Syaoron looked up as Chii entered the study with a big smile on her face. "Here's another pile!" she beamed, slamming the pile of paper down on the desk.
He groaned, "You're more of a slave driver than a maid…" He mumbled.
"You seem to be forgetting I chose to do this job, and part of my job is to ensure all of your work is completed." She smiled.
"And you certainly don't act your title…" he continued to mutter to himself.
"What was that?" She snapped.
"You heard me, Lady Chii."
"You don't act much of your title either, Prince!" she snapped again.
They glared at each other, starting another one of their stupid wars. There was a knock at the door and Fai walked in. "I see you're both arguing again." He said.
"Maybe I should throw you in a dark cell!" Syaoron snapped at Chii.
"Ha! I'd like to see you try!" Chii retorted.
Fai sighed and poked Chii in the side. She shrieked and span around to see him smiling. "Fai? What are you doing here?" She asked.
"I'm here to see Syaoron." He replied.
Syaoron sat back down in his seat and rested his cheek on his hand. "What do you want?" he asked.
"Just thought I should let you know that the townspeople are all waiting to see you, since they can't see Syaoran." Fai replied.
"Oh, right." He mumbled. "I'll be there shortly."
Fai nodded and left, and Chii smirked. "So, how does it feel to endure Syaoran's entire work load?"
"Oh shut up." He snapped.
As Sakura stepped out of the carriage she noticed the line of townspeople at the castle doors. She'd forgotten that they would be coming; it was a weekly occurrence, where the townsfolk were able to come to the castle and enquire about the struggles the town are going through. It was how Syaoran kept on top of what was happening and was able to keep the criminal world under control. It was easy to see why the royals were so loved with how they handled the citizens and their problems. She made her way inside and past the citizens; she smiled at them and then quickly hurried away. Chii blinked as she noticed Sakura's lack of cloak, and sighed. She bumped into Tomoyo on her way up the stairs. Tomoyo smiled at Sakura, noticing the flowers in her hair and the bouquet. "Those are pretty." She said.
Sakura smiled back, "I got the flowers from a woman down in the city." She said.
"That was nice of her. Did you have a good time?" Tomoyo asked.
Sakura nodded, "Yes, thank you. How have you been? I haven't seen you in a while."
Tomoyo laughed. "Oh yes, about that-I had to go to a conference; it was nightmarish and long and no one could make up their minds."
"Aren't they always?" Sakura rolled her eyes.
"That's true." Tomoyo laughed.
"Did you just get back?" Sakura asked.
"Yes, I'm so glad to be home." Tomoyo sighed.
Sakura continued to smile, "I'm going to go see Syaoran now, but would you like to join me for tea later?"
"I would love to." Tomoyo replied cheerfully.
"Great! I'll see you later then." Sakura said, and continued to make her way up the stairs. Tomoyo was surprised by Sakura's rapid improvement, but even so she was glad. She continued making her way down the stairs to report what she had found out to Syaoron. She hadn't told Sakura the whole truth; while she was away she had been to a conference, but she had also been collecting information from surrounding allies on The Scarlet Organisation and their movements. This had been an order issued to her by Syaoran over two months ago.
Syaoran woke to the smell of flowers and could feel the weight of someone sitting on the edge of his bed. He opened his eyes and spotted Sakura with flowers of all colours decorating her hair. She had some chains of flowers hanging down over her shoulders, and with her pale lilac dress and crème lace, she looked even more beautiful. Her shoulders were bare as her sleeves sat off of her shoulders, and the pale crème sash around her hips was decorated in silver. "Hey," He said tiredly, slipping his hand into hers.
She looked over and smiled, "How are you feeling?" she asked softly, stroking his cheek with her other hand.
He leant into her palm and squeezed her other hand gently. "I'm a little tired." He replied. He lifted one of the flower chains gently with the tips of his fingers and smiled. "I heard you went on a bit of an adventure."
She bit her cheek, "You're not mad, are you…?"
"No, of course not." He said. She sighed with relief. "But…I would have like it if you'd let me know, first." He said.
She smiled, "Alright, I'm sorry."
"So, who did your hair?" he asked.
"There were some musicians playing music in the town square, and some of the girls weaved flowers through my hair." She replied.
