Disclaimer: I do not own Magi- The Labyrinth of Magic
Blessed Child of Mine
That was the word mother would use to describe me everyday.
Everyone agreed as they assumed the same notion: You're blessed with the enamoring beauty you inherited from your mother, you're blessed to be born into a rising imperial family, you're blessed to live in luxury and prestige. None of these reasons were the same as my mother's reasons for repeating the detestable phrase to me over and over again.
You are blessed.
I was not blessed, if anything the tiny black butterfly-like creatures that surrounded me-suffocated me indicated that I was an anomaly.
My entire existence was an abomination.
I was cursed and my mother adored that about me.
I was Gyokumei Ren sister to Hakuryuu, Hakuei, Hakuren and Hakuyuu. I was the eldest daughter of the soon to be imperial rulers of Kou, Hakutoku and Gyokuen Ren.
I was a being that shouldn't have existed.
My first memory was vague but I could recall sitting on the lap of a voluptuous woman, who always read to me softly. Thin mesh would always tickle my cheek as she planted sweet kisses on my face through her mask.
In my toddler state of mind, I had decided she was my favorite person in the whole world. A close runner up would have been my chubby faced older brother, who also showered me with the same warm affection. They were my constant companions as I grew up as a baby, and they filled my life with constant giggles and smiles.
However the moments I shared with my favorite woman, was always interrupted by approaching footsteps and smooth fingers that latched onto my wrist with a vice-grip to pull me away.
I always hated the forceful way fingers would dig into my back as I was carried to bed. It was difficult to breath into the cool silk fabric my face was always pressed against, obstructing any way for me to visually seek out the woman I wished I could call mother.
I no longer saw the woman, who I felt resembled a mother more than the woman who actually gave birth to me.
But I soon forgot about her as I was placed in a different lap, a warmer and broader one. I came to cherish the textures of crisp paper under my fingers, the poignant smell of ink, and the soothing yet deep chuckles that emitted from the man I called father.
I would snuggle next to my older brother, my playmate, as he read to me in a whisper as we both lazed on father's lap.
These precious moments I shared with them were all taken away when father decided to go to war, bringing his heir with him.
I was left alone and back into the cold and delicate fingers of my mother. At the time I was constantly at the empress's side, pressed against her knee and mirroring a blue haired boy across from me who would do the same thing.
It was unnerving to be around the two of them as we used to rarely see each other. The boy was glued to that woman's side whereas I was stuck to father's side. Hakuyuu was always the mediator between us, but without his or father's presence to support me life became difficult.
Because I didn't feel comfortable with the icy fingers clawing at my back or the strange gaze the fellow four year old would cast upon me.
It used to unsettle me, the way he looked at me with slight distaste using the same eyes that father and Hakuyuu bore.
I realized then, that I would never get along with my twin Hakuren.
I curiously stared at the scarlet haired boys in front of me.
"May I introduce my sons Kouen and Koumei, they are younger than the crown prince by quite a few years."
I could not see past the protruding belly of my uncle to spot the younger brother, Koumei. However Kouen stood in front proudly, scarlet eyes unwavering as he met the cool ocean blue orbs of Hakuyuu's.
There was a slight hidden adoration in my cousin's eyes as he stared at my brother. I felt my skin crawl, a tingly sensation crept up my spine, as Kouen's stare switched to me. Eyes innocent and wide, so different from the calculating and egoistic gaze I for some unexplained reason expected from him, was what I saw. A shy smile spread across his face, little pearls of white peeked out from under his lips as he greeted the two of us.
Both brothers were nice playmates, and seemed harmless. We enjoyed a game of make believe with me starring as the much needed to be saved princess, who was held captive by the sleepy monster that was Koumei. The two oldest siblings teamed up to save me, and I couldn't help but feel my face split into a smile at seeing brother actually act his age for once. For him to play and run around with fellow children his age, instead of participating in strategy meetings and listening to old men talk.
However as Kouen beamed at Hakuyuu and Hakuyuu smiled, a rare expression he often didn't show people, I couldn't stop a feeling of dread slip through the bubble of cheerful childish play that had been created during the past few hours.
That day I began to remember what the future would hold for my family, how it would destroy every person I held dear to me.
Most importantly I remembered who mother was and what she had done, what she would do.
"Gyokumei, what happened to your fingers?"
Blinking shyly as I stared at the long decorative robes of my father, I hid my hands behind my back.
My dark brown, almost black, eyes gazed at the floor. I didn't like to lie to father, but I usually never had to because-
Freezing hands clasped my own as callous free fingers caressed my wounds. "She merely pricked herself during our embroidery session today. Such clumsy fingers." The woman, mother, commented in slight disappointment as she applied pressure along the bandages enveloping my thumb.
