Darkness and complete nothingness surrounded the lone pale female figure. Her only sign of life was the gentle rise and fall of her chest. "Kagome." A lone voice echoed into the darkness, slowly drawing the young woman from her slumber. 'Where am I?' Kagome thought.
"Kagome." Once again, the voice called out. Sapphire blue eyes slowly opened in hopes of trying to identify where the voice was coming from. Blurry, blinking eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness. In the distance, Kagome could make out a white misty figure slowly approaching her.
"Who are you?" Kagome asked unable to make out the identity of the figure. She knew the figure was female, her voice was too high and soft to be male. The question was who would be calling her. She would have been able to recognize if it were Sango or Kaede.
As the figure slowly made their way over, Kagome could start to make out the traditional miko garbs that the woman wore. Slowly and slowly, the figure became clearer until she was able to make out her face.
Kagome's eyes grew large in shock, as she took in the woman, unable to believe who had been calling her. "Midoriko…." Kagome managed to whisper out. The last time she saw the woman was in her cave. Her body preserved for all time in stone.
Midoriko smiled at the young woman, while taking in the how much she had grown over her journey. Her face had lost what little baby fat it had, making her beautiful cheekbones stand out. Her body was tone, not an ounce of fat. Her curvaceous silhouette clearly indicated that the young woman was indeed very much a woman. She had obviously been growing her hair out as it now reached her lower back. "Yes, child, it is I."
"Where am I?" Kagome asked coming out of her stupor, looking around for any evidence of the world she knew. However, everything was black. She could not even make out the ground they were standing on.
"We are in the Shikon no Tama. Your journey has ended and you have shown great courage in your battle against evil hanyou, Naraku. You risked everything to rid the world of his evil."
Thoughts started to fill Kagome's head. The last thing she remembered was being pierced by Naraku's tentacle and feeling her life slip away from her. Determined not to die without a fight she forced all her power into the tentacle. The last thing she heard was Naraku's screams.
It took a few minutes before she managed to gather the courage to ask the question she was not sure she wanted to know the answer to. "Am I dead?" When she saw the sad smile that crossed Midoriko's beautiful face she knew that something bad had happened.
"Did die, but you are not quite dead yet." Noticing the confusion on the young woman's face, Midoriko continued. "You are dead to that world. You will never be able to return for your era nor the feudal era. However, your destiny was not meant to end here. You will be given a new life and a new journey."
"Why? I have completed the jewel and defeated Naraku. What more could the fates want from me?" cried Kagome. She had spent the last three years searching for the shards of the Shikon no Tama, battling demon, all while trying to defeat Naraku. She never got to see the peace that would spread across Japan with the death of the evil hanyou, but most importantly she never got to say good bye to her friends and family.
Midoriko walked up to Kagome, her shoulder length hair flowing behind her and put her arms around the sobbing woman. Calmly rocking the young woman, she waited patiently, letting all the news soak in. When the young woman finally stopped shaking, Midoriko gently whispered words of encouragement. "I can promise you that you will find new friends and happiness on your next journey. I know how much you miss your friends and family, and I know nothing can ever replace them, but you are needed elsewhere. Without you people will perish."
That seemed to calm her down as the tears had finally stopped. Kagome did not have it in her heart to sit by while people suffered, especially when she could do something about it. With a slight shake of her head, Kagome cleared her mind of her selfish and depressive thoughts. Stepping back, she looked up at the silent woman, taking note the sorrowful look on the older woman's face.
Wiping the last traces of tears from her eyes, Kagome gave her a firm and determined look before asking, "What am I to do this time?"
Midoriko smiled, seeing the woman's inner strength return. It was good, she would need that strength in the challenges to come. "Your strength and wisdom is needed to save a kingdom." Midoriko paused for a moment before continuing, "However, before your journey can begin, I must teach you how to wield a sword and help you properly train your powers." Midoriko slowly pulled out her sword from its place by her side, as one suddenly appeared before Kagome's eyes.
"What do you mean train my powers? Do you mean like healing and barriers?" Kagome asked grasping the sword. Before she had "died", she was studying how to control her powers with Miroku and Kaede. She only managed to heal a few cuts and form a weak barrier abound her body.
"Yes and no." Midoriko told her, "Your powers have increased greatly since the jewel has merged with you. Your powers now surpass even my own." Kagome's eyes once again got big. She had heard stories of Midoriko's power. She could form barriers that even the red tessaiga could not break. She also could purify one hundred demons without the use of a weapon and was able to battle demons for seven days without rest.
