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The Daughter of Heaven


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Author's note: This is a continuation of a series that has been running in the Adult Board for some time now. These few chapters are not particularly naughty, so I'm moving it to the main story section for a bit.


Author's note, part II: All characters in this story are at least 18. Well, except for Unko and Jikenko here. Unko is ten, and Jikenko is seven, although if you ask him his age, he won't say seven, he'll hold up seven fingers. All other characters herein are at least eighteen unless I explicitly state otherwise.



“Are we there yet?”


“Are we there yet?”


“Are we there yet?”

“No! And if you ask again I’ll turn this cart around.”

The driver looked over his shoulder. “Turn around?”

“No! Keep going.”


“Are we-”


“Are we…”



The palace was… big. Really big. Seated atop the largest hill for miles, the Palace of the Sun dominated the skyline of Otusan Uchi. The children stuck their heads from each window and craned their necks, taking in the massive stone walls around the base.


The horse pulled the cart slowly but steadily around the dirt path surrounding the immense walls. Towers, battlements, and parapets looked down on them, festooned with scarlet banners. At last, the carriage arrived at a large gravel field next to an imposing stone guardhouse.


The cart pulled into one of the parking strips, the horse sidling up to the post. Katashi stepped out and stretched his legs, followed by his wife Shiori. Katashi was wearing his best kimono, dark blue with darker blue sash. Shiori wore a beautiful silk robe, pale blue with red and gold trim, her hair done In a tight bun held by two lacquered pins. Their children Unko and Jikenko both wore brand new kimonos, purchased yesterday from Ish Kush B’gsh.

“How do I look?”

“Fine, dear.”


“Yes. Really.”

A tall man wearing light leather armor gave a half bow. “Travellers. In Her Grace’s name, I bid you welcome to the Palace of the Sun.”

Katashi bowed back. “I am honored to be your guest.” He produced a small piece of parchment from the inside pocket of his robe.

The guard scanned the paper. “You have the… the Gilded Lotus package?”


“Excellent choice. This includes a tour of the palace grounds, prayers at the Grand Temple, dinner at your choice of the Maple Grove or Yink Sang, ten percent off souvenirs, and…” he paused, “admission to the Cloud Room.”

Katashi nodded. “Yes.”

“Very well.” The guard handed the parchment back to Katashi. “Proceed through the main gate, and show this to the woman beneath the chrysanthemum.” Another half-bow. “And, er…” The guard lowered his voice a bit, “you don’t have to use your Cloud Room tickets if you’d rather not.”

“Um… thank you.” Katashi bowed again, and began walking up the path to the palace's imposing gate, followed by Shiori and their children.

“Dear kami,” Shiori whispered as soon as they were out of earshot, “why would we not want to see Her Grace?” The Cloud Room was where those who had paid the largest sums of money were sent, to receive the highest privilege of all, the chance to actually see the Daughter of Heaven herself, Empress Hantei Misaki the 14th, ruler of all the land.

“I don’t know, dear.”

They passed through the immense stone arch, flanked on both sides by massive wooden doors bound by iron. In more exciting times, the doors would be pulled shut by means of a huge iron winch mounted on the wall behind it, to secure the palace from invaders. For the past three centuries, the only invaders had been merchants, scholars, and tourists.

A rough-hewn stone chamber lay beyond, decked out with banners proclaiming that this was, in fact, the capitol of Toraii and the home of the Daughter of Heaven. Six more guards sat along the walls trying not to look too bored. Beyond that lay the Great Hall, twenty feet wide, the floor made of polished blocks of granite fitted so closely that the seams were invisible. The end of the hall was obscured by rows of people, but Katashi knew that at the far end was the Jade Throne, where the Empress would sit for official functions.

Near the entrance, a large yellow chrysanthemum had been painted high on the wall, edges gleaming with gold trim. Beneath it sat a short woman in her thirties, wearing the same plain tan robes that most of the palace help wore. Katashi walked over and proferred their ticket.

“Welcome!” She scanned the paper. “If you wish, you may accompany me to the kantomame. I believe that Her Grace will be in attendance in the Cloud Room now, if… if you wish.” Again, a split second of hesitation following the last bit.

They followed the woman up a flight of wide stone steps, around a corner, down a hall, then through a door flanked by two more guards. This led to a small wood-paneled room, where they spoke to a man in his fifties standing behind a shuttered window set into the wall. After scrutinizing their ticket, he produced four canary-yellow sashes, two large and two small.

“You… you do realize that you’ll be in the same room as Her Grace?”

“That is why we came, yes.” Katashi handed the small sashes to his children.

“Her Grace will be able to see you from where she’s sitting.”

“I’ll... keep that in mind.”

Wearing the yellow sashes, the family was let through yet another door into yet another small wooden room. A girl of about nineteen or twenty rose from a bench and gave the standard half bow. “Hello! I’m Ami, and welcome to the Palace of the Sun!”


“Now, before you can see Her Grace, there’s a big list of Imperial do’s and don’ts!” Ami’s voice was dripping with artificial perkiness, like a tour guide at Disneyland. “Stay behind the blue railing at all times, including your hands. Don't run, don't speak loudly, and most importantly, never talk while Her Grace is talking! That’s a big no-no!”

Katashi and Shiori stood and nodded, while Unko and Jikenko picked their noses and squirmed. Ami plowed through her monologue, drawing on vats of syrupy cheer. “And remember,” she chirped, “I don’t need to tell you what’s at stake! If you displease Her Grace in the slightest, she can have you imprisoned or even executed! And if, kami forbid, she should ever get angry, the Empress can not only kill you on the spot with a single glance, but obliterate your very soul as well! Now, let’s form an orderly line in front of-"

Shiori’s eyebrows rose. “Um. Hey. Uh, miss?”


“Could you repeat that last bit?”

“Sure! Before we go in, I need everyone to form a line, single file, and-”

“The bit before that.”

“Oh! Right! Be sure to be on your best behavior when you’re in the Empress’s audience! If you make Her Grace even the slightest bit annoyed, she can kill you just by looking at you!”

“The Empress can kill someone…”

“And destroy their eternal soul as well!” Ami’s perkiness didn’t waver an inch.

“So,” Shiori squeezed the children’s hands a bit tighter, “If Jikenko here shouts or sneezes in front of the Empress…”

“Oh, no!” Ami effused. “You don’t need to worry about that! It’s all right to sneeze if you need to, that’s not considered interrupting. Her Grace made that rule herself!”

“Ah. That’s a relief. I guess.” Shiori looked around nervously. “But, if he were to speak too loudly…”

“Zap! Dead.”


“Soul gone.”


“Yep!” Ami chirped chirpily. “Of course, that’s the worst case. She might just decide to have you beheaded.”


“Or tortured.”

“Mmm-hmm. One moment please.” Grasping the children’s hands firmly, Shiori tugged them into the previous room, trailed by Katashi.

“Dear,” she purred, “maybe this isn’t such a good idea.”

Katashi shook his head and glanced sideways at the window. “There’s no refunds. They were quite firm in that regard.”

“The Empress can kill us just by looking at us!”

“I know, dear. But we paid twenty-five sovereigns for these tickets.”

“Our kids! Their souls!”

Katashi gazed firmly at his wife. “Twenty. Five. Sovereigns.”


Returning to the antechamber, Katashi smoothed his kimono while Shiori maneuvered Jikenko’s unruly hair back into place. “We’re ready.”

“Great!” Ami burbled. “Just form a line behind me.” Ami pulled open a thick oaken door, which led to a narrow, well worn passage ending in an identical door. Slowly, silently, Ami opened it to reveal a long, spacious room with a stone floor. A mahogany railing topped with blue and green engravings ran along the near end of the room, pictograms telling visitors where to stand. Half a dozen men sat at a table midway, surrounded by papers and scrolls. At the far end sat four young women; one of them wore vibrantly colored silk robes, and was seated on a cushion, ensuring that her head was higher than the commoners surrounding her.

“Her Grace,” Shiori whispered, “Does she do that a lot?”


“The, uh, the… gaze of death? The Empress doesn’t do that often, does she?” One by one, slowly, silently, the family filed past Ami into the Cloud Room.

“Not too often, no.” Ami whispered, closing the door behind them. “She’s only done it once today.”





Edited by webmeistro
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She didn’t mean to. Honest. Really.

The day had started out like any other, when the sun climbed high enough to send a ray through the narrow windows set high in the stone walls of the Empress’s bedchamber. Another followed, then another, warm golden light spreading over the ceiling and walls. Lying on her back, Yuka watched the huge bedroom go from dark to dim to day.


Yuka had long black hair, dark eyes, and skin the color of milky coffee. She had grown up on the chain of sun-baked tropical islands off the Empire’s southern coast. Yuka had been Misaki’s maidservant for two years now, starting when Misaki had been an unimportant junior Empress.

As part of her training to become an Imperial maidservant, Yuka had been conditioned to wake up at the crack of dawn. Yawning, she lay on her back, watching the wooden planks of the ceiling shift from black to gold to tan. A maidservant would normally have slept on a mat on the floor at the foot of the Empress’s bed, but Yuka also served as Misaki’s ‘bedwarmer’, which is why she now lay mere inches from the Daughter of Heaven herself. The Empress’s black hair splayed over the pillow, her shoulder smooth.

