Daughter of the East, Lady of the West

Chapter 4

Dear Sesshomaru,

I apologize for my letters being far and too few between. Mother has been taking advantage of her new found freedoms and my work has been piling up in her eyes. A month without father and the boys is a very tough one indeed here. I’ve sewn quite a bit that my mother insists is for my dowry, though father has told me he has one already fully set aside for me. I’ve learned more about how to clean and prepare such as a maid would that I almost question mother’s sanity further. I worry that she is planning something….

Nikki looked at what she wrote and sighed as she thought, She knew it was accusing her mother of her insanity and that she may very well be right, but she didn’t know what venting to a prince in another kingdom fighting a far bigger battle would do. It wouldn’t send her father or brothers home sooner. It wouldn’t end her troubles with her mother any faster.

Shaking her head Nikki prepared to write and ask more about the battles and such. She was also so curious about such things, no matter how much her mother told her it was unladylike to do so. She sighed as she looked out her window to see the blank sky and shook her head. Why did tonight have to be tonight? She hated the moon sometimes, when it was missing from the sky mostly.

Mai paced her room as her two personal guardsmen watched her. One looked at her confidently as he watched her while the other seemed to fret and shake.

“Are you sure this is what you want, my lady? If the lord finds out…” he started again as she stopped and glared at him.

“Fusao, if you are too afraid of a little girl,” Mai said softly as he cowered some, “you can join her in the dungeons.” Fusao shook his head as he sighed and looked away. “Akihiko and Genji are waiting in the dungeons for you, tonight is the best of nights to do this.” The other guard nodded as Fusao listened, not quite sure why tonight was better than any other night. “Don’t fail me, Itsuo; I’m relying on you to take care of this.”

“Of course, my lady,” he answered with a bow. “After all, the wild animal needs to be caged. How else will she become civilized?” Mai smiled sweetly as he stood back up and turned to Fusao as they prepared to leave the chambers. “We should be back within the hour.” They left as Mai sat down at her vanity and looked at herself in the mirror. She sighed as she looked at the woman and shook her head, she almost didn’t recognize herself.

“It’s been so hard to avoid you, little cat,” she mused to herself as she thought about what was going to happen. “So you wouldn’t smell the deceit, though you are the traitorous one, aren’t you? Thinking you’re as powerful as your father, when you are weaker than any human child out there.” She sighed and shook her head as she prepared to hear the report of how it all went.

Fusao silently walked with Itsuo, who seemed to be rather confident with the plan that only one of them truly knew all about. Itsuo looked at Fusao and smirked triumphantly.

“Take it easy, old man,” he taunted as Fusao shook his head with a roll of his eyes. He had been working with Itsuo to guard the queen for the last four years, as ordered by Higashi. For whatever reason, Itsuo insisted on referring to Fusao as the old man of the pair, when he was easily older by a century. “Just make sure to get the doors and such for me, our job isn’t to hurt her; it’s just to scare her.” Fusao sighed and nodded in agreement, it didn’t mean he liked it any more as a scare tactic than he did as if it were truly to hurt her. Itsuo walked in as Fusao stood beside the door and prepared to lead the way once they approached the room.

“What are you doing here?” he heard Nikki demand annoyed. “If mother wants another argument, she can wait until morning; it’s unladylike to argue all the damn night.” Fusao listened always amazed with the way the princess spoke, so proper and yet so much like a sailor.

“You’re to come with me,” Itsuo snarled back and Fusao heard the struggle ensue. “Head off and start getting the doors!” He jumped at the command and ran ahead; grabbing the doors and jarring them open so that Itsuo could just run with the princess to the dungeons. He knew as well as any other guardsman, if you got scratched by Nikki you weren’t returning to work the next morning.

He could hear the grunting of Itsuo and the struggles of Nikki behind him and jumped as he felt a kick to the back from the princess. Finally he hid behind the door and stared at the ground as the two struggled down the dungeon stairs. As he headed back towards the main part of the courtyard before heading back into the castle, he got startled by a scream and stumbled backwards. Fusao yelped as his side got cut fairly deep by a sword as Itsuo found him and shook his head.

“Skittish much?” he demanded as Fusao sighed and shrugged as he cringed at the pain as Itsuo helped him up. “We’ll get you to the healer then.”

“What happened…the scream?” Fusao asked exhaustedly.

“She’s just frustrated, we’ll let her out when she calms down,” Itsuo answered as Fusao nodded sullenly.

“What happened here?” the healer demanded as Itsuo banged on her door.

“He fell into a sword,” Itsuo answered as the healer sighed and nodded. “I’ll patch him up and send him home; he’ll be out for a while.”

“That’s fine,” Itsuo replied as she nodded. “I can call on Kurou to help out while he’s out.”

“Inform the lady so she can leave a message for the lord incase he returns,” the healer advised before turning to work on the injured Fusao. Itsuo waved and headed out of the room before returning to Mai’s room. He had stopped on his way and sent for the other guardsmen.

“Where’s Fusao?” Mai demanded confused.

“He is as skittish as a kitten,” Itsuo answered shaking his head, “he tripped and fell into a sword. His side is pretty cut up, so the healer is patching him and sending him home for a bit. Kurou is on his way to assist me until his return.” Mai sighed and nodded as she tried to figure out why her mate gave her such an odd guard.

“Is she in the dungeon?” Mai demanded as Itsuo nodded in agreement.

