Shaman King: Story of Evil
"Oh, it's tea time..." "If it's to protect you, I will become evil for you." Behind the cruel rule of a prince lies the devoted love of a servant with a like face.
Chapter Warnings: Mikihisa might be OOC since I can't remember his exact personality. Oh, and the chapter is kinda long and filler-ish, though it does show some background of the story.
The Lake Behind the Castle
There was once upon a time in another place
In another time, in another day
When two brothers shared the world together
The proud older brother
And the good-hearted younger brother
The kingdom of Lucifenia was a prosperous one. It was a kingdom of equality and democratic belief ruled by monarchy. The head of a country is, after all, just a figurehead to be followed, to be blamed and to be relied on. Be it a king, a president, or a prime minister, a leader is still a leader. They lead people, they guide them, and they dictate them for the betterment of the country. The method of governing a country does not dictate the leader; it is the other way around. Thus, the king led the people into democracy (or what was closest to democracy in a kingdom ruled by monarchy) with aristocratic grace.
Lucifenia was loved by all of its townspeople, admired by its allies and feared by its enemies. Yes, even a prosperous country has enemies. Several of them, in fact. When the king was asked how he should go about it, he shrugged and gave a wistful smile. As he always said, "You know you are doing something right when you are hated by the right people." The ministers of the palace were satisfied with that answer, and left it at that.
Of course, every kingdom has its own political qualms. Lucifenia was no exception.
"Hao, Yoh, this is Lady Meene Montgomery. This is probably your first time seeing her, isn't it?" Mikihisa said, gesturing to the young lady in front of him. As Mikihisa never liked being addressed as King, we shall leave his name at that. "She is from the House of Montgomery."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Your Highnesses." Lady Meene said, bowing low. She turned to Mikihisa and started, as if she remembered something suddenly. "Oh, and to you too, Your Majesty. It is an honor to be invited in the Asakura Palace."
"The pleasure's all mine." Mikihisa replied. He turned to his two boys, and seeing that they look kind of... lost, he sighed inwardly. It can't be helped though. The boys are barely over the age of five, if he remembered correctly. Politics did not interest them, not that Mikihisa liked politics in the first place. But duties are duties. Mikihisa knew that the ignorance wasn't worth the consequences he would face.
He coughed slightly when he felt his throat burn for a moment. The princes, however, took that as a sign that they weren't doing something they should be doing.
"It's nice to meet you, Miss Meene!" Prince Yoh said, grinning slightly. He gave a cheerful wave, while his brother shook his head silently from behind. He gave a short nod to the Lady to show his acknowledgement, and then turned to Prince Yoh.
"It's Lady Meene, Yoh." Prince Hao whispered firmly, but not strictly. He had a soft spot for his brother, after all. "You have to address her properly in meetings like this."
"Eh?" Prince Yoh tilted his head cutely, showing his confusion. In his mind, being called a Lady and addressing someone as Miss was the same thing. But if Hao says it's rude, then perhaps it really was rude. Hao has been the better of the two when it comes to these things, after all. He turned to Lady Meene and grinned sheepishly, his hand scratching the back of his head. "I'm sorry for being rude. It's nice to meet you Lady Meene."
"Oh, how cute." Lady Meene said. A smile danced around her lips as she eyed the younger prince curiously. "They grow up so fast, don't they? Pretty soon, they will rule this country like the great king you are, Your Majesty."
"Yes, they will." Mikihisa said. His throat was beginning to heat up again. He cleared his throat. "The time for that won't be long now."
"Have you decided on who will inherit the throne?" Lady Meene felt the king's eyes on her, but she ignored it.
"No, not yet." Burning. His throat was burning. "There is still (cough) plenty of (cough) time for that." He fell to a coughing fit.
"Otou-san is sick again?" Prince Yoh tugged at the hem of Mikihisa's robe. His eyes were filled with worry. Beside him, Prince Hao also looked up at his father. His concern, although there, was not expressed as freely as Prince Yoh's.
"Shall I get your medicine, father?" Prince Hao asked.
"No, it's all right." Another cough. "Why don't you go to the Lake? The sunset is very beautiful to look at from there." At this, the faces of both boys lit up. They were big fans of nature, as any shaman would be.
