Fear of the Dark

A Meeting with the Dead

After arguing with her fiancé for a while, Sakura finally gave in to his wishes and took a walk to her studio to do some work. As she walked down the hall she looked up and saw Chii and Fai walking the man who had attacked her a few nights back to another part of the castle. Confused, she followed after them; they were headed down a spiral staircase, and it looked like they were headed for a dungeon of some sort. She hadn't been in this part of the castle before- it was the one area that Syaoran forbade her from going near, but she didn't let that stop her. She continued down the dark stairway after them-slowly, slowly… The bottoms of the stairs were visible now, and she peered around the edge of the wall to see what was there. Flaming torches lit the hall that the two blondes were walking down. She was about to follow after them, but someone grabbed her shoulder behind her. She span around to see Syaoron standing before her, and he didn't look pleased.

"What are you doing down here?" he practically demanded.

"I want to know what's going on." Sakura said firmly once she got over her shock.

"You shouldn't be here." He said. "Go back before it's too late."

"Before what?" She asked suspiciously, her eyes narrowing. "What are you planning on doing with him?"

He looked at her with worry and his expression was pleading. "Please, go back. You don't want to see this."

"See what?" she further pressed, beginning to feel irritated. He hesitated, but Sakura's piercing gaze was too much.

"He's about to be sentenced to death." He told her.

"I want to see him first." She said.

"Why?" He asked, shocked.

"I want to ask him something before he dies. I only need a few minutes." She replied.

He sighed, "Rena did say you could be stubborn." He muttered, and led her down the hall.

She followed him down the hall where they came to a stop in front of a set of large double doors. The guards looked at the prince with uncertainty, knowing that Syaoran probably wouldn't be too happy if he knew that Sakura was there.

"She's with me. Don't worry, I'll talk to him. You won't be held accountable for this." Syaoron said.

Though still uncertain, they opened the two large doors and allowed them through. Fai and Chii looked up as they walked through, shocked to see Sakura. "Princess, what are you doing here?" Chii asked.

"She's with me." The prince replied dully.

"We can see that. Syaoran won't be happy if he finds out." Fai said.

"When the time comes I'll deal with him myself." Sakura said. Her back was straight and her expression composed. They had never seen her look so much like a queen before.

"Suit yourself…" Fai said, and stepped to the side.

Sakura stepped forward and came to face one of her worst enemies. He smiled at her, revealing his rotten teeth. "Well if it isn't the princess herself. Come back for more have you?"

Sakura didn't even flinch. "Mind you tongue." She said.

"What's the point? I'm about to die anyway." He laughed.

"That's true. I have one question for you before you leave this world for good." She said.

He raised an eyebrow at her, "Oh really? What could you possibly want to know?"

"Why did you commit your crimes?" she asked.

He burst into laughter. "Crimes? I wouldn't call what I did to you or anyone else a crime, sweetheart. It was just a little fun, and would you like to know the best part?" he continued to laugh, "I enjoyed all of it."

Sakura felt enraged by this man. How could he do all of those things and feel no remorse? She kept herself calm, not daring to show any form of emotion. "Thank you." She said to him. Fai and Syaoron stepped forward to follow through with what was to be done and Chii walked over to Sakura.

"Look away, Princess." She said.

"No." She said firmly. "I must see this through."

Chii stood beside her, worried about what this might do to her. Sakura watched as her brother-in-law brought the sword down, beheading the man part of the group who tortured her.

Syaoran woke, startled as he felt Sakura's presence in the one part of the castle he had forbidden her from going near in order to protect her mind. Now that he knew her full story, he was even more frightened of how she was coping. Yuui, who was mixing together some medicine for him, looked at him with surprise as he shot up into a sitting position.

"Send out orders to have Sakura brought here immediately-I don't want her harmed, just bring her here!" he ordered.

Knowing he was furious and frightened for Sakura, Yuui immediately left to give the guards their orders. He told them to be careful and not to hurt her to ensure Sakura's safety as he knew that sometimes Syaoran's orders could get a little out of hand, and he was worried with how the prince would handle the situation. After giving the guards their orders he headed back into Syaoran's room to finish mixing together the medicine. "What will you do with her?" He questioned the prince. "You and I both know she's not quite stable at the moment."

"Of course I know that!" He snapped. "And it's for that reason that I forbade her from going near that part of the castle."

"Calm down. You don't want to frighten your fiancée, now, do you?" Yuui rolled his eyes as he administered the needle.

"Scaring her is never my intention." Syaoran said before pulling his shirt back on.

As Sakura walked back up the stairs she heard one of the guards shouting orders. They were looking for her, and by the sounds of it Syaoran was not happy. Her nerves started to kick in and suddenly she didn't feel so confident with herself. She began to feel dizzy and sick, and suddenly everything she had just seen took its toll on her. She doubled over with pain in her stomach and vomited, and then leant back against the cold brick walls to allow the cool temperature of the bricks seep through the fabric of her dress and cool her hot skin down.

