Chap 10 Far Far Away

When Kira said that she was going to be kept busy, she wasn't lying. After being hauled up at the crack of down, she followed, stumbled, out of the tree behind Kira and into the forest. Every since then, Kagome had been working non-stop, moving non-stop, and on alert for any and everything.

Kira had taken her to field after field where she would then sit along the sidelines and hum while Kagome harvested the crops. It had been bearable at first, the basket she carried on her back was big but light, and the morning air was cool, but soon the basket would fill and the sun shone bright and beamed directly onto her back.

So far to count, they had been to four fields, she had filled around twenty baskets. When a basket reached its fill, she also had the pleasure of hauling the heavy burden back to the tree, where they were steadily piling up. She dreaded the moment when they would have to be hauled up inside. The only good thing she felt she was getting out of this manual labor was that she was learning her way around Kira's land. With each trip to and fro the tree, the path would get longer as they moved further away, but it was the trips back that she enjoyed the most. That was when she didn't have a hindrance to carry around, and was merely weighed down by a new empty basket. During this time, she finally got to sight see. No unicorns to distract her, no Kira to keep her focused and annoyed; just her and the world.

The paths she took stayed hidden in the forest, but once she got comfortable enough, she began to stray the path and walked along the edge of the woods. There she saw that Kira's land was bordered by the ocean to the far south, she made a note to visit it one day, to the east they were bordered by the colossal mountain range that had caused her problems in the first place. The rest of the land was filled with wild woods, random lakes, the dreaded fields, which were far too many, and an occasional village.

The villages had surprised her at first, she hadn't thought Kira to be a kind Lady who would allow humans on her lands, but she guessed every Land Lord needed subjects, even old cranky ones like Kira.

She was coming to the point in her path when she would have to turn off, so with a sigh she turned to enter the forest again, only to come face to face with a Lady Kira and the herd of naked people accumulated behind her, all giggling and jiggling about.

To say she was shock would have been an underestimate.

As she gaped at them, she noticed that they were all beautiful. Too beautiful, she felt like an old, dumpy, horrible mutant compared to them. No two looked the same, some were pale as snow, others as dark as the night sky, the women were all slender and perky, while the men, the small few that they were, were tall, broad in the shoulders, and well endowed, she didn't stare openly at them, but she didn't look away either.

"What's going on?" she asked slowly, really wondering what the old woman had been up to.

"We're going to go into the villages today. I figured now would be as good a time as any to start rumors."


"Rumors that Kira isn't dead. The rumors that she is just as powerful as always, and that she has become involved.

"And…you're going to accomplish this with a bunch of nymphs?"

"NO girl!" Kira yelled swinging her staff at Kagome's head, who had the brains to duck it. "You're going to do this just with the men. And I don't appreciate your snappish attitude. The girls are just here to help you."

"Help with what?" Kagome wondered aloud, eyeing the nymphs with a scrutinizing eye. The girls didn't look too bright, and neither did the men.

"They are going to get you ready while I brief you on proper village etiquette." without another world, Kira turned on her heal and hobbled off into the forest, Kagome quickly followed and they were flanked on all sides by the nymphs, who, now that there were moving, danced and pranced about, sometimes chasing each other and enjoying themselves.

Kagome ignored them as she hovered behind Kira with questions.

"Village etiquette? You mean I have to act proper in the village. What kind of village is this?"

"You will be acting as Lady Kira. Lady Kira is the Lady of these lands, you're representing me and I won't have you acting a fool. As the Lady of the lands, you are expected to act arrogant and indifferent. To act any other way you will be seen as weak and then something stupid will pop up in some idiots head and then you'll have trouble. Although you are to be ruthless, you are not cruel. Which is why, I regularly visit the villages, and find out if there are any problems that Kira can solve. I've never gone as myself and the villagers know me as Greta. This will be Kira's first tour of the villages in 87 years."

Kagome's questions were put onto a momentary stand still as she found their path blocked by two carriages. One was already loaded with the baskets she had spent the day filling, and around it buzzed a few more of the male nymphs. They were scarcely dressed, but dressed nonetheless. Some busied themselves by loading the carriage, while others were adorning armor and weapons.

The other carriage was obviously a passenger carriage, for the seats were boxed in and closed off with royal blue drapery. They were more nymphs standing around it, armed and ready.

Shaking herself out of her stupor, she jumped in front of Kira and halted her in her tracks. "What kind of etiquette do I have to follow?"

