Disclaimer: I own none of the characters except for OC's
Wipe Your Tears
Hundreds of years ago, the Kingdom of Princes was born. The King of the land allowed his four sons to govern the four parts of the Kingdom. The North was governed by the oldest son, the East by the second oldest, the South by the third oldest, and the West by the youngest son. Though there were years of great prosperity, it would not last.
The oldest son eventually wanted more. He had found that his part of the Kingdom was lacking in certain crops, which were abundant in the Western and Eastern areas. Deciding it would be best to expand his territory, the oldest son crossed over the boundaries and took over the land in the northern sections of the East and West.
This caused disputes to erupt between the Kingdoms, which continued to escalate when both East and West crossed into the South to make up for what they lost to the North.
Out of rage, the South fought back against the invasion from the East and West, which eventually lead to war.
Civil War broke out between the four territories, causing thousands to lose their lives amongst the struggle. Blood soaked the land as land and resources started to become scarce.
The war dragged on for years and the territories were beginning to deteriorate. This eventually lead to the awakening of the Great Beasts, the dormant rulers of the land. Upon seeing their lands lain waste, the Great Beasts became angry and sought out the four princes.
As punishment for their greed, the princes were placed under a curse, causing them to become animals and were stripped of their titles.
In order to quell the fighting, the four territories were separated into four individual Kingdoms.
Afterwards, the four princes were banished deep into their lands, forced to live the rest of their lives as animals. The only way for them to assume their human forms was to drink the water from the four grand lakes, located in each Kingdom. However, the effect only lasts a couple of hours.
They became the first animal people, which are animals who can assume human form.
Despite having broken up the Civil War, relations between the four Kingdoms were still tense and unstable.
Even to this day, the Kingdoms are still at war with one another.
Will peace ever be achieved?
She didn't know what to think. Just a few hours ago she had arrived in the capitol of the Southern Kingdom searching for a job. Now, Haruka found herself being lead into the Kamo* Palace, home to the ruler. Never in all of her life did she ever imagine that she would set foot in such a rich atmosphere.
However, her excitement soon turned to anxiety and nervousness. She wasn't coming to the palace as a guest, more like a prisoner.
'How did it come to this…?' Haruka sighed to herself.
Haruka's eyes widened at the sight of the lively capitol. People hurried through the streets as vendors called out to them to take a look at their merchandise. There were so much more things going on than in the village she was from.
Haruka had grown up in a small village near the border with the Eastern Kingdom. After her parents passed away from an epidemic, her grandmother took her in.
Now, she was trying to find a job so she could pay to take care of both her and her grandmother. Unfortunately, there weren't many jobs available in the village she lived in. So she decided that her best bet was to find one in the capitol.
However, she never expected the capitol to be this busy. As she walked through the busy streets, she felt her vision start to blur.
When she was little, her health wasn't the best and constantly fell ill. Growing up in the countryside with her grandmother helped, but whenever she came into contact with a lot of noise at once, she would be on the verge of passing out.
There was too much noise and it was overwhelming. She picked up her pace, desperate to escape all the noise of the capitol. However, everything was blending together and all she could see were blurry shapes. Her steps were beginning to waver and felt as if she was going to pass out any moment.
As she rushed through the lively streets, Haruka accidentally slammed into someone, sending her stumbling backwards.
She let out a cry before backing up against one of the large displays in front of one of the many merchant stalls. A sudden crash followed and Haruka glanced over her shoulder to see several broken vases on the ground.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?!" the merchant cried. "Do you know how much all of this cost me?!"
"I-I'm so sorry! It was an accident." Haruka said, bowing.
"Apologies aren't going to replace all the damages! Each vase cost a hundred silver coins!"
"O-One hundred…?!" Haruka repeated. She looked down at the wreckage and guessed there were about seven broken vases. That meant it was a grand total of seven hundred silver coins to replace everything that was broken.
There was no way she could replace all of that with the little money that she had.
"I came to the capitol to find a job since I don't have much money. So please, let me make it up to you some other way…"
"I'll take care of it."
Haruka's eyes widened in surprise as she whirled around to see the person she had run into.
He was a tall, handsome young man with straight, dark blue hair. From the way he dressed, Haruka figured he was rather wealthy.
"You're going to pay for all the damages? Do you really have enough money?" The merchant asked skeptically.
The young man nodded. "I think I can manage."
Without another word, he reached into his pocket and took out a small pouch before he tossed it onto the table.
The merchant narrowed his eyes suspiciously as he untied the bag and dumped the contents out. Upon seeing the contents of the pouch, both the merchant and Haruka's eyes widened in shock.
"Will that cover the damage?" the young man asked.
"M-More than enough…is it really alright for you to give this much away?" the merchant stammered.
"There must be about twenty gold pieces!" Haruka said in awe.
The young man merely shrugged. "I wasn't doing anything important with them anyways."
With that he took his leave.
"Ah! I'm really sorry about all of this!" Haruka bowed once more to the merchant before she took off after the blue-haired man.
The young man paused and glanced over his shoulder to see Haruka rushing over to catch up to him.
