well, you reviewers are the best! so when i got home last night, i got right to work on chapter 2. so here you go! (just remember to review me when you're done!)

and to all you people who thought taichi was going to find Mimi onh the beach, you're wrong. You'll see.

Disclaimer: do not own...whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa throws chair at computer


Chapter 2

Sora woke the next day with a great feeling in her heart. Yamato had finally come to see her. After supper had ended the night before, he had even stayed a while longer to help clean up and then talk afterwards. She felt so lucky to have a guy like him as her friend.

"Not that you want him to be just your friend, Sora." She told herself as she walked into the village. "Oh, no, being just friends isn't enough for you."

The shops weren't open yet at that time in morning, so Sora thought she could take a detour by walking to the village through the beach. She took off her shoes and let her skirts drag in the soft white sand. It was so peaceful in the early morning, and she couldn't help but sigh.

She walked along the beach for about half an hour before deciding to go to the village. But as she placed her first shoe on her right foot, she noticed two dark figures near the water. Sora walked over and was surprised to see a young woman asleep in the sand, her arm lying on top of a wooden trunk almost protectively. When the peasant girl saw the girl's fancy dress and jewelry, she gasped and immediately sat the girl upright, trying to wake her up.

The peasant girl cupped the sea water in her hands and threw it at the girl's porcelain face. After several tries, the girl finally woke up, sputtering the salt water from her mouth. When she saw Sora, her eyes grew wide and it looked like she was going to run.

"I'm so glad you're all right. When I saw you lying here, I thought you might be dead." Sora sighed and the girl stared curiously at her. "How'd you get here, anyway?"

The girl just stared at Sora, then opened her mouth as though to talk, then thought better of it. Finally, she rubbed water from her eyes and whispered, "Who are you?"

Sora was startled when she heard the girl's voice, but then laughed at her own forgetfulness. "I guess I should have introduced myself before I began questioning you. I'm Takenouchi Sora. I live in this village, near the docks. And who, may I ask, are you?"

The peasant girl smiled warmly, which must have brought out a smile on the other girl's face as she answered, "I am Tachikawa Mimi of Tachikawa Lagoon."

"Tachikawa Lagoon? I've never heard of that." Sora sat in the sand, puzzled.

"It's far away from here, so I guess you must not have heard of it." the girl answered.

"But if it's far away from here, then how did you get here?" Sora questioned.

Mimi hesitated and then replied, "I was running away from the castle. I paid for passage on a ship, but it was hit by a storm a couple of days ago. I swam here with all the strength I had and when I saw the beach, I immediately fell asleep on it because I was so exhausted."

"Did you say castle?" Sora asked with interest. She could have guessed from the girl's clothing that she was some sort of royalty, but a peasant could never be too sure of things concerning royalty.

Mimi hesitated again, as though she was uncomfortable with sharing such information with a complete stranger. "Yes, a castle. It was where I lived before I ran away."

"Were you royalty?"

"Yes, I was. I am the princess of Tachikawa Lagoon. But I really don't want you to think I'm anything special. I'd rather people treat me like everyone else." Mimi said with pleading in her voice.

"Of course." Sora said, standing up. She outstretched her hand to help Mimi up. The princess took her hand and stood up, but started to wobble violently. Mimi tried to steady herself, but it seemed to Sora as if the girl had never walked before in her life. Sora tried to help Mimi stand up with ease, but that only worsened Mimi's attempts and the princess ended up tripping over the wooden trunk.

Sora helped her up and then made her sit on the trunk. She said matter-of-factly to the princess, "I'll go get someone to help carry your trunk, since I'm too weak to carry such a thing and you can barely stand, let alone carry a trunk."

"Give up yet, Yagami?" Yamato asked, lashing out with his sword quickly.

"Not at all, Ishida." Taichi dodged, and thrust his own sword forward. "What took you so long in getting here last night?"

Yamato smiled as he blocked Taichi's sword with his. "I was just greeting some friends near the docks."

"You mean Sora?" Taichi questioned further with a frown. He let down his guard and that was when Yamato finally beat him.

