Good Gracious it has been a LONG time since I've updated
Good Gracious it has been a LONG time since I've updated. And sorry to everyone who has waited for this story…but really I have SO many things I SHOULD be doing right now but I've decided to do this instead. :D
So I HAD finished this chapter on my other comp…. but it went haywire and basically the computer died and I had to do this chapter again. So here we go…Enjoy it everyone!
Chapter 15: Escape the Prison
A shudder slithered its ugly course through Botan as she felt Hikaru's kiss graced her bare shoulder. A hiss escaped her mouth as his lips traced down from her shoulder into the space between her shoulder blades, and down the spine of her back. Each kiss was a fire that tingled against her skin. It happened almost every night now. After their love-making, her husband of three months would initiate these kisses that would send deadly chills rattling up her spine. She would curl into a ball and press her arms against her chest and hope that he would soon stop these lip-touches. Every night her hands clasped together awaiting the kisses to stop and every night an impression formed on her left wrist as the bracelet that encircled it, dug into the flesh. Her ring finger would be purple because she squeezed her hands so tight that the wedding band cut off her circulation. She felt his passion course through her body. And it was Hell every night.
Botan took relief as he stopped and wrapped his arms around her. She knew his desire for her affection. She shivered against him. She could not fulfill that desire. Hikaru shifted.
"What's wrong Botan?" he mumured into her blue mane.
"Nothing." She replied. It was always nothing. But that nothing would always cause her mind to wonder. There was something missing in her innocent existence of hers. What had she missed those weeks ago? That day when she had visited Youko Kurama in his cell, what happened to her memory? Why was it that she felt so cold every time Hikaru began his romantic games? Romance no longer interested her. It no longer heated her body up with an inner flame. What sensation had she lost that night in the prison that could possibly have changed her? Kisho had told her that she would be able to figure it out…but every time she would think back on that questionable night, her mind ached and throbbed. The only things that would ease the frustration that now marked her life were the roses in the garden. She had moved into her uncle's house and had taken the master bedroom with her cousin as it was customary after her cousin married and took over as the head of the house. A door in their room opened to the garden. Botan often found its roses to be the only thing that would cause her to feel free again: an escape from this prison of marriage to instead stand outside in the moonshine smelling the sweet fragrance of the red blossoms.
Hikaru was now half-asleep and Botan crawled out from under his arms. He awoke, and looked up at her slim form, smirking as he couldn't help but feel lucky to have her as a wife.
"What are you doing?" He murmured. Botan picked up one of her randomly discarded kimono from the floor. Her apparel had been hastily taken off by Hikaru. Quickly wrapping it around her nude frame she went towards the door to the garden.
"I'm going to the garden." She heard Hikaru give an annoyed sigh.
"Again?" Botan ignored him and assured him of her before-mentioned action. She walked out of the room barefoot. It was still dark outside, but she didn't mind. She wanted to enjoy the sunrise amongst the red rose flowers. She glided past the bamboo and into a secluded part of the garden to find the roses. The dew-littered, blood red petals of the flowers made her smile for some unknown reason, and as the wind came and threw up the dew from the roses and flung them with the flower's scent into her face, she was not annoyed. She felt refreshed and enjoyed the smell of crimson flowers. Her love of the smell had bloomed after her encounter with the "notorious Youko Kurama". The sun had begun its ascent in the paling sky, wiping the sky clean of the black.
'Almost three months', Botan thought dully and monotonously, 'Three months of the same sexual attempts at night and to no avail. This will be the 91st sun I see rise during my marriage.'
The day had blossomed into a clear blue day. Botan, in her orange, flower-printed kimono, walked obediently and quietly a few paces behind her husband. The man walking besides her husband was talking to Hikaru:
"Are you mad?" He exclaimed, "Bringing your young wife with us on this mission? The chief allowed it?"
"He had to," Hikaru replied, "The girl just wouldn't give up. She also said that if she did not go, she would no longer bed with me. My father would have whipped her if I had not told him to do otherwise. I'd rather not lose potential for an heir and son." Hikaru left out the fact that they had been trying every night, and she had not once shown any signs of pregnancy despite all the remedies her aunt had tried on her. In truth, her family wondered if she was even fertile.
"But on this mission? To the whore-house? Leader," the man said, "This is addressing the capture of the very thief that took the girl: the dreaded Youko Kurama!"
