Hello everyone and Happy New Year! I pray that everyone will have a good year full of happiness and good fortune! Let's welcome 2013 with smiles and reviews for this brand new chapter of As Fate Would Have It!

Disclaimer: I do not own either one of these great manga/anime. Red River belongs to Chie Shinohara and Inuyasha belongs to Rumiko Takahashi.

Summary: All Kagome has ever wanted was for the Well to reopen so that she could return to her first love, Inuyasha. But the Fates had different plans for when. After she was forced to try to forget her life in the Sengoku Jidai, Kagome rejects Hojo's confession of love to her and ran when he got forceful. Then something happen, she was pulled down into a lake by the Queen of the Hittite's to be sacrifice for a Katashiro.

Before the queen could do she is save by the third prince – Kail Mursili and became his concubine and then the incarnate of Ishtar, Goddess of Beauty and War. Now, she must fight her way back home as well as whatever the Fates throw at her.

Beta: NewOrleansMagnolia

As Fate Would Have It

A gentle and sincere smile spread over the miko's lips as she watched the tender moment the Hatti siblings shared. The three sisters each took turns hugging Tito and petting his hair, and Tito accepted his sisters' loving embrace full heartedly. Tears stung at the corners of Kagome's eyes and her heart suddenly felt heavy; she missed her family. She missed her mother's advice on love; she missed her jii-chan's crazy stories; she missed Souta and his annoying taunts and tricks. But most of all, she missed Inuyasha and all her friends back in the Sengoku Jidai.

Kagome rubbed her eyes vigorously, drying her damp eyelashes. "I am going to train."

Hadi looked up from the group, her dark green eyes locked on Kagome's retreating form.

"Hold it!" she removed herself from her younger siblings and grabbed Kagome by the collar of her robe. "Prince Kail will be here soon. And you're dressed in...in..." her eyes widened when she saw the name that was stitched into the back of the dingy white robe. "You're wearing Tito's clothes!" she signaled for the twins to come over and help restrain the miko. "You must bathe and change immediately!"

The miko struggled against the older woman's grip, squirming like a child caught in a mother's hold. "Hadi-san! Let me go!"

"Ryui! Shalla! Prepare the bath immediately!" Hadi ordered as she began to strip Kagome of her clothing.

A blush rose up in the priestess's cheeks. "Hadi-san! Tito-kun is still in here!"

Tito blushed as he quickly ran out of Kagome's room and hid behind Kikkuri, who was trying to calm Raion down with little success. A small chuckle left the child's lips when the brunette scowled at the stallion and the beast merely sneezed in his face.

Kikkuri wiped his face before turning to Tito. "How did it go?"

"My sisters are here!" the dark haired boy beamed. "I'm so happy!"

Back inside the palace, Kagome was still struggling against the sisters, but no matter how much she resisted, the older women would ignore her. Finally she sighed and gave up, allowing them to do as they pleased.

Ryui grinned and pulled a beautiful robe out of the chest and showed it to Kagome. "Your new clothes."

Shalla held up a bottle of creamy white substance. "I brought milk lotion."

Kagome managed to smile at the twins before Hadi dunked her head under the water. She came back up sputtering. "Hadi-san!"

Hadi grabbed a jug filled with sweet smelling liquid and poured some of it in Kagome's hair. "Just relax Kagome-sama. After your bath, we'll apply the milk lotion and give you a full body massage."

The miko stopped struggling when she heard the word 'massage.' She has not had one of those since she and her mother went on a spa day. Kagome relaxed her muscles and fully embraced the pampering that the sisters were treating her to. She sank deeper into the warm water as Hadi scrubbed the miko's scalp.

'I deserve to be pampered every now and then.' The Shikon no Miko smiled and dipped her head under the water when she felt the eldest Hatti sister push down.

Kail walked through the open field, pausing only to give Kikkuri a strange look as he saw the brown haired servant fight with Kagome's black stallion. "Kikkuri..." he called out, causing the younger man to jump and release the horse's reins. "I'm back."

Kikkuri shot Raion a glare for making him look like a fool in front of the Hittite Prince before bowing. "Kail-sama, welcome back."

The blond removed his cloak, handing it to Tito and continued to walk towards his room. "We'll be having war with Mitanni soon."

"It's finally going to start?" Kikkuri asked as he followed the third prince.

Kail unhooked his sword and tossed it to his childhood friend as he walked into his bedchamber. "I have something to share with you all. Go and look for Ilbani." he pulled off the red and yellow headband that held his bangs out of his face. "But before that, I need a bath."

Tito gasped and quickly rushed over and pulled on Kail's arm. "My lord, the bath is..."

The prince removed his arm from the child's grip, turning a stern look on him. "Tito, the dry weather and having my body covered in sand is very uncomfortable." he pushed the door of the bathing chamber open, closing it behind him as he leaned against it. He reached for the sash that held his robe together when he heard voices. Looking up, his amber-gold eyes widened and a light blush spread over his cheeks at the sight he was greeted with.

Kagome was laying on her stomach, her head propped up by her arms as Hadi rubbed milk lotion on her back. A sigh left the miko's mouth when the eldest of the twins began to massage her calf muscles while the other worked on the kinks in her biceps. "This is heaven." she moaned softly.

"Kagome-sama's skin is smooth like a newborn baby's" Ryui commented, sliding her hand over the miko's calves.

Shalla kneaded the muscles in Kagome's slender shoulders. "It will dry out and become rough if you don't take care of it properly."

Hadi rubbed more lotion into the Shikon no Miko's back. "Then there's the fact that you're skinny." her hand slipped and accidentally brushed the side of Kagome's breast. The eldest Hatti sister took a moment to judge the size of the miko's bust and decided that they were about the same size of her twin sisters'; maybe a bit smaller. "Your breasts are of adequate size, but I heard the prince likes his women plump." a sneaky smile spread over her lips when the miko stiffened. "You know, Kagome-sama, the best way to make your breasts larger is to have Prince Kail fondle and caress them. Why don't you ask him this favor?"

Kagome felt heat flood into her cheeks as Hadi's words registered in her brain. She turned her head and shot a glare at the older woman. "Hadi-san! Don't say such indecent things like that!" her blush deepened when the twins laughed at her and she felt the youkai inside the jewel stir with her rising embarrassment. She flipped her hair over her shoulder as she turned around, the pink sphere over her left breast glimmering a pale violet, and Kagome lowered her voice to a deep, seductive whisper. "You may just give me ideas."

The three women laughed at the playful husky tone the miko gave.

Kail leaned against the closest pillar to the four women, his arms crossed over his chest. He took a deep breath as he prepared himself for the consequences of peeping on Kagome. "Ideas, huh? I'd gladly help you with those, Kagome."

"Ah! Prince! You're back!"

The miko was sure she turned at least five different shades of red as she felt Kail's eyes roam over her unclothed body. She gritted her teeth and mentally counted off the seconds before her anger got the best of her. She did not even make it to three. "Hentai! Get out!" she jumped off the table and into the tub, where she sent a wave of water at the blond prince. 'Gyah! Why did the Shikon no Tama make me say that!' She tried to concentrate on the jewel's presence inside her body, but was blocked out by a barrier. 'Damn youkai! I will have my answer!'

Kagome growled when the soft chuckles of the inner demons of the Shikon echoed through her mind. "Like we will tell you anything, miko."

Ryui doubled over with her laughter and she wiped at her eyes. "What are you ashamed of, Kagome-sama?"

"Haven't you two been sleeping together every night?" Shalla piped in, pointing her finger at Kail's retreating form and then at Kagome.

Kagome sank deeper into the water until only her nose and eyes were above the surface. 'I'm merely a concubine in name. I cannot remain by his side.'

Back inside his bedchamber, despite being dripping wet, Kail was still recovering from his mirth. Deep hearty chuckles echoed throughout the room as he bent over and lifted his hand to his lips in an effort to stifle them. Soon his laughter subsided as thoughts of Kagome and the upcoming war entered his mind...and the few months until the miko's departure from this land.

Kagome looked down at the outfit that the Hatti sisters dressed her in and nodded her head. The twins picked out a deep blue top that was decorated with white water lilies, which stopped just below her breasts and showed off her toned stomach, and a flowing silk skirt that had slits up both sides to her hips. Her feet were adorned in white sandals that had small bells on the band above her toes; and they jiggled each time she took a step. They left Kagome's hair alone, leaving it to fall down to her waist in waves, but placed a blue headband to keep her bangs out of her eyes. They had also placed a golden necklace on her that sparkled in the sunlight. Her makeup was kept at a minimum, only a bit of kohl to make her dark blue eyes stand out more and a little red lip paint.

She decided that she could get quite used to wearing such elaborate clothes; if a certain prince did not add his own personal tastes to them.

A messenger rushed into the palace, a wide grin plastered on his face. "Announcement! His Highness Zannanza has returned from Katsukawa!"

Kail lifted his head from the scroll his was reading and a bright smile spread over his lips. "Zannanza is back!"

Kagome raised an eyebrow at the excited tone Kail used as he rushed out of the room. "Zannanza?" she turned to Ilbani for answers. "One of Prince Kail's brothers?"

The Imperial Clerk nodded, smiling slightly at the petite woman as he took in her attire. "Yes. His Highness Zannanza Hattusili, the emperor's fourth prince." He shifted his grey eyes to the door where Kail had just exited from. "They're brother by different mothers, of course, but they often played together since childhood. He is Prince Kail's most trusted brother."

"I see. Then Prince Zannanza is a very important person in Prince Kail's quest to be a great emperor." Kagome replied, playing with a lock of her hair as she walked with Ilbani.

Ilbani once again cracked a smile down at the miko, silently thanking the Gods that they've sent an intelligent woman such as Kagome for him to converse with. She understood things that no other woman could and she was a beauty to match. "Correct again, Princess Kagome."

Kagome laughed and waved her hand at the Imperial Clerk. "I am no princess, Ilbani-san."

"I concur, Princess Kagome. You look like a Hittite Princess in those clothes." Ilbani praised as he opened the door for her.

"Watch it, Ilbani-san, less I'll tell Prince Kail that you're flirting with his concubine." Kagome teased.

"My brother!" a man with wavy blond hair and bright hazel eyes ran up to Kail with his arms spread "It's been a long time since we last met."

Kail speed up his pace as he, too, opened his arms and enveloped the newcomer in a brotherly embrace. "Zannanza! You're finally back. How are you." he released his younger brother and punched him on the shoulder lightly. "Have you found yourself a lady yet?"