"Oh really?" He smiled. He spotted the lilies in the vase on his bedside table, "Where did they come from?"
"I spoke to a woman while I was in the city, and she gave me the bouquet as a thank you and as a get well gift." She answered.
He smiled, "I'm guessing it was the florist. She often does things like that." He said. "I'm glad to see that you're already well loved by everyone; you'll make a great queen."
She blushed a little and smiled, "Thank you."
"What else happened?" he asked.
"How did you know something else happened?" She asked, surprised.
He crooked an eyebrow, "Well I didn't, until you said so."
He had been expecting her to tell him a little bit more about what she had been up to while she was out in the city. She felt a quick surge of anxiety rush through her blood, and he noticed the distressed look on her face and became worried. "What happened sweet heart?"
She looked at her knees, "I was confronted by a group of men with impure motives…" she said.
"What did Alastair and Rene do?" Syaoran asked.
"I told them to stand down." She replied quietly, knowing he wouldn't be happy.
"What?" He said unhappily.
"Please don't be angry. I knew I could handle them myself." She said.
"If you had been hurt, I would never forgive myself." He said.
"Please, don't ever do that again." He cut across her sharply.
"Alright…" she whispered.
He kissed the back of her hand softly. "I forgive you." He said gently.
Sakura looked to him and smiled gratefully, "Thank you."
He felt a sudden pain in his chest and found it hard to breathe. Sweat broke out on his forehead and he clutched at his chest. "Syaoran?" Sakura cried. "Someone get Yuui!" she shouted.
Moments later Yuui came running in and saw the state of the Prince; he rolled him on his side and slammed a needle into his back, and like just a few nights ago he screamed. Yuui removed the needle and carefully assisted the prince onto his back again. "Go back to sleep." Yuui muttered. "Stress doesn't suit you right now."
Sakura sat back down on the edge of the bed and watched as tears of pain slid down his face. She stroked his cheek softly, watching as his expression slowly eased. She looked to Yuui who was putting together another needle in case it needed to be used later. "Don't worry, he'll be fine." He said calmly. "Though I can't say I've ever heard him scream…"
Sakura looked back to her fiancé who was now out cold. She lay down beside him and stayed with him, though she worried how much he was suffering. She'd never seen him so sick before, and she feared the worst. As Yuui watched her face become increasingly worried and distressed, he sighed. "If you're worried he's going to die, you don't have to worry. Something like this won't kill him as long as I'm around." He said.
"Promise?" she whispered.
"You should get some rest as well. I here you've been out in the city." He said, and then left.
About a week and a half passed before Syaoran finally recovered. He still had a bit of a cough and needed to take it easy, but he could walk around again. Sakura was relieved of her worry, and she was glad that he was going to be ok. As she lay in bed beside him, she watched as he slept peacefully. The window was open a little, allowing the cool breeze to float in and over her hot skin. The stars were clear in the night sky, un-obscured by clouds. The moonlight was bright, and she felt relaxed despite being unable to sleep. She allowed her mind to wander, and she wondered what their life would be like once they were married. She remembered back in Ainz she always thought about what it would be like to get married, and what her husband would be like. She'd always dreaded the thought of arranged marriages, preferring to find someone on her own two feet. Though she had a feeling that if she were subject to an arranged marriage, she'd probably have ended up engaged to Syaoran anyway. She wondered how things might have been different if she hadn't been taken and tortured, if she would have still met Syaoran and fallen in love with him. Perhaps that could have been another possibility. She felt Syaoran shift beside her and he woke to see that she was already awake.
"Have you gotten any sleep?" he asked tiredly.
"No, not really." She said softly.
"What's keeping you?" He asked.
"I don't really know." She replied.
He kissed her on the forehead, "Can I help?" He asked.
"Don't worry about me; I'm sure I'll fall asleep soon." She said. He sighed. "I'll be fine." She insisted. "Go back to sleep, you need it."
After battling with himself over going back to sleep or waking Yuui to ask for something to help Sakura, he decided to go back to sleep. She could always sleep in. She smiled and closed her eyes to try and go to sleep, and she soon fell into a deep sleep, undisturbed by anything.
