Chapter 5: The Incomplete Priestess
Kagome remained seated at the table, staring at her reflection that appeared clearly through the glossy wood even after her everyone had left the room and her plate was taken away. They all hated her now, and she didn't have any idea as to what she had done wrong. Even if she did look a little bit like Lady Kikyou, it certainly was not the fault of the untouchable, or even of the servant who had pointed it out.
"What are you still doing here?" a rough voice growled, snapping Kagome out of her miserable silence. She looked up to see Lord Inuyasha standing at the entrance to the dining hall, staring at her expectantly with his arms folded over his chest. She blushed, for she knew she had been caught doing something stupid, and she was rather embarrassed. She dropped her gaze back down to the table so that she wouldn't have to see any disapproving expression that the prince might have on his face.
"I'm sorry," she murmured. "I didn't know where I was supposed to go, and everyone seemed so angry with me, so I didn't want to irritate them more by asking…"
There was a short moment of silence before Lord Inuyasha strode angrily over to the table and cupped one hand under Kagome's chin, jerking it roughly upwards. Kagome tensed and shut her eyes tightly, and a bit of wetness squeezed out from the corners of her eyelids as she awaited her punishment with fear.
"Stupid girl," he said irritably, "I'm not going to hurt you. Open your damn eyes and look at me."
She did as she was told and found her gaze locked with the hanyou's own amber stare. His eyes glittered furiously, but as she looked into them she was assured that it was not his intention to hurt her, and she allowed herself to relax. The Lord sensed that she was now at ease and removed his hand from her face.
"Good. Let's go."
He turned and stepped forward a few paces, but spun around immediately when he realized that Kagome was not following him. Instead, she was staring at him in shock, not knowing want to think. He sighed and grabbed her by her wrist, pulling her up and out of her chair as if she were no lighter than a feather.
"Walk," he stated. Kagome hastily complied and followed along behind him, her mind a whirl of thoughts. What did he want with her? Why was he touching her so casually when Sir Ookoumori all but treated her like a plague? She also wondered why he would want to have anything to do with her in the first place, especially when she had been the cause of that horrible scene during dinner.
She shook her head and tried to pay attention to where the Lord was leading her as they made their way through the winding castle halls. In the back of her mind were the nasty echoes her footsteps were making because she did not know how to walk like a lady. It wasn't quite as unnerving as when she had made her way to the dining hall, though, because Lord Inuyasha was practically stomping, and his loud footsteps drowned out her own a great deal.
Eventually, the prince stopped in front of a large wooden door. It was not as ornate as the door to his own chambers, but it was quite similar. "This is your room," he stated, pushing the door open and ushering Kagome into it. It was the most majestic bedroom she had ever seen, even more grand than she had even dared to dream about. It had a huge, lovely window complete with a balcony, a beautiful four post canopy bed with curtains that could be drawn around it for privacy, a large oak bureau with ceramic statues adorning it, and other various pieces of furniture that Kagome couldn't even begin to describe. She turned to Lord Inuyasha, her eyes wide with awe.
"All this is for me?" she said, aghast. "But I couldn't…I couldn't possibly…"
"It's yours," he snapped, interrupting her, causing her to take a surprised step backwards. "It's yours, and you've every right to be here, because I said so. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."
She nodded, unable to voice her extreme gratitude. He didn't seem to care that she hadn't thanked him, for he was already on his way out of the room. He was about to pull the door shut behind him when he looked over his shoulder at his guest.
"The purification spring…it didn't burn you did it." It was more of a statement than a question. Kagome did not reply, but her eyes flicked away guiltily. "I thought as much," he said simply, and then he was gone.
Kagome was crying when there was a loud rapping sound on her door. It had been two days since Inuyasha left her in her chambers, and she had refused to emerge to see anyone. She had woken up in the morning to see breakfast laid out for her on a cart, and at mealtimes someone would knock and leave a cart in the hall outside her room. Kagome didn't know who it was, but she was glad to be able to stay in her room and not have to face anybody. She was afraid of what would happen to her once Lord Inuyasha told on her; she wasn't sure what kind of punishment was given to an untouchable when they weren't purified by the spring, but whatever it was couldn't be good, and the people here hated her enough already.
She wished she could go back and live on the streets. At least there everyone ignored her instead of glaring at her like she was the evil incarnate.
And now someone was knocking at her door. It was most definitely not one of the set mealtimes, and Kagome knew that if she were to open her door she would find something other than a food cart outside of it. "Who is it?" Kagome called out from her seat in front of the window, her voice wavering slightly.
