A/N I don't own Shuffle! nor do I make any profit from it
Chapter 1 - The Other Princess
It was a joyous time in the World of the Gods. The king, Eustoma, was going to be a father, twice in one week. Two of his brides, Iris and Cineraria, were due to give birth that week. All of his courtiers and servants were happy that two royal children were going to be born.
The red haired beauty, Cineraria, went into her labour first. Her labour was long and painful. The third wife, Lilac, helped with the labour. Eventually, Cineraria gave birth to a healthy daughter named Lisianthus also known as Sia.
"She's beautiful," Cineraria cooed. It was then that they heard a knock on the door, "My beautiful Sia."
"I'll answer that," Lilac said as she walked over to the door.
"Cineraria, my dearest 1st wife," Eustoma said as he bounded into the room, "Is the child here?"
The red haired beauty smiled at her husband's enthusiasm, "We have a daughter, my dear; her name is Lisianthus."
Eustoma stopped for a moment and walked over to the bed. He peered into the tiny bundle of blankets in his wife's arms and noticed Sia's little face. He took the little bundle from Cineraria and gazed at her for a long moment before a huge grin spread across his features and his ears jiggled a little in his excitement.
Then a midwife came running into the room, "Your Majesty, Lady Iris is going into labour!"
"Well, aren't I a lucky man," Eustoma said as he thrusted his baby girl into Lilac's arms and he bounded out of the room. It was late and it seemed that there would be no rest in the palace of the king of the Gods.
"To tell you the truth, Lilac," Cineraria said softly, "I wasn't expecting Iris to bear him a child."
"How come," Lilac asked, "She is one of his wives as well, you know."
"Well, she's always in the background, isn't she," Cineraria said softly, "She never talks and she doesn't interact much with Eustoma or us. I wonder what he saw in Iris when he married her. I'm not being mean though. I suppose she is his anchor when he most needs it."
Lilac chuckled softly as she placed the baby princess into her crib, "Yes, that she is," she said, running her hand through her short hair, "Well, get some rest and I will help with Iris and her labour."
"See you later, Lilac," Cineraria said as she laid her head on her soft pillow, falling into a peaceful sleep. Lilac smiled and closed the door as she closed the door behind her. She could hear the pained cries of her fellow wife. She walked down the corridor to the other room and when she opened the door, she was met with the scene of Iris lying on the bed, gripping the sheets and crying out in excruciating pain. The midwives all rushed around and tried to calm Iris down.
"Please," she cried, "Help me."
"We will, my lady, but you have to work with us and calm down," one of midwives replied. Iris nodded and but she still writhed a little in pain.
Hours went by and Iris became more and more tired. Iris's labour became harder and it was obvious that this wasn't going to be quick like Cineraria's labour. She lost a lot of blood, worrying the midwives. Eventually, after 12 hours of intense labour, the fruit of her labours was born: another daughter.
However, the child was taken away, concern written all over the midwives' faces, "What's wrong," Iris cried. Lilac walked over to the midwives to see what was wrong.
"I'm afraid that we're going to have to take the child to our intensive care unit within the palace. The doctors and scientists will be able to take care of her there," one of the midwives said. Iris gasped.
"What's wrong with her," Lilac asked.
"The child is very sick and needs urgent treatment."
"May I at least name her," Iris asked. The midwives nodded.
"Her name is Sara," Iris said, "In the earth language, Hebrew, it means 'Princess'. Please take care of my sweet Sara. You will, won't you?"
Suddenly, Eustoma made it into the room, his expression excited and full of pride, "Well, where's the child?"
One of the midwives curtsied and looked up at him with a grave expression on her face, "I'm afraid Princess Sara is very sick and must be taken down to intensive care in the laboratory."
Eustoma turned his face the little girl in a midwife's arms. From what he could tell, she had tufts of white hair and blue eyes, "Take her down and do everything you can to save my daughter. With the expert help of our doctors, she'll be better in no time."
Iris gazed at her husband from afar, loving how loving he was towards his new little daughter. She felt her eyes water as the prospect of handing her baby over to doctors in white coats and scientists with their equipment.
