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Ran Lover
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Posted 7/14/08 , edited 7/14/08
(Ummm maybe i wrote too much, sorry i didnt have much time so it took me so long)

Houju headed his eyes the way Reishin stood, without saying anything without moving he just watched him silently. And that was the moment when his sight was caught on old cherry tree that was loosing his last leaves in the wind gust. Houju closed his eyes for a moment, and tried to smile. He didn’t want to see it, nor notice it. But it wouldn’t work, no matter how hard he tried. In fact he never felt more lonely and sorrowful then right now.

Feelings of grief for all this lost years were overwhelming. Just as old tree before him dies he understood how very tired he is. Many thoughts crossed his mind. Suddenly he remembered times when he, Reishin and Yushun were together as official trainees and they climbed up the huge tree just to watch Shouka-sama and his family. Many years passed since then, and they don’t do such a foolish things anymore, but something still remains no matter how many years passed. Even now the three of them always stand together.

In the end no matter how much they fight, their friendship was much more powerful than it seems to eyes of society. There wasn’t a single day that Houju would hesitate to entrust his life in hands of this man standing before him. And seeing Reishin took down his own “mask” showing Houju his pain and fear, was more than enough as a proof. A proof of absolute trust. “We grew old, didn’t we Reishin? The three of us you, me, and Yushun. We changed.” He said seriously. Kijin sighed quietly, then he put mask in his hand on the table, and stood up from chair.

First he quickly checked up room if there isn’t any unwelcome guest, and then moved toward Reishin. He leaned against window and continued watching closely his friends behavior with his eyes slightly closed. “There is no way back already, and you know it.” Reishin nodded as an answer but stayed quiet. Houju changed the way of his speech to very sarcastic way “ I presume its kind of very big fish that swam in your sons arms, someone probably wanted that fish dead, but she is very lively. Lets think then, just who is this fish?” Reishin remained silent, but there already was no need for him to answer.

The ones that call Houju simple and foolish, are most likely very dense themselves. Because it is the quickness of thinking and foreseeing, that made him one of the top officials of Saiunkoku. “Hmmm…that’s hard question isn’t it Reishin? Just who is at center of everyone attention now? Just who is this little girl from Ran Province that arrived here few days ago, and very suddenly got herself killed? ” Reishins expression changed a little, it was a bit amused now, but still depressed. Houju continued with ironic voice “How unfortunate, isn’t it? And actually, I thought that it’ll be you, who would be crushed the most by those news. In the end our beloved emperor remains unmarried, and your dearest nice will stay in danger of his approach. But somehow you seem calm to me. I wonder why?” Houju gave Reishin a grin “Or is it possible that this fish of yours is Juusan-hime herself? I see, I see that explains everything. Even you, great Head of Red clan are given a challenge. You unwillingly crossed your way with Ran clan, and that was really foolish.” Now Houju cut down his little game and moved few steps forward.

“But don’t let it get to you. I will take care of this puppy of yours.” Kijin laid his hand on Reishins shoulder “I won’t let you down. I promise you.” Houju gave Reishin long serious gaze and then moved aside “First we have to gain as much information as we can. I already sent some people to take care of spy, but I don’t think he knows something. I wonder who is moving strings. ”
Posted 7/20/08
(@ Iriel: uwa~~hh, what a beautiful entry on Kijin-sama!! Sugoii!!)



"Let’s go to the palace. We are in danger, here."

Ran Shuuei had said that with a note of apprehension on his voice. Kouyuu noticed this and had become disturbed by it. He had wanted to inquire the reason why he had said that, but he had no time to do so as both he and his 'cousin' Shuurei (who still don't know anything about her uncle and how he is the adopted son of the very same man) were literally dragged to the direction of the Palace by Shuuei. Well, Kouyuu didn't exactly know where Shuuei was taking them but by the looks of his surroundings, they definitely were heading to the Palace Courtyards.

Kouyuu shot a confused look at the former consort by his side, but she only returned it with a shrug, indicating that she too wasn't aware of the so-called danger that the young general was talking about.

Utterly confused and of course annoyed that he was dragged without consent or even a decent explanation, Kouyuu stopped on his tracks and glowered at his 'friend', who merely turned back and looked at him with an amused look on his face.

"Look, I'm not moving an inch without an explanation." Kouyuu yelled impatiently, "Why in the world are you dragging me like this? I have work to do, Shuuei!!! So I'm not going to surrender to your silly games unless you don't explain to me what is going on!"

