Happy Fourth of July Everyone! I am glad to finally be able to update one of my stories again. The line of working I was involved in was not up to my standards and it involved me being on my feet for up to 8 hours and was very physically taxing on my body. Not surprisingly, it often left me very tired and sore at the end of the day. The next occupation I take part in will hopefully be more fulfilling.
I hope to be able to use the summer months to do things I like to get down before it get's cold again. Aside from fanfiction, there are a whole list of errands to complete. For now, enjoy the story. Thanks to all my faithful viewers for not having given up on me.
Warnings: angst, O.C. characters, confrontations, some clichés, magic, and conspiracies abounding. Enjoy.
The Fox Princess
Chapter Six: Plans finally set into motion
Sasuke paced the floor nervously. It had been a week since his Kitsune had suddenly vanished. It was almost the end of May and yet already preparations for next month's ball were in action. This further increased the raven's frazzled nerves. He needed his Kitsune. Wait! His Kitsune? Up until recently, he wanted little to do with his vulpine spouse. Only until he saw her true form did he now acknowledge their union. Upon her disappearance was he truly gripped with fear and sadness. Where was his wife? Where had she run off to? He had not felt such dread since his mother's death.
Perhaps, it was his fault that she ran off? He remembered the vixen was particularly jittery and almost cold towards him. As an Uchiha, it was in his genes to be straight forward if not impulsive. Four times, he sent out search squadrons to seek out his wife to no avail. It was possible that she had gotten cold feet upon hearing about the ball. Of course, that could not be the case for she did not appear the timid creature or person. Finally after some time, the prince stopped pacing and sighed.
"Well just pacing back and forth like a complete nimrod isn't going to help find her. She will turn up eventually. And when she does, I will assure her that our relationship is purely on a mutual level" he stated. All was easier said than done as neither party could even believe it themselves.
Sasuke spent the day in the armory honing his sword fighting. He only stopped just to eat dinner that included trying to ignore snide comments from Sai, almost running out to disfigure his face only to be stopped by Fugaku and Itachi, and of course being reminded to be prepared for next month's ball. He sluggishly climbed up the stairs to his bedroom. It was most likely she wasn't going to be there tonight either. He opened the door and walked inside. As he walked over to the bed, his head shot up. He turned around but dared not to think it possible. There sitting on the chair next to the table was the unmistakable form of a small orange fox with a small diamond necklace around her neck.
Sasuke stepped carefully. Finding his voice after some time, he spoke. "Kit-sune?" he croaked out. The fox sat up on all fours and glanced at her husband. "It is I, my prince" she addressed gently. Suddenly, the raven scooped up the tiny creature in his arms and desperately held her close.
"Where have you been? Do you have any idea how worried sick I was for you?" he cried out not caring if anyone heard. The fox blinked.
"You…were…worried for me?" she asked hesitantly. Sasuke held her at arm's length.
"Of course I was. You just up and disappeared for over a week. I searched everywhere for you. I even went back to the swamp hoping you would be there. I even sent out search parties for you. Nothing. I thought you had run off and I would never see you. I…" he looked away not wanting the fox to see him cry. Kitsune glanced at the prince with sad eyes. She wiggled out of his grasp and landed on the floor. She walked up to him and began nuzzled her face against his leg.
"I'm sorry for having worried you so. I just wanted to get away for a while. The second challenge left me rather exhausted and stressed. Then your father announced the ball and I got nervous so I left to gather my thoughts" she stated. Sasuke sighed and patted her head which made the vixen purr. "I understand, I mean these last weeks have really put everything out of place. Nothing makes sense all that much anymore" he answered honestly.
Kitsune walked away and sat on the floor. Sasuke sighed. "The ball isn't for another month. We still have to find out how…" he paused trying to think of the right working. However, Kitsune finished for him. "Like how we are going to attend without making you look foolish" she inquired cynically. Sasuke stared sadly at his wife. He realized he must have come off pretty horrid and selfish. Now that he thought about it, he didn't exactly treat her like the loving husband as his brothers had or had thanked her for having completed the two tasks. The raven needed to make it up to the vixen somehow.
"Let us not dwell on the matter any further. It is late and my father will most likely wish for us to assist in the preparations. Until tomorrow… my Kitsune". Sasuke left to wash up. Kitsune sighed flattening her ears. She strode to the make-shift duvet and relaxed into it. It felt so nice to be back after having slept in soft grass or the hollow of tree bark. She felt exhausted; both emotionally and physically. That night she fell into a dreamless sleep.
