Title: Divine Concubine
Disclaimer: Inu Yasha, Kagome, Sango, Miroku, Shippo, Kirara, Koga and Sesshomaru belong to Rumiko Takahashi. The rest is mine.
Rating: R now, will be NC17 later
Pairing: Miroku/Sango (a lot in terms of length), Sesshomaru/Kagome (a lot in terms of intensity)
Diese langerwartete Fortsetzung widme ich Nefertiri, The California
Club, sowie allen anderen, die dies hier auf Anhieb verstehen.
Preface. Or: Extended Author's Note
Here it is. The one you've been waiting and clamouring for: the sequel to Dragon's Prey. There were so many who asked for it – and quite a lot of them did it so nicely. Thank you all very much! There was even a handful of readers who kept asking for it. Thank you even more! Your wish is my command. -
Now, before we start, a few annotations. I feel I must explain this story beforehand. Otherwise you'll kill me.
I have decided to write all three sequels to Dragon's Prey; and while I know that some of you are now cheering happily, let me warn you: this will be a series in four parts. And the relationship of Sesshomaru and Kagome will progress one step in each part of the series. So, no fluffy romance just now. But it will come. Eventually. If you keep that in mind, I think you will be able to curb down any murderous intentions.
I also want to answer a few of the reviews I got for Dragon's Prey – but very shortly. First, I got some indignant reviews for chapter 9 where people asked my why this had suddenly turned out Sess/Kag while I had said it would be Inu/Kag. I might be mistaken, but I think I said in the summary of Dragon's Prey that there would be some Inu/Kag and then a lot of Sess/Kag. Anyway, to make it very clear once and for all: this is Sess/Kag – with a lot of Mir/San in between.
Secondly, I got many reviews begging me not to make Kagome a concubine; some even demanded that I change the title. Dear worried reviewers, did Kagome get eaten in Dragon's Prey? Why then assume she would become a concubine? And Sesshomaru's no less. Much as I admire him, he is not a god.
Last but not least: Don't expect quick answers. This is only part two in a series of four stories. And I'm not a nice author.
The small group of travellers walked down a meandering path through a lush forest. Around them bees hummed, birds chirped and leaves rustled. Above them snow-white clouds sailed through a bright blue sky. Rays of a warm sun filtered through the treetops. It was a beautiful late summer's day.
Miroku sighed uneasily. The silence between his companions was so thick he felt he would be able to cut it. It had been that way since the memorable day about one month ago, and nothing that had happened so far had been able to change this complete, utter silence.
To be more precise, it had been that way since the storm of Inu Yasha's infuriated temper had passed.
Miroku gazed ahead at their red-clad leader, who was walking in front of the group. His back was rigidly turned towards them and he neither looked at them nor talked to them. A good deal behind him followed Sango and Kagome, and at the rear of the group Miroku with Shippo clinging to his shoulder.
This had not changed, either. They had been travelling in that formation since the day after. Kagome had gone home for some days and she had come back, but nothing had changed. They were still travelling in silence; their group still was torn between Inu Yasha at the front and the rest of them somewhere behind.
Miroku could not condemn any of his companions. Everybody who had been witness to the argument between Kagome-sama and Inu Yasha would understand, and understand not only their behaviour but those of the others as well.
After Kagome's stunning disclosure that Sesshomaru had offered to help her with the dragon-problem and that she had accepted his offer Inu Yasha had first been shocked and silent. Very silent. Too silent. They should have known that he would not swallow it so easily, and he had not. The hanyou's silence had only lasted until lunch. When their group had stopped to eat and to rest the storm had broken loose.
Miroku shivered as he remembered. He was not able to tell what had set Inu Yasha's pent up emotions free. Maybe it had been the sight of Kagome-sama's smile, or the way she and Sango giggled and whispered with each other. All he was able to recall that suddenly Inu Yasha had started yelling.
For some time Kagome-sama had sat in silence, listening with an apologetic expression to the accusations flung at her by the hanyou. She tried to apologise, to explain why she had accepted Sesshomaru's offer to help her. But Inu Yasha had not listened, had brushed her words aside, and only become angrier the more Kagome reasoned with him.
The conversation degenerated quickly. Inu Yasha went berserk, screaming like a madman. At some point Kagome lost her patience, too and shouted back. From there on things went from bad to worse within seconds, and Miroku more than once feared Inu Yasha would attack her. He tried to intervene and calm his friends down so that they could talk about things like adults, but he tried to no avail. The evening ended with Kagome sitting Inu Yasha into oblivion. They had not spoken to each other ever since.
The next morning Kagome had decided it would be best if she went home for a while. Miroku and Sango had agreed. Inu Yasha had acted as if she wasn't there.
The monk sighed sadly. Nothing had changed. Both he and Sango had tried to talk to Inu Yasha. He was pleasant enough as long as Kagome-sama was not near, and he was acting as if nothing had happened – until they touched upon a certain topic he did not wish to discuss. They did not try to talk to him again.
