Author's note at the end because it got a bit too lengthy XD; Enjoy!
Ouji-sama no BURAIDO Monogatari
'The Story of the Prince's Bride'
Chapter 1 - Fushigi na Ame (Mysterious Rain)
The only thing I remember clearly about that day was the rain. It was June and, consequently, typhoon season. The rain had been coming down steadily the whole day, wretched winds and inverted umbrellas accompanied the icy-cold shower. It's strange...you'd think I'd remember more about my birthday.
I remember coming home from high school, my black uniform drenched and my hair shaggy and dripping under my collar. My umbrella had been useless in protecting me, I'd even given up halfway home and merely shoved it under my arm, running the rest of the way, slipping and sliding on wet concrete.
My mother greeted my at the door with a bright 'Okaeri', taking my bag and umbrella as I ran up the stairs to my own room, shrugging out of my clothes and leaving them in a wet, sopping pile in the middle of the floor. I left them there as I changed and returned back downstairs to see my mum sitting in the living room and watching TV.
It might be stupid of me to want it now but...I wish I had hugged her then, seen her smile and hug me back, feel her arms around me...the loving warmth of a mother...I guess that's one of the many things I miss.
But I guess I'm getting a bit ahead of myself, and wishing for too much. Wishes that I should abandon...I've relinquished my hold on many wishes now...It's kind of sad, to let them go. Lonely.
It was on that day, my birthday, that my cat ran away. Although, he hadn't really been my cat I felt as if he were. I'd found him at the abandoned railway station opposite my school. He'd been weak from hunger, mewling quietly in his need for attention. I picked him up then, put him in my bag and took him home with me. My mother wasn't pleased, but then, I gave her no choice. I guess I can be very stubborn when I want to be.
The cat that I named Momo ran away from me that day, the day of my birthday. I think I discovered he was gone when I checked my bed...but I could be wrong, my memory of that time is like a white-washed painting now...I do remember looking all over, my mother yelling at me to keep quiet and 'be glad the flea-bitten rodent had gone'. I got angry and stormed out – without a coat, umbrella or anything. Just me in a t-shirt and jeans; I remember the icy feel of raindrops on my skin, freezing me from the outside in.
I went to the railway track first, then the school that I can no longer remember the look of, then I went to the shop on the corner.
I finally gave up after what I thought to be an hour, although, by that time the wristwatch that had been given to me by my father was so wet that it no longer ticked as it had done. I took it off and stuck it in my back pocket, annoyed at it's uselessness, and my own. The images that I came up with then still haunt me now; my cat lying on the side of a road, dying, blood everywhere...I think I must have been a very gruesome child. I guess no one would believe that now...it almost makes me laugh.
When I decided that I could search no more I went to the park.
The park where I lived then was small, it was a mere patch of grass surrounded by tall trees. On this patch of grass someone had managed to fit in two benches, a slide and a swing-set.
I ignored the benches – they were rotted through, old and green and I never had trusted then to hold my weight. I still don't but that doesn't matter anymore.
The swing-set had always been my place to think. My knees would be bunched up against my chest because the seats were low to the ground. The swinging would be slow, a mere swaying back and forth.
I remember watching the water droplets falling from my hair and nose to the ground, splashing into a puddle near my feet. It was fascinating and calming at the same time. I guess if I had been more entranced by the simple motion I wouldn't have heard it – but I did.
At the first small mewl my head shot up, black eyes looking around eagerly. It took me a few moments to find him but when I finally did such relief and adrenaline shot through me that it was all I could do not to run towards the tree he was stuck in.
I was scrambling up the branches before I even realised. I've never been good at climbing trees and that time I received so many scratches that by the time I reached him I almost felt faint. My hands were bleeding as I reached for him and I think the smell probably spooked him back then.
He hissed, backing up and I, stupidly now I realise, went after him, my eager hands reaching out to grab him. He scrambled back more and then, with a terrified yelp, his claws lost their hold and he was falling through the air.
I remember screaming as I willingly let go of the branch I was balanced on, grabbing onto him and holding him protectively to my chest. I remember the rain falling onto my face and my own wish not to die when I hit the ground – and then nothing until...