"I'm sorry Syaoran…" she whispered in the dark, tears falling down her cheeks. She waited for a moment and then headed out into the much larger hallway; she immediately bumped into two guards, and though she was still clutching her stomach and feeling dizzy, they grabbed an arm each so she couldn't escape.

"Please," She whimpered, "That hurts…"

The two guards looked at each other and then one of them spoke. "His highness wants to see you immediately. Will you cooperate?" He asked.

Sakura's breathing was becoming rapid due to her panic attack; her chest grew tight and her vision blurred.

"Something's wrong with her highness." The other guard murmured.

"I promise to cooperate…" she whispered, "If it means protecting Rena…"

The two guards looked at each other with confusion. Suddenly, she began screaming, and they quickly released her. She fell to the ground cradling her head in her hands, begging for someone to stop hurting Rena. Chii and Syaoron came running up the stairs to find out what was going on, knowing that the guards weren't so cruel as to harm either Rena or Sakura.

"What's going on?" he shouted.

"We don't know-she just started saying things to do with keeping Lady Rena safe." One of the guards answered.

Syaoron swore. "I shouldn't have let her continue any further down that hall. My brother's going to kill me." He knocked Sakura out and picked her up, "I'll take her to him." He said, and headed for his brother's room.

Syaoran looked up as his door opened and his brother walked in, holding an unconscious Sakura. She was pale in the face, her cheeks damp with tears. He felt all of his anger fade as she was placed beside him.

"She had an attack, so I had to knock her out." His brother explained.

Suddenly his anger came crashing back, and he glared at his brother. "You let her go down there, didn't you?" he hissed.


Syaoran punched his brother had in the jaw. "How could you do that!?" He shouted.

"Calm down. Sakura asked me to." Syaoron said irritably as he clicked his jaw back into place.

"And you just let her? I know that you know she's forbidden from going down there!" Syaoran said angrily.

"I get why you're upset, but Sakura was doing well. She asked what she wanted to ask, received her answer and she chose to stay. It wasn't until she left that she had her panic attack." Syaoron said.

"Did she say why she wanted to see him?" He asked.

"Just that it was something she needed to see through." His brother shrugged.

Syaoran coughed a little. "Fine. I'm still not happy with you for letting her go down there, but it's done now and there's no point in staying pissed off forever." He said.

"With all due respect, she followed Chii and Fai down the stairs before I caught her." Syaoran glared at him and he turned to leave. "I'll leave you to rest now," he muttered, and left the room.

Syaoran looked to Sakura who was lying unconscious on his knees and pulled her into his arms, resting her head against his chest. He ran his fingers through her hair and over her soft skin, and he leant back against the pillows behind him. She moved occasionally in her sleep, nuzzling his neck or shifting to find a more comfortable position. She slept for about two hours before waking up, feeling warm and safe in the arms of her lover, but she was confused as to what had happened. The last thing she remembered was seeing the two guards after vomiting. She knew that Syaoran was angry with her, and frightened she tried to push away. He didn't let her go and she panicked.

"I'm not angry, it's ok." He whispered softly.

She took in a couple of deep breaths and relaxed back against him. She sobbed, "I'm sorry," she whispered, "I know you forbade me from going there."

He hushed her, "I forgive you. Just don't do it again; you frightened me." He said as he wiped her tears away.

She turned her head to him slightly, looking up at him. He kissed her softly and as they parted she placed her hand against his cheek. "How are you feeling…?" She asked.

"I'll be fine." He said, nuzzling her palm, "Will you stay?" He asked.

She smiled, "Of course I will."

Rena stared at her fiancé who was icing his bruise jaw and shook her head. "So…what happened?" she asked.

"My brother punched me." He answered.

She laughed, "Why?"

"Because I let Sakura in the one part of the castle he forbade her from." He replied.

"What was happening there?" Rena yawned.

"Our prisoner was beheaded." He replied.

"I'm guessing she made the decision to stay and watch after asking him a question?" She asked.

"How'd you know?" He asked.

"I'm her twin sister! Of course I know what stupid decisions she makes." Rena scoffed.

He rolled his eyes. Anna-Maria came walking in a few moments later, carrying a briefcase in her hands. "Good evening." She greeting.

"Hello Anna-Maria." Rena smiled. "Come with my dress, have you?"

"Yes, you did say that you were free for a fitting today." Anna-Maria replied with a smile.

Rena turned to Syaoron, "Are you staying?" she asked.

"I'm not moving." He said.

She rolled her eyes, "He won't care."

