|Curse of Dragons
Author: Maiden of the Seven Stars PM
Completed: AU InuKag A girl, swept off the streets to attend to Lord Naraku's dragons. A silver dragon who is far more than he seems, and a jewel, shattered one fateful night. The time has come for the curse to be revealed.Rated: Fiction K - English - Adventure/Romance - Inuyasha & Kagome H. - Chapters: 16 - Words: 47,463 - Reviews: 320 - Favs: 116 - Follows: 46 - Updated: 12-31-05 - Published: 12-03-04 - id: 2156982
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Sorry for the lateness, I've had a bunch of stuff going on for the holidays. And my computer crashed three times in succession... And then I had to go on vacation... Eitherway, I hope you all enjoy, and happy new year!
.:Curse of Dragons:.
.:By: Maiden of the Seven Stars:.
.:Epilogue: A Last Request:.
The morning light poured through the open window, fresh crisp wind stirring the drapes and arousing the girl that lay in bed. Brown eyes opened slowly, before closing again to return to sleep. Unfortunately, sleep evaded her, there was just too much on her mind.
The past week had been insane, ever since the Taijiya had discovered the battlefield and taken over the palace. They had declared themselves and temporary guardians, and were looking for any possible heirs to the throne, since Naraku and his incarnations had disappeared. Suffice to say, the empire was in turmoil, for it wasn't likely that Naraku had had any children, or left anyone with even the weakest blood tie to the royal family alive.
And then there was the Sacred Jewel, ever since that night it had disappeared, along with the dragon's scale and Kikyo's arrow. A search had been led, but with no results. Where the jewel had gone, or if it would return, was unknown, but it's effects were obvious. Ever since that last rainstorm, the empire had been devoid of dragons. Dragon riders simply woke up to see men and women lying where their dragon's had been, as if the empire needed any more chaos.
And then, after that, there was her: Kikyo. The priestess had been found out on the battlefield, confused and disoriented. She had claimed not to know anything about what had happened, and that Naraku had bewitched her. The details were unknown, but the Taijiya had believed her and let her stay in the palace.
It was this thought that occupied her mind most often, as she walked through the corridors of the palace as if in a dream. The thought that Kikyo, so long her enemy, could be lurking around ever corner she turned, behind every door she opened… it was unnerving. Though the Taijiya believed she might have changed, there was still some icy aura around her, some evil that could not, or would not, dispel.
She often wondered how Inuyasha was holding up to it, but she didn't get to see him very often. Apparently, he had been entwined with the politics of the Taijiya when he had been in both his half-demon and dragon form, and with all the disturbances he hadn't had time to exchange anything but a passing glance. She supposed she missed his sarcastic remarks, and irritable jests, but at least their struggles were over. The dragons were gone.
Finally, as the sun began to appear as more than an arch along the horizon, she pulled herself out of the bed. Slipping on a loose green Kimono and her sandals, she decided she'd take a walk through the palace gardens. It was strange that they were in Naraku's palace, but the place didn't have that evil aura to it anymore. It was quite comfortable, really, and cozy. Perhaps it had always been like this, until the crimson spider emblem had dangled from the rafters.
The grass outside was dew covered, and her ankles were quickly wet, but it wasn't an unpleasant wetness, so she walked on. The sunlight was just hitting the base of the castle, and the dew caught it and sent it in small rainbows over the grass, a beautiful sight.
Her feet took her to the river, a majestic stream of water that rushed through the grounds, taking off to who-knows-where. A bridge rose over it, of white stone slabs, and a pagoda-like roof covered the center of it. The river's sound was soothing, and she sat down on one of the stone benches, not too close but not too far from the river.
If only her entire life had been this peaceful and this quiet. Maybe things would have turned out differently; better. But she thought about it, how she had met Inuyasha, how she had thwarted both Naraku and Kikyo and met the Taijiya and found a home, and the more she thought about it, the more content she was. She would rather have walked this path of hardship, than some pampered life in some palace. Yes, she was glad that things turned out this way.