...And that was my first entrance into his world.
It sucked. Downright, completely sucked.
If I thought I'd been cold and wet before I had no idea what the words meant. Waking up, naked, in a lake, naked, with no clothes, naked, was not a pleasant experience. I was shivering within minutes even if I could see and feel the light filtering through the canopy of leaves overhead.
It was a strange experience, close-to-death one minute and then in a completely different place sans-clothing in another. My eyes immediately drifted down to my watch only to discover that it wasn't there and was, in fact, still stuck in the back pocket of my non-existent clothing.
"But...I was just on the branch and this...where the hell am I?!" I barely just kept from screaming, pulling at my hair and looking around desperately for a way out of this place – wherever 'this place' was. It was just as I saw a space between the trees that I heard the sound of a horse's hooves coming nearer. There are no horses near where I live, the last one to come had left just as suddenly, their owner leaving to go the metropolitan city of Tokyo to seek his fortune in horse racing.
"Oi!" A voice yelled. I guessed this was probably the rider and ducked my body under water, swimming closer to where I could just see a shoreline.
The water wasn't terribly deep, I could easily have walked the way, or, at the very least, hopped. The water was clear too, not the disgusting green, mould-covered ones you usually see. It was clear – too clear. It made me panic and look around for something to cover myself with. I had no intention of being seen naked by a complete stranger.
It took a while to find my way to the edge and, by that time, the unknown rider had come closer and I could just about make his shadow through the trees surrounding the lake.
"What lady would use such foul language?" He asked, a question that boggled me for a moment before I realised just what he meant – he thought I was female!
"H-hey!" I protested, swimming even closer. "I'm not a girl!"
This statement seemed to stun him for a moment because he didn't speak. Then the sound of him dismounting and rushing through the trees scared me enough that I started to backstroke away from him back into the safety of the lake.
I didn't make it nearly quick enough and the man – a man dressed like an old-fashioned European soldier – grabbed my neck and hoisted me out of the water.
I'm not short. In fact, I'm proud to say, I'm taller that most of the people in my class, standing at a great 5'11". With that in mind, you can't really blame me for being afraid of someone who could easily lift me – and I am not that light – clear out of the water and then hold me whilst firing question after question in my face.
"Who are you? What are you doing in Maiden's Hideaway? Why are in my Territory, only my lady's can come here! Who send you? Bartholo? Eulan? Who? Speak up boy!" He was red in the face by this time, his skin matching the colour of his military-style jacket and trousers. I felt very afraid at that moment.
"I-I..." I stuttered, gulping before carrying on, "I'm Shi-Shiomi Yu-Yuuji." I finally got out, pleased to have merely said that.
"Eh? What kind of messed up name is that?" He demanded, shaking me roughly – so hard my eyes started to glaze and my head began to spin.
"It's my name!" I countered. He seemed to dislike the answer, continuing to shake me before growling and tightening his grasp.
"Who sent you?" He asked, slower and more pronounced than last time. When I realised he was only doing this because he thought I was stupid I almost growled at him, my hands coming up to claw at his hands – and yet he still held on. He had a grip of steel and merely lifted an eyebrow at my feeble attempts.
"No one! I don't know what you're talking about!" I replied, squirming in an attempt to get him to loosen his grip.
"Don't know what I'm talking, do you?" He asked, I shook my head 'no'. He lifted an eyebrow. "No one sent you did they?" I shook my head again, silently praying that he'd let me go now.
He did, even placing me back on my feet, only to grab at my hand and tug me behind him as he halfway ran through the trees. I stumbled, seeming to trip on every available rock that came my way. He ended up roughly hauling me to my feet every time, impatiently snorting when he did so.
When he stopped we were stood before a magnificent horse. It was much much more nobler looking than the one that had I seen before. Even compared to the ones I'd seen in films, anime, even drawn in manga, couldn't compare to it in my mind. It was...beautiful.
Completely white without a speck of any other colour except for it's startling blue eyes. They caught my own, stealing my breath for a moment before I felt hands pushing me shoulders and I was thrust closer to it.