Anna-Maria giggled and shut the door before placing the briefcase on the end of the bed; she opened it and pulled out a royal blue gown with long sleeves and careful silver embroidery along the neckline and the edge of the sleeves. The underdress for it was made of black lace with patterns of flowers and leaves, with a belt to hold it together. The gown itself also crossed over and had a tie to keep it together just beneath her bust. Rena stripped and Anna-Maria helped her into the gown. Rena looked at herself in the mirror and smiled, "It's lovely, thank you." She said.

"Yeah, it really brings out the curve of your ass."

Rena span around and threw the nearest object at Syaoron's head. "Not in front of visitors!" Rena snapped, her face bright red.

He laughed, "Aw, are you embarrassed?" He smirked.

"I'll knock your jaw out of line again!" she bit back.

"No thank you." He muttered. She rolled her eyes and sighed. He took a good a good look at the gown, finding the colour matched her eyes. The style of the gown suited her figure, bringing out her curves.

"Any adjustments you'd like me to make?" Anna-Maria asked.

"No, it's perfect." She smiled.

The tailor helped her out of it and placed it back in the briefcase. "I'll finish the final adjustments and then drop it off when it's completed. You'll have it before the wedding."

"Thanks," Rena smiled once she was dressed. Anna-Maria left and Rena felt her fiancé's hand slide up her side. "You want to go again?" she smiled.

"What do you think?" He asked, slipping his hand inside her dress and cupping her breast. She continued to smiled, "I think we have some time to spare before dinner."

In the morning Sakura woke to Chii walking in and opening the curtains and windows. Syaoran was still asleep, and she wondered how he slept through someone walking through his room humming. Chii casually picked up their clothes and slung them over her arm before walking over to the basket and emptying it into one she could carry. Chii then left with the basket full of clothes, and Sakura realised she'd taken her only clothes she had on her. She sighed and felt Syaoran shift beside her and she looked over; he was still asleep, probably sleeping uneasy due to the pain in his chest. She stroked his cheek softly so as not to wake him, and then closed her eyes again. She heard the door open again, and this time Chii was carrying a tray along with fresh clothes for Sakura. Chii placed the tray down on the bedside table, and placed the neat folded clothes on the chair on Sakura's side of the bed. Sakura wondered how the girl wasn't fazed by seeing her and Syaoran in bed together.

"Alright you two, time to wake up. Sakura, as much as I'm sure it's tempting, you can't stay in bed with him all day." Chii announced.

Sakura roused, but Syaoran didn't budge. As Sakura rolled onto her back, she rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Chii was intent on waking the prince up and persisted in waking him. "Come on you-wake up! You might be sick, but that isn't going to stop you from finishing off that paperwork."

"Can't you leave him be?" Sakura asked softly, "He's not well."

"He slept all day yesterday; I told Yuui to knock it off with the sedatives today-he can do his work." Chii said.

"But shouldn't he be resting…?" Sakura asked with worry as she looked at his sleeping face. Syaoran groaned and buried his face in Sakura's neck.

"Good, you're awake. Your breakfast is here; eat it before it goes cold. The cook was concerned for your wellbeing, so it looks like you struck gold." Chii said.

Syaoran threw a pillow at her, followed by another one. She dodged both and then proceeded to pick them up and place them back on the bed. "I'll be back for the tray in an hour." She said, and then left.

Syaoran sighed into Sakura's shoulder and she shifted back on her side, facing him. He looked tired, but she wasn't surprised since he was so unwell. He was still pale and felt hot, but that was also to be expected. "How are you feeling?" She asked.

"The same as yesterday, I guess." He said.

She wrapped her arms around him and he held her close. He continued to do so for a little while, and then parted from her. Sakura watched as he sat up and cracked his neck; he dressed himself but didn't touch anything on the tray sitting on his bedside table. Sakura sat up, holding the sheet to her chest, "You're not going to eat anything…?" she asked.

"Not really." He replied. He coughed violently, and Sakura worried even more. She felt his forehead for a fever and realised it was higher than the day before. "Sakura, I'll be fine." He said, taking her hand in his.

"You always tell me to eat something if I'm feeling sick." She muttered unhappily.

He sighed and smiled, "Alright, I hear you."

She smiled, pleased. "Good."

She dressed herself and then headed to the dining hall to meet with her sister, who was still half asleep with her head resting on her arms. "I see you're awake." She said as she sat down in her usual seat.

"I want ice cream…" Rena mumbled.

Sakura rolled her eyes. Syaoron walked in looking incredibly annoyed. "What's wrong with you?" Sakura asked.

"Who knew Chii could hit so hard…" he muttered as he sat down beside Rena.

"Can I have my ice cream yet…?" Rena mumbled.

Sakura beaconed to one of the maids to place Rena's meal in front of her. They did so and Sakura reached across the table, poking her sister. "Hey, you got what you wanted."

