still as bored as ever! but hey, how worse can my boredom get? it's not like i'll start dancing on some random table in a minute or two!

Disclaimer: the only thing i own in this story is Sachiko Tanaka the rest is not mine (sob! i want yoh and ren and horo-horo!)

Chapter 2

"So, tell me, who's my future husband?" Anna asked, unaware the boy she was following was her future husband.

Yoh led the itako up the dirt path towards the Palace, grinning sheepishly.

"Well, for starters, his name is Yoh." Yoh replied, thinking, Maybe I should tell her now…

"Really? What a coincidence." Anna mumbled. Yoh looked at her curiously.

"You met m---I mean the prince?" he asked.

"Yes. He tried cheering me up." Anna said. "He seemed…nice."

Yoh thought. He had tried cheering people up so many times that he could hardly remember who he was cheering up.

"I was eight years old at the time. Kino-sensei was my teacher." Anna continued.

Yoh was deep in thought.

"I only said a few words to him. He asked me what my name was, but before I could answer, his stupid twin brother ran up to us and started chanting I was Yoh's girlfriend."

Yoh stopped. "Oh, I think I know now. You were the girl who was crying because you missed your mother."

Anna stared at Yoh suspiciously, while raising one eyebrow.

"How do you know that?" she asked coldly, sending Yoh yet another one of her famous death glares.

Yoh sweat dropped and lied, "Um…The prince is a friend of mine. He told me about you."

Anna stared at Yoh for a couple more seconds and said, "What's he like?"

Yoh hesitated, "Well, he's kind and has a lot of friends. And he hates looking for a bride. He likes to help people. Um…It's really hard to describe m—I mean his personality."

Anna sighed, "Forget I asked. Now, can we get to the Palace before dark?"

Yoh looked at the sky. The sun was already setting, making the sky an orange, reddish color.

"Oh, right, let's go." Yoh said nervously, afraid she was going to slap him again. He turned around and motioned for Anna to follow him.

For someone who claims to be a friend of the prince, he sure looks a lot like the prince himself, Anna thought, watching Yoh's back curiously. Unfortunately, the itako should have been watching where she was walking, because all of the sudden, Anna's foot tripped over something in the middle of the path, causing her to fall flat on her face.

Yoh turned around and saw Anna on the ground.

"Sorry. I should have warned you about that tree root." Yoh apologized, helping Anna get up. Once Anna was on her feet again, Yoh started walking. He glanced at Anna to see how she was doing, and noticed she was limping.

"What's wrong? Did you break your ankle?" Yoh asked worriedly.

"No, I twisted it. Big difference." Anna remarked. Yoh sweat dropped. Anna walked on, but Yoh stopped her.

"Let me help you." He said.

"I can do fine by myself." Anna responded.

"But you surely don't want to present yourself to Yoh when you're injured. Let me help." Yoh said, picking Anna up.

Anna blushed once she was in Yoh's arms. She glared and slapped him, making him drop her in the process. Anna landed to the ground with a soft 'thud'.

"Grr…You baka!" she shouted.

"Sorry. So sorry." Yoh apologized, dropping to the ground, and throwing his hands over his head in defense.

Anna stood up, as did Yoh.

"Still Anna, you can't walk on that ankle. Let me help." Yoh beseeched.

Anna glared at the boy, and finally answered, "Fine, but don't carry me that way."

"All right, but is there another way to carry you?" Yoh asked, glad that she gave in.

Anna blushed when the servants that tended the gardens looked their way. She felt stupid. Her ankle didn't hurt anymore, but the boy wasn't so sure.

Yoh kicked open the doors that led into the Palace.

"I can't believe I'm doing this." Anna muttered. Yoh looked back at her.

"It's just a little piggy back ride, Anna. Why the long face?" he asked.

Anna kicked his sides, a signal for Yoh to shut up and keep moving.

"You're working me like a horse." Yoh said as he walked down the halls. After a few minutes, he looked around the corner and when he saw no one, Yoh walked down the hall casually.