Yuka lay silently, watching the sun creep across the ceiling. A faint tickle crept across the very tip of the inside of her cute nose; she scrunched it, hoping she wouldn’t be the one to wake the Empress. That honor had fallen to Mika the past few days, until finally they-

“echew! ESH-ew!”

No, that wasn’t Yuka. Next to her, the Empress had sneezed herself awake, as she had many times before. Yuka sat up and reached over to the small table next to the bed, picking up a folded silk handkerchief. When she turned back, Misaki was also sitting up, naked. Her almond eyes were red and a bit watery, with a blank, unfocused look. Yuka scooched next to her, held the hanky in front of her mouth with one hand, and gently stroked her bare back with the other.

“heh… heh TSHOOO! Heh ECHEW! Tshew!”

Yuka smiled warmly. “Morning greet you, Empress.”

“echew! HET-CHEW!”

For a moment, Yuka held the scarlet handkerchief in front of Misaki’s mouth. When it became apparent that no more sneezes were coming, she gently wiped the base of the Empress’s nose. During her training, she had spent many hours practicing exactly this, learning how to squeeze Her Grace’s sacred nose oh so gently. However, running the tips of one’s fingers tenderly along the Empress’s back was not something taught in any course, nor was leaning over and planting a soft kiss on her bare shoulder.

Misaki and Yuka were deeply, passionately in love. Yuka’s skin felt like warm velvet, and gazing into her wide brown eyes make Misaki’s insides melt. If she didn’t have a full schedule of Empress Stuff to do, Misaki would have spent the entire day cuddling with Yuka in her immense silk bed.

“Sleep well?”

“Yep, you?”

“Mmm-hmm. Maybe the red and gold robe today?”


Naked, Yuka hopped off the bed and went over to one of several large mahogany wardrobes, extracting a tan robe for herself and a thin, white cotton garment. Misaki yawned, stretched, and regarded the three other girls sharing her bed. Nearest to her, Ayame lay blissfully, curled up in a vibrant red silk sheet, which she had wrapped around herself. Her scarlet hair was almost the same shade, but not quite.


Objectively speaking, Ayame was quite possibly the worst maidservant an Empress could have. A one in a million genetic quirk had given her the aforementioned head of flaming red hair, which turned heads as they walked; a mere servant should never draw attention away from the Empress. She sneezed without any warning, spraying blasts of glop onto plates of food, scrolls, and anything else nearby. She was incapable of dusting; three or four passes with a rag would leave her on her knees, sneezing uncontrollably. Ayame had no internal governor, blurting out whatever was on her mind. And, she was incredibly clumsy, and as such was forbidden from carrying objets d’art, trays of food, or the chamberpot. Dear kami, especially the chamberpot.

“Hey Meems, morning Yukee.”

“Hey, Firetop.”


Ayame sniffled. “Another sneezy day?”

“Feels like it.”

One might wonder why the sacred Daughter of Heaven had such a terrible maidservant. Despite her many flaws, Ayame two things going for her. First, she genuinely tried to do the best she could. Soon after Misaki had become the full Empress, Ayame had accepted the title of “Imperial Hanky Bearer.” While this might seem silly, Ayame really leaned into the role, stuffing an assortment of silk handkerchiefs into her pockets and cleavage, wiping the Empress’s nose as needed and covering her many sneezes. More importantly, Ayame had a fiery spirit, a wide, impish smile, and the most amazing green eyes, like lily pads over a crystal stream. When they lay together at night, tongues swirling together, Misaki's soul danced with joy and her Imperial Nookie turned into a lake.

Misaki slipped the thin cotton under-robe over her head. The embroidered silk robes that an Empress wore were designed for beauty, not warmth.

“ish! ish! ishy ish ISH!”

Misaki turned her attention to the two girls lying tangled on the far side of the bed. Kiku was short and thin, with brown hair and trim body. Rei, the one sneezing, strongly resembled Misaki, with a small round face, long black hair, and curvy curves. The two were scribes, having worked for Misaki’s mother, Empress Asaka. Misaki had met them the day after she became full Empress, and right away began working with them recording tax levies and crop harvests. They quickly became friends, then Misaki made then her head scribes, then they became BFFs. Then they kissed.

Then, Kiku told Misaki how she and Rei loved each other deeply, and lived together, kissing and sleeping together. Misaki had been amazed to discover that she was not the only woman to love another woman. Arms around each other, legs twined, the girls kissed again, and again, and, well, you know.


Yawning, the girls reluctantly dragged themselves out of the huge, luxurious bed. Misaki donned a scarlet silk robe with wide swaths of gold embroidery in front and smaller gold dragons along the side, Yuka tying her up in back. She dabbed a tiny dash of reddish powder on her cheeks.

When the bedroom door opened, seven maidservants sitting in the next room rose as one and bowed. “Morning greet you, Empress.”

“Good morning.” Most Empresses would barely acknowledge the existence of the help, left alone wish them good morning. But, as the readers know by now, Misaki was not a typical Empress. Unless this is the reader’s first Daughter of Heaven story, in which case, I should tell you in advance, Misaki is not a typical Empress. Oh, and read the other stories, they’re awesome.

“How may we serve you?”

“We’re going to…” Misaki angled her head in the direction of a small-ish archway in the wall, leading to a short flight of stairs down. The servants bowed again.

The stairs led to the privy, a long, low room carved roughly from stone. As they entered, a stunningly beautiful woman rose from one of the seats. An inch taller than Misaki, Mika had long black hair, perfect pale skin, and features carved from marble, or maybe porcelain, whichever is classier. The tan servant’s robe she wore looked like it was going to transform into a sheer ballroom gown at midnight.


Smart, poised and sophisticated, Mika had graduated from the academy at the top of her class, and was destined for a prestigious position as steward. However, there was just one tiny problem. At least once an hour, Mika would stand up, throw back her head, and shout “CABBAGES!” at the top of her lungs.

As you know (or not?) all six women are allergic to the tree, grass and flower pollens that blow through the Empire from early spring to mid fall. Mika’s allergies are far from the worst, but they’re the loudest. Whenever enough pollen found it’s way into Mika perfectly sculpted nose, she would inhale, warn everyone nearby, inhale twice as hard, sputter out a few random syllables, inhale as long and deep as one possibly could, pause for a split second, then lurch forward, sneezing “HURR-RESHOOOOO! HURR-ESHOOOO!” "Hureshu" is the Toraii word for cabbages. Sometimes a particularly nasty itch would make her yell “HEY-YESHOOOO!!” instead, which is the word for a dish made of shredded cabbages and carrots seasoned with chives. Mika and Ayame had loved snacking on heyashu as children, while Misaki had never heard of it. Heyashu was a peasant dish, not suitable to be placed before an Empress, which is kind of a shame, because she would have enjoyed it.

After a particularly explosive sneeze attack made it evident that Mika was ill suited to serve the Imperial court, Misaki’s sister Sakura had sent Mika to serve junior Empress Misaki as a cruel joke. Her gaydar pinging, Misaki happily took on Mika as a third maidservant. Before long, they were kissing, then gazing into each other’s eyes, then madly in love.

For the past week, the six girls had spent every night together on Misaki’s huge bed, kissing and caressing, licking and stroking, gasping and squealing, falling asleep in each other’s arms, and being awoken several times a night by Mika’s thunderous sneezes. Two nights ago, Misaki decided that the last thing on the list was not nearly as much fun as the other things. She ordered one of the nicer side rooms to be converted into a bedroom, with a rice hull bed topped by several of Misaki’s own silk sheets, and thick tapestries hung on every wall. When their lovemaking came to an exhausted, gooey end, Mika reluctantly left the Empress’s bedroom and slept here, dreaming of her lovers’ ebony hair and porcelain skin.

“Hi, Meekee.”

“Morning greet you,” Mika smiled. This is the traditional way to greet an Empress, assuming it’s the morning. Misaki, however, didn’t give a crap about tradition, at least in private, which is why the girls called each other nicknames like “Meemee” and “Firetop”, which made “Morning greet you” sort of an injoke among them.

“Anything fun planned today?”

“The usual. Cloud Room until two, prayers in the Temple at four, ambassadors from Rokugan at seven.”

“Think we can squeeze in a bath after prayers?”


The girls used the privy, then returned to the anteroom, which now contained twelve tan-robed maidservants, who again bowed in unison. Upon the tragic death of her family, Misaki had inherited the help belonging to her mother and two sisters, fifteen in total. She had no idea what to do with them all. Eighteen maidservants was far more than she could possibly need, but sending any one of them away would be a crushing blow that she didn't deserve. All of them had been trying very hard to serve her every need.

For the past few days, very hard.

“Morning greet you, Empress.” This was Mizuki, a short, thin girl who had served her mother. Unknown to Misaki, the girls had established a rotation listing who would have the honor of greeting her. Fukiko was next.

“I will be returning here to bathe at about five bells.”

“Of course, Your Grace. I will have the water ready by then.”

