STANDARD DISCLAIMER:

Fushigi Yuugi belongs to Yuu Watase-sama. No matter how much I want to, I wouldn't assume ownership of this series in fear of being subjected to the goddess's wrath and hurled into the fiery furnace of Hell.

AUTHOR'S NOTES:

This would be my first FY fic with an actual plot. It would be Yui-centric with a Houki-Hotohori-Yui-Nuriko love quadrangle (and when I mean quadrangle, I really mean quadrangle) and the usual (read: sickening) Tamahome-Miaka pairing. This is experimental and I will be willing to take it down if it isn't to your liking. This would be a sort-of AU fic set in the Universe of the Four Gods with the real world, as Miaka and Yui know it, not existing, and Suzaku summoned before Seiryuu. Amiboshi, having been spent as a spy to Konan, was discovered and killed, so the Seiryuu side needs the shinzaho,

FALSE DAWN

By: Ryuuen

Prologue

            Dawn.

            The sun began to rise above the horizon, sending cheery rays of light throughout the Eastern region of Kutou. Hongou Ryuu smirked. How ironic that the sun still managed to shine at all on a day like this! Mounting his horse with the expertise only expected of his stature, the general of Kutou began scanning the area, particularly that near the northern border. He had sent some of his men to scout ahead while the rest had begun to prepare for what would prove to be the bloodiest battle their country shall ever witness. Unconsciously reaching inside his armor as he mapped his surroundings, he draws from its secret pocket a chipped locket and flicked it open. Mikaze… Yui…

            Otousama… Otousama… Promise me you shall return… Promise me…

            Ryuu lifted his eyes to the heavens as he remembered his daughter… The night before he had left the capital, she had come bounding into his chambers in a gush of excitement and flung herself unceremoniously upon his bed.

            "Otousama… Otousama… guess what?"

            He had laughed fondly at that time as he ruffled his daughter's blond tresses. "What is it this time, my little girl?"

            Yui pouted rather childishly. "Okaasama, I an definitely NOT a LITTLE girl. I'll be turning fifteen next month!"

            "Hai, hai, that you are," he laughed again. "So now, what did you want to tell me?"

            "Guess what?"

            "I have no idea…" he pretended to think. "Unless you're thinking of getting married…"

            "Otousama!" she exclaimed and blushed furiously.

            "Don't worry, musume. I was just joking."

            Yui hmphed and looked away. "You'd think I would have told you that if that were the case."

            Ryuu chuckled at his daughter's childish display. Who would have thought that this little blonde of his turned out to be the prophesied Seiryuu no Miko who was to save their country from the brink of destruction? He sighed as he looked at her fondly. Mikaze… if only you could see her now…

            "Otousama! Otousama! Are you even listening to me?"

            He shook himself and managed a small smile. "Oh, gomen, Yui-chan. What were you saying?"

            His daughter huffed again in that dignified way of hers and continued exasperated. "Otousama… I had just been telling you about how it would only be a matter of time before we resurrect Seiryuu. Nakago returned from his quest last night and guess what?"

            "What?"

            Yui beamed and held up a necklace of precious stones that sparkled against the flickering flame of the lamp. "Guess what this is."

            Ryuu blinked, not willing to believe his eyes. "It's… It's the shinzaho…"

            His daughter nodded. "Hai, the shinzaho left by Genbu no Miko Okuda Takiko, guarded by the Genbu seishi spirits, Hikitsu and Tomite, once hidden in the Cavern of Mount Black near the capital of Hokkan, to be exact."

            Ryuu blinked. There were times when he distinctly suspected that she was lecturing him, her own father. He chuckled. Must be from her mother's side…

            Yui looked at her father. "Well, what do you think?"

            Ryuu looked at her and smiled. "I think that's great, Yui-chan, and I'm very proud of you. Demo, I should better be getting ready for tomorrow so why don't you go and get some rest. "

            "You're leaving?"