And that was exactly why. That was exactly why Botan needed to go. She wanted to find what went amiss after the awful ordeal with the fox.
After several hours of argument, Botan succeeded in persuading her uncle to allow her to go with Hikaru on his mission. A soldier helped her into the carriage when she, her husband, and the accompanying guards had reached the vehicle. Seated upon the silk cushions, she and her husband did not talk. She propped her head upon her hand, and leaned her elbow on the square window sill. The guards were loading into the carriages behind them.
"Botan, don't try to be seen." Hikaru told her. She retracted her elbow from the opening, and a guard outside closed the curtain of the window so that Botan sat with her husband enveloped in darkness. She felt his red eyes penetrate her appearance.
Her disguise was so: red lips that looked as if kissed by roses, a clean face as pale as the moon, her eyes lined with black. Layers of rich, lavish-looking silk kimonos hugged her body: the lining was a alluring red, the second layer a peach color, and the top layer being a soft orange with darker and lighter pink flowers and lines. Her hair was worn down in the old fashion of days long ago, and the strands graced her cheekbone. She was a geisha for a day. Feeling her husband's gaze upon her, she gingerly moved, causing her wooden, flat-soled sandals to knock together, breaking the silence.
"You look beautiful Botan." Botan glanced up at him and replied monotonously: "Thank you." Hikaru continued to stare at her. She stared down. The sounds from outside and the intensity of Hikaru's red eyes did not affect her. She blinked and was un-phased. Hikaru leaned over to place a comforting soft kiss upon her lips.
An image flashed by her mind. Trees. Wet. Water drops. A silver mane cascading over her. 'Lips.' Green leaves. Her hand caressed his cheek. It was over. Golden eyes.
The images repeated themselves over and over again during the remainder of their trip, Botan struggling to piece together these fragmentations of the mind. Her head began to throb and then the images retreated. 'No,' She thought, 'No, his eyes are red.' Looking over, she saw Hikaru's ruby eyes peer at her from outside the doorframe. She blinked out of her reverie as Hikaru offered her his hand to help her out of the carriage. They had arrived at their destination quicker than she had anticipated. They were now within the shadier and more heavily demon-populated part of their town.
The evening's light was retreating outside. Brightly-colored lanterns were lit outside the brothels. The laughter of the geisha and their patrons within a looming building created an exhilarating air of pleasure and enjoyment that encircled the area. She recognized several guards who were disguised as wealthy patrons with their arms around pretty women dressed alike to Botan. Everyone entered and a woman from inside led the entire party to a private room.
Botan was lead to a cushion where she sat next to Hikaru at a low table. Geisha laughed and flirted with the police officers. Botan thought they seemed sufficiently distracted. Hikaru was smiling and his arm held Botan closely to him by the shoulders. The stage was set. Now they wait. He was supposed to be here. Botan closed her eyes, and ignoring the pain that shot through her mind, tried to remember.
'In the rain…. Golden eyes….'
Golden eyes sparkled in the dimming evening night. He had originally come to have a taste of sexual pleasure, but now he could smell something familiar. It was her smell, and it lay in the vicinity, curiously fresh. He felt her presence the closer he approached the sound of flirting and laughter. He licked his lips. She intrigued him so, and that captivation had a hold on him still.
Youko Kurama sprang out of the brush and landed in the opening that held the building renown for prostituting geisha: human and demon ones alike. Whipping his tail in an excited manner from side to side, he glanced about. The Ningen Army's gunpowder lingered in the air. There were spies.
Picking a seed from his hair, he threw it toward the bushes to his right. A guard fell out of one, stunned. A smirk tugged at Youko's lips. He stepped gracefully toward the fallen man. Youko's hand snagged him up by the neck. The man, conscious and still alive, could do nothing more but move his eyeballs and peer down at the fox demon. His muscles refused to move as the seed's paralysis took hold of his body. Youko smiled. He yanked his hand back and thrust it forward into the man's larynx. Flesh was punctured. A mess was left upon the ground. Red mingled with Youko's white, stone-cold hands. A small splatter of red swept across Youko's ghostly face. Dropping the man, he lowered his eyes with a pleased smirk, and lifted his bloodied fingers to his lips. Sticking out his long tongue, he lapped at the crimson dripping from his claws.
