Disclaimer– Don't own the characters, never have, never will..you get the point :P
Author's Notes– Yes. I do realize it takes me a long time to write a new chapter to this series, and many of my other series as well. Sorry about that, I don't have as much time as I used to ^^;
Pairings/Warnings– Pairings are still the same...and they're yaoi and yuri, duh...what else do you expect from Crow-sama? :P And for those who don't know, the pairings are: Taito, Kensuke, Mira, Jyoshirou, Kensuke, Takori (Note: Takori, not, I repeat, not Takari), and Hiyako. Although you should already know this if you've been following along like you're supposed to :P
The bright morning light shone in through the window, slowly awakening the young sleeping girl. Hikari Yagami had slept through the night; one of the few things she had done in the past week. A strange sense of peace had washed over her since she had entered the castle, and it wasn't because her husband-to-be was sleeping further down the hall. Being here felt...right; so right that the scared and soothed her at the same time. Nonetheless, she had slept well for the first time in a long time. Even after what had happened the night before.
Tickling her eyelids, the sun finally awoke her. Smiling at the brand new day, she stretched and yawned, only to have the door to her room open loudly, making her jump wide awake. Staring at the figure in the doorway, she almost felt like she was still dreaming.
"I'm sorry if I scared you." Said the sweet voice, "But it's breakfast time, and I was assigned to bring it to you, along with help you with whatever you need."
Hikari couldn't help but continue to stare at the girl. It's her..the one I saw last night and couldn't keep my mind off of all through dinner.
Noticing that she was gawking, Hikari blushed and shook her head. "It's okay...Miyako, was it?"
The servant nodded, entering the room with the tray she was carrying. "But names doesn't matter. You may call me whatever you wish to." She said, laying the tray down on the desk across from the bed.
"Miyako it is then." Hikari smiled,"I don't think we've really met. My name is Hikari and I'm.."
"Engaged to Prince Yamato." Miyako finished, smiling at her as she hauled back the covers and helped the other girl out of the bed. "Therefor, I have to call you Lady Hikari, to show my respect."
Hikari frowned at this. "You don't have to call me Lady Hikari...Hikari is fine."
Miyako's gaze turned to Hikari for a moment, then flicked back to the bed, which she was now making. "It's not right for a servant to call someone of greater class by name, or as equal."
Sitting at the desk, Hikari slowly picked through her food with a fork. "But I wasn't always of higher class." She stated, pushing the scrambled eggs to one side, "Only a week ago I was like you, and I always thought I would be just another girl...until my Father came to me with the news I was to marry Prince Ishida. I had no choice in it...so by right, aren't I still the same as you? A normal girl like anyone else?"
Miyako finished making the bed and tidying the area. Turning, she once again met Hikari's gaze, which seemed to burn into her. Blushing, she looked down. "I will call you Hikari only if you really wish me to."
A smile spread across Hikari's face. "Thank you. Being called by just my name makes me feel real again – as if this whole marriage thing is a dream. It sure feels like a dream to me..."
Miyako smiled at the other girl. "It's very real. Although I cannot see why you are so disapproving of everything. I would give anything to be in your place. I've been a servant ever since I can remember. To be part of royalty..," She sighed, taking a seat on Hikari's bed, "It would be nice. No more sleeping in the cold servant's quarters, I wouldn't have to eat scraps of food anymore...anything would be better than what it is now."
"And I would give anything to go back to being a normal girl again." Replied Hikari, her eyes never leaving the purple haired girl.
Sighing, Miyako stood. "I still don't see you...you'll have a wonderful life here with Prince Yamato. He's a very nice man. I'm sure that once you really get to know him, you'll like him." Starting across the room, she took Hikari's empty plate and glass on the tray and started to leave.
"I might like him...but I'll never love him." Hikari sighed sadly, sitting back in the chair, her eyes wandering to the open window. Outside, she could see the small town in the distance, and a dove flew past her window, flying freely. Tears came to her eyes as she watched it hover in the air, free to do what it wanted. It brought last night's conversation with her Father back to her, and as she sat there in her misery, she thought back to the night before.
"Listen you little witch," A voice said hotly, "don't screw this up for me!"She had awoken the night before when a dark figure had shook her roughly out of her sleep. Her first thought was to scream, put a hand immediately covered her mouth, muffling it.
"Don't make a sound, brat!"
Defeated, she stopped struggling, and finally the figure let go. Beside her, a match caught fire, lighting up very little, and was soon brought to the wick of a nearby candle. In the small amount of light, she could make out the person.