In the far away distance, stood a large glass-like palace that towered over the whole of the vast shadowy realm. At a glance, there was wonderment on what it was doing there of all places. The Celestial Realm was home to the immortal few or those blessed with magic; via wizards or witches. The place was glorious; cascading mountain ranges, lush green valleys, clear blue skies, and glistening waters that flowed and fed the land. The people who lived there flourished under the rule of the Three Great Sanins. They ruled the land with wisdom and justice for all. Sadly, that happiness was to come to an end.
The third Sanin gradually became corrupt, greedy, and wanted supreme rule over all living things. One day, he came before the council and demanded unconditional surrender. Alongside the two remaining good Sanin, the magic users fought valiantly against the dark magician. There were many who died while others mysteriously vanished never to be heard or seen from again. There was little chance against the wizard's dark magic. Seeing no other choice, the two remaining good Sanin and the inhabitants of the realm departed the land with heavy hearts. They were then filled with heartbreak for the loss of their once beautiful world and hatred for the one who now ruled it.
That was many centuries ago. The Celestial Realm was now a desolate dreary place; barren and devoid of any life (A/N: Much like Mordor from Lord of The Rings). The dark Sanin ran the place using dark magic. He grinned smugly to himself as he relaxed into the large throne. He had everything a king could want. A large kingdom, riches to supply himself with for years to come, subjects who bowed to his every whim, and the power to do as he wished. His smirk turned into a frown. There was only just one thing missing in his life. And that was a beautiful queen to stand by his side.
He had not long to wait. All he needed was to convince her or force her hand. His gaze shifted to his crystal ball that began to stir with life. His lips curled into a sneer at what he saw. His bride was in the arms of another man. The magician growled. He would not lose his future queen to that scrawny whelp. Forget waiting. The time to act was now.
Summoning a passing servant he called out to him.
"Get me my mage!" The imp shivered and nodded. It was not long before said mage appeared. The mage was in a purple hood. It was pulled back enough that you could see his facial features; palid, serpentine features. The mage grinned. "How can I be of service to you my lord?" he inquired silkily. The taller figure glared at him. "I have a job for you. And no mistakes or else" he threatened with a hiss. The mage grinned preparing to act out his master's plan
The next morning, Sasuke decided to take Kitsune horseback away from the palace. Last night, he thought of the many ways he could make up to his wife for having been such a bore. After some time, he made a decision. Kitsune watched as the palace disappeared from view and was replaced by roving green hills and forest.
"Oi Sasuke-sama, where are we going exactly?" she asked. Sasuke did not answer her instead urged his horse to move further. After some time, they came before an ivy-covered wall. Once again Kitsune perked up. "Ne Sasuke san…why have we stopped at this wall? Sasuke got off his horse and grazed his hand against the layer of ivy searching for a particular spot.
"There it is" he exclaimed triumphantly. He turned his arm at an angle. Just then the door slid open to the right. The fox's eyes widened at seeing a mansion surrounded by a luxurious garden. The garden looked a little unkempt. It looked as if it hadn't been tended to for some time.
"Sa-su-ke" the vixen uttered. "What is this place?" Sasuke smirked.
"This is my mother's summer cottage. We would spend a week here every summer or whenever my mother wished to leave the castle and spend time amongst the gardens. It was her favorite place to be. It helped her to forget" he explained somberly. Kitsune tilted her head at seeing her husband's expression. She noticed that he always grew sad at the mention of the late queen. In an effort to take his mind off a sad memory, the Kitsune complimented the place.
"It is quite beautiful. I can see why she loved it so much". Sasuke gave a small smile. "But why did you bring me here?" the creature asked. Sasuke knelt to face his wife. "I brought you out here as sort of an apology. I realize I have been more than unfair in the way I treated you these past few months. You have helped in so many ways and have stood by my side. And damn my foolish pride, I have done nothing to thank you for it. All because I wanted to best my older siblings. Forgive me" he pleaded sincerely.
Kitsune put a paw on his hand and smiled. "There is nothing to forgive, my prince. I feel as if our meeting was destiny". Both beings glanced at one another. Neither was sure if the words exchanged between them was out mutuality or perhaps there was a far greater emotion playing its role.
Could it be…love?
Obsidian stared into liquid sapphire. The woman he spotted in his room that night must have been an illusion. He was certain the girl beneath the fox would show herself eventually. The rest of the day, Sasuke gave Kitsune a tour of the garden and some parts of the mansion. He made sure to avoid the bedrooms. There were far too many sad memories associated with those places.