"Ooh! I want to see the sunset!" Prince Yoh said excitedly. Then, looking at his father, he stopped. "But you're sick again! Otou-san shouldn't have gone to that fairy village in the rain last week!"
"Fairy Village?" Lady Meene asked.
"The Village of the Koropokkuru." Prince Hao answered.
"That's all right, Yoh. I'll be fine." Mikihisa managed to suppress the next cough to something less... audible. It sounded squeaky though. Lady Meene and Prince Hao ignored it. Prince Yoh didn't seem to notice. "Now go. The sun's about to set."
"..." Prince Yoh kept his gaze fixed at his father, his lips pouting. Prince Hao snickered.
"… Fine. I will take my medicine later, okay?"
"Okay!" Prince Yoh smiled. "You better be... uh... better when I get back!" He grabbed his brother's wrist and dragged him to the lake. As they ran, Mikihisa vaguely heard the conversation between his two boys. "Hurry up, aniki!" "I will if you just let me go! Hey, watch out for that-!" CRASH! "Ow!" "Yoh! Are you alright?"
"Prince Yoh seems to have you wrapped around his finger, Your Majesty." Lady Meene commented. "He'd make a nice ruler, I'm sure."
"Sir Luchist seems to disagree, though." Mikihisa replied. "He thinks Hao is a better choice."
"Pardon me, Your Majesty, but Prince Hao seems to be kind of..."
"... apathetic? Proud?"
"Well, yes. Kind of. I apologize if I offend Your Majesty and His Highness the Prince."
"No need for apologies. Hao just doesn't like meeting new people. Most people get that impression. It doesn't bother either of us."
"But you know..." Mikihisa started to cough again. His eyes followed the direction the twins ran off. "Hao does care about people."
"Pardon me, but I have heard of stories that told otherwise."
Mikihisa closed his eyes and smiled. "He cares for his brother, though. Isn't that a good start?"
"Look! Look! Look!" Yoh yelled, pointing at the sky. "The first star!"
"Yes, I know." Hao said. "It's beautiful, isn't it?"
The twins settled at the edge of the lake that was slightly elevated. They were near the forest that surrounded half the lake(which was quite huge), and a little ways off the path leading to the Imperial Palace. They sat side by side, their feet moving in circular motions in the water. Hao and Yoh watched the sunset together, a peaceful pastime shared by the twins. After all, the sky is a magnificent creation. Yoh preferred to watch the clouds, while Hao argued that it was much more beautiful counting the stars. Though they enjoyed the others' hobbies, it still did not match their own. There was something about the clouds that fascinated Yoh. Perhaps it was their fluffy whiteness and wispy edges, or maybe it was the funny shapes they have. Meanwhile, Hao was more interested in the stars. The darkness was alluring, and the twinkling was like a welcome mockery. He once believed that the night sky was a big black curtain, and the stars were holes poked out of that curtain, letting the light of day escape.
It was during the sunset did both brothers learn to appreciate the sky together. Yoh could witness the emerging of the first stars, and Hao can see the formation of the clouds around the setting sun. And much more magnificent than the clouds and the stars were the colors. There was orange, Yoh's favorite color. The orange blended with the red and yellow, and then it would fade to a gentle pink. Sometimes, when it was still early, the twins can see the blue and white mix with the orange, and there's a green tint here and there too. As time moves, the sky is inked with a dark purple, which slowly evolved to black. Yoh never said he liked black, though he didn't dislike it either. But Hao, though he never said he liked black either, was comfortable with the darkness it held.
Right now, though, the sky was a beautiful mix of orange, pink and purple. It was so beautiful, it was almost surreal. It was as if it was painted there for them. The world seemed to stop at a standstill, and the boys had no qualms with that. They continued to watch in silence, until Yoh would burst out in enthusiastic glee about some bird or another.
Sometimes, the younger one would splash some water, which inevitably got the older one wet. This resulted in an all-out splash war from both boys.
"Hey! That's not fair, aniki!"
"You started it, Yoh!"
"Ah... ah!" Yoh did not know how it happened, but he soon found himself dripping wet all over. He couldn't remember how he fell off the edge, or how his brother's arm was hanging in mid-air in his attempt to prevent his otouto from falling to the lake.
