Disclaimer: I do not own Skip Beat
Full Summary: In the desert kingdom of Ashuron, Kyoko Mogami, an aspiring physician, has put herself in quite the predicament. She has managed to anger the first prince, Kuon Hizuri, who won't forgive her unless she becomes the newest member of his harem. Kyoko will have to adjust quickly in order to survive in this new world of nobles and jealous concubines.
The past resurfaces to haunt both Kyoko and Kuon as they struggle to overcome their weaknesses, eventually finding strength in each other's company. But will it be enough to overcome the darkness that lurks beneath the surface, seeping its evil within the walls? Kyoko soon finds herself fighting for more than just a place within the castle or revenge on Fuwa Sho.
A mixture of both AU and cannon events, watch your favorite Skip beat characters in this new environment where Ren is a desert prince and Kyoko is a physician in training.
Rating: T - Basically means PG 13. Will not go up. Ever!
Beta Reader: Im0ut0 (She's my sister IRL)
Now enjoy your epic tale of revenge, magic, betrayal, and love.
The sun's rays beat down on the town, their heat especially unpleasant today. The street market was more subdued than usual, people choosing to stay inside their mud brick houses than shop on a hot day like today. Still, several stalls lined the dirt streets, vendors attempting to stop the few stragglers that braved the heat. Kyoko pulled down the front of her stiff head wrap in an attempt to block the sun from her face. It was futile. She felt so hot! Sweat was running down her face in a constant drizzle.
One of the vendors called to her, attempting to get her attention with a sweet-looking yellow fruit. She considered going over to the stall if only to get a break from the heat with the canopy that sheltered his stall, but she knew window shopping would get her in trouble on a hot day like today. It blocked potential customers, few as they were, and she was hesitant to start stepping on toes on her first day in the capital.
Shaking her head, she glanced at the map in her hand again. Just a few more blocks and she would be there. She stuffed the paper into her pocket and kept walking, ignoring the pain of her feet against the hot sand and dirt. Her shoes were in desperate need of mending. That was understandable. She had done a lot of walking recently.
A good distance down the road, a carriage pulled by two dark horses careened down the street. The alleyway was big enough for three, but with all the stalls and people, it hardly fit. People jumped out of the way to avoid getting run over. Kyoko did the same, stepping aside into one of the stalls. At least it was a good excuse to get some shade. She frowned at the carriage as it approached. Who would be so reckless to drive their carriage that fast in a busy area? It was downright dangerous!
To her horror, she noticed a man still meandering down the middle of the street. People yelled for him to move, but he didn't seem to notice. He was staggering, disorientated, and face flushed. Kyoko recognized the symptoms of heatstroke and realized with another jolt that the man wasn't getting out of the way. The carriage was almost on him.
Kyoko raced into the street, throwing out her hands. An invisible pulse of magic shot out from her palms. She directed it at the horses, but not with the intention to hurt. She wanted them to stop. To calm. To slow them down enough to drag the man out of the way.
"Move!" she shouted, grabbing the guy by the upper arm. It should have worked. He should have responded.
Instead, he dropped to the ground like a dead weight, impossible for her average arms to lift away in time.
Cursing to herself, she redoubled her efforts on the spell. The horses seemed to slow down, but it was hard to say. She had never channeled this much magic before. She wasn't trained. She was a self-taught idiot who was going to get herself killed.
But still, she didn't budge.
Ten feet away, the horses dug their hooves into the ground. Dirt and sand sprayed the air. Someone screamed.
Kyoko dropped the spell and yanked the man away, certain the carriage wouldn't stop in time. She tripped over her feet and toppled them both. She closed her eyes, listening to the screeching of the carriage. Then silence.
Kyoko opened her eyes. She was face to face with one of the horses. Kyoko let out a breath of relief, then stood up.
The driver of the carriage, a short balding man, started yelling at her.
"What do you think you're doing woman?"
"I'd like to ask you the same question," Kyoko snapped back. "Do you know how dangerous it is to drive that fast in a crowded market? You almost killed someone!"