"It's over, it's all over." She murmured aloud, reminding her yet again, and was jolted out of her requiem as a voice spoke from behind her.
"Not yet, it's not over yet." Snapped the cold, hard voice of Kikyo, and a hand reached out, pushing her to the ground.
Before she could react, she was on her back, an arrow pointed at her chest. It was Kikyo who sighted down the shaft, her brown eyes blazing with some unreadable emotion, and a chill ran up Kagome's spine. It was that evil feeling she always got when Kikyo was around, and she knew she hated this woman with a vengeance.
"I knew you couldn't have turned!" She snapped, glaring up defiantly, but Kikyo chuckled in response.
"I do love toying with people, they are so easy to manipulate." The woman sneered, and released the string.
Kagome, defenseless, did the only thing she could. Pulling her arms to her, she rolled to the side, a trail of arrows following her. By the time she realized she was at the river's edge, it was too late, and Kikyo was towering over her, a sneer on her pale features.
"You'll die if you kill me!" Kagome cried, grabbing at the earth to pull her body away from the water that lapped at her feet.
"I thought you knew, Kagome," Kikyo hissed, "I'm already dead. There is no place for me in this world now, so I might as well take you down with me. The Taijiya should have never let me stay here, but since they have, I think I'll finish off their little hero."
"You'll never get away with it!"
"Again with that line? You really need to come up with something more unique." Kikyo sneered, "But, too bad, you don't have any time" At that she stepped forwards, kicking at Kagome's hands. Her grasp slackened and she slid down the riverbank, towards the water. She reached for something, again, but as she found a hold Kikyo dislodged her yet again.
"Stop struggling, and drown like the little devil you are." Kikyo commanded, as she dislodged yet another handhold, but Kagome continued to fight back. It was only when she was more than halfway in the river, and reaching for stones, that her willpower gave way and she was swept into the water with one final scream.
Plans plans and more plans… were plans the only thing those idiots could talk about? They 'needed' plans for the Taijiya, plans for the palace, plans for an emperor, plans for the empire, what next? Were they going to discuss plans for outhouses? He had had enough.
Being a straightforward sort of person, whose mind was weathered with the harsh instinct for survival, he saw no point in making all these plans. Time would pass, things would move on, and it was a complete waste of time to try to plan out every detail of it. He almost mourned the loss of her draconic size, which had excused him from some of the meetings beforehand. Almost.
It was skirting political meetings and the like that brought him to the treetops, hidden behind the leaves, lounging easily. Sometimes he would hear the warriors searching for him, but they would never find him, not after he had coerced Kirara into leaving him alone. Besides the cat demon, and the extinct dragons, no one could track him through the air.
His smug reverie was interrupted by a scream, and he jolted forwards. It was a faint sound, so faint his ears barely caught it, but he recognized the note of desperation in it. It was her scream.
At once he burst out of the tree, his feet flying as he nearly flew through the grounds. When he reached the woods he found her scent and tracked it as faster than he had ever done before. Her scent stopped by the river, and it was only there that he paused.
"Idiot, did she fall in?" he snapped in exasperation, knowing it would be incredibly hard to track her, if she were still alive.
"Of course not, Inuyasha, but you were always a fool…" hissed a voice behind him, and he turned, his eyes meeting the cold ice of Kikyo's.
"What are you doing here?" he snarled defensively, a chill running up his spine. His brows furrowed in hatred and his heart cringed slightly at the cold sneer she shot him in return. Those eyes had been so warm once before, so kind, and her lips had been twitched into a hesitant smile, just like Kagome's. Again the two woman merged in his mind.
"Isn't it obvious? I pushed her." Kikyo murmured, gazing out towards the river, a sinister smile stretching across her face.
Inuyasha couldn't help it, the fury and heartache he felt stemmed his common sense. He lunged forwards, a cry of pain tearing from his throat, and as Kikyo turned around he tore his claws through her shoulder, slashing her body in half across her chest.
