Konnichiwa, minna! Here I am again with yet another story! Hopefully I'll get the same kind of support I had in the last story. (Thanks you guys!) My first AU! How exciting! This is but a prologue, nothing more.
Ok, remember, I am a simple teenage author who likes to spend her free time on fanfiction; I am not a historian. I am, by no means, an expert on medieval Europe (the sort of time period this story is based in), so if I am ever factually off, please just ignore it. It is not medieval Europe, it is simply BASED off of it. So, work with me here. Thanks.
On a lighter, wait no, on an even sadder note, I do not own Inuyasha. –tear-
Now, go forth and readeth thou my storye! (Ok, ok, I'll stop now.)
"Argh!" Inuyasha growled. "I'm so bored!"
Inuyasha's mother patted his shoulder kindly, "I know, dear. But you must learn to deal with it. You are a young man now, and you will be expected to by the rest of the court."
The young man nodded, "I know, mother. But it doesn't make it any less boring."
"Grow up," Sesshomaru stated calmly. He was Inuyasha's elder brother, and he took every opportunity to show it.
Inuyasha scowled at his brother.
Sesshomaru was the spitting image of their deceased father. He was tall, nearly six foot five, and had a lean, muscular body. His favorite color was white, and for some reason or another, it never seemed to clash with his pale skin and silver-white hair. It was a rare trait to have such colored hair, and Lord InuTaisho was lucky to have it, just as Sesshomaru was lucky to inherit it. His ears were slightly pointed, a deformity that turned out to be attractive. He had an effeminate face, but it only made him all the more handsome. His eyes were honey brown, warm but hard as steel. His demeanor was strong and silent. He was not a man of words, but every one he said was deliberate.
Izayoi smiled at her headstrong son. "Go and explore the castle, then. I know you've been wanting to ever since we arrived. Be back before the banquet begins."
"Don't worry," Inuyasha assured her much more cheerfully. He turned and strode out of the hall, eager to find out about this new place they had stopped in.
Inuyasha was a strapping young man of seventeen. He had soft black hair that fell to the small of his back. It was always brushed to perfection, as he was a member of one of the higher nobility. Inuyasha's face was developed enough to counter his effeminate hair. He had a defined nose and strong dark brown eyes. He stood to a powerful height of six foot two, often overshadowing his peers. He looked every part the nobleman he was. There were three main social classes under the king: higher nobility, lower nobility, and peasants. Izayoi had married out of the lower nobility and into higher nobility, so their family was now much wealthier than before. Inuyasha's father had passed away nearly four years ago, but Izayoi still retained her position. Inuyasha was to inherit their expansive wealth when he turned eighteen, as his brother Sesshomaru had previously, for some unknown reason, refused his birthrights.
Inuyasha walked quietly through the silent halls, his footsteps echoing eerily. They were all dimly lit, as the night's entertainment would be confined to the Great Hall. Colorful tapestries depicting scenes of hunting and other outdoor activities covered the walls, warming the cold stone. Doorways appeared every so often, leading to side rooms that did not interest the young man. Finally, he came to a small side passage that seemed to lead up to one of the towers in the castle. Inuyasha looked both ways before ascending the steep staircase. It was narrow and dark, spiraling dizzily, and Inuyasha's neck hairs rose as the chill coming from the stones. After a few apprehensive minutes, he reached the top of the stairs and stepped into a small dimly lit room. It was actually fairly bare. Two of the walls had bookshelves lined with dusty volumes, and a small wooden table stood against the third wall. On it sat the source of light. It was an orb, a four-inch pearly white translucent orb with a soft yellow glow piercing through the glass exterior. Inuyasha curiously walked over and picked it up. It was slightly heavier than he had expected, but otherwise not anything special at all, save for its unusual light. Inuyasha set it down and shrugged. He turned to leave when a voice called out, "Hello!"
Inuyasha froze and spun around, but nobody was in the room. "Who's there?" he asked the empty room.
But obviously it was not quite so empty. "On the table."
Inuyasha looked to the table, "Who are you?"
"I'm the orb," the voice answered smugly.
"The orb?" he repeated.
"Yes, the orb. Who are you?" It was clearly a woman's voice, but slithery, like a snake.
If the orb had a bodily form, it would have smiled at that point. "I see. I can hear that you are a young man."
Inuyasha grew defensive. "Yes, why do you care? What do you want?"
The orb replied soothingly, "Hush, calm down, Inuyasha. I just want to talk to you. It can get very lonely up here by myself."
Inuyasha did not know what to say. "What would we talk about?" he asked warily.
The voice was silent for a moment. "Tell me about yourself." It had a sugary tone that put Inuyasha on guard.
"Not much to tell," he muttered. Why could he not escape? It was only a piece of glass!
The orb sensed his discomfort. "Why don't I start? I have been in this room for one hundred years now, and alone for all of it. You can understand why I desire company so much."
"I guess," Inuyasha answered, disconcerted. It was if he was under some sort of spell. His legs would not carry him away from her voice. The only movement he could make was toward the glass ball. He fought this urge to move closer, but failed miserably. His body stepped closer and closer to the table.
"I used to live in my master's study, advising him on his affairs. When he died, I was inherited by his son, and then his son, and so on until I was packed away in this room, and have been here since. Now, it's your turn!" she said cheerily, for Inuyasha was sure it was a she, judging by her voice.
"I'm the son of a nobleman, but my father died years ago. I am visiting my mother's friend, who is holding a feast in our honor." Inuyasha clamped his mouth shut. Where had those words come from? His tongue felt loose, as if by ale.
"Wonderful!" the voice chirped. "Come a little bit closer," it urged.
Inuyasha could not resist. He took the final steps to the table so he was hovering over the orb. He felt himself pulled toward the voice. It wanted to be closer to him. Inuyasha's arms reached out and picked up the orb.
"Yes!" the voice whispered to itself happily.
As soon as Inuyasha's fingers grasped the orb, a shock went through him, and he felt considerably weaker than before. "What…happened?"
