Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis or Kyou Kara Maou. And I'm far from making any money on this fic.
AN: I'm resuming this story. I suddenly got the itch to write again after reading some new fics in . This story will be a bit like KKM, but also different. Not all events in KKM will necessarily happen in this fic as well. The same goes for the characters. After all, this is being done PoT style. It is AU.
Chapter 1: The Prince Arrives
Ryoma Echizen shouldered his tennis bag and picked up his tennis cap from the bench. He just won another singles match, claiming tournament victory for his high school tennis club.
For the umpteenth time in his sixteen years of life.
Without breaking much sweat, as usual.
He gave out a frustrated sigh.
Countless trophies, recognition plaques, and medals decorated his walls at home. His name is often mentioned in tennis club circles and amateur tennis media. His play style is described as groundbreaking, genius, one of a kind, or legendary. He is Japan's nationally-ranked high school tennis star, the one who will eventually bring worldly prestige back to the Japanese Tennis circuits.
Just as his father did many years ago.
But Ryoma was getting tired of it. He was getting tired of tennis because the challenge has all but disappeared for him. His skill easily overpowered his peers. His opponents would play him just to gain attachment to his fame. They wanted to be known as someone who lost to Ryoma Echizens, become a willing stepping stone for the individual destined for so much greatness. His tennis prowess didn't matter.
All they wanted was a chance to stand across from him on the tennis court.
Ryoma grit his teeth.
'Who the hell plays tennis like that?'
Annoyed, he picked up the latest addition to his shining collection at home and threw it inside his duffle bag without much regard. Maybe his cat Karupin would appreciate a new shiny toy to entertain itself with. Ryoma definitely had no better uses for it. He was also running out of space in his neglected cabinet. He certainly wasn't going to insist on getting a new one just to house more meaningless awards. If it wasn't for his mother's insistence, he would dispose of all of them altogether. That or sell them to some trophy-crazed collector on eBay.
The sixteen year old senior from Sorenstram High closed the locker room door behind him. He had insisted to his teammates that he would take care of locker room cleanup duties and would soon follow them to the sushi restaurant to celebrate their latest victory.
Not that he really intended to go. He planned to go straight home and soak in the bathtub for the rest of the evening. Eating sushi and drinking some sake with some mumbling tennis idiots weren't his ideas of relaxing. They were all just going to gush on about his latest match anyway.
His latest boring match, to be precise.
Ryoma unraveled the chains around his bike and pedaled on his way home, opting to take the longer route to avoid passing by the sushi restaurant. When he was about five minutes away, he recognized one of his teammates surrounded by unfamiliar people by the riverbank. Ryoma narrowed his eyes to get a better look and realized that it wasn't a friendly gathering as some of them had unhappy glares on their faces.
It seems that his most idiotic teammate, Horio, had once again gotten himself into trouble with other tennis players. Most likely running his mouth off again about his so-called tennis expertise, Ryoma guessed.
The raven-haired tennis captain sighed and turned his bike towards the group. "Hey! What's going on down there?" he called out. He honestly wasn't interested in knowing. However, as the club's captain, he had to look out for the welfare of his teammates. Begrudgingly, he admitted that Horio was a friend as well.
One of the taller antagonists turned to face him. "Get lost, punk! This doesn't concern you."
Ryoma returned with a steely gaze. "That's my teammate you're surrounding, and it doesn't seem like you're planning to do something nice to him."
"Ryoma!" Horio called out desperately. "They took my tennis racket and want to throw me into the river!" He struggled against one of his captors. "Let me go!"
"Ryoma?" One of the guys turned. "Ryoma Echizen? Isn't he Sorenstram High's tennis club captain? The nationally-ranked player?"
"You're right! That's him! Hey Sasabe, let that dork go! We don't want to cause trouble with-"
"Shut up! I don't care about that!" The biggest of them all grabbed Horio by the collar. "I don't care who he is. I don't like this punk's face so I'll rearrange it." He turned to Ryoma. "I'll do the same to you too if you don't get lost now."
"Hn…" Ryoma raised a brow. "You sure do a lot of barking for a dog. Do you feel that good picking on people weaker than you?" He started them down at the bank.
"Did you just call me a dog?" Sasabe roared. He dropped Horio and headed for Ryoma. He drew his arm back, but Ryoma was a step quicker. Ryoma ducked the incoming punch, slid his right leg behind Sasabe's, and flung his arm across Sasabe's chest, flinging him down hard on the ground.
