Standard Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and Rurouni Kenshin characters are owned by someone other than me. Nor do I own the movie Shrek which my story is based on. This is fiction and for entertainment purposes only. This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment. So with that out of the way please read and enjoy.
I originally patterned this story after Shrek (which I don't own but am merely borrowing) but somewhere in almost ten years' time, I lost my train of thought, and now I have taken the story in an entirely different direction so that the end can be told leaving me free to move on to other things. For those who have read the story before but don't remember what is going on or those who haven't read the story and only want to know how it ends. Here is a synopsis of the story:
Karou and Aoshi journeyed to the castle far away to retrieve Lady Misao for Lord Hiko. They encountered Battousai (Kenshin) upon entering the castle. They fought him and managed to abduct Lady Misao. Lady Misao was taken from them along with Karou by Shishio's gang. Then Shishio traded Lady Misao (along with her secret eating disorder) to Lord Hiko for some pottery. Lord Hiko took the girls to his castle where he is preparing to marry Lady Misao and become the King of all the land. In the interim Aoshi has teamed up with Kenshin (no longer Battousai) and they are looking for Lady Misao. Yahiko is still running after Kenshin, and I have thrown Sanosuke in for good measure. Now on with the rest of the story…
Tea from the night before
The sun streamed over Lord Hiko's castle making everything in the land glow with a brilliance unlike any other castle in the whole of the land. This would be the day that everyone in the entire kingdom would remember for the rest of their lives. Tellers of tales would record this day as the ultimate day of all days. Forever recorded in time.
High on a terrace adjoining his room, Hiko stretched his arms in a big V, for Hiko never did anything small. It was big or it wasn't worth doing. He had finely attained the jewel that he had been after all these years. And all it took was some pottery that he would have thrown away anyway.
Life was good.
Wearing her wedding dress, Lady Misao stood on a stool in front of the mirror as Karou made suggestions to the seamstress who was attending to the alterations. Her mind was many miles away thinking of all that she had endured just to get her man and he had slipped through her fingers. Was this the way it would end, her marrying Hiko so that she could be his trophy wife? A sharp pin prick in her side brought her back to reality.
"Ouch," she squealed, glaring down at the seamstress, who kept right on pinning the dress.
Looking up she saw herself in the mirror. "Something isn't quite right with this dress," she mused out loud. Her long black hair swirled around her head, giving her the appearance of a white chess piece with a black crown. Glowering, she gave herself a raspberry.
Life couldn't get much worse, could it?
"It's not the dress, it's your hair, you don't look the same with all your hair on top of your head," Karou stated. She had tried so hard, getting Aoshi to the proper place and then they had almost made it back. She was beginning to doubt the philosophy of her father in protecting the ones that you love. How far must she go to protect everyone that she loved? Had she tried hard enough?
Life was much too confusing.
Morning found Yahiko running from Tae's place still looking for Kenshin. Rounding a bend in the road, he ran smack into Sanosuke so hard that they both fell to the ground with a thud.
"Hey, kid whatcha doing running into me like that?" Sano asked, standing back up, "are you looking for a fight? I am." He took a fighting stance hoping for some action, even if it was just a kid.
"I'm trying to catch Kenshin, I have an important message for him," Yahiko said. Picking himself up he was about to continue his running when he realized just what Sano had said, "I am not a kid, and I don't fight morons," He yelled at Sano fists clenched at his side.
"Oh excuse me, but you were the one that wasn't looking where they were going and ran into me," Sano stated emphatically.
"Aren't you supposed to be back at the dojo?" Yahiko asked hotly.
"Yea but it got boring there so I though I would find some action. But I never figured that I would get run over by a punk like you."
"I am not a punk, I am a samurai. And I need to keep running to catch Kenshin," Yahiko said before breaking out into a fast run. He was beginning to think that he would run forever before catching Kenshin. He was tired of running to the point of exhaustion. He had been running for so long that the only thing he could remember is that he needed to catch Kenshin and give him a message. But for the life of him, he couldn't remember the message.
Life was cruel.
Kenshin and Aoshi slowly approach the house, carefully walking over what looked like a first class food fight. Reading the sign, Kenshin knew that Lady Misao had taken flight but how to keep Aoshi from discovering her secret. He couldn't just walk away and leave Aoshi here after he had brought him this far. All indications pointed to the fact that Lady Misao and Karou had left the grounds.
Kenshin started to reach for Aoshi when the upstairs window opened and Shishio leaned out. Jeering he said, "Go away, I don't have your precious Lady anymore, I traded her to Hiko for some pottery. And you can have…"
"If you harmed her in anyway, I will be back," Kenshin cut in before Shishio could finish his sentence.
Trying to make sense of the conversation, Aoshi looked puzzled at Kenshin. "Is that all, we are just going to walk away?"