“Yes, she was writing a letter but otherwise unsuspecting.” Itsuo answered as Mai nodded and shrugged it off. “Akihiko and Genji were more than ready for her, as soon as she was in the chamber they had her chained up so she couldn’t fight back once she changes back. Fusao never knew it was her human night.”

“Did he learn it now?” Mai asked curiously.

“No, he was too far ahead and too afraid,” Itsuo replied as there was a knock. He walked up and noticed the new guardsmen and waved him in. “Fusao got hurt, the healer sent him home for a bit.”

“What did he do this time?” the new guardsman, Kurou asked shaking his head.

“We were doing something; he got scared, and jumped into a sword. Slashed his side up pretty badly.” Itsuo answered with a shrug. “He’s a skittish old man, I swear.” Kurou chuckled and nodded in agreement as he took his post and prepared to be pretty much bored for the night. Mai chased them out after a bit, changing and heading to bed as the two did their jobs.

The next day the castle noticed the missing princess, some of the guard celebrating the disappearance of the warrior princess and others worried that something had happened to chase her away. Itsuo and Kurou walked with the lady to breakfast as she had an almost triumphant smile on her face. As the maid that generally took care of the princess came in worriedly, Mai pretended to look concerned.

“My lady,” the maid said urgently as Mai nodded and waved for her to continued, “Princess Nikki is missing! She was in her chambers last evening and then this morning she was gone!”

“Are you sure she is not doing something inappropriate, like training with the guard again?” Mai demanded as she looked to be thinking. The maid nodded as she bowed.

“Her training gi is still within her wardrobe,” the maid answered as Mai nodded and thought about it.

“Alright, I want four guardsmen to go out and search the surrounding forest for Nikki,” she announced as Itsuo nodded and went off to find four to search for the missing princess. Mai just returned to eating her breakfast as the maid watched her. “Go clean and prepare her chambers for her return.” The maid bowed and headed out of the hall as Kurou looked at his lady curiously. Itsuo returned after sending four of the guard out to hunt for the princess.

“I ordered them to look for three hours,” he informed Mai as she nodded. “If they don’t find her then, they are to search again this evening. After that they can give up, the princess will not be found if she doesn’t want to be.” Mai nodded in agreement as Kurou just observed the two curiously.

“You’re not overly worried about the princess,” he said softly as the two looked at him curiously.

“She will show up, I’m sure she’s around here somewhere,” Mai answered vaguely as Itsuo nodded in agreement. “After all, she’s run away before.” Kurou nodded slowly, not quite sure what they were up to as Mai returned to her breakfast and the two stood at attention as they guarded their lady.

Mai went on her daily routine for the morning as she took care of the kingdom in her mate’s absence. Itsuo and Kurou changed off for a few hours to rest and eat as they prepared for an afternoon and evening with the lady of the castle. Kurou went off and looked for Fusao, but it was quite obvious he was not here. As he returned to his post he noticed Itsuo seemed to be quite relaxed, which usually he wasn’t.

“Let’s go see the prisoner,” Mai said as she finished up some work for the afternoon. Itsuo nodded and led the way as Kurou followed curiously, he didn’t know there were any prisoners. Higashi, if he had any he’d throw in the dungeons, usually killed his future prisoners. They walked out into the courtyard and then down into the dungeons themselves, they heard a yell, as obviously something down here was quite distressed and furious.

“If you’re to continue screaming like that, you’ll stay down here longer,” Mai snapped as they walked up to a cell. Kurou was surprised to see Nikki hanging from the wall with a furious look on her face. Her eyes would fade red periodically showing she was losing control of her blood.

“How dare you throw me down here!” she snarled back at her mother. “When father comes home and finds out…”

“Your father won’t find out because you’ll be out of here before he’s home,” Mai said as if it were no big deal. “Once you calm down and start to listen, you’ll be free.” Nikki growled at them as Akihiko and Genji remained on either side of the door as if they were guarding it. “Keep that up, and you’ll be down here until your father gets home.” With that Mai turned and left the dungeons with her own guard following her.

“You know as well as we do, you’re not getting out of here,” Akihiko said with a chuckle as Nikki glared at him. She had plans for all of them when she got out of here.

“When I get out of here, you’ll be lucky to live through it all,” she snarled at his laughed at her as if her threat were empty. Akihiko held his hand out to Genji who looked at him confused.

“Give me the fucking key already,” he snapped and snatched it away from the other guard. “Lady Mai specifically ordered for her to be punished if she didn’t cooperate right away.”

“I thought this was her punishment,” Genji replied confused. Akihiko snorted as Nikki watched them just as confused.

“No, there are more punishments for her the longer she remains a defiant little disgrace,” Akihiko sneered as he walked into the cell and looked at her amused. “And you can’t do a damn thing about it, princess.” Nikki’s head snapped to the side as he hit her hard across the face. “For every day you’re down here, we’re to beat you until you scream.”

“Yeah, I’m sure those were her orders,” Nikki replied as she turned and glared at him again, “but that isn’t happening.” Akihiko hit her again, repeatedly attempting to make her scream. Genji jumped with every hit and shook his head, grabbing Akihiko’s hand as he pulled back to hit her again and shook his head.

“She’s unconscious!” Genji cried scared. Akihiko looked at the unconscious hanyou and shook his head with a sour look.

“Weak half-bred freak,” he muttered and left the cell with Genji behind him. Genji looked at Nikki through the bars, suddenly afraid for her as he tried to figure out what was going on. He watched as Akihiko leaned against the bars as he returned to guarding them as if he were protecting the female inside.

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