jychan: YES. I know you hate me so much for not updating, but I didn't want to give you updates that weren't of the good-quality ones. :) So, yes. :) (EXCUSES! XD)

30. An Undeniable Fact

"We never expected to see you here again." The eldest of the Ran Clan Leaders, Yuki, spoke up, while looking intently to Ran Shuuei, who was seated on the chair before them. Yet, despite the words that were spoken, the smirks on their faces spoke otherwise.

"Me, neither. Truth to be told." Shuuei replied, "I heard my wife was kidnapped by the Ran Clan. I made it my point to come here as soon as possible."

"When we heard that you had married the youngest princess of Shinyen, we had ought to severe our ties with Yamamoto Kentaro. At the first place, actually, we never had grown acquainted with each other. His words and eyes only spoke of trouble." Yuki added as the other two of the triples nodded in agreement.

"I thought so, actually. That was why I had to rush here and clarify that point." Shuuei said, "Only to find out that she was rescued by Gyokuka-san. I suppose my efforts to have rushed here weren't in vain."

"Ah, yes. I remember." Yuki replied, "She actually had introduced herself as someone else. She is pretty wise to have done that, especially since you have thought of the Ran Clan's supposed alliance with Yamamoto Kentaro, which is entirely a mistake on his part."

"Of course. She is the woman I have fallen in love with." Shuuei replied with a smile on his face.

"How nice," Gyokuka said with a small squeal at the last part, "You had actually found each other again. This is all too nice. I never thought that you and Shuuei had gone through a lot of things."

"I know. Even how we were still able to see each other a while ago was enough of a miracle. I never thought I would see the daylights again. Yet, I was able to see him in the end." Hidari said as she gave a small smile. She had told Gyokuka about her experiences and how she had met Shuuei the first time and for the second time, while leaving out the necessary and too crucial matters.

A knock on the door was heard as Shuuei went in. He had just finished talking with his older brothers and since things were settled, he had to leave the province with his wife.

"It's nice meeting you once again, Gyokuka-san, but unfortunately, Hidari-hime and I have to leave the Ran Province for Kiyou. I had to abandon some duties there just to look for my dearest wife." He gave a quick smile to Hidari, who blushed at the mention of the word, 'wife'. Shuuei noticed it and chuckled inwardly.

"Oh? Is that so? Well then, I won't hold you anymore, Hidari-hime. It was nice meeting you." Gyokuka said as she smiled, while Hidari nodded.

"It was nice meeting you, as well, Gyokuka-san. I hope we would see each other again." Hidari replied in a very formal way as Gyokuka nodded. Shuuei and Hidari left the premises at once, while Hidari simply looked at her husband's face as they rode the horse.

"I am all too sorry for simply letting you ride a horse, your Highness." Shuuei said as Hidari poke her tongue out and swat her husband's back. "I was just too preoccupied with your safety that I had simply rushed back to my home province with my horse and some necessary items." He added as Hidari smiled.

"Thank you, danna-sama." She said as she blushed at her words, while Shuuei stopped the horse and immediately kissed her.

"It took my all not to kiss you in front of Gyokuka-san earlier." He said as Hidari blushed all the more.

"Actually, I won't complain at all." Hidari replied, "I prefer it this way. At least, we get home faster and I can actually have the excuse of having to hug you from the back."

"Oh my. My wife truly loves me, eh?" Shuuei said as Hidari blushed beet red. He smiled and kissed her once again. He made sure that she truly felt how he truly felt for her. He turned back to the front and started the horse once again.

"I simply just can't stay here and not do anything." The former empress of Shinyen, Himeko, now known as Shimo Furiko, grumbled as her eyebrows narrowed. She was conversing with Seiran and the current Emperor of Saiunkoku, Ryuuki.

"But aneue, it is too difficult and risky for you to come along." Ryuuki said as Himeko blushed slightly at the new term that Ryuuki had called her. "Well, you and Aniue are already together so I assumed that it would be fine for me to address you that..."

"Ryuuki-sama, I told you to stop calling me that." Seiran, who was formerly known as Shi Seien, sighed.

"But, she knows already." Ryuuki replied as he gave a small smile.

"Shujou, it would be best to not state that at all. Senshi Himeko is already dead." Furiko said as she stared at the window where she caught the sight of a cherry blossom petal falling on the miniature pond outside. Silence enveloped them while Furiko simply stared outside the window.

Seiran broke the uneasy silence with a cough.

"Nevertheless, it is not wise for you to come along, Furiko." Seiran stated as Furiko frowned.

"I'm not afraid of anything anymore. They took away Hidari-hime. They just can't do that. Who are they to do whatever they want while displeasing, disrespecting and bringing shame to the royal family of Shinyen?" She panted at the last part.

"Furiko, listen." Seiran said as he took her hands and knelt down so that his eyes would be on the same level as hers since she was sitting, "I don't want to put your life in danger. Actually, it's already in danger, but I don't want to risk it further."

Furiko made no response. She simply stayed silent and looked at Seiran's eyes. They were of the same color as they have always been in the past. The man was still the same person she had known throughout those years. He was still the person she had loved.

"Well, I'll be off first then, Shimo-san, Seiran." Ryuuki said as he exited the room, giving a small wave at the supposedly older woman, who just nodded in return. Seiran followed him, accompanying him to the exit of the Kou Family Estate in Kiyou.

"Seiran, please keep an eye on her." Ryuuki said as Seiran nodded. He knew how feisty and courageous the girl was despite her appearance.

"I know that already, shujou." He replied in return. Afterwards, Ryuuki left with his disguise on, while Seiran returned to the receiving room, where Furiko was supposedly staying. Yet, he found no one there. His eyes widened. He searched for her throughout the whole estate, yet he could not find her. He frowned.

Just when he had taken his eyes off of her for a moment, she had disappeared. He shook his head and simply wished he would find her and she would be safe and sound.

jychan: I should be punished for not updating, but I've wanted to give you quality updates. So, yes. :) BTW, I'm graduating high school already. SO WIIII~ :))) How time passed by so fast. :D BTW, i recommend you reading this while listening to Sakura no Kinoshita. :)))) It suits this chapter. :D

Stelra Etnae: I know. More HidarixShuuei fluff here to make it up to you. ;)

personapeach: Well, yes. The SeiranxHimeko pairing is quite not really obvious, you think? Apparently, Seiran and Himeko aren't that revealing when it comes to their relationship. However, I'll try to fix that in the next chapters. It was just too awkward between Seiran and Himeko so far that I couldn't really see them being intimate right ahead without them spending time with each other and basically catching up. The KoyuuxKaori pair is still under judgement. :))) I'm still seeing if there are possible sparks between them, but i do see some. :) Let's just wait and see. :D

xKurenaibara: The wait is over. :) I hope you're satisfied with this. .