Manga: Akagami no Shirayukihime
Mangaka: Akizuki Sorata
I wrote this after much debate on whether or not I should. But these characters are just too adorable not to do anything with. As has been agreed by my friends who took my advice and read this amazing, and unfortately unupdated so far manga. A few of them have been wanting me to write something on them.
Here is my take on the thoughts that were going through Zen's mind as he realized Shirayuki's one-day trip was not exactly sticking to that timeframe. He went after her, as I was hoping he would. I seriously cheered aloud. Yet the mangaka has not yet focused, if she ever will, on what Zen was thinking about. So I have attempted to do this amazing manga justice, and the characters in it. Let's hope I did Zen justice here.
It came out to four pages in Word... yet that always seems so short on this site. Oh well.
Zen paced his office, the familiar menacing aura cloaking him as he did so. It was widely known that the second Prince did not like paperwork. What was the point of giving him paperwork anyway? He was the second Prince, the second! Unless his brother suddenly up and keeled over one day, unlikely, he would never be King. He wasn't even sure he would want to be King. He enjoyed traveling outside the castle too much. In fact, if his elder brother suddenly up and died on him, Zen might have brought him back to life, just to kill him again himself for thrusting this injustice called kingship upon him.
"Prince Zen, you really do need to get those papers signed… they're already overdue!"
Zen cast his signature "I'll be damned if I do paperwork" menacing glare over at Mitsuhide. "Who the heck gives a damn about my signature?"
"If you looked at those papers, you'd discover the answer for yourself." Kiki pointed out logically.
"Papers…" Zen cast them a dirty look.
"If you're not done with your paperwork you won't have time to see Shirayuki when she returns." Mitsuhide wheedled. Both he and Kiki knew their beloved Prince's weak spot, he enjoyed the time he spent with Shirayuki. The mention of her name just might be the right bribe to get him to complete his work, it was worth a shot.
It had the opposite effect entirely.
Both Mitsuhide and Kiki jumped as Zen gave a frantic yell of frustration, concern, and something which might have been helplessness.
Zen, raking his hands through his hair frantically, paced faster around the room. "She was supposed to be back already!" He raged at the ceiling.
Kiki and Mitsuhide exchanged looks only before Zen was suddenly before them looking frenzied.
"She didn't mention she might stay more than a day. She didn't! So where is she?" Zen asked them, as if they might miraculously have the answer.
"No!" Zen agreed and suddenly made for the door, "no one knows where she is. I knew I should have just gone with her and dealt with my father's anger when I got back. I knew I should have gone, something bad must have happened to her. You know how she is, she's not exactly inconspicuous!"
"Where are you going?!" Mitsuhide called after Zen as he and Kiki ran after him.
"Where do you think I'm going?" Zen retorted as he yanked his sword out to make sure it was sharp before shoving it back into the scabbard at his waist.
"The paperwork!" Kiki protested weakly.
"I'll deal with it when I get back." Zen told them, "Shirayuki is more important than a bunch of official documents."
Mitsuhide and Kiki stopped, staring after him before suddenly running back towards their Prince's office on some unknown errand.
The menacing aura continued to hang over Zen as he marched towards the Gate of Poets, he dared anyone to try and stop him. He may not be sneaking out, but they weren't keeping him in either. He dared someone to try and place a higher importance on something other than that redheaded girl.
He could have murdered Prince Raji for ever thinking of laying a hand on Shirayuki, but he hadn't. What were a few of his own government officials?
Everyone seemed to agree that Zen was looking particularly murderous today, and so steered away from him. Fortunately for them.
Until he found Shirayuki, and made sure she was safe, he wouldn't be happy. Until then he'd be a menacing mess of frantic thoughts and concerns. Perhaps his elder brother had been right in calling him single minded. He certainly couldn't call this obsession anything else but single minded. But was it really such an awful thing to be concerned about someone you promised yourself to protect? And Shirayuki was a girl… he could write this off as noble chivalrous duties or something like that. That might keep his father off his back about his running off again.
Zen reached the docks and immediately found the boat that would be going to the vicinity of Mount Koto, the same place Shirayuki had gone. He boarded the vessel and staked out his place to stand and be a worried wreck.
He knew he was garnering a variety of looks from the other passengers as they too boarded the boat. He didn't care, but he wasn't about to start kissing babies right now. Impatiently he shifted his weight from one foot to another. Couldn't this boat hurry up and set sail? He had a wayward girl to find!
Any outsider might have thought that their Prince was suffering from constipation, and was very displeased about it due to the menacing shadow that hung over him.
