"Now, now. Let's not be afraid. If you wish to ever become a proper lady, you will have to learn to bathe properly." Cooed the surprisingly young looking former lady of the West to a small girl, awkward and so painstakingly virginal in her naivety. "Your mother sent you to me to teach you etiquette, and I except you to learn it. I don't want the reputation of a poor teacher."

The young virgin moved into the room, closer to her teacher, smiling. She heard her teacher lock the door behind her, supposing it was to keep lechers and their peeping eyes off of her fresh, young body. She crept silently to the rim of the porcelain tub, placing her fingers upon the edge. "Why, teacher? There is no water in this tub."

"Of course not. They wait to add it until you are undressed so that the water might not turn cold." The older woman spoke soothingly, so as to mollify the innocent fears of her student, "Now, let me help you with your ties." The woman slowly peeled off layer after layer of the girl's formal kimono. She placed her clawed fingers upon the girl's fair neck, allowing the index claw to slit her throat. She pushed the girl's torso over the edge and watched as the sweet virgin blood drip into the tub; it was her elixir to youth.

"Yuina-sama, why?" the girl managed to croak out in her dying breath.

%%%

Kagome sat in the garden looking for flowers that would accent nicely Master Sesshomaru's room. She had been commissioned to arrange a floral decoration for her Lord's room, since she was the only servant with some form of courtly background.

She picked mostly white flowers with a few tiger lilies and proceeded over to a bench in a niche in the path to count the flowers. She wanted to be sure she was precise in her arranging, so as to make a good impression. After all, a servant's good work meant that the nobles were happy, and happy nobles meant happy servants, full plates and warm beds.

Out of the corner of her eye Kagome noticed Yuina-sama, the former Lady of the Western Lands approaching with her loyal advisor Shou. Recently, Yuina had changed and Kagome had often received the sensation of chills whenever Yuina was around. When Kagome had first arrived at court, she had been Yuina's little pet, allowing her to dress her up, paint her face, and take her to many shows. Yuina had allowed her to continue the training she had begun at home. But when the revered Inu-Taisho-sama had died, Yuina turned cold. She no longer tolerated Kagome's presence, and upon Shou's advise, began ordering Kagome to perform common servile tasks. Though allowed to keep her room, separate of the servant quarters, Yuina no longer gave Kagome special treatment.

A few months ago, however, Yuina began to instruct some of the lesser nobles daughters in the art of court etiquette. They always stayed for a few weeks, before being sent home dead. They all caught a "mysterious disease," Yuina called it, in which they turned a deathly pale, and colder than ice. Yuina did her act of hoping she shan't catch this disease.

Kagome, however, knew it was not a disease. She had often been sent to clean the tub that had been stained red by blood. She had heard Yuina speak with Shou. The real misfortune that befell the young girls was Yuina's desire for virgin blood, in which she would proceed to bathe in. Shou had found a spell that required the blood of virgins to keep beauty and youth.

A rustling near by on the path alerted her to the approach of her Lady. Kagome pretended to work very intently with the flowers, her black hair shielding her eyes from view.

"Mi'lady, I think you should next use that one." She heard Shou whisper.

"Kagome?" Yuina inquired, questioning his reasoning.

"She is obviously a virgin, mi'lady. You can certainly smell her sweet innocence calling out to you. Plus, she has cleaned the tub. She knows too much. What if she wishes to expose us?"

Yuina breathed in deeper, as Kagome's scent wafted into her nostrils. She nodded. Kagome was definitely a virgin, and she had much beauty. That beauty would be passed onto Yuina: the more beautiful the virgin, the stronger the potion. "Yes. I shall have her."

Kagome sucked in her breathe upon hearing the deadly words pass through her mistress's mouth. She watched as they continued to walk closer to her, and prostrated herself in a bow when her lady became near enough. "Good afternoon, Yuina-sama." She spoke timidly.