            He gave her a forlorn smile. "Hai. The emperor thinks it best to send me and my troops ahead to intercept the Konan forces at the borders. He hopes to lessen the casualties by doing so."

            "And that's his way of saying he doesn't want himself to get hurt. If he really wishes for the good of our country, he should be the one to lead our forces into battle," she spat with venom.

            Ryuu managed a weak smile. His daughter, Priestess of Seiryuu or not, had not always been in good terms with the emperor of Kutou. They usually clashed when it came to political affairs and military strategies, aspects that most women of their time hardly concerned themselves with. She was clever and headstrong, a perfect combination that won her the admiration of even the emperor's advisory council and his top military officials.

            "The way I see it," she continued, unfazed. "He doesn't deserve to be emperor. A good emperor would choose to fight for his country or die trying to. He wouldn't put his men in danger just so he gets off unscathed. Why can't he be more like the Emperor of Konan?"

            Her father grunted in reply. Had it not been for her position, she would have been charged with sedition and sentenced to capital punishment by now. He sighed. Part of him wanted to agree with his daughter while part of him reminded him of his loyalty to the state. Instead, he shook his head and said, "There now, Yui-chan. What's done is done. We can't change his decision. He has obtained word that Saihitei's forces had begun to move and…"

            "Well, can't we just offer some peace negotiations or something? I mean, Konan, being governed by Suzaku, the God of Love, wouldn't' mind considering that."

            Ryuu shook his head more firmly. "I'm afraid it's not that simple, Yui-chan. Kutou has provoked that country too much in the past, conquering and destroying several towns in its outskirts, so now, since they have summoned Suzaku…"

            "Nani? They already have summoned Suzaku?"

            "Hai. They found their last warrior, Chiriko, I think, a fortnight ago, or so I have been told, and conducted the summoning ceremony the week after."

            Yui twitched. "Well, I would have done it first if it hadn't been for that stupid excuse for an emperor and his strategic ingenuity."
            Ryuu knew what she meant. It was the emperor's idea after all to send one of the Seiryuu Shichiseishi, Amiboshi, as a spy to Konan. He noticed a sorrowful expression in her eyes that she tried to conceal. She had cared deeply for that particular seishi of hers, more than just as a friend, he suspected. Approaching her, he placed his hands upon her shoulders and whispered softly, "There, there now, musume. I know you loved him but like I said, what's done is done and can't be undone. The only thing you could do now is concentrate on finding the other shinzaho. The sooner you summon Seiryuu, the sooner we shall have peace. Who knows? Maybe we need not fight this battle after all."

            Yui looked up into the hazy aqua eyes of her father with her and managed a slow nod. "Hai… but… Otousama… Otousama…Promise me you shall return… promise me…"

            Ryuu smiled and bent down to place a feather light kiss upon her brow. "I will, musume. Seiryuu help me, I will…"

            Yui looked up at him and smiled. "I believe in you, Otousama… And I shall wait for you…" And with that, she left.

            The general of Kutou looked at the retreating figure of his daughter and sighed slightly. It may be the last he shall see of her.

            Closing the locket with a snap, he quickly returned it to its hiding place and shook his head. No, it would not do to be thinking of those things right now, not on the battlefield. But then he remembered the sweet, almost sad smile Yui gave him that night and he marveled at how much she resembled her mother. Bowing his head, he whispers a short prayer to their god. Seiryuu forbid he prove false to his promise.

            Just then, his introspection was disturbed by a stray arrow that landed somewhere near his horse's feet. Calming the surprised animal, he began to scan the surroundings when one of the soldiers came.

            One of his captains approached him. "Ryuu-sama, the enemy has begun their attack, though they are fewer than we had anticipated."

            "Nani?" Just then, a soldier of a lesser rank came staggering off his horse.

            "Ryuu-sama! Ryuu-sama! The Konan troops… they've penetrated the capital!

            "WHAT? But how?"

            "They passed through the southern border, Ryuu-sama and have taken down five layers of our defense. What shall we do?"

