As much as I don't like publishing numerous fics at the same time, I put this up because it was requested and because this one needed thorough thinking. I needed a starting point, in short. This fic is for Princess-of-doctors, a fellow YuiNak fan and who have been patiently reading my stories. Hope you find this story to your liking. I'm awfully sorry for the delay, hope this makes up for the months I unconsciously ignored your request. Am really really sorry. I apologize too if the chapter ended up too long, I honestly enjoyed writing this chapter. Hope you liked it! :]
Do also read my other stories: One Night, Just Play the Melody, Serendipity, and The Pretend Boyfriend.
Disclaimer: FY is not mine, but I do wish it was. I made the plot of this story but the concept of Yui and Nakago's roles were supplied by Princess-of-doctors.
Prophecies of the Dragon
"AGES PAST SPOKE of a powerful being, a man borne of the sea who gives the country treasures. An omnipotent creature who walks with the rising sun. A force who brought countless victories. Statues and idols were made to give him a face, yet none closely depicted him. He was known by many names, yet he was nameless.
The God of the East. The Lord of War. The Water Deity. The Bringer of Spring.
Long ago, there was no east or south or west or north. There were no gods in the heavens, yet there were powerful beings that controlled the flow of the earth—water, fire, land, ice, metal, and all that can be sensed by mortals.
The powers were divided into three: the deities of the sky, the lords of the earth, and the spirits of the land underneath. The deities of the skies were merciful and kind but they were always conflicting with the spirits of lower earth, who were strict and unforgiving. Now, the lords of the middle earth were fair and righteous and would give humans what they deserve. Sometimes they favor forgiveness and sometimes they favor punishments, but whichever side they choose brought lessons for both immortals and mortals.
Then came a man who tested the balance of the scales.
The lords of middle earth created friendship so humans would not be lonely and learn to live alongside each other. The deities of the skies were pleased but searched for something deeper to bind humans. And so they created a stronger spell and called it love. With the new creation, humans were bound tighter and learned to care. Seeing that what the deities of the sky have made was indeed very powerful, the spirits of lower earth made a more dominant creation: greed.
And wars began to flourish on earth. Tribes fought against other tribes, families wrestled against families, children betrayed their parents and killed their brothers. The spirits used this emotion to create tension between humans and they succeeded. What was the driving force behind this, you ask? The spirits of middle earth found a way to become more powerful—human blood. And so they imbued greed in every human regardless of race and gender. Blood spilled over the earth and the spirits drank them hungrily, each drop bringing them closer to supremacy.
The deities of the skies were furious and aimed to defeat the spirits. But as the spirits grew in power, the defenses of the other beings were crumbling. The lords of middle earth feared the situation and would not come to any decision. So the deities, still hopeful, empowered their creation and placed it upon themselves. The deities went to earth and married mortals, siring children. But it was a forbidden union and destruction came to the deities. One by one, they died the moment they took in the air of the earth.
The destruction of their worst enemies brought happiness to the spirits. With mortal blood satiating their needs, they were now more powerful than anyone. But they learned of the unions and were angered. They sent minions of twisted beings to look for the children. But each crusade bore nothing—the children could not be found. It was as if they died with the deities of the skies.
Years passed and the earth remained at war, the lords of middle earth continued to hide, afraid of the now powerful spirits of the lower earth. The spirits of lower earth, on the other hand, rejoiced and indulged in their earthly regimes. They created more poison: hate, anger, jealousy, pride. Blood continued to spill and the earth became a wasteland of dead bodies and flesh-eating creatures. Trees refused to bear fruits and the land started to dry.
With the earth crumbling to destruction, one man defied the destiny made by the spirits of lower earth. He was a warrior who fought endless battles and brought numerous victories to his tribe. He established an empire in the east of the continent and stopped the raging tribal wars. He united them under one rule—under the banner of the Dragon.
They said he was a mortal who wanted to humble the then highest powers by opposing their form of entertainment—bloodshed. He created an empire under heaven and stopped the war. The spirits were furious at his arrogance. They had become greedy and wanted the blood of his people. They were thirsty, the earth had not tasted human blood since the man's reign. And so, even without a proper trial, he was given the sentence of death.
Death came to him the moment the evening skies turned bloody crimson. His enemies, an otherworldly race of twisted monsters were brought to middle earth by the spirits and at their command the creatures attacked his country. Darkness swept over his land, his beloved piece of paradise. He defended it, fighting night and day with the best warriors beside him. But he was fighting against the undead, soulless immortals made by the spirits themselves.