“Very well.” They gave a half-bow as she left.

The group walked out of the Empress’s living quarters and into the main palace. Misaki walked in front of the group, as was tradition, unless there was a door to be opened, which was done by Mika. Heaven forbid that an Empress should engage in actual labor. Servants, scribes, courtiers and officials stopped as she walked by, bowing deeply, hands at either side. Mika pushed open a set of double doors, and Misaki entered the Great Hall, near the Jade Throne.



Edited by webmeistro
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Misaki walked slowly down the Great Hall, as was customary for an Empress; she strode down the very center of the hall, as was also customary. Backs to the wall, an assortment of help, guards, courtiers, scholars, and a handful of early tourists gave a deep bow, then stared at the scarlet robed figure as she floated past. She walked in front, trailed by her servants, as an Empress is expected to do.

About halfway, Misaki paused, closed her eyes, and sneezed “et-chew! ECHEW!” in what she hoped was a most Empress-y manner. Ayame went to her side, pulled a yellow silk hanky from a her pocket and gently wiped her nose.

When in private, relaxing with her personal maidservants who were also her friends and also her lovers, Misaki didn’t care in the slightest about customs and rules. She laughed and spoke freely, wiped her own nose, and slouched backward on the padded chairs and benches in ways most unbefitting the Daughter of Heaven. When in public, she generally made an effort to behave as an Empress ought to… usually.

Ayame fell back behind the Empress as she resumed her slow stroll along the vast stone hall. Before long, she came to a small door flanked by two guards in trimmed leather armor. They nodded as Misaki approached. People wearing armor were exempt from giving a full bow, as they tended to fall over. Several men in expensive clothes lingered nearby.

“Your Grace.” A short, plump man with no chin in an even more expensive than usual kimono bowed deeply; if he had been even a bit plumper, he too might have fallen on his face. “Please allow this humble servant the honor of informing Your Grace that the monthly tax revenues from the Namco province are available for your perusal in the Cloud Room, and if it please Your Grace, blah blah blah blah blahhhh…” He had absolutely no chin at all.


“Shut your piehole, porkchop.” was what Misaki wanted to say. Ever since becoming full Empress, pudgy middle aged men in fancy clothes would come up to her several times a day to tell her something unimportant which she knew already, just for the chance to be face to face with the Daughter of Heaven for a few seconds. It was starting to wear thin.

What Misaki actually said was “eh… het-CHSSS! Et-CHHHH!” Ayame wiped her nose again. “Very well,” she said, nodding briefly. The official bowed deeply and backed away, no doubt mentally composing the epic tale of the day that he actually spoke to the sacred Daughter of Heaven.

Nodding to the guards, Misaki walked through the small doorway into the dining room. This is not the one she had been using the past few weeks, it was the one adjacent to that one. The previous one had been intended for the Empress to dine alone; it was nice and cozy for one person and one or two maidservants, but crowded for six.

Now that Kiku and Rei were living with Misaki and eating almost every meal with her, the Empress decided that she needed a… oh wait, did I forget to mention that? Yeah. Right after the last series ended, following a particularly tender night of kissing and cuddling, Misaki had asked Rei and Kiku to move in with her in the small ‘palace’ that she shared with her three maidservant-lovers, and also her fifteen maidservants who weren’t lovers. Porters brought their few belongings into her bedroom, along with the two sleeping mats which they never used.

The next day, five girls in tow, Misaki decided that the current dining room was a bit too cozy, and had requisitioned the neighboring room as her own. This room was intended for small functions; the table was long and wide, seating six comfortably. Sliding panels in the opposite wall led to the kitchen. The walls were decorated with a number of ornate engravings praising long-dead Hantei. 


Misaki sat in the center, as an Empress is expected to do. Immediately, the far door slid open, and Bao pushed the tea cart in. Misaki nodded in his direction as he carefully poured steaming tea into six handle-less ceramic cups. Misaki was glad to see that the kitchen now treated people sitting at her table as guests, not servants.


“ish!”, Rei sneezed. “ishy ish! ishy ishy ish!” Numerous pots of pots of flowers ran along the table, and several more sat on end tables, which is why Ayame gushed “esssssshh!” into a hanky as soon as Rei finished. Her own nose tingling, Misaki again noted that she and her girls seemed to sneeze more when sitting in rooms decorated by fresh blooms. It had to be a coincidence, right? No one else was affected this way. Fortunately for Misaki’s adorable little nose, the waitstaff soon removed the flowers from the dining table.

Misaki sipped her tea. “So after we record the tax levies, what else is scheduled?”

“Regents from the Numachi and Shinkuhoru provinces are expected to arrive to pay tribute.” Mika had jumped into her job as Misaki’s steward with both feet. “Letters of certification from the Nichibutsu shrines, census reports from Taito and three other provinces, some reports on the rice harvest from… eh.” Mika set her teacup down. “One second, I’m… eh… going to sneeze.”

Mika began inhaling just as the kitchen door opened again. Three waiters pushing two carts emerged while Mika clenched her eyes shut and threw back her head. “HURR-RESHOO! HURR-RESHOOOO!”

Hureshu means ‘cabbages’, but there was no cole slaw on any of the plates and dishes being set along the Empress’s table. Rather, there were three platters of pastries, some resembling cookies, others tarts, others tiny puffs surrounding fruit or spiced meat. Another plate held a dozen tiny rice balls dotted with bacon and chives. Two pots contained steamed buns swimming in broth, filled with pork or vegetables. Another plate held a dozen small pancakes stuffed with shrimp and mushrooms, arranged in a neat circle around three tiny pots of sauce, while another had slender spears of crispy battered chicken surrounding four more ramekins of dipping sauce. Nestled in between the large platters were small, thin porcelain vessels containing sliced fresh fruits, warm spiced nuts, candied fruit, pickled vegetables.

“heg heg hegga…” One of the waiters, a pudgy thirtysomething woman named Funsha, set a bowl of pickles on the table as quickly as was polite, then turned to face the wall. “hetch! Hesh! HETCH!” she sneezed, blasting droplets into the empty air. No one minded; their medical science had not yet discovered “germs”.


Bao topped off the Empress’s tea, and replaced the tiny pot of honey on the tea tray with a fresh one. At her nod, the waiters gave a half bow and returned to the kitchen. Misaki, Yuka and Ayame each speared a pork bun with a chopstick, while Yuka and Kiku took a pastry. Kiku placed another pastry and a rice ball on Rei’s plate.

“Thank you again, Your Grace.” Kiku used the formal address, since they were in public. Every wall had ears. “This is wonderful.” As she spoke, she dipped a chicken skewer in spicy bean sauce, passed it to Rei, and took another for herself.

“My pleasure,” Misaki smiled, nibbling on the pork bun.

This, by the way, is not the Empress’s breakfast. This is the appetizers to the Empress’s breakfast.

Growing up as a third-from-the-throne junior Empress, Misaki’s meals had been prepared with care, but were not particularly fancy or elaborate. A typical breakfast would be fish with stir-fried vegetables, dumplings, toasted bread, rice, tea, and sweetened rice pudding for dessert. Then, fortune intervened, and Misaki was ruler of the land. Breakfast became a two course affair, with a round of ‘dainties’ followed by an assortment of scrumptious dishes, enough to feed a dozen Empresses and their entourage.

Then fortune struck again, as it was wont to do. The palace help soon learned that, if displeased in even the slightest, the Empress could obliterate the souls of the displease-ers with but a thought. The number of dishes on her table almost doubled, each one prepared with agonizing care, a single cherry out of place meaning the difference between life and eternal oblivion. Misaki had been intending to mention this to the head of the kitchen, Nobu. Even with her friends eating by her side, a lot of the food went uneaten.

Sure enough, after a few minutes of blissful munching, the two carts and three waiters emerged and began gathering the mostly full platters, followed by Nobu, the head chef. In his late fifties, Nobu was a tall, thin man with short, dark hair and features pulled tight. He had spent the bulk of his career serving Misaki’s mother Asaka, who had been stern but fair, never criticizing when it wasn’t important. Then came her daughter Sakura, who followed every meal with a detailed list of flaws and inadequacies and a 1.5 review on Yelp, or at least she would have if Yelp had been around in the 12th century. Now he was serving Misaki, who was friendly, pleasant and easygoing, except for when she wasn’t, which is when she fired death beams from her eyes.

A moment later, four more waiters pushed three more carts into the room, and began placing a dizzying array of dishes onto the table. A thick leg of ham, shiny with glaze, cherries and yams tucked along the base. Crispy fried salmon on a bed of rice dotted with roe. A long platter of skewered chicken and beef, surrounding six pots of sauce, with pearl onions, leeks and water chestnuts vying for attention. Green salad, three kinds of rice, two pots of soup, more pastries, more rice balls.

From yet another cart, waiters began maneuvering a guncha into place. Built from wafer-thin slats of bamboo supported by celery stalks, it resembled a foot tall temple with five stories, the ‘windows’ made from finely sliced meats, fruits and vegetables. Surrounding it were no less than twelve small porcelain dishes, each to be filled with a different dipping sauce. A guncha was generally placed before an Empress at large banquets, where she would pluck a single water chestnut from the top and pass it on to the assemblage.