"Ahhh, yes. Kagome-san. Good afternoon to you as well. I was thinking you must come inside with me today. I have some tasks I wish for you to complete." Yuina smiled slyly at the young girl. Her virgin blood was calling to her.

Kagome thought quickly. She certainly could not enter a room alone with Yuina now that she knew her true motives and blood lust. "Yuina-sama, I must decline, as I must complete this floral arrangement for the honorable Sesshomaru-sama's private quarters. I would not dare feel his wrath for not completing my duty."

Shou scowled at the girl.

"Maybe some other time then." Yuina replied, her displeasure clear on her youthful face. "Now go inside, to Sesshomaru, if you wish not to feel his wrath."

Kagome gathered up the flowers and ran inside the castle. Entering his room, Kagome gathered the three vases she would be arranging the flowers in. Each petal was a perfect, velvety, smooth white, like his face, save the tiger lilies. She arranged them in a pleasing fashion, and was putting the vases in various places in the room when he entered.

Kagome gasped. "Sesshomaru-sama." She blushed at her lack of respect, and quickly prostrated herself to the ground in a bow. "I hope I have arranged the flowers in a fashion to your pleasing."

"Hn." He responded. That was a good sign, she had learned after years of work for the young lord.

"My Lord, Sesshomaru." Kagome began quietly, looking up at him from behind half-closed eyes, "I have a request to make, that surely you will hear as a favor for my years of faithful service to you."

Lord Sesshomaru thought back to when Kagome was first brought to the castle, when his father was still alive. She had come two or three years after Inu-Yasha's birth, and was a relative of Izayoi, Inu-Yasha's mother. Her sister's child, dainty and small had been sent to live with Izayoi after Kagome's mother was killed by a jealous lover. Apparently her father did not wish to see the child, as she constantly reminded him of his wife's deceit.

Kagome had come to the court, and was well received by his own mother, Lady Yuina, who did not care that the child was related to the woman that stole her mate. Kagome was like the daughter Yuina never had, though Sesshomaru never thought her a sister. His mother would dress her, take her to court meetings, plays, operettas, and allowed her to continue her formal training as that of a human princess. When Inu-Taisho died, that all changed. Kagome was reduced to a mere maid and servant, his own personal servant, at the age of 8. Of course he abused his power over her, when he was still young, making her throw mud at the chef or stand out in the rain all day. He had no desire to have a human girl for a servant. As he aged however, she began to serve him in the more typical way a servant would: cleaning his chambers, bringing up his dinner when he did not eat, reading to him when his eyes were tired. She was correct in her saying she had devoted years of faithful service to him, nine years of faithful service.

"If you wish to make a request then stand up, and look me in the eye, as an equal." He spoke, and she stood as he had bidden.

"Sesshomaru-sama, please I fear for my life at the hands of your mother. Today in the gardens, I heard her speaking with Shou-sama, and she wish to kill me my Lord, for my blood."

"Your blood?"

"Yes, my blood. She wishes the blood of a virgin to bathe in it. I know she have often done it, with the nobles' daughters that have died here so suddenly. I know it because I have cleaned the bloody tub after the fact. And now she wishes to kill me because I yet have virgin blood, and I know too much."

"And what of it? What of your request?" This was news to Sesshomaru. He rarely kept a tab on his mother, figuring her old enough to stay out of trouble, but he wouldn't put this past her either.

Kagome took a deep breath. "I request you take me as your courtesan."

"You? But you are a human."

"That I know, however, it is not unusual for a young Lord to take himself a courtesan, even five. I know I may be human but it would not stain your name."

Sesshomaru scoffed. "And what of the male hands? Why don't you ask them to rid you of your virginity?"

"There be something noble, yet, in the life of a courtesan. It would not make me entirely a whore."

"Girl, you do not know of what you are thinking. I could kill you in the act."

"Rather I die in the throws of passion, than my virgin blood be spilt into a porcelain tub. Please, Sesshomaru-sama. I beg of you. Do this for me." She looked at him with pleading eyes and anxiously awaited his response.