Bunkai 22: A New Day

The Imperial Exams of Yulan is a great event for hopefuls to become Officials or Soldiers, but only the top twenty will be chosen. The ones destined to get greater ranks are the top three though: Diyuan, Ziyuong, and Sanbing with Diyuan being the highest rank.

Two years ago, history was made when the Diyuan rank was obtained by the youngest person to ever take the exams. This person also gained a new rank called Chikeimu in the soldier ranking becoming a second captain. This person was known as Megumi Yoh, age thirteen at the time, but no one has ever seen his face for he wears a mask since becoming an Official.

Rumors about the mysterious youth circulate around the Capital of Yulan, but most ignore the rumors because their minds are on the current Imperial Exams. The Exams were already passed and the top twenty announced. Among the top twenty was a fifteen-year-old named Len Nina. Len was part of the top twenty, but was only rank twenty making him the target of cocky trainees part of the top twenty. It was on the day he had a duty to clean the horse stable when his training as a future Official truly began.

Len swept the horse stable as flies flew around. He sighed leaning against the broom. He looked at one of the horses in the face and asked, “Is it so hard for Lord Suha to give me a proper duty?” The horse snorted making Len gag from the smell of the horse’s mouth.

“I hate you too,” muttered Len. The horse suddenly raised his tail and released a large pile of horse feces making Len gag. Len groaned glaring at the horse.

“Could you have waited until I was finished you stupid horse?” yelled Len.

“Are you arguing with the horse again?”

Len looked up and saw the only trainee that seemed to care about him: Iori Kiri, age eighteen, the Diyuan. Len ran to Iori wrapping his arms around his waist and crying into his chest.

“The stupid horse, the stupid horse…he…he…” choked out Len pointing at the horse that seemed to not even care. Iori patted Len’s back with a smile.

“I can see what the horse did, but you have no choice but to clean it, Len,” reasoned Iori. Len groaned sniffling. Iori patted Len’s head and added, “The work is hard, but it is one step closer to becoming an Official.” Len wiped his tears away with a pout.

“You’re lucky that you’re the Diyuan. You get to organize the archives and enter Officials’ rooms, but as for me, I am only assigned cleaning the stables, cleaning the baths and privy. I haven’t even touched a budget file.”

Iori sighed placing his hands on his hips.

“I’m sure Lord Suha will give you an organizing job next time,” stated Iori. Len sniffed and said, “You said that last time.”

“I did; didn’t I, but it should happen sooner or later, so cheer up,” stated Iori. Len nodded. Iori ruffled Len’s hair saying, “I’ll see you again after I finish my duties in the archives.” Len nodded and watched Iori walk off.

Len walked back into the stables trying to ignore the smell of the feces. The horse suddenly began to cry out as if it was surprised by something making Len flinch.

“What’s with you?” asked Len. Len heard footsteps behind him and turned around. Standing at the doorway of the stables: stood a person he had never seen before wearing a black shirt and pants with a gray mask upon his face. His long black hair let loose seemed to sparkle in the sun. Len stared at this stranger and asked, “Do you need something?”

The stranger pointed at the horse that Len hated and said, “I need that horse.”

“This horse?” asked Len pointing the end of his broom at the horse. The horse tried to bite his arm making him flinch. Len was ready to yell at the horse, but to his surprise, the stranger ran to the horse and whacked it on its snot.

“Be nice Goliath,” scorned the stranger. The horse stared at the stranger and then whinnied. The stranger then petted the horse gently and to Len’s surprise the horse was actually behaving and seemed to be enjoying the caress of the stranger.

The stranger suddenly looked at Len making him flinch.

“What’s your name?” asked the stranger. Len gulped and said, “Len Nina, a trainee.” The stranger pointed at a saddle hanging from the wall of the stable and asked, “Can you get that for me, Len?” Len nodded and approached the saddle. When he had the saddle in his hand a thought dawned on him.

Why am I obeying this guy?

Len looked back at the stranger with an annoyed look.

“Why do I have to listen to you?” demanded Len. The stranger stopped caressing the horse and glanced at him through the mask.

