A Fractured Fairy Tale
The rocky path of two people destined to be together, and the actions of all who try to stop them. A story of the romance between Shizuka and Seto told as a fairy tale.
Synergy: The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
I do not own Yu-gi-oh, I am just using these characters in my story. Which means the plot is mine, although this is also influenced heavily by Ever After; Ella Enchanted, Jane Austen, and the song 'Spell' by Marié Digby. I don't own any of these either.
"…I have you
For a moment I can tell I've got you
Cause your lips don't move
And something is happening
Cause your eyes tell me the truth
I've put a spell over you."
-'Spell,' Marié Digby
The Crown Prince opened the armoire doors and stared at the clothing within. Like the maid had said, Lady Kawai's… Shizuka's… clothing was still there. He wasn't quite sure what he was doing there. He didn't want to remember the events of the previous night, but he couldn't stop thinking about how close he had been. To happiness… or utter ruin. He was supposed to be free from her, but he had never felt more confined. He still couldn't tell what her true intentions were. There were moments, when the two of them were alone, that he thought… but he couldn't afford to lose face like that again. He was the Crown Prince of Domino… he was a servant to his own Crown. He couldn't trust anyone. Seto locked the door of the armoire and slipped the key into his pocket. He couldn't let anyone see his mistake.
Shizuka glowered at the man seated across from her at the wooden plank table. Ryuuji's estate was much larger than her family's Manor, but despite all that land and space it felt cold and empty. The other servants that she had seen slinked around like they were invisible, yet she had repeatedly been told by him that she was no ordinary servant. True, she had served the food, but then he had asked her to join him for the meal—in a voice which mocked the fact that she did not have the power to refuse him.
"You should try some of the spinach," he said, "it came from your old Manor." He smirked at her silence. "You'll have plenty more meals here; this is your new life after all. And I wish you'd consider my offer. Think of it. The entire mansion. Your freedom. All in exchange for—"
"Another type of captivity." She glowered at him. "Face it, this was all a scheme. And I will never give in to you."
"What if you didn't have a choice?" He sneered, coming over to stand behind her chair. She flinched as his hands gripped her shoulders. "One way or another, I will get what I want."
"Not if I can help it!" She stood up and pushed the chair she had been sitting on backwards, surprising him enough to let go of her and stagger backwards. Shizuka ran from the room.
Seto ran to the stables, saddling up the first horse that he found. He didn't want anyone to know where he was going, or have anyone that he didn't want following him. He had come to accept all of King Gozaburo's corrupt practices, and he had to find the person who helped him realize that there was so much he had missed. He wasn't under any delusions that she would even want to talk to him, but he had to find her, to talk at least one more time.
He wanted to take the crown from Gozaburo. He would have to bring his father's practices to light, and he wanted her opinion on what he should do to start his new reign. She had done so much, and had helped him more than his tutors ever had. In fact, everything she had said to him was true…except when she had misled him regarding her true identity. But then, he had misunderstood her as well. Things had easily gotten out of control. But he was going to set things right. His horse reared, and he set off down the path to the Manor House.
He let himself in and walked in to the main room where Anzu was elegantly sipping from a cup of tea. She nearly spit out a mouthful in surprise upon noticing his presence. "Prince…I'm so glad you came to your senses. This is where you belong."
"Save it, Mazaki," he hissed. "I'm here for answers. Where is she?"
"…I'm right here." Her voice rose higher and higher as she talked.
"Where. Is. Shizuka? I need to talk to her."
"Well, I don't know if you can talk to Shizuka, but you're more than welcome to pay your congratulations to the new Duchess Otogi." She smiled over her teacup triumphantly.
Seto felt his muscles freeze over at the news. If he could move, he had the oddest urge to grab the teacup out of her hands and throw it against the wall. Why did he feel so infuriated? She was free to do whatever she wanted now… he felt his lungs expand as he took in a deep breath. After last night, she was even more of a prisoner. And he had fed her to the wolves. He shuddered to think of her, forced into the Duke's wintry embrace. Without giving it a second thought, he turned around and left, slamming the door shut behind him. He was probably too late, but he had to do something.