"You just transferred a small portion of your energy to me. Thank you, Inuyasha. Ah, I can see you now. Wonderful. My, you are a handsome one."
"What are you doing? What's going on?" Inuyasha asked, desperately trying to get away.
"Nothing at all. Don't be afraid, Inuyasha," she soothed him.
Inuyasha's eyes dropped slightly. "Ok, only if you promise you won't do anything to me."
The orb's voice was dripping with false promise. "Of course. I would never do anything to you, Inuyasha. You are my new friend."
Inuyasha nodded, in a daze. "You can be my friend, too."
The orb pulsed slowly and its light grew stronger. "I need you to do something for me, my friend."
"Anything," he answered with a smile.
"Wonderful," she said for the third time. "Think of something open, like a field. Concentrate on it."
"Why?" Inuyasha asked.
"Because. You'll understand completely in just a moment. I am going to merge myself with your body. Don't worry; you won't feel a thing."
Unfortunately for the orb, these words had just the opposite effect. Inuyasha's eyes flew open. Nobody would be taking over his body if he had any say in it. Inuyasha shook his head and quickly set the orb down on the table before running out of the room. He sighed when he stopped at the bottom of the spiral staircase. That was enough adventure for one day. Inuyasha straightened, regained his composure, and made his way back to the Great Hall, where the banquet was nearly ready to begin.
Izayoi rushed over to him. "Inuyasha! There you are! It's almost time!" She tugged on the hem of Inuyasha's white blouse, which had become wrinkled under his forest green button-down vest. Inuyasha smoothed down his green dress breeches and tightened his white satin sash.
She moved on to his brother, who had come to stand next to Inuyasha. "Oh, good, your clothes aren't too ruffled, Sesshomaru." Sesshomaru was wearing the same outfit as Inuyasha, but in navy blue. The two brothers were getting tired of their matching clothes, but Izayoi still found it adorable, despite the fact they were twenty and seventeen years old.
"Of course not, Mother, I know enough not to gallop off and ruin my clothes right before a banquet." He smirked.
Inuyasha made a face at him behind his mother's back.
Sesshomaru raised an eyebrow. "Immature."
Izayoi tapped him distractedly, "Be nice to your brother, Sesshomaru."
Sesshomaru almost pulled a face, but managed to hide it. "Yes, mother."
"Good boy. Both of you behave."
"Mother!" Inuyasha protested, "We're not children anymore!"
Izayoi smiled, "I know, but you'll always be my children. Now, hush, Lord Arton is here."
Indeed he was. Being the lord of the castle, his trumpeters sounded his arrival so every head turned. The banquet had begun.
Up in the tower, the orb fumed. Its light turned slightly red. "How did he slip away? Nobody escapes me! Inuyasha will pay." The only good that had come out of her failed encounter was her new-found sight. It was a relief to be able to see once more. She had lost the ability decades ago when her energy started to run low, and she was forced to give up certain things. Luckily, she had not yet gotten to the point where she would have had to give up her hearing or her voice, the only things that saved her. A plan began to form within her mind. "Inuyasha will tell somebody, I'm sure. People will come up and I will have a second chance, and when I have a body, the first person I will find is Inuyasha." The voice laughed. However, the entire scheme was based on hope, so that, and waiting, was all it could do for the moment.
Izayoi sat between her two sons, both of which towered over her, and joined in the cheerful chatter around her. Sesshomaru remained quiet, giving the occasional nod, speaking more than listening. Inuyasha brooded over his adventure, distractedly attempting to converse with his fellow nobles. Izayoi noticed his silence and passed him the plate of roasted fish. "Inuyasha, why don't you eat a bit more?"
"Thank you, mother," Inuyasha answered, piling a little bit of fish on his plate. He picked up his fork and began to eat hungrily. The food cleared his head, and he was able to pay more attention to the banquet, soon forgetting the orb incident completely.
Kagome Higurashi opened the door to the room she was to spend the night in. She smiled; it was a beautiful red chamber with a small washing area on one side and a king-size four-poster bed with scarlet curtains and a crimson duvet set with gold embroidery. The walls were stone, covered almost completely with red-themed tapestries. A large fireplace filled an entire wall, heating the room further. Finally, a bear skin rug lay on the floor in front of the fire. It was shame she would only be in it for a night. Servants had already brought her chest and placed it at the foot of the bed. Kagome shed her traveling cloak and lay it on the wooden chest, warming her feet by the fire. The door opened and Kagome's mother came in. "Kagome, dear, you may want to begin getting ready soon."
Kagome nodded, "Yes, mother."
Lady Higurashi was an elegant woman, beautiful through her growing age. She had become accustomed to walking with her neck held high, showing off the slender neck the two sisters had inherited. She had a dainty little nose and kind brown eyes. Her black hair was cropped short so it bounced thickly just past her ears, the ends curling in stylishly. Right then she wore her gown for the night. It was navy blue and had silver roses embroidered across it, making it sparkle. The cuffs, collar, and hem were not ribbon, but embroidered silver diamonds, a tiny crystal in each figure. The bell sleeves were the same plain navy velvet as the rest of the dress. The gown had not belt, so the Lady had tied a silver chain about her waist, letting the ends hang loosely down her front. She had not yet put on her jewelry or make-up.
"I'll see you in a bit." She closed the thick wooden door behind her.
Kagome sat by the fire half an hour longer before standing up to get ready. She pulled the cloak off and opened the chest. In it lay her entire array of dress necessities. Kagome poked through the chest quickly and settled on a simple gown. Kagome had never been one for extravagance; she preferred simple beauty. The young girl of fifteen pulled out the dress and, slipping out of her even simpler travel clothes, stepped into the dress. It was plain and simple, but on Kagome, it looked beautiful. Two young servant girls walked into the room just as Kagome was pulling the dress over her hips. One girl came over and tied the strings on the back of the dress tightly so it cinched Kagome's torso, making her tiny waist even smaller and her bust to appear fuller. The other girl brushed through Kagome's long black hair until it gleamed softly, falling gently to the small of her back. The girl then took the front parts of her hair and, braiding them quickly, tied them in the back with a small black tie, invisible against the rest of Kagome's ebony locks. The gown was burgundy satin and hugged Kagome's curves perfectly. The sleeves were tight until her elbows and then opened into wide bell sleeves that covered her arms to the tips of her fingertips. The gown fell elegantly to her small burgundy and gold slippers, hiding all but her toes. The neckline, waist, and elbows all had similar ribbon trims. The ribbon was light gold with bright gold circles. The edges were of black thread. The ribbon outlined the moderate neckline, encircled her arms right above her elbows, signaling the beginning of the bell sleeves, and her waist as a belt, a long section falling down her front. The servant that had tied her dress put on the finishing touches in the form of large pearl studs and a multi-string necklace of small pearls. Kagome smiled at herself in the looking glass. She refused any and all make-up.
