Transforming Love: Part 1

"And as the newly freed swans looked up and saw the rising sun, it seemed to them as if they could see the spirits of the reunited prince and his swan princess happily floating to heaven where they would never again have to part from one another."

"Well, that's just stupid."

Orihime was not at all surprised to hear Tatsuki's voice break the silence first and the girl continued in a skeptical tone, "What on earth could possess that swan princess to jump in the first place? And to top that off, the prince was stupid enough to go in after her. It's one thing to accidentally fall off a cliff, but to purposely throw yourself off of one is complete and utter stupidity and the world is better off without those suicidal nuts around."

Before Orihime could say anything, Chizuru's annoyed voice at having her daydream interrupted by Tatsuki's outburst cut across Orihime as Chizuru burst out, "It's completely romantic! She jumped in to save him and her friends while he followed her because he couldn't bear to live his life without her! How can you call yourself a girl and not feel moved by this story?"

Tatsuki let out a short laugh as she replied, "Just because I am a girl, doesn't mean I actually have to 'ooh' and 'ahh' over such sappy, melodramatic, unrealistic fairy tales! Some of us actually have brain matter contained within our skulls rather than stuffing it full of images of knights in shining armor riding in to save the damsel in distress."

Nemu's calm voice cut in saying, "As you said Tatsuki, this story is simply a fairy tale and so there is no need to get so worked up over the outcome of the story as it will likely never happen. And Chizuru, Tatsuki is abnormal in other ways, so why is it so surprising and disconcerting to you that she does not enjoy fairy tales?"

Orihime wanted to groan as she imagined how both girls would react to Nemu's accurate but ill-timed comments, when Yachiru decided to take it upon herself to shift the topic of conversation when she gleefully launched herself onto Orihime asking, "Hey! So what were you talking about with Sir Aizen today, Hime?"

Feeling all of her adopted sisters' gazes upon her, Orihime somehow managed to reply in a breezy voice, "Oh nothing of importance really. He had some questions about-"

"Whether or not you would reconsider his proposal?" Rukia interrupted and then continued, "When are you going to send that man, if you could even call that creepy individual a man, packing, Orihime? You know Father had been on the verge of doing so just before he died, don't you?"

Before Orihime could reply, Isane jumped in the conversation saying, "I don't think any of us here actually appreciate Sir Aizen's company here, but what can Orihime do? We all know Father didn't trust that man, but to the rest of the world Sir Aizen has been something of a guardian angel to all of us. He has stayed with us for the past three years trying to help us bring peace and order to Orihime's kingdom and staunchly supported her rule as queen despite her young age and inexperience."

Rukia rolled her eyes, "Yeah, he's staunchly stood by Orihime all this time because she would either follow his advice and therefore make himself look wise in counsel, or it is possible that he is guiding her in such a way that if something tragic happens to this country it would be all Orihime's fault and then people would look to him next to lead them and rule over them."

"We are all perfectly aware of this fact, Rukia, but as Isane stated before, we are the only ones who seem to know this fact about Orihime's loyal advisor and prospective beau," said Nemu in her logical, monotone voice.

At this point, Momo took it upon herself to end the bickering when she said, "I ready to go to bed. You guys can continue this discussion or argument or whatever you want to call it as much as you want as long as someone is kind enough to blow out the candles first so that the rest of us can get some sleep."

When all the candles in the room had been extinguished, it became immediately apparent that none of the sisters wished to continue and so all gradually fell asleep. Orihime was one of the last to fall asleep as her thoughts were a jumbled mess by that point.

Queen Orihime Inoue was ruler over the country of Rikka and lived in Shun-Shun Castle. She had taken power when her father, King Naruhito Inoue, had passed away a little over three years previously. The pressures of the crown had been hard on the 17 year old Orihime, but she had learned quickly in the past three years how to be the best ruler she could be. In her opinion, however, her main reason for being able to cope with her father's untimely death and the responsibility that had been suddenly placed upon her was due to the fact that she had seven supportive sisters.

Orihime's mother had passed away when Orihime was two years old, so the young princess did not remember her well but she did become very lonely. King Naruhito had had no intention of taking another wife, but many evenings he would sit up late at night remembering how he and his wife had always planned on having a big family together. He wanted to fulfill that dream, not only for the sake of his wife's memory but also so that his daughter would not feel so alone and friendless.

