DISCLAIMER: MoonofMorrigan: I present to you, ...
Yuu Watase: I own Fushigi Yuugi. I created Fushigi Yuugi and it's characters. I wrote Fushigi Yuugi, I drew Fushigi Yuugi, and therefore, that means 'I' own Fushigi Yuugi. Not MoonofMorrigan, this fanfics' author. So please do not sue Miss Calla because she openly admits that she does not own Fushigi Yuugi. The only things that she does own are the plot line to this story, $20 for gas, and a bottle of aspirin for her migraines. Thank you.
MoonofMorrigan: I do not own Yuu Watase either.
~love looks not with the eyes but with the mind,
and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind~
A Midsummer's Night Dream
Dreams and Sadness
Ten year old Ryuuen was daydreaming happily in the woods behind his father's fabric shop. From where he sat he was able to get a birds' eye view of the palace through the shading of the trees. He would always pretend that he lived there. That his father was a lord and he was a friend to the Emperor's sons. He'd been daydreaming A LOT lately. The purpose: to escape...
His family had fallen on hard times, a war was brewing according to the local rumors, his mother had died and his father's business had been suffering ever since his mother died. His brother and sister had "gone away", as his father had put it. When he asked where and if he could visit them, he was simply told not to worry or even think about it. But he did think about it. He was lonely. He didn't really have anyone to play with now. No one to tell the stories he made up to. He was- alone. But when he daydreamed, Rokou, his brother, and Houki, his sister, were with him and they all lived in the palace. They lived in the palace and played, sang, and ate to their hearts content. But the only problem with daydreams- with ANY dream- was that eventually you had to wake up. And the nagging voice that was calling his name was forcing him to stir from his imaginings.
"Ryuuen! Ryuuen! Where are you?"
He sighed and turned in the direction of the voice, and called out, "I'm here, father!"
A couple of moments later he saw his father ascending the hill, breathing heavily and clutching oddly at his chest. Finally the man made it to the top, and took a few shattered breaths of air with his hand still over his chest. Since Ryuuen's mother had died, he would occasionally see his father clutching at his chest, hand over his heart. His face was always contorted in pain. It seemed to get worse when Houki and Rokou left. He looked up and waited for him to say something.
The man looked out through the trees, a hint of a smile crossing his lips as his hand finally fell to his side. He then looked down at his son. "Dreaming again?" he asked tenderly.
Ryuuen blushed and nodded. The man chuckled. He held his hand out to Ryuuen to help him up and guide him back home. Ryuuen grabbed it and lifted himself up, throwing one last glance over at the palace. As they began to walk he noticed his father glancing at him thoughtfully. When they were half way back he finally began to speak. "Ryuuen, there's something I need to tell you. It's not going to be... pleasant. But you need to know."
Ryuuen's eyes narrowed in concern, especially when his father seemed to once again have a chest pain. They stopped as his father threw a hand up to his chest. "Father, are you all right?"
The man forced a ghost of a smile on his face. "Yes. I'll be fine. Don't worry about me..." His father squinted his eyes shut and a calm demeanor overcame his features and figure once again. He bent down to be at eye-level with Ryuuen. "Ryuuen, you know how your brother and sister had to go and live someplace else?"
Ryuuen's violet eyes lit up. /Are they coming back?/ But then he remembered, his father said it wasn't going to be pleasant. /Did something happen?/ He fought off the urge to cry. He nodded and his father continued.
"Well, Ryuuen... I'm afraid...", the man's eyes clouded over suddenly and he bowed his head for a second then looked up, "...I'm afraid you have to as well."
/WHAT? I didn't hear that right! I couldn't have! He really said that Houki and Rokou are coming back! That we'll be together again!/ Ryuuen's lip trembled with the sudden taste of copper that came into his mouth. His eyes, as much as him didn't want them to, began to shimmer with tears. /No, he didn't... he said you're going away too. It's what he really said.../ His father put a hand to his mouth, and looked away. Ryuuen saw a tear fall down his cheek. /Now look what I've done... he's crying. I made him cry... My father never cries./ Ryuuen forced a big smile on his face even as the tears fell from his eyes, betraying what he was really feeling. "Okay... so what's this place like?"
