Take Note!: This is a Prince of Tennis fanfiction made for the purpose of entertainment and pleasure reading. It is not, in any way, related to anyone living or dead, intentionally.

Disclaimer: This fanfiction belongs solely to the author, ShuuyaLover. And obviously, I do not own Prince of Tennis.

Warning: Dominant-submissive second gender. Pictures and / or videos used are only to assist readers to imagine and understand the story better.

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

The whole empire of Rikkai is in mourning, for the Emperor has passed away.

Murdered by assassins who ambushed His Majesty and his entourage when they were on their way to the Shrine of Amaterasu to pray for blessing, welfare and prosperity of the empire on such an auspicious day.

None survived the despicable ambush.

The flags of the empire and provinces were lowered to half and the people wear black clothing, as decreed whenever a death occurred in the Imperial Family. Even the usual festive-like atmosphere seemed to have ceased from the people, in respect of the deceased Emperor, but also because of genuine sadness and anger.

Emperor Goshou, or his birth name, Sanada Genjirou, was a great emperor who fiercely protected his empire, merciful and kind to the poor and unforgiving to those who wronged others. His reigning years brought only assurance, security and joy in his people's life. His death was a great loss to the empire.

Who can ever replace such emperor?

But now, his son, Crown Prince Sanada Genichirou, will be stepping up to the throne. This young man who not only looks so much like his sire, but also shares the same characteristics and qualities, brought assurance to the people.

Rikkai is safe, His Imperial Highness will reign just like his father.

Ohh, he will reign just fine.

But troubles are brewing.

And huge storms are coming.

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

At the Grand Hall of the Rikkai Palace, all fifty ministers and government officials have been gathered. They were all filling the seats by the long tables. Upon entry, a huge empty space on the center made up an aisle and the regal Emperor and Empress' throne and their own table was there. A red carpet were laid out covering the tiles that lead up to the thrones. Thrones for the imperial predecessor, Crown Prince and Crown Princess or Crown Prince Consort were also prepared. At the bottom of the steps to the thrones were two tables reserved for secretaries on each side. On the right and left were 5 long tables that accommodates to 5 people each.

"Announcing the arrival of the Crown Prince!"

All kinds of talks ceased at the announcement of the eunuch and all rise in order to welcome the Crown Prince's arrival. The huge double doors parted open and the Crown Prince stood with a stern face as always, an air of superiority and confidence surrounded him. The ministers and government officials bowed deeply and greeted in unison, "Your Highness!"

Crown Prince Genichirou nodded firmly before striding along the aisle and taking his place at the Crown Prince's throne. The ministers and government officials exchanged curious and puzzled looks as to why he sits there rather than the Emperor's throne. The crown prince read their mind, as it was apparent in their face.

"I shall sit at the Emperor's throne only after I am formally and officially crowned as Emperor. Now, let us begin with the assembly. First, I would like to hear the updates on the Emperor's imperial funeral. Head Priest?"

The man who was called rose from his seat. He looked a bit worn out and he bowed deeply to the Crown Prince. "Your Highness, I begin with a condolences. Emperor Goshou's funeral is progressing well. His Majesty's body is now placed at the Shrine of Izanami, heavily guarded by priests and some of the assigned Imperial Guards. After the prayers are done, we will begin with the public wake. If possible, this afternoon, as scheduled."

"I thank you for your service. Next, the people's state. Governor of Yanagi Province?"

Yanagi Kenji got up from his seat carefully. "Your Highness, the people have been in mourning since the news of Emperor Goshou's death was announced. Most of the shops are closed. They may be doing this as a sign of respect, but, the business have not been profitable because of this."

"Head of Imperial Secretaries." Sanada called out, and the official who had been at one of the long tables rose from his seat. Like others, he bowed deeply before addressing the Crown Prince.

"Your Highness."

"Release a decree stating that business and any of the sort that does not involve merriment and pleasure shall not be put on hold during mourning period, as it will hinder the empire's economy and some will be without source of income."

"Understood, Your Highness." And he slowly sits down at the Emperor's approving nod.

The Crown Prince glanced at the Minister of Relations. "Minister, your report on the invitations to the funeral?"

"Yes, Your Highness." The Minister cleared his throat before continuing. "Invitations have been sent to the Royal Families of Seigaku, Hyotei, Fudomine, Yamabuki, and Rokkaku, but unfortunately Rokkaku sent us a formal apology, as their King is...gravely ill."