Zannanza chuckled, returning the playful hit. "No, Brother I haven't found the one just yet. But, by the way, where is your Goddess of War?" he smirked at the dumbfounded look in his older brother's eyes. "You didn't think that came all this way to see a bunch of men talk about war? I rushed all the way back here to look at the beautiful girl my brother is obsessed with." He pushed Kail aside, peering over inside the palace. "Don't hide her. Let me have a look at her!"

At the soft sound of feminine voices, the blond fourth prince raised his hazel eyes and they fell upon the first woman who walked out of the door. "She truly is a beauty!" he moved over and grasped the hand of the brown haired woman, lifting it to his lips, but stopped when she cleared her throat and tried to pull it away. He lifted his eyes back up to the woman and saw her shake her head, pointing to her left. "Wrong? She's over here."

Kagome stepped out of the room, giggling at something Ilbani said, while swatting at his arm. "Ilbani-san, stop calling me a princess." She paused when she noticed that all eyes were on her. The miko shifted her eyes from Ilbani to Kail, who was looking over to his right. Turning her gaze over in the direction where the third prince was looking, she found a man holding Hadi's hand. A warm smile spread over her red lips, "You must be Prince Zannanza."

Zannanza could only stare in awe as the beautiful young woman made her way over to him, with a bright smile on her lovely pale face. The small bells on her sandals made an alluring sound with each step she made towards him until she was directly in front of him, standing so close he could smell the faint scent of his brother's frankincense in her hair. He shook his head and reached for her small hand and placed a kiss upon the back of it. "And you must be my brother's Ishtar." he said smoothly. "And I must say you are truly worthy of the title Goddess of War and Beauty."

The miko blushed prettily before taking her hand back and moved over to Kail's side. "Thank you, Prince Zannanza."

Zannanza leaned back against one of the many pillows that were strategically placed on the lush silk rug as he stole another glance at the woman sitting at his brother's side. He noticed that she was not as voluptuous as most women Kail normally had draped on his arm, but that her beauty was from her exotic features. There was not many women who had eyes that glittered like the darkest sapphire or hair that glistened the color of a raven's feather; combined with her ivory skin and full red lips, she was a beauty to behold.

Kail stretched his arms over his head, deliberating placing one around Kagome when he brought them back down. It was only when in the presence of others could he freely touch the miko without incurring her wrath, but as of late, Kagome has been accepting his advances just a little bit more than she used to. He smiled when Kikkuri offered to refill his goblet with his favorite red wine and lifted his finger at Ilbani, who began to pluck at the strings of the sitar that was in his lap.

The blond fourth prince cleared his throat as he raised his own goblet for the brown haired servant to fill and spoke when he gained his brother's attention. "Brother, you never told me that Ishtar was such an exotic beauty. Then, there's the fact that she's different than the other woman you had earlier."

"Zannanza!" the third prince whined as he frowned at his younger brother.

The younger prince smiled and waved his hand up and down at Kail. "Calm down, Brother. I trust your tastes." he lifted his goblet to his lips and took a sip of the bitter, yet sweet red liquid. "Falling for Ishtar." he hummed. "It looks like Lady Victory has smiled on the Hittites."

Ilbani closed his eyes as he continued to pluck a soft tune on the sitar. "It'll be bad if we lose." his fingers strummed over the strings of the instrument, dragging out a long note. "This war is Prince Kail's biggest chance to advance."

Kikkuri finished pouring Kagome's wine and turned a smile at his prince. "Do not worry. There's no better warrior than Prince Kail in the world."

Kail nodded at his personal servant, but his lips were set in a firm line at the overconfidence he held in him. "Do not be so confident in me Kikkuri. I earned that title by never neglecting my duties. For negligence is victory's greatest enemy." His voice become strained. "If we lose this war with the Mitanni then our empire will fall and might cease to exist."

Kagome tilted her head at the third prince as she smoothed her hand over the soft silk skirt.. She held her head high and propped herself up on a pillow as she moved Kail's arm from around her. "Prince Kail." she whispered, waiting for him to acknowledge her. Once she had the blond's undivided attention, she narrowed her dark blue eyes slightly. "What do you desire most when you take control of the throne? Do you desire the world?" her lips tilted up in a small smirk at the strange look he gave her for her questions and arched a perfect dark eyebrow. The miko knew that she was stuck here for another eleven months and since Kail was the one she was going to be helping, since he saved her from the queen's grasp; she only wanted to make sure she was fighting for a good cause.

The blond third prince took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled out his mouth. "What I want when I control the throne, you ask?" he chuckled and closed his eyes. "I have thought about this many times and my answer was always this: When I become king and sit upon the throne, I want to rule the empire with justice. To build a country without prejudice and war." he titled his head up to the sky, slowly opening his eyes as he envisioned his perfect world. "We shall neither invade other lands, but we won't allow them to invade our land."

The miko relaxed her body and placed her hand over Kail's and smiled at the prince, connecting with him in a way no female has ever done. She felt his aura glowing with pride and hopefulness. It was then that Kagome knew that Kail had the potential to be a powerful, yet benevolent emperor. Lifting her eyes, Kagome also saw the faint outlines of Ilbani, Kikkuri, and Zannanza's auras shining along with the third prince of the Hittites.

"But even if you're experiencing war yourself, don't you think it's ironic." Kail continued, rubbing his thumb along Kagome's hand. "The world is cruel. War is required to obtain peace and conquer it. If you're weak then you'll be invaded by neighboring countries." He looked at the miko with so much determination in his eyes that it shocked her. "For the sake of a peaceful world, I will fight and gain the dominion."

Zannanza smiled at his older brother and raised his cup in a toast. "My brother, you can definitely do it." He balled his other hand into a fist and pound it against his bare chest. "Even if I am not as outstanding as you, I'm sure that together we can prevail."

A smile of gratitude spread of the third prince's lips as he raised his goblet to meet with his brother's. "Thank you, Zannanza."

Kagome gazed at the third prince of the Hittites with pure admiration at his answer. She placed her hand over her left breast, touching the place where the shimmering mark of the Shikon lay and smiled. Closing her eyes, she felt that, bit by bit, Kail was worming his way into her heart, filling the void that was left behind from when she was taken away from Inuyasha. Rubbing the area below her right eye, Kagome stretched one arm above her head. It was then that she noticed the the jugs of wine were dwindling and leaned forward with the grace befitting of a highly trained miko, grasping one of the empty jugs. "We're getting low on wine. I'll go get some more."

"Kagome?" The older blond looked up just in time to see Kagome glide out of the room. As he rose up to go after her, to tell her that more wine was not necessary, Ilbani's voice stopped him.

"Prince Kail, you know of all people that I was against you taking a concubine, but I have come to acknowledge Kagome. Please allow her to stay by your side. She may be of use to your goal."

Gritting his teeth, Kail snapped his burning amber-gold eyes on the Imperial Clerk. "I am not using Kagome for my own personal gain. She is not a tool in my path to gain the dominion!" Seething, the blond haired prince of the Hittites turned back around to follow the path Ishtar Incarnate took.

Zannanza flipping around to lay on his stomach across the cylicanal pillow and swirl his goblet of wine slowly. "Your heart is still as cold as it was when we were children, Ilbani." He chuckled lowly when his foster brother turned his sharp grey eyes on him and ran his fingers through his wavy blond hair. "My brother has dated so many young ladies in the past year, but only to test them to see if they were well suited to be his bride, his princess. But with Kagome, I feel that he is genuinely fond of her." he lifted his cup to his lips and took a sip. "Besides, she's very intelligent."

Ilbani went silent.

Kagome gazed lovingly at the large full moon that was placed in a sea of stars. She missed being able to see the beauty of the night sky, resting underneath the Goshinboku in Inuyasha's arms and sharing sweet nothings. Tears pricked at her eyes and she lifted her hand to wipe them away when her acute hearing picked up the near silent footsteps of her savior. Quickly, she grabbed the forgotten jug by the handle and cradled it to her chest.


Dark blue eyes met amber-gold as Kagome looked over her shoulder. "Yes, Prince Kail?"

He remained silent until he was directly in front of her, then took the jug from her arms and set it on the ground, but once he looked back down at her his eyes were a little colder. "Kagome, do you want to have your own palace? I would even dispatch several of my strongest warriors to aid in your protection." his eyes shifted to the ground. "Do you wish to separate from me?

A surprised gasp left the miko's lips as her eyes narrowed. Was this the same prince who tried time after time to sway her heart to him? Why was he suggesting separate quarters now of all times. "What brought this on? Have I ever mentioned something like that to you?"

Kail closed his eyes and shook his head. "Many thoughts have come to my mind since hearing the latest news. We are to go to war with Mitanni soon and you will get involved if you continue to stay by my side." With every waking second he stood in Kagome's presence, he could feel himself becoming more and more distressed, his aura flaring up. "You aren't mine, you belong to another, but even so you're becoming entangled in my ambitions. I find myself relying on you when I don't mean to!"

Kagome felt heat sear at her cheeks and she placed her hands on them as if that you cause them to cool off, but it did nothing to stop her racing heart. For a brief tick of a second, the prince before Kagome was overshadowed by her hanyou lover and tears filled the corners of her eyes. "Prince...am I useful to you?"

Nodding slowly, the third prince covered his face with his hand, his eyes remaining closed. He had no desire to see the anger that would most likely be in her deep dark blue eyes. He steeled himself for her respond to his answer, for her to tell him that she wanted to live separately from him, to which he would promptly comply. "Yes. You've been ever helpful to me Kagome. But...that was not the reason why I saved you from the Queen's grasping fingers."

Her heart was beating so fast that Kagome was forced to place her hand over it as if to keep it from bursting from her chest. Slowly, the Shikon no Miko moved over to Kail and placed her free hand on his cheek, waiting for him to look at her. Once she caught his amber gaze and held it she said, "If I am useful to you and your purpose, then rely on me. Allow me to remain by your side." Kagome smiled gently, unwaveringly at the prince. "If I won't be a burden to you with my stubborn ways, I want to stay and help you for as long as I am here to help aid you in your goals."

Silence filled the air around them, but no words needed to be exchanged; Kagome's eyes did the talking for her. Her deep, dark pools of sapphire were kind and sincere as she gazed into the shocked golden orbs of the prince. Kagome jumped slightly when his eyes suddenly turned heated and one of his arms wrapped around her waist as he brought her close to his body. She blushed prettily when he caressed her cheek with the back of his hand lovingly and all her lingering feelings of Inuyasha were banished to the back of her mind.

Kail leaned forward, moving his hand from her cheek to grasp her chin, and pressed his lips to hers as he pressed her against one of the many white pillars. He felt her shiver in his arms and he threaded his fingers through her hair, tilting her head back and deepening the kiss. A spark of heat sent tingles down the miko's spine and she felt dizzy. Kail's hot and passionate kisses were slowly erasing her will to return to Inuyasha.