Little did they know, she wouldn't be better in any time soon.
17 years later….
"Come on, Rin," the cheery voice of Kaede Fuyou said loudly, "Wake up! It's time for your breakfast!"
"Aw, come on, Kaede," Rin Tsuchimi groaned into his pillow, "Why so early?"
Kaede giggled, "Well, I wake you up early so that you can eat your breakfast in no rush," Kaede said as she walked towards the door, "Now don't waste time! You're breakfast is waiting for you."
Kaede ran back down the stairs and was met with Primula, the quiet girl who was from the World of the Demons who clung to a cut stuffed toy, "Good morning, Rimu," Kaede said cheerfully, "Sit down and eat your breakfast."
"Yes, Kaede," Primula said quietly and she sat down, picking up her chopsticks and began to eat. Not long after, Rin had rushed down with his uniform on and his black hair a little messy.
"Oh, look at you, Rin," Kaede said in a motherly tone, "Your hair is all messy! Come here and let me brush it for you."
Rin grimaced as Kaede grabbed a hair brush and began to brush his unkempt hair, "You don't have to do that you know…"
Kaede smiled sweetly and shook her head, her orange bangs falling over her shoulders as she did so, "Oh, it's no trouble," Kaede said as she finished and removed her apron. She sat down at the breakfast table and began to tuck into her own food, "I hear that Sia's father has been in the World of the Gods all of yesterday. I passed by Sia's house when I went food shopping and she told me that her father wasn't home and that he was in the World of the Gods on urgent business."
"Did she say when he'd be back," Rin asked. Kaede shook her head.
"No, she didn't," Kaede said, "But even she didn't seem to know why he'd gone."
Rin raised his eyebrows and turned to Primula, "Did he say anything to you, Primula?"
Primula stopped eating and looked up at him and nodded her head, "I am not allowed to say, Rin, but he said that you will find out sooner or later."
Rin frowned slightly at her but didn't say anything else. They ate silently and when they had finally finished, Kaede stood up and collected the dishes, "I'm going to stay late tonight with Asa to learn a new dish to make for you so you just go on ahead without me after school, okay?"
"All right," Rin said, "I can't wait to try your new dish. Asa is a pretty good teacher."
"I know," Kaede said, "That's why I go to her."
"Yeah," Rin agreed, "Anyway, thanks for breakfast."
Rin stood up and picked up his school bag. He walked towards the door and slipped his feet into his shoes. He opened the door and walked outside. Kaede, with a spring in her step, handed Rin his lunch, "Here you go, Rin!"
"Have you got your lunch, Kaede," Rin asked. Kaede was about to say yes when she looked down and saw that she didn't have her lunch at all.
"Ah, oh no," she cried, "I'm so forgetful!"
Kaede ran back inside and Rin chuckled softly before turning to see Lisianthus or Sia, the red haired princess of the Gods and Nerine, the blue haired princess of the Demons. Rin sighed before walking down the path towards them.
"Hey, Sia, hey, Nerine," Rin said casually, "How are you this morning?"
"I'm all right, thank you, Rin," Nerine answered, "But I don't know about Sia."
Rin turned to Sia with a concerned expression on his face, "I heard from Primula that your father went to the World of the Gods last night and hasn't returned yet."
"Yes, that would be correct," Sia said, "He wouldn't tell me why he was going. My father looked really distressed, not like him at all. He said he'd be home very soon. I wasn't hoping that he would take all night though."
It was then that Kaede walked out of the house and closed the door behind her, "Sorry I took so long! We can go now!"
Rin opened the gate and walked out with Kaede following close behind, "I hope we don't come across the KKK again," Rin said, rubbing his temples, "Those guys really need to give it up."
"They sure do," Sia said, laughing nervously.
Meanwhile, Eustoma walked through the halls of his palace and made his way to the laboratory. His scientists were hard at work coming up with new ways to make the World of the Gods a better place.