“You don’t have to really, but it was a kind gesture,” stated the stranger. Len groaned and handed the stranger the saddle, not understanding why he felt compelled to obey. The stranger took the saddle placing it on the back of the horse.

When the saddle was fastened in place, the stranger began to lead the horse out of the stable. Before he stepped out, he glanced over his shoulder at Len and asked, “Len Nina, correct?” Len nodded.

“My name is Megumi Yoh.”

With that the stranger left the stable out of sight. Len stared at the open door of the stable and crouched down holding his head.

“Who the Hell is Megumi Yoh?”

Len suddenly felt something like wet dough under his foot and turned pale realizing that he still had to clean the horse’s mess. Len began to clean, but his thoughts were on the masked stranger: Megumi Yoh.

Len finished his duty for the day and walked back to his dorm room as the light of the moon bathed him. He turned a corner and was shocked to see five of the trainees, who wanted to become soldiers walking before him in a zombie state. He wondered what happened to them, but his thoughts were cut short when he heard the cry of a horse. The trainees seemed to flinch before dashing off with fear in their faces. He could now guess that their fear had something to do with a horse.

Len could also hear the soft footsteps of a horse and glanced back. The horse that he hated entered the hall from the side with Megumi leading. The horse was calm as it followed Megumi.

Len, since his training started, never saw that horse act kindly to anyone. Out of curiosity, he approached Megumi and asked, “How did you tame the horse?” Megumi glanced back at Len.

“Len, correct?”

Len nodded.

Megumi looked at the horse petting its snot.

“I treat Goliath kindly every day since I entered the palace. He was difficult at first, but he got used to me in a short period of time and liked me even more when I gave him a carrot.”

“So if I treat the horse better and give it a carrot, I’ll be fine?” asked Len. Megumi nodded and added, “You can start being nice to Goliath by calling his name instead of ‘it.’” Len nodded.

Megumi was ready to walk off again, but Len stopped her and asked, “What did you need Goliath for?”

“Training for the new trainees trying to become soldiers. Goliath didn’t seem to like them and practically tortured them during the training,” stated Megumi. Len chuckled realizing why the trainees before him ran off at the sound of a horse.

“Before you go, can I ask one more question?” asked Len. Megumi nodded.

“Why do you wear a mask?” asked Len. Megumi was silent and then said, “It was his majesty’s decree.” With that, Megumi led Goliath down the hall out of sight.

Len stared in the direction Megumi went wondering why he felt such a great presence from “him.”

The very next day, Len entered the throne room with the other trainees waiting for his duty for the day. Suha handed each of them a scroll and as the trainees got their scroll they left the throne room. Only two remained in the room: Len and Iori. Suha handed Iori his duty making Iori smile. Iori leaned toward Len’s ear before walking out.

“I hope you get a budgeting job this time,” whispered Iori. Len nodded and watched Iori leave the room.

Suha cleared his throat loudly getting Len’s attention. Suha picked up the scroll and said, “I have your duty here, but I must inform you that you are not allowed to make a mistake here.”

Len took the scroll and unfolded it revealing his duty for the day: Act as a Page for High Official Megumi Yoh. Len gasped and looked up at Suha.

“Is this right, Lord Suha?” asked Len. Suha nodded and added, “Megumi asked specifically for you last night.” Len smiled feeling light all over. He thanked Suha repeatedly and then ran out of the throne room.

Suha scratched the back of his head and whispered, “I wonder why Megumi asked for him anyway?”

Len was practically prancing down the hall with bliss in his face.

“I’m guessing something good happened?”

Len saw Iori standing before him holding a bucket and mop in his hand. Len nodded and showed his scroll duty.

“I get to work with a High Official,” cheered Len. Iori looked into the scroll and turned pale.

“Megumi Yoh?” asked Iori. Len nodded. Iori cleared his throat with uneasiness in his face.

“You know about Megumi Yoh, right?”

“Not really, but I met this guy last night that had the same name, but he can’t be an Official with that mask on his face,” stated Len with a chuckle.

“Len, Lord Megumi does wear a mask.”

Len was silent processing his thought. He gasped and exclaimed, “So I met a High Official last night?” Iori nodded.