They broke away for some well needed air, panting heavily. Kail gazed down at the woman in his arms with molten amber eyes, tracing her lips with his thumb before attacking her slender throat with fevered kisses and nips. Kagome opened her mouth in a silent moan and pressed her hips against the Prince's. Vaguely she felt the throbbing power of the Shikon over her skin, but she could not process a single thought.

Kagome pressed her hands against Kail's cheeks and guided him away from her neck, "Kail...I..."

He silenced her with a deep kiss. "Shush. Stay with me tonight."

The miko barely even nodded before the Prince picked her up bridal style and his lips were back upon hers, his tongue sliding into her mouth and commencing a battle for dominance. Kail carried his Ishtar to his chambers and set her on the soft mattress of his bed. Kagome mewled into his kiss, surrendering to Kail's attack and letting his tongue plunder her mouth.

Unbeknown to the couple, the shimmering mark of the Shikon began to glow a pale violet, slowly pumping its essence into the miko, causing her eyes to flickering between golden orange and midnight blue behind her eyelids. In the moonlight that flooded the room from the large open window, four golden claw-like marks appeared; glittering on the left cheek of Kagome's face, on her right shoulder and both thighs. A pleasure filled gasped was released from her throat when Kail's hands palmed at her breasts, kneading them gently and her newly sharpened canines glinted as she broke away from the kiss. Her back arched and her lengthened nails tore at the sheets.

Kail's eyes widened when he finally looked at the woman beneath him. While her markings were of something he's never seen before, she was so beautiful with her pale cheeks flushed red. Her eyes were such an interesting shade of golden orange and those golden-yellow marks only enhanced her loveliness. He also noticed that in the pale lighting of the moon, her raven colored hair seemed longer and more blue than black.

"Are you afraid of me?" her voice was deep with seduction and slightly warped as the tips of her sharpened canines gleamed in the moonlight.

The blond Prince of the Hittites shook his head and bent to kiss her swollen pink lips. "I could never be afraid of you, Kagome."

A smirk slithering onto her full lips as she took dominance over the kiss, wrapping her arms around Kail's neck and pulled him closer to her.

Nakia gritted her teeth together as she paced the floor of her room. She was not happy - not happy at all. Why does everything not go according to her initial plans? The tawanna learned that Zannanza has returned today and with him supporting Kail, her goal of making her son King was going to be even harder to accomplish. Grasping her staff that was topped with a golden moose-like animal and four circular rings, it took every ounce of her self-control to not lash out and break everything in sight.

"Kail Mursili and Zannanza Hattusili, Hittites' most finest warriors have been reunited!" she screamed in frustration. "Plus people had begun to acknowledge that woman as the Goddess of War, Ishtar!" Nakia swung her staff around before tapping it harshly against the ground. People believing that the girl was Ishtar would not help aid her son in becoming king! Then there was the annoying fact that those two brothers have gotten together, further aiding Kail in his conquest.

She walked up to her water basin, dipping her finger into the cool liquid and breaking the surface as it rippled under her touch. Sighing, she moved away from the basin. "Why did the fates show me such a strong willed girl as my sacrifice?" Nakia replaced her staff in its regular place and walked over to her bed. "I cannot allow Kail to succeed."

"Milady?" Akihiko said timidly when the ruler of the cosmos glided over to the enchanted mirror, placing her fingertips against the glass. He watched with wide diamond colored eyes as the image reflected shifted into a different picture altogether. "Lady Fate? Who are you trying to contact?"

Fate turned her bright all knowing tanzanite eyes on her protector and smiled wearily. "I am contacting the one person who has observed Higurashi Kagome the most while she was in the Sengoku Jidai. The lord of the Western Lands, Sesshoumaru." the moment the name left her lips, it manifested in a cool blue mist and the enchanted mirror flashed brightly and soon a tall figure emerged in the glass.

The person reflected in the mirror was tall, perhaps reaching somewhere close to six feet with long flowing platinum-silver hair that touched the back of his knees with a regal face of an aristocrat and piercing gold eyes. Adorning both of his high cheekbones were two magenta claw-like markings and his long silver bangs parted to bare the persian blue waning crescent moon on his forehead. He lifted his hand, stroked the large fur moko-moko and gave a brief look at his wrist that showed the same magenta markings that were upon his face.

"Fate." his deep tenor voice said coldly as the image zoomed in on his face. "Why have you contacted me?"

The celestial maiden regarded the silver haired man with cool eyes. "Sesshoumaru, I've made contact with you because I require information." she paused, watching his eyes narrow slightly. "Information about Higurashi Kagome."

Sesshoumaru felt his eyes widened a fraction of an inch at the mentioning of the miko's name before they narrowed sharply. "How do you know of the miko?"

Fate giggled softly, lifting her arm to hide her mouth behind the sleeve of her pure white hanfu. "I am the ruler of the Cosmos, silly daiyoukai. I know everyone and everything." her tanzanite eyes hardened when she flicked them back at the silver haired youkai. "But Higurashi Kagome in an enigma."

"Hn." the youkai agreed, nodding his head. "Yes. The miko is very puzzling indeed." Sesshoumaru locked with golden gaze with the all knowing one of the celestial maiden's. "What do you desire to know?"

Akihiko watched on as the silver haired Inuyoukai told his mistress the information that she desired, frowning when she agreed to contact him again soon only because the man threatened to rip through the fabric of time and snatch the miko back into his timeline. Once the mirror went blank, the brunette walked over and slowly wrapped his arms around Fate's waist, drawing her close to him.

"Fate." he voiced softly. "I don't like the fact that he threatened you before me." He hugged her tighter to him as he buried his face in the crook of her neck. "I couldn't do anything to protect you and that is my sole duty."

The black haired woman turned in Akihiko's arms and kissed his cheek lovingly. "Do not let Sesshoumaru get you so riled up. It is just his nature. He saw Kagome as a packmate and trained her when they became allies to defeat Naraku." she placed her hand on his chest as she turned her eyes to the blank mirror and the glass reacted to her stare. The clear glass was soon filled with Kagome and Kail, their bodies intertwined under the sheets of the Prince's bed.

Kagome stared blankly at the ceiling of the Prince's room, thinking about what had transpired. She did not know why the dark souls of the youkai almost allowed Kail to take her. Luckily, she managed to get control of her body before the Hittite Prince could penetrate her, holding him close to her as she whispered that she still was not ready. Her heart still belonged to Inuyasha and she could not allow a man she did not love to do such an act with her.

Kail did not argue with her and merely kissed her plump lips before sliding off of her entirely, covering their nude forms with the sheets. He had opened his arms for the warrior miko and fell asleep with her tucked against his chest.

The miko closed her eyes and concentrated on the piece of her soul that was tied to Shikon no Tama. She wanted answers and dammit, she wanted them now! Soon Kagome felt the power of the Shikon fill her body and she was dragged inside her consciousness.

Kagome blinked her eyes as she adjusted to the black empty world that was inside the Shikon no Tama and a sense of dread filled her. The last time she was here, the corrupted jewel was trying to capture and force her to fight with the youkai housed there. Kagome gasped when she felt someone slide their fingers through her hair and she twirled around with the grace of a taijiya, her hand darting to her waist where her dagger was nestled. Her dark blue eyes widened when she found herself face to face with...herself?

Well, the woman did look similar to the miko, but this girl was oozing strength and youki. Her impossibly long midnight blue hair was braided and hung over her shoulder. Her tattered white kimono was low cut, showing off her shoulders and the four golden claw-like markings on her right one; a long slit up the left side, where her leg was bared and showed the same jagged rips of gold on her thigh; her face was sharp and elegant with elfin ears and the left side of her face had those golden claw markings slashed across it. But what drawn Kagome the most to the youkai was her piercing golden-orange eyes.

"Who are you?" Kagome asked timidly.

The woman smiled, showing off her deathly sharp fangs and pointed the spear the miko did not notice at first. "Me?" her red claws touched the dark violet jewel that rested against the base of her throat. "Why, I'm you."

Kagome took a step back. "Me? You can't be me!"

"And why can't I?" the youkai tilted her head to the side, her heavy braid sliding off her shoulder and thumped against her hip. "I am you, miko. My name is yours, but to lessen the confusion between us, call me Ankoku. I am the essence of the Shikon no Tama." she ran her tongue over her full red lips. "The corrupted version, of course."

The warrior miko narrowed her eyes at the youkai. "I have no corruption in me! I am the eternal guardian of the Shikon no Tama for that reason! I am the purest miko around!"

Ankoku smirked at Kagome. "If you're so pure, then why did you let the Hittite Prince touch you so intimately?"

"I did no-" Kagome cut off her rant as a blush spread over her cheeks. She gasped and pointed an accusing finger at Ankoku. "You! It was you!"

The corrupted version of Kagome grinned ferally. "If only you hadn't awaken. I would have shown that Prince the time of his life." she sighed wistfully. "And I would have gained full control over your body."

Kagome felt her reiki lick and burn at her skin as her eyes flashed from midnight blue to silver. She gritted her teeth so hard that her jaw began to ache. Her head was pounding as Kagome balled her hands into tight fists of raw glowing purification. She felt the sudden need to lash out at the youkai before her, purify her to nothing but a pile of glittering grey ashes.

Ankoku sensed the rise in the warrior miko's ki and brandished her spear, pointing the gleaming silver blade at Kagome. "I wouldn't be so rash, miko." she ran her tongue over her fangs and made several quick movements with her weapon. "I am faster and stronger than you." she froze when Kagome was suddenly in front of her.

"Stay away from me if you know what's good for you, Ankoku." Kagome hissed.

The youkai jumped several feet away from the warrior miko, her golden orange eyes narrowed dangerously and her youki flared up as the violet jewel around her neck glowed black. "Do not tell me what to do!" she charged at Kagome.

Kagome barely had time to dodge Ankoku's attack, but her timing was off and the sharp edge of the spear sliced a gaping wound on her cheek and right arm. 'Dammit!' She cradled her wounded arm close to her chest and bit her lip when the searing pain finally registered in her brain. It was like liquid fire was coursing through her blood, burning everything in its path.

"How do you like my poison, miko?" Ankoku purred, lifting her blade to her lips and licking the crimson fluid off of it. "Feels like your arm is on fire?"

"Why you!" the warrior miko hissed. She sensed that the sun would be rising soon and turned her hatred filled silver-blue eyes back on the corrupted version of herself. "Just leave me be. I won't let you control my body." she turned around and began walking towards the light that signaled the exited from the inside of the Shikon no Tama.

Ankoku smiled. "I'll try, Lady Kagome."