Shizuka ran as fast as she could through the halls of Otogi's Mansion, trying to mask the sounds of her footsteps. She didn't want to think about what would happen once he found her. She also didn't know how much longer she could keep resisting him. But once she did, that would seal her fate completely. But she also knew that he lived for the chase. He wouldn't be happy if he actually caught her. It scared her.
Shizuka rounded a corner and in her haste her foot caught on a loose stone in the floor. Her body pitched forward, and she fell into the suit of armor that stood guard in the hallway. The suit crashed to the floor, echoing throughout the space. She staggered to her feet as the footsteps of the man following her got louder. "There you are!"
She looked up; he was standing not ten feet from her and he looked livid. At this point she doubted that she could outrun him. She looked around for anything she could use as a weapon. Next to the pieces of the suit of armor on the floor, the sword that it had been holding lay beside the helmet. She picked it up and held it pointed at him. It was heavy; she supported it with both hands.
He laughed at her. "Do you honestly think that you can fight against me?" He quickly moved to another suit of armor and wrenched the sword from its metal grasp. "I doubt you've ever held a sword. Put that down, and maybe I'll let you off easy."
Shizuka kept the sword raised in a defensive stance like she had been taught. Like the Crown Prince… Seto had taught her. He had taught her many things, but she never applied any of them. She had to be strong now. "You will stay away from me."
Seto hitched his horse at the door of the Mansion and ran inside. He hadn't been in the Duke's house in several years, and he ran through the corridors, searching for anyone. It didn't seem like anyone was around, but he would keep running until he found either Shizuka or the Duke himself. He threw open a set of wooden doors at the end of one hallway and found himself in a large banquet hall. He could faintly hear the clang of metal upon metal. He knew the sound of sword fighting well. He followed the sound until he saw them; Shizuka was being pushed back by Otogi's assault. She was barely holding on, but she was still standing. She saw him first. "Seto!"
Ryuuji turned around, his sword arcing in a circle, now pointed towards this new intruder. "You! How dare you enter my home without permission!"
Seto drew the sword that was strapped securely to his side and assumed an offensive stance. "Your fight is with me, not her. …Shizuka. Get away from him." He would protect her like he couldn't before. He rushed at Otogi, his sword swinging high. Shizuka quickly jumped away, standing far away from the fight, the end of the sword pointing down into the ground. The adrenaline she felt dodging Otogi's attacks was beginning to wear off, and now, she watched nervously as they fought. She had never seen Seto this fierce before; it was frightening.
He parried all of Otogi's attacks and began an attack of his own. Once he got in close enough and his opponent's sword was down, Seto brought his free hand back and punched Otogi square in the jaw. Otogi fell backwards onto the ground. Seto shook out his hand, which stung from the force of the punch, then pointed his sword straight at his opponent. "I should kill you… but I won't." His gaze flickered to Shizuka, who had let her sword fall to the ground, where it clattered several times before coming to a rest. "You will never see or talk to her again. Shizuka…" he motioned towards her, beckoning her to leave her place near the wall of the room. "Come with me."
Wordlessly she walked beside him from the room and outside, where she didn't once look back. She stopped as they arrived at his mount, where he unwound the reigns. Shizuka broke the silence. "What are you doing?"
He regarded her with confusion. "Rescuing you, or so I thought. Did you not want to be rescued?"
"No!" She flinched. "I… am thankful. You were almost too late. I wanted to escape as soon as the Baron sold me to the Duke."
"So… you're not married?"
"No." She smiled; for the first time she felt free. "I'm not married."
"Then marry me."
She appeared just as shocked as he did, but he quickly recovered himself. "I lost you once, and I'm not going to lose you again." He knelt before her as was customary, even though he had no ring to offer her. He only had himself… which he offered up fully and wholeheartedly. "Please… Shizuka. I kneel before you in the hope that you will never kneel before anyone again." He seemed to be unable to stop saying her name. He looked up at her to realize she had begun to cry.