His father glanced at him and Ryuuen could feel him squeezing his small hand tighter. He looked away in thought for a moment then met his sons' eyes again.
"It's a nice place. It's very big and has really pretty gardens. It's the home of one of the palace's most celebrated warriors."
A thought occured to Ryuuen. "Will Houki and Rokou be there too?"
"No..," he shook his head as he spoke," you see your sister and brother also live apart from one another. Your brother now lives with Lord Tatara's family far off in the lands protected by Byakko. Your sister... has gone to live in the palace."
/Houki in the palace! That's wonderful!/ But his father's serious face calmed his glee.
"Houki, when she reaches the age of 15 will be married to one of the Emperor's sons. So she won't be in the realms of Konan for too much longer." A smile, a genuine smile came to the old man's face. "They are both well taken care of. Especially Houki... she will be by far the best off out of all of you."
Ryuuen smiled, then his brow furrowed in question. "But how? We're only common folk... peasants."
His father smiled again. "She wasn't going to go there at first. In fact she was going to stay with your aunt and uncle in the mountains. But once she was there, the emperor's carriage past. Of course, they had to stop their work and pay homage. But instead of driving on, he ordered the procession to stop. Apparently he happened to look out and see her, just before her face was turned to the earth." He looked at the confused look on Ryuuen's face.
/So he saw her face... what's that gotta do with anything?/ Ryuuen was utterly confused being to young to understand about girls.
His father clarified. "Your sister is very pretty Ryuuen. She would have married young due to that anyway."
"Oh..." Ryuuen said in understanding. He knew his sister was pretty... but it was just... well... she was his sister. "What else happened?"
"Well the emperor inquired about her age, and if she was already betrothed. Upon hearing her age and that she wasn't yet spoken for, he demanded that she be taken to the palace to be his youngest son's wife once they come of age."
Ryuuen smiled as his father finished. "Lord Tatara... he's one pf the Power Wielders..." , he saw his son flinch fearfully, "but he undoubtedly is a good, kind man. Your brother and sister will be happy Ryuuen. Trust me."
"And me?" Ryuuen asked.
"You...", his smile instantly faded and a look of worry and almost horror came to his face. "You will be going to live with Lord Nakago."
A look of disbelief came to Ryuuen's face. Ryuuen knew the lord's name as a legendary war hero. He also knew Nakago had been an elite pupil of the Power Wielder Shrines. All court officials, lord and lady alike had to study at the mysterious shrine's schools at one point in their lives. But few received the mark of a Power Wielder- a body symbol that's color and character depended on their element, fire, water, earth and air. The body symbol meant they had a talent and a natural ability to use a Wielders' power. And also that they were a chosen one favored by the gods directly.
Once received the person was given a name- a secret, single name after one of the 28 constellations in the sky. The name also depended upon their element. Nakago's element was water, making him a Wielder of Seiryuu, one of the most feared and powerful of all the Power Wielders.
It was believed that 4 gods protected the 4 corners of the world with their respective powers, given in the form of the elements. The 4 were called Suzaku- the god of fire, Byakko- the god of earth#, Genbu- the god of air, and Seiryuu- the god of water. Each of the 4 gods also became known to be prayed to for various reasons, though praying to any of them would have done the same amount of good. But as it was the most popular things were praying to Byakko for a good crop and bounty, Genbu for rain and prosperity, Suzaku for love and children, and Seiryuu for victory in war.
The 4 were to have each a priestess and seven warriors each to protect her and the shrines, all of which were, until they had fully harnessed their powers, under the supervision and schooling of Taiitskun- the 4 gods proclaimed earthly controller of the world. Two of the priestesses had been identified and established, and 14 of the warriors were known to have assembled. But there were still 2 priestesses to go, and until then the Power Wielders, or warriors who had been identified to serve under the 2 missing priestesses were not to be established until the priestess was established.