The amount of work that had piled up while Syaoran was sick was daunting, but he sat down and did it anyway. Sakura was still asleep in his room, and he'd left a note with her to let her know where he was. There was still a lot of preparation that needed tending to for the wedding, and while the rings were sorted, small things such as the main courses were still yet to be decided. He read through all of the replies from the invites he'd sent out, noting down who wasn't coming so he knew for table arrangements, and then he remembered that he was meant to be meeting with the townsfolk later. He also remembered the council meeting, and he suddenly felt tired. Why did there have to be so much going on at once?
When Sakura woke she noticed a note from her fiancé on the pillow beside her. She picked it up and read the note, and then sighed.
I'm in the study if you want me. Hope you slept ok, and make sure you eat something when you wake.
She got up and dressed herself before heading to the dining hall for breakfast; something was already set at her place, so when she sat down she could eat. She sat in silence as she ate, and she decided to go finish off the piece of art she'd started. So far she'd painted about fourteen canvases and made five dolls. As she walked down the hall, she realised that the wedding was only in a few days. She suddenly felt a mix of excitement, anxiety and fear seep into her blood.
Sakura looked up and spotted Rena who smiled and walked over. "I've been looking for you. Syaoran wants to see you about the wedding."
Sakura nodded, "Thanks, I'll go see him now." She said.
"Hey, just one thing." Rena called out. Sakura looked over at her. "How's your leg doing? I noticed you've been limping again lately." She asked.
Sakura smiled, "I'm fine. I better go, he might get worried."
Rena sighed as she watched her sister walk away, worried about her.
Syaoran looked up and smiled as Sakura entered the study. He coughed a little, still feeling a little unwell, but not as unwell. "Did you sleep alright?" he asked.
"You shouldn't worry so much; I slept fine." She replied as she took a seat.
He smiled, "Sorry, I can't help it."
"So…what did you need me to have a look at?" she asked.
He showed her and she agreed with his choices, and he allowed Sakura to go off and do what she wanted, and if he needed her he'd call for her. It was like that for the next few days, and before she even knew it, it was the night before the wedding. Sakura was getting ready to go to bed when Rena and Chii barged in. Tomoyo was absent due to already being sound asleep, so it was just the two left to torture the poor girl. "What are you doing here?" Sakura asked quickly.
"We're here to support you!" Chii beamed.
"Why would I need support the night before?" Sakura asked, confused.
"Maybe you just want to have fun?" Rena shrugged.
"You two are insane." Sakura muttered.
"Yes, that is very true, dear sister." Rena said as she walked over.
"What are you doing?" Sakura asked suspiciously.
"Oh calm down, we were just going to sit down with you and have a chat." Chii said, climbing onto Sakura's bed and making herself comfortable.
"A chat? About what?" Sakura asked.
"You know-normal stuff."
"Define 'normal'." Sakura said as she finished getting changed.
"Oh who cares?!" Rena said, "tomorrow you're getting married."
Sakura rolled her eyes and tied her belt around her waist. "I had a feeling you were here to ask questions about my future."
Rena sighed, "Damn, you're not fun at all."
Sakura blinked, "You're not here to ask about that?"
"God no; that's your business. We thought it wouldn't hurt if we had a night of entertainment." Chii shrugged.
"Oh…well that's a relief then." Sakura smiled.
Syaoran sat in the lounge reading while the rest of the group were talking about the wedding. It was starting to get on his nerves, and he didn't particularly like where they were headed with the conversation. Finally, fed up with their antics, he threw his book at them. His brother dodged it and it landed on the bookshelf behind him. They all stared at him and he calmly smiled.
"Do you think we pissed him off?" Fai asked.
"Yep." Syaoron said.
"Since you seem to understand that, perhaps it's time you all headed off to bed. It's a big day tomorrow." Syaoran smiled threateningly.
"I'm leaving." Fai said, standing up.
Yuui just remembered something and swore. "Sorry, I need to go speak with Sakura about something. You just reminded me."
"How?" Syaoran asked, confused.
"See you tomorrow." He said, leaving the room.
Syaoran was left feeling confused, and his brother looked at him. "What?"
"He didn't answer my question." Syaoran replied.
"Oh well." Syaoron shrugged. "So, what's up? You can't be this upset for no reason."
Syaoran sighed. "I don't know."
