Through A Looking Glass
平安京の桜の物語(へいあんきょうのさくらのものがたり)
By: Aisaki Sumi

Into the darkness we will fall
The rushing wind and the whispers of dreams
Our eternal companions
And through a looking glass we see
A distorted image of Life
Fabricated with lies
But I will penetrate through the layers
And find the truth hidden beneath

(Opening poem in Heike no Monogatari)

祇園精舎の鐘の声
諸行無常の響きあり
娑羅双樹の花の色
盛者必衰の理をあらわす

おごれる人も久しからず
唯春の夜の夢のごとし
たけき者も遂にはほろびぬ
偏に風の前の塵に同じ

The sound of the Gion Shoja bells
Echoes in harmony with the ephemeral things in life
The color of the sara blossoms
Reveals the unwritten rules that when the highest peak of prosperous is reached, declination must follow.
The conceived ones will not last long,
like a midnight spring dream
The stronger ones must fall (in this cyclic life)
as if they were feather-light dusts.

-- Translated by Aisaki Sumi

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Chapter One
Rebirth, arisen from the ashes

The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract

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She had been told ever since her birth that a young lady from a wealthy family, such as herself, was born to marry someone from the most aristocratic families at the time. It was always about power struggles and gaining a higher status.

There was no love in a marriage. Love wasn't needed when power was invovled. Women were always the tools of men to a higher success. Fathers would send their daughters off to become the wives, sometimes even concubines of powerful men in exchange for more authorities over things.

What happened afterwards in their marriage wasn't important. Those innocent young girls who dreamed about a wonderful husband and a family were forced to face the cold, harsh reality. Their husbands, whom they've never met before until the holy ceremony, were nothing like what they had in mind.

Most of the girls were being used as a sex toys and breeding machine. If they were able to give birth to a boy, they might be able to keep their status as the wife or concubines.

But if they gave birth to a girl, they were considered as disgraceful and were often badly treated like servants. However, even if the wife gave birth to a girl, her child would still be better treated than a girl from a concubine.

That was the destiny of women from that era, and throughout recorded history. It wasn't fair. Sakura often thought. Women were just as good as men, perhaps even better. But men dominated the imperial court. They were the ones with the real political powers, rendering women powerless.

It wasn't fair.

But it was the way life was. There wasn't much she could do other than to watch, silently in the darkness. It irked her to no end that no woman had ever come forth to defy their destiny. No woman had ever rebel against her husband. And she knew the reason behind it, a bit all too well, from her mother.

It was because of Love.

Women were stupid and naïve enough to fall in love with their heartless husbands over a few gifts or poisonously sweeten words and unrealistic promises of a better future. After they lose their beauty and youth, they were pushed away and were treated like nothing but dirt.

Love, such a pathetic ideology, was at the heart of those women's miseries and sufferings. Their visions were blinded; their minds were poisoned by fantasies of a beautiful and dazzling future. To worsen their predicaments, they still tried so hard to please their husbands in a desperate attempt to win over those hearts when those men had none to begin with.

Every day, they fought endlessly for their husbands' attentions. Every day they had to compete against each other to see who would be the most beautiful woman in the house and who would win their husband's heart. Dirty tricks were commonly used to make their competitors look bad.

It was almost pathetic.

Her mother, Nadeshiko, was once a beautiful woman; elegant and witty. She was born into a wealthy and well-respected family. Her father was a successful merchant in Heian-kyo. Brilliant and honest he was, but sometimes a bit too straightforward. And this nature of his made him many enemies.

When her mother was only sixteen, her family business went bankrupted over one night. Her father's enemies ganged up on them and brought down their business by pulling a few strings here and there.

Nadeshiko's father committed suicide shortly because his pride wouldn't allow such a disgraceful failure. Her mother fell terribly ill and passed a way soon after because she didn't know how to support the family, leaving Nadeshiko homeless and in a great amount of debts.

Nadeshiko was supposed to marry Kinomoto Fujitaka in a deal made by the two families long ago. And her husband, Fujitaka, was the owner of the biggest silk selling stores in Heian-kyo at the time. But because of her family's downfall, she was no longer wanted.

