The Conqueror’s Chalice
Author: Souya Himaware
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
American release date: February 29, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Yaoi/219 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Older Teen, 16+
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★
Prince Masoo and his brother Aoto are the eleventh and twelfth children of their father, the king, and as such not likely to advance inside their own country, having too many siblings ahead of them. So Masoo invades the neighboring country of Tou and defeats its ruler. Afterward, all of the defeated king’s wives and children commit suicide rather than live under his rule—all except for one, whom Masoo saves—Prince Kisame. He takes the young boy under his wing, in an uncharacteristic move, and decides to raise him to be the best man he can be. Even if that means that when Kisame grows up, he might kill him and take back his country.
Even Aoto is surprised at the relationship between Masoo and Kisame, at the way Masoo makes time for him, for he has never known his brother to be interested in, or show any concern for, a child. Masoo insists that Kisame receive the best education, and has Aoto train him in the ways of the sword, claiming he does not wish to be surrounded by fools. When Kisame wakens in the middle of the night from a bad dream, Masoo permits the child to sleep with him, even kicking out a woman he’d been bedding to make room for Kisame. He teaches him that grown men don’t cry, nothing gets solved by crying, so he must find other way to deal with his tears.
From the beginning, Kisame’s devout desire has always been to receive a cup of wine from his lord’s hand. But he has always been too young…
As Kisame matures, he becomes a very attractive young man—and although he is not of age yet, Masoo invites him to his chambers and offers him a chalice of wine. Of course Kisame accepts. Once he is under the alcohol’s influence, Masoo makes his move. He claims Kisame for his bed, telling him that now he is and shall be his toy. Thus their physical relationship begins, despite Kisame’s protestations that he does not wish it to be so. But he is helpless against Masoo’s insistence.
However, there are still forces that are determined to rid the country of its conqueror, and to see the usurped prince back upon the throne. Once that occurs, what will happen between Kisame and Masoo? Will he take revenge on the man who has treated him as a mere toy? Or does the truth lie somewhere else?
This was a really great story of ancient China, I absolutely loved it! Masoo is handsome and arrogant, and he is very self-centered. But there is more to him than that, and he cannot entirely be blamed for the way he is; it’s how he was raised. His relationship with his brother Aoto and with Kisame show that he is also human, a multi-layered character. Kisame does not understand him, and yet he goes to him, because he is forced to. But is that the whole truth? Or does something more lie underneath?
I could have kept reading this story if it had continued. I think anyone that loves yaoi will enjoy this tale, and find the ending satisfactory. I enjoyed the artwork. Kisame is pretty and Masoo is very handsome. I’d like to see more from this author.