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 ~~~

After the appointment ceremony ends, the Imperial Advisor reminded the Emperor of a meeting with the Ministers that will start shortly, followed by the paperworks that has been increasing at an alarming rate. Yukimura caught an apologetic look from Sanada before taking leave. After the Emperor leaves the Throne Room, the Empress Consort and Imperial Noble Consorts take their leave as well. Empress Dowager also left, stating that she needs to rest and take her herbal medicine.

Empress Consort is likely to be storming into her Kigiku Palace and sulking at the garden. Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi and Jackal have decided to go through the list of possible concubines and specials for the Imperial Harem together over tea and snacks. Imperial Noble Consort Kirihara stormed out after yelling loudly about how busy an Imperial Noble Consort is and having no time to fraternize with those of lower ranks. Imperial Noble Consort Yakushi gushed about how precious her baby prince is and how similar he looks to the Emperor, all the while sneaking smiles full of smug at Yukimura once in awhile before striding out to find her son. Imperial Noble Consort Kisarazu congratulated them before leaving, stating that he needs to rest. The last to leave was Imperial Noble Consort Marui, who apologised for some of the Imperial Noble Consorts' behaviour and welcomed them to the Imperial Harem before leaving, planning to barge in on Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi and Jackal's discussion.

The Chief Eunuch came and bowed deeply at the Noble Consorts. "Congratulations on the appointment, Noble Consorts. A maid and two Imperial Guards will show you to your residence. Please freshen up and be ready within an hour and thirty minutes. The Empress Dowager has invited all of you for some tea and snacks at Suitopi Palace."

A maid dressed in mustard yellow kimono with white obi approached Yukimura, along with two armed Imperial Guards. Her short, straight black hair and black eyes "Congratulations on your appointment, Noble Consort Yukimura." They bowed deeply and stand straight. The maid smiled at him. "I am your Head of Maids, Your Highness. My name is Mako. These two are also assigned to you as your personal guards."

"Pleased to meet the three of you." Yukimura answered simply.

"Your Highness, we shall lead you to your residence now. All of your belongings, including the appointment scroll and seal, have been sent to your residence."

"What is my residence called, and where exactly it is?"

"Your residence is called Sakura Residence, located at the north part of the Imperial City. And it is the closest Noble Consort Residence to the Ryuu Palace, where the Emperor resides. The two Noble Consort residences closest to yours is the Noble Consort Zaizen's Sumire Residence and Noble Consort Niou's Ajisai Residence."

Yukimura and his maid and Imperial Guards made their way to Sakura Residence.

"Wait!" A commanding voice came from behind. The voice was familiar to him, and when he finally put a face for the voice, Yukimura let out a small breath. The newly appointed Noble Consort steeled himself before turning around to face the Empress Consort and her entourage of maids and Imperial Guards. Beside her is a maid who is holding a tray with a small pot on top of it.

Yukimura put on a smile and bowed to her, followed by his maid and Imperial Guards. In exchange, the Empress Consort's maids and Imperial Guards bowed to him. "Your Majesty." He started the talk. "Is there anything wrong?" He asked.

"Why should there be anything wrong?" The Empress Consort frowned slightly. "Oh, it's nothing. I just called you because I want to give you a gift."

"A gift?"

The Empress Consort nodded to her maid who is holding the tray and the maid approached Yukimura's maid to hand it over. After getting permission in the form of a nod from him, Mako took the tray and pot from the Empress Consort's maid.

"I have yet to get to know you better, but I wanted to give you something so much, so I settled for some tea leaves. I suppose anyone will appreciate good tea."

Truth be told, despite the Empress Consort Akane's tone seems warm and friendly, Yukimura knew there was something off about her and the tea she gave him. Nevertheless, Yukimura put on a grateful smile and bowed. "Thank you for being so thoughtful, Your Majesty."

The Empress Consort smiled in satisfaction. "Most welcome. And now, I must make haste to Tsubaki Palace. Imperial Noble Consort Kirihara is expecting me." She said and Yukimura, his maid and Imperial Guards stand aside to let the Empress through. They bowed as the Empress Consort passes through and her maids and Imperial Guards bowed to Yukimura before following the Empress Consort.