"Yea," Kenshin shrugged. "I believe him. Now do you want her or not? With any luck we can get to the castle before the wedding."
"Wait a minute…" Aoshi started to say.
"We don't have a minute. We must get to Hiko's castle." Kenshin forcefully said as he started turning to walk away.
"Tell me what you know…" Aoshi started to say before Kenshin reeled back and cut him off "Don't worry; we just have to hurry and get to the castle."
"Why?" Aoshi quickly retorted.
Kenshin was getting very anxious to get back to the Lady Misao, he had sworn to take care of her and being away from her this long had made him edgy.
Aoshi glared at Kenshin when suddenly, Shishio yelled from the window, "Who is the strongest, only the strongest will survive."
Both men then glared at Shishio.
"We need to leave NOW!" Kenshin's voice deepened.
"I am not going anywhere until I find out what he knows about the Lady Misao," Aoshi spoke soft and slow.
"She's not here."
"I know that."
"Then let's go."
Kenshin was getting more anxious by the moment. He needed to be fulfilling his oath and he was stuck here desperately trying to move a stubborn mule that was not listening to reason.
His mistake was touching his sword. For the moment he touched it, Aoshi had drawn his. Kenshin's automatic reaction was to draw his.
For what seemed like hours, they stood with swords drawn, each trying to get the other to back down.
"Yumi, get me some rice cakes and sake, I get to see who is the strongest," Shishio yelled, breaking the aura that had surrounded the two swordsmen.
Shishio's voice gave Kenshin the edge he needed to speak, "Do you love the Lady Misao?" he asked in a gentle voice so that Aoshi could hear him but Shishio could not.
"No," Aoshi quickly responded, and then just as quick said, "Yes." Aoshi lowered his weapon, and then said, "Yes, I do love her."
"Then we need to go rescue her," Kenshin said, "All Hiko wants is to be a King and he cares nothing for her."
Aoshi sighed putting his sword away, then started walking towards the gate, with Kenshin following close behind him; sword sheathed.
"Hey, come back, that's not much of a fight and you both can't be the strongest," yelled Shishio after the two departing men.
Life is sometimes very distracting.
Back at Hiko's castle, the excitement was everywhere. With getting the lawns ready and the big feast that had to be prepared, everyone was kept busy. This wedding was going to be the biggest event of the season.
The ceremony was to take place just before the setting of the sun, leaving the caterers with only hours to prepare all the food and drinks that would be served to the honored guests at the wedding reception.
The lawn was so huge that there was more than enough room for the reception right next to the podium where the vows would be exchanged.
At last everything was ready, the wedding dress was finished, and the day was slowly coming to a close with a slight breeze that kept all the food at an even temperature.
The minister had arrived and the show was set to be played out.
Hiko stood tall at the podium waiting for the Lady Misao to make her dazzling appearance. For if she were to be married to him, she would have to be almost as bright at he was, nothing else was acceptable.
Karou was the first to appear. She carried herself with an air of certainty that she never knew she had. She had exhausted her brain trying to think of anything that would stop this wedding but everything that she could think of had a flaw or there was not enough time to execute the plan. Resigned, she walked toward Hiko when she noticed that the sun was going down. If only she could delay the procession for just a bit.
Catching her shoe on the back of her dress, she managed to slip and fall taking several people with her. Taking her time, she slowly got back to her feet but by then the music had changed and Lady Misao had emerged from the tent to start her walk down the aisle.
Karou's fall had only gained a few minutes and she hoped it might be just enough. She swiped at some imaginary dust on her dress to stall for a bit more time then she looked to the podium where Hiko stood smiling at something behind her.
Stealing a glance over her shoulder, she could tell that something was going to happen. For Lady Misao looked different, she glowed with a radiance so bright that it was very difficult to look at.
Blowing a stray piece of hair away from her eyes, she reluctantly continued toward Hiko.
Lady Misao slowly started her walk to the podium with the grace befitting her station. She would resign herself to this farce but that didn't mean she had to put forth any effort to help Lord Hiko enjoy any of the extras. Then she too noticed the sun going down. How delightful, Lord Hiko would see just what he was marrying.
Life could be interesting.
No sooner had Kenshin and Aoshi left Shishio's estate than Yahiko dashed through the gate.
Panting, he took a couple of deep breaths before yelling at Shishio, who was still sitting at the window looking very disappointed, "Yo, bandage man, have you seen a man with Red Hair?"
"Yea, he was here, say how strong are you?" Shishio asked a gleam in his eye.
Yahiko ignored him, turned and left the way he had come in. Once outside the gate he started running once again in the direction of the two men's footsteps.
Life doesn't care who is the strongest.
Making good time, Kenshin and Aoshi arrived at Hiko's castle just before sunset. There was no one at the front gate but there was music wafting from the back of the buildings.