Once she caught up to him, she paused to catch her breath before giving him a grateful smile.
"Thank you so much for helping me out of that predicament. Please, you have to let me repay you somehow."
The young man was silent, staring at her with a cool, guarded gaze.
"You do realize how much gold coins are worth?"
"Eh?" Haruka's smile was gone in an instant.
"In that pouch were exactly twenty seven gold coins. Do you really think you can replace it all? Besides, you were the one who inadvertently ran into me. You owe quite a debt to me."
"U-Um…I…" Haruka took a couple steps backwards as the man's cold, violet eyes seemed to bore right through her.
"And if I recall, you said that you don't have much money nor a job, correct?" the man said as he took a step towards her.
Haruka felt her pulse quicken. Alarms were going off in her head, telling her to run.
Before she could react, the man suddenly reached out and grabbed hold of her wrist, preventing her escape.
"Ah!" Haruka cried as the blue-haired stranger studied her for a moment. She felt her breath get caught in her throat at their close proximity. Never before had she been this close to a boy, especially not one as handsome as this young man.
"In that case," the blue-haired man said as he leaned down to look her in the eye.
Haruka recoiled slightly under his gaze. Anxiety was coursing through her body as she wondered what was going to happen to her.
"You can work for me to pay off your debt." The man whispered.
Before Haruka could get a clarification, the young man had already started dragging her down the market street.
"Stop! Let me go!"
(End of Flashback)
Haruka let out a sigh and looked up at her "captor." She wondered who he was and why he was bringing her to the palace.
Upon seeing them, the palace guards scrambled to open the gate, further confusing her.
Once they stepped inside, Haruka's eyes widened in awe. The main throne room was enormous and was decorated with fine, marbled tile. Chandeliers lined the ceilings and lead the way down the long hallways.
"This way." The young man said as he led her down one of the several hallways. Though Haruka didn't understand why he would bother telling her if he was still holding onto her wrist.
As she was being led down the hall, she couldn't help but wonder about the man in front of her.
Who was this man? Did he work here in the palace? Would she be working as his assistant? At least, that's what she hoped to become instead of a mistress. She had heard many stories of women being taken into wealthy men's homes to become mistresses against their will.
The thought was enough to cause the young woman to go into a panic. She slowed down her pace slightly, causing her to jerk forward slightly from the blue-haired man's pace.
He paused and glanced over at her, finally letting go of her wrist. "What's the problem?"
"I…!" Haruka squeaked as her whole face flushed.
The young man looked at her curiously as Haruka mumbled to herself incoherently.
"I can't hear you."
"I…I WON'T BECOME YOUR MISTRESS!" Haruka suddenly yelled, her voice echoing off the walls of the room.
The man stared at her with a blank yet confused expression. Haruka's face immediately went red after realizing what she had just said.
"T-That is…I mean…"
It took a moment for the man to regain his composure from Haruka's sudden outburst, a light dust of red covering his cheeks.
"…I was merely going to give you a job as my assistant." The blue-haired male said with an embarrassed cough at the end.
"Huh?" Haruka looked up at him perplexed.
He let out an exasperated sigh. "I was going to make you my assistant, not my mistress."
After his words sunk in, Haruka turned a darker shade of red that extended down her neck and quickly turned to avoid his gaze.
"I-I-I-I'm sorry! I didn't mean t-to assume…ah…"
An awkward silence passed between them as Haruka fidgeted nervously with her hands.
"Oh…I…I don't think I've introduced myself yet. My name is Haruka Nanami," Haruka said, trying to ease awkwardness that she had put in between them. "What's yours?"
The young man's eyes flicked over her as Haruka wondered what he was thinking. His gaze was cold and guarded, letting not a single emotion show through those violet orbs of his.
"…Masato Hijirikawa." he finally said.
Hijirikawa…The name sounded familiar, but Haruka couldn't quite remember where she heard it before.
The sudden outburst immediately snapped Haruka out of her thoughts.
An elderly man dressed in Eastern Kingdom-like clothing came barreling over to them, nearly running into her.
Haruka let out a surprised cry and stumbled a couple steps back, though the newcomer ignored her.
"Young master, where have you been?! I've been searching everywhere for you!"
"Jii…" Masato let out an exasperated sigh.
"You can't always go off without an escort. What if something were to happen and nobody would know?! What if those infernal westerners attacked?!" Jii cried.
"I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, Jii. Besides, I was only taking a walk around the marketplace."
"The marketplace?!" Jii exclaimed in horror. "Do you know how many robberies happen along that block?! That place is much too dangerous for a prince such as yourself, young master."
Haruka let out a surprised gasp, catching the attention of both Masato and Jii.
This person…the person she would soon be working for…was the prince of South Kingdom?
Her mind started reeling and she slowly sank to the floor from the overwhelming news.
Grandma…how did this happen…? How did I get myself in this mess…? From this day forward…I'll be working for the prince…
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed and if there is any way to make this better, please feel free to tell me.
*Kamo = duck (the animal) in Japanese