"Who else? I caught her as she was about to leave for the docks and I decided to help her with her purchases. She thanked me by inviting me to supper. You're not jealous, are you?" Yamato grinned as the two young men sat down in the courtyard of the Yagami Palace.

Taichi snorted, "Me? Jealous? You must be thinking of someone else. Maybe Daisuke."

"Right." The two laughed and Yamato announced he was going into the village that morning to talk with Iori. Taichi told Yamato that he also had plans and the prince left to do them.

Yamato met Koushiro along the way. He asked the king's advisor if he would like to go for a walk with him. Koushiro agreed, saying he was getting bored since there was nothing to do in the palace at that time. But before they even left the palace grounds, a voice called out to them, and they turned to see Sora running in a hurry up to them.

When she reached them, Sora panted and both looked at each other. They both figured she must have ran a long way. She smiled and greeted them both and asked, "Are you two busy right now? I need to do someone a favor and I need to strong men like you to help."

"You don't need to flatter us, Sora. You could have just asked and we'd help." Koushiro said with a small smile. Yamato nodded in agreement, but then glared when Koushiro added, "All that flattery will enlarge Yamato's head."

"Good. Now come with me." Sora said, and pulled them towards the beach.

Mimi could hardly believe what she saw after Sora left. She sat on the trunk and lifted her skirts to see two perfect white legs. The princess would have fainted if she weren't so puzzled. How did a human walk, anyway? Every time she got up, she wobbled and fell to the sand.

"Now that I'm human, I can start my life over again and I can be happier." She muttered. She pondered over that statement over for a few seconds and added, "Though I will miss my real home."

But then she remembered Michael sending cold shudders down her spine as he held her hand and her father's thrilled expression when he thought of gaining new land. Lastly, she remembered Jyou's smug smile form the night before when he'd told her she'd be back.

Mimi sat up suddenly and yelled out to the sea, "I won't be back, just you wait. I'll never go back and nothing you can do or say can make me!"

After several more attempts to walk, she sat beside the trunk and patted the sand with her feet. Then, noticing how her feet were sand covered and bare, she opened the trunk and grabbed out a pair of emerald-colored slippers and jammed them onto her feet. At first it felt weird when she stood up and tried to walk with them on, but then she noticed she had put them on the wrong feet. After switching the shoes, she walked again and was surprised to learn that she wasn't wobbling as much and she hadn't fallen yet.

"I think…" she pondered as she walked a couple of feet from the trunk and then back. "…that I'm getting the hang of this walking thing."

Once she got down walking, she sat on the trunk again and wondered what was taking that so long. Ten minutes later, as she was kicking her feet in the sand, she saw three people running down the beach toward her. Finally, she though and stood up. Sora ran up to her and grabbed her hands. Mimi observed the other two who ran behind Sora.

They were both boys near her own age, she figured. One had red hair and was a head shorter than the other three. That boy wore an orange tunic with brown breeches and he looked over Mimi with coal black eyes. The other boy looked over Mimi with bright blue eyes. He had a head full of blonde hair and he wore a white cotton tunic and brown breeches. A sword hung by his side and her body grew tense. Sometimes she heard stories from mermen that humans killed with the sharp pointy things.

"Oh, Mimi, this is Izumi Koushiro. Koushiro is King Yagami's advisor." Sora said, pulling her towards the red head. Mimi tried a thing that the humans called a curtsy, but her knees started to wobble and she stopped, afraid she would fall again.

Sora turned to the other boy and announced with a fond smile, "And this is Ishida Yamato. Yamato's father, Lord Ishida, is here visiting the Yagami Palace."

Then, the orange haired girl turned Mimi to face both boys and she told them, "This is Tachikawa Mimi. Mimi is a princess of a far away land called Tachikawa Lagoon and she ran away from home. A couple of days ago, the ship she was sailing on got caught in a storm and she had to swim all the way here with her trunk."

Both of the boys bowed to Mimi and she gave them a small, but friendly smile. Sora turned to Mimi and explained, "Koushiro and Yamato are going to carry your trunk to the palace."

"Palace?" Mimi asked.

Sora nodded. "Since you're royalty, I thought you might want to stay among other royalty." She turned to the other two. "Do you guys think Taichi's parents will let her stay there?"

