Pawn's Game
An Original Anime
By Akira and Flair
(title pending)

Chapter One: Where Koujikama Shuyoutoshi Unknowingly Starts Towards his Fate

Kouji...was a prince.

Not a terribly important one, mind you, for he had three elder sisters and two elder brothers, so he would probably never have to hold any sort of leadership position. This didn't bother Kouji, who wouldn't have wanted all that power even if he had it.

"There are more things to life than power," his second-eldest brother Kenji once told him, when the twenty-four-year-old was trying to reconcile his jealousy that he would =not= be put on the throne.

For Kouji...well, it just really didn't bother him.

Not a lot ever got to Kouji -- he was easygoing, talkative, and feigned sweetness whenever possible. He was a little short for his age (which was, coincidentally, 17 revolutions and 63 rotations), had unruly hair exactly the same colour as his mother's very rare cherrywood bookshelf, and sparkling grey eyes the colour of flawed diamonds. He hated his nose – it was too small and a bit too turned up for his tastes (which he agonized over in the mirror at least twice a week); he absolutely loathed his eyebrows, which were too light and usually could not be discerned from long distances; he thought his eyes were an interesting colour, but too large and too girly looking with their long lashes. The only part of himself he really took pride in was his hair.

He loved the way it immediately began to come out of the ponytail he customarily put it in; he loved the way tendrils would frame his face and fall slightly below his chin; he loved the way the light would catch its spicy color and shine warmly through and through; but most of all, he loved the way it felt when it was all the way down, soft and heavy, brushing past his shoulders. He could twirl a piece of it around his finger all day, feeling its silky texture and intently watching the light catch each individual strand with flickering highlights. He thought it was =beautiful=.

Kouji had seven siblings in all -- Khavidra, Kenji, Kanaka, Kirati, Kanishka, Kotori, and Kolali. Being in the ruling family, they all had longer formal names, all of which spanned five words and over fifty letters each. Kouji's full name was, of course, Koujikama Shoorihoshi Nakaisukeshima Kagami Shuyoutoshi (which took Kouji most of his childhood to learn how to spell).

One day in early Lion Month, Kouji was sitting by his window, absently braiding parts of his hair, calling pebbles up to the window from the garden and letting them drop (which took a lot less brain-power then one might think), and being pensive about nothing in particular.

He was a little bit bored, but mostly just restless. He needed something a bit more interesting to do. Without pausing in his ministrations to his beloved hair, he gave one of the floating pebbles a bit of a flick with his mind, sending it sailing through the air and into the lap of his oldest sister Khavidra.

"KOUJI! STOP IT!!!" Khavidra yelled for the fiftieth time. She was trying to address thank-you letters to all the important people who had come to call on her (as the heir to the throne, Khavidra had to entertain visitors nearly non-stop), and was feeling murderous. She was 25 revolutions old, with cropped auburn hair and eyes the same colour as Kouji's (which were usually mostly concealed by thick-framed reading glasses).

Grinning evilly, Kouji sent another pebble flying directly down her blouse.

"KOUJIKAMA!!!!! DON'T MAKE ME KILL YOU!!!!!" Khavidra huffed and gathered her papers, jogging away to find a more suitable location to work.

Suddenly very bored, Kouji turned away from his window and collapsed on his bed, letting his arms flop out into the sea of pillows.

Suddenly the door burst open and Kouji was assaulted by his two younger sisters, Kotori and Kolali, who were, coincidentally, twins. The two nine-year-old girls looked exactly alike, but had very different tastes in clothing as well as in what they liked to do. This didn't stop them, however, from teaming up to make a chosen target's life miserable.

"Kouji Kouji Kouji Kouji Kouji!!!" Kotori chanted, bouncing up and down on the bed.

"We're going to the market and then we're going to the fair!" Kolali was bouncing too, in counterpoint to how her sister was bouncing, making the bed see-saw back and forth.

Kouji perked up. "Really? They're letting us out again? How stupid are they?"

"It's 'cause of the dela- del- delk- delga…" Kolali made a face.

"Delegation?" Kouji offered.

"Yeah! It's because the delkavation is here, from the Outside!" Kolali's eyes sparkled. "They're having a special fair in their honour."

*The Delegation…* Kouji thought. He had forgotten all about it, although it had been all the hype in the palace for the past few weeks. A group of Outsiders (Royals and High-in-Commands) were coming into the technologically advanced, magic-free city of Shuyoutoshi to work out defence treaties. Kouji and many others personally thought that it was ineffectual, since there hadn't been any wars for centuries, but he had to admit that it would be very interesting to see Outsiders from the various Element Cultures…

Rumour had it that the Delegation was led by a Wanderer that was also a Prince, which was very unusual. Wanderers were at one time citizens of Shuyoutoshi, completely magic-free, that had ventured out into the magic-ridden lands outside the city gates. They became the wandering bards, the hire-swords, and the mystics, changed by the landscape and possessing powers and talents collected from all of the Cultures. That a Wanderer was also a Prince was fascinating in it's own right.


The prince blinked at his two little sisters, who were staring at him out of identical, big eyes. "Oh, sorry girls, what were you saying?"

"Will you help me find a bow and arrow, Kouji?" Kotori beseeched.

"And will you help me find some new crayons? Mine are all worn down." Kolali held up her thumb and forefinger a scant inch apart. Then both girls blinked suddenly teary eyes at him.

"Yes, yes, I'll help you find them..." Kouji rolled his eyes.

"Hooray!!!" The girls cheered.

"But you have to help =me= find a new cloak. I want one that actually =looks good= with my complexion."

"You're so silly," Kolali said, hugging her brother, who ruffled Kotori's hair. Kouji called two lilies up to the window and into his hand, handing one to each of his sisters. They grinned admiringly at him.

Kouji's strange talent of making things move with his mind did not faze any of his siblings. They were all so used to his telekinetic pranks that none of them found it strange anymore, and they all helped him hide his abilities from their parents and the rest of the city. Evil magic was not well tolerated in Shuyoutoshi.

*I wonder what they'd think if they knew I could do… more…*

"Let's go then," Kouji said loudly, his smile only half false as he beamed at his sisters. Then, quieter, "I still can't believe they're letting us out…"

End Chapter One