Kagome was a delicate five foot five, thin and curvy enough to make most women jealous. Her doe-like eyes were a gentle chocolate brown, warm and cheery. Kagome glanced one last time in the mirror and lifted her skirt, daintily making her way to the banquet Lord Arton had invited them for.
She met her twin sister along the way and the two walked arm in arm to the entrance to the Great Hall. They were both greeted with envious stares, looks neither were unaccustomed to. The Higurashi sisters were a beautiful pair, and nearly identical.
Kikyou Higurashi was two inches taller than her sister. She stood much more regally than Kagome, who had a humble and welcoming stance. Kikyou's eyes were the same chocolate brown, though much more mature and with less warmth than her sister's. Kikyou preferred elaborate and lavish things, and her taste was clearly reflected in his dress. Kikyou wore a long scarlet gown that fell straight to the floor. The sleeves were similar to Kagome's, plain scarlet satin. However, the actual body of the dress was crushed velvet with intricate gold embroidered vines across it. The trim was also fancier than Kagome's. It was gold ribbon with green vines of thread. Finally, she wore a seven-strand pearl necklace with small randomly placed emeralds, rubies, and gold beads. Finally, from her gold stud earrings dangled one pearl, one ruby, and one emerald each. Her hair was curled and piled atop her head, accenting her elegant neck.
Kagome sighed. Kikyou was so much more than she could ever hope to be.
Kikyou's ears picked up the sound and turned to her sister. "Kagome? Are you alright?"
Kagome nodded with a smile. "Of course. Why do you ask, sister?"
Kikyou shook her head, "No reason. You look absolutely beautiful tonight. I'll never know how you manage to wear a simple gown like that and still look more stunning than every other woman here."
Kagome blushed slightly, "Thank you, Kikyou," she said humbly. "Except you. You are the most beautiful one here tonight."
Kikyou smiled and took her sister's hand, "Thank you, but I think together we are the most beautiful, and neither is more beautiful than the other."
"I agree," Kagome nodded. But deep down, she did not. Kikyou was surely the more beautiful one.
Kikyou searched the crowd until she spotted her mother, and gently pulled her sister over. Although they shared the same birthday, Kikyou had always acted as if the elder sister, protecting Kagome, and in return, Kagome had always supported Kikyou, secretly admiring and almost idolizing her twin.
Kikyou, however, knew the extent of her sister's love, and did her best to match it with her own, but despite her big heart, Kagome's was always larger.
And this was the nature of their reality. They were yin and yang; one was more beautiful, and the other was kinder. One loved material beauty, and the other loved simplicity. One was the leader, and the other was the follower. In the end, the two balanced each other out, the perfect yin and yang.
Lady Higurashi smiled at her twin daughters. She knew how well they fit together. It made her heart leap to see the two so close. One was the essence of what the other was not. "You two look lovely."
"Thank you, Mama," they chorused.
Lady Higurashi smiled and handed each a goblet of mulled wine. "Have either of you seen your father?"
Kikyou and Kagome shook their heads in unison. "Would you like me to go look for him, Mama?" Kagome offered.
Lady Higurashi shrugged slightly. "If you would like to. Why don't the two of you go dance for a while, and if you happen to see him, tell him where I am. I will not move too far from here."
Kikyou nodded, "We will. We shall see you later, or perhaps tomorrow morning."
"Bye, Mama! You have some fun, too," Kagome called.
"I will. Thank you, Kagome!" she answered, sipping her wine.
Kikyou and Kagome disappeared into the crowd, the music pulsing in their ears. Their eyes sharpened for an available man to dance with for the night. Kikyou took up a tall, dark man and they whirled off onto the dance floor. Kikyou flirted excessively with the lord; he was obviously enjoying it immensely. Men's stares glared at his back as they dreamed of being the one with Kikyou Higurashi. Soon, they switched over to see who Kagome would pick. She, however, was not so forward, and stood on a side sipping her wine and watching her sister. Finally, a young brunette with a boyish face had the nerve to approach her. "May I have this dance?" he asked her shyly.
Kagome smiled kindly at him, "Why, yes, milord." And they, too, were off.
The great mahogany clock at the back of the hall struck one o'clock. Kikyou and Kagome reconvened with their parents at the wine table, where a servant waited on them. Kikyou and Kagome were hot and slightly sweaty, though the smell was covered by their perfume. Their faces were flushed pink. Even Lord and Lady Higurashi had clearly danced a bit. "Hello, Father," the girls greeted him together.
"Hello, girls. How is your evening going?"
"Very well," Kagome spoke for the two of them.
"I am pleased. Where are you off to now?"
Kikyou shrugged. "We will see when we finish drinking."
"Good idea," Lord Higurashi nodded.
Lord Higurashi was tall, dark, and handsome. He reached nearly six foot three and looked as noble as ever. His black hair was long and wavy, falling to the base of his neck. He had a neatly trimmed full black beard and moustache. His skin was slightly darker than most, but the girls had unfortunately inherited their mother's pale, smooth ivory skin, and not their father's creamy tan. His eyes were a sharp, intelligent blue, another trait neither girl had inherited. He had a strong, proud nose. Lord Higurashi, though of the lesser nobility, could fool anybody into believing he was much higher than that, if only by his imposing, but warm, presence.
