Solid Sincerity

Summary: The mysterious Eastern Prince desires a wife, while Haru, determined in making the best out of current state of life, finds more than her heart's desires. Baron/Haru.

I'm back, with another Baron/Haru. I hope that the stories I write aren't too similar to each other, but nevertheless I've come up with another story to tell. Hopefully, I can write more that do not involve Baron becoming human, or would you prefer that? Send your opinions in your review.

Based on a combination of the classic tale of The Indian Cinderella, Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, and other stories, Haru sets off on a journey of self-discovery.

Chapter 1: At the Beginning

The Council was getting restless. After arguing for hours, they had finally reached a stalemate. None of the representatives could persuade the others to change their opinion of the situation.

The elder Von Gikkingen sighed inaudibly. This was going nowhere. The council consisted of supernatural beings, with awesome powers and wisdom. All were representatives of their kingdoms and personally selected by the Jade Emperor himself, yet they could do nothing but squabble like children after a favorite toy. Ignoring the cacophony of raised voices emerging from the crowd, his smoky sea-green eyes glanced towards his son from his seat at the head of the assembly.

Despite only being 7 years old at the time, his son, Baron von Gikkingen exhibited great wisdom. Seeing Baron intently observing a flying yellow butterfly, his father feared that he had introduced his only child to his future duties too early. His son should be playing with the other children who roamed the Celestial Heaven's domain, not sitting around listening to grown adults acting like babes!

He turned his attention back to the group.

"Something must be done about the humans!" the representative from the Frog Kingdom argued. "Their children take my people as playthings, often killing them!"

"They burn and cut our forests down! They do not even bother to restore what they destroy!" another representative from the Tree Territory shouted.

"Silence," Von Gikkengen murmured quietly. He stood and smoothed out his white suit and red tie. Despite the softness of his order, all obeyed knowing his closeness with the ruler of Heaven, the Jade Emperor.

"All of you exaggerate the situation. The humans restore the land in certain areas, often tending them as gardens or creating great parks of protected land."

"And," he paused, staring at the Frog representative, "you know that the humans respect the frogs, praising them for their ability to rid water of pests like flies."

The admonished representative could only bend his head down in shame.

"I admit, though," he continued, "that the humans' follies have been more apparent with each passing day. They fight for land that they do not use. Their leaders abuse the people and squander Earth's treasuries. The people battle over trivial matters. A decision must be made whether to destroy or spare their lives."

A hush fell over the crowd. All knew something had to be done, yet none were sure of the decision. The beings which roamed the earth before humans, what the humans called animals and inanimate objects, lived for eons before their arrival. All that the word "nature" encompassed was actually connected to the Celestial Heaven, a world that was above that of the mortal world.

The humans had their earthly rulers: kings and rulers with some figment of power. The real officials with power, though, directly reported to the Jade Emperor, ruler of the upper world. Though the Jade Emperor did not openly meddle in human affairs, he often allowed for a lost child to be found, torrential rains to be stopped just before it overloaded a full dam, and other simple matters. That is, of course, if the right prayers and offerings were made.

If someone performed a deed which displeased him, they could be punished with bad luck. If it was a good deed, they would be rewarded with good. It seemed to be a sadistic cycle, immortals toying with the affairs of mortals, but great care was made not to abuse the power. Only a select few from each kingdom was allowed to become an immortal, after rigorous testing and an interview from the Emperor himself. They had not chosen one from the human kingdom in a very long time.

"Truthfully now, who wants the humans destroyed at this moment?" he questioned the group.

Few raised their hands. Those that did immediately were that of the Frog Kingdom and another from the Snake Kingdom. Von Gikkingen fought the urge to roll his eyes. Of course they would be the two that voted to rid the world of humans. They desired to rule the mortal world and create it into that which suited their own cold-blooded skin. Hating the cold, they were jealous of the human ability to create fire and wished that they were gone.

As the chief representative of the Jade Emperor, Von Gikkingen would be the one that made the final decision of the humans' fate. His mind drifted for a brief moment.

His son would replace him, as soon as he showed he was adequate for the position. The father fought a sense of anger rising within him. He could be playing with his son right now, but no… he had to make a life-altering decision like committing genocide! Speaking of his son, he heard the familiar soft mewling of Baron's voice coming from the edge of the woods.

As he was about to call his son back, Von Gikkingen paused. His son had taken his mortal form as a kitten on all four paws. Typically all animals stood on two legs, excluding of course snakes and spiders with their unique forms. A young auburn-haired human was at the edge of the woods. He saw it was a young girl, around 5 years old with eyes obviously red from crying.

Sniffling, Amasawa Haru bent down to pet the tiny brown-gold cat which stared adorably up at her.

"Are you lost too, little kitten?" she whispered quietly. "My name is Haru."

