Hello everybody! This is a combination between alternate universe and a Beauty and the Beast Fic. But don't worry for those who like original fanfictions and felt they've read it all before. I'm going to try to be as un-cliché as humanly possible. Enjoy.
Yama no Dobutsu (Beast of the Mountain)
Higurashi-san had been traveling for weeks. His mule died yesterday from starvation. Without food, and only so much water left- he too would surely die if he kept this up any longer. He realized that the dead mule was a source of food- but he couldn't bring himself to eat the thing that had been his only companion for about a month now... that and the thing died from starvation- how much meat could he get out of that?
The forest he was traveling in was at a slope, a steep one- undoubtedly some mountains. But the problem with this place was that everything was dead. If he had found any trace of life he would have killed it and ate it by now... but there was nothing.
His legs were tired now from all his upward climbing. Why was he doing something so stupid one might ask? Well... he was recently visiting China over the late winter and early spring. He promised his wife, father-in-law, his son, and his daughter a present from there.
They each asked for different things, each things that China undoubtedly had- except his daughter. She liked flowers and especially rare ones. The one she wanted from China was called the Green Rose. From what he understood, it wasn't really pretty, but it was pretty rare. His guide informed him that since the winter season had just passed, all of the Green Roses were just starting to sprout and they were very difficult to take care of- he doubted that he could take care of the rose on his trip back to Japan- and even if he did, he doubted his daughter could keep it alive long enough to enjoy it. There was also the problem that with one random cold day it would be dead before she could say "Thank you Daddy."
Since he couldn't find what his daughter wanted, he was now searching for a not necessarily a better present- but one she would like just as much. There were rumors that on top of the mountain he was climbing was a special rare rose called the Yamaibara. Beautiful and rare it was- he was sure Kagome would forget about her Green Rose if he brought that back for her. That, and they were in bloom in May.
He got up again and started to climb. He had to be getting close, there couldn't that much mountain left...
He kept on climbing for a while. Then he stumbled onto something peculiar. It was... a road...
He stepped onto the road which seemed pretty even considering this was a mountain. He looked up the mountain. The road led to stairs... like at the shrine back home. He bit his lower lip, sensing danger from this path, but he decided to climb up the stairs anyway. So on he strode. It wasn't until he reached the top he discovered how wrong he had to be about the peculiar road.
There was a grand palace, but he didn't care about the palace, what he cared for was right in front of the palace. A garden! A garden filled with hundreds- many thousands mountain roses. It was like the jackpots of jackpots. Kagome would be thrilled if he could bring home an entire bouquet of roses. Forget the Green Rose, this was the better deal.
He withdrew his dagger from a pack he was carrying. He got to the roses and started to cut them at the bottom of their stems. He admired the roses; they had big, white petals that closed around in an egg shape with a small point at the end. Their stamens were kept tidily in a small circle. They were in small clusters at the end of each stem. Kagome would be absolutely thrilled.
He glanced up at the palace. It was disgusting. He was positive that nobody would live there. So- the roses were his to take.
He grinned merrily as he picked the roses one by one. After cutting all that's necessary to make a bouquet he took out a silk piece of cloth and wrapped them up. He took a small portion of his water to dampen the cloth so the roses didn't dry out.
He sighed happily. Finally, he could return home with a present for each of the people in his family. He missed them so much and he couldn't wait to see their smiling faces after bring them back such wonders.
In the middle of his own rejoicing he heard an agitated voice behind him, "What the hell do you think you're doing, old man?"
Higurashi-san froze. He turned around and gasped at a demon behind him. He wore all red. His white hair, golden eyes, razor sharp claws, and cat ears were proof of his demon parentage.
"Well? You gonna answer why you're stealing my Yamaibara?" the demon asked again, flexing his claws menacingly, "I'm running low on patience."
"M- m- my- my daughter wanted some," Higurashi-san explained.
"And that makes it okay to steal?" the demon crossed his arms.
"No... I thought this palace was abandoned," Higurashi tried to tell the demon, "I didn't know they belonged to anybody."
"Do you ever look before you leap, old man?" the demon glared down at him.
Higurashi cowered to the ground and begged, "Please spare my life Neko-sama!"
"Neko-? I'm a dog demon!" he yelled, clearly insulted.
"I'm sorry!" he apologized, "Please spare my life Inu-sama! I will do anything if I can just see my family one last time."
"Wait- wait-," the demon smirked, "so let me get this strait. If I let you go see your family; you'll come back here to die- without any angry mobs or nothing?" the demon asked skeptically, "How stupid do you think I am?"
"Please, I just want to see my wife and children!" Higurashi continued, "I'll do anything in return! I'll give you anything in return!"