"You are so clumsy, otouto." Hao said as he reached for his younger brother's hand, who gladly took it. As he hoisted his brother up, he felt a strong presence eyeing them. His eyes narrowed as he tried to pinpoint who or what was watching them. 'If he hurts Yoh in any way...'
"You did that on purpose, 'nii-chan!" Yoh said. He tried to wring the water from his clothes, but was left still dripping wet.
Hao snapped back to his brother, his eyes becoming gentle though his mind stayed alert. "No I didn't. You're just too much of a klutz." He ruffled his brother's hair.
"Hmph." Yoh crossed his arms and stuck his tongue out at Hao, which only made the older of the two laugh. "Don't laugh! Or I'll... I'll use Hyoui Gattai on you!"
Hao just laughed even more, much to Yoh's chagrin. Yoh turned his back on his brother and started to fiddle with his headphones. It never made Yoh any more regal than he does now, but no one commented about it in fear of Hao's response. Mikihisa just lets it slip, and so does Keiko. "As long as you keep up with your shaman training, you can keep your headphones." Though Yoh has been slow at shamanism compared to Hao, he has mastered a decent amount of techniques compared to those older than him. Thus, the headphones never left his side.
"If my headphones don't work, it's gonna be your fault, aniki!" Yoh grumbled, putting the wet device on. "Achooo!"
He shivered suddenly, though whether it was from the cold, or something else, Yoh wasn't sure.
In an empty place with nothing around
I suddenly tripped and started to cry
It's okay; it's surely just a prank
By the naughty twilight
"Aw, are you mad at me, Yoh?" Hao asked, putting a hand on his brother's shoulder. Yoh shrugged the hand off and let out a big "Hmph!"
"I'm not mad!" Yoh said.
Hao sighed and took an orange from the basket they took with them. The cooks at the palace were used to the twins asking for food for their afternoon sky-gazing adventures at the lake, so they prepared a basket full of food for the two each day. "Here." Hao said, handing out the orange. He faced his brother and smiled. "I'm sorry, okay?"
Again, he felt eyes on them.
"Alright." Yoh said, accepting the apple. He gave out a big grin and hugged his brother. "You know I can't stay mad at you forever, aniki."
Hao hugged his brother back, yet his eyes darted towards the lake. "I know. I love you, Yoh." He felt something ominous creeping up his spine. 'Whoever is watching us doesn't seem... human.'
"I love you too, 'nii-chan!" Yoh exclaimed, hugging his brother tighter. He shivered again, and this time, Hao noticed. He let go of his brother and took off his coat.
"Here. You might catch a cold." Hao said. Yoh nodded and accepted the coat gratefully. Hao looked back at the lake, then at the sky. "It's getting dark. We better go home."
"Aww... But I want to play some more!" Yoh pouted, then tugged at Hao's arm. "Can't we stay for a while? Please?"
Hao gave his brother a soft smile. "You might catch a cold." At this, Yoh sneezed again. "See?"
"... Alright. But we'll play again tomorrow, right?"
"We always play together, otouto."
We must return home soon
Before it gets dark
The two brothers walked, side by side, with their hands clasped around each other. As they made their way to the Imperial Palace, Yoh mutters something to Hao, to which the older laughed. He ruffled his otouto's hair and handed him another orange. Yoh gave a big grin and hugged his brother.
"Hm..." came a dark, low voice. "What pretty children... especially that young one with the ponytail."
The lake's still water was disturbed that night. Small ripples emerged on the surface, and the fish living beneath swam rapidly to the edges of the lake. Something sinister began to move. As night was moving rapidly, the boys did not have the time to look back at the lake. And yet, if one looked closely enough, one would have noticed strange eyes roaming about the waters. The sunset's rays reflected its white skin, which made it seem surreal. Supernatural. Spiritual.
A low growl came from the creature's belly. The creature laughed and continued to eye the two princes; particularly, the smaller, energetic one.
"It's nearing nighttime..."
The creature moved back to the depths of the lake.
Beyond the lake's horizon
The devil was sneering evilly
"Let me swallow you into my black belly
So that we can play together!"
Yoh shivered again.
"Are you alright, otouto?" Hao asked. He stopped walking and faced his brother, putting a hand on the younger prince's forehead. "You don't seem to be catching a fever though."