One day, he had taken time away from his regular duties to spend some time with his daughter and so took her out riding with him. The two of them had ridden for hours, stopping at brooks to inspect the different life living in the water, passing meadows and taking time to collect some flowers and watched the different birds flying and the king had helped his daughter learn which birds were which. All too soon, it had been time for them to return, but on the way, Orihime had spotted a small form huddled against a tree. She had asked for her father to stop so she could investigate and they had discovered a young girl about a year older than Orihime who had been brutally beaten and looked to be on the brink of death. It had not been necessary for Orihime to plead with her father to help the girl and so the horse that had gone out from the castle bearing two royal persons came back carrying the beginning of a new family.

Rukia was the first adopted daughter and so she and Orihime shared a special bond between them since they were the first two sisters in the Inoue family. When Rukia woke up, she was quite startled to find a cloth canopy over her head rather than a tree covering and a bubbly, energetic four year old girl bouncing up and down next to her bed.

"Hello little girl! How are you? I hope you're feeling better today! Daddy and I found you in the forest and brought you home with us so I hope you didn't have any fairy or elf friends looking for you because I would really like it if you would stay here with me and be my new sister!"

When Rukia was finally given the chance to talk, the five year old girl could only really say that she had been taken away from her family by a really bad man whom she could not remember and that she didn't know where her family was or if they were still alive since there had been a big fire destroying her home as she was being carried off in the middle of the night. Rukia had then woken up to see about three men gathered around a campfire and not paying any attention to her, so she had snuck away and fallen asleep under the tree where Orihime and the king had found her. Any search or investigation that King Naruhito had conducted in order to find Rukia's family or any information about her had all been in vain, so in the end he had asked if the small girl would like to be his daughter and after a moment's thought Rukia had accepted his offer.

It was not long after that point that the Inoue family grew even more with the addition of Tatsuki who became Orihime's next best friend and sister. Then Nemu and Isane were added to their number, followed by Chizuru, after that Momo and finally a baby Yachiru. Orihime was never told and didn't think to ask her sisters what their life had been like before the king had adopted them, because she knew that if they wanted to tell her, they would in their own time. Orihime had gained seven sisters over the years and together they had grown up and lavished their love and attention on each other and their doting father. It was not at all uncommon to find the nine members of the Inoue family playing games in the gardens, making each other laugh in the portrait gallery with different impressions of the subjects staring down at them from on high, or making late night treks to the highest tower in order to stargaze.

The sudden death of King Naruhito shook the entire country of Rikka to the core, especially his daughters. Since Orihime was the only blood relation to the late king, it had obviously fallen to her to succeed her father as ruler of Rikka.

It was at that point that a courtier, who had never really made much of an impression on any of the Inoue girls, suddenly began integrating himself into their lives. Sir Aizen had made a name for himself in the past three years as the advisor and loyal supporter of the young Queen Orihime and he was loved by all. For Orihime and her sisters, they wisely kept their wariness of Sir Aizen to themselves since they were not sure what is was about him that made them feel uneasy and also they were not quite sure how powerful he really was and what his actual plans were for the country. He could be a completely honest and open person who really did have Orihime and the countries best interests at heart…the Inoue's were not at all convinced though.

Yawning, Orihime turned over and decided that for the time being, she and her sisters were safe from whatever Sir Aizen might be planning and so drifted off to sleep. And so ended the calm before a long and arduous storm in Orihime's life…

Author's Note:

So, this is the first story that I will be uploading that I will be working on chapters in between postings since, at this point in time, I am still in the process of writing it. It is, in a sense, going to be fresh off the presses.

Just a little bit of an explanation behind this story, I have always loved fairy tales and fantasy since I was little. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Brothers Grimm and other classics have been a part of my book collection for years and I am constantly fascinated by them. I was inspired to attempt combining my love of fairy tales with my favorite anime couple of all time when I read Sariniste's absolutely fantastic story 'The Princess of the Ashes', which turns Orihime into the ever so popular character, Cinderella. She did an absolutely phenomenal job with that story and so I wanted to do something similar.

This story is going to combine elements from the fairy tales 'The Six Swans' and 'Swan Lake', more commonly known as a ballet, and I might throw in nuances from other fairy tales as well depending on how well they fit into my storyline or on a needful basis.

I hope you enjoy journeying through the Realm of Society of Souls with me!