Kagome herself had on occasion tried to make up to the hanyou, but he refused to even acknowledge her presence. In the end she had given up, now equally hurt and offended, which did nothing to improve the situation.
Yes, it was difficult to hunt for shards with these two not talking to each other and the rest of their group not daring to address one or the other lest they said something wrong. Of course, they had not longer to worry about the dragons. But this was not a real advantage, for every time Inu Yasha saw one of the beasts, or they were called upon by villagers to dispose of one of them, he could not help but remember.
They slaying of dragons left him in an extraordinarily foul mood.
In addition to that they had not come across as much as even a rumour of a shard during the last two weeks.
Miroku gazed from Inu Yasha's ramrod straight back to Kagome's carefully blank expression. The girl's eyes were downcast, so he was not able to discern what mood she was in. And yet the world-wise monk could tell they both felt hurt, sad and lonely. Sometimes he wished he could grab their collars and shake them to make them see!
They had always seemed to like each other so much. Why could they not simply sit down together, talk about it and then let it rest in the past? Wasn't their affection for each other strong enough to survive the bad times? Why couldn't Inu Yasha see that if he didn't give Kagome-sama a second chance he would lose her altogether? Maybe he should drop a little hint …
It wasn't that he didn't understood what was going on inside of the hanyou, pondered Miroku. He understood very well. Inu Yasha loved Kagome. That was the simple truth even if he didn't admit it. He might have made that promise to Kikyo but he still loved Kagome – and that was the crux of the matter.
Inu Yasha had made that promise to Kikyo, and because of their past relationship he would do whatever was needed to keep this promise. He felt he owed Kikyo a life. He had not been able to protect her from death. He had let her down once; he would not do so again.
On the other hand he longed to be with Kagome. She had been his first real friend. The one who had accepted him without any ifs or buts. The one who relied on Inu Yasha for protection. This, thought Miroku, had surely given the hanyou extra self-confidence: he was needed.
But she had accepted Sesshomaru's offer for help.
Inu Yasha must have felt as if he wasn't needed anymore. And he had lost his sense in life to his elder brother, whom he despised and envied.
What a blow to him! Not only had the girl he loved given her innocence to another man – crushing enough for any guy – but it had been Sesshomaru of all people, the man – demon – that was everything Inu Yasha wanted to be.
Yes, thought Miroku, he understood Inu Yasha very well.
But he also understood Kagome-sama very well. He understood the reasons that had her made accept Sesshomaru's offer.
She had waited for Inu Yasha to help her, had even approached him on that matter herself, but he had given her no sign that he was willing to do so. In her eyes the hanyou had even made it clear he did not want to help her. Though this must have been devastating to her she had probably understood it. She knew how Inu Yasha felt about Kikyo, knew of his obligation to the dead miko. And she understood it; had accepted it.
Miroku wondered how she had put up with the situation as long as she did. He had expected her to become fed up with it sooner. On the other hand, Kagome-sama was a very understanding and self-less person.
But finally she had grown tired of waiting and being understanding. She had taken responsibility for herself and made a choice.
And, thought Miroku, she has done some growing up.
He smiled a little at the girl's bent head. Growing up was never easy.
A shrill shriek jerked him from meditating over this wisdom. He came to a sudden stop and turned his head into the direction from which the sound had come, but he only saw forest.
'W-what was that?' whispered Shippo from his place on the monk's shoulder.
'It sounded as if someone was being attacked,' remarked Sango, tensing, her hand reaching for the handle of her boomerang.
Kagome nodded and opened her mouth to speak, but another scream stopped her. This time it was clear that it was a woman screaming.
'There!' Shippo shouted and pointed into the forest. 'It's coming from that direction!'
The woman screamed again, a long, wailing cry that ended in a somewhat muffled Help!
The group acted instantly and, for the first time in weeks, unanimously. They plunged into the forest, tearing through the brush in order to reach the damsel in distress in time.
Inu Yasha was at the head, ruthlessly cutting down unsuspecting foliage that was in his way.
'Hurry up, guys!' he yelled over his shoulder.
'Kirara!' shouted Sango.
The fire-cat transformed into her larger self. Sango elegantly swung herself on the animal's back, and with a roar Kirara shot up trough the treetops and out of sight.
Miroku plucked the trembling Shippo off his shoulder.
'Kagome-sama! Take Shippo!'
The girl nodded, took the foxchild, and Miroku dashed ahead, gripping his staff with both hands. Something was ahead that was … foreign yet familiar. He did not like it, not at all.
Then monk and miko burst out of the forest onto an overgrown deer-track. They both stopped, taking in the sight in front of them.
There, a little further along the track stood Kirara, snarling. Next to her stood Sango, her boomerang ready to throw over her shoulder. In front of them stood Inu Yasha, crouched into position and ready to attack, Tessaiga transformed in his grip.
Between them was a girl, half-kneeling, her long dark hair tousled. She tried feebly to defend herself from her attackers that partly concealed her from view.
