Agent08 Reporting for Duty!
Disclaimer: I do not own CCS or any of its characters. I own the plot and that's all. Everything belongs to the brilliant CLAMP and the true creators of CCS. Sigh, it depresses me to admit that.
Full summary: Tradition says, every king must rule beside a sorceress. But King Syaoran won't let just anybody have a say in his kingdom, simply because they have magical powers. He swears the only girl he'll ever rule with is… his queen. SyaoranxSakura.
Now… on with the story!
King of Hearts
I thought that the whole point of being king was being in charge. You know, having the final say in affairs of the kingdom, affairs of the palace, and obviously, affairs in my life. I think having the final say in what goes on in one's life is more or less a basic, natural right. But from what I was getting from my most "trusted" advisor, this wasn't the case.
"I don't need a sorceress. I'm magical by birth, remember? You should know. We're related."
Eriol sighed and pushed the bridge of his glasses higher on his nose . "Yes, I realize that. But this is the way the kingdom has been run for years! Just because you're king now, doesn't mean you get to change hundreds of years of tradition—"
"Actually," I cut in sharply, staring at my cousin's face in the reflection of the mirror I was standing in front of. "I think that's exactly what it means."
A day had passed since my coronation. I was trying on the robes I received as a gift from my mother for becoming what I was always destined to be, the King. I had really big shoes to fill, because the previous rulers of the kingdom, my mother and father, were hard to live up to. My mother came to power when my father died when I was still young, and she ruled alone ever since. It was always known that she'd relinquish her powers to me at twenty-one. And with my twenty-first birthday gone and celebrated, the responsibility of ruling rested on me now.
And I would begin my reign as king by looking fabulous.
"Does it look alright?" I asked Eriol, spreading my arms in what I thought looked like a majestic pose. He sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Fine, it looks fine. Will you at least consider meeting with the—"
"Crown. Hand it over."
He scowled at me and released a hushed growl but did not disobey. It's never a good idea to disobey the king, anyway.
"As you wish, Your Majesty."
He took it from its place on a soft, velvet pillow cushion and handed it to me gingerly. I could have easily asked many of my other attendants to give it to me; they were at the ready to do my bidding at all corners of my chambers. But bossing Eriol around was so much more fun.
I took my crown, my beloved crown, and put it ever so carefully atop my unkempt chocolate brown hair. I knew, having been trained and taught for this position all my life, that it wasn't just an accessory. This head piece represented the lives of the thousands of people living in my kingdom that I had responsibility of. As long as it was mine to wear, my every choice and decision, little or big, would effect everyone. I knew that more than anyone.
"Well? Are we done talking about your appearance? Can we discuss more important matters?"
I frowned at my cousin. "Relax. I was getting around to it."
He didn't seem to believe me but I didn't care. Whether he thought so or not, I was definitely going to be taking my new role in the kingdom seriously.
"You can't rule without a sorceress."
I groaned and left the mirror, exiting my chambers and having a number of attendants and servants salute and bow to me as I walked along the hall. They did that for me as a prince, so it really was nothing new.
"Eriol. Drop the sorceress issue. That's not a request."
"But Syaoran, I really do think that it's best to continue—"
"Isn't there something more important we should be talking about?" I asked as we entered the gardens so that I could enjoy yet another beautiful day of summer before it was over. "Any war I should be updated with? Or maybe a kingdom that would like to initiate commerce with us?"
Eriol sighed again for the millionth time. "No and no. If there was, I would have brought it up with you first. But as it just so happens, this sorceress issue as you like to call it is the most important thing on the list right now."
I groaned. "This isn't fair. Okaa-sama and otou-sama didn't have to rule with any—"
"You know full well that is not true. Your okaa-sama was your otou-sama's sorceress and your okaa-sama didn't need a sorcerer after he passed away because she was one already. Stop making excuses and just get one already!"
"What is the big deal?" I exploded. "I don't want one. And anyway, I have magical powers already! Just like okaa-sama when she ruled."
"You know this already, Syaoran," Eriol continued, sounding as though he was trying very hard to contain his frustration. "You are not a sorcerer like she was when she ruled."
"Then what am I, huh?" I asked with venom, tired of being told what to do.