But the Kinomoto family kept their words, though with much reluctance, and took her in. Only under the condition that she could only be a concubine. Nadeshiko knew this was the only way for her to survive, in a world where women were powerless and where everything was ran by men.

Nadeshiko swallowed her pride and dignity and married Fujitaka. A year later, she was born, and was named Sakura because she was as beautiful and as pure as the fallen cherry blossom petals. However, her gender decided her fate the very moment she was born.

Unwanted by her father despite her the ingeniousness revealed at a young age. Her beauty and talents were often overlooked, because of her mother's low status. On the other hand, her younger sister, Sakuno, born from the wife, was treated with much more respect.

Her father clearly favored Sakuno more, and it was the way things were. Sakura had accepted it long ago, because prolonged struggles to please her father would only prolong the agony.

Sakura learned at a very young age that the world was never a fair place. There wasn't any justice or right or wrong. As long as you had power, as long as you had a higher status, whatever you say would be right. Whatever you say would be the law.

And if she ever wanted to gain control over her own life, she needed power.

Over the years, she frequently sneaked into her father's study room to take out history books to read at night, since women were considered as incapable of learning at the time. She learned, through history, how to become successful, how to rise to the top.

She knew what kind of mistakes were considered as fatal and would bring her her ultimate downfall, through recorded history. And she would never make the same mistake again.

Knowledge was the key to success, and she used her talent as a fast learner to full advantage. In every single way, she was better than her sister. Much better. But she never revealed any of this to anyone in the Kinomoto household, not even to her own mother.

Silently, like a predator awaiting in the darkness, she watched silently and waited for her perfect moment to strike. She trained herself to be patient, to be able to tolerate all kinds of humiliations and mockeries brought upon by her low status.

However she wasn't someone weak and would be pushed around forever. She vowed to herself that one day, when she rose to the top, those people would pay dearly for all the things they did to her and her mother.

Her chance finally came when her younger sister ran away from her arranged marriage with the youngest son of the aristocratic Heike family, leaving the Kinomotos in distress. Fujitaka had worked very hard to tie the knot, but he miscalculated the irresponsibility of his favorite daughter.

But since Fujitaka only had two daughters, one whom everyone in Heian-kyo knew of and the other one whose existence was unheard of, it was easy for Sakura to take up Sakuno's identity and marry Syaoran, the Heike family's youngest son.

Besides, unmarried women weren't allowed to be seen in public. Thus, no one would be able to tell her and Sakuno apart. To the others' eyes, Fujitaka only has one daughter, because he denied the existence of the other and never talked about her in front of anyone.

Marrying Heike No Syaoran was her first step towards success. But she wasn't stupid like the other young girls of her age to think that her husband was everything and her duty was to give birth to a boy to secure her status in the family.

She would rip out her heart before she steps into that bridal sedan. She didn't need love in her life, because she had seen what her mother had gone through. For a man to control a woman, all he needs to do is to capture her heart. Nadeshiko whispered to her hearts before she got into the bridal sedan.

Nadeshiko had to learn it the hard way, but Sakura would not allow herself to make the same mistake again. Love wasn't necessary in her life when she could have something greater by being the wife of Heike No Syaoran.

After all, she was a woman with great ambitions.

She would challenge the set of traditions imposed upon women and enter the world dominated by men. This was her destiny and her brilliance was her gift from god. She was meant to dominate the stage of politics and lead the battles of one of the ugliest power struggles in the Japanese history.

From this moment on, Kinomoto Sakura was dead, wiped out of existence as if she was never there in the first place.

Like a golden phoenix arisen from the ashes, she was a whole new woman now; brilliant and bright like the distant Northern Star. Her marks would be left on the unwritten pages of history books, and her stories would be passed on through oral tales or songs or poems for centuries to come.

Kinomoto Sakuno. This name would become a legend in the Japanese history, and would be remembered forever and ever until the end of time.

Her story begins here.

