Author's notes: This is a sequel to "Barhopping on Weekdays is What Bums Do". It happens about a month after my first fic.
Disclaimer: This is a non-profit fanfiction. Gintama belongs to Sorachi Hideaki.
Chapter 1 – Don't Go Poking the Beehive! It's Not Good for Many Reasons
Ei-chan... Please, help me...
Although for once he hadn't been woken up by the all-penetrating rays of his mortal enemy, the sun, Gintoki wasn't feeling the jolliest that morning. It wasn't because of the killer hangover, or because of the black eye he had gotten last night at the bar, but because he had been forced out of his remotely warm bed to open the door to the freezing autumn air for two young girls, who just kept gaping at him. Gintoki knew he wasn't at his best with messy hair, unshaven face and bloodshot eyes, but that didn't give the girls the right to make him stand there in the cold in his pyjamas.
"You're not mine, are you?" Gintoki grumbled. Better get that out of the way as soon as possible.
"Huh?" the human girl questioned. She had a long and shiny black hair, fair complexion and unmarred skin, something that was very rare among the children in Kabukichou. Most of them had scratches and were dirty, proof of the hard life in the 'illegal' district. The other girl, a humanoid Amanto, had yellowish skin, a black hair that looked kinda fuzzy, pointy ears and black eyes with no pupils. She also appeared to have two antennae sticking out of her head. Both of the girls were wearing thick and warm kimono, a fact that made Gintoki even more pissed.
"Look, if you don't have any real business with me, then beat it. I'm not in the mood to play with kids."
"Um... This is the Yorozuya, right?" the human girl asked and glanced at her companion.
"GIN-CHAN!" a flying kick sent Gintoki crashing to the wall on his right, making the wood splinter a little and miraculously not breaking his skull, "Shut the door! I'm freezing my ass off here!"
"Your highness!" Kagura glanced at the door and her eyes widened when she recognised the girl.
"Souyo!" she hugged the princess and squealed, "Wow! It's been so long!"
"I'm glad to see you too, your highness."
Gintoki closed the door, shutting the three girls out. Everything was becoming too bizarre for him to make any sense of in his current condition, so instead he decided to return to his bed and hope that after a few days of sleep, things would've somehow resolved themselves. He ignored the banging that started almost immediately.
"What the hell? Gin-chan, let us in!"
"Kagura-chan, why are you standing out here in your pyjamas?"
"And we're back for more news about the current events," the TV-announcer chirped, "Two days ago her majesty, the queen of the planet Amrita, Matri Sultana Shinni IV arrived to Edo for a diplomatic visit, to meet our shogun, Tokugawa Shigeshige himself. Her plan is to visit other countries and their leaders as a sign of good will towards humans and other Amanto."
"Yes," another announcer joined in, "As we know, lately other planet unions have shown their distaste towards Amrita's more questionable laws, especially the one still allowing slavery in their home world."
"The Alliance of the Three Suns has been trying to coax Amrita to abandon this tradition, but during the Ruche Wars, Amrita left the Alliance and thus they can easily disregard the high officers' commands."
"Apparently there is also lot of inner turmoil in Amrita. It seems as though some of the citizens want to rejoin the Alliance and reform the laws. There's even been rumours about a revolution."
"Most seem to think that that is the real reason behind her majesty's sudden depart. Especially since she also took her only daughter with her."
Gintoki turned off the TV and stared in front of him, mind blank and listening to Kagura chatter with Souyo and her companion. Shinpachi placed cups of tea in front of them and sat next to Gintoki, eyes looking a little desperate. Finally, Gintoki decided to get the ball rolling.
"So," he cleared his throat, "Who were you again?"
"I am Souyo, the younger sister of Tokugawa Shigeshige, the barbarian-subduing shogun," Souyo bowed slightly.
"I am Eileen Yan Shinni V, the daughter of her majesty queen Matri Sultana Shinni IV, as well as the next high ruler of our beautiful Mother Amrita," the Amanto girl followed Souyo's example, bowing to the two men who looked like they wanted to spit blood.
"Ah! I'm Yorozuya Kagura, the queen of Kabukichou," Kagura introduced herself to the fellow Amanto, "And these are my underlings," she waved towards the guys dismissively, "What brings you to my establishment?"
"Gin-san, they just totally skipped over us."
"I'm more surprised that Kagura actually knows what 'establishment' means."
"Actually, the one who requires your help is not I, but Eileen-sama," Souyo beckoned towards the Amritan, "Go on, you can trust her highness. She's a professional and has helped me once before."
"Shinpachi, maybe we shouldn't let Kagura wander around alone so much."
"It's about a friend of mine," Eileen searched her sleeves and finally pulled out a photo of a young human girl, "Yura came to Earth with mother and I. It's been a long time since she last saw other humans, so she wanted to explore the town on her own. It's now been two days and she still hasn't returned to the castle."