The little kitten mewled cutely. Haru guessed he was saying his name, and even though she couldn't understand, she smiled widely back at him.

She had been running for what it seems for hours. Anything, she guessed, to escape the situation that had been going on back home. Closing her eyes against the painful memory, she pulled something away from her small bag that she held.

"You must be hungry," she realized and placed a fragment of what the box held in front of the kitten.

Cautiously, it sniffed the fish cracker piece, and after deciding it was safe, gobbled it up. Overjoyed that it enjoyed the fish cracker that she had personally made, Haru quickly placed the entire box in front of the kitten.

"I'm glad you like it. Eat up!" and with a smile watched as the kitten took another hearty bite.

Von Gikkingen's ears quickly picked up the murmurings of the representatives.

"A human child… acting this way?"

"Quite strange."

"Such kindness!" one exclaimed with awe.

"Is it an illusion?" another said in disbelief.

"It is not," the head Imperial representative interjected. "It is truth and innocence in its purest form." He paused, considering his words. "And if we want the humans gone, then she must be destroyed too."

All froze at his statement. No, they all thought. It was impossible. To destroy her was to destroy purity itself, and if she existed, then there could be others like her. Though much of a group consisted of evil, the few that were good should not be annihilated along with them.

"Let's re-vote," a representative whispered, mindful of what historic moment was occurring right now.

"For eliminating the humans?" Von Gikkingen asked.

None raised their hands.

"Against?" he questioned next.

All raised their hands, some quickly, some slowly. Even those of the Snake and Frog kingdoms grudgingly admitted that the situation was true: the good should not be categorized within the bad.

"It is official," Von Gikkingen said with great relief. Wisdom had prevailed today. The others had chosen wisely, without their prejudices. Bowing and dismissing the group, he strode over to his son, and the girl.

Haru was enjoying the little kitten's company immensely, teasing it gently with a piece of grass, and petting its silky fur, when a figure materialized out of nowhere.

She gaped at it silently. It was a cat, but it acted like a person, standing on two legs. Dressed in head to toe in a white suit, and charming red-bow tie, it greeted Haru with a bow. Remembering her manners, she bowed respectfully back to him. He began to address her.

"Little one, are you lost?"

Nodding her head because she was struck speechless, she thought to herself that it could be reasonable that this mysterious being could talk, seeing as how it could walk and stand on two feet.

"Not it, he" she chastised herself mentally.

She was drawn to his green eyes. It felt like he was looking straight through her, right into her very soul, and occasionally with the light just right, his eyes seemed to gleam with magic.

Blinking his eyes, Von Gikkingen carefully removed his presence from her mind. He had entered it only to find out where she lived. Opening his mouth to instruct a representative to chaperone her back, he felt a soft paw against his wing-tip shoes. His smoky green eyes met swirling emerald.

"Baron?" he whispered, unsure of what his son wanted. Baron, still in his kitten form, cocked his head shyly. Grinning now with understanding, his father was surprised. Baron wanted to escort the girl back… strange. The usually withdrawn and taciturn kitten wanted to stay with the girl. It couldn't hurt to let him go, let him have responsibility for a change. Goodness no, he certainly would be seeing more of it as he grew older…

His father nodded his head, and seeing his son's ecstatic look was a reward in itself. Instructing his son in the safest way through the woods, he quickly told Baron the way to the girl's house and watched with quiet reflection as the girl and Baron walked away.

Sighing, Von Gikkingen felt a tug at his heart. His son was growing up too fast, but he needed to if he were to perform his future duties. The elder cat was feeling his age now. The immortal world was no longer filled with its mysteries and pleasures. Not after his wife had left to the netherworld. Even the infinitesimal powers of the Jade Emperor could not control death, no matter how hard anyone begged.

It was only by eating the peaches of immortality that any could live so long, and even its effects were only temporary. The heavenly beings, despite their resistance against many hazards of life, could still be struck down by death, the only common link with those in the mortal world. He felt his time on the plane of existence was short.

He knew his son could perform his duties well though. Von Gikkingen always relied on the ideal of having faith in oneself and constant determination. He relied on that concept for a majority of his life, and tried to instill it in Baron also. This girl… there was something so striking about her, with her kind heart and emotional hazel eyes. It would take someone special to penetrate the magical barrier of the immortal meeting place.

Shaking his head to clear his thoughts, he concentrated on summoning the magic to transport him to the Celestial Heaven. He still had the rest of his own duties, and left his son to finish his. Still his mind could not leave the girl's memory alone.

"Watch over her," he prayed silently to the Jade Emperor, as he disappeared from view.

Confusing? Comments? It probably won't be updated until after my examinations are over, but I'll try to as soon as possible.

Please Review,