Well...here I go again...starting another fic. Maybe I'll actually finish this one, eh? Oh, and I don't own Meru Puri, duh!
"Uh...hi there," Mysti waved and smiled sheepishly at the disconcerted young man standing in front of her. He was breathtakingly beautiful, with silky hair the color of honey and sharp eyes the color of pale blue moonlight. He glared at her in a somewhat angry manor and sighed.
"You've broken my desk, peasant girl, and you've scattered my papers to the four winds," he waved a ring-clad hand and murmured a low chant, and Mysti had to gasp as she watched paper and fragments of wood reassemble themselves. She screeched as the desk she'd fallen out of the sky and landed on popped back up right underneath her, tossing her up into the air so that she landed flat on her back in front of it, the skirt of her school uniform tossed up to her chin. She lay there for a few seconds, dazed. When she'd tripped and fallen over the guardrail in that old castle she'd been touring, she'd landed in the fountain at the ground floor. She'd fully expected to die right then and there, as she'd fallen at least three stories and the fountain was only a foot deep with a seven-sided mirror set into the bottom. Instead she'd felt her fingers barely make contact with the mirror's surface, then slide right through. She'd fallen some more, then landed on something very hard. It had turned out to be this very irritated man's desk, and she'd snapped it right in two, scattering his papers everywhere and destroying an ornate sculpture of a rose.
"Are you still alive down there," the man asked in a tone that said he really couldn't care less, "I can see up your skirt, in case you cared."
With a small screech, Mysti scrambled to her feet and yanked her skirt back into its proper place, blushing scarlet. She glared at the man, who seemed less than apologetic that he'd brazenly ogled her favorite pair of black, lacy panties. Most guys would've at least tried to help her up, or apologized at the very least. This man simply stared at her as if he'd seen many other, more exciting things in his life, and her choice in underwear was not one of them. He looks like he's about ready to yawn in my face! The jerk!
Then the fact that he'd only just waved his hand and everything she'd broken had been repaired as if by magic sunk in, and it was her turn to stare at him. Not with boredom though...
"I believe you should begin explaining why it is that you decided to fall out of thin air onto my desk," the man said, sounding bored, "it will determine if you are to be imprisoned, or if I should just throw you out of the castle."
Mysti did her best not to let her anger show, as she had a massive temper and often had trouble holding her more violent urges back once she let it loose. Well, she thought, stunned, he makes it sound as if I did it on purpose. "It was...an accident," she mummered, "I...ah...fell over a banister into a mirrored fountain and..."
"Mirror?" suddenly he looked interested, and he was in front of her in the blink of an eye, his hands grasping her upper arms with vise-like power, "Tell me, how many sides did this mirror have? Answer now!"
For a moment, all Mysti could focus on was the fact that he had such beautiful, sad eyes. It was stupid, especially when he looked as if he were about to shake her to death and his fingers were digging painfully into her flesh. She should answer his question. Instead, she opened her mouth and asked him a question.
"What is your name?"
For a moment he appeared stunned. It was an odd look on his face, as if he didn't wear the expression often. Then he recovered and glared at her angrily, "My name is not important at the moment. Tell me how many sides the mirror had before I lose my patience, peasant girl."
Annoyed, Mysti shoved at his chest and he released her. She took a step back and answered sarcastically, "A mirror has two sides, one that shows your reflection and one that rests against a wall. Sometimes you can find mirrors with two reflective surfaces, or even some that distort your reflection..."
He appeared irate at her blatant disrespect and spoke through clenched teeth, "Don't play stupid with me, peasant girl. I asked how many edges, not faces, and you know it."
"You said sides," Mysti retorted, deliberately acting flippant, "how could I have been sure..."
"Semantics are unimportant," the man replied sharply, "and you are severely trying my patience. If you decide not to answer, then I shall compell it from you and have you forcibly escorted to the other side of the palace walls. It's your choice." Their gazes met and they stared each other down for a moment. He looked ready to reach up and grab the sword hanging on the wall behind him so he could whack her a good one with it. Now, normally Mysti wasn't one to challenge people who obviously had more power than her. She was good at keeping her head low and staying invisible. However, in this case, the way this angry, bitter young man addressed her didn't sit well at all. It made her want to raise her head and shout at him, to lift her fists and pound something as if to declare that she was through just absorbing the blows without retaliation. And if he called her "peasant girl" one more time, she really would try to deck him.
