called out, "TSURUKO!"
In contrast to Kanaye's appearance, silence greeted Kentaro's command. After a moment he turned around again, and there was no one stepping forward from his ranks. Another few moments later and some audible laughter came from the Kyotoian army.
Kanako chuckled a bit herself, and condescending contempt crept back into her voice. "Kanaye has this effect on many heroes. Don't let it completely spoil your day."
For the first time a sinister expression of warning flashed across Kentaro's face as he whirled to face Kanako again. "Careful who you insult, young queen," he said in a tone of voice that matched his facial expression, and then both of them turned in the direction of the Japanese army to the sound of approaching hoof beats. One of Kentaro's officers galloped forward.
"My lord ... Tsuruko is not with the army!" Said the officer.
"WHERE IS SHE?" Kentaro shouted angrily.
"I've sent a girl to look for her."
Shinobu Maehara was at the same time incredibly excited and deathly nervous. She had been serving in Haruka's Royal Court since she was 13 as one of Haruka's personal assistants, cooking for her as well as for all of Haruka's official functions, directing the domestic affairs of Haruka's palace, and even occasionally serving as a goodwill emissary to Haruka's allies, but never before had she been entrusted with such a heavy task. An officer from Kentaro's army that she had met a few times before during those goodwill visits had come to her and asked to her find Tsuruko Aoyama and bring her to the battlefield. She knew right where Tsuruko would be, as she had frequently delivered food to her at Haruka's direction throughout the campaign, but she had no idea how to make such a request. Thousands of lives depended on her success or failure. She was honored by the assumption that she was up to the task, but nervous at the consequences should she not be up to it.
Riding swiftly through the Japanese campsite, she easily spotted Tsuruko's unique, bright white-and-red tent, the same colors as the gi worn by her Aoyama clan. Bringing her horse to a halt, Shinobu quietly dismounted and walked over to the entrance flap of the tent. Stepping softly, she pushed the flaps out of the way and stepped inside.
Tsuruko lay face-down and naked atop a messy pile of beautiful silk sheets. Next to her lay a well-muscled man, also face-down and naked, with his arm around her back. All around them were the sake jugs and food trays that Shinobu herself had brought here the night before, only now these were all devoid of their previous contents. Surprised at the scene, but with her mission well in mind, she slowly walked forward towards them, and when she was close enough, she timidly reached for Tsuruko's arm in order to wake her.
Shinobu cried out in surprise when the arm instead reached out and grabbed her. Recognizing the voice, Tsuruko's annoyance at being woken up dissipated and she released her grip on Shinobu's kimono.
"Shinobu, my dear ... I was having such a good dream," Tsuruko said, groggily but somewhat playfully. Sitting up slightly, the man's arm slid off of her back and she looked down at him for a moment, then turned back to Shinobu.
"A very good dream," she added with a wink to the younger girl. Blinking her eyes a few times, she propped herself up on her arm and said, "What can I do for you?"
Shinobu became aware of the burning sensation on her face as she spoke, "My lady, King Kentaro sent me. The ..."
Tsuruko would normally have been quite annoyed indeed to find out that it was Kentaro who'd ruined her sleep, but his officer had chosen his messenger wisely. The furiously blushing Shinobu was just too cute for Tsuruko to get angry. Nevertheless, she cut Shinobu off in mid-sentence.
"I'll speak with your king in the morning," Tsuruko said, as she closed her eyes again and she laid back down, pulling the man's arm back over her. Smiling, she said, "I left you a gratuity in that sake jug over there. Go buy yourself something beautiful or delicious."
"Thank you, my lady. But ... it is morning," Shinobu said softly. Tsuruko opened her eyes again and looked up, as if noticing the glow of sunlight outside her tent for the first time.
"They're waiting for you," Shinobu said.
Tsuruko was fastening the last binds of her armor when she heard the soft clickety-clack of a horses' hooves on the ground just outside her tent. Walking over to the entrance, she lifted the flap to see leading both her own horse and Tsuruko's to the hitching post right outside, which she tied them both to. Smiling, Tsuruko stepped out of the tent.
"Thank you very much, Shinobu. Haruka is lucky to have a servant like you in her court," she said as she walked over to her horse and pulled herself up onto it.
Shinobu blushed lightly again and bowed, and then slipped into the tent and retrieved Tsuruko's weapons. As she handed them to Tsuruko, she spoke again.
"My lady ... are the stories about you true?"
Tsuruko smiled and chuckled as she slung her katana through her sash. "I suppose that depends a lot on what the stories have to say."
Shinobu's eyes widened a little as she handed Tsuruko her wakizashi and then her naginata. "They say your mother is an immortal goddess. They say ... that you can't be killed."
Tsuruko smiled again and thumped her chest plate a few times. "I wish that was true, then I wouldn't have to bother with this clunky, itchy old armor."
Shinobu looked away from her and down for a moment, then back up at her, this time her eyes filled with concern.
"The Kyotoian soldier you're going to fight ... he's the biggest man I've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him."
Tsuruko's eyes softened as she returned Shinobu's gaze. "It is not the role of everyone to be a warrior, my dear. Nor is it everyone's duty to be a servant. Taste my cooking sometime and we can both be glad that each of us fills the role that we do."
With that, Tsuruko turned her horse and nudged it into a run, and swiftly sped out of the campsite.