The Inu gave a sigh, "There's nothing of yours that I want..." he paused for a little, "on second thought..."
Higurashi-san could not see the demon's face at the moment, for he was too busy bowing- but he had an idea that he was smirking right now.
"You said you had a daughter? How old?" the demon asked, "And bring your face up."
Higurashi-san did as he commanded. He gulped, afraid to answer to the question about his daughter. He stuttered, "She's 15..."
"Great, you have a deal. Your life, if you bring her to me," the demon bargained.
"What?! No! Never! I will not send my daughter to die!" Higurashi-san cried defiantly.
"Look Pops. I'm not going to kill her," the demon covered his ears as Higurashi yelled.
"I'm not going to send her to get raped either!" Higurashi-san continued.
"My gods you idiot! I'm got going to rape your damned daughter! Stop with the yelling!" he barked.
"What would you do with her?" Higurashi-san asked, attempting to calm himself.
"I'm not going to do anything to her. She won't get hurt or offended and yadda-yadda, she'll be comfortable, she'll have human companions...," he stopped himself, "wait a sec... I don't have to explain this to you," the demon cracked his knuckles.
"She… won't be harmed?" Higurashi-san asked hopefully.
"No damn it!" the demon scowled, "But when she comes here, you'll never see her again..."
"That's such a hard commitment," Higurashi-san mumbled.
"This is the case pops. You either can die and you'll daughter live in whatever crap shack you live in now- or she can live with me and my pals, and get dressed and fed well, while you go live with your wife and other kids. Ok? You have five seconds to decide..."
Higurashi had to go what he thought was best for his child and himself...
"one second! Time's up!"
"Ok!" Higurashi-san cried, "I'll do it."
"Ok, I'll be expecting her in five days, capiche? Or else I'll…" the demon thought it over, "… find your sorry ass and kill you or something…"
Souta huffed on Kagome's lap, "Why isn't he here yet? It's already sundown and he promised!" He crossed his arms childishly.
"Stop that Souta," Kagome instructed, "You'll wrinkle your yukata. You don't want father to see you messy when he gets home do you?"
"No..." Souta grumbled "But I want him home. We haven't seen him in over a mon-"
"Thank the gods! It's him!" Kagome cried as she looked down the shrine steps.
"Fetch Mama Souta! And Jii-san too!" Kagome ordered.
"Hai!" he cried as he ran into their living quarters.
Kagome hopped down the steps in excitement. He was already half up the stairs but she wanted to hug him as soon as possible.
She hopped in front of him and embraced him, "Irasshai to-chan!"
"Tadaima," he gave a half smile- only to turn into a frown. Kagome stopped hugging him. He seemed sad.
"Daijobu?" Kagome asked out of concern.
"... Daijobu," her father nodded.
"Dear!" cried her mother from the stairs. She was also in a kimono. Kagome could see behind her mother was her grandfather coming to see his son-in-law at his own pace.
"Tadaima!" her father smiled joyfully.
"Otou-san! Otou-san!" Souta yelled as he ran down the stairs to his father, "What did you bring me? What did you bring me?"
"Just what you asked for-" he took off his pack and searched around for it, "Here. A real Chinese martial artists' outfit."
"Yay!" he squealed as he unfolded the cloth to look at all of it.
"I got Jii-san his Chinese scrolls, and Okaa-san her Chinese slippers and you Kagome," he turned to his one and only daughter, "I couldn't find any green roses for you."
Kagome frowned. Was that why he felt bad about hugging her? She smiled at him. That had to be it. He just didn't want her to be disappointed with him. She assured him, "It's alright Tou-chan! I heard that the Green roses aren't very pretty, so I'm okay with it."
"I'm not done- I got you these instead," he pulled out a bouquet of gorgeous white Yamaibara roses. Kagome gasped as her father handed them to her. They were gorgeous. He mentioned, "They aren't Chinese, but I hope you like them."
"My goodness dear," her mother came to inspect the roses, "Those are very rare- and very expensive. How ever could you afford those with the amount of money that you took with you?"
"I didn't pay for them, I found them. An entire garden's worth of them," Kagome's father explained.
"Really?" Kagome was immediately interested, "Is it a mountain close by?"
"Yes, do you want me to take you there a couple days from now? As a day trip- just you and me?" her father suggested. It seemed like it would be an offer with love in each syllable, but he made it sound like an trip he didn't want her to take.
"I would love that, Daddy," Kagome nodded her head, "I can't wait to see all of the Yamaibara."
Yes, I am aware that this is an inhumanly short chapter. But it's more of a prologue. The next chap will be longer (by like twice as much) I swear.