Rena took a mouthful of the hot soup and cried out. "It's hot!"

Sakura burst into a fit of laughter, clutching her stomach. Syaoron looked at Sakura with surprise, "I didn't think you could pull such nasty pranks."

Sakura rolled her eyes, "Oh come on, you were thinking it too."

"Looks like I've been caught out-what a pity." He said sarcastically.

Rena glared at Sakura, "Even when we lived back in Ainz, you always pulled these dirty tricks!" she shouted.

Sakura continued to laugh, almost in hysterics. The maids were a little shocked, never having seen Sakura act such a way before. Rena rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but smile; Sakura was finally starting to act like her usual self again. Maybe she could heal, even after what she'd been through.

After eating, Sakura decided to head out into the city for a while on her own. The weather was warming up for the spring, and as Sakura looked around herself she realised that a lot of the townsfolk were looking forward to the royal wedding. There was a lot of chatter, she noticed, and she couldn't help but enjoy the breeze against her skin. She smiled; the royal family was well loved by everyone, and as she walked through the clusters of people, she received hello's and smiles from everyone. In the town square there was a group of musicians playing music, and children and teenagers were dancing along with the tune. She smiled; it was good to see everyone looking so happy. She felt someone tug on the skirt of her dress and looked down to see a child of the age of about seven smiling up at her. The child pulled her over to join the rest of the dancers, who openly welcomed Sakura into their circle. Her guards looked at each other and shrugged; there was no harm in Sakura having a little fun. She picked up the dance quickly, and a couple of teenage girls weaved beautiful flowers through her hair. One of the girls began to shiver against the cold, so Sakura wrapped her cloak around the girl's shoulders.

"This should keep you warm." She smiled, and then stood.

One of the women walked over, seeing who Sakura was, and smiled kindly. "Hello Princess, how are you today?" She asked.

Sakura blinked with surprise and then returned the woman's smile. "I'm well thank you. How has everything been in the city?" Sakura replied.

"Everyone's excited for the wedding; there's been all sorts of celebration." The woman replied.

Sakura giggled, "So I've seen."

"Forgive me for asking, Princess, but where is Prince Syaoran?" The woman enquired.

Sakura's face fell. "He's unwell at the moment."

"Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that."

Sakura smiled again, "I'm sure he'll be ok."

The woman handed her a bouquet with white and purple lilies with smaller white flowers to complement them. "Please take these as a get well gift and a token of our gratitude."

Sakura took them from her hands and smiled softly, "Thank you." She shivered as she was no longer protected from the cold, and the woman looked a little worried.

"Your shoulders are bare."

Sakura smiled, "Please don't worry, I'll be fine. I should be heading back to the castle now; Syaoran's probably wondering where I ran off to. I didn't tell him I was going out." Sakura laughed a little.

The woman couldn't help but smile with her. "I hope the Prince feels better soon. Have a good day, Princess."

"You too." Sakura smiled, and left. As she continued to walk through the streets, Sakura found herself confronted with a couple of men. She knew the hungry looks of desire that they wore, and it stirred unpleasant memories inside her. However, she kept her composure and stayed calm, burying her fear.

"Princess, what would you like us to do?" One of the guards, Alastair, asked.

"I'll handle this." Sakura replied calmly.

"But Princess-" her second guard protested.

"I'll be fine, Rene." Sakura said, still calm.

They stepped back, unsure as to whether Sakura would be ok. The men in front of her laughed. "She thinks she can beat us." The leader of the group laughed.

"Suppose we should teach her a lesson?" one of the others asked.


The leader, surprisingly not too bad looking apart from the tattoos that covered his arms, smiled at Sakura. "I promise not to be too rough."

Sakura smiled back, "How sweet of you."

Antagonised, he ran towards her, and without even trying Sakura calmly stepped to the side and knocked him out with a quick hit to the nerves in the back of the neck. Alastair and Rene looked at each other, surprised that the princess knew how to fight so well. She stared the rest of the gang down, and within less than a minute they were running away. Sakura turned to her two guards with a smile, "Let's go back to the castle."

Syaoran stared at Chii with irritation. "She what?" he growled. He'd just heard about Sakura's little disappearance act, and he was worried. Why did she have to keep doing this?

"I said-"

"I know what you said. Why did you let her leave?" He asked.

"She's not some caged bird. Besides, she's got Alastair and Rene with her; she'll be perfectly fine." Chii said as she picked up the pile of paperwork he'd just finished. "I'll go take these to your brother to finish off now. Have a good rest." Chii smiled cheerfully.

Syaoran sighed. It wasn't that he wanted her in the castle at all times- it was more that he wanted to be told when she was going out. He didn't mind if she went out, and he'd prefer it if she did so more often instead of worrying about him. He closed his eyes, tired and exhausted due to feeling unwell, and fell asleep.

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