In his last recourse, the warrior used his sword and summoned the powers that were in hiding. They appeared to him and he made a pact with the lords of the earth: his life in exchange for the lives of his people. His soul for the freedom of his men. His blood for theirs. The lords sensed pureness in the man and figured he might be the embodiment of the deities' sacrifice. Hopeful, they heeded him and cast a blue moon to dispel his enemies.
In exchange for victory, the man died.
The lords of middle earth lifted him up from the ground and gave him a spot in the heavens. He was given the authority over the eastern sky and alongside three other men, he became a god. And so, balance was brought back to earth.
The spirits were not pleased but were forced into hiding. For thousands of years they waited for another age to defeat the gods of the heavens. For ages they were unheard of and silent, bidding their time, waiting for the rise of the crimson sun.
The Dragon was worshipped in his country and eventually became a protector of his people. It was believed that he will come back to the land he loved so much in proper time. He will return through a maiden's calling once the blue moon rise above the heavens. He will come back…and the time would be soon."
Hongou Yui's skin prickled as the court bard ended the Re-telling of the Prophecies of the Dragon. She had heard of the story countless times even before she knew how to read and write. But it was the first time she heard the whole version, for the bard seldom narrate everything he knew.
Hin Ryu was from the Hin tribe—the only remaining member of the infamous tribe that perished in the Lake of Seiran decades ago. There were no records of how they disappeared, they just did. Rumors abound that they were engulfed by the waters as punishment for worshipping the spirits of the lower earth. People say he survived because he got separated from his family and was left inside the city. The stories he knew were said to have come from his ancestors and he changed parts of it to fit the listeners in the capital.
Regardless of whether he worshiped the darkness or not, Yui liked Hin-san. He would always entertain her with his stories and he always told them as though she were being pulled into the events. She could almost imagine the scenes, feel the intensity of the battles, taste the anger and anguish of the deities, touch the god's soft face…
A flash of recognition struck her and a blush rushed to her cheeks. Yui straightened up and tried in vain to banish the redness of her face. She had not intended to think of Seiryuu as some handsome young man, lest be a dashing warrior in her dreams. Tried as she might to shake him out of her thoughts, the image of the man clung to her like a curse. Well, a good curse; he had been bringing nothing but bliss in her nights. Warmth spread over her face again and the blond girl stood up to face the window, letting the cold evening air brush through the heat on her skin.
"Hime-sama, what do you think of Hin-san's story?" It was the voice of her father, the emperor of Kutou. Yui abruptly turned to him, smiling. She tried to form the words to say—they were in the Great Hall, and ministers and nobles have gathered for the Re-telling.
"I am speechless, Father. I had never heard of such intense story and I felt that my heart could not contain the gaiety of hearing it," Yui said softly, earning a chuckle from the emperor.
"So it pleased you…I am surprised, you hated listening to me when I do the telling," The emperor teased and laughter erupted from the room. Crimson covered her face and the tips of her ears, it was not the first time he had displayed their closeness in public and she knew it endeared the people to him. But still, putting her on the spot was not very nice, considering that she was not in the best shape to be teased. "Hin-san, you should narrate this version more often, I can see that my daughter and the court had been hanging on every word."
The bard bowed down and walked slowly away from the eyes of the emperor and everyone in the hall. He glimpsed at Yui and she gave him a smile. She was surprised when the old man returned her gesture with a thin smile before he was swallowed by the throng of nobles. He was the best bard in the capital and Yui could not imagine anyone else doing the Re-telling every Spring.
"I wish that a pleasant evening be upon everyone, may Seiryuu bless our way home and give us the gift of another day," the Emperor said solemnly and one by one the nobles stood up from their seats and left the palace. The celebration for the day has ended, the Dragon festival has formally been opened and will be celebrated for the whole month. The festival happens every four years in Spring and had consistently started with the Re-telling. It was in this time of the year when Seiryuu was thought to have left his mortality and became a god.
Spring was marked by the first day the snow disappeared and greenery blanketed the Kutou Empire. The celebration was not as loud this year, but it was the celebration most people looked forward to. They had come from the harshest winter and the supplies have almost been emptied. But Seiryuu was the god of her people and not celebrating the Dragon Festival was insane. He was loved and venerated and people looked up to him for hope. All will be well with the coming of Spring. It was, after all, his season.