"Can you put me down now?" Anna asked in a sweet voice. Yoh was stunned. Is she actually being nice? He wondered, letting her down.

Slap!

Nope, I was wrong! Yoh corrected himself as a red mark appeared on his right cheek.

"There you are!" a voice behind Yoh exclaimed.

Both looked to see an old man. He was Yohmei Asakura, Yoh's grandfather.

"We've found another lovely girl; you've got to meet her." An old lady behind Yohmei added. "This one could be the Shaman Queen."

"What are they talking about?" Anna asked, not noticing her teacher/fellow itako.

"Anna? Is that you?" Kino asked her student.

Anna looked at the lady and gasped, "K-Kino-sensei!"

"It is good to see you again. But what are you doing with my grandson?" Kino asked.

"GRANDSON!" Anna exploded. She glared at Yoh, "What's your name?"

Yoh backed away from the angered itako, and answered in a small voice, "Y-Yoh Asakura."

"You were the prince this whole time and you didn't tell me?" Anna asked in a frightening tone of voice.

"I wanted you to get used to me." Yoh explained.

"My, my. You two act like a regular couple." Yohmei laughed.

"WHAT? I don't like him and I'm not his girlfriend or his wife!" Anna yelled. Several servants stuck their heads out behind doors to see what the commotion was about.

"Oh, good, because Yoh's got a lot more girls to meet before he picks his Shaman Queen. Now come on, Yoh. I'm sure you'll like this next girl." Kino said, dragging Yoh by his shirt into another room. Anna and Yohmei followed.

The dining room was a big room with white washed walls and ceiling. In the center was a long table with several chairs surrounding it. Five people sat in chairs: one was the king at the head of the table, and the queen sat to left side. A boy that looked like Yoh except with long hair and earrings sat next to his mother, staring at the food on his plate, expecting it to move. On the king's right side sat Yoh's friend, Tamao. Next to Tamao sat another girl who had crimson hair and dazzling blue eyes.

"Yoh, this is Sachiko Tanaka." Kino introduced, seating Yoh next to the girl with crimson hair. Yohmei took his place next to Yoh, and Kino seated Anna next to the Yoh-look-a-like. Kino then sat next to her student.

"Otouto went to the village today and ended up bringing back a girl. Pretty impressive for someone with no flirty genes." The look-a-like commented, turning his attention from the food on the plate to Anna. Anna glared at the boy as he said, "And I guess she's kind of cute."

"Hao, Anna is my friend." Yoh remarked. "And beware, because she can get pretty feisty."

"Hao, Yoh, you two should know better to start a fight when we have guests." Mikihisa, the king, retorted. "Now, shall we eat, or are we going to let this food go cold?"

Everyone started eating. A sudden giggle rose from across the table. Anna glanced across the table. Yoh was talking to Sachiko, who was giggling. A sudden sadness crept over the itako. Why did this girl get to have Yoh all to herself? It wasn't fair.

Yoh looked up at Anna when Sachiko wasn't looking. To his surprise and pleasure, Anna was looking back. He grinned and stared at her for some time.

"What is it like, living in the Palace?" Sachiko asked, tugging at his sleeve.

Yoh looked at the girl and answered her question, leaving Anna to look hurt as she started eating again.

When Yoh looked back at her, she wasn't looking. He frowned and wished he could be sitting next to her in Hao's or his grandmother's place. He would do anything to get away from Sachiko. The girl was too giddy and hyper. Not to mention she kept on talking nonstop.

But he did like her. She was sweet, but that didn't mean she was going to be the next Shaman Queen. He made a promise to Anna and he was going to keep it.

"Where are you from?" Hao asked. This was about his tenth question.

"I bet you'd like to know." Anna answered curtly. The twin was very annoying and if he didn't shut up for the next twenty minutes, Anna would end up destroying the whole Palace.

"Are you married?" He asked. This question caught Anna off-guard. Why would he want to ask such a question?

"No. And I prefer it better that way." Anna clarified.

"Would you be my girlfriend?" Hao interrogated.