"Ask Koushiro. He spends more time with the king than I do." Yamato said as he grabbed a handle on the side of the trunk.

Koushiro picked up the other side and answered, "I'm sure King Yagami will let her stay. If she needs a place to stay that badly, then of course."

Sora led them through the village, pointing out everything to Mimi along the way. Mimi nodded enthusiastically with each syllable that dropped from Sora's mouth. She wanted to learn everything about the humans, starting with how they lived.

The four left the village and climbed up a steep road towards a palace that rested on the hillside. Mimi couldn't see the whole palace but she could see the tips of towers over the trees. She wondered how big the palace would be. The Tachikawa castle wasn't that big, but it served the court well.

After another five minutes, they reached the gate surrounding the palace. Yamato and Koushiro managed to get the guards to open the gates, and the four walked in. Mimi gasped and held Sora's arm in excitement.

The palace was beautiful! It was even bigger than the home Mimi had left behind. And much more organized. A walkway led to the front doors and gardeners had taken a great deal of time to arrange flowers and bushes along the path. The front doors themselves were made out of expensive timber and shone in the morning sun with pride.

Sora didn't have to open the doors because when they were only several feet away from the doors, it opened and revealed two teens. One was a pretty girl with short brown hair and a flowing purple gown. The other was a boy with the same blue eyes and blonde hair as Yamato. The two were in conversation when they stepped out of the palace, but then they noticed the other four and stopped.

"Sora, what are you doing here?" the girl asked, staring at Sora with a puzzled look.

The boy looked past Sora and saw Yamato and Koushiro holding the trunk. Then, he turned back to Sora and noticed Mimi. He pointed to her and asked, "Who is this?"

Sora pushed a reluctant Mimi forward and explained, "This is Princess Tachikawa Mimi."

Sora then continued to tell the two newcomers about Mimi's coming to the kingdom and about where she came from. When Sora was done with explaining, the girl stepped forward and performed a perfect curtsy.

The girl held out her hand to Mimi and greeted, "It's nice to meet you, Mimi. I am Princess Yagami Hikari. I welcome you to our palace."

Mimi shook her hand and attempted once again at a curtsy. She did it a little better that time, but it was hard. She thought that it was easier to do in under the water when she was pretending to be human.

The boy stepped forward and held out his hand after a bow. "And I am Ishida Takeru, youngest son of Lord Ishida."

Mimi curtsied again and shook his hand, smiling with pure excitement.

Takeru looked over to Yamato and said, "Yamato, Taichi told me that if I saw you that I should tell you that he wants to have another sword fight after midday."

"He'll just lose again, but I'll face him again anyway." Yamato sighed teasingly.

"Don't let Taichi hear that." Hikari giggled and she and Takeru walked towards the steep road.

Once the two were gone, Sora led Mimi into the palace. They walked down a corridor with beautiful glass windows that let the early morning sun shine through and light everything.

"Just where are we going?" Mimi asked, tugging on Koushiro's sleeve.

The red headed youth chuckled at her anxiety. "First, we are to see King Yagami so we can ask if you can stay here until you decide to go back to wherever you came from."

Mimi gave him a smile as she whispered, "I'm never going back to where I came from."

Miyako sighed as she walked around the village, trying to find something to do. Hikari had wanted her to fetch some fresh bread from Iori. But the palace chef already had enough bread. Which was why Miyako had taken Hikari's order to really mean 'I want to spend time with Takeru without you there'.

And that left Miyako with nothing to do but wander aimlessly around the village until Hikari came for her.

She found a wooden box outside the baker's store and she sat on it, waiting for Iori to get done with making the bread Hikari asked for.

She could have just asked me to go away while she walked with Takeru, Miyako thought angrily when she saw the two walking into the bookkeeper's shop. Then, an idea forming in her head, she suddenly jumped up. Slowly, she made her way across the Square toward the bookkeeper's shop and ducked inside quickly when she got to the open door.

The bookkeeper's shop was filled with shelves and shelves of books, which gave a person a great hiding place. Miyako found the bookkeeper's shop the greatest place in which to find gossip in. The bookkeeper's wife knew everything about everyone; she was the perfect person to go to when someone wanted to know what was bugging their friends or what was happening with people. Another great thing about the shop was that one could easily hide behind a bookshelf and eavesdrop on every customer, including Princess Yagami Hikari and His Highness, Takaishi Takeru.