Smiling, Ran Shuuei sheathed back his sword. Kouyuu noticed that it wasn't the sword with the iris crest on it, hence it wasn't the 'flower' that the Emperor had bestowed upon the general. "This place is safer. So all of us can talk here." It was an opening, stating that Shuuei would finally be available for discussion, and Kouyuu grabbed it without hesitation.

Kouyuu grabbed his 'friend' by the collar, shooting him an enraged look. "Where have you been all this time??!! Are you out of your mind? You are the sole representative of your clan here in Kiyou and yet you have been missing when such important events concerning your own family members took place! Where were you when your sister was deemed missing? She's the future Consort for goodness sake!! And not to mention your own sister!"

"Kouyuu-sama, please calm down." Shuurei said wryly.

"No, I can't calm down!!!" Kouyuu roared, "This man had caused enough trouble for everyone, and yet he had the nerve to pull this disappearing act!! So where were you huh? In the hanamachi again? Did you not hear the news from your own clan??!!!"

Seeing the change of expression on the young general's face, Kouyuu presumed that he already knew. But Kouyuu said it anyway.

"Your ignorance in protecting your own sister has earned you a brilliant move from the Ran clan. They're sending someone here from the inner circle to investigate!! Your clan, that's right -the strongest clan in Saiunkoku, second only to the royal family, is thoroughly livid that their princess that they sent for the Imperial Harem is missing and is even presumed dead. Are you trying to start another civil war here, Shuuei??"

** Hanamachi: Red Light District
Posted 7/20/08
(this is my first entry as Gyokuka! Yeay?)



Ran Gyokuka wasn't a legendary beauty that the rumors said she was. In fact, her face was pretty much average and she doesn't have any elegant lady-like qualities in her bone. But her redeeming qualities were her exuberant smile and how she has always excitedly embrace life. Her optimistic charm might just be the one that had captured the hearts of almost every men of the Ran clan, though she was rather oblivious of her own impact on other people. She too was oblivious of how her smile had not only the ablity to lighten up people's heart, but had also the ability to crush it. For it was the case with her brother-in-law Shuuei, who had fled from Ran province the day she got married to the eldest of the Ran triplets, Yuki. But she never knew about this.

Gyokuka heaved a long sigh. Years had passed since she had last seen Shuuei. She had never left her husband's side after their wedding, remaining faithfully to her duties as the First Lady of the Ran clan. But all that changed when she heard that her husband and his brothers were sending Jyuusan-hime to the Inner Palace. From the start, Gyokuka had a bad feeling about the decision and had been concerned about it. Call it a woman's instinct, but she wasn't surprised when she heard that assassins and death threats had followed Jyuusan-hime's coming to the capital. She had reprimanded this decision, as it was only means of courting further disaster. Look at it this way. The very powerful Ran clan had for years made it clear that they would not take part in the government and had retrieved all their representatives from the capital to prove their point. Now, what would happen should Ran clan send their own princess to become Consort? This would only be considered a signal by the other noble clans that the Ran clan might be interested in the government again, hence making the Ran clan a threat to the other clans.

But Gyokuka was a smart person, despite her seemingly aloof persona. Without her husband's explanation, she had already figured out the real reason why Jyuusan-hime was sent to the capital. It was all a test, specifically designed for two people: the Emperor and Shuuei. Is the young, foolish Shi Ryuuki really the one worthy Emperor of Ran clan's devotion? Can the Emperor handle the chaos that would enrupt the moment he had to eat his own words and said that he only wanted one wife? If the Emperor took Jyuusan-hime as his only wife, it would enrage the other noble families who wanted their daughters to become consorts as well but it would show that the Emperor is true to his own words. But should the Emperor take another wife, then he would risk losing the confidence of the Ran clan and lose face in front of his own underlings, though granted that he would make the other noble families happy that their daughters would be in the Harem. And as for Shuuei, the time has come for the fourth son of Ran clan to make a choice: to stand beside his own clan, his origin, his roots or to stand beside the foolish Emperor.

Gyokuka didn't like the plan, and had her worst fears confirmed when she heard of Jyuusan-hime's disapperance not long after the young warrior princess entered the Imperial Harem. Rumors had even surfaced that the princess was dead. This news of course troubled the Ran clan, since after all Jyuusan was an official representative of the clan. And it was at that moment that Gyokuka made the boldest move of her life.