The man looked shocked. Why should he? He was an idiot for driving that fast. She ignored him and turned to the horses.
"Thank you, and sorry for the earache," she said, petting them with a hand. One snorted at her as if to express his irritation, but it was friendly rather than angry. She giggled, giving them one last pat before turning to the man lying on the ground.
His eyes were half-lidded, gaze unfocused. Kyoko quickly pulled out her water jug. She splashed a little water on his face before holding up his head in her lap. His eyes became a little more focused and she held the flask to his lips, helping him drink.
"What's going on?" he said, voice hoarse.
"Don't talk." Kyoko gave him more water. "You're having a heatstroke. We need to get you to a physician immediately."
She glanced around the market. Everyone was staring at her. Why did they look so scared?
"You there," said Kyoko, pointing to one of the vendors. "Can you help me carry him? He needs to see a physician immediately." The man didn't move. Kyoko scanned the onlookers. Why wasn't anyone offering to help?
A strangled yell came from the inside of the carriage. It sounded like the roar of an angry animal. The people in the square seemed to shrink away, the area emptying in seconds. The door to the carriage burst open as a tall man stepped out.
The first thing Kyoko noticed was his clothing, disheveled though it was. He was wearing long robes, the color alternating between splashes of blue and purple with a gold sash thrown across his shoulder and wrapping around his middle. The upper part of his robes was parted revealing a hint of the well-toned body underneath. The long wide sleeves were trimmed with gold that snaked up his arms and lined his collar. Everything about it said filthy rich. If that wasn't enough, the man was absolutely gorgeous.
He was young, probably in his early twenties with a strong lean build. His head was uncovered allowing long blonde hair tied in a loose ponytail to flow out behind him. He had brilliant green eyes and a strong jaw. Everything about him shouted perfection.
Maybe the Kyoko of a month ago would have stared in bedazzled shock, but not now. Not this Kyoko. She scowled, sure his money and looks had excused him of all sorts of mischief in the past. Like almost killing someone.
His eyes locked with hers and her breath seized in her chest. Not not in the magical-lock-eyes-with-your-one-true-love-of-the-story kind of way. This was in terror. Kyoko had an affinity for reading people's auras and this man's was like nothing she'd seen before. It rippled around him in a dark haze that blurred the air around him. Horror inched like spiders through her veins and into her hair. She was sure that someone like this was capable of murder. That he would murder her.
Then he broke eye contact and the feeling vanished. She gasped, sweat running even more profusely down her face. His dark aura was almost completely gone, but she could still see the very edges of it outlining him like a character from the backdrop.
"Why did we stop?" the man shouted at the driver.
"I'm sorry sir," said the driver. "But this woman jumped out in front of us and did something weird to the horses. It made them stop."
The blond man now turned on her. He marched over, planting himself in front of her. Kyoko was still sitting, the man's head in her lap. She was reluctant to disturb him, but sitting underneath this man made her feel incredibly small and she wanted to stand. Or run. Either sounded good right now.
"I'm sorry for the inconvenience," she said, giving the best bow she could manage. "But this man was going to get hit. I had to stop the horses or else he would have died." Forget wealth, she did not want to upset this man if she didn't have to. But that didn't mean she was going to back down either.
"So?" said the blonde man.
Kyoko's neck snapped up, her irritation sparked. Their eyes locked again and she felt the swirl of that darkness again.
"So," she said with forced patience. "You would have killed him."
"That would have been his fault," said the man. "He shouldn't have been in the middle of the street."
Kyoko couldn't believe what she was hearing. Was the capital really full of horrible people like she had been told? Her own angry aura began to form around her, not nearly as black, but just as potent.
"This man is sick," she hissed, glaring at the blond. "He has heatstroke and needs to see a physician. You shouldn't have been driving like a lunatic down a populated street."
The man blinked as if not expecting her to talk back. Then he bent down, placing his face threateningly close to hers.