"But," Shinpachi fixed his glasses, "If one of your friends is missing then why come to us? Why not let the castle guards or Shinsengumi search for her? I'm sure there's nothing wrong even if your own personal guards looked around the town a little."
Eileen looked away, ashamed, "Mother wouldn't do something like that to find Yura."
"Your highness," Souyo turned to Kagura, "You need to understand something. Yura-san is a slave."
Souyo's sentence was followed by a deep silence. Eileen closed her pupilless eyes and her antennae drooped, "Mother wouldn't lift a finger to find one slave when there are thousands to choose from. It would cause too much of a scandal."
"I'm sorry," Gintoki's voice sounded cold, "If you want us to track down a runaway slave, I'm afraid we can't help you."
"No! You do not understand!" Souyo came to her friend's defence, "It's not like that! Eileen-sama really cares about Yura-san!"
"Please!" Eileen pleaded, "Although my mother gave her to me as a personal slave, I've never thought of her like that! She's my only friend in Amrita! She's like a sister to me!"
Shinpachi and Kagura looked at Gintoki. He scratched his head and sighed, meeting Eileen's desperate black eyes, "What if she just wanted to get away? What if she wanted to return to her home planet?"
Eileen's antennae drooped more, "If so, then why didn't she tell me? I would have let her go."
"Maybe there was some reason why she couldn't tell you and thought it would be easier to just disappear."
Eileen blinked her eyes rapidly. Although she apparently didn't have tear ducts, she was obviously doing some sort of Amritan version of crying. Souyo placed her small hand on her friend's shoulder and looked at the Yorozuya trio, "Even if that is the case, we still want to make sure that she's save."
Gintoki was torn. Although his own personal values (as well as his survival instincts) told him not to get involved in this any further, he couldn't stand the broken look on both Eileen and Souyo's faces. Not to mention Kagura, Shinpachi and even Sadaharu were looking at him, waiting for is approval.
Damn me and my weakness for children! "All right. We'll help you, but if it's true that your friend just wants to live her life on Earth, you will return to your mother and leave her alone. Agreed?"
"Agreed," Eileen blinked few more times before finally stopping, "Thank you so much!"
Well, Gintoki thought, It's not like this day could get any worse.
Well, it's not like this day could get any worse, Hijikata thought as he sneezed. Seriously, he just couldn't fathom why it was that all the royalties always had this sudden urge to mingle with the common folk, causing nothing but trouble for everyone involved. He lifted his gaze as Sougo came back, "Well?"
"Nothing," the younger officer informed him, "No one has seen anyone who matches the description. You'd think that as big news as the Amritans arriving to Earth was, people would immediately recognise if one of their race were walking around."
"Either people are getting dumber or the princesses were actually able to disguise themselves," Hijikata took a drag from his cigarette, "By the way, any word from Yamazaki yet?"
"None," Sougo looked at the map of Edo that all the Shinsengumi members were carrying, "It's been well over a week now."
"That idiot better not have screwed up or something."
"I'm sure he's just unable to contact outside. Where should we search next?"
"I don't know," Hijikata flicked the cigarette away, stomping on it in frustration, "God dammit! What the hell were they thinking? How could Souyo-sama endanger an important guest like this?"
"Well, this isn't her first disappearance act. Maybe she just wanted to show the Amritan princess around the town."
"But why now? Ugh! The whole castle is in an uproar again. The queen will be demanding blood if we don't find her daughter soon!"
"She's pretty overprotective. Maybe that's the reason why Eileen-sama took off. You know, feeling suffocated from being with her mother all the time."
"You would be overprotective too if you could only have one daughter during your lifetime."
"Fine, but what now? Should we just pretend to be searching and take a leisurely walk?"
"We need to find the princesses. You know it's not safe for them to wander around. Especially now."
"Well, I think no one's checked the Kabukichou yet," Sougo looked at the map again, "Last time, wasn't her highness hanging around with China?"
Hijikata felt his blood freeze. It was as if the autumn wind had become a few degrees colder.
Author's notes: The Amritans are based on the bees and the last name of Eileen and her mother means 'bee' in Somali. Also, Eileen comes from the word 'alien' and Matri from 'matriarch'. Ruche means beehive in French.
I like both GinHiji and OkiKagu, but there doesn't seem to be a fic with both of these pairings, so I had to write my own ^-^ There are lots of similarities between these pairings, like both Gin-san and Sougo have colour-changing eyes (red) and both of them are referred to as sadists (although, Sougo is more extreme). Also, whenever the Yorozuya and Shinsengumi meet, it's always Gin vs. Hijikata, Kagura vs. Sougo and Shinpachi and Yamazaki standing at the background, wishing that they were somewhere else. I also noticed that it's always Gin-san who starts to pick a fight with Hijikata and Sougo with Kagura. Only rarely do Hijikata and Kagura start the fights (they usually just try to ignore the idiots) ^-^
Oh, and Sougo calls Kagura China if you didn't know that.