Dark blue eyes snapped open as the raven haired girl bolted up in the bed, panting harshly. She touched her cheek where the youkai had sliced her flesh, but the skin was still intact. "Was she real?" a shuffling to her right made the miko look over in the direction and saw Kail rousing from his slumber.

The blond opened his amber-gold eyes and immediately sought out his Ishtar. Once he found her sitting straight up in the bed, his eyes turned heated. "Kagome, I know I promised to not do anything to you, but seeing you like that is very arousing."

Kagome merely sighed and covered her naked breasts from the third prince's heated gaze and muttered, "Hentai." she cut her eyes at him and frowned. "That was not me you were being intimate with last night."

Kail rubbed his head. "I figured that much. Her aura was different from yours. More dark and sinister than the warm pink yours is." he smiled sheepishly at the miko. "But her body was entirely yours. It was that same sweet taste. Though other parts were sweeter."

About three different shades of red entered Kagome's cheeks before she lashed out at the Hittite Prince. "Hentai!"

Tossing the blade from hand to hand, Kagome tested the weight of the sword before she grinned widely at her opponent. She flipped the blade in the air, catching it in her right hand, and swung it in a graceful arc, locking swords with Zannanza briefly before the prince exerted his strength and pushed the miko back. Grinning like the warrior miko she was, Kagome landed on the balls of her feet and launched another attack at the handsome prince, commencing a dance of blades. With the grace of a ballerina, the miko turned in a small circle with a battle cry and clashed blades once more.

Zannanza was sweating as he smirked down at the petite woman. She was truly extraordinary. The sheer power she had in her small body was amazing. With just a little more training, Kagome could easily surpass him in the way of the sword. He pushed back on his sword, trying to push her away once more, but his hazel eyes widened when she changed her stance and forced him back. Growling, he gritted his teeth and swung his own blade in an arc, but Kagome parried it and twisted, knocking his sword from his hand. Zannanza frowned when he was held at sword-point by the small woman.

Kagome smiled in triumph and held out her hand for Zannanza. "Thanks for sparing with me, Prince Zannanza."

The younger prince grasped her small hand, grinning. "You're welcome, Kagome."

Clapping to their immediate right drew their attention to that direction, where Kail laid resting against the white stone pillar. Because of the heat from the dry spell of the Fire Season, he only wore half of his tunic as he sat in the shade of the roof. A proud smile spread over his lips as he addressed his brother and Ishtar. "You were amazing, Kagome. Zannanza is one of the best swordsmen and you managed to gain the upper hand on him."

The warrior miko slid the sword into its sheath on her back before wiping at her brow. Her cheeks flushed slightly when her eyes landed on the Prince. She nodded her head at him. "Thank you Prince Kail."

Kail kept his golden eyes on the miko as he continued, "You are strong. You deserve the title of a warrior. I am glad to have such a strong and able woman by my side."

Kagome bowed her head and blushed an even deeper shade of red at the slight huskiness Kail's voice took before moving quickly over to her handmaids, who were bringing over a jug of water, a couple of towels, and a few cups. She patted Tito on the head when he handed her a goblet filled to the brim with cool water. "Thank you Tito-kun."

Ryui handed the miko a towel so that she could dry the sweat from her body. "Princess Kagome is so strong."

Shalla handed Kail a cup of wine when he refused the water. "She was too much for us to handle."

Hadi set down the jug and walked over to Kagome and threw her arm around the smaller girl's shoulders. "We knew you were a warrior, but not one of such high caliber."

Zannanza sheathed his sword before accepting the towel Ryui offered him with a grateful smile. "You have very alert senses." he grinned down at the miko and touched her arm briefly. "Woman or not, you have the capabilities to be a top general in our Royal Military."

Kagome beamed brightly at the fourth prince. "I received training from the best swordsmen I knew." 'Sesshoumaru-sama and Sango-chan have taught me well.'

Wiping the glistening sweat from his brow, the blond fourth prince approached his brother with a broad smile on his face. He hung the white cloth around his neck and leaned against the pillar Kail was resting on. "Brother, I am beginning to understand why you've taken a liking to this young lady. She's not only beautiful and intelligent; Kagome is a fine warrior."

Ilbani paused in his tracks, still hidden in the shadows of the palace. He snapped his cold pale grey eyes on Zannanza and narrowed his eyes. He had a suspicious feeling about the fourth prince's praise and attention he was bestowing upon the miko. Recalling that he had something to inform the two princes, Ilbani stepped into the light. "Pardon me, Your Highnesses."

Upon hearing the emotionless voice of the Imperial Clerk, the two blonds turned their attention behind them. Kail glanced at Ilbani from the corner of his eyes before sliding his eyes back to Kagome. "Yes, Ilbani."

The Imperial Clerk bowed before the two princes and closed his eyes as he steeled himself for he knew that Kail would not like the news. "To celebrate the reunion of Prince Zannanza and yourself, the emperor has organized a celebration."

Amber eyes narrowed slightly. "A celebration, you say?"

Ilbani nodded as he straightened out of his bow and looked his foster brother in the eye as he said, Yes, his Majesty also wishes for your concubine, Ishtar Incarnate, to attend as well."

At the sound of her newly dubbed name being called, Kagome paused in her conversation with Hadi. Turning around, she raised a finger and pointed to herself. "I have to go as well?" At the Imperial Clerk's nod, the miko groaned and ran her hand down her face. "Mou...my father used to take me to his business events when I was younger." her fingers slid down to the chain around her neck; then to the black jeweled silver ring.

"His Majesty said that he truly wants to meet Ishtar, the Goddess of War. Especially since she aided Prince Kail in capturing Arinna and helped gain possession of the art of crafting iron." Shifting his eyes back to his foster brother, Ilbani leaned forward and lowered his voice, though Kagome's acute hearing still managed to pick up what he said, "Prince Kail, be very careful. It was Queen Nakia whom suggested that you bring Princess Kagome along with you."

A dark aura filtered through the prince's normally bright ki as he bit his lower lip and frowned deeply. "I wonder what Mother Dearest is plotting now?"

Kagome sighed as she moved her back behind her back and released her sword from its sheath, practicing her stances. 'Nakia still plans on killing me?' She swiped her blade in a quick wide arc while spinning on the balls of her dainty feet. Kagome shifted her grip on the hilt, holding it in one hand while the other cupped the bottom as she thrust the blade forward. 'Well, she has another thing coming if she thinks I'm going to sit quietly and allow her to use my blood.'

Walking into the grand hall, Hittite Prince Kail and Zannanza looked at the nobles and royal family members that were attending the feast held in their honor. The two brothers allowed their eyes to wander through the many people surrounding them as they swarmed into the palace; they saw there was an abundance of beautiful young women. Kail's eyes were darting from left to right as his body stance was tense until Zannanza jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow.

"Calm down, Brother." he whispered fiercely. "You needn't worry about tonight. Royal Stepmother wouldn't try anything in public with the two of us around."

Kail nodded stiffly and took a deep calming breath, relaxing his muscles and allowed a charming smile to spread over his lips. Together, the two princes made their way to the entrance where the servant and nobles alike immediately applauded. But something was off.

"I see Prince Kail and Prince Zannanza, but where is Ishtar?"

"Wasn't she supposed to come along with him?"

"I bet that since she looks and dresses like a boy of thirteen, Prince Kail didn't want to bring her so that she wouldn't embarrass him."

Kail did his utmost best to ignore the comments and gossip that fluttered around him and Zannanza. Just as he and his younger brother were about to enter the main room a familiar silky voice weaved toward them.

"What a rare and wonderful sight! Prince Kail and Prince Zannanza together. Welcome!"

Groaning silently, the blond third prince vaguely wondered when he did not get them to their seats much quicker to avoid this conflict. Turning around, both of the blond princes spotted their stepmother gliding over towards them, her hair done up in a intricate hairstyle with her staff cradled in her hands. Two of her handmaids were on the ground before her, keeping their eyes low. She paused a little ways from them, her cat-like green eyes darting around.

Cocking a perfectly arched golden eyebrow, Nakia turned her gaze on the taller of the two princes. "I see you did not bring your concubine along with you."

Kail let a mocking smile slither onto his lips as he looked her directly in the eyes, holding his head up higher. "Kagome requires a little more time to get ready and she shall arrive shortly."

Nakia scowled for a brief second, but a cruel sneer-like smile formed on her lovely features. She narrowed her hazy green eyes as she tapped her staff on the ground, causing her handmaids to flinch slightly. "She must not keep us waiting too long. It would be bad for you, my dear prince, if she were to show up not looking her best. It may make people think that someone of your high status incapable of providing proper raiment for his concubine."

The third prince balled his hands into tight fists as he watched the blonde haired woman glide into the grand hall and disappear behind the heavy curtain. Sensing the tenseness in his older brother's form, Zannanza slid his arm around Kail's shoulder. As hazel met hardened amber, the shorter brother smiled and squeezed his hand around the older's shoulder.

"Don't worry about Kagome, Brother. Hadi and her siblings promised to make Kagome so beautiful it will leave everyone speechless!"

Nodding slowly, Kail took a deep breath through his nose and exhaled it out his mouth. The Queen was plotting something, but just what was it? Kail allowed Zannanza to lead him into the the main room where the celebration was to commence. They greeted their other siblings accordingly as they made their way to their designated seats and waited patiently for the feast to begin.

Hadi ran a brush through Kagome's thick wavy mass of raven hair, making the gleaming locks even more lustrous than usual. Placing the brush down, the elder Hatti sister held out her hand for a hair tie as she pulled half of the miko's hair up. Tito dug through the chest of accessories and found one that matched her outfit, handing it to his sister.

Ryui smooth out the few wrinkles that were on the skirt of the outfit and then proceeded to aid Shalla with the application of Kagome's makeup, spreading a bit of red lip paint on the back of her hand to test the color. Nodding once, she applied it to Kagome's lips.

Kagome closed her eyes so that Shalla could apply the kohl to her eyelids. She was perfectly still throughout the whole process, though she has not gone to a formal event since her late father passed all those years ago. While she was just a child, Kagome knew that she had to behave like a civilized woman. Soon after a few more preparations to ready her for the celebration, the miko felt the heavy jewelry being added. She winced slightly when Hadi pierced her ear a second time but relaxed when her reiki soothed the sting.

A weight was placed on her head and she heard the faint sound of bells as something cool touched her ankles. She held out her arms and allowed the handmaids plus Tito to decorate her arms with kohl and place golden bands on her wrists. Finally after what seemed like forever, Tito placed her slippers on her feet and Kagome knew that it was time, She opened her eyes and was greeted with the smug looks for her handmaids and the awed look of Tito.