"I can drive as fast as I want to," he growled. "I have the right."
"I don't care if you're the prince of Ashuron," said Kyoko. "You shouldn't have been driving so fast. Only a selfish idiot would put other people's lives in danger like that."
She heard an intake of breath and glanced behind the beautiful man. Another man had come out of the carriage, looking like he had come out of a sandstorm. His disheveled blue and silver kurta wasn't as extravagant as the other man's attire, but it still looked expensive. His brown hair was parted down the middle and he was currently straightening thin glasses that framed his face. He had a kind face, and Kyoko immediately liked the man. His aura was much more pleasant than a certain lunatic's, though it looked extremely troubled at the moment.
The man with the glasses quickly came over to them and put a hand on the taller man's shoulder.
"Now, now Kuon," he said, "I think she's right. We shouldn't have been driving so fast."
Kyoko clapped a hand to her mouth, her face losing its color. Had that man just said Kuon? That was the name of the first and only prince of Ashuron. She had just yelled at royalty!
The blond man, Kuon, straightened to his considerable height, taking no notice of the other man. His eyes were still locked on Kyoko's, his gaze hard.
"I see now that you truly are a fool," he said, having noticed her recognition of his name. "Perhaps you should have been more careful who you pick fights with. Not that you'll have another chance."
Prince Kuon pointed at her.
"Arrest this woman," he said, "For slander and endangering the royal family."
Guards came out from the sides of the streets, a long spear in each hand. They grabbed Kyoko under her arms and pulled her to her feet.
"Throw her in the dungeon," said Kuon, no longer looking at her. He started making his way back to the carriage, then paused "And someone move the roadblock."
A few more guards grabbed the older man and dragged him to the side of the road.
"Wait!" Kyoko struggled against her guards. "That man needs help. He needs to see a physician."
"I'll make sure he gets treatment," said the man with the glasses. He seemed troubled, his aura turbulent. Kyoko managed to fish the piece of parchment out of her pocket and held it out to the man.
"Here," she said, "Take him here. I was going there today but now... Will you tell the owner I won't be able to make it?"
He took the paper with an apologetic smile.
"I'm really sorry for this," he said. "I'll do what I can to help you, but you chose a very bad day to get on the prince's bad side."
"No, it's not your fault. Thank you...?"
"Yukihito. I appreciate your help."
Yukihito gave a small bow, and the guards jerked her away, dragging her down the street.
Kuon took another swig of the wine in his glass, enjoying the sweetness of the flavor. He was back at the palace and had gone straight into his evening room. It was large, with white silk drapes decorating the area. He sat in the only chair, the rest of the room was furnished with cushions and small round tables full of finger food. And that's not all it was full of. Several beautiful women of all types were dotted around the room. One of them was playing the harp, the lazy tone floating through the room. Several were lounging suggestively, pretending not to notice when he looked at them, while another was currently combing his long hair.
It was his harem. His group of concubines whose main purpose was to please him. They were usually a welcome distraction with their various talents, but not today. His mind churned with too many thoughts, so ragged with tangles he couldn't focus on any one thing.
Kuon glanced at the woman who had spoken. She was gorgeous, there was no other word for it. Her long wavy hair flowed freely behind her, a glittering circle with a single red gem resting in the center of her forehead. Her dress was long and tight in places that accentuated her significantly gifted body. Several rings, bracelets, and armlets with red gems gleamed in the lamplight. She had a mature face and slanted eyes that always seemed to know something you didn't. They always intrigued him. Well, usually. Today, he couldn't give Setsuko any notice.
He had seen it again. That thing. That monster of his past. He didn't know what to call it other than a specter as he had no idea what it actually was. All he knew was that it had caused him years of pain. Its appearance had crashed him back into the past with those memories and all the poisonous feelings that came with it. He set down his cup, suddenly too sick to drink.
