A/N: Alright my little 'Kulex lovers', get comfy! This is my first multi-chapter TEP, so woohoo. I actually have about three parts written and ready to post (but I always have a 'looksie' and I'm such a damn perfectionist that my work ends up longer and more detailed as a result), but hopefully that won't be the case if I stay focused on the main reason: I want my imaginative idea to come to life and share with you! I've done pretty good fics over the years without a beta-reader so this story won't be a lost cause, lol.
About this fic: I swear I had it on the brain all summer and don't ask me why it took so long to sit down and actually start typing. Maybe I was just incredibly lazy or not in the mindset but since this month began, I don't know, alot of things have gotten me motivated!
Notes: (1) This is strictly in Manjipoor so other than Alex, Amanda, JB, Taylor, her family – yeah, none of them exist here (as much as I LOVED them in the show, sorry they aren't relevant). (2) Alex is not called Alex here, just call her by her royal name because this IS an AU fic remember? (3) Unless you are brain dead and can't read under story summaries, this is an Alex/Kuru fic so don't be expecting any happily-ever-afters for Alex/Caleb (Eww) or Kuru/Zamira (I will forever be upset with this). Sorry that's my opinion; hate it, love it, or move on. And finally (4), remember that stories like this are meant to fun and not for profit, so I'm not doing this to get any mileage outta anyone. It's just for me and anyone else whose interested. So by all means, my rights are disclaimed if otherwise noted back to all the original sources of actual preferencing yadda yadda.
Alright! So have fun guys and don't forget to leave your thoughts and questions. Happy scrolling! Oh and My Silver Heart, this goes out to you too, hun! Muah!
Virtue, Need Not Define Me
Part One: Princesses
"She'll be a star now. I will follow her lead."
(Open Your Eyes, Andrew Belle)
Princess Liliuokalani was outside in the royal garden of the palace's west wing. The sun was hot and bright without a cloud in the sky to cover the sapphire dome that light up her world. Her world was Manjipoor. Manjipoor was her kingdom, and once she turned sixteen, she would have the right to rule it with the grace and beauty she was known for.
It was a wholesome kingdom with good, common folk and high morals in the regions she and her family directly touched – the east and southern parts of Manjipoor. When asking about West Manjipoor and the Manjipoor of the North, the Princess was met with hard eyes and stern looks; looks and assuring voices that told her that once she became Crown ruler, she would know for herself. Her only concern was to remain with the warmer, friendlier sides of her kingdom. And like a good girl, she listened, with a fleeting sense of curiosity and excitement in her heart.
She was also very special, and her older, and only, cousin, Lord Vashan took much appreciation with her specialties, particularly when other members of their royal family were not around.
"Now, try again, dear cousin," he said slowly but encouragingly.
"Very well, Vashan," the Princess said warmly and with a smirk she lifted her right arm again. Under the hot afternoon sun, she twisted her wrist into an intricate design in midair and when she stopped, the flow of green energy that was emanating from her hand released a burst of light. The light flew toward the old terracotta pot nestled in the courtyard grass and hit it with a sound pop! When the pot broke apart into pieces, the Princess jumped on her satin-slippered feet and pumped a fist in the air.
"Well done," Vashan commented in his sly, ever-calculating tone. He turned his head slowly toward his cousin with a small smile on his face. "I am pleased to know that our short lessons are benefitting your powers in the long run, Princess."
"That's all very well, Vashan, but I think I just got lucky this time," the Princess said with a small sigh as she flexed her wrist to relax its tension.
"Cousin, you're so humble!" he exaggerated as he threw a long over her shoulder and lifted his gaze up to the Manjipoorian sky. The Princess followed his gaze.
"It is no wonder that everyone in Manjipoor rejoices at the thought of you becoming the Crown ruler! You think too modestly of yourself."
"Well, it's the truth. I'm just doing my duties."
"Ah yes, but you are so good at it, and you make it look effortless!"
The Princess sighed. Ever since she could remember, it was always 'Princess, you are so good!'-this, and 'Princess, you will be a great ruler!'-that. And it wasn't to say that she wasn't grateful or felt blessed for being surrounded by such supportive people, because she was! But… sometimes it was too much and she inwardly hated it when they came up to her with praises. With a quick shove of her shoulder, she let Vashan's arm drop from her shoulders and she walked around him with a small smirk on her face.