He forced himself to a stop, panting at the force of his fury, and turned back towards Kikyo's torn body, disbelief welling in his eyes. Did he just kill her? Did he just kill his own beloved?
He glanced at his hand, but there was no blood there, only a handful of dirt, and Kikyo laughed where here top half lay, her voice rasping but her eyes gleaming in satisfaction.
"Don't let murder trouble your conscience, I was already dead." She hissed, and her body crumbled to ashes. He stared, dumbfounded, as a small soul rose from her remains. At once there was a shriek and the three soul collectors swarmed towards it, but with a swipe of his other claw they screamed and died, wisps of smoke between his claws.
The soul floated up, uncertainly, then suddenly charged downstream as if suddenly deciding where to go. At a loss for what to do, he followed it, speeding into a run to keep up. The soul stopped as the river mellowed and Inuyasha came up behind it.
Lying half in the water in the shallows was Kagome.
He and the soul darted forwards simultaneously, and he managed to reach her first. Pulling her out of the water, he cradled her body in his arms. Her eyes were closed, and, as he listened, he didn't detect a pulse.
"No… It can't be… It wasn't supposed to end this way!" he moaned, shaking her as if she were asleep.
"Kagome! Kagome!" he cried, tears welling at his eyes.
It was then that the soul reached her body and, without hesitating, it plunged into her chest, but Inuyasha barely noticed in his sorrow.
She was floating, floating in nothingness, when her eyes opened. It was so dark, so ethereal, and she yelped. Reaching out with her hands, she tried to find something, anything, to hold on to, but there was nothing there. Was this it? Was she dead?
Suddenly, there was a light in the darkness, and instinctively she turned towards it. It came closer, taking the form of a person illuminated in warm golden light.
"Inuyasha?" she called out, reaching forwards, but recoiled as the figure came closer.
It was Kikyo… but something was different. That evil chill she always got when the priestess was around was gone, and her eyes were… warm? She stared, speechless, and Kikyo regarded her almost kindly.
'You must be surprised…' she murmured, and Kagome jumped at the change in her voice. It was no longer cold and harsh, but warm and kind, understanding. Was this the real Kikyo? Was this the woman Inuyasha had loved? But what happened to that other Kikyo?
'I… was not myself.' Kikyo responded, as if reading her mind, and her eyes closed sadly. 'Those creatures you saw… the soul collectors… They were another one of Naraku's creations, like the dragons. He tried to… collect me— I suppose would be the right word, but he failed.' She continued, a sad smile touching her lips. 'At least, he failed twice.'
"What happened?" Kagome asked, curious by nature and starting to believe that this was no falsity, no sham.
'Each time he failed, Naraku made another soul collector. They are powerful creatures and required much power to create, and Naraku did not have power to waste in those days.' Kikyo continued softly. 'On the third try he enslaved my soul and my will in Kanna's mirror. I was still alive, but he was controlling me… I was a prisoner in my own mind.'
"But why would he do that?" she asked, confused.
'Naraku wanted to rule, and the Taijiya were in his way.' Kikyo responded. 'I was a powerful priestess, which you should know since you share my power, and through me he could get to Inuyasha. By eliminating us, he would have crippled the Taijiya, and so he did. He wanted to use me further, but in his triumph over capturing Inuyasha his guard loosened and I killed myself. I should have known he would call me back.' She sighed, and Kagome could have sworn a tear had floated down her cheek.
"That's terrible!" she couldn't help but exclaim, and Kikyo nodded solemnly. Kagome would have said more, but suddenly the blackness that surrounded them pulled tighter, like a vacuum, and she was sucked backwards. Kikyo grabbed at her hand quickly, before she was dragged away.
'There isn't much time,' she said, clinging to Kagome's hand with both of hers, and Kagome's thoughts flooded through her again.
"But I'm dead, aren't I?" she asked, and Kikyo turned away.
'I'm sorry for that, but when I walked as Naraku's slave, I still had some life in me.' She whispered, 'I'm giving that to you now, so you can live the life you were supposed to.'
