Ya'll confused people? XPPP don't worry 'cause I'm also confused! Sorry for the slow updates! But I hope this chapter will make your day! And another twist will happen, AGAIN! Yaaay! XDD
Now lift the curtains for Heiji and Kazuha! *curtain rises*
The Western prince stared at the princess in confusion, fear, and longing. Princess Kazuha was there right in front of him, alive and well. He couldn't believe it. It was all like a dream.
"Princess Kazuha?" He asked her hesitantly, afraid that she would crumble into dust. The princess couldn't have been alive. The musician said that the royal family perished in the fire. Then how come she was alive? How did she survive? Why did she appear now? Why not then? Although he wanted answers to those questions, there was one that he direly needed to know.
Why wasn't the Pantry girl the princess?
There were plenty of clues pointing to the girl, but the evidence in front of him tore his whole assumption down. He shook his head. This was all too confusing. He needed to talk to her.
"Prince Heiji? Are you alright?" The princess looked at him in concern, her green eyes full of life and emotion. He couldn't and he shouldn't but he needed to know.
"Are you the real princess Kazuha?" He was determined to know. He was not going to fall in love with some imposter, even though the imposter looked so much like how the girl in his dream would be like in a few years' time.
"Do you doubt me, your highness?" She was hurt and was on the verge of crying. Heiji wanted to comfort her, but something told him to hold back. This was annoying him.
"Anyone could be the princess, and you are no exception. I need to confirm it. Give me five events that happened while we were together."
She sighed and shook her head. She looked up to him and said,
"Firstly, when you and your mother visited my kingdom, you pushed me down the grass making me cry. Secondly, you were mean enough to pull a plant from its roots. Thirdly, you laughed when I fell down and hurt myself. You stole all my food. But by the end of the day, you gave me this."
She pulled out a silver necklace from around her neck and opened it up, showing a picture of him and his parents when he was young. He stared at her, speechless. She was the real deal; but not yet. He had to make sure she was the one.
Without a second thought, he ran out of the room.
"Where is that ahou?" He muttered to himself as he ran around the castle grounds, searching for that Pantry girl. She was the only person left that he could talk to without being questioned.
Finally he found her in the kitchen talking busily with the same person he saw a few days ago, looking like she was questioning him, demanding an explanation about the musician. But he didn't care.
"Hey ahou! I need to talk to you!" Heiji called out to her, panting by the door. All the staff looked at him and began to bow at him, but he waved them off. She turned around and crossed her arms over her chest.
"What do you want?" She said rudely at him, making all the servants gasp in fright, wondering what the prince would do. He overlooked their shocked expressions as he strode towards her and grabbed her hand and walking out the door, glancing back at the man, a thought nagging at the back of his head but he disregarded it.
"Let go, you stupid prince!"
She tried to pull away but he wouldn't let her. He headed towards the garden, not once looking back. She could do nothing but follow. When they arrived at the foot of an apple tree that stood beside a stream, he released her and sat down on the grass, heaving a sigh of relief and put his head down on his arms. She rubbed her hand and stared annoyingly at him.
"Why'd you bring me here?"
She rolled her eyes but still obeyed him. For a few moments, both said nothing. The gurgling of the brook and the rustling of the wind was all that they could hear. There was no sound of the busy life of the village or the castle. It was a peaceful place to stay in. The girl realized why he was always gone when something troublesome always happened in the palace; this place was like a haven of comfort. It was her turn to break the silence.
"Anything you need to tell me?"
He glanced at her, but didn't say anything. She rolled her eyes again and stared at the ants that were passing by. She didn't notice the way he looked at her; and even if she did, she didn't care.
"Hey, what's your name?"
"Why'd you want to know?"
"The name Pantry girl sounds ridiculous. Can't you think of something better?"
"Well, sorry for having such a ridiculous name!" She started getting up, but he pulled her back down, laughing as she landed hard on her butt. She glared at him, but rolled her eyes. "Seriously, I don't get you. First you're unfriendly, and then you bring me here, don't talk to me and won't make me leave! What do you want?"
"What?" She looked at him, not getting it. He sighed and faced her, grabbed her shoulders and leaned on her back. She looked at him in puzzlement, but didn't say anything.
"I can't face her. No matter how much I want her, I can't seem to do it. Why not? I don't know. Why am I like this?" He laughed at himself. "I don't even know why I'm telling you this; probably 'because you're the nearest person to being normal? I have no idea."
"I don't get you." The girl repeated again. He looked at her, mixed feelings churning inside him. He looked at the open sky, wondering if he should ask her that question. Probably not. Maybe someday when all of this is settled.
He sighed and started to doze off, muttering about random stuff that he had trouble with. The girl just sat there, listening. Subconsciously, he told her the difficulties he experienced, the stories his mother always told him before going to bed, and the dreams he had. A gentle breeze passed by the two of them, the leaves fluttering down slowly on the two couples.
"I wish…" Heiji mumbled as he shifted closer to her, the girl's warmth making him feel safe. "…this would last…all troubles…gone…"
"You're weird." She told him, but then chuckled. "Though I guess you're fine that way."
"Wake up, baka-sama."
An annoying voice prodded him out of his sleep. He blearily woke up, rubbing his eyes. "Whaa?"
The pantry girl rolled her eyes as she glared down at him. "I was walking around the area and I found you sleeping soundly like a baby underneath this tree, covered under a pile of leaves."
He stood up, dusting off the dirt from his clothes, bewildered. "I thought you were with me."
She looked at him like he was crazy. "Seriously? Maybe you're just dreaming. I was in the kitchen the whole time. Something's wrong with your head."
"What did you say ahou!?"
"Just go you idiot! The princess is waiting for you." Then the girl turned away, walking back to the palace. "But if you've got anything to say, you can just come to the kitchen. I'll probably give you just one slice of meat pie."
The prince was surprised at what she said, but then he grinned. "Ah, I will."
The girl just waved her hand.
"Princess Kazuha, I apologize for the sudden rudeness of running away." Heiji bowed low before her. She just smiled warmly at him, forgiving him.
"I'd like you to meet the man that has accompanied me for these 15 years of trouble." She gestured to a door and an old geezer walked out. The prince's blood ran cold.
It was the same man who had lit the fire in the field 15 years ago! He looked older, but the same cold fire still burned deep beneath his eyes. "This is my guardian, Sir Modaki Gusheki. He has been a great advisor and helper to me."
"How do you do, Prince Heiji?" The old man bowed low, his voice crackling like old paper.
"I'm fine. I hope you enjoy your time here." The prince bowed warily in response. "The servants will lead you to your rooms where you can freshen up before dinner."
Then he turned around and marched out of the room.
Once outside the door, he fled.
"I am in sooo much trouble!"
YOSH! This chapter is done! On to the next chapter! Give me reviews, ideas, questions, etc. minna! I clearly need them! XPP this chapter is kinda short, but I hope this'll make up for everything!
P.S., the characters aren't mine! They belong to the great Aoyama Gosho!
Well, stay tuned for the next chapter!