Author's Note: I do not own Inuyasha. (Disclaimer applicable to the entirety of this tale.) I also absolutely adore this fiction. This is an alternate universe fiction. Let me know what you think! Cheers!
I am a being of Heaven and Earth, of thunder and lightening, of rain and wind, of the galaxies.- Eden Ahbez
Chapter 1: Piqued Curiosity
The sound of her skirts was loud in the silent hallway though her footsteps were as quiet and light as that of a mouse. She turned at the corridor and passed through a large entry way into the guest wing of the Astorian Castle, the windows white with falling snow and wind. This area of the castle was still slightly cool, slowly heating under the influence of the heating spells laid down by the Ladies and Professors in residence.
The lack of warmth would have been a remiss mark in their spotless record for good hospitality if they had been expecting the guests escorted here earlier. Since they had not, no one had been prepared for the tizzy the arrivals had caused amongst the students of the Astorian Finishing School.
Two of the younger girls had actually fainted (not that she could blame them). The Heirs of the Western principalities and the Princes themselves had sought shelter within the walls of their school from the blizzard. The most eligible bachelors of the Western Court were here until the white storm outside stopped.
Even she had felt her heart race when she had caught Prince Sesshoumaru's eyes.
Right now though, there was no time to dwell on such things. She halted her footsteps in an empty corridor and listened. Quickly, she followed the murmur of voices to the third door on her right.
The candlebras lining the corridor flickered with warm golden-white light, illuminating the rich cherry wood and emerald green rugs. Taking a deep breath to swallow her nervousness- she would get in so much trouble if she was caught here, she knocked on the door.
She smiled at the bronze eyes that looked down at her before slipping past the unknown, young Lord and into the room. To her relief and rising irritation, she took in the presence of all her missing companions.
"Good evening, my Lords and Ladies." Her waist-length ebony hair- loose due to her hurry, slid over her shoulder as she curtsied to the Princes. "I apologize for interrupting; however, the young Ladies are needed in the Upper Gaming Room."
Almost immediately she could feel the nervous tension from the other young ladies in the room, the undercurrent of warning in her words apparent. When she rose, she was immediately gathered into a bone-crushing hug and she stiffened instantly. The scent of incense and forest helped her relax a heartbeat later, and she returned the hug just as ferociously. "Hi, Miroku-nee-san."
Her violet-eyed cousin pulled back after a moment, grinning goofily at her blue eyes and wide smile. "We are far more interesting than whoever awaits you in the Upper Gaming Room. Stay and join us, Kagome."
She shook her head, hair sliding to tickle her elbows. She shot her twin sister a telling glance. "We really must be going onee-san."
"I don't think we quite care to leave yet, Kagome-chan. I'm sure you can understand." Kagura's voice was a sultry purr and Kagome barely refrained from rolling her eyes.
Oh, yes. She understood perfectly why Kagura and Kaguya had coerced some of the girls of their school to join them in this after-hours jaunt to the guest quarters. It was no secret at the school that Kagura and Kaguya aimed to be Princesses of the West. It was also no secret that they instigated most of the rule-breaking, proclaiming that they did not care to be oppressed by words on paper or useless commandments made by old ninnies.
Normally Kagome didn't care at all about their antics; however, this time- the one time that it counted, they had managed to get both of her sisters to comply with their foolery. Being found in a male's room after hours without a mated female escort would ruin a young female's reputation. Whether or not anything untoward was occurring was irrelevant to the gossips of Court and once such a rumor was started, the female's chance at making a good match was over.
She turned slowly, gracefully to Kagura, lifting calm blue eyes to haughty red ones. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Miroku shift as he began to realize the reason for her insistence on departure. The flash of understanding in his eyes was fortifying. He exchanged glances with Sesshoumaru-sama and Naraku-sama. Inuyasha-sama leaned by the door, ears twitching towards the wall, listening.
"I understand perfectly, Kagura; however, I'm not sure that you do. Your absence from your bedrooms has been noted." Her words were soft; but, the reaction was instantaneous amongst the young ladies and the brothers of the ladies present. Where before Kagome had only suggested something to worry about, now she had clearly stated the danger their livelihoods were in. Kagura frowned but remained quiet. She would be a fool to make an enemy of Kagome, heiress to one of the West's richest, if smallest, principalities.
Kikyou and Rin came to stand by Kagome. Rin's cinnamon-colored eyes were teary with fear and she clutched at Kikyou's hand. Their little sister was only twelve, five years younger than them. She had probably been the one to convince Kikyou to go with Kagura and Kaguya on this idiotic adventure, having become enamored of the other girls. Kagome knew that Kikyou would never have done something like this herself even if they had all missed their elder cousin.