"Father!" She gasped, her eyes wide, "What are you doing in here?"
She quickly stumbled out of bed, making some distance between her and her Father. She knew how he could get when he got mad, and it seemed that he was indeed upset about something.
Holding on to the light, he faced her with a scowl on his face. "Why, dear daughter, I am here to talk to you about your marriage."
Hikari slowly made her way to the far wall, pressing up against it in the darkness as much as she could. There was something in his voice that scared her more than she had ever been scared in her life. "M-my marriage?"
"I don't know Hikari, maybe it's me, but it's most likely you...you don't seem happy to be here." He said, taking a few steps foreword.
"Father, I am! Why wouldn't I be?" She lied, eyes wide as he took another step.
"Perhaps you wish you were still a filthy towns girl – a nobody. But I won't stand for this!" He boomed. "My family deserves better, and you're our ticket!"
Hikari felt herself sliding to the floor, tears streaming down her face.
"Don't screw this up on me, Hikari, or you will pay." Was the last words before the candle flickered out, and she heard him make his way towards the door. Dim light fill the room before he slammed it, leaving Hikari alone in the dark.
Hikari woke out of her dream like state when the door behind her opened and closed softly. Turning, she saw that Miyako had returned and was standing there, staring at her. Hikari's gaze caught the other girl's and they both blushed, looking down.
"Do you need any help picking out clothes for the day?" Asked the maid, her eyes still not meeting the other's.
Hikari blushed at the thought of the angel in front of her helping her dress, but quietly answered, "Yes, please," and smiled lightly as her heart danced. It was a weird feeling, one that she had never really experienced before, but she liked it. She liked the way her heart skipped and the tingling sensation. It was all so new to her...and she wanted more of it.
Miyako finally looked up, a forced smile on her face as she said, "You probably want to look great for your first day in the castle, and to impress Prince Yamato. I understand. I'll help you pick out the nicest dress you have. One that will really bring out you eyes."
"Thanks," Hikari smiled back, "That's very nice of you."
"It's my job." Miyako stated, walking across the room to the rather large closet that stood high in the corner, and opened it. Inside, it was blocked with long, expensive gowns that had been made especially for Lady Hikari before she had arrived.
Finding Hikari had stepped up behind her, Miyako pulled out a light blue dress and held it up in front of the other girl. "Hmm," She sighed, studying both Hikari and the dress, "I don't think light blue is the color for you." Turning, she took out another dress. This one was a light pink, and as she held it up to study it like the other one, she smiled, a small blush creeping across her face. "This one is perfect."
After helping Hikari dress, Miyako soon found that she had to return to doing her daily chores around the castle, and Hikari was soon left alone in her room. Unsure of what to do, Hikari sat in a chair facing a large mirror that stood above her new bureau. Her hair up in a large pink bow, it matched the dress well, and she seemed to sparkle with the slightest move of the dress.
Is this what its like to be rich and have everything?She asked herself, tilting her head slowly, and watched as her reflection did the same. To wear fancy dresses for absolutely no reason all? To have to look gorgeous day in and day out for the male population? To have to flaunt my stuff? She blushed slightly, looking down at the rather low front part of the dress. Because at this age I don't have much to flaunt...
Sighing, she stood. Mimi told me that the castle is a wonderful place with lots to do...but so far I haven't seen anything to do but sit around and act lady like.
Fussing with the bottom of her dress, that went down to the floor and was clearly too big for her, she cried out in frustration. "I can't stand this! Sitting around like some rock! I was never the one to sit around when we lived back at home. I was always looking for something to do..." That gave her an idea. Taichi had gone exploring the night before...so maybe she would have a chance to do so now. There was clearly nothing else she could do.
Quietly opening the door to her room, she stepped out into the hallway, which was a lot lighter than it had been the night before. It didn't take her long to reach the stairs that lead down the first floor. Stepping onto firmer ground, Hikari almost jumped at the loud noise of a door opening. Turning, she found herself looking at a boy her age dressed in armor like clothes.
"Oh! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to frighten you..." The boy apologized as he came closer and took her hand, kissing it lightly in a friendly gesture. "You must be Lady Hikari, am I right?"
She nodded, unsure of what to say. The boy before her seemed nice enough, but she had yet to know his name.
"Oh, sorry," He exclaimed, realizing his mistake, "I'm Daisuke, one of the King's best soldiers. Next to my sister, of course."