"Fine," she growled, conceding victory in the battle of wills they were waging, "there were seven edges, if you must know. If you'd just asked nicely instead of trying to intimidate me, maybe I would have answered faster."
"Seven," he mummered to himself, "are you positive?"
Mysti snorted in an unladylike fashion, "It was all I could see for the three whole miliseconds I spent falling three stories to the ground. I'm pretty sure it had seven edges and a mirrored bottom that shows every detail of your face when you look down into it. I look like a dork when I'm freaking out..." She trailed off when he whispered a spell and shot up into the air toward the multiple support beams that held the roof up over his office. He hovered right over where she'd fallen and began examining the aged wood and stone. His eyes widened a second later and he used the tip of a dagger to dig something small out of a wooden support beam. He held the object in his right hand as he floated gracefully back to the floor.
"I don't believe this..." he appeared to be in shock, "how could we have missed it?"
"Missed what?" Mysti asked, not expecting an answer. She peered closer at the object and discovered that it was a small, palm-sized seven-sided mirror. She had to take a step back and just breathe for a moment. Had the mirror in the fountain sent her through that tiny mirror above the man's desk? That was impossible...wasn't it?
"I will have to report this to the king immediately," he said, startling her from her thoughts, "you will come with me, and none of your sarcasm please. Thanks to this little family heirloom in my hand you'll have a bit more time here, but not much. Any of that dagger-tongue nonsense of yours and I'll have you stuffed back through the nearest portal with your mind replaced with that of a squirrel."
Mysti swallowed nervously and watched as he took the lead and walked out of the room. He obviously expected her to follow him, and she wasn't about to challenge him if it meant switching bodies with a squirrel. She gathered her wits about her and forced her legs to work as she followed him. His walk was so smooth that the material of his ornate silk clothing barely rustled. She took a moment to realize that he was a good foot and a half taller than her, probably six-two. He cast an icy glance over his shoulder once to make sure she was behind him, but paid no more attention to her until they were standing in what appeared to be a solar of a castle. A beautiful woman who looked exactly like the man who was escorting her sat with two young children and another, almost equally handsome man. This one had long dark brown hair and dusky green eyes, and she could tell that he and the woman were married and the children were theirs as well. The love in their eyes when they looked at each other was obvious.
"Your majesty, I apologize for intruding upon your day of liberty, but a small issue has arisen," the man said.
The dark-haired man looked up with a silly, sarcastic smile on his face and said, "If it were small, you wouldn't be here, would you prime minister Lei?" Then he caught sight of Mysti and his cheeks turned a dusky rose color. "My," the man said, "what a lovely young woman you have with you Lei! She can't possibly be your woman, can she?"
The golden-haired man, whom she now knew to be named Lei, looked primly horrified at the very notion, "No. She is actually part of the issue I am here to discuss with you, Jeile."
Partially ignoring Lei, Jeile placed an arm around the shoulders of his queen and asked, "What is your name, my lovely young maiden?"
Mysti felt her cheeks turning pink as she replied, "Uh...Mysti Deanoia...sir." As so as the words left her lips the room fell silent. Lei was staring at her with slightly widened eyes, and Jeile looked genuinely shocked. Even his wife, Nei looked as if she'd just been surprised.
"Lei..." Jeile could barely manage words at the moment.
"I...I know," Lei cleared his throat and turned to face Mysti, "with that last name...it means that you're related to the king of Astale."
Mysti was agape, "What?"
"Deanoia was my mother's maiden name..." Jeile's voice was beginning to sound weak, "Jeile, thank you for bringing her here. Nei,would you please see to it that she has a comfortable room set up in the east wing while Lei and I discuss this further. I'm sorry, but I must cut short our leisure time and call on my brother Aram and my father as well. If you would please take the children out to the gardens to play for the time being, when you get a chance?"
Nei smiled sadly and gave him a soft kiss on the lips, "I will be waiting for you after you sort everything out, my love." She stood up, gathered the children (who were currently engaging in a staring contest - the one that looked like Nei was winning of course), and bowed to Lei before leading Mysti out of the room. Mysti was releived to leave the tension-filled chamber, even though she wasn't sure exactly where she was being led. This Nei seemed trustworthy enough, though it was strange that everyone who passed them in the corridors bowed in front of her.