And he might have finally caught up with it. Might have finally found answers if it hadn't been for that infuriating woman. Her image was burning into his eyes. Dirt-stained skin with dusty ragged clothes. Everything about had shouted dull and worn-out. Everything except her face. That had been a storm. Two golden eyes burned in its midst, her fury as hot as the sun.
A long finger poked Kuon between his eyebrows. That managed to get his attention.
"You keep frowning like that and you'll get lines," said Setsuko
Kuon brushed her hand away. "I'm not in the mood today, Setsuko."
"Then why did you come here?"
"I thought I would be."
Setsuko smiled as if she knew what was eating him up. She set the jug down on a table, then slithered close to Kuon, placing her arms around his neck. She brought her cheek next to his, lips breathing by his ear.
"Perhaps you just need a little encouragement," she said
Kuon didn't move, and she took it as a sign to continue. She began trailing kisses on his face and neck, each one sweet yet far from innocent. Her journey brought her back to his face, her lips hovering above his.
"Are you in the mood now?" she breathed.
He most certainly was. Setsuko knew her trade well. Kuon moved forward but was interrupted as the door opened.
"Kuon, you need to come with me right now," said Yukihito, standing at the entrance.
Kuon growled his annoyance. "Can't you see I'm busy?" Setsuko's face was still close, eyes fixed on his own.
"It's your dad," said Yukihito. "He wants to speak to you. Immediately."
Of course. He thought to himself. How he manages to still disrupt me when he's hundreds of miles away is astounding. Despite his annoyance, he knew it would be a bad idea to ignore his father, especially when Yukihito gave him the look that told him it was important.
Kuon gave Setsuko a long deep kiss, then stood up. She moved aside and the rest of the women stood as well, bowing as he left the room. Yukihito followed close behind.
"What does he want this time?" said Kuon, rubbing the back of his neck. It still hurt from the whiplash caused during the carriage ride. Just another problem he owed to that girl.
"I'm not sure," said Yukihito innocently.
"It's really obvious when you lie. Which means you'd rather delay saying anything until my father can be the one to tell me. Which means it's something that's going to make me angry," Kuon scowled. "Which means it's about the girl I threw in the dungeon, correct?"
Yukihito smiled weakly. "Would you believe me if I said it wasn't?"
They entered the study, Kuon taking the seat behind his desk. The room was furnished with several shelves of books and scrolls as well as a stack of papers on his desk. On the table lay a large basin filled with water. It was called a relaywell, a magical item that allowed two users to speak to the other that had the connecting gems. The surface was smooth and calm, not reflecting anything at the moment. Kuon leaned over it until his own reflection could be seen.
"What do you want?" said Kuon.
A head appeared within the depths of the water, erasing Kuon's own image. His father stared back at him. Everyone said they looked identical, and even with the distorted image it was obvious why. They had the same facial structure and hair, though Kuu's showed more age.
"Don't give me that tone, son," clipped Kuu. "Yukihito told me what happened. You threw some girl in the dungeon after nearly killing her?"
Kuon shot his counselor a glare before returning to his father. Of course, Yukihito had been the one to rat him out.
"She nearly killed herself dad," said Kuon. "She jumped out in front of the carriage and stopped the horses."
"Be that as it may, don't you think it was a little harsh to put her in jail?"
"Did Yukihito not tell you the whole story?"
He was met with silence, which meant no. It didn't surprise him. His father had a habit of jumping to conclusions after only hearing half of a story. He had probably sent Yukihito to fetch him before hearing the details. Sometimes Kuon wondered how Kuu managed to run his kingdom with how little he listened.
"Yukihito and I were chasing the specter," said Kuon. "We spotted it outside the castle gates."
There was a long pause.
"That thing showed up again?" said Kuu, all traces of anger gone. It was replaced with a slight quiver in Kuu's voice. "I thought we killed it."
"So did I. Which means it may not be technically alive, or that someone's controlling it." Kuon leaned back in his seat, thinking. He thought everything involving that incident had been taken care of. His anger simmered just below boiling point, even now. He hadn't been this close to losing control in years.