"Princess Kagome, it is time to go."

Kagome nodded as she stood up, the bells she wore chimed softly.

"His Royal Highness, the crown prince, Sari Arnuwanda, his princess and concubines." the announcer said in a clear strong voice. "His Royal Highness, the second prince, Rois Telipinu, his princess, and concubines. His Royal Highness, the third prince, Kail Mursili II and his concubine..." the announcers eyes went large when he noticed that Kail's concubine was missing. A drop of sweat formed on his brow when the blond prince merely lifted his goblet of wine to his lips. His hands shook as he called out for the third prince's concubine once more.

The emperor lifted a grey eyebrow at his third child. "Kail. Where is your Ishtar?"

"I'll bet she's too ugly to even show her face." a noblewoman giggled softly.

Kail sent a murderous glare at the woman, smirking when the small group of women gasped and fright entered their eyes. Softening his gaze, the prince turned back to his father and allowed a slight smile spread over his lips. He leaned back into his chair and intertwined his fingers in his lap. "The Venus Star will only shine at dawn. My Ishtar will make her appearance soon, Father."

The King of the Hittites chuckled lowly under his breath. "Even at the mature age of twenty-one, you're still up to childish tricks." he turned his dark oaken eyes on his fourth born son. "Zannanza what are you going to do?" once the fourth prince locked eyes with his father, the king continued, "You are the only prince who hasn't taken a female to be by his side. All of your brothers have such beautiful women at their sides."

Zannanza sent his father a small smile. "Do not fret, Father. I will find the one for me soon."

A shift in the heavy red curtain drew everyone's attention to the brown haired woman kneeling to the side of the entrance. Hadi lifted her head slightly, but kept her eyes low. "Pardon the intrusion. Princess Higurashi Kagome will now make her appearance."

Kail smiled and sat up straighter in his throne and exchanged looks with Zannanza who in term bestowed his brother with a large grin. The emperor stared intently at the entrance as he awaited the young woman to make her appearance. He vaguely recalled her face from when they met the first time. It was after Kail, interrupted the sacrificial ceremony to Teshub, dubbing her his concubine and charted her off to his palace.

After a few minutes of silence had passed, and people began to wonder why the woman has not made her entrance yet. She was sending them into a curious state of wonderment. Hadi scooted a little closer to the curtain and lifted her hand to her lips to hide her words.

"Princess Kagome? Is something wrong?"

"No. I was just fixing a small problem with my outfit." a soft bell-like voice said.

Kail rested his cheek against the palm of his hand as he chuckled lowly at his concubine. Knowing her, the small problem with her outfit was that it was too revealing for her tastes, since he had personally picked out all her formal wear.

Rising from his seat, Zannanza strode over to the entrance, chuckling all the way. "It seems our Morning Star has become shy and is trying to delay her entrance. I will assist her by escorting her out." he walked over to the curtain, seeing the faint outline of the miko's shadow and held out his hand. "Kagome, it's alright. You must show yourself now."

There was a quiet shuffling of feet as a small dainty hand parted the curtain, the small chime of bell ringing as the other appendage reached out and grasped Zannanza's hand. There was a chorus of gasps as the Shikon no Miko finally made her grand entrance. The bells of her anklets jiggled in rhythm with her foot steps and the fourth prince's eyes widened.

Higurashi Kagome was easily the most beautiful woman in the main room. Her long thick wavy raven hair was done up with half of it in intricate twists and knots with the rest flowing down her to her waist in waves. Her flowing pink robes began just below her breasts and swept the floor with gleaming white gems at the top of the long slits, which stopped at her hips. A sheer white shall was draped over her shoulder and golden charm hanging from the end that had the same white jewels attached to it with a golden rope of threads.

She had an elaborate golden headdress that had a circlet of the Warrior Goddess emblem and twinkling disks clinking together with her every step, making a song with the bells of her anklets. Her father's ring was displayed proudly around her throat as well as a pearl choker and various pieces of gold. Her ears had her original earrings on, but a second pair of golden earrings with the same emblem as her headpiece was added.

The diamond of her pink bow ring caught the moonlight and shone brightly and attention was on her arms that had kohl winding up the slender appendages in various designs, only enhancing the paleness of her ivory skin. Her makeup was perfect. Kohl lined her eyes, making her dark blue irises stand out more and the rich red color on her lips made her look absolutely radiant.

A light flush spread over Zannanza's cheeks as his mouth fell open and his bright hazel eyes widened. Kail's eyes were wide as well, mirroring his younger brother's expression almost perfectly as his eyes stared at the beauty that was Kagome. As shock traveled through Ilbani, the goblet he was holding slipped out of his hands and Kikkuri, who was pouring the wine, did not notice and kept the jug tilted, spilling the wine on the floor.

The Hatti siblings all grinned smugly at one another, giving high-fives.

Nakia rose out of her seat, her green eyes wide with shock as watched Kagome walk into the room.

Kagome looked down at her dress. 'Maybe I should have toned it down a bit.' She turned her eyes to Tito, who handed her a silk cloth. The miko promptly bounded her bare breasts with the soft bindings before turning a grateful smile to the child. She then returned her hand to Zannanza's and faced the crowd with a smile on her face. "Nice to meet you all. I am Higurashi Kagome, Ishtar Incarnate and the concubine of Kail Mursili II."

"Great Teshub!" someone shouted after a milestone of silence.

"She's so beautiful!"

The emperor rose from his seat, his dark brown eyes twinkling with admiration. "Ishtar, the Goddess of War and Beauty!" he smiled down at the young woman. "For what I see Kagome is not only an intelligent and skilled warrior, her feminine appeal is high. Look at how enchanting she is."

"Princess Kagome is a rare type of beauty." a nobleman whispered. "Look at her exotic features! Prince Kail should have made her his princess instead of concubine."

Kagome held her head high as she stepped down the many stairs with the aid of Zannanza. Though she had the grace of a princess and the alertness of a taijiya, the miko still held onto a sliver of her clumsiness and accidently stepped on the end of her robe. The Shikon no Miko felt herself wobble and large hands wrapped around her waist to steady her.

"Be careful, Kagome." Zannanza said, as he lifted the miko up off the stairs and placed her on her feet next to him. A rose color bloomed on his face when Kagome touched his arm briefly as she whispered her thanks.

Nakia watched with narrowed eyes as Kail stood out of his throne and made his way over to Zannanza and Kagome. When she saw the third prince wrap his arm possessively around the miko's waist, drawing the girl closer to him, a sneaky evil smile slithered onto her lips. "A grand opportunity." she purred and stroked the ornament on top of her staff. "I shall pit the two brothers against each other over the girl. Prince Kail shall not gain possession of the throne." she licked her blood red lips. "I will have that girl's freshly flowing blood as my sacrifice."

Kagome mingled among the different nobles, taking note to remember their names in case it would help aid Kail in his goals. She smiled a thanks when a female servant offered her a goblet of wine, but gave it away once the woman walked away. She would not accept anything while the queen was around. Kagome paused to talk to an elder, who continuously complemented her beauty and how she was worthy to be the princess of any of the princes. The miko merely smiled and replied that there were women who were much prettier than her.

The diskettes of her headdress and bells of her anklets chimed in tune with her as she danced through the mass of bodies to the outside balcony. She closed her eyes as a small yawn left her lips.

"What's the matter, Kagome. Are you tired?"

The Shikon no Miko flashed a smile at the fourth prince of the Hittites. "No, Prince Zannanza." she lifted her hand and extended her index finger. "Are you looking for Prince Kail? He's talking to the general."

Zannanza walked over to Kagome's right side and smiled down at her. "I'm not looking for my brother." he turned his bright hazel eyes down at the dark haired beauty. "You know, every time I see you, I find myself looking at my mother." he caught her dark cobalt eyes with his. "She was the former Tawanna's personal maid. And when our father laid eyes on her, he fell for her and soon I was born."

Kagome placed her hand on Zannanza's forearm. "So, that's how you and Prince Kail grew up together."

"Yes." the blond felt his cheeks burn with heat and looked away from the miko, moving his arm. "However my mother was a frail woman and died when I was young. So, Queen Hinti took me in and I was able to live and interact with my brother." when the heat in his cheeks cooled, Zannanza turned and locked eyes with Kagome. "When you're looking so beautiful like this, I see my mother in you. Small and fragile. Though I know that you are nowhere near fragile."

The Shikon no Miko placed her hands over her beating heart as a small flush spread over her cheeks. She opened her mouth to reply when the voice of her prince interrupted them.

"Kagome! Will you please come over here. The general would like to meet you."

"Hai!" she turned back to the younger blond. "Apologies, Prince Zannanza, but I must go now." Kagome bowed slightly before rushing off the Kail's side, smiling at the general.

Zannanza leaned over the edge of the balcony, slowly sipping at his wine when he picked up faint footsteps. Thinking at it was just a handmaid, he did not bother to turn around. It was not until the cold and serious voice of his foster brother caused him to jump slightly, spilling some of the spicy red wine. Frowning, the fourth prince turned around and glared at the Imperial Clerk. "Ilbani. Since you made me spill my drink, please go and get me some more.

Ilbani ignored the order of the fourth blond prince and narrowed her pale grey eyes. "Prince Zannanza, I implore you to continue your search for a princess. A concubine would be acceptable if you must. You are the only prince who hasn't found a woman."

The younger brother frowned as a small red color spread over the bridge of his nose. "I know, Ilbani." he sipped at the remaining bit of his red wine, turning away from the brunette. He sighed and relaxed when he heard Ilbani walked away, leaving him to bask in the warm night air of the Fire Season. Just as he swallowed the last drop of his drink a soft feminine voice spoke.

"Prince Zannanza? Do you require more wine?" the pretty handmaid smiled sincerely as she lifted the jug.

The blond returned the smile as he raised his empty goblet for her to fill. "Thank you. I just ran out." He winked at the girl before bringing the cup to his lips and took a sip.

A giddy smile was on the handmaid's lips as she clutched the jug closer to her. She pushed passed the thick heavy curtain and walked over to the blonde haired woman waiting inside. "Queen Nakia, I gave Prince Zannanza the wine like you asked."

Nakia smiled sweetly at her handmaid. "Thank you. Egypt shipped us their finest wine and I wanted him to give it a try." her kind smile turned sinister the second the young woman walked away. She walked over to the heavy curtain and pushed it aside.

"Argh!" Zannanza groaned as he clutched his head. He turned and slid down the wall of the balcony. "What is going on?" he moaned as a heat flash went up and down his body. He felt light headed, drunken even; it also felt like his head was about to split in two.