"Yes! I'll marry you. Seto, I've never been so happy." In an instant he had raised, his arms wrapped around her and her head on his shoulder, her tears making spots on his jacket. He kissed her forehead, then as she raised her head to look at him, her eyes closed in anticipation as he kissed her again on the mouth.
He pulled away and they both smiled at each other and it seemed like they just couldn't stop. At that moment, things could not be more perfect. He helped her onto the horse, conscious of the fact that she had probably never ridden a horse before, and climbed up behind her. "Let's go." They rode away from the estate, in the direction of the Royal Castle. Later, he would return her belongings to their rightful owner. And together, they would take down Gozaburo and rule Domino justly. Together.
The old woman finished her story with a wide smile at her companion, a younger version of herself who listened with rapt attention from her spot on a comfortable chair. "And then you were reunited with great-uncle Katsuya!" the young girl exclaimed.
"Yes, I found my brother, who was a respected knight, even then. And together, the three of us overthrew the corrupt king and brought peace and prosperity to everyone in Domino."
"And then you got married!" The girl rocked back and forth in the chair, obviously happy with the ending of the story.
"Then I married Seto." Shizuka looked at the girl fondly. She had his eyes.
"What a great story!" The girl sighed.
Shizuka laughed, the lines on her face becoming more pronounced. "It's one you'll have to remember, and tell it to your grandchildren as well as your own story."
The girl breathed out; an audible 'ahhhh' sound. "I'm going to have a story to tell too?"
"Of course. You are going to have the story of your own path in finding true love."
She blushed. "Everyone's going to find true love?"
Shizuka looked at her granddaughter and saw the hope in her eyes. One day, she would become a great queen. "Yes, everyone will find it. But, some people's paths are longer and more difficult than others."
"Like your own?"
The little girl left her grandmother several minutes later after kissing her softly on the cheek. Now alone, Shizuka stared wistfully outside, to the land beyond the panes of glass in the window. Not much later she rose, her bones aching, a constant reminder of her age. She left the building where the library had been built, on land adjacent to the palace grounds. There was a small temple off to the side of the library, still overlooking the lake. Slowly yet methodically, she approached it. Shizuka knelt before the grave of King Seto. The marble marking his tomb was dated only the previous year. She read the inscription, the words that she had long since memorized, and wondered how much longer it would be until they were both reunited once more, to be together for eternity, 'forever and ever after.'
Ahhh… what a journey. This story has become one of my favorites, and I'm so happy to have it finally finished. I tied up most of the loose ends… just assume that the Shizuka got her manor back from the Baron, and for Anzu and Ryuuji, well… they deserve each other :) Thank you to everyone who reviewed/alerted/favorited this story, and to anyone who is reading this right now. You are what helped this story become more than I ever thought it would be.
Windona: I love Ella Enchanted; it's probably the best fractured fairy tale I know although I can't stand the movie version. I'm so glad you liked the story! Thanks for reviewing!
Kako: Happy Birthday!!!!!!! :D Thank you so much for your constant support and all your help in making this story amazing. You're amazing!
UnlessAbsolutelyNecessary: I guess I left the villain's endings mostly to the reader's imagination; the story isn't about them so they're not really in the ending. You had some great ideas, though :) I hoped you liked this chapter, and think… now I can get around to updating everything else sooner with this one finished!
The Duelist's Heiress: I'm so glad that you liked the chapter! Thanks always for reading and reviewing!
Blueshadows2010: Oh no! I never like making people cry… if this chapter made you cry, hopefully they were happy tears! I hope you like this chapter!
Midnight blue08: No Marik the gypsy king in this story… I totally agree that it would have been awesome, though :D Thank you for your review!
Arana Is: Yeah… I like to think more that he's trapped in his situation as much as blinded, and it took Shizuka to jolt him into doing something about it. I really think Anzu getting together with Otogi would be punishment enough :) And while Jounouchi doesn't really show up excluding the reference at the end, I would like to think that he married Mai and lived happily ever after too… Thanks for your review; I hope you enjoy reading this chapter!
I'm so happy to have finished this story. Time to check that 'Complete' box! If you enjoyed reading this story, I have more silentshipping stories in every flavor!
Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in a review!