"Well, can this humble, effortless Princess request a break then? I'm thirsty," she said cheekily and wrapped the turquoise shawl around her arms and waist tighter as she began to leave the garden. Vashan rolled his eyes and shook his head disbelievingly as he stalked behind her to follow.
"As you wish, cousin," he said playfully. "I'll call for an immediate lunch up in the loft."
Several minutes later, both the royal cousins were sitting in large, gold, woven chairs and eating their lunch in the loft on the palace's third floor. It overlooked the open fields and castle courtyards from a carved balcony of marble and decorated with beautiful flowers by the royal maids. From down below the Princess and Lord Vashan could see the castle workers and peasants who worked around and tended to the castle and its occupants. As they sat in silence, Vashan pulled his sweetened tea away from his lips and looked at Liliuokalani.
"Certainly, cousin, why do you insist on asking me to teach you magic every day, and then rush to finish early?" he teased with mild playfulness.
"Because look at this day! It's gorgeous!" she laughed. She had just finished and after raising her hand, the maids arrived and took the trays of food away to leave the two alone. "It's too nice of a day to stand around and do work."
"But every day is like this, dear cousin. Look at your kingdom!" he exasperated again and thrust his hand in a sweeping motion to indicate her to look out of the balcony and beyond.
"Every day the sun shines bright. Manjipoor is a land smiled down upon by our ancestors. This whole kingdom belongs to our family. It belongs to you… Never will there be a day where it won't shine like this!"
"I suppose that's true. I can't recall a day where it was never sunny the whole day through," the Princess pondered before smiling to herself. Vashan stretched in his chair and relaxed himself.
"Then why come up with an excuse like that to skip out on your duties?" he asked bored. "Surely, I've taught you somethingin the art of lying!"
She rolled her eyes. Since they were kids, they were the only children around the same age who could be allowed to see each other, so naturally the Princess grew up learning and playing with him. He taught her everything fun about being a royal, while her mother, Queen Nefari, and the council of the Elders taught her everything that was right.
"You have," she insisted. "But… I'm sorry, Vashan. I just couldn't concentrate. The day! It's just so… wonderful. I just want to go out and walk around the palace!"
"Surely you mean, within the palace walls."
When no other reply came, Vashan sat up in his seat and stared at her with sharp eyes.
"You don't mean… outside? Do you?"
"Vashan," she tried to start but he stopped her.
"Unless accompanied by either me, your mother, or the council, and a band of guards, you know that you're forbidden to go down there right?" he questioned her with a raised eyebrow. Liliuokalani huffed.
"I know all that but-!" before he could interrupt her again, she rose from her seat gracefully and stepped over to the balcony and looked down past the courtyards and palace gates to see the colourful, little huts and tents dotted before the forest.
"Vashan, look at how… lively they are! There is a life down there that I have never seen fully for myself!" she practically sighed in fascination as she watched little blobs of people moving about.
"Those are my people down there…" she whispered. Vashan raised both eyebrows and crossed his arms thoughtfully. Then the Princess turned to look at him.
"How can I truly rule Manjipoor when I don't even know what they do for me?"
"But you do know, cousin," he said quite annoyed as he looked back into the castle halls, not even caring about what she was seeing. "They are commoners, they work for this castle. They live hard, dirty lives and they love you. What more do you need?"
When no immediate answer came, Vashan turned his head slightly to glance at his cousin. She had rested her arms on the balcony edge and leaned her head down to continue staring at the village.
"I bet they're happy…" she mumbled softly. Vashan didn't hear as the breeze captured the sentence with her lips.
A/N: So what do you think so far? Part II will be up soon. And remember, any and all feedback is valued. As a juvenile actor, I know how important my audience is because they are the ones who'll help me to improve in different areas. But lol enough talking, I hope you enjoyed this initiation chapter! Get ready for the rest. ;)
Soundtrack: Music is one of the main instigators of scene creation as I'm sure you know. So I'll share with you the songs that played as I wrote this. This week: Open Your Eyes - Andrew Belle, The Ladder.