Author's Notes: Well ladies and gentlemen, the time has come. After almost 18 months of pain, joy, love, heartbreak, and revelation, "The King's Mistress" has come to an end. I don't know what I can say, other than the compliment that you have all been such a delightful audience. Any flames I have received have been few and far between, and the one time I had to deal with a plagiarist you were all very supportive. I wish I could thank each and every one of you individually, but I can't. So this will have to suffice.

Thank you.

Below you will find links to more fanart, along with links to sites where TKM has been nominated for more awards, and a few final F.A.Q.s that I chose to answer in general, rather than individually, since so many of you asked the same questions. So if you've asked me something and it wasn't answered, there is a chance the answer is below.

The future of TKM is, at this point, hazy at best, but I have, at the very least, submitted copies to each member of my family to read and give their opinion and ask for advice to begin turning it into an original piece, and I hope after spring break of this year (so the beginning of April) to begin working on that monumental project. I'll be sure to let you all know when that is, so I can begin posting it on fiction press, where I hope to see all of you go to let me know how I'm doing since I value the opinions of everyone here. And as for other stories, I already stated that I intend to continue "Impossible Dreams", and a rough draft chapter outline for "Lord of the West" (the prequel to this story) is already under construction. So stay tuned for that. Plus, I have a few one-shot ideas in mind, including a few that will go along with TKM, so I hope you can all enjoy that.

And now, I suppose, I'd best say the words that are so painful and yet so wonderful to say at the same time. I couldn't be prouder of my accomplishment in this story, but I couldn't be more melancholy at the thought that I will never again post a new chapter for it on this site. And even though I intend to continue work on it, transforming it into an original work, there will never again be the joy of posting something brand new and exciting that has never been seen before by any audience. Oh well. It has been a wonderful ride, and I have enjoyed sharing it with you.

So now, with your permission, I take my leave. Adieu.

Award Nominations/Voting

"The King's Mistress" has been nominated for THREE awards at the Inuyasha Fanguild. This is a dream come true for me. It has been nominated in the following categories:

- Best Drama
- Best Romance (Inuyasha/Kagome)
- Best Serial Fiction

Also, to ice the top of an already perfect cake, my first ever one-shot, "Perfectly Flawed", has also received nominations in THREE separate categories. I can hardly believe it. The categories are:

- Best Romance (Inuyasha/Kagome)
- Best One-shot
- Best Characterization (for Inuyasha)

Thank you all so much for the honor, and I can't begin to express my gratitude for all your support. The Fanguild is currently voting for the awards, so if you're a member be sure to go and vote. There is some incredible fiction up for awards this quarter! The link can be found on my profile page! Thanks again!


Alright, here's the next batch of fanart from all you wonderful readers/budding artists. Everyone puts TKM to life so beautifully! And I hope to see more art from everyone even though this story is now technically complete. Enjoy, everyone!

Artist: Athyra
- http/www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 27238253/

Artist: Han Mei
- http/www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 27641354/

Artist: False-Angel
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 27903397/
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 28350447/

Artist: CissboX
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 27913944/
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 28141712/
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 28218412/

Artist: The Painted Lady (a.k.a. LadyBloodaxe)
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 28359915/

Artist: Fire-Senshi
- http/ www. deviantart. com/ deviation/ 28352509/


Why did Kagome recover so quickly from her grief?

I based Kagome's grief process on my own experience and what I went through when I lost someone very near and dear to my heart suddenly due to a previously unknown heart condition. He was only 35, and in perfect health, and literally went to bed one night and failed to wake up the next morning, so it was as unexpected as death can be. I remember feeling desolate, hopeless, and ill for many days. I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep very well, and I didn't want to talk to anyone. But I also recall that there was suddenly a morning when I woke up and it was as though there was finally a change in my life. I could breathe again...that's the best way I can describe it. It was literally as though my body had decided it was time to release its grief and move forward, never forgetting, but finally able to go on living. So I gave Kagome a similar experience, but because it was her sister she lost, I made the grieving period much longer (remember, over a month passed between the time of the funeral and the time of the next chapter, and there was also a week between Kikyou's death and the funeral, so Kagome was in a state of mourning like the one I described above for at least 6 weeks). And the reason I didn't go through her grief process step-by-step is because that would have become tedious. Those of us who have lost loved ones would understand without extra chapters what Kagome is feeling, and for those who have not lost, well, I remember how I was before Ted died, and it doesn't matter if someone writes an entire novel about can't understand it fully until you experience it. So I felt it would have been a waste of time for the readers, as well as myself.

