"So Kingou now... Thought you'd be saying that soon." Taikobo twirled around the glass of wine in his hand.
"The king of that country is no longer interested in the feelings of its common people Taikobo, it is about time we took action." The old emperor of Shuu answered with graveness and Taikobo just looked further ahead.
"He used to be great...." Those were the last words Taikobo muttered that evening.
"Youzen, are you really gonna go?" A young boy with light blond hair with a tint of brown asked as tears filled up his blue eyes.
"Tenshou..." The person called Youzen muttered as (s)he sat down next to the little boy. "It's the best thing for all of us. Tenka would be going to Shuu, where (s)he will be happier than this place, and you would be allowed to leave this country and go to where your parents are." Youzen explained. "Come on now, help me pack."
"But I don't want you to leave." Tenshou muttered through tears.
"Tenshou don't complain!!" Tenka yelled from the other side of the room. "You get to go back and live with dad!! Come on, it'll be fun!! And it's not like you'll never see us again!"
"Tenshou, please!!" Tenka hugged her younger brother in a fit of sadness. "Please....please just listen to us. We both know what, or at least believe we know that, what we are doing is the best for al of us. So Tenshou...please stop crying."
"Tenka...." Youzen muttered softly under her breath and then looked away from the brother and sister that held onto each other so desperately.
After the two left the room Youzen fell into her big, expensive bed. Her days of luxury would be brought to an end come day light. All of it though, was what she wished. A beautiful face that made heads turn, a body that was considered the work of god, added to that the position of the only child/princess of one of the greatest nations. It would have been strange if she had no suitors, but what hurt Youzen the most was that even with in the country people were fighting for the throne and (s)he was being used as a pawn in their game. Youzen shook her head at that thought. (S)he would never be used as a pawn by anyone, that was the whole reason she decided to dedicate the rest of her life to god.
Youzen closed her eyes and fell asleep in her own bed for one last time.
"Hakuyuukou, you know what I was thinking?" The prince of Shuu asked his older brother as he moved his rook.
"What Hatsu?" The oldest son of the emperor answered his brother.
"War is bad, you and I agree on that right."
"Right." Hakuyuukou replied.
"So, why do heck do I feel that all dad's doing is war!?" Hatsu complained.
"I mean, what we're doing is essentially taking over these people's homes and countries!! Sure it's only the ones were the people are suffering, but you know, it's still, I, I just don't think that.."
"Hatsu, God had given up on this world until father came and tried to unite the people. The Gods chose Father. I know it's hard for you to understand, and I feel your pain. But what we are doing would cure this world. We are on a crusade. It is an honor."
"That's what everyone says but, but why do I feel so rotten!?" Hatsu asked in a loud voice.
"Hatsu....you understand the suffering of innocent people....." Hakuyuukou muttered. "Checkmate."
"I said checkmate." Hakuyuukou waved his hand at the chase board to show it. "You see, since no matter where you move your king he is in a check so.."
"I know what checkmate means. Darn it. I'm never gonna win against you." Hatsu muttered.
"Winning isn't all dear brother. Now if you would excuse me."
"Well, see ya."
"Lady Yuukyou, are you sure this does not bother you?" An old man with a long pointed hair and a beard that reached the ground asked his granddaughter.
"Grandfather, whether it happen now or in ten years it is a given that it would happen. Let it be now when he isn't marrying someone half his age." Yuukyou replied. "Grandfather, you are a guest in this estate now and 'I' the lady of the house suggests you rest."
"Grandfather." Yuukyou's strong voice stopped him.
"Well, it's certainly lively in the prince's estate today." A voice said from the door to the room.
"Ahh, Taikobo how is my favorite grandson doing." The old man, Genshi Tenson exclaimed.
"Fine grandfather. Yuukyou, what is all this fuss about." Taikobo asked his cousin.
"Hatsu will soon be getting a mistress. It is understandable since he is after all, the second heir to the throne and sooner or later it would have happened." Yuukyou responds coolly.
"And where is she from?" Taikobo asked grabbing a peach.
"From Kingou. She was a maid but I assure you she is of good blood. Her parents are, after all from the Kou family."
"How did that happen?" Taikobo asked, his curiosity picked.
"You have heard that General Kou Hiko and his dear wife's, god bless her soul, had their two youngest, the youngest of them not even a year old, kidnapped some ten years ago. Well, slave merchants who apparently kidnapped them sold them to the royal family of Kingou. Since then the emperor and King Tsuusten Kyoushu have been discussing having the two return but it isn't easy with all the politics involved. Finally, after ten years they are allowed to return, under the contract that the oldest of the kidnapped, Kou Tenka, 17, would become Ki Hatsu's second wife." Yuukyou explained.