"It's not the cold, 'nii-chan." Yoh said. His eyes shifted towards the lake. "There's... something there."
Hao frowned. If his brother sensed it too, then they must hurry along. Admittedly, Hao would have enjoyed beating up whatever creature or human was watching them from the lake, but he did not want his little brother to get hurt. 'I'm not even sure this monster is human at all. I don't know if I'll be able to beat it with just shikigamis.' It shall be noted now that the great Hao Asakura, as powerful as he may be, has not yet acquired the Spirit of Fire. "So you sensed it too, huh?"
Yoh nodded, holding his brother's hand tighter. His eyes never left the lake. "I didn't see anything. But I sense something... different from the spirits and shikigamis."
Hao gave a thoughtful nod. 'We're still a little ways off the main path. The guards won't be able to help us if we stay here.' It brings us to the question how the two most important children of the country (for they are princes and future leaders of Lucifenia) are left roaming around the lake – and the palace – unguarded. It was mainly because the guards often interfered with their games (though they never really intended to) and Hao wasn't fond of being watched. Neither was Yoh, but Hao was more... expressive about it. The older prince can really pack a punch when he wanted to, and of course, no one would want to argue with a prince, especially if that person was just a measly guard that can easily be kicked out of the Imperial Palace with a snap of a finger. Yoh never liked violence, but he was grateful for Hao's actions, so he never objected them. Their parents could merely sigh in defeat.
"We'd better hurry then." Hao said, pulling Yoh's hand as he walked briskly. Yoh merely followed his brother. He tried not to look back at the lake, which seemed to become more sinister as the sun continued to disappear from the horizon. He looked away and focused on his brother, who was firmly grasping his hand. Hao's hair swished to and fro as he walked. A quick breeze blew by, and Yoh felt his brother's soft locks touch his hand with feathery strokes. 'Nii-san has very pretty hair...'
There was a low growl. Twilight was disappearing. Before Yoh could say anything, he felt a reassuring squeeze from his brother's hand. Hao looked back at his brother and gave a soft smile.
'Surely 'nii-san will protect me...' thought Yoh. He grinned back at his brother.
We must return home soon
Before we get eaten
The creature of the lake approached the edge slowly, taking his precious time despite the hungry growls from his stomach.
From across the lake, the creature saw the two princes walking faster towards the Imperial Palace. He let out a gruff sound, and made its way to shore.
He approached the shore quietly. Not a sound was heard from the creature as he waded around the edge, his arms groping about the beach. He felt stones and sharp rocks graze his skin as he waved his arms around. Yet still, he made no sound. No blood flowed from his cuts.
Then he felt something else. It was cold – metallic cold – and he grabbed it immediately. Upon closer inspection, he saw that it was a pocket watch. A golden one at that. The edges were engraved with symbols of the Asakura family, and the center was engraved with a picture of sorts. It resembled something he saw once from the older prince when he and his brother would come out to play at night. They never went close enough to the lake during those times, but the creature could remember that light. It was bright and alluring, in contrast with the dark sky. And the colors blended perfectly, as if they were recreating a sunset. Yet it cackled and moved, as if it were alive.
It was fire.
The creature could remember it vividly in his mind. His eyes fixed its gaze on the watch. He opened it, and saw the second hand ticking slowly. Again, there were symbols on the edge of the clock that he could not understand. The ticking sound, rhythmic and soft as it was, annoyed the creature. He broke the second hand off.
He held the pocket watch up, and saw the golden colors brightly shine against the setting sun. The chains made a soft sound as the clock was lifted, yet the boys were too far away to hear.
The creature took the pocket watch and returned to the lake.
Hao could feel the strong presence was coming closer. His eyes wandered around darkly, his hands kept a firm grip on his brother's and his heart pounded loudly in his chest. He didn't know why he was afraid. After all, he was the prince of Lucifenia! A great shaman, a future leader (his dreams of leading the country had, of course, included hid brother by his side). What was there for him to fear? It was the people who feared him. The unknown should fear him, not the other way around.
But of course, as intelligent and brave as Hao tried to be, he was just a five year-old kid. Nothing more than a child. And he still has the privilege to be scared of the monsters in his closet, or the bogey-man under his bed, though he never had the chance to use such privileges because he was, after all, Asakura Hao. He was never scared. Never. Not in front of his brother, at least.