"Are you worried about tomorrow?" Syaoron asked a bit more seriously.
"Yeah, I guess. Who knows what could happen."
"If you stress about it too much, you'll worry Sakura."
"I know. Maybe I should just go talk to her." He said.
"Won't she be asleep by now?" His brother asked.
"Hmm…I doubt it." Syaoran said.
"What makes you say that? She nearly always goes to bed before you do."
"…Just a feeling."
His brother rolled his eyes and stood up. "Ok then. I'm going to bed-you should stop throwing books at walls."
"Shut up." Syaoran muttered.
The two girls slept peacefully on Sakura's bed while Yuui completed Sakura's examination. She sat there patiently while he examined the sample of her blood he had taken from her arm; he sighed, "Your blood's fine." He said, "So is the rest of you. How's your leg?" he asked.
"It's been hurting again lately; I'm not sure why." She said.
"Syaoran did mention you'd been limping again." He said. "I'll give you something for the pain. Try and get some sleep before tomorrow." He said, handing her something.
She took it and then he took his leave, leaving her sitting on the edge of her bed. She stared out her window for a while, not noticing that someone had entered her room. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up, seeing Syaoran looking at her with concern.
"Why aren't you in bed?" Sakura asked.
He smiled, "I've got a lot on my mind." He said. "I didn't think you'd be asleep either."
She stood and walked over to her balcony doors, opening them. He followed her out and pulled her close, resting his head on her shoulder. The cool air felt nice, but Sakura shivered against the cold. "Did Yuui come and see you earlier?" he asked.
"Yeah; my leg's been playing up again." She replied. "Are you worried about tomorrow?" she asked.
"A little, yeah." He replied.
"I'm sure everything will be ok…" Sakura whispered.
"I suppose I'm over thinking things a little." He said. "You're probably right."
She smiled, "Perhaps."
He sighed. "I should go to bed…get some sleep, ok?" he said, releasing her from his embrace.
"You too," She said softly and kissed him. He left her room and Sakura crawled beneath her covers, shutting her eyes to try and go to sleep.
Finally the day had come. Chii woke Sakura early in the morning, though not with much ease. "Come on Sakura; you need to get up!" Chii shook her, but Sakura buried herself further beneath her warm furs and sheets. Chii sighed exasperatedly, "Come on-don't you want to get married?"
Sakura shot up, "What's the time!?" she cried.
"Uh…nine thirty…" Chii replied.
"Oh, I'm not late…" Sakura sighed with relief.
"You will be if you don't get your butt down to the springs! We have hours of prep work to get you through!" Chii snapped.
"Can't I sleep a little longer…?" Sakura mumbled, pulling the covers back up over her.
"Half an hour, that's all." Chii said firmly, and then left. Sakura immediately fell back to sleep, and Chii headed off to wake the prince.
Syaoran was just as difficult to wake-maybe even worse. As Chii walked in and opened the curtains, it appeared that he had already buried himself from any noise or disturbances beneath pillows and blankets. She began pulling the pillows away until she finally uncovered his head, and she frowned. "Syaoran, wake up." She growled. He groaned. "Geez! You're just as bad as each other!"
He shifted slightly and looked out the window. "What's the time?" he mumbled.
"It's almost a quarter to ten." She replied.
"Oh…right." He yawned. "Come back in three hours…"
Chii whacked him over the head, "It's your wedding you twit!"
He groaned in pain, "Fine, I'll get up…"
"Good. I'm going to go haul your soon to be wife out of bed; she doesn't seem to be having a good morning either." The blonde spoke, and then left his room. After a moment or two he sat up and cracked his neck. It was going to be a long day, and he hoped that nothing disturbed it.
Once Chii had finally gotten Sakura out of bed and into the springs, she helped the princess clean herself and wash her hair. "Aren't you nervous about today?" Chii asked.
"What's there to be nervous about?" Sakura replied calmly as she stared up at the roof, breathing in the steam.
"Well you'll be appearing in front of so many guests…" Chii said.
"I've been taught how to deal with these things ever since I was just a child." Sakura replied before Chii poured water over her head to wash out the soap.
"I guess that's true… Hey, what are those marks on your back?" Chii asked as she noticed the scarring on Sakura's back.