And with the coming of the flowers was the coming of a blossoming emotion in the girl. The god, Yui thought, had been filling her imaginations. Or at least a man she affixed with the god. How crazy and adolescent her thoughts were! Seiryuu cannot be the man in her dreams, it must have been someone else. But somehow, when she looked at the god's constellation in the eastern sky, he could imagine his dark blue eyes looking back, piercing her, and an unexplainable sensation, or familiarity, would fill her.
That's it, she must have been alone for so long to be feeling this way. The Empress died when she was four and so, she grew up with ladies-in-waiting and palace helpers taking care of her. She was not allowed to wander around the capital nor was she allowed to go wherever she pleased without a throng of palace guards on her heels. The emotion must have been triggered by all those nights of listening to the legend. Despite being a princess, she's a normal girl, she can think of men and love and gods who triggered such emotions.
The thought made her lonely as she treaded the path to her chamber, a dozen of helpers behind her. She was never the one to believe in destiny nor does she believe in any higher power. She did believe in the power of humanity and of the greatest sacrifice. What draw her to the god—Seiryuu—was his audacity and his sense of freedom. Yes, he was free from the bonds that tied him to mortality.
With light graceful movements, the princess sat on her luxurious bed and heaved a sigh. She was beginning to look forward to sleeping at night, since she started seeing him in her dreams. But instead of a peaceful slumber, the bard's story had been giving her an uneasy feeling. Forcing herself to sleep, the light-haired girl lay on her bed and closed her eyes, cheeks flushed. Everything will be better in the morning. Things always get better with the rising sun.
Yui's only wish, though, that she would dream of the man pulling her closer, claiming her in strong arms.
THE SKIES WERE grayish blue, constant light flashed from the lining of the clouds but it was not enough to bring light to the firmament. Yui sat up and felt the roughness of the sand on her fingertips, on her back, on the clothes she had slept on, on her hair. The vast expanse of the sea greeted her, but like the skies, it had turned to a darker hue. The waves were calm but the air was strong and demanding, lapping harshly through her long blond hair. It was a cold day.
Happiness spread through her features when she recognized the place. Yes, it appeared wilder and more dangerous, but it was the same place. The familiarity was there. She had never been sure. She had been here countless times and the view had been sketched in her memory.
He was always here.
Yui stood up, fighting the intensity of the salty breeze. Instincts made her turn to the left and in the same familiar spot, she saw him, standing on the shore, the waves barely reaching the tip of his robes. He was looking ahead into the sea as his long hair of dark blue was being swept by the wind. But despite the force of each gale, he stood unmoving, still amazingly handsome. His type was what her maidens would call the brooding warrior or the shogun with an attractive face and a body to die for or sometimes, simply the epitome of a god. Ever so slowly, he turned.
The organ she called heart stopped beating for awhile when she met his dark ocean blue eyes. Then, as if making up for malfunctioning for a few seconds, it started to beat considerably fast. With trembling knees, Yui walked toward him in the calmest stance she could muster, but her feet sank quickly into the sand and the wind pushed her harshly to the ground. Blood formed at her cheeks as she walked toward him, knowing full well that he was avidly watching her struggles.
When Yui reached a certain distance, she stopped. She had always stopped at the same spot, which to her amazement, she knew very well. She straightened herself and looked at him, eager to give a straight face. A small smile formed on his lips and Yui fought the urge to gasp and faint. He never smiled to her before! He would only stare but not show any emotion.
"You're here again," she said softly, a whisper in the sound of growling wind. She had practiced and thought of phrases to tell him if she ever got the chance. And the word she uttered was not a phrase she meant to break the ice.
"And so are you," he said plainly, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. His eyes were still probing into hers and it made Yui flush harder. He said it softly too, but she heard it clearly, as if the intense wind could not eat the words he was uttering.
"I have no idea why I always end up here," she explained, partly defensive.
"Don't you?" his smile grew wider and he looked at her with amusement. Yui swallowed hard, trying to fight the urge to lower her head in shame—he knew she wanted to see him. She was still thinking of what to say when he walked toward her, robes flapping gently in the breeze. He was an arm's away when he stopped and held her gaze. It then dawned on her how tall he was and how small she was compared to him. Men liked women who were smaller and softer, one of her maiden's voice sprang in her thoughts and she eagerly shook them away.
"Who are you?" her voice faltered a bit but she managed to stand still as his eyes pierced her.