"I will teach you how to not only heal and use barriers, but also how to use your powers as a weapon against humans…"
"I thought my powers could only work on demons?" Kagome interrupted. "How can they work against humans?"
"Even humans hold imperfections and taint that is able to be purified. However, I will show you how to solidify your powers into weapons, much like we do when creating a barrier." Midoriko explained to her. "I will also teach you how to preform incantations and spells."
"Spells? I thought only dark priestesses used spells." Kagome asked her, confusion once again etched on her face.
"You are about to enter a land with old magic, you will have access to the magic of our world and of theirs." Midoriko told her before continuing. "Now, you have a lot to learn and while we have all the time in the world, we should not waste it."
Kagome nodded before holding the sword out in front of her.
Swords clashed through the empty void, as the two women fiercely battle each other. Flashes of pink light contrasted heavily against the black, like lightning on a stormy night. The figures were moving so fast they were almost a blur, until they were both knocked back panting.
Midoriko was covered in cuts, while Kagome did not have a scratch on her. The only evidence that she had been fighting was the beads of sweat that trickled down her brow and her heavy breathing.
Midoriko slowly stood up and faced the younger woman. She had done exceptionally well in her training and was ready to begin her journey. "You have done well, my child," Midoriko smiled as she approached the female warrior she had trained. They had been training for what could equate to about forty human years. Kagome had taken in all she could teach her and had even surprised her with her resourcefulness.
Kagome had not only perfected the art of sword fighting, but also trained herself how to use a whip. When Midoriko asked how she came up with the idea of forming her powers into a whip, she stated that she has seen Sesshomaru fight with an acid whip and thought that it would be a useful skill to learn, as well.
"I believe you are ready to start your journey." Midoriko told her sliding her sword back into its sheath. "You have learned everything I have to teach you."
"It has been an honor, Midoriko-sensei." Kagome bowed to the older woman in respect. During her time here, the two had grown close. Midoriko was like an older sister to her and had helped her transition.
"Now, it is time for me to leave and for you to enter the real world once again." Midoriko placed her hands on Kagome's shoulders just before the entire area was filled with a bright white light.
"Remember… I am always with you…." Midoriko whispered as she faded off into the background.
Merlin stumbled through the thick forest just outside of Camelot. It was a hot and humid day, he smelled and really wanted to get out of this heat. However, he cannot return until her found the stupid Burdock root Gaius the court physician sent him to find.
"Do not worry, Merlin, the plant will be easy to find. They grow about anywhere." Merlin mumbled as he searched the forest for the elusive plant. "If it was so easy to find why have I not found it?"
This was getting ridiculous, he had been searching for hours and had yet to see the plant. To make matters worse, he only had about two more hours' worth of light left. Just as he was about to give up he noticed and risk facing Gaius empty handed he noticed the plant growing by the base of a big tree.
"Finally, I really did not want to go back empty handed. As it is, I am likely to get lectured on how long it took me." Merlin went over to the tree. Reaching down to pull the plant out of the ground, he paused noticing something strange amongst the foliage. Reaching down gently touched the dark black strands that coved the fallen leaves.
"Hair?" Merlin said aloud. Picking it up slightly, he noticed that the hair was coming from the other side of the tree. After picking up the plant and putting it into his pouch, Merlin made his way to the other side of the tree.
He came quickly to a halt when he noticed whom the hair belonged to. Leaning against the other side of the tree was a beautiful maiden. She had almond like eyes, a cute button nose, and full pouty red lips.
As he moved in closer, he could make out the subtle rise and fall of her chest, meaning that she was alive. However, she did not appear to have any wounds, so the reason for her unconscious state was a mystery. She was dressed in odd clothing. Her red pants were wide, increasing in size as they reached her ankles. Her white shirt had huge sleeves that became bigger as they went down her arm, and the shoes were made of wood and fabric.
Noticing the sun was about to set, Merlin decided that it would be best if he brought the woman back with him. She would not make the night left alone out here; the wolves would have surely gotten to her.
"Let's get you back to Camelot. Perhaps Gaius can take a look at you and find out why you are unconscious." He really wished he had brought a horse. He had originally thought he could use the exercise, but he had not expected to be searching half the forest, nor stumbling upon the woman. "It's a good thing you do not weigh that much or this might be really difficult."
Merlin had barely entered the castle gate before he heard his name being called out. "Merlin! Where have you been? I was looking all over for you!" Arthur yelled at him as he ran towards the man. He needed his armor polished and being unable to locate his manservant, Merlin, he had to find another servant to polish it for him.