Why did you so often have Kagome choose Kikyou over Inuyasha? Wouldn't she be more loyal to the man she loves?

This is a question posed to me so often throughout this story I could almost predict that each chapter at least one person would ask. I don't feel I was unrealistic in my portrayal of Kagome and Kikyou's relationship. So often I feel like when people write romance novels they completely ignore the pull of the love for one's family. True, the one you love eventually becomes your family, but it's still different. Kagome did not grow up with Inuyasha. She did not learn how to play her violin with him at her side; she did not struggle through puberty and hardship with his guidance and comfort. And as such she could not feel as loyal to him. That does not mean she did not love him, however. I feel like some people were misplacing love for loyalty. If Kagome had known Inuyasha as long as I feel she's known him in the actual anime (which, I always guess, is at least a few years), then perhaps her loyalty towards him would be a little stronger, but in this case she was still looking at almost seventeen years' worth of loyalty for Kikyou, and only about one year of loyalty for Inuyasha. Knowing how much I love my brother, and would do anything for him (and he for me), I don't feel in this case that I ever went overboard. Also, Kagome knew, deep down, that Inuyasha could protect himself. Kikyou could not. So naturally she would help her sister. If they had both been in front of a charging horse and she had to choose in a split second (rather than have days and weeks to think about it as was the case in this story), well...that's another story. Then I'd be more inclined to think that love would overpower loyalty and duty. But in this case...all I can say is never underestimate the power of logic and the mind to talk oneself out of or into almost anything.

Title: The King's Mistress

Author: dolphingirl0113

Chapter Thirty-Seven: Journey's End

Rating: PG-13 (for language and, at times, implied sexual situations)

Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, nor do I take credit for several of the historical ideas, facts, and realities I have taken and used.

It was an incredible, liberating experience to feel like my life had at long last been returned to me. And yet, after having suffered so much, I felt like I had earned the right to choose my destiny and shape my own future. I had lived my life up until then exactly how everyone else had expected me to…so it was time to live the way I wanted to live.

The way Kagome Higurashi, the woman (not the sister, or the daughter, or the mistress of Inuyasha, or the betrothed of Kouga) wanted to live.

The court accepted my relationship with their King almost as though they'd known all along that we had been in love, and I suppose I wouldn't have been surprised if every man and woman came up to me and said they'd seen it and known. After all, the only people who mattered had already told me that we had been rather obvious, so unless every courtier was an idiot (which I suppose, based on my experiences, is a distinct possibility), it would be only natural to assume that they connected the dots as well.

Either way, I cared little. I was a woman in love, and finally allowed to show it openly.

I can still recall the way I would embarrass Inuyasha by kissing him openly before the entire court, or leaning against him closely as we would dance. I remember that first public kiss best. The way his eyes nearly popped out of his head and his cheeks turned such a brilliant shade of pink Miroku made a joke about how it brought out the amber color of his eyes. I couldn't stop laughing for days, and he couldn't stop scowling in public, though behind closed doors...well...let's just say he's a much more forgiving person when he's not forced to appear before his subjects.

I'd like to say that's changed. I'd like to say that he's grown more relaxed in my presence while in front of others, but that would be a lie. He has never been a very open person, and he still hasn't gotten used to the fact that I am…so no matter what I do, or how much I smile, he is uncomfortable, but at least we've stopped arguing about it. At this point we simply agree to disagree, I no longer plant kisses on his cheek to placate his self-conscious personality, but at the same time I don't allow him to pull away from me in public.

It's just something he's had to adjust to because, honestly, I feel as though I've earned my right to love him openly and with abandon.

Our marriage came, as any of you who can do math may have guessed, a little sooner than we planned when I missed my courses and realized I was with child. It was one of the more embarrassing moments of my life when I had to admit to my mother the truth behind my 'delicate condition', but she was, as she always is, supportive, and when Inuyasha insisted on an immediate marriage to avoid a repeat of the scandal with his first wife, she and I both heartily agreed.

Neither Inuyasha or I wanted a large ceremony, mostly because nothing good had come of the last one. Inuyasha was, in all honesty, a little embarrassed that it was his second wedding at his young age, and I wasn't particularly eager to remind anyone of the fact that his previous wife had been my sister. So instead of inviting the entire country and holding it in a grand cathedral, we held a quiet ceremony one Sunday afternoon in May, with only the four other monarchs and our family and friends present. Sango carried my train and Miroku stood at Inuyasha's side once more.