"Don't speak." Kira snapped first off, making Kagome jump and right into the arms of the many nymphs behind her.

She started to fight them off when she noticed they carried clothes and hair supply.

Kagome listened intently to Kira as nymphs stripped her of her clothing and combed her hair. From what Kira said, Kagome realized that proper village etiquette for a Lord of the land was to sit quietly, don't talk, don't make eye contact, don't interact with the villagers, and be indifferent and condescending.

The nymphs had braided her hair into a simple braid, but they adorned her with an expensive green kimono with patterns of vines running across it. Upon her head, they adorned a straw hat with a black veil that just covered the top of her face. Kira explained that this was because a demon's mouth was one of the most frightening things about them. A smile could mean cruelty or kindness, showing teeth meant disaster, immediate death, and anger.

Just as the nymphs finished dressing her, they pranced off giggling to themselves just as a male nymph walked up to her. Like all the others nymphs, he was handsome, but unlike the other male nymphs, he was beautiful too.

The nymph stood towering over her, his shoulders level with her eyes. His skin was a golden bronze and his short curly, blonde hair seemed to be shaped like a star around his head. He was, she admitted, the most gorgeous man she had ever laid eyes on. She had thought Sesshomaru had the role of sexiest being on earth, but that was until she actually met the sexiest of the sexiest. He also seemed to be taller than the ice prince was, so when he grabbed her hand, he had to stoop low to place a kiss upon it. When he did, he glanced into her eyes and Kagome saw that his were all black with golden specs. Making it seem as if you were looking into the heavens themselves

Her breath was caught in her throat and she found out that her hormones could scream. He smiled at her; a dazzling smile with perfectly straight teeth, and her stomach flipped as someone turned the heat up. He hadn't let her hand go and she was acutely aware of where they're bodies met.

"My, Lady." he greeted formerly, his voice, deep and rich, sending shivers up and down her back.

"Yeah I am." she mumbled as she smiled charmingly, falling into his trap of seduction.

"This here is Sidus. Head nymph and your companion until something more effective comes along." Kira was suddenly there and Kagome jumped startled, dropping Sidus's hand as she looked guiltily around. Then what Kira said finally sunk in.

"What do you mean my companion? I can't have him as a companion." Kagome knew what Kira was up to, she wanted her and the nymph to get it on, and giving him a glance, she knew that he knew too, and the smile he gave her was all but comforting, in reality, she clearly saw that she couldn't be left alone with the nymph, let alone spend five minutes in his presence.

She couldn't stop looking at him, and he knew it. He flexed and gave her wolfish grins. He, thankfully, wasn't naked, but he only wore a loincloth, and she had a perfect view of his powerful thighs. She almost took a step towards him but she managed to shake her self-loose of his grandeur.

"Why…why do I need him again? And what could be more effective than him?"

"When we get to the village, stay in the carriage for a while…" Not bothering to acknowledge Kagome's question, Kira turned on her heel and headed towards the blue carriage.

"Kira, why is he my companion?"

"…You may get out later, and if you do, do not speak to the villagers, don't acknowledge them, and don't take off the hat. If you can help it, don't smile and keep a stoic face."

"Are you listening to me? I'm not sleeping with him?" Kagome, to show her assertiveness, crossed her arms and planted her foot firmly on the ground. Nevertheless, her façade dissolved as Sidus passed her up to follow Kira, but as he passed, his hand brushed against her leg and her knees buckled.

"Of course you're not." Kira finally answered with a nasty smile as she caught Kagome staring after Sidus like a dog after a bone. "Now get in this carriage so we can harass the villagers."

More embarrassed than annoyed, Kagome began her way over to the carriage but when she saw Sidus enter it, she halted again.

"What's the matter now?" Kira snapped.

"Nothing." Kagome mumbled in relief as she saw that Kira was going to be riding too. She could handle being in an enclosed space with Sidus if Kira was there. She would be too busy arguing with the old woman to drool over the sex machine.

As she came to find out, she didn't have to worry about Sidus or Kira. Kira was unusually quiet, while Sidus kept to himself on the other side of the carriage, so she was free to enjoy her ride as she stared out the window at the landscape as it drove by.

She was ashamed when it took her a few minutes to wonder how the carriage was moving. She remembered seeing a place for horses to pull the carriage, but she didn't remember seeing or hearing any. She thought about asking Kira, but she was enjoying the silence. She tried maneuvering her body to peer ahead, but she couldn't see pass the sides. She thought about just sticking her head out the window, but she assumed that would be improper etiquette and she was really enjoying the silence.