"I had to go into the forest, Gaius needed more Burdock root." Merlin explained with a slight sigh in his voice. "I did not intent to be gone so long but I had a hard time finding the plant. Never trust Gaius when he said that something should be easy to find." He was exhausted and just wanted to climb into bed. He did not have the energy to argue with Arthur at the moment.
Apparently, Arthur must have noticed his exhaustion because he dropped the subject. "Well, make sure that it doesn't happen again." Looking down, Arthur finally noticed the small woman in Merlin's arms. "Ahh..Who is that?" Arthur asked pointing to the woman. He had never seen Merlin with a woman, well except for Gwen.
"I don't know who she is. I found her unconscious lying in the forest. She does not have any visible wounds, but she has not woken since I found her. I was going to see if Gaius can take a look at her." Merlin told him, looking down at the woman in his arms.
"Well then, let me take her. You are not known for your strength. I am surprised you have not dropped her already." Too tired to argue with him, Merlin merely nodded before passing the girl to Arthur. Relief filled his aching muscles with the absence of the woman's weight.
"Well don't just stand there. Lead the way!" Arthur yelled when Merlin just stood there stretching his shoulders.
Gaius quickly moved throughout the room gathering supplies that he needed to make more pain medication for the king. Glancing out the window, noticing how dark it was getting, a small frown made its way onto his aged face. He had sent Merlin out to get some Burdock took a while ago and had yet to hear from the boy. He hoped nothing happened to him. The lands were unsafe at the moment. Perhaps it was not the best idea to send him out alone, but he figured that if Merlin did find trouble he could easily handle it, he was a sorcerer after all.
The sound of the door opening startled him out of his thoughts. Relief filled him when he say Merlin making his way into the room. "Where on Earth have you been?" he asked silently taking in the boys rugged, worn down look.
"I was out getting that root of yours, the one you asked me to find." Merlin dropped the bag containing the plant onto the table and plopped down in one of the chair surrounding it. Noticing the disbelief on the older man's face, Merlin quickly added. "It's true! I spent have the day searching the forest for it."
Before another word could be spoken, the sound of someone clearing their throat was heard. Turning around, Gaius noticed the prince for the first time and the woman he carried in his arms. "A much as I would love your conversation, she is getting heavy."
"I thought you were the strong soldier." Merlin joked at him, having regained enough energy to tease the prince. Arthur shot Merlin a nasty glare, one that would normally indicate severe pain.
"Ah, Prince Arthur. Who might you have there?" Gaius asked looking at the young woman. He had never seen her in the city before and she did not appear to be from around here. That means she was either lost, traveling, or was kidnapped.
"I don't know. Merlin found her in the forest. Can I please set her down? She maybe small, but she still does weigh a bit." Arthur complained shifting Kagome's weight around slightly in order to get a better grip.
"Ah, yes, of course. Set her on the bed over there." Gaius pointed to one of the small cots in the middle of the room. It was not the most comfortable of beds, but then again this was a not an inn but a medical room.
Arthur walked over to the bed and gently laid the young woman on the bed. "Merlin says she has not woken up since he stumbled upon her. Any idea why she will not wake up? I didn't see any wounds on her."
"Not all injuries can be seen on the body. There could be bleeding in her head that is keeping her in her unconscious state or it could be a poison that is flowing throughout her body. Let us hope, for her sake, that neither is the case." Gaius explained as he started to examine the young woman. He checked her head for any indications of head wounds and her pulse for signs of poison. Exhaling softly he turned to the two young men.
"Well I see no indication of trauma to the head, nor does she display any signs of poison. However, I believe I will keep her here for the night, just to be on the safe side."
Before anyone could say anything else, the door to the room burst open. Gwen had tears gathering in her eyes as she tried to catch just enough breathe to speak. "The king…" she gasped out, "The king has…"
"What about the king?" Arthur asked running up to the shaking woman, grabbing her forearms to hold her steady.
"The king… the king has been poisoned!" she managed to shout out after taking in a deep breath. Silence filled the room for a brief moment before panic set in.
"What do you mean poisoned?" He asked shaking her slightly. His father was very careful when it came to his food and drinks, especially in a time like this, where danger lurked everywhere.
"How did this happen?" Gaius asked, putting a hand on Arthur arm to stop his shaking of the poor girl.
"I do not know. He had just started reading a letter when he started shaking and vomiting." She told them, trying desperately to calm down and think.
"Where is the king now?" Gaius knew this was not good. Only a few poisons worked this rapidly through only skin contact and none of them were good news."
