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Chapter 3 Main Chapters Chapter 5

No Need For Awkward Alien Inlaws

Azusa, King of Jurai, sits at a microphone of a studio and says, "I am King Azusa Masaki Jurai, of the Juraian Empire. Dragonwiles requested that I be the DJ for this chapter's opening song. For this chapter's theme song, I have selected portions of the 'Rohan' theme from a recent series of movies I hear was produced on Earth, called 'The Lord of the Rings.' Dragonwiles asked me to remind you that he doesn't claim to own either of these." The melancholy violin strains spring into life as Azusa presses a button.

Circa 1200 A. D.

The only thing that gave King Azusa comfort on this voyage was that he was back in Kirito, his friend and gargantuan Juraian battleship.

It had been astonishingly easy to win Funaho's love and her father's permission for their marriage. So easy, in fact, that Azusa wondered if Funaho didn't simply see him as some sort of escape from her neglected palace life. He carefully avoided thinking about that, as well as whether he saw her also as an escape from his own palace life.

He had been very careful in what he had told her. He had told her, and her father, that he was a king of a land far away, which they had readily accepted. Azusa had said nothing about other planets or advanced technology or aliens.

King Azusa's thoughts returned to the present as, just a few feet in front of him, Lady Seto Kamiki Jurai shifted slightly in her seat in Kirito, so she could glare at Azusa better.

This was rather alarming, so Azusa quickly retrated to the past, and the only other thing of substance that Azusa had told Funaho and her father. He had visited them twice after his coronation. On his second visit, the one on which he actually proposed, he told them that he had been betrothed from birth in an arranged marriage, so that if Funaho did take him, it would not be exclusively. Funaho had agreed and then proceeded to talk about most of the things she did during the day; most of them were lonely and sounded like they bored even her. It was this sort of conversation that made her sound desperate and Azusa feel uneasy about his own adequacy.

He retreated even further into the past. Azusa had expected the consternation and relief when he first returned to Jurai with Tsunami for his coronation. He had expected that the Council would verify his possession of the powers of the royal family and accept him as king. He had expected that the beautiful wonders of the coronation would stir his soul and make the hearts of billions throughout the Juraian empire rejoice. He had expected that when he announced his intentions of going to Earth and picking up another wife, Lady Seto, the mother of his preexisting betrothed Misaki, would become very angry indeed.

Lady Seto was of course not the only angry person. A great deal of the empire disapproved of this action. The problem wasn't polygamy- there was precedent in previous kings and law to allow that. The difficulty was the alien-ness of the proposed bride. Juraians had a xenophobic streak. Many people did not want a non-Juraian for a queen: what if someone only half-Juraian would be the heir? What if the heir was more loyal to his mother's alien side than to his father's Juraian side?

King Azusa had prepared well for this political infight, planning it all out in his head while he was still on Earth. He got a law passed allowing a half-Juraian to become king, to great disapproval. He managed to get it passed, and placated his enemies, by giving many broad concessions. Broadest among them, perhaps, was granting the Galactic Police their independence from the Juraian government. That caused many Juraian nobles and the wealthy Kuramitsu family to back him, and it was the final bit of support he needed to get grudging acceptance for his whim. Azusa felt he had gained from the bargain as well; he had been worried about the bizarre-looking designs for the Galactic Police's new headquarters, and the haphazard expansion modules, but that was no longer his problem. Now that it was independent of Jurai, it would be placed as an orbital eyesore and monument to inefficiency around some other planet.

Finally, the king had expected that Lady Seto would be satisfied with nothing less than uniting the daughter she loved with his own person in marriage. Lady Seto relished her nickname, "The Devil Princess of Jurai," and tried her hardest to live up to it. She was actually not even Juraian, but an orphan adopted by a nobleman of the royal Kamiki clan. She had quickly run up against Juraian xenophobia, and by sheer force of will and endless political scheming, made the public grudgingly declare some respect for her (and a lot of fear of her.) Lady Seto was often heard to declare that she would prove herself as strong in will as any Juraian was in body, and she had succeeded. She'd schemed and planned until finally she arranged the marriage so that her daughter Misaki would wed the crown prince Azusa, and Azusa had expected that she would not allow her greatest triumph to be ruined.

He had not at all expected that Lady Seto would insist on coming to Earth with him. Even less had he expected that his betrothed would insist upon it as well. It was what made this voyage so particularly uncomfortable. Lady Seto constantly appeared ready to murder him, and his betrothed didn't seem to look at anything at all, or talk to anyone. Such behavior was quite unusual for Misaki, and the king was certain it wasn't helping her mother's temper.

