Italics = Kurama's narration
"All of you know how in my previous life, I was a demon fox and a master thief, known as Yoko Kurama. Before I pursued thievery, I lived in a kingdom known as Endona. It was a Kitsune kingdom, a place for demon fox only. The ruler of Endona was King Akame and his wife, Queen Kaede, a very kind woman. They had me come to their castle one day a very long time ago."
"Yoko Kurama, thank you for coming," a man said sitting in a chair next to a woman. He had black hair and red eyes along with brown fox ears and a brown tail. The woman next to him had blonde hair that flowed to the ground with shimmering blue eyes. She also had fox ears and a tail, though they were silver.
The silver demon fox nodded his head to the two sitting before him, "Yes. I was told you required my services."
The two nodded before the man, King Akame, spoke again. "As you know, we're going to war against our rivals from Dandara, the wolf-demons, and we're in need of more soldiers for our demon army. I've been told of your fighting and analytical expertise by many of my soldiers already, and my son, Prince Rensen, speaks most highly of your skills."
Yoko chuckled, "Yes, we spar on occasion and he never wins."
"Right. So we would like you to join our military during this war."
"Hm. Very well."
Queen Kaede smiled, "That's wonderful, thank you Yoko Kurama."
"That's when I met Yori."
"Yoriana, dear, can you come here please?" The Queen said.
A moment later, a beautiful fox demoness came through the door. She had the same long blonde hair as the Queen, with soft curls at the bottom, along with sapphire blue eyes. She had silver fox ears and a silver tail and she wore a blue tube top dress that was high in the front and long in the back, with ruffles at the bottom.
"Can you take Yoko Kurama to the barracks?"
"Actually," Yoko cut in. "Out of personal preferences, I would like to stay in a room away from the other soldiers."
The King laughed, "Not the social type, eh? Very well! But only because Rensen speaks so highly of you. Yoriana, take him to one of the guest rooms on the second floor."
Yoriana bowed, "Yes, father." Yoko nodded his head to the King and Queen before walking away with Yoriana. The walk to the room was a silent one. When they got to the second floor, Yoriana and Yoko walked to the door that was seventh on the left. She unlocked the door to the room and walked inside with Yoko following behind. "Will this be exceptional?" She asked.
The room was a standard one, a double bed on one wall with a dresser on the other, along with a book shelf on the far wall with a lounge chair next to it. There were also two other doors, one led to a closet and one led to a bathroom. "Yes, I'm not picky about where I stay; I'd just rather stay away from other demons is all."
"So you're picky." Yoriana stated and Yoko smirked. Yoriana started to walk out, "Dinner is held on the first floor at 7pm every day. Breakfast starts at 8am and Lunch starts at 12. You're free to come to the dining hall at those times."
"Very well, Princess." Yoko bowed slightly. Yoriana walked out of the room and Yoko walked over to the bookshelf.
"Since dinner wasn't for another two hours, I read a few books while I had the chance. When I went to the dining hall for dinner, I went to sit with the other soldiers, but Rensen, or Sen as we know him in the human world, called me over."
"Yoko?" Yoko turned around to see the Prince walking up to him. He had his black hair styled the same way as he did now and had brown fox ears and a tail. He wore black and red battle armor along with a black cape that was dark purple on the inside; he also had a sword in its holster.
"Hey! I see Dad finally let you in our army!"
Yoko nodded his head, "Only from the vast amount of praise you have given me."
Rensen turned his head, "I didn't give you that much praise! I just said you were alright!"
"Alright? You have yet to beat me in battle, Rensen, don't forget that."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..."
"Where do the soldiers eat?" Yoko asked.
Rensen grabbed Yoko's arm and started pulling him, "Nah don't worry about that! You can eat over with me; I'd like to get a chance to catch up with my friend!"
"Sure, that's what we are," Yoko said while smirking.
They sat down at a table filled with other fox demons, yet the two chairs at the head of the table were empty.
"Mom and Dad won't be eating with us tonight, too busy filling out some paperwork. Tsk. My sister should be down soon, though."
The two began to eat the food that was brought out to them by the servants. After a few minutes, Yoriana walked into the dining hall.
"Hello, Rensen. Hello, Yoko Kurama." The two stood up while the fox demon on her right pulled her chair out for her to sit in. She looked over at her brother, "You didn't have time to change out of your armor?"
Rensen and Yoko sat back down. "No, we were training late today so I came straight here after I showered. You've already met Yoko?"
"Yes. Mother had me show him to his room. It seems you will have to go up to the second floor to wake him up for morning training."
