I had been a year and a half since the King had married his second wife. They didn't see each other often and Fuji knew the Queen was suffering. She wasn't allowed to go outside on her own. Even when she was walking around inside the castle she needed her maid by her side. The King was trying to prevent perverts from taking her the way Duke Sengoku had done to his first wife.
Queen Sakuno hardly left her room, only for breakfast, lunch and dinner and even then she often said she wasn't feeling good enough to join her husband. Whenever Fuji saw her he tried to talk to her a little, but she always cut their conversations short, so she could leave again. It made the Seer felt guilty, because he had allowed the King to pick that girl. He should have stopped the King, even if it would have cost him his head. Some things were more important than others.
Not only the Queen was acting strange towards the Seer, but the King as well, especially in the beginning. He didn't call for Fuji at all the first few weeks, until he had something important to ask him, but he acted cold towards both Fuji and Tezuka. Fuji had apologized to his friend. It was his fault the King was acting like that towards Tezuka as well.
But now, one and a half year later things were almost like normal again. The King was pissed off and he wanted Fuji to give an explanation for things he didn't really know either.
'Why is my wife not pregnant yet?' asked the King as soon as Fuji entered the room. The Seer could see Tezuka wasn't really feeling comfortable either. He was standing behind the throne, but further away than he normally did. It showed in what kind of mood the King was at the moment.
Fuji bowed for the King before he answered. 'I can't really tell, since it's not something you can see in the past or the future. Should I call the doctor and ask him for help?'
'No!' said the King angry. 'He is a useless man. He has already taken a look, but he doesn't know what is wrong. I told him to piss off and never to come back, so you won't be able to find him around here anymore.'
Fuji wanted to sigh. They really needed the doctor around the castle. There were quite a lot of accidents and nobody else could help in such situations. He reminded himself to ask the man to come back or to find another doctor.
'I slept with her every week since we got married!' King Atobe continued. 'Every damn week! I didn't want to, but I had no choice. It was the most boring thing ever and she still isn't pregnant. I'm not planning to do this for another few years, so tell me why she isn't carrying a child already!'
Fuji searched through the future, her future and his future, but there was no child, in none of those futures. That wasn't a reason why she wasn't pregnant, but Fuji tried his very best to find something he could give as an explanation.
'What is taking you so long, Seer?!' asked the King impatient.
'You wanted an answer to an impossible question!' answered Fuji. 'It will take time. I have to search through her past and futures that could have been if you had not chosen her or futures where you had chosen someone else. It takes time!'
He turned away from the King a little, so he could concentrate better. His mind ran through all different futures and then he finally found a future where Queen Sakuno did have a child, but it was a future where she was not the Queen. She was married to a man in the village where she was raised and she seemed to be very happy. She had a few children walking around and her husband loved and adored her. It would have been a better place for the shy woman.
'She can have children,' said Fuji slowly. 'She is fertile, so that is not the problem.'
Fuji hesitated with telling the rest of the story. He knew the King was going to get even more angry at him, even though he was only the messenger.
'But I've searched through all different futures for you, Your Majesty, but in none of them you will have a son. I have seen you with plenty of different women, but none of them will get pregnant. I'm very sorry I can't give you any better news than this.'
'What if I sleep with all the women in the castle. No, all the women who could have become my wife? I can make them my mistresses and one of them will get pregnant. Even if they give me a daughter, I could make her marry a fine man and make sure she will get a son who can succeed me!'
Fuji looked at the floor. 'I'm very sorry, Your Majesty, no matter how many women you will bring to the castle, none of them will get pregnant. You cannot have children of your own.'
Suddenly the King jumped up from his throne and ran towards Fuji. He grabbed him by his throat and started to hit him with his other hand. Fuji couldn't do anything to stop him. The King was taller and stronger and even if Fuji could hit the King in return, he would get caught by the guards and get killed.
He let the hands do whatever they wanted. He hardly got any air and when a knee ended up in his stomach he didn't have any air left at all. He fell on the floor, but the King didn't leave him alone yet. The Seer prepared himself for the fist that was aimed at him, but it never came. Tezuka was holding the King's arms, preventing him from doing any more damage.
'Your Majesty!' shouted Tezuka. 'You cannot kill him! He only answered the questions you asked him. He gave you the answers that you wanted to hear. He cannot help it that you might not get an heir!'
'Ever since he came here we have misfortune!' shouted the King back, struggling to get out of Tezuka's strong grip. But Tezuka was stronger than the King and he made sure he couldn't escape. 'He brought misfortune! Bad luck ever since he came here, he made me like this! He made me unfertile!'
'You know that is not true!' said Tezuka back. 'He made the castle rich, not just the castle, the entire country! He helped you with his advises to make this country bloom! He worked for you, even when he was still a child, so don't give me the crap that he ruined our country or your life! He did everything to make life more pleasant for you, but you always want more!'
