Beyond the Veil of Time
AN: Hiya! Yay! Eleven reviews in two chapters! Not much, but still good! Thanks! Individual reviews at the end of the chapter!
Chapter 3: Inevitable Boredom
Although all of Heian Kyo was, as of the moment, at peace, the showering of heavy rain said otherwise. Even the renowned palace gardens of the Asakura estate has been drained of all its splendor, for the elegantly constructed buildings and enticingly coloured blossoms have been drenched and tainted by the chilling rain and the ominous thunder clouds looming above.
A stranger abruptly tries to stand up from the damp ground, but fails as her knees weaken, and falls back in the mud, soiling her supple skin and unnaturally short clothing. The girl whimpers in discretion for not recognizing her soaked surroundings. Blindly, she clumsily gropes the moist soil for something, and upon feeling that said something's slightly sharp edges, her face is mitigated of any perplexity and terror.
Her defense automatically went back in place as she noticed gentle footsteps draw near.
"What is that?" a voice asked.
The girl stared, afraid, as three silhouettes's slowly approached her.
"Keiko-sama!" yelled one of the shadows farther back. "It may be dangerous! Please, stay back!"
The stranger stared, still delusional, at the person peering at her. It may have been dark, but that could not conceal the sheer beauty and magnificence of the one before her.
It was as if there was this unexplainable incandescence within the lady, and the lustrous jewels and laces adorned on her long hair only gave emphasis to her already blinding aura. From the manner she was clothed, it was apparent that she was a woman of remarkable importance.
The lady gave a warm, loving smile of welcome to the stranger, and offered her hand. The girl was reluctant in accepting the lady's flawless hand with her soiled ones, nonetheless, the lady herself insisted by helping her to her feet.
"Keiko-sama! Oh, what-"
"Help me take her to the Main House."
"Please do so."
"I... Of course..."
The handsome Prince Hao did not bother to even take a simple glance at his twin. He continued to gaze at the wondrous Asakura garden, his eyes void of any emotion whatsoever.
Even when the younger one sat by his side, the arrogant twin did not show acknowledgement.
Yoh smiled. He was so accustomed to his twin's lack of courtesy for anyone lower than his status that it was already a daily routine. Hao was, after all, the crown prince, giving him total supremacy over Yoh.
"Anna is fine. She went back to sleep."
"I was not asking."
Yoh's smile grew broader.
"About our conversation before, can't you tell what's currently bothering you?"
Hao faced his brother with a frown. "It is improper for someone of your nobility to shorten statements."
"That's a pathetic attempt, even for you."
A long silence ensued between the two siblings, save for the chirping of skylarks and the hearty laughter of children playing. Somehow, the songs and scenery of the usual Heian Kyo afternoon had a lulling effect on the older, perhaps elucidating his enthusiasm to elaborate his hidden perception.
Yoh pressed the discussion no further. He instantly understood how his twin felt. The daily obligations designated to the crown prince, the tasks that are expected to accomplish which is usually done by sitting for long hours in front of a desk piled with scrolls, has been a routine that, perhaps, sickened his older brother. Although he never had any knowledge of these so-called duties, he has observed from afar the inevitable boredom in Hao's dim, lifeless eyes. But as he described, it was unavoidable for someone such as the crown prince.
Hao stared in disbelief at his twin. The always composed, calm Prince Yoh had uncouthly jumped off the ledge he was resting on and crawled under it, hiding his presence from the third person who was hurriedly approaching.
Hao turned to smile at a rather well built man. His long hair was fastened with a simple white string and although they gleamed like silver threads, they did not signify old age. He would have passed off as any other man in the estate, except for the fact that his somewhat fogged feet did not at all touch the ground.
"Ah, Hao-donno," the man, rather, the ghost said, taking notice of the older prince. He gave a low polite bow and greeted him a good afternoon.
Hao bowed back. Unlike all the other low ranking inhabitants of the court, he seemed to show respect for this certain spirit.
"Searching for your master, Amidamaru?" Hao inquired. The ghost gave a sad nod.
"Yoh-donno has skipped our training yet again!" he complained in an angry tone, which turned into a cowering voice when he said, "If Anna-donno finds out about this, we'll..." Amidamaru stopped, fear stricken by the images of what might happen to his master and him passed through his mind.