“Lord Megumi is a High Official and has the rank of Diyuan, but there have been rumors especially about his mask. He started wearing the mask when he became an Official two years ago and it was said to hide his hideous face. There was also another rumor that he was a demon and the mask was to hold back his power. I also heard that most trainees last year left because of his training methods.”

Len’s face grew pale as he said, “He asked specifically for me, so he might be aiming to make me quit.” Len seemed close to tears. Iori patted Len’s head and said, “You’ll be fine and don’t let Lord Megumi push you around.” Len nodded and walked down the hall wiping away the tears that managed to escape his eyes.

Len was so worried as he walked that he didn’t even notice the boy heading straight toward him. Before any of them noticed, they collided into each other sending them to the ground on their bottoms. Len groaned in pain and looked at the boy sitting across from him groaning. The boy seemed to be younger than him and by the looks of the clothes he was indeed a servant of the palace.

“Sorry,” apologized Len. The boy looked at Len with narrowed eyes.

“You should watch where you’re going,” stated the boy. Len nodded. The boy stood up dusting off his clothes. He looked at Len, who was getting up, and stated, “You’re one of the trainees, Len Nina rank twenty.” Len nodded and asked, “How did you know?”

“Are you kidding me? I was the one who helped with assigning rooms. You even met me after the Imperial Exams. The boy with the basket, remember?”

Len shook his head. The boy groaned and said, “Koku Mi. You maybe four years older than me, but I’m brighter than you.” Len gasped feeling a hit to his pride.

“Where are you headed anyway?” asked Koku.

“Lord Megumi Yoh’s office,” stated Len. Koku raised an eyebrow.

“You’re kidding right?” asked Koku. Len shook his head.

Koku sighed and said, “I don’t know why you are going to his office, but just head down this path and make a right in the first hall. You’ll see a pair of twin doors. Those doors lead to his office.”

Len nodded and walked passed Koku. Koku glanced back at Len and added, “Don’t judge him based on rumors, OK.” Len paused and looked back at Koku, but Koku was already almost out of sight. Len shook his head and continued on.

Len followed Koku’s instructions and soon found himself standing before the office of Megumi. Len gulped and knocked on the door slightly. There was no answer. He knocked harder and to his surprise the door swung open knocking him over.

“Oh my God, are you OK?” exclaimed an unfamiliar voice to Len. Len adjusted his vision and gasped. Standing before him was a well-known Official: Naohito Shi. Len sprung to his feet and said, “I’m fine, Lord Naohito.” Naohito sighed in relief.

“That’s good to hear, but why are you standing in front of Megumi’s office?” asked Naohito. Len cleared his throat.

“I have to work with Lord Megumi today for my duty.”

Naohito was silent and then ran back into Megumi’s office calling to Megumi repeatedly making Len flinch. Naohito’s yelling was then followed by a crash and Naohito’s horrified scream. Len peeked into the room and saw that Naohito had a bookshelf over him. Len gasped and turned pale when he heard Naohito muttering words for the dead. Len then tried to lift the bookshelf from Naohito, but to no avail. Len called for help trying desperately to save Naohito.

“I see that Naohito is once again under my shelf.”

Len flinched and looked up only to see Megumi wearing a red mask upon her face and a green Official’s robe. She stood before Len and glanced at Naohito. Megumi knelt down and lifted the shelf off of Naohito without any problem making Len gasp in disbelief.

Naohito looked at Megumi’s mask and smiled.

“Thank you again, my friend Megumi,” stated Naohito. Megumi nodded and asked, “So why were you calling for me?” Naohito gasped and looked back at Len.

“This boy here said he was working with you today, but that can’t be possible,” stated Naohito in concern. Megumi rolled her eyes.

“Len Nina is working with me today because I requested his help,” stated Megumi. Naohito gasped staring at Megumi with wide eyes.

“But…but…you never asked for anyone’s help and…and you never accepted help from big brother or me, so why him?” asked Naohito in confusion.

“He needs experience in working in Official duties and I thought working under me is good for him,” stated Megumi. Naohito frowned and then stated, “Then let me help.” Megumi shook her head and began to lead Naohito out her door passed Len.