Misaki didn't appear particularly surprised when King Azusa broke the news, after his coronation, that he was courting another woman. Theirs was a betrothal from birth, not a love match, so they had no particular emotional attachment to each other. Instead, she had simply said that she would still marry him. She could have refused, without blame from anyone, and let Azusa's political life be totally ripped to shreds. It was only Misaki's acceptance of him that allowed his enemies to even consider being bribed by the concessions he'd made. Azusa now felt unexpected gratitude and guilt towards her, so he hadn't been able to look at her for most of the voyage.

When they reached Earth, they teleported down some distance away and walked, so as not to arouse the suspicions of the Earth people. Lady Seto made a show of outpacing Azusa.

They arrived at the home of Funaho's father, and were admitted to a banquet with too few places. Funaho's father glowered a moment as he ordered more places set for Lady Seto and Misaki. Funaho watched all of the visitors carefully. Lady Seto, to Azusa's relief, was only studying Funaho intently, and not glowering at her. Azusa tried his best to explain the situation and introduce everyone, though Funaho's father's lack of interest did not lubricate the social machinery.

The king was thankful when Funaho's father excused himself early from the meal, and Funaho's younger and older siblings left quickly as well. Azusa was fantasizing that he could actually get some good feeling around the table started now, but to his surprise, Lady Seto stood and asked in a rather insistent matter that she and her daughter be excused for but a moment. Misaki hadn't heard her, and in fact appeared so out of it that when Lady Seto tugged on her arm, Misaki didn't react at all. Lady Seto left in a huff, and Misaki eventually wandered out of the hall in a different direction.

When they were gone, King Azusa didn't know what to say. Funaho leaned forward and asked earnestly, "Azusa, please tell me what you are."

His eyes bulged in surprise. "Why, what do you mean?" he asked, looking around the room and realizing they were completely alone.

Funaho took another sip before answering. "I bound your wounds and invited you to this home when we first met, knowing you were not a human. I accepted your proposal of marriage understanding that. I have always known that you were something else, like us, but different."

"Don't I look human?" he blustered.

"No human has purple hair," she said coolly. Azusa bowed his head while Funaho continued, "You also can kill men with a single unarmed blow. Though you come from a faraway land, neither you nor Lady Seto nor Lady Misaki carried any baggage of any sort."

The king set his teeth. This was surely the end. All his wives would hate him.

"I'll tell you, and your father, more about myself," he said slowly.

"Please don't," Funaho was adamant. "I'm glad that you didn't tell him. My father may not care much for me, but he's already irritated that I'm getting married to someone more powerful than him. Only tell me what is really happening here."

"It seems a shame," King Azusa said sincerely, "that your own father doesn't appreciate you."

She shrugged. "I suppose," Funaho suggested, "that if I had less wealth than my father, and I had to buy expensive clothes for many daughters to keep up appearances, I'd resent myself as well." Azusa didn't put so much stock in her answer: he saw that her eyes were haunted.

"I can tell you much more about myself," he said, "but it will take so long that I ought to do it slowly." A thought suddenly occurred to him. "Why didn't your father notice my hair?"

"He said he didn't care if people in far-off lands had turquoise hair, as long as he married off a daughter," Funaho informed him before taking a drink.

The silence which ensued would've been uncomfortable if Azusa hadn't felt Kirito's key grow warm in his pocket. He grabbed it and heard his spaceship tell him, "Azusa, there's a courier ship begging forgiveness for entering the protected zone and requesting clearance to orbit. The courier himself requests a location where he may teleport to the planet." Azusa nodded slightly and replied shortly, "Thank you, Kirito. Give him what he wants, and the location we teleported to. Instruct him to walk to the house." Kirito asked concernedly, "How are your fiancees getting along?" Azusa shook his head and muttered, "I can't tell." Kirito wisely signed off instead of saying anything more.

Funaho had grown used to these occasions when Azusa appeared to be talking to himself. She was sure that someone else was speaking to him, using the key as a communication channel. She hoped someday she, or her children, would be capable of such wondrous talking.

Lady Seto reentered the room and sat down, looking more peeved than when the meal had began. She said suddenly, "Lady Funaho, may I offer a bit of advice?"

"I would be honored," Funaho inclined her head.