II. Forgive, but never forgotten

We think of the key, each in his prison
Thinking of the key, each confirms a prison

(Heian Jidai – Heian Period) 1179, Heian-Kyo, Autumn

A slender long finger slid carelessly across the black silken material of his wedding kimono. Unbothered by the fact that he might be scratching the refined ink colored fabric.

Cold amber eyes stared into the pale blue sky that stretched over his head from the ends of the horizons like the finest silk ever. A few fleecy white clouds floated southward, carried by the gentle wind.

He ran a hand through his messy chestnut hair, reflected golden under the brilliant sun like threads weaved by divine hands. Those silken locks were tossed relentlessly into the air by the careless autumn breeze that whirled by.

Another year was about to end and he was already in his early twenties, twenty-one to be exact. He was no longer a carefree young boy practicing his wooden sword fighting techniques under a large cherry blossom tree with her watching him silently in the rain of drifting cherry blossom petals.

The gentle smile on her face still managed to tug at his heart even up to this day. Fujiwara Tomoyo. The name was carved into his heart, leaving its mark there forever and ever. She was the daughter of Fujiwara Sesshou. (sesshou: a title given to a regent who was named to assist either a child emperor before his coming of age, or an empress).

But they grew up together, and she often came to visit them because her mother was his mother's cousin. She was always around, and her ever-present unwavering smile always managed to melt away the snow and bring spring to his world. She was always there to encourage him, no matter what.

At a very young age, Syaoran vowed to marry her someday, despite the fact that she was three years older than him. He got so used to her presence, and with her he was always happy, as if the world couldn't get any better than this.

But eight years ago, his dreams of them having a family together was shattered into pieces. Eight years ago, she married his brother, Taira no Tomomori. It was almost ironic, as if the world was mocking him. Her status changed from the girl of his dreams to his sister in law.

His grip tightened around the jade stone around his neck. She had given it to him for his tenth birthday, and said it brought her good luck when she was little. Closing his eyes, ephemeral moments of happiness of them chasing after each other in the garden flashed in his mind.

He remembered their first meeting. At that time, he was only five years old and she was eight.

She was standing on the top of the wooden arched bridge inside the Taira compound, suffering the wind whipping her loose long kimono sleeves around her, tossing her hair about restlessly. Her delicate profile, together with the thin wrist and slender hand that pushed against her disobedient hair patiently, looked like something out of a picture book.

Her hair, as dark as the ashes, were adrift in the mid air. Her eyes -- the rarest and most brilliant shade of purple -- like amethysts held all the lights in the world. Her skin was pale white, reminding him of a porcelain doll.

Every single feature of hers was delicate and beautiful and divine. She was the ultimate image of perfection, graceful, dazzling, eye-catching, blindingly bright like the sun.

But things changed, people changed, their paths changed over time. Like a summer breeze threading through the field, the years were gone almost too quickly, carrying with it faint traces of nostalgia. Sixteen years might seem like a short period of time, but when he recollected every single event which occurred…

Nowadays, she was his brother's wife, the mother of two children. Their time had already passed. Like a gentle brush of shoulders, he could only grasp onto a faint amount of warmth that was rapidly dissipating into the air. Forget about me, Syaoran, and move on. Her soft words rang loudly in his ears, producing endless echoes that almost deafened him.

He knew they had no control over who they should marry. Marriage itself was used for political reasons, for gaining more power and a stronger back up. It wasn't fair. But it was something he had to deal with. Living under the same roof with her and seeing her as someone else's wife were almost unbearable.

But he dealt with it, and accepted it as a fact. Syaoran wasn't someone who would lose himself to unrealistic fantasies of denial. Pointless struggles could only prolong the agony.

He would never allow himself to break down because of this. He was stronger than that. He could tolerate it. He could conceal away his feelings and thoughts and smile at her even though it hurt his heart to do so.

But this was life, and in a world as harsh and as competitive as this one, love could never be everything for a man.

A man was made for something greater.

Ever since then, he had occupied himself with more work from the imperial court. Under his father's guidance, he slowly learned his way of survival in the political world where power was everything. It was a battle of life and death, and any mistake he make could potentially cost him everything.