Anna started choking on the piece of chicken she was eating. Hao patted her back and Yoh gazed at Anna with more than a hint of worry on his face.

When she finally swallowed the food, she slapped Hao. Yoh flinched as tears sprang from Hao's eyes.

"My face! My beautiful face! It's ruined! OH, MY BEAUTIFUL FACE!" Hao cried.

"You deserved it!" Anna shouted as she stomped out of the room.

"Anna…" Yoh mumbled following her out of the room. Anna ran down the hall, Yoh quickly following her. When Yoh caught up to her, he grabbed her wrist and stopped her from going farther.

"Anna, where do you think you're going?" he asked.

"Home." Was her bitter reply.

"You are home. I meant what I said. You're going to live here…" he said.

Anna looked at Yoh with an emotionless expression on her face. The emotionless mask soon faded away when Yoh pulled her into a warm embrace.

"You're going to live here…" he repeated and then added, "…as my Shaman Queen."

Anna was shocked, but that soon faded away as she wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her forehead into his chest.

"Thank you." She whispered softly.

Once dinner was over, the group headed into a parlor. There, Yoh had to choose if he wanted to marry Sachiko or not.

"So, what do you think, Yoh? Would Sachiko be a good Shaman Queen?" Kino asked sitting in an armchair next to couch Anna and Yohmei sat on.

Yoh looked at Sachiko, who was watching Hao contentedly. He then looked at Anna who was staring back at him. It was obvious to everyone what he was going to say. Everyone, that is, except Sachiko.

"No." Yoh stated blankly. Sachiko started crying, and Kino sighed.

"Why?" Sachiko asked. "Why am I not good enough for you?"

"Don't know. I just have a feeling you won't be a good wife."

Sachiko ran out of the room, tears bursting from her eyes. Yoh felt guilty; he hated making people cry.

Kino stood up, and laid her hand on Anna's shoulder.

"Let me show you your room." She told her student, walking out of the room, Anna following her.

"Hey, Yoh, if you mess up your relationship with Anna," Hao asked after their parents left. "can I have her?"

"Anna and I aren't in a relationship, Hao. But that doesn't mean you can have her. And she's not just some possession, so stop branding her as one." Yoh remarked leaving the room.

"So, why are you really here?" Kino asked, opening the door to Anna's room.

Anna looked at her former teacher and said, "No reason. I met Yoh yesterday and we became friends."

"Oh, is that so? I thought it was for some other reason. Considering he didn't tell you his name yesterday. He'd usually introduce himself a couple of seconds after he met someone new."

Anna sighed and walked into her room. The ceiling and walls were whitewashed, like the dining room. A queen-sized bed, a dresser, two chairs, a bedside table, a desk, and one couch were the only pieces of furniture in the room. Two other doors led to the balcony and a bathroom.

"You like it?" Kino asked. Anna nodded as she traced a pattern on the bed's only blanket with her finger.

"Then I'll go now. Come to Yoh, or me if you need anything. Or even Tamao at that, she'll help you. Her room is across from yours, and Yoh's is down the hall. Good night." Kino informed, leaving the room.

"Wait." Anna spoke.

"Yes?"

"What about all my stuff back at the old place? Do I have to leave all my possessions there?"

Kino thought, and then yelled, "YOH! TAMAO! COME HERE!"

In a matter of seconds the pink-haired girl and Yoh were at Anna's door.

Kino told them what the reason was why she called them, "I want you two to go into the village tomorrow with Anna and bring back all her possessions. Is that clear?"

Both nodded.

"Good. Now go do whatever you were doing." Kino ordered. Tamao left as soon as the order was given. Kino left not a minute after. The only one who now stood in the doorway was the prince himself.

Anna pretended not to notice him.

"So, how do you like the Palace?" Yoh asked after several seconds of awkward silence.

"It's the same as when I left it." She answered. Then she asked straight-forward, "Why didn't you tell me you were the prince?"

"Hmm…Because I thought you wouldn't believe me." He said.

"I would have believed you. Did you already forget I met you before? I would have recognized you." Anna said, moving onto the balcony. Yoh followed.