"Your Majesty," one of the scientists, named Andreas, spoke up, "I am sure that you are wondering why I called you here from the Human World."
"I am, Andreas," Eustoma replied, "Why have you called me here?"
Andreas sighed before answering him, "It's about your daughter, Princess Sara," Andreas said, "She seems to recovering from her illness that she has had since birth."
"Well, I'd say that was good news," Eustoma replied. Andreas nodded.
"Yes, it is," Andreas said, looking through his notes, "But I fear that this could be a red herring. Unlike Princess Lisianthus, who is a strong girl, Princess Sara is not. She has had her good days but they are few and far between. I fear that she will not last long in this world."
"You mean she'll die," Eustoma asked urgently, gripping Andreas's shoulders, panic in his eyes, "I promised Iris that I would protect her!"
Andreas gazed at his king for a moment before coming up with an idea, "Princess Sara might benefit from being sent to the Human World with you, Your Majesty."
Eustoma looked up him, "The Human World," he asked. Andreas nodded.
"Well, yes, we should take advantage of the princess's recent good health," he explained, "She will have a chance to interact with her sister and I hear that your daughter, Lisianthus, has been interacting with humans around her age, who are also Sara's age. This could be a learning experience for her. After all, she hasn't had much, if any, contact with girls her age."
Eustoma thought for a moment, stroking his chin, "Hmmm," he pondered, "Perhaps you have a point."
"I know I do," Andreas replied with a small smile, "Would you like to see your daughter?"
Eustoma looked up and nodded eagerly, "Where is she?"
"She's in her bedroom, sire," Andreas said, "She asks about you a lot."
Eustoma felt a pang of guilt before he turned away to walk to his younger daughter's bedroom. It was on the far side of the castle, hidden from the prying eyes of courtiers who wished to use the princess for their own ends. Eventually, he reached an ornate door and he knocked loudly and enthusiastically.
"Sara, it's your father," Eustoma said, "May I come in?"
There was a small pause before the handle turned and the door slowly creaked open to reveal his daughter, "Hello, father," came her quiet, soft spoken response, "How are you?"
Her blue eyes seemed to sparkle yet her complexion was pale. Her white hair flowed down her shoulders in soft waves and a straight cut fringe framed her beautiful yet sickly face. She was small in height and frame. She wore a powder blue, lacy nightgown that hung off her body, not fitting very well and that almost reached the floor.
Giving a slight cough, she turned to walk over to her canopy bed and sat down. Eustoma gazed at her, her fragile beauty reminding him of his wife Iris who bore her. Sara looked up at him.
"It's rare that you come and visit me," Sara said softly, "What brings you here? I heard that you were…in the Human World with Lisianthus, my elder and stronger sister."
"I heard, from Andreas, that you were feeling much better today," Eustoma said, "That's why I came rushing over."
"Yes, it's true," Sara said, standing up, "But, you know, as well as I do, that it won't last long."
"Well, Andreas has recommended that you go to the Human World and live with your sister and I," Eustoma said, walking further into the room, "Your sister is interacting with girls her age and you would benefit from this as well. In my opinion, the Human World is a great place to be. Also, you can help your sister win the hand of Rin Tsuchimi, the future king of the Gods." It didn't escape Sara's notice that he emphasised the word future.
Sara raised an eyebrow, "Perhaps that would be a good idea," Sara muttered, "It would definitely be a change of scenery…anything would be different from this prison you call a bedroom."
"I think you can also attend school," Eustoma said proudly, "The uniforms are really cute."
Sara nodded, not really knowing what a uniform was. Her eyes drank in her father's appearance, trying to get a good image of him before he left her again. However, Eustoma draped a shawl around her shoulders and scooped her small form into his strong and protective arms, causing Sara to gasp softly.
"Let's go," Eustoma said, "You'll love it in the Human World!"
Sara, too surprised and comfortable in her father's arms, didn't protest. It was a foreign feeling but one she could get used to.
Please note that Lilac and Iris are not OCs. They are manga characters and don't appear in the anime but they really are the two other wives of Eustoma.