"Go on, girls, and have fun. I shall see you two in the morning," Lord Higurashi told them.
Kagome and Kikyou nodded with a smile. "I want to explore the castle a little bit, Kagome. Would you care to join me?" Kikyou asked her sister.
Kagome shook her head. "I am happy right here. Do you mind going alone?"
"Not at all," Kikyou answered.
"Then I shall continue dancing and you may commence exploration, milady." She mock curtsied.
Kikyou laughed, a lower, mature sound, mixing with Kagome's pretty bell-like giggles. "Why, thank you, milady," Kikyou replied with perfect etiquette, sweeping into a low curtsy.
"Now, go, Kikyou, the night will not last forever," Kagome warned.
"Yes, mother," Kikyou chuckled as she walked quietly out of the hall.
Kagome laughed to herself, then turned to see the young brunette from before. "Hello, milord," she curtsied, this time seriously.
"Milady, would you care to dance with me again?"
Kagome nodded and took his hand. "I would. Thank you." They stepped on the dance floor where a fast-paced minuet was playing. "What is your name, milord?"
The boy blushed slightly, "Hojo, and yours milady?"
"A beautiful name," Hojo complimented.
"Thank you, Lord Hojo."
Kikyou stepped carefully through the silent halls, hearing naught but the faint music from the banquet and her own echoing footsteps. Nothing interested her behind any of the wooden side doors. She continued boredly down the dark hall before coming to a curious little staircase lit by firelight. Kikyou checked that nobody was watching her and began her ascension. The stair spiraled around tightly. Kikyou felt claustrophobia poke at the corners of her mind; the staircase was narrow and the ceiling was fairly low. The stairs were steep, so Kikyou was breathing harder than normal when she reached the top. The stairs led to a small dimly lit room. Kikyou took a quick glance around, searching for the source of light, and gasped when she found a softly glowing orb. "How can this be?" she asked the empty room. "Sorcery?"
"Perhaps. Nobody really knows," a voice answered her.
Kikyou nearly jumped, stopping herself at a surprised twitch. "Who's there?"
"Everybody asked that question," the voice observed lazily. "I am here."
"And who are you?" Kikyou asked.
"Who knows? I am the orb."
Kikyou walked over to the wooden table on which the orb sat. "How are you alive?"
"I do not know if 'alive' is quiet the word, but to answer your question, again, I do not know. I just am. Come closer, I cannot really see you from here."
"You can see?" Kikyou asked incredulously.
The orb chuckled. "I can see, hear, and speak. Now, come and pick me up so I can see your face."
Kikyou started to back away. Something did not feel right about all of this. Orbs should not talk. But she could only take one step backward when her legs seemed to freeze. Kikyou desperately tried to place motion in her legs, but they would only go forward. Kikyou felt herself pulled toward the orb. "What is going on? What are you doing to me?"
The orb was silent.
"Answer me!" Kikyou cried anxiously.
The orb chuckled darkly. "I am only asking you to pick me up. I just guessed you needed a little bit of encouragement. That's all. Do not be afraid; I will not hurt you."
Kikyou's voice was suspicious, "How can I trust you?"
"How can I hurt you? I have no true body with which to move with."
Kikyou accepted this excuse and let go of a small portion of her defiance. Unfortunately, this was all the orb needed, and Kikyou took the final step to the table. Her arms reached out against her will and held the orb up to her face.
The orb sighed. "Ah, much better. Now I can see your face. Oh, you are also a pretty one. But you are a woman, though I guessed as much from your voice."
Kikyou frowned. The orb's voice was feminine, but she could not grasp how an orb could have a gender.
"Come, child, speak to me. Tell me a little bit about yourself. It can be so lonely up here by myself. All I ask is a little company for half an hour or so. Nothing more."
Kikyou relented. "My name is Kikyou Higurashi. I am fifteen. I have a twin sister, Kagome, and two parents."
"No husband?" the orb asked. "I should think a pretty girl like you would have one by now."
"Not yet," Kikyou replied.
Kikyou's eyes glazed over. She was caught in the orb's trance. "Who are you?"
"I, sadly, have no name, as I am but an orb. I lived once in my master's office, but when he died I was passed down his line until I was placed in here. I used to be my master's most trusted advisor, but now I sit alone with nothing to do. I have been in this room for one hundred years now."
Kikyou's spellbound eyes widened. "One hundred years?" she repeated.
"Yes," the orb said sadly.
"I pity you," Kikyou commented dutifully.
The orb would have smiled at that point if it had a body. Luckily for it, that time was nearly at hand. This girl was so much easier to capture than that boy, and she had learned from her past mistakes. She would not mention her plans yet. "Kikyou, will you do me a small favor?"
Kikyou nodded slowly, "Yes. What is it?"
"Close your eyes and think of something wide open, like a field."
Kikyou conceded. "But why?" she asked all the same.
"You will see in just a moment. Concentrate on that field."
Kikyou's voice became panicked. "What are you going to do to me?"
"Nothing at all," the orb assured her. "Here, I'll do the same thing. Why don't you describe your field to me."
Kikyou nodded, still tense. "It is sunny and green, covered in long grass to my knee and wildflowers. There are woods all around and my sister is there in the middle."
"Sounds wonderful," the orb commented. "My field is wide, with no forests anywhere to be seen. It stretches on forever, with long grass to my neck. There are no wildflowers, just the grass that I could get lost in. It is also sunny, but the grasses provide me with shade."
Kikyou smiled in her trance. "I like mine better."
"I like mine better, too," the orb teased. The orb pulsed in Kikyou's hands and let off a bright white light. It levitated into the air, floating just inches above Kikyou's hands, and started to move into Kikyou's chest, merging slowly with her body.
Kikyou's eyes flashed open when she realized the orb was no longer in her hands, and saw the now-white orb slowly ease into her body. Kikyou screamed. She tried to push away the orb, but it was too late. The orb was nearly halfway through now. "No! Get off of me!" Kikyou cried out. "Help! Somebody!" But the stone walls only made the sound bounce off around the room. Kikyou dashed down the stairs, nearly falling twice, and sprinted down the hall. "Help! Somebody help!" The orb finished merging itself with Kikyou's body. "Kagome!" Kikyou called out. Kagome! I love you, my sister. Do not forget me. Then, Kikyou slumped to the floor as her world turned to black.