The balcony overlooked the Palace gardens, and, beyond that, the lake. Anna could see the path they had taken to get to the Palace. Both watched the calm movement of the lake as the sky grew darker and darker.

After what seemed like an eternity, Anna had to ask the question that had been terrorizing her thoughts ever since the day before.

"Why do you care about a poor peasant like me? I thought all you noble people were all about money, and snobbishness. Well, except for Kino-sensei."

Yoh tore his eyes away from the dark blue waters to the blonde-headed girl that stood next to him. He gave her the biggest grin he could muster and replied, "Since I'm going to become Shaman King, I would like to get to know what the people I will rule will be like. It's important for a king to get to know his subjects. That way I'll know what my people want and I won't make the mistake of becoming a terrible ruler."

Then he added, "That's one reason though. The other reason is because I don't like the thought of people hurting or killing themselves. So I thought that if I showed you the good things in life, then, maybe, you'd stop trying to hurt yourself."

Anna listened intently to each and every word the brunette said. He talked so compassionately and meaningfully that it almost let her emotionless mask slip. No one she had ever met had ever talked about something as if it was the most important thing in the world like this boy did. She could actually feel the ice wall around her heart slowly melting.

Another moment of silence followed the boy's speech. During that time, Anna gazed at the boy who talked with such emotion as Yoh silently watched the darkness fall. When Yoh turned to look at Anna, he grinned his biggest grin again and stared peacefully at her.

"Anna? I forgot to ask this when we first met, ten years ago, but, why were you Obaa-san's student?" Yoh asked, the grin vanishing from his face, much to Anna's disappointment.

Anna diverted her stare and looked towards the garden when she answered, "Because she was teaching me the ways of the itako."

"Ohhhhh…So that's why you're so cold. But you say it like it's a bad thing."

Anna's eyes burned with annoyance. Did this boy not know what it was like to live among villagers who shunned the ones that talked to and saw ghosts? Did he not know what it was like to be neglected for your whole life? To be alone and have no one to care for you in the world? Probably not.

"Well, I guess it must be a bad thing for you. Living surrounded by people who don't understand how special it is to see ghosts or talk to them. I sometimes have that kind of trouble when I go into the village. I'm just lucky I found friends like myself. I'll have to introduce you to them." Yoh answered for her.

"What?" Anna didn't understand what the prince was talking about, even though he made perfect sense.

Yoh grinned sheepishly and announced, "I'm a shaman, too. Didn't you think that the Shaman King would have to be a shaman?"

Anna was shocked. Not because of the fact that he was a shaman, too, but because she had overlooked that fact and thought he was just a mere, normal human.

"And, I must say, I think I'm a pretty good shaman. Well, for someone with no trainer." Yoh continued, going back inside, Anna trailing after him.

No trainer, huh? I'll have to fix that. Anna thought.

Yoh strode to the door and said a quick 'Good night' to Anna before he left.

Before Anna decided to get some shut-eye herself, she set the alarm clock on the bedside table to 6:00 a.m.

And as she closed her eyes, she forgot everything apart from what exercises she would make her husband-to-be do.

Once Yoh was back in his room, he quickly sat on the bed, resting his tired feet. He had never thought he could do so much walking in one day!

His legs and feet both hurt from the walking. His face hurt from being slapped. His sides grieved from Anna kicking them so hard when he gave her the piggyback ride. Even his mind ached from all the thinking he had been doing lately. And, to top it off, he had a fiancée that could slap a rabid german shepherd and not even feel sorry, guilty, or show the slightest sign that she was besieged by it.

But as he lay down for some sleep, he thought, At least things can't get worse.

Little did he know how mistaken he was…

Bwhahahahahaha! what's going to happen to yoh now? for all of you people who actually like this story, i won't be updating anytime soon! because i start school next tuesday and i don't think i'll be able to get to the internet anytime soon. Also, this isn't one of my best stories, which is why i hardly ever work on it!

but if you're kind enough to review, then maybe i'll work on it in study hall at school. Hmmm...doesn't that sound like a great offer?