Patience, sharp eyes, intelligence, the ability to think ahead and a charming smile are the basic qualities a politician should have. His father, the great Taira No Kiyomori once told him.

He could always smile charmingly to people and control his emotions well. But behind that smile, he bore his fangs.

He wasn't someone who couldn't live without love. He wasn't someone who would dwell on the past and succumb himself to alcohol in his desperate attempt to forget about her.

He would continue down the road of life, put his ingeniousness as a politician to his full advantage and surpass all his brothers and perhaps even his father some day.

He would still have these moments when thoughts of her trail into his mind unconciously, but he wouldn't dwell on them for long. Fujiwara Tomoyo, the name would be locked away in the deepest part of his heart, and never to be mentioned again.

He picked up the black kimono on the floor and headed for the folding paper screen where he would normally get changed. Within a few minutes, he was done, looking as handsome as ever. "Miyamoto." He called out, and the paper screened door suddenly slid open, revealing a short man in his late thirties.

"Hai, Master Syaoran."

"Let father know that I am ready to go to the Shinto for the wedding ceremonies." Syaoran informed, his voice slightly dull and expressionless and dismissed Miyamoto after receiving the obedient nod from Miyamoto.

Taking one last look at the jade stone around his neck, he took it off and placed it inside the delicately made wooden box lying on his studying desk.

Even though he had already moved on, his heart was still with Fujiwara Tomoyo and could never love another woman again. No matter how beautiful or how wealthy and powerful her family was.

He could never love his bride, his soon to be wedded wife, Kinomoto Sakura.

But his vow would someday fall apart.

……

III. Everything, but really nothing at all

Other withered stumps of time
Were told upon the walls; staring forms
Heian Jidai – Heian Period, 1179, Autumn, Heian-Kyo

Sakura sat still in the bridal sedan with her face covered by a white hood made up of pure silk called "Tsuno Kakushi", which was worn to cover the bride's "horns" and thus showing her obedience to her new husband.

Her expression was solemn as she waited and waited for the dreary commencement of her wedding ceremonies. Her fingers itched for something to hold on to. The white material that blocked her vision was irking her to no end, especially the meaning behind such practice.

Women's obedience to men…

She gnawed the corner of her mouth, furrowing her eyebrows. The haunting words echoed in her head like the never-ending monotonic chants of the monks. Squeezing her eyes shut tightly for a brief moment, she inhaled deeply to settle down the arising anger in her heart.

Endurance and tolerance—two basic requirements she must satisfy in order to accomplish something greater. Recollecting herself, her breathing became even and soundless again as she kept her eyes closed as if she was meditating.

"Miss Saku-Saku…ra, you haven't eaten anything since last night…" the young girl sitting beside her stammered with worries written all over her face. Her voice was soft and quiet as if anything louder than a bare whisper was considered as imprudent.

"Miyuki, remember what I told you yesterday. I am Sakuno now." Sakura reprimanded; her eyes half open as she glanced at the girl named Miyuki.

Miyuki was her maid, young, naïve but undoubtedly loyal at heart. She had a slightly round face and delicate features and a pair of beautiful green eyes, and soft auburn hair. She sometimes wondered if they were lost sisters of some sort.

"Sakura never existed. Kinomoto Fujitaka only has one daughter in this world, and that is me, Kinomoto Sakuno." She added with an implicit cold bitterness in her voice.

Sakura never existed…never existed…

Miyuki's eyes became slightly watery but she fought back the tears because she knew Miss Sakura didn't like it when she cried. Crying is a sign of a woman's ultimate weakness. In the game of survival of the fittest, any exposed weaknesses can be the end of you.

She memorized every single word Miss Sakura had told her. Wiping away the tear that was trailing down the corner of her eyes silently, she straightened up herself and saddened eyes fell upon Sakura's beautiful face which was now covered in excessively heavy make up and hidden behind that white hood.