The ceremony was completed before anyone could catch wind of what was going on, so that the marriage was signed and sealed before anyone could protest, and, in all honesty, I wasn't as bothered by the secrecy as I thought I'd be. No, it wasn't quite the romantic ceremony I'd always dreamed of as a young girl, the nausea accompanying my pregnancy combined with my nerves enough to force me to my bed almost immediately after the priest proclaimed us man and wife, but I was content. I had the love of my life at my side, bound to me forever, and privately, after we disappeared to our chambers for the evening, he marked me as his in the ancient demon tradition as well...and to be perfectly honest, that meant more to me than anything as he had not marked Kikyou in such a way.

Despite the secrecy, however, and Inuyasha's very bitter regard for his court after what they'd done to Kikyou, we at least granted the public the chance to have a grand ceremony when I was officially crowned as the High Queen, and held many celebrations after the fact, with much drinking, dancing, and merriment, and for a time all seemed well. Of course there were the rumors that I knew would come when our son was born almost two months early, but we both ignored them, and they soon died down anyway since the child was obviously Inuyasha's thanks to his silver hair and amber eyes.

And on the night that I presented Inuyasha with his first son, he presented me with a gift of his own: the large, pink ball pendant I'd seen his mother wearing in so many of her portraits. He told me it was called the Jewel of Four Souls and that his father had found it long ago on some forgotten battlefield and presented it to his mother on the day he asked her to be his wife. He explained that his mother had wanted him to give it to the woman he eventually married, but when I asked Inuyasha why he had not given it to Kikyou he could not answer me, though I suspect it was because he did not want to hurt me with his answer.

No doubt it was for the same reason he had not marked her, or ever shared her bed, despite the fact that they had been, in the eyes of God, married. And the truth of those realities was too much for either of us to bear.

She has become, unfortunately, someone we don't talk about much. It's strange, but the more distance that is put between us and that moment when she died, the more difficult it is for us to talk about it. Inuyasha has decided, as time has gone by, that he never really loved my sister at all, and that their entire courtship had been a farce. I am unable to think such things simply because I don't like the idea of Kikyou being hurt, and as such we've had many arguments, and over time have simply mutually agreed to not talk about either her or their relationship together.

I regret this, because it means suddenly it's become something evil…something that taints our otherwise beautiful marriage. But it can't be helped. I know he still mourns for her in his own way as the woman he couldn't protect, and I try not to think about it too much because then the old jealousy returns, and that is, any more, such a pointless emotion. Kikyou is dead, and the rivalry is over. She deserves to simply rest in peace with the man she loves, and not have her memory tainted by me.

And anyway, I prefer to remember her as she was to me, not to anyone else. And she was a wonderful sister, in spite of all her flaws.

I miss her still, just as my mother predicted, but I suppose that is to be expected. I don't suppose I'll ever fully adjust to the empty part of my heart that feels as though a piece of me has already died and crossed over to the next world. It's as though Kikyou and I shared the same soul, and now that she's gone a part of me has gone too.

Still, I've filled that part of my heart with the piece of himself that Inuyasha has given to me, and that is enough. Or, as I used to always think, it has to be enough. Otherwise, I don't think I could ever be truly and completely happy again. After all, I've already received more than I could have ever hoped for from life when I first arrived at court nearly five years ago. I was bitter then, thinking I would have to marry a man I could never love, and angry with my sister for not speaking to me for so long.

How foolish I was then.

I thought I would never find love because I would have to marry a man I'd never met before. True, I didn't love him, but I didn't end up marrying him either and being betrothed to Kouga certainly didn't keep me from falling in love with someone else.

Yet even so Kouga, true to his word, continues to be my friend, coming to my side in full support whenever I need allies from one monarch to another. He married Ayame just nine months ago, and I am truly happy for both of them, knowing he has made her dreams come true and also knowing he at last has someone with him that I know will love him as he deserves. I never did mean to hurt him, though I suppose all that matters is that I did hurt him, regardless. But I am sorry. I suppose it is true that the path to Hell is paved with good intentions. I tried so hard to do right by everyone that in the end I hurt everyone instead, including myself.

I nearly lost the man I loved because I wanted to help Kikyou, but still couldn't resist his call, and in the end broke the heart of another man who I should have simply said no to in the beginning, and then also betrayed my sister by becoming the mistress of her husband. If I had simply been true to my own heart from the beginning, Kikyou would have never married Inuyasha in the first place, I never would have hurt Kouga the way I did, and, more than anything, she would have never been put on trial in the first place.

But I couldn't see it then, and I've learned to forgive myself…mostly. If we were meant to see into the future, it would be so. But we're not. So instead all we can do is the best we can, and hope that, at the end of our lives, we can look back and say well done, as Kikyou was able to say the day she died.