"If Rosopaardo believes you trustworthy then I will listen to your answers – if he doesn't then I will kill you."
K-kill? My fate rested on a horse named Rosopaardo?! Even if it was beautiful this was no way to treat someone who had no idea what was going on!
I was shaking as I edged closer, avoiding those blue eyes as much as I could until the horse snorted abruptly, nudging at my chin with it's...nose? Snout? It whickered gently as I hesitantly reached out, my own hand willingly stroking the horse's mane.
It was...amazing. Silken hair falling like waves through my fingers, soft and smooth. I wanted to bury my face in it so badly that I almost moaned when a hand abruptly pulled me away from the horse.
A sword was by my throat before I realised and my breath shuddered out in a gust of breath that I was sure would be my last. It took me a while before I realised that on the end of the sword was clothing. Did this mean I had passed? And clothes were a peace offering?
I blinked, my eyes swerving to see the man grinning slightly at me, reaching his own hand out to pat the horse's side. "Well, Rosopaardo trusts you and who am I to distrust His Majesty's steed?" He snickered then, a sound that had me wanting to back up; an impossible task due to the sword that was still resting on my shoulder, cold metal lying on my bare skin. I was cold, this man was possibly one of strangest I've ever encountered in my life and I was still naked. My dignity and pride were on the line and I frowned, my hand reaching out and grabbing the clothes before the man had a chance to respond.
I've always been a quick person; I pride myself on it in fact. It helps when it comes to games like Dodge ball that should have been banned from all schools when it was first invented. I used these reflexes them to get the clothes out of Alfred's reach when he attempted to grab them back off me. He lifted the other eyebrow before giving another crooked grin.
"So you're Yucky?" He asked me, taking his sword away finally and allowing me to breathe normally again.
I winced at the mangled version of my name and shook my head back and forth, determined to correct him when he merely laughed and pointed towards a bunch of trees clustered together a few feet away. "Change and then come straight back here," he ordered, turning his sword and allowing the light to catch on it in such a way that it flashed straight into my eyes in a threatening motion.
I nodded quickly, not wanting that cold steel against my skin again. Turning I made it behind the trees, laying the clothes out before me and trying to determine what was what. They were straight out of a history book, the clothes he'd given me. A pair of brown breeches that, when I finally managed to get them on, only came up to my calves and had to actually be laced up. A green tunic than came down to my thighs and hung off my arms, covering my hands completely and then there were boots made of actual real leather that had buckles on them. Boots with buckles! I'd never even seen such a thing in my life. They almost made me mourn for my beaten-up worn-down trainers.
"Oi! Boy! Are you done yet?" The voice shocked my system and I hurriedly tucked the tunic into the breeches, rolling up the sleeves and stepping around the trees to see the red-clothed man only a few footsteps away.
He leaned closer, seeming to inspect the clothes before dismissing both clothes and me, turning back to his horse, putting his foot in the stirrup and swinging himself up into the saddle. He then looked at me expectantly, frowning when I didn't move.
It wasn't that I was purposely annoying him; I just had no idea what he wanted me to do. I took a hesitant step forward and, when he seemed slightly pacified, took another and another until I was stood beside the horse.
The man – he still had yet to even tell me his name – grabbed my arm and hoisted me up behind him, wrenching on the limb painfully before grabbing the other and wrapping both around his chest. "Move with the horse and it won't hurt so much," he commanded.
The question 'what won't hurt so much?' was cut off as the horse started beneath me, muscles bunching before it sprang forward.
I almost bit my tongue in an attempt to keep from screaming. I clung to the man in front, not even caring when he laughed at me. What did he expect? I'd never been on big, no, massive beast before! And this thing...it wasn't like the agile, gentle thing I'd thought it would be. It was fast, and powerful and...it felt strangely wild underneath me. It made me want to laugh like the man in red. I probably would have done if I hadn't been so busy being terrified for my life.
My legs were shaking when we finally dismounted from the horse. I walked bow-legged behind the man as he strolled in front of him, looking as if he'd merely been out for a leisurely walk around the park. His hair was still neat and perfect, the brown hairs resting against his head and curling slightly at the edges.
