Let's cut the short talk and get to business. I've abandon this story long enough. It's getting a little dusty. Hahaha….
Thanks a lot, SnowCharms. I guess an irresponsible writer like me only deserve one review. Well, it's not that I am complaining about it. I am thanking my lucky stars that there is someone as sweet as SnowCharms to leave me a review.
Dance in the Wind chapter 7
Fate of a Princess
The girl's footsteps were muted by the thick carpets as she walked down the large empty corridors. Her destination was those large oak doors at the end of the hallway where her father would anticipate her arrival. Her heartbeats were increasing steadily as she neared the doors, adrenaline coursing through her petite body. She wanted to chew on her lips but reminded herself that it was not princess-like to bit her lips when she's nervous. Taking a few deep breathe, she pushed the heavy doors open.
"Announcing the arrival of the Princess of Kinomoto kingdom!" The voice of the doorman rang out through the large hall she had just entered, acknowledging the man sitting at the throne at the far end of the room. The servant then vanished from the room like a puff of smoke, leaving the princess and the king alone.
"Okaidinasai, Sakura-san," The king greeted the girl gently. His arms were outstretched, eyes warm and loving. The princess threw herself into the welcoming embrace.
"Tadaima, otou-san." She muttered into the thick folds of their clothes. The king stroked his daughter's silky auburn hair, savoring the feel between his fingers. How long had it been since he had last hugged his daughter and petted her like this?
"How are you, my cherry blossoms? We missed you so much." The Kinomoto kingdom's ruler asked her when she had pulled herself out of the hug and settled herself on her father's lap.
"I'm fine, otou-san. I'm sorry for not coming home for so many years." Her green eyes were filled with guilt. She could tell how much her father had worried over her for these past years. The kind king accepted her apologies with a loving smile and a kiss on her cheek.
"Had you finished what you wanted to learn?" The king inquired.
"Well, Ryu-sensei said I had but I wish to further continue my dancing lessons to a higher stage, otou-san." She explained. The king's expression dropped into a sad smile.
"I'm afraid that is impossible, Sakura-san. It is time you learn on how to become a proper princess. The neighboring kingdom, the Li kingdom had sent their proposal for your hand in marriage." The king said softly as the princess in his arms stiffened. Her glowing face turned to a cold emotionless one.
"An arranged marriage, otou-san?" Her voice was quavering slightly. The king could only nod solemnly.
"I understand. It is the duty of a princess to protect the peace of her country." The princess quoted the sentence she once heard from a noble. She knew that this was her fate. It was something called noblesse oblige. The Kinomoto king was shocked by her understanding in matters for a girl of only ten. He was reluctant to hand over her daughter to some stranger man but in order to keep the peace between two kingdom, this is what a king must sacrifice; his daughter.
"When?" She asked quietly, her eyes were now lowered. The king had no intention of looking into her eyes too, fearing his own heart would break. Instead, he pulled her to his chest, circling his arms around her protectively.
"When you turn eighteen, my love."
"It's alright, my dear. The Li's are good peoples. Your mother was once part of the Li clan too. She would agree to this." The king tried to soothe his daughter's heavy duties but he could not help that painful, cracking feeling of his own heart at the thought of sending away his beloved daughter, the gift he received from his dear deceased wife.
"Daijoubu yo, otou-san. Zettai ni daijoubu yo…" The young girl reached up to her father's sad face and caressed it with her small hands. The king leaned into the comfort of those small, warm hands. This girl understand too much of the world, he thought silently.
"Oh, the boy you are supposed to marry is coming today. Would you like to stay and have a look at your future husband?" The king asked gently. Sakura considered this for a moment before shaking her head.
"If really I am to marry this boy, looking at him would not change anything. I would like to excuse myself for now, otou-san." King Kinomoto nodded understandingly, realizing that his daughter need time to completely accept this even though she had said that she understood. He sighed before dismissing her, kissing her on her forehead. She gave him a strong smile and kissed him on the cheek before walking out of the hall.
'Nadeshiko, am I doing the right thing?' The king silently thought. The king knew the answer even before he felt the vague presence of his wife. He looked up at the beautiful lady floating in front of him.
'We promised the Li clan. It's alright if it is Sakura-chan…' She told her husband. The serene lady gazed down at her husband and smiled. She was a beautiful woman. The king often thought that his wife was an angel that had just descended from heaven to bring happiness to his life. Looking at her now, his thought was in fact a reality.
"Yes, we did promise… But it is rather hard, even for me when my parents told me about our arranged marriage."
'Oh? You are telling me that you didn't like the idea of me being your wife?' The graceful face warped into a teasing grin, eyes glinting mischievously. Sitting at the edge of the table lightly, she folded her arms and faked a pout.
"At first. But who would have thought that I would fall head over heels over you at first sight? In fact, who wouldn't? You were such a beauty. Even now…" King Kinomoto said honestly. A clear laughter rang out of the spirit lady. She knew that was not flatteries because this man, her husband, is known for being bad at lying.
"I missed you, Nadeshiko…" The king reached his hand towards his beloved wife's face. Although in reality, he could not feel the smooth texture of his wife's face except empty air, he could feel the heat radiating from her semi-transparent form. His eyes that were usually filled with gentleness were covered with sadness. Being a kind and understanding person, he never complained about anything in his life. The only time he questioned God was when Nadeshiko left him at such a young age.
'It can't be help… He loves me more. I'll come visit again sometimes…' She whispered, leaning forward to kiss her husband. For an instant, the king thought he felt his wife soft, velvety lips on his but when he opened his eyes, she was gone.