"Why don't you use your nose? Put it to some use besides sitting on your face."

"How do you know these things?" Mumbling more to herself than Kira, Kagome pulled back the curtain on the window and took a whiff of the outside air.

At first, she wasn't sure what she smelt. She sorted through the ones she could identify, but she couldn't place the main one. It was male, that was for sure. The testosterone hit her square in the face and she'd know that smell anywhere now that she had the epitome of male sitting right under her nose. That's when it hit her.

"Are we being driven by nymphs?" she asked, excited and bewildered by the idea. "They're fast!" she exclaimed, all etiquette out the door as she leaned out the window to get a look at them.

She was right. All the armored nymphs were acting as horses as they ran full speed down the path. There were four pulling their carriage, and on inspection on the noise behind them, and six pulling the cart with the harvest.

"What are you looking at My Lady?" Sidus suddenly asked, startling her and making her hit her head on the windowsill as she quickly pulled her head back in. She was glad that the hat hadn't fallen off for her face was as red as a tomato, and it wasn't from hitting her head.

"You need not look and want," Sidus continued, his voice drawing her eyes to his lips, "when you have me."

"Oh…oh you're going to be a problem." Kagome muttered, her voice sounded annoyed after Sidus seemed to make every muscle on his form ripple.

His reply to her cryptic tone was a brazen smile. Kira laughed.

Kagome's mood turned sour after that. She spent the rest of the ride ignoring her companions as her thoughts turned to her friends. She wished she were with them now. She wished she knew how they were doing. Time had gotten away from her; she couldn't remember how much time she had spent by herself and knew even less about the amount of time spent in her cocoon. Had they given up looking for her? No. They wouldn't. They wouldn't give up, and neither would she. She'd survive her time with this crazy old woman and see them again as a better person. No curse, and with a story to tell. She couldn't wait to see their smiling faces as she fell into their arms. Fell into his arms. Where he would yell at her for no reason and be grumpy, but his hold on her would be so tight and so comforting, because she knew he would miss her too.

"Stop that whining!" Kira snapped as she crashed her staff into her knee.

Kagome, who hadn't realized she had actually been whining like an animal, now growled at the offensive staff as if it had done the attack on its own.

"Feral rulers do not whine." Kira continued as she sat back and closed her eyes.

"Then what do they do?" Kagome growled, annoyed, although her knee was starting to feel better.

"They strike fear," Kira growled, the image of the powerful and fearful leader that she was shining through, "Not pity, into the heart of those around them!"

"What about respect?" Kagome snapped back, trying to mimic the face growling at her.

"That comes later." She answered calmly as she sat back. "Fear then respect. No one really took a plant demoness serious; I had to work hard for that fear, for that respect. But it should be easier for you. Wolves are relatively more aggressive than plants."

Kagome too sat back in her seat with a placid face. Looking down at her soothed knee, she was not surprised to find a well manicured hand resting on it. Sighing, she casually shoved the hand away. "I'm not a demon. I told you this is all just a curse placed on me by some sicko demon for some depraved twisted, secret agenda."

"Excuses, excuses." Kira mumbled as she waved her hand at Kagome dismissively.

After a moment of silence Kagome finally asked a question that had been bugging her. "How am I supposed to be you anyway? You're an old plant demon, and I'm a semi wolf demon."

"Most of the villagers are dead who witnessed me in my prime and those who live were too young to remember me from anything but tales passed down to them. And I'll watch who I call 'old' if I were you."

"Yeah, yeah." Kagome returned the favor by dismissing Kira with a hand. "What about demons? The other Lords?"

"I don't associate with the other Lords, and any lesser demon is not permitted on my lands unless I allow it. I haven't allowed any in over 100 years. Besides, if you were to encounter any, they would smell only the forest. I placed you in the cocoon for a reason. No need to pretend if you can't pull it off."

"I guess that makes sense." Kagome replied as she inconspicuously sniffed herself. All that came to her were the fields she worked in earlier and the nymphs who had dressed her. She smelled of nature.

"Name and describe the poisonous mushrooms located near water sources?"

"What?" taken aback, because she didn't remember, Kagome looked bewilderingly at Kira.

"You heard me, we went over them, now tell me what you fail at?"

