Residence of Reishin Hong-
Shusui smiled as she sat with Ryuren. Yuri was with them.
Starting tomorrow, he would be his brother's assistant. Shuei didn't want anything to bother them tonight. But he had agreed to let Ryuren move in, saying that he could always kick him out.
"But what if I can't prove myself?" Ryuren asked.
"I'm sure you'll do fine. You know you're way around the palace, don't you?"
"Then why don't we show you around the palace? What do you think?" Yuri asked.
"The more familiar you are with the layout, the better you will be able to assist your brother. And we should show you the town as well. Shuei might even have you buy supplies in town on occasion."
"I hadn't thought of that. But will it be okay?"
"Reishin loves it when I come to the palace, and I'm sure Shurei wouldn't mind."
"My congratulations on your wedding later on today" Advisor Sho smirked.
"Um, thank you sir" he said nervous. He knew people were staring, and he could hear whispers.
"Why keep such happy news to yourself?" the m,an asked.
"Because I don't want to waste the time of this court with business that concerns my personal life sir. But anyone who does want to come to the ceremony is welcome."
"And the reception?"
"I'm taking care of that" Lord Reishin Hong smiled. "My late brother cared for Shusui as a daughter. It is my honor to contribute in some way."
"For yesterday, I hope I would be welcome to attend both the ceremony and reception" Sho smirked.
"As I have said, anyone who wants to come is welcome" he smiled, trying to hide the feeling of dread that he felt.
Advisor Sou smiled.
"Stop making the pup blush Sho. We do have business to deal with. And he isn't the only man who will soon take wedding vows."
Ryuki gave the room a sad glance.
"I think it's best if we just deal with business as usual. The sooner our business is concluded, the sooner things can proceed."
Shusui sighed, as they sat down to tea and sweets in small tea house.
Ryuren seemed very worried that he wouldn't be able to prove himself. And as time had passed he seemed to be getting more and more distracted.
"Ryuren, I believe your brother will give you a fair shot. But if you really want to prove yourself, getting distracted won't help you out."
"It's just that...I've been allowed to do as I wanted. If I can't prove myself...I have no idea how I will live."
"You don't need to worry. I'm sure your brother will give you a fair shot. Just try your best. If you can shop, and help out with home repairs, I'm certain you will be more than capable of being an assistant. And Shurei will help you as well, just as we all will."
Ryuren smiled slightly.
"You are right. Perhaps I will be able to prove myself after all. But as for the wedding...are you sure I cannot help out?"
"Things have already been prepared. My own things will be easy to take to the home later on."
"No, if I am going to assist my brother, I might as well practice. Let me move your things, if you don't mind."
"That is a very kind offer, and yes, I will gratefully accept."
"You have very kind heart, and I'm certain you will be here for a long time."
"Thank you, I hope so as well."
Late afternoon, at the palace-
"Thanks for putting up With Ryuren for one more night" he said, walking with Koyu. With his duties over, it was time to head home and prepare for his wedding.
"No problem. But go easy on him."
"I will. I honesty wouldn't mind some extra help. But you know what he's like."
"It's not like he does things on purpose, his intentions are what's most important."
"I know, but he had no idea what it means to work for a living."
"Why would he have any need to worry about living expenses, when they have always been provided for him?"
He smiled, as the question was so simple, yet it made perfect sense. Why hadn't he thought of it?
"You really are a genius" he smiled, as Koyu blushed at the compliment.
"I guess I need to consider what this means for him as well. If he never expected to work, than I need to consider his perspective."
"Look, I'm sure Yuri has talked to him, so just relax about it. You've loved Shusui for years, so just relax. You're going to get married to her within a few hours."
That what had him worried...how to handle his own wedding night.
"Um, I need some advice..."
Whispering into Koyu's ear, his friend's jaw dropped.
"Yes, I do mean it, would I joke about something like that?" he scowled.
"Does she know?"
"I already told her. And don't tell anyone! The last thing I want is for people to know!"
Nearby, Advisor Sho smiled.
Shuei Ran's residence-
When a servant informed him that Shurei's things had been dropped off by Ryuren, he smiled.
Maybe this wouldn't be such a bad thing. And with the demons still around, it would be nice knowing that he could at least have Ryuren protect Shusui if needed.
"Still, I wonder whatever happened with Shurei ?"
Reishin Hong's residence-
Shusui sighed, as she decided to wear her hair loose, as that was how she had worn it when they had first met.
But she was so nervous...her make-up would look disgraceful! And she didn't want to be wasteful, as Yuri was letting her use her own make-up.
"Dear, do you need some help ?" Yuri asked, knocking on the door.
"Please, I would be most grateful."
With her make-up properly applied, she and Yuri talked.
"Wearing my own hair loose does distract Reishin. He says that he loves seeing it that way."
Shusui sighed, as Yuri was the closest thing she had to a mother right now.
"Thank you, for all that you've done."
"Don't think that you and I need to be strangers. Feel free to visit, or ask for help if you need it."
"There is one thing that does have me feeling uneasy, I've never been with a man...and I'm a bit nervous."