"Are you sure it's the same one?" asked Kuu.
"I see." His father paused. "We will discuss this later. But first, I don't understand why this would be significant to the lady you put in jail."
Kuon scoffed. "Do you think that the day it shows itself again, a woman, who just so happens to have enough control of her own magic, happens to be near a man who collapsed in the street? She then valiantly steps out in front of the carriage to stop the horses, risking her own life for a stranger? I don't think it's a coincidence. The carriage could have easily tipped. We were lucky no one was hurt, which was probably her goal."
"You think she had something to do with it?" said Kuu
"It's too suspicious. It'd be negligent to ignore it."
The room went silent again. Yukihito's eyes shifted around the room as if he were scared someone else was listening.
"I see your point," said Kuu "It's certainly suspicious, but we have no proof of her involvement. I'll trust you to do what you think is best, but let me warn you." His voice became serious. "If you do anything to hurt her, you'd better have a good reason. I will not have my son hurting our citizens based on half-formed suspicions and whims."
Kuon's chest felt like it'd been shot. He grappled with his rising feelings, shoving them into the deepest corner of his heart he could find. Now was not the time to deal with them.
"You have my word," he promised.
Kyoko sat curled in the corner, hugging her legs for warmth. Not that it was terribly cold. It was the comfort she needed at that moment. Her cell was located in one of the underground dungeons offering shelter from the heat. There were no windows, and the only light in the room was provided by a single torch that hung outside of her cell.
"I'm ok. I'm ok," she said, repeating her mantra over and over again. She knew she was in deep trouble, but she could face it. As long as she kept her head on straight she could get past this. As long as she didn't cry.
Kyoko bent her head, clutching her hands so hard it hurt. Why was she so stupid? How had she managed to get herself in trouble within hours of getting into the city? Not that she regretted helping the poor man. But surely there was something else she could have done?
No. There really wasn't. It wouldn't have mattered if she had been polite or not. The prince would probably have thrown her in jail anyway. She was proud of her choices, even if it meant she had to rot in here for the rest of her life.
Summoning strength from her decision, she looked up-
-then shot to her feet in alarm.
Three men stood outside of her cell. She had been so preoccupied with her thoughts she hadn't heard them approach. Prince Kuon, Yukihito, and a guard stood watching her. But it was those green eyes that sent shivers down her back. He must be very angry with her if he had come down personally.
"I'm so sorry!" she yelled in despair, flinging herself to the ground. These accusing eyes had been making her feel so ashamed of herself, she had an overwhelming desire to apologize. "I shouldn't have been so rude to you. It was terribly improper of me to scold you. Even if you were driving like a maniac down the street and almost killed someone. Someone like me isn't even worth your time to punish. I should have-"
Her ramblings were interrupted with a snort, and Kyoko couldn't help herself. She glanced up and saw Yukihito with a hand over his mouth, trembling with what appeared to be silent laughter. The guard looked surprised, but it was the prince's reaction she was looking for. He seemed troubled but still angry.
"Who taught you how to apologize?" he said evenly. "Insulting someone at the same time makes a very hollow apology."
Kyoko bit back her response, cursing her unguarded tongue. The last thing she needed was to make him even angrier. Instead, she sat back on her knees, head down. There was a click and the door of her cell opened. The prince and Yukihito entered the small cell.
"Leave us," said Kuon.
The guard gave the prince the key and left. Kyoko didn't move, not trusting herself to look up. Her imagination was on overdrive. Was he going to torture her? What if he decided to pull the fingernails off her hands and feet? Or rake her over hot coals! She was trying hard not to squirm, her body covered in sweat.
The prince knelt down before her.
"Look at me."
It wasn't a request. It was a command. This man was used to being obeyed, so Kyoko did as she was told. She met his gaze, forcing herself not to tremble. His whole aura made every instinct within herself scream at her to run, but she couldn't. His gaze was petrifying and startling all at once.