There were two of them, pearly grey, indistinct shapes that clung to the girl's arms. They had no face, no hands, their forms wavered and changed, and, for all the world, they looked like rainclouds that had somewhere taken the wrong turn. There was no demonic aura around them.
The girl screamed again. One scratch of mist wafted into her face and covered her mouth. The girl twitched violently.
'Oi! You bastards! Let go of her!' yelled Inu Yasha.
He raised his sword but Miroku rushed forwards and grabbed his arm.
'Don't, Inu Yasha! If you attack you'll hurt the girl!'
'Miroku!' shouted Sango. 'Do something!'
'Wha-? Why me?'
'They're ghosts! Neither Inu Yasha nor I can do anything about ghosts!'
Miroku stared in despair at the grey something that surrounded the helpless girl. There was no demonic aura – he couldn't do anything, either! There was nothing he could do! The kazaana would suck the girl in as well. His ofudas were useless for ghosts …
The monk turned his head to Kagome, who had remained some steps behind him. She had Shippo pressed against her chest, and her wide eyes darted from the girl to the monk.
'Miroku-sama, ban them! They are serving ghosts, something like shikigami! You can send them back to where they came from!'
Miroku blinked but didn't hesitate. If Kagome-sama said so, it would be true. Quickly he jerked some ban-ofudas out of his robes. He closed his eyes for a second, concentrating on gathering enough power. Then he opened his eyes and with a shout threw the ofudas.
They hit the strange shapes that froze immediately. For a moment nothing happened. Then they turned a lighter shade of grey. The next second they were gone.
The girl fell down in a heap and lay motionless, sobbing softly into the forest floor.
Kagome and Sango darted forwards and kneeled down next to her.
'Hush, it's all right now,' said Sango, patting the girl's back.
'They're gone, you're safe,' added Kagome.
The girl raised her head. Her large, black eyes glistened with tears. There was an expression of horror on her beautiful face.
'Really,' smiled Kagome. 'You're safe. Are you hurt?'
'Safe?' whispered the girl. She sat up and hugged herself. She shivered.
Kagome took her hand. She gasped.
'Her hands are cold as ice! Miroku-sama, please give me a blanket out of my bag!'
Miroku nodded and did what he was told. When he approached the three girls the stranger looked up at him.
The monk's breath stopped for a moment. Great Buddha, what a beauty! shot through his head.
The girl blushed prettily and lowered her lashes.
Kagome snatched the blanket out of the monk's hands and wrapped it around the girl's shoulders.
'There now, you'll feel better in a second.'
The girl smiled.
'Thank you,' she whispered. Then she looked up at the monk kneeling in front of her. Her smiled deepened.
'Thank you so much for saving me!'
Miroku took her hand and smiled back.
'No need to thank us. We are always glad to help.'
Sango narrowed her eyes.
'But tell me, what is a fair maid like you doing here alone?'
Sango's eyes flashed.
Miroku cast her an apologising smile. However, before he was able to say anything more Inu Yasha interrupted.
'Stop flirting, monk! Who cares why she's here! I wanna know what these spooky things are!'
'I wasn't flirting, Inu Yasha,' said Miroku with great dignity.
'Yeah, like I believe it!'
'I was merely trying to make her more comfortable,' the monk went on, not paying heed to the interruption.
Inu Yasha snorted.
'We would be more convinced if you let go of her hands,' suggested Kagome with a slight smile.
'I'm just trying to help!' protested Miroku.
'Shut up, monk.' Inu Yasha pushed Miroku aside and squatted down in front of the girl, staring hard into her face.
'Now, tell me, what were those things!'
The girl gaped at him, her eyes darting from his ears to his eyes.
Kagome shook her head.
'Inu Yasha. Yelling at her won't help.' She turned to the girl. 'Please excuse him. He tends to be a bit impatient. But tell us, do you know what these ghosts are? They seemed to be some kind of shikigami.'
'I-I don't know,' stammered the girl. 'I've never seen them before!'
New tears welled up in her eyes.
'I-I know it was my mistake!' she wailed. 'I shouldn't h-have left the others!'
'Y-yes! I-I was collecting berries w-with the other girls. Only they w-were so b-boring that I l-left them! A-and I s-swear I'll never go alone again! I want to go home!'
'We'll take you home,' promised Kagome.
The girl sniffled.
Miroku shoved Inu Yasha aside and took the girl's hands again, squeezing them slightly.
'Yes. You can trust us. I am a monk, and Kagome-sama is a miko. We are able to protect you, and we will bring you back to your village.'
The girl's tears vanished. She smiled coyly.
'That would be lovely,' she whispered, batting her lashes.
Miroku helped her stand up and tucked her arm under his.
'Ah, anything for a beautiful woman!'
The girl giggled.
Miroku walked down the path, the girl at his side, chatting amiably with her.
Behind him Inu Yasha snorted.
Kagome sighed, shook her head and gathered her belongings.
'He'll never change,' was Shippo's contribution.
The other two nodded, and they followed the diminishing pair.
Kirara growled softly and nudged her mistress who was staring after the monk with hard, cold eyes.