"This has served me well for many years," Lady Seto told her forcefully. "Don't let these Juraians push you around. Stand up for yourself. They think they're the supreme beings of the universe. The rest of us count for something too! Never let them forget that."

"Thank you, madam. I shall remember that," Funaho smiled sweetly at King Azusa. She didn't usually smile that sweetly at him, he worried. "Good, I hope that you do," Lady Seto smiled triumphantly at Azusa. Azusa began to think that he preferred it when ill-feeling presided around the table.

Footsteps resounded outside the door Misaki had left by. Lady Seto turned to face it, and for a moment King Azusa and Lady Funaho were able to see beyond the mask of strength and self-determination she wore, and glimpsed a woman worried sick about her daughter. Lady Seto soon regained control of her face, just in time to see Misaki striding in. Misaki's usual voluble grin was in place for the first time since Azusa had made the announcement.

Misaki, instead of returning to her place, stood still a moment and addressed Funaho brightly, "I hope you don't think I've been prying, but I've just been trying to find out all that I can about you! You really do have marvelous help around the castle, they were so helpful, taking time from their busy schedules to talk to me!" Funaho waited expectantly while Lady Seto exclaimed in relief, "Misaki! I was afraid you had taken ill!"

"I've decided," Misaki continued, then suddenly ran to Funaho fiercely and hugged her tightly, "that we're going to get along great!"

"I'm sure we are," Funaho agreed.

Azusa's chopsticks rattled on the table where he'd dropped them.

"And we're going to take good care of him, aren't we?" Misaki said, winking at Azusa.

"Oh yes, very good care indeed," Funaho smiled secretively at Azusa.

Lady Seto began to dab at her eyes with a handkerchief. "I can't believe my little Misaki is getting married," she choked on the emotion.

This is a good thing, Azusa tried to reassure the pit of his stomach. It had to be, there wasn't anything he could do about it now!

A welcome diversion entered the room in the form of a courier from Jurai that Kirito had mentioned. King Azusa looked over at the courier as he bowed. He was a new face to Azusa, but his livery was that of the royal family of Jurai, specifically of the Kamiki clan, just like Lady Seto.

"Your Majesty," the courier said to King Azusa, "Lady Seto, Lady Misaki, Lady Funaho," he nodded to the other occupants of the room while remaining bowed, "I bring tidings from His Majesty's cousin, Lord Watanabe."

"Please, tell us the news," King Azusa said. He hoped it was good news- he had been so busy in the uproar about his intentions of matrimony that he hadn't heard much from Lord Watanbe. It was about time that the baby was due.

"Lord Watanbe and his good wife Lady Kotoko are very pleased to announce their first child, a son, has been born. He and his mother are in excellent health."

The entire company added their congratulations to King Azusa's.

"I am sure they appreciate your good wishes," the courier nodded, beaming from ear to ear, and passed around a hologram of the happy couple and the baby. Funaho handled the device without fear, but instead with care, curiosity, and awe. All present smiled as the animated picture showed the child giving a soft, cute, sneeze, barely audible through the hologram's speaker units.

The courier finished his message, "The child's name is Kagato."

Next Chapter

Nobuyuki says, "Hey, everyone, remember me? My son Tenchi was abducted by an alien girl! I don't know quite what's going on, but it's getting pretty exciting, believe me. My boy's going to make a break for it, and I really hope he makes it, but it's got to be pretty hard when you're in a spaceship like that one! Let's all root for him, huh? The next chaper is No Need For Escape."

Continuity with Dragonwiles

Dragonwiles reposes in state in the library of his lair. Looking up from his book, he greets, "Welcome to this special segment, in which I give a few brief continuity notes."

"Most of this chapter was nearly entirely made up, especially Lady Funaho's family, and exactly why the Galactic Police is independent of Jurai. I also made up Kagato's specific relation to Azusa, although in the Universe series he is supposed to be part of the royal family somehow. Kagato's parents are entirely made up. Oh, yes, and I made up the courier, holograms, and the details of how the space trees use keys to talk to Juraians."

"Lady Seto's backstory I did take mostly unchanged from the OVA and Ryo-Ohki series. Misaki's backstory is also largely unchanged, so far as I know, although I made up most of the details of what she did in this chapter. I'm not really sure of how much backstory Lady Funaho and King Azusa have, so I stayed true to what I knew (she's from anceint Japan, he's from Jurai) and made up the rest." Dragonwiles sighs happily. "I love fanfictions. You can do whatever you want!"

Chapter 3 Main Chapters Chapter 5