A War of Deception
You rest your chin in your hands as you watch your fiancé bulldoze through the meal set in front of him. "Hey, Kageyama."
He glances up at you, eyes shifting about the room before they settle on your face. "Yes?" His grip on the silverware is tight, his fingers clenching the knife like a weapon before him.
"How are you?"
"…fine." The king glances down at his plate, cuts a piece of broccoli, and puts it gingerly into his mouth. He winces a bit, but swallows the vegetable.
"How's the kingdom?"
Kageyama looks back up at you and stares at you, holding your gaze for perhaps 10 seconds before dropping it. "Fine." He stabs another small green tree and chomps down on it, eyes squeezing shut in a brief moment of regret before he chews and swallows.
"What about the army?"
He freezes. "What about it?"
"Is it fine? How's it doing? Any new recruits?"
He picks up another broccoli piece and eats it, shoveling rice into his mouth promptly afterwards. "It's fine."
"Are you sure it's fine? Anybody new, anybody interesting?"
Your fiancé wipes his lips with a napkin and drops the silverware on the porcelain plate; it clinks loudly against the china, the sound echoing throughout the large dining room. "Yes." He stands and pushes his seat back, the legs of the chair squeaking in a wince-inducing sound.
"Where are you going?" You're leaning on the table now, resting your chin in your hands as you narrow your eyes at Kageyama.
He's already on his way out of the hall as he responds. "My room. I'm tired."
You watch him stalk out of the room and slam the door behind him. Your face meets the wood of the table as you let out a sigh. "Great. Now he knows I'm onto him. Subtle. Go me."
"Sugawara!" Spotting the butler's trademark mop of silver hair weaving down the hallway, you sprint after him and flag him down. "Sugawara, wait!"
He turns, cocking his head at you as his mouth rounds into a small "o." "What is it, my lady?"
You hold up a hand, your torso hunched over your knees and your chest heaving up and down as you breathe heavily. "Sugawara… Sugawara, hey, did you know?"
"Know about what?" He shifts the silver platter he's holding from his left to his right hand, scratching the side of his head as he does so.
"The draft," you say, standing up straight and running a hand through your (hair color) locks. "There's a draft, and Kageyama didn't tell me about it."
"Did you confront him?"
"Of course! What else was I supposed to do?"
The butler shrugs and lets out a sigh. "Not sure. How'd you hear about it?"
"A nice little old lady requested an audience with me and wanted to ask about the reasoning behind the draft. She was sweet, but it was dreadfully embarrassing that I didn't know about the draft, much less our daft king's reason for it." You cross your arms at the statement, puffing out your cheeks and glaring at the cream walls. "I don't think Kageyama's going to give me a straight answer."
"Have you tried General Sawamura?"
Your eyes light up as you stand up straight, hitting the palm of your hand with your closed fist. "That's it! You're a genius, Sugawara! Thank you!"
"He's in his room, I believe. Just down the hall, turn left, and keep going straight for about a 100 meters or so."
You sprint off in the direction the silver-haired male points in, soon skidding to a stop in front of a simple, plain wood door. Inscribed above the door handle in a dull bronze plaque are a few words reading: "General Daichi Sawamura."
Raising a tentative fist to knock on the door, you steel up your courage and rap on it several times. "General Sawamura?"
A voice comes from inside. "Who is it?"
"(First Name/Last Name). Can I talk to you about some stuff?"
"Come in. The door's unlocked."
You grip the doorknob and push the door open, stepping into the general's room. "General Sawamura…"
"Take a seat," he says, gesturing at the empty chair next to his desk. He's hunched over the wooden table, leafing through a giant pile of documents before he puts his ink pen down and turns to face you. "What can I do for you?"
"Oh, fun. I have to explain the situation all over again. Do you mind?"
"So I had an audience with this delightful little old lady a few days ago and she was curious about Karasuno's draft."
"What about the draft?" His dark eyes watch you as you lean back into the chair, stretching out like a cat. Sunlight streams in through the open window in front of his desk, hitting his face from the side and illuminating his side profile.
"She wanted to know why we had it. She pointed out that we just got out of a war with Nekoma a while ago, but she also wanted to know that since we have a draft, if we be going to war again."