The orb laughed, the sound issuing from Kikyou's mouth, sounding just like the disembodied voice it truly was. The orb was now in control of Kikyou's body. Kikyou stood up and straightened, fleeing the castle from the back door, away from the banquet. Kikyou Higurashi was gone.
Kagome, who was dancing with Hojo again, lifted her head at the sound of her sister's cry. "Kikyou!" she exclaimed. Leaving her companion with a hasty apology, Kagome ran out of the hall.
Lord and Lady Higurashi saw their daughter and hurried after her, wondering what was going on. "Kagome!" Lord Higurashi called.
Kagome looked back quickly and saw her parents. "I heard Kikyou scream!" she answered his silent question.
This made the Lord and Lady pick up their pace and soon they had caught up with their daughter.
Kagome slowed down. "It was from around here."
"How do you know?" the Lady asked.
Kagome shrugged, "I…I don't know. I just have a feeling." Kagome's eyes swept the area, searching for a sign of her beloved twin. The sign came in the form of a small scarlet hairpin. Kagome swooped down upon it. "Kikyou's hairpin! Something has happened to her!"
Lady Higurashi put a hand on her daughter's arm. "I'm sure she is just fine. I will tell Lord Arton to send a search party out. I am sure nothing at all has happened to her. Don't fret, my dear."
"Your mother is right, Kagome," Lord Higurashi nodded. He hugged his daughter briefly. "We will find her. I will go out to look for her myself."
Kagome sniffed and nodded.
The three turned around to see people walking toward them. Lord Higurashi strode down the hall, his wife and daughter right behind him. Murmurs of questions passed them by, but all three brushed them off until they found Lord Arton. "Lord Arton," Lord Higurashi addressed the older man.
"Lord Higurashi!" he greeted jovially. "And how are you?"
"Well, and you?" the Lord answered impatiently.
"And what is bothering you, my friend?"
Lord Higurashi sighed, "It is my daughter, Kikyou. She has gone missing. She left not too long ago to look around, and then my other daughter, Kagome heard her scream. We ran to the staircase that leads to the far tower and found only this." He held up the red hairpin.
Lord Arton took the hairpin and inspected it. "Ah," he said gravely. "We must send out a search party. I will get my hounds, they can search for her scent with this hairpin."
Lord Higurashi took back the hairpin and nodded, "Thank you, Lord Arton. I appreciate it."
Lord Arton waved his words away, "It is no trouble, and losing a child is no small thing. I just wonder in which room she is lost."
"Are you sure she is only lost?" Kagome piped up.
Lady Higurashi frowned at her daughter, "Hush, Kagome."
"It is fine, my Lady. Yes, I am sure, young one. Your sister will be found. I will make sure of that myself. I will go with your father to look for her."
"Thank you, my Lord," Lady Higurashi said gratefully as she and Kagome curtsied.
Lord Arton bowed, "It is the least I can do. Come, we must get the hounds," he beckoned to Lord Higurashi.
The two men strode off to the hound kennels. Lord Arton stopped every few minutes to ask men to help out. Soon a small group was behind the two lords.
Ten minutes later, the group of men, the lords in the front, came back, two servants holding two dogs each on leads. Lord Higurashi touched his Kagome's cheek in comfort and followed Lord Arton.
When they reached the hall, Lord Arton stopped and held up his hand. Lord Higurashi placed the hairpin into his hand. Lord Arton bent down and held the hairpin under each dog's nose for a couple seconds. "Find her!" he ordered and the dogs were released. They bounded off, noses to the floor. The four dogs spread out in different directions, sniffing around, but as they moved forward, one at a time, they found the scent and barked excitedly. The men rushed ahead, straight the hall, following the four dogs. The dogs ran and ran until they reached the back door and stopped there, staring out at the fields below, piled on top of each other and panting.
Lord Higurashi looked out and his face fell. "Oh no," he whispered.
Lord Arton turned to his friend, a solemn expression on his face. "Has your daughter indicated that she was in any way unhappy? Has she ever suggested any sign that she might run away?"
Lord Higurashi swallowed and shook his head. "Never. She loves her sister more than anything."
Lord Arton nodded gravely, "Then it appears she has been kidnapped."
"No!" Lord Higurashi gasped.
Lord Arton sighed, "I can find no other explanation. I will send the dogs outside and we can search the castle."
Lord Higurashi said nothing, but looked out across the fields.
Lord Arton turned to the dogs. "Find her!" he ordered again.
The dogs barked and scrambled out the door, tearing across the ground. Lord Higurashi and half of the men ran after them. The dogs were much faster, and had a head start, so the men were content to keep their eyes on the canines. The dogs skidded to a halt and barked at a tree, nudging a low branch with their heads. Lord Higurashi hurried over and inspected the branch. On the end, there was a piece of fabric caught in the wood, having torn off when the person ran by. He picked up the square of fabric and caught his breath. It was crimson velvet with gold thread vines. Lord Higurashi swallowed the ball in his throat and looked out across the fields, but there was nobody to be seen. "Kikyou, where are you?" he whispered into the silence.
The group trudged dismally back to the castle, where Kagome was waiting at the door. "Father?" she asked, fearing the worst.
Lord Higurashi tried to give his daughter a hopeful smile, but failed, so he settled for pulling his daughter into an uncommon public display of affection. "Oh, Kagome. This is all I found. Lord Arton believes she was kidnapped."
It was not the worst, but as close as it could get. "But what do you think?" she asked quietly.
Lord Higurashi shook his head, "I am afraid that I am inclined to agree with him."
Kagome burst into tears. Her father held her tighter and Lady Higurashi joined in, so the family held each other close. Lady Higurashi also began to cry, and even Lord Higurashi's eyes grew moist. Kikyou Higurashi was gone.