"Why would you want to know?" he said back, still in that monotonous deep voice. His response caught Yui by surprise and her eyebrows creased. He took a step closer. "Would you know what this body of water was called or where the wind was from? Would you ask the sand who it is or why the foam even dared to touch it?" His eyes narrowed a bit and he looked back into the sea. "You see all these things whenever you come here yet you never asked them what or who they are."
Yui felt her body shake from the question. He was right. Why would she bother knowing him? Why does she notice only him? Why does she walk toward him whenever she comes to this place? Why does she even come back? And why would it matter what his name was? These were what he asked her and these were the things she wanted to ask herself.
"You speak my language and I do not speak theirs," she said softly and he turned to her. "And so I do not understand what they are telling me nor do they understand what I wanted to know."
His face grew stern and unmoving. His eyes still stared into her coldly. "And what was it that you wanted to know?" She didn't answer and he took another step closer, parts of his robe were lapping against hers and despite the coldness of the gushing wind, she felt hot at the proximity. She lowered her gaze and ended up facing the broadness of his chest. She looked down, trying to overcome the wild thumping on her chest.
Long slender fingers came from his robe and reached the base of her chin. Yui's eyes widened when their skins touched. Despite his piercing cold demeanor, he was warm—and the realization brightened the redness on her face. He slowly lifted her, then slowly cupped her burning cheek. "What do you want to know?" he repeated and his face softened. "Tell me…"
"Wha—What does the…the wind say?" she stuttered and eventually let out a small gasp when he leaned down, lips a few inches away.
"Danger," he said softly and his warm breath brushed through her lips, his dark eyes were looking intently, not at her eyes but at the movement of her lips.
"And the sky?" the question came out as a squeak and he smiled, fully aware of the impact he had on her. The thought of the god's name sent a shiver down her spine. Could it be that the man in front of him, whose proximity gave her chest a thundering palpitation and a hanging feeling of bliss, be the god himself?
The man met her gaze and another smile formed on his lips. "Darkness," he whispered and Yui had to blink back the dazed feeling that was engulfing her. Focus on what he was saying, not on how he looked at you, she told herself. Focus on the words, not the stares.
"And the sea…?" her voice was soft and barely audible yet he seemed to hear every word. His hand moved to the base of her neck and he moved his face toward her ear, briefly touching the skin of her cheek and jaw with the tip of his nose. Yui closed her eyes as he did so, and she smelled him. His scent further made her shiver, he smelled slightly of sandalwood, and there was a very masculine scent, was it musk?
"Death," he whispered in her ear and Yui's knees gave way. She clutched his robe and leaned to him, his arms supporting her weight. Her mind could not decide whether it was his closeness or his message that made her suddenly weak. She was trembling when she faced him; the wind still blowing harshly against them. If it weren't for his arms, she would have toppled over. Why hadn't she seen it? It was there since she first came to this place. "The signs…"
"…of a falling empire," Yui finished his statement. As much as she wanted to stay in his arms, a deeper emotion filled her and urged her to move. Why had the oracles not seen this? Her father, her beloved father, what would happen to him? Despite her efforts to pull away, he stood unmoving, arms wrapped around her waist like steel. "Let go—"
"What is to come will come, let the heavens do what it should have done years ago," he stated and anger filled Yui.
"My father is innocent! He is a good man, why would the heavens punish him?" She struggled to move away but each attempt failed. He was not letting go. Tears streaked from her eyes. "Let go! My father needs me! My country needs me!"
The man looked at her, expressionless, and Yui felt anguished. "Be mine," he said and her eyes widened. What? "Be mine and you could save him," he stated, still devoid of any emotion. "Do my biddings and you could save your country," he said with finality as his hand lifted her face to him. He was not tempting her—he knew he would take the offer.
All hope left her. What would she answer? What should she answer? Why did she entertain the thought of even liking him in the first place? He was probably a spirit who yearned for the blood of the living. And he wanted her blood as well.
"Yes," she whispered. "I will be yours." He planted a soft kiss on her forehead. Warmth emanated from his mouth, prickling her skin. She groaned as her skin broke and heat ran through the cut of swollen flesh.
Yui screamed but no voice came out as he captured her lips for a kiss. She closed her eyes and let him explore her mouth, his tongue providing her comforts from the excruciating pain on her head. Her fingers clutched his robe tighter and she felt her body fall, deeper and deeper into nothingness.
A/N: The terms middle earth and lower earth were deviated from JRR Tolkien but the plot and story is mine, mine, mine! All the other elements were created by my imagination. So what do you think? Do tell, please please please!