            "Kuso," the general cursed. He should have expected as much from the young emperor. "And their leader?"

            "The Emperor of Konan, Seishuku Saihitei, Ryuu-sama."

            "I see."

            The captain looked worried. "What shall we do now, Ryuu-sama."

            The general thought for a moment and replied firmly, "I shall leave for the capital and take one battalion with me. I leave you in charge of the remaining, Captain. You shall not, under any circumstances follow unless the whole of the Konan troops in this area are wiped out. Do I make myself clear?"

            "Sir, yes, sir!"

            And with that, he sped to the capital with only one person in mind…

            "Yui-sama! Yui-sama!"

            The Seiryuu no Miko frowned at the incessant pounding in her door and scowled. No one would dare wake her up at his ungodly hour… at least, no one who wanted to live. Pulling on a robe, she padded to the door, stifling a yawn, and opened it, ready to pounce when she was pushed inside by a slightly taller girl with burning auburn hair.

            "Nani? Soi!"

            Seiryuu Shichiseishi Soi bowed low before her priestess and spoke, "Yui-sama, the capital is under attack. I was ordered by Nakago-sama to bring you to a safer place. So please…"

            "Nani? Under attack but…"

            "Please, Yui-sama. There is no time to lose. We must flee at once."

            "But the others…"

            "They have chosen to stay behind and fight."

            "But…" Her eyes glazed over.

            "Your father is still alive, Yui-sama, somewhere out there. He will find a way to you. Now, come on."

            Yui would have normally scoffed at being ordered around but she figured this wasn't the time. Running around the room with a traveling bag, she scooped up all her valuables, the Shi Jin Ten Chi Sho of Seiryuu, the shinzaho of the Genbu no Miko and other stuff. She then ran into the adjacent room to change, much to Soi's chagrin, and emerged wearing a navy blue Chinese styled suit that was undoubtedly designed for males.

            "This disguise will help us through," she explained.

            Soi nodded and began leading her out of the castle. They happened to pass a storage room during which Yui managed to snag a bow and some arrows. In the distance, the battle was raging on. Blue clashed against red as the imperial capital of Kutou began smoldering up in a pile of smoke. Trying to avoid as much trouble as possible, Soi lead the Seiryuu no Miko through the throne room and found that it was a mistake. Ducking behind some urns that had miraculously survived the battle, the two girls both gasped at what met their eyes.

            "Na…Nakago-sama…" Soi let out a strangled cry.

            Yui's eyes widened, as she looked towards her other seishi's direction. Crimson blood gushed out of the shogun's mouth as profusely as the wound he had across his heart. In the distance stood a tall figure, red armor shining as he moved towards the shuddering figure in the corner.

            "Please…Please… Spare me…"

            Yui squinted and identified the figure to be the emperor. The man in the red armor began to approach and spoke in a deep crescending tone, his voice dark, "And why should I, Arui? Why should I?" He laughed bitterly. "Would you have done the same had I been in your position?"

            "Y…Yes… Yes… Of course, Saihitei… You're… you're like a s…son… to me…"

            The red-armored man, now identified as Saihitei, Konan's emperor, further advanced and placed his blood-coated sword upon the emperor's throat. "Son, indeed. Was that the reason why you killed my mother?"

            "N…No… N…No… Please… f…forgive me…"

            The other emperor frowned. "I would like to, old man, but things have just gone too far."

            Withdrawing his sword, he prepared to bestow a final blow only to be stopped by a familiar voice. Yui looked up to find her father, badly injured, limping towards the two.

            Otousama… Otousama, no!

            Yui began to rise only to be stopped as Soi lay a detaining hand on her arms.

            "Let me go, Soi. I need to help my father."

            "No," was the firm reply.

            Yui tried to wrench her hand free in vain. "Soi, I said let me go! That's an order!"

            "An order I'd have to disobey."

            Yui glared at her. Soi was unperturbed.

            "I'm going out there."

            "Nani?"