“I trust everything is to your liking, Your Grace?”

Misaki decided it was time to mention the epic quantities of food they set in front of her twice a day, most of which went to waste. “Nobu. Yes. It’s just…”


“You are unhappy, Your Grace?”


“The food is wonderful. But I need to-”

“...hegga! heg-g-ga!”

Misaki looked over to see a scene of horror unfolding. Standing next to a large pot of orchids sitting on an endtable, Funsha had been holding a steaming earthenware pot of stewed pig ear in both hands, looking for a spot on the already crowded dining table, when a sharp itch invaded her nose. Gasping “heg! heg!” she frantically looked for a place to set down the pot, tried more frantically to hold the sneeze in, then prayed even more frantically. “heg, hegga, HEH-TSSSSSHHH!!”

Fortunately, Funsha managed to turn her head at the last second to avoid blasting glop onto the dish she was carrying. Unfortunately, she was now pointed squarely at the guncha. A clearly visible cone of mist hit the pagoda directly, the upper floor swaying at the gust. A split second, then Funsha sneezed again. This time she managed to turn her head away from the guncha… by sneezing directly into the pot she was carrying. Then again. And again.


A dark, horrible silence settled across the dining hall. As I mentioned earlier, the scholars and physicians in 12th century Toraii had no idea of the concept of ‘germs’. Although it was polite to cover one’s mouth while sneezing, it was not particularly impolite to sneeze into midair. Nobles and courtiers covered their noses when it was convenient, while townsfolk merely tried not to aim any anyone nearby.

Nevertheless, one simply does not place a sneezed-on plate of food in front of an Empress. Slowly, with the dreadful air of one with one’s foot already in the grave, Funsha turned and set her dish back on the carts, then turned back to-

“Aaaaaah!” squeed Ayame. “The pig ear! I wanted that! Misaki, use the death gaze on her!”

Another dreadful moment passed. Then, Misaki took a deep breath, sat up straight, and glared. Except she wasn’t looking at Funsha, but at Ayame. And it wasn’t the tabureza, but rather a firm, arms folded look, intended to say “I love you, but it’s time to be quiet now.” Ayame took the hint and scrunched down.

Misaki turned her attention to Funsha, her face a horrid tableau of fear, sadness, and resignation. “Hey, uh…”, Misaki floundered for her name and came up short, “um... you. It’s all right. I’m not going to blast your soul or anything,” giving Ayame a sideways look. “You can’t help it when you sneeze. I should know.”

“I…” Funsha briefly made choking-weasel sounds in her throat. “Thank you, Your Grace, thank you!”


At a nod from Nobu, the waiters piled the remaining plates and left. “Your Grace,” he said gravely, heart racing, “I must take responsibility for the servants under my purview.” He bowed his head.

“Nobu. I’m not upset. You can’t control-”

“CABBAGES!” Mika shouted at the top of her lungs, her upper body lurching forward. Nobu levitated several inches into the air, his heart beating like he had just run a marathon.

“...your sneezes. You can’t control them. They just happen.”

“Of course, Your Grace.” Nobu was now breathing as if he had just run a marathon while juggling half a dozen toddlers. Literally juggling them. “But… you are displeased by the food?”

“The food is wonderful. It’s just the... amount of it.”

“You are unsatisfied? Please forgive me, Your-”

“No, no, just the oppos-”


“It’s… uh… it’s all right,” Misaki breathed. Nobu was looking distinctly unsteady. “Everything is fine, Nobu. You service is appreciated.”

“Thah… thank you, Your Grace.” Nobu returned to the kitchen.

Slicing herself a strip of ham, Misaki glared at Ayame. “Firetop...”  

Ayame pouted in the manner that normally made Misaki’s insides melt. “Sorry.”

“’Yame, you know I’ve never actually given you orders, but-”

“Yes you have.”

“I gave you an actual order?”

“Yep. ‘Never, ever carry the chamberpot’ ”.

“Oh. Yeah, right.”

"You were quite emphatic."

"Indeed." Misaki’s appetite waned as she remembered giving that very order. “Here’s another order. Don’t suggest that I use the death gaze on people. Don’t even mention it.”


“Because I don’t want people to be afraid of me.” Misaki speared a dumpling with a chopstick. “I didn’t ask to be Empress. And these people didn’t ask to have me as Empress. Since we both have no choice in the matter, I want people to obey me because they want to, not because they’re afraid that I’ll fry their soul or something.” She took a bite out of the dumpling in a rather un-Empress-y manner, like one would eat a corn dog today. “And besides, I don‘t have a death gaze.”


“She fainted.”

Pout. “...okay.”

The kitchen was long and low, filled with smoke and steam and flavors. Sides of meat roasted on three firepits, ten kettles hung on an iron frame over a long, narrow bed of charcoal set into the stone floor. Over two dozen cooks and waitstaff stirred and poured and cut, but all heads turned as Nobu emerged from the most important door, face wet with sweat.

“Nobu?” Funsha slowly walked up to the head chef. “Is… is she…”

Nobu slowly looked up to face Funsha. “Her Grace is… not displeased.”

“Pardon? Did you say pleased, or not pleased, or-”

“She… Her Gra…” Nobu paused to catch his breath, wincing at the pain shooting through the left side of his chest. “Her Grace is…” Grimacing, the kitchen spun around him, then turned sideways, then all was black.

“Nobu!” someone shrieked.

“The Empress! She-”

“The… the tabureza! She destroyed his soul!”

Funsha stood in the center of the kitchen for an eternity, not moving, a dozen warm fingers caressing her inner thighs. Nobu, wise old Nobu, was dead- not merely dead, but gone forever, denied the chance to be with his ancestors forever. And… it was her fault. The sneeze she failed to hold in had brought the wrath of Heaven upon her mentor, and she had only herself to blame. The world seemed fragmented, tiny pieces falling around her- then it suddenly came together. She knew what to do.

A sudden blur of motion, Funsha grabbed a skinning knife from one counter, then a large linen cloth from another, then gathered two big handfuls of jerked meat from a barrel. Without a word, she pushed open a small wooden door that led outside. Across the courtyard, through a small access grate, and she was gone.

Seven hours of determined strides led Funsha to the foot of one of the nearest mountains, the sun at her back. Exhausted, she sat on a rock, wrapped herself in the blanket, and stared into the cloudless sky.

Here. Here is where she would stay. No more cooking, no more bowing, no more palace. Her mornings would be spent foraging for food, her evenings in silent meditation, eyes on the horizon. Jaw firm, Funsha made an oath to herself, to live a life of silent asceticism here, until she had made peace with the kami, and with herself.

Back in the dining room, Ayame dipped a skewer of beef into spicy apricot sauce. “I wonder what’s for dessert?”  


Edited by webmeistro
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Moving even slower than before, tummies bulging with all manner of delicious treats, the group tottered out of the dining room and back into the Great Hall. The walls were even thicker with nobles and tourists who had learned her schedule. They bowed, then craned their necks to gawk at the scarlet-robed Empress and her entourage.

Misaki nodded toward the crowds and even smiled a bit. The old Misaki would have waved and maybe even stopped to chat, but… Daughter of Heaven, ruler of the land. She needed to maintain a distance from the public, and all that. As the group walked diagonally across the wide hall to another door, the crowds pulled back, as if repelled by an invisible force field. Although not actually written anywhere, fifteen to twenty feet is the minimum distance to be maintained between Her Grace and the nearest commoner.

At a flight of stairs leading up, Misaki turned to the group. “Mika, Yame, I’ll be back at about five bells, after prayers.”

“Still want to take a bath then?”


“See you then.”

Ayame and Mika turned and left for the Empress’s living quarters, while Misaki, Yuka, Kiku and Rei went up the stairs, down a hall, down another hall, then through a set of double doors which bore the Imperial chrysanthemum. Two more guards nodded towards her.

Last week, soon after appropriating the more spacious dining room for herself, Misaki had decided it was time to become more organized, and establish a regular place and time to meet people. After touring most of the larger rooms, Misaki selected the Cloud Room. About fifteen feet by thirty, the Cloud Room had wooden walls and an inlaid stone floor with a mosaic in the center. A large table dominated one end; it was currently bare, but soon it would be laden with parchments, scrolls, and a tea service. Behind it sat a long mahogany bench with a high back; Misaki had spotted it at the far end of the Great Temple two weeks ago and immediately acquired it for herself. Along the length of the room ran several smaller tables, stools and chairs.




Each day, from ten bells until about three, Misaki would receive visitors, and her scribes would record the latest tallies of crops and taxation. So far, it was proving to be convenient for both herself and the palace staff to have a time and place where Her Empressness could be found.

Misaki took her place on the center of the bench, Yuka at her left, Rei and Kiku to her right. She sat on a cushion, ensuring that no one’s head was higher than hers, yet another of the thousands of little rules than follow an Empress around. This was usually not an issue unless Mika was there. Once Misaki’s delightfully curved rear end was resting on the pillow, everyone else took their seats as well. Then, Yuka pulled a comfy red woolen blanket from a box underneath, unfolded it, and laid it across all four girls’ laps. Although not really needed in the June warmth, it was cozy, and more importantly, eliminated the need to sit like a lady.