"What'd you say?"
You sling your arm over your eyes, shielding them from the bright light coming in from the window. "I said I didn't know that we had a draft."
"You didn't know? I thought you had authorized it!"
You sit up straight in the chair, leaning forward as your fingers form a steeple. Regarding the general with a cool gaze, you murmur, "You think I would authorize a draft for no apparent reason? We're not being threatened, at least not by anybody I can think of."
"So you didn't know about it…" He falls back into his chair, running a hand through his short black hair before sighing loudly. "His Royal Highness told me you were aware of it, however, and that you told him to go ahead with it."
"Well, His Royal Highness was lying. General Sawamura, do you know of any reason why the king could want this draft? Who might he want to attack?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," the man sitting in front of you shrugs. "I think he said something about building up the army in case we get attacked by somebody, but is that really feasible?"
"Hardly. Diplomatic relations between us and our neighbors are at the best that they've been at in the past 10 years. There's no reason for us to be attacked, at least not by a country directly neighboring us."
"I thought drafts were illegal."
"He's the king," you mutter, hands forming tight fists as they clench the bottom of your shirt. "He can do whatever the bloody hell he pleases, and there's nobody to stop him."
"You can," Sawamura offers. "You're his fiancée."
"I'm his fiancée. I can't do jack shit – I'm not married to him yet. I'm not even sure I want to marry the guy now."
"When you do marry him, though, you can help rule, can't you?"
"Isn't that what my job is, though, as advisor to the king? To help rule the kingdom?" You stand up and cross your arms, kicking the edge of the carpet that's sticking up. "What a great job I'm doing, steering the country into the wrong direction. I can't even keep the king in check."
"Then what are you going to do?"
"What about the draft, my lady?"
"Stop the draft and let the men who want to go home to go home. Those who want to stay can stay and continue training, but it has to be of their own free will, without any threats or bribes."
The general bows before you. "Of course. And about the king's reasons for the draft?"
"I confronted him at breakfast today. He's going to be wary, so I'll confront him again… at a later date. Maybe when he's less on-edge around me. In the meanwhile, I'll watch him and act like everything's normal. Thank you for meeting with me, General Sawamura." You stride out of the room, taking care to close the door quietly behind you when you exit.
"Tobio Kageyama!" You fling open the door to the king's room, standing in the doorway with your hands on your hips.
A voice groans and a figure sits up on his bed. "(Last Name)? What do you want?" He rubs his eyes sleepily, a scowl adorning his face.
"Wake up! I have to talk to you about something!"
"I'm not in the mood right now," he mutters, glaring off to the side at something on the ground.
"I don't care. I need to talk to you about it," you say, walking over and plopping yourself down on his bed. You lean forwards until your nose is barely two or three centimeters from his, then nod and cross your arms across your chest. "My Royal Highness, tell me about the draft you've authorized."
He freezes, his grip on the blanket edge tightening until his knuckles turn an off-white color. His face drains and his cheeks are pallid, but he still glares at you indignantly. "What of it?"
"What do you mean, why?"
"Why do you want this draft?"
"Reasons," he mutters, swinging his legs to the side of the bed and standing up. "Hey, (Last Name)…"
"Why? Tell me the reason, Kageyama."
"Don't you have a wedding to start preparing for?" He points at the engagement ring on your ring finger. "Wedding planners are here, you know. They're available to help."
"Why do I have to plan this weddi—wait, you're not steering me off course! Tell me why!"
"Wedding first. After the wedding, I'll tell you."
"That's too late, you stupid king!"
A soft knock comes at the door. "Lady (First Name)? King Kageyama?"
"Sugawara," the onyx-haired male calls. "What?"
The butler looks at the two of you, seated on the king's bed, before continuing: "My lady, you have to start preparing for your weddi—"
"Yes, yes, I know, I know," you mutter, waving a hand in the air to shut Sugawara up as you shoot a death glare at the king. "Did you time this, Kageyama? Did you call Sugawara in here just to get me out?"
"I don't have any magic powers," he retorts, snorting. "I can't just materialize him out of thin air to get you out of my room."
