The characters of InuYasha are not mine, they are property of Rumiko Takahashi, Shogakukan, Yomiuri TV, Sunrise, and Viz. I do not make any money from the writing of this story. I don't even own my computer. Love is such a cruel master

'Once I was'

Chapter 1: Punishment

So it was ten minutes after sun raise everyone from the Palace waited in the courtyard. Inu Tashio stood beside his mate with her tear stained face. Inu Yasha watched his feet standing next to his father feeling sick to his stomach. And Sesshoumaru looked as cold as ever but inside he wanted to face death more than this. Poor Kenai couldn't even get out of bed the healer had to give her something to make her sleep. The rest of the servants stood around in disgust or heart broken. But all were eager to have this over and done with or for the lord to call the whole thing off.

Kagome was prepared for the bright sun as she stepped from the dungeon into the courtyard. She knew what was going to happen to her and she also knew no one would help her. Kagome neither looked right nor left she knew everyone had to watch that didn't mean she had to watch them. She was ready for the guards as they pressed her against the stone, obeyed when they order her to embrace it, was completely prepared when some kind of cord was twisted around her wrist than her ankles. She turned her face away from the sea of faces and prepared herself for the pain to come.

Kagome was prepared also for the coolness of the air as it rushed over her skin, when her torn kimono was split to the waist. She felt the huge creature that stepped behind her and knew who it was as he asked for her forgiveness. With a nod of her head 'how could I blame him, for what he was order to do' the whip whistled upward bring her from her thoughts.

Then, number one. The leather struck her back and took her breath away, a sharp snap which left a burning sensation and drove her forward against the stone. Her eyes watered. She was still in the process of catching her breath when the third came, bring a new wave of pain. She bit into her lip and pressed closer to the stone as if brought to movement by the blows themselves, her knees buckled, but her body was still held rigid by her bondage.

What was that sound? The whip lifting again? But she wasn't ready but yet again she was driven forward. Her back burned as though someone was holding a torch to it. Only five? She could not hold up under five more to go. 'Kami help me' As she was thinking on how she would endure, she suffered number six. Her head shot forward, her legs gave out. As from a great distance she heard a female voice scream, "Enough."

Seven cruelly instead of pushing her over the edge into darkness it revived her. She caught a shallow breath in her lungs and somehow found the strength to stand on her feet, thankfully taking the pressure off her arms. Her eyes cleared. She saw the forest the only place she ever felt at home and safe. But she closed her eyes to the thought; it only made her see Sesshoumaru. That rare smile he always offered her. Under the next impact she jerked upward, her head fell backward, her small chin scraping in stone, something cool and liquid ran down her back.

On count eight the whip caught in her long hair and jerked her head further backwards, and for a moment she stared straight into heaven. Her bloody lips moved as she struggled to digest the pain, the sensation of the skin being torn from her back. Only things her confused mind seemed to process were the sounds of crying females all around her.

Someone was whispering in her ear, pushing head forward gently. The voice suggested she give in and don't fight the pain. And the whip lifted again, again came furiously down. Her mind reeled under the damaged being done to her back, the very bones of her spine felt exposed.

Her distracted mind lost count, drowned in grief that the creatures' she loved most in the world would make her endure such torture. Tears ran openly down her face. One more. Number nine? The bright light of morning faded.

She was not aware of number ten. As the whip whistled upward, she felt her heart murdered, her body swung limp in its swing, and she was swept into a still quiet place. The huge creature gasps as he swore he heard the mute girl speak, "Once I was. Now I am nothing"

Inu Tashio had Kagome taken to the healer as he helped his mate back into the palace. He saw Inu Yasha took off to the forest without looking back. Sesshoumaru just looked at him as if he didn't see him and walked off somewhere. He couldn't blame them. He couldn't stand his self right now.

He knew even if Kagome did recover she would never be the same. No one ever endures that sort of thing and reminds the same. Not to the mention the scars on her back would kill any chance she had at finding a good husband. Guilt flooded him like never before. If she healed, he would take her back at the palace, give her another chance. Maybe an easier job, she loved children. His hands shook as he fell to his knees guilt ate at him. Oh Kami, what had he done to the poor child?

To add more guilt to the shoulders of the Lord of the West was no more than three days later his mate was again attacked as she walked through the forest. The report: again a dark-haired human female who then ran off, now no one could believe it as again it sounded like Kagome. But everyone knew that the girl was still recovering at the home of the healer.

There was only one other dark-haired girl that lived in the palace and that was Kikyo she was acting a bit strange was of late. Sesshoumaru took it upon himself to have the girl followed when next she left the palace for town. When the guard returned to the palace later that evening he had one story, to tell.

"Tell my father everything you told me," Sesshoumaru stated.

"I followed the girl Kikyo into town. Where she sold a neck collars and bracelets that belong to the Lady Izayoi. When I questioned the store owner, he said the girl had been to his place of business three times before. These were the things she sold to him," from his obi he pulled a bag which he open and poured the contents out on the desk. Sure enough the three neck pieces and matching bracelets and rings were all there. Sesshoumaru picked up the last piece his eyes widen as he carefully stroked the stones.

"What is it my pup, do you know that piece?" it was beautiful a black silken collar in the front two blue stones made up the crescent moon along with sixteen diamonds that looked like twinkling stars. He knew he never had anything made like that for his mate. But looking at it he wishes he had.

"I had this made for Kagome on her sixteenth summer," Sesshoumaru replied clinching it tight in his fist.

"Oh Kami-sama my pup we have done a great injustice to the sweetest child in all of Japan" Inu Tashio whispered as he fell into his chair his eyes wide in shock. A knock sounded through the study Sesshoumaru growled for whoever it was to enter. A young bird youkai bowed and handed him a letter, he tore it open and read the contents. The letter drifted to the floor as Sesshoumaru raced from the room. The shocked guard handed the letter to Inu Tashio after reading the letter he shouted for them to 'get out'.

Lord Inu Tashio

I healed the young ningen, Kagome, as best I could. Since your last letter as you instructed she has been sold. A jackal Youkai named Dai will bring you the gold pieces made from the sale.

Shatai

The house of the moon was never the same after that. Kikyo had collected her money and was never seen again. And to cover up her crimes she had composed a letter to the healer under the guise of Inu Tashio.

Kagome had been sold.