The Crown Prince closed his eyes and sighed, shaking his head slowly. He can relate to that all to well.

"Send my best wishes to their Royal Family. Inform Prince Koujirou that should he need something that we can help with, he should not hesitate to ask."

"Yes, Your Highness!"

"Y-Your Highness." The usually intimidating Minister of Decorum, Traditions and Culture carefully called for the Crown Prince's attention.

The Crown Prince turns his gaze to the Minister. "Speak, Minister."

"Your Highness, your Coronation will be in a week, right after the end of Emperor Goshou's mourning period. An Emperor must built a new Imperial Harem."

Whispers and talks of excitement filled the Grand Hall, as if they were suddenly reminded of it. But in reality, they have just been waiting for the Minister of Decorum, Traditions and Culture to mention this in the assembly. The golden opportunity has arrived!

"Your Highness!" The Minister of Economy nearly jumped from his seat. "I offer you my daughter, Lady Nabiki! She is of marriageable age, a melodious singer and a rare beauty too!"

"My son Lord Tayuki is very pleasing in the eyes! And not only that, he is brought up with the education and decorum fit for an Emperor's consort!"

"How about my daughter, Your Highness? Lady Nakuru has been expressing her interest of you for quite some time!"

"Enough." The Crown Prince's single command silenced all sound within the Grand Hall. "As per tradition, a new Imperial Harem will be built after my coronation. Emperor Goushou's consorts and concubines shall be discharged and paid as compensation. However, I will only allow six Noble Consorts to be accepted into the Imperial Harem. This will be overseen by the Empress."

"But the Empress is not allowed to oversee the selection process, Your Highness!" The Minister of Decorum, Traditions and Culture exclaimed in horror.

The Crown Prince narrowed his eyes. "I meant, my Imperial mother, the Empress. She will be referred to as the Empress Dowager after stepping down the throne and such station permits her to be in charge."

"Ohh, my apologies, Your Highness!" The Minister realised his mistake and bit his tongue internally. How could he have thought that the Crown Prince is not aware of the rules?!

The Crown Prince took a deep breath and sighed. Perhaps he ought to change some ministers too.

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

Being very careful with the sleeve of his black kimono patterned with bluish purple iris flowers, Yukimura Seiichi lifted up a pot and poured enough green tea into the tea cup for the honoured guest in front of him. He was aware that his actions and facial expression were monitored, and he fought down the urge to give into his anxiety and instead, mentally reminded himself to stay calm and composed. He poured some green tea into his own cup before putting the pot aside and bowed as low as he can with a low table between him and his guest.

A small chuckled resounded in the gazebo above the pond. Yukimura lifted his head slowly to see Empress Sachi shielding her mouth with a hand while looking at him with amusement. "Why are you being so formal with me, child? We have known each other for a long time! I even bathed you as a baby!" She said before breaking into another small laughter.

"Your Majesty, I couldn't possibly do that!" Yukimura said in a low, embarrassed tone. His gaze directed to the pair of hands placed on his lap.

When her laughter finally ceased, she looked over the young man in front of her. Wavy, blue hair slightly passing his shoulders. Bright blue eyes that never fails to captivate those who catch sight of them. Skin is fair as the snow in the winter. Voice is soft and melodious, but firm and commanding when need be. Smooth and dainty fingers that possessed talents that anyone would envy of. Now, they looked a bit rough and worn, though. He's not too tall, but not too short either, just the right height.

It has been three years since she had last seen him. It was on the day of Yukimura's genpuku took place. He remembered watching the young man walking to the middle of the hall, wearing a red furisode with pink sakura flowers, hair tied up and adorned with sakura kanzashi. Everyone thought that some time after that, since he had been declared an adult, he would be married off to some heir of a noble clan or taking up an important position in the government, considering he is also very intelligent.

But instead, he chose to travel. And from what she heard, he at first traveled in the Rikkai empire itself, before crossing over to Seigaku, Hyotei, Shitenhouji, Fudomine, Yamabuki and Rokkaku. What brought him back was the news of the death of her husband, Emperor Goshou.

And what led him away was her son's first marriage.

"Seiichi."

Slowly, he looked up to her. "Yes, Your Majesty?" He asked in a soft voice.