It seems strange to realize that I've come to the end of my story. I've been writing this memoir now for nearly eighteen months, and the child I recently had is already up and walking thanks to his demon blood. He's certainly a handful, not only for me, but also for all of his nurses, but I love him just the same, as does his father.

I look at my little family and can hardly believe how lucky I am. God does work in mysterious ways, because we recently received word that Henry VIII, the supposed Golden Prince of Europe, has finally lost his mind, or something to that effect. He did indeed manage to divorce his wife, Katharine of Aragon, though I pity that poor woman because she supposedly died old and alone in some far off little castle, and not even her daughter could come to her. And all because she couldn't bear Henry a son.

And now Anne Boleyn, the once Great Whore of England, has become a martyr herself, because she has been locked away and is going to be beheaded, accused of treason through several affairs, including, supposedly, one with her own brother. I pity her too; this cannot be the end she fought so hard for when she thought to overthrow a Queen. And it is all, I am quite sure, because she couldn't bear King Henry any of the sons he so desperately craves.

And even if the accusations are true, I wouldn't doubt that the poor woman was driven to such extremes simply because she was so desperate to carry a child to term she would do anything.

Why then, I often wonder, was I blessed already with two healthy sons when my husband could care less whether he has daughters, sons, or, frankly, any children at all, while these other women, Katherine and Anne, couldn't have any children other than one daughter and their husband would do anything for a son.

Strange…and unfair, in my opinion.

Still, I suppose it does me no good to worry about the fate of a woman I hardly met once. I've done all I can by sending her a letter, Queen to Queen, to tell her of my sorrow over her fate, and that I pray for her daily. There is nothing more I can do. Our country is no strong ally of England, and has no pull on Henry or his decisions. And, more than that, even if we did, I know Inuyasha would never get involved in something as dangerous as all these matters with the Pope and the Church of England and Martin Luther and everything else. It's a revolutionary problem that we need no part of, since Inuyasha and Sesshoumaru can both still remember a time when their country balanced on a knife's edge and peace was a fragile new novelty that could barely be contained.

So I content myself with what I have, and try to do my best as Queen of our great country. I have two sons to raise now, and I hope that, in time, I will also be blessed with a daughter with whom I may share all my wisdom and womanly advice, but in the meantime I foster in my sons affection as well as a healthy rivalry, for it forces them to strive to better themselves, even at their young ages.

I see them, and I am reminded of Kikyou and myself...and it makes me smile. She can live on, not only in me, but in them as well.

My beautiful, beautiful children.

I've already had to deal with their tears on certain occasions when they've come to me crying after a mother refused to allow her children to play with them because of their mixed blood, and I've also had to calm Inuyasha's raging temper whenever this happens, but I am grateful that, unlike Inuyasha, my sons are not alone, because Shippou is always willing to play with them, and more than that, Miroku and Sango have a young girl who cares little for blood or race or ancestors. I am grateful for that; grateful that my children won't have to know the loneliness that their father did growing up.

And now it is even said that Rin is with child for the first time, and I am thrilled for her. I can't wait to have a fellow Queen be busy raising a child, and I have dreams of one day watching the children of the royal households become great friends and visit back and forth throughout the holidays and in the summertime. Though it seems rather unlikely at this point that any children will come from either the East or the South, for while Kagura continues to reign as a Queen in her own right and refuses to marry or have any children, Bankotsu maintains that he will not marry at all, saying that his nephew, the son of his brother, will one day inherit his throne.

I personally think it's a pity, since I know many women who would gladly become his wife, but he insists, in subtle ways, that I am the only one for him, and I simply smile and nod my head and remind him that I do not require him to stay single for my sake. But honestly, I also think he just enjoys being a bachelor. Still, I know Inuyasha wishes he would just marry so that he would stop flirting with me and sending me gifts.

Even now, my beloved hanyou fears he will lose me. At times I find it adorable, and at other moments I find it annoying and infuriating, but through it all, I keep it as a reminder that he loves me, because Inuyasha doesn't care about losing something that means nothing to him.

I just have to remind myself of that each time we have an argument about it.

So I suppose, with nothing more to say, I had best end this memoir and give it to the monks so that it may be put in their library with the other manuscripts and memoirs of rulers that have come before me. I feel slightly strange putting myself up with the likes of King Inutaisho and Queen Izayoi, but I suppose it had to happen eventually, so it might as well be now. I certainly hope the most exciting part of my life is over, and I can now be allowed to live in peace with my family for the rest of my life. Having finished this memoir also means I'm enjoying the right to taunt Inuyasha by reminding him that I have now fulfilled my duty as Queen, whereas he has not, and I warn him that if he waits much longer he'll have a couple hundred years' worth of life to write about…but he just growls and tells me to leave him alone.

