True Navi GM
- Apr 27, 2021
'We leave in fifteen minutes,' Her father's chief servant relayed the mention, Asuka dressed, and ready nodded in understanding. It was the night of the full moon; the ceremony would be conducted just before the moon was highest. Thankfully, Asuka had rested well during the day and felt wide awake. 'your majesty, your fan," Her servant offered a purple decorated fan, golden tassels with gemstones secured at the end of the threading. It was expensive, a gift from her father, he mentioned a local artist had crafted it just for her. Asuka ignored the implications that it was a courting item, deciding that if the man had no courage to greet her, she had no interest in him. A series of rapid, open and closings, the sound reminded her of her first trip to the entire moon ceremony. Her mother had gifted her a pretty blue and white fan, which she had used as a young girl years before. A unique gift for a young girl. The memory of the night came back so vividly.
The air was humid, the first full moon of summer. She sat in the last open carriage; it rocked like a boat, almost lulling her to sleep. Her twin beside her, but further to the other side, what he was thinking about Asuka only had the slightest of inklings. Their status as royal children dictated how they conducted themselves; Asuka, polite and proper, sat proudly in her carriage. The evidence of her nerves present in the grip she maintained on the fan, knuckles white from tension. The crowd that gathered along the
route to the temple, she felt all eyes on her. In truth, hardly anyone paid attention to her. She and her twin were further down the line, and given her gender, she had no actual claim to anything beyond her last name. Such thoughts did not last within her head, fluttering away like the moths tempted by the lights of the city.
For unknown reasons, the carriages stopped. Asuka glanced about, curious as to what caused such an event. The crowd seemed slow to move from the path, but it wasn't out of anger but excitement. Seeing the royal family is considered a gift to the common folk. Content to wait for the carriages to move once more, Asuka found the faintest hint of courage to look onto the crowd. The crowd seemed endless; hundreds if not thousands of people shouted for her to smile, wave, or even speak to them. The words did not come, and all she mustered was a weak nod of her head and shy away.
Nonetheless, the crowd loved it! Shouting the family name, looking away to avoid further embarrassment. Asuka caught a glimpse of a young boy, not much older than her older brother. They eye met, a rarity given the strict rules about eye contact. She was relieved when he didn't shout for her or even wave; hehe simply bowed. Yet the way he did it seemed genuine, that he wasn't doing it as a show of respect but a polite distant greeting. Relaxed with his gesture, she returned the bow with less depth as was taught.
The carriages hadn't moved yet, and the urge to know his name overwhelmed her. He seemed friendly, despite his disheveled appearance. She almost called out to him, but the lurch of the carriage stopped her. In a panic, she glanced about to those in the carriage, but no adult made eye contact, solely focused on their orders. Looking back for him, she had only the slightest of seconds. Tossing the only thing she had in her hand, the newly gifted fan. Asuka willed the fan to land within his reach and clapped her hands when it did. "What's your name?" She called out to him, only to be drowned out by the sound of carriage wheels. The procession picking up speed to make up for the lost time.
Asuka never saw that boy again, even asked about him. The verbal lashing she got from her mother about losing the fan was enough to stop her from asking.
As the years went on, she thought of him infrequently at best and only when she has gifted a new fan or told to ready for the full-moon ceremony.
This would be the first that she sat entirely alone; her twin would be up front, with the King to be showcased as a treasure now that he had been named Crown Prince. Her twin's rise in power did not bother her.
The return of the chief servant had ushered them all into their respective carriages. Asuka had persuaded her father to allow her to take a different route to the temple. Since her brother's death, she had been taking the alternate route to avoid the crowds and unwanted attention. The full-moon ceremonies had changed from fun of light to quiet time in prayer, while other members of her family partook in the more significant, grander, and more public ceremony.
Her solo route allowed for quick travel through the city's side streets, her guard minimal for flexibility to navigate the roads, and her driver hyper-focused on directing the carriage. She had almost opted to discard the veil the moment they were out of eyesight of her father, but given the men guarding her were not of her court, she felt further compelled to keep it. Luckily it was light and flowed easily in the cool night air.