"I will come to Kiyou to investigate Jyuusan-hime's death." she had spoken up to the other Ran clan members upon the meeting. And of course, the meeting was led by her husband (or at least one of the triplets). All the men in the room gave her a surprised look, but Setsuna just sat there composed as always, eyeing her and waiting for her to explain herself. Gyokuka herself was surprised by her actions, but her anxiety over what happened to her siblings in law had overcome her completely.

"Gyokuka-sama, I'm sorry but such matters are too delicate." one man spoke timidly, apparently quite taken that Gyokuka had finally spoken in the clan meetings.

"It is not strange for the First Lady of the clan to take part in the clan's business." Gyokuka replied without hesitation. "I consider Ran clan my family, though I may not be tied to you by blood. And I will do all in my power to protect this family."

"But you could be killed.This is dangerous, Gyokuka-sama. Please think this over." begged an older man.

"Setsuna-san, you know I'm the right person to do this." Gyokuka shot a look at her handsome husband, who was sitting on the large ornate chair in the center of attention. "Or rather, I'm the only one who can do this. There is no way such a personal matter like this can be settled by sending other people. It has to be someone from the main family. Obviously you can't ask for Ryuuren-kun since he is hard to reach and you can't come to the capital since you have made it clear that you, or other members of the Ran clan that had once served the government, will not return to the capital unless you find the Emperor worthy of serving."

Gyokuka didn't know exactly what part of her blabbering had earned a sign of approval from the head of the clan. But she got it anyway and that was why she is where is right now. Truthfully, she was rather sore from the horse-riding, since she wasn't as skilled as Jyuusan-hime in that area. But a carriage would attract too much attention, and Gyokuka preferred it this way. She knew that her bodyguards are close by, protecting her from the shadows. She had wished for them to come out instead though, so she could have a hearty talk with anybody. Her going to Kiyou had been kept secret, but still there was no such thing as a secret in Saiunkoku. She, the First Lady of the Ran clan, had risked her neck by opting to come to Kiyou. But it was her duty, no her wish to do all she could for her family.

"Jyuusan-hime, I hope you are okay." she called to the wind.

Strands of rich golden hair escaped the band that was tying it in place, swaying gently as the wind responded to her calling. Her brilliant emerald eyes gazed at the city before her.

Kiyou.

"It has been too long." Gyokuka smiled."Shuuei..."
Ran Lover
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Posted 8/21/08 , edited 4/28/16
((I am sorry it took so long and forgive me if I make things even more complicated than before.))

A part of Reishin sighed in relief when he heard that he will be getting support from his annoying yet an old friend of his. He wasn't quite impressed that he, Kou Reishin will ever needed any help from other clan seeing that his own clan is the strongest of all but he couldn't take the chance. He knew any big movement from his clan will rose suspicion and it will definitely be a thread to Kouyuu.

He closed his fan and slammed it down on the table.

"For someone who ranked first in the Imperial Examination at the age of 16, he sure is clueless." he muttered under his breath, without paying much heed to Houjo, but gave him a wave signalling him that he is free to go.

Houjo that doesn't seem to make any movement of leaving him alone causes him to raise an eyebrow, while picking up his fan again. "What is it Houjo? Is it a sincere mentioning of gratitude that you wanted from me? If it is, then thank you." his voice sounded distant but his sarcasm no longer can be detected.

Houjo stood up and Reishin saw, from the corner of his eyes, that Houjo is smiling before slipping back his mask on to his face. Reishin thought that smile was unnerving as if reminding him that the great leader of Kou Clan is expressing his gratitude and knew just how rare of Kou Reishin to actually muttered a thank you. Not a deep down sincere thank you but still a thank you nonetheless.

"He better be keeping a good eye on my son or else he will be wasting my gratitude on him, that damn Houjo!" he expressed angrily when he heard the door closed and flipped his fan open to bury his face behind the fan, hiding his embarrassment behind the fan, even though there isn’t anyone around at that moment.

Jyuusan-hime, what is your real purpose of coming to Kiyou? Is it as simple as becoming a future consort to the idiotic emperor?

It the very questions that he needed answer before he could take his investigations further, but things aren’t getting any easier, especially not with the princess herself losing her memory and people trying to assassinate her. If only things were this simple, he thought.

“Ran Shuuei.” He muttered the name to the only one who most probably can answer his questions but how is he suppose to investigate if he was suppose to keep Kouyuu’s connection to the puzzle a secret?

It is not easy indeed.



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