Yoh was more scared than he cared to show, though Hao could notice that right away. Yoh has lost his chattiness, his laughter, and his overall energetic mood from before. He still smiled at his older brother though, especially when Hao squeezed his hand. He trusted Hao too much to protect him, and Hao wasn't going to fail his brother now.
It shall be noted now that, despite being trained to be great shaman princes, the two brothers have never been in any kind of real danger before. Their shamanic training, therefore, has not helped them in real life as of yet. They were trained more to become the royal heirs to the throne. They have yet to witness war or famine. The scariest creature they have seen, so far, was their grandmother and grandfather, Asakura Kino and Asakura Yohmei, during trainings. Oh, Anna Kyouyama may also fit into that category as well. The next horrifying thing to happen to them was the bogey-man under the bed, only to find that it was just a giant dust bunny that they later laughed off. So the presence of the unknown lurking about in the dark has made quite an impact on the two boys.
"Is aniki scared?" Yoh asked quietly. Hao stopped and looked back at his brother's inquisitive eyes.
"No. I'm not scared. If I was, I can't protect my otouto, now can I?" Hao answered. "... Are you?"
"I'm not scared either," Yoh smiled. His eyes lightened up; it twinkled slightly. "Because I have aniki by my side! I'll protect you too, aniki!"
Hao smiled at Yoh. They continued walking with calmer hearts.
Hao felt his pockets were unusually light as they walked, but he didn't bother to check what was missing, lest he look back and saw that the creature was, in fact, a real monster. He had a vague feeling that it was his pocket watch, though.
The small chest that we hid
In the sandy beach
Has been engulfed by night's darkness
And can no longer be found
Yoh wrapped his brother's coat tighter around his body. The coat was a bit big on him, but only because the person who gave the coat (none of the twins could remember who) did not know what size Hao wore. In essence though, Yoh and Hao wore the same sized clothes since they had the same height and build. Hao was more muscular though, due to his disciplined training, whereas Yoh could only be described as lean because of his laziness.
Hao also had longer hair compared to his brother's. His hair reached his just above his waist. Yoh knew that Hao would let it grow longer. This often led to many heated debates concerning who was girlier between the two boys. No winner has been proclaimed as of yet, though inwardly, Yoh liked to believe that Hao was girlier on the grounds of having longer hair and having a meticulous process of taking care of said hair. This includes many herbal shampoos and concoctions, as well as a minimum of fifteen minutes of combing. Thirty if Hao was feeling particularly perfectionist that day.
Of course, Yoh's hair was nothing short of healthy either. He uses the same shampoo as Hao and takes a great amount of time (though not as much as Hao) taking care of his hair. He just bunches his in a messy ponytail, and covers his head with giant, orange earphones. Thus, his hair is barely noticeable compared to Hao's.
Yoh chuckled at his thoughts. Despite the looming creature lurking behind his back, his mind is muddled with thoughts of shampoos and his brother's silky hair. 'It's a great distraction though.'
"What's so funny, otouto?" Hao asked. He did not look back at his brother as he spoke, though. His eyes were fixed on the road.
"Nothing." Yoh said. "Your hair is just pretty, that's all."
Hao raised an eyebrow, but did not say anything else.
'Despite being twins, we are so different from each other.' Yoh thought. 'Hao is more serious and mature while I'm so...'
Has Hao ever thought of him as annoying? 'But he's my big brother. He wouldn't think that.' Yet Yoh couldn't help himself but doubt Hao. Yoh was, after all, the noisier one of the two. He is much more immature and carefree. He is also slower at picking up shamanism, though he always thought that was just because his brother was a genius prodigy. Could he be slowing down his brother from his training? Could Hao be annoyed at his constant pestering and questions? Could he be irritated with his immaturity? After all, Hao was always the one helping him. Protecting him, teaching him... He was like a whole new level.
'But we're twins. Why can't we have the same talents?'
Yoh felt bad for doubting his older brother.
"Is something wrong, Yoh?" Hao asked. He stopped walking again to look at his brother. He noticed that he has been stopping their walk often now.
"Why do you ask, aniki?"
"Well, you suddenly let go of my hand and stopped walking."