"I'm sorry if Lei shocked you," Nei said softly, surprising Mysti enough to make her jump nervously, "my brother has always been a bit harsh to those who he views as beneath him."
"Beneath him, eh?" Mysti grumbled so that only she could hear.
"I was wondering though," Nei stopped in front of a huge door and smiled bashfully at Mysti, "how exactly did you come to be here? Obviously, your arrival was unexpected."
Mysti had to take a deep breath before replying, "I...uh...fell through a mirror...and landed on his desk."
Nei raised her eyebrows, "Oh my! You weren't hurt were you? Lei would have healed you by now, but still, his desk is made of solid Astale oak, one of the hardest woods in existence."
"Well, it hurt when I landed and broke it in two," Mysti said sheepishly, "but I didn't really receive any bodily injury."
"You...broke my brother's desk?" and suddenly, Nei's face was an exact copy of her brother's, blank and cool. Then a small smile broke out and began to grow, until she was having a giggle fit.
"I wish I could have seen my poor brother's face when you fell on that dreary desk!" Nei smiled brightly at her, and her little brown-haired boy tugged on her skirts, looking confused but cheerful.
"What happened to uncle Lei's desk, mother?" he asked, eyes shining bright with curiosity.
Nei's other child answered for her, "This lady fell on it and broke it with her bottom."
"Uh, ha ha, right," Mysti laughed halfheartedly, "my...bottom...anyway, I wanted to ask what exactly Lei meant when he said I was related to uh...wait. Didn't Mr. Jeile say that his mother's maiden name was the same as mine, and that it meant I was related to the king...meaning that Jeile and you are..."
Nei smiled cheerfully and confirmed what she'd been thinking, "The current king and queen of Astale, yes. But don't worry, Jeile will not let any harm come to you now that he's discovered you could be a distant relative. Of course, he wouldn't have hurt you anyway because you are a lovely young woman, but that is beside the point. And anyway, you must be exhausted from such a harrowing experience, so you should make yourself at home. This room is suitable, I hope." She moved aside as the doors opened, and Mysti found herself rendered speechless.
The room was massive, the perfect size to hold the equally massive four-poster bed in the center of it. Dark wood with ornate carvings held up a huge, very soft looking mattress and box spring sed, and there were yards and yards of dark blue fabric cascading around it as curtains. The rest of the room was decorated just as ornately, with sculptures sitting on shelves and a settee, and a beautiful hand-carved vanity and matching stool. In short, it was the most lavish room she'd ever seen outside of a magazine.
"This is...more than I could have asked for in a million years," Mysti swallowed the lump that had begun to form in her throat, "are...are you sure I can stay in here?"
Nei smiled warmly, "Of course. You are a guest of the royal family, are you not? Lay down and rest, my friend, and a maid will be up soon to see if you need anything. I will also arrange for you to visit the bath later on, before dinner tonight. Until then, Mysti-san." Nei inclined her head slightly, and two serving maids slowly shut the doors.
"Thank you," Mysti whispered just before the doors were closed all the way, "your majesty."
"Father, what secrets have you been keeping from us?" Jeile asked, looking somewhat frazzled.
Sadeel, the former king, sat next to former queen Veedua and was silent for a long time before he answered, "There are certain things that I did not see the need to tell you. I had no idea, for one, that your long lost cousin would show up using one of the missing portals. She was reported missing a decade ago, presumed to be as dead as the rest of her family."
"Yes, I know that now," Jeile ran a hand through his hair, mussing it up, "but no one informed me that I even had extended family members that had been murdered! You would think something that important would have been reported to me! She was part of my mother's family!"
"But this girl is not your sister," Sadeel said calmly, "she is barely your cousin. Apparently, her family's killer was unable to get to her in time, and she was sent to another world to be raised by some distant family of hers, probably exiles from Astale. As I said to you before, numerous times, the entire family was reported to have been slaughtered by a madman, including this Mysti girl, and you were young at the time of the incident. I did not want to trouble you over the deaths of people you had not ever met or would likely ever meet. You must trust that it was difficult for me to keep it from you. Mysti's parents were dear friends of the royal family, though they chose to remain far from their homeland. We all mourned their loss in our own ways, but it was such a violent crime committed against them, and I did not think it wise to tell you of it unless it became necessary."
