This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
There was once a rich lord named Isami. He was young and smitten with this attractive princess in a neighboring kingdom. She felt the same way about him, but there stood an obstacle the size of the Sea of Japan. Turned out, so many other young men wanted the princess as well. The young couple had a strong chance of being together, but who was to say that would be the same for the next day? Isami had to come up with a way to stand out and secure this princess’ love once and for all.
One day, Isami was visiting the countryside of Japan. This was his mother’s idea, to tell the truth.
“You have to acknowledge your people,” she told him that morning. “This will build loyalty and prosperity for our lands in the end.” Isami would have rather stayed in his room and daydreaming about the princess. Still, he didn’t argue with his straight-laced mother once she made up her mind about something.
“Yes, mother,” the young lord said reluctantly. So, out into the countryside he ended up. While he was watching the scenery slowly passing by, his mind wandered back to his beloved princess. Her birthday was coming up in a couple of days. Her parents were going to throw her a lavish party and all of the young men would shower her with gifts. Isami decided to try and get her a that would stand out among the others. However, he didn’t know what he was going to get her.
His party took a rest near the forest. Isami took a quick look around him. At times like this, he wished that he could be alone in his thoughts. The young lord couldn’t achieve that with his people around him. Once he was sure they weren’t looking, Isami slipped away further into the woods. He took in the trees and the birds singing around him. He didn’t really care much for nature. There was no room for it in his world. His mind went back to the lovely princess and her smiling face. Her teeth were whiter than the grains of rice that their people feasted upon. She deserved to wear something that complimented her smile. At this moment, Isami happened to look when he noticed something glimmering at his feet. A white light shimmered under a swallow pool. Curious, Isami reached down and picked it up.
“What is this?” he asked himself as he drew out a small white stone. The color and tone made him breathe heavily. Isami could already see this elegant jewel around the princess’ neck. This will be perfect! He stashed it into his kimono and rushes back to his party.
On the day of the princess’ birthday, Isami attended with a pep in his step. He didn’t even care about the long line of young men wanting to see his girl. His gift would top them all. The young lord made his way to the secret back entrance to the princess’ bed chamber. He climbed the wall and poked his head through the window.
“Psst,” he whispered. A young lady with long black hair turned around from a large mirror. Her heart fluttered when she saw her lover.
“Isami-sama?” she asked. The young lord crawled through the open window.
“Happy birthday, my princess,” he greeted her.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came here to give you your present.” Isami reached into his kimono and pulled out the pearl white stone. The princess covered her mouth, gasping.
“You got this for me?” she asked.
“Happy birthday, my love,” the young lord said. The princess told the stone on the string and placed it around her neck.
“How does it look?” she asked.
“Beautiful,” Isami said. Though it could have been his imagination, the young lord could’ve sworn that he saw the stone flashing pink for a brief second. The princess turned and walked to the main hall for her birthday party. Isami climbed her window to join the guests.
The dining hall was packed with young men as the guests. The emperor could only grin and bear it. (He himself didn’t know how to deal with her endless suitors.) His daughter sat at the middle of the head table with her stone around her neck. Isami sat among the suitors, eyeing her. He felt pretty good that he had secured her heart. The emperor rose to his feet.
“A toast to my beloved daughter on her birthday!” he announced.
“Cheers!” the guests said, raising their cups. The princess gracefully drank from hers. As she drank, her stone flashed a light pink. Only Isami noticed it, but chose to say nothing. Instead, his attention focused on his main rival sitting closer to the birthday girl. This young man had been after the princess’ heart for close to six months. Despite the princess politely turning him down, this young man pursued her anyway. Today would be no different. The rival walked up to her table.
“Happy birthday, my lady,” the young man said. When the princess looked up, the young man had the face of a bullfrog and fins of a fish on the side of his head. She recoiled as she trembled. Her stone turned a bright green. The young man raised an eyebrow.
“What’s the matter, princess?” he asked. He made the mistake of trying to touch her.
“No!” she screamed. She smacked him hard enough in the face to knock him to the ground. All eyes fell upon the princess as she sat, panting.
“Princess?” her mother asked. Two more suitors rushed over to the princess’ aid, but she ended up seeing them as toads with forked tongues as well.
“Stay away! Stay away!” she screamed. The princess smacked the men away from them as they tried to help her. The more men tried to help her, the more she panicked and fought them off. The whole time, the stone went from green to deep red. Isami’s face grew pale as he raced over to her. It didn’t take him long to figure out that the stone had something to do with this unfolding madness. When the room filled with unconscious men, he ran over to his beloved.
“Stay away!” the princess screamed. “Stay away from me!” Isami instead grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her into an embrace. Her body went limp in his arms as she panted.
“It’s okay,” he whispered. “It’s okay.” The princess wept in his arms. Isami’s eyes went down to the stone around his beloved’s neck. Did it really go this far to keep her away from all of those other men? He lifted the stone for a better look.
“I’m so sorry,” the princess said in a soft voice. Isami looked down to see the princess looked up at him with tears in her eyes. The young lord shook his head.
“No,” he said. “It wasn’t your fault.” Isami pulled the stone from his beloved’s neck.
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