Along the far end of the room ran a mahogany railing about waist high, decorated with pictograms. Two doors stood on either side. Every so often, a small knot of tourists would quietly, very quietly, enter and take their places behind the railing, staring wide-eyed at the Empress, with an occasional break to gawk at the blind girl beside her, or the flame-haired girl who wasn't there right now. With Misaki’s approval, the palace had resumed admitting tour groups that week, almost a month after the previous Empress’s death.

“Esteemed ladies and gentlemen of the court.” Amane was a short, chubby man in a horrible lime green kimono. “Her Divine Eminence, Sacred Daughter of Heaven Hantei Misaki the 14th, is now seated to receive those worthy of a moment…” Fat men in expensive clothes, she noted, had a tendency to state the obvious.

“Your Grace.” Another man rose from his seat. He wasn’t quite as fat, his kimono not as expensive, his information not as useless. “If I may, last month’s tax levies from the Capcom and Konami provinces.”

“het-TSHHH!”, Misaki replied, as was custom. “et-TSSSH-ooo!” Actually that’s not a custom, Misaki just sneezes a lot. Especially in the morning, and in late spring, and in rooms with flowerpots scattered around, all of which were true at this point.

The man recited figures, Misaki listened, Kiku wrote, Rei compared the figures with those in her encyclopedic memory. “Very well,” Misaki nodded when he was done. Another well robed man followed, then another, then...


“Your Grace?” Even while whispering into the Empress’s ear, it was best to use formal address.

“Do things feel… different?”

“Now that you mention it… yeah.”

Yuka leaned in. “Everyone seems… on edge. More than usual.”

Roughly eight hundred years from now, scientists would discover that that the speed of light is the speed limit of the universe; nothing can go faster. This law held for about fifty years, until one of the greatest scientific minds of the twentieth century, Douglas Adams, discovered the only exception to that rule; namely, that bad news can and does travel faster than light. While Misaki and her girls were strolling from the dining hall to the reception room, servants were talking in hushed whispers, glancing over their shoulders.

It was true, they whispered. Empress Misaki really does possess the tabureza, the fabled Death Gaze. No sooner than the last sneeze cleared Funsha’s throat, the Empress’s eyes had glowed with an evil light, beams of divine energy reducing Nobu to ashes instantly. Misaki then turned her attention to Funsha, who flung herself to the floor at the last instant, searing blasts of energy scorching the walls. Desperately, Funsha ran through the kitchen, vaulted over the wall and was gone.

Tales tend to become exaggerated when repeated.

Itching the base of her nose with the heel of her palm, Misaki looked across the stone room. The tension was definitely higher than before. Eyes were wider, gestures more guarded, courtiers bowed even more deeply than ever before. The tourists behind the railing were fewer in number than the day before, and they all wore a deer-in-the-headlights look whenever she was looking in their direction.

“Yuka,” Misaki sniffled, “maybe try to find out what’s going on?”

“Gotcha.” Yuka slid the blanket off her lap, got up and slipped out the back entrance.

Misaki looked up to see another couple enter from the far door. A man in his forties wearing a severe blue kimono, a woman in a flowing blue silk robe with gold trim, two small children in kid-size kimonos, one green, the other sky blue. The parents appeared even more nervous than average. As usual, their faces took in the spacious room, then settled on her. The father appeared almost trembling, but the children’s eyes were wide with amazement.

Yuka stepped into the hallway and nodded toward the guards. After a bit of thought, she headed down the hall the opposite way from where they had came earlier. Around a corner, through another door, into one of the servants’ privies.

Like most facilities of that sort, it was a long, low room hewed from stone. A calf-high stone bench ran along both sides, abutting the wall, with five holes in each one. Three women in the standard tan robes stood in the center, talking with two more on the far seats. All looked up as Yuka entered, immediately recognizing her as one of the three maidservants who were assigned to the Empress personally. The room fell silent.

“How do you do, fellow maidservants?”  

“Uh… hi!”

“So,” Yuka hiked up the back of her robe and sat down on the nearest seat. “How about that... thing today?”


“That sure was an… interesting thing, wasn’t it?”

The nearest woman shifted nervously. “I… suppose you could say that.”

“Hey, did anyone... uh... anyone else see the thing? It sure was amazing, wasn’t it?”

The family of tourists was still behind the far bannister when Yuka returned to the Empress’s side. “Misaki?” she whispered.


“It was Nobu.”

“What about Nobu?”

“You killed him with the death gaze.”

“...I killed him.”

“Yep. Blasted him to ashes.”


“That’s what one person said. Another said he burst into flames.”


“He’s definitely dead. Everyone agreed on that.”

“And the woman?”

“She fled the castle to become an ascetic.”


“That was what two people told me, but someone else said-”

“All right. I get it.”

Breathing deeply, Misaki sat up straight and looked around the room again. Yet another nameless, faceless kimono was going on about an overflow in the 256th field of the Namco province, but the words drifted past Misaki’s head. Around them more people sat, surrounded by a hazy mist of fear.


“I heard.”

“How many more to go?”

“Two crop reports from the Nichibutsu province, letters of certification from-”

“Mmmmkay. I need to… stretch my legs.”

His report complete, the official bowed and left. Misaki rose, which brought the proceedings to an abrupt halt. Turning to the nearest courtier, she muttered something about needing to ‘refresh herself’. Yuka pushed open the door, and Misaki slowly walked into the corridor.

Her head spun. It… it couldn’t be. How could it? Misaki was a perfectly normal eighteen year old girl, who ate and sneezed and peed and stubbed her toe just like everyone else. Had she really become filled with the power of the heavens upon her mother’s death, able to strike dead anyone she chose with but a glance? A thousand thoughts tumbling over each other, Misaki drifted vaguely in the direction of the Great Hall, trailed by her girls.

As it happened, Katashi and Shiori had left the Cloud Room just before Misaki left. Children in tow, they walked down another corridor which also lead to the Great Hall, this one emptying much closer to the gift shop.

“You see, honey? She didn’t kill anyone.”

“That’s easy to say now. But what if Unko had sneezed loudly?”

“Sneezing is permitted. That woman said so.”

“Then what if Jikenko had… uh… stuck out his tongue?”

“He wouldn’t do that.”

Shiori folded her arms. “Yes, he would.”

Sigh. “Jikenko, if you ever see the Empress again, don’t stick out your tongue.”


Arriving at the Great Hall, they noticed people stepping backward en masse. Shiori turned to a nearby guard. “Is that-”

The guard nodded. “Her Grace will be passing through shortly. Please maintain the proper distance.”

“Daddy!” Unko squealed. “Let’s see the Empress again!”

Sighing, Katashi maneuvered his family into place, shoulder-to-shoulder with other tourists, mentally chastening himself for spending twenty-five sovereigns to see her from across the room. A moment later, the doors opened, and the Empress floated in, trailed by three other women.

Still in a daze, Misaki watched as everyone bowed, then gawked, just like a thousand crowds of people had before them and a million more surely would. Shiori and Unko admired her scarlet silk robe, while Katashi covertly stared at her chest. Jikenko had just finished reaching around he back of his kimono to scratch his rear, and was about to start picking his nose again, when he happened to look up and saw the Empress standing a mere twenty feet away, looking in his direction… with no railing in between!

Gasps arose from the circle as Jikenko darted forward, Shiori grasping at the air. Jaws dropped as Jikenko’s tiny legs carried him deeper and deeper into the Forbidden Zone, coming to a stop directly in front of the Empress, a mere three feet away.



The world froze, all eyes on the Empress and the child beaming at her. Misaki lifted an eyebrow, then titled her head back a bit, eyes widening. The crowd held their breath, waiting for Misaki to reduce him to ashes.

“het-TSSSSH! Et-TISHH-ewww!”

Turning her head to the side, Misaki didn’t release a blast of searing energy from her eyes, but rather a burst of spray which hung in the air for a split second. Sniffling, she blinked back tears and looked at Jikenko. Dark hair going in all directions, he stared up at the Empress with eyes like saucers.

“You sneezed!”

“Um…” Misaki wasn’t sure what to say. “Yes. I sneezed.” Misaki liked children in a vague sort of way. She had heard that they tend to make loud noises and emit noxious substances, but that’s what maidservants are for. She also wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of babies emerging from her vagina, but that was an eternity away, or at least a year. “het-CHISS!”

Jikenko’s eyes grew even wider. “You sneezed again!”

“...yes. Yes I did.”

At that moment, Shiori realized that the situation was not going to resolve itself. Head held low so as not to look the Empress in the face, she darted forward, snatched up Jikenko by the armpits and carried him off, praying that her face carried the proper look of contriteness. A second later, every gaze shifted away from the child back to Misaki. Looking up, she flashed a pleasant smile, which she hoped conveyed the fact that she was not annoyed. Given that the palace guards chose to let the family leave with all their parts attached to their other parts, one can assume that she was successful.