“Go help Chiriko for now like a good boy,” stated Megumi and then closed the door behind him. Len and Megumi could hear Naohito calling out Megumi’s name in a tearful voice.

Len looked at Megumi and asked, “Is Lord Naohito going to be all right?” Megumi nodded and added, “He’ll return to Chiriko’s office soon.” Megumi walked passed Len and urged him to follow her. Len nodded his form slightly shaking.

They passed three book filled shelves reaching a desk covered in parchments of different languages. Megumi sat in the chair in front of the desk and glanced up at Len making him flinch.

“We already know each other, but I might as well state my title this time. I am High Official Megumi Yoh in charge of Foreign Affairs and Budgets in the Capital of Yulan.”

Len gulped as he stood before Megumi and then bowed deeply yelling, “I’m very sorry!”

“Whatever for?” asked Megumi clearly confused. Len lifted his head with nervousness written all over his face.

“You’re a High Official and I spoke rudely to you last night, Lord Megumi,” answered Len. Megumi chuckled.

“You didn’t know and I don’t mind being called without a title, Len Nina,” stated Megumi. Len stood straight again still a nervous wreck.

“Considering the way you look right now, you heard the rumors about me, correct?” asked Megumi. Len nodded and added, “I only heard them today from Iori.” Megumi chuckled.

“Iori Kiri, the Diyuan, if I remember correctly,” stated Megumi. Len nodded.

“Well those rumors were exaggerated. I am not a demon under the mask and as I told you last night it was his majesty’s order that I wear the mask when I become an Official. As for the trainees leaving that was unavoidable. They couldn’t take the pressure of being in Official duties and left. I never aimed to make them leave, so please don’t think that I only asked for you to drive you out.”

Len nodded, even though he still looked nervous.

“So what would you like me to do?” asked Len, eager to get rid of the twisting sensation in his stomach. Megumi pointed in the direction of the fallen books from the shelf that fell before.

“Reorganize the fallen books and when you are done, I will let you see some budgets related to the foreign countries.”

Len nodded and walked to the books, disappearing from Megumi’s sight. He took one look at the books and then peeked over toward Megumi.

“How do you want me to organize them?” asked Len.

“Put them in alphabetical order and then by publishing date. Make sure they are straight as well for those are important books related to the budgets of all the provinces of Yulan.”

Len raised an eyebrow.

“All the provinces, but I thought you were in charge of the budgets in the Capital?”

“I am, but some of the currency comes from the Provinces, so I need to know how much they are making to determine the Capital’s budget.”

Len held his head and muttered, “That sounds like a lot of numbers.” Megumi nodded.

Len went back to the books and began to organize them in a timely manner, while Megumi wrote on different parchments that each had a different language not spoken in Yulan written in them.

After what seemed like hours, Len finally finished organizing the books. He glanced at Megumi announcing that he was done. Megumi nodded his way and urged him to her desk.

When Len was before her desk, Megumi rolled open a parchment written in a language that Len wasn’t familiar with.

“Is that a foreign budget parchment?” asked Len. Megumi nodded and stated, “I know you can’t read this language, but I believe you can read the numbers at least.” Len gazed at the parchment and noticed the numbers: 900,000. Len gasped and looked at Megumi.

“Is that the amount we are giving to this foreign country?” asked Len in surprise. Megumi shook her head.

“The 900,000 gold pieces are being given to us by this country.”

“But why?”

“It’s a treaty of peace. The country of Keili sent an assassin to the palace of Yulan three years ago. The assassin was discovered two years ago and his majesty threatened the country’s king with war if the king didn’t sign the peace treaty. The king signed it for his forces were not ready for Yulan’s forces and as a sign of the king’s continuing promise of peace, he sends 900,000 gold pieces to our country every three months.”

“That’s still a lot of money, even if it is a sign of peace.”

Megumi nodded and added, “I agree. I even sent a proposal to Keili’s king to decrease the amount, but he refuses.” Megumi closed the parchment and was about to pull out another parchment, when Len and her suddenly heard a knock on the door.