"Lady (First Name), let's get going," Sugawara murmurs, tapping your shoulder lightly. "You need to begin discussing the wedding concept first."
"Do you have any preferences, My Royal Highness?" Your voice drips with sarcasm as you stare at him, dropping into a low curtsy and jutting out your jaw at the male. "Any concept you'd like, oh wonderful king of mine? The wedding's in a few months; you should tell me your input before I start planning the whole thing."
"No." He stands up and turns to face the window, his back to you. "Leave."
"Sugawara, why is my fiancé so mean to me?" You practically pout at the butler.
"I'm not sure, my lady. I believe he's just doing his best. He has your best interests at heart, does he not?"
"How a draft relates to that I have no idea," you mutter, kicking the edge of the bed frame before storming out of the room. "Let's start, Sugawara. Oh, and Kageyama, this conversation is far from over."
Months have passed in the blink of an eye, your time consumed by work and wedding planning. You haven't seen your fiancé all that much during that time, which is fine by you – you have Sugawara to help take care of him so you can waste less time running after the boy king aimlessly.
You fall back into your chair and cross your legs, watching the grand doors in front of you open to let a person into the room.
"Lady (First Name)! I'm so happy for you!" A young lady practically runs into your audience chamber, squealing loudly. "Your wedding is so soon – aren't you excited?"
You shrug, a bit overwhelmed by her enthusiasm for a wedding that isn't even hers. "I suppose? I mean, I've been so busy with work that I barely have time to plan for the wedding," you laugh. "It's in two weeks, though, so I guess it is tantalizingly close."
"Oh, my lady, how wonderful! You and the king are such a perfect couple!"
"Thank you," you murmur. "Please, take a seat. Is there anything else you would like to discuss that I can help you with?"
She shakes her head, eyes sparkling as she watches you. Instead of sitting, she draws closer to you. "I just wanted to talk to you about your wedding and to congratulate you on it! Ah, you'll look so cute together, I can't wait!"
"Thank you, thank you."
"I'm so happy I could have this audience with you~ Thank you! Have a lovely wedding!" She waves goodbye at you as she skips across the tiled floor to the exit.
You let go of the giant breath you were holding and slouch further into the chair, running a hand through your (hair color) tresses.
"My lady, would you like to take a break?" A soldier asks you from the shadows, his eyebrows furrowed in worry.
"No, I'm fine. Bring in the next person, please."
You stand outside the grand ballroom, staring at it.
The room is decorated in shades of pastel orange and an eggshell white, contrasting the black decals and borders of the walls. White tablecloths and cantaloupe-colored napkins dotted the room, with similarly colored streamers hanging from the ceiling. Pale orange roses with white baby's breath flowers fill bouquets all over, and the black wood paneling on the floor provide an excellent complement to the overall room.
Your wedding is in two weeks, and you're still at a loss for what to do; turning to your head wedding planner, you murmur, "What now?"
Your wedding planner shrugs. "Coordinate the clothing, perhaps? Do you have your wedding dress picked out? You can do that."
"Oh! Sugawara can help me with that!"
"Care for me to go get him?" Your planner asks.
"If you would be so kind to, yes. Thank you."
She leaves the room, allowing you to pull out a black mahogany chair and sink into it. Your head is reeling and you feel like you're about to retch. Allowing yourself these few minutes to think alone makes you realize the amount of work you've had to do recently and you inhale, then exhale loudly. You rub your eyes, but you can't seem to stay awake as your lids grow heavier and heavier.
"Lady (First Name)!"
You start, jerking yourself awake and almost falling off of your chair. "W-What? Oh, General Sawamura, what's up?"
He's huffing and puffing, out of breath; his cheeks are sparsely colored, his dark hair in a messy disarray as he hunches over, resting his hands on his knees. "Lady (First Name), oh, you won't believe what's happened… or rather, what's going to happen!"
"Talk, Sawamura, talk! What's going on?"
"The king, my lady, it's the king!"
You perk up instantly at the mention of your fiancé, your body tensing. "Is this about the draft?"
"Somewhat. The king is planning on invading Aoba Jousai."
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