Hikari's and Takeru's conversation was well…boring. At least to Miyako. There was nothing worth while in it. No 'You're the only person for me' or 'I couldn't live if you weren't here' lovey dovey sayings. The fact that they were only talking about politics and how stupid their brothers were brought tears of boredom to Miyako's eyes.

They left shortly after Miyako had started to eavesdrop, and Miyako was about to leave when a book caught her eye on the shelf in front of her. She took the book off the shelf, reading over the cover. The servant girl smiled to herself, remembering the book from her childhood. It was a book she read often, about a servant girl and a noble knight. The two fell in love after the knight saved the servant girl from pirates attacking the island they lived on. But nobody thought the knight would fall in love with a mere servant girl and they banished her from the country. But the knight followed her, but couldn't find her anywhere. Finally, after four years, the knight and the servant girl were reunited and they married happily ever after.

Most of the villagers Miyako talked to said the book was a total waste of time and was some silly fantasy that only little girls would find true. But Miyako believed that she was going to become that servant girl one day, minus the banishing of the country and waiting four years for her knight to find her.

Well, what else do I have to do? It's not like I have to be anywhere while the bread is baking, she told herself as she sat down on the ground and leaned on the bookshelf. Miyako opened the cover but then started to get second thoughts. I shouldn't read this. It always makes me cry. Besides, Hikari might be looking for me right now.

Then, getting over her worries, she opened the book and began to read.

Ichijoji Ken, the bookkeeper's son, was helping his friend Daisuke clean the blacksmith's forge when the baker's young son, Hida Iori, stopped by. The two older boys said hello to the younger boy when he stepped into the forge.

As always, Iori got straight to the point and asked, "Has either of you seen Miyako?"

The two shook their heads and Ken could have sworn he flushed at the mention of the servant girl's name.

"If either of you two do see her, tell her that the princess's bread is done." The young dark-haired boy left the forge and Daisuke grinned at his friend.

"Why are you blushing, Ken?" the blacksmith's son asked.

Ken turned away from Daisuke and said in a whisper, "No reason."

The two became silent and then Daisuke started to tease Ken. The bookkeeper's son became agitated, though he didn't yell at his friend, and left the forge. He went to the baker's and found Iori. Then, after much disagreeing, Iori gave him the princess's bread.

Sighing, he strode over to his father's book shop and looked through the shop until he came to the aisle he was looking for. There sat Miyako, hugging her knees, book propped up in her lap, her eyes filled with tears. Once again Ken sighed, but this time it wasn't in agitation, it was in relief that he had found her.

Sitting down next to Miyako, he stated, "I thought you weren't going to read that book again."

She looked up, startled and gave a nervous giggle. "True, I did say last time I wouldn't read it. But I just can't give this book up. It's one of my favorites."

Ken chuckled as she hugged the book to her chest and wiped her eyes. "If you like it that much, then you can keep it."

Miyako stared at him with a stunned expression. When he returned her gaze with a calm demeanor, she looked away, a light pink rising to her cheeks. He sat up, and held up a hand to help her up also.

"You can keep that book-free of charge-if you promise not to cry the next time you read it." Ken stated, giving her a shy smile.

The servant girl laughed and replied, "If you say so. And when I read it, I'll think of you, Ken."

Miyako surprised the boy by giving him a quick peck on the cheek and she hurried out of the shop. Then, recovering from his daze, he remembered the morsel of food in his hand and ran outside after her.

He handed her the bread and explained, "Iori said this was the princess's bread."

She took the bread and smiled, turning her head away so he couldn't see her blush. "Thanks. I'll see you tomorrow then?"

"Right." He also turned his head away to blush and the two said goodbye.

When Ken returned to the blacksmith's forge, he ignored Daisuke when he asked why he was as red as a turnip.

now that you're done reading this...REVIEW! yes, i know i am just a teeny bit greedy, but that's my nature...hopefully i will finish chapter 3 by this afternoon...that is, if you review...like i said...greedy!