Mira: Hi, I'm Mira,
Myra:and I'm Myra.
Mira: As most of you know, if not all of you, this story belonged to TheElegantFaerie. Well she decided to put thisstory up for adoption right as we were starting our account, so we adopted it. If you have read the first five chapters off of TheElegantFaerie's account, go ahead and skip these first five chapters and go on to the sixth.
Myra: Disclamer, we do not oun anything.
Pairings: Tasuki/Kagome, Tamahome/Miaka
Chapter 1: The Girls of Legend
"D-Double cheeseburger!" The tasty sandwich appeared at the calling of its name and hovered in the air, almost begging to be eaten-until a vision of a triple-scoop ice-cream cone shoved the burger out of the way. The female voice declared out each scoop's delicious flavor, "Chocolate Mint! Rum raisin! Strawberry ice cream!" The tasty dessert was replaced with the main course. At each name's incantation, the succulent dish materialized, set on an extravagant table. The food sparkled, invitingly, within the light.
Eyes shining with anticipation, Miaka basked at the sight of her fabulous dinner. "I love them all!" She slowly spun about in mid-air, delight upon her face. The food rose from its table to orbit around her, aromas mixing to form a delicious, intoxicating mural within her nostrils. "Come to me, and let's go! Come into my stomach!"
With a grin of anticipation, Miaka snapped her chopsticks apart. "All for me!" She laughed at the food, deftly gripped her chopsticks, and reached for a delectable dumpling...only to see the food vanish just before she could claim it.
"Eh?" Miaka turned about in dismay to see all her conjured dishes disappear, one by one.
"Why?" She exclaimed.
A deep male voice growled, echoing from a bright light that suddenly cut through the darkness, "Give up, Miaka Yuuki."
A second voice, even more condemning than the first, growled out, "A ninth-grade candidate for the high school exam has no time to eat."
"Yes, you need to study," a third light commanded with iron.
The lights solidified, congealing into the craggy faces of male teachers from every student's nightmares. "Let's study."
"X^2 times X^4 equals-"
"Who is the author of Tsurezuregusa?"
Without warning, a new and impossibly more ominous voice appeared from deep within the black abyss. It resonated in Miaka's overwhelmed ears. Even worse, this one spoke in English. "'I want him to do his best.' Translate."
Pillowed atop her school desk, Miaka's face grimaced.
"Answer me, Yuuki!" the man commanded, scowling down at her sleeping form. His scathing voice was thick with irritation.
Miaka reacted instinctively. She leaped upright, screaming in anger, "RETURN MY FOOD!"
"Miaka?" a calm, female voice spoke. Her soothing words pierced Miaka's raged, half-awake mind. The girl froze, her heart pounding from her horrible nightmare.
"Who did you just clobber with your desk?" The speaker's brown eyes innocently blinked once.
Staring in horror, her desk still held aloft above her head, Miaka gasped with dread when she realized the identity of her victim, Sen…sei." Her poor teacher was trembling with pain, bent over backwards, and balanced on his right leg. His English textbook dangled from one hand, barely within his grasp. Around them, Miaka's classmates gaped in horror and shock.
"Bingo," her friend, Yui, replied with candor.
A single tear of pain threatened to fall from the corner of her sensei's eye. "Yuuki," he managed to gasp.
"Yes?" Miaka answered with dread.
"Go to the hallway." The man finally gave into gravity and fell to the floor with a condemning, final crash.
"'I want him to do his best.' How is this translated?" the English lesson continued uninterrupted. Outside the class, Miaka's arms trembled under the weight of her desk, held aloft over her head in lieu of the usual bucket of water. Revenge was sweet, and most appropriate.
The ringing of the bells echoed across the school grounds, heralding the end of another school day. Back inside her classroom, Miaka slowly stretched and massaged her tired arms. "Oh, that wore me out!" she moaned.
Yui cheerfully called over to her across the room, "Miaka, I'll leave you behind!" She smiled her face playful under her short, blond hair.
"Wait up!" Miaka forgot her pain and snatched up her school bag to run after Yui.
"Damn. A high school entrance exam candidate sleeping," one of Miaka's friends chastised her, almost ashamed of her careless friend. "You can't pass the Yotsubadai High exams like that."