I think my own hair was probably stuck up on end. My teeth were chattering inside my mouth and my eyes were probably wide and slightly blood-shot from the fear of a near death-experience. I've seen myself when I'm like this and I do not look in anyway nice.
Which is why – and this is the only excuse I will give – I hid behind the man when several women suddenly burst out of the pure white building in front of us. They were all-but squealing as they descended, words bubbling from their lips in excitement. "Alfred-sama! You've been gone so long!" They all exclaimed in various tones and pitches.
I was surprised when they all suddenly quietened. One minute they were screeching in various voices and then the next there was completely quiet. It was unnerving and I swallowed my fear before peeking around – Alfred? – the man's shoulder and looking at a stern-looking woman with steel-grey hair who stared right back.
She looked like a typical housekeeper, looking alike to the one's who belonged in books dated back from the 1800s. She had a plain grey dress on, covering all of her body, a high collar and then an even plainer white apron on top of it all. With her dove-grey glasses and hair she looked like she belonged in a black-and-white TV set.
"And who is this Alfred-sama?" She asked, turning to the man I currently hid behind. It made me smile slightly when I felt him squirming under her gaze. Was he...afraid of this woman? That was interesting to know...He seemed almost to shirk back from her imposing gaze.
My smile was soon gone when he grabbed me by the shoulders and shoved me in front of him, holding me almost like a shield. What a wimp! The gaze of the woman however made me want to flee too, looking behind at 'Alfred-sama' only to see him stubbornly averting his eyes. He dropped to about number three on my most hated people listed right about then.
I gave a small grin, one of my hands coming up to wave slightly at the woman who didn't look the slightest bit impressed by my attempt at friendliness. In fact she seemed the very opposite.
The grin dropped from my face, my hand coming to swing by my side and I shifted uncomfortably. "Ah...I'm...er...S-Shio-m-mi Yu-u-j-ji." Why couldn't I say my name normally today?!
"ALFRED!" The woman yelled suddenly, causing everyone – including Alfred and myself – to jump and step back from the angry woman. She turned her hawk eyes to the man who was currently cowering behind me. I felt a moment of elation before those eyes turned to me and I yelped, wincing as Alfred's nails dug into my shoulders.
"What have you done to this young lady?!" She demanded, raising her hands above her head. "God only knows we have enough staff and yet you are constantly bringing home more! You have no..."
"W-wait! This isn't a girl!" Alfred protested. What he did next is so embarrassing that I think if I weren't more sensible and...an all-round kind person I would have punched him then and there. I guess his height and muscles may have deterred my decision too.
He grabbed the bottom of my shirt, hoisting it up to show off my chest. I think several of the maids fainted – not that I can blame. I do have a nicely developed chest...but I think they fainted mostly due to shock.
"ALFRED!" The woman screamed again, reaching forward to drag me out of his hands. I think it was about then that I realised this woman was actually taller than me. This had my head spinning for a while as she dragged me after her up the stairs – made of white marble if you wanted to know – through a pair of white double doors and into a pure white hall. I think all the white was making me see double because when she finally stopped it was to shove me in front of a woman who looked identical to her.
"My Lady von Sven! Your son!" The housekeeper proclaimed, pointing to the doors where Alfred was just coming in. I felt almost sorry for him as both housekeeper and look-alike turned to glare at him. He winced before sighing and walking forward, placing his hands on both of my shoulders again. It was most definitely uncomfortable and I shifted slightly, only to be grabbed by the housekeeper.
"He bought home a boy My Lady! And the poor lad seems to be so tired and filthy! I have no..."
"It was for you Mother," Alfred replied, bowing smoothly at the waist before stranding straight once more. My left eye started to twitch and I'm sure the housekeeper look-alike was sending me strange looks...
"Oh? For me was it?" I have never, ever, heard a voice like hers. It was...as if someone had sucked all the life and happiness out of her. How could anyone sound so bored? It was...so strange.