Kikyou ran and ran across the fields, never looking back. She had to escape, or her plans would be for naught. Once the orb was sure nobody would be following her, it slowed down and allowed Kikyou to catch her breath. The rest of the day was spent trekking away from the castle. The orb tried out her newfound powers that night, so as not to attract attention to Kikyou. It made Kikyou lift up her palm and face it at a growing sapling. The orb concentrated for a moment, drawing the magic from itself and the energy from Kikyou and burned the small tree to the ground in seconds. The orb laughed out loud.
Kikyou, meanwhile, was horrified at the sort of power the orb had. She could not resist the orb's control. Every time she did, it was a futile attempt. I cannot free myself! She thought desperately.
Kikyou lay down with her back against a tree and feel asleep, but Kikyou's conscience remained away for the rest of the night.
The next morning, Kikyou awoke and simply stood up and left. Kikyou groggily looked through her own eyes and groaned. They were moving already. She had just finished three full hours of sleep. Dragged down by fatigue, Kikyou allowed herself to drift away again. She woke up again at noon, but she was still walking. Kikyou looked out across the unfamiliar landscape. It was still fields upon fields, but not the fields she grew up around. Kikyou peered down at the narrow dirt path they were on. It led to a large black dot in the distance.
By mid-afternoon, Kikyou could make out what the black dot was. It was a town! Hope surged through the young woman. Maybe somebody could save her! Kikyou's heart felt lighter as they entered the village. Nobody gave Kikyou a second glance. The orb sighed in relief; news of Kikyou's disappearance had not reached this far yet. Kikyou walked among the townspeople until they found the apparent leader. "Excuse me, sir?" Kikyou asked politely.
The man turned around. "Yes, miss?"
"Do you know of the noble Inuyasha?"
The leader nodded, "Yes. He lives not far from here. Why do you ask?"
Kikyou feigned a sad smile, "I need to give him a message, but I have no idea how to find his castle."
Kikyou scowled at her sickening falsehood. It is absolutely disgusting how she can live with herself doing this.
The leader flashed her a bright smile. "I can help you there, miss." He pointed to a large black smudge on the horizon. "That, miss, is Lord Inuyasha's castle. Follow the path out of the village and it will lead you there. You will pass through that village as well." He pointed out a smaller dot below the smudge.
Kikyou thanked him and asked a final question. "How long will it take me, approximately?"
The man shrugged, "I would say four days or so."
Kikyou smiled, "Thank you, sir. I appreciate your help."
"It was my pleasure, miss," the man nodded.
Kikyou took his directions and exited the village along the same path she entered on. When the village was nearly one hundred yards behind her, Kikyou turned around and lifted her palm to the village. The orb mixed its own power with Kikyou's energy and prepared to fire it through her palm.
Kikyou panicked as she realized what the orb had in mind. No! she cried. Stop it! But the orb ignored her pleas. Kikyou used as much of her free will as she had left to stop the orb, and her hand faltered, but it stiffened again right away. Kikyou gasped. Her conscience was weaker than ever. She felt the energy she knew was crucial to her existence drain away with that small action. Kikyou quickly cut off her attempt and sat back, healing herself slowly. Her eyes, however, could not be torn away from the sight she beheld. The orb sent the energy coursing out of Kikyou's body and unleashed it upon the village. The village burst into huge flames and crumpled to the ground. The orb laughed evilly, and gathered more energy. Shouts and screams could be heard from the burnt remains of the town. The orb mixed more of its power with Kikyou's energy. Both of Kikyou's arms lifted this time and she faced her palms toward the village again. The orb let the energy flow through Kikyou's hands, and across the village. Screams rent the air, and then only silence was heard from the carnage. Kikyou stared through her eyes and nearly cried. Every single person in the town was on the ground, their eyes wide in death and their bodies blackened. Nothing was left alive or standing. Kikyou closed her eyes, but the image remained. She turned away and looked instead into the depths of her now black mind, and it only made her think of those blackened bodies. All those bodies…
Kikyou dreamt of the slaughtered town all night long. Constantly, she woke up sweating. That was the first death she had ever seen, and it scared her. When dawn broke, the orb got Kikyou up and they walked for the rest of the day. Nothing happened, and Kikyou thanked the heavens for that. She slumped into a sulk and glared at the quiet countryside. All she wanted was to escape this monster that imprisoned. Why did the orb want this Inuyasha man for anyway? She had heard of Inuyasha before, he was of the higher nobility, but never anything that might attract anyone's attention. What is she going to do to him? And why him? Kikyou pondered these questions for the rest of the day, unable to come up with any sort of answer.
The next day was also uneventful. The town they were to cross was much closer now; Kikyou assumed they would reach it by the end of the day. She will not have to ask these villagers for directions, so maybe she will not find any need to harm them. Kikyou hoped they would be safe. Just as Kikyou had predicted, Kikyou and the orb reached the village that evening. Kikyou smiled in greeting at the passing townspeople, and Kikyou huffed to herself. She could not believe how this orb managed to pretend something she was so obviously not. The orb walked right through the village without speaking to anyone. Kikyou let out a sigh of relief when they left. The people would be safe. Once they were about one hundred yards away, Kikyou stopped and turned around. The orb prepared its attack.
Kikyou screamed in protest. No! No! Please, don't do it! I beg of you! This time, Kikyou threw her energy upon her body. Her palm faced the ground. Kikyou focused her will on keeping it in this position.
The orb tutted. "You cannot stop me, Kikyou." But Kikyou could not hear her. The orb pushed against Kikyou and lifted her palm again.
Kikyou pushed again with a cry. The hand faced down again. But this time, Kikyou could feel her energy nearly gone. She was on the verge of death. No! Not now! Just a little bit longer, please! She begged to nobody, and her strength wavered. Finally, Kikyou was forced to let go. She fell back, weakened beyond movement. The edges of her vision turned smoky. Energy flowed out of Kikyou's hand and burned the village to the ground. Another blast silenced the townspeople forever. Kikyou cried as she slipped into unconsciousness.