Len glanced toward the door and asked, “Were you expecting someone else?” Megumi sighed and said, “No, but I have an idea who it might be considering the time.” Megumi glanced at Len and added, “I advise you not to open the door.” Len shook his head and headed to the door.

“You shouldn’t ignore someone knocking on your door,” stated Len grabbing the handle of the door.

“It’s not that, a normal person will announce who they are, so don’t…”

Len opened the door and the next thing he knew, he was completely soaked from head to toe. Len stood still as drenched hair covered his face.

“Ah, I was expecting to soak Megumi.”

Len pushed his wet hair off his face and saw standing near a pillar, a long black haired man wearing a red official’s robe. Len and the man stared at each other long, before the man burst out laughing holding his sides.

“It’s still hilarious,” chuckled the man. Len watched the man laugh in silence and then glanced at Megumi, who was walking toward him. Megumi looked at Len and stated, “I told you not to open the door.”

Len looked at the man with Megumi looking in the same direction.

“A friend of yours?” asked Len.

Megumi nodded and added, “His name is Boshi Kou, an Official part of Industrial Relations.” Len held a strand of wet hair and asked, “Does he always try to prank you around this time?” Megumi nodded.

Boshi looked at Megumi after getting over his laughing fit and said, “I see that you finally left your den.” Megumi crossed her arms.

“I see that you are still trying to drench me. I thought you would have given up after two years of failure.”

Boshi chuckled with crossed arms.

“Come on Megumi. I’ll succeed someday and in the meantime, I can enjoy drenching others that are stupid enough to answer your door for you.”

Boshi glanced at Len, who looked like a drowned rat. He looked Len up and down and stated, “Is this guy a trainee?” Megumi nodded.

“His name is Len Nina.”

“Len Nina…OH YEAH, the trainee who got rank twenty, right? I heard that he’s being picked on by the other trainees.”

Len felt like he had been punched in the gut.

“I heard that too, but he doesn’t let that interfere with his work. He’s a hard worker and asks questions when needed. I respect him,” stated Megumi. Len glanced at Megumi with wide eyes. It was the first time he heard such words. He was always called a failure by the trainees and even by his family. He took the Imperial Exams to prove that he was something, but he only got rank twenty. He felt joy at first, but that joy was replaced by sadness when he got a letter from his father telling him how disappointed he was and the teasing from the other trainees didn’t help. Megumi’s words of praise made him feel like he was close to tears.

Boshi noticed Len staring at Megumi and the smile creeping up to his lips and chuckled.

“Looks like Len liked your words,” stated Boshi making Len gasp. Boshi leaned toward Len making him flinch and asked, “Just curious, but how old are you?”

“Fifteen,” squeaked Len.

“Fifteen, the same age as Megumi,” stated Boshi. Len raised an eyebrow and glanced at Megumi as she placed a hand to her mask.

“You’re fifteen?” asked Len. Megumi nodded.

“You became an Official two years ago right?”

Megumi nodded again.

“Does that mean you became an Official at age thirteen?” exclaimed Len. Megumi nodded and added, “I was the youngest trainee to pass the Imperial Exams and it was big news in Yulan two years ago. I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it.” Len was struck speechless.

Boshi chuckled and stated, “I guess Len had no idea you two were the same age.”

Len shook his head and stated, “I’m surprised, but Megumi is still my senior, so I will still follow his command.” Boshi chuckled, while Megumi stared at Len through her mask.

“He seems promising,” stated Boshi. Megumi nodded and added, “One of the reasons why I decided to have him work under me.” Boshi smirked and patted Megumi’s head making her flinch.

“Well train him well, Megumi,” stated Boshi and then walked down the hall out of sight.

Megumi smoothed her hair out and then glanced at Len making him flinch.

“Do you want me to show you another foreign budget?” asked Megumi. Len nodded with a smile, but his smile faded when the sound of his grumbling stomach echoed through the hall. Megumi chuckled and asked, “How about a meal first?” Len nodded with a light blush on his cheek.

Megumi closed the doors to her office tightly and began to lead Len down the hall. She suddenly took notice of the dripping water from Len’s form and stated, “Go change first in your room. I’ll be in the trainees’ kitchen.” Len nodded again changing his direction, while Megumi entered a different hall.