Miaka effortlessly dismissed her concerns. "I'm not taking the Yotsubadai exams," she brightly replied around her after-school snack.
"Ehhh? Which one, then?" They asked.
"What?" her two friends exclaimed in shock, eyes wide.
The first demanded with evident disbelief, "Jonan? Jonan Academy?"
"You're not enrolling in an electric store, you know!" the second one pointed out.
"Where are your brains?"
"Have you and Yui discussed this?"
"You're going to be taking the same exam, but you're nowhere alike in the academic area!"
Yui had silently listening throughout the unexpected revelation. She spoke as she reached for her train pass. "That's right, I'm a genius, and you're just stupid." She grinned.
Crushed, Miaka whimpered, "Are you really my best friend?"
Yui gave a low chuckle, proving her words to be merely in jest. "Yep. I think so."
The four girls parted ways in the train station, Yui and Miaka boarding the same car together. "Miaka, come with me," Yui invited.
"Where?" Miaka queried.
Yui smiled. "We're going to go pick up Kagome at the shrine then we're going to the National Library."
Miaka beamed at Yui, "Ooh Kagome! She's coming? I can't wait to see her! It's been a couple days since I've talked to her." She was delighted to accompany the two people she thought as her best friends to the library.
The two friends boarded the train to take them to Kagome Higurashi's shrine. As they found their seats, Miaka began to think back to two years earlier, when she met Kagome Higurashi at one of her night classes.
Miaka was in class waiting for her teacher to start the lesson when the teacher introducing this beautiful girl. She had luscious black hair and sapphire blue eyes that sparkled under the fluorescent light in the classroom. The girl had a petite figure and was just a little taller than she was. Miaka learned that her name was Kagome and that she lived in a shrine in Tokyo.
The teacher immediately told Kagome to sit next to Miaka.
She cheerfully introduced herself to her new classmate. "Hello, I'm Miaka Yuuki!
The girl weakly smiled back. "I'm Kagome Higurashi."
Miaka and Kagome slowly began to become friends over the next few weeks and Miaka had even introduced her new friend to Yui, who had taken a liking to her as well.
But the more Miaka and Yui began to hang out with their new friend, they began noticed an air of sadness would always cling to Kagome. It was as though she was forcing herself to smile when she was struggling with something immensely difficult.
And one day, they confronted Kagome about it.
"Kagome, we're you're friends. Please tell us what's wrong! We can help you get through it!" Yui told Kagome gently.
"You guys are my best friends but I'm not sure you'll even believe me if I tell you…" Kagome replied.
"Please Kagome?" Miaka pleaded with her friend, determined to figure out what was bothering her friend.
Kagome sighed. She began to retell her adventure in the Feudal Era to her friends. Kagome spoke of the search for the jewel shards, Naraku, and her love for Inuyasha that just wasn't enough for him. He was always going to be in love with her incarnation, Kikyo. He went to hell with Kikyo after they completed the Shikon no Tama. She cried, "I wasn't enough for him! I gave him all my love and he still went with her! Now I'll never get to see him again!"
Miaka and Yui comforted their friend as she cried. They told her they were here for her and in time she'll move on and meet someone that will love her truly.
Kagome showed Miaka and Yui the completed jewel of four souls, the gleaming pink jewel hanging from a necklace around her neck.
"So this is the jewel? Did you ever make a wish on it?" Miaka asked, perturbed.
Yui was nodding her head, silently asking the same question.
Kagome sighed and tucked the tiny jewel inside her shirt again. She wiped the tears in her eyes with her slender fingers. "No we didn't. Inuyasha, in the end, decided to not become a full demon and told me to save the wish. I haven't used it yet. I just have this feeling to save it for the future."
After what they termed "The Big Explanation," Miaka Yuuki, Yui Hongo, and Kagome Higurashi were the best of friends. Now, being two years later, their friendship was just as strong as ever. Even with Kagome being two years older than them at seventeen years old.
Miaka was pulled out of her musings by Yui, who signaled that they were at their stop.
"Come on Miaka! We're here." Yui stated, smiling when her friend was startled out of her thoughts.
"What were you thinking about so hard for?" She teased.