"Stop asking me like you don't know!" he said exasperatedly. "You've read the ancient books; you've studied the old scriptures. You're a warlock – skilled in battle and competent in magic through hard work, practice and study. A sorcerer is naturally magical from birth—"
"Stop this idiocy right now, Syaoran," he cut in shortly, seeming to have no patience left whatsoever. "You have magic in your blood because of your okaa-sama but you had to hone it and develop it. Unlike a sorcerer, who can spellcast without hard work, practice or study but with simple respite and reflection. You are fully aware of these differences."
"These differences are stupid."
"These stupid differences have been helping to govern the kingdom since the very beginning. You are going to rule with a sorceress, Syaoran."
I glowered at him. "Remind me something – who is king here, you or me?"
"I am your advisor," Eriol responded flatly, obviously trying to avoid starting an argument with me, but it looked like it was too late. "And I advise that you appoint a sorceress."
"Really? Because it sounds to me like you're telling me to."
And as we were about to begin what would have been a very heated debate, a strong voice rang out in the garden. "Xiao-Lang."
We both froze at the sound of it. Neither of us spoke nor moved as my mother, former Queen Yelan, advanced in a manner that radiated royalty and demanded obedience. She looked at neither of us as she approached and instead kept her gaze forward.
"Ohayo gozaimasu, okaa-sama," I said stiffly. Eriol bowed but said nothing.
"Is there a problem?" she asked lightly, as if there was not a care in the world and still not looking at either of us.
Eriol answered, "No, Your Highness. My cousin and I were simply discussing the way we think this kingdom should be run."
She smiled. "And how exactly do you think it should be run?"
"With a sorceress."
"Without a sorceress."
Our replies came in unison. My mother smiled and turned to me. "Are sorceresses useless to you, Xiao-Lang?"
"No, okaa-sama! No, of course not. But I think it is in the best interest of the kingdom, and for me, that I rule alone."
Eriol scoffed. "This has nothing to do with the best interest of the kingdom! You're still the same cousin I played with when we were young, Syaoran. You haven't changed. You don't want to share your responsibilities with anyone. You think you're the only one who can do things right and with no one's help. This is your pride and selfishness at work right now and you know it."
I stared at him with anger. "You forget your place, advisor." I said to him icily. "Or do you not remember who exactly you are speaking to?"
"I'm talking with my cousin," he answered shortly.
"Who is also the king!"
"Who is acting like a pompous—"
"That is quite enough," mother said, putting an end to our squabble.
We both immediately shut up. She turned first to Eriol and was not smiling anymore. "Eriol, you know better ways to advise a king than this. Cousin or not, Xiao-Lang rules now. You must get through to him by other means. Not through childish arguments or silly name calling."
Eriol looked down at his feet. "Yes, Your Highness."
I too was staring at my feet but was inwardly smirking with joy at Eriol's reprimand.
And finally, she faced me. Suddenly I wasn't so joyful on the inside anymore. "And you…" She began, staring at me with a frown for a long time until she finally decided to smile once more. It was a strange smile, one I'd never seen on her face before. "You will rule with a sorceress, my son. End of discussion."
I gaped. "What? This is ridiculous. I'm king now, and my decision is final! My duties will be performed alone, without the help of any sorceress!"
"Yes, dear," she said softly but in a strong, commanding manner. "You are king. And I am your okaa-sama. Everyone else may do what you tell them, but you do what I say. And I say you rule with a sorceress."
I opened my mouth to protest, but there was no point in trying anymore. Eriol thought it was best, my mom agreed, and I would bet my bottom dollar that the people of the kingdom would feel better if I was ruling next to an all-powerful sorceress too.
I sighed. "If I do this… if I do choose to share the affairs of state and home with a sorceress — I pick her. I may or may not choose to solicit input, but either way, no one else will choose but me. And when I do choose her, no one can challenge my decision. Those are the terms of my agreement to this issue."
My mother smiled and Eriol did too, taking that as her compliance. They both bowed.
"As you wish, Your Majesty."
"I just got scolded like I was a child!" I exclaimed as soon as my mother was out of earshot. I began making my way out of the gardens to my royal court. What was the point of even going to the gardens? There was rarely time for rest when one was king, and I was learning that the hard way.