Len ran down the hall pushing back his wet hair, until he reached his dorm room: the purple iris. Len was about to open his dorm room, when he suddenly heard Iori calling his name. He glanced at Iori’s approaching form saying Iori’s name.

Iori stopped before Len and asked, “Are you OK?” Len nodded. Iori suddenly gasped and asked, “Why are you soaked?”

“Lord Boshi pulled a prank on me,” stated Len bluntly. Iori’s eyes widened.

“You met Lord Boshi?” asked Iori. Len nodded.

“That’s amazing. Lord Boshi is rarely seen since he works in Industrial Relations with Lord Shigure,” stated Iori excitedly. Len nodded and added, “He’s amazing all right trying to prank Megumi.” Iori raised an eyebrow.

“Megumi? Do you mean Lord Megumi Yoh?” asked Iori. Len nodded. Iori’s face of excitement changed to a face of fear.

“Is he a monster just like the rumors said?” asked Iori nervously. Len remembered Megumi words of praise and shook his head with a smile.

“He’s kind,” stated Len. Iori looked bewildered, but then shook his head and smiled.

“I already finished my duty for the day, so if you want after you changed into dry clothes, we can eat together,” offered Iori. Len shook his head scratching the back of his head sheepishly.

“I already made plans to eat with Megumi,” stated Len. Iori frowned.

“Why are you calling a High Official by his name without an honorific?” asked Iori. Len gulped starting to feel nervous.

“Megumi said I could and we’re the same age anyway,” stated Len. Iori gasped.

“He’s fifteen?”

Len nodded.

“Could he be the Official that was the youngest to pass the Imperial Exams at age thirteen?” asked Iori. Len nodded and stated, “I guess you heard about it.” Iori pressed his lips together nervously and then held Len’s shoulders making Len flinch.

“That Official can’t be normal, so you should avoid him,” insisted Iori. Len noticed that Iori was desperate, but he shook his head and said, “I am still under his orders for this day.” Len pushed Iori away and walked into his room making sure to close the door behind him.

Iori stared at Len’s closed door with an uneasy look.

“You need to avoid him, especially if he is that Official…the Official the emperor favors.”

When Len left his room in dry clothes, Iori was nowhere in sight. He thought Iori decided to eat alone, so he made his way to the trainees’ kitchen. As he got closer to the kitchen he could smell the aroma of spices and cooked chicken.

Len finally reached the kitchen and peeked inside only to see Megumi at the stove with her sleeves rolled up as she tossed chopped vegetables and chicken into the air with a heated pan. Len smelled the food Megumi cooked and felt his mouth begin to water.

Megumi heard Len walk into the kitchen as she plated the cooked meal and glanced back at him.

“You’re just in time,” stated Megumi. Len nodded and stared at the food.

“It looks delicious,” complimented Len. Megumi nodded and handed Len a plate saying, “Sit at the table.” Len nodded taking his plate. He sat at the table, while Megumi took a chair next to him with her own serving of food. Len grabbed his chopsticks and immediately used them to pick up a piece of chicken from his plate. He placed the piece of chicken in his mouth and felt his eyes widen. The taste of the chicken had mild spiciness in it, but was also sweet. To his taste buds it was a heavenly taste.

Len smiled savoring the taste.

“Delicious,” Len said in bliss. Megumi thanked Len for liking her food and began to pick up her chopsticks. Len glanced at Megumi wondering how she was going to eat her meal with a mask on her face. Megumi lifted her mask slightly revealing her red lips. Len stared at Megumi’s lips with wide eyes. They looked soft to the touch. He watched her lips open as the food was placed into her mouth. Megumi lowered her mask as she chewed her food. She noticed Len looking at her and asked, “Is it that shocking to see me eating?” Len flinched looking away.

“I just didn’t expect to see your lips,” stated Len turning red in the cheeks. Megumi chuckled making Len flinch.

“Considering that you can’t see my face, I guess my lips would be a shock,” stated Megumi making Len turn even redder. Megumi patted Len’s head making him look at her.