Yukimura rose from his bow and stared at the Empress Consort's back.

"Mako, open the pot."

"Yes, Your Highness."

Mako lifted up the lid and showed the content to Yukimura.

Mako lifted up the lid and showed the content to Yukimura. Yukimura took a handkerchief from his sleeve and covered his index finger with it. He stick it into the pot and prodded the content of the pot. Mako and the two Imperial Guards exchanged confused looks, but stayed silent as they watched their Master and his odd action.

It did not take long for Yukimura to find what he was looking for.

Yukimura smiled as he saw many shredded mint leaves among the sencha leaves.

"Saa...now how should I 'thank' her for her generosity?"

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

"Welcome to your residence, Your Highness!" The maids and Imperial Guards gathered and bowed as they greeted him. Yukimura took a moment to really observe his residential area. There were many sakura trees planted around, blossoming beautifully in spring. He saw a small pond and a bridge over it. A small yet lovely gazebo was built by the pond. A small garden with varieties of flowers that had Yukimura smiling genuinely. He'd enjoy looking after them meticulously. Yukimura also noticed an outdoor table and chair made out of marble placed below the tall sakura trees.

Yukimura couldn't help but walking towards one of the sakura trees and running his fingers through the bark slowly, whispering thanks for being healthy and welcoming him to the residence with such beautiful sakura flowers. Talking to plants is a habit that he picked up since young. Though some might find it weird, but he feels oddly calm and relaxing.

"I see you still talk to flowers and trees." A voice that he hadn't heard for a long time reached his ears. Yukimura's eyes widened when he recognised the owner of the voice and he turned around to see Marui Bunta smirking haughtily at him. The redhead young lad wore a light pink kimono with red rose pattern and golden obi. On his hair is a few hairpins of floral motif.

"Bunta!"

"Seiichi!"

The two old friends laughed merrily and hugged each other in excitement. Yukimura closed his eyes as he enjoyed the warmth of the hug of his old friend. Since he started traveling, Yukimura has not met Marui at all. The only communication that they had were through the letters sent back and forth.

"Ohh, it's been so long, Bunta!"

"Three years, Seiichi! Had my wedding not been postponed, you would have missed it!" Marui chided him but without the biting.

"Postponed? Why was it postponed? We are not at war with any country these past years, so Kuwahara couldn't have been deployed! You were supposed to be married last year! What happened, Bunta?"

"His ambition, that's what happened! He's been promoted to Brigadier General, and I couldn't be happier for and proud of him! But since then, he's always so busy and even cancelling our dates! He's the one who postponed our wedding." Marui's eyes were downcast now. "Said he was too busy. I tried to be understanding and we talked, but he got angry and said I would never understand, because I'm not doing anything."

"Ohh, Bunta." Yukimura said softly. "I'm so sorry. I'm sure he didn't mean that. Maybe he was just too frustrated, and being in military is certainly taxing."

"Well, I decided to do something, so here I am." Marui said.

"What do you mean?"

"I'm your Lord in Waiting!"

Yukimura blinked, and gasped at the sudden news. "Y-You're my Lord in Waiting?"

Marui nodded and grinned. "Exactly! Now that you are in the Imperial Harem, you'd need someone that you can completely trust to have your back. Imperial Advisor Yanagi personally informed me of your admission into the Imperial Harem and offered me the post, so I agreed."

"But...Bunta. Are you sure?" Yukimura frowned. "Imperial Harem is not a great place to be, and I-"

"Say no more, Seiichi. I'm here, and there's nothing you can do about it!" Marui raised a hand at Yukimura, showing his palm to him signalling the universal sign of stop. Then, he grinned cheekily. "Or should I call you Your Highness?"

"Bunta!" A pink blush appeared on Yukimura's cheeks.

An amused laugh left Marui's lips and he shielded himself from Yukimura's playful hits.