"So did I," Eriol said, also a little miffed by our lectures. "And she's not even my okaa-sama."
I was ready to begin my first real day at work as king. I didn't know what I would be dealing with; I expected Eriol would be going over the schedule for the day with me once I was settled in my throne in the court. But time is not wasted when one is king either, and that was another lesson I learned that day.
As we arrived at the entrance of the court, the Royal Oak doors swung open to allow me entrance. What I saw the moment I took one step forward was certainly a sight to see.
"What. The hell. Is this?"
I was greeted with a hoard of squealing, blushing, adoring girls. They stood in the center of the court, all gazing at me with obsession in their eyes and wildly beating hearts in their chests. I could practically see the restrain in their faces as they tried not to tackle me then and there.
It's true — being king is not an easy feat. But being a handsome bachelor at the same time is much, much harder.
Eriol smiled and escorted me to my throne where I practically collapsed in the seat. I couldn't stop staring in bewilderment and incredulity at the crowd of girls, following my every move with their heart shaped iris eyes.
"This," he explained to me with a wide flourish of his arm, presenting to me the ladies gathered in the center of my court, though there wasn't any need because really, how could I miss them? "Is your first task as king."
"Eriol…" I said, with obvious threat and malice in my voice. "Tell me you didn't—"
"Pick one," he said brightly.
"These are all supposed to be sorceresses?" I exclaimed incredulously. "This is ridiculous, there's got to be at least a hundred—"
"I took it up on myself to send pages out throughout the kingdom and across the seas with a list of qualifications and benefits of becoming your sorceress," he interrupted. "I knew you would see it my way eventually, so I had it done a month or so ago to give enough time for people traveling from far away. Those who thought they were best fit for the job were told to come here on this day."
"You did this without telling me!" I fumed, after learning what he'd done behind my back. "Who do you think—"
"The first lady may come forward," he announced in a loud voice, hushing the squealing and panting for the most part. I opened my mouth to yell some more and possibly sentence him to a whole month in the dungeon, but the first "applicant" I guess you could say, had already approached the foot of my throne.
Though she was bowing rather low, I could still sense her flirtatious smile hidden beneath a host of blonde ringlets. "King Syaoran," she said smoothly.
I inhaled deeply, telling myself over and over that having a fit of rage in front of a group of ladies and royal attendants wasn't the best thing for me to do as my first act as king.
"Your name?" I asked, trying to sound calm.
"Welcome, Hanoru-san," I replied. She giggled as if the way I said her name was some form of flirting. I ignored it and continued with the interview. "Tell me, why do you want to be my sorceress?"
She batted her eyelashes at me and smiled in what I believe was supposed to be a seductive manner. "Why wouldn't I want to be your sorceress, Your Majesty? It would be an honor to serve next to our handsome king and be at his side, every waking moment."
Eriol snickered from beside me. I frowned harshly, showing no kindness for the girl. "You're dismissed. Next."
And thus began the nightmare.
Girl after girl was the same after the other. Most of them were only looking for a proposal of marriage – one girl even said, "Why do I want to be your sorceress? Well… our last king married his sorceress, so I was kind of hoping for the same result." Another stated, "If the pay is low, count me out."
I was seriously beginning to wonder what exactly Eriol had written in the qualifications and benefits list when he sent the pages out. Did he happen to write "must have big, busty chest" or "benefits include sharing the king's bed"? Or, perhaps he included, "magic not actually needed for employment"?
When asked to perform a little magic to prove me of their talents, the applicants gave me no real results whatsoever. One girl literally asked me to "pick a card, any card!" and another actually said the word, "Abracadabra!" with a twig for a wand.
I thought I was going to abdicate from the throne by the end of the hour for sure.
That was, until I saw her.
I was in the middle of listening to a different applicant drone on and on about unimportant things, my elbow propped up atop the arm rest, chin in hand. As I was scanning the crowd of girls, my eyes landed upon an auburn haired girl, near the back of the line. To be honest, there was nothing truly special about this particular girl, only that she was quiet, reserved and not acting at all like the others. There was no adoration in her eyes, but anxiety, and she did not sigh lovingly, but took calming breaths as if to soothe her.