To her astonishment, Sesshoumaru-sama gestured for silence and began giving quiet instructions to Naraku and Miroku on how to escort them to the Upper Gaming Room without being seen. She had no idea her cousin was close with the Heir of the Western Lands.
Then to her horror, she heard the footsteps coming down the corridor. She and the younger Prince looked at one another, frozen. His eyes were very golden and within them she swore she could see the heart of the wilderness, an untamable ferocity.
Rin whimpered by her side and wrapped an arm around Kikyou's waist. Her twin's face had gone white, chocolate-eyes wide with sudden fear. Even Kagura looked scared, a dainty hand placed over her mouth.
Naraku-sama cursed. They didn't even have time to hide let alone get rid of traces of their scents and auras.
In the sudden stillness, Kagome straightened and swept the Heir to the West another curtsy, not looking anyone in the eyes. "Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen, I will see you for breakfast tomorrow."
She turned and swept out the door before her sisters and cousin could try to stop her. Her courage wavered as she saw the reproving face of their Headmistress catch sight of her. She didn't have to fake the widening of her eyes or the sudden fear that sent her pulse racing. "Headmistress!"
"Kagome, what are you doing here?" Lady Amoru's voice was as sharp as a whip, anger darkening violet eyes to a deep, deep indigo.
She fidgeted, walking away from the door towards her Headmistress. "I'm sorry, Headmistress. After you mentioned a few moments ago that you couldn't find my sisters or some of my companions, I got a little bit worried. My youngest sister has become quite taken with the more outspoken young ladies and I just wanted to make sure she wasn't visiting our elder cousin without a guardian."
Kagome looked at the edge of her skirts, stopping in front of her Headmistress.
"Well," Lady Amoru's voice had softened, "since I saw you only moments ago, I know you weren't doing anything untoward; but, never do anything so stupid again, young lady! Your reputation is your most precious possession. You must not allow it to be questioned."
She nodded, relieved beyond belief that she wasn't going to get into too much trouble. She gave Lady Amoru a small smile and was astonished to find that their most severe of professors return it. "Yes, Headmistress. I am sorry. I just worry about my younger sister sometimes."
"I am assuming from your relaxed posture that there are no miscreants wandering into rooms they shouldn't be wandering into?" The Lady's eyes were more worried than aggravated when she looked down the hallway, inuyoukai senses not able to tell much due to the lingering cold of the wing.
"No, Headmistress. There are no miscreants here." Kagome bounced on her toes before turning down the hallway back towards the main wing. "I'm a little cold, Headmistress. May I walk with you back to our wing?"
The inuyoukai female smiled and placed a soft hand on Kagome's hair. "It is a shame that your youngest sister does not look to you for guidance. You and Kikyou are true gems unlike those rebellious ones influencing the younger girls."
Kagome laughed, bringing a smile to her usually severe Headmistress' face once more. "Headmistress, If I chose to rebel against something, it would have to be worthwhile. I do not believe that having sweet drinks every night with the evening meal is a rule that demands a revolution."
Lady Amoru agreed, eyes twinkling with humor. "You most certainly do not need to get a sugar high every evening."
Behind them, once the corridor was clear, the young ladies of the West were escorted to their rooms by various young lords and knights. To Rin's delight and Kagura's envy, the Prince of the West let the young girl ride on his back in inu form.
Interestingly, they made it back to their rooms before Kagome and the Headmistress did. Perhaps that was why Kagura cornered Kagome in the hallway, anger flashing in her eyes and snapping through her fan.
"Did you receive any notes just now?" The words were spat at her by an angry wind youkai. The rest of the girls poked their heads out of their rooms to watch.
Kagome frowned and held her ground. They both knew making enemies of one another was not desired. "What are you talking about?"
"Sesshoumaru-sama sent out a note to someone right before he escorted myself and Rin back. Was the note to you?" Kagura took a small, threatening step forward.
"No." The blue-eyed miko kept her answer short and to the point. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Kagura turned, chin in the air. "Alright. Thank you for the warning earlier. Good night."
Kagome rolled her eyes before kissing Rin good night on her cheek. "Good night, everyone."
When she entered her room, she stretched languidly before drifting over to her bed, letting her dress fall to the ground in a heap. The maid would get it in the morning. A flickering red candle on her desk caught her eye, strange because she hadn't bought any red candles recently. She walked over and felt her jaw drop, lifting the small piece of paper in weak fingers.
Her pulse picked up with excitement and she opened the wax seal- the Prince's seal, quickly.
-What would you consider worth the effort of rebellion? –S. Taisho –
Kagome sat slowly on her bed, heart racing. She had known the Prince would over hear her conversation with the Headmistress- his line's hearing was exceptional. She had not known that he would think anything she said interesting enough to warrant a note.
Smiling, Kagome rummaged through her drawers for a small teal candle before picking up her quill. She tickled her chin with the feather while thinking of a response.