The princess with auburn-colored hair ran down the hall as soon as she properly closed the door behind her. She had no idea where she intended to run to but her feet knew the way. When she stopped in front of those mahogany doors, she was panting slightly. Pushing the heavy doors, it revealed everything that was familiar to her. The shoe cabinet, the grand piano, the carved chairs and the large windows that looked out to the blooming cherry blossoms trees in the garden.
The only thing that was not familiar was a man in pure white robes sitting at the window seat. His hair was a long trailing silver snake that fell neatly beside his bare feet. He who had been staring out at the pink flowers turned at the instant the girl burst in. Though it was not a familiar sight to the girl, the man fitted the room perfectly as if he was made to match the room. The man was not out of place at all. In fact, he looked like an angel who had just came down from heaven to beautify this room.
"Mistress…" He got up and greeted the girl with a hand over his left shoulder, like a knight greeting a princess. His face was blank and emotionless. The princess, on the other hand, had hidden her face by looking down on the floor. There was a moment of silent. He staggered a little when a strong force pushed him back to the seat just when he was about to approach the girl. Looking down, the girl had launched herself at him and was crying into his lap. Unsure of what to do, he reached hesitantly towards the girl's head before patting it softly as she sobbed freely.
'Yue…' The man looked up at the soft voice that called his name. His eyes widen for a second as he could not believe his eyes.
"Nadeshiko-sama…" There were slight emotions that entered his voice, unlike when he had called the princess. There were tinge of longings and adorations laced with confusions. The lady smiled down at him and caressed his head very motherly-like before wiping the tears off from the cheeks of the girl, now asleep on the man's lap. She brushed the auburn bangs from her face and kissed the young girl's damp cheek lightly but lovingly.
'Watch over my Sakura-chan, Yue…' She whispered before fading into thin air. Her presence lingered slightly longer than her form before it vanished completely from the room but it was long enough to hear what the man had to say.
"Yes, Nadeshiko-sama…" A sad smile graced the face of the man as he looked down at the girl that was sleeping peacefully after crying her heart out.
"Announcing the arrival of His Royal Highness, the Prince of Li Kingdom, Li Syaoran-sama and his uncle Ryu-sama," the words of the doorman rang through the hall once again for that day. Following his words, a boy with messy chocolate hair and grumpy face entered the hall with a middle aged man that bore an expression that was the complete opposite of the young boy.
"Your Highness," they knelt before the king as they greeted him. The king smiled gently before motioning them to stand. He chuckled quietly as noticed his son sending glares at the young prince who was doing the same. As usual, his son is overly protective over his sister, chasing away every single boy that tries to approach her. This boy was no difference from the others even if he is the prince of the Li kingdom. The man standing beside the prince was also smiling widely.
"It had been a long time since we last met, Kinomoto-sama." Ryu said politely. The king nodded, remembering the day they first met like it happened just yesterday.
"It was during Nadeshiko and my engagement party, wasn't it? You were with Yelan-san to escort my lovely wife to me." The king stated with a wide smile on his face. He clearly recalled that Ryu had sent him similar looks that was on his nephew now for taking their precious cousin Nadeshiko. But as they were all grown up, they understood the necessity of the marriage and accepted that Nadeshiko was happy with him.
"Yes…" The man smiled at the memory as well.
"Now, back to proper matters, Yelan had sent the letter to you, I presumed?" Ryu inquired.
"Ah, yes. I had already discussed the matter with my daughter and had received her consent." The king replied, hiding all his sadness of the thought of parting with his daughter behind a kind smile. The teen boy standing next to the king turned towards his father in surprise.
"Otou-san!" The shocked prince looked at his father. The king did not reply with words but with a small smile and a nod. His eyes were clouded with sadness as well.
"Sakura-san will be alright, Toya-kun." The king whispered so quietly only the prince beside him could hear him. He gave his son's hand a warm squeeze before turning back to his audience.
"As promised, she will reach the Li kingdom on her eighteenth birthday to be Syaoran-kun's bride." The king gave the still scowling young boy a gentle smile. The reluctant boy did not smile in return but he said nothing either. He kept his face in a frown and mouth sealed.
"We'll look forward to it then. Will your daughter grace us with her presence today?" The man that was second only to the queen in the Li kingdom asked.
"Unfortunately, my daughter is not available currently. I'm sorry for the let down." The king answered politely.
"Well, it certainly is unfortunate but we shall not trouble Your Majesty. Please excuse us for now." Ryu bowed politely before retreating. His nephew gave a short but quick bow as well and rushed after his uncle. The Kinomoto kingdom's king laughed silently at the boy's eagerness to escape this place as if this palace was haunted. He seemed like a nice boy on the overall to the king despite the hate glare he was sending at both the king and his son. He would be a fine husband to his dear daughter. That fact made the kind king's worried heart less heavy.
"Sakura really accepted it?" The prince that was in his teens asked his father for confirmation when there were no more people in the hall except for the two of them. The king nodded solemnly.
"It must be hard on her as well though but she's a strong girl. She'll be alright." The king muttered, repeating what he had said earlier. The engaged princess's brother could only agree in silence. She was fragile as glass but she was also strong, possibly stronger than any one else in this castle. That was his sister.
Okay! I've finished my exams and this is what I promised! I'll try my best to work on this story as well as the others! I will not abandon this anymore! So please read and review! ^_^
Oh, please do tell me what you think of the little part on Nadeshiko and Fujitaka. I kind of like these two together being playful and such. Nadeshiko-san is such a beautiful lady. Really, a pure Yamamoto Nadeshiko.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!