Miaka huffed in annoyance. "I was thinking about when I met Kagome."
Much later after hugs and greetings at Kagome's shrine, the three girls stood outside of the National Library.
Miaka leaned back and looked up at the immense brick face of the National Library. The windows were dark, and only the barest ominous glint of the interior could be glimpsed through the musty panes. "Wow. It's so…" Miaka trailed off, unable to find words heavy enough to describe the bleak building in front of her. "Does the National Library belong to the nation?"
Yui and Kagome walked inside the double doors, deciding not to dignify Miaka's question with a reaction. "Hey, I'm just joking!" Miaka yelled after them. "Why didn't you say anything?" she complained as she ran to catch up to her friends. She stopped just inside the doors and looked from side to side.
Pausing, Yui turned and held up the blue book in her hand. "I'm just going to return this book," she said with a smile over her shoulder. Kagome followed after Yui to return her own books.
Miaka gave her a strained smile in return, sweat drop prominent. "Could you guys hurry?" Left to her own devices, she worriedly looked about the vast entryway. "The word 'national' makes me nervous." She suddenly grew determined to lighten the atmosphere. "Cheer up, Japanese citizens!" she shouted out into the lobby. The words echoed through the huge room without reaction.
Miaka glanced to her right and spied a row of vending machines, tucked against the wall in a dim hallway that let away from the lobby. "Oh, they sell juice here!" she shouted with delight. She walked over to the machines and berated herself in a low voice, wondering who heard her exclamation. "What am I thinking? They sell juice everywhere."
She stopped in front of the machine and grubbed in the pocket of her khaki school uniform for change. "Let's see….oh!" One of her coins escaped her grasp and slipped away. It spun through the air, landed on the tile floor with a loud clink, and slowly revolved to a noisy standstill.
"Oh geeez." Miaka bent over to retrieve the money. Behind her, an enormous red bird appeared and let out a shrill, trembling cry. It lifted itself into the air with one great beat of its blood-red wings, feathers flying from the crest at the top of its head. With a gasp, Miaka turned and stared wide-eyed at the sight.
"What?" Miaka whispered as the bird disappeared.
Small globes of red light floated towards her from the top of a dark stairwell that led up and away from the vending hall. Miaka gaped up its length for a long moment. She slowly took one step up the stairs, then another, her school bag forgotten on the floor behind her.
The sounds of Miaka's black leather shoes tapping the cold tiles echoed in the heavy silence when she topped the stairs. An immense wooden door dominated the end of the dim hall. It seemed steeped in its own importance, and was capped by stolid sign, hung at eye level upon the wood.
"Important Documents Reference Room," Miaka read in a curious voice. The sign placed to the left of the door, 'Employees Only', escaped her notice. She studied the door then she started to reach for the handle when a strange sound cut through the air. That's the sound of something fluttering, coming from behind the door! 'Is it a bird's wings or a book's pages being turned by the wind?' She stared at the door until the quiet click of the lock releasing made her reach for the knob. She clasped it in her hand, slowly turned, and found with astonishment that the door opened.
Miaka cautiously peeked her head inside the dark room. It was dim, and made the hallway where she stood seem blindingly light in comparison. The room was filled with rows and rows of books. The volumes were arranged on shelves against all four walls, and on one stand-alone set of shelves that ran down the length of the room. The dusty, cloying scent of old paper permeated the air and washed over Miaka's inexperienced nose. She slowly stepped inside.
Busted, the trespasser cringed.
"What are you doing in here?" Yui worriedly asked her, framed in the doorway. Kagome was standing next to her friend.
"Miaka what's going on?" The priestess questioned her friend.
"A bird?" Yui laughed, her eyes crinkling with mirth.
"Let's not rule anything out, yet? If I can travel down a well back in time, anything is possible." Kagome piped up. There was a time when she wouldn't believe that the impossible, such as falling into a well and getting caught up in a journey to collect shards of a jewel that grants wishes, but times such as those have past.
"Yes," Miaka insisted. "I heard the sound of wings flapping."
"Why would a bird be in a place like this?"
Her reply was cut short by the heavy plunk of a book falling from its place on the shelf to the floor. Miaka gasped and turned to stare at it in shock. Kagome and Yui turned their heads towards the noise and spied the dusty book lying on the tile floor.