"I felt the same way, and you don't need to worry. With me, things just seemed to happen...and it's still one of my most precious memories. He loves you, and you don't need to be afraid."
As they were pronounced man and wife, she knew she was crying.
When she had seen the way that Lien had acted around Sakujun, she didn't understand. Now she did. The love she felt for a single man was just so...it was beautiful.
"Are you okay?" her new husband asked.
"I'm just so happy...that the day I've dreamed of for so many years is no longer a dream."
Tenderly he caressed her cheek, as he gazed at her.
"I hope that I can make you as happy as you've made me right now...my beloved Shusui."
"You already have."
The feast was wonderful, but she ate knowing that she would only get hungry later on.
Everyone had congratulated them, and all of them seemed sincere...except for Sho. The old bastard was up to something.
"Excuse me, I have something to say" Sho said standing up.
She narrowed her eyes. If he dared to be rude, she would ask Yuri for a favor.
"I am glad to know that our shogun has saved himself for his bride. "
The crowed stared at them. Looking over, Shuei was turning red. Probably from both embarrassment and rage.
But she was surprised when Ryuren stood up.
"Saying something so personal is very rude. Apologize, if you don't want your words to be seen as an insult to the Ran clan" he said.
"I think he's already insulted the Ran clan" Shuei said, as he stood up.
Advisor Sho frowned.
"Really I didn't..."
"Yes you did. You have intentionally and publicly insulted and embarrassed the Ran clan. But since you are the eldest virgin here, I am not surprised that you are jealous" Ryuren said.
Shusui slapped her mouth to keep from laughing as she saw Sho's expression, but Huan began to laugh, which soon spread like a ripple.
"Why you insolent..." Sho frowned.
"If you are going to make public statements like that, I see no reason why I cannot do so as well."
Shusui couldn't hold it back any longer, so she laughed. This whole thing was just too funny. It didn't take long before the whole crowd was either laughing, or snickering like Reishin Hong was.
"I...I am sorry..." Sho said.
"I think a gift for my brother and his new wife would be more suitable."
"Mrs. Ko has said that Advisor Sho mentioned that he might get a hairpin for his own use. I would be happy if he no longer denied himself" Shusui smirked.
Huan looked over and nodded.
"It will be my honor, and it will be a gift."
"But I..." Advisor Sho frowned.
"That is what I want, if you don't want the Ran clan to be insulted" Shuei smirked.
"Fine" Advisor Sho frowned.
"Ryuren, thank you" Shuei nodded.
"Still think it will be bad having your brother be your assistant?" she said as they walked to their home.
"No...he was the first to defend the honor of the Ran clan. It seems that perhaps he's grown up a bit."
Smiling, she leaned on him, as he wrapped his arm around her waist.
With the glow from the candles, she lay in her husband's arms, as tears rolled down her face.
"Was I ..." he asked, looking nervous.
"No, it was just so beautiful...I never guessed that it was like this."
He smiled as he gently kissed her on the lips, as he the candles continued to burn.
The next morning-
Do you really have to go?" she asked.
He looked at his wife. With her tussled hair and swollen lips, he wanted to stay in bed all day. But he couldn't.
"I have a new assistant...so I can't. "
"But with you gone, what am I supposed to do all day?"
"Whatever you want. Shop...why not talk with Mrs. Ko about the bead shop?"
"Why don't we meet for lunch afterwards?" she smiled.
"No don't feel the need to rush. To be honest, I'm glad you're waiting." Huan said. Zhen sat nearby, working on something.
"Just with Shurei's upcoming marriage...there's bound to have some resentment after all. I want to wait and see with what happens. And you were married just yesterday."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, take you time, and enjoy being a wife. The first few days with Kijin were very special to me. What would you say about your first few days as a wife Zhen?"
Zhen smiled as she touched her still flat belly as she looked over.
"They were special to me as well."
"But I still...to be honest, I'm unsure of what to do with my time."
"May I make a suggestion ?" Zhen asked, as she set her tools down. "It might be useful if Mrs. Ran knows more about jewelry design and repair, so she can have better understanding of how things need to be organized. Why not have her spend a few weeks with us, so that she knows more about the process ?"
"That is an excellent idea...what do you think?" Huan asked.
"It makes sense, and perhaps I can even help with things myself. Yes, I shall be happy to learn all that I can."
Shurei looked on, as she waited for Ryuki.
Today, they would begin to discuss the wedding, and she had brought some tea and sweet bean buns as a surprise.
"We met the for the first time, in this very spot."
As the wind gently blew, she closed her eyes recalling the very first time she had met Ryuki.
Shurei turned when she heard footsteps. She smiled when she saw Ryuki wore his most simple robe, and had his hair style just had he had worn it the very first time they had met.
He smiled as he walked closer to her.
As her wedding day approaches, Shurei figures out just how she is cursed. As Ryuki announces that he will not take another woman beside Shurei as his wife, the demons began to cause trouble. Can Saiunkoku survive, and can Shurei and Ryuki find happiness?