"It's Sango, Lady Kagome," was the reply from outside her door. "Are you okay? I haven't seen you in a while..."
"C-come in," she said through a sob, and furiously tried to wipe away her tears with the back of her hand as Sango entered. When the seamstress saw the state that Kagome was in, she gasped audibly and hurried over to the poor girl, pulling a handkerchief from her pocket.
"Lady Kagome! What's wrong?" she asked, clearly worried, and began to dab at Kagome's face with the hanky. "You're such a mess…"
Kagome gently pushed Sango's hand away and took the piece of cloth from her. "You…you don't have to do that for me," she choked out, blotting her eyes with the handkerchief herself.
Sango sat beside Kagome, placing one hand on Kagome's hanky-free one. "Please, Kagome," she said softly with a very concerned expression. "Please tell me how I can help."
The temporary Lady could no longer hold it all in, and the story about the dinner swept out of her mouth as Sango held her tightly, stroking her hair as she wept. She had gotten as far as when the hanyou led her to her bedroom that night.
"And then…Lord Inyasha t-turned around…and he s-said—"
"Shhh, Kagome, no more," Sango murmured before Kagome could finish her confession. She began to protest, but Sango would have none of it. "Hush now," she interrupted. "It isn't your fault that Lady Kikyou got upset. She used to have a sister, and Miroku must have struck a nerve."
"A sister?" the Higurashi girl whispered, not trusting her voice at the moment.
"Yes, a twin sister, actually," Sango replied, looking sad. "I never met the girl myself, but I know the story, and I could tell it to you if you like."
Kagome nodded and sat back, leaning against one side of the window seat.
"Lady Kikyou's sister was called Haruna," Sango began. "They didn't look anything alike – they were fraternal twins. Haruna had blonde hair and bright blue eyes, and people say that she was like the sky on a beautiful summer day." Kagome remembered what the priestess had looked like two nights ago; black hair and stormy gray eyes…like a foggy winter night…
"The two were inseparable – they did everything together. Their mother died giving birth to them, and it was unknown who their father was. Lord Inuyasha found them when he was but a pup when he escaped from the royal carriage during an outing. They were playing in the mud, and he decided to join them. Lord Sesshoumaru was so upset when he found his brother all dirty!" Sango giggled, and Kagome managed a smile – imagine, a young Lord playing in the mud with girls!
"Lord Inuyasha begged for the girls to be brought to the castle, and because he sensed a great a great holy power from within Lady Kikyou, he gave in under the condition that Lady Kikyou begin training to be a priestess. Haruna, though, was different, and it was said Lord Sesshoumaru made sure she bathed in diluted water from the sacred lake once a week.
"After a few months, Lady Kikyou had to cleanse herself in the lake as part of her training. She had immediately went to her twin to tell her how wonderful it felt, because the water was cool and had eased most of the tension in her muscles from her training sessions. She knew Haruna had always been complaining that her baths were always a bit too hot so that her skin burned, and wanted her sister to try out the lake and see if that helped."
Kagome held her breath. She knew where this was going.
"So Haruna went out into the lake with Lady Kikyou, who immediately started splashing around. But the Lady realized that her sister wasn't following suit, and she turned to look behind her…" Sango sniffled slightly, her voice wavering a bit. "Haruna had swam in as far as her sister, but the full strength of the water was too much for a little girl…it caused her so much pain that she couldn't move, and…she drowned."
The room was silent for a moment before Sango continued.
"Lady Kikyou feels guilty for having killed her sister. That's why untouchables are allowed in the castle now. Lord Sesshoumaru has always favored her, and has allowed untouchables here for fifty years since that incident. He feels guilty for not having told her about her sister…"
"Fifty years?" Kagome gasped. Lady Kikyou didn't look fifty years old!
"Her holy powers grant her an extended life," Sango explained. "She's about Lord Inuyasha's age…seventy or so, I'd think. They grew up together." Sango looked out the window only to see the sun setting in the sky. "Oh no!" she breathed. "I'm sorry, Lady Kagome, but I have duties that still need to be done, and they'll come looking for me if they find I haven't done them."
"That's alright, Sango. I feel a bit better now." She leaned over and gave Sango a brief hug before the seamstress hurried out of the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Kagome alone with her thoughts.
Lord Inuyasha had grown up with Lady Kikyou. He'd known her for fifty years. Surely he had noticed right away that Kagome greatly resembled his childhood friend. Is that why he had kept her alive? Because he couldn't bear to kill Lady Kikyou's untouchable look-alike?
Kagome didn't know if this revelation should leave her feeling relieved…or resentful.