"Anou...Alfuredo?" My voice seemed to send a jolt down the man and he turned, looking at me curiously as I stepped forward. I just needed to know..."Where am I?"
"Huh? Derde Territory of course."
"Stop saying my name like that!" Alfred replied, narrowing his eyes and waving his hand at me. Was that meant to sweep my question and me away? And yet he continued on to answer it, "We're in Derde Territory, seventy miles from the Koninkrijk on Wereld."
What was 'Koninkrijk'? There was no such thing seventy miles from where I lived! And what was Wereld?
My headache began to slowly and steadily increase in pain as he carried on, talking quietly to his mother whilst the housekeeper tutted and looked me over, patting at my hair and poking the many scratches and bruises on my skin. "Oh you poor dear," she said, materialising a handkerchief from nowhere, licking the edge and scrubbing it against my face.
"Ah! Get off!" I protested, scrambling to get away from her only to trip over Alfred's sword and crash onto the floor painfully, wincing slightly as my body began to complain of the pain I was putting it through. It's not as if it was completely my fault! The main cause of the problem was the man currently laughing at me.
I almost gave into the urge to punch him right there and then but he merely grinned at me, leaning down and hoisting me to my feet, watching as I attempted to steady myself, all the time trying to steer clear of the housekeeper and her damned handkerchief.
"Hm...I think he will do." The voice stopped us all in our tracks and six sets of eyes – including my own – turned to see the look-alike, Alfred's mother, nodding her head at me. "Yes...you will do very nicely indeed."
Ah...do for what?
A/N: What a way to finish! Aha XD; And I have no idea whether to keep it in 1st person or not XD; It'd be pretty strange if I changed it now but I always screw up on my tenses! It's so hard -.-; But if I keep it up like this I'll have one more style of writing to practice under! And I desperately do need to practice my first person pov to get better and that's what fictionpress is here for, ne? Tell me what you think! I hope you like Yuuji I find him amusing personally...Not as funny as Hiroto though. ::pets him:: Poor Yuuji, your fine just the way you are! Even if you are a little too serious...
This story's a lot different from my other's, ne? (If you've read them that is...if you haven't, why not?!) Really...fantastical! I love that word, it's so pretty…a pretty word? Oh God XD; Not much Japanese – if any – Japanese is in this, I guess you're happy for that, hm? It's because in this new world they speak another language. 'Why can Yuuji understand it then?' I can hear you all say and all I can reply is you will find out next chapter!
Explanation on the use of 'Alfuredo' - when Yuuji talks he still has a Japanese accent. When he is simply thinking he knows how to spell it in English so you have it done normally, I wanted to spell it out phonetically to add emphasis on the many differences between this world and theirs. Also have you heard Japanese people attempt to speak European names? It's...really amusing XD; That's so mean of me to say! Ah...Kyou Kara Maou (Demon King from Today!), the anime I'm currently in love with has so many English names and the seiyuu always say them strangely. Konorado – Conrad. Wolframu – Wolfram. Gvendul – Gwendal. But it's so cute when they do!
And yes, I'm evil to poor Yuuji, making him pronounce all these foreign words!
The horse's name is Dutch, 'ros' according to my English-Dutch-English translator is 'horse' and 'paardo' is cavalier/knight. I originally just wanted to call him Paddy but my sister advised against it so instead you have the obnoxiously, stupidly long Rosopaardo! A suitable name for a stuck-up horse, ne? Although he's not that stuck-up in this chapter...
So, this world...that I very originally called Wereld ('World' in Dutch XD; Yes, creative is my middle name...'Derde' is simply Third, also in Dutch ;) is similar to all these fantasy-animes out right now. Much alike to Medieval-Europe but, once you get to the castle (which should be in a chapter or two...), strong Ancient-Asian influences start to take place. Kimonos, palaces, yukata, hakama, Koto, oh my! XD
This A/N got so long...I'm hopeless! And this chapter is much longer than usual (not counting in Maestro di Violino...) so yay me! Although Yuuji didn't talk much...if at all. I promise if I'll make him talk more next chapter! He was just kind of in shock during this one...more introspective...Please review and tell me what you think! Thanks for reading XD