"Alright, I think this is enough. Now, I will give a short explanation about your residence and then we shall prepare you for the tea with the Empress Dowager and other Noble Consorts." Marui ended their little reunion and gestured Yukimura to enter his residence with a sway of of his arm. "This way, Your Highness." He added in an attempt to become somewhat professional, and Yukimura shook his head slightly, sending him a look before entering his Sakura Residence, followed by Marui and the maids. The Imperial Guards have taken their respective positions to stand guard outside of the residence.

Upon entry, they entered the genkan area, where a footwear cupboard was placed. A pair of indoor shoes were placed next to him and Yukimura slipped into them while his outdoor shoes were placed neatly in the footwear cupboard by a maid. Another maid was doing the same thing for Marui.

"This way to your chamber, Your Highness."

Leaving the genkan, Yukimura noticed the presence of a small garden in the middle of the spacious area. The garden could be counted as outdoor since the shoji is there to divide the space between the garden and the inside of the residence. Plus, there is no roof atop of the small garden. The small garden was made up of few flowers in pots and outdoor marble table and four marble chairs.

After making a few turns, they finally arrived at Yukimura's chamber. Two maids opened the shoji door and Yukimura gasped in delight. He was the first one to step inside the chamber, followed by Marui and two maids. The other eight maids stood outside of the chamber. The chamber may be smaller than the one he has back at the Yukimura Clan Main Family House, but the chamber was nicely decorated. Not too luxurious, but just good enough for him.

"I hope you like it because I took the liberty to decorate your whole residence for you instead of letting the eunuchs and maids do so. Do you like it?" Marui asked in an excited voice.

"I love it. You've done a great job, Bunta."

"Thank you for your compliment, Your Highness. Now, I shall start explaining about your residence while the maids make the preparations." Yukimura nodded and lowered himself onto his bed. Marui turned to one of the two maids who stayed with them in the chamber, Mako.

"Mako, inform the maids outside to prepare His Highness' kimono, footwear, make up and accessories. Make sure the bath is ready by the time when His Highness is ready. Also, make sure there is a cup of tea and a slice of cake for him by the time His Highness finishes bathing."

"Yes, Your Excellency." Mako bowed before leaving the chamber. Another maid steps inside to replace Mako and the door closed.

"Alright, we do not have enough time to tour your residence, Your Highness, so I will only briefly explain it. Your residence is called Sakura Residence because your residence has the most Sakura trees, compared to other residences. His Majesty specifically asked that you be placed here." Marui smirked at the kanzashi on top of Yukimura's head, making the Noble Consort blushed slightly.

"Outside, there is a small pond with bridge, a gazebo, a small garden, outdoor table and chairs, and of course, the Sakura trees. Inside the residence, you have your own chamber, personal bathing area, a small kitchen, a washitsu which is near the main entrance, and a study room." Your maids and guards quarters are at the back. At night, they will change shifts."

"What about your living arrangement?"

"My chamber is in your residence, but a bit far from your chamber, which is a good thing, just in case His Majesty chooses to spend the night here instead of bringing you to Ryuu Palace."

"Bunta..." Yukimura called out his best friend's name in a weak protest.

"Well, now that that's settled, let me explain some things that you need to know." Marui's expression turned serious. "From the information I have gathered, the Empress Consort and Imperial Noble Consorts are aware of your and His Majesty's past. You must be careful in both action and words to avoid giving them the opportunity to strike."

"The Empress Consort has struck first." Yukimura stated calmly.

"What?" Marui gaped. "When did this happen?"

"When I was on the way here, Her Majesty stopped me and gave me a pot of tea leaves. She mixed the sencha with mint."

"Mint lowers testosterone, so she plans to make you seem not sexually attracted towards His Majesty."

"No doubt about it." Yukimura sighed, looking at the accursed pot placed on top of his table. "Since mint and sencha does not lead to any poisoning, she aims to destroy my relations with His Majesty, not to kill me. But only time will tell."

"We will think of what to do later. And another thing, the ones that you must always be aware of are the Empress Consort Akane, Imperial Noble Consort Kirihara and Imperial Noble Consort Yakushi. These three are cunning, so we must always be vigilant."

"I gathered as much." Yukimura nodded his head.