The hardy, yet joyous crowd before her was vulnerable, Botan thought. There were quite a few that had reached the level of intoxication that restricted how they could function. They were not even supposed to have been given alcohol, but the carefree atmosphere had gotten to the best of Hikaru, and he let them have a few drinks. A few turned into more. The guard that was talking to Hikaru earlier that day offered Botan a drink, and after taking a few gulps, she felt her throat starting to tingle and feel warm, and stopped drinking. Her husband did not drink at all. He had lost some of the seriousness he had had earlier, (which was clearly displayed with his slouching), but he kept his mind on the mission. A man approached her husband, and sitting next to him, he began to tell the blonde-haired commander something. Botan strained her ears to hear.
"Leader," A man whispered to her husband, "Youko was spotted." The message made her husband tense and after a few moments, he asked the man:
"Are you sure?"
"Yes." Hikaru's eyebrows furrowed. 'Come with me.' He said to Botan. Botan stood up and began to walk with him out the door. At the doorway he called back: "My men…it is time I take in the festivities and bed a certain special female." Hearing this Botan wrestled his arm from her shoulders and turned to face him. He winked at her. His men cheered.
"Take me to bed?" She exclaimed in a hushed tone when Hikaru had successfully pulled her into the hallway, "What?" Her shoulders rose in fury and her eyes widened in astonishment.
"Calm down my dear. That is the signal for my men to know that Youko is in the building." Botan's shoulders relaxed, but the stern look she gave her husband stayed.
"I want you to stay in the other room to be safe, Botan." Botan's eyebrows furrowed as her cousin kissed her forehead. She wanted to see the renowned fox demon. She let herself be led to an office-like room, and sat upon a cushion, face calm, yet eyes ablaze with annoyance at her cousin's prevention, (though with good intentions), of her meeting with the kitsune . A single lantern lit the room in the dark of the evening
"This is the brothel owner's office. It's the innermost room, thus the safest. Wait here until I get back," Hikaru told her, "And whatever you hear or see, do not move from this room. I have guards placed outside the door to insure your safety." Botan nodded, and when he placed a swift kiss upon her lips, she blinked; eyebrows furrowed, and looked down as he walked out. When the door closed, she looked up and scanned the room.
It was quite large. There were a few tapestries and old scrolls in some ancient demonic script hanging on the innermost wall from the door. There were plants everywhere, which created an air of being secluded in a jungle of bamboo and ferns. A desk sat in the center of the room, littered with papers. There was a small pool of water lined with rocks in front of one scroll depicting a goddess. She was nude and held a branch of berries, perhaps a goddess of some demonic religion.
A scream pierced the night. Botan started. It echoed and was followed by more screams, of men and women alike. A sound resembling a fierce wind bounced about the building. Botan couldn't place its source. The screams were closer. She saw a body flung against the wall that separated her room from the one next to it. The screen wall ripped and she saw the man who had been flung; he bled heavily from his neck. The force of the blow had made the lantern in her room blow out.
Marriage had not changed our blue-haired heroine. Her eagerness for killing Youko had not disappeared, but instead, somewhat subsided into curiosity about the dreaded encounter with him that she couldn't recall. Lithely, she reached into her obi, pulling out a dagger that she kept there for protection.
It was disastrous in the room next to the office. From the hole in the wall, she saw the corpses of geishas, of guards, but she did not see the one of her cousin, which caused a small sigh of relief to ripple through her. But her comfort did not last long. She heard her cousin's voice, and then his scream ricochet down the hallway. Her pupils contracted. A body was flung down the hallway and hit the wall outside the door to the office. Botan recognized the guard from the afternoon who had been talking to her cousin.
"Please…" The familiar voice said, "Please…spare me." A blood-curdling screech ensured, and she trembled in the deadly silence that followed. The dull pats of footsteps started to sweep towards her door. The door was thrust aside, and in the darkness of the night and the hallway, a silver figure stood. Golden eyes met pink ones. They held each other's gaze. He was blood-spattered. The golden eyes were blinding, and in the deafening silence, an hour seemed to have passed in their shared glance. A whisper escaped Botan's lips:
Yay…so I hope you all enjoyed this chapter! It has been a long time I know. I'm sorry. The next chapter is almost ready, so please Read and Review!
Thank you for the support! :