I zeroed in on the quiet girl with narrowed eyes and, making a snap decision out of pure instinct, pointed directly at her with my free hand.
"You," I said, "step forward."
I saw the other girls take on an expression of irritation. I would've had to have gone through fifty or so more applicants to reach the auburn head, but plucking her out of the throng was far easier to do.
Seeing my finger being pointed at her, the girl's head snapped up, startled, and her stunningly bright emerald green eyes grew wide. She looked first to her left, her right, and then behind her to see if I was pointing at someone else. Lamely she pointed to herself with her index finger and mouthed, "Me?"
I nodded impatiently. "Yes, you. Come here. And you," I said, addressing the current girl I was supposed to be interviewing. "Dismissed."
She faltered in obvious insult and huffed all the way out of my court room.
The other girl was escorted to the foot of my throne because apparently she needed the help. She curtsied and bowed her head when she was left to stand by herself, her auburn bangs covering her face as she did so. She did nothing else.
"Name?" I asked, not bothering to begin with any preliminary courtesies. I had stopped being polite after the third applicant.
"Kinomoto Sakura," she answered in a soft, trembling voice.
"Okay. Well, Kinomoto Sakura – why are you here?" I asked.
She kept her head bowed, but I had a feeling it was not to show me respect, but because she was afraid to look up.
After a moment's hesitation, she answered quietly, "It was said that the family of the sorceress would be… taken care of, as long as she served alongside the king."
I nodded, knowing that was the favour returned to a sorcerer or sorceress for working diligently next to a ruler. Not only would he or she be well taken care of at the palace, but their immediate family would also be fed, sheltered and provided for in every possible way.
"Yes," I confirmed. "That is correct."
She swallowed nervously and said nothing else, but shrugged a little with her shoulders as if to say, "Well, that's why."
I decided to stop leaning forward in my throne and settled back into the cushions to observe the girl more carefully. She was different indeed. All the others just couldn't seem to keep their mouths shut yet this girl could barely say anything more than a sentence. She wasn't flirting either, which was strange.
I turned back to the Kinomoto girl to stare at her with serious amber eyes. "Are you talented in magic?"
"Are you lying to me?"
She shook her head.
"Are you positive?"
She nodded again.
I heard a number of gasps almost immediately. One came from the girl, another from Eriol, and the rest came from the fifty or so other girls that were still waiting in line to be interviewed.
"Really?" she asked in disbelief.
"Really?" Eriol chimed, stepping in front of me and giving me a look that told me I was not making a very wise decision. "Syaoran, you barely interviewed her and there are so many more applicants waiting to—"
"Do you want me to ask more questions?" I asked to see if this would shut him up.
"Well, it would make me feel a little better if you thoroughly—"
"Do you want to sleep with me?" I asked the girl.
She gasped and a number of girls behind her raised their hands eagerly.
"No!" she exclaimed, sounding insulted.
"Do you want to marry me?"
More girls raised their hands and even started chanting, "I do, I do!"
"Your Majesty!" she cried, "I don't understand why you're—"
"It wasn't a proposal," I snarled, as if I'd ever do such a thing. But if I was asking for her hand in marriage, I'd say it wasn't such a bad choice. She wasn't terrible looking; she was particularly attractive in fact. I didn't just notice her because she was different from the rest, her pleasing good looks had some factor in it – what can I say? I'm a male.
"I'm asking you if you want the job because want to marry or sleep with me," I finished explaining.
She blushed a little. "Hoe… I—I knew that," she answered. "I mean… no, Your Majesty. That's not why. You have my honest word."
I clapped my hands. "It's decided then. You'll be my sorceress."
Eriol shook his head vigorously. "Syaoran, you can't just—"
"You know the terms of our agreement, Eriol. I pick the sorceress. No complaints, no nothing."
I was sure he was about to continue haranguing me but I wouldn't allow it. As far as I was concerned, the Kinomoto Sakura girl was the best choice out of the bunch. Though in the beginning, I felt myself feeling strangely drawn towards the blonde, I knew I'd made the better choice. This girl wasn't in it for my money or to share my bed, and she barely spoke a word, so I didn't think she'd be giving any input on the affairs of state. My mind was made.