"Prince Zannanza!" Nakia's cruel voice called out as she glided over to the fallen prince. "You've fallen into my trap. That liquid you consumed was my Rose Water." she stroked his cheek with mock tenderness before taking his chin with her index finger and thumb. "Why, my handsome young prince. Is there a woman you desire with everything in your body." Slowly she turned Zannanza's face in the direction of his brother and Kagome. "Go." she whispered. "Follow your desire and make that woman your own."

The blond's once bright and clear hazel eyes grew dull and clouded, glazing over with a pinkish tint. "I..." his voice grew deeper with lust and desire as he continued to gaze at the miko, drinking in her beauty. "I desire Kagome. I want her to be mine."

Kagome stretched her arms above her head and ripped the heavy headdress of her head, sighing when she suddenly felt lighter. "That feels so much better." she raised the golden accessory to eye level and glared at it. "It weighed a ton!" she reached up and pulled on the hair tie and freed the rest of her long raven locks. "I'm going to change."

Hadi smiled and began to gather some sleeping robes for the miko. "Okay. We'll start the bath, Princess."

The Shikon no Miko gave the taller woman a stern stare. "No. I want to wash myself this time."

"But, Princess, who's going to scrub your back?" Ryui inquired, knowing that Kagome often needed help reaching that piece of flesh.

Kagome paused, but immediately shook her head. "No! I want to bathe myself tonight!"

"But, Princess Kagome."

Kail chuckled at the four ladies. "Hadi, leave her be. If Kagome wishes to bathe by herself then let her."

Zannanza's eyes continued to follow the miko, even after the door of the bathing chamber closed. He took a deep breath, closing his eyes as he tried to fight off the intense wave of desire that crashed into him. But, the Rose Water inside his system made it impossible, flooding his mind with images of Kagome's beautiful smiling face. He clutched his head and groaned softly, "I desire...Kagome..."

Kagome reached up and removed one of the large circle earrings, setting it down on the table then removed its twin. The miko removed the cloth she used to bind her breasts and arched her back, sighing when it back a satisfying pop. "Mmm...Hadi-san reminds me of Sango-chan. Just a more loud and persistent version." she giggled softly. A soft rattling behind the miko caught her attention and she narrowed her eyes. "Who's there!"

She relaxed her tense muscles when she saw the familiar glint of blond hair in the moonlight. "Prince Kail! You, hentai! Get out!" her hand inched closer to the heavy headdress on the table, but paused when she saw that it was not Kail, but Zannanza. "Prince? What are you doing here?" Her dark cobalt eyes locked with the pink tinted hazel orbs of the fourth son. 'Something's not right with him.'

Zannanza said nothing as he leaned forward and blew out the flame of the candle that lit the room. Kagome gasped at the sudden darkness that bathed the room and took a step back, her foot dipping inside the large pool of water. She gasped when the younger brother suddenly rushed forward, pushing her into the tub as he wrapped his arm around her waist.

The Shikon no Miko jumped when cool lips touched the flesh of her shoulder. "Prince Zannanza! What are you doing! Let me go!"

"Kagome..." he whispered seductively as he traced his tongue up the length of her creamy neck. "Please don't reject me. I desire you."

"No!" A bright red blush spread over her cheeks when the prince's large cold hands covered her unclothed breasts as he nibbled on her ear. She tried to turn in his hold, but he tightened his grip on her chest and she let out a soft moan. "Let me go, Zannanza!"

The blond fourth prince groaned as he ground his hips into her round backside. "Say my name like that again." he squeezed her breasts one more time before he took hold of her small wrists, leaning over her as he pressed her over the edge of the large bath. With his tongue, Zannanza traced random patterns down her back and moaned at the sweet flavor of her skin.

Kagome gritted her teeth as she fought off the first wave of passion that threatened to wrack through her body. She searched her brain for something anything that may make Zannanza stop. Only one thing came to her mind before it clouded over."Kail! Kail, help me!"

The third prince of the Hittites heard the cries of his Ishtar and stopped talking to Ilbani and Kikkuri to rush into the bathing chamber. "Kagome! What's wro-" his amber-gold eyes widened at the sight that was before him. His brother was hovering over Kagome, his lips pressed firmly against hers and Kail saw red. "Zannanza!"

The miko turned her head and broke away from Zannanza's seeking lips. "Kail! Please stop him." she twisted her wrist free and stretched it out towards the prince, her dark blue eyes pleading.

Zannanza growled and snatched Kagome back, covering her with his cloak. He narrowed his eyes dangerously at his brother before kissing the miko's neck. "Brother, I implore you. Give Kagome to me."

Kail's eyes narrowed slightly. "Zannanza, what are you saying?"

"She's your concubine and not your princess, right?" Zannanza voice was slightly muffled as he continued to pressed open-mouth kisses to Kagome's neck and shoulders. "It shouldn't be a problem for me to have your concubine."

Ilbani slid into his position at Kail's right hand side, his pale grey eyes calculating as he narrowed them at Zannanza. "Prince Kail, look at his eyes. They're not their normal color. Perhaps he has fallen under the queen's manipulations?"

The older brother gazed into his younger brother's eyes, noting the pinkish tint that nearly overtook the bright hazel. Kail's eyes narrowed even further as he glared at Zannanza. "He must be..." 'But that still doesn't curb the rage brewing inside me.'

Zannanza moved one of his hands down to Kagome's breasts, squeezing them gently as he used his other to tilt her head to the side. He grazed her smooth neck with his teeth. "Brother, let me have her. I promise to love her dearly."

"Stop it! Let go of me!" Kagome managed through the cloudy haze of desire and flailed her arms about, pushing at the fourth prince's face and elbowing him in the stomach. Tears of desperation leaked from the corners of her eyes. Even though she was a warrior miko, her mind went completely blank as to how to break away from the blond.

Having seen enough, Kail ran forward and lashed out at his younger brother, punching him squarely in the jaw. He then proceeded to take hold of Kagome's forearms, drawing her close to his chest before she was brutally yanked back by her waist.

The blond fourth son wrapped his hand around the miko's neck, squeezing slightly. "If I cannot have her, then I will kill her!"

Kail held out his hand to stop Kikkuri from rushing over to Zannanza, gritting his teeth. "Zannanza is really serious." he bit his lower lip so hard that the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. "If we come any closer, he will choke Kagome."

Zannanza saw the hesitation in his brother's eyes and took this as his opportunity to turn and vaulted over the wall, carrying off Kagome.


"Kagome!" Kail hissed through his teeth, "Damn! Seal all exits! Do not allow Zannanza to leave the palace!"

Tito scampered into the room, a look of shock marring his childlike face. "Prince Kail!" he gasped out. "Prince Zannanza has knocked out the guards and stole a horse. All while carrying Princess Kagome!" his bright jade green eyes locked with the amber gold eyes of the prince. "What's happening?"

Kail broke away from the child's intense stare, bowing his head slightly. "Not now, Tito." he turned to his best friend and most trusted servant. "Kikkuri, prepare me a horse. I'm going after them."

Kikkuri nodded, running out of the palace and into the royal horse stable, gasping at what he saw. Quickly the brown haired servant turned on his heel and hurried back to Kail, "My Prince! All of the horses are gone! Someone released them!"


Kagome pounded her fists against Zannanza's chest as she struggled to remove herself from his hold, but the prince had a surprising tight grip. She relaxed and changed tactics, lowering her eyelids and whispering, "Zannanza..." she smiled charmingly when his pinkish tinted eyes lowered to hers as he slowed the galloping horse. "Please, can we go back to the palace."

"No." he said calmly as he wrapped his hand tighter around her waist and snapped the reins, forcing the stallion to speed up. "Guards! I command you to open the gates!"

The Shikon no Miko frowned. 'Whatever Nakia makes her victims drink is really strong.'

"Prince Zannanza?" The guard on duty questioned sleepily, rubbing his eye with the fist that was not holding his spear. He opened his mouth and yawned softly. "We cannot let you leave Hattusa at night without the major's permission. Please wait until morning."

Zannanza gritted his teeth, tightening his already bone-crushing grip on the miko. "Do as I say!" he snapped, urging his horse to go faster. "Open the gate now!"

The guard exchanged looks with his fellow comrades, trying to decide what they should do. Open the gate and risk being punished by the major or refuse the order of a Hittite Prince and had the risk of being executed. The choice they picked was an easy one. Praying to Teshub that the major would not punish them too harshly, the guards opened the gate and allowed Zannanza passage.

Kikkuri rushed into the room where Kail was pacing, a bewildered look on his face. "Prince Kail! The guards of the Lion Gate have informed me that they let Prince Zannanza out."

Kail stopped his pacing, snapping his eyes up at his most trusted servant. "What?" he ran out of his palace and over to the open gate. Running up to the closest guard, the third prince lashed out and grabbed the man by his tunic. "Which direction did Zannanza take?"

"S-south, my lord." the dark haired guard choked out. "He headed south."

The amber eyes prince felt his grip slacken as his mouth fell open at the man's confession. 'South is the city of Kanesh under Sainnassa's control.'

By the next morning the news of Ishtar's kidnapping had spread all over the empire and the moment it reached the emperor's ears, he called for his third born son. "Kail!" he boomed, his dark oak eyes narrowed. "It has come to my attention that Zannanza has stolen your concubine and headed south with her. Is it true?"

Kail lowered his head as he kneeled before his father. "I am afraid that it is all true." his voice was soft, almost choked as he admitted the actions that have perspired. "It is my fault for being too negligent. I'm ashamed with myself."

Nakia lifted her white fuzzy feather fan to her face to hide the evil sneer-like smile that was spreading over her full red lips. "This is too much." she said with an exasperated tone. "If Prince Kail cannot take care of his own brother and concubine," she turned her cat-like green eyes on Kail and narrowed them with glee. "then how is he going to manage state affairs and the Imperial Army?"

The blond haired third prince bit his lip to keep quiet, glaring at the floor.

Kikkuri balled his fist up and shook at the Queen's direction from his hiding spot with Ilbani. "You witch! You are the one controlling Prince Zannanza! Yet you have the utmost nerve to say such things!" he whispered fiercely before the Imperial clerk elbowed him in the gut and shushed him.

The Tarbana shook his head slowly. "We are to have war with Mitanni soon, and yet two of our leading generals are fighting for the affection of a single woman." his eyes narrowed even further with distaste as he raised his voice, scolding his child. "Since I've become emperor, I have never seen such a disgrace!"

Kail felt his pride sink lower and lower with each chastising word his father bestowed upon him. He balled his hands into tight fists as the whispers began from the noblemen and he bit his lip even harder, nearly drawing blood. Slowly, the blond third son raised his head, looking his father directly in the eyes. "I understand. Royal Father, please allow me to go after Zannanza and retrieve Ishtar Incarnate."