She smiled. "Yes, I believe I may have seen her at the gates when we arrived last night. I was fascinated to see that a girl would be allowed the status of a soldier."
Standing upright, and blushing slightly of the reminder of the night before, Daisuke nodded. "Jun has always been a good fighter, and proved it when she snuck into a battle one day. She won favor of the King, and was allowed to be one of his many guards. But enough about me and my family, is there anything I could do for you?"
"Hmm," She hesitated, "Are you busy?"
"Not really," He answered, shaking his head slightly. "I don't have to be at the gate until later today, when the guests for the ball start arriving."
"Then could you show me around a bit?" She asked, hoping her new friend would agree. She liked the other boy – he was very open, and liked to talk. It was a huge difference to the silence of the castle. "I would really like to know where the library is..."
"The library?" The boy questioned, surprised, "You read?"
Hikari nodded. "I love reading, as does my older brother. Although we were never allowed to do it, I don't pay attention to what my Father says about books. I love reading, I can't help it."
Smiling, Daisuke nodded. "Please follow me."
He started to walk down a hallway to the left, and Hikari followed close behind.
"If you really like to read than you might find yourself in here quite a bit," Said Daisuke, as he stopped outside of a set of large doors. Smiling, he mysteriously opened them and grinned wider as he saw Hikari's expression of shock. Like Taichi, she too was amazed at the sight of all the books.
"I've never heard of a girl who reads," Daisuke teased, and Hikari playfully smacked him as she took a step into the gigantic library. "But since you love books so much, you might want to get to know the librarian and his assistant...they take care of the books and make sure all the books are in place. They're also very smart when you need to find something," Daisuke blushed at this, "They've helped me many a times."
Daisuke pointed off in a direction, and Hikari's gaze followed. For the first time since she entered she realized they weren't alone. In fact, two boys, who looked awfully young, but older than her, sat side by side on a fancy red chair. Looking closely, Hikari realized that that they were both asleep, leaning close to each other. She smiled lightly at the sight of this.
Beside her Daisuke coughed loudly, disturbing them from their sleep. They immediately jumped up from where they were sitting, guilty expressions on their faces. Hikari giggles at this.
"S-sorry." The one with the blue hair said, trying to smooth out the wrinkles in his clothes.
Beside him, a shorter boy with reddish-orange hair smiled uncomfortably. "Daisuke, nice of you to drop in." He stated, somewhat sarcastically, as if to get a point across to the younger boy.
Daisuke shifted his weight to another foot, his gaze moving back and forth from the boys and then to the floor. "Sorry if I interrupted your quiet time with Joe, Izzy...but Lady Hikari wished for me to show her the library."
"Lady Hikari?" The other boy's eyes widened, "I didn't realize!" Hurriedly walking over, he bowed slightly. "My name is Koushirou, and I'm the librarian."
Smiling Hikari nodded. "Nice to meet you Koushirou.."
"Please call me Izzy," He smiled, as the taller blue headed boy walked up behind him. "And this is Joe, my assistant. Together we run and organize this rather large library you're standing in."
"I hope we didn't interrupt anything..." Daisuke grinned evilly, making the two older boys blush.
Coughing, Joe answered, "There was nothing going on...we just fell asleep, that's all."
"Yeah...wrapped in each other's arms." Daisuke continued to grin.
It was Hikari's turn to shift uncomfortably. "You guys sound like you're really good friends."
Looking at Joe, Izzy felt himself blush even more. "Well, its kind of more than that..."
Hikari couldn't help but grin herself, "I meant you and Daisuke."
"Oh! Yes, we are." Izzy turned redder, realizing his mistake. "I didn't disturb you in any way with the last comment, did I my Lady?" He asked, "I know that it does that to some people...that's why we keep it a secret." His gaze turned to Daisuke, "But Daisuke here couldn't help but keep his smart remarks to himself."
Shaking her head, Hikari continued to grin. "It doesn't bother me a bit. A friend of mine once told me that love knows no gender...I believe you may know her? Mimi Tachikawa?"
Behind Izzy, Joe nodded. "Yes, we know Mimi. In fact she shares the same secret as we do. It seems she's fallen in love with Lady Sora, as Sora has fallen in love with her also."
"Yes, that's her." Hikari nodded again, "She and I had a talk just before I left for here. It was about love, mostly. I wasn't too excited about this marriage to Prince Yamato, although he's really nice, and fairly handsome," She hesitated, "But I never dreamed that my Father would force me to marry!"