The King stopped struggling and Tezuka's grip loosened. The King pulled away and walked back to his throne. He called Tezuka Kuniharu and asked him how many of the girls that had been there to become his Queen were still unmarried. Normally Tezuka would join his father and help him to find out about it, but right now he had other things on his mind. He kneeled down next to Fuji and asked him if he was alright.
Fuji showed a weak smile and asked Tezuka if he looked alright. It was all Tezuka needed to know to understand that Fuji was hurt, but that he was doing well enough to make jokes.
'Can you stand?' he asked his friend.
The Seer shook his head. The King had kicked his knee and it hurt a lot. He couldn't get up on his own. Tezuka helped him up, but they noticed that standing on that leg was difficult. Tezuka supported him as they left the room together.
As soon as the door closed behind them tears started to run down Fuji's cheeks. Tezuka stopped walking, lifted his friend in his arms and quickly made his way through the halls until he was in Fuji's room. There he put him down on his bed. He gave the Seer his handkerchief to dry his tears.
'Don't move,' said Tezuka. 'I'm going to get some things to treat your wounds.' He quickly left the room and closed the door behind him. The doctor wasn't around, because he was sent away by the King, so Tezuka had to treat Fuji himself. Mostly scratches and bruises, but he had to make sure there were no broken bones or anything.
He searched through the doctors room for anything useful. He found something that looked like a first aid kit. It contained all the things he would probably need, so he took it back to Fuji's room. The Seer was still on his bed. There were no more tears, but his eyes were a little red. He smiled when Tezuka entered the room again.
Tezuka helped him to sit up and carefully cleaned the cuts and deep scratches. There were a few on Fuji's face and Tezuka wanted them to heal nicely, so they wouldn't leave any scars. Everybody was always praising the Seer for his beauty. Fuji acted like he couldn't care, but Tezuka knew he was proud of it and that he tried his best to keep looking good, especially when he had to dress up as a Seer.
Fuji was in pain every time Tezuka touched one of the wounds, but he just bit his lips or tongue. He refused to make any sounds.
'What about the rest of your body?' Tezuka asked when he was done with Fuji's face and neck. There were bruises on Fuji's neck, from the King's fingers, but Tezuka couldn't do anything about those. They would have to heal on their own.
Tezuka helped Fuji to take off his cloak and his shirt. His shirt had ripped in a few places and there were scratches on his chest and arms as well. Some more cuts as well.
'How did he make those cuts?' Tezuka asked.
'His rings,' Fuji answered. The King was always wearing a few rings and one of them was a bit sharp, it had cut through his skin and made him bleed. King Atobe had probably had in on purpose, for situations like this.
'Do you want me to take a look at your knee as well?' Tezuka asked when he helped Fuji into a clean shirt.
Fuji hesitated. He didn't like how much his friend was worrying about him, it was not like Tezuka at all. But he could see that Tezuka wanted to do something for him after what happened. Tezuka couldn't stand it when people were treated like this, when they were blamed for something they couldn't do anything about.
Without waiting for an answer Tezuka carefully pulled Fuji's pants off. The Seer's knee was turning blue already and the spaces that weren't blue were bright red.
'I think the doctor should look at it,' Tezuka said. 'I don't think it's broken or anything, but it looks painful and he can tell you how long you will have to rest. Can you tell me where I can find the doctor?'
'He is still in the city,' Fuji answered. 'In the little hotel close to the river.'
Tezuka left the room and went to get someone who could go to the doctor. He couldn't leave the castle himself, but if he could, he would have done so. He wanted to be sure the man would come back. The doctor really liked Fuji, so if he had to return for him, he might come back.
'T ell the doctor Fuji-kun needs him,' Tezuka told the servant before he went back to Fuji's room once again. He found the Seer sitting against the wall, still in bed.
'Be careful when you move around,' warned Tezuka. He didn't want Fuji to hurt himself. 'I sent someone to get the doctor. I hope he will come to take a look at you.'
'Stop worrying already, Tezuka,' smiled Fuji. 'It hurts, but I'm not going to die, so relax already. You did everything you could and I'm very grateful that you saved me from the King. He would have killed me if you hadn't stopped him. Nobody else dared to do that, you were the only one who was brave enough.'
Tezuka blushed a little. He turned around to get the chair and hoped his cheeks had their original color back when he sat down next to the bed. 'You're welcome,' he said. 'Is the King really infertile?'
Fuji nodded. 'You think I would get myself into such trouble for something that isn't true. I couldn't think of anything else, I would have lied if I could, but there was only one answer to this question and it was only fair the King got to know the truth. It's sad, but nobody can do anything about it. The future is not going to change this fact.'
'I understand he was angry,' said Tezuka. 'As an only son you feel like you have to produce an heir. The King doesn't have his parents anymore, but he is getting older, so I guess he feels the pressure anyway.'