"Yes, you did." Hao sighed. His brother often did this when he was thinking of something. "Is something on your mind?"
"... No. Well, yes, actually." Yoh fidgeted with his orange. He hasn't eaten it since Hao gave it to him. "Am I annoying to you, aniki?"
"Wha-?" Hao was startled by the question. Where did that come from?
"I mean," Yoh cut in. "We're both so different. You're much smarter and better and prettier and mature-er than me. And I'm just... I don't know. I think I'm annoying and childish compared to you."
Hao stared at his brother, wondering how Yoh could even think that. Had his brother been comparing the two of them for a while now? Has he been thinking that way back then? "It's 'more mature', Yoh." Hao replied. He chuckled slightly, and the other boy's cheeks reddened in embarrassment. "You're so cute, you know that?"
"You're avoiding the question, aniki."
"Well..." Hao put the basket down and glanced at the lake. The creature was nowhere to be found, yet small ripples were emerging from the surface. The sun was nearly out of view now. There were barely any orange or red left in the sky. The stars were beginning to multiply. "You're not annoying. You never have been."
"Really?" Yoh's eyes lit up, sparkling with hope.
"Yeah." Hao smiled at his brother. "You don't have to compare the two of us. Just because I'm more mature doesn't mean I'm better. We're twins, after all." He chuckled at his brother's reaction. "You could say we're two halves of a whole. Your innocence and energy makes up for my half of the whole."
"So we're like yin and yang then?"
"Yeah. You could say that."
"Or day and night?"
"Yes. Or fire and rain." The two started walking again.
"Or apples and oranges! Oh, but you don't like apples though..."
"How about tomatoes and potatoes?"
"Not a good pair, huh?"
"I don't like tomatoes."
"Well, then I can be the tomatoes. You like potatoes, right?"
"Yeah. They're mushy and stuff! And they taste good with orange syrup!"
A sweatdrop. "Y-yes. I guess they do."
Behind them, the sun has disappeared from view. The creature's eyes glinted as the boys rounded the lake.
Let's divide the twilight
Between the two of us
I'll be the daytime
I'll be the nighttime
When we hold hands, we make a beautiful orange sky
 I just made that up. It's not really part of TwiRight Prank.
 "You know you are doing right when you are hated by the right people." I'm pretty sure Mikihisa never said this, though I did find this quote fitting so I added it there. I don't remember who said it though. I just found it over the internet.
 Otou-san: Father (while Okaa-san means "Mother")
  Aniki/ 'nii-chan: Older Brother (could also be onii-chan or onii-san)
 Otouto: Younger Brother
 Hyou Gattai: "Spirit Unity" in the English dub
 I don't know what made me write that. Tomatoes and potatoes? I'm sorry for the crappy analogy.
Forms of Address: If you noticed, I sometimes call Yoh "Prince Yoh", and other times just "Yoh". The same goes for Hao. I call them by their names when we are entering their thoughts, or if they are somewhere where addressing them as prince is too formal. In special occasions in the presence of other nobility, I address them as "Prince Yoh" or "Prince Hao" unless, again, we enter their thoughts (like when Yoh thought Hao was right about saying that it was rude not to call Meene a Lady). Mikihisa, as explained earlier, does not like being called "King". If you find this confusing, just tell me so I don't have to change the way they are called unless in dialogue. Although, I think I'll stop doing this in the long run.
Lyrics: If you have listened to TwiRight Prank, you would notice that Rin sang the first part instead of Len. But Yoh (who is portraying Len's role in the story) is the one who tripped. I don't think it's important who tripped and who doesn't, regardless of which character sang that part (if the Asakura twins were singing, it would've been Hao). It seems more real if Yoh fell rather than the graceful Hao (not that Yoh isn't graceful, but he's too carefree to exhibit that).
Zero*Clue: I am done with the first chapter! It kinda looks like a filler chapter, but I needed some exposition and I needed to show how Yoh and Hao act before the main story begins. Plus, this is part of the basic storyline for Story of Evil. I don't want to leave this part behind. The main story, which is Part II: (Daughter) Prince of Evil, will begin in chapter three or four. TwiRight Prank will have only two chapters since I want to get this part over with so we can start with the Prince of Evil.
REVIEW! Criticisms are fine, but please don't flame. I want to keep getting better with my writing.