"How horrible.." Izzy said quietly, and soon found his way into Joe's arms, "I don't know what I'd do without my Joe here."
"My Father would probably never approve of me saying this, but I believe you should follow your heart when it comes to love. It sounded funny when I first heard Mimi say it, but now I know its true." Hikari frowned slightly, "It may say somewhere that it's wrong – but the heart can't be wrong, can it?"
"Such wisdom for such a young girl." Joe smiled, causing Hikari a faint blush to cross Hikari's cheeks.
"Thanks I guess," She hesitated, "But I especially believe it now that I've met the angel of my life."
Beside her, Daisuke blinked, "Prince Yamato?"
Shaking her head, Hikari looked down. "I'm afraid not. It turns out my heart doesn't even belong to a male, but a certain maid named –"
Freezing in her sentence, Hikari's eyes widened. She recognized that voice. Slowly turning, she found her Father leaning against the entrance of the library. He looked calm, and was silent, but Hikari could see the rage in his eyes. A wave of fear swept up through her. Just how long has he been standing there? And just exactly how much did he hear?
"Yes, Father?" She asked quietly, silently begging him not to make a scene in front of her new found friends.
"Come with me." He stated, and disappeared down the hall.
Swallowing hard, she fearfully looked back at the others. Immediately she noticed that Izzy and Joe weren't holding on to each other anymore, in fear of them being found out. Looking at each of them she whispered a sorry and a goodbye, and silently headed down the hall after her Father.
Upstairs, Taichi had insisted that he was not feeling well and had stayed in bed for most of the morning. Servants had come in time after time to check on him and see if he was okay, or if he wanted anything. Each time he had said no. He wasn't sick, nor was he hungry...all he wanted was some time alone to think, in which he was doing right now, wondering what in the world was wrong with him.
Why did I run away like that last night? He's a Prince...I was rude and disrespectful...but I couldn't help it, I had to get out of there. He sighed, rolling over on his side, I've had this strange feeling since I've arrived here...a strange feeling about him. I hated him at first...but that was before I met him, and got to know him a bit better. He's to marry my sister, I know that...so why was I so disappointed and depressed last night when he said that she was beautiful? It was so easy to just hate him...but somehow I can't bring myself to do that anymore. What's wrong with me?
Sighing again, Taichi rolled over for the millionth time that morning and stared up at the ceiling. I don't understand what's going on anymore...everything's so different...complicated. When did things start getting complicated? I've only been here for one day, and a night...Closing his eyes, Taichi immediately found himself staring into the Prince's icy blue eyes. He shook his head hard. Why can't I stop thinking about him? It's wrong! These feelings can't possibly be...
Giving up on sleep, and hiding in his room for the rest of the day, Taichi pulled himself out of bed. What time is it anyway? A few hours ago a servant had entered, wanting to know if he wanted his lunch brought to him, so he guessed it was some time after dinner.
Wandering the room, he decided to get dressed himself, and soon found a large wardrobe full of the most expensive clothes he had ever seen. Frowning, he quickly pulled on something that wasn't too dressy, and looking at himself in the mirror, he quickly ran a comb through his fine mop of a hair, and quietly left the room.
Finding many of the upstairs hallways empty, Taichi frowned slightly. Where was everyone? Was it that late that the servants were busy with supper? Then he remembered about the ball that was going to be held that night, and within a few hours. Everyone must be getting prepared, he thought, as he stood at the top of the stairs, debating on weather or not to go down or stay up.
It was then that he heard it. A small noise, that flowed down from a darkly lit hallway to his left. Curiously, he followed it, and as he got closer, he realized that it was actually someone's voice he was hearing – someone singing, actually, and as he neared, the voice got familiar and familiar...
Nearing an open door, he stopped and quietly peered in. It was a large room, quite larger than Prince Takeru's had been, and for a moment Taichi couldn't figure out where the music was coming from. That was until he saw the figure sitting at a piano in the very corner of the room, singing as he played the keys to a song Taichi had never heard before. It was a sad tune, yet calming.
Blinking, Taichi stared at the figure. Blonde hair...is that Prince Yamato? Could this be his royal chamber? Blushing slightly, realizing he was both staring and intruding, he turned to leave.
"Taichi? Is that you?"
Taichi stopped dead in his tracks. He had been caught.
"S-sorry if I disturbed you." He replied to the other boy, "I was just wondering who would be playing such a tune on such a bright and wonderful day." He turned back to the doorway, and found that the blonde was smiling at him.