"Now I'm going to ask you a few questions," he said. "If your answers are to my satisfaction, we will let you go." A spark of hope fluttered inside of her. It was extinguished with his next words, his expression growing darker. "But, if I don't like what you have to say, or you even think about lying to me. I will guarantee you will wish you were dead. Do you understand me?"
The dark abated slightly.
"What is your name?" he said
"Where are you from?"
"Nembu." She was dimly aware of Yukihito in the corner, scribbling notes.
"Why were you in the marketplace this morning?"
"I was going to one of the local physician businesses. I wanted to see if he would take me on as an apprentice."
"And why was someone all the way from Nembu, going to a physician here in the capital?"
"I..." She paused. How was she supposed to answer that question? It was a long story and he was sure to think she was lying.
He saw her hesitance. His eyes bore into hers, their pressure a physical press to her throat. She had to answer him. To answer this dark, angry man in front of her.
"I ran away from home," she muttered.
"Why did you do that?"
"Because I wanted revenge."
The two men glanced at each other, then back at her, but she hardly noticed. Touching upon this subject infuriated her. The pain still felt so raw. It was impossible to suppress the anger rising in her. It also gave her a little bit of much-needed courage.
"Revenge for what?" said the prince. "Or on who?
"Sho Fuwa." She hissed his name like it was a curse.
The prince blinked, then again exchanged looks with Yukihito, who just shrugged.
"Elaborate for me on why you would come all the way out here for revenge on this... Sho Fuwa?" said Kuon
"Because he's a miserable bastard that doesn't deserve to lick the soles of my feet!" The anger within her had come out after hearing his name, soaking up the negative energy radiating from her and the prince. The torrent of emotions she had been keeping inside for weeks burst from her, drowning out all other thoughts. Kuon raised an eyebrow but didn't respond. He didn't have to. Now that she had started there was no holding her back.
"He threw me away after stealing my work and claiming it for his own!" she continued. "I showed him my discovery so we could present it together. But he took everything I did for him and threw it in my face. So I'm going to surpass him, I'm going to stand at the top of medicine and crush his stupid ego. I'll make him regret ever throwing me away like he did."
"What exactly did he steal?" said Kuon, interrupting her. She narrowed her eyes at him, then looked away, her anger deflating like a balloon.
"You wouldn't believe me," she muttered. "No one else did."
She almost didn't. She was so scared he would laugh at her as the other girls had. But she was sick of folding and letting people walk all over her. It was part of the reason she had left. She was going to get the respect she deserved. Kyoko stuck out her chin, determined to stake her claim.
"I discovered how to use sandgrass to heal infected wounds," she said.
There was a pause.
"Seriously?" said Yukihito. He was staring at her, quill hovering above his notes. "That would change medicine across the country."
Kyoko blushed at his outburst. This wasn't the reaction she had expected. Someone believed her, and even more so, they praised her?
"It's nothing really," she muttered. "I found it out by accident."
"Accident or not, that's amazing," said Yukihito. "Can it be used for other purposes? I can't even imagine how that would change things if it could."
Her blush deepened, but they were interrupted by an irritated voice.
"Could you explain to me exactly why this is such a big deal?" said Kuon, glaring at Yukihito. The man straightened his glasses and began explaining.
"Currently there is only one known plant that can heal a wound after it's been infected. But it's not native to our climate so only those with a lot of money can afford it. If you don't take care of a wound, no matter how small, it can get infected. If that happens and it spreads, the infection could kill you. Or you can cut off the flesh and pray that it works. Most people die anyway. Light magic can only do so much and most physicians can only use arcane magic anyway. It's a huge problem, especially on the battlefield where injured soldiers can be left for days before being found and receiving help. But if something as common as sandgrass could be used, not only could our soldiers be saved, but the general populace would benefit enormously from this. It would raise the standard of care for the people and potentially save thousands of lives!"
Kyoko was positively squirming. He made it sound like such a big deal. It was just a simple discovery. Anyone could have done it if they had a little imagination. Kuon's dark aura was gone, his attention now on Yukihito.