She didn't understand the reason behind Miss Sakura's actions, covering up her beautiful face with superfluous amount of white power. And ridiculously red blushes applied to her cheeks appeared like blood droplets onto freshly fallen snow.

Miss Sakura's beautiful complexion had been masked completely.

Perhaps she was still a bit too young to understand the complexity of Miss Sakura's tactical mind, her craftiness and firm decisions. She was only fourteen years old after all – still at the stage of where dreams of flying toward the sun with waxed wings were possible.

But Miss Sakura said the world was a dark place, only the ones who were strong, suppressive and ruthless could rise to the top. One must know when to be kind and when to be heartless, because if you aren't harsh and resolute about what you need to do, someone will eliminate you in a blink of an eye.

Hesitation is a weakness. When it comes down to eliminating your opponents who had threatened your survival or benefit in any way, you must to be quick and doubtless of the morality of your actions. Never doubt yourself, never hesitate, do it and get it over with.

The imperial court – a seemingly just place – was actually embraced by conspiracies and lies. Diplomats, generals, princes from the royal family plot against each other cunningly and strife for the position which held the most power.

The lust for power, for control occupied men's heart and awoken the beast in them that desired for more and more. In order to gain a place in their world, Miss Sakura had said, she had to be like them. She needed to be better than them.

It frightened her to know that Miss Sakura was intending on entering a dangerous place such as that. She had always been taught that women shouldn't interfere with men's politics. Miyuki didn't care about power or anything like that. She just wanted Miss Sakura to be safe and sound and happy.

But she knew once Miss Sakura had made her decision no one could change it, not even Lady Nadeshiko. Miyuki would not attempt to sway her, because it would be ultra vires. Whatever Miss Sakura was planning to do, she would always be there to back her up.

Miyuki had vowed long ago that she would serve Miss Sakura for the rest of her life, through thick and thin, through rich and poor. Her life was saved by Miss Sakura and she could only devote her entire life to her because it was the only way she could thank her.

The first time she met Miss Sakura was about eight years ago. She used to be a poor merchant's daughter. One day, when she and her father were traveling to Nara, they were attacked by a gang of thieves. Her father was killed when he tried to distract the thieves so she could run for her life.

She ran and ran, hid in the deep forest for days until she was truly safe again. Hungry and exhausted she was, she never stopped walking, never looked back. Run and don't ever look back, were her father's last words and she would remember it perpetually, until the end of time.

Miyuki waded through the forest, the fields of flowers and entered the prosperous capital city of Japan, Heian-Kyo. Because she went on days without any food, her body reached its limit and she collapsed on the side walk.

Apathetic people strolled right past her without ever sparing a single glance. No one would care if a poor beggar looking girl with torn clothes and dirt all over her face and body died.

When she closed her eyes and prepared herself for death, an unearthly beautiful goddess from heaven approached her and handed her a nigiri (rice ball). Tears were filling in her eyes as she took it and wolfed it down.

When she looked up to thank the goddess, she saw a warm smile on the goddess's face. Poor child, here, take my hand. Soft whispers and an enchanting voice, Miyuki handed her dirty little hand to the goddess and felt a pervasive warmth encompassing her cold hand.

My name is Sakura, Kinomoto Sakura. She said, and Miyuki was mesmerized. Under the overlapping white rays of the sun, the divine goddess looked so unreal and for a fleeting moment there, Miyuki was almost certain that this was just a dream.

But it wasn't. It was reality. Miss Sakura, beautiful and pure, like the underwater curls in the sea, took her into the Kinomoto household and gave her a job as a servant girl.

But it was good enough for her. Miss Sakura gave her hopes again, and taught her many things that she never knew before. Even though their statuses were enormously different, Miss Sakura still treated her like a young sister.

From that moment on, she vowed that she would serve Miss Sakura until her last breath. She would carry this loyalty with her to her grave and if she died one day for Miss Sakura, she would have no regret.

Today was Miss Sakura's wedding day. She was the only servant girl Miss Sakura brought with her to the Taira household. It made her feel special and honored, but also sad at the same time. She knew Miss Sakura was being badly treated in the Kinomoto household while Miss Sakuno was the center of everyone's love and attention.

