The wagon bumped along and you tried to be as calm and cheerful as possible, but deep down you were just as scared as the other young women you had been placed with. Some of them were crying, as they had watched family members die before them. Some were newly pregnant and feared for their lives and the lives of their unborn children.
You were petrified that you would be found to be of male origin… you knew that if that were to happen, death would be your next destination.
Hours ticked by, and finally you heard the guards guiding the wagon, discussing what to do once their had gotten to the kingdom of Karasuno.
“Do we just take the girls straight to the palace?” you heard one soldier ask the other.
“Yeah. I guess so. We’ll hand them over to Shimizu.”
“Tanaka, you wanna be the ones to escort the girls to Shimizu?” another teased.
“Even just hearing her name revives my soul,” the voice of Tanaka replied with an adoring sigh.
You felt a girl beside you grab your arm and you looked at her.
“I’m scared,” she whispered.
You knew that telling her not to be afraid would be pointless so you just gently held her hand in yours.
From your little peep hole in the hide covering of the wagon, you saw the gates to Karasuno loom ahead and then the wagon passed through them and headed for the palace.
Voices of the inhabitants within could be heard cheering for their soldiers as the wagon wobbled along.
It slowed, as it reached the heavily guarded gates to the palace, and the apprehension inside the wagon grew as the unknown crept closer and closer.
The wagon was directed around behind the palace, to where the maids and servant’s chambers were, and the back of the wagon was roughly unbolted.
You squinted in the harsh daylight as the back of the wagon fell open and guards stood there.
“Step lightly now,” a handsome guard said brusquely as he reached a hand out to one of the girls near the opening of the wagon.
“Daichi, you’re so soft with them,” one of the shorter soldiers commented, a tuft of dyed hair hanging from his forehead making him a stand out.
“They need to be treated with respect, they are going to be the king’s concubines,” another soldier said- who looked extremely tough with his hair tied back and a small goatee on his chin.
In single file, you were led to a chamber room and ushered in where a beautiful woman waited for you all to enter.
“Line up please,” she said, pointing to the back wall.
Doefully, you lined up with your back to the wall and faced her.
“We will start examinations now,” she said, turning to that shorter guard that had the dyed tuft of hair on his forehead.
“Queen! The queen of my heart, I only wish to to gaze upon thy beauty,” he announced loudly to her as he approached her.
To your surprise, she slapped him and stepped backward, obviously flustered at his loud, boisterous exclamation.
“Well… nice to see that this woman can hold her own against the guards?” you thought as you watched the guard regain his composure and turn to you all lined up.
“Blessed,” he sighed with delight as he headed to the end of the line and stopped in front of the girl there then started to check her out.
You curiously looked down the line to see what he was doing and to your horror, saw that he had opened the girl’s robe to assess her body.
“I’m going to get found out if they touch me below the waist!” you thought in a panic.
Along each girl the guard made his way, until he got to the pregnant one.
“Umm,” she whispered softly when he reached to touch her belly, “s-sir, please, I am with child…”
He stopped and looked back to the other guards.
The stern one, named Daichi l, nodded and stepped forwards and walked over to her and pulled her from the line and escorted her out of the room.
A feeling of dread sat in the pit of your stomach as she left.
No one knew where those who were walked out of the door went, but one could only imagine…
The mood shifted and tension increased even more.
“Nishinoya, move to the next one,” the guard, Tanaka, called.
Nishinoya walked to the next girl and started the same process of detailing her, making his way along the line.
“He’s going to get to me soon!” you panicked, watching as the woman, 2 down from you, exposed herself below the waist, “they’re gonna know! They’re gonna find out…”
Nishinoya checked the next two women, then stopped in front of you and looked deep into your eyes.
“Remove your covering,” he said in a low commanding voice.
“What’s taking so long?” Tanaka heckled him.
“Oi! I’m working as fast as I can, you can’t rush checking women out,” Nishinoya snapped, turning to face Tanaka.
Swiftly, you stepped to your right a little and pulled the woman beside you into your place, just as Nishinoya turned around again.
“Remove your covering,” he demanded again to the woman next to you.
She quickly obliged and you let go of the breath that had suddenly balled up in your throat.
“Oh my god… oh my god…” you repeated over and over as Nishinoya continued on down the line, completely oblivious to the fact that he had skipped you entirely.
Once he had physically checked all of the women in the line, you were all ushered through to another room with Shimizu, as she checked all of your faces to see what she would need to do for make up and such before you met the king.
When she got to you, you slowly removed your covering to reveal a very small amount of stubble on your chin.
She gave you a little smile of reassurance.
“Don’t worry,” she said kindly, “we have ways to remove facial hair. This is common.”
You gave her a small smile in return and watched as she moved to the next woman.
The unknown was still ahead of you, but at least, for now, your gender hadn’t been discovered.
“Tomorrow you will all meet the king. He has an interesting and unorthodox way of greeting his new concubines,” Shimizu announced, “we refer to it as a ‘hole in the wall’ but I will explain more later, for now you must rest and eat, and be ready for tomorrow’s meeting.”