"But the good news is you can definitely trust Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi, Imperial Noble Consort Jackal and Imperial Noble Consort Marui. The Empress Dowager, Imperial Advisor Yanagi and I vouched for them."

"Alright, so at least those three are safe to be around with. But what about Imperial Noble Consort Kisarazu?"

"Well, from what I have heard, although he does attend functions and meetings, His Highness does not really mingle with any Imperial Noble Consort enough to be called close friends. He prefers to be by himself and care for his daughter. He's just given birth four months ago. But I do know that the Emperor truly cares for him, His Majesty made sure to see him at least once in two days to see how he and the young Imperial Princess Chie are doing."

A twinge of jealousy had Yukimura frowning in dislike. But he quickly shook his head and drove away the thoughts of Sanada caring for another person like His Majesty used to care for him. "We'll continue discussing about the Empress Consort and the Imperial Noble Consorts later. What about the Noble Consorts?"

"Yes, Your Highness. Let's start with Noble Consort Sengoku Chiharu. She's seventeen years old, like us. She is Yamabuki's royal princess and the younger sister of Crown Prince Sengoku Kiyosumi of the Sengoku Clan. Known to be a proper and talented princess. She's gifted in singing, embroidery, painting, and literature. When the offer from Rikkai came, she only agreed to it after seeing a painting of His Majesty. Some say she fell in love, some say she's simply attracted to a handsome young man with so much power, influence and riches."

"She's not that different from her older brother." Yukimura commented, remembering his first meeting with Crown Prince Sengoku. They were eight years old and the latter had the guts to flirt with him with the Emperor nearby. The Crown Prince only gave up and agreed to be friends after the Emperor soundly defeat him in a sword fight.

"Next is Noble Consort Ootori Izumi. She is the young lady of the Ootori Clan from Hyotei and the half-younger sister of Young Lord Choutarou. She is fifteen years old. She refused to enter the Harem because she does not want to leave Hyotei, but somehow her parents and Clan Elders managed to persuade her. Her Hyotei servants claimed that she is a kind - hearted and cheerful, but shy most of the times. She doesn't like violence and prioritise cleanliness. Another thing that I know is that she is a great dancer and enjoys ikebana."

"She doesn't sound too bad." Yukimura said. "But then again, better safe than sorry."

"The next one is Noble Consort Zaizen Hikaru from Shitenhouji. This Noble Consort agreed to become Noble Consort because he wants to be of use for his Clan and country. He said so, I'm not making this up." Marui said and sighed. "He's known as a young master who enjoys music and sports activities. Rumours also said that he's actually a well - known author who writes and publishes some prominent books under a pseudo name. And let's not forget that His Majesty is attracted to him. To a degree." Marui added the last sentence as careful measurement after seeing Yukimura's face darken.

"Okay, moving on to the Noble Consort Yagyuu Suzuri of Yagyuu Clan. Before becoming the Emperor's Noble Consort, he was one of the junior healers of the Yagyuu Province Healer Facilities. He is the cousin of our good friend Yagyuu Hiroshi, though they barely know each other."

"They are not close."

"Yes, Your Highness. And lastly is the Noble Consort Niou Naruki. The youngest of the Niou Clan's Main Family. He is trained as a ninja and an excellent one too. He is the one who is next in line to succeed the Niou Clan's prestigious Kage Corps, but our Masaharu from the Branch Family soundly defeated him in a formal and official duel for the title heir. After his defeat, Young Lord Naruki is offered the marriage proposal and he accepted."

"Hmm." Yukimura gave everything that had been explained some thought. "For now, let us proceed with caution. We will see it goes from now on."

Marui bowed deeply. "Yes, Your Highness."

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

The Grand Hall is filled with a tense silence with only the rustling sound of papers as the Ministers and Officials waited for the Emperor to finish reading the reports from the Ministry of Defense. The Emperor seated at his chair behind the table, both hands lifted the scroll for reading. As he read, the Emperor maintained his cool and collected expression, not once faltering. As his reading finished, the Emperor gave a firm nod and closed the scroll. An eunuch came forward and held up a tray for the Emperor to place the scroll and took a step back after his Majesty do so.