They entered the village to an immediate crowd. News of the carriage's arrival had reached the village moments before they appeared over the horizon. Those familiar with the tri-annual visits by Greta were confused by the extra carriage. The old yet robust Greta usually rode on the carriage with the harvest. Yet here she came, riding in a lavish, covered carriage, and the nymphs that they were used to were now doubled in quantity and heavily armored. None could fathom the occasion but all were hesitant to approach. They would wait it out.

"Now if you feel you must come out," Kira was explaining inside the carriage. "Wait, at least until I've explained to the villagers and gotten half the carriage empty. Build up some fear and awe."

"Do I even have to come out?" Kagome asked, now bored and put off now that she had gotten scolded like a child for not knowing about moss and fungus.

"By all means, stay inside. Less of a chance of you screwing up."

As the old lady left, Kagome stuck her tongue out at her defiantly, and it wasn't until she shut the carriage door did she relent. And then it happened. The elephant in the room. The smiling, sexy, elephant in the room. Or carriage.

Kagome sat back in her seat and looked at him. He was already looking at her and the smile he was giving her was not a sweet one.

"Stop looking like that." she snapped at him. But he didn't answer. He didn't stop smiling. And he didn't stop looking so sexy. He did untie his loincloth though and place it on the seat next to him.

The silence that followed was intense and long. The elephant in the room had made himself known. "Really?" was all Kagome could bring herself to say through her discomfort. She felt herself turning red as the temperature went up in the carriage. That must've been why he needed to take off the cloth. "Really?"

He smiled cockily, placed his hands behind his head, and flexed. As the snake charmer worked his magic, Kagome began choking on embarrassment, unwanted feeling, and the musty smell of arousal that invaded her nose.

"Put…that thing…back on." Kagome found herself growling at him, angry that her voice had gotten deep with unwanted attraction.

He didn't comply. As he stood up, Kagome narrowed her eyes at him and watched with irritation as he sat down next to her. He didn't look at her, but his smile was still in place. She didn't like that smile on his face and found herself baring her teeth at him as she backed away. To her consternation, he began to edge closer, and as her back hit the wall of the carriage, he kept up his advance. He loomed over her and gazed heatedly into her eyes and she wondered idly, as he closed the gap between them, how it would feel. What was so bad about having a man want her with such passion in his eyes? And then he was upon her.

The rumor had been spread now. The villagers had wasted no time in asking Greta about her unusual arrival. Upon finding out that is was there fabled Lady Kira come to visit, the village was soon rushed into a frenzy. The old were rushed from their homes in hopes that some were old enough to remember proper etiquette. The young and rambunctious were forced back into their homes incase any were bold enough to insult their Lady, the merchants were bringing out their best to trade for the harvest, and everyone was inconspicuously wandering around the carriage in hopes of catching a glimpse of the Lady of the Southern Lands.

Kira was pleased with the fervent response she had garnered. The curtains on the carriage were thick enough to keep the girl's figure hidden, but her outline was visible enough to keep the villagers from suspicion. Maybe she could pull this off after all. Have the girl harvest the crops in the morning and then masquerade around as Lady Kira as they visited the merchant villagers around her land. She would teach the girl all she knew, make her fierce and dominant like a Lady was supposed to be, and possibly get her virginity broken. And if she knew Sidus, it would be long.

Nodding her head in satisfaction, Kira continued bartering for goods and talking of her 'Mistress's' renewed interest in her subjects.

"Back off!" a voice suddenly sounded out from the carriage just as a figure came flying from the compartment. Sidus was thrown from the carriage with such force that the door became embedded into the wall; the poor nymph flew through the air, landed hard enough to bounce, and slid to a crumpled heap amidst the crowd. A naked, crumpled heap.

The villagers were frozen into shock and did nothing but watch the nymph bleed onto the ground. Greta kept her faced trained into fear and rushed to the carriage door. Kagome sat primly with her head facing the window, and did not react when Kira appeared at the door. She waited a moment, as she tried to control her nerves. She had meant to yell so loudly or even kick the nymph so hard. She was shaking slightly from the adrenaline and nervousness. She knew her face was red but she could do nothing about that. Knowing she had caused a scene and that the villagers could not hear them from their distance, Kagome turned towards Kira with a controlled face, though her lip wanted to curl.

"I've been trying to respect you. I've done everything you've asked me, and I've tried to learn the things you're teaching me, but we're going to get know where if you don't respect me in return. I'm…I'm not going to have sex with that nymph or anyone else you throw my way. I'll cut them all down before I give up my virginity just because you say so. It is mine, not yours, and as of right now, it's for my hanyou."