Exhaling, Misaki sent nods and smiles towards the rest of the assemblage, then began walking, slowly, trailed by her servant and scribes. Spying a minor courtier out of the corner of her eyes, she summoned him with a glance.

“Inform the people in the Cloud Hall that I will not be returning. I will also not be attending prayers today. I… need to lie down.” The man bowed and backed away.

“Tired?” whispered Yuka.

“Yes… no.” she whispered back. Misaki felt slightly guilty for telling a fib. Well, actually it wasn’t really a lie. Her tone had kinda-sorta implied that she was feeling ill, while in fact she simply wanted to curl up in her bed, surrounded by her girls, and remain there for a decade or two.



Edited by webmeistro
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  • 2 weeks later...


Misaki drifted through the familiar passages, courtiers bowing in her wake. Trailed by Yuka, Kiku and Rei, she crossed the small stone bridge which connected the main palace with the smaller building housing the Empress’s living quarters. Warm June breezes made Rei sneeze “ishy ish! ishy ish!”

Nodding towards the two guards, they passed through the anteroom to the anteroom, then into the actual anteroom. When Misaki inherited her ‘palace’ from her sister Sakura, the room had been a monument to excess, laden with gaudy statues and furnishings. Misaki had ordered some of the more ostentatious items removed.


“Your Grace.” Two maidservants stopped dusting and bowed; Fukiko and one other whose name she couldn’t remember. When she had become full Empress, the palace that fell into her lap came with no less than fifteen maidservants, formerly belonging to Sakura, her other sister, and their mother Asaka. Misaki had no idea what to do with them all.


“How may we serve you?”

Misaki sighed inwardly. The same nervous energy was in the air, the lingering fear that a single speck of dust would mean the obliteration of one’s soul. “I will be lying down for a bit.”

“Of course, Your Grace.”

They went into the central living space, where four more servants bowed. Mika poked her head out from another door. “Empress.”


 Mika joined the group, walking toward her bedroom. “Misaki,” she whispered.

“Yeah. I know.”

Another room, more panicked bowing, then into her bedroom. Ayame lay sprawled across the huge bed like a scarlet jellyfish, or at least a jellyfish that had bright red hair. “Hey. Meems. You guys are back early.”

“I needed to lie down.”


Ayame got off the bed and tiptoed barefoot over to the Empress’s side. “Hey. Uh. Misaki…”

“I know.”

Ayame glanced towards the door. “Sooo…”

“I…”  Misaki paused. “Let’s relax for a bit.”

Yuka untied Misaki’s beautiful red and gold silk robe, folded it and placed in on a table. Clad in a thin white cotton under-robe, Misaki climbed onto her huge bed, crawled across the vibrantly colored silk sheets, and lay in the center, staring at the ceiling. Yuka lay down next to her, Ayame on the other side, with Mika nearby. Kiku curled up with Rei.

“ishy ishy ish!” Rei sneezed. “ishy ISH! ishy ISH!”

“Need a hanky?” asked Ayame.

“I have one heeee… ish! ish! ishy ish!” Rei wiped her nose.

Kiku smiled. “Cherry! That’s that handkerchief that Misaki lent you.”

Rei sniffled. “Mmmmh. Sorry.”

“Keep it. You look like you need it.”

“Thanks, Meemee.” Rei held the powder-blue silk hanky near her mouth, anticipating another sneeze.

Kiku turned and lay on her other side, facing Misaki. “So…”

Misaki sighed. “I… I don’t know. I just don’t know.”

Did she really have the power to strike people dead with but a glance? It went against everything she believed in; that the world was a rational place, that there were natural laws which the world followed, that people-

“ESSSSH!” To her left, Ayame suddenly gushed a spray of mist, turning her head from the Empress almost in time. “ESSSSSH! Uh, hey, Meemee, did ESSSSSH! Did I sneeze on yESSSH!!” Ayame’s sneezes struck without warning.


“Several times.”

“Sorry.” Ayame pulled a hanky from her robe and tried to clean Misaki’s under-robe, which made it worse.

“Why don’t I just take this off?”


Misaki slipped the robe over her head and passed it to Yuka, who folded it and placed it on a table. Naked, she lay back on the bed to find that Ayame’s robe had also vanished.



Ayame’s eyes were green, deep green. Misaki put her arms around Ayame, and all her troubles vanished. They kissed, tongues swirling. Mika kissed Yuka, Kiku lay on top of Rei. They kissed, and kissed, and kissed. Then Misaki kissed Yuka, then Rei, Mika, Kiku. They kissed in every possible combination, hands flowing over curves.

Mika got up and pulled her robe over her head, revealing her spectacular-




Author’s note: I’m afraid this part is too naughty for the general board. You’ll have to wait until this story is moved back to the Adult Board. Sorry.


Exhausted, Misaki flowed into a boneless puddle in the center of the huge bed, Ayame curled up next to her, the others splayed around her. Ayame rested her head on the Empress’s shoulder.



Misaki put an arm around Ayame and drifted into a nap. No matter what life threw at her, there was at least one thing she could hold on to… or five.



Edited by webmeistro
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  • 2 weeks later...

Clad in a light brown silk bathrobe, Misaki sat on a small wooden stool near the wall of her expansive bedroom, next to one of the tall mahogany armoires. She stared intently at the spot where the wood abutted the stone wall. A spiderweb about a foot in diameter stretched from the cabinet to the wall, with a tiny black spider in the center.

Misaki stared at the spider. The spider stared back, or at least in her imagination it did.


Elbows resting on her knees, Misaki leaned forward and stared harder, trying to hate the spider. It wasn’t easy.  Misaki had nothing against spiders aside from a vague creepy-crawliness; she knew that they helped kept the fly population down. Still, she furrowed her brow and glared, in hopes of blasting the arachnid with beams of divine energy.

Nothing. The spider sat contentedly, regarding the Empress with a petulant gaze, at least in her mind.

Misaki’s nose tickled. “het-TSSSSH!”, she sneezed, turning her head away from the spider. “Het-TISHH-ooo! Et-CHSSSSSS!”

“Wipe you?” said Yuka, who happened to be the closest.

“Sure,”  Misaki replied idly. Yuka walked over and wiped her nose with a pale peach colored silk handkerchief.

“Did you get it yet?” asked Ayame. The scarlet-haired maidservant was standing a good fifteen feet away.

“’Yame, it’s just a spider.”

“They’re icky! Zap it!”

With a sigh, Misaki again leaned forward and stared harshly, willing the power of the divine kami to flow through her and blast the spider into spider hell, or maybe spider heaven, or wherever spiders go when they die. Nothing happened, because as we know, Misaki does not possess the power to obliterate people with a glance. An ancient legend, followed by a series of extremely improbably happenstances, had led the inhabitants of the palace to believe that she could, which is why the hundreds of people within the palace walls were trying very, very hard to keep their Empress happy.

“I don’t think this is going to work.”

“Do something then!” Under most circumstances, a maidservant telling the Empress what to do would result in a rather nasty fate for said maidservant in a rather short time. As our readers know, Misaki and her girls have a rather… unusual relationship.

Misaki sniffled. “Yukee…”

“Gotcha.” Yuka unfurled another silk hanky, knelt down next to the wall, and scooped up the web and the spider, folding the hanky over.

“Still want to wash up today?” asked Mika.

“Yeah. We should get the water ready.”

“Kiku, Rei, would you like to bathe with me?”

“Love to,” Kiku smiled.

“heh… ETCH-ew!”, Misaki sneezed again. “ESSSSH-ew!” She took another hanky from a bedstand and wiped her nose. Misaki owned quite a few silk handkerchiefs, which was fortunate because she sneezed quite a bit.

Yuka pushed open the double doors leading from the Empress’s bedchamber. The room beyond was a sort of living area, mostly open with a small ornamental table and chairs in the center. The walls were dotted with paintings and knicknacks on end tables.

As one, four maidservants rose from their seats. “How may we…” one said, trailing off upon seeing not the Daughter of Heaven but her brown-skinned servant. Still, Yuka was one of the Empress’s personal maidservants, whom Her Grace by all accounts appeared very, very fond of. Doing what they request was highly recommended for those who wished to remain where they were.

“Her Grace wishes to bathe,” said Yuka.

“Of course,” replied Fukiko. She was a nondescript girl of about twenty, curved nicely, with black hair tied back in a braid. Next to her stood Nori, a bit shorter and a bit rounder, and Mizuki, who had a thin face and slender build, and was vibrating with a sort of nervous energy. That same energy infected all the Empress’s maidservants, but it was most evident here.

“And, um…” Yuka presented the folded silk hanky, “here’s a spider.”

“...a spider?”

“Yep.” Yuka passed the hanky to Mizuki, who handled it as if it were radioactive, then went back into Misaki’s bedroom and closed the doors.

Nori, Fukiko and Kimi formed a circle around Mizuki. “Is that…”

“It’s a spider.”

“What does Her Grace want us to do with it?”

“I’m not sure.” Mizuki held the spidery hanky at arm’s length.

“ITCHEEE!” Kimi turned her head and sneezed toward the floor.

“Is it a pet?”

“Maybe we should have asked.”