"But what about you?" Kagome asked.
'I'm dead, Kagome, and the dead should rest in peace.' Kikyo said in response, her eyes deep and sad, 'But I'd like to ask you a favor, though I'm in no position to…' she hesitated for a moment, and Kagome nodded.'Tell Inuyasha that…'
"That you love him?" Kagome asked, sure that was what she was going to say, and Kikyo looked up, their identical gazes locking. Kagome saw the love there, the pure love that Kikyo had for Inuyasha and the desire to tell him that, but the love quickly clouded with sorrow.
'My love would be nothing but a burden on him, there is no point to tell him now that I'm dead.' Kikyo replied softly. 'Tell him I'm sorry… for everything.'
She nodded in response, and Kikyo smiled again, sadly. The glowing priestess drifted forwards and wrapped her in an embrace, which she returned. At once warmth flooded her, and the pair was illuminated in golden light.
'I'm sorry Kagome…' Kikyo murmured sorrowfully into her ear, backing away, and then the golden light left her body and fled to Kagome's, leaving her a faded image, nearly invisible in the darkness except for the solid feeling of their clasped hands, and the vacuum was back, stronger now because Kagome was being pulled back towards where Kikyo had come.
The priestess smiled sadly as they were pulled apart, and their grip slackened.
'Goodbye…' she whispered before she was pulled into oblivion
"Goodbye." Kagome whispered as the golden light propelled her back towards life.
Her eyes opened again, blinking rapidly to adjust to the light before squinting upwards. Warm arms surrounded her wet body, and as she glanced above her she saw Inuyasha's tilted face. A tear was sliding down his cheek, and she reached up quickly, brushing it away.
He was startled and his eyes snapped open, glancing down at her in disbelief through pained golden irises. She smiled back up at him, a small sad smile.
"I'm sorry." She whispered, and he stared at her, as if unable to believe his eyes.
"What for?" he asked when he finally found his voice.
"I promised you I would never let her hurt you again… but she did. Remember?"
"Of course I remember!" he said quickly, his mind flashing back to the moonless night before quickly stowing the image away. "What are you talking about?" he snapped. Irrational things always irritated him.
"At the palace… I could have killed her…" she whispered, "But I didn't."
"And you thought that if you killed her, I would be…" he murmured, and she nodded.
"You should have killed that vile thing then, and you wouldn't have— How are you alive anyways?" he asked suddenly.
"Kikyo saved me."
"She gave me the life energy she had been using in her fragment of my soul." Kagome explained, "I spoke to her… somehow… and the Kikyo we were fighting wasn't really her! Those creatures, the soul collectors, did something to her soul so Naraku could control her. She couldn't do anything to stop him."
The meaning of her words sunk in a moment later, and Inuyasha bowed his head, hiding his eyes behind his hair. She wondered if he was crying.
"She wanted me to tell you that she was sorry." She finished softly, and their gaze met once more in silence. His eyes were so sad and misty, taking on that sorrowful look they used to bear when he was miserable. He was grieving for Kikyo, mourning for her pain and that he hadn't done anything to help her. He was regretting all his years of hatred and suffering, when it had been she who had suffered even more. It was a grief only time could erase.
But, thanks to Kikyo, they had the rest of their lives to grieve, and a spark of mischief flashed in Kagome's eyes.
Inuyasha was staring at her eyes but noticed nothing, so lost was he, and it was only when he felt fingers in his hair that he jolted back into reality. He was just in time to feel an insistent tug on his ears. Looking down, he met Kagome's mischievous smirk.
"Hey!" he snapped, but Kagome was on her feet at once, off like a shot arrow, laughing merrily.
He jumped to his feet, taking off after her, but, though he could have caught her easily, he slowed and prolonged the chase, laughing with her. After all, they had gone through so much and triumphed. They had rid the world of Naraku's corruption, and destroyed the Dragons who never should have existed in the first place. It was a time of celebration and merriment, and they should be enjoying it. They had the rest of their lives to spend together, in happiness.
They certainly deserved it.