Kira was silent a moment. Then she gave a bow. "Very well." She said as she straightened back up. "Maybe I was too blunt. I appreciate your spirit; you can't be what I need you to be without one. I would say you ruined this expedition but you've only made yourself seem cruel to the villagers. Rumors will spread faster now. But I'll tell you this…any respect I have for you, is outweighed by my hatred for those horned bastards that you seem to be fond of. I don't want them on my land, let alone acknowledge their existence and the only way to get rid of them is for you to either leave my lands and die, or get over that hanyou of yours and lay down with an eligible being."

Though Kira couldn't see because of the hat, Kagome narrowed her eyes at the old Lady before her. "So it seems we're at an impasse. What do you propose we do?"

As she came to find out, Kira proposed dropping Kagome off in the middle of nowhere. After forcing Sidus to take up reign with the other nymphs, Kira and Kagome sat in silence as they rode off with their haul. Not realizing that they were taking a different route it was far too late to ask what was going on by the time Kira had forced the nymphs to stop. Now bewildered, Kagome found herself standing outside of the carriage and looking at a serious faced Kira.

"You're going to build a map."

Kagome said nothing but found her head tilting in confusion.

"Roam around. Get acquainted with the land and its features."

"And build a map?"

"That's what I said. Don't memorize the landscape, learn it. When you get back to the tree, I'll have the parchment waiting for you show me what you fail at."

"So I'm just to live out here until I learn the land?" she asked after a moment's pause. "How long is this going to take?"

"Now that's completely up to you now isn't it?" After leaning towards her ominously as she said this, Kira now backed up and sat back against the seat and faced forward, refusing to look at her any longer. "You may be seen but do not go into villages or interact with the humans."

"And what if I run into anyone?"

"Acknowledge but ignore them."

"Isn't that a contra…?"

"Figure it out." Kira snapped, never bothering to look Kagome's way. "Here."

Not sure about its origins, Kagome caught the large strip of material Kira tossed to her. "What is it?" she asked, folding it out and seeing that it had no ends and was just one continuous loop.

"It's a satchel." Kira answered with contempt. "Its to help you while you're out here by yourself."

"A bag. Couldn't you get me a weapon or something?"

Kira scoffed at her. "You're not ready for my weapon."

"Who says I have to have your weapon? I'll be fine with a bow."

"I carried a memorable weapon. And as acting Kira, you too will be seen and become skilled with it."

"Thrilling. I can't wait for that."

Kira said nothing but merely glanced at her from the corner of her eye. Rapping the side of the carriage with her knuckles, Kira signaled the nymphs and they were off.

Kagome stood there bemused with her satchel and watched as Kira and her entourage disappeared into the horizon. Now alone and with the task of building a map, Kagome looked about her. She turned to the left, she saw hills, fields, and patches of crop fields, she then turned to her right and saw the forest, looking behind her she was presented with more fields followed by the forest. And before her was open fields dissected by a stream, followed by more forest and topped with a mountain range that looked bigger than it actually was. Building a map shouldn't be too hard, if only she knew which way was north.

She made up her mind and decided to set up a base camp. Somewhere to return to where she could have a stable reference point to the rest of the land. She felt she could have succeeded this from the tree, but Kira would have just kicked her out, so she had to do it the hard way. Not too hard, she supposed. Ever since becoming demon, she felt as if she was making a new base camp every week. All she needed was for Naraku to pop up, harass her, and force her away from another temporary home.

Growling as the evil hanyou crosses her mind, she soon found herself stomping around irritably. Her mood emitted from her like a diseased cloud, making animals scurry away in fear, and the plants to shudder. It wasn't until a tree actually moved out of her path did she snap out if it. She had forgotten that the trees liked to bite.

She hesitated to take another steps, and the trees groaned in confusion. Some scooted away uncertainly while others advanced her way with an unsure reluctance. Something was going on, and she was sure what. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously and took a step forward. All the trees backed away immediately, she took another step and they moved further away.

"Okay." She muttered to herself. She continued forward and the trees, and a few bushes, parted for her and shuddered as she passed. But she had only gotten a few feet before she noticed the stubborn one. It stood in the middle of her path, tall, broad, and moldy.

She stood still as she stared at it, and it didn't move as it stared back. She assumed it stared at her. The wind blew her hair and the trees branches and while she moved her hair from her face, the tree did nothing. Possibly because it was a tree.