"What about you preparations for war?"

"I cannot leave things as they are." the prince replied.

The emperor nodded. "So be it. I will see how you are going to settle this problem." with a wave of his hand and a tap of his staff, the Tarbana dismissed his son.

Kail rose to his feet and placed his closed fist over his heart as he bow. "Yes, sir." He swept his cloak over his shoulder as he turned on his heels, Kikkuri and Ilbani following behind him out of the throne room. He cut his amber-gold eyes to the chestnut haired servant. "Kikkuri, prepare my horse. I am going after Zannanza." shifting his gaze to his foster brother, Kail said, "Ilbani, I leave the rest to you. Prepare the soldiers to be ready for battle at any time."

Hadi and her sisters rushed up the third prince. "Your Highness, we ask of you to take us along."

Nakia fanned herself as she laughed haughtily, her pretty pale face was ugly with evil. "Kail's pristine reputation will come to an abrupt end!" she giggled madly. "Zannanza's kidnapping of the woman will surely put a dent in the relationship between them." she waved the fan even harder as her smile widened to a large grin. "I thank the Gods for sending me this little bit of information about that girl. She will be unable to stop Zannanza's advances because she is pure of heart!" cackling, Nakia smiled sweetly at her attendant. "Dear Urhi, getting her head and flowing red blood is going to be simple. Let's wait and enjoy."

"Kikkuri!" Ilbani approached the brown haired man in the stables. "You must find Princess Kagome before Prince Zannanza steals her innocence." he looked around to make sure no one was eavesdropping before continuing. "Prince Kail knows that his brother did not act out of consciousness, but right now his reasoning and feelings are two separate things. With knowing that the princess has been kidnapped, Prince Kail certainly will not calm down!"

"Ilbani-san?" the brunette nodded quickly and rushed off to saddle his stallion. He snapped the reins and urged the horse to gallop after Kail, who was already several yards ahead of him. Gritting his teeth when the wind picked up, blowing sand into his eyes, Kikkuri pressed his beast to run faster. Soon he managed to catch up with Kail and took his place at the prince's right hand side and together they raced over the plains.

They urged their horses to gallop as fast and hard as they could, tearing up dust clouds in their wake as they traveled south. The group stopped, but once to feed the stallions and let them rest for a bit, and within three days they reached the trade city of Kanesh. Kail sent them out to gather more information about Zannanza as he went to the town's mayor.

The blond third prince had just thanked the mayor for his help when Kikkuri rushed into the building, nearly running over the Hatti twins in the process,

"Prince Kail!" he shouted, placing his hands on his knees and panting. "Word has it the Prince Zannanza is not here." he cringed at the harsh questioning 'what' the prince uttered. "They left the moment after changing horses."

Hadi lifted her finger to her mouth, muffling her gasp. "Where could they be heading? It took us three days to reach Kanesh." her dark green eyes glimmered with worry as she looked at her sisters. "With such high temperatures, I worry about Princess Kagome's health."

Kail turned his sad and depressed eyes away from his servant and looked up at the sky, ignoring the burn of the sun's rays. 'Zannanza would not let Kagome suffer, would he?' Biting his lip, wincing when the abused flesh cried out in pain, the third son asked, "Kikkuri, in which direction did they take?"

Kikkuri shuffled his feet before pointing in the southern direction. "Prince Zannanza is heading further south."

"South?" Kail snapped his head up and stared at the brown haired servant. "That is Kizzuwatna, which borders Mitanni."

Kizzuwatna is a small country located between the two large Hittite and Mitanni empires, and due to its position facing the sea, it's an important trading country. Therefore, it has often been the cause of war between the empires. As of now it is currently part of the Hittite Empire.

Three days they rode. Threes days without food or water they traveled. Three long days out in the hot unforgiving sun. Zannanza clutched Kagome's unmoving body close to chest as he snapped the reins, urging his horse to run faster.

Kagome panted in the dry heat of the Fire Season, her hair sticking to her sweat slick face. "Prince Zannanza." she whispered weakly before coughing. "I beg of you. Let's go back." her chest heaved as she took in another breath, sweat rolling down her cheeks as Kagome tried to distance herself from Zannanza's chest. "Where are you taking me?"

Zannanza took his eyes off the path he'd set for them and laid them upon Kagome. "We have almost reached Kizzuwatna." he smiled seductively down at her. "They won't chase us there." the blond then smoothed his hand over her back, pressing her close to him as he urged the stallion to gallop faster. Soon they reached the city and Zannanza hopped off his horse, cradling the miko in his arms. "Innkeeper! Are their any rooms available?"

The bald, pudgy old man rubbed his hands together, smiling at the panting woman. "Of course." he eyed the well-dressed man, seeing the desire in his strangely colored eyes. "We're always providing services."

"In that case, I'll be staying for a while." Zannanza cradled Kagome to his chest with one hand as he reached for the sack at his waist with the other. "Take care of my horse." he tossed the bag at the innkeeper as he walked past him. Stopping at the door of the entrance, Zannanza turned, "One more thing, don't let anyone near the bedroom."

The innkeeper's eyes nearly bulged from their sockets at the amount of money the blond just presented him with. With a wide money-hungry smile, the innkeeper said, "Yes sir!"

Zannanza laid Kagome down on the bed gently and his eyes drunk in her beauty. It was then that he noticed the quick uneven pants she was breathing and heard her faint cry for water. Walking over to the basin, the fourth prince took a drink of the cool liquid and held it in his mouth. His fingers curled around her chin, turning her face towards his and Zannanza pressed his lips to hers.

Kagome felt the coolness of the liquid running over her face and quickly opened her mouth to sip at it. She drank greedily, wrapping her arms around the softness of the thing giving her the water. Her tongue slipped out and searched for more of the refreshing liquid that her throat burned for. Slowly her eyes opened, her blurry vision clearing as she focused on the thing in front of her. Blond hair was the first thing her eyes focused on and she almost smiled until pink tinted eyes captured her gaze.

"Prince Zannanza!" she yelped, turning her face away from his. Zannanza grabbed her by the wrist, trying to pulled her back beneath him when Kagome lashed out, striking the prince across the cheek. "Stop it! The queen is controlling you! Can't you see that she is trying to break the deep bond between you and your brother!"


The miko smiled. "Yes. Remember." she slowly wiggled her wrist free from his hold. "Come on, Prince Zannanza, let's go back."

"Brother." he echoed again, his eyes holding a blank stare. "I've always admired my older brother. A caring mother, a bright future and a loveable character." Zannanza placed his head in his hands before he erupted, "I've always envied my brother!"

Kagome gasped at his outburst and yelped his name when he suddenly pushed her down on the mattress. Zannanza popped the button that held up his robe as he slid in between Kagome's toned legs. He pressed a kiss on her smooth neck and palmed at her breasts. As he traced his tongue down her throat, Zannanza muttered,

"When my brother become emperor, he will marry another princess from a different country or choose her from the royal family." he bit her pulse and soothed the sting he caused with his tongue. "But I will let you be my princess, Kagome!"

Zannanza grabbed a handful of her long dark hair, tilting her head back and forcing a deep kiss upon her lips. His other hand was quickly removing the beautiful pink dress from her body, caressing her flesh along the way. He broke away from her lips, but quickly latched his mouth to her pulse.

"Stop this, Prince Zannanza!"

"I will love you." he murmured, kissing the tops of her breasts. "I'll love you like no one else. Be mine."

"No! Kail!" Kagome whimpered.

Zannanza ignored her cries and pleas for him to stop. He knew that what he was doing was not right, but his desire for her was too great. He wanted this woman to be his own. Zannanza grabbed both of her tiny wrists in one hand and pressed them down into the mattress. As he held her down, the blond pressed another kiss to her lips, sliding his tongue along her mouth and tried to pry them open. When Kagome denied him access, Zannanza pinched her nipple with his free hand, making her gasp out in shock, and he quickly slid his tongue past her parted lips.

Kagome swung her legs out from underneath the prince, trying to get away from his touch. She jumped when he moved his mouth away from hers and pressed it against the pink mark tattooed above her left breast. "Don't touch that!" she screamed, thrashing her head back and forth. With her emotions spiralling out of control, the miko was worried that the slightest provocation will cause Ankoku to emerge. "Zannanza, don't!"

The blond haired prince smiled against her flesh, capturing her eyes with his as he slid his tongue over the shimmering tattoo. He felt her trembling at his touch and he repeated the action, his wet muscle over the area. Zannanza stroked his fingers along her thigh and closed his lips over the tattoo over Kagome's left breast. Soon he felt, the miko tugging at his hair and he moved back up to taste her sweet lips again.

"You aren't my prince." a low seductive voice said. "Who are you?"

Zannanza opened his eyes, staring into the golden-orange orbs of the strange woman beneath him. He jumped away from her quickly, slanting his pink tinted hazel eyes at her. "I should ask you the same thing!" His eyes watched the woman warily as she gathered the sheets up over her body. "What have you done with Kagome?"

The woman laughed eerily, her orange eyes glittering. "I am Kagome!"

"You lie!" he shot back. "Kagome has eyes the color of the darkest sapphires and hair that glistens the color of a raven's feather!" he pointed his index finger at the woman. "Your eyes are the color of the sun and hair the color of the night sky. Then, you have those strange marks on your body!"

She lifted her hands in surrender. "You've caught me. I am Ankoku." her eyes turned away from the enraged prince to the window, where a bright light was flooding into the room. The scent of smoke wafted up to her sensitive nose and she covered her mouth and nostrils with the sheet. "There's a fire burning somewhere."

Zannanza's eyes widened. "What?"

At that moment the pudgy innkeeper burst into the room, shocking both Zannanza and Ankoku. "My deepest apologies." he bowed his head, but his eyes kept straying back towards the miko splayed out on the bed. "I'm afraid that we have to evacuate the building! We're under attack by the Mitanni!"

Ankoku smiled, running her tongue over her lips. 'Mitanni, the enemy country my sweet little prince was talking about.' her long red claws reached up and stroked the violet tattoo over her left breast, feeling the power of the Shikon fueling her with its essence. She watched the blond haired man rush out of the room. 'I have a little time before Kagome forces me back into slumber. Might as well have some fun.' Ankoku tied the bed sheet around her body in a makeshift kimono and walked out of the door.

Suddenly she felt filled with power as the darkness of the enemy warriors spread around through the air. Fire blazed bright and high, consuming anything and everything in its wake. Townspeople were running for their lives as Mitanni soldiers chased after them, killing them once they captured them. "Such beautiful darkness!" she cheered, lifting her arms in the air and twirling in a slow circle.