Jeile sighed and stared at his father, "Well...I'd say it's become very necessary, especially since Mysti will have questions of her own about her family. I have to have something to tell her, father. I cannot simply say that her parents died and she was abandoned in another world."
"And why ever not?" Veedua spoke out, looking stern, "I know of what happened to her family as well, Jeile, and it was not something that I would ever consider telling her. Such heartless slaughter would drive even the strongest of hearts to the brink of despair. She is likely unaware that her real parents lived here, due to the fact that she's never tried to come here before and seems to have no knowledge of the mirrors or spells. Not to mention the fact that all her ties to the royal family have been dead for years. Do you really think she will be able to withstand the responsibilty of taking over where her family left off?"
Jeile scowled and tried to sort through his thoughts. Lei merely watched everything unfold, strange thoughts bouncing around in his head that he could not seem to get out.
Finally, he was unable to contain them, and said, "She knows magic."
All eyes turned to him, and he frowned and continued, "She has to know, else the mirror would never have opened up for her. She would have fallen to her death in that other world unless she had cast a spell of some sort. So there is potential for her to take up the reigns of the fallen Deanoia family, if someone were willing to teach her. The matter of her family can be put off for a little while longer. Until then, it's up to his majesty what happens with her."
Jeile glared at Lei and announced, "Very well then. I put you in charge of her, Lei."
There was silence in the room for several moments. Lei was staring daggers at Jeile. "And why might that be, your majesty? I hardly have the time for keeping up with a student."
Jeile kept his face carefully blank, "You have a very accomplished assistant prime minister, Yuino-san, at your disposal, do you not? Have her handle things while you are overseeing Mysti-san's lessons. It's not like I'm asking you to completely give up all your time for her, only what free time you have."
Lei growled angrily, "I am a very busy man, your majesty. I have no free time as it is."
Jeile remained unmoved, "I am aware of this, prime minister, and that is why I would advise you to make some. Yuino-san is nearly as good as you are. Have her take care of the daily matters, and if something important comes up you can take over. She is capable, and willing, and you are better suited for the job of teaching Mysti-san than even I am."
"Why is that?"
Jeile frowned sadly, "Because I would tell her the truth, Lei, about everything. And, as mother has pointed out, that would be unwise at this time. The girl is probably in shock as it is, and hearing the truth would only add to it. You're excellent at keeping important secrets, and I know you will not tell her until she is better prepared and well-adjusted to life here."
Lei was silent. He bowed in acquiescence, though reluctantly, and turned to leave the room. Jeile sighed as he watched his old friend leave the room with stiff shoulders and reminded himself that this was for the best. Perhaps, with a little help from Mysti herself, Lei would soften up just a little. He'd been so stressed lately.
Mysti nearly fell out of bed when the doors to her room were thrown open. She scrambled into a crouching position and frantically searched for what had caused the ruckus. She found it in the form of Lei, looking very dark and forboeding in her doorway.
"What are you...hey!" She tumbled out of the way of a blast of magic aimed for her head. Lei shot a few more off, and she dodged each one of them by the skin of her teeth. Finally, he had her cornered, and he aimed right for her heart. She heard the blast go off, felt the heat of it as it came toward her, and threw up what she liked to call her "shield". The blast bounced off of it and slammed into the ceiling above her head. Silence descended upon the room.
Lei stared at her in shock for a moment, then a slow grin spread over his features. "I knew I was right," he said, "you do know some magic. I had to see for myself if my theory was correct."
"You could have just waited until I was outside or something!" Mysti cried, "Now you've gone and destroyed this lovely bedroom you big jerk! Plus, you could have killed me! Are you insane?!"
Lei smiled, but it was not a pleasant smile at all. It was one of ill intent, and it gave Mysti the chills. She suspected she was about to get into something that she would not like.
"The lessons have begun," Lei said abrubtly, "for the moment though, I invite you to rest and relax. Starting tomorrow morning, you won't be doing much of that for a long time. I'll see you at dinner." And with that, he left, taking Mysti's freedom with him.
Well...there's the first chapter. I hope it was good. I'd wuv to hear from all you readers, so review away! I'll have the next chapter up soon enough...I hope. No flames please...I bite back.