Guard slowly pushed the slightly open door open. The king rested on a gurney they carried. His breathing was short and rapid, and his brow was covered in sweat. "Ah mm ba." The king mumbled in pain.
"Put him over on the bed." Gaius quickly walked over to the only open bed left. "I need to have a look at him."
The guards gently laid their confused and ill king on the bed, stepping back while the court physician examined the king. Gaius quickly checked the king, taking in any possible symptoms of the poison. They had to hurry and identify the poison if the King was going to make it.
"Is he going to make it?" Arthur asked quietly. He had seen his father sick before, but never had he seen him like this. He look like he was on the verge of death and if he was honest, it terrified him.
Putting down his magnifying glass, Gaius looked up at all the worried faces. "Gwen. I need you to return to the king's study and retrieve that letter, but whatever you do, do not let it touch your skin."
Gwen nodded before rushing out of the room. The other still stood there awaiting news. "What kind of poison attacks from the skin?" Arthur once asked. Normally poison had to be ingested, which is why the kings food and water was always tested before being served to him.
"There are a few very poisonous plants that can kill simply through contact with the skin." Gaius sighed looking down at the king. "However, without knowing what the poison is I cannot create an antidote."
Gwen returned with the letter. She had wrapped the thing in several linens before picking it up. Luckily, no one had touched the letter in the panic.
"Put it on the desk, dear girl." Gaius stood up and made his way over to his workbench. Carefully, he pulled the linens back. A frown covered his face and he gently turned the letter over with a par of tongs. Pulling out his magnifying glass, he started looking for any traces of the poison. Reach over and grabbing a small knife, and gently scrape a thin film off the letter. He bent down and sniffed the letter before sitting back up with a grim look on his face.
"Well, do you know what it is?" Arthur asked, growing impatient. His father was currently lying on the bed struggling to breathe. The longer it took to identify the poison the closer his father was to death.
"It's wolfs bane. The letter is covered in a thin ointment containing the poison." Gaius said. Everyone in the room could hear the defeat in his voice. Whatever this wolf's bane was, it was serious.
"But know that you know what it is, you can create a cure for it, right?" asked Arthur. He did not like tone of voice or the body posture in the old man. Since telling them, what the poison was he had yet to move from his seat on the workbench.
"No, I cannot. There is no antidote or magic that can cure someone suffering from wolf's bane poisoning." The only sound in the room was Gwen's choked sobs.
"How long?" Arthur's shaky voice asked, just barely above a whisper. He did not know if he was angry or heartbroken, but he decided to go with anger, not wanting to face his grief.
"It depends on how long he was exposed." Gaius told the young prince truthfully. "It could be a matter of hours or days."
Arthur straightens up his posture looking at the Gaius in the eyes. He carried angry determined look. Someone was going to pay for poisoning his father and when he found out who it was he was going to kill him. "Gaius, where would one buy Wolf's bane?"
"No, shops in town would sell it, due to its association with witch craft. It either came from another town or it was gathered from the wild." Gaius stated. The prince needed to settle this if he was going to get over the soon to be death of his father. "The plant mainly grows in mountainous regions, but it can be found in meadows."
Nodding Arthur quickly turned and headed towards the door, the guards following him. Stopping he turned around to look at the dark haired man. "Merlin, you are coming too."
Merlin looked up at his friend. He had been deep in thought as to who could have done this. He had an aching suspicion that it was Morgana and Morgause, but he could not tell Arthur his suspicions, no one but he and Gaius knew that Morgana was a witch. Merlin stood up and approached his friend and master, even if he could not prove it was Morgana, he could at least keep an eye on her.
Gaius watched as the men left the room. Times were going to get even tougher. He only hoped the kingdom will survive. "Gwen, my dear, why don't you go rest? I will keep watch over him." The young girl was currently sitting by the king's side, holding his hand and wiping the sweat off his brow. She looked tired. No doubt, this whole event drained her of her energy.
Quietly she nodded and stood up making her way towards the door. She opened the door before pausing to glance at Gaius one last time. "Let me know if…" She trailed off unable to speak the words.
"I will let you know. Get some rest, Gwen." With Gaius's assurance, she left the room. She knew she should find Morgana. No doubt, the woman would want to be by the king's side. He was, after all, her only father figure.
Gaius watched as the last person left the room, leaving him alone with his two charges. Looking at his old friend, he could not help the thought that trailed in his mind. 'How will we make it through this tragedy?'
Morgana stood in her chambers, a sinister smile on her face as she watched the last of the wolf's bane ointment Morgause had given her, burn in the fireplace. The fools would never suspect the beautiful and ever faithful ward of the king as the one who poisoned him.