Kagome looked at the book and had a weird feeling about it. 'Why do I feel like something is about to happen.' She thought. Then using her miko powers she tried to figure out what it was with that book when she felt something. 'That book has an aura! It's not a threatening aura, it just seems to use that aura to protect itself, but where would a book get an aura, or even need it.' She then noticed something unusual about the aura. 'That's impossible! The book's aura is that of a beast's, but it's not malevolent, and at the same time it's like that of a god's, but it's not benevolent.'
Kneeling on the floor, Yui, Kagome and Miaka held the book between them.
"The Universe of the Four Gods..." Yui read the title with curiosity.
"It's an ancient Chinese novel."
"A Chinese book?"
Yui did not respond. She studied the musty pages for a moment, and then began to read in a soft, serious voice. "Thus, the girl of the legend opened the door of another world."
"Amazing!" Miaka exclaimed excitedly. "Yui, you can read ancient Chinese!"
Yui smiled and turned the page. Miaka gasped with surprise at the line-ink illustration of a great phoenix.
"This is the one I saw!"
"This is a story of a girl who obtained the Seven Stars of Suzaku. She obtained omnipotent powers and made her wishes come true. The story itself is an incantation. Those who finish reading it shall receive the power. As soon as the page is turned, the story will become the truth and begin."
The three girls sat back and looked at each other. "What does that mean?" Yui asked Miaka.
"Guys, I have a feeling we're about to find out?" Kagome said uneasily, staring unwaveringly at the red light beginning to form around the book.
Without warning, an intense read light gleamed forth from the book's ancient pages. The three helpless girls screamed as the illumination encompassed them, their eyes blinded by light; their ears and minds filled with the intense sound of the great bird calling.
Yui slowly sat up and asked in a weak voice, "What happened?"
"Yui, are you okay? How about you Kagome?" Miaka asked, pushing herself up into a sitting position. It took a moment for her to realize that her hand rested, not on tile, but on rocks and dirt. And the air no longer smelled of dust and books, but of arid land. Miaka gasped, snapped her head up, and slowly looked about. The stuffy, dim room was gone. Instead, a vast open plain surrounded them, broken by small ravines. Scrubby trees were scattered over the rough, unappealing landscape. Mountains shimmered on the far-off horizon, and the sky gleamed an intensely clean blue.
Kagome pushed herself up. "I'm alright guys!"
"Where are we?" Yui softly asked in disbelief.
"Yuiiiiii," Miaka whimpered and clutched at her friend's arm. The three friends huddled together.
Yui slammed her left elbow on the top of Miaka's head and asked with wide, innocent eyes, "Did that hurt?"
"That hurt plenty!" Miaka screamed as she nailed Yui's jaw with a right uppercut.
"Ouch..." Yui groaned. "That hurt too much for this to be a dream."
Her fists clenched, Miaka's body trembled with intense emotion, her back to Yui. The horrible realization had finally hit home. "Whether it's a dream or not….there are no double burgers, and no nut and raisin-topped ice cream!" she wailed in despair.
"Is that the only thing you worry about?" Yui yelled at her.
Miaka futilely waved her arms in the air and turned to her friend, eyes clenched tightly closed with the hopelessness of it all. "What am I going to do, Yui? Kagome? Yu-" Miaka opened her eyes to gape at two rough-looking men behind her friends. One had Yui clamped to him with an arm around her neck and the other was manhandling Kagome, who was glaring at him. "Yui! Kagome!"
"Miaka!" Yui managed to garble out in fear, struggling with her oversized captor.
"This one's good," one of the men sneered. "If we sell her, she'll bring us lots of money."
The other ruffian holding Kagome, sneered, "Look at this one! Her body is great, and she looks older than the other two! We'll get a lot of money for her!"
Miaka stared at the men. What? Who are they? She thought in wonderment, taking in their strange, costume-like clothing. "Are you old men members of a Chinese dancing team?" Visions of the men dancing with Yui and Kagome to bouncy music flashed through her mind.
"Moron!" the bearded leader yelled. "We're slave traders!"
"Ehhhhhhhhh?" Miaka gasped in shock.