Wiping off the tears that exaggeratedly fountained out of his eyes with his arm, he continued, "Have you seen Yoh-donno?"
The prince shook his head, a feigned look of dismay on his face. "Unfortunately, I have not seen him all day."
"That is regrettable," the samurai sighed. He was about to leave and continue his search for the younger prince, but a statement shot at his back hindered him.
"I cannot comprehend, Amidamaru," Hao had interrupted. "It has been years since any being of Heian Kyo, both human and spirit, had engaged in a war. There really is no necessity for you to keep on training with my brother."
"Ah, but a young man must constantly sharpen his skills in shamanism," was the proud samurai's reply. "In fact, I advise his highness to at least train once in a while with his Spirit of Fire as well."
Prince Hao gave out a loud and eerie laugh. "I do not need to train."
The ghost sighed in depression. It was true that no matter how many desperate attempts his master and he took, they would never even come close to the crown prince's overwhelming furyoku. Nonetheless, he respected the prince's firm decision (and annoyingly arrogant manners), and bowed. Greeting hao again with a good afternoon, he turned to leave.
"He has gone."
Hao stared as Yoh emerged from under the ledge, his robes soiled by the ground below.
"Taking advantage of Kyoyama-donno's illness?"
"I'm not like you," Yoh hissed, but knew that his twin meant good humor.
Hao grinned as he rose up to leave, watching in amusent as Yoh frantically bolted away from a seemingly outraged samurai spirit.
"At least your antics never bore me, little brother," he muttered.
"I don't understand," the stranger mutterd. She has been bathed and perfumed, and she no longer wore her short, soiled clothes. Although not as prominent as the queen's twelve-layered robe, she highly appreciated the elegant but rather heavy garment that was granted to her. The interior was a deep red while the layer that followed was a vibrant lemon hue. A soothingly azure mantle topped off the two already heavy robes. Trim and clean lavender stitches adorned the dress's ends while prints of cherry blossom petals slithered around it. "Why did you undoubtly take me in?" she inquired. "I mean, aren't you the least bit curious about me?"
The queen smiled. With a flick of her delicate wrists, she dismissed the two maidservants who were with them in the room. When they were alone and undisturbed, she replied in a soft tone, "Of course I am very curious about you. That is why I accepted you in my humble abode." The queen, who was sitting opposite the girl, caressed her now clean hands in hers. "May I ask who you are?"
"Leena," was the girl's reply. "Leena is my-"
"No, no, dear," the queen interrupted, gently shaking her own head. "What you are telling me is your name. I am asking you about who you are."
The girl's eyes narrowed, and later blinked. "I... I don't get it."
"Let us take this slowly," the queen sighed in frustration. Magnificent and respectable she may be, one cannot hide that every being in this world has a thin barrier between serenity and restlessness. "Where are you from?"
What the queen received as an answer was the girl's silence. The queen observed the debate of the stranger's mind within her gleaming eyes, as if uncertain of her current state. She, in the queen's consciousness, was likened to a confused little bird, unsure of the path back to its nest of a home.
The girl looked up as the queen assuringly squeezed her hand, looking at her with a hospitable smile on her enticing visage.
"It does not matter anyway," the queen resolved. "As long as you do not have a home to return to, you are welcome to stay in this estate."
AN: I know that was boring, but I promise the story will improve in later chapters. Thanks for reviewing up until now!
Individual Replies to Reviewers:
HAO-Addictive: Hiya! Anyway, yes, more events to come! Thanks for reviewing!
isa18: It's okay if you weren't able to review the first chappie! I don't really mind! Anyway, thanks for reviewing! Huggies!
Andrea Nefisto: Thanks! Yes, I know this one's better than the last one. And yes, Hao's still the arrogant antagonist we all love! Thanks for reviewing!
angelofdeath911: Thanks for reviewing! Anyway, where'd you get your name? My friend has the same alias as yours (exactly the same). Do you, by any chance, know kill-me911 personally?
Lilka: Thanks for your review and praise! PEACE to you too!
Meister: Uhhh... who are you? WHO THE HELL ARE YOU? And yes, improvements will be done. Thanks anyway.
Mei Marino: Thanks for reviewing! Yes, this is a HaoxOC fic, but I'm still trying to elaborate the environment the two lovers will be in. In this chapter, as you can see, the OC has appeared by the name of 'Leena'
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