The standoff continued with nothing more that a shudder passing from the onlooking shrubbery. Even the birds seemed to hush in anticipation. Sweat rolled down the side of Kagome's face and the big tree lost a few leaves…and then…the twitch happened.

She ran for her life, terror eating at her soul as the tears blinded her. Damn that tree. It had all been a play for dominance. A test to see if they could overpower her. They could.

During their standoff, the big tree darted forward and she had twitched and stepped away. That had been the catalyst that set the other trees into motion. They all swarmed forward, intent on beating the hell out of her. She knew that's what they wanted because one had already smacked her at the back of her spine with its branches. The pain spread to the top of her head, and she was confident her she was bleeding where the branch connected, but she'd have to check that when she wasn't being attacked by forest.

Jumping, ducking, and dodging branches, weren't Kagome's only obstacles. Besides these, she had to fight her way past those who tried to block her path. Her body ached from slamming into their broad trunks and hurriedly squeezing through suddenly tight places. Whenever she would encounter those who would black her, she would be slowed down and those whose branches stung like fire would attack. She would have thought this just rough housing the new guy if it wasn't for the lessening of skin and sharp tang of blood in the air. Blood wasn't oozing but it was definitely present.

Slipping between two of the blockers, and using more strength than she knew she had, her foot got caught between the two and she fell. Immediately others enclosed on her, swatting her with the branches and vines as if she was an annoying bug. Yelping, she rolled away from the hits only to encounter more.

Pain does not have similar effects on every person. Sometimes, pain caused some to forsake others in hopes of abating their own suffering, sometimes pain caused anger and hate to enter the heart. For some, pain was only a minor annoyance to be endured and used to make themselves a better and stronger being. And for some, for some pain was just a catalyst to unleash the insanity and abnormality within themselves. These beings never knew that they had this within themselves and were still never aware of this after that inner abnormality was unleashed. For these beings, pain was never an issue anymore. This went for a lot of things in their lives.

Kagome found that the pain, while not fatal, was getting increasingly annoying. She found herself growling and biting back. This would have been more threatening if for the fact that she wasn't still on the ground and rolling around getting spanked by trees. One successful biting episode ended with her clamped on to a particularly bark tasting branch and when it retracted to hit her again, she came along for the ride. Sounding to the world like an enraged puppy playing tug of war with a rope, Kagome held on to the branch by nothing but her teeth.

Seeming to feels pain, the tree began shifting violently and flinging the branch with Kagome clamped on to it. The other trees did nothing, and she assumed watched in fascination as the tree tried to dislodge her from its appendage. Finally with a painful jolt to her teeth, Kagome came loose from branch and was sent flying through the air.

She flew through the air with the greatest of ease, that charming young girl who had no trapeze. She had nothing to catch her, nothing to grab hold to. Even the few trees that had no minds of their own, those stationary trees that did not bite and sling her through the air, were nowhere near close enough to stop her flight.

'I hate this.'

Kagome thought to herself briefly between her panic. As she felt herself slowing, indicating that she was about to begin her descent, she started to look to see where she might land, but before she could get a good look a bird hit her and she was blinded by feathers and squawks. And so Kagome's journey through the air came to an unforeseen, for her, end as she painfully landed in the inky black depths of an effectively hidden pond.

Plummeting to the bottom, Kagome was shocked into immobility with her eyes open and her opened in a scream. Though the water was dark, and her vision was obscured by hair and bubbles, she couldn't miss the secret that the little pond held. The bottom of the pond was littered, covered, riddled, with the skeletal remains of demons. After getting over her initial shock, she pushed against the bottom, and using a few skulls as leverage, and propelled herself upward and out of the water.

Spitting the putrid water from her mouth and clearing it away from her eyes she quickly swam to shore. Getting out, she didn't bother to look around before she shook like a dog, not caring that it looked embarrassing.

"Guess I know what she did with all the demons on her land." She muttered to herself as she began to ring out her hair.

Grimacing as the water got into her tree battle wounds, splinters, she looked into the black water pond and froze. Not at the sorry sight of her reflection, not at the unseen skeletons at the bottom, but at the reflection of the sky above her.

Slowly she raised her head up to the sky and she lost her breath. Above her was an alien sky. It was night, the stars were out, but the moon was there too. It was there seven times, each in one of its different phases.

"Oh I really hate this."