The next day, Kikyou walked from dawn to dusk, but nothing at all happened. They did not see any people. Kikyou sighed in relief and watched the blackness around her, unwilling to see the light of day. Seeing what she could not have would only depress her more. Kikyou could not do much. Her energy was so dangerously low that if she tried another stunt, she would surely die within minutes. Kikyou fell asleep to the rock of her body's walking motion. She awoke again that afternoon, feeling slightly stronger after her nap. The castle was at most a day's walk away. The orb pushed Kikyou's body until after the sun set, and they slept in the open that night. Kikyou fretted for a while, but fell asleep from exhaustion. The orb did not worry as it had complete confidence in its sadistic powers.
The final morning of their first journey together, Kikyou could actually feel the immense excitement emanating from the orb. I am too weak now to save Lord Inuyasha. She sighed and slept again. For now, all she could do was regain her energy. Kikyou's body walked up the gentle slope at the foot of the castle and knocked on the thick wooden door. The sound echoed throughout the hall, and woke Kikyou up.
A bulky man opened the door. "Yes?"
Kikyou curtsied, "Please, sir, I wish to seek an audience with Lord Inuyasha."
"What is your name?" the man asked in return.
The man nodded and turned away.
Kikyou snorted. As if nobody will notice that Kikuyo is just Kikyou with a couple letters rearranged. And, again, Kikyou was correct. Nobody did actually notice that Kikuyo was an anagram of Kikyou.
The man returned minutes later and ushered Kikyou, now named Kikuyo, into the wide entrance hall. He took Kikuyo's coat and left her to stand there alone. The man returned after a little while and led Kikuyo into a small side room with grand furnishings and elegant paintings of Inuyasha's predecessors. Kikuyo sat daintily down on a cushioned chair and waited. Nearly half an hour passed before Lord Inuyasha walked in. "Good afternoon, miss."
"Good afternoon, milord," Kikuyo answered respectfully. She stood and curtsied low.
Inuyasha waved away the formalities and signaled the guard to close the door. "What would you need me for, miss…Kikuyo, is it not?"
Kikuyo nodded, "Yes, milord."
Inuyasha smiled, "Well, then."
Kikuyo nodded again. "You see, milord, I had wanted to ask you a question."
"What kind of question?" Inuyasha asked patiently.
Kikuyo smiled as the orb prepared its energy. It was a new kind this time. It took only a small bit of Kikuyo's energy, a bit of her magic, and molded it. She lifted her palm to the ceiling. "Please, milord, my grandfather asked me to hold your hand. He said he had a great respect for you, and always wanted to meet you. Right before he died, he said if I held your hand, it would be as if you had met him and not me, and so his soul would be able to rest in peace. He lived in the nearby village, so he was your vassal once."
Inuyasha gave her a confused look, but thought nothing of the request. After all, she only asked him to hold her hand for a moment. He reached his hand out and placed it in Kikuyo's.
The orb set the molded magic beneath her palm and waited. As soon as Inuyasha's hand touched hers, the magic burst forth into Inuyasha's flesh. There was a bright flash of light, but it disappeared just as quickly as it came, and the magic passed into Inuyasha's body.
Inuyasha yelled in surprise and yanked his hand away. His hand began to morph slowly. Inuyasha grasped his wrist and stared at the transformation in horror. His nails began to grow at an alarming rate and sharpened into deadly claws. His mouth burned and Inuyasha covered it with a clawed hand, only to feel his teeth growing beneath his fingers into long fang-like canines. "What…What is happening to me? What have you done, witch?" the lord demanded.
Kikuyo smirked, "Revenge. I am, in bodily form, the orb you broke away from last year."
Inuyasha's eyes widened, "That was what you wanted me for? To be your human puppet?"
Kikuyo nodded, "But you refused, so I swore revenge upon you. And here it is. You are now a mindless demon. Nothing more."
"No!" Inuyasha roared. His eyes burned and he ran to the small looking glass his mother had hung on the back wall to find his large brown eyes now much smaller. They were blood red and his pupils had thinned into menacing slits of teal. "You have made me a monster!"
Kikyou, meanwhile, was struggling as best she could without sufficient energy to move. He is but an innocent boy! Let him be! You have me as a body! But the conscience and the orb could not communicate. Kikyou watched Inuyasha with pitying eyes. His last words rang through her mind. Yes, she mused sadly, We both are now monsters.
Inuyasha looked in the mirror again and gasped. His hair had turned a beautiful silver and his ears had disappeared to be replaced with small furry silver puppy's ears. He felt them, eyes wide. "What kind of monster am I?" he whispered. Jagged purple streaks stained his cheeks, and his voice lowered to a raspy growl.
Kikuyo laughed. "You even look like a beast. You can no longer live among humans, my lord." She spoke the formal title with such derision that Inuyasha snarled. He clamped a hand to his mouth as soon as the horrific sound escaped. "I must be off. Goodbye, Inuyasha." Kikuyo stepped out of the room and hurried away. Soon after, Lady Izayoi and Sesshomaru ran into the room to investigate the strange roar they had heard.
Lady Izayoi stopped abruptly, hand across her mouth.
Sesshomaru spoke up for his speechless mother. "Inuyasha?"
Inuyasha nodded, only a trace of sanity left in his eyes. He held onto it with the force of a dying man.
"What happened, my son?" Izayoi asked.
Inuyasha's strange new voice filled Izayoi with shivers. "A witch named Kikuyo transformed me into this. What can I do?"
Izayoi moved to embrace her son, but Inuyasha stepped back and Sesshomaru put a hand on his mother's arm to halt her. "Stay away," Inuyasha warned. "Who knows what I may do."
"He is right, Mother," Sesshomaru agreed.
"But…my son," Izayoi whispered helplessly. She watched her son with sad eyes.
Inuyasha sighed and repeated his desperate question. "What can I do?" But this time, his eyes seemed much more sinister.
Sesshomaru sensed his brother's failing sanity and spoke up. "You cannot stay here any long, Inuyasha. You will be hunted and killed."
"But where will I go?"