An arrow whizzed by her, embedding itself in the stone wall and Ankoku jumped when the voice of the blond prince sounded beside her.

Zannanza yanked the arrow out of the wall and examined the sharp tip. "This is Mitanni's arrows."

Ankoku smiled ferally. "I see." thrusting her right hand out, her scythe materialized out of thin air and she snatched it up. "Looks like we have to fight back until Kail gets here."

"My brother...?" Zannanza echoed, the pink tint in his eyes fading slightly.

"Yes, my little Prince Kail." she whispered seductively, stroking her tongue over her plump red lips as he thought about his hot touch and passionate kisses. 'I want him...'

Zannanza cradled his head in his hands. "I...I...I..." he glanced over at Ankoku and his vision blurred as the Rose Water inside his system sent a wave of desire crashing over him. He reached out and took hold of the youkai's chin, capturing her lips with his, slipping his tongue into her mouth.

Ankoku purred into the kiss, dropped her weapon, which vanished before it hit the ground, and wrapped her arms around his neck, running her fingers through his soft hair. 'So, he wants to play?' she nipped at his bottom lip and suckled it into her mouth. Ankoku smiled when she felt Zannanza moan into the kiss and lift her up bridal style and ran.

The miko youkai sighed into the fourth prince's touch but hissed when a pounding in her head made her break away. "Iie! This is my body now, Kagome!" she growled as she pushed away from Zannanza, digging her claws into his shoulder until he was forced to release her.

A man was stabbed violently through the heart, his blood spraying out and splattering a red image on the wall. The soldier holding the hilt of the blade protruding from the dead man snickered and used his foot to kick the carcass off. "Look at all the loot he was trying to hide." he tossed a sack of gold in the air and caught it on its descent down and giggled like a child in a candy store. "If war gives us such extra benefits, how are we supposed to stop ourselves?"

"No!" a woman's voice cried out. "I won't give you my body, youkai!"

"A woman's voice?" a Mitanni soldier grinned perversely.

Another shared the same smile. "There's a woman?"

A group of Mitanni soldiers stopped their killing spree and began to circle around Zannanza and a struggling Kagome. They licked their lips as they eyed the miko hungrily. One of the soldiers with short dirty blond hair stepped forward, his sword resting against his shoulders.

"Hey, buddy!" he called out, making Zannanza stop in his tracks. "She doesn't seem to want you!"

We'll take real good care of her." another snickered, grabbing his crotch and jiggling it a few times. "Let us have her!"

Kagome opened her right eye, glaring at the soldier and gritting her teeth as she fought off the corruption Ankoku was forcing into her body. 'Why are there soldiers here?' she eyed the carefully, noting the black sashes around their waists and shoulders. 'Are they Mitanni warriors?' she hissed when their dirty hands reached out for her, grabbing her by the shoulders and trying to rip away the makeshift kimono.

"Her skin is so pale and soft! Almost like a newborn's!"

One with a couple of his teeth missing chuckled and caressed her cheek. "Makes this even better!"

Kagome felt the darkness inside her body swell with every touch the Mitanni soldiers gave her. She felt bloated with it and Ankoku was rejoicing inside her mind, pushing for control over the miko's body. Kagome bit her bottom lip, her left canine piercing her lip and blood dripped down her chin. Opening her right eye, the miko glanced over at Zannanza, who was struggling against the Mitanni warriors holding him down.

"This guy has really smooth, tender skin!" one man cupped the prince's chin as another yanked his head back by his hair. "Were you planning on running away with this girl?!"

A nasty sounding chuckle. "Looks like he was from one of them wealthy families!"

Anger built up in Kagome's body as she saw the Mitanni soldiers began to beat on Zannanza. "Don't touch him!" she wrenched her left arm free of the man's grip and used it to claw the other man's face, his blood spurting out and staining the white sheets wrapped around her body.

"You little bitch!" the man cried, holding his hand over the bleeding wounds.

Kagome brandished a scythe in her left hand and pointed it at the soldiers, watching them cringe back with fear. If she were to look at herself in a mirror, Kagome would see that her body was split. The right side was completely normal - midnight blue eyes, ivory skin, and glowing pink aura, but the left side was completely Ankoku - golden-orange eyes, lightly tanned skin, gold claw-like markings, and a deep dark aura. She turned her different colored eyes at the warriors holding Zannanza down and regarded them with a cold stare.

"Keep him still." her voice was still soft and bell-like, but had an underlying hint of Ankoku's deep warped voice. She walked over to Zannanza, tapping the sharp blade of her scythe against the cheek of one of the Mitanni and smiled, "Are you afraid?"

The soldier could do nothing, but stare into her differently colored irises.

Kagome frowned, fisting her right hand into a tight ball. "I asked if you were afraid!" she slammed her hand into Zannanza's abdomen. She smiled when the soldier nodded dumbly before her fist began to glow pink with her ki and Kagome sent it inside of Zannanza. "Release him."

Zannanza doubled over onto his knees, coughing violently. His stomach heaved and emptied itself of its contents, splattering on the ground. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand before staring up at the one who struck him. "Are you trying to kill me?"

The miko felt the darkness in her pop as the left side of her body returned to normal. "Prince Zannanza!" she cried. She fell to her knees and wrapped her arms around his shoulder, hugging him tightly. "Thank goodness you're back to normal!"

The blond haired prince smiled as he patted Kagome's back, a slight blush tinting his cheeks. "Yes. I'm sorry for scaring you."

"Wha' are ya' talkin' about?" a Mitanni soldier sneered, seeing that the scary version of that woman was gone.

Another one snickered. "Hey, bitch, get back over here." he grinned perversely at her. "I got something for you." he thought about what she had called the blond haired man who was still coughing every now and then. "Wait a second! You called that guy a prince!"

Zannanza slanted his eyes at the soldier that reached out for him, aiming to yank his hair. "Don't touch us, vermin!" he grabbed the man by the wrist and slugged him in the jaw. With his other hand, the fourth son pulled the soldier's sword out of its sheath. He cast his hazel eyes over at the miko. "I will make proper apologies to you later." he thrust his blade into the stomach of an offending warrior, using his foot to kick him off the blade. The prince twisted another's arm as he swung his sword in a wide arc.

"What happened to the weakling? How come he's suddenly so skillful!" a Mitanni cried as he turned, calling for his comrades.

Zannanza ran his tongue over his lips, tasting dried blood, and spat. He turned his eyes over to the miko who was currently fighting with a few warriors, but he saw that she was quickly becoming outnumbered. "Kagome!" he brought his sword down on another soldier, covering his face so that the man's blood would not get in his eyes. Quickly, Zannanza grabbed the sword of the dead warrior and tossed it in the air. "Catch!"

Kagome glanced over at the prince and held her hand up in the air, easily catching the blade. "Thanks!" she pulled on the hilt of the sword and slid it out of its sheath.

"Show them how great your sword skills are!" he smiled at her.

The miko nodded, turning an icy glare at the soldiers who backed her into a corner, and dropped into a fighting stance. Her eyes narrowed even further when the Mitanni merely laughed in her face, taunting her to attack. One soldier stepped forward and spread his arms. Kagome smirked coldly and struck the arrogant warrior down in one swift move, slicing him across the middle.

"What?" he choked out, staring in disbelief at the gaping wound in his stomach. He coughed up blood before sinking to his knees. "She can...use a sword..." he gurgled. "Be careful...everyone."

Kagome flicked her wrist, swinging her sword down to remove the blood the stained the bronzed blade. 'My skills are far their superior! I will not die by their hands.' She snorted as she moved her right arm up and blocked a strike from another soldier. The miko spun on the balls of her feet, cutting the man down by slicing his jugular vein.

"Retreat!" a man with a thin black mustache ordered.

Zannanza heard his command and run after him. "I'm guessing that you're the group leader? Stop!"

The Shikon no Miko slid into a defensive stance in front of the mustached warrior. She clashed swords with him when he tried to knock her out of his way and twisted her blade around his, tossing his sword away from him. Kagome then proceeded to point her sword in the soldier's face, daring him to move with her eyes.

The hazel eyed fourth prince smiled down at Kagome before narrowing his eyes at the Mitanni soldier. "Now, talk! How many of your soldiers have been dispatched?"

"I won't talk!" his eyes widened with fear when the miko moved her blade up against his face, shearing off half of his mustache. He cried out when her sharp blade inched close to his nose and winced when the tip dug into one of his nostrils, drawing a bit of blood.

Zannanza regarded the Mitanni soldier with cool eyes as he placed his hand on Kagome's shoulder. "A man without his nose will surely frighten the women he tries to swoon."

"Five thousand foot soldiers!" he yelled, "Five hundred battle carriages!"

"Who is the admiral leading this troop?" The fourth prince demanded.

The man began to laugh as he scooted back away from Kagome and her cold stare. "Once you know, you'll be too frightened to move!" he proclaimed, his back straightening when the miko placed her sword against his throat and applied the smallest bit of pressure. "The admiral is the Black Prince! He's coming to kill you all!"

Zannanza's eyes widened as he put his hand over the miko's, making her move her blade. "The Black Prince?"

"Black Prince?" Kagome echoed. "Who's that?"

The blond fourth prince looked at her with shock evident in his eyes, but he remembered that his brother said that Kagome was not from around here. "His true identity is Prince Mattiwaza, heir of the Mitanni Empire." he explained, placing his hand over his face. "His warfare methods are brutal, indeed. Mattiwaza does not stop until he has killed everything in his path. That is why he is proclaimed the Black Prince." Zannanza looked at the miko through the corner of his eye. "He is Mitanni's strongest warrior, rivaling even my brother! I believe that Mitanni is very serious; if they're sending him out at the very beginning of the war. If they storm Kizzuwatna, they'll surely invade our empire!"

Kagome gasped, covering her mouth with her hand. 'Kail's dream of a peaceful kingdom will be destroyed if Mitanni invades Hattusa!'

We have two new characters in this chapter! My personal favorite: Sesshoumaru! And the corrupted version of Kagome: Ankoku! I hope you enjoyed this chapter just as much as I have enjoyed writing it!

~Special Thanks~

DragonFire Princess: You're almost always my first reviewer for every chapter! I appreciate that and hope that you have a Happy New Year!

CrescentMelody: Hello my friend! I hope you enjoyed your holidays and the new year. Yes, my new penname does mean Pretty Love Angel. It matches my profile picture better than my old one.

Random Person 94: You're welcome. So far only Sesshoumaru will be making very brief apperances in the story and those will always be during the parts with Lady Fate and Akihiko.

PrincessWolf1: Thank you! I'm happy to see someone enjoys my work!

charielou1998: Here's another chapter for you to be excited about!