"Oh, thank you!" she cried, falling to her knees and bowing – literally bowing in front of me, her arms sprawled out in front of her and her nose touching the marble floor. "I promise to do my best and work as hard as I can with—"
"Yeah, okay. That's great," I said, cutting her off short with a wave of my hand. I pointed to an attendant that stood a little ways behind her. "You, show her to the finest guest bedroom we have in the palace." I pointed to another. "And you, help him. The both of you make sure she is fed, clothed and made to feel at home."
They bowed first and then helped the girl off her feet, each taking one of her arms. As they began to escort her out through the nearest exit, she looked over her shoulder and stood stock still. "Wait," she called.
I stared at her, wondering what more she wanted.
"My family," she said quietly. "Will they… I mean, will you…"
"Oh, right," I said. "Eriol will come to see you later in the day to ask the necessary information. There's no need to worry for your family anymore, miss. They will be taken care of. You have my honest word."
She smiled gratefully at me but I didn't respond. Instead I turned to face the rest of the applicants who were now tearing up or stomping their feet angrily. I noticed the blonde's blue eyes grow stormy. "Thank you ladies but your services are no longer needed. The position has been filled. Dismissed – all of you."
The court room filled with whines and moans at my abrupt decision and dismissal. As I exited so that I could be alone in my study, I noticed a number of applicants making a scene and having to be forced out by guards. I had no idea the sorceress thing would be such a big deal, really.
"Syaoran…" my cousin began. But I wouldn't hear it.
"Eriol. I know what you're going to say. My mind is made up. You're not going to change it."
"I get it, okay? She's quieter than the other girls, classier, prettier—"
"That isn't why I chose her." It was one of the reasons why I noticed her, but he didn't need to know that.
"—But how do you know if she's—"
"I don't know that she's anything," I interrupted hotly. "What I do know is that she will be my sorceress. And we're leaving it at that. Are we clear, advisor?" I asked, challenging him to dispute my decision once more.
Eriol pressed his lips together tightly but managed to answer, "As crystal, Your Highness."
I smirked, finally able to have my way. It only took forever to have things work out in my favor, but at least it happened. The kingdom got their sorceress, and I got to pick her myself, selecting the quietest, prudish girl of the bunch. I was more than confident in my choice, sure that I would remain certain about it for the rest of my reign.
Authors Notes: So, I'm kind of excited. Are you?
Geez Louis. I never thought I'd ever actually do another period piece again. But I did, and now here I am.
Let me get this straight: I have no idea what the hell I'm doing. Now is not a good time in my life to be starting a new story. I'm busier than I have ever been, ever, and there's no way in hell I'd actually have enough time to update this – BUT. Lucky you, my dear readers. I've written fourteen chapters ahead of time, and I plan on updating every two weeks. I also plan on writing the next few chapters that will complete the story really soon, so you guys are pretty much covered.
I also think you guys should know I have no earthly idea how a real king conducts himself and how he spends his time. I'm going by faith here, you guys, and also by a few things I know here and there about ruling a kingdom (which is little, obviously). So I apologize and ask that you forgive me my inaccuracies and any other mistaken or incorrect facts included in the story. Hopefully it shouldn't bother too many of you.
Also, I actually did my research on what the difference was between a sorcerer and a person who possesses magical powers. I really did learn a lot. I took the "fantasy" definitions rather than the factual, by the way. My story is, anyway, fantasy.
Yeah, so, that's pretty much all the announcements I have for now. If there's anything else I forgot to mention, check out my profile under my 'Update – what's going on?' section, and you'll see anything and everything that's going on with the story, my life, and other things in between updates!
I hope you come back for more – I promise, it gets good. Really good.
Thank you so much for reading and I sincerely hope that you take the time to review!
Vocabulary: okaa-sama – respectful term for 'mother' ; otou-sama – respectful term for 'father' ; Xiao-Lang – Syaoran's Chinese name ; ohayo gozaimsu – polite term for 'good morning' (tell me if I missed anything!)
PS. The publication of this story is in celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving, so – Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! (And yes, that means I am Canadian!)
Holla & Signing off,
Agent08 – My life as a secret agent xD