Kenshin wanted to rush in and rescue the Lady Misao from Hiko, but Aoshi was of the opinion that it would be better to wait until everyone was asked to bless the union. Aoshi did not want to make a scene, even though he had the strange feeling that it was unavoidable.
"It must be now," said Kenshin, as they started walking toward the buildings.
They had no sooner reached the gardens, when it was Lady Misao's turn to say "I Do" completely catching Aoshi off guard. His heart did a double beat in his chest when he heard himself loudly say, "Wait". And that's when it happened, the sun went down and the whole garden was lit up with the outside lanterns.
Lady Misao once again turned into a very plump woman with an enormous appetite.
No one moved as they watched Misao quickly descend from the podium heading straight for the food.
Kenshin placed himself between Misao and the rest of the congregation taking his stance in case someone tried to get between Misao and the food. Aoshi followed Kenshin but instead he turned to Misao thinking that he could talk to her but she sailed right past him and onto the food. Taking big handfuls of food she started stuffing it into her mouth.
Hiko was the first to react; he took the crown from the cushion it rested on and placed it on his head, stating in a very loud commanding voice, "I am now King Hiko. Guards go collect my wife and lock her in the tower."
As the guards advanced, Aoshi made the mistake of trying once again to talk to Misao. Misao spun around and with her plump arm sent Aoshi sailing off to the other side of the lawn.
Aoshi sat up and noticed a tea service complete with rice cakes, his favorite ones. Knowing that Lady Misao was protected by Kenshin, he calmly poured himself a cup of tea and nibbled on a rice cake. He suddenly realized that he was very tired of fighting and wanted desperately to settle down to a quiet life. To do nothing but sit and drink tea and ponder the wonders of the world or at best just meditate.
Kenshin was holding his own but every time one guard went down there were two more to take his place. Then out of nowhere, Karou was beside him wooden sword in hand, proclaiming that she was just protecting the one she loves, but in reality, she had to admit she just wanted to be close to Kenshin.
When the honored wedding guests realized that the ceremony was over and the food was being served they ran to the food tables to get their share, thus creating a stampede of guest loudly complaining, yelling, and screaming, heading directly towards Kenshin and Karou, who were still holding their own against the royal guards.
But when the guests descended upon the tables of food, no one stood a chance. The tables were bombarded with hungry people who had been promised a good meal just for showing up at the wedding.
Now a strange thing happened, no one remembers just how or why but food started flying through the air. It could have been Misao, in her mission to eat everything in site or it could simply have been a number of different people.
Suddenly there was food everywhere and everyone was covered in food, people were falling, sliding and crashing into one another, everyone that is except for Hiko, who quietly stood on the podium surveying his subjects.
It was at that moment when Yahiko showed up panting desperately trying to catch his breath. Then, taking in a very deep breath he yelled for Kenshin at the top of his lungs.
Everyone stood completely still, everyone that is except Misao who took that moment to whip around to look at Yahiko, sending food flying in every direction from her very plump body.
One tiny piece of cream cheese hurling through the air landed on Hiko's great nose.
The next second was two hours long, as everyone waited to see what Hiko the Great would do.
Hiko's face turned red then purple, his eyes crossed and steam gusted out of both ears. Then his long white coat started to rise flapping from a wind that started to slowly swirl around him picking up speed then reaching its crescendo, started lifting him off the ground.
As Hiko was lifted higher and higher he became larger and larger until he was so big the complete garden was under his coat. The wind whipped around putting the lanterns out one by one.
Until there was total Darkness…
Aoshi awoke with a start. His thoughts clearing, he needed to know. The wedding was tomorrow and if she indeed did turn into a fat lady that ate everything in site he wanted to know. He didn't think that anything could sway his love for Misao but he shuttered at the thought.
He made it half way to Misao's bed room before bumping into her.
"I had the weirdest dream. I was such a huge woman that ate everything in site," she said breathing heavily. Grabbing ahold of Aoshi, she continued, "Say it isn't so… Please."
"No.. I had the same dream." Aoshi said, trying to calm her.
"Do you think there is any chance that it was real?" she asked. Just the though that she might become what she was in the dream, was so revolting to her that she had to know that it was only a dream.
At that moment Kenshin and Karou came down the hall and from the look on their face's Aoshi knew that they also had the same dream.
Yahiko opened his bedroom door, "Man I am so tired, I feel like I have been constantly running for the last two days." Upon seeing Kenshin, Yahiko slowly stated, "Kenshin, I need to tell you something important. But I don't remember what it was." With eyes half closed he slowly turned and went back into his room, closing the door behind him.
"Aoshi what did you put in that tea you served us last night?" Karou asked, glaring at Aoshi.
"It was a new herb that I got from Megumi. She said…" He stopped, realizing that he really should not have trusted her.
Floating through the air they could hear the fox laugh.
Thank you to all the loyal readers who have waited so long for this last installment.