The Emperor lifted up his gaze to see his Ministers and Officials' faces ranging from concern, fear and determine. A small sigh escaped his lips and the Emperor turned to the Minister of Defense, whose face contorted in tension and concern.

"Defense Minister."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

"Are we the only one who's having this problem?"

"No, Your Majesty. Seigaku and Hyotei are also facing the same thing. But I am unsure if our other allies are in the same situation too. I shall look into it at once."

The Emperor gave an approving nod to his Defense Minister.

"Relations Minister. Inform this to our allies and send invitations to Seigaku and Hyotei to convene in ten days."

"Yes, Your Majesty."

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~

Yukimura was sitting in front of the makeup table, staring into his reflection in the mirror. He had chosen the light blue kimono with bright pink obi that the maids have prepared among the three kimonos and obis that have been prepared. The light blue kimono had violet flower and veins patterns embroidered and butterfly ornament shaped out of pearls were put hanging on his obi. A single butterfly kanzashi neatly tucked into his hair, as he opted for a simple yet elegant and pleasing look for the tea.

Face powdered, forehead graced with cherry blossom symbol drawing, eyelids coloured light pink, cheeks brushed light pink, lips coloured light pink and ears adorned with dangling pearl earrings, Yukimura is now ready to depart for the Empress Dowager's Palace known as Suitopi Palace.

Marui smiled in satisfaction at his good job on Yukimura's hair and makeup. "And now, thanks to my genius skills, no other looks as beautiful and graceful as you." He said proudly.

Yukimura stifled a laugh, lifting a hand over his mouth. "Bunta, you flatter yourself so much."

"Well, Your Highness. I don't expect praises from others. I can do so by myself."

The two shared a small laugh, Marui holding Yukimura's shoulders whilst standing behind him and Yukimura placing his hand on Marui's hand on his right shoulder.

"Your Highness." Mako's voice came from outside of the chamber. "The norimono has arrived."

"Alright, let's go." Yukimura patted Marui's right hand and rose from his seat at the makeup table. The two of them, followed by the maids and personal guards, went out to the front yard of Sakura Residence. The lavish norimono with swallowtail butterflies pattern had four men carrying it. The men put thenorimono down and greeted Yukimura.

"Good day to Noble Consort Yukimura. We have been asked to send you to the Suitopi Palace. Please get in, Your Highness." One of them said while the others only had their eyes lowered to the ground, waiting.

Yukimura smiled politely. "Thank you for coming. Wait for a while."

"Yes, Your Highness."

Yukimura turned to Marui, his maids and personal guards. "The only ones who will accompany me to the Suitopi Palace will be Lord in Waiting Marui, Leading Maid Mako, three other maids of her choosing, Sergeant Takimori, and seven of the personal guards of his choosing. The rest of you will stay here and prepare for what is necessary."

"Yes, Your Highness." All of them bowed deeply and Mako and Takimori immediately choose the ones that they think should accompany the Noble Consort to the Suitopi Palace. Marui approached Yukimura with a questioning look.

"It wouldn't do to leave the residence without anyone around." Yukimura whispered, earning an understanding sound and a nod from his Lord in Waiting.

After everything has been settled, Yukimura got into the norimono and they left for the Suitopi Palace. The Suitopi Palace was a bit far from the Sakura Residence, so Yukimura opted to using the norimono. As Yukimura and his entourage were on their way to the Suitopi Palace, servants who passed by dropped whatever they were doing to kneel and bow to the Noble Consort who is in the norimono.

About fifteen minutes later, they arrived at the entrance gate of Suitopi Palace. The men carefully placed the norimono on the ground and a maid opened the door while another maid helped Yukimura to get out. Yukimura turned to the men and graced them with a small smile. "Thank you." He turned slightly to Marui. "Bunta." He said and Marui nodded his head in understanding.

He approached the leader of the norimono carriers and handed a pouch with five silver tablets. "Accept this as His Highness' token of thanks. Make sure each of them gets one. As leader, you get to have two."

The leader of the norimono carriers had a look of awe and gratitude. He smiled broadly, knelt and bowed deeply, followed by his colleagues. "Thank you very much, Your Highness! May Your Highness is granted good health and protected by evil!"