"I didn't know you knew so much about medicine," said Kuon
"You tend to pick up a few things after spending enough time with the Duke in the pharmacy," said Yukihito. "I'm surprised you didn't know that, seeing as you've had to be fixed up so many times."
"I never pay attention when he starts talking about medicine. Makes my head hurt."
"So you believe me?" breathed Kyoko, unable to keep the hope from her voice. The men turned to face her, almost as if they had forgotten about her being in the room. Yukihito was about to answer but was cut off by a raised hand from Kuon.
"You should be more worried about other things Kyoko," He said and despite his tone, Kyoko relaxed. That was the first time he had used her name, which she took as a good sign. "The problem is, where you are going to stay after this? Am I right in assuming that you have no family in town?" she nodded. "Which means you have no place to go."
"I told you," she said. "I'm going to a physician to become an apprentice there."
This time it was Yukihito that answered.
"I'm sorry Kyoko, but when I brought the dehydrated man there for treatment, they told me they had no interest in taking a female apprentice. Especially one that had been imprisoned."
"I'll go to other places," she said, trying to convince herself of the solution she was offering herself. "I'm sure someone will take me."
"Female physicians aren't common here," said Yukihito. "To be honest with you, I can't think of one living here in the capital. I doubt anyone would hire you without a sparkling recommendation."
Kyoko wilted. What was she going to do? She didn't have enough money to make it back home, or to any other city for that matter. She had only made it past the sand dunes by tagging along with a traveling group, and even that had been lucky. She might be able to find a job, but that too would be a gamble considering her gender. And what about a place to stay? She was completely stranded and homeless.
"I have a proposition for you," said the prince suddenly. "How about you join my harem?"
There was a ten-second pause before Kyoko shot to her feet, plastering herself against the wall as far from his as possible.
"B-beast!" she roared, heart pounding like crazy. "Pervert. Animal. I can't believe you would try to take advantage of a pure young maiden's body!"
"How old are you?" said Kuon
"You're old enough to be married," he said, looking undisturbed by her outburst. "Which means you're old enough to become a concubine. So you can either accept my offer or wander the streets hoping that someone will take you in. That is, if you manage to not get yourself hurt or taken advantage of between now and then."
Kyoko swallowed. It was true she didn't have anywhere to go, but to sell her body for a place to stay! No, there was no way she would stoop so low. She opened her mouth to decline his offer but hesitated. If she became his concubine, it would mean she would be in the palace, and by what he said, it sounded like he had a personal physician. Maybe, just maybe, she could find them and beg them to let her study there. What better place was there to study all the up-to-date medicine than at the palace?
It was worth considering.
"Yes, we have a physician in the palace," said Kuon.
Did he just read her thoughts?
"And if you do your job well, I can give you a good recommendation."
"I don't-" she sputtered, face going red with embarrassment at what the was implying. "I can't-"
"-You don't really have a choice." said Kuon "You might have forgotten, but you are in jail for putting me in danger. Either I leave you here to rot, or you can come with me and join the harem. Think of this as a dual opportunity to both pay your fine and seek your revenge."
He would do it. He would lock her up and throw away the key if she refused, she could see it in his face.
Hating herself, and hating the prince for forcing her to make this choice, she agreed.
"Alright," she said. "I'll join your Harem."
Thanks for reading!
This is quite the ambitious project I've thrust upon myself.
Alright so this is going to be a looooooong one. Can't guarantee that my updates will be either frequent or consistent thanks to school but I have a lot of ideas. So it will all come down to when I have the time to type. Look forward to it.
Yes, I plan on making up my own medical terms/plants and such. Why? Because this is a different world, and they don't have the same rules or medical history that we do. Isn't that convenient!? But if I make blatant errors, feel free to correct me. It's going to be kinda hard juggling the things I know about medicine and what they should/could know about things like bacteria or modes of transmission. Should be fun.
Thanks again for reading! Let me know what you think.