".............Kishou agreed to that?" Taikobo asked.
"Cousin, although we were not born in Shuu, we are currently citizens of it and there for shall not forget to treat the emperor with respect." Yuukyou declared.
"Don't you think I am aware of that fact. Anyway, did the emperor agree to this term?" Taikobo demanded and Yuukyou sighed.
"Of course he did, or else Tenka and her younger brother, only age of ten, would not be coming back to Shuu."
"When did this happen?"
"About a month or so ago the contract was assigned. Hatsu and I were notified about it two or so weeks ago. What is this sudden interest in these affairs." Yuukyou asked.
"Just wondering how long the emperor had been planning to invade Kingou before he told me yesterday. Yuukyou, I'll talk to you later, bye." Taikobo grabbed his cape and left the estate in a hurry.
"The carriage is ready Princess Youzen." A servant called into the room and Youzen raised her head.
"Did Tenka and Tenshou get off safely?" Youzen asked as she picked up her small bag.
"Well, the thing is...Princess you are going to laugh when you hear this!!" The servant replied.
"Well, I'm not laughing so you better tell it quickly." Youzen replied.
"You know how much Tenka and Tenshou are attached to you my princess, and that they would never leave you at a place they deemed unsafe for you. Why, you are like the sister they never knew that lives in Shuu, which they will be seeing quite shortly and oh, how am I to tell you this....." The servant cried and Youzen sighed.
"Cut the with drama/theatre act. Have they left or not?"
"...........not, yet. But they will be leaving very soon!!" The servant explained.
"Well, it was considerate of them to think of bidding me farewell before we parted. I was just regretting not doing so." Youzen explained as she picked up the hem of her skirt.
"I am glad to hear so since.......they plan to travel with you to the training grounds."
"What?!" Youzen was surely surprised then if she wasn't before. "They are to be sent straight to Shuu, it was written out clearly in the contract, I read it and signed, I mean was there when my father sighed it."
"I understand, but they won't have it. Princess, Tenka has been your maid and friend for years, she only wishes for your safety, and please don't make it harder on us by causing a scene." The servant begged but Youzen ignored him. "Surely you would feel more comfortable if a place was checked out for"
"I will choose what is suited for me and what is not!" Youzen declared with anger in her voice. "If you have forgotten I am superior to you and YOU will listen to me. Send Tenka and Tenshou to Shuu after we bid farewell."
"I have received orders from someone superior to you that Tenka and Tenshou will travel with you!!" The servant begged again.
".............Father." Youzen muttered angrily. "He will never see me as an independent person."
"He only wishes for your safety and nothing more!" The servant argued but Youzen ignored him and walked straight to the gates.
"I wished to leave without quarreling with my father one last time but I see that is impossible now." Youzen told herself as she exited the gates. As soon as she set foot outside of the palace Tenshou hugged her.
"Youzen!!" Tenshou yelled happily and hugged her tightly.
"Tenshou, Tenka. I thought you were to travel straight to Shuu." Youzen asked in a soft, controlled voice.
"Well, things changed Youzen." Tenka peeled her brother off the princess and started some explanations. "The thing is, Tenshou and I are scared. Tenshou doesn't know dad, and he doesn't remember mom. I have to go and become a mistress to a man I only met once when I was six and he was eight. We are both leaving everything familiar to us. I was just hoping that I could talk about my feelings while you go to the monastery."
"...........................okay, you know I can't deny you such a simple request. Tenka, Tenshou climb into the carriage along with Koutenken and Servant A, load their luggage." Youzen ordered and waited till the two siblings and her loyal pet were safely in the carriage before she turned to her father.
"Well, this is it father." Youzen started to talk.
"Are you sure of this?" He asked softly.
"Yes, I am. I pray that you would find happiness and comfort in the years to come." Youzen whispered.
"For the past 12 years I grieved over your mother's death and neglected to be a father to you. Take this with you." With that Tsuuten Kyoushu took out a small necklace from his pocket. It was a simple design, a silver chain with a pendant that had Youzen's mother's family symbol engraved on. "It was passed down in her family for generations, she would be more than glad for you to have it. It is the only thing I can give you and you are allowed to have in the convent."
"Thank you father..." Youzen whispered as she slowly put the necklace on. "Good luck with this country, I am sure you would be able to save it."
"Thank you, daughter." Those were the last words that were traded between father and daughter.