It's incredible that he will live longer than any mortal could possibly dream, and yet, in some ways, I don't think he will ever change. I truly believe that in two hundred years he will be just the same as he is now, with the same temper and the same genuine heart that drew me to him in the first place. I find that comforting. Perhaps that means he can prevent me from changing too much as well. Perhaps, together, we can stay forever young, despite the fact that the years will age us, if not as physically fast as most humans, than at least as fast mentally.

My Inuyasha.

My joy, my love, and my life. I pray all women may find a man to love as I love him, and that they may be cherished and loved in return as I know he loves me. I truly believe love is the greatest gift any of us can give to others, and the greatest joy we ourselves can receive.

I also pray that you who are reading this have found whatever it is that you were looking for when you were first drawn to the monastery library and took this from the shelf. If nothing else, learn from my mistakes, and use the lessons I have learned to better yourselves without being forced to endure all the pain I did. Besides love, the imparting of wisdom is the best thing one being can offer to another, and I offer what I have learned in life willingly to anyone who will accept it. So please take it, and may God smile upon you in whatever you do.

And now my story is finished.

No more living in the past. My advisers, especially Gideon, were correct by insisting I write this. I was so resistant at first, and now, looking back, I realize that was only because I feared bringing back too many painful memories. And indeed, there are still many scars in my heart that I had thought healed, but I now see are not. Still, the first step to enlightenment, as they say, is seeing the truth for what it is, so perhaps now I can truly begin to move on and live my life the way it is meant to be lived, since the hardest part is recognizing our own faults, which I have had to do in writing this, admitting to all the mistakes I made, and how blind I had been so many times, even as I tried to help.

It was difficult to see, but I now realize that, in trying to help everyone I sometimes did more damage than good for those I loved. Still, while I made mistakes, I can honestly say it was all with the best of intentions, so I refuse to allow guilt to plague me any longer, for either Kikyou's death, or even, to some extent, my own suffering throughout that year when I first came to court, and in all the years since, for I have suffered, silently, in moments when I am alone or visit Kikyou's resting place.

I owe her at least the effort of trying to live again, because I see now that while I have been happy with Inuyasha, and with my children, writing this memoir has made me see that I have still been somewhat melancholy, in spite of my resolutions to move forward and be happy. So now I'll try again.

I owe her that much.

Kikyo. My beloved sister.

After all, she was a woman who never failed to see the truth for what it was, learn from it, and then try to better herself through her mistakes, and I respected her so much for that and many other reasons. Even when life threw her to the ground, she was able to stand back up, and that is the greatest lesson I could learn from her. When fate demanded she pay the price of her mistakes she went willingly to the very gates of Hell and stood firmly with her back straight and her head held high. Never again, in my mind, shall I know another like her. And I'm glad of it. At long last people can see how different we truly are, and I shall never again endure the pain of the comparisons and the Higurashi sister rivalry. Instead she is fondly remembered as Fire and Bravery while I am known as Kindness and Devotion, and while I am often compared to Queen Izayoi for my mild temper (obviously the court doesn't see my arguments with Inuyasha), Kikyou is often compared to the great Inutaisho for her fierce and indomitable spirit.

And, as Kikyou said on the day she died, that is enough.

So now, with a heart that feels lighter than it has in years, I shall do what I have always tried to do, and move forward towards whatever destiny I am meant for with the courage and strength I have learned from both my mother and my sister. I have known hardship and pain, but can still find joy in many things if I try. And after all, every time I've thought I should never recover or never be the same again, I've proven myself wrong, so why shouldn't it be the same this time? I never thought I could play my violin again after my father died, and yet now I play it nearly every day, often for my children, my older son to my delight already demanding an instrument of his own. I never thought I would find true love after I was engaged to Kouga, and then I met Inuyasha. I never thought I would be able to live without Kikyou, and yet I have now for almost five years.

And in the end I suppose that's the greatest lesson of all. Life does go on, even if we think it cannot, and the heart does mend even when we think it won't. The human spirit is a beautiful thing, even for all of its flaws, and seems to always triumph over what we think can never be. After all, I'm sure that even for an immortal being the concept of never is an awfully long time…and, at the very least, the human spirit grows bored without change. Don't you agree?

God bless!

Kagome, Queen