"I see you still have the sakura kanzashi my son gave you." She said, her eyes darting to the dangling sakura kanzashi adorning his hair. Yukimura's eyes widened and his hand was quick to reach the kanzashi, as if checking if it was really there. His breath halted as his blue eyes met a pair of black ones belonged to the Empress. He could feel and hear his heartbeat quicken dramatically.

"Y-Your Majesty, I-!"

"I had a feeling from the very beginning. But I was only sure after Genichirou confessed to me on his wedding night with his first wife." The Empress paused, waiting to see if continuing would be too much for the bluenette. But Yukimura's firm resolve showed on his face, and the Empress continued.

"That night, he came to see me before going to Crown Princess Akiko's quarters. He told me everything, from the first time he confessed to you, your first kiss, first fight, how he was so jealous of Prince Kunimitsu who spent so much time with you during His Highness' visit until Lord Renji hit him on the head and blatantly told him that if he loves you so much that he could not stand seeing you being friendly with your half brother, he should just lock you up in his chambers for only his eyes to see."

A short laugh came from Yukimura at the confession.

The Empress' face turned into sadness and pity. "And how he ended the beautiful relationship you two shared because his father had decided on his bride. How difficult it was for him to do so, how hurtful you felt and that it became one of the reasons why you travel so much...to get away from the memories. And the love you have for him."

As the Empress talked, the memories started coming onto him strongly. Yukimura's frame began to shook and tears gathered in his eyes against his will. The Empress held out her hand to him, a gesture for him to give her his hand. Yukimura slowly placed his right hand onto the Empress' left hand's palm. The Empress softly clenched his right hand in her left hand.

"Seiichi, you still love him, and he still loves you too. Would you consider entering the Imperial Harem and become his Noble Consort?" She asked carefully.

"What good will it do, Your Majesty? I do not wish to compete for his love. I never have to. Back then, I was the only one for him. But now..."

"You do know that it is his Imperial duty to take many wives in order to gain heirs and secure the Imperial family line. He is the Crown Prince of Rikkai, and this will never change!"

"Sometimes, I wish we were just normal people. Then it will be just the two of us."

The Empress let out a soft sigh and cupped Yukimura's face. "I understand how you feel too well, my dear. I, myself, is an Empress, the principal wife of an emperor who has over 80 consorts and concubines in his Imperial Harem! Everyday is a battle for His Majesty's love, attention and affection. There were times that I won, and others where I lost. But in the end, it is important for both of you to know that the love is mutual."

"How would I ever know?"

"You just do. And if you don't, then do everything that you can to assure yourself. You do what I did, climb up the ranks and ends up at the top."

"Your Majesty." Yukimura whispered in shock. "Are you insinuating that...?"

The Empress laughed, however the amusement is not evident in her eyes. "Ohh, my dear. The Imperial Harem is a war between the Empress, concubines and consorts. And unlike the army, we battle everyday, for the rest of our life."

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

The empire and Sanada Imperial Clan seal flags were everywhere during the coronation of the new emperor and empress. Crown Prince Sanada Genichirou will be known as Emperor Giichi while his principal wife, Crown Princess Akiko will receive the title Empress Akane. The sounds of musical instruments halted when the arrival of the imperial couple was announced.

All bowed deeply as the imperial couple walked side by side along the aisle, where the Head Priest, Head of Imperial Secretaries and the now Empress Dowager Sachi waited for them. The two stopped a few steps away and the others bowed deeply to them. The Head of Imperial Secretaries took a scroll from the tray held up by an eunuch and cleared his throat before reading it.

"On this first day of fourth month of year 1600, Crown Prince Genichirou of the Imperial Sanada Clan and his principal wife, Crown Princess Akiko of the Hyotei's noble house of Akutagawa, are hailed as the new reigning rulers of Rikkai. With the blessings of the goddess Amaterasu through the Head Priest and acknowledgement from the Heads of Noble Clans, Emperor Giichi and Empress Akane shall rule Rikkai. May the Emperor and Empress rule prosperously for a thousand years!"

"May the Emperor and Empress rule prosperously for a thousand years!"

The people cried out in unison and bowed deeply.

"May the Emperor and Empress rule prosperously for a thousand years!"

Their voice echoed again and another deep bow was given to the new Emperor and Empress.

"May the Emperor and Empress rule prosperously for a thousand years!"

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~