The man who had Yui clamped to his front smiled to himself. "How's that? Surprised?" he asked with utter self-confidence.
Kagome decided that now was the time to act. She elbowed her captor in the gut and now free, quickly spun around to knock the feet out from the man. She then looked over at Yui and her captor ready to attack him.
"Ah ah, If you're not nice…!" The leader drew his sword with a snarl and held it at Yui's thought when suddenly a hand reached around him and pulled the sword away from Yui and another hand grabbed the one holding Yui and pulled that back as well setting her free to run over to Miaka.
Gray eyes quietly narrowed with steely determination. "Quit it."
"You son of a bitch!" the slaver gasped out in pained anger to the man behind him. The gray-eyed stranger turned with disdain to watch the man's partner draw his sword and charge him with a yell. He slammed an elbow into the running man's face, leaped up, and laid into the pair.
Miaka and Yui held each other's hands, kneeling upon the ground, and stared open-mouthed at the fight before them. Kagome had placed herself between them and the fight as to protect them if needed be. The stranger was a blur of motion; fists, legs, and feet flying to solidly impact the two slavers. Miaka could only blink and continue watching. "Who is this?"
The stranger fought with a wild smile, his blue hair flying. "On his forehead…there's a kanji!" The symbol glowed an eerie red, its jagged form shining impossibly from his skin.
He hurled both men away. They slammed into the ground, the leader clutching his arm and exclaiming in pain. "Brother!" The other called to the leader. "Let's get out of here!" They quickly heeded their own advice.
Kagome, Miaka, and Yui watched them run away in shock.
"Ladies," The stranger turned and smiled down at them; his handsome face filled their vision. "You all right?"
"Th-thank you very much!" Yui breathlessly stammered, eyes shining.
He crouched down to eye-level in front of them and cheerfully held out his hard. "Money's a better way to show your appreciation," he brightly stated.
"Huh?" The three girls asked in amazement.
"Don't tell me." He leaned back in disappointment. "You mean you ladies are penniless?" He eyed them with disgust and stood up again. "Don't you know money dominates the world? It's too much of a luxury to help the destitute."
Insulted, Yui's eyes narrowed at him as he walked away. She stood up herself and ran after him. "You helped us on your own!" she snapped.
Behind them, still on her knees in the dirt, Miaka grubbed about in her pockets. "I think I have a little money."
"Miaka don't bother. He's not worth it," Kagome assured her friend.
He did not turn around or stop walking. "I hate poor people," the man joked, waving goodbye with one hand in the air. "Bye."
"Hold it!" Yui ran a few steps after him and stopped, fists clenched. "Wait, will you? Where are we?" Her questions were cut off with an astonished gasp. Yui stared at the ground beneath her, swirling with red light. "This is...the same red light," Yui whispered in realization. She tried to turn, but her body was quickly absorbed by the bloody hue. The light swallowed her and her voice down into the depths. "MIAKAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaa...!"
Miaka brandished a 1000 yen note. She cheerfully turned and held it out. "Here it is!" She paused and looked about. "Yui?"
The breeze was her only reply.
"Hey, where are you? Yui! Yuiiiiii!"
"Miaka where are you?" Yui whispered as she looked about. The library's forbidden room was dark, and Yui was alone. "Miaka!" She turned and ran a short distance, looking down the second aisle of musty books. "Miaka! Kagome!" she yelled, her hands cupped around her mouth. She waited, tensely, for the answer she feared would not come.
Yui's gaze fell down to the open book, The Universe of the Four Gods. Her knees bent, and she dropped to the floor in front of it. Leaning forward, she read with quiet detachment.
"The girl who had freed herself tried to help her friend from the kidnappers, when a man with the sign of the Ogre on his forehead appeared and helped them."
Yui's eyes widened. "The sign of the Ogre on his forehead?" She leaned back and picked up the book to stare down at its pages.
"Why? How can this be?"
On the right page underneath her fingers, there was another simple illustration. Its lines depicted a man, dressed as the stranger had been, fighting another.
"It's not a dream," Yui whispered, focusing on the man's image. On his forehead, a kanji shone in black ink. She thought about her two friends, Kagome and Miaka.