"Yeah I heard that!" Rensen punched Yoko's shoulder, "Too high up on your pedestal to sleep in the barracks, huh?"
He chuckled, "Yes, that's it. No, you know I would rather stay away from others than be with them."
"It seems like it," Yoriana said and then she smirked, "Or he's just picky."
Yoko smirked at her and the three continued to eat while Yoko and Yoriana stole glances at each other every now and then.
"A few weeks passed by and I went through training alongside Rensen under the army general, Tenzo. Tenzo was not a fox demon, however. He was a wolf demon. It might sound ridiculous, having a wolf demon be in charge of the fox demon army when we were at war with the wolves, but Tenzo and the King were friends since they were children, which was a very, very long time ago. While we did eat dinner along with Rensen and occasionally the King and Queen, I didn't have the chance to actually talk with Yoriana until a month after I became a part of Endona's army."
"Yoko! That's enough training for today, go ahead and head back to your room. Dinner will be in three hours," Tenzo yelled at Yoko. Tenzo was a tall man with long black hair with a white streak in it and he also had black eyes, black wolf ears and a tail.
"Fine." Yoko had been learning new sword techniques from the army general but he preferred to use his Rose Whip and manipulate his demon plants. He left the training arena and headed back to his room to shower before walking around the castle. While he was walking around, he saw a few servants running around.
"Have you found her yet?"
"No! Queen Kaede wants to see her but I can't find her anywhere! She always runs off and hides for hours a day and no one know where she goes off too..."
"And to think that she's the heir to the throne..."
Yoko brushed off the servants words and continued walking, stopping by a door that led outside. Stepping outside, he saw a path that led to a maze and, by smelling the air, Yoko could tell there was a garden on the other side. Yoko walked through the maze, and although it took a few minutes, he made it to the other side, finding a garden filled with different colored roses and other flowers. Yoko walked forward and kneeled down, smelling one of the flowers.
"Do you like my garden?" Yoko looked up to see Yoriana sitting on the edge of a fountain that was in the center of the garden.
He nodded his head, "Yes, flowers are beautiful; I like the roses the best."
"I do too. The red ones are my favorite, they symbolize love and passion," Yoriana said while smiling.
"This is your garden alone?"
"Yes. I put up the maze so no one would get here, it's my secret garden, and I come here when I need time to think to myself. I never expected anyone to get through my maze, however," she said with a smirk on her face.
Yoko stood up, "I apologize. This is your garden, I'll leave." He turned around and started to walk out.
"You don't have to leave," Yoriana said, grabbing his hand to gain his attention. "I'd actually like to have someone to talk to, if you don't mind, that is."
Yoko nodded his head and the two sat down on the fountain edge.
"We talked for hours that night. To be perfectly honest, I didn't want the night to end. I learned many things about her: her likes, dislikes, hobbies, dreams, worries, and fears. We didn't attend dinner that night, too engrossed in our talk. That was also the night where Rensen and I grew further apart."
"Thank you for spending the night talking with me, I hope I wasn't too troublesome... And I made you miss dinner..."
Yoko shook his head, "No, you didn't make me do anything, Princess. I enjoyed talking to you tonight."
Yoko and Yoriana were walking down the hallway of the seventh floor, and when they reached the third door on the right, they stopped walking.
Yoriana looked up at him, "Well, I guess I'll see you at dinner tomorrow..."
"Yes..." Yoko replied, leaning forward slightly before kissing her softly.
The two straightened back up quickly while Rensen walked down the hallway, "Rensen? What is it?" Yoriana asked.
Rensen grabbed Yoriana's wrist and started pulling her into her room, "Mom has been looking for you everywhere all day! Get inside you room now!" Pushing her into her room, he closed the door behind her and turned back to Yoko. "Seriously? My sister? What the hell is wrong with you?" And with that, he walked away.
"After that, Rensen stopped speaking to me. Because of what happened between Yoriana and me, the friendship between Rensen and me was ruined. He began to increase my training and the training became harsher; he no longer allowed me to sit with him at dinner; he wouldn't allow me to speak with his sister, and we no longer sparred for fun. Though I didn't care; I was still capable of seeing Yoriana whenever I pleased."
It had been a year since Rensen saw Yoko and Yoriana in the hallway and Yoko walked through the now familiar maze and approached the Princess' garden. Looking around, he didn't see Yoriana around, and he sighed in defeat. Yoko had not seen the demon princess since dinner a few nights ago, and he hadn't been able to speak to her here in over a week. He had hoped that he would be able to find her here after dinner, but he was wrong.
"Yoko! You're already here! I was hoping to find you here today," Yoriana said, walking into the garden.