Inside the part of the Kinomoto compound which Miss Sakura lived with Lady Nadeshiko, she was the only servant they had, while Miss Sakuno and her mother had ten or even more servants in their large, luxurious part of the large compound.

It wasn't fair, she told herself, because Miss Sakuno was a spoiled brat who was selfish and inconsiderate of the others, the exact opposite of Miss Sakura. But only she knew how talented, beautiful, witty and kind Miss Sakura was. Whenever she complained about such unfairness, Miss Sakura would only smile faintly and pat her head gently.

Some things are better to be kept silent. Always think before you speak, Miyuki. Because if you're not careful, someday you might have to pay for what you say.

Miyuki knew she was talking about the servants working for Miss Sakuno. A low life servant girl like her wasn't allowed to badmouth the ladies she served. If she was ever caught doing such a disrespectable act, she could be put to death.

Miss Sakura said mildly. Sometimes silence is better, because no one would be able to know what you're thinking. Thus, they can't pick out anything that could incriminate you in any way.

Miyuki sighed silently and looked out of the window on the bridal sedan through the tiny gap between the two pieces of silky curtains that draped over the window. There, she caught a glimpse of a handsome young man with messy chestnut hair.

But she soon realized who he was when her eyes traveled down from his face to his clothes. The groom's black kimono. He must be Taira no Syaoran, the famous and well-respected Taira no Kiyomori's fifth son, the emperor's current favorite minister in the Imperial Court. Miyuki thought to herself.

Only a man like him could match Miss Sakura.

……

Time passed by like the water flowing in a river, perpetually in motion unless acted upon by an external force or factor of some sort.

Sakura sat on the edge of the wooden ramp that extended out from the Li compound, a venerable structure that seemed to exist outside the trappings of time. She gazed at the soft glow of the lanterns that swung rhythmically back and forth on wrought-iron pegs that were shaped like vines.

The gentle wind that whirled silently by rustled her long auburn hair, sending the ends fluttering upward and swaying in its invisible path. Sakura took a deep breath, relaxing her tense and exhausted muscles. The refreshingly minty air filled her lungs. She let it out slowly, savoring the moment.

The sky was a rich shade of indigo mixed with a darkened blue color, like a refined, ebony silk dappled with stars. It was breathtakingly beautiful. It had been a long exhausting day. All the procedures of the wedding ceremony were long and strenuous and she pondered how could anyone want to ever get married after seeing this long process?

She kept her head down throughout the entire wedding. People thought she was shy and obedient and praised her for being the ideal wife for Syaoran. But she did it for a different reason. She didn't want anyone to see her face, which explained the reason behind the heavy make up.

Miyuki asked her if she had seen her husband yet during the short time span given to her to change into her second wedding kimono designed for the feast part of the wedding. And she shook her head. She just wasn't interested in it.

She didn't care about how he looked like or what he was like. All she needed from him was his power and the title of Taira no Syaoran's wife.

The voices of their guests, whom she had never even met before, had begun to taper as the night wore on, one by one sending their wishes for an eternity of happiness for the newly wedded couple. Many started departing for the comfort of their own homes, ready to call it a night.

It had certainly been a long tiring day. The celebration in honor of her wedding spanned the entirety of the afternoon and then carried well into the evening hours. The air was saturated with laughers and regards to the newly wedded couples.

But she knew those words were simply meaningless flatteries. Not that she minded any of them since she took none to heart.

Her fingers brushed through her auburn hair that cascaded like a silk waterfall over her shoulders, so elegant and divine, holding a certain degree of enigma in it. The silky locks slid pass her fingertips as she tilted her head backward and stared into the sky.

She removed the heavy, ornate hair pin that held her long hair in place and left it abandoned by her hand that rested on the cold wooden surface of the ramp. A small smile of satisfaction formed on her lips as she remembered the first the he said to her when they were alone in their new room together.

"I can give you anything, anything but love." That deep voice was powerful and sounded as if it was rumbling out of the core of the earth. He kept his voice steady when he made his offer. But she caught a hint of guilt and sadness in his words.

