The Untitled Past 7
Shichi Hen - Yume no Hime
The children played outside. I smiled watching underneath the cherry tree in the garden. A child went up to me and handed me a fallen blossom.
"This is for you, Sakura-hime," she said smiling.
"Thank you," I replied with a smile. The other children followed her and approached me. Their cheerful faces overwhelmed my heart.
"Tell us a story, Sakura-hime," another child said.
"Yeah, he's right!"
The oldest one of the kids hushed them. "Now, now, stop crowding over Sakura-hime."
I shook my head. "It's okay, Tsubaki-kun." I signalled the children to come with me inside the house. "Here, inside."
My name is Sakura, princess of the Yoshino clan.
I have a special power, the power to heal. It had been passed on to every female in our family. Unfortunately, the woman dies after giving birth to the next heir of the power. It happened to my mother, and until now, I still feel that I caused her death.
I lived my life surrounded by guardians and had been isolated from the outside world, although that didn't prevent me from mingling with the young children of the clan.
People describe me as a kind and gentle person. I don't know if I should agree or not. There's a part about that sentence that makes me think of myself as weak and helpless. And to make matters worse, my father, Yakata, has been more protective of me lately.
I asked him one night about it.
"Otousama, is there a problem I'm involved with?"
He most probably saw the worry on my face, so he gave me a smile. "Sakura, you're my daughter. I don't like to see you worried like that."
"But what is it?" I asked again.
"This man, Takasugi, leader of the Khiba clan, he wants to marry you."
I wrinkled my forehead. It was normal for clans to marry their princesses with others, to improve relationships, in other words, to avoid wars.
"I don't want that."
He puzzled me. This refusal might cause a war to erupt, and I don't want that, too, especially if it's because of me. Just because I can't be married off with someone doesn't mean that the tribe has to suffer in war. I said these thoughts out loud to my father.
"I've also thought of that, Sakura. But Takasugi is an evil man. I put the whole clan's best interests at heart, and one of them is to keep you from marrying that bastard. They love you, my daughter, and so do I. Letting you marry Takasugi will be the last thing WE'D want to see."
He gave a look which told me that I was dismissed. Before I left, he spoke up.
"Don't worry, Sakura, I'll find a way."
The next day, my father welcomed guests from another village called Hokage. They included a man with a scar across his right eye, and a boy around my age, most probably the son. They also had another middle-aged man with them.
I later on found out that the boy's name was Recca.
Two days after their arrival, I saw Recca sitting underneath the cherry tree in our garden. He seemed to have been thinking of something deep. I wasn't the type of person to snoop into other people's businesses, but I wanted to cheer him up at the same time.
I approached him as quietly as possible but he noted my presence right away, just like a real shinobi.
"Who is it?" he asked with a gentle but firm tone.
I stammered a bit but realized that it was me.
"Sakura-hime..." he said slowly in realization.
"May I help you?" he asked, then did obeisance. I waved my hadnd, telling him not to bother about it. He obeyed and stood up. I took a good look at him.
He had black hair, and deep blue eyes. He was not very tall, although he was a head higher than me. Just like a shinobi, he was a little thin, but slender enough for fast movement. On his left cheek was a tiny scar.
As I looked at it, a vision flowed into my mind. A dark night, inside a big compound...a young boy... then I heard an infant's scream. My hand held out to reach the infant and heal him, but then I snapped back to reality and realized that I was actually trying to reach Recca's scar, but his hand firmly held onto mine, keeping me from touching it.
My face looked shock, though I dind't really mean that.
He realized what he had just done and bowed in front of me.
"I'm sorry, Sakura-hime, I...I...."
I shook my head. "No, Recca-kun. I think I'm the one to ask for forgiveness. I shouldn't have..."
We both kept quiet. It was a strange-looking scene. There, underneath the cherry tree, he knelt in front of me, while I looked at him. The cherry blossoms slowly fell. One landed on his head.
He rubbed it off. I giggled then started to laugh softly.
"What's so funny, Hime?" he asked, conscious of himself.
I laughed even more. He, too, started to laugh. For no apparent reason, I was glad to see him happy. I felt attached to him.
After laughing for a few moments, Recca invited me to sit with him underneath the Sakura tree.
"I'll be glad to," I answered his invitaion.
He smiled at me, then gently grabbed my hand and led me to a soft spot near its roots.
There we sat, saying nothing at all. I wanted to start a conversation, but he beat me at it.
"The blossoms are wonderful, aren't they?" he asked.
I nodded. "I used to make wreaths out of them when I was a lot younger. Now I make ones for the children."
"Don't you want to make one for yourself right now?"
He stood up, withh a grin on his face, totally driving away the solemn mood. "If you want to, I'll gladly pick up some blossoms for you, Sakura-hime."
"You don't need----" but he was already starting to climb the tree.
He was standing on a thin branch reaching for a small blossom when it broke and cracked, making him fall not-so-hard on the ground. He really didn't scream in pain, but I heard him whimper.
"I'm sorry," I cried.
"No, it's okay, Hime," he said trying to sit up. "I've fallen from trees higher than that when I was a lot younger."
I ignored his storytelling for a while then looked for bruises or scratches. I found one on his hand. I held it up and put my other hand over it.
Using the strange power I have, I healed the scratch. He looked shocked in seeing this.
I smiled at him. "It may be strange, but I had this power ever since I was born. It's something passed on in our family, but because of this, my mother had to die." I felt a tear start to fall from my eye.
He straightened himself up, then took out something from his pocket. It was a cherry blossom, which was only halfway through its blooming.
"I was able to get this before I fell to the ground. It's for you."
"I hoped to get more so you can make a wreath for yourself. I'm sorry."
"No, it's okay," I said ,flustering.
He turned his gaze towards the sky. "You know, I find it strange. I have a special power, too. And like you, I lost someone because of it." He held up his right hand. Around his arm was a metal arm protector.
"Let me show it to you." Suddenly flame came out of his right hand.
I looked in amazement. For a few minutes, we just sat there, whith him and his flame glowing while I watched in amazement.
The flame suddenly disappeared. He looked alarmed and stood up.
"Who is it?" His father, named Ohka and my father appeared.
"Otousama, Yakata-sama." He quickly performed obeisance.
My father waved his obeisance off then glared at him. Recca semed to have understood something.
"Excuse me," he told me, then left.
My father gave me a hard look, as if I had done something bad. I looked at him with confusion. Ohka, on the other hand, was loooking at his son walk away. He had a slight worried expression on his face.
I remained standing underneath the cherry tree for more than a few moments. Why did Recca leave me all of a sudden? Why did my father glare at him? And what was this mystery about Recca's power? And his scar?
But my questions remained unanswered. Slowly, I felt a hand cover my nose with a piece of cloth. The strong aroma on it started to make me dizzy.
The whole world continued to spin. Before I lost consciousness, I screamed out.
~ Tsuzuku de gozaru yo~