Yoko bowed, "Hello, Princess."
"I told you, you can just call me 'Yoriana'," she walked over to Yoko and placed her hand on his cheek. "It has been a while, my dear."
"Yes, forgive me. Rensen and Tenzo have been increasing my training. I'll have to come here after dinner from now on if I'm to see you," Yoko said, placing his hand over hers.
"I will admit, I don't like sneaking around all the time…"
"Rensen won't allow you to see me and you know that."
Yoriana shook her head, "I know… I'm going to speak with him. I love you, Yoko, I hope you know that."
"Yes, I do."
"Rensen didn't approve of Yoriana's love for me. However, he no longer cared if she spent time with me. While it was known throughout the kingdom that Yoriana was with me, her mother and father would not allow us to marry, even though we spent five years together. They wanted her to marry a noble, not a measly soldier. One day, Prince Rensen sent his battalion into the opposing army's fortress, and that was the day I left Endona, Rensen had sent me into a trap and I had nearly lost my life."
"We lost the battle because of your idiotic plan!"
"We lost the battle because you were not good enough for my plan!"
"You can say I'm not good enough when you can beat me in battle! You sent me into the enemy's fortress knowing they would attack me! Of course, I can't disobey the King's son so you knew I would have no choice but to go in!"
"There was word that Dandara's army left the fortress!"
"Everyone has been saying that they haven't! Tenzo would never have sent one of his men in there!"
"Tenzo wasn't in charge of this battalion!"
"But he wouldn't have sent me in there if he was!"
Rensen glared at Yoko Kurama as he sat on the floor with Yoriana who was healing his wounds. He had cuts and bruises all over his body, some severely deep.
"You should have been able to get out of there before they got you," Rensen yelled.
Yoko shot a glare at his old friend, "No. No one would have been able to get out of there and you know that. They had archers in every corner of the damn room and warriors blocking the entrance; they nearly killed me! You sent me in there on purpose to get me killed!" Yoko Kurama has never lost his cool, but this demon was pushing him too far.
"So what if I did! At least then Yoriana wouldn't be with a demon who will get nowhere in life!" Rensen's eyes widened, realizing what he said.
Yoriana stood up, "Rensen! How could you say such a thing!? I can't believe you would do such a thing!" She ran out of the room, not looking back at her brother.
Yoko stood up as well, glaring at the Prince. "Rensen, you used to be a close friend of mine, but your stubbornness and your disrespect towards me and your sister has made you lose your best soldier. I'll inform the King and Queen of my leave."
Yoko walked out of the room, leaving Rensen in shock. As he left the room, he saw Yoriana standing against the wall, looking down at the floor.
He walked over to her, "Yes. I can no longer serve under your brother. He has no respect for me or you."
She shook her head, "I know he doesn't respect you anymore, but I don't want you to leave…"
"It's too late; I've already announced my leave to him." He pulled Yoriana to him and hugged her and sighed, "You are my only weakness, Yoriana. I care about you more than I've ever cared about anyone before."
"I care about you too, that's why I want to go with you, Yoko."
Yoko shook his head, "You can't. You're the heir to the throne; I can't take you away from your responsibilities."
"I don't want to rule Endona! Yoko… I want to be with you…"
"I know… But you are the only hope for this kingdom. I want you to be the next ruler and change the ways of this kingdom. Make it a peaceful place where there is no war, expand your garden to the edge of the kingdom and show the people here real beauty, and change your brother's ways; you can't have an army general who would throw his soldiers' lives away just out of spite."
Yoriana looked down at the ground, "Will you ever return…?"
"One day. I will return one day when you are the ruler of Endona and this land has become one actually worth fighting for." Yoko reached into his pocket and pulled out a black bracelet lined with diamonds and a ruby heart charm in the middle. Wrapping it around Yoriana's wrist, he said, "Until then, I want you to remember me always, I love you, Yoriana." Yoko kissed her forehead, stared into her eyes for a few moments, and then walked out of the castle doors, leaving Endona. Yoriana sank to the floor and wrapped her arms around herself, and soon after, Rensen walked through the doors.
"Yoriana? What happened?" Rensen put his hands on her shoulders, trying to get an answer, but she pushed him away from her.
"Don't touch me! This is all your fault! It's your fault that he left and I'll never forgive you!" Yoriana ran away from her brother and ran outside, hiding in her garden for three days. When she finally left, her eyes were cold; she stopped speaking to her brother and spent all her time studying and learning how a Queen should act. She knew she would one day become ruler and when she made her kingdom better, Yoko would return to her.