"Sorry mother, I won't make any more mistakes next time," my torso was parallel to the ground as I bowed low in apology. I couldn't afford to make a mistake next time, as my error during our practice match nearly cost me my fingers, mother's blade nicked the surface of the flesh of all five of my fingers.
However I was roused out of my thoughts and I beamed as rough hands gently ruffled my hair, "Be careful."
Heat rose to my face as the tips of my lips turned upwards, "I will, father."
To my knowledge the emperor only knew of my lessons on needlepoint, flower arrangement, dancing, and flute playing. They were all things I learned before the age of seven.
I assumed he never saw the scrolls stashed in my chambers, never saw the blade hidden beneath my pillows, and never saw the wand hidden among my robes.
Mother saw them, mother gave them to me, mother taught me, and I learned.
Arms encircled my shoulders in a taut grip as the woman held me close. Words sounding as sweet as honey left her mouth in an attempt to persuade father about his decisions, "She is but a child perhaps she should stay inside with me, within the castle walls?"
His eyes never left his map as he noted battle formations and he replied, "Is Hakuren not the same age as her?"
"But she is a girl my lord, she can not fend for herself."
"Then are those swords just for show?"
I felt a sharp pain as fingers dug into my hair and as my body was forcefully pressed against the woman's skin.
"But my lord," the empresses began her empty plea, only to be interrupted by her husband.
"Gyokumei herself wished to venture outside and observe war tactics. I will not deny her, her wishes."
"Then may I go as well?"
"Who will watch over Hakuei?"
He was firm, mother knew she would not win. As she listened to his next words, I felt her fingers lose energy enabling me to dash into the warmth my father offered. "She will come with me to the camp, or do you have other reasons?"
The woman glanced down and stayed silent, as my father enveloped my hand in a sweet tenderness a person wouldn't expect from someone who was about to mercilessly destroy Kouga territory. As he lead me outside my eyes wandered to gaze back at the tent behind us, I met eyes so similar to mine staring back at me shrewdly.
Suddenly, I was afraid.
Fear coiled around my heart as my body stayed rooted to the floor. I stared past my cousin's shoulders and into enraged amber eyes. Metal clashed in front of me as lithe bodies of Kouga and Ren danced before me.
Watching the blade come down, my scream echoed and was soon joined by the soldier in front of me. Kouen yanked me by the arm and began to run, dragging me with him, as I was to busy staring at the black flames that licked my attacker's face.
The scarlet haired boy leaves with a trail of crimson liquid running down his forehead and jaw, as red as his hair, and I with a memory burned into my skull.
I was nine when I first murdered someone.
Mother placed the little bundle of cloth containing my recently born sister into the arms of a hand maiden. She reached for me with her icy fingers and I felt her cradle me in her arms instead, replacing the youngest of the Ren family.
Water dripped from the woman's eyes landing on my cheek as I heard her murmur softly, but just loud enough to hear by those standing close, "I am so glad you're safe, it must have been such a frightening experience."
Her acting is almost perfect.
However I curl into myself, attempting to ignore the flurry of black rukh that I can now see happily flutter around her.
She knows what I have done and she is proud.
Father never let me approach the battlefield again. He thought it was safe to lock me away in the newly finished castle of Kou, to be surrounded by his soldiers and the four walls of his mighty castle. He followed the very words of what mother had suggested to do in the first place.
Brother thought it was safe to leave me as well, in the careful and dotting hands of mother. He told me it was time for me to start paying attention to my role as the first imperial princess. He wanted me to leave the fighting to him and Hakuren, he promised me to come back safe and sound.
Hakuren left me alone for once. There was no taunting, no jibes at how I can't be a warrior like the other soldiers nor how I wouldn't be able to fit in the women's court as a proper lady. He only stayed silent, something un-befitting of him. His chatterbox mouth was sewed shut for once as tight lines appeared between his brows, every time he looked at me.
Kouen doesn't say a thing about the incident to anyone. The shy smile is gone now, replaced with a strained one laced with uncertainty. He is the only one who walks a step slower than the rest, looking back at me occasionally with an ambiguous expression. Worry overlaying slight cautious dark red hues are all I remember as he looks at me one last time before disappearing into the distance with my brothers.
Again father left with his army and Hakuyuu in tow, I stared after the stampede of men march out in black and blue uniforms, to fight in a war that I knew we would win.
The emperor left his wife, Hakuei, and I behind walls and soldiers in an effort to protect us.
He was right, I was safe from the prying eyes of enemies. However as I stared at pitch black corrupted eyes brimming with ecstasy and satisfaction, I realized I was far from safe, as the monster within the walls decided it was time for me to learn about magic.
AN: This is a mess and was probably really confusing to read. But I knew that if I didn't get this posted before I went to bed, it would never be posted. Leave a review telling me what was confusing/any errors and i'll try to fix it (hopefully it's not everything), or if you'd just like to leave me a comment!