            "I promise to do what I can, Yui-sama, but in case I don't get your father and myself out of this alive…"

            Tears began to form in Yui's eyes. "Soi… Soi don't say that…"

            "I'm sorry, Yui-sama, but you are Kutou's last hope. Find the other shinzaho and resurrect Seiryuu. Only then can we be truly at peace."

            And with one forceful shove, she stood up and joined the ongoing battle between the emperor of Konan and the general of Kutou. Carelessly lunging at the enemy, she caught him off guard and was able to deliver a lightning-enhanced punch at him. The emperor staggered backward before regaining his stance in time to dodge Ryuu's sword. At that moment, a purple haired man suddenly appeared out of nowhere and delivered a punch at newly attacking Soi, causing her to spit blood.

            "Are you alright, Heika-sama?" queried the newcomer whom Yui, had it not been for her tears, would have acknowledged to be quite bishounen.

            "Hai," the emperor managed to answer in mid-dodge.

            The battle went on for what seemed like hours and Yui couldn't help but wish it were all a dream. Right, that was all it was, wasn't it? A dream. And when she wakes up, she be alright, lying comfortably in her bedroom, hearing the soft pattering of feet as handmaidens passed by, or the occasional "Come back here, you painted trollop!" and "Gomen nasai, Nakago-sama!" Yes, when she wakes up, these would be all over.

            Two simultaneous cries of pain fill the air, drawing her form her thoughts and when she looked up…

            "Na…Nakago-sama…"

            "Yui… gomen na…sai…"

            NO!!! She wanted to cry out but found that she could not. All she was able to do was watch from where she was hidden, petrified as two of the people closest to her fell upon the swords of their enemies.

            "Heika-sama…" the one with purple hair began. "Don't you think we should…"

            The emperor shook his head. "I'm sorry but it is their fate… And as for you…" he said turning to the cowering emperor of Kutou. "It is not I who shall determine your punishment…"

            "Oh, thank you… Thank you, Saihitei…"

            Suddenly, two Konan soldiers arrived and bowed before their emperor.   

            "You two, tie him up and transport him together with all the prisoners to the palace… I shall deal with him later…"

            "Hai, Heika-sama…"

            "Demo…" began the purple haired warrior. "What about them?" He pointed at the fallen seishis and general.

            The emperor of Konan thought for a while before deciding, "No, leave them there. They have died an honorable death. I am sure they would prefer it this way than to be at our debt for providing for their burial."

            His companion nodded and began to leave.

            The emperor looked around and Yui cowered slightly in spite of herself lest she be discovered. Finding nothing that aroused his suspicion, he followed, red cape swirling behind him.

            Three days later, a lone survivor could be seen walking amidst the fallen debris that was once the magnificent capital of Kutou, a frail figure clothed in a black cloak, its face obscured from view, the hilt of a sword visible from underneath, with a bag slung upon its shoulders. It didn't stop to lay a final glance upon the remnants of what was once its home. Instead, it kept on walking, kept on moving towards the northern borders of the empire, never looking back. From a pale hand hung a golden chain attached to a chipped locket.

            Okay… that was quite strenuous… Please review and tell me what you think. Oh, and please don't flame me for making the Suzaku guys appear to be the bad guys in this one. It has a LOT to do with the PLOT, no da. Anyway, it's just for the first part.

            Oh, and if you were wondering who the lone survivor was… it was YUI… (duh!) In the next chapter, we shall see what changes she shall undergo… from the "clever, headstrong" girl admired by many to something entirely different… Something like what happened to her in the anime, only this time… she'd be not as weak as she was…

            Oh well, that's be it… Constructive criticism shall be well appreciated and accepted… Flames would, as usual, be put to some use… Marshmallows anyone? Oh and thanks to those who reviewed On My Own… A Tomo/Soi Songfic… For those who haven't read it yet, oh please do read it… I'll give you two bags of marshmallow…

            (((^_^))

False Dawn © Ryuuen, 6 May 2002

All rights reserved.