“Eat your meal, so we can get back to those foreign budgets,” stated Megumi. Len nodded and immediately began to devour his food. As he ate Megumi ate too, always lifting the bottom of her mask up.

Megumi and Len continued looking over foreign budgets after their meal. As they looked over the budgets, Megumi taught Len where each parchment came from and how to read the language, even though Len found it difficult. It was difficult, but Len was smiling.

By the end of the day, Len and Megumi had looked over a total of twenty foreign budgets. Len stretched up with a smile on his face.

“Those were interesting,” stated Len. Megumi nodded and then looked out the window of her office.

“You should be heading back now,” stated Megumi. Len nodded and headed toward the door. He suddenly stopped in his tracks and looked back at Megumi.

“I had fun, but can you tell me what made you decide that I was promising?” asked Len. Megumi looked at Len and stated, “You asked questions.”

“What?”

“When I met you yesterday after the soldier training, you asked me how I tamed Goliath. I answered you and you added another question. You asked questions to improve unlike the other trainees, who are too afraid to ask questions. You swallowed your fear and asked the questions that troubled you. That’s what made me see that you were going to be a great Official and why I chose you to work with me.”

Megumi then added, “I look forward to working with you again tomorrow, Len.”

Len’s eyes were wide in shock, but then he smiled brightly with tears at the corner of his eyes.

“I’ll do my best,” stated Len. Megumi nodded and wished Len farewell as he left the room.

Len ran down the hall with tears of happiness still in his eyes. For once, since the training started, he was looking forward to tomorrow.

When Len had returned to his dorm room, Megumi was already leaving the palace with her bag over her shoulder.

“Already leaving, Megumi?”

Megumi glanced back and saw someone that she wanted to avoid: Yuki Ki, the emperor. Megumi turned away from Yuki.

“I need to go home and rest, your majesty,” stated Megumi. Megumi was only able to take one step forward, before Yuki wrapped his arms around her.

“I really want you stay for the night. You can sleep in my company,” whispered Yuki. Megumi shook her head and glanced at Yuki.

“You have princess Ayame to keep you company,” stated Megumi with a clenched fist. Yuki frowned.

“I only called her to my chambers to bear me an heir. I feel nothing for her,” stated Yuki. Megumi pushed Yuki away from her glaring at him.

“Ayame got pregnant with your child and you claim not to have any feelings for her, you’re despicable!” yelled Megumi. Yuki chuckled.

“She did get pregnant, but lost the child after four months. She’s useless, but my advisors insist that she’s the closest to me, so I have to invite her to my bed once in a while.”

Megumi clenched her fist her form shaking.

“Ayame is a sweet girl. Don’t treat her like a useless object,” demanded Megumi. Yuki frowned and grabbed Megumi’s right hand.

“I only slept with Ayame because I know that you love her. If I break her then you won’t even look her way,” stated Yuki with crazed eyes. Megumi slapped Yuki’s right cheek gritting her teeth making him release her wrist.

“If you harm Ayame then you will regret it,” threatened Megumi. Yuki smirked, his cheek beginning to bruise. He touched Megumi’s mask and whispered, “I won’t hurt Ayame as long as you let me see your face again.” Megumi groaned placing her hand on her mask.

“Only you can see, your majesty,” whispered Megumi. Yuki nodded. Megumi untied the string of the mask from behind her head and removed the mask from her face. The darkness covered her face from other angles, so if someone passed by they wouldn’t be able to see her face. The only one who could see her face at that moment was Yuki.

Yuki turned red in the cheeks as he began to smile.

“No matter how many times I see your face, you are still so beautiful,” whispered Yuki. Yuki touched Megumi’s bare cheek as he leaned toward her lips. Megumi blocked Yuki’s lip with her mask and said, “I’ll let you see my face, but nothing else.” Megumi removed Yuki’s hand from her face and immediately placed her mask back on.

Megumi turned away from Yuki and said, “Keep your promise not to hurt Ayame or I will scar this face.” Yuki nodded. Megumi began to walk away again. Yuki reached toward Megumi feeling his heart race.

When Megumi was out of sight, Yuki clenched his hand to his heart with reddened cheeks.

“I won’t let anyone have you Megumi…you’re mine.”

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