'Do you feel pressured to produce an heir?' Fuji asked his friend.
'A little,' said Tezuka. 'I know my father would really like it if I could have a son. But I'm twenty-two already. I know I should hurry and find myself a girlfriend already.'
'You still have time,' said Fuji. 'But even if you don't get a son, the world wouldn't end. You should worry about becoming happy, that is more important. It's different for a King. If he doesn't have an heir they will have to find a solution for the non-existing heir. Although in the case with King Atobe it should be different as well.'
'Why?' asked Tezuka.
'He was never meant to be King,' said Fuji. 'His father wasn't meant to be King. The father of King Atobe killed the King we had before him. I don't think anybody knows. The Atobe family was one of the most important families that helped the royal family with ruling the country, but they wanted more. The King was killed and because he didn't have any children yet the father of King Atobe took his place. Everybody accepted it, thinking the old King died because of illness. The old King Atobe died at a rather young age as well, so our recent King had to take over when he was still really young. He doesn't have any siblings and he can't have children himself. It's almost like it's fate. Their family probably wasn't meant to rule this country, so the family members get punished. A sad story.'
'Does the old King, the one who was supposed to be King, have any family members?' asked Tezuka. 'He didn't have children, but did he have any other family members? A cousin or something?'
Fuji shook his head. 'No, that makes things more difficult, ne? Two families are known as the royal family, but neither of them can take care of the next generation. Either King Atobe has to make sure he will find someone to take his place, otherwise we will have to find someone when he dies.'
'How can we pick a new King when nobody really has the right to take that position?' Tezuka asked.
'I don't know either, but at the moment there is nothing we can do anyway. If I would try to tell anyone the King will have my head,' said Fuji. 'He won't believe me, no matter what. One day we will have to choose a new King and we will be able to make things right again.'
'It's strange that everybody accepted the Atobe family as the new royal family without any trouble,' said Tezuka. 'I don't understand.'
'Everyone was grieving, the country had to be ruled, the head of the Atobe family took care of that and when everyone felt better they had already accepted him as the new ruler of the country. He played it well.'
'We should find a way to get this public,' said Tezuka. He hated injustice and the fact that he had been ordered around by a man who wasn't supposed to be King made him a little angry.
'I will try,' said Fuji. 'I've waited for the right moment for years already, but it hasn't come yet. I don't want to be thrown out of the castle. I won't have any friends or family who can help me, nor any skills that I can use to earn money. We have to be careful with bringing this up. I'm the only one who knows for sure that this is going on. If I'm gone there will never be two witnesses to confirm what is happening here.'
'Does the King know he doesn't have any right to the throne?' Tezuka asked.
'He does,' Fuji said. 'I think his father told him before he died. If he wouldn't know it could be dangerous. Now that the King knows he has been able to prepare himself, in case someone will bring it up. He will have his answers ready.'
'So we can only wait,' sighed Tezuka.
Fuji smiled. 'You really dislike waiting, don't you? You're a man of action. But I can't do much at the moment. My body hurts. But you should know that I'm working on it, even though I don't look like it. I've been searching for a long time already to find people who know about this as well and who could be the second witness in this case. I've searched through thousands of pasts and I'm getting closer.'
'Can you tell me anything about it?'
'No,' said Fuji. 'I can't tell you anything yet, I'm sorry. It could be dangerous. I don't think you will accidently spill it, but I don't know what is the truth yet and I don't want to tell you lies. I'll ask for your help when I need it, alright?'
Tezuka didn't seem to be happy with it, but when he wanted to reply there was a knock on the door. The King's advisor opened it and found the doctor on the other side.
'I came as soon as I heard you were injured, Fuji-kun,' said the Doctor. 'What happened to you?!'
Fuji shortly explained what had happened. The Doctor sighed. He understood. The King wasn't an easy man to work with. He took a look at Fuji's knee and after that at the other wounds as well.
'You treated them well, Tezuka-kun,' he said. 'The small cuts will all heal within a few weeks, within days you can do whatever you want again. Your knee is bruised, but that is all. Nothing is damaged, you will probably be able to walk normally again in about two days. You should rest until then. I'm sure Tezuka-kun won't mind bringing you some food three times a day.'
Tezuka shook his head and said he would do that.
'Thank you Doctor,' said Fuji. 'For coming back for me. Will you stay at the castle or will you leave again?'
'I'll take my leave again,' said the man. 'I don't want to work here anymore until this King is gone and a better one has taken his place. I cannot work with him. But if you or anybody else ever needs me you can always call for me. I don't mind helping the people I worked with for so long. You will know where I live, right?'
'Yeah,' smiled Fuji. 'I will find out if you move.''Good, I hope we won't have to see each other often, so you will all be healthy. I wish you the best of luck.'