It was no coincidence, and it was not God's providence either, it was the calculation of someone who knew the importance of this date. Someone who had dutifully noted all the passing signs that would assist in deciding on just the right day. Eight days (she was told that such a number was a fortune in itself) after she had first arrived in the city, the capital, she stood atop the procession, overlooking what seemed like a field of people.
Wait, it probably was a field of people.
How many times in your life do you get the chance to witness the crowning and marriage of an empress?
Dressed in the traditional golden robe of the highest title on earth, Sachiko's fingers twisted against one another beneath the long fabric of her garment. Marriage and crowning. Those two words have flashed in her mind ever since she was told so months ago, still she still had trouble believing and living in this moment.
She knew not of her husband to be, future emporer by marriage. She knew not the advisers and ministers who, with no doubt, lined the field of people up at the very front. At a moment when she stood atop everyone, her soul felt as if it were buried beneath all. Hidden, scared and struggling against this oppressive darkness that creeped up from a direction unknown to her.
Blindly -for how could she truly see with the sun blinding her gaze and the mice like people below?- she glanced around, hoping to see her mother, a former princess of this kingdom. Sachiko has heard about such fairy tales in myths, never did she think it would fall on her. Was she happy? She couldn't remember. All she could recall was the look of fear in her mother's eyes.
Why? She had asked.
Her mother merely looked at her and smiled, then there was a gentle shake of her head before warm arms enveloped her.
It must have been the surprise. Sachiko decided.
"On this magnificant day that the gods have blessed themselves, we celebrate and thank the presence of..."
Sachiko looked right before her, the man's back faced her while he addressed the crowd. She had learnt earlier that he was the national affairs minister, highest one could climb unless they wanted to over throw the royalties seated upon the throne.
The throne that she was to sit upon in moments to come.
"... it has been an arduous journey, but we made it!" He paused -for effect and for the appreciations to be voiced by the crowd- before continuing on. "Today, underneath the grace of heaven" a tilt of head upwards "and the loyal eyes of the people" his arms spread towards the mass "we welcome and embrace our new soverign!"
With one step aside, Sachiko was faced with the full blunt of the crowd's outburst of applause and hollers. She thought she had distinguished one word from another, she thought she heard familiar voice, but really, one syllable rolled of another, washing over with a competitive wave each other's distinct messages.
Isn't she simply lovely?
She's so young!
I heard she was shipped back here from the south!
How long do you think she'd last?
Do you think the high oracle gave her blessings?
Her heart pulsated in her throat, Sachiko took a step forward, like how she was instructed and lifted her right hand to address the crowd. The long train of her robe dragged behind her; the pearl beads her hair piece waved with the breeze tapping against her cheek. She heard nothing but the beating of her heart.
This... was to be hers? All hers?
These people... they were a fraction of the lives she was to manage with her laws and decisions?
Sachiko thought she would suffocate while breathing, thought she was going to faint while standing, die while she was living.
It was the gradual hush of the ground that directed Sachiko's attention elsewhere, not in front of her, but behind her. The crown, worthy of the stars, emerged from behind her. Rested upon a red velvet pillow, it was carried towards her. It was when she glanced at the crown did she realize that she had turned her head around.
Oops, mistake number one.
Sachiko almost broke a bone snapping her head back around, wondering if the flush on her cheeks could be noted by those in the crowd. She felt more than saw the financial minister move around her so that he stood in her line of gaze, blocking her world. The national affairs minister stepped up, hands cupped the crown and lifted it from its resting place.
If the crowd murmured, she could not hear over the deafening silence in her ears.
Her neck bowed until she felt the pressure and weight of the crown on her head, settled against her hair. She thought she felt warmth from the jewel of the country, perhaps the lingering body temperature of the last ruler who had worn it?
Raising her head, she touched gaze with the two minsters before turning to promptly head for her throne. Two seats lined side by side, she took her seat on the left side, back straight, arms rested against the chair's arm rest.
She could hear again.
The roaring of the crowd.
And the knowledge that part one had gone as planned.
She allowed herself a smile.
This, was going to be hers.