“We could put it on that statue.” Nori angled her head toward a marble and bronze casting of a long dead Hantei. Misaki had ordered most of the gaudier ones removed upon moving in, sparing one or two per room.

Kimi sneezed again. “ITCHEEE!”

“Shouldn’t we be heating the water now?”

“Water! Right!” Nori flew an inch into the air. “Mizuki?”

“Gotcha!” Although Misaki’s maidservants didn’t have specific jobs, many of then gravitated toward certain tasks. Nori and Mizuki were usually the ones who prepared the Empress’s bathwater.

Nori sprinted towards the door leading to the small courtyard. Mizuki turned to follow, then stopped, turned and thrust the hanky toward Kimi. “Here!”

“Aaaaaah! What do I do with it!!”

“I don’t know!” Mizuki turned back and followed Nori outside.

“Nnnnnngh!!!” Kimi stared at the spider. “Fukiko!”

“Just… um… do something!” Fukiko headed off in a less spidery direction.

Wide-eyed, Kimi headed over to the statue standing in the corner, holding the han-


Kimi opened her eyes to see the silk hanky floating end over end in midair. The spider was gone.

Inside the small, fenced-in courtyard adjacent to the Empress’s palace, Nori and Mizuki kindled a fire under a cauldron of water, hanging by iron chains from a frame. After ten minutes, they carefully decanted the steaming water into four buckets. Accompanied by Takara and Kazashi, the four of them lugged their buckets back to the anteroom, where Kimi remained, still vibrating faintly.

“Is Her Grace undressed?” asked Nori.

“Maybe! I don’t know!”

“Kimi? Are you all right?”

“Fine! Really!”

Nervously, Mizuki tapped on the door to the Empress’s bedroom.  Yuka opened the door a moment later, still wearing her tan robe.

“Her Grace’s water is ready.”

Yuka took a step back. “Bring it in.”

Takara peered through the double doors and caught a glimpse of pale skin. “She’s naked! I think!”

“Should we-”


Among the thousands and thousands of rules governing how one should behave around the Empress, one of the lesser known strictures is that no one should be more dressed than her. If Her Grace was unclothed, than everyone in the same room should be as well. However, this rule fell firmly into the category of ‘rules that few people know and no one actually follows.’ Except that, when faced with an Empress who can obliterate someone with a glance, one tends to follow all the rules to the letter.

In the space of barely a second, four robes flew over four girls’ heads. Naked, eyed glued to the floor so as not to gaze upon the Empress’s sacred body, they walked slowly into the bedroom, single file, each carrying the steaming bucket with both hands. Carefully, they set them in a row at the edge of the bathing area.

“Um… girls?”

“Your Grace?” Nori quavered.

“You can look at me.”

Nervously, the four maidservants looked up. Relief flowed through them upon seeing Misaki in her bathrobe, wearing a friendly smile. Rei, Kiku and Mika sat on benches in the bathing nook, naked.

“How may we serve you?” Nori’s voice was only slightly less nervous than before.

“I’m fine for now. And,” Misaki regarded the four naked girls, “you don’t have to take off your clothes around me. I really don’t care about that.”

“Of course, Your Grace.” At a nod, they gave a half bow and returned to the living room, closing the double doors behind them. Misaki’s eyes lingered on Nori’s rear end, then Fukiko’s, then Mizuki.

A total of seven maidservants were waiting on the other side. “Is Her Grace happy?” asked Mona, a rather nondescript girl holding an empty bucket.

“I… I think so,” Mizuki breathed, pulling on her robe. “And-”

“ITCHEE!” Kimi sneezed explosively,  fanning her hands in front of her face. “IT-CHEEEEE!”

“…she says we don’t have to be naked around her.”

“Did she mention the spider?”


Edited by webmeistro
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  • 2 weeks later...

The six girls spent a leisurely half hour seated on the lacquered benches in the bathing nook of the Empress’s bedroom. Mika and Misaki sat face to face, washing each other’s chest, while Ayame took her usual place behind Misaki and did her hair. Yuka, Kiku and Rei sat on the other bench, chatting and laughing as they washed each other with linen cloths dipped in softsoap.

Afterwards, they all sat in a circle and took turns toweling the Empress’s hair. In the old days, Misaki, Yuka and Ayame would have steamed dry in front of a fireplace, however, the one in her bedroom wasn’t lit. A low fire was burning in the next room, but Misaki didn’t feel like being naked in front of her fifteen other maidservants.

Misaki slipped on a beautiful scarlet silk robe with gold embroidery, Mika tying her up in the back. “Yuka? Feel like keeping me company tonight?”

“Love to.”

“I’ll be back in… maybe two hours.” Misaki smiled. “I trust you can keep busy?”
“I’m sure we can find something to do,” Mika smiled back. Ayame planted a quick kiss on the Empress’s shoulder.

Trailed by Yuka, Misaki left her bedroom, nodding towards the cluster of maidservants waiting in the room beyond. Across the stone bridge to the main castle, Misaki floated down wide halls lined with bowing courtiers and help, then several increasingly narrower and more guarded halls, finally passing through a small door marked with imposing symbols stamped in gold, emerging into the back annex of the Way of Roses.

The hall was about fifty feet by thirty, the walls and ceiling dark wood with gold engravings. Numerous light fixtures hung from the ceiling, each containing a tallow candle which had been lit by a torch attached to a long pole. The floor was white marble, polished so highly it looked like clouds. About sixty people sat in groups of four or five at tables clustered at one end. Near the other end ran a long table of hardwood, covered in overlapping yellow linen tablecloths with silk trim. Numerous pots of brightly colored flowers ran along the walls, two more on either end of her table. At the far end of the room ran another long table completely covered in white and pink flowers.


“Esteemed ladies and gentlemen.” Everyone rose. “Her Divine Eminence, Empress Hantei Misaki the 14th, Sacred Daughter of Heaven.” They bowed as she slowly walked to her seat, scrunching her nose. Yuka pulled out the chair in the center, raised to be higher than the others; everyone sat when she did. Yuka took her place at the far end of the long table.

It felt strange. Barely a month ago, her mother Empress Asaka had been sitting in the chair she was in, with herself as third daughter, off to the side. Now all eyes were on her, empty seats on either side reminding her that she was the only member of the Imperial Family.

“Blah blah emissaries, blah blah paying tribute…” Wearing his usual horrible lime green kimono, Amane droned on and on.

Misaki scrunched her nose again. She hated sneezing when all eyes were on her. Granted, she was always the center of attention, but now more than ever. Filtering through the crap, Misaki confirmed that the evening would consist of two hours of people from distant lands coming to pay tribute or something.


Waiters began distributing platters of ‘dainties’, taking great care to place each type in front of the Empress before anyone else. Skewered chicken, scallion pancakes, warm spiced nuts, sliced cucumbers in vinegar, tiny rice balls topped with bacon. A team of two waiters maneuvered a guncha in front of Misaki with agonizing care. As was tradition, she plucked a slice of water chestnut off the very top, then the waiters began passing it among the many tables.

“Blah blah blah,” The emissary from Somewhere stepped forward and bowed deeply. “Blah blah sacred daughter of heaven, blah blah eternal loyalty and servitude, blah blah…”

“het-TSSSH!”, Misaki replied, turning her head to the side. “heh-TSSSHH-ooo!” Because medical science in the 12th century had not yet discovered ‘allergies’, Misaki didn’t realize that the copper basin filled with orchids and chrysanthemums sitting several feet to her right was making her eyes itch and water.

The ambassador paused, then finished his speech. More bows, then the emissary from Someplace recited his litany, followed by the ambassador from Over There. Misaki ate far more rice balls then she ought to, and squirmed idly. No one had told her that being full Empress consisted of long periods of boredom punctuated by spasms of “what the hell do I do now??”

Misaki’s nose began tickling again. She looked over at Yuka, who had just been served a bowl of plain white rice with bread. As the latest emissary droned on, she looked over the acres of appetizers in front of her, and made a mental note to tell the-

“Hi honey!”

“Hih… het-CHEW!”

“You sneezed!”


“Wow! You sneezed again!”

As absolute ruler of the land, there is only one big rule that an Empress of Toraii has to follow; she needs to get married, and produce an heir, ideally several. Back when she had been third from the throne, her marriage had been arranged to Hideo, the child of local nobles. As it happened, her very sudden promotion to full Empress didn’t change that, which meant the pair were scheduled to be wed in a few months.

Hideo was exactly the same age as Misaki, eighteen. He stood about six feet tall, with dark hair, wide chin, and a sort of goofy grin. He was friendly, easygoing, and… um… not the sharpest knife in the drawer. The Emperor of Toraii had very little official power, and a future Emperor almost none, but his status still made him the only person in the Empire who could simply walk into an official function and plop himself down next to the Empress unannounced, like he had just done.


Misaki snuffled. “Hideo.”

“Hi honey!”

The ambassador had paused when Hideo arrived. “Emperor,” he bowed.

“You don’t have to call me that!” Hideo replied. “I’m not quite Emperor yet.”


“But you can if you want.”