Unfortunately for Zen, even when the boat did cast off from the docks, the trip would still take an hour. He thought he might have spent that hour pacing, or worse, cursing the heavens for all to hear. Strangely enough however he stayed fixed in one spot, his mind slowly becoming calm. The knowledge that he was on his way seemed to be a decent comfort to him. The thoughts his mind began to dwell on however confused him with the feelings they began to stir inside him.
Sure, it was normal for him to think about Shirayuki in a time like this.
But must he get this strange tug inside him with every thought of her? It was starting to weird him out just a bit. Perhaps he was getting ill. It would be a logical reasoning, he did feel as if he'd been overworked as of late. Sure, he had brought most of that upon himself, but even so. A young man of his age and athleticism needed to get out more, away from dreary official business. Official business that had kept him from seeing Shirayuki more often, the same business which had kept him from accompanying her on her overseas trip.
And now here he was.
He had still ended up going. However in hindsight he had to admit if he had his druthers, he'd have rather gone with Shirayuki when she left. He should have in fact.
He had to stop thinking about it, there was nothing he could do yet.
Zen turned where he stood, gripping the railing of the vessel in his hands. The ocean glittered peacefully back at him as he gazed out across it. It acted almost like a calming drug to Zen, and he felt his worries ebb away on the currents. At long last, he'd gained peace of mind back again.
When at last the boat docked, Zen was one of the first off of it.
Quickly he hurried into the fray of milling people, making his way towards the mountain in the distance. Knowing Shirayuki she'd have gone to the area surrounding the mountain to examine, catalogue, and probably harvest some foliage. He could spend time asking if anyone had seen her, but he knew she would not have lingered here in the city when she could have already left. She had promised it would only be a day trip, and he knew Shirayuki was not someone who broke her word. And so he hurried towards the forest.
As he entered it he trained his eyes to the ground, jogging the whole way. His keen eyes flitted here and there trying to pick up tracks of his missing, troublesome friend. He had nearly given up on this section of the forest and was about to move farther north when he saw them.
But his elation did not last for long, the tracks led here from the port town, but they did not go back. They stopped entirely. However her tracks were not alone, there was another set, a larger set. Zen's hand gripped reflexively on the hilt of his sword and his jaw clenched.
They were a man's tracks, along with the sign of someone falling.
Zen did not have to lean closer to know it was Shirayuki who'd been caught unawares. A stab of fear, along with the roar of rage entered his heart. Someone had hurt her. Quickly Zen began to follow the larger set of tracks that would lead him both to Shirayuki, and the bastard who'd dared strike her.
Briefly the thought of, "would you do this for Mitsuhide or Kiki?", entered his mind. He told his mind to shut up. Of course he would, wouldn't he? But then again, Mitsuhide and Kiki knew how to protect themselves. He doubted Shirayuki had ever even held a sword before, much less used one.
His mind countered this time with, "but would you react as you are now if one of them was gone longer than they'd said?"
That actually was something Zen paused in his mad dash to mull over. Would he? Would he bolt out of the castle, hop a boat to another country, and charge blindly into a dark forest to find Mitsuhide or Kiki if they were gone longer than their "day trip?" Would he feel as enraged if someone had hurt one of them?
Zen gave up trying to figure out the answer right now. He could sort out his thoughts and feelings at a later date. Right now he had a friend to locate.
So he charged onward, following the tracks closely.
He knew he was on the right trail when he suddenly heard a voice from farther ahead. A man's voice. The sword at Zen's waist came into his hand, and he continued on. As he hurried he saw what appeared to be a stone castle rising above the trees. She'd been taken to another castle? Just what was with some aristocrats?! She was not an exotic pet! She was a human, and a very smart one at that. He had to get her back.
As he emerged onto the scene, accidentally stepping on a fallen tree branch as he did so, he quickly took in the situation and struck.
His sword connected with the underside of the torch that was shoved dangerously close against the stone wall Shirayuki had her back to. The threatening object was flung out of its owner's hands, and fell to clatter and burn out in the dirt. Yet he wasn't done, he may have gotten the flames away from Shirayuki, but there was still one offensive thing near her.
Zen slammed his elbow hard into the man's gut, not wanting to kill him just yet, if he did at all. The kidnapper fell to the ground in an unceremonious heap, the wind effectively knocked out of him.
Somehow, just knowing that now Shirayuki was safe with him, his anger began to ebb away, as did his frantic thoughts of whether or not she'd even have been alive. All prior emotions were replaced by pure and simple relief as he turned his gaze on her. Placing his sword free left hand onto the stone wall beside her head he leant his weight into his palm and smiled in between pants of catching his breath.
"Hey, Shirayuki." He said conversationally as she stared wide eyed back at him. "So, it wasn't a one-day trip, huh?"