Ryoma smirked down at Sasabe's shocked face. "Mada mada dane."
Sasabe growled and clenched his fist. He threw his hand out and flung sand and gravel towards Ryoma's face.
Surprised, Ryoma staggered back as dirt got to his eyes. Another moment and he doubled over in pain as Sasabe connected a punch to his gut. He grimaced and tried to contain the pain as quickly as he could.
"Can't do much when you can't see, eh?" Sasabe heckled. "What are you going to do now, genius?"
Ryoma opened his eyes into narrow slits. "Mada mada dane." He suddenly lunged himself toward Sasabe, catching the taller boy around the waist. Ryoma then proceeded to throw a few punches against Sasabe's gut. Suddenly, he felt his left ankle slip and give way, his body falling sideways toward the river.
"Echizen!" Ryoma heard Horio call out. He reached out to grab something but only came up with air. His body fell into the river and sunk surprisingly quick in the equally surprisingly deep waters. He tried to swim upwards but his efforts were in vain. Ryoma felt himself getting pulled deeper and deeper underwater and his eyes eventually closed.
Ryoma groaned and sat up, clutching his throbbing head. His head felt like a tennis ball that's been smashed repeatedly against a wall. He stood up slowly and strained to open his eyes. His eyes didn't sting as much anymore from Sasabe's attack at least. He blinked and took in his surroundings slowly.
And what he saw utterly confused him.
Gone was the river he fell into. Horio and Sasabe were nowhere to be found. His bicycle was gone and so was his tennis bag.
"Where am I?"
Ryoma steadied himself and looked up the roadway near him. A little further away in the horizon, the path lead to what seemed to be a village. He started walking in that direction and soon glimpsed a young lady busy picking wild flowers on the roadside. "Uh, excuse me?"
The young lady jumped and turned to face him. Fear suddenly crossed her face and she quickly moved back as Ryoma advanced toward her. She started muttering in an unfamiliar language that sounded like German to him.
"Please, I need your help. I don't know where I am."
The young lady started screaming at him, frightened eyes evident on her face. Ryoma flinched and attempted to pacify her. "I really don't mean you any harm. I'm just los-Ow!" he grimaced as something hit the back of his head. He turned and saw a few other people gathered not too far from him. Several of them had pikes and pitchforks raised, while some had sticks and stones in their grasps. And they all looked unhappy and fearful.
"This can't be good..." he muttered.
The young lady scrambled to her feet and ran around Ryoma to join the small group. Some of the men started shouting at him, advancing with not-so-nice intentions evident on their faces.
"Um, look here, I don't know what I did to upset you. I didn't hurt her. I didn't hurt anybody," Ryoma explained. It was moot, however, seeing as the mob couldn't understand what he was saying. He looked around and considered his options for escape.
Just as he was about to make a run for it in the other direction, he heard a galloping sound coming from behind the mob. It grew louder and louder until the sea of people before him parted to make way for a horse and its rider. Ryoma took a few steps back and carefully regarded the newest arrival.
The rider stopped just in front of Ryoma and reined his horse He got off from the saddle and stood before Ryoma, regarding him with unashamed interest.
Ryoma took a few more steps back, unsure if he would have to fight.
The stranger stood about 175 centimeters tall. He had grayish-black wispy hair that was windswept, and a mole under his right eye. His tall frame was topped by an arrogant face, staring Ryoma down as if seeing through him. He had a sword and scabbard on his left hip and his cape fluttered lightly in the wind. Ryoma surmised that this wasn't someone to be casually crossed.
The tall stranger raised a gloved right hand over his face and eyed Ryoma. He smirked and placed both hands on the sides of Ryoma's head.
"Hey! What do you thi-" Ryoma's protest was cutoff when he felt something overwhelm him and he suddenly felt dizzy. The stranger released his head and he fell back on the ground. "What...what did you do to me?"
"Ah! Now you can speak in our language!" proclaimed the stranger, oddly impressed with himself. "Be thankful of my generousity, you brat!"
Ryoma didn't like that reference. "The hell..." He blinked as it dawned on him that he understood what the other man said. "Who are you? Where am I?" He got up and winced slightly at his sore back.
The stranger cocked his head with flair. "I am Atobe Keigo, Lord of Hyotei," he stated. "And you, my dear prince, are in the land of Seigaku," the man known as Atobe gave a slight bow. "Welcome, Ohjisama."