It was sundown when the couple finally returned to the palace. They were greeted by Kakashi who graciously tended to the horse. Sasuke and Kitsune laughed joyfully as they walked into the castle and headed toward the dining hall. Behind a pillar, a pair of envious sky blue eyes belonging to ponytailed blonde female directed their gaze on the happy couple. Ino was not in such great spirits. Earlier, she had gotten into a rather heated argument with Sai about the ball. It seemed that ever since her "failure" at the second task, Sai had exhibited a rather cold demeanor toward her. Sai often would scold or belittle her. In frustration, Ino snapped at him accusing her husband of mistreatment and infidelity; she had spotted Sai flirting with one of the maids earlier. Sai would have struck her had Itachi not appeared on the scene and threatened to report him to their father. The older was forced to concede as he knew if one word reached the king; he would either be flogged or disowned thus disqualifying him from rights to kingship. There were unspoken laws in the Uchiha Clan: 1) Uchiha's respect their spouses; 2) hitting your wife on the face is especially forbidden (even if you are the king) and punishable by flogging ; 3) If in the event that the husband should prove abusive, measures should be taken to remove the wife and children away from the area immediately.
Sai and Ino at once acquiesced to a temporary separation until their tempers cooled down. The platinum haired blond continued watching the pair. It saddened her that her relationship with Sai had gotten to such a point. She truly believed it was going so well and the love he had for her was genuine. Another round of laughter reached her ears. Itachi and Karin walked down the hallway hand in hand, smiling at one another. A sigh escaped Ino's lips. Karin looked perfectly happy talking to Itachi about who-knows-what. It was not hard to see she had an apparent glow to her. It would seem married life did her wonders. Ino turned the other way. She couldn't stomach the sight of other happy marriages while hers was not. She grabbed hold of one of the chamber maids and told her to tell the king she would not be joining him tonight. She would be taking rest in one of the guestrooms. The maid complied.
Sasuke splashed some water on his face. He patted his face dry and put his night clothes on. He had actually enjoyed spending time with his Kitsune. The whole fox thing no longer mattered to him. When he stared into her blue orbs, he saw human emotions. She certainly didn't act or eat like an animal. At dinner time, she would graciously devour her meal then wipe her face clean using the napkin. Definitely, not an animal at all. After dinner ended, Kitsune headed on up to the bedroom while Sasuke conversed with Itachi.
When he asked where Ino was, Itachi explained to him of the ordeal with Sai. Sasuke found himself becoming angry with his older brother. Sai had done many lowly, wretched things in the past but to stoop so low to try to hurt your wife was just the worst. He wanted to go after the pale bastard and ripped him apart but was quelled by Itachi. Like Sai, he also did not wish to hinder his chances of being named king. He would have to fight the albino raven on a different day.
When he reached his bedroom, he was relieved to see the duvet on which the fox slept on was occupied. She looked so peaceful just laying there. Slowly, he knelt by her bed and caressed her fur gently.
"Good night, my Kitsune" he whispered. He sluggishly walked over to his bed before falling into a deep slumber. His dreams filled with confusing yet very beautiful prospects of a future. He never imagined that he would be involved in a rather insidious plot.
That is the end of that chapter. Sasuke is finally warming up to his foxy wife (LOLXD). But seriously. I wanted to make several liberties originating away from the original story. I thought it was absolutely ludicrous how the youngest son only began to love his wife after seeing her beauty and seeing how talented she was. Love doesn't work that way no matter what fairy tales say. He is rather cold to her at first for being a frog and then replying indifferently "thanks for having done the task and such. Well good night". If that were me, I'd be like "screw you".
I wanted to try something where Sasuke actually makes an attempt to get along with his wife and get past the whole mammalian exterior. For all you SaiXIno haters, I apologize for having put in the fight scene. I am not out to make Sai the abusive, over-bearing husband nor Ino the submissive, bitchy wife forced to put up with abuse. Sai will show redeemable qualities near the end and put an end to the rivalry with Sasuke. Itachi is serving as the voice of reason and the buffer for the violence. In the original play, the older brothers are haughty, arrogant, and sort of shallow failing to see their wives for who they truly are. Overall, the brothers and their wives serve as the "goats" to the story. It would not do well to make the titular protagonist out to be bumbling, ill-mannered fools.
Now, on the mysterious villain: He will serve as importance to the plot of the story. I will not give too much away as I wish to keep my readers on my toes. Stay tuned for the next chapter. Read, review, and enjoy.