Could it be that he loved someone else?

Regardless what the answer was, she didn't mind. It was none of her business who he chooses to fall in love with. She needed his power, not love. And he said she could have anything she wanted…and that was good enough for her.

Chuckling lightly, she threw her head back and stared once more at the tiny, brilliant dots that lighted the night sky. She didn't see the moon. Nonetheless, it made her feel insignificantly small, looking up at the vast universe that lay beyond her reach.

One day, it would all change. One day, she would get to the top.

For sure.

……

"I understand." Her reply was curt and simple, yet so concise and revealed so much of her collectiveness. He thought she would break down when he told her that he could never love her, but she didn't, and remained surprisingly calm when she received the news from him.

The casual and nonchalant way she took it made him blink blankly at her. She always had her head low and held her graceful composure. It was hard to see her features with the overwhelmingly thick white powder layer on her face.

A part of him really wanted to see what kind of girl could have such imperturbability, but a part of him told himself that it wasn't any of his business. Their marriage was just a deal involved money and political power. The Kinomoto family wanted a strong back up for their business. The Taira family needed a long term substantial source of money to maintain their luxurious life (aside from the salaries given by the Emperor).

All he had to do was to fulfill her wishes such as buying her expensive gifts and clothes so she would report back to her father that her life at their household was great. And then let her have a son to secure her place as his official wife in a year or two.

Syaoran lowered his head, looking down at the darkened floor. He felt himself pressing all of his weight against the closed sliding doors. For now, he proposed that they sleep in separate rooms so she could live her life the way she wanted to and he could do the same with his.

And once again, she nodded in comprehension. He wasn't sure if she was truly obedient to him or she simply didn't care about their marriage. But either way, he liked the way she handled things. It left him with less trouble to deal with anyway.

The small window down the corridor was left open. Some streaks of light from the lantern hanging outside of the window stretched out on the wooden floor. The light bounced off the ground and gave it a slightly orangey tint, a soft glimmer.

He slowly made his way down the dark corridor, the dark mists of the night encompassing him.

I'll give you anything, anything but love.

I understand.

Two short phrases defined their relationship. Everything to them was just a deal. But soon, things would change…

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to be continued

please ignore all mistakes, I'll edit out the mistakes once the story is completed (and when I'm not lazy of course)

remember to review~

Note from Aisaki Sumi:

This isn't your typical love-mushy-fluffy romance story. There is only one main character in this story, and that is Sakura. Everyone else around her are just supporting characters -- yes that includes our beloved Syaoran. This is a historical fiction, about a woman whose name was never written on the pages of history, but the what-if's hit me.

What IF she really existed? What IF she was an important person that history never wanted to record down because during those times women weren't even considered as human beings? Through a Looking Glass is an epic story about a young woman who outshines every man on this planet, who is brilliant, witty and strong, and knows exactly what she wants and how to acheive her goal. However, she never imagined love would be an ingredient in her life...and this is her story.

Remember, love in the Heian-era isn't as wildly open as nowadays. It's more implied, rather than explicitly expressed through words and actions. But this doesn't mean they don't love each other. This is a historical fiction afterall, and you just need to get used to how things were ran in that era. If you're loving for fluffy SS moments, you're reading the wrong story. In this story, SxS are more like companions and comrades, rather than lovers.

Welcome to the world of power struggles, political conspiracies, and where justice is just a meaningless word. There is bo absolute wrong or right in this story, everything is relative. The truth itself has many faces, depending on which perspective you're looking from, you may see extremely different things, and that's just life. Countless lifes are lost, and the once powerful aristocratic family falls, ending the first period of the Heian era, but only to welcome the second era of its existence. The world is constantly changing, ending, and life itself is set in a perpetually cyclic motion, where the ending is just another begining.

But one thing can transcend through time, and that is the love people have for each other. It's like the wind, you cannot see it, cannot explain it, but you can feel its gentle touches on your skin. Even if the world falls apart, it would remain the same. Forever, and ever...