At the sound of cheering from Kentaro's army, both he and his leadership and Kanako and her officers turned to look in that direction. Even at that distance, they could see a lone warrior on horseback causing the lines of soldiers to part and allow the warrior passage. When the warrior was about halfway through the army the troops began chanting, "Tsuruko! Tsuruko!" along with their cheers. Quickly Tsuruko passed through the Japanese front line, and as she dismounted about 15 feet from the collection of leaders, the Japanese army went silent.
"Perhaps we should have our war tomorrow when you're better rested," Kentaro said irately as Tsuruko made to walk right past him. "I should have you whipped for your impudence!"
Tsuruko stopped walking towards the Kyotoian warrior at those words and turned to look at Kentaro, irritated contempt in her expression as well. Turning on her heels after a moment, she said frankly, "perhaps you should fight him," and began to walk back towards her horse.
From the moment Kentaro had begun to speak, Haruka had closed her eyes and slightly shaken her head. "Good lord, Kentaro, you can be such an idiot sometimes," she thought to herself, and as Tsuruko began to walk away, Haruka stepped out from the circle of rulers and hustled after her.
"Tsuruko! Tsuruko, wait ..." Haruka said as she ran towards her.
Tsuruko took a deep breath and stopped. Haruka was the one ruler out of all the Japanese kings and queens that she held the utmost respect for, and Haruka was the only real reason why she had had been fighting 'for' Kentaro all this time. Nevertheless, even Haruka was running out of ways to help her tolerate her name being associated with Kentaro's conquests. But she always gave Haruka a chance.
Catching up to Tsuruko, Haruka paused for a moment. Haruka looked at Tsuruko for a moment, then over at her own army's section of Kentaro's line, then back to Tsuruko.
"Look at the faces of our troops, Tsuruko. You can save hundreds of them. You can end this war even before it starts with a single stroke of your sword" Haruka said calmly.
Sensing frustrated indecision out of Tsuruko, Haruka continued. "Please, Tsuruko. Let my soldiers go home to their families."
Tsuruko stood silent and still for another few moments, then turned her head to Haruka and nodded slightly.
"Thank you," Haruka said quietly, and she bowed to Tsuruko.
Tsuruko returned the gesture, and then turned back around and started walking towards the circle of rulers.
"Imagine a king who fights his own battles," Tsuruko said contemptuously to Kentaro as she crossed his path, angrily sticking her naginata into the ground not one foot in front of him and then turning in the direction of the waiting Kanaye and continuing to walk. "Wouldn't that be a sight ..."
Kentaro glared at her as she walked away from him. Speaking to the other rulers of Japan who still stood around him, he said, "Of all the warlords loved by the gods ... I hate her the most."
Tsuruko was taller than most Japanese women, but nevertheless, even in her armor, she was not an exceptionally imposing sight. Kanaye smiled maliciously as he watch Tsuruko begin to jog towards him. Turning around to face the troops behind him, the veins in his neck and forehead bulged as he bellowed out a mighty war cry, which in turn enticed an even louder explosion of cheers and cries from the Kyotoians than before. Satisfied after a moment at the rallying he'd roused from his side, he spun to face the oncoming Japanese warrior, who by now had broken into a full run. Picking up one of his two spears, he wound back and threw it at Tsuruko with great speed. Tsuruko simply sidestepped and avoided the missile. Kanaye grabbed his other spear and threw it, and this time Tsuruko drew her sword and cut the projectile in half, knocking the pieces out of her way without so much as ducking her head. By now the two fighters were only about 30 feet apart. Kanaye drew his own sword, and with a another fearsome war cry he began to run forwards as well. In a flash the opponents were within sword range of one another, and Kanaye raised his blade.
It happened so fast that anyone who had blinked would have missed it. Even before Kanaye's sword had finished drawing back, with almost inhuman speed Tsuruko's sword flashed to the right, and as she sidestepped her opponent the length of her blade disappeared into Kanaye's side halfway up his ribcage, the tip briefly reappearing out his other side, and as Tsuruko flew past him she withdrew her sword and slowed to a walk, still moving towards the Kyotoian army.
Kanaye seemed dazed, but only for a moment. As a stream of blood began to pour from his nose and mouth, he dropped like a stone.
Now it was the Japanese army that broke out into cheers, and their Kyotoian adversaries were reduced to stunned silence as Tsuruko continued walking towards them, stopping only about 10 feet before their front line.
Looking around at the disbelieving faces in front of her for a moment, Tsuruko then shouted, "Is there no one else?"
No reply came from the Kyotoian army. Tsuruko walked down the line of soldiers a few times and repeated her challenge, only louder and fiercer this time. "IS THERE NO ONE ELSE?"
More silence followed, and then she turned at the sound of footsteps approaching her from behind and to one side. Kanako came to within a single pace's distance of Tsuruko and then stopped, her face an expression of shocked humility.
"Who are you, soldier?" Kanako asked, in a tone of voice that was also disbelieving.
"Tsuruko. Heiress of the Aoyama clan," she replied, forcefully but respectfully.
"Tsuruko Aoyama ... I'll remember the name," Kanako said quietly, and then she bowed to Tsuruko. Tsuruko bowed back, and then Kanako slowly pulled her katana, scabbard and all, out of her belt.
"I am a woman of my word. The ruler of Kyoto carries this sword ..." she said, and then she extended the sword to Tsuruko. "... give it to your king."
Tsuruko regarded her for a moment, and then she turned back towards the Japanese line. "He's not my king," she said as she turned, her contempt for said king clear in her voice, and then without taking Kanako's sword Tsuruko began to walk away, leaving Kanako standing there positively stumped and completely at a loss for words.