Sesshomaru thought quickly. "Go to the abandoned Manatsu manor in the South. It is not really haunted, but most people do not know that, so you will be safe there."
Inuyasha nodded. He was fading fast.
Sesshomaru turned to a young servant and blocked his brother from view. "Get me three day's worth of food and wrap it in cloth with two skins of water," he demanded. "Quickly!"
The servant looked confused, but nodded without speaking and ran to do his master's bidding. Minutes later, the same servant came back with exactly what Sesshomaru had asked for. "Thank you." The servant bowed and left.
Sesshomaru handed the cloth-wrapped food and the two skins to his brother. "Take these, Inuyasha, and flee. Go now. It is nearly night."
Inuyasha nodded and grabbed them with clawed fingers. He carefully hugged his mother goodbye, who cried on her son's shoulder. Then, Inuyasha backed away before he lost himself, and with one last look back at his family, ran off.
Lady Izayoi turned to her elder son and cried into his shoulder. Sesshomaru held his mother close, watching his brother with unreadable eyes.
Kagome walked into the small town nearby with her servants to pick out a little bit of jewelry for her approaching sixteenth birthday. Her mother had given her some money to pick out whatever she chose. Kagome pulled her hood over her face and quietly observed her surroundings. Most of it was fields, but Kagome found it nice in its natural beauty. It was not beautiful, or ugly, just nice. The dirt path they were walking on opened up to the tiny village at the base of the hillock Kagome's home stood on. Kagome eagerly stepped into the crowds to find something pretty for herself. As she passed the town's bulletin board, her face fell. Next to all the temporary notices was a yellowed, rain-washed piece of parchment that showed a crude drawing of a woman who had her fair share of actual beauty. Underneath, it read 'Kikyou Higurashi. Lost, possibly kidnapped. 6,000 danis for her safe return.' Kagome sighed and wiped her eyes. It saddened her to read these posters, but she read them all the same every time they appeared. Kagome turned away and took a deep breath. It had been two years since Kikyou had disappeared. Lord Higurashi ordered such posters to be put up across the kingdom, but unfortunately, no news had come concerning her whereabouts since. Lord and Lady Higurashi gave up, knowing that by then she would surely be dead, but faithful Kagome had never given up hope. Something told her in her heart of hearts that Kikyou was still alive, trapped somewhere. How right she was…
The marketplace was bustling with activity. Kagome wove her way through the people until she made it to the corner where the sellers were holding up jewelry. Kagome stopped in front of an elderly man and glanced over his ware. A green necklace caught her eye. It was a thin gold chain with a small mottled green opal pendant about the size of her fingernail. Kagome smiled. "May I have that necklace, sir?"
The man watcher her observe the piece of jewelry. "You like it, miss?"
Kagome nodded, "It's beautiful! So simple, yet so elegant."
"Like yourself," the man complimented.
"Thank you, sir."
The man fondly picked up the necklace. "You know, I found this one. Most of the others I made, but this one I saw laying in a village. I was visiting some relatives, and on my way back, I passed one of…" his voice lowered, "them destroyed villages."
Kagome listened to closely to the old man's tale.
"I didn't dare go in, but this little thing was laying just outside one of the huts, so I took a chance and went to get it. I ran all the way back home after."
Kagome let out a breath, "And nothing has happened to you?"
The old man shook his head, "Not yet."
"That's good. I wonder who it was that had this beautiful necklace."
The old man shrugged, "I suppose I could have looked inside the hut, but I did not have that kind of courage, miss."
"I understand," Kagome said gently. "How much is it?"
The man nodded and picked it up. "Ten danis, miss."
Kagome opened her purse and pulled out ten gold coins. The man's eyes widened slightly, but he said nothing about her obvious wealth. Kagome dropped the coins subtly on the table and took the necklace. "Thank you."
"You are very welcome, miss. Keep that necklace safe."
The destroyed villages the elderly man spoke so nervously of were the villages caught by the evil sorceress that had been roaming the land for the past two years. Nobody alive had ever seen her, but all knew she was a beautiful woman with great magic. She wandered the land, and whatever village she came across, she destroyed completely and slaughtered all its inhabitants. Every village feared for its existence, and news of villages disappearing overnight were becoming more and more frequent. Kagome could see that in general townspeople were much more on edge than normal. The only information anybody had on this mysterious sorceress was her name and her symbol. Kikuyo the sorceress, as she called herself, left no sign at a doomed village of her being there, but her sign. She would burn her signature onto the sides of the outside huts. It was a horizontal line with two arms sticking out at opposite angles, like a giant 'K' turned on its side. In the three spaces above the horizontal line, there was a small dot. The king had long tried to find her, but to no avail. Kikuyo gave no warning as when or where she would strike next, so the king's soldiers were forced to miserably trudge across the land, protecting whomever they could, in hopes they would actually see Kikuyo.
Kagome made her way across the rest of the market. On the way, she found a pair of small dangly blue stone earrings and a new silver ring that was twisted into the pattern of a sort of vine. Kagome put on the ring and had one of her servants clasp the necklace around her neck. She dropped the earrings into her purse and looked around. A man nearby was offering lunch, so Kagome paid him for four small lunches. Kagome handed one cloth wrapped lunch to each servant girl, who accepted it with grateful surprise, and they sat to munch on the broiled meat, beans, and rolls. Another man gave each girl a glass of fruit juice, and they down it thirstily. After, all four girls made their way back up the hillock to the castle.
"Thank you, Lady Kagome," the three servant girls curtsied low.
Kagome gave them each a kind smile, "It was nothing. We were all hungry, and it was my responsibility to look after you. Now, you should get back to the kitchens."
"Yes, miss," they murmured and happily walked over to the kitchens to begin work again.
Kagome smiled at their backs and went to find Lady Higurashi. She wanted to show her mother her new finds.
So…what do y'all think? I hope you liked it. Was it interesting enough? Remember, this was the prologue, so I guess it's ok if it moved too fast.
This was my first ever AU story...so I hope it's turning out ok. If you have any advice, I'd love to hear it! I'm a little nervous at this point...