"It's nothing." Sakura said, standing up quickly and getting out of the springs. Chii placed a towel around her and another over her head to dry her hair. She then helped Sakura into a simple white gown that she would wear for the time being. As Sakura sat down at the dining table she looked to Chii, "Where's Syaoran?"
"He'll have most likely eaten earlier." Chii replied.
"Oh, I see." Sakura murmured. She ate quietly, though she didn't really feel hungry and then Chii took her back to her room to have her hair and make-up done. Her hair was going to take time, with white and purple flowers weaved through her braid that surrounded the base of her bun. Some of the loose strands had been curled using magic before the lace veil was pinned into her hair. She wore little make-up, her nails filed to look perfect and undamaged. By the time the whole painful process was completed it was almost twelve thirty. Chii came walking in to help Sakura into her gown, holding a square wooden box in her hands. "What's in there?" Sakura asked.
"It's a gift from me and Fai; we thought we should get something for you." Chii replied as she set the box down on her vanity.
Sakura opened it and smiled; inside the box sitting on a cushion was a beautiful necklace and matching earrings; the necklace was made up of carefully crafted metal work to resemble vines and flowers. Within the centre of each delicately carved flower were sparkling purple gems, and in the very centre of the necklace surrounded with more delicate and intricate metal work was a round diamond stone. She looked up at Chii, "Thank you so much." She said.
Chii smiled, "Here," she said as she placed the necklace around Sakura's neck, followed by putting the earrings in. "I thought they would suit you."
Sakura ran her fingers gently over the necklace as she looked at herself in the mirror. "It's beautiful." She whispered.
"So, shall I help you into your gown now?" Chii asked.
"Yes, that would be wise." Sakura giggled.
Rena groaned as she woke, the sun shining brightly into her eyes. She heard someone tapping their foot impatiently on the floor, and rolled over to find Syaoron dressed in formal clothing and looking really unimpressed. "Um…hi?" she laughed awkwardly.
"So, I see you don't plan on showing up to the wedding." Syaoron snapped.
Rena shot up. "What's the time!?" she cried.
"Twelve thirty." He said. "You should hurry up. Sakura's waiting for you go see her."
Rena jumped out of bed in a panic, quickly dressing in the gown Anna-Maria tailored for her, and pulled on a pair of black heels. She did her hair and then quickly ran out of her room to go see her sister before she had to leave for the hall, and she barged through Sakura's door just as she was getting into her gown. "Sakura!"
Sakura, shocked by the sudden entrance, relaxed upon seeing Rena. "Hey, what took you so long? You look a mess…" Sakura said.
"Sorry, I just woke up." Rena apologised.
"Oh, I see how it is." Sakura muttered.
"No! I just didn't realise how late I slept!"
Sakura smiled, "It's ok. Thanks for coming to see me."
Rena sighed with relief. "Thank goodness."
Chii finished tying Sakura into her gown and smiled. "Well, all that's left are your shoes. Here you go." Chii slipped Sakura her shoes and carefully, Sakura stepped into them.
Rena smiled, "You look so beautiful."
"Thank you." Sakura returned her sisters smile, and Chii sighed.
"Well, it's time for us to go get ready. Come on Rena; time to leave her alone." The blonde smiled as she pulled Rena out of the room, leaving Sakura to her thoughts.
Half an hour passed; it was almost time for the ceremony to start. As each guest arrived to take their seats their titles were announced along with their country. Rena had taken her place on Sakura's side while Chii and the others stood on Syaoran's side. Syaoran stood at the top of the stairs looking calm and composed. He was dressed in black and white, with gold embroidery decorating his clothes. Sakura was still yet to show up with time.
Sakura stood at the closed doors with Syaoron, who was to walk her down to his brother. "Are you nervous?" he asked her.
"To be honest, not really." She replied.
"No offence, but that's a little surprising." He said.
"None taken." Sakura said.
The doors opened, providing Sakura's cue to enter the large hall full of nobles and aristocrats and various other high ranking guests. Everyone looked at her with interest as she walked with Syaoron down the aisle. He released her to walk up the stairs while he took his place on his brother's side; Sakura carefully walked up the stairs to Syaoran's side, who took her hand. The ceremony took place, and to everyone's relief nothing interrupted it.