Disclaimer: Obviously I don't own Inuyasha, because if I did, this story would be in . This story is inspired by Tamora Pierce's book "Wild Magic" and you'll find that later in the story I actually took a lot of things from her book. Please don't send me emails about how I took things from her book, because I already know, it was a conscious decision between me and my underactive brain.
AN: Hi there!
I know, it's been a LOOOONG time. Too long. But I've been busy. A few years worth of hang ups and distractions that took me away from my favourite distraction of all. I thought about starting a new story but they I went back and actually read my old stories that were incomplete and it made me want to finish them. However, because it's been so long, my ideas have changed a bit so I'm reposting a couple chapters with a few changes. Nothing major and you don't have to re-read ch 1-4 if you don't want to because I'll outline the changes when I post the brand spankin new ch 5. I'm really excited...how about you?
Vast clearings filled with wildflowers, rolling valleys that extended as far as the eye could see and a small forest edging the province. The land of Kikkawa was known for it's beautiful landscapes, excellent priest and priestess training, and the modern, free-thinking laws it bestowed upon its people. Or at least that's what it would have you believe. True that everyone knew of these things, and those desiring training would often come from far and wide to seek lessons at the temples, but really, it was known for its ruler. For Kikkawa was the only province in the land with a female ruler. Lady Ami.
Many first daughters came before her, all were married off, none laid claim to a throne. Even more interesting was that she had not even been born into the position. Not been elected by the people for her radical but effective thinking. No, her story was simple. She had been a princess, betrothed to a prince, who had become a warlord and then died. Refusing to disgrace her deceased husband's memory, or hurt her children in anyway, she had not married again and taken up position on the Lord's Thrown. None had said anything about her rise to power, for all had been mourning the loss of a great man, and so she had had no arguments concerning her ability to actually care for the kingdom. By the time anyone had spoken up about a woman ruling the land, it was too late. She was queen. Oh yes, her story was simple, or at least it seemed that way.
For all rulers, no matter their pedigree, morals, intelligence and the like, have their secrets. Whether it be that they like to visit the geisha house twice in a moon cycle, or that they committed high crime, they all have their secrets, and they all like to keep it just that. A secret. Lady Ami, of the Heian-kyo Hime, was no different. She cared for her land to the best of her ability, but she to struggled to keep her secret from the eyes of the public. But hers was one that was of grave importance, not only to herself but to the land and all its people. If it were ever to be discovered, the consequences could catastrophic.
And like most rulers, Lady Ami came up with a way to keep it from those that would want to use it for their own evil purposes. What's the best way to keep a weapon from those that would use it against you? Hide it in plain sight.
The cool night air washed over her creamy smooth skin as she looked up at the twinkling stars before her. Her wavy ebony hair trailed just below her shoulders as she tightened the intricate pink kimono around her dainty frame. She felt a light nudge at her ankle and her deep blue eyes fell upon a bobcat threading it's way around her legs.
She dropped to her knees beside it, not paying attention to the grass stains embedding themselves onto her obviously expensive kimono as she greeted the feline. "Hello little one," she said, running a hand up it's spine before scratching behind the cat's ears. It purred in response and made it's way onto her lap before curling up against her stomach. She absently stroked it as her eyes drifted back up to the sky, wishing for a moment that she were where the stars are.
No, scratch that. She wished she were free from her life with her family. She, of course, loved them dearly, but it was way too suffocating. She did not wish to marry some dull lord for his money and she certainly didn't want to have his children.
Truth be told, she would be quite content taking care of her animals for the rest of her life. If only-
The cat hissed at the interruption and leaped away from her as she turned at the sound of her name. She saw her brother Souta pounding towards her, one of his favourite wooden toys clutched at his side. He stopped beside her, took in her position and said, "Mother is going to kill you if you get grass stains on another kimono,"
The girl suddenly leapt to her feet and tried to brush away the stains that had already formed there.
"What were you doing? Playing with another one of your viscous animals?" he said, an amused glint in his eyes.
"No!" she immediately shrieked, quick to squash any thoughts that she had disobeyed her mother, "What do you want anyway?"
"Mother said to come in, you have another suitor," he said the last word with great contempt. Perhaps she had rubbed off too much on her brother. "She also said that you have to wash and change because she doesn't want you greeting this one with stains on your clothes and dirt under your nails like you did the last one. I think she really wants you to hit it off with this one. She said she has high hopes,"
"Oh, well in that case, I had better do my hair too," she said, knowing that it wasn't disobeying if her mother didn't tell her herself. Or at least send her lady-in-waiting to tell her for her.
"See ya," he said before he scampered off into the distance.
Kagome grinned before she dropped back to her knees and fisted a handful of grass into her hair, smudging it in and ruffling her hair so that it looked like a variable bird's nest. Next, she rubbed grass over her kimono, making sure that their were unsightly mud and grease stains covering the delicate pink material. She hated pink anyway.
When she was satisfied she stood up hastily and ran home. This was going to be fun.
He kneeled before the throne, head down and silver hair cascading forward. "As you wish, Father" came his deep, smooth velvety voice, cascading down the spine of the servant girl, much like his hair down his shoulder. Her cheeks began to redden and despite the fact he wasn't even facing in her direction, she dropped her head to hide the blush.
The soft sound broke the trance as the one kneeling swiftly stood and turned, one delicate eyebrow arching incrimintally upward, the rest of his face remaining as composed as ever. "Is there a problem, Dear Brother?" he replied, acid dripping into the last words.
"Not for me. I'm not the one being forced to do something I don't want to do like a chump."