Nakago carried a mark and had received it at a very young age. But because of Seiryuu's priestess having not been identified yet he remained a court official and a warlord. But like the rest of the Power Wielders he was a person to be respected... and feared. Tenseness suddenly coursed through the boy's body. He feared them, beyond a reasonable point. He never knew why...
His father smiled again in an attempt to relieve the boy's mind a bit. "You'll be fine. Lord Nakago has promised to treat you well. But you won't be a guest... you’re going to be a servant. Okay? But Lord Nakago has children too. He knows you'll need time to play and have fun. He told me that he would let you have some free time to do that. He said his little girls don't have many people to play with. Your just a little older than they are so Lord Nakago thinks you'll be a perfect playmate for them. And if you think your being treated badly, he promised he'd let you come home to me. But remember, you have to mind your manners, and do the chores they give you to do."
Ryuuen's posture relaxed, but the nagging in his heart told him to be on his guard. He did his best to calm himself totally, but when he spoke his voice still came out squeaky, "When will I leave?"
He saw his father's eyes cloud over once more. "Tomorrow at dawn. Lord Nakago is personally coming to get you. you'll get to ride in a fancy carriage. Won't that be fun?" His father smiled brightly.
/No. It won't. I wanna stay home. THIS home. I'm scared... I don't know why, but I'm so scared./ Ryuuen dashed forward and gripped his father around the neck in tears. "I don't wanna go! Please don't make me! Please!"
"Ryuuen, it's not that I WANT you to go, but you HAVE to." his father said with a teary edge to his voice.
Ryuuen pulled back enough to look at his father through blurry eyes. "What do you mean? Why?"
"Ryuuen, I...I can't take care of you or your brother and sister anymore. I don't have the money to... to even keep our business going. It's going to be entailed away and I don't have... enough money to keep our house or even buy us food. I'm going to be a servant too. But the man who's buying out everything won't let me keep you. He can't." He saw Ryuuen's face turn slightly angry. "But he knows the importance of keeping a family going... to provide for them. He's really a good man. HE'S the one who found a place for you and Rokou to go. Places where he's positive you'll always be provided for. He's even going to let me visit you and your brother occasionally."
"I don't understand."Ryuuen said through tears. Why couldn't they all stay there if this man was going to take away their property, but let his father be his servant?
"Ryuuen... the man who's going to own our house- everything- has to tear it down. That is what the emperor's treasurer says he has to do," his father began to explain.
Ryuuen backed away in horror. "WHY? WHY? Our house isn't falling apart! It's..."
"RYUUEN!" his father yelled throwing up his hands to tell the boy to stop. "Even though it's entailed away to him he still has to do what the emperor and his advisors say he has to do with it! They want to grow crops Ryuuen, so the country will have more food to eat."
"I don't get it! I DON'T!" Ryuuen screamed raising his fists to strike the air.
"RYUUEN! STOP IT! You're acting hysterical!" his father shouted immediately silencing the boy. His father flung a hand over his heart again as his face and body betrayed his pain.
"Father...?" Ryuuen tentatively re-approached him. "I'm sorry... please don't hurt anymore father. Please."
"It's okay..." came a raspy answer. He opened his eyes again. "Your too young to understand Ryuuen. And I just wish you didn't have to be resigned to this fate. But considering everything, I think that this will be best for you. If I didn't you do know I wouldn't let you go. Don't you? You do, right?" His father's eyes pleaded for an answer.
"Yes, father, I know."
"Come on then." His father stood up and gently grabbed his hand again. "We'll do home and get you packed."
Quietly, Ryuuen let his father lead him home for the last time. /If we lived in the palace... if only I could do or be someone there... If only I knew someone there, we could all live there, right? We could all be together there. But... I can't daydream anymore. This is real. My leaving is real. Lord Nakago said he'll take care of me if I'm good. And father can come and see me when his boss lets him. But still I have a bad feeling... like it's not going to happen that way. I'm scared. Oh gods! I'm so scared!/
He looked up at his father, his brow concentrated even further in worry. His father's hand was once again over his heart.