"Thank you. Now, rise." Yukimura said and they rose from the ground.

"Your Highness, we will come to pick you up later." The leader of the norimono carriers promised and they left after a nod from Yukimura. Yukimura watched the norimono carriers taking leave for a while before turning to the entrance of the Suitopi Palace and entered.

An eunuch serving the Empress Dowager with other lower rank eunuchs bowed deeply at the sight of the Noble Consort. "Welcome to Suitopi Palace, Your Highness! Her Majesty the Empress Dowager has been waiting."

"Announce my arrival." Yukimura replied and the eunuch bowed again. He rose from his bow and faced the Palace.

"Noble Consort Yukimura has arrived!" He yelled loudly and Yukimura and his entourage walked into the Palace, led by two eunuchs of lower rank. After a few turns, they arrived at the Suitopi Palace's Garden, where the Empress Dowager intends to hold the tea party.

Yukimura's eyes laid on the Empress Dowager and Noble Consort Sengoku at the outdoor marble table who stopped their chat when he arrived. The other Noble Consorts that arrived earlier than him are Noble Consort Yagyuu and Niou. Empress Dowager smiled warmly while Noble Consort Sengoku took a sharp breath and turned her gaze elsewhere.

Yukimura hid his suspicion with a graceful smile and bowed deeply, followed by his Lord in Waiting, maids and guards. "Good afternoon, Your Majesty. I pray that you be blessed with good health and endless happiness. I thank you for inviting me to your tea party."

The Empress Dowager chuckled. "Noble Consort Yukimura, you really know how to compliment me! Come here and join us, my child." She gestured him to come to the table and join her.

"Thank you, Your Majesty." Yukimura bowed again before walking towards the table. As Lord in Waiting, Marui was led to another table nearby specifically prepared for Lady or Lord in Waiting.

Upon seating himself comfortably, Yukimura glanced at Noble Consort Sengoku and sent a small smile. "Greetings, sister Chiharu."

Noble Consort Sengoku startled a bit, having been silently praying that Yukimura will not call her out, but she quickly regained her control of herself and she returned the smile before nodding. "Greetings, brother Seiichi."

"Your Majesty, you and sister Chiharu were chatting about something when I arrived. Forgive me for intruding."

"It is quite alright, Noble Consort Yukimura."

"Would you tell me what the topic is about?" Yukimura asked and carefully watched Noble Consort Sengoku's expression. The orange haired consort had a panicked look on her face while the Empress Dowager chuckled.

"We were just talking about how His Majesty was as a child. I was just telling Noble Consort Sengoku of how His Majesty loved to read books, especially the Tales of Hundred Masks, when you arrived."

Yukimura stifled his laugh and glanced sharply at Noble Consort Sengoku. "I apologise, Your Majesty, but that is not his favourite book, though it is one of the books that His Majesty enjoys reading. His favourite book is The Ten Moves in One Second. It is a book about martial arts, if you must know."

Chiharu bowed her head at him, avoiding meeting his eyes while the Empress Dowager laughed. "I cannot beat you, Noble Consort Yukimura. You know my son better than I do."

The Empress Dowager's praise soothe Yukimura's ruffled feathers and he turned to the Empress Dowager with a bashful smile. "Thank you for your praise, Your Majesty. But I do not think it is true. As his mother, you must have known him best."

"Noble Consort Zaizen and Noble Consort Ootori have arrived!" The eunuch's announcement could be heard from the garden. All talks ceased as they respectfully waited for Hikaru and Izumi. The two finally arrived, and bowed deeply in the Empress Dowager's direction. "Good day, Your Majesty. Thank you for inviting us to this tea party."

"Welcome, Noble Consort Zaizen, Noble Consort Ootori. Sit down and we can start. Momo." The Empress Dowager nodded at Momo, her Lady in Waiting. Momo nodded her head and arranged for the maids to bring the tea, snacks and pastries. Suzuri and Izumi gasped in delight at the appearance of such lavish and deliciously looking pastries. Chiharu cleared her throat and sipped her tea. Naruki visually examined the red bean delicacy in front of her before lifting it up to take a bite. Hikaru enjoyed his gyoza silently. Yukimura daintily patted a handkerchief on his lips after finishing a stick of dango.