In a manner of hours, the king should be dead. With him gone, Arthur was the last person standing in the way. She and her sister would rule over this kingdom and bring magic back to its rightful place in the hierarchy, at the top.
A soft knock echoed throughout the room. Quickly turning away from the fireplace, she sat down at the end of her bed. "Enter."
Gwen slowly opened the door. She did not know how Morgana would take the news and dreaded telling her, but someone had to. It was better if she said it than someone else. "My lady, I come with new of the king."
"What do you mean? Has something happened?" Morgana asked. Her face took on the look of a worried daughter and her voice dripped with fake concern.
Unable to hold back her tears, Gwen choked back her sobs enough to answer the woman she considered a dear friend. "He has been poisoned, my lady."
Hiding the smile that wanted to creep across her face, Morgana quickly stood and rushed over to the crying servant girl. "What do you mean poisoned? Surely Gaius could save him, like he did Merlin."
"There is no cure for what ails the king. It is witches magic!" Gwen cried out. Morgana looked devastated when she heard those words and it only made Gwen feel worse.
"You mean he is going to die? How long does he have?" Morgana asked sitting back on her bed with a stunned look on her face. It was a good thing she was a great actress, otherwise she would be grinning with excitement right now.
"Gaius says he has maybe a few hours or it could be a few days. It all depends on how much contact he had with the poison." Gwen walked over and sat on the bed next to the other woman. "If you want I can bring you to him." She told her softly.
Tears pricked at Morgana's eyes as she looked into the face of her friend. "I can't! I can't see him like that, not yet!" She cried out before burying her head into the servant girl's shoulders. She wanted nothing more than to watch the fool suffer, but she had no doubt Merlin would try to stop her.
"It's alright. You don't have too." Gwen calmly told her, her tears stopping at the sight of her friends. She needed to be strong for Morgana.
"Would you stay with me Gwen?" Morgana pleaded. All this emotions were sickening her, but she had to be convincing, otherwise Merlin would suspect her even more than he already did, no doubt.
"Of course, I will. I will stay as long as you need me too."
Gaius had spent the majority of the evening mixing herbs that would aid the king's breathing and fever. However, hours later all the worry and exhaustion set in, causing him to fall asleep at his workbench.
A slight stirring sounded throughout the quiet room as Kagome slowly came too. Opening up her eyes, she waited as they adjusted to the dark room. She took in all the books and the smells of herbs. If she had to guess, she would say she was in a room equivalent to an infirmary. Quietly, she slowly started to sit up. He body did not seem to be suffering from any damage from her battle with Naraku. The jewel must have healed her when it merged with her.
As she quietly assessed herself, she felt two auras brush against her own, the first aura was aged and the second was laced with taint. Glancing around the first figure she notices was the old male slumped over the desk. It was not until a quiet moan sounded next to her that she noticed the other patient in the room.
He was sweating and mumbling, clearly delirious. He was no doubt going to die if she did not doing something. Standing up she silently made her way over to him. The man had seen many battles as seen from the scar over his right eye. He was a strong warrior, no doubt, but his skin had grown sickly pale.
He had to be someone of great importance to receive the care he was. She could smell the herbs that covered his scarred chest, no doubt trying to help his breathing. If he were a common soldier, they probably would not use all the essential and hard to find herbs when it was clear he was dying.
Noticing the painful expression on his fact, Kagome laid her hand on his head in a comforting manner. "Do not worry, all the pain will be over shortly." she gently whispered to him. Closing her eyes, and placing her hands on his chest, she called forth her healing powers. She could felt the violent poison coursing through the man's blood, tainting and destroying his body. Her hands glowed a light pink as she started to purify the toxic from the man's body.
If she had not woken up when she did, she was sure the man would have died. His internal organs were already starting to shut down. It took several minutes before she was positive she had removed the poison completely. His fever had broken and he appeared to be sleeping off the effects the poison caused his weary body. He should be all right, now that the poison was gone, but would need to take it easy.
Kagome quietly moved back to the bed she had been resting on. She could tell by how dark it was that it was well into the night. If she wanted to be awake when the others were, she would need to return to the land of dreams. Once again, her blue eyes closed as she fell back into her peaceful slumber.
Hanyou - half demon and half human.
Miko – Priestess
Words from the author:
Hey, sorry it has taken me SO long to update. I suddenly became swamped with school and when that died down, I lost interest in finishing it. However, I recently found the story saved on my hard drive and decided to revise and finish it.