Misaki sent the ambassador a look that said “hey, I’m sure what you have to say is important, but maybe it can wait a bit?” He bowed and retreated back to his seat. She then gave Amane a glance saying ‘give us a minute, okay?” Amane also bowed, like a lime green volleyball folding in two.

Misaki turned to Hideo, who was stuffing rice balls into his face. “So…”

“Mmmmgpf.” Mouth half full, he set a flower in front of the Empress. “Here! I got this for you.”

“That’s nice.” Misaki looked at the flower, a foot long stalk of tiny yellow blooms. “Where did you get it?”

Hideo angled his head toward the entrance. “Over there.”

“Mmmm-hmmm.” Against the wall sat several large urns bearing dozens of the same stalks. The long golden flowers were, in fact, goldenrod.

“So, what brings you heee… eh… ETCHEW!”

“You sneezed again!”

“Hideo. You don’t have to tell me I sneezed whenever I sneeze.”

“Oh. Right.”

A pause. “So…”


“Is there some reason you’re here?”

“Yeah! I wanted to bring you that flower.”

“I see.”

“And… I just… want to be with you.”

Itching the base of her nose with her knuckles, Misaki looked squarely at Hideo for the first time since he had flopped down next to her. Eyes wide, he was staring at her with an almost puppy-dog look. “You…”

Hideo reached over and took the Empress’s hand in his own, something which would have cost most people their hand, and probably other, more important parts as well. “I… I just kind of… like you.”

Misaki turned her head. “het-TSSSSSH!”


“Heh-TSSSH-ew! Het-TSSSSSH-eww!”

“...there, see? I didn’t tell you that you sneezed!”

Misaki summoned Yuka to her side with a glance, partly to wipe her nose, partly just to have her by her side. Yuka wordlessly seated herself in the chair next to the Empress and wiped her nose with a hanky.

“Hideo.” Misaki turned back to her future husband, who was looking at her like a puppy looks at its master, or maybe at a bone. “You can sit beside me if you like.”

“Thanks!” He smiled lopsidedly.

“But you need to be quiet, all right?” Misaki felt like she was speaking to a toddler.

“All right.”

“And, in the future, don’t just drop in.”

“Okay. I guess you have lots of… uh… Empress stuff to do.”

“heh-TSSSSH!” she sneezed. “Yep. Important stuff.”

Misaki nodded again towards Amane, who summoned the next speaker. She was becoming rather good at telling people what to by merely looking at them, which is an important skill for an Empress to possess.

For the next hour and a half, Misaki did Important Empress Stuff, which consisted of trying not to look bored while people in expensive clothes told her what a wonderful Empress she was and how their millions of people would lay down their lives for her. The main course arrived before long, dozens of steaming dishes laid out on the long table framed by flowers. Misaki munched on spicy fried shrimp and coconut crusted scallops, maneuvering several of them in Yuka’s direction. Hideo inhaled everything in sight.

“eh… eh…” Yuka held a fresh silk handkerchief in front of Misaki’s mouth. “eh ehhhh… HETCHEW! HET-TSCHEW!” Yuka was generally Misaki’s choice to sit beside her at official functions. Ayame’s scarlet hair attracted too much attention, and Mika’s explosive sneezes often came at the worst time.

“Empress?” Yuka whispered as silently as possible.


“I’m going to sneeze.”

“Go ahead.”

Yuka pulled yet another silk hanky from a pocket and held it near her face. Yes, there was a rule against sneezing into the same handkerchief that Her Grace has just sneezed into. Concerning the Empress, there were rules for everything. Yuka sat with her eyes half closed, waiting for the sneeze to make its way up her nose.

“eh… eh…” Yuka inhaled sharply, then relaxed. Her sneezes took a while. Misaki watched her out of the corner of her eye. Anything was more interesting than the latest in the endless line of stuffed kiminos.

“eh… heh!” Yuka’s eyes were closed all the way now, a tear running down one cheek. “heh heh HEH!” she gasped, throwing her head back… then nothing. “heh… heh… heh heh…”

And then, out of nowhere, Misaki’s own nose itched again. “ECH-ew! ECHOOO!” She turned her head to the side. Next to her, Yuka reached for the previous hanky, so as to wipe the Empress’s nose, but at that instant her own sneeze burst out. “at-CHOOOO! Ha SHOOOOO!” A pause, then both women sneezed again in unison. “ECH-ew, HASHOOO!”

Nose still itching, teary eyes closed, Misaki froze with her mouth half open, with Yuka beginning a new round of gasps. Seeing his opportunity, Hideo leaned over and placed his palm firmly over the surprised Empress’s mouth. Her eyes widened for a split second, then clenched shut. “heh-CHHHHSS!” she gushed. “HET-CHSSSS! HETCH-ooooo!”

“Wow!” Hideo stared at his hand, thoroughly coated in Empress Glop. “You really sneezed a lot! ...oh wait! I wasn’t supposed to say that. Sorry.”


Edited by webmeistro
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  • 1 month later...

Misaki exited the ceremony as soon as it was polite, acquiescing to Hideo’s vague request to ‘see her sometime’. All eyes followed her to the exit, trailed by Yuka. The two walked back through stone corridors lined by bowing help, crossing the small stone bridge to the Empress’s palace. Warm breezes laced with pollen caressed their noses.

In the main chamber eight of her maidservants sat around a table talking, Mika and Ayame among them. They rose and bowed as Misaki walked in.

“Your Grace,” said Mika.

“Mika.” Misaki’s nose was tickling.

“Empress, Mona wishes to speak.” Mika nodded towards a nondescript maidservant, short with black hair.

Misaki turned to Mona. “Very well.”

“Your Grace.” Mona looked timidly in the direction of the Empress’s chin. “I… I regret that I will no longer be able to serve you.” Mona touched her stomach. “I am… with child.”

It took Misaki a second to realize what she had meant. “That’s great,” she effused. “I mean! It’s great that you’re pregnant! Not great that you have to leave!”

Mona bowed her head. “Thank you, Your Grace.”

“Empress,” said Mika, “Mona does not need to leave right now. If it please you, I believe she may remain in your service for another month or two.”

“Very weh… eh. One moment, I need to sneeze.” Yuka stepped over to the Empress’s side and held a pale tan silk hanky an inch in front of her nose. “heh,” Misaki breathed, “heh-TSSSH! TSSSSH! eh… eh eh HETCH-ew! HETCH!!” Yuka wiped her nose.

“Mona. I would be happy to have you remain in maahh!” Out of nowhere, her face scrunched and head tilted back. “het-TISSSSH! Hah-TISSSH-ewwww!” Misaki sprayed a visible cone of mist at the floor near Mona’s feet. Yuka wiped her nose again.

“My service,” Misaki sniffled. “You are welcome to remain in my service until you become too fat. Pregnant! Until you become too pregnant!” She sighed, wishing that is was a thousand years in the future, so she could simply Google “how to empress”.

“Thank you, Your Grace. Do you wish anything?”

“No, my servants and I will be retiring for the night.”

“Very well, Your Grace.”

Misaki and her three girlfriends went into her bedroom, the others bowing yet again. As the double doors closed, a weight seemed to fall from their shoulders, their movements becoming more free and relaxed. Misaki slipped off her robe, while giving her lovers a recap of the evening.

“And then,” she sniffled, “I had yet another sneeze coming. And- I swear!- Hideo was going to clamp his hand over my face again. Covered with glop.”

“Oh my kami!” squealed Mika, while Ayame let out a chortle unbefitting an Imperial maidservant.

“Good thing Yukee was there.” Yuka had managed to recover from her own sneezes in time to plant the hanky in front of Misaki’s face. Now, she leaned over and planted a kiss on the Empress’s bare shoulder.

“And you’re still scheduled to be married...” asked Rei.

“In about three months,” Misaki replied, lying down next to Rei, nude.

“And then the baby-making begins?”

“Don’t remind me.”

Mika stetted down on the other side of Misaki. “Are you looking forward to…”

Ayame grinned. “The baby-making thing?”

“Yeah. That.” Misaki sniffled. “I wonder if Hideo even knows how.”

“I’m sure there’s someone.”


“There’s, what, twenty, thirty people working in the palace?” Ayame couldn’t count very high. “Of all those people, there’s got to be someone whose job it is to tell the Emperor how to make babies.”

Misaki shook her head. Ayame’s mind went in odd directions sometimes.

The girls used the chamberpot, then Yuka placed a small copper urn in front of the wooden double doors leading into the hallway, to make sure that they weren’t disturbed. Not that anyone would dream of walking in on the Sacred Daughter of Heaven in her sacred bedchamber, but you never know. The six girls stretched out in her immense silk bed, pale limbs flowing over pink and yellow silk.

Misaki kissed Yuka, tongues swirling, while Ayame kissed Mika, and Kiku Rei. An eternity passed, then Misaki switched to kissing Kiku, holding her close. Another eternity of tender kisses, then Ayame glommed onto the Empress and kissed her passionately, stroking her tummy, hips, thighs, then gently probed her fingers through the soft, furry warmth between…


Author’s Note: I think it’s time to take this back to the Adult Board, so the girls can resume doing naughty, naughty things.  

Edited by webmeistro
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