"Noble Consorts." The Empress Dowager called, earning their attention. The Noble Consorts stopped and turned their eyes and attention to the Empress Dowager. The Empress Dowager smiled appreciatively before continuing.

"The reason why I invited you to the tea party is to briefly tell you how life in the Imperial City works." She stopped for a moment to gather herself before continuing. "First, as you know, Noble Consorts have five ranks. However, you will only receive your ranks after three days of your stay. And if His Majesty really likes you, he will bestow you with a title of your own. For example, Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi's title is "Respectful and Dignified Precious", Imperial Noble Consort Jackal's title is "The Refined Beauty of the West", Imperial Noble Consort Marui's title is "The Delightful Laughter of Joy Bringer" and Imperial Noble Consort Kisarazu's title is "Blue Moonlight Glow".

"Only Empress Consort, Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi, Imperial Noble Consort Marui, Imperial Noble Consort Jackal and Imperial Noble Consort Kisarazu are bestowed with a title. To be bestowed a title that the Emperor thinks of himself is a great honour, showing that you are in favour and dearly loved. His Majesty only has four official wives. As Empress Consort, Empress Consort Akane is the principal wife of the Emperor, and the other three official wives are Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi, Imperial Noble Consort Marui, and Imperial Noble Consort Jackal. If His Majesty is really pleased, he may ask for your hand in marriage and may even give you our clan name. None of the wives are given the clan name for now."

"You will not serve His Majesty until the third day of your stay. Starting tomorrow, all Noble Consorts are expected to take lessons for Decorum, General Knowledge, Politics, Geography, Literature, Art, Music, Embroidery, Cooking and six Harem Management Classes. You will attend two to three 2 hour-classes every day. You are allowed to request for specific lessons from any of the tutors."

"Bear in mind that your most important duties are to manage the Imperial Harem and to give birth to heirs. Above all, these must come first. The use of contraceptive medicine and herbs are forbidden, unless to distance the birth of heirs from the same consort. Noble Consorts are allowed to have three months of confinement for birthing and miscarriage. During confinement, your name will not be placed on the name board and His Majesty will not ask for you unless you are ready and notify the Internal Affairs."

"As Noble Consorts, each of you will be assigned to assist an Imperial Noble Consort in managing a Department within the Imperial Harem. The Empress Consort is in charge of Decorum Department while I am in charge of Disciplinary Department. Imperial Noble Consort Kisarazu is taking over Welfare Department, Imperial Noble Consort Jackal for Education Training Department, Imperial Noble Consort Yakushi for Retainment Department, Imperial Noble Consort Yanagi for Finance Department, Imperial Noble Consort Marui for Attire Department, and Imperial Noble Consort Kirihara for Events Festivity Department. Aside from Decorum and Disciplinary Departments, you may tell me which Department you wish to work for."

"I wish to join Education and Training Department." Yukimura responded. Joining the Department is a huge advantage in having access to knowledge and fill him in with everything that he needs to know about how life in Imperial Harem and Imperial City works, especially regarding the government.

"The Events Festivity Department sounds intriguing." Noble Consort Sengoku replied thoughtfully.

"Finance Department will be good for me." Imperial Noble Consort Niou said.

"I am interested in the Attire Department. I have heard of Imperial Noble Consort Marui's amazing fashion sense and style, so I would love to work with him." Noble Consort Ootori said shyly.

"Alright, what about you two?" Empress Dowager Sachi asked, looking over Noble Consort Zaizen and Noble Consort Yagyuu. The two Noble Consorts shared a look and Noble Consort Zaizen finally said, "I believe I speak for both of us, that we do not mind which Department we are assigned to. We will do our best."

Noble Consort Yagyuu nodded his head.

"Very well. Now, I believe that will be all, but do stay for a little longer. I would like to get to know all of you better." The Empress Dowager Sachi said with a warm and welcoming smile.

~~~ Blood in the Imperial Harem ~~~