"I'm sorry that you feel service of our land is chump-making," he replied in a tone that implied he wasn't sorry at all. He walked toward the open entrance doors, the doorframe of which the other silver-haired mail leaned against. Although it appeared as though was going to simply sweep out of the room he oaused breifly and, without even bothering to turn in his direction stated "It pleases me to please my king. Just as I'm sure it will please you when I am king." With that he left, his silky silver strands trailing behind him along with the silence.
"Must you provoke him?" came a voice from the other side of the throne room
The man pushed up off the door frame and walked toward the owner of the voice, coincidentally, another silver-headed male. Must be something in the water. "Actually, yes, I must. We all must squeeze joy from life in any way that we can, musn't we?" he answered with a smirk, tilting his head slightly in a silent challenge to correct him.
The older male chuckled and reclined further in his seat, looking skyward as he said "Oh I don't know what I am to do with you. Your brother is simply doing what is best for this nation. It is just marriage, it means very little to him, really."
"Too bad for the girl that has to marry him then. What shocks me more is that he agreed to marry a lowly human. Is he really gonna sire some half-breed whelps?"
"Well, too be honest that is unlikely. You know how your brother is. But this union will strengthen both of our nations, and will solidify his powerbase when he is king, so of course he saw the wisdom."
"Right," he sighed, suddenly losing interest in the line of conversation and examining his claws more closely, "The wisdom. Like I said, I feel sory for the girl that has to marry him."
She found her mother and one of those boneheads that her mother insisted on trying to hook her up with in the foyer. She didn't stop running, however and plowed right into the man, sending him skidding to the floor. 'Geez, if he can't take that light of a push, he's really not worth my time,' she thought, ignoring the disdain-filled look her mother was sending her.
She took a proper greeting stance, her head bowed and her hands clasped in front of her, not bothering to help the man to his feet. The best thing about this stance was that he had a clear view of the large twig sticking out of her hair. Her mother took a stance beside her daughter and tried to pull out the pieces of grass before Kagome's suitor had time to see. But there were just way too many twigs in there to pull out right now.
He quickly got to his feet and said, "Hello madam, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance,"
She didn't respond, only looked at the floor.
"Well, as you most likely know, I am Lord Hakuchi of Nakaguri. I must say, you are more lovely then the rumours I've heard,"
Still, she said nothing. Though that smirk spreading across her face was a little hard to miss.
"I see you've been outside recently. Were you caught out in the forest? I say, that's no place for an elegant girl such as you so late at night,"
She said nothing still, until her mother elbowed her hard in the ribs. Discreetly, of course. Kagome looked up, gave him a placid smile and said, "Oh, didn't my mother tell you? I'm a deaf mute,"
Kagome gave him a quizzical look, as though she had no idea what he had just said.
"She has quite the sense of humour, doesn't she?" said Lady Ami, before darting an icy look at her eldest daughter.
Kagome choked down her laugh before going on, "It's been such a hardship, being a deaf mute. And I have many needs you know,"
"If your a deaf mute," asked Lord , "How come you can speak?"
She looked at him quizzically for a second, then smiled and put a hand to her mouth, "Why, thank you, they've always been this white," before dropping her hand.
"No, I asked, how you are able to talk?"
"Oh, well, alright. Where would you like to go?"
He looked to Lady Ami and said, "I'd heard rumours of her desire to not get married, but I didn't think it would be this bad,"
Suddenly he felt Kagome's hand smack against his left cheek, leaving a resounding echo traveling through the house. "I am not that kind of girl!" she yelled before she flew from the room. Once in the hall, she bumped into Souta, who had been listening outside. They looked at each other...
...and burst out laughing at the exact same time before flying down the hall so that they wouldn't be caught, the sound of Lady Ami's apologies quickly fading.
Once they were once again outside, Souta said, "That was hilarious, I can't believe you did that, again," before flopping down onto the grass.
She sat down next to him, brushing the twigs and dirt out of her hair before pressing down on it so that it would at least resemble flat.
"So, what do you think your punishment will be this time?" he said, looking over at her.
She took a moment to consider, her brow furrowing slightly before she shrugged and said, "A week in the stables?"
Souta snorted. Yes, she was definitely rubbing off on him. "No way, she knows how much you love that."
"Yeah, after you squealed," she said, though the smile she sent him took the light sting out of her words.
"She'll probably make you clean the wash basins or something," he said, in his most matter-of-fact tone.
"Shudder," she drawled before laying back with one arm under her head. A long stretch of comfortable silence passed before Kagome spoke again. "Hey, Souta?"
She bit her lip, not knowing if she should really ask. Steeling her self, she said, "What would you do if I left?"
"I don't know. Probably jump for joy," he shrugged
"I'm serious. If I left one day because I just didn't want to be here anymore, would you hate me?" She was looking down at her lap, as thought she couldn't stand to look him in the eye when he answered.
Souta considered this for a second, then said, "No."
He smiled lightly, a light shadow of the sadness he had felt at her question showing in his eyes, "I know how much you hate this life. I know you don't want to get married or be a simple housewife. If you decided to leave, I wouldn't want to stand in your way. I'd miss you, but I wouldn't hate you. And I know that one day, I would see you again,"
She smiled almost wryly and asked "Hey Souta?"
"When did you get so smart and philosophical?"
He gave her a cocky grin as he lay down with his arms folded under his head. "I've always been like that, your just too stupid to notice,"
"Gee, thanks," she said, punching him lightly in the shoulder before leaning forward to wrap her arms around her knees.
Another patch of comfortable silence passed, this one longer than the last, before Souta said, "Hey, Kagome?"
He hesitated, worried that if he asked, she would bite his head off or something. "If you leave, can I have your horse?"
"Darkmoon? I'll have to think about that one," she said, as she looked up at the stars.
AN: well, what do you think. different, right? Right...
Just one scene is different for anyone that that chose not to read this chapter. on to the next one...