"This kind of music calms me I guess," Yamato said, glancing briefly down at the piano that stood in front of him, "And I haven't been my usual self these past few days." Silence filled the air for a few minutes before he spoke again, "Why did you run off so quickly like that last night?"
Startled by the question, Taichi quickly searched his mind for an answer he already knew, but couldn't yet admit to himself. Mentally smacking himself upside the head, he reminded himself such thoughts were wrong. Besides, he had only just met the other boy, there was no way - "Sorry Prince –" From across the room, the blonde cleared his throat as he stood, and Taichi remembered what he had been asked to night before. "Yamato." He finished, grinning slightly, then continued, "I'm not quiet sure what come over me.."
Yamato nodded as he slowly made his way across the room and towards Taichi, who backed up ever so slightly.
"It's okay," Yamato smiled, as he watched the other boy back up with each step he took to get closer. Reaching the hall, and finding that Taichi was now backed all the way up to the opposite wall with nowhere to go, his smile widened. He looks so adorable...and he's shy. I like that. Not at all like those silly girls Father had me meet. I disliked their constant bickering..and the way my riches seemed to sparkle in their eyes. Nothing I have seen so far has pleased me...that's why Father has chosen my bride, but there's something about Taichi. Something I can't help but feel for him, even if we've only known each other for such a short period of time. "Care to escort me to the throne room?" Yamato asked, the smile not once leaving his face, "There's some things I must talk to my Father about for the ball that is being held tonight."
Nodding silently, Taichi followed Yamato down the corridor.
"Hikari." Breathed a voice, "My sweet Hikari. Have you not learned from anything I have said?"
Hikari shivered at that voice, and tensed up as she watched her Father pace in front of her.
He had led her into a nearby room in the hallway, and had been silent as he paced until now. He had been deep in thought, and for a moment Hikari had wondered if he had even remembered she was in the room. In the room alone with her insane Father – she could help but shiver again.
Receiving no answer from her, he stopped his pacing and peered down at her angrily. "Are you deaf, my dear? Have you even heard one word I've said?!" His voice rose with every word.
"Yes Father." She answered meekly.
"Then what was that I just happened to walk in on in the library?" He hissed, glaring at her. "You telling petty peasants what you think you feel, and that you don't love Prince Yamato?"
Finding her backbone, Hikari stood straight and tried her best to glare back. "But it is true! I do not!"
He roughly grabbed her chin and made her look into his eyes. "You will learn to." He stated coldly. "And another question. Just what would you have said if I hadn't interrupted? Something about your heart belonging to someone else? Someone who's not even male?" He roughly pushed her, and she ended up on the ground. "You, my dear, will forever burn in hell! You're the Devil's child!"
"And you're the Devil." Came a voice from behind them.
Turning, Mr. Yagami was surprised to find Taichi standing in the doorway, his arms crossed and his glaring eyes focusing on him. Beside him, Prince Yamato was even more surprised.
"Why Taichi, that's not a very nice thing to say to your Father." Mr. Yagami replied, concealing all anger within. "And how long have you been standing there?" He asked, hoping that the young Prince had not heard anything. If this were to get out, things could go bad for him.
"Long enough to hear your outburst." Taichi said coldly, his gaze then relaxing on his little sister. "Hikari, are you alright? Come here."
She nodded, and obediently followed Taichi's instructions, fearfully hiding behind her older brother as Prince Yamato tried his best to comfort her.
"I don't know what you heard, Taichi, but I was only punishing a child like any other parent would do." Was the excuse Mr. Yagami had come up with.
Glaring once more at his Father, Taichi turned and led his little sister away, taking Yamato's place in comforting her as the Prince stopped briefly to look at the older man.
"My Father will hear of this." Prince Yamato stated coolly, before walking off to join the other two.
Glaring at the spot where the Prince had just been, a small smile crept upon Mr. Yagami's face. We'll see. Who's King Ishida going to believe? His young, uncertain son, who obviously isn't up to the marriage, and would probably make up anything to stop it...or the high and trustworthy priest of his town?
That thought in his mind, and the smile that grew larger with every step, Mr. Yagami quickly left the room to find his Majesty before the young blonde could.
To be continued, of course! We have to get the ball on the roll, now don't we? Some romantic scenes in